Unfortunately I did not receive any books this month – crossing fingers for next month :)
I sent out one RAK to my blogging buddy, Steph at The YA Reader. She has already received it.
I love zombies!
The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.
Top 10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack
1. Organize before they rise!
2. They feel no fear, why should you?
3. Use your head: cut off theirs.
4. Blades don’t need reloading.
5. Ideal protection = tight clothes, short hair.
6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it.
7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike.
8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert!
9. No place is safe, only safer.
10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on.
Don’t be carefree and foolish with your most precious asset—life. This book is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now without your even knowing it. The Zombie Survival Guide offers complete protection through trusted, proven tips for safeguarding yourself and your loved ones against the living dead. It is a book that can save your life.
Today we meet Andrew Biss, author of The End of the World.
Here is the Goodreads blurb:
Accustomed to a life of cosseted seclusion at home with his parents, Valentine is suddenly faced with making his own way in the world. His new life is quickly upended, however, when he's mugged at gunpoint. Finding shelter at a mysterious inn run by the dour Mrs. Anna, he soon encounters a Bosnian woman with a hole where her stomach used to be, an American entrepreneur with a scheme to implant televisions into people's foreheads, and a Catholic priest who attempts to lure him down inside a kitchen sink. Then things start getting strange... An odd, yet oddly touching tale of life, death, and the space in-between.
Doesn’t that sound just too good to miss. I can’t wait to start reading my copy – look out for my review! But let’s get to know Andrew a bit better in the meantime.
Andrew, when did you start writing?
I came to writing a little later in life than some, and through playwriting. I'd always been a bit of a bookworm, but actually writing a book was something I never considered. I studied art and design at college and then went on to pursue an acting career - which I was never quite able to catch up with. Mostly on the stage but also a little film work (I’m in Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Dracula’ for about two seconds!). When I lost the acting bug, I decided to try my hand at writing a play. I was immediately hooked, my plays started getting produced and winning awards, and I’ve been doing it ever since – more than a decade now. My recent segue into the realm of fiction writing is a new “chapter” in my writing journey, and one that I’m finding incredibly rewarding. It’s very different from playwriting, and in a way I’ve felt like I’ve been learning a new language.
Does your family support you in your writing?
I'm very fortunate to have a family that has always been supportive of me in whatever artistic direction I've followed. I know that some people aren't so lucky and I wish it wasn't so.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
That's pretty hard to quantify as I have a full-time job, since I'm not able to support myself from my writing alone...yet. Along with all the other commitments and "life stuff" that we all have, it can make finding the time for writing quite a challenge. You just have to eek out every spare moment you have and make the most of it. I often wish life came with a "pause" button.
What inspired you to write this book?
Actually it was a number of things. I'd been reading up on Buddhism, just because I thought I ought to as I didn't really know much about it. It was then that I learned about the state of Bardo, from the Tibetan Book of the Dead - this strange and sometimes frightening plane between death and rebirth. Reading about that took my imagination hostage for quite a while. Simultaneously, I'd been toying with an idea for a story about a young man who was home schooled and completely shielded from the world by his parents, who was then suddenly thrown into the real world with no real knowledge of life other than what he'd learned in books, from his parents, or from the television. From that came The End of the World.
Who designed the cover?
I did. As I mentioned earlier, my background is in art and design, so that aspect of independent publishing - rather than a chore as it is for some - is something I enjoy.
Wow, you did a great job – really love the cover!
What is your next project?
It's a book entitled "Schism" which I hope to have out in the next month or two. It's a darkly humorous, sometimes frightening, and ultimately tragic tale, and I would describe as a psychological thriller of a different breed. The main protagonist, Horatio Higgins, is, in my humble opinion, one of the most interesting and complex characters I've ever written. Advance warning, though: It's not for the squeamish.
What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Aside from the aforementioned issue of actually finding the time to write (in my case), I would have to say finding your audience. It's a great big world out there, with lots and lots of people who have very different tastes. Getting your books noticed from among the plethora of other books out there is a task in itself, but from there you have to find those that enjoy the kind of books that you write. Hard as it is sometimes, though, I wouldn't change it for the world. I love writing and I'm never happier than when someone has connected with something I've written.
Who are some of the authors that inspire you?
Perhaps an odd list, but here you go: Among others, W. Somerset Maugham, Joe Orton, Evelyn Waugh, Edward Albee, Graham Greene, Oscar Wilde, Jean Paul Sartre, Quentin Crisp, Stevie Smith, Kurt Vonnegut, and Jackie Collins. (Okay, maybe not the last one.)
