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

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Review of "The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson" by Jerome Charyn

Let me begin by saying this is not my typical review. On my blog, I like to post about books I can rave about, loved, would recommend to a friend to read. However, in this case, I agreed to do this review for a blog tour, had a set date, because in reading about the book first I was pretty confident I would like it. I won’t put myself in this position again. I will be changing my review policy immediately to reflect what I want my blog to be. If I don’t like a book, I would rather not tell anyone about it unless of course asked in conversation or to simply give it a low star rating on Goodreads or Amazon. I'm not a review site, but a place for authors to talk about what they are reading. So, this review, written not having finished the novel because I just couldn’t keep reading it, lists the good and the bad, I guess.

The language and wording was what I liked about this novel. Word choices reminiscent of Dickenson’s writing, albeit the lighter side of her prose enough to make it easily readable to today’s readers I suppose. “Still, I watch him in the snow, sinking into perilous terrain, rising in his burglar’s boots only to sink again & again, as if in the grip of some angel who would not leave poor Tom alone.” This sentence is one example of the description using strong vocabulary and descriptive analogies that let the reader see exactly what the writer intends, I felt. I think mr. Charyn a good descriptive writer.  

However, even being a former English major/teacher who loves Emily Dickenson, I just could not get into this book. It was the storyline and characterization where this book fell short for me, the image of Emily Dickenson that I didn’t like preventing me from getting very far into the story. What seemed like, going in, a fictional account created from non-fiction writings, once I started reading it, the way he portrayed Ms. Dickenson seemed, well wrong, a defacing of a legend. Besides Mrs. Dickenson seeming to be a rebellious-natured, boy-crazy child, the characters at the school seemed rather contrived and forced, empty skeletons of what a girl would have been like back then, and unlike Dickenson’s own rich characters.

Blog Tour web site:

Jerome Charyn's web site:

Jerome Charyn's Facebook:

Jerome Charyn's Twitter:

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson Facebook:

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson Twitter:

W.W. Norton & Company web site:

BookReporter.com's Top Books of 2010 (#52)

Jerome Charyn's  Bio:
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the
American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the
American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in
France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."

Charyn lives in
Paris and New York City.

Price: $14.95 
ISBN: 9780393339178
Pages: 352
Release: February 14, 2011

Price: $24.95 
ISBN: 9780393068566
Pages: 348
Release: February 22, 2010

Buy links:
Barnes & Noble

eBook buy links:

Amazon See Inside the Book

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If He’s Wicked by Hannah Howell Reviewed By Bri Clark

If He’s Wicked by Hannah Howell

Book Review:

Chloe Wherlocke is an amazing character and Lord Julian Kenwood is a great match for her. For me I expected something much more paranormal than what was written. However, for the time period it was indeed extraordinary. Hannah Howell did such a fantastic job establishing the time that I forgot I was in 2011! The characters, even the supporting characters, all came together to form an intricate lattice work of the makings of a story that came to life. Loved it…truly loved it.

As an author, I find myself drawn to the male characters in the books I read and pen. Lord Julian is a character not unlike my own Lucien Lemoine. Both men are the supreme alpha males with people that depend on them for leadership, protection, and care. Both experience the most grievous of betrayals by someone in their Familial unit. Then while at their weakest and most vulnerable, the woman of their dreams saves them.

Book Blurb: She saves his life...For Chloe Wherlocke, it all begins with a vision - a glimpse into the future that foretells a terrible plot against Lord Julian Kenwood and his newborn son. Chloe's psychic gift allows her to save the child from certain death, but the earl remains in grave peril...But when he steals her heart...Julian Kenwood knows someone is trying to kill him and he suspects his scheming wife and her lover are behind the plot. But Julian is shocked when Chloe, a captivating, dark-haired stranger, warns him that sinister forces are indeed at hand - and exposes a devastating secret that changes his life forever...Will she resist - or surrender? As Chloe reveals her plan to save Julian, neither can deny the attraction that grows each moment they're together. Chloe knows the highborn earl could never love her as she loves him. But when danger strikes closer than ever, Chloe must risk everything - or lose Julian forever...

