Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bestseller for a Day-Ann Charles

I was asked by the lovely Ann Charles if I would repost my Nearly Departed in Deadwood review for her Bestseller for the Day feature and I am proud to repost my review of this rollicking romp through the town of Deadwood. Please give Ann some love and buy one of her books, there is a special deal going for her book today.

The Bestseller for a Day event is a creation of the Indie Book Collection, an organization dedicated to elevating the status of Indie writers everywhere by ensuring quality standards for their books. Bestseller for a Day serves a number of purposes.

First, we at the IBC realize that robust sales are a vital component of any Indie writer’s platform. In order to get the attention of the entrenched publishing establishment, Indies have to prove they can sell as many books, or more, than any big-name blockbuster author. While this may sound like a lofty goal, many of our Bestseller for a Day featured novels have reached multiple Top 100 lists in the Amazon store. The effects often linger long after the day of the actual event.

Secondly, it is no surprise that today’s publishing environment is changing at lightning speed. Just as authors have more choices available to them, readers do too, and the roles they play in a book’s success has never been stronger.  Our Bestseller for a Day event harnesses the growing power of the reader by creating direct relationships between author and audience. Authors interact directly with readers through their own media platforms, creating relationships and building an audience that will, in many cases, last long beyond the event.

Readers are empowered, as well. Through Bestseller for a Day, readers get the chance to tell Amazon, New York, and the world that a particular Indie book is just as good as the latest big-name release. Their efforts have immediate, quantifiable results. No longer do readers have to wait weeks to see how a favored title ranks on a couple of key printed lists.

Just as readers have an increasingly powerful role in the new way books are bought and read, the rise of the book blogger cannot be denied. We at the IBC love our book bloggers and see Bestseller for a Day as another great way to connect with them. By matching book bloggers with authors who write for their preferred genre and audience, we bring them the chance to offer free books to their established readers. This is also a powerful draw to new followers. Additionally, because we offer “drafting titles” titles for .99 cents, book blogs that may be outside the featured title’s genre still have plenty to gain by participating.

But the most important part of Bestseller for a Day is something that can’t be measured. There’s an air of excitement that builds as the “big day” approaches that’s contagious. The IBC uses a wide variety of media sources to publicize the event, including newsletters, paid advertisements, book bloggers, and the IBC’s adept command of social media. There’s a building buzz as the day approaches. During the actual Bestseller for a Day event, the IBC, the author, and readers alike are active on Twitter and Facebook as they report the featured title’s progress in real time.

The success of the Bestseller for a Day program is evident with our current offering, Ann Charles’ Nearly Dead in Deadwood. This award-winning romance jumped over 10,000 ranking in the Kindle store due to Bestseller for a Day efforts, and we’re still days away from the event itself! Similarly, last month’s featured title, In Leah’s Wake, enjoyed a similar bump in rankings. The author, Terri Guilano Long, even received a call from Amazon itself the day of the event, wishing her luck. Please join the fun on September 28th!


I was given this first from a coworker it was a mini book. The mini book got me hooked and I ended acquiring a copy from the Blog De Tour Force Cage Match.
An exciting romping ride into Deadwood. This book makes me think of ghost towns from years past. Violet is a spunky heroine who is a single mom raising twins. She becomes involved with Deadwood's skeletons in the closet.
I enjoyed this story from the start, Ann reeling me in like a big fish gasping for air. I would recommend this book for people who like everyday people thrust into mystery.
It has enough of a paranormal twist for those seeking thrills with moments of wit and humor.
I came across some passages in the book that made me giggle sometimes inappropriately. I love books that do that :)
Can't wait to read the second installment:)
Way to go ANN!!! keep em coming:)

“The first time I came to Deadwood, I got shot in the ass.”—Violet Parker

Awards for Nearly Departed in Deadwood:

WINNER of the 2010 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense
WINNER of the 2011 Romance Writers of America ® Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements!

Irony is having a big ol' fiesta and Violet Parker is the piƱata.  Little girls are vanishing from Deadwood, South Dakota, and Violet's daughter could be next.  Short on time and long on worry, she's desperate to find the monster behind the abductions.

But with her jerkoff co-worker trying to get her fired, a secret admirer sending creepy love poems, and a sexy-as-hell stranger hiding skeletons in his closet, Violet just might end up as one of Deadwood's dearly departed.

