Monday, April 29, 2013

Interview with Lola James

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Bound to You is the third book in the Spellbound Series. The book picks up right where Unbound (book two) left off. Toni has a decision to make between a Greek god and a vampire and believe me that it’s not an easy choice to make both are kind of hot.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Yes, actually Dawn was a minor character in Bound to Remember (book one) and she has turn into a major player in this book, in fact she is getting a chance to tell her story in the next book in the series.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
Well I do both. I listen to music because the words sometimes move me. I definitely need music to write love scenes.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I start out with an outline but I don’t always stick to it. I try to think outside of the box to make the story interesting so I just happen the way it does. This may sound silly but my muse depends on my mood. If I am happy the story is happy but if I am sad or stressed a war can start in the book with lots of casualties.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
Edit and edit a lot. I know that big six published book tend to have typos, but as a self-published author we get crucified for a bad edit jobs. So I have learned to use an editor or three in my books. It may cost more but at the end of the day the reviews that don’t mention edits get more sales.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
I hope everywhere. Let’s see Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo, All Romance eBooks, Sony bookstore, and other sites that Smashword distributes too.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, Facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
All of the above. I have a Facebook page that I use daily. Fans can friend me or like me. I tweet and I have a blog. I plan on getting active in some book clubs and circle on Google+ as well.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes, I still strive for a happy balance.  I work full-time as well so, I have more to balance. I can look up some days and find that I have been on Facebook chatting all day with fans and friends. So I am planning to schedule times to go on Facebook/Twitter and I plan to blog more. Hopefully that will help with the juggling.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Traveling is my other passion. I wish I could live somewhere different every month of the year. I could take my MacBook and just go to see the sites and write from every location. I do believe my stories would get a tad more interesting.

What’s next for you?
I plan to write my first Mystery and also a Contemporary romance both of which I hope to release later this year.

Thank you for having me! 

Bound to You (Book 3 of the Spellbound Series)

Toni’s life is just one complication after another. First, her past comes back to her, then she has to deal with a psycho, and now it’s the biggest of them all. A choice that could destroy one life and be the bright future to the other. How is a girl supposed to choose between two men that she loves? On one hand, she has the Greek god Hades, the love from her past and the other, Ben the hot Vampire nurse that she met just over a week ago. Both have captured her heart in their own individual ways but whose love is the greatest? Who does she ultimately love the most? In the end, a decision is made in Bound to you… 

 **This Book Includes Sexual Content**  

Bound to Remember, a Paranormal Romance (Book 1 of the Spellbound Series) FREE  

Unbound, a Paranormal Romance (Book 2 of the Spellbound Series) $2.99  

Bound to You (Book 3 of the Spellbound Series)

Amazon / Barnes & Noble

About Lola

Lola James 
Lola James has been reading romance novels since her teens, and fell in love with the paranormal after discovering Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Her love of the dark worlds of vampires and witches, as well as her fascination with Greek mythology led her to create the Spellbound Series, an ongoing Paranormal Romance combining all of the above into tales of suspense with a little bit of humor in an Urban Fantasy setting. A long time lover of reading and writing with a passion for a great story, James became discouraged by the complicated and arbitrary publishing process, James had initially set down her laptop and her hopes of being a writer. However, with the purchase of her first e-reader, James became re-energized by the new possibilities for an undiscovered author to reach the masses. Dusting off her keyboard she finally finished Bound to Remember, the first book of the Spellbound Series and self-published it. Energized and ambitious, James is now hard at work on both the Spellbound Series as well as the Fate Series, a paranormal romance about dreams and what happens if they come true. 

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Interview with Ryan Schneider

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Eye Candy is a science fiction novel set in Los Angeles 2047. I feel it will be accessible by male and female readers alike. Please note that it does contain some adult content.

The beauty of the SF genre is its ability to take us to new places where serious matters can be discussed and explored.

We can explore themes such as humanity and technology and how the two intertwine.

We can discuss philosophy and the nature of our own existence while discovering a vision of a possible future, one in which air pollution is a thing of the past, cheap renewable energy is commonplace, and robotics is a daily reality as ubiquitous as mobile phones are to us today.

Against such a backdrop, Los Angeles in 2047, people still go to work and to the gym and to the sports bar to watch Monday Night Football. They still take the kids to school and pick them up in the afternoon and have to figure out what's for dinner. And they still fall in love and dream of living happily ever after.

Eye Candy was conceived as a stand-alone novel. But… I have already had an idea about what could happen next. And it’s intriguing…

Do you have a favorite character?
Tough question. This book has an ensemble cast, and it was challenging at times to not only keep track of who said what, but to also be certain that all the characters had equal opportunity with their dialogue and involvement in the story. It’s quite a colorful bunch, and I had a ball spending time with and getting to know each of them.

If I had to choose, I might say Les Grossman or Poo Raw.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
Back in 2009, when my SciFi series The Go-Kids was ready, I began researching agents, crafting about a dozen different query letters, and querying agents I thought would enjoy my manuscript.

This went on for almost a year, with a handful of rejection emails.

Shortly thereafter, the self-publishing engine was really getting warmed up, and I began to investigate. In a very short time, I decided I wanted to retain the rights to my books and publish them myself. I wanted to retain control of them and bring them into the world on my terms. I wrote The Pillow Book as a project with a relatively short length (180pp), and began figuring out the self-publishing ropes. That’s how it all began.

If you used a graphic designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I decided that for Eye Candy I wanted a really, really great cover. Something that was an original piece of art, which was beyond my capabilities. I wanted something more than simply a collection of stock images and a loud font.

I placed an ad on Elance and had more than 50 responses. Many from people who were clearly quite talented. I ultimately chose to work with an artist named Scott who goes by the name Rahzzah.

Scott had just finished a three-year long collaborative project on a comic book titled Moon Girl. And it just so happened he was actively seeking new projects. We chatted a bit via the Elance interface and decided to work together.

We tossed some ideas around after I gave him a rundown of the plot and characters.

Scott whipped up about 5 sketches so I could visualize the concept. The fifth concept was Scott’s original idea based on a small story detail I had mentioned. It was a digital electronic newspaper which emits holographic 3D imagery. Scott was most intrigued by that idea, and I liked his interpretation of it. He roughed it up to about 80% completion and showed it to me to make sure I approved.

I was astounded.

Scott went ahead and completed the design and sent it to me and I was blown away. Honestly. I think the cover speaks for itself. It was so good that I was able to go back and fine-tune the scene in the book, incorporating the many details of the artwork. I hope readers will reach that scene in the book and will turn back to the cover to study it and enjoy it all over again with a new understanding of the context. Plus, there are some Easter eggs in there. I get a kick out of doing stuff like that. I hope readers do as well.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I typically write in silence. Years ago, I used to listen to music, back when CDs were mainstream. I found that I would press Play and 45 minutes later I would hear the CD player’s laser head tracking back to the beginning, and the music had ended. I hadn’t heard a thing. So somewhere along the line I stopped listening to music.

Instrumental music can be nice sometimes. But the language centers of the brain can really only focus on one source of verbal input at a time. So music lyrics can distract from the words on the screen.

I’ve known many writers who listen to movie soundtracks while they write. I’ve tried that a few times, but the music typically reminds me of the scene in the movie, which distracts me from my own story.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I typically outline because I have to. When I decide to write a story, my mind seems to automatically race to the end, trying to piece it all together, and it comes at me so fast that an outline is the only way I can get it all down on paper.

But when the actual in-scene writing begins, the real stuff, I follow the outline insofar as it makes sense. Things develop and sometimes the story takes a turn and what I had outlined no longer works.

So it’s okay to let the muse take over.

When I was writing Eye Candy, I got to chapter 12, and the story began going in a strange direction. As I was writing, I was questioning what I was doing. This went on for a few days. I considered deleting it all and trying again. But ultimately I decided to forge ahead and see if perhaps there was a reason why I had written that chapter.

As it turned out, the events of that chapter came full circle to inform the climax of the story. I only had to wait about two months to get there so I could see it.

I truly have no clue where ideas come from. The whole writing process often feels ethereal and magical. I usually feel like a translator. Like C.S. Lewis once said, ‘I never made a book. I was given things to say.’

That’s how I feel.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes. The marketing can get a little overwhelming sometimes because it involves a lot of time-intensive research online, trying to learn about new websites and promotional opportunities. If you’re not careful, it can turn into a time suck and the next thing you know, you’ve not written anything that day. Today, for example, I only managed about two hours of writing because of this very issue.

The marketing is fun, too, though. It’s its own thing.

Sometimes I’ll feel myself getting a bit too worked up over it all, and I have to remind myself to take a step back and focus on the creative aspects of the business, which is the writing and the storytelling, entertaining readers with a good book that hopefully makes them think and makes them feel, whatever thoughts and emotions it may be.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Write a lot. Because we only learn to write through practice. And because ultimately you will succeed or fail based upon the quality of your work, and nothing else.

Know that it’s a long journey, and be prepared to look at it like a marathon.

But if you’re doing it for the right reasons, namely because you love to write, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Try to be as professional as you possibly can. Make sure your book has a good cover, a good description, and is properly edited and proofread. Self publishing is fighting the uphill battle known as amateurism. A lot of readers, myself included, don’t want to read a book with typos on every few pages. I’m reading such a book now, by the way, written by a VERY established science fiction writer. Whoever made the conversion to the ebook was a freakin’ idiot.

I had a college English and film professor from West Berlin named Reinhardt Lutz. He explained it this way: It is a matter of form versus content. If your form is bad, sloppy, amateurish, I can’t even get to your content (what you’re trying to say).

But also remember that this whole process should be a joy. I love going to work every day. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. And believe me, I’ve tried not writing. I tried really hard. Several times. Couldn’t do it.

For me, the creative process is simply too much fun. Conceiving an idea, researching it to get the details right, writing it (putting fingers to keyboard), designing the cover, and seeing it all come to fruition with a book for sale in places like Amazon is simply wonderful.

Then, when people buy, read, enjoy, and comment on the book, it’s astounding. The feeling of getting lost in a good book is a feeling I believe we all seek. We long for it each time we click ‘Buy Now’ on Amazon. So when I hear that I was able to deliver that experience to a person I’ve never met but who decided to take a chance on my book… it’s all worth it.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I am a fitness buff. I love exercise, working out, running.

I also love airplanes and aviation. I have a pilot’s license, too, and very nearly became an airline pilot. Alas, the calling to simply write was too powerful to resist.

I love movies. Though I don’t seem to watch nearly as many as I would like.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention being with my wife Taliya. We have great fun together, traveling, going out to dinner, to a movie, whatever.

What’s next for you?
I’m in the beginning stages of a new science fiction novel titled Hard Space. It’s about a luxurious space liner that gets hijacked on its voyage from Earth to Mars. I’m doing research (I love research) and plotting it out.

The goal with this book is to see if I can write it and publish it in a couple of months. One of the fundamental tenets of publishing is to have a deep backlist, with plenty of titles. Also, once you’ve managed to garner some readers and establish a fan base, it’s important to continue to produce books on a regular basis, in order to keep those fans reading.

Unless you’re a huge brand-name author like Stephen King or James Patterson, you can’t afford to wait a year or two between books. And perhaps not even then.

So, somewhat akin to the NaNoWriMo challenge in which every November people try to write a rough draft in 30 days, I’m trying to write a book in about 60 days. I think I can do it. I’m looking forward to the challenge. And now that I’ve blabbed about the book, its title, and its plot, I simply must do it. Right? But it’s okay. It’s a labor of love.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spotlight: #Contemporary #Romance LOVE ON THE BEACH

Caroline Fleming had a perfect life -- a loving husband, 2 great kids, a lovely home -- or so she thought. When her husband of 23 years announces he wants a divorce, Caroline's perfect world crumbles in an instant.

She retreats to the beach house to clear her head and heal her broken heart. She swears off men, that is, until she meets a sexy stranger running on the beach with his 2 dogs. Will Matt Sylvan be her second chance at love?

LOVE ON THE BEACH is a novella of ~21,000 words (95 pages)

Buy links:




Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Interview with Stacy Green

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
TIN GOD is about a woman (Jaymee) who believes she and her child were victims of an illegal adoption. When Jaymee connects the recent murder of her employer to the slaying of her best friend four years earlier, she realizes that she herself is the connection between the two. She believes the killings are related to the cover up of a black market adoption ring.

Do you have a favorite character?
In this book, it’s got to be Jaymee. She has had a very hard life and is bitter at times, but also vulnerable and loyal to those she loves. She tries hard to do the right thing, and I am really proud of her character arc in TIN GOD.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Yes. Cage is a secondary character in TIN GOD, but I liked him so much he is the hero for the second book in the series, SKELETON’S KEY (October).

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
I had decided to query small presses because I knew breaking into the big houses was next to impossible. I queried with my first novel, INTO THE DARK, and had four offers within a few months.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I decided to self publish TIN GOD because I realized I wanted control of my work, and that I was capable of putting together a team who would help me put out a quality product. I hired a freelance editor (formerly) from Penguin NAL and learned an immense amount from working with her.

I was able to have final say over the cover design, price, marketing–everything. With the state of traditional publishing and the vast opportunities for indie authors, deciding to self-publish was easy for me.

That said, I didn’t cut corners. I look at my books as a business I have to invest in to see any real success. My main goal is putting out a quality product that can stand up against a traditionally published novel, and I think I’ve done that with TIN GOD.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I used to be a panster, but as I’ve learned craft, I have become a pretty strong outliner. I don’t have to have my outline complete before I start, but I like to have the first act, midpoint, and turning points all figured out. Once I write the first act, I have a better feel for the story and where it needs to go. Then I’ll go back over my plans and make adjustments accordingly.

I also have a fantastic critique partner to bounce ideas off of, and I can’t tell you how much that helps. We are very like-minded, but she is the first one to tell me if something isn’t working.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, yes, yes! I honestly believe we can’t chinze out on this. I have a developmental editor, a line editor, and a proofer, as well as two beta readers. The development and line editors were investments but well worth it.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
Patience is a virtue I need to work on. I’ve done everything I can in terms of putting out the best book possible. But I have to remember it’s only my second novel, and very few writers are discovered overnight. I have to keep my nose to the grindstone (to use a terrible cliché) and keep writing and not chase sales. That’s something I have to tell myself every single day.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Do your research. Figure out what your strengths are, set a budget, and stick to it. Make sure your budget has a good amount set aside for editing and cover art, because they are vital. Join indie publishing groups on Facebook, network with other authors. And realize that there is a lot to learn, and most of the time, there is no right answer. You have to figure out what work best for YOU.

What’s next for you?
Skeleton’s Key, the second book in the Delta Crossroads Series, is with the editor right now and is due out in October. I’ve just started plotting the third book (as yet untitled) and hope for a spring 2014 release.

Thank you so much for having me today!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review: KEEP ME GHOSTED by Karen Cantwell

5 of 5 stars

I'm a fan Ms. Cantwell and absolutely love her Barbara Marr series so I was excited to read this book. What a treat! KEEP ME GHOSTED is a delightful ghost story. Sophie is desperate for a job so when she is hired by Dr. Callahan, an Developmental Optometry & Vision Therapy doctor, she is thrilled. It seemed like a great fit until she finds out that Cal has an unhappy ghost shadowing him. Moonflower has attached herself to the good doctor and doesn't like other women. Ghosts don't bother Sophie because her best friend is Marmaduke Dodsworth, a British ghost who is hilarious. I loved his British sayings. Things seem perfect, that is, until a jealous Moonflower wreaks havoc in the office scaring away the patients.

If you love ghost stories, you'll not go wrong with this one. This book is such an entertaining read. The author has a great flair for storytelling, letting the reader understand and feel the character's emotions. I couldn't stop laughing while I read this story. Sophie and Cal were adorable, but for me, it was Marmi who stole the spotlight.  I want more of this British ghost and can't wait to see what adventures await in the next book! If you're looking to escape everything for a bit, rush out and buy this book. You won't be disappointed. Highly Recommended.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Tour Blast: TIN GOD by Stacy Green


Tin God

Getting pregnant as a teenager and being coerced into giving her baby up for adoption left a festering scar on Jaymee Ballard’s life. Trapped by poverty and without many allies, Jaymee nearly gives up hope of getting her daughter back after her best friend is murdered. Now, four years later, a wealthy woman with legal connections hires her as a housekeeper, and Jaymee gathers the courage to seek her help. But Jaymee’s last chance ends up in a puddle of blood in one of the historic antebellum mansions in Roselea, Mississippi.

I just murdered your wife…again.

An unsigned letter consisting of six horrifying words turns Nick Samuels stagnant life upside down. Stuck in emotional purgatory since his wife’s unsolved murder four years ago, Nick is about to self-destruct. The arrival of the letter claiming credit for his wife’s murder and boasting of a new kill sends Nick to Roselea, where he and Jaymee’s worlds collide.
Jaymee and Nick realize exposing the truth about her daughter’s adoption is the only way to solve the murders. Up against years of deception, they rush to identify the killer before the evidence–and Jaymee’s daughter–are lost.

But the truth doesn’t always set the guilt-ridden free. Sometimes, it destroys them.

About the author

Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

You can find her debut novel, INTO THE DARK as well as TIN GOD in both digital and print.
Website / Amazon Author Page / Facebook / Twitter / Literary Addicts

Purchase Tin God on Amazon

Purchase Stacy Green's other books Welcome to Las Vegas and Into the Dark 

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Friday, April 19, 2013

New #SF Release: EYE CANDY by Ryan Schneider

Book Description:
In a near-future Los Angeles of 2047, roboticist Danny Olivaw finds himself on a blind date with a beautiful robopsychologist named Candy. But the next day, strange things begin to happen.

Confronted with an unbearable truth, Danny soon begins a downward spiral in search for the woman he loves. Little does he know what fate has in store for them. Brilliantly conceived and executed with delicate precision, Eye Candy is a complex, endearing tale for mature readers that’s as fast-paced and uplifting as it is fun. 


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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review: FEARLESS by Cornelia Funke

4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Mirrorworld series and the stakes are higher than ever. Jacob Reckless has saved his brother from the harsh life as the Jade Goyl, but at a terrible cost, his life for his brother's. The Dark Fairy has released a black moth that has settled in Jacob's chest and little by little steals Jacob's life force. He is in a race against time to find the cure from the Dark Fairy's curse. As Jacob and his ever present companion Fox search for the only magical item he hasn't tried to lift the curse, the Crossbow, purported to lift a fairy curse with a bolt through his heart, he finds himself in stiff competition with  another treasure hunter, Nerron, the "Bