Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Tour Blast: UNFINISHED BUISNESS by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

Unfinished Business 

Genre: Chic Lit, Paranormal 

When Angela's mother Fran dies and comes back as a ghost, Angela's ordinary life turns into a carnival show, starring both Angela and her nosy, dead mother. It seems Fran's got some unfinished business on earth and she's determined to get it done, no matter what. When Fran returned, she reignited her daughter's long suppressed psychic gift, one she neglected to mention to Angela, and now Angela sees ghosts everywhere. And they won't leave her alone. Fran can't help but stick her transparent nose where it doesn't belong, making Angela's life even crazier. Now Angela has to find a way to keep her old life in tact and help the dead with their unfinished business, all while trying to keep her dead mother out of trouble. And it's a lot for one woman to handle. 

Purchase Unfinished Business: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Carolyn Ridder AspensonAbout the Author

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson is a freelance writer based in Cumming, GA. She lives with her husband and three children, two dogs and one cat. Carolyn doesn't see ghosts, but swears she'd be okay with it, as long as it was only during daylight hours.   

Follow the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter     

Ends 6/16/13 Open to US residents  
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: SHADOW OF NIGHT by Deborah Harkness

4 of 5 stars

In this second book of the All Souls Trilogy, Matthew and Diana travel back in time to 1590 in the hopes of finding a teacher who can unlock the secret of Diana's magic and to find the elusive Ashmole 782 manuscript. Trying to pass as an Elizabethan woman proves challenging for Diana and she begins to attract unwanted attention. Matthew is more than a mere noble during this time and he finds it a challenge to balance his responsibilities to family, friends and the crown.

This book was a pleasant surprise especially as I thought the first book was disappointing. The story moved along nicely as the author wove in historical events. I do think that it was a bit much that Matthew was friends or knew every major figure of the time. There was a lot of history included and that may turn off some readers who are not enamored with the Elizabethan period. I enjoyed the romance between Matthew and Diana as they learned how to navigate the joys and pitfalls of marriage. Of all the characters, I absolutely loved the old witch Goody Alsop and Matthew's nephew Gallowglass. They both added much to the story line. 

As this is a trilogy, this second book ends on a cliffhanger with many major story lines yet to wrap up. I hope it's not too long before the final volume is published. I'm looking forward to what hopes to be an exciting conclusion to this story.

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Top Pinterest Boards to Create to Promote Yourself and Your Books

Pinterest isn't just for arts and crafts. Many businesses are finding ways to use the social media juggernaut to promote their brand and their products. Through the boards they create and the pins they share, there are limitless possibilities for getting their brand out there and in front of a large audience.

As a writer, you can also use the site to promote yourself and your books. There are many creative ways you can use the site, depending on the kinds of books you write and the kind of audience you want to reach. Here are a few ideas for some of the top Pinterest boards you can create to promote yourself and your books:

Book Catalogue
If you have several published books under your belt, you can create a virtual book shelf by creating a Pinterest board dedicated to them. Be sure to include keyword-rich descriptions under each book title and to include an updated link to where it can be purchased on Amazon or another online marketplace. Also, if several versions of your book have been printed, be sure to select the most attractive and compelling cover. Pinterest is a visual medium, after all, so the most eye-catching photo will get the most views.

Character Boards
This is where you can really have some fun. Create boards for each of your favorite characters or for your main characters. For each board, choose pins that reflect what you think are the characters' favorite foods, music, movies, books, colors, places to visit and so on. Pin photos of hobbies, interests, career aspirations and anything else you can think of that your character would like. The more you can add to the board, the more interesting and three-dimensional you will make your characters, helping readers to feel more connected to them.

Settings and Places from Novels
A picture is worth 1,000 words. Sometimes, no matter how well you describe a place, readers just won't be able to see it in their minds the same way you see it. Bring the settings and places from your novels to life with Pinterest boards. If they are real places -- like a small village in Italy or a quirky neighborhood in San Francisco -- this should be very easy to do. If they are imagined places, you can find pictures that most closely resemble what you had in mind.

When you are writing, you take inspiration from all kinds of places. Share that inspiration with your readers. Show them the photos of the places, the art work, and the things that inspired you. Share pictures of the musicians whose work you listened to while you were writing. Share pictures of the authors who inspire you. Share pictures of the people who inspired your characters. Not only will you give readers a deeper appreciation of your work, but you'll also create a board that you can refer to again and again for inspiration for future projects.

