Friday, February 28, 2014

The Dream Dress by Janice Thompson

The Dream Dress (Weddings by Design #3)Book Description:
A seamstress at a swanky bridal boutique, Gabi Delgado dreams of doing more than ripping out seams and fitting dresses to doe-eyed brides. She wants to see her own dress designs gracing the young women of Texas. When Jordan Spencer, the editor of Texas Bride magazine visits the shop to do a feature, Gabi is devastated to lose her job in his very influential presence. Convinced she'll never get her dreams off the ground now, Gabi needs lots of encouragement--especially from her friend Bella Neeley--to take a chance and start her business. And as she gets to know Jordan, she discovers that she may have to take a chance on love as well. Could it be that she'll have to design her own wedding dress soon?

My Thoughts:
I have completely enjoyed this series by Janice Thompson.  Gabi works in a wedding dress shop and wants to one day design her own dresses.  For now, she is stuck working for a strict boss.  Jordan comes in to do a feature and there is absolutely attraction between the two of them.  Gabi just doesn't have the self-confidence that she needs but with help she is pointed in the right direction!
I loved the characters!  The story was good, up and down emotions.  One moment you will be so sad then there will be a 'laugh out loud' moment.  I love the humor sprinkled throughout.  The characters had real life problems and not a fairy tale story, but a realistic one.  I like that about this author's style, the characters are realistic.  
I rate this a 4/5.  It is the third in the series but you don't have to read the other two to enjoy this one!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Author Interview of Sarah Kennedy!

Displaying 0051a5x7.jpgAW: Tell us about yourself…
My name is Sarah Kennedy and I love to write! I have been writing for almost as long as I can remember.  I have taken courses with the Institute of Children's Literature and Long Ridge Writer's Group.

AW: What genera do you write and why?
I am currently writing Fantasy with elements of Sci-fi blended in.  I started writing fantasy in high school as a form of survival in a troubled home environment.  (Long and private story, but the love of the fantastic stuck with me.)  Anyway, I write fantasy now because that is what I love and because there are stories in me that want to be told, and I hope, enjoyed by others. 
 I write other things as well.  As of right now they remain the private musings of an artist but someday they may see the light of another reader's eyes too.

AW: Tell us about your book….
I currently have two books.  Sgarrwrath, Prequel to the Prophecy of Hope is the introduction of the new series, Prophecy of Hope Saga, which I am currently launching with the release of Arising, Prophecy of Hope Book 1.  (available now)  Sgarrwrath is the story of Flame's division.  Flame is the most mysterious and powerful substance in the universe and Sgarrwrath has always wanted access to it.  Flame has always been beyond his reach until now.  Arising continues where Sgarrwrath ends.  Darkness is unleashed!  A world hangs in the balances.  The Time of the Prophecy has begun and so has Sgarrwrath's quest for the return of the Void.  There is only one who can stand against Sgarrwrath.  His name is Mhorag.  Mhorag is Sgarrwrath's greatest desire and also his worst fear.  To bring down the Prophecy and its incarnation, Mhorag, the evil Sgarrwrath declares war on all!

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?
Good question but not one that is easily answered.  The vast majority of the characters were conceived in high school and that difficult time, but Sgarrwrath's name was never written and his part of the story was never told.  Then my brother died suddenly.  Four months later, Sgarrwrath, Prequel to the Prophecy of Hope emerged from my grief and an entire fantasy series was officially born.

 AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?
Who can pick just one?  To be honest I would have to say whichever one I am writing at the time is my favorite.  If I have to pick just one I will say, the fallen Guardian Arawn because he is based on my brother.

 AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?
Sgarrwrath just flowed.  Arising went through multiple and drastic changes.  The ending was really hard.  Because the book is quite dark and the series is the "Prophecy of Hope Saga", I wanted the book to end with a touch of Light and hope but also pave the way for the next book, which begins very dark.  So it was hard to find that balance but in the end I think I succeeded.
 
 AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the next book in the Prophecy of Hope Saga.  Entitled:  Mhorag, Prophecy of Hope Book 2  I plan for the series to run at least 7 books.
 
 AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?
My day must start with a cup of hot tea and most days I like to have mood music in the background.  My favorites include Enya and Celtic Circle; sometimes I like heavier stuff or more classical.  I like to let my characters lead the direction of the story.  Sometimes I find the end result vastly different than "my plan."
 
 AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?
We are our own worst critics.  Don't give up.  Silence your demons and follow your dreams.

AW: Where can we find you?
www.facebook.com/prophecyofhopesaga   www.twitter.com/@Sgarrwrath  http://www.sgarrwrath.com/  I am also on Goodreads.com; Shelfari.com 
AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book?
http://www.sgarrwrath.com/   http://www.xlibris.com/   http://www.amazon.com/  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ Plus the order desk of your favorite book store or by calling 888-795-4274 ext.7879

The Witch Who Cried Wolf by Sarah Makela

The Witch Who Cried Wolf (Cry Wolf, #1)Book Description:
Be careful what you wish for…
A potion gone wrong: Mia Brooks is a reluctant witch, with powers that she tries to hold in check. But when her magic gets mixed up, supernatural forces are unleashed and suddenly she’s being pursued by werewolves—that she didn’t even realize existed…
Hidden emotions: Ethan Parker, Mia’s brother’s best friend, is home from deployment for the holidays. Mia’s not only hiding from werewolves, she’s trying to keep her feelings for Ethan secret; it would be a disaster if he knew she’s been nursing a long-time crush…
The power of love: things take a terrifying turn when Mia and Ethan are attacked by a werewolf. Ethan is amazed when Mia reveals her paranormal prowess as she tries to shield them from danger. But can she really protect them from the darkness that lurks? And how can he tell her that, for ages, he’s been denying what he really wants? Mia...

My Thoughts:
I completely enjoyed this novella.  Mia is a witch.  Her family doesn't know it, especially her brother and his best friend.  Her mentor is trying to get her to be more 'witchy' but unlike some, Mia can't just wear her power out there.  It must be controlled and hidden.  After she mixes a potion for a man, life as she knows it changes.  She and her brother's best friend, Ethan, are attacked by a werewolf and she learns there are more than just witches in the paranormal world...much more, deadlier creatures.
I liked Mia from the start.  She was just herself, afraid to let others see what she was in case they treated her like the Salem Witches, but herself nonetheless.  She has crushed on Ethan for years, but he is her brother's best friend and she knows he has never thought of her as more than an annoyance.  I liked the twisting of the paranormal with the real world.  I also liked that Ethan is a central character and not just the focus of her desire.  He has loved her and been an inaugural part of her life for years and has his own back story.  The fear she felt revealing her secret to Ethan, both for him and herself was palpable.  Her brother was a protective man and I couldn't stand Mia's boyfriend.  I did enjoy her potion making accident though!
I rate this a 5/5.  I just couldn't put it down!

Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

**This book contains adult themes/situations/language***

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shady Deals by Cindy McDonald

Shady Deals (The Unbridled Series)Book Description:
Hot Romance Shaded in Lies and Murder! 
Kate West and Dr. Holden Reese have put their troubled past behind them and are ready to set a wedding date. There;s only one thing in Holden's way: a powerful drug Lord at Keystone Downs Thoroughbred Race Track has Holden under his thumb, and he's not letting go! 
Kate's family is determined to get to the bottom the of horse drugging ring, and when the West's get too close to the truth the Drug Lord sends them a brutal message that can't be misinterpreted. Now Holden is on the run, and he's dragging Kate with him. 
Can he escape his indiscretions? 
How long can he keep Kate in the dark? 
And how damning will the truth be when it's finally revealed

My Thoughts:
This was a  pretty good romantic suspense book.  Holden and Kate are getting ready for a wedding but Holden has a big secret.  He is not able to break ties with a drug lord who has no problems using violence.  When things turn deadly, Holden takes Kate and runs, with Kate still in the dark!
I liked the author's style of writing.  She does a great job of making the story flow.  My problem with the whole book was not 'knowing' the characters.  I wasn't as invested in them as if (I believe) I had been through everything with them.  I think if you read their other stories and knew the characters better that this book would be AMAZING.  That being said, it was still a good book and there was suspense and hot romance involved.  I rate this a 3/5.  I think it would be better to read the ones earlier in the series first.
Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book (via Pumpupyourbook).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Interview of Author Kimberley Payne!

                      Kimberley Payne Adam’s Animals Kickstarter Campaign


AW: Tell us about yourself…

I am an award-winning author and a member of The Word Guild, Inscribe Christian Writer’s Fellowship, and John 3:16 Marketing Network.
I combine my teaching experience and love of writing to create educational materials for mothers and children about family, fitness, science and faith.

AW: What genera do you write and why?