Click Here to Purchase If He's Wicked

Reviewed By:
Bri Clark
Author of The Familial Witch

Lucien Lemione the clan leader of the feared and revered Eternals is faced with the ultimate betrayal. His second in command for two centuries has not only created the most grievous of offenses but also commissioned the creation of liquid silver. When poisoned by this toxin, an immortal suffers a fate much worse than death, frozen in an internal prison. After being wounded when found spying, he hides deep within the eerie woods that encircle the Triad Mountains. Desperate and in pain, he prays to an offended mother goddess for help. Her answer: a woman, but not just any woman. A witch.

After losing her entire coven at the hands of the Eternals, Aisleen is the last of her kind. She retreats from the world to Trinity Forest where she is giving the opportunity of a lifetime, or perhaps a test of principles. It’s there she discovers the man she heals is the Eternal that wiped out her people. Although she is bound as a healer, she could be creative in her revenge. Aisleen knows who and what Lucien is…but does not speak of it. There can be no future with Lucien for she can only be with a mortal man. Even if she wanted to be with him, can she forgive the man that caused the genocide of her people?

Lucien must act quickly for the survival of his clan is at stake. However, Aisleen’s ethereal beauty and emerald eyes keep pushing those thoughts far from his mind. Determined to find out what secret she hides, he prolongs his time with her. When his people need him most what will he choose…duty, desire, or will he make his own fate? You can choose love but you can’t choose destiny.

Author Website: briclarkthebelleofboise.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 19, 2011


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.

Cassie: Mystery. I love to collect the clues and figure out who did it and why.

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.

Cassie: Don’t have a favorite mystery author. I’ve read my share of Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie, not to mention Victoria Holt and Mary Higgins Clar and countless others. Since I’m a writer, I read authors that I’ve met or heard about while doing promos or blog tours. When I have time to read.

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

Cassie: No I don’t.

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

Cassie: Sorry, none.

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?

Cassie: When I’m busy writing, I don’t read. Can’t have all of that in my head while I create.

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

Cassie: All are my favorites while I’m writing them. Then I move on.

Kiki: How do you become inspired to write?

Cassie: Anything and everything. Songs, movies, a newspaper article, an interesting tidbit on the news or a submission call.

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

Cassie: Dialogue. My characters talk and I write.

Kiki: Please share with ABA readers something I did not think to ask you about.
Cassie: I’ve been writing for years, always with some form of mystery. In 2004 I joined an erotica writing critique group. Believe it or not, I learned a lot about writing and how to spice things up.

Cassie Exline
Romance, Suspense and Sizzle

 Sheryl Locke Holmes: Book 2: Ruby’s Deadly Secret by C.L. Exline
Blurb: What do you get when you add a ruby, diary, secrets, and a mansion? A motive for murder. Sheryl Locke Holmes and her best friend, Dot Watson, have been offered an exciting opportunity to explore Bridgeside, a Victorian mansion, to search for items for their antique shop. Their adventure is short-lived when they discover a diary containing dark secrets and a newspaper clipping with a warning written in what appears to be blood. They get trapped in the attic, Dot is attacked and they find out the owner died inside the house. As if that isn't enough, Jake is spotted with another woman. Clues are pointing to Sheryl as the next target, no matter who gets in the way.

Ruby’s Deadly Secret won eighth place in the 2010 P&E Poll for Top 10 Mystery Novels.
Amber’s Mysterious Death is book one of the Holmes Mystery Series.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


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.

Julius: I am a high school language arts teacher and I love the classics, such as To Kill A Mockingbird, Great Gatsby, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Of Mice And Men and Pride and Prejudice. I love introducing students to these books and I love reading them again and again. I’m also an avid reader of mystery novels, and the idea there is something behind the door that can be good or evil. The reader must discern the answer and this creates interest.

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.

Julius: As a writer, Terry Kay has always been an inspiritation with his word choices and images of life in North Georgia. Kay described life in Hart County and I wanted to describe life in Barrow County.
               In his novel, To Dance with the White Dog, Kay delves into southern storytelling at its best. It’s a novel of life, loss, mystery and hope. Sam Peek’s children are worried. Since that “Saddest Day” when Cora, his beloved wife of fifty-seven years, died, no one knows how he will survive. And when Sam begins telling his children about a dog as white as the pure driven snow---who is invisible to everyone but him---his children think that grief and old age have finally taken their toll.
               In my novel, I have a character, Andy Michael Pilgrim, who is faced with challenges from the past. There is an element of mystery in a character named Joe Boy, even to people who know him; there is still an element of anonymity. Like Kay’s book, my novel is a heart warming story of friendship and love. However in my book, there are sinister forces waiting to wreck havoc.

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

Julius: My favorite book of all time is “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. It’s my favorite because Harper Lee teaches me how to take characters in a small town and make them live! They are living people with strong relationships that pulls the reader into the story line.                                

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

Julius: The best book I’ve read in the last month, Degrees of Separation by Sue Henry. It’s a Jessie Arnold Mystery.  The author has a strong grasp of tense storytelling and strong characterization. The setting is a small town in Alaska that has been shaken with a murder that disrupts the tranquility of a winter in the land of snow and ice.
       It’s a fascinating “Who done it” book that keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next.  What is the next clue to be uncovered?

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?

Julius: I want to read a book a week, but this is not feasible. I’m a high school English teacher and must grade papers and keep up with the required books for my American Literature and British Literature Classes.
      I try to finish a book every two or three weeks. I read whenever I have free time, usually on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I love reading in the afternoon on the deck and feeling the cool breeze and listening to the birds in the trees.
      If I can’t go outdoors, because of the weather, then I read in my office surrounded by my books. I look out the window at the trees swaying in the wind. This is calming and puts me in the mood to really enjoy reading.

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

Julius: Choosing the favorite from among my three books is like asking a parent to choose which child he/she likes best. Each book, A Brownstone in Brooklyn, Philly Style and Philly Profile and Ghost of Atlanta offers something different and was a step in my development as a writer. Each is important because they gave me a chance to express something deep in my personality I wanted to share with readers all over the world.

Kiki: How do you become inspired to write?

Julius: What developed confidence in my writing ability occurred on a faithful fall day when I was a junior at Bushwick High School in Brooklyn, New York.
           I was scared to express any thoughts, any opinions, and had trouble looking people in the eye. Self-Esteem and self-confidence was lacking in my personality.
           I knew I had this ability to write, but the motivation and confidence was zero. I was in my second year, at Bushwick, after moving from
Statham, Georgia , population 300 and segregated, to Brooklyn , population 3,000,000 and integrated.
          I got up enough nerve to ask my English teacher and student council/general organization sponsor, Miss Egan, the question. If the answer was negative, all my hopes and dreams of becoming the next great writer would be dashed.
          I knocked hard on the door to her office, entered, and asked her, "Can I be a writer?"
       She stared at me for a few seconds and then said, "Do it."
      I haven't looked back.

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

Julius: I feel I’m talented in all areas of writing, but what comes easy to me is Character Development, Plot Structure and dialogue.  When I’m in the groove, these elements sparkle and bring characters closer to life.

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

Julius: I want to share my motto as a writer. It’s something that I think about all the time. It’s a phrase, “Keep Writing, Keep Believing, and never ever give up on your dreams.” I want all writers to be confident in the writing life.

About Julius Thompson:
Julius Thompson grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York and attended Bushwick High School. The sixties in Brooklyn was an era that had a personality, a feel, and a life-force that changed a generation. Mr. Thompson felt this energy and experienced these fires of social change.

After high school, Mr. Thompson spent the next four years riding the "A" train to Harlem, in upper Manhattan, to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from the City College of New York. At CCNY, which was located just a few blocks from the famous Apollo Theater, Wednesday afternoons was hard on the undergraduates. The matinee performances of the major R&B groups of the times were more tempting than attending a boring college lecture. Most of the time Mr. Thompson succumbed to the temptation, but still earned a college degree from one of the best universities in the country.

At CCNY, literature instructors like Prof. Thomas Tashiro, fueled the fire in him to become a writer!  Brooklyn, New York and attended

Mr. Thompson’s journey to compose a trilogy began in 1995. The fourteen year fictional journey of character Andy Michael Pilgrim from Brooklyn, to Philadelphia and finally Atlanta is now complete. In this pilgrimage, readers experience places that are filled with hopes, dreams, challenges and fears that make us human.