Book Readings and Events
Help readers learn about all the latest readings and other events that you will attend. Creating pins linking to readings on your tour or to other appearances that you will make. Make sure that the board is updated and that the links are all active. 

There are many more ways that you can promote yourself and your books on Pinterest with just a little creativity. Try some of these great ideas for Pinterest boards or come up with your own unique boards that best reflect the tone and style of your book (or books).

What boards have you created on Pinterest to promote your books? Share your best ideas in the comments!

Amber Satka writes on financial topics, such as her look into car rebate offers. Amber is a former office manager and current mother and writer.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Conversation with DEBORAH HARKNESS & Paperback Release of SHADOW OF NIGHT

Q: A Discovery of Witches debuted at # 2 on the New York Times bestseller list with publications following in 37 countries.  What has been your reaction to the outpouring of love for A Discovery of Witches? Was it surprising how taken fans were with Diana and Matthew’s story?

A. It has been amazing—and a bit overwhelming. I was surprised by how quickly readers embraced two central characters who challenge our typical notion of what a heroine or hero should be. And I continue to be amazed whenever a new reader pops up, whether one in the US or somewhere like Finland or Japan—to tell me how much they enjoyed being caught up in Diana’s world.

Q:  Last summer, Warner Brothers acquired screen rights to the trilogy, and David Auburn, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer of Proof, has been tapped to pen the screenplay. Are you looking forward to your novels being portrayed on the big screen?  What are your favorite casting ideas that you’ve heard from friends and readers?

A. I was thrilled when Warner Brothers wanted to translate the All Souls trilogy from book to screen. At first I was reluctant about the whole idea of a movie, and it actually took me nearly two years to agree to let someone try. The team at Warner Brothers impressed me with their seriousness about the project and their commitment to the characters and story I was trying to tell. Their decision to go with David Auburn confirmed that my faith in them was not misplaced. As for the casting, I deliberately don’t say anything about that! I would hate for any actor or actress to be cast in one of these roles and feel that they didn’t have my total support. I will say, however, that many of my readers’ ideas involve actors who have already played a vampire and I would be very surprised if one of them were asked to be Matthew!

Q: SHADOW OF NIGHT opens on a scene in 1590s Elizabethan England featuring the famous School of Night, a group of historical figures believed to be friends, including Sir Walter Raleigh and playwright Christopher Marlowe.  Why did you choose to feature these individuals, and can we expect Diana and Matthew to meet other famous figures from the past?  

A. I wrote my master’s thesis on the imagery surrounding Elizabeth I during the last two decades of her reign. One of my main sources was the poem The Shadow of Night by George Chapman—a member of this circle of fascinating men—and that work is dedicated to a mysterious poet named Matthew Roydon about whom we know very little. When I was first thinking about how vampires moved in the world (and this was way back in the autumn of 2008 when I was just beginning A Discovery of Witches) I remembered Roydon and thought “that is the kind of identity a vampire would have, surrounded by interesting people but not the center of the action.” From that moment on I knew the second part of Diana and Matthew’s story would take place among the School of Night. And from a character standpoint, Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, George Chapman, and the other men associated with the group are irresistible. They were such significant, colorful presences in Elizabethan England.

Q: In SHADOW OF NIGHT, we learn more about the alchemical bonds between Diana and Matthew.   In your day job, you are a professor of history and science at the University of Southern California and have focused on alchemy in your research.  What aspects of this intersection between science and magic do you hope readers will pick up on while reading SHADOW OF NIGHT?

A. Whereas A Discovery of Witches focused on the literature and symbolism of alchemy, in Shadow of Night I’m able to explore some of the hands-on aspects of this ancient tradition. There is still plenty of symbolism for Diana to think about, but in this volume we go from abstractions and ideals to real transformation and change—which was always my intention with the series. Just as we get to know more about how Elizabethan men and women undertook alchemical experiments, we also get to see Matthew and Diana’s relationship undergo the metamorphosis from new love to something more.
Q: SHADOW OF NIGHT spans the globe, with London, France, and Prague as some of the locales. Did you travel to these destinations for your research?  

A. I did. My historical research has been based in London for some time now, so I’ve spent long stretches of time living in the City of London—the oldest part of the metropolis—but I had never been to the Auvergne or Prague. I visited both places while writing the book, and in both cases it was a bit like traveling in time to walk village lanes, old pilgrim roads, and twisting city streets while imagining Diana and Matthew at my side. 

Q: Did you have an idea or an outline for SHADOW OF NIGHT when you were writing A Discovery of Witches?  Did the direction change once you sat down to write it?

A. I didn’t outline either book in the traditional sense. In both cases I knew what some of the high points were and how the plot moved towards the conclusion, but there were some significant changes during the revision process. This was especially true for SHADOW OF NIGHT, although most of those changes involved moving specific pieces of the plot forward or back to improve the momentum and flow.

Q: A Discovery of Witches begins with Diana Bishop stumbling across a lost, enchanted manuscript called Ashmole 782 in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, whose secrets Diana and Matthew are still trying to uncover in SHADOW OF NIGHT. You had a similar experience while you were completing your dissertation.  What was the story behind your discovery?  And how did it inspire the creation of these novels?

A. I did discover a manuscript—not an enchanted one, alas—in the Bodleian Library. It was a manuscript owned by Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer, the mathematician and alchemist John Dee. In the 1570s and 1580s he became interested in using a crystal ball to talk to angels. The angels gave him all kinds of instructions on how to manage his life at home, his work—they even told him to pack up his family and belongings and go to far-away Poland and Prague. In the conversations, Dee asked the angels about a mysterious book in his library called “the Book of Soyga” or “Aldaraia.” No one had ever been able to find it, even though many of Dee’s other books survive in libraries throughout the world. In the summer of 1994 I was spending time in Oxford between finishing my doctorate and starting my first job. It was a wonderfully creative time, since I had no deadlines to worry about and my dissertation on Dee’s angel conversations was complete. As with most discoveries, this discovery of a “lost” manuscript was entirely accidental. I was looking for something else in the Bodleian’s catalogue and in the upper corner of the page was a reference to a book called “Aldaraia.” I knew it couldn’t be Dee’s book, but I called it up anyway. And it turned out it WAS the book (or at least a copy of it). With the help of the Bodleian’s Keeper of Rare Books, I located another copy in the British Library.

Q: Are there other lost books like this in the world?

A. Absolutely! Entire books have been written about famous lost volumes—including works by Plato, Aristotle, and Shakespeare to name just a few. Libraries are full of such treasures, some of them unrecognized and others simply misfiled or mislabeled. And we find lost books outside of libraries, too. In January 2006, a completely unknown manuscript belonging to one of the 17th century’s most prominent scientists, Robert Hooke, was discovered when someone was having the contents of their house valued for auction. The manuscript included minutes of early Royal Society meetings that we presumed were lost forever.

Q: Unlike Twilight’s Bella and Edward—hormonal teenagers who meet in the halls of a high school—your leading characters Matthew and Diana are established academics who meet in the library of one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.  This is a world where vampires and witches drink wine together, practice yoga and discuss philosophy.   Are these characters based on something you found missing in the fantasy genre?

A. There are a lot of adults reading young adult books, and for good reason. Authors who specialize in the young adult market are writing original, compelling stories that can make even the most cynical grownups believe in magic. In writing A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, I wanted to give adult readers a world no less magical, no less surprising and delightful, but one that included grown-up concerns and activities. These are not your children’s vampires and witches.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formally known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women, who have died in military service for the United States. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.

Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers, who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women, who died in any war or military action.

The current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II. Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took a longer period for all American states to recognize the new date.

Whatever you decide to do on this 3-day weekend, say a prayer and a "thank you" for all of the US military personnel who are serving around the world to keep us safe.

Friday, May 24, 2013

New #Fantasy Release: BIRTHRIGHT OF BLOOD by Daniel Arenson

Book blurb:
The Dragon War, the fantasy trilogy beginning with A Legacy of Light, continues with a tale of blood, shadow, and dragonfire.


Civil war rages. Brothers fight against sisters, friends against friends, sons against fathers. Requiem, an ancient kingdom whose people can become dragons, is tearing apart.

The Cadigus family, usurpers of the throne, muster their greatest army yet. The Resistance, a small band of rebels, seeks new allies and new hope. For years, these two forces have fought in shadowy forests, forgotten ruins, and dark alleys. Now they fly to open war. The kingdom bleeds. The sky rains fire. The crows feast.

Heir to the fallen dynasty, Rune was thrust into the uprising. He bears the torch of Requiem, a birthright of blood and fire. Yet when the hosts of Cadigus fly against him, an army that outnumbers his own ten to one, can Rune save the land of his fathers?

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Book Tour Blast: LEGEND OF AMUN RA: THE EMERALD TABLET by Joshua Silverman

The Emerald Tablet

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy 

Leoros doesn't have many friends. The son of a scientist and archeologist, he is constantly on the move. But when his parents make a startling discovery in Egypt, Leoros' world is turned upside down. Do you wish you could have the power of a god? Would you use it for good…or for evil? 

When an archaeologist discovers the mythic Emerald Tablet buried beneath Egypt’s desert, her son decodes the ancient text leading him to a distant world. On that world, a slave girl begins a journey towards a destiny she cannot imagine. But when an ancient foe rises from the ashes, they will be brought together by forces neither understands. 

Leoros, who dreams of being like the heroes in the comic books, must fight to unlock the secrets of the universe to save a people he never knew existed. Atlantia, whose bloody visions wake her in the night, senses the darkness coming. Together they will face an enemy with the power of dark energy, lose a mentor to the assassin’s blade, and be betrayed by someone they trust. Their fight for the future is just beginning, and before it is over, a final sacrifice must be made. When the darkness comes, will they stand and fight or will they join it? There is darkness in everyone.  

Purchase the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Joshua Silverman About Joshua Silverman

Joshua Silverman was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Orange County, California. While attending California State University, Fullerton and studying Criminal Justice, Joshua was introduced to a creative writing class where he wrote a series of paranormal stories. As a child, he has always been an amateur historian, focusing on ancient Egypt, Greece, and Roman civilizations. Since working in the legal environment, he has combined his passion for creative writing with his love of ancient history by penning his debut novel, The Emerald Tablet, the first of seven in the Legends of Amun Ra series. 

 Follow Joshua Silverman: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads 

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: VIRTUE OF A GOVERNESS by Anne Brear

4 of 5 stars

With the death of her parents, English governess Nicola Douglas finds herself alone with no prospects. She makes the decision to start anew in the distant of Australia, but what she finds is that there are far too many young women with the same dream for the scant few jobs available. Her life takes a unexpected turn when she meets wealthy benefactor, Mr. Belfroy. He offers her safe haven and eventually a job managing the women's shelter for those in need.  Determined to be the master of her own destiny, she puts all of her efforts into making The Governess Home a success. To complicate her life further, she meets wealthy Nathaniel West and as much as she would like to ignore the arrogant and frustrating young man, her attraction to him grows, but will she abandon her the much needed work for her own happiness?

The character of Nicola Douglas is well-developed and speaks to the plight of young women of the 1860s without family or benefactors to protect them. It was a cruel world and I could feel her desperation and dogged determination to make a life for herself in spite of all odds against her. My favorite character was her friend Meg, a carefree spirit, who adds worry and unexpected joy to Nicola's life. I am a fan of Ms. Brear who does a great job of spinning a story that is captivating that will keep readers intrigued and turning the pages to find out the fate of Miss Nicola Douglas. Fans of historical romance will find this a delightful story of duty, compassion, joy and love. Recommended.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness

3 of 5 stars

I've heard a lot of hype about this book and I was excited to finally read it. It starts out very well. I liked that Diana Bishop was a strong independent woman with a stellar academic career. Preferring to live her life without using her magic, Diana is confident that all her accomplishments have been achieved on her own. She's in Oxford doing research when she crosses paths with vampire Matthew Clairmont and that's when she starts to change. Her long repressed magic starts to show itself and not in a good way.

This book meanders for 600 pages and that's the problem. It could easily be half that length and it would have been a page-turner. As it is, there are so many paragraphs devoted to her eating and drinking tea. I get it, she likes to eat and drink tea. I don't need to be told endless times. I was very disappointed to see Diana go from a strong independent woman to a weak-willed simpering witch who follows Matthew's every command. Beside that, my biggest complaint is that there is NO conclusion to any of the issues raised in the book. It ends on a cliff-hanger and if you want to know what happens next, you'll have to buy book 2. I understand ending books on a cliff hanger, but that's usually after the author has resolved some of the issues in the book. Ms. Harkness chose not to do that.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Interview with V.R. Janis

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
The most recent published book is Hidden Conflicts which is the final book in the Hidden Magic Trilogy. The trilogy is about a young elf maiden who lives in the world as it is right now and she is fighting for the people and beliefs she has. It is a unique blend of Ojibwe culture/language and fantasy.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I love listening to instrumental music such as flute, Lindsey Stirling (violin), classical and movie film scores. Sometimes the songs can help the scenes come alive.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I outline what I want to happen in each chapter and then I let my characters create their own world. Sometimes it goes the way I want it to and sometimes it goes off in a whole other direction. When a scene is developing and I leave it, sometimes I will have a dream or a flash of inspiration and then the scene explodes.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I have learned that you have to have courage and motivation. I also have learned the benefit to research (google) and that no feat is too small to celebrate.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My books can be found on Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I do twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, I am part of Yahoo groups, forums, I have a blog and never underestimate the power of word of mouth, I pass out business cards, I do presentations, book signings and talks to classes. I look for new experiences and connections on a daily basis.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I do find it difficult to juggle marketing and writing, however I have created a schedule for myself and that has helped greatly. I do a little of everything, everyday and then I do not get stressed that something did not get accomplished.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Research everything before agreeing to anything, remember Google is your friend. Try - because your failure will be in giving up. One last thing - take the criticism and use it to make your writing better, but take it to your heart.
Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I am a Fine Art Photographer, a Conservation Biologist, and I am passionate about my Native American culture and language.

What’s next for you?
I am in the process of editing an entire series and I am writing a dystopia. I have at least twenty new book ideas and do not plan on slowing down any time soon. 

I just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity to do the interview and I enjoyed answering the questions.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Book Tour Blast: SPRING'S SURPRISE by Cynthia Gail


Spring's Surprise

Sara Michaels is single again. And she’s celebrating her thirtieth birthday with a complete spa makeover and a day of boutique shopping with her two best friends. After a ten-month battle for freedom, a long weekend in Nashville, Tennessee is just what she needs to erase the memories of a broken heart.   Jack Tanner is the soon-to-be new partner at Chester & Dorsey Development Firm. Jack’s love life has been on the back burner for years as he’s built a successful career. But the moment he meets Sara, he takes a hard look at his life and his priorities. Sara steps out of her comfort zone and spends an unforgettable weekend with Jack. She’s never felt so carefree. Until she realizes too late that three days can change everything 

On Sale May 15, 2013


Winter's Magic Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world. After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda. Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women he’s dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

Available Now Through: Amazon Barnes & Noble Soul Mate Publishing

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Friday, May 17, 2013

World of Symbols: The Magical Cat by Michelle Snyder

Cats are a constant source of amusement, humor, affection, comfort, fear, and suspicion. The domestic cat, Felis Catus, is found in the most comfortable location in any house, and has a passionate approach to napping. The fairy tale Puss 'n Boots was originally a story about how wonderful it was for a little girl to have a cat to take care of her. Domestication of cats is an ancient practice most likely begun during the warm Atlantic era, ca. 5000 BC. Royal and sacred cats are evident in the cultures of Egypt from 2000 BC. 

The history of cats and symbolism is shared by the owl and the snake. What do cats, snakes, and owls have in common? The answer to that is pivotal in the history and symbolism of all three, cats especially. They all eat rodents; one rat can ruin an entire cache of grain. All three animals were encouraged to frequent farms in northern Europe; milk was left by farmers for them so they would return - this became a practice of leaving "gifts" for their animal friends, then "offerings" to the animal spirits. In European legend the Corn Cat cared for corn crops; when harvested it retired to a special sheaf, set aside for it, until the next growing season. 

During the Dark Ages, in an effort to subvert Pagan culture, the Church demonized all three animals and it became illegal to even own one as a pet. This effectively destroyed the agricultural commerce of those outside the Church, crushing their independence. From this slander came the modern demonic associations in symbolism to all three (Duncan-Enzmann). 

Prior to their deconstruction cats, snakes, and owls held places of honor in the myths and traditions of many cultures. Cats and snakes, or serpents, are sometimes adversaries, sometimes colleagues. All three animals are sacred in various religions, but the cat holds a special place in the homes of the gods, not to mention the homes of humans. Indeed, during the first century BC it was illegal to kill a cat, and after an eclipse, the killer might be torn apart by a mob.  

Egyptian temples dedicated to the sun had images of cats in them. A symbol for sun god Ra is a cat, and they are sacred to Isis. Egyptian goddess Bast, or Bastet was imaged with a cat's head; earlier depictions were with a lioness's head. Linked to protective forces, cats were known to defeat snakes and were worshiped for their ability to defeat the enemy Serpent.

Greek goddess Hecate can turn into a cat; she is a goddess of witchcraft. This perhaps was influential in the belief that witches keep cats. The furry feline is also sacred to Diana (Artemis); her brother Apollo, the sun god, is imaged with or as a lion. In Indian religious iconography, the vehicle of sage Vidali is a cat. For two hundred years the Siamese cat resided only with monarchs; Burmese and Siamese believe that cats enshrine spirits of the dead. Scandinavian goddess Freya has a chariot pulled by two cats. The goddess Virgo, who holds a sheaf of grain, or corn stalk, has a cat guardian. Indeed, the Virgin is linked to the cat; Helen, Frigga, Pasht, Artemis, Diana, Maya, and Mary, all, like Virgo the Virgin Mother, have the same attributes. They are linked to the moon, and to the cat. 
When the Christian church demonized cats with monstrous conceptions to a superstitious world, every black cat became a devil, and every old woman who kept cats became a witch. Indeed, a woman was hanged in Exeter because a neighbor saw a gat jump into her cottage window one evening. No further proof was needed. Demons and sorcerers of many traditions are priests and gods of older religions cruelly misrepresented by intolerance and efforts by the church to subvert them. A common belief was that souls too corrupt to inhabit human bodies were in beasts like cats, lions, and monkeys. Since that time cats have become associated with demons, ghosts, omens, vampires, geniis, corpses, and witchcraft. They are both charms and talismans. 

Cats are representatives of Hecate, goddess of death, and there are many recorded instances of cats appearing right before someone died. In Egypt, cats were credited with considerable powers of clairvoyance. Cats feel beforehand and react to magnetic and meteorological changes. 

According to physicist Duncan-Enzmann cats, and many animals, can smell water, different types of land and vegetation, and navigate by the stars and sun. This explains their uncanny ability to travel great distances over unknown terrain and return home. Cats were watched in olden time to forecast natures varying moods. Almost universal is the belief that a cat cleaning behind its ears with wet forepaws foretells rain. Some cats even display telepathic ability to know when their master returns. 

Cats, and other felines, are prevalent in symbolism. They are the fourth sign of the Chinese zodiac, corresponding to Cancer. Cats represent the Great Hunter - they most present while seeming most absent, relentless in purpose, unerring aim, and able to see in the dark. Hercules was given a lion. Goddess Liberty is often imaged with a cat at her feet. In Heraldic iconography cats have been used companies of soldiers as they symbolize liberty. Romans often used cats on banners, most likely to symbolize the goddess Liberty. After the fall of the Republic, a cat at the feet of a Pope symbolized treason and hypocrisy. 

There are many common expressions about cats:
Cat and Mouse
Puss and Boots

Cats have become symbols of life and death, day and night, sun and moon, good luck and bad, deity and devil. Whatever has befell them, today they are mostly ignored, like an old toy we would be embarrassed to play with.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: BONE WITCH by Thea Atkinson

5 of 5 stars

"Bone Witch" is the 3rd book in the Elementary Magic series. I absolutely love this series and flew through books 2 and 3 in only a few days. In "Bone Witch" Alaysha is on the run from the powerful fire witch, Aislin. Aislin has invaded her father Yuri's city and is on a deadly rampage to kill all those who oppose her. She desperately wants to find her son Yenic who has been kidnapped by Yuri's warrior Bodicca and will stop at nothing to find him. Alaysha loves Yenic and together with Gael, Theron, Edulph and Aedus, they travel through the burnt lands to the only place Yenic could be--the Enyalian female warrior lands. When the group is captured and brought to the village, Alaysha finds Yenic, but the Enyalian custom to kill the men once their usefulness ends, shocks her. She plans their escape, but getting them all out alive is far harder than she could ever imagine.