Praise for Nearly Departed in Deadwood:

"Violet Parker follows a path blazed by Stephanie Plum (the heroine in Janet Evanovich's best-selling series), but she is no copycat. Violet is sexy and smart. Charles' mystery Nearly Departed in Deadwood is out of this world." -Sarah M. Anderson, Reviewer for Romance Novel News

"Nearly Departed In Deadwood was a contemporary mystery romance with a touch of paranormal that kept me enthralled with goosebump-creepiness and belly aching laughter." ***** FIVE STARS! -Escape Between the Pages Book Reviews

"It's no wonder Ann won an award for this story. Her storytelling capabilities are tremendous."  ***** FIVE STARS! -ParaYourNormal Book Reviews

"Ann Charles weaves a fun romp of humor, romance, mystery, and the occult. The pages are brimming with eccentric small town characters." -Angela Spencer, Reviewer for Rise Reviews

"I loved the sexual tension that Charles portrayed and built along with a phenomenal plot." -Immortality and Beyond Book Reviews

"With colorful characters and witty dialogue, this is a book sure to please all fans of mystery, romance and the paranormal." -The Pen & Muse Book Review

"Mystery, humor, and romance--Nearly Departed in Deadwood is a fabulous book from a talented author! -Jacquie Rogers, award-winning author of Much Ado About Marshals

Full of thrills and chills, a fun rollercoaster ride of a book!" -Susan Andersen, New York Times Bestselling author of Burning Up

"An exciting, fast-moving story with fantastic characters and a riveting plot." -John Foxjohn, bestselling author of Tattered Justice

"Ann Charles has written an intriguing mystery laced with a wicked sense of humor.  Watch out Stephanie Plum, because Violet Parker is coming your way." -Deborah Schneider, RWA Librarian of the Year 2009 & author of Promise Me

Author Bio:
Ann Charles is an award-winning author who writes romantic mysteries that are splashed with humor. Her book Nearly Departed in Deadwood won the 2010 Daphne du Maurier for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense Award and the 2011 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements. She has also been a Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest finalist.

A member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America for many moons, she has a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington. She is currently toiling away on her next book, wishing she was on a Mexican beach with an ice-cold Corona in one hand and her Kindle in the other. 

When she is not dabbling in fiction, she is arm wrestling with her two kids, attempting to seduce her husband, and arguing with her sassy cat. Most nights, you can find her hanging out over at, on Facebook, or as DeadwoodViolet on Twitter--especially around midnight when her quirky fictional world comes to life.

Currently, she has two fiction books available: Nearly Departed in Deadwood and Optical Delusions in Deadwood, which are both part of her ongoing Deadwood Mystery Series. She also has one non-fiction book available: Nail it! The Secret to Building an Effective Fiction Writer’s Platform.

Much Ado About Marshals
By Jacquie Rogers

FIVE STARS from Detra Fitch, owner of Huntress Reviews! "A hilarious, yet romantic, comedy of errors... I grinned. I frowned. I worried. I sighed from tension relief. I snickered at Bosco's romantic troubles with two widows. I often found myself laughing until I thought my side would split... this story grabbed me by the throat, kept me reading long past my bed time, and earned a place of honor upon my Keeper Shelf. Unforgettable! I cannot recommend this title highly enough."
Publisher's Description:
Daisy wants to be a detective just like dime novel heroine Honey Beaulieu. But her parents insist she marry. What better solution than to marry the new marshal! Cole, mistaken for the new marshal, faces a dilemma few men have to face--tell the truth and get hanged, or live a lie and end up married. Either way could cost him his freedom.

Pink Slipper
By Gina Robinson

From Gina Robinson, author of Spy Candy, Spy Games, and the upcoming The Spy Who Left Me, comes a new novel for anyone who's been down on their luck, out of work, or just looking for a fresh path to greatness.

Leesa Winsome has always felt unnoticed and overlooked. A bit rebellious, she's an independent, hardworking engineer. At least she was until her ex-best friend pink-slipped her. And her house caught fire. Now she's out of work, out of her house, and quickly running out of options. Afraid she's losing hope, Leesa's dad sends her to a motivational "Breakthrough to Greatness" seminar at the Northwest Institute, run by the handsome, eligible Ryne Garrett. At the seminar, Leesa joins the Job Camp Group--a loose collection of unemployed people who socialize and offer one another support through the rough and emotionally challenging process of looking for work. Through her new friends, Leesa learns true greatness comes from helping others, finding time to laugh, and discovering who you really are.
Pink Slipper is a lighthearted, humorous look at one woman's search for everyday greatness, true friendship, love, and the perfect job
By Amber Scott

“If you like a book that keeps you thinking between the bedroom antics, I believe you will love Wanted.” -Joyfully Reviewed
“Ms. Scott described the past and the present so well, I had to wonder if she had done a bit of time travel herself.” -Paranormal Romance Reviews

Time in a bottle...