The novels that make up the trilogy are A Brownstone in Brooklyn which was published in 2001, Philly Style and Philly Profile in 2007 and Ghost of Atlanta which will be published the first week of January 2011.
Mr. Thompson received the Georgia Author of the Year nomination for Philly Style and Philly Profile, from the Georgia Writers Association, in 2007.

Mr. Thompson is writing his fourth novel, Purple Phantoms, which is a story about the haunting of a mythical high school basketball team.
Mr. Thompson is currently a Creative Writing/Publishing Instructor at Atlanta’s Evening at Emory’s Writers Studio. For more information please visit him at www.ghostofatlanta.com.

The author has graciously offered to give away one ebook of Ghost of Atlanta
Please leave a comment to be entered to win!
I will choose the winner one week from today.
Please remember to include your email with your comment :)

 About Ghost of Atlanta:
In The Ghost of Atlanta, Andy Michael Pilgrim faces demons from his youth that haunted his life. These are the ghosts in the crawl spaces of his life; some are real and some supernatural.
After landing a job with The Atlanta Defender, Andy returns home and visits the place where he finally faces remembrances of his deceased abusive father. While walking around the grounds, he meets his mysterious cousin, Joe Boy, and finds out that the property is going to be sold by unscrupulous cousins.
While Andy fights this battle, he must confront the personal demon of a possible drug addiction, breaking the color barrier at the south’s largest newspaper, The Atlanta Defender, meeting his old girl friend and fighting the lingering effects of segregation in small-town Georgia life.
As the story unwinds, all these forces push Andy toward the breaking point, where he almost quits on life. Malevolent mortal deeds are committed and Andy could be next in line.
"The Ghost of Atlanta" is, overall, a superbly written book. 5 stars!~Readers Favorite

Rating: 5 Stars - Readers Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest
The Ghost of Atlanta
          Julius Thompson is a superb writer. "The Ghost of Atlanta" is, overall, a superbly written book. This novel is the third in a series. The book is a very fast read that builds up slowly and has a fantastic ending. Mr. Thompson has included all the ingredients that make for a well-written novel: great character descriptions, an exciting well-thought-out plot, edge-of-your-seat adventure with all the proper descriptives (old love and love rekindled, friendships-new and old, hate-the kind that festers, murder-brutal and heartless, drugs-of the worst kind, family ties-both good and bad, etc.).
          The story takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, present day, the main character, Andy Pilgrim, is a newspaper reporter. His life is full of ups and downs with a past that haunts him daily, hence, 'Ghost in Atlanta'.
Only Andy can, and must, have the courage to face his ghosts, one-on-one. He has many friends and family that help him along the way, and those that would like to see him fail miserably. Can he defeat his ghosts and continue on with his life?
          I will not spoil the book for you but I will say that the story is full of excitement and is really very ethereal. The reason I say that is because the characters themselves present the reader with many questions, such as, How can Andy`s friend, Philip, always be there for him just at the right time? How is it that certain characters are praying for Andy just at the right moment? How can a family cousin appear to Andy in the blink of an eye and then disappear just as quickly? How can friends and family in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Atlanta be so in tune with each other, helping Andy when he needs it the most?
          All these ingredients make this novel taste like your favorite pie flavor. All these ingredients make you want to continue reading this novel in just one sitting.
          I now have a very strong desire to read Julius` first two novels in the series. I can hardly wait for the next one. Julius, please keep writing. To the reader, don't hesitate to read this; you will not be disappointed. I, for one, am very glad that I read this book and I rate this book 5 stars, wholeheartedly."

Julius Thompson Websites/Purchase Links


Purchase Links

Barnes & Nobles.Com

Passionate Writer Publishers

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guest Post: The Inspiration behind The Selfish Guide to Romance

After reading and reviewing “The Selfish Path to Romance: How to Love with Passion & Reason, Inspired by the Ideas of Ayn Rand” by Edwin A. Locke & Ellen Kenner, I had to ask about the inspiration behind this book. I wanted to know how they got from reading Ayn Rand to writing such a phenomenal book on romance and relationships. So, here is what author Ellen Kenner had to say...

I had thought about writing a self help book based on Ayn Rand's philosophy (Objectivism) for many years, especially since I had grown much stronger by studying and applying her life-treasuring ideas to my own life and in my clinical practice. After reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, I learned  to value my own life, to think for myself, to express myself more effectively and to pursue my dreams.  My husband is also a tremendous admirer of Ayn Rand. I had wanted to write a course dedicated to my husband (whom I adore) and I did just that with my first course on romance titled Courting Success in Romance.  The Objectivist mini-conference that I spoke at was: “Love, Romance and Sex”:  A Valentine’s Weekend Getaway (Phoenix, Arizona Feb. 1998). In addition to applying Ayn Rand's ideas to romance, my husband and I both loved raising our children--and although Ayn Rand didn't have children, her core ideas apply to bringing up children rationally. Although I had periodically thought of writing a book to show how valuable her ideas were in one's life, and even wrote notes and outlines over the years, I had focused the topic more broadly, not just on romance. I had given many courses on topics that I would have liked to have "translated" into a self-help book or workbook (e.g., communication skills, psychological self-defense, parenting skills, bring out the heroic in yourself) but I had never written a book before and let other goals, such as my radio show, my clinical practice, and ballroom dancing with my husband, take priority. My husband had also encouraged me to write a book--or books. 
            When Ed invited me to write a self-help book with him on romance, based on Ayn Rand's ideas (and our own), I was thrilled. It was an easy "yes." I had attended many of Ed's conference talks and courses over the years and found them personally very helpful (especially his talks on setting goals to achieve happiness). In addition, Ed has a wealth of writing experience, and his book: Study Methods & Motivation: A practical guide to effective study (http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=KL51B ) had helped me when I was in graduate school. I also enjoyed his book, The Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators. So it was a "Let's do it!" when he asked me to join him in this project. Exhilarating! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Review of “The Selfish Path to Romance: How to Love with Passion & Reason, Inspired by the Ideas of Ayn Rand” by Edwin A. Locke & Ellen Kenner

I found this book to be very challenging in the sense that it not only challenges the concepts of love and marriage many of us have been taught, but it also challenges one to be a better person as well in order to build a new idea of a healthy relationship.  I personally love self-help books with exercises, and this book did not disappoint. I like the practical application that the questions at the end of each chapter provided. So thought provoking, I felt the book would be applicable to a wide audience. Married people, happily or not, can obviously benefit. At the same time, I wished I would have had this book long before that special person came along. I believe it would prove invaluable for the single person to learn of themselves and of love before it comes along. Even as a romance writer, the book gave me new ways to contemplate the fictional relationships I create.

I was impressed by the amount of research apparent in this book. It made the knowledge shared sound. At the same time, it was easy to understand with a wealth of new information, not a recap of the old by a long shot!  But, don’t get me wrong, while the book is easy to understand, it is not a light read. The ideas presented are in depth and make you analyze yourself in new ways. The easy to identify with couple examples given throughout the book further each point too. There is really just so much in this book, I wouldn’t know where to begin to summarize it! And, I won’t try. What I will do is encourage you to buy it!

The concepts are wonderful like finding a passion for life and finding harmony between reason and emotion. What stands out to me, having read it and looking back? Let me give you one example from early in the book, as I hate to give too much away. The authors took the idea of putting someone else above yourself and showed how this can lead to giving up your own values and loosing your identity. Mine statement is an over-simplification of all they taught here, but it was freeing and made such sense once you gave the idea a chance. In fact, they talked about becoming imprisoned by a ‘perfect’ life feeling a hypocrite and resenting those who rob you of all your time and energy. The authors instead radically speak of selfish, egotistical love where both partners know who they are and support each others goals and desires. I think my own marriage is an example of how this is true. As a book writer married to a song writer, we are both each other’s biggest fans. And, I know I would not be where I am today without the undying support of my husband for my work, and I hope I do the same for him.

Beyond that, many words and phrases stick out to me: secure, firm sense of identity, value yourself, introspection, being egotistic in picking a partner who is good for us, ever-changing emotions are allowed, trade and earned, finding oneself is important to a successful relationship, explore your values, genuine happiness as a productive and meaningful life with a partner, etc… One of my favorite lines is “Selfless people cannot have self-esteem, because they have no self to esteem.”

