"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Favorites with Kelly Harmon, Author of "Blood Soup"





Favorite Genre(s): (can be a mix of them)

My favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction.  I also like a good juicy romance, and by that I mean the story has got to be really good. If the story is lush, there’s no need to spice it up with erotica.  I’ve been known to flip past the sex scenes to get back to the story.

List of at least 5 Favorite Books in that Genre:

In fantasy, my all-time favorite fantasy series is the Shannara story by Terry Brooks.  As a teen, I read the original trilogy  (The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara and the Wishstone of Shannara) – especially the first book -- over and over again.  I have to admit I haven’t read the most recent books.  There are too many others catching my eye.

Lately, I’ve been reading Lynne Ewing’s Daughters of the Moon Series and Gail Z. Martin’s Chronicles of the Necromancer Series.

Oh! And I’m really excited by Alan Campbell’s Deepgate Codex series.  Scar Night sucked me in and held me hostage until I finished it.   I normally read several books at a time, but I had to put all the others down while I was reading Scar Night.

As a kid, I liked Half Magic and Seven Day Magic by Edward Eager.  As an adult, his stories still resonate with me.  I just finished re-reading Half Magic again.  I can’t wait to introduce them to my daughter.  These days I’m getting into the Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo.

In Science Fiction, I enjoy almost anything by Robert J. Sawyer.  My favorite is Calculating God. There’s nothing like using an alien to prove the existence of God to an atheist.

Also, in science fiction I love Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein.  Some of their writing leaves a lot to be desired, stylisticly I find it a bit on the juvenile side.  But their ideas rock! They really make me think.  I like that in a story.


Favorite Author in that Genre, and Favorite Book by that Author:

It’s so hard to pick one that I like over all the others! My favorite book seems to change with my mood...or whatever seems to be on my radar at the time.  Right now, I’d have to say it’s
Campbell’s Scar Night.  Ask me again next week, I’ll probably have a different answer.

Favorite Book of All Time:

Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks.  I just happened to be in that impressionable teenage phase when I discovered it....at least a decade after it had been published.  I think it shaped me as a reader and as a writer.


Favorite Book Read Last Month:

Kim Harrison’s White Witch, Black Curse.  Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of urban fantasy. I don’t like that genre as much as “sword and sorcery” fantasies, but it’s really hot right now and that’s what you’ll mostly find on the shelves.  Kim Harrison tells a great story.

Favorite Book You Wrote:

Blood Soup, of course!  Omera is a fantasy city based on my Italian heritage, the recipe for Blood Soup comes from my Polish roots, and the city of
Borgund allowed me to use the knowledge obtained with my minor in German.  It’s truly a story created by “writing what I know.”

The curse, the witch, the catacombs, the prophecy...that’s all icing on the cake!

Give Us One More Favorite Thing Beyond Books:

Favorite Snack:

My favorite snack is a peppermint patty with an ice-cold Diet Coke.  I love that cool, burning sensation in my throat as the soda washes down the peppermint.  If the Coca-Cola company decided to put out a Peppermint-Coke product, I’d leverage some cash to buy stock.

Kelly A. Harmon


BLURB:

A tale of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, knew it wouldn’t be so: with each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women were convinced that the child would be a girl.

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin? 


Excerpt One:
    Theodicar looked down at the mewling infant in his arms, and felt the anger rise up. Even in death his wife defied him, the nurse ensuring her success. Women did not rule. He would not allow it. They had created a male  child, and that child would take the throne upon his death.
    “You can save the boy,” he said to Salvagia.
    She slitted her eyes at him, her stare mutinous. Her words were loud and hard in the wake of Pia’s death. “I have the power to save one at the expense of the other, Sire. The girl is stronger. And eldest. She was born to rule.”
    Theodicar watched the girl curl up in his arms, her birth fluids staining a brown patch on the dyed-yellow wool of his tunic. She burrowed into the crook of his elbow, trying to achieve the comfort of the womb.
    “I will not hear those words again,” he said. “That absurd idea died with my wife. My son will rule.” He reached for the boy, thrusting the girl child back into the nurse’s hands. “There’s no need for a daughter. And no need for anyone to know of her.”
    “So be it,” Salvagia said, wrapping the weary girl in a square of wool, covering her face. She reached for her basket.
    “Kill her now,” said Theodicar.
    Salvagia looked stricken.
    “Sire, if we kill her now, she will be of no use to her brother. Once dead, the blood won’t flow, and we need her blood to strengthen his.
    “Then drain her now,” he snapped. “I will not have her crying out when we call the witnesses back to cut the boy’s cord.”