As with any excellent fantasy series, the more things that are explained and resolved, the more questions arise. The character of water witch Alaysha is a complex one and Ms. Atkinson continues her masterful storytelling revealing bits and pieces of the witch's heritage keeping the reader riveted to the story. With each new piece of the puzzle Alaysha understands, forces her to make even more difficult decisions. She now understands why her father had all caring beaten out of her in her youth. The more she loves, the more agonizing living becomes. No spoilers here, but suffice it to say, there are twists and turns that I didn't see coming. I can't wait for the next book to find out what the author has in store for us. Highly Recommended.

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Interview with Craig Brummer

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
A New Beginning is set in an era where man has just begun colonizing space stations and a few planets. Earth is controlled by mega-corporations that rule the political bodies and economies of Earth, much as ancient kings ruled their realms. The story centers on how a young indentured worker, Kristin Hayes, gains her freedom and happiness, and how her actions intertwine with the policies of Earth and the Federation. The story shows how spacers rise to the challenges that face them, and how a young woman from Earth finds happiness in space.

This is my debut novel, but my next several books will all be set in the same universe. Various characters overlap from one story to another, but each story has its own protagonists.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I tried the tradition route about 15 years ago with a very different story. My daughter, now a H.S. school teacher, spent 8 or 9 years as a literary agent at one of the NY firms. This time I decided on going the indie route for several reasons, mainly more control over my own work, and I believe it will prove to be more rewarding as I find the business side of publishing very interesting.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
Today, new authors really get no support from publishers. So a writer must give up a lot of control, and a large amount of income, simply to have a major publisher print their work. By going the indie route I have more freedom about what I write, my writing style, and how best to market my novel. Being able to tell the story the way I want is important to me as a writer. Also, getting an agent frequently takes a year or so, then they have to find a publisher who likes the story, and then you have to get worked into their production schedule. All of that takes a few years. As an indie author, my story goes to market about three months after I finish it. That time is used for the editing process, beta readers, book formatting, etc.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
My cover art was done by a young German artist, Djamila Knopf. She and I connected through a website, I loved some covers she had for other authors, as well as some of her public art. She was great to work with. I told her exactly how I envisioned the cover and character (Kristin Hayes). Djamila did a few sketches, then a couple revisions before doing the final work in color. The final work was exactly as I envisioned the character and setting. The book design was done by; that included the cover design, back cover and text formatting. also did a fantastic job, exactly what I wanted, including some modifications, and all done very timely.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
Interesting question. I did belong to the DFW Writers Workshop for a number of years when I lived in Dallas. They are a great group, and I encourage any writers in that area to contact with them. My writing certainly did improve during my time there.  I now live in Atlanta and participate with an online group,, that is also a great group to work with.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Absolutely. In my opinion, a book edited solely by the writer is a book that hasn’t been edited. As a writer, you’ve read each paragraph many times so you’re too close to it to catch errors; your mind sees what it knows should be there. Lack of good editing is a problem with a number of indie books I’ve come across myself, but I have to add that recently I’ve been seeing some very poorly edited books from the mainstream publishers. Let me also say, I’ve read a lot of outstanding, well-edited indie books over the last few years. Indie books now account for half of all my own reading.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
The Kindle version should be on Amazon by April 22nd and all other major retailers (iBooks, Nook, etc.) shortly after. The trade paperback will be available by April 29th at Amazon, B&N, etc. I am also having an audio book version done, but that will not be out until sometime in June. When it comes out it will be available at Amazon, iTunes and

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I am very active on Twitter, @craigbrummer, so I will of course be making announcements on it. I have a blog on my website at  where there is also additional information on my writing and me. On Facebook my page is . I will be running ads on, and possibly some other sites depending on the results I see at

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Juggling time between my day job--something most authors must have, including those who go the traditional route--and my writing is difficult as I travel a great deal. More accurately, it of course limits my time for both writing and marketing my writing, but that simply requires me to be better organized. With this novel I did learn that it takes about two months for the editing, beta readers and formatting processes to get completed. Though I was familiar with the processes, they were still new experiences for me and did delay the start of my second novel. However, the outline is completed and I have started the writing.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
I’ve been writing for 20 years, and during that period have explored the traditional process and self-publishing. Kindle was a huge innovation and has really changed the industry. I believe most authors today are better served by going the indie route; that was not true 20 years ago. New authors should avoid vanity presses. They need to research, study and learn all about the self-publishing process and industry. Have their book professionally edited and professionally formatted. Work to hone their writing skills.  As an indie author, you have to market your own book; but the big six publishers, with rare exceptions, don’t market new authors either.