The back of this book says “A thought-provoking and objective guide to finding and nurturing rational relationships.” And, that is exactly what this book is. It gives you the tools, no matter how unconventional they may sound at first, to build a solid relationship, one that endures. Isn’t that what we all want? Personally, I consider myself lucky to have experienced ‘love at first sight’ (which the book calls ‘a first impression that proves accurate’) and married a man who has become my best friend. After 15 wonderful years of marriage and counting, I know we will both benefit from having this book, building upon what we have and thriving still in years to come.

Book Description:
Too much of what most of us have learned about how to find and sustain love is misguided and ends in heartbreak. Lasting passionate romance is not the result of luck, chemistry, trial and error, or fleeting emotions. Rather, a successful romance can be yours when you are guided by rational principles, identify the causes of your emotions, and proactively and constantly work on nurturing your relationship. This is explored in depth in The Selfish Path to Romance.

Love is not about sacrifice. Real, lasting romance comes to partners who have self-esteem, are clear about asserting their needs and their worth, and develop virtue and moral character in themselves. As novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand wrote, “It is one’s own personal, selfish happiness that one seeks, earns, and derives from love.”

Authors Edwin Locke and Ellen Kenner, psychologists and expert presenters of
Rand's writings and ideas, were inspired to build on her understanding that love depends on reason, egoism, introspection, and moral character.

The Selfish Path to Romance
 offers a mindful, rational alternative for those who are serious about finding and sustaining a lifetime romance. Be prepared to have your preconceptions challenged and your mind opened to new and unconventional ideas. 

Click Here To Purchase at Amazon 

Check back tomorrow to read about the inspiration behind this book!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Bloody Valentine Contest

Happy Valentine's Day! 
To celebrate, I wanted to have a short, but sweet contest. 

What you win: Print copy of Bloodlust & Redemption, my historical, vampire, erotic romance novella, and a hand-knit-by-author red heart book thong. 

How you enter: Send an email to howell.kiki@gmail.com with "My Bloody Valentine" in the Subject line. That's all! Contest ends Valentine's Day at midnight. On Tues I will reply to the winning email for a snail mail address. 

Bloodlust & Redemption Blurb: Conflicted by his ideas of fate and morality, David Ardington IV, who had been a rake in life, sees his eternal life as a vampire as a penance for shirking his noblesse oblige to his family when he was alive. 

When he meets Margaret, a sturdy maiden who after losing her parents in a tragic accident stifled her own needs to care for her sick brother, their attraction is immediate and undeniable. And yet, David fights his feelings for Margaret seeing her as the worst reminder of what he is and what he can never be again. In the midst of the cruel realities of his vampire existence, David fears for her safety unsure if he can keep separate his physical longings from his bloodlust.

Furthermore, when Margaret asks him to turn her brother to give him a second chance at life, he does not feel he can condemn anyone to the horrors of his dark existence either. For David, could redemption lie in doing the unthinkable Margaret asks of him, or will it forever be elusive?

“A great little piece of writing I had the pleasure to peruse over the weekend was Kiki Howell's Bloodlust and Redemption.

This short read takes place during the Regency period in 
England, though thankfully it doesn't contain any Austen or Bronte heroines, as that gimmick is getting way overdone now.

What happens from there? Well, love, lust, and a little more than everyone bargained for, including David the vampire. Kiki did a good job of making him a likeable, noble rogue; a once titled, rich boy who squandered it on drink and women until one fateful night when he got into too much trouble.

This story is classified by the author as erotica, and though I'm not very much into that genre I did find the love scenes tastefully done and certainly not over-the-top. All in all it's a very good, entertaining read and I do recommend it.”  ~Nicole Hadaway, Literary Paranormal Author of Release

Genres: Historical (Regency), Paranormal (Vampires), Gothic, Erotic Romance
Content Warnings: Explicit Graphic Language, Violence & Bloodlust

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shanda Sharlow Reviews “Knife of Dreams” by Robert Jordan

Book Review: Knife of Dreams is the eleventh book in the long running Wheel of Time series. It's also the last book written entirely by the author himself. Now, as a stand alone book, it's almost impossible to follow, let alone get into—there's ten very long books leading up to this, plus one or two prequels. Wheel of Time is a very detailed and involved world,  in my opinion just as deep and complicated as Lord of the Rings.