What else could her father leave her? The treasure map, the bottle of whiskey, and the wanted poster shouldn't have surprised Samantha Hendricks.

His lifelong obsession with gentleman outlaw Jesse Kincaid was likely all he'd had left. One taste of the whiskey, however, tumbles her through time, into arms so wonderfully real and strong she can only surmise she's gone crazy.

Torn between craving a delusion and believing in the impossible, hurtling between the past and present, Samantha returns to Jesse over and over again. No woman can want this man more, and if she's clever enough, she might be able to use her inheritance for what she finally realizes her father intended--true love.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anne Petty Interview and Shaman's Blood/Thin Line Between Giveaway


Today, it is with great pleasure that I welcome author Anne Petty with an insightful interview. She has graciously allowed one lucky commenter to enter to win Shaman’s Blood and Thin Line Between for commenting on this interview. All you have to do is enter the giveaway is follow Anne Petty on her BLOG and leave your email address. You can also find her on Goodreads Anne Petty on Goodreads.

About this author

(From Anne's Goodreads author page)

Writer, editor, publisher, anime/manga addict. Tastes run toward the dark side.

Anne Petty (Ph.D. in English, Florida State University) has over 30 years’ experience in the wordsmithing field as teacher, author, editor, and publisher.
Anne explores myth, legend, and the world of J.R.R. Tolkien in her online blog and her published non-fiction writing—Tolkien in the Land of Heroes (2005, a Mythopoeic Society Award Finalist), Dragons of Fantasy (2nd ed. 2008), and One Ring to Bind Them All (2nd ed. 2001). Chapters in anthologies include contributions to Modern Critical Views (2000); Tolkien Studies (2004); More People’s Guide to J. R. R. Tolkien (2005); Tolkien and Shakespeare (2007); Good Dragons Are Rare (2009); and Light Beyond All Shadow (2011).
Anne also writes dark urban fantasy/horror fiction. The first novel in her Wandjina series was Thin Line Between (2005), and the follow-up novel, Shaman's Blood, is due out later in 2011. Recent short stories include “The Veritas Experience” published in The Best Horror, Fantasy, & Science Fiction of 2009 (Absent Willow Review). Another story, “Blade,” received Honorable Mention in AWR’s 2010 Best Horror, Fantasy, & Sci Fi competition.
Anne is an active member of the Horror Writers Association, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, the Mythopoeic Society, and the Tolkien Society. She is a founding member of the Tallahassee Writers Association and is a regular presenter at writers’ conferences and pop-culture conventions such as Dragon-Con in Atlanta. In 2006, she founded Kitsune Books, a small press specializing in literary novels, short story collections, book-length poetry collections, and literary criticism. Kitsune Books authors have won Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards from the Florida Book Awards and the Florida Publishers Association.

How long did it take you to write Shaman’s Blood and Thin Line Between??

That’s a little hard to answer, because with both books I didn’t work on them consistently every day. I worked on them off and on for a number of years. I got the idea for Thin Line Between decades ago when the first job I took out of college was as a lab assistant in a natural history museum that everyone who worked there claimed was haunted. It gave me the setting and the idea of an art exhibit where paranormal phenomena occurred.

 It took me much longer to complete Thin Line Between than Shaman’s Blood because of the initial research required for the first book. I spent a lot of time reading collections of Dreamtime legends, novels by Australian authors who used the Dreamtime in their plots, and a LOT of nonfiction, documentary material on Australia and its indigenous populations. I also spent a lot of time looking a photographs and videos of the areas I wanted to use for the Australian parts of the novel, and read a lot of archival magazines and newspapers from the 60’s and 70’s, to get the slang right for the time period. By the time Thin Line Between was published, I had a huge amount of research material to draw from. The time spent writing the sequel, Shaman’s Blood, was maybe four or five years, but there were long periods when I set it aside and worked on other things.

Are your characters other aspects of you?? Or do you just see them as an outside observer??