I write non-fiction books, ranging from activity books for children, to devotional writings, to health and fitness workbooks.


AW: Tell us about your book….

My latest project is Adam’s Animals”, a children’s activity book that features over 40 animals mentioned in the Bible and little-known facts about each. It’s ideal for 6 to 9 year olds, for home or school use and classroom sharing in grades 1-3 to supplement the Life Sciences Curriculum on Animal Life. It is the second book in the Science and Faith Matters series. The first book, “Trees of the Book – Learning from God’s Creation”, is a colourful introduction to trees, leaves and their corresponding Bible stories.

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?

Years ago, my daughter wrote a little book called, “Did you know...fascinating and fun facts about animals around the world” as a fundraiser to go to camp. I helped her with it and loved discovering new things about God’s creation.


AW: Do you have a favorite animal and why that one?

I loved learning about the leopard. This big cat can climb trees, run fast, and swim. He’s powerful and smart. My kind of creature!


AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

There was a ton of research. Not only did I have to dig through the Bible to discover the animals mentioned, but then I had to research each individually to uncover five unusual facts.


AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?

Sometimes when I get typing fast, I pretend I’m at a piano plunking out a song.


AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?

Some projects may feel too large to start, but if you chop it up into smaller chunks and concentrate on finishing a little piece at a time, it’ll be much more manageable and not nearly so scary.


AW: Where can we find you? 






AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? 

This is the exciting part! The book is still in manuscript form. I am hoping to bring the project to life with the direct support of friends, colleagues and family.

As the book creator, I have set a funding goal of $3500, with a deadline of February 28th, 2014. If you like my book idea, you can pledge any amount of money to make it happen.
As the book backer, you choose from a number of rewards based on the amount of financial support you pledge. For example, backers who pledge a minimum of $5, will receive a choice of one of two of my e-books: 1) Fit for Faith - 7 weeks to improved spiritual and physical health, OR 2) Women of Strength - a devotional to improve spiritual and physical health. Backers who pledge a minium of $15 will receive an autographed copy of “Adam’s Animals”. Backers who pledge a minimum of $175 will be listed on the “Dedication” page at the back of the book PLUS will receive an autographed copy of “Adam’s Animals”.
Backing “Adam’s Animals” is more than just giving money. Writers need encouragement and you would be supporting my dream of creating a valuable resource for children and parents.
To support the creation of “Adam’s Animals” please visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamsanimals/adams-animals-a-childrens-activity-book


Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Where Courage CallsBook Description:
Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected... 
Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father's wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way. 
But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she'd feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don't even speak English. There isn't even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth's heart is torn between two young men--both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once. 
Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she's had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?

My Thoughts:
I think I have enjoyed every Janette Oke book I have ever read.  This one was no different.  Beth is leaving her 'safety net' and going out to teach.  It isn't what her mother wants but she does get encouragement.  Going to a mining town to teach, she leaves all modern conveniences behind and is trusting in God.  Add to her tests are two romantic interests!
I really liked Beth.  She was strong and determined, but not overly pushy.  She wants to teach and doesn't hate her mother for not wanting that life for her but instead just wants her own life.  I love how she went from the conveniences of life to having none of them!  There are some romantic elements but I wouldn't call this a romance book.  More of a pioneer book with wonderfully written characters and scenes!
I rate this a 4/5.  It is good for preteens to adults. (I'd say 11 and up!)
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via litfuse).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Killer Image by Wendy Tyson

Killer Image (Allison Campbell Mystery #1)Book Description:
As Philadelphia’s premier image consultant, Allison Campbell helps others reinvent themselves, but her most successful transformation was her own after a scandal nearly ruined her. Now she moves in a world of powerful executives, wealthy, eccentric ex-wives and twisted ethics. 

When Allison’s latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client’s innocence when no one else will. But unraveling the truth brings specters from her own past. And in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish what’s real from the fa├žade may be the only thing that keeps Allison alive.

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all! KILLER IMAGE is the first in the Allison Campbell mystery series.

My Thoughts:
This was a good book.  Allison Campbell is an image consultant.  She is successful and now has been pulled into a tangled web!  Her client, a fifteen year old daughter of a hopeful politician, Maggie is the center of it all.  While Allison is all for helping her clients change their appearance and help their self-image, Maggie is the main suspect in a murder investigation.  No one else seems to care if Maggie is railroaded, but Allison won't let that happen.  She will put herself in danger to prove Maggie's innocence.  
I really liked Allison.  She isn't just someone who is telling women they are in need of a makeover and parading them around.  She has gone through her own personal transformation and now wants to help others.  The fact that she was determined to make sure Maggie wasn't railroaded was great.  The author does a great job with her secondary characters and making them real but fit into their roles so completely.  Mystery along with some romance in this one!
I rate this a 4/5.  It was an amazing start to a series I intend to read more of!

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book (via Pumpupyourbook).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep

Book Description:

I've battled the Reapers of Chaos before--and survived. But this time I have a Bad, Bad Feeling it's going to be a fight to the death. . .most likely mine.
Yeah, I've got my psychometry magic, my talking sword, Vic, and even the most dangerous Spartan on campus at my side in Logan freaking Quinn, but I'm no match for Loki, the evil Norse god of chaos. I may be Nike's Champion, but at heart, I'm still just Gwen Frost, that weird Gypsy girl everyone at school loves to gossip about.
Then someone I love is put in more danger than ever before, and something inside me snaps. This time, Loki and his Reapers are going down for good . . . or I am.

My Thoughts:
This is the last in the Mythos series.  Gwen knows the last battle is coming up soon.  There will be a final fight, winner take all....literally.  She has her friends and they always have her back, but this time is different.  She can't ask them to go against who she has to go against.  Her magic is strong and she knows she must save everyone, Nike has told her that she is the only one who can kill the crazy god , Loki.  The Reapers aren't pulling any punches and are playing dirty taking someone she loves, but she will get them back no matter what the cost.
I was both excited about and dreading this book.  I have grown to love all the characters in this series.  Gwen has grown and changed throughout and I still adore her.  To have something so huge put on her and to go through all she has had to battle, she is amazing.  Her friends are wonderful.  I love each and everyone of them.  Logan, her boyfriend, well he is getting past his issues on several levels and is still hot!  I enjoyed the whole story...really the whole series.  I'm sad to see it end but the author did a great job with this book and wrapping it all up nicely.
I rate this a 5/5.  I love the series and would start with book 1 but it is a great sereis!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via netgalley).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Interview of Author R.G. Triplett

Displaying 3 BW.jpgAW: Tell us about yourself…

I think I would call myself an artist at heart. The way I cook, the way I write, the way I communicate and make music and tell stories - even the way I smoke a cigar and savor a good bourbon - always comes with the motivation to discover or uncover a new aspect of beauty. In each moment, with whatever medium I have access to - whether it be horses, or holy scriptures or hyperbole - beauty is what I hope to find, and frequently what I hope to create. Also, I would call myself a bit of an epic nerd. I love stories with layers of history and allegory. 

AW: What genre do you write and why?
Fantasy, because if I am honest, that is where I would probably most like to be… in a world where the battle lines are more distinctly drawn.

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?

I had just finished reading The Singer Trilogy by Calvin Miller, and I loved the idea of telling the story of God, but without being so "on the nose".

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?

There are bits of me and my heart in each one of the characters, parts of my story and those who have influenced me (whether good or bad). I think the character I love the most is Engelmann the Arborist. He is the sage that I never had in real life… the one that I have always prayed for. I guess since I never had an older man to want to walk with me through the minefields… I had to write my own.

AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

The writing… not really. However, the refining of it? That is a different story altogether. 

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?

Book Two of the trilogy. Just finished the 100th page.

AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?

I may or may not read back the story in a pretty crappy Irish/English voice. For some reason, without even thinking about it… this just happens every single time.

AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?

Create in a community. I have 2-3 trusted dreamers that help me process the plot lines and flesh out the motivations of the story. They make it better every time.

AW: Where can we find you? 

@rgtriplett

AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? 



Displaying _Final-eBook-Cover copy.jpgWhat made you decide to self-publish the book?

I originally thought I would go through the traditional publishing hoops, but after talking to several published authors and researching the industry, I discovered that I had access to a team of people that could produce a far superior product to most publishers out there. By self publishing, not only could I invite others into the process of this dream coming to life, but I could maintain creative control of the work that I spent a year of my life refining. And I could keep a lot more of the profits too! So... Lost Poet Press was born.

Any tips for authors who hope to self-publish their work?

A HUGE part of our process was kickstarter. We were able to raise over $12,000, which completely covered all marketing, design, printing, and distribution costs of the book. Plus, now we have an army of kickstarter backers who are excited to help promote the book and be a part of the dream. It's been a really incredible process.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Amish Boyfriend by Melody Carlson

My Amish BoyfriendBook Description:
Sixteen-year-old Shannon McNamara plans to get three things this summer--a driver's license, a job, and a tattoo--until a move to rural Ohio and a handsome Amish boy make her think twice. 

Teen favorite Melody Carlson brings fans another sweet story of worlds--and families--colliding, exploring themes important to teen girls through an engaging tale.

My Thoughts:
This was an interesting book.  Shannon is all set to have her summer to herself.  Her mother is ill so she has a plan.  Get a job, get a license and get a tattoo.  Her best friend won't be around and her mother is out of it because of the medicine she is on so she thinks she can get by with it.  That is until she comes home and the neighbor taking care of her mother has made plans for Shannon and her mother to go stay with family Shannon never even knew existed!
I think the author did a great job of capturing Shannon the teenager.  She isn't happy with not having control of her life, or enjoying life because she is taking care of her sick mother.  At the same time, she doesn't begrudge helping her mom.  She strives hard to please her new family, who incidentally is Amish.  The 'falling in love' aspect was very teenager-ish and as an adult you want to say, that isn't how it happens, but at the same time, it is about teenagers!  So not necessarily a book that I would re-read but one I would give to my teenage niece.
I rate it a 4/5.  I think most teens would enjoy it.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Guestblog by Author Carey Heywood

image.jpegBetter was inspired by my own story.
Cancer and Harry Potter
You wouldn’t think cancer would be the first thing someone thinks about when thinking of Harry Potter, but for me, it always will be.
I had not read the book when the first movie came out. It was just before Christmas 2001. At the time, I lived in Phoenix, but I was back home in Alexandria for a visit.
My father was ill, having had a stroke earlier that year. Being home was hard, and seeing him like that was surreal. I had an escape though—my friend, Cameron. Cameron was one of those guys that it took me too long to figure out just how wonderful he was.
We met in seventh grade French class. My mother met his mother the night before, and she made a point of telling me that Cameron and I should be friends.
When I saw him, I disagreed. While he was always handsome, he had a quirky fashion sense that I did not get. It was middle school, and I was trying so hard to fit in. He didn’t seem to mind standing out though, and he was always wearing this ridiculous trench coat. We became friends.
To this day, I’m not certain that I have ever known someone as truly sweet and generous as Cameron was. I say was because Cameron died. That’s where the cancer comes in. I’ll get back to that.
At the end of and after high school, I was in an extremely toxic and abusive relationship. During one of our breakups, I went out on a couple of dates with Cameron. Looking back, I wish I had been ready for him, but I wasn’t. My head was not in the right place to deal with accepting my attraction to the guy with the mohawk when I was still all messed-up over a guy who was nothing but a thug. Cameron was too different.
I moved away, and when I came back for a visit, we went on another date. He took me to the little Chinese place next to where the Blockbuster was. Over dinner, he told me he had cancer.
He learned this during his freshman year at a college. He kept having stomach pains and went twice to the student clinic, only to be sent away with painkillers.
The next time, his mom told him to go to the emergency room. They found a tumor.
I remember being shocked over dinner but not scared. Nobody I knew had died of cancer. He would be fine.
We kept in touch while I was in Arizona, talking on the phone maybe once every couple of months. Just as I suspected, the cancer went away. He beat it. He even went back to school and worked up the nerve to ask some girl out. I was jealous.
He never got a chance to go on that date. The cancer came back, and he moved back home to Virginia.
The next time I saw him was December 2001. He looked different but not bad. We went to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. He had already seen it, but he took me anyway.
That was his way, always looking out for me. We swam together during high school. I remember my coach wanted me to join this other team. I was scared because I wouldn’t know anyone. Cameron decided to join too.
He looked at me, so serious. “We’ll carpool.”
And then, through that awful relationship, I remember him putting his hands on either side of my face, trying to convince me I deserved better, wanting to beat up my ex for hurting me.
That December in 2001, I was home one week, and I saw Cameron three times.
I was busy when I first got back to Arizona. I didn’t call him right away. When I did, it was just after New Year’s. He was in the hospital. I spoke to his younger brother. He told me Cameron overdid it when I was in town. I didn’t know.
Cameron called me when he got out of the hospital. It was the first time I actually considered that he might die. I remember saying that he couldn’t die, that I was putting my foot down, like I had any power. I made him promise me he wouldn’t die, and he did. He promised. When we hung up, I was certain he would beat it again. That was the last time I ever spoke to him.
image.jpegWhen my caller ID flashed his name, I answered all happy and excited to talk to him. But it wasn’t him. It was his dad.
The second he said, “This is Cameron’s dad,”I knew.
We didn’t talk long, and I honestly don’t remember anything after he said, “Cameron is gone.”
At the time, I was a smoker. I went out on my front porch to cry and have a smoke. I lived in Phoenix. It never really got windy unless there was a monsoon, which between you and me, I never understood what the big deal was. It was just rain. It rained all the time in Virginia. Either way, it was windy, really windy, and there wasn’t a monsoon. It felt like Cameron was coming to say good-bye, using the wind to wipe the tears from my face.
After that night, I began to associate wind with feeling Cameron’s presence. I would lie in bed at night and turn the ceiling fan above my bed to the highest setting to imagine it was him. He was the wind.
Harry Potter helped me grieve. It gave me time to rest in my memories of Cameron. I bought each book as they came out and saw each movie.
When the second movie came out, I went by myself on opening weekend. It was packed, standing in line with little kids dressed up as wizards. I had people, strangers really, sitting on either side of me. They probably thought I was off when I sobbed through the opening credits. I just wished Cameron were there with me. That familiar opening melody broke my heart.
By the third movie’s release, I had a boyfriend. We were pretty serious, but he understood why I went to that movie alone. I told him about Cameron. When we became engaged,he started to come with me. He would hold my hand while I cried.
The last two movies were hard. The books were all out. The end was in sight. During Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, I came close to inflicting bodily harm on the people sitting behind me who were laughing during that scene at the end with Harry and Dobby on the beach. Didn’t they know? Couldn’t they understand these movies, this experience, meant so much to me? The last movie was the hardest for me.
I am now married to a wonderful man, andwe have beautiful children. I understand how blessed I am. I mourn the what-if with Cameron,and even if nothing had ever come of us, I feel sad every day because the world lost such a beautiful soul.
So, for me, Harry Potter will always make me think of Cameron and the cancer that took him away.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Interview of Author Edward L. Cote!!!

Displaying VioletSkies-EbookFrontCover-6x9-300dpi.jpgAW: Tell us about yourself…

I'm a nontraditional student at the University of Kansas. I've lived in Lawrence for years. I learned to read when I was four, read Dune when I was twelve, and finished high school in three years. I've dabbled in writing all my life but only recently started to seriously pursue it.

AW: What genera do you write and why?

Ed: This project is YA fantasy but I'm interested in a wide variety of genres and media. My next project will probably be a movie, unless you count the games from the Violet Skies license as their own project. This one became YA early on because the prose was very simple and easy to read, its moral stance was relatively clear, and that's where the market for this story is. Too much of what's being marketed as YA these days just isn't. I think there's demand for something a little more positive, "clean" as I've heard it called.

AW: Tell us about your book….

Ed: Violet Skies is the first book in a series of the same name. Each book is a novella around 40,000 words. The series is the story of Taya Mindaerel, daughter of the Oracle of the Prairie Winds. They live in a world divided into city-states, each ruled by a powerful immortal wizard known as a Magus. Their ruling Magus happens to be the most benevolent of them all, but that's not saying much. The Oracle foresees that they are being hunted by a man on a flesh-eating horse, so they flee to seek the aid of their Magus, Olbinaar. On the way they meet the other main characters, all teens. Alex is a charming scoundrel with secrets and regrets. Brand is an honorable master swordsman with no secrets and even more regrets. Ogger is a wild creature, innocent but feral. Olbinaar helps them, at least at first, but ultimately only for his own reasons . . .

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?

Ed: There were several. The series is highly allegorical so current events and culture would be one. Others range from anime to Zelazny. I wanted to play with reconstruction of sorts- getting back to Good vs Evil, throwing out a lot of the conventions of the past 25 years or so that I think have become somewhat cliche and the more recent trends (paranormal romance, sci fi dystopia) that I felt have kind of become fads. Twilight and the Hunger Games were successful in large part because they were different. I hope that Violet Skies can succeed because it is just a little different.

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?

Ed: Taya would be the obvious choice, because she's the protagonist and I feel a little like she's the daughter I never had. Also people (both characters and readers) keep underestimating her and that can be interesting to write. Ogger can be challenging and he often stirs things up. Alex is charming without Dibian's malice. Brand is so simple, yet so conflicted. There's more to all of them than meets the eye. Dibian and Der'aevis are just plain fun I must admit, each in his own way. Der'aevis is a jolly psychopath and it can be fun to ham it up a little if I do it sparingly. Dibian is a selfish liar (who knows that the best lies are half-truths) and manipulative rat bastard who just does not understand the very concept of anyone else's rights or even personhood. He's clearly a sociopath, but the OCD? That he hides, fairly well. Usually. I love them all to varying degrees, except Arvis. He can go die in a fire. He's the only character in the whole series whom I actually despise. When you meet him you'll understand.

AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

Ed: Just getting started really. Both in terms of starting to write and starting the series. That and all the technical difficulties. Formatting alone is a real bear, the ebooks at least. Now I have to promote and learn how to do that. This is my first book. It was never going to be easy.

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?

Ed: I'll be working on Violet Skies for the next five years at least. I might take on side projects as time permits but this is my main one for now.

AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?

I kind of hate the term "pantser", it just sounds like a juvenile insult. I much prefer Martin's analogy of "architects and gardeners". I do tend to make things up as I go for the most part though. I create the best characters I can and then I just sort of turn them loose. One will act and another will react and it all just snowballs from there. I know generally how things will go because I know the characters and their situations very well, but there are always surprises.

AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?

Ed: Yes, discipline. You have to learn discipline. You have to be able to sit down and make yourself read, research, promote and of course write even when you don't feel like it. You have to manage your time and make the most of it. This is the single biggest thing holding me back at this point. Discipline is the most important trait for any artist or anyone who is effectively self-employed to have. It's even more important than luck and talent. Stephen King writes at least something every single day, even Christmas. Joe Konrath writes almost every day, even having largely given up convention appearances and such. That's how they're so prolific and successful. How do you break the 20 book mark? By writing every day.

It also helps to read a lot. Call it market research if you need an excuse.

AW: Where can we find you? 

Ed: My blog is the hub of my presence on the web: EdwardLCote.blogspot.com and I try to get on Twitter at least twice a week: @EdwardLCote I keep my blog professional and I'm actually fairly proud of it. My Twitter feed has a lot of political stuff though, and retweets from Jim Gaffigan etc. Zach Galifianakis is probably the funniest guy on Twitter. I kind of wish he'd tweet more often.

AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? 

I have started a page on my blog where I'll keep all the links to where my work is for sale: http://edwardlcote.blogspot.com/p/buy-copies.html that way it will always be available and readers can just check back there in the future as it is updated. I'm pretty sure I've covered most of the major formats but let me know if I've missed anything.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Road Unknown by Barbara Cameron

Book Description:
Elizabeth is at a crossroad. She's been given the chance to experience life outside of her community, away from the responsibility to care for her eight younger siblings, but Elizabeth Bontrager can't decide whichroad to take. Goshen has its charms and pressures, but Paradise, Pennsylvania, sounds . . . well, like paradise. And it's also home to her Englisch friend, Paula. Decision made. Elizabeth is Paradise bound.
But will the small town live up to its name? When Elizabeth meets Paula's friend, Bruce, she quickly learns he wants more than a friendship. And the same might be true of Saul Miller, her new boss at the country story that sells Amish products to the Englisch community. As the two compete for her attention, Elizabeth is surprised to realize she misses her family and becomes even more uncertain about where she belongs. She has a choice to make: return home or embrace this new life and possibly a new love?


My Thoughts:
I really love Amish fiction.  Elizabeth has been given a chance to leave her home, responsibilities and start a new life adventure.  Paradise is her destination.  She will live in an English world while being Amish.  Two men take an interest in her (one Amish, one English).  As the time passes, Elizabeth realizes she misses her home but she does like her new life.
I really liked Elizabeth.  She was on such an exciting adventure and to go from living Amish to living with English conveniences had to be amazing.  Bruce seemed like a really great guy, as did Saul.  I honestly wasn't sure about Saul to begin with but as the story unfolded I liked him more and more.  This is a good, quick read and if you like Amish stories, you will love this book.
I rate this a 4/5.  It was a good read.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via litfuse).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Interview of Author Mark Tedesco

Displaying Mark Tedesco.jpgAW: Tell us about yourself…

Writing is a talent and passion that I recently discovered. My first book was in the form of a memoir, in which I reflected on my years in a Vatican seminary. I wrote it as part of my own
growth process; only afterwards did I show it to others who encouraged me to get it published. It is the same with my other published work: I write from passion and his own interest, and not for an “audience”. Currently, I teach history to high school students in Los Angeles. Being in contact with so many
young lives broadens one’s horizons and the interesting stories teachers tell could also be the subject of a great book!
After eight years living in Rome, I feel drawn to the ancient world. Egypt, Greece and Rome all have a life of their own in my imagination. After hearing of the story of John and Paul, two 4th century soldiers under Constantine, I began a quest to learn about their world and their lives, resulting in the publishing of my latest novel.