You almost threw me with Jackie Collins – lol!!
What is in your own TBR pile?
Currently, The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith, Vacation by Jeremy Shipp, and The Old Store by Peter Salisbury.
The works of award-winning author and playwright Andrew Biss have been produced in New York, London, Los Angeles, and many other cities across North America and Europe. His plays have won awards on both coasts of the U.S., critical acclaim in the U.K., and are an Off-Off-Broadway mainstay.
His work is published by Smith & Kraus, Inc., Meriwether Publishing Ltd., and JAC Publishing & Promotions.
He is a graduate of the University of the Arts London, and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.
** Giveaway **
I am so happy today as Andrew is giving one lucky commenter the opportunity to win a eCopy of The End of the World. Yay. Leave a comment for Andrew and I will draw the lucky number on
07 November 2011.
Thank you so much, Andrew. It has been great fun talking to you and we wish you lots of success on the road ahead!
This week I have been splurging . . . online and IRL. Books, clothes, cards, beads . . . I have been spending waaaaaay too much. So while in my buying frenzy, I bought Click: An online Love Story for my Kindle. My finger accidently pushed the “buy now” button!
What did you receive in your mailbox?
Michael Vyner recalls a terrible story, one that happened to him. One that would be unbelievable if it weren't true! Michael's parents are dead and he imagines that he will stay with the kindly lawyer, executor of his parents' will ...Until he is invited to spend Christmas with his guardian in a large and desolate country house. His arrival on the first night suggests something is not quite right when he sees a woman out in the frozen mists, standing alone in the marshes. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself as he is kept from his guardian and finds himself spending the Christmas holiday wandering the silent corridors of the house seeking distraction. But lonely doesn't mean alone, as Michael soon realises that the house and its grounds harbour many secrets, dead and alive, and Michael is set the task of unravelling some of the darkest secrets of all. A nail-biting story of hauntings and terror by the master of the genre, Chris Priestley.
Title: The Tourist
Starring: Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie
Release date: 2010
This movie has not been very popular with the general public when it comes to reviews – official or from friends – so I wasn’t dying to see it in spite of the very popular stars. On a boring Saturday afternoon we sat down and after the first few scenes I was hooked. I just loved the chemistry between Depp and Jolie and they way the story just flowed from one beautiful scene to the next.
Math teacher, Frank, meets the beautiful and mysterious Elise, on a train to Venice. What he thinks is a chance encounter is actually a well planned rouse to get the police of the trail off Elise’s lover, Alexander Pearce who is wanted for embezzlement and tax evasion.
We follow Frank and Elise’s journey as they seem unable to stay away from each other. The police cannot put one foot right and muddle from one failed trap to the next with Alexander Pearce always one step ahead.
Then isn’t much action in this movie but I found The Tourist entertaining. I did suspect the twist in the tail and what a happy twist it was! I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I would recommend this movie for a lazy afternoon.
Tapping the Inner Alchemist: An Author’s Perspective on Historical Fiction
What is historical fiction? Historical fiction, or HF, is the creative marriage of its two individual components, history and fiction. HF authors take an event, some characters, a setting, a theme, or all of them collectively, cut them from their original context, and create a fictional retelling of a particular known point in history. We all know from reading historical fiction that readers process HF in a different way than they do ordinary fiction. Some elements of an historical fiction novel may align with a given account of history, while other details clearly diverge down the path cleared by the author’s creative license. This is what I call the threshold of accuracy. Whether you enjoy reading Harry Turtledove, Philippa Gregory, or JR Tomlin, each author has worked to establish his/her own threshold over time. How true a story is to its history depends on many factors. More conservative historical fiction walks a straighter line in relation to historical accounts, while liberal novelists may only borrow characters or settings or ignore conventionally accepted themes in order to tell their version of a story. Regardless, as historical fiction writers and readers, we are all essentially searching for the story beneath the story and we are willing to set aside some personal beliefs in order to enjoy a good read.
Throughout the process of writing Trinity of the Sun: Book I, I constantly challenged myself to discover my own threshold of accuracy. I had been studying the Gnostic gospels and other derivative and related works when the idea struck me. I asked myself, what would a fictional retelling of the early lives of Jesus Christ, John Baptist, and Mary Magdalene look like based on these sources, instead of the Bible? This spawned a period of intensive research resulting in numerous notes and the discovery of many new possible scenarios regarding the lives of Jesus, Mary, and John. Having blown away any likelihood for a decisive threshold of accuracy for this story, I found myself alone with a computer screen and a bucket full of creative license. I grinned ever so cynically and began to type.
Within the process of creating historical fiction, reading and researching the subject matter can take exponentially longer than writing. While initial research may occur over a period of several months to many years, it never really ends until the book goes to the publisher. At some point in the process, HF authors have to put down their favorite books and write. However, even when deeply absorbed in writing, I am constantly stopping to search for information tidbits to complete the picture, information that makes the story more real, more believable. I want the story to be tangible, so I collect and weigh multiple details and choose what works for the story I am telling. In the instance of the Trinity of the Sun series, one morsel of nonfiction led to another and before I could stop it, I saw the story emerging. I traced threads of truth through many sources, including hours of image searches, until I found every piece I needed, but I still lacked the magical formula for putting it all together. That was until my initiation into the alchemists’ club.
The mystical battery that makes all HF writers tick is that all are privy to a secret club, or cadre. Historical fiction authors are true alchemists of prose. HF authors digest literally thousands upon thousands of facts, both mundane and sublime, allow those minutia to gestate and ferment for a period of time – the span of which is dependent on the individual, and then spit out lines of fiction, magically tying together many otherwise loose ends. (I am not saying that other authors don’t do research, but rather, that HF authors’ works will always be partly judged on their relation to the history they are revisiting, and so, fidelity to some vestige of accuracy is often a factor.) The facts and details are pressed into raw grape juice and after all the ingredients are added, the components work away in the author’s mental crocks, eventually fermenting into the wine of a storyline and then, decanted into digital containers. A further analogy clearly highlighting the alchemical function of HF authorship is reflected in the way honeybees take in nectar from blossoms, store it in their bodies, and transmute that raw substance into precious honey when they return to the hive. Admittedly, not all historic fiction turns into honey, but all HF authors, regardless of their skillfulness, experience some glint of alchemy as they put words onto the page.
Improvising is the finishing step in this alchemical process. Somewhere in time, events occurred which led to a history that we can or have accessed. Oftentimes, these histories are dry and curtly erudite, lacking in flare, having removed some of the most human elements. Writing HF is the process of restoring some or all of those human elements, filling-in, between the details. Some of this improvisation draws from existing facts, some of it doesn’t; it is really up to the particular author’s threshold of accuracy. In many instances, readers already know details about the story they are reading. What the author provides is a context for those characters or events to become real. The successful HF author waves an ink-laden wand, creating voices, actions, volitions, and justifications for their characters, animating them from their previously cardboard reality to occupy space within their readers’ minds. Coupled with descriptive imagery, HF novels paint pictures of history in full color and context – a feat that simply isn’t possible within conventional history books. Since some authors improvise beyond readers’ comfortable limits, HF readers are challenged to keep their minds sharpened so they can distinguish for themselves what is reality and what is not. In Trinity of the Sun, I endeavored to include as many real-time facts as possible to stay within my threshold, while stretching the settings and characters’ roles beyond most traditionally conceived limits. I didn’t intend for the book to be a comfort read, but one that keeps readers on the edge.
Writing historical fiction is a multi-faceted enterprise. I sometimes dream of a day when I can sit and let profuse, un-researched fiction drip from my fingertips onto the page without needing to maintain the faintest modicum of honesty. Then I stop myself and wonder if I could even write pure fiction, after dabbling in HF. With no tethers to some accepted reality I could give my characters heroic names like Hathor and Bumblegrid and have whimsical settings named Xandiam, Christleford, and Wakeworthy, but can I really do that? No, not yet, I think to myself. There is something about writing historical fiction that undeniably clicks for me. Maybe it is my penchant for reading nonfiction books or, perhaps it comes from my suspended belief in history, as it is recorded by the victors. So far, I do not understand all the whys of writing historical fiction, but as I slowly become intricately familiar with the hows of the whole process, I am repeatedly awestruck by the magical transformations that occur when writing in this genre.
Darik Brooks is the author of Trinity of the Sun: Book I, the first in a series of thought-provoking novels depicting an alternative history of the formation of Christianity and its biggest players. Darik was raised in a middle-class environment in a small, mid-western town. After graduating from college with a degree in philosophy, he attended another private university and earned a master's degree in Buddhist Studies. He has held many quirky jobs, mostly in the transportation industry, and is now a licensed teacher with no class(es). He enjoys homesteading, hunting, fishing, hiking, sailing, tending his beehive, and doing research (reading). He and his partner live in an off-grid house in a secluded canyon somewhere in the western United States.
Did master Renaissance artists imbed a secret code into their finest works? What were artists like Da Vinci, Poussin, and Raphael whispering to us through their enigmatic symbols? Trinity of the Sun is a fictional reflection on these and many other questions. It is the first book in a scintillating and thought-provoking series of creative novels by author Darik Brooks. It is an inspired retelling of the traditional story of Jesus the Christ, John the Baptist, and Mary Magdalene, uncovered through the eyes, ears, and imaginations of Sophie and Carmen Leon. Carmen leads us down a path of discovery, systematically unraveling the mysterious foundations of belief-systems that have dominated European and other western cultures for two millennia. Through the eyes of these amateur art history connoisseurs, readers will discover a hidden code of symbols within High Renaissance artworks hinting at an entirely alternative story about the formation of Christianity.
Join Carmen and Sophie as they shed light on the mysterious obelisks of Rome, explore hidden catacombs under the Vatican, and decode unsolved secrets left by the greatest artists of all time, all while illuminating the formative lives of Jesus, John, and Mary. Decorated with stunning and illustrative images, this novel is a must have for art and religious history enthusiasts, open-minded skeptics, and conspiracy theorists, alike. Inspired by a survey of modern scholarly works concerning the origins of Christianity, Trinity of the Sun skillfully assimilates many erudite facts within a crafty, seamless, two-fold tale of intrigue.
Darik is giving two lucky commenters the chance to win an eCopy of Trinity of the Sun. Just leave a message with your contact details and I will draw two random winners on 04 November 2011. Good Luck!
Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Darik. We wish you only success in future.
Link to Amazon.uk:
Link to Amazon.us:
Link to B&N:
Have you read Out of Time yet? Well, you will be happy to know that the second in the series has been released!! Let’s see what the blurb says.
Professor Simon Cross and his assistant Elizabeth West have returned from their accidental journey into the past and are adjusting to their new life together as a couple. But an unwanted visit from the Council for Temporal Studies could change everything.
A murder in the past is changing the future, and if the killing isn't stopped, Simon Cross might never be born.
When they arrive in 1906 San Francisco, Elizabeth and Simon have no idea who wants Victor Graham dead or how it will happen. With the earthquake that levelled most of the city just days away, the race to save Graham thrusts them into a complex mystery of jealousy and revenge where murder might be the least of their worries.
The exciting sequel to Out of Time: A Paranormal Romance, When the Walls Fell, is a time travel adventure filled with suspense, mystery and romance.
Monique was born in Houston, Texas, but her family soon moved to Southern California. She grew up on both coasts, living in Connecticut and California. She currently resides in Southern California with her naughty Siamese cat, Monkey.
Monique attended the University of Southern California's Film School where she earned a BFA from the Filmic Writing department. Monique worked in television for several years before joining the family business. She now works full-time as a freelance writer and novelist. Her novels Out of Time and When the Walls Fell are the first two books in the Out of Time series.
She's currently working on an adaptation of one of her screenplays, her father's memoirs about his time in the Air Force's Air Rescue Service and the third book in the Out of Time series.
For news and information about Monique and upcoming releases, please visit: http://moniquemartin.weebly.com/
Let’s get to know Monique a little better.
Monique, tell us, when did you start writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I started with goofy little mystery stories when I was little. The Case of the Missing Underwear was a big hit in my family. I wrote on and off for most of my childhood, but I was bitten by the acting bug early on and thought that was going to be my path to fame and fortune. I even auditioned for a few TV series like Family Ties. It wasn’t until I went to college that I really focused on writing again. After school I worked in television production on In the Heat of the Night and Murder, She Wrote before I joined the family business. I finally broke away from that a few years ago and got back to writing and here we are!
Oh, I would love to read The Case of the Missing Underwear – so cute!
Does your family support you in your writing?
Yes! I’m so lucky to have a fantastically supportive family. In fact, my dad is my editor. It was…interesting when we got to the sex scenes in Out of Time. ::blush::
(lol) I can imagine!! Wish I was a fly on the wall for those edits!!
What would be able to distract you from your writing?
When it’s going well, when I’ve got my groove on, nothing distracts me. You really do lose time. When things are flowing, I’ll suddenly stop and realize it’s dark outside and I forgot to eat lunch. When I’m struggling, everything distracts me. My cat is annoying. My socks don’t fit. My floor needs waxing. I can find endless things that need doing before I can get back to work.
What inspired you to write this book?
I knew I wasn’t done with Simon and Elizabeth. I always saw Out of Time as just the prelude to the rest of the series and their adventures. When you’re writing time travel romance, the world and all its history are your oysters. It’s exciting and daunting. There is sooo much to choose from. The Jazz Age (Out of Time) was fascinating. I knew I wanted to go back in time a little further, but not too far. That meant the turn of the century. Throw in one of the worst disasters in US history (the great quake) and you have a great recipe for drama.
What kind of research did you have to do?
I love research, but I tend to go overboard. I love learning about history and it’s so easy to get caught up in that and stray off topic. I did a lot of research that didn’t make it into the book, but they were areas I had to explore. I read dozens of books on everything from how cable cars work to how to have a séance. I printed out dozens of images, watched documentaries and spent countless hours on websites devoted to Victorian and Edwardian everything. From clothing to weapons to make-up to cars. Every detail matters. But in the end, it’s about the characters and you have to pull back from asking yourself “did they have tomato juice in 1906?” questions and get on with the gettin’ on!
Who designed cover?
I knew I wanted to keep my original watchworks theme and found an amazing photograph of a very detailed antique watch. Then T. M. Roy of http://www.teryvisions.com worked her magic.
What is your next project?
I’ve got a lot on my plate, but right now I’m working on a holiday short story (unrelated to the Out of Time universe) and planning the next book in the Out of Time series.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I love my readers. Dear readers, I love you! They’ve been incredibly supportive. Most simply say how much the enjoyed the book. A few ask when Simon and Elizabeth are going to get married. I love hearing from readers. It’s a lonely business being an author and nothing makes my day brighter than hearing from someone who read one of my books.
What advise would you give other new authors?
Write. Write. Write. Join a critique group. Do it online if you can’t find a local group. But get feedback on your writing. And get it from people you aren’t related to. Writing is as much craft as it is art. You have to work at it and be willing to learn from your mistakes. Don’t rush to publish. In the age of self-publishing, it’s easy to get carried away and post something before you’ve really worked to make it the best it can be. First impressions matter.
What’s in your TBR pile?
When I’m writing, I end up reading non-fiction almost exclusively. Now that I’ve got a bit of a break, I can’t wait to curl up with a few good books. My TBR pile is huge. It’s got a mixture of indies and tradpubs from KC May and Sandra Edwards to GRR Martin and finally read the Stieg Larsson books before the movies spoil me forever!
Monique has been so generous as to offer a free eCopy of When the Walls Fell. Leave a comment with your contact details and a hello to Monique :) Closes 03 November 2011
Thank you so much for visiting with us today! We wish you lots of success and many more titles in the Out of Time series.
Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents' ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who has changed... Everyone still alive has turned - some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom - an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home - and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to find food, shelter, while fighting off the 'Changed' and those desperate to stay alive. A tense and involving adventure with shocks and sudden plot twists that will keep teen and adult readers gripped.
Do I need to say anything more??
I have been reading some of the posts on Aris’ blog and I just have to share this little paragraph with you (hope you don’t mind. Aris). I just loved it!
“My name is Aris. Aris is pronounced (heiress) and I'm not sure what the meaning is. Several years ago, when I was asked what my name meant, I replied that Aris was a Greek Sexx Goddess (what can I say I'm a romance writer). Unfortunately, my husband happened to be near, he looked over at me, rolled his eyes, and said very loudly "I wish". I've moved on to another story, which happens to be true. I was born in the seventies to a pair of hippies, real hippies. Having said that, I think I got off lucky with the name Aris. It could have been much worse, Fruit Stand or something like that. So, Aris it is.”
Aris Whittier is a romance writer. She writes suspense, contemporary, and commercial woman’s fiction. Her debut novel, Fatal Embrace is a romantic suspense that was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine as a Red-Hot Read. Foolish Notions is a contemporary romance that has just a touch a mystery too. Across Eternity is a beautiful love story that transcends time.
Let’s hear a bit more from Aris.
Please tell readers about your current book.
Across Eternity is a beautiful love story that tells of love that transcends time. It will pull at your heart. It is set in the small coastal city of Dana Point, in Southern California.
Who or what inspires your writing?
My inspiration comes from my love of life, my imagination, and the fact that I absolutely love to write about the male / female relationship.
When did you know you would be a writer?
I never aspired to be a writer. However, I’ve always loved to read and write. Growing up, I would read anything from Readers Digest to Stephen King. When I was younger, I used to love to tell stories…my mom called them lies…but I considered it creative story telling… LOL. When I was 16 I pick up my first romance book and I fell in love with the genre. When I was in college I wrote my first romance novel and it was then that I knew I wanted to be a writer
Lies vs creative story telling . . . I think I have to agree with you :) How long did it take you to write your first novel?
Almost one year. It was 78,000 words.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I write in spurts and that is very frustrating. Sometimes I’ll write thirty pages in a day and other times I can barely get a paragraph written.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really—though I love to have a cup of coffee by my side when I’m writing.
Have you written any thing else?
Yes! I have two other romance novels out. Fatal Embrace and Foolish Notions. I have also written a humorous compilation called, The Truth About Being A Bass Fisherman’s Wife. I have another romantic suspense, Secrets, which I’m just finishing up.
Any advice to aspiring writers?
My advice is to never give up. And write about what you love. Oh, and develop a very thick skin because you’re going to need it. Everything will be judged and nitpicked—your writing, your plot, your characters, your query, your book cover…get used to it. Some of the criticism will be worthy and some of it not. You’ll know what to take in and what to just let roll off.
Who is your favorite Author?
Hands down Judith McNaught.
What is your favorite book?
Once and Always by Judith McNaught.
What are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading The Catcher in the Rye, by Salinger. About a week ago my son asked me if I'd ever read the book. I was surprised when I realized I hadn't. I was required to read may novels in college but this wasn't one of them. I'm three chapters in and I'm really enjoying the story as well as the verbiage.
How do readers find out more about you?
You can visit my blog at: http://awhittier.blogspot.com/.
Born a genius; education, wealth, and prestige came easy to Logan Richards. Actually, there wasn’t much that Logan couldn’t learn or acquire. However, he knew there was more to life than money and power. Logan was determined to find the woman who he'd dreamed of his entire life and know what it was like to love her before he died.
Amber Lewis, a waitress for a five-star restaurant in, Dana Point, California, was overworked, stressed, and wary of life since her sister, Heather, had passed away. Then, one evening while working she fell hopelessly in love with Logan Richards, a chivalrous man who felt deeply familiar.
For Amber, it was the beginning of a voyage of self-discovery and renewal. For Logan, it was the completion of life. For each of them it was the deepest sort of love.
Aris has given one lucky commenter the chance to win an eCopy of Across Eternity. If you want to be part of the drawing on 31 October 2011, leave a comment for Aris together with your contact details.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Aris. We loved chatting with you. Good luck on the road ahead.
NetGalley is my friend . . . :)
This week I received 101 Things you thought you knew about the Titanic . . . but didn’t !
I love stories, fiction and facts, about the Titanic, so I am so happy to have received this one.
All about Seduction is all about relaxing – this kind of historical novel just calls for a lazy afternoon and you are in heaven!
Historical romances with Highlanders are my secret guilty pleasure. Just look at this cover. I can’t wait to plomp myself down and get lost in this old world.
I was a lucky winner of a giveaway hosted by Kelly of http://itsabookthingblog.blogspot.com/. I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one. Hooray for South African authors!
What was in your mailbox?
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins
Release date: 2011
I love watching horror movies but I also scare easily :) So you can imagine the scene when I am home alone and want to watch a scary movie on my own – I was cleaning the kitchen in the beginning of this one. I kept one eye on the scene and hit behind the refrigerator now and again.
The build-up is handled very well in Insidious – it is like the old scary movies of my childhood. No blood and guts but just creepy music that accents the unusual events. It starts when teacher John and his composer wife, Renai, moves into a new home with their family. First it is only a few books that fall out of a bookcase and a box of music that is misplaced during the move – easily explained away. (Truth be told – I would have run from the house that first night already!) But then bigger events starts creeping in. The gas stove’s flame flickers into life on it’s own, a fire spontaneously ignites in a old black stove in the cellar and then their son, Dalton, falls into a deep sleep after a slight fall. There is no medical reason for this coma and John’s mother asks the help of her psychic friend. This is when the real scary stuff begins.
I enjoy being scared by horror movies and this one is well worth the two hours. And off course there is a twist in the tail as any good horror story should have!
Now watch this trailer and tell me it didn’t give you goosebumps!
Where Does Creativity Come From?
A friend of mine says she’s not creative. Whenever we hang out, she is witty and comes up with some really funny points. She can tie music or movies together. She recognizes allusions and is very entertaining. But she says she’s not creative.
I disagree. A lot.
We talked about this issue, and she insisted she’s not creative because she can’t generate a story spontaneously like her husband. He can pull out a tale on a second’s notice. It’s instant generation, and those stories can be pretty hilarious. She doesn’t feel like she can come up with details or make something new.
She says she’s a better fixer, someone who can follow directions or take an end result and work with her available resources to get there. But here’s the thing. I have a book out, yet I feel creative. I consider myself an artist; I’m a novelist. I write books, a fair number of them, but I’m not good at instant generation either. I’m not terribly good at details either.
I told her that she could be a great writer, that it only takes practice. This is how I learned to write. When I was eleven, I decided I wanted to be a writer. Since then, I’ve spent thousands and thousands of hours practicing. This includes books, poems, short stories, classes, and half a lifetime spent watching movies and TV shows.
Anyone, with enough practice, can be creative. Anyone can be a writer. All it takes is a willingness to sit down, view the world, pull apart the pieces, and put them back together in a new way.
As for coming up with something new, well, I don’t. Seriously, I rarely come up with something entirely novel. More often, I see something cool and try to modify it. I find a weakness or something annoying about the original concept and I work to make it cooler.
My recent novel, Poisoned Star, worked this way. I started off with the concept of a living, sentient ship. Only I wanted to give her guns. I wanted to make her unstoppable so I added in kickass armor and the ability to change her shape. I liked the idea of living ships, but I also added in a hive mind that guided a small fleet of star fighters. She’s a hundred individual fighters, but she’s innocent and young too. I also saw movies that included virtual reality. I wanted to take the concept and give it a taste of romance. These aren’t new or original concepts. I didn’t make them up, but I did take them and reengineer them.
This is why I’m not really certain what to do with writers who say they’re not feeling creative. Sure, there are times when you don’t have a great premise for a book. But not feeling creative? That’s easy to fix. Whenever I want inspiration, I go online or to books. There are plot points, details and fascinating character traits all around us. If I want to think of romance, I go to an encyclopedia of Renaissance love stories. If I want to think of sci-fi violence, I open my book on future weapons.
This is why writers should spend some time building up a reservoir of inspirational materials. Inside my bedroom, I have a shelf of books, all designed to help me think of new stories in one way or another. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a hundred other types of reference books can be a hundred different kinds of muse.
Check out my novel.
Poisoned Star is the story of a young woman kidnapped and forced to fight for an alien civilization. When a hacker sneaks aboard her ship, she learns more about her past and future than she ever imagined.
Josh Tremino’s Biography
A writer from California, Josh loves every kind of story. Whether they come from books, movies, TV shows, or music videos, he loves characters, watching them grow and develop. A part-time philosopher, Josh wants to understand the world, and he believes stories are the key. His work reflects that assumption. Most of his favorite novels explore the connections between fantasy and romance. He has become more and more convinced they’re the same thing. Day by day, Jeremy explores the world through a blinking cursor. Find out more at www.Joshtremino.com.
Author of Ink, SJ Davis is guest posting about YA fiction on the blog today. Let’s hand over to her :)
Is writing YA easier or harder than adult fiction?
When I started INK, I wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a Native American girl. As I started thinking about Sparrow (and I thought about her everywhere), her voice became very clear to me. I knew she felt awkward and less worthy. I knew she listened to alternative music and what clothes she wore. But I didn’t want to imitate a teenager, I simply wanted to tell Sparrow’s story and express her pain and her strength, exactly how it floated in my brain. Sparrow is tough. She’s broken in the beginning, she has lost her mother and she suddenly hears strange voices. The story also unfolds in a choppy way because that experience mirrors her life. I wanted the reader to figure things out alongside Sparrow. I believe the crux of writing YA is that your protagonist moves from a point of self-doubt to a point of autonomy and confidence. I think this is why a huge numbers of adults are drawn into “teen” books. Maybe, despite being older, everyone is still uncertain and emotionally dramatic at heart. Is YA easier to write? Not really. In order to be any good at it, you have to be prepared to return to your teen/early adult years and that is not for the faint of heart. You move back to a time when your feelings were so exposed, raw, and easily crushed. You have to write with an open heart, ready to give and receive, because that is how teens are – full of expectation and hope. Even underneath teen cynicism and sarcasm, there is anticipation and strength, and that is a beautiful thing.
“It’s a good day to die.” My mother holds my arm fiercely. “But as you grieve for me, listen for the voices. Then, you must get the ink.”
Sparrow stumbles between two worlds – light and dark, love and hate, what is real and what is in her mind. When her mother dies on the Reservation, Sparrow’s world is shadowed with anger and narrowed by pain. The voices arrive, but are they real? And how can a tattoo make her stronger?
Mateo arrives to guard Sparrow, but from whom? Layne holds on to Sparrow, but why? As the voices grow stronger and her pain expands, Sparrow finds that the shadows in the corner and the voices we fear most are the ones inside ourselves.