I find it very easy to inhabit the heads of my main characters, so I think all of them have some parts of myself in them. The mother/daughter dynamic and the way they relate to each other was closely drawn from my own experiences. But Nik and Ned also have certain character traits that probably come from me...Nik’s attention to detail and Ned’s artistic abilities.  I felt especially close to Ned in Shaman’s Blood, and felt like I understood him really well. I loved writing his parts of the book because that required me revisit the 60’s, one of my favorite decades. Other characters were inspired by people I have known or met over the years, and a few were just fashioned out of thin air.

 Do you listen to music when you write? And if you do, what would be on your playlist?

It varies with my mood. I usually don’t have anything playing while I’m writing because I can’t hear the characters’ voices clearly if songs with lyrics are playing in the background. But if I’m tired or feeling uninspired, music can make a difference. I like a wide variety of music. I listen to a lot of anime soundtracks and love the work of Yoko Kanno (soundtracks to Ghost in the Shell, Wolf’s Rain, Escaflowne, and Cowboy Bebop).  I also like J-rock, especially bands like MUCC and BUCK-TICK.  I like old-school industrial and hard-core bands like Rammstein, NIN, Ministry, and Skinny Puppy.  I also listen to a lot of Celtic bands like Altan, Capercaille, and artists like Cara Dillon and Dougie Maclean. I love classical music, especially keyboard music of Bach, Chopin, and Liszt (holdover from my piano student days). So depending on my mood, any of these might end up in the headset. If I’m writing to music, I typically select something from my iTunes library on the computer and listen through headphones.

   What do you do before you sit down to write? How do you get into the zone??

I have to admit that I’m not very disciplined about writing when it comes to my long fiction projects. I’m amazed by people who have set times every day where they write for a specific amount of time or have goals to finish a specific amount of words at one sitting. I rarely work like that.  I can find limitless ways to procrastinate and let myself be sidetracked before my writing brain finally engages and gets down to business. When I’m working on a short story or piece of flash fiction, it’s easier to sit down and get right into it. But for novels, I spend a lot of time just sitting and thinking about the story before I actually start typing. The complex intertwined storylines of Shaman’s Blood required a lot of work to keep them moving on their own and in tandem, so I spent hours thinking about the ebb and flow of the narrative and moving chapters around or adding & deleting material to keep the momentum going.

 My writing routine (if you can call it that) usually goes like this. I brew a pot of loose leaf tea (probably something from Silk Road Teas, like Clouds & Mist), find a munchy of some kind, check email while the tea’s brewing, maybe read back through the previous chapter or two and edit a bit just to get the characters’ voices talking in my head again, then try to stick with it for an hour or two. If I get stuck or just feel mentally fatigued, I get up and go take a walk in the woods (my husband and I live on a 10-acre wooded tract in rural Wakulla County, Florida. That usually clears my mind and lets my characters start talking on their own without any deliberate pushing from me. I carry a small notebook with me in case I want to jot down something that I don’t want to forget before I get back to the computer. If the cat insists on writing with me, I have to get her settled, heat up my tea, and then get back into the flow of the story.

Give your top 3 books and why you like them?

At the top of my list is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, which was originally one long book that his publisher decided would be easier to market as three separate volumes. I’d read The Hobbit years ago, but got seriously interested in Tolkien’s masterwork LOTR when I started college. I was fascinated by the depth of his worldbuilding and especially his invented languages. I wrote my dissertation on how Tolkien uses the archetypal pattern of the hero’s quest on many levels. What strikes me most about LOTR is the emotional and intellectual impact Tolkien’s creation continues to have on readers over 50 years since it was first published. 

 My second choice is John Barth’s The Sotweed Factor. It’s a great bawdy, epic satire, set in 17th century England, where a failed minor British poet named Ebenezer Cooke gets shipped off to the American colonies to become, against his will, the Poet Laureate of Maryland. The writing is sheer genius -- laugh-out-loud hilarious with a conclusion that’s gut-wrenchingly sad. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever read that would qualify as what critics call “The Great American Novel.” 

My third choice is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Some of the first fiction I read as a child were the horror works of Stoker, Lovecraft, and Poe. That early gothic style, which is more about psychological terror than much of today’s modern gorefests, simply can’t be surpassed in terms of atmosphere and suspense. Dracula is the motherlode where it all started. I’ve tried to incorporate some of that narrative sensibility into all my dark-fantasy/horror fiction.

How do you connect with your characters? In dreams? Inner monologues??