AW: What genera do you write and why?

Memoir: I reflected on my experience in a Vatican seminary and beyond in “Undeniable Longing: My Road to and from the Priesthood”. This began as a reflection written for myself but unexpectedly evolved into my first book. By reaching deep into my own experience others have gained insight into their own.Poetry: “Loving, Hoping, Believing” are poems that welled up within my already written. These poems are an intense expression of love, passion and longing. Historical novel: “I am John, I am Paul: A Story of Two Soldiers in Ancient Rome” was the result of eight years of research and writing. It is a true and beautiful story of the bond and commitment of two Roman soldiers in the 4th  century.

AW: Tell us about your book….

Displaying 16145331.jpg“I am John, I am Paul; A Story of Two Soldiers in Ancient Rome”.  The book is a historical novel, the product of eight years of research, and gives an accurate picture of life in 4th century Rome under Constantine and Julian, Emperors. The story is truly gripping as these two soldiers experience the cataclysmic times in which they lived, their bond to one another, and their decision to follow “The Way” .The nature of the bond between the two men is left up to the reader to decide, but their
attachment to their belief and to one another is apparent. Fox News reviewed the book in these words: "Adventure, intrigue, faith, commitment, love and hate and everything between! Mark Tedesco has done it again, fashioning what is arguably his best work yet! He entices you on a phenomenal journey into the fascinating lives of two 4th century Roman soldiers, John and Paul, in a tale of loyalty and love that grabs you by the throat from the very first sentence and holds you spellbound, gasping for air as you're swept from chapter to chapter with barely a moment to breathe. An unbelievable marriage of fact and fiction that will leave you applauding or appalled
but never bored or indifferent. A must read!"-Tony McEwing, Fox News

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?

When I was visiting a friend in Rome nearly ten years ago, he told me the story of John and Paul, two soldiers who lived under the reign of Constantine. When he told me the last recorded words that John said to Paul, I wondered about what type of life they lived up to that point that enabled them to have such a bond with one another and a conviction about the meaning of their lives. This started me on a quest to find out more about these two soldiers. After that, the book wrote itself.

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?

John is my favorite character because he is the seeker. He looks for the meaning behind things rather than just accepting them at face value. He delves into the Mithraic mystery cult in order to try to make sense of his exile; he later opens himself up to the “Way” so that he might partake of Paul’s journey. His courage and loyalty are unquestionable, yet he is able to feel empathy and love.

AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

The challenge in writing this book was to gather the research and to make sure that everything written was historically accurate. Fortunately I studied Latin and was able to read the original Latin records, and I was also able to return to Rome many times to research and understand the cult of Mithras and the home of John and Paul. The most difficult scene for me to write was the scene towards the end of the story when Fulvia,
the sister of John, is brought some tragic news. Without giving the plot away, the writing of this scene took a toll on my emotionally and tears were rolling down my face as I typed the words.

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the follow up to my first book; it will be a memoir entitled “Dimensions of the Heart”. In it, I will explore relationships that have lasted and others that have not, and the lessons contained in each one.

AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?

Weightlifting is my hobby and I love to lift alone or with friends. The gym is part of my daily routine and I love to set fitness goals or just let off steam by physical exercise. Also, at least twice a week I am asked if I am in the military or am a police officer; I am neither but rumors still spread. A coworker stopped me in the bathroom once to inquire: “I heard you fought in Desert Storm!?” I laughed.

AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?

A true author is an artist and writes out of his/her need to write. It is a passion which is its own reward. Commercial success is icing on the cake, but if it becomes the motivating factor, the creative core becomes stale. Commercial success does not equal greatness and I hope that aspiring authors write something great.

AW: Where can we find you?

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Tedesco/e/B00A504PO2
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/415912.Mark_Tedesco

AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book?

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Tedesco/e/B00A504PO2