Excerpt Two:
    “Do you want to learn about your sister?” King Theodicar asked.
    “Go on.”
    “Salvagia had a set of runes, and she cast them over and over and over as Pia’s pregnancy advanced. Always, the answer was the same: ‘A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.’”
    “Do you believe that, Father?”
    “Your mother did. And so did Salvagia. They came from Omero, where the eldest born ruled, not just the eldest male. They believed your sister should rule.”
    “But, did you believe?”
    “I think your mother wasn’t meant to bear children. She was little and frail. Her labor arrived early—almost too early for you to survive. Your sister was born first. She was tiny, and just as delicate as your mother. Pia died the moment she was born, without even seeing her. Salvagia cut the girl’s cord and handed her to me. Then your mother’s belly contracted, and we realized there was another babe: you.”
    “So, you killed my sister so she wouldn’t take the throne.”
     “It wasn’t like that at the time.” Anguish washed across Theodicar’s face. “The girl was
frail, but you were worse. Salvagia could only save one of you. She was certain you wouldn’t last through the night, and she tried to convince me that your weakness fulfilled the prophecy. I wouldn’t listen to her. I told her to sacrifice the girl so you could live.”
    “The girl, the girl, the girl. Has my sister a name?”
    “Her life was given for yours before she was named. I’d asked Salvagia to remove the body afterward, so there would be no question about who would rule after me.” He looked down at his feet. “I’m fairly certain Salvagia named her, though she never told me so.”
    “How did my sister save me?”
    “Her blood, Amal. You drank of her blood to strengthen your own.”
    Amalric’s hand tightened on the glass in his lap. He swallowed hard, imagining he could taste the tinny flavor of blood on his tongue. It was worse than he first thought: not only was he winner by default, but he was beast—some variation of an incestuous cannibal—alive only because he drank his sister’s blood.

Excerpt Three: (A Little Longer. This is condensed from a much longer passage...)

    Almaric didn’t know what he had expected to see—what he expected to feel—once he pushed aside the curtain. But it certainly wasn’t the empty void he experienced. Surely, these two women should mean something to me, he thought. He should feel sad for their passing. Or relief at his own existence. Or anger at his sister’s senseless murder.
    But he’d never met them, and they meant nothing.
    “Mother,” he whispered, trying to feel the relationship. He touched her loose brown hair, satiny in death, as if it had been oiled. Mummified flesh clung to her skull, her mouth hung slack with decay. But he could make out her features, even in abstract.
   
Piacenza’s arms crossed her chest, holding onto the baby she’d died birthing.  The child lay on her stomach, her face turned out to the corridor. Smooth in death, the babe’s skin  was stretched taut across her skull, her tiny mouth open as if searching for a breast. He couldn’t picture this small babe as his twin.
    “Sister,” he said, failing to convince himself of an emotional connection to the babe. He smoothed a thumb across her forehead, touched a finger to her puckered lips.
    A scowl wrinkled his forehead, and he felt a tightness behind his eyes.
    Now that he knew about them, how long would he continue to feel the emptiness that knowing them should have filled?
    Had his father confirmed his sister’s existence in order to wring sympathy from his heart? Didn’t he realize that a man who had never known the loving touch of his mother nor felt the bond of his long-deceased sister would find nothing but apathy amid these moldering bones?
    Amalric gazed at the wispy hair, the withered skin, and suddenly, he made a fist and drove it into his mother’s side. He felt her ribcage shatter beneath his knuckles, and saw his sister’s small frame sink as the bones of his mother failed to support her. A puff of dust rose above his sister’s head like a small halo in the torchlight.
    He laughed, finding sudden humor in the situation. He should be rejoicing, he thought. Perhaps he should feel some harmony with his sire—the man who removed all obstacles from his path to the throne.
    How pathetic of him, thought Amalric, if he felt any pride at all for getting rid of these women. Women! Who should be seen and not heard, who should do the bidding of their husbands without fail, who are required to take the brunt of a man’s anger and return it threefold with a submissive demeanor. Women, he thought, who are frail beyond measure and easily subdued. How pitiable that Father should take pride in such an achievement. And worse, how contemptible that he might think my seeing the mortal remains of these women would create in me a sudden change of heart.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Interview with Genella DeGrey, Author of "Love Divine"


Kiki: What is your favorite genre to read in, and what is it about that genre that attracts you to it? If you like a specific mix of genres, please state that particular combination.  


Genella: Kiki, my very favorite is historical romance. Anything from early-early to the 1920's (and time-travel, too.) Ever since I started reading, it has provided me with an escape from everyday life. That being said, I also love fantasy and supernatural romance. Now I have many talented friends who write contemps – and I read those, too. And just to confuse you further, for all of the above: The hotter the better.


Kiki: What is your favorite author to read in that genre, and why? Also, please tell me a little about the best book by that author you have read.


Genella: Aaah, way too many to name! I'd crash the site with the marathon list of answers. LOL


Kiki: Do you have a Favorite Book of All Time? Of course, please tell us what about that book makes it your favorite. 


Genella: I have a couple that will always have a special place in my heart. Judith McNaught's "Until You" (my first romance read ever.) Also, Jude Deveraux's "Remembrance" (which inspired me to become a writer.)


Kiki: What is the best book you read last month, and would you recommend it to a friend?