Oddly enough, I almost never dream about books I’m writing. What I do is spend a lot of time day-dreaming about the story and listening to the characters talk. Frequently I’m running possible scenes from the book in the back of my mind while doing mundane things like the laundry or grocery shopping. As I said earlier, walking along our property through huge beeches and oaks is very productive. Whole sections of a book might begin to write itself this way.

What inspires your creations??

My main influences come from the years I spent studying world myth, legend, and folklore in college, especially Norse mythology and more recently the Australian Dreamtime legends. As a student, I was highly influenced by the writings of Joseph Campbell and his ideas of the mythic imagination.

 The very first horror books I read as a child were Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe. Those three books kicked my nine-year-old brain off the rails and into the dark woods of the imagination. Also on the family bookshelves were works by H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, and Frank Baum, which I read and reread with utter fascination. More recent fantasy works that have inspired me are Ursula Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea books and Tad Williams’ War of the Flowers. I also read a lot of Richard Matheson, Steven King, Dean Koontz, Joe Lansdale, Peter Straub, and Clive Barker.  I do love a good fangfest, although to work for me, vampires MUST have sharp canines.  I’m always on the lookout for fresh crossover horror/dark-fantasy fiction, especially if it’s tinged with that special psychological darkness that takes your breath away. 

If you could be any character in a book, who would you be and why?

I would probably choose to be Zed, the wizard in Le Guin’s Earthsea books, because he could speak the language of dragons, the most ancient race of beings in her invented world.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? What path did you follow to lead you to your destination?

I know this may sound trite, but I’ve always wanted to write. Even at age seven and eight, I was writing little one-paragraph stories and drawing cartoon strips with big word balloons for the characters’ dialog. I was a very early reader and developed a love of books that has never gone away. I was the kid who often turned in two or three book reports in high school English class when many students struggled to complete just one. There was never any question in my mind as to what my college major would be - English Literature/Creative Writing. I took an accelerated track through the English degree program that allowed me to graduate with my Ph.D. in six years.

 I taught English at the high school and university levels, but then got recruited into private enterprise as Publications Director for a company producing multimedia educational materials. I’ve also done a lot of freelance editing and book-doctoring, and have stayed in the publishing/editing/writing field ever since. I’d published three books of literary criticism before completing my first dark-fantasy novel. Now I’m mostly focused on my fiction writing, and only occasionally do an academic non-fiction article or something like that. 

If you could travel in time, where would you like to go and why?

I would definitely go back to the Jurassic or Triassic. I really want to know what T-Rex did with those tiny little useless-looking arms! And I’d love to know what colors and markings the dinosaurs really had, and what hadrasaurs sounded like.

How do you see your books? In an outline, in chapters, in fragments?

I’ve written about this in my blog, but I’ll summarize it here. When I write long fiction, I almost always know the beginning and the ending of the novel - in fact, I usually can see those two critical scenes in some detail. Then I like to clearly chart my path from that starting point to the finish line. This road map might look more like numbered short chapter sketches than a hierarchical outline, but my brain works in spatial mode so that I'm always trying to picture the shape of the book, where the energy peaks and falls. I like to know clearly where I'm going, and how I'm going to get there. I allow myself to change things up if I find I've painted myself into a corner somewhere, but usually I'll stick to that road map pretty closely.

 I know this doesn't work for everyone, and I really am in awe of writers who can just sit down with an idea and no final destination in mind, letting the story follow its own course. I'm the kind of person who packs for a trip days in advance, using a detailed list made the week before! I want all those details in place before I get on board and buckle up, so to speak. Charting the plot of a novel is a bit like that for me, although a little less controlling. But not much. It really helps me to visualize the storyline if I can see how many chapters fall into the beginning of the journey, the complications along the way, and the climax of the literary trip. I like to color-code these chapter sketches according to the energy level - blue for background narrative, purple for setting mood and atmosphere, green for rising action, and red for peak events. That way I can see the entire shape of the book at a glance, which helps me adjust things as I go along. 

If I cut sections out, I keep the chapter sketch in place but redlined through, so I can see how that changes the dynamics of the book's ebb and flow. And if I want to use that deleted material somewhere later, I know where it came from in the storyline and what the motivations were. Working from an outline like this also helps me plant things along the way and keep track of important plot points that I might otherwise forget or not pay off at the end. It helps me keep continuity (along with many copious lists of people, places, things, etc.) as the book progresses.