So I won't address it as a stand-alone book, but as a part of the series. For people who've read through the whole series up to this point, books nine and ten were...pretty slow. Not much happened in them except to a limited number of characters. For the most part they've been gearing up and getting into position for things to happen...and Robert Jordan is very thorough, both in his minute descriptions to his minute planning.

This book doesn't bear the fruit of all of that planning, but it is the start of the harvest, so to speak. It's not nearly as slow as Crossroads of Twilight was. Everyone gets their turn to do something important, and Egwene and Elayne redeem themselves a bit for their earlier futzing around. Some of the plots that have been building are finally executed in this book, making way for new and interesting plots to move the story on toward the end.

Rand, Mat, and Perrin all contribute, and seem to be drawing together once again as they've been wandering apart the past few books, which is always fun. And there's a hint that a certain face we haven't seen in awhile will be showing up again. In general, I felt that the characters were much more competent in this book than they were in recent ones—they made decisions for themselves, rather than being duped by everyone they come across.

Doubtlessly, the next few books will be even more fast paced, but it's clear that this book is a sign of an upturn from the middle-of-the-series wandering to the last sprinting to the end.

Of course, it's been so long now, a part of me isn't really sure I want to see the end anymore.

Book Blurb: The Wheel of Time turns, and Robert Jordan gives us the eleventh volume of his extraordinary masterwork of fantasy. The dead are walking, men die impossible deaths, and it seems as though reality itself has become unstable: All are signs of the imminence of Tarmon Gai'don, the Last Battle, when Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, must confront the Dark One as humanity's only hope. But Rand dares not fight until he possesses all the surviving seals on the Dark One's prison and has dealt with the Seanchan, who threaten to overrun all nations this side of the Aryth Ocean and increasingly seem too entrenched to be fought off. But his attempt to make a truce with the Seanchan is shadowed by treachery that may cost him everything. Whatever the price, though, he must have that truce. And he faces other dangers. There are those among the Forsaken who will go to any length to see him dead--and the Black Ajah is at his side...

Unbeknownst to
Rand, Perrin has made his own truce with the Seanchan. It is a deal made with the Dark One, in his eyes, but he will do whatever is needed to rescue his wife, Faile, and destroy the Shaido who captured her. Among the Shaido, Faile works to free herself while hiding a secret that might give her her freedom or cause her destruction. And at a town called Malden, the Two Rivers longbow will be matched against Shaido spears.

Fleeing Ebou Dar through Seanchan-controlled Altara with the kidnapped Daughter of the Nine Moons, Mat attempts to court the woman to whom he is half-married, knowing that she will complete that ceremony eventually. But Tuon coolly leads him on a merry chase as he learns that even a gift can have deep significance among the Seanchan Blood and what he thinks he knows of women is not enough to save him. For reasons of her own, which she will not reveal until a time of her choosing, she has pledged not to escape, but Mat still sweats whenever there are Seanchan soldiers near. Then he learns that Tuon herself is in deadly danger from those very soldiers. To get her to safety, he must do what he hates worse than work...

In Caemlyn, Elayne fights to gain the Lion Throne while trying to avert what seems a certain civil war should she win the crown...

In the White Tower, Egwene struggles to undermine the sisters loyal to Elaida from within...

The winds of time have become a storm, and things that everyone believes are fixed in place forever are changing before their eyes. Even the
White Tower itself is no longer a place of safety. Now Rand, Perrin and Mat, Egwene and Elayne, Nynaeve and Lan, and even Loial, must ride those storm winds, or the Dark One will triumph.

Publisher: TOR Books

Reviewed By: Shanda Sharlow
Author of The Psyonic

Book Blurb: Hale lived his entire life in hiding, traveling through slums and nondescript villages, never staying anywhere long enough for the people there to recognize his face. Never staying long enough for anyone to ferret out his secret.

When he comes across a woman who recognizes him, he becomes the confidante of a Princess. Yet the halls of the palace hold far more danger than that of the streets, for within its shadows lurk dark mysteries and murderous intent. Desperate to remain hidden from those who hunt him, Hale must unravel the hidden machinations of the gathered royal families before it's too late, or it will be more than his life that he loses.

"The Psyonic" is a fantasy story with lots of wit, breathtaking romance, magic and deeper meanings.  … If you´re looking for a witty yet exciting story that captures your heart, search no more. You will certainly enjoy it, as I did.”

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.