 Genella: As a matter of fact, last month I read Trish Albright's "Siren's Secret" and put it on my list of recommended reads on my website.


Kiki: What are your reading habits like? For example, how many books do you read on average in a week, what format do you prefer to read in, what time of day do you read, and what setting is ideal for you to get lost in that book?


Genella: I don't get to read nearly as much as I'd like to. I'm probably quite slow in comparison to other readers because I like to savor the story and give every character their own voice/accent in my head. It can take up to a month to read a mass market-size paperback – I might get a chapter a night in before I nod-off. I enjoy both print books and ebooks. As for the ideal setting? I'd love to go on a week-long cruise with a huge stack of books, sit on my private balcony and order room service and in-room massages. Sigh. Someday. :)


Kiki: If pressed, could you chose a favorite from the books you have written? Why is it your favorite?


Genella: This is such a hard question to answer. I guess would have to say "Remember Me" is the book of my heart, but "The Trouser Game" was just a pleasure to write. And then there is  . . . No. I'll stop. (Dang, it's hard to choose between my babies. LOL)


Kiki: How do you become inspired to write? 


Genella: In Jude Deveraux's "Remembrance" (which could be considered a historical, supernatural Romance) the heroine is a romance novelist who undergoes a past-life regression and finds out she's always been a storyteller. After I read that book, I knew I needed to get these stories out of my head and onto paper. :)


Kiki: What part of the story do you think is your strength to write? 


Genella: Ugh, I have no idea! I'd really have to ask my editor this question. If you were to ask me what flows easiest from my "pen" I'd have to say dialog, but again, my editor would be able to pin this answer down for us.


Kiki: Please share with ABA readers something I did not think to ask you about. 


Genella: I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't pimp The Romantic Times Booklover's Convention to all your readers! (You can find the link to this awesome convention on my website, on the "Appearances 2010" page.) I'll be there from April 27th through May 2nd – and if anyone is in the vicinity of Columbus, OH, I urge you to join us for the festivities. So many fun parties, book signings and did I mention more free books than two airline carry-ons could hold? Oh, yes – and the cover models. Bring. Your. Camera. ;)


Thanks, Kiki – this was fun!


Genella deGrey
Heating-up History.
My website: www.genelladegrey.com
Join me at my cyber home – there's lots of fun stuff to explore and plenty of new-to-you authors to discover! Feel free to leave me a comment or two!
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

BLURB:

In the Highlands of Britannia, 420 A.D., Aslyn, was raised a Druid by her late mother.
Now Rome has returned, but in place of a legion of solders, a single man peddles a new Roman god.

Ryus Jorian was sent on a mission for the new religion. But instead of a cave of barbaric souls in need of saving, he finds an intelligent, beautiful, hedonistic distraction whom his Bishop finds equally delectable.

Ryus must choose between the salvation of his soul and the woman he loves.

Aslyn must escape before she becomes the Bishop’s newest sacrificial lamb.



EXCERPT:
Reaching up to entwine her arms around his neck, Aslyn’s heart raced when his mouth softly coaxed her lips part. She nearly toppled over when he groaned as her tongue touched his. The wood post which bordered the stable separated their bodies, and Aslyn longed to be rid of the thing.
Suddenly remembering that anyone who had a view of the stable could see them, she broke out of the kiss.
“We shouldn’t be—”
“I know, I’m sorry.”
Aslyn glanced over her shoulder and back up to Ryus. No one was about, but that could change at any moment. Her breath came out in a huff that may have been part laughter. “Let me finish. We shouldn’t be doing this here.”
She saw his eyes light up like flames. “Then where?”
“Come to me after sundown,” she whispered, unable to believe the words actually came out of her mouth. Oh, she was thinking them, but once they passed over her lips, the bones were cast. He would be leaving soon, and it would be good for her to take a few more memories with her to her grave.
Without another word, Aslyn pushed away from the stable fence and headed straight for her lodging.
She paced in her room and wrung her hands, the same way in she did just before she met Ryus in the ancient grove of Ardwinna.
Aslyn almost yelped when he came bursting through her front door.    
“You have more faith in me than I do if you think I can wait until sundown.”

Tuesday, April 27, 2010



My Interview with Aurora Lightbourne

Kiki: What is your favorite genre to read in, and what is it about that genre that attracts you to it? If you like a specific mix of genres, please state that particular combination.

Aurora: Fantasy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy and comedy romance. And if you can mix them all together, even better! I like seeing the new worlds, creatures and people that the authors think up. I don't like dry stories though, so I need humor thrown in.

Kiki: What is your favorite author to read in that genre, and why? Also, please tell me a little about the best book by that author you have read.

Aurora: In Sci-Fi comedy with a little romance I would say Douglas Adams. I liked his Dirk Gently book, but I loved his Hitchhikers series the best. He is just plain funny, and about simple everyday things. His books are good for some pure, entertaining diversion.

Kiki: Do you have a Favorite Book of All Time? Of course, please tell us what about that book makes it your favorite.