 I'm an organized kind of writer who writes best with the road map in front of me. And if this sounds a little anal-retentive, you should see what happens when I write non-fiction pieces requiring a lot of research.  >.<  

If you had a million dollars, what would you spend it on and why?

I’d use it to establish a first-class writer’s retreat in a setting out of the city, maybe in the mountains or along a picturesque shore, where aspiring writers could come stay for short or more extended sessions. They’d have the solitude to completely immerse themselves in their work in progress, as well as have access to seminars and consultations with name writers who wanted to share their expertise and knowledge. Book consultations would be available, as well as group sessions where writers could read and respond to each others’ work.

What future book projects are you working on??

I’m just getting started on a new novel called The Cornerstone (not part of my Dreamtime series). The basic premise is how to catch a banshee. I have the plot pretty well nailed down, and now I’m starting to flesh out my chapter sketches.  I’ve also got a couple of short stories and a flash fiction piece underway.

Feel free to share any other thoughts that you would like to share with your readers.

This past weekend I was on the faculty at the 2011 Rosemary Beach, Florida Writer’s Conference, chaired by novelist John Dufresne. We had a wonderful gathering of participants, with an impressive array of talent. The main messages that they came away with are worth sharing here:

 1. Be professional - If you want to get published, you must think of yourself as a writer and not a hobbyist. Read submission guidelines carefully, and always check the publisher’s website to see if there are updates in their submission policies. Be professional in all your dealings with agents, editors, and publishers. If an editor rejects your work but gives you some advice, consider that golden -- most rejections are just a form letter. Don’t argue or flame a publisher for rejecting you - editors and publishers talk to each other and share information about writers who seem promising or those who seem like they may be hard to work with. Burning bridges is not a way to further your writing career! 

2. Read widely in many different genres and styles, not just the ones you like the most. You can learn a tremendous amount about plot pacing, tuning your ear to dialogue and description, and bringing characters to life by reading the work of others. Don’t ignore the classics - they’re called that for obvious reasons. Take a look at Aristotle’s Poetics. Everything you need to know about plot and structure is all there.

 3. Develop a thick skin and don’t give up. The more you send your work out, polish it, edit it, polish it some more, and keep sending it out, the more likely you are to find just the right publisher for your work. 

4. Join a critique writer’s group, or a book discussion group. Take some writing classes or seminars. Go to writers’ conferences. Always try to keep learning your craft and finding new ways to develop your skills.

 5. And above all, keep writing.


The Last Rising Review

The Last Rising Review

Blurb from Goodreads

The Last Rising at Goodreads

After paying two millennia’s penance to Osiris, world-weary Phoenix Ice has had enough. Saving souls without any hope for her own redemption isn’t how she imagined spending eternity. Fed up, she decides her next death will be her last. But when she sacrifices her own life for a sexy Texan in a catastrophic plane crash, she has no idea the consequences will be so great…or that she’ll end up back in his life for her next assignment.
Now that Turner Alcott has survived the worst, finding a wife and mother for his son matters more than ever before. When the mysterious Ice comes into his life, Turner knows she’s the one—but love is the last thing Ice wants. If he wants to win her heart, Turner must teach Ice how to forgive herself, and prove that love is the ultimate sacrifice


Normally, I don’t review romance but Rachel’s book premise intrigued me and I found myself entering Ice and Turner’s world and experiencing their all-consuming love and passion and couldn’t put the book down once I started it.

The mythical backdrop further interested me and I like the rendering of Osiris and Isis. spiritually speaking, it was a balm to soothe my reader’s soul. Love conquers all even death in the end and that was shown in this story.

The steamy scenes were more sensual than sexual and I could fill their passion as the story unfolded.

I would recommend this book for romance lovers who like a twist of mythical storylines. And the steamy sensuality will surely fill your heart with passion and fire.

I would like to see more about the other phoenixes and a more thorough back story about Ice/Isis as Egyptian mythology is an interest of mine.

5 fairies given for this sizzling romance and passion-filled story.

About the Author

Rachel Firasek grew up in the South, and despite the gentle pace, she harassed life at full steam. Her curiosity about mythology, human nature,and the chemical imbalance we call love led her to writing. Her stories began with macabre war poems and shifted to enchanted fairy tales, before she settled on a blending of the two.

Today, you’ll find her tucked on a small parcel of land, surrounded by bleating sheep and barking dogs, with her husband and children. She entertains them all with her wacky sense of humor or animated reenactments of bad Eighties dance moves.

She’s intrigued by anything unexplained and seeks the answers to this crazy thing we call life. You can find her where the heart twists the soul and lights the shadows…

 You can find Rachel on her social media links below.

Rachel Firasek on the Web

Rachel Firasek on Facebook

Rachel Firasek on Twitter

Sunday, September 25, 2011




Are magic and romance really so separate? In this rich fantasy novel, Tad Williams--New York Times bestselling author of To Green Angel Tower--explores the tangled roots of sorcery and passion, and gives us an astonishing answer. Caliban is the Beast who finds in Prospero's daughter, Miranda, the Beauty to whom he tells his incredible story--an extraordinary tale of dark desires and shining wizardry

My thoughts on this book:

  As a Tad William’s fan of many years, I was excited to have the opportunity to read Caliban’s Hour. The book was gifted to me by Tad’s wonderful wife Deborah Beale who I have corresponded with on Facebook. She took the time to critique my poetry which I appreciated very much. They have decided to jump on the e-book train with the reissue of Caliban’s Hour to digital format.
  Another take on “The Tempest” by Shakespeare, the story is told from Caliban’s perspective. Tad Williams delivers a masterful story retelling that pulls you into the mind of Caliban. I was pulled into the story immediately with the intricate descriptions of people and places. You feel as if you are immersed in Caliban’s world and see reality from his perspective.
  The story begins with Caliban’s journey from his island to the darkly rich landscape of Naples, Miranda’s & Prospero’s world.  Here he again meets up with Miranda, an unwitting victim of Caliban’s revenge. He proceeds to tell her his story and why he comes to be there. You soon learn that love turns to hate, and that they both merge to complete the cycle of vengeance.
  I couldn’t help but find myself on Caliban’s side and felt that he was an unwitting victim to circumstance. I applauded his reasons for doing what he does in the end.

  If you are a fan of Tad, this is a must read. His world building skills and descriptions do exactly as a good story should. He pulls you into the character’s heart and soul and leaves you wanting more.

  I gave this masterpiece a 5 fairy rating as it did exactly as it should and allowed me to escape into Caliban’s world.

Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to—singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer firm. He is cofounder of an interactive television company, and is currently writing comic books and film and television scripts as well as novels.

Tad and his wife, Deborah Beale, live in the San Francisco Bay Area with their children and far more cats, dogs, turtles, pet ants and banana slugs than they can count

Source: Goodreads

You can also find him on the following social media sites.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Tad Williams Interview

Hello all my followers, new and old, today I’m pleased to welcome best-selling fantasy author Tad Williams, author of numerous epic fantasies and also the young adult book entitled Dragons of Ordinary Farm.  His book Caliban’s Hour has been released in digital format and gives a different take on Caliban from Shakespeare’s,  “The Tempest”. It is told from Caliban’s perspective and forms into a tormented story about love, hate and revenge. Stay tuned tomorrow for my review of Caliban.
Let's begin with the question that always enters my mind when I read your books.

What/who inspired you to become a writer?
I don't think any one thing inspired me. I was always a reader, and always a storyteller. I liked to make things and to perform for people. Writing initially lured me because it was something I could do on my own, in my own time, without having to worry about synching ideas and schedules with collaborators. Only later on did I realize it was probably the perfect occupation for me.

Do you have a favorite genre of book that you like to read/write? If so, why??
I like the fantastical because that's what I grew up loving. I love the freedom. I like the way I can write about ideas and play with reality. And I like genre fiction because it forces me to constrain those ideas into a story that holds peoples' interest even if the idea itself doesn't immediately move them.

What helping aids do you use to focus when you write? Music?? Nature???
I use music sometimes to help me think, but mainly because I can block out external noise. I listen to things without words (especially ambient music) because I don't want the music to inspire me, I want it to isolate me. For me, writing is less about pounding keys and more about the thinking that happens first.

What character(s) of your book(s) do you relate to the most??
I always can relate to your female characters. My favorite is Briony of the Shadowmarch series and Renie of Otherland. Both have spunk and I like that.
Renie and Josua are both like me in many ways -- a (perhaps exaggerated) sense of responsibility, a desire to do the right thing, occasionally being hamstrung by the fear of doing something wrong or unfair. Briony has a lot of me in her, too, but I'm so much older and more experienced now she's kind of like Simon was when I wrote him -- a very distant, earlier slice of myself. But all of my characters, even the scariest and cruellest, have at least a little of me in them, although often tremendously exaggerated. That's how I find the emotional truth.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with aspiring writers like myself?
Don't just read the kind of books you want to read -- in fact, weight your reading to non-fiction, especially history and science. Learn lots of things. If you're going to create worlds, it helps to know how the one we've been able to study works. Also, try to finish things. Most new writers tend to grind the same stuff over and over, trying to make it perfect. You're missing all the other important lessons of pacing and finishing a story. And last, make writing a regular thing. Doesn't matter how often as long as you know you're going to be writing regularly and can think about what you're going to do when you sit down.
How do you visualize your stories?? In pictures?? Conversations? Dreams?
My work is a cloud of possibility -- kind of quantum, really. I keep all the possibilities in my head as best I can, and as I choose which ones I want to use they start to solidify. Only then do I start thinking about how the characters and situations would really look, feel, smell, sound. By the time I'm writing them down, making them real is the goal, but before that it all has to do with choosing among ramifying possibilities to make the best story.

What are your writing goals for the next 5 years??
I'd love to get into a regular rhythm where I'm doing at least one book every year, with some time left over for other projects. Because I've been writing such long stories I've often felt I was stealing time from my novels to do other kinds of writing. I'd like that division to be...formalized, for lack of a better word.

How long did it take you to write Shadowmarch and Otherland series?? What/who inspired these books??
I think OTHERLAND took about five years. I started it in England and finished it in America, so it's a bit hard to tell exactly. It was inspired in part by the Fairyland Boat Ride in Disneyland, and my fascination with small, compartmentalized things when I was younger. (Also by my days at Apple Computer getting interested in multimedia and the future of the internet.) Shadowmarch was the same way as far as having a somewhat fractured work timeline. I actually started it long ago as an idea, and then began the online version in 2001, but there were lots of interruptions along the way before the last volume appeared in print. It was originally meant to be a one-location idea that would work as the first real epic fantasy television series.

If you could have dinner with someone dead or alive, famous or not famous, who would it be and why??
It depends. For pure pleasure I would choose someone who was a great wit, like Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker, but I'm also a history buff so it would be tempting to meet Akhnaton or Moses and solve some of the great historical mysteries. Socrates might be fun. (I'm assuming we'll all be able to communicate, because I don't speak Greek or ancient Egyptian.)

Let's do something fun...write something about each of the next 10 words in 10 words or less.

I love to think, but only secondarily about myself.

Life. Ideas contained, ready to expand.

I'm expert on the domestic kind. The other I avoid.
What it all comes down to.

Easier to say than to find.

Truths we invent.

My livelihood, my solace, and my weapon.

Imagination's took kit.

Worth everything we pay for it.

Yes, please.

What made you decide to jump on the E-book trade?? And how do you feel about it??
The rules are changing and we're right in the middle of the biggest shift in the movement of ideas since the invention of the printing press -- maybe bigger than that. It only makes sense to experiment with different ways of doing things. I don't want to be the last buffalo hunter in the middle of farm country.

If you found yourself on a deserted island, what 10 things would you take and why?
Too general, I'm afraid. Can I take a boat? Laptop? If it's just books and music, it would probably be Pynchon, Shakespeare collected, The Bible (never read it all the way through) and some other favorites. Music would be heavy on classical, esp. Mozart, and depending on how many other choices I'd be taking lots of pop music too. But if you want me to narrow it down you have to be much more specific as to what I can take and not take.

How do you write your books?? Are you by the seat of your pants writer or do you plot out your books in advance??
Books like mine take both. I have to plan enough that I can foreshadow stuff from the ending in the early volumes, but a lot of the richness comes as I'm writing, so I can't plan everything. It's a tightrope walk and you don't want to lean too far to either side. I try to plan some (but not all) of the big moments, including a general idea of how things might end, then leave it to discovery to fill in the in-between stuff.

And last by not least, if you could time travel what period of the history of future would you go to??
Near-future where the learning curve isn't too steep and people are still eating things other than krill paste and sawgrass extract, please.

Feel  free to any other interesting tidbits about yourself:)
My current books are about an earthbound angel named Doloriel (earth name Bobby Dollar) who is a minor functionary in the ongoing war between Heaven and Hell, but who has a way of getting himself into the middle of things far too big for him to comfortably handle. The first volume will be called THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN, the second will be HAPPY HOUR IN HELL, and the third should be SLEEPING LATE ON JUDGEMENT DAY.