SJ Davis is the daughter of an ex-patriate British mother and a Southern Baptist ex-CIA father. As a child, she spoke in silly accents and recounted outlandish tales of fantasy over afternoon tea and to this day it remains her favorite activity. Born in Long Island, NY, she was raised in the suburbs of Washington DC and went to school for a very long time (University of Virginia and George Mason University), married an all-around wonderful man, had two kids (smart, funny, full of opinions), moved from Virginia to New Jersey to Philadelphia to Chicago, and began her writing career. She is a believer in fate, an avid tea drinker, a stiletto aficionado, Doc Marten worshipper, punk rock listener, and lover of flip flops and cardigans. She has a terrible sense of direction, loves gummy bears, and is a Johnny Depp fangirl.
https://www.facebook.com/sarah.jane.davis (fan page)
http://www.vamptasypublishing.co.uk/#/sarah-davis-brandon/4552691454 (author page at Vamptasy)
Eileen is the author of two very different books, Sweetwater American and Rumpel, a retelling of the Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin. Let’s see what the Goodreads blurbs say:
SWEETWATER AMERICAN is the story of an orphan who is sent to live in a cursed town in El Salvador with her godmother, a woman whom she has never met and who may hold the secret to breaking the town’s curse: no babies have been born alive in five years.
When foreigners arrive on an island beach in search of a lost spinning wheel which they believe rightfully belongs to them and on which their very existence depends, the island inhabitants are thrust into a course of events during which some will become allies and others will turn against their own and Elizabeth Miller must defend her unborn child from a vengeful troll.
And a little bit of background about Eileen . . .
Eileen Cruz Coleman was born in Washington, D.C.
She is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in European History.
Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals both online and in print.
She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.
Eileen, when did you start writing?
I think I always knew I wanted to be a writer. But I didn’t start seriously writing until I was in my early twenties. I was desperately trying to heal from a past experience. For me, writing helped me heal. I sat down one day and wrote my little heart out. It was an honest piece of writing; I dug deep and put it all on paper. I read it to my then boyfriend, now husband. His response was, “You should try and get this published.” And so I did. I published my first piece of writing when I was twenty-five years old. I was hooked after that!
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I’m a slow writer. It takes me anywhere between a year and a half to three years to write a book. I don’t write full time (yet!) and so between juggling my day job, kids and well, life, I squeeze in writing mostly at night when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep.
Hey, there are no slow writers . . . What inspired you to write this book?
I first heard the story of Rumpelstiltskin when I was seven years old. I remember sitting in “circle time” while my teacher read the story. When she got to the end, I felt that there had to be more to the story.
I honestly thought she had read us a shortened version and that the longer version was out there somewhere! From that day on, the story of Rumpelstiltskin fascinated me. I wanted to know why he wanted a baby. What was he going to do with it once he got it? Who were the people in his life? What was his world like? What was his childhood like? All of these questions led me to write Rumpel which is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. In keeping with the original Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin, Rumpel is dark and at times disturbing, yet it also has a light and quirky element to it in that it is told from the point of view of many different characters all of which play an integral part of the story and how it unfolds. We also get to know Rumpelstiltskin as a child, then as a young man, and finally as a broken hearted adult.
What kind of research did you have to do?
I read and dissected the original Rumpelstiltskin story!
Who designed cover?
I hired a cover artist, the fabulous Dara England. Her site is: http://mycoverart.wordpress.com/
Oh wow, love Dara’s site – beautiful covers!! What is your next project?
I actually have another novel published. My other novel is very different than Rumpel. SWEETWATER AMERICAN is the story of an orphan who is sent to live in a cursed town in El Salvador with her godmother, a woman whom she has never met and who may hold the secret to breaking the town’s curse: no babies have been born alive in five years. I’m also currently working on a post-apocalyptic YA novel.
Oh we LOVE dystopian novels! A typical day in your life looks like . . .
Day job, spending time (homework, dinner, etc.) with my two kids and husband, bedtime for the kids and then maybe, just maybe, some writing time in the late evening. Sometimes, I skip writing and watch a movie with my husband instead!
Wow, that is a lot of juggling! What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Marketing and promoting your book while also dedicating time to write the next book!
Do you hear from your readers much?
In all honesty, I don’t really hear directly from readers. I would love to hear from them!
Just wait – it will come! Who are some of the authors that inspire you?
I adore Stephen King and Isabel Allende.
What is in your own TBR pile?
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson.
Robopocalypse is on my TBR pile too :)
Links to books: http://www.amazon.com/Rumpel-ebook/dp/B00408ASDW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301257991&sr=8-1
At the time of writing this post, the above links are to free downloads. :) So hurry!
Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Eileen. We wish you much success in the future!!