Aurora: I would have to say Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Austen had a good sense on humor and a real dry wit that makes her books so appealing. The lessons the main character has to learn, the funny comments and scenes with the protagonist/hero, it is just a great book.

Kiki: What is the best book you read last month, and would you recommend it to a friend?

Aurora: Didn't really read anything last month. I am trying to get out 3 books this year so most of my time is taken up with writing lately.

Kiki: What are your reading habits like? For example, how many books do you read on average in a week, what format do you prefer to read in, what time of day do you read, and what setting is ideal for you to get lost in that book?

Aurora: I don't read as much as I used to. As a teen I read all the time. I could finish a 300 page book in a day. But now I am so busy writing and tending to real life I don't get as much time to read. I like 'real' books, I am a tactile person, I like the feel of the paper in my hand. A nice rainy day, a comfy sofa, a cup of hot tea/cocoa/coffee and a good book. Ah, perfection!

Kiki: If pressed, could you chose a favorite from the books you have written? Why is it your favorite?

Aurora: That is a hard one. Of the ones I have published I would probably say Space Trippers Book 3: A Frosty Farewell. There are a lot of things brought out in Book 3 that are interesting, and we get to see a more serious side to Tim, which is refreshing. LOL

Kiki: How do you become inspired to write?

Aurora: Ideas will play around in my mind, sparked by a sight, sound, conversation overheard etc. Then I get the itch to write it down, a story will form and when it really starts to flow I make an outline of the whole book as I see it. Then I go into more detail as I start to write on the 'bones'.

Kiki: What part of the story do you think is your strength to write?

Aurora: I think my readers would have to answer that. But I think, conversation. Especially conversation between Valesque and Tim, they could go on for hours.

Kiki: Please share with ABA readers something I did not think to ask you about.

Aurora: I am playing a game with my followers/friends on Twitter, Facebook & MySpace during my Online Book Tour. Just follow me on one of those networks, leave me a comment with the 'Secret Phrase' you can learn here, http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=114666428547534 , to get the clues for the crossword and be entered in a drawing for a $25 Visa Gift Cad at the end of my tour!

Aurora Lightbourne
Author of the Space Trippers Series, Sci-Fi doesn't have to be so serious.


Space Trippers is a space adventure series for YA-Adult readers. Most of my readers are adults but it is 'safe' for younger ones as well. The books are episodic, each book adding on to the last to create the whole story. The story has a serious plot but also contains a lot of humor, especially when Tim tries all of his pick-up lines on Valesque and gets shot down cold every time.
The adventure begins in Space Trippers Book 1: Trippin'. When Valesque's unfinished ship is commandeered by the enemy, with her on board! To make matters worse she is getting blamed when her long lost device is found on the ship and strands them in uncharted space. She is joined in her adventure by a very flirty pilot, a shy science officer and an air-headed android.
You can read the whole first half of Book 1: Trippin' FREE from the link on my website!http://alightbourne.netau.net/

Space Trippers Books 1 & 2 are available in paperback as one volume from any bookstore in your town or online such as Amazon or Barnes Noble: http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?WRD=space+trippers+a+lightbourne
Books 1-3 are also available separately as ebooks for ipad, kindle, sony and more from any ebook retailer.
All three books will be available as separate paperbacks later this year.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Interview with Aubrie Dionne, Author of Nebula's Music



Kiki: What is your favorite genre to read in, and what is it about that genre that attracts you to it? If you like a specific mix of genres, please state that particular combination.

Aubrie: I read a wide range of genres from literary fiction to fantasy and science fiction. My favorite genre to read, by far, is fantasy. I love the idea of another world with its own history, rules, and characters. I read to escape, and fantasy takes me to places I could never go in real life. Second to fantasy is science fiction. Science fiction is a fantasy world that links to our world, because our world is their past. I love the endless possibilities of what the future can bring.


Kiki: What is your favorite author to read in that genre, and why? Also, please tell me a little about the best book by that author you have read.


Aubrie: My all time favorite poem that inspired me to write fantasy is The Lady of Shalott by Lord Byron. I love the description, the imagery, and the tragic romance all found in just a few lines. I also love Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and a lot of the old British Classics. As for modern days, I enjoy reading Tad Williams and his epic fantasy books, and Patricia McKillip, who creates beautiful fantasy worlds with lovely descriptions.


Kiki: Do you have a Favorite Book of All Time? Of course, please tell us what about that book makes it your favorite.


Aubrie: See above. I guess I answered two in one!


Kiki: What is the best book you read last month, and would you recommend it to a friend?


Aubrie: I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. It’s a young adult book about a post apocalyptic world with zombies and I loved it. I recommended it to all my friends.


Kiki: What are your reading habits like? For example, how many books do you read on average in a week, what format do you prefer to read in, what time of day do you read, and what setting is ideal for you to get lost in that book?


Aubrie: I read about a book a week. I like to read while I eat breakfast and lunch because I’m home alone during those times and I work at night. I can get lost in a book when I have to wait for something, like at an airport or doctor’s office. I have a Sony Ereader and I use it when I travel on long trips. I can take up to three hundred books with me in my purse so I’ll never be bored. J


Kiki: If pressed, could you chose a favorite from the books you have written? Why is it your favorite?


Aubrie: It’s hard for me to choose because I love all of my books just like a mother loves all of her children! My very first book is YA epic fantasy, titled, The Voices of Ire. I’d have to say that this book is the most special to me because it started me on my writing journey and I wrote with reckless abandon not caring about what agents or editors might think. I wrote it two years ago, and it’s coming out in print this summer from Wyvern Publications. Right now I’m working on the final edits!


Kiki: How do you become inspired to write?


Aubrie: Movies inspire me to write! I love Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, anything involving fantasy, science fiction, and adventure. After going to the movies my mind is bursting with endless possibilities.


Kiki: What part of the story do you think is your strength to write?


Aubrie: I love to write descriptions and plot. Settings are my specialty, which is fortunate for a fantasy, science fiction author!


Kiki: Please share with ABA readers something I did not think to ask you about.

Aubrie: I’d like to share some of my inspiration for Nebula’s Music:

Nebula is inspired by the character Data from The Next Generation. I watched star Trek growing up at 7pm and 7:30pm every night for about seven years. Data's journey to become more human fascinated me. There was one scene where he plays the violin and I marveled at the fact that he can take up an instrument and play it perfectly in minutes compared to a human that has to spend a lifetime perfecting their skills. But did his music have emotion? Probably not.

Nebula is not entirely an andriod. She's made from a real human and experiences that woman's past memories. In a way, she's closer to being human than Data can ever be, but can she break some of the barriers that he never could? Can she experience fear, triumph, or fall in love? Would a human reciprocate that love?

Aubrie Dionne
Fantasy and Science Fiction Author
http://authoraubrie.blogspot.com
http://www.authoraubrie.com
Click Here To Purchase


BLURB:
Each note brings her one step closer to the truth.

When the cyborg Nebula plays the piano she experiences memories from a time before her creation. These memories—which involve a captive rebel fighter being held on their ship—bring with them complex human feelings and awaken a desire for her to discover her origins.

Radian is the long-lost love of the woman from which Nebula was made. He’s vowed to avenge his finance’s death and rescue her sister from the Gryphonites, a fierce race out to enslave the galaxy. Nebula grapples with her identity and how much of who she is comes from someone else’s past. She is not the woman that died, yet she is undeniably drawn to Radian.

Together Nebula and Radian seek to rescue his fiancĂ©’s sister and end the Gryphonites’ cruel reign. But can Radian learn to love again and can Nebula accept a past made from someone else’s memories?

EXCERPT:

The man stared at her like he knew she’d been coming all along. Their gazes locked, blue on black, and she stood unmoving. She felt uncomfortable as he studied her, his eyes watery with tears.

Unpredictably, he rose from his position on the floor and walked toward her, closing the distance. Although combat tactics flashed through her circuits, she overrode each one and allowed him to take her into his arms. He held her close, smoothing over her back in gentle strokes, and
buried his face into her hair.

Nebula had never been embraced. The sudden rush of contact flooded all her senses. She nestled her face into his shirt, taking in the feel of his body close to hers. She wanted to know if he had the same rush of pleasurable feelings and looked into his eyes for her answer.

He must have seen something strange in her gaze, or it was what he didn’t see, what she lacked, that brought him back to the moment. His eyes chilled to a frosty cerulean and he released her.

“I’m sorry.” He turned away. “But you look so much like her. Damn it, you even smell like her as well.”




Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Review of Release by Nicole Hadaway 

Book Teaser:

Forever.

That’s the response Ben Gongliewski receives, when he asks Miranda Dandridge how long she’s been a vampire. He doesn’t expect the wordforever in her reply, but then again, Ben never imagined meeting vampires, let alone demons and werewolves, during his time as a Resistance worker in World War II
Poland. Far from being horrified, Ben discovers that Miranda and her friends have very useful … talents … especially when it comes to saving children from concentration camps. After all, in these desperate times, while the line between good and evil is clear, the one between heroes and monsters is very, very blurred.

The last thing Miranda wants at this point in her immortal life is a human lover, but as she and Ben perform rescue after daring rescue, she can’t help but be drawn to his passion to save his fellow Jews.

As the War draws to a close and Miranda must chose her love for Ben or her duty to her race, Ben is blindsided by a betrayal that no one sees coming. This leads to a danger in which all hell is about to break loose … literally…

Review:

The background of WWII for this literary paranormal story set a dark, ominous tone which was very appropriate for this tale of vampires, werewolves and demons.  It all just fit together.  I feel the author portrayed very accurately the terror of this period in history, and her characters who braved being part of the resistance were very believable knowing a lot about this time given that my husband teaches Holocaust Literature.   I was impressed by the details, both real and fictional, and how she blended them together.  There were ideas present of persecution and self-acceptance that tied together themes like a vampire living in a humans world and Hitler’s persecutions of many groups other than just Jews.  I appreciated the multi-layered affect in this dark tale. 

At the same time, I enjoyed the author’s personal touches, the additions to what Hitler was up to and into.  I could not help but be amused at one point when this news came via a werewolf.  Just seemed appropriate somehow, just like when one man said he would choose a vampire over Nazis any day! One of the main characters even comments about not wanting to have to relive being found out and having to run, “especially in these times, with these Nazis bent on exterminating whomever they deem unfit to live, to further some ridiculous goal of a ‘master race’.”

The vampire world was great as well, as I am partial to the darker side of vampire tales. I like the true blood suckers, especially when you add in the turmoil of one who act as if they have a soul, burdened by what they are.  Along with this, Hadaway added elements, myth if you will, that was completely her own creation and fit flawlessly with the rest. In particular, rules of marriage and procreation among their kind I felt fascinating.  But, the myth deepened and overlapped in new and ingenious ways. The author did a lot of world building with this one.

The story takes place in a lot of different heads, but I didn’t mind it.  The characters are introduced slowly throughout the book, so they are easy to keep track of.  It is a long one, but the action doesn’t stop, and the plot continues to thicken.

To Purchase The Book, go to http://ebookundead.com/

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Review of The Second Coming, A Words of the Prophecy Novel by David H. Burton

The language of David H. Burton in this story was at times poetic, and at time prophetic.  The words, always descriptive would one minute make me feel like I was there, a part of the action, and then the next drive home an image so bluntly that I would be shocked out of my flight into fantasy. It was an amazing ride.

The characters were deep, all rich with back stories, driven by differing motives, while omitting just enough to keep me on edge constantly wanting to know more about them. My only even semi-criticism, and maybe just my own failing rather, was with the vast multitude of characters. There were so many names, and often secondary names given to the same characters.  Add to that the connections between the characters which kept developing, plus all of the names of the creatures, and they were at times hard for me to follow. Again, I say me, maybe another reader would have no problem with this at all. It did not distract me though from the enjoyment of reading Second Coming. It is just no easy read, and I would guess no easy write. As an author, I am in awe of Burton’s craft, his abilities to create such a tale. I would love to know if he had all of the twists and turns plotted out before writing it, or if a story such as this one just came from him imagination as he wrote.

The paranormal elements were again a combination of old and original, and the magic was dead on and amazing even to one who has read novels in the genre. But always, it remained gritty, dark, edgy and yet I found myself praying for things to work out in certain characters no matter what they did or how they transgressed!

The world building in Second Coming was amazingly original and absolutely believable for an apocalyptic world.  The setting was a new world over renamed places I know of in my own world. The mentions of old ways tie it all together with the new, creating a viable existence. The writing conventions were well thought out, well written and always made the setting easily seen in the mind’s eye.

To say the plot was layered would be a grave understatement. Talk about a mix. Burton intermixed flawlessly myth, the Bible, and his new take on them both allowing for more than one hero and villain, and therefore a multitude of conflicts and possible resolutions. Only once the layers started to really overlap,  I found myself wishing, hoping, guessing… As a paranormal writer, I can only imagine that this extent of world-building can only come from a great amount of research, of thought and of planning. It leaves definitely leaves you thinking… If my review seems vague, I am sorry. But, with this book, I dare say too much lest I spoil any of it.

Kiki

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Interview With Lloyd Kaneko

Authors By Authors welcomes today Lloyd Kaneko, author of Kami Jin, as part of the Authors Supporting Authors Virtual Book Tour.

Kiki: After reading about your book, Kami Jin on your website, http://www.lloydkaneko.com/, I sense, obviously, a political activist motivation to writing the story. Can you tell me what you most wanted to say, the message you most hoped to give the world, through writing this story?

Lloyd: I have to say, what you picked up from my website regarding my political activist motivation is only one part of the story.  There is a spiritual motivation that also drove the story.  The answer to this question could be quite long and complicated.  I encourage readers to read the book because they will take away different things from it.  Some things they will like, some things they will totally reject.  Yet others will probably go way over their heads.

PRESENT PROBLEM:
Perhaps there is no one singular message that I wanted to give to this world.  There were many.  The underlying theme, however, focused on homelessness and poverty: essentially the way the world treats people when they are no longer useful in society.  Take a look at the massive layoffs in Corporate America for example.  A lot of people in the U.S. lost their jobs because rich executives thought it was better to seek cheap labor abroad in order to maximize their profits.  As a result, millions literally forced out of their dwellings by foreclosure.  Where was the humane treatment that could have been offered to these people?  There is practically no assistance given to these people.  Hence, they are evicted into the streets and have to live in cars or cardboard boxes, if they were lucky.  They lost their medical benefits, their retirement savings and a myriad of other things that we once took for granted as part of that “American Dream.”  Dreams were shattered, lives destroyed all in the name of profits for rich executives.  And, the government did absolutely nothing to curb this trend.

