Friday, September 30, 2011

Adding to my Wish List (10)

I love beautiful covers and this is one of my favourites!  Can’t wait to read it.

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Goodreads blurb:

Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee's wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above--like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.

But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe's history and the shadows' attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home--not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.

Author interview and Giveaway with Artemis Hunt


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I love fairy tales, don’t you?  Let’s meet Artemis Hunt, author of Snow White and the Alien.  :)

Authors bio:
Artemis Hunt has a husband who thinks all fiction is nonsense and all writers of fiction should get their heads checked for situational delusions. At any one time, they have 16 to 20 dogs, many of suspicious virtue.
Artemis frequently wishes she has telekinesis, so she doesn't have to lift a finger to change the room temperature. She's constantly glued to her computer, which serves as her gateway to her friends, books, movies, TV serials and sometimes husband, even though they're sitting on the same bed two feet apart.
Artemis writes under the name of A.R. Hunt for the adult thriller and suspense genre.


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Snow White and the Alien
Goodreads blurb:
Rude. Opinionated. Dirty. Bug crazy.

That's how folks describe 16-year-old Snow White, who is more interested in studying insects than her own beautiful, anemic face. When her bipolar stepmother sets a price on her heart, which she'd like served with baby potatoes and Chianti, Snow White has no choice. She must say goodbye to the only people who have ever loved her – her three-chinned nanny, who feels like a pillow, and her childhood friend, Tom, who has spent his life wearing a thick, fleshy armor to fend off her princessy barbs.

Snow White must outwit every studly huntsman, assassin, city guard and robber baron sent to bring her back, preferably dead, before she reaches Lapland.

20-year-old Aein is a one-winged cripple from another planet. Passionate, ridiculed, headstrong, and considered hideous in his gossamer, aerial world, he desires nothing more than to prove to his royal family that flight and beauty are overrated. He gets his one chance when he is selected to go to Earth, disguised as a 'Crawler' – who appears to us as a phenomenally handsome human youth. His mission: to pave our world for colonization and, later . . . annihilation.

The first native he stumbles upon is the fugitive Snow White.

Snow White and Aein must choose their allegiances, and fight a forbidden, growing love for each other before their worlds explosively collide.


Let us get to know Artemis better.

When did you start writing?
When I was 3. I drew naked pictures on a sketchbook and added little stories to them. No, I swear I'm not a deviant!

Naked pictures huh?  LoL

How long does it usually take you to write a book?

It depends. There was one book that I wrote within a month. Most of the time, I take 6 months in all - first draft, 1st rewrite, 2nd rewrite.

Six months is very quick – wow!  

What inspired you to write this book?
I watched 'Tangled', the movie, and I was so in love with it I wanted to do something similar. Then I realized there are no less than two SNOW WHITE movies coming out in 2012, one starring Kristin Stewart and the other Charlize Theron, no less!

What kind of research did you have to do?Mostly about medieval costumes and insects. (Not medieval insects, since I'm sure none of them have gotten extinct yet! In fact, they seem to be getting more plentiful, at least in my house.)
I had to research insects because my Snow White is an entomologist! Yes, she's also the fairytale princess, but even fairytale princesses have to have a job!

Yeah, sad but true . . . even a princess need a job – LoL 

Who designed cover?
Telemachus Press.

Good job, Telemachus Press.

What is your next project?
I already uploaded it. It's a short story called Psychotic, which was previously traditionally published in my bestselling 2005 collection, Dark City. I'm releasing this under my adult label, A.R. Hunt. It's extremely adult! Search for it in Amazon, read the blurb, and you'll understand why.

Mmmmm, fairy tales and adult fiction . . . what a repertoire! 

A typical day in your life would be?

Go to work. Beat the jam. (Moan.) Try to cram in a little writing during the job since no one ever knows what I'm doing, haha. Cram in more writing during my lunch hour. Check my Amazon rankings. Sigh copiously. Get back to work. Go home. Beat the jam. Socialize with the husband and the dogs.

What is the hardest thing about being an author?Trying to be one while holding down a full time, very stressful job! But I've got bills to pay. (Sighs copiously again.)

(Sighs with you – day jobs!!)

Do you hear from your readers much?  What do they say?

Over the years? I run newspaper columns as well, and I get emails asking me about this, and that. I reply to every email. On my fiction, I get the occasional email.

Who are some of the authors that inspire you?
 I love great storytellers. JK Rowling. Suzanne Collins. Anyone who tells a good story.

And your own TBR pile?
I'm currently reading Wither by Lauren DeStefano. I have Forest of Bones and Teeth waiting. Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

We have the same books in our TBR piles – lol

** Giveaway **
I am so happy to be able to tell you that Artemis has offered you a chance to win a .mobi copy of Snow White and the Alien.  You can leave a message for Artemis in the comments and I will draw a lucky winner on 07 October 2011.  She will contact you with your prize!
Here are some links if you want to see more.

Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/83414

My (always in construction because my lazy husband won't finish it) website is at www.artemishunt.org


Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Artemis. 


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book review: Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

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Title: Blood Rights
Series:  The House of Comarre
Author: Kristen Painter
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication date: 01 October 2011
Author’s website:http://kristenpainter.blogspot.com/
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads blurb:
The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely-wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers.

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarrĂ©—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

My thoughts:

I will admit it, when I picked this book, it was all about the cover!  I know we all say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but be honest . . . we do!  And this cover is spectacular.  It just jumped off the computer screen for me!  It immediately filled me with a feeling of mystery and beauty  - and I found it all in the pages of this book.

Blood Rights are set somewhere in the future but you will not find this reflected in any of the scenes in the book.  The world feels very real and very now . . .  It is also labelled as an Urban Fantasy (not a genre that I usually prefer) but I felt that everything was mostly about the characters.  There is lots of action off course but you will not be disappointed with all the romantic tension between Chrysabelle and Malkolm. 

This is the first book of The House of Comarre series and we are introduced to the world of the comarre.  We are only allowed to see fleeting glimpses but what a world it is.  It is such a new view of vampires and all their companions that I hope much more of this world will be revealed to us in the books to come.  You will see vampires in a whole new light.

Chrysabelle has been comarre (or blood slave) to her patron for a hundred years.  On the night that she hopes to be set free, he is found murdered and she becomes the number one suspect.  She flees into the open world and into the arms of Malkolm, a vampire that has fallen from grace.  But has she now run into the arms of even greater danger?

Malkolm is one of the most tortured souls that I have read in a long time – both physically and mentally.  He has been cursed to kill all that he drinks from.  His body and soul are covered by all his victims and sometimes they force their way out.  Their voices are always present in his mind and he permanently has to cling to his own sanity.

For a large part of the book, Chrysabelle and Mal try to convince themselves that they do not need or want each other but it is a lost course.  They are meant to be together, if only to stop the evil and power-hungry Tatiana from starting a war between mortals and the supernatural.

We also meet a lot of secondary characters – fae, shifters, vampires, fake comarre, ghosts and demons.  I just loved the relationship between Doc (a cursed shifter) and Fi (a ghostly victim of Mal) that live with him in his disintegrating house.

Even though some parts of the book were a bit slow and the villain, Tatiana, a bit one-dimensional, it is a great opening book for the series.  I would like to see what author, Kirsten Painter throws at us in the next books.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review: Raziel (Fallen Angels 1)


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Title:  Raziel
Series:  The Fallen
Author: Kristina Douglas (aka Anne Stuart)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication date: 25 January 2011
Author’s website: http://www.kristinadouglas.com/
Source: Gift from Danielle from Romance Book Junkies

Warning:  Religious aspects in this book requires a very open mind.

Goodreads blurb:

She was just an ordinary mortal . . .

“You’re dead” is so not what Allie Watson wants to hear. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like the dark, angelically handsome man who ferried her to this strange, hidden land. The last thing she remembers is stepping off a curb in front of a crosstown bus. Now she’s surrounded by gorgeous fallen angels with an unsettling taste for blood—and they really don’t want her around. Not exactly how she pictured heaven.

. . . until death catapulted her into a seductive world she never imagined.

Raziel is unsure why he rescued Allie from hellfire against Uriel’s orders, but she stirs in him a longing he hasn't felt in centuries. Now the Fallen are bracing for the divine wrath brought by his disobedience, and they blame Allie for the ferocious Nephilim clawing at the kingdom’s shrouded gates. Facing impossible odds at every turn, the two must work together to survive. Raziel will do anything to defend his spirited lover against the forces of darkness—because Allie may be the Fallen’s only salvation.

My thoughts:

Welcome to an alternate reality where fallen angels live and love.

If you love angel books, like I do, you will read this book in record time.  It is a simple story but it is the tension between the main characters that pull you in.

Allie seemed a bit selfish and self-absorbed when the story starts and she was a difficult heroine to love.  Then everything changes when she is hit by a bus and dies.  Suddenly she is being led to the fires of hell only to be saved at the last second by her escort, Raziel. Slowly but surely she starts to begin “living” again and in the end she redeems herself and you will be rooting for her.

Raziel (one of the fallen angels) cannot understand the impulse to rescue Allie – he has vowed to never allow a human woman to mean anything to him again.  He is the typical hurt and silent hero and acts like it through a large part of the book.  But he does risk his life to save Allie and this is where the action begins. Uriel will not be denied. Now everything and everyone Raziel holds dear is in danger. Suddenly the threats are coming from all sides.

Don’t let the first few slow chapters distract you – this is the first in the series and we need to get to know the cast of characters and the world they live in.  About halfway through the book, you will need to take hold of your chair or you will be blown away by all that is happening.

This is not a deep book but rather a piece of candy that melts deliciously in your mouth.  You will not be disappointed reading this on a slow Sunday afternoon.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Author interview and Giveaway with Shaun Jeffrey



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Shaun, the author of THE KULT (soon to be a movie we hope!) joins us today for our author interview.

Let’s get to know him a little better.

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Author bio:Shaun Jeffrey was brought up in a house in a cemetery, so it was only natural for his prose to stray towards the dark side when he started writing. He has had four novels published, 'The Kult', 'Deadfall', 'Fangtooth' and 'Evilution', and one collection of short stories, 'Voyeurs of Death'. Among his other writing credits are short stories published in Cemetery Dance, Surreal Magazine, Dark Discoveries and Shadowed Realms. The Kult was optioned for film by Gharial Productions.





 

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Goodreads blurb:People are predictable. That's what makes them easy to kill.

Acting out of misguided loyalty to his friends, police officer Prosper Snow is goaded into helping them perform a copycat killing, but when the real killer comes after him, it's not only his life on the line, but his family's too. Now if he goes to his colleagues for help, he risks being arrested for murder. If he doesn't, he risks being killed.







Shaun, when did you start writing?
I started writing when I was at school. LoL. Seriously though, with regards fiction, I started writing stories about twenty six years ago, but I did stop for about six years due to work commitments which involved driving to and from work, a round trip of 110 miles a day that left me too tired to write.

You can tell me nothing about long commutes!!  LoL  

How long does it usually take you to write a book?
It varies, but on average it takes me about six months to write a first draft, and then a lifetime to keep improving it.

Do I detect a perfectionist in there?

What inspired you to write this book?To be honest I never really know what inspires me to write anything. Sometimes ideas pop into my head, and if I think there might be something in it, I start jotting down a few notes then I just start writing. The Kult actually started out as a completely different book to how it ended up but I think it all worked out in the end.

What kind of research did you have to do?
The old adage goes, ‘Write what you know’. Well The Kult is about a serial killer, so to research it I had to go out and kill a lot of people. Believe me, it was messy and I was lucky not to get caught. OK, maybe I didn’t really do that (or at least I’m not going to admit to it), but to research for the book I had to delve into the world of killers by reading a lot of books about them to try to get inside a killer’s head as much as I could. And believe me, it’s a scary place to be.

Goodness, you nearly gave me a hot flush!!  LoL  Thought for sure I would have to cancel our interview!  :)

I love the eerie cover - who designed it?
The book started out as a paperback that was published by a small press publisher that’s sadly now folded. The original cover was done by an artist called Daniele Serra. The current ebook cover was one that I purchased from Dara England.

What is your next project?I’m preparing the release of another book featuring the protagonist from The Kult, Prosper Snow entitled Killers. I’m also working on another book that’s completely unrelated. After that I would like to write another Prosper Snow novel, but I guess it depends on what sort of reaction the second book receives. As The Kult has now been filmed by an independent production company, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that when/if it gets released, it helps draw a little more attention to the books. There’s a trailer on Youtube for anyone interested:



How does a typical day in your life go?
A typical day consists of getting up, eating breakfast, checking my emails, procrastinating, procrastinating some more, then I might go for a jog or the gym. I work shifts as a signalling and telecommunications engineer, so when I’m on an early shift it’s straight to work, but then the checking emails etc., starts when I get home. I also check to see if any kind soul has purchased a copy of my book(s). Then in the evening my son and I go to Tae Kwon Do lessons a couple of times a week. Sometimes during a day I even manage to write a few words.

Procrastination is my middle name – I am the queen!  

What is the hardest thing about being an author?

Writing. Plain and simple. It’s not easy to put together a series of words that makes some sort of sense, and in a fashion that people would want to keep reading.

Do you hear from your readers much?  What do they say?
I don’t get much reader feedback directly, and the only things I usually see are regarding my work is in the form of either good or bad reviews. Luckily, most of the reviews are good, but obviously you can’t please everyone, so bad reviews appear too from people that don’t like my work. But I appreciate the time anyone takes to write a review, whether good or bad.

That is a good attitude to have.  Not everyone can like the same thing – just think how boring life would be!  I admire authors, sometimes they have to have such thick skin.  I would never be able to do it!  

Who are some of the authors that inspire you?
As I know how hard it is, anyone who can finish writing a book inspires me. But some of my favourite authors are Graham Masterton, Stephen King and Richard Laymon.

And your own TBR pile?
Man, I have a huge TBR pile but there’s an assortment of books from the classics to completely new books. Most of them are in the horror/thriller/dark fiction category. Now that I have a Kindle, I seem to read more than I used to of late, but I still find it hard to find the time so my TBR pile just seems to keep growing out of control.

** Giveaway **

Shaun has generously offered us a free eCopy (mobi or PDF format) of The Kult.
Just leave a message in the comments and I will draw a lucky winner on 04 October 2011.


Links: 
Website: http://www.shaunjeffrey.com/
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Kult-ebook/dp/B004TGT3S6/
http://www.amazon.com/Kult-Shaun-Jeffrey/dp/1466247991/





Thank you for joining us today, Shaun and we wish you much success with your books (and movies) in future!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Adding to my Wish List (9)

I don’t really know how to classify this book that will be release in 2012 – let’s just say it is fantasy . . .

It is way at the top of my wish list!

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Goodreads blurb:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In my Mailbox (22)

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I am joining In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren this week. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received in the mail or bought that week.

I had a wonderful start to my week when I received this book in the mail on Monday.  Shelagh from The Word Fiend tweeted that she had an extra copy last week and I was the lucky recipient.

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The cover is beautiful . . . wow.  Thank you Shelagh!!  Can’t wait to read this one.  I have heard so many good things about it.

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NetGalley has once again been kind to me and I was approved to read (and review) A Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day.  I saw it on a wish list this week and had to investigate immediately.  Sounds awesome.

What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Movie Review: Shaun of the Dead

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Title: Shaun of the Dead 
Starring: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
Release date: 2004

I have seen Shaun of the Dead a few times and tonight it was just the right amount of silly to make the blues of the day melt away. 

I have a great love of zombie movies (and books) and SOTD is one of my favourites.
 
Simon Pegg is wonderful as the poor Shaun who lives a very mediocre life with his best friend, Ed and his on/off girlfriend, Liz.  At his job as a sales clerk in an electrical store, he is the butt of jokes and no one respects him.  Worst of all, he doesn’t stand up for himself.

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At first, Shaun doesn’t realize that almost the whole world has become a zombie-infested minefield. He walks to the local shop without noticing anything is wrong.  The whole day at his job, he just walks past everyone without blinking an eye.  (Sounds familiar?  Some days I walk around without making any eye contact too :)  

Soon though, Shaun is forced to take control of the situation and of his life.  He becomes the rescuer and leader of his little band of friends.  But being the hero is not easy and his plans do not always work the way they should.

SOTD are full of very funny scenes and is a wonderful escapist movie that will make you want to see the rest of Pegg and Wright’s movies.  

Don’t miss it!  



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Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Review: Human 0.4

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Title: Human 0.4
Author: Mike A Lancaster
Genre: Dystopian Fantasy (it is difficult to fit into a category)
Publication date: 03 January 2011
Author’s website:http://www.mikealancaster.com/
Source: my own copy

Goodreads blurb:

It's a brave new world.

'My name is Kyle Straker. And I don't exist anymore.'

So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded onto old audiotapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax, but perhaps they contain the history of a past world....If what the tapes say is true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie.

And if everything we know is a lie, does that mean that we are, too?

My thoughts:

Kyle and his friends attend the yearly Talent Show, cringing at the acts and “talents” of their neighbours.  When he and his ex-girl feel sorry for their friend and volunteer as subjects for his hypnosis sketch, they don’t know that this simple act will mean that they are left behind while the rest of the world moves on.  Their lives are changed forever.

This was a quick and enjoyable read for me.  It tells the story of Kyle and the 0.4’s of the world, now part of history. 

Who are the 0.4’s?  And are we living under an illusion? 
How real is our world? 

This is all questions that the “reader” tries to answer through the transcripts of the tapes that Kyle made (with quite hilarious explanations at times).

I don’t want to say much more as this will definitely spoil this story for you. But if you love stories with a “Whaf if our world is not real . . . “ – plot like I do, this is a book for you.  You will not be disappointed!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Adding to my Wish List (8)

Another dystopian book for me to drool over – this one will only be released in 2012 and it sounds amazing!

I am so glad that there are so many to choose from these days.  Yay!!

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Goodreads blurb:

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police — instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior — instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested don’t usually come back.
17-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what’s worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Author Interview: Miles Cressman

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Today we meet Miles Cressman, author of The Dream Metropolis.  So without further ado, I will hand on over to Miles to tell us a little about himself.

Author bio: I was born in Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona to two creative musicians living in a cabin in almost the middle of nowhere. At about the age of two, we moved to Portland, Oregon where I lived all the way through high school. I used to be an incredibly shy kid, and I never made many friends when I was younger. I went to Benson Polytechnic in Portland, a high school that specializes in allowing kids to learn skills in the automotive, drafting, electronics, computer programming, and multimedia communications industries, alongside health occupations. Computer programming at first intrigued me, and it was my high school major all four years. It wasn't until my final year that it began to leave a sour taste in my mouth, and my love for English appeared to fill in the gap.

Nmiles profile 3ot wanting to leave the state, I enrolled in the University of Oregon in 2007 where I've since graduated a few weeks ago with a B.A. in English and a Minor in Anthropology. The college experience is what propelled me to write. I've met so many different types of people of varying backgrounds and personal histories that I felt that I wanted to capture their uniqueness in stories and characters. Not only did college open me up to the wide world of socializing and creating a large network of friends, it also convinced me that writing and literature are two cornerstones of my life that should never disappear.

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Goodreads Blurb:
In a city of dreams, the dreams themselves create another reality divorced from our own. For a few individuals, coping with their real lives bleeds into the city itself, twisting and distorting it. They do not know that they dream of each other, their imaginations intertwined.

Unbeknownst to them, they are a part of a project that attempts to create a whole new reality, built from their limitless dreams and imagination; it is an attempt to separate mind from body forever.

But what would happen if one of them wanted to wake up?

Doesn’t that sound fascinating?  And what a cover!  Let’s talk a little more to Miles.

Miles, when did you start writing?
I started writing when I was about eighteen years old, though I had dabbled when I was much younger. The Dream Metropolis, however, was a book I began work on during NaNoWriMo 2010, actually, and went under many edits until I was fully satisfied with it in late July of this year. I have, however, caught even a few more little issues in going over the novel in preparation for its paperback edition which is due out soon.

Wow, I have heard some wonderful things about NaNoWriMo!  How long does it take to usually write a book?
The Dream Metropolis took almost a year, but I've worked on two other books beforehand that also took about a year a piece. Those books are not gone forever, they are merely dormant for now until I feel like they could actually work as a decent novel. I am actually very new to working on novels consistently, I've mainly focused on short stories for the past few years. I guess you could say this is my novel writing phase.

What inspired you to write this book?
When I first watched Inception, I was fascinated by the idea of dreams creating new realities. The movie faded from my mind for a time until I had a very vivid dream where I had created my own version of that film, but with much more depth than that movie touched upon. I also am fascinated by Dreamtime mythology in Aboriginal societies as well as the constantly reappearing duality that shows up in all human literature, the mind versus the body. I wanted to incorporate all of these ideas into a single identity, and I have only just started doing so with The Dream Metropolis.

There are so much about dreams that we still need to discover.   What kind of research did you have to do?
I did extensive research on how dreams affect people's construction of their real lives, as well as Dreamtime and how it factored into Aboriginal rituals and society. There is the fundamental idea in Dreamtime that when we sleep we connect with the gods themselves, and I wanted to make sure my novel touched upon that idea in some tangible way.

I love the cover!  Who designed it?
I have a fellow friend at the University of Oregon (who is an art major and graphic designer), where I recently graduated, who offered to do the cover for a very low price and a percentage of the sales. Needless to say, I am enamored by the cover and will be asking for his help on all subsequent novels I release.

What is your next project?
I am currently at work on The Dream Cosmopolitan, the sequel to the Dream Metropolis. The work is substantially larger with a much grander scope and I have a feeling it is going to test me in ways that I hope I'm ready for.

What is a typical day in your life?
I'm currently unemployed, so imagine a college graduate constantly scouring for work so he can pay the bills and keep on keepin' on. That's how it is. Oh, and I guess I write, too. Other than that, I occasionally hang out with friends and knock a few back at the local bars. I don't live a very interesting life, but I try to make the most of it.

Hey, having a writer’s life is always interesting!!  What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Writing the next book. Other authors can definitely attest to the trials and tribulations that involve making sure that you always have a new work being published. Especially in the realm of self-publishing, you have to constantly be writing or you will simply make it nowhere. However, I know it will be worth it in time. I just kind of wish it was more 'now' rather than 'later'.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I've actually not heard a lot from my readers yet, most are still reading it or haven't bought it yet due to not having Kindles. I have one reader who commented that he loved all of it, and two others who found TDM's characters interesting and the plot coherent and engrossing. That's good enough for me, especially since it's my first novel and the sequel is already looking better in multiple ways.

Who are some authors that inspire you?
Currently Mark Z. Danielewski, author House of Leaves and Only Revolutions, is my main inspiration in that he plays with style, grammar, and text formatting in ways that absolutely blow my mind. Only Revolutions, for example, is a testament to postmodernism and how the future will only lead to even more radical, envelope-pushing ways of delivering a story. 

What is your own TBR pile?
I wish I could say, I've spent so much time writing recently that I haven't had much time to read! It's honestly depressing me. Currently, I'm working through Ilium by Dan Simmons, a novel about the Trojan War taking place in the far-flung future, and Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman, the spiritual sequel to The Forever War, about humanity fighting wars through automated robots called soldierboys.

Thank you, Miles.  It was fun talking to you!  Here are some of the links if you want to get in touch with Miles.

Links: 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mhcressman
Twitter: Azure_Horizon
Google+: Miles Cressman
Wordpress: www.paeantodreams.wordpress.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adding to my Wish List (7)

I love dystopian books (as you know) and this one sounds like a good one! 

And what a pretty cover . . .


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Goodreads blurb:

In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving.
 
In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade for food and other items essential for survival.

But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true, where there are real houses, barbecues, a school, and even baseball games. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing forever.

A Writer’s day by Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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A Writer’s Day

8.00 am: Wash breakfast dishes, make bed while mentally plotting out new novel. Wonder if J K Rowling still does own housework.
8.15 am: Must get down to revising ghost story for comp. Deadline looming. Head for office (smidgling portion of spare bedroom). Sidetracked by meowing cat. Cat thinks underfed. Meow alerts dogs. Dogs think cat overfed, set off in panting pursuit. Scream at dogs to leave cat alone. Constant scream. Neighbours think breeding ‘catalones’ – mutant animal species. Cat streaks to kitchen. Dogs follow, lose footing on polished flooring, pile up in doorway like freeway horror smash.
8.20. am: Switch on computer. Where did I file Ghost Story? Can’t remember. Original selection done by inspirational logic. Discover story filed under ‘article’. Story began as article on Satanism.
8.25 am: Stare at keyboard. Notice biscuit crumbs lodged beneath shift key. Dust keyboard, screen and then begin on bookshelves. Come upon book of ghost stories. Put duster aside and flip open book at page marked by dog-eared envelope. Envelope covered in barely legible scribbled notations, something re using dental floss for strangling murder victim. Would minty odour be detectable? File envelope under miscellaneous. Read ghost story.
8.45 am: Return to computer. Dejectedly conclude my story not up to standard of those in book. Notice have used ‘terror’ twice in same paragraph. Consult thesaurus. Reject alarm, awe, anxiety, dread, fear. Type in ‘horror’. Discover have used ‘horror’ in following paragraph.
9.00 am: Dog No 1 scratching on door to go out. Let dog out.
9.03 am: Dog No 1 whining to come back in. Let dog No 1 in. Dog No 2 slips out.
9.05 am: Have brill idea for hilarious piece of dialogue for humorous short story. Chuckle all the way to office. Save ghost story, call up humorous story. Type in dialogue. Read through. Doesn’t sound a bit funny.
9.10 am: Dog No 2 yapping to come back in. Intermittent yap. Like waiting for tap to drip. Sets neighbour’s dogs off. Raise voice to dog. Dog raises voice in reply.
9.12 am: Angrily let in dog No. 2. Dog No 1 wants to go out again. Refuse permission – in strong terms. Dog No 1 original for adage, ‘whichever side of the door dog is on, it’s the wrong side’. Disgruntled dog pees on plant box.
9.20 am: Agent phones. Still not happy with ending of children’s book. Wants further changes. Now sick to death of ruddy Thembu and his wobbly bloody bike. Tempted to have him career downhill, hit rock, land in river, drown. Dig in heels and refuse to murder darlings in second to last paragraph. Agree (grudgingly) to change final paragraph.
9.30 am: Dogs barking. Could be postman. Waiting for cheque from imageAmazon. Peer through window. Two elderly ladies lurking at gate clutching what looks like bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses? Shrink behind curtain. Run through list of plausible excuses for getting rid of: on the phone, bathing baby, stirring rapidly thickening custard? Peep through curtains – gone. Postbox has glass door (tip picked up from fellow writer). Postbox empty.
Notice grubby marks on curtains where cat perches on windowsill. Decide to wash curtains. Change mind on recalling mammoth task involved in unhooking them.
9.40 am: Return to computer. Add two more atmospheric adjectives to ghost story. Read through. Decide overdone it. Take one adjective out. Can’t bear to part with it. Look for somewhere else to put it.
10.00 am: Glance at clock. Reward hard work with coffee and biscuits.
10.15 am: Contemplate prodding editor of overseas mag re short story submitted months ago. Would correspondence jolt a ‘maybe’ into a rejection? Decide to wait two more weeks.
10.45 am: Consider more profitable ways of earning money. Second-hand bookshop perhaps. Could even write during slow periods. Reject idea. Would probably spend entire day reading.
11.15 am: Wonder if Woman’s World on radio saying something sensible. Might be interview with famous author. Could pick up useful tips. Kind of Listen While You Work. Switch on radio. Someone rabbiting on about calcium and osteoporosis. Guiltily aware of slouching over keyboard. Hurry to medicine cabinet. Swallow two calcium, a B6 and a Vit C. Offer dog No 3 a chewable Vit C. Heard that it is best thing you can do for dog. Dog No 3 eats anything. Dogs 1, 2 and 4 spit theirs out with mournful betrayed looks. Return to office. Sit stiffly upright to delay onset of dowager’s hump.
11.30 am: Friend phones to say picking me up for committee meeting at 18h30. Thought meeting was next week. Frantically scan minutes in case supposed to have actioned something.
11.38 am: Return to ghost story. Grammar grappler. Should ‘owing to’ rather be ‘due to’? Alter it to ‘because of”.
11.40 am: Dogs bark. Postman? Glance through window. Not sure if that is buff envelope nestling against brown brickwork at bottom of postbox. Must get round to painting base contrasting orange. Consider possibility of getting to postbox and back in curlers without being seen. Return, panting, with dead-boring leaflet for pool cleaning service.
11.45 am: Re-read ghost story. Change comma to semi-colon. Remember advice about exotic punctuation. Replace comma. Something lacking in story. Stare out of window. Pool shimmering in morning sunlight, but pool cleaner on go slow.
11.48 am: Pace around house looking for inspiration. Decide postman’s late.
11.50 am: Wander into bedroom. Re-check postbox. Worry that something untoward has happened to postman. Fling self down on imagebed. Hang head over edge. Sudden rush of blood to brain known to have worked inspirational wonders. Dogs think playing game. Dogs bound on bed. Dog No 4, (the shrieker) enthusiastically licks ear. Suddenly spots postman. Maniacal barking nearly bursts eardrum.
Airmail letter (small, thin) nestling in postbox. Could be from relatives – but could be from …? Notice publisher’s logo in top left-hand corner. Rip open envelope. “We have received your manuscript and will be replying in due course.”
12 noon: Watch Dr Phil. Usually plenty of conflict, ideas for plots, and I do the crossword while watching. All worthwhile literary pursuits. Besides, eat lunch at same time.
1.00 pm: News.
1.30 pm: Wash dishes. Glance out of kitchen window at drooping plant cuttings donated previous week by sister-in-law.
1.45 pm: Guiltily pot cuttings.
2.30 pm: Brisk walk to shop for bread and milk. Resolve to get on with writing on return.
2.45 pm: Hardly worth starting writing now. Decide to have half and hour with Jilly Cooper novel (reading is legitimate work – isn’t it?). Settee occupied by snoring dogs. Jostle dogs aside. Exhume several bones from beneath cushions.
3.30 pm: Reluctantly set book aside. Bring washing in before it gets damp. Do ironing while thinking up new ending for children’s book.
4. 00 pm: Now what should I make for supper?
It’s all go being a writer, isn’t it.

This was originally featured in
http://amoosewalkedintoabar.blogspot.com/2011/07/writers-day.html

Jan Hurst-Nicholson has been writing for about 25 years. Her articles, humorous articles and short stories have appeared in South African and overseas magazines and these were compiled into a book: ‘Something to Read on the Plane’ a bit of light literature, short stories & other fun stuff.

Janet for websiteHer first children’s book was ‘Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the missing canary eggs’ published by Gecko Books, and was one of Bookchat’s 1993 South African Books of the Year. This was followed by ‘Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the kidnapped mouse’ (both now available as e-books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble). These are humorous, animal, detective stories set in a nature reserve.

Born in the UK, Jan emigrated from Liverpool to South Africa in the 1970s.  Her experiences moving to a new continent were the inspiration for her humorous novel ‘But Can You Drink The Water?’ which was a semi-finalist (top 50 out of 5000) in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

She now lives in Durban with her husband, two dogs that are forever on the wrong side of the door, three elderly cats, and the occasional visiting troop of boisterous vervet monkeys.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Adding to my Wish List (6)

 

What an absolutely stunning cover!  I know, I know . . . but covers do matter!

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Goodreads blurb:

Last year, Pierce died - just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: tall dark and terrifying, it’s his job to usher souls from one realm to the next.
There’s a fierce attraction between them, but Pierce knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the underworld. But now things are getting dangerous for her, and her only hope is to do exactly what John says . . .

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In my Mailbox (21)

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I am joining In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren this week.  In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received in the mail or bought that week. 

I haven’t joined IMM in months, so I have a larger than usual mailbox :)

Firstly, I was lucky enough to be sent a RAK in August (see button in my sidebar).  Cherie surprised me with The Girl in the Steel Corset from my wish list.

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What a beautiful cover!  Thank you, Cherie!

Bella from Absolutely Obsessed and I RAK’ed each other and I received Firelight and Enclave.

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NetGalley was kind to me too and I was approved to received ARC copies of Crave and Eve.  Thank you NetGalley!

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I love dystopian books and was delighted when a friend gave me Outpost.  This is what I am currently reading.

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The Girl in the Steel Corset (The Steampunk Chronicles)by Kady Cross
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Crave by Melissa Darnell
Eve by Anna Carey
Outpost by Adam Baker

What did you receive in your mailbox?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

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Title: Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides
Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz
Release date: May 2011

I cannot imagine any other actor as Captain (don’t forget the “captain”) Jack Sparrow.  Johnny Depp just becomes this stumbling but very lovable drunk – he is a great actor. 

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Unfortunately not even Captain Jack Sparrow can save this movie.  I enjoyed the first two movies in the series but unfortunately it has definitely been going downhill from there.  This time around we are introduced to some new characters and off course there are some major budget special effects that makes for some enjoyable eye candy.  It was interesting finding some evil mermaids in the mix and as a secondary plot one of the crew falls in love with a very beautiful mermaid that seems to have a sweeter side.

 

I only watched this movie in the background while I was playing around on Twitter, so that should tell you more about my feelings about it than anything else I have written so far. (lol)

This popcorn movie is only recommended for fans of the series that will be satisfied with a few laughs.

allthedaysof2

Friday, September 16, 2011

Author Interview: Libby Heily

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When asked why I write, I usually stutter out a made up answer that I can't remember three seconds later.  I can't remember the very first time I decided I wanted to write, it's just something I kind of always did.  I wrote really bad poems as a kid, then horrible short stories as a teenager and then passable plays in college.  I'm an adult now (and nothing you can say can make me change my mind about that) and hopefully my writing has progressed with my age.  When I'm not spending my time with made up people in made up places doing made up things - some would call it lying- I'm generally reading, running, watching sports, drinking good beers  and eating too much food with the hubby.  I'd love to tell you I'm a mountain climber or an astronomer or something cool like that, but I'm not that cool.  In truth, some would say I'm nerdy.  But the Dr. Who poster above my computer would beg to differ.

Hey, being nerdy is very cool!

When did you start writing, Libby?
I started writing seriously in college. I was studying acting but was far more interested in rewriting plays than in learning lines.

You wanted to be an actress?  Wow, that is really cool too!  lol
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Right now, about a year. I have to write around my work schedule.

I know, work always interferes, doesn’t it!  What inspired you to write this book?
This is a group of short stories, the motivations for which were varied. Thank You For Calling and The Last Six Miles were heavily influenced by my time as a call center worker and a runner. Fourth Degree Freedom came to me in the form of a single sentence, "My son is a monster." She Floats started as a dream I had one night, a very creepy dream. The Event was the result of reading a lot of dystopian fiction and working with an elderly population.

I always find it so strange how stories comes into being!  It is amazing how one’s imagination works!
What kind of research did you have to do?
I didn't have to do much research at all. Most of the stories were in my wheelhouse, or were completely from the land of fiction. I got off easy that way. I've done plenty of research for other stories and novels. It's necessary and a great way to procrastinate.

Hey, you can tell me nothing about procrastination!  I am an expert!
Tell us a little about a typical day in your life.
I wake up around 6 am and work out. I work the day job from 9 - 6 with a one hour break for lunch/workout. Then it's home to the hubby and dinner and one to two hours of writing at night time. I then read until I pass out.

What is the hardest thing about being an author for you?
Writing is all about discipline. No one is there to force you to sit down and write. It's not like a job where either you show up and work or you're fired. It's difficult making yourself write when you'd rather be sleeping or socializing. You just have to make yourself do it.

I agree – it is much harder doing anything when someone is not looking over your shoulder! Do you hear from your readers much?  What do they say?
Most of the readers I've heard from are also followers on my blog. I post flash fiction every Friday and I encourage feedback. Their comments have been mostly complimentary with one or two wondering where the ideas came from. I haven't gotten any comments that have been too strange yet.

Just wait, the longer you write and the more famous you become, the weirdness will start!  lol  Who are some of the authors that inspire you?
Favorite authors include: Virginia Woolf, August Strindberg, Eugene O'Neill, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, Muriel Spark, Brock Clarke, and a host of others. Most influential, probably Dr. Seuss.

What is in your own TBR pile?  Is it as humungous as mine?
More books then I can count right now! I'm reading Haunting of Hill House and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea currently. I have Drood, Temple of my Familiar, War and Peace, and several Discworld novels ready to go in the near future. That's not counting what's on my kindle. :)

I have to admit, I have not had the nerve to read War and Peace yet – maybe someday!

Libby has published three books so far and you can see them below.

   

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http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12133035-twist-turn-and-burn

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12371148-fourth-degree-freedom

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12471212-grow-your-own-dad

Libby’s blog: http://libbyheily.blogspot.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fourth-Degree-Freedom-ebook/dp/B005H8M9MM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315357576&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fourth-degree-freedom-libby-heily/1105098555?ean=2940011464324&itm=1&usri=fourth%2bdegree%2bfreedom

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Review: Lord of the Vampires

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Title: Lord of the Vampires
Author: Gena Showalter
Series:  Royal House of Shadows
Genre: Paranormal Romance Fantasy
Publication date: 23 August 2011
Author’s website: http://members.genashowalter.com/page/lord-of-the-vampires
Source: NetGalley

This review was written for The Romance Reviews website –you can find it here

Goodreads blurb:

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with a need for vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.

Nicolai the Vampire is renowned for his virility, but in a cruel twist of fate “The Dark Seducer” has become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remains is a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who can help him.

When the wanton vampire summons Jane Parker, she is helpless to obey. She's drawn to his dark sexuality and into his magical realm. But for this human, all is not a fairy tale. For saving Nicolai could mean losing the only man she's ever craved...

My thoughts:
Gena Showalter is a legend in the Paranormal Romance world and when I saw her name on this book, I didn’t even look further – I wanted to read it!  And once again I wasn’t disappointed.


Jane is a scientist, with a secret past, that is still recovering physically and mentally from a car accident that left her an orphan.  When she receives a mysterious old book on her doorstep, she is magically transported to a different time and place where she meets the vampire, Nicolai.

Nicolai is a prince with no memory of his past.  All he knows is that Jane will help him be free of the enslavement he finds himself in.

Our couple, Jane and Nicolai, fit together perfectly.  From the start the chemistry was sizzling and you couldn’t help but root for them.  They “found” each other emotionally very quickly but I didn’t feel that this was a far fetched scenario – it just felt right.

Unfortunately Nicolai did have the tendency to turn into a mumbling cave- (vampire) – man whenever he got turned on.  “Mine” might have been overused a few times.  Luckily this didn’t faze Jane . . . and if you promise not to tell anyone . . . it is kinda sexy.   Who doesn’t want their love-one to refer to them as “mine” once in a while?

The scales are stacked against Jane and Nicolai and they find trouble in all forms around every corner!  The world they live in is not described in much detail but as this is only the first in the series, I am sure we will be learning more about it in future books.  Magic, however, is a big part of the story and it was easy to get overwhelmed.  Sometimes it was hard to keep up.  Luckily Nicolai is no novice when it comes to magic and he was able to stand up to everyone.

I love Gena Showalter and once again fans will have foolish grins on their faces when they read Lord of the Vampires.  Just a word of warning – the heat meter on this book might burn you!

allthedaysof3