POTENTIAL FUTURE PROBLEM:
Take the existing employees that are still working and project this behavior into the future.  Imagine that company executives want to maximize profits even more by saving even more medical insurance, vacation and sick time, pensions and everything else that was once considered as an excellent human resources benefit.  We employees are really expensive in the workplace.  It cost a lot of money to support their work efforts.  What if they were replaced by droids and robots that were capable of doing the same work, only better?  Then, companies could avoid paying any benefits.  They (the companies) can operate 24/7 without shutting down since robots and droids don’t need to take lunch or coffee breaks like humans.  Maintenance for these things would be relatively inexpensive.  Either you just performed preventative maintenance to keep them going, or if they totally broke down, they would be replaced – no job interview necessary.  The only people that you would need to keep are those who can program these machines.  Even then, they could be eventually let go because these machines will be able to program themselves eventually into the future.  So now, unemployment has peaked to 95% in the world and virtually no plans being made for the welfare of the people.

BACK TO THE PRESENT:
The world in these times has come to treat people as “commodities.”  They are no longer viewed as humans with feelings.  That’s all irrelevant to the bottom line.  Take a look at health care reform.  Was it reform for the people, or “reform” in favor of insurance corporations?  My message to the world is we need to shift our priorities from obscene profits benefitting corporations and rich executives to focusing on the people, not only of this country, but of the world.  While one to two percent of the world live in luxury, millions upon millions are struggling to make ends meet while countless others cannot even do that.  Those are the people who do not even have a place to call ‘home” let alone find adequate resources for food and water.

THE SOLUTION:
In my book, God has given me the answers and solutions to solving the world’s problems of homelessness, poverty, hunger and starvation.  Not only this, He has given me a way for the world to be stewards of people, thus making wars obsolete.  How?  Simply by adapting to a new world monetary system.  I’m not going to get into too much detail about this and I encourage readers to look for it in the book.  But I received these insights by the simple Quakerly way by waiting on the Spirit.  After all, when you are unemployed for four consecutive years, you don’t have very much to interfere with your concentration and conversations with God.  But in order to do this, there must be massive reform around the world.  The United States is no exception to this and must be willing to change without prejudice to its preference towards capitalism.  Perhaps my ideas and suggestions are very socialistic.  It’s a matter of a higher level of thinking.  This is what the whole world needs to do.  We live in a very archaic, antiquated, hostile and stubborn [to change] world.  The world needs to come together as one.  We need to change our behavior and thinking from:  “What’s in it for me?” to “What’s in it for us/the world?”  As long as we live in a world of selfishness, the nations of the world are never going to change, we will continue to have different monetary systems throughout the world.  What I am imparting are, what I believe are answers from Heaven, the Universe.

In short, create a fair universal monetary system where everyone can afford to pay for everything (housing, health care, education, transportation, etc.) without having to rely on insurance companies, credit cards, loans, or lines of credit.  All one has to do is just “sign” for it.  The example is in the book.

Sorry, but I told you that the answer was going to be complicated.


Kiki: No problem at all! I love to see people who are passionate about something!

Kiki: Your website says that All proceeds of Kami Jin will go to First Day Homeless Coalition of Whittier, California. Can you tell me a little about this organization, and why you chose to so generously donate the proceeds from your book to it?


Lloyd: First Day Coalition for the Homeless in Whittier is not a typical facility for the homeless like other shelters that provide a temporary place to sleep, provide meals, and clothing.  They offer a rehabilitation/transition management program to assist homeless individuals and families back into society by offering resources for job search assistance such as on-site computers and counseling, besides on-site facilities.  The center has received numerous citations and recognition in Los Angeles County for their work and efforts.  On their website, they have a slogan that reads:

“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day…Teach a man to fish – you feed him for a lifetime…”

In short, First Day Coalition is not the typical soup kitchen.  They don’t offer overnight shelter and put them back out into the streets the next morning.  They actually make an impact on their lives.  In fact, they offer catering services to the community.

Although I am struggling, I consider myself very fortunate that I still have a place to call home even after experiencing four of the darkest years of my life – being unemployed.  At least, I’ve been blessed to have written this book.

Kiki: You have traveled extensively, do you have a favorite place, and I don’t mean one to live, but one that just enthralls you?

Lloyd: Algeria was one place where I had a most enthralling experience that has lasted a lifetime.  And, I’ve learned some valuable lessons.  It was a poor, but simple country.  While I was there, I had learned to understand and appreciate Muslims, their faith and culture.  When people and the press say derogatory and incorrect or inaccurate things about Muslims here in the United States, I get easily offended myself.  I had experienced two life-threatening accidents in Algiers:  First I attempted to fix a refrigerator’s electrical cord and was nearly electrocuted.  And the second incident was when I was being transported in the company’s car.  The car suddenly stopped in the center of a major highway due to mechanical problems and we were rear-ended by a huge military transport truck.  Fortunately, I survived the accident but had a very bad case of whiplash for days afterwards.  I’m probably still paying for it with all the cervical spine surgeries I’ve had to my neck already.  Upon my return home, I was convinced that a greater spiritual being was looking after me during that trip.

The other memorable trip was when I toured Japan. It was my first trip out of the country and during that trip, I had the extreme pleasure of going to the Palace of the then Crown Prince Akihito.  Being in front in a reception line, I had the pleasure of shaking his hand.  Years later, he eventually became Emperor of Japan.

In short, by travelling the world, I’ve developed a great appreciation for the people of the world.  This is reflected on my list of friends on Facebook.  I welcome friends from all over the world.


Kiki: Your projects in progress page lists, Legend of the Crescent Eagle, A Prequel to Kami Jin. Can you tell me a little about the story?

Lloyd: Legend of the Crescent Eagle is in its infancy stages but it is a prequel to Kami Jin that will trace the migration of Gordon Sakata’s ancestors from Napajan to the United States by way of Mexico aboard a Japanese trading ship called the “Buru Paru Maru” – The Blue Pearl.

I’ve always been fascinated about the Japanese migration into the United States through Mexico and there were many who came here using this route.  Currently, I’m trying to locate some people who have relatives that may have done this.  Perhaps some are still living.


Kiki: Your blog writings are very strongly worded opinions which fits with the type of book you have written. Can you tell me about the best book you have ever read?

Lloyd: My blog writings are essentially an extension of my book.  Commentary on contemporary issues.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the series by Neal Donald Walsh entitled Conversations with God.  Mainly because I was tired of reading books on controversial issues like David Kuo’s Tempting Faith, Bob Woodward’s State of Denial, and Paul Waldman’s Fraud.  One book that I totally enjoyed for entertainment and pleasure was Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.


Kiki: Your about me shows a full and active life, an amazing reference of all the work you have done.  Do you have hobbies that help you to relax, me time?

Lloyd: I’m active in a seniors bowling league on Tuesdays.  It’s a chance for me to get out of the house and have fun with other bowlers.  I also like to go to the movies and listen to music.  My dog keeps me company when I’m writing, but she gets bored very quickly, so we go out for walks.  When the dog is not in the house, the cat takes over the office.  He actually thinks he’s human.  Other than that, I like to read.  I’m currently reading a good book by Kaylin McFarren entitled, “Flaherty’s Crossing.”

I also like to visit the sights around Southern California – especially the lesser known places like small museums.

Last but not least, I love to cook – especially for an army.  My last joy was cooking dinner for the homeless that the church hosted a couple of months ago.

Kiki: My infamous last question of sorts.  Write a question, and then answer it too please, to tell me something about you that I would not otherwise know?

Lloyd: Fair request, however I have to admit, I had to contemplate on this one overnight.  Ok…

What did you do in a former life before you became a writer?

Perhaps the place that had the greatest impact on my imagination and creativity was my first employer while I was working my way through college – Disneyland.  During the Christmas seasons, I performed in the production Fantasy on Parade as a Toy Soldier.

In fact, one of my heroes is Walt Disney himself.  I have read his biography and truly respect the man and his accomplishments both in film and in the amusement park industry.


Lloyd Kaneko
Purchase Kami Jin In Print At Wordclay or Purchase In Ebook at Smashwords

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Selena Kitt Reviews "Journey Round A Darker Sun" by Simon Lowrie




Journey Round A Darker Sun by Simon Lowrie

BLURB:
Claire has the world round her little finger – she's young, gorgeous, sociable and fun. She's not short of admirers, and in Tristan she has a fanboy who only lives to serve her. From doing her shopping to massaging her thighs, Claire is glad to have him as her sweet, domesticated pet.

Then Claire meets Paul, the best-looking, most powerful and enigmatic man she's ever known, and feels as awestruck in his presence as Tristan does in hers. But Claire is about to learn the dark side of Paul's love, which involves strict rules and even stricter punishment. And when her ass feels the first imperious smack of his hand, it's only the beginning of her education in submission.


Warnings: This title contains graphic language and sex.

Word Count: 86,740

REVIEW:
In Simon Lowrie's world, men and women attract - and repel - like magnets, following a true North. Claire Kelsey is the sun around which her loyal, steadfast friend Tris revolves, but we know from the beginning that, while her gravitational pull is strong, Claire's trajectory is far out of his galaxy. She can't resist the appeal of another, a man who takes her places beyond herself, in and out of the bedroom. The problem is, Ms. Kelsey wants to have her cake and eat it, too—she wants her flirty, devoted friend and her powerful, commanding lover. Why can’t a girl have both? Claire finds herself torn between a man who worships her and a man worthy of her worship, and her journey toward a resolution pushes her to the boundaries of her resistance. If you are looking for whips, chains, collars and spreader bars, you may be a little disappointed. But if you find yourself magnetically drawn to stories about the natural dominance and submission between the masculine and feminine, you will have found cosmic bliss in Journey Round a Darker Sun. 

REVIEWED BY:
Selena Kitt
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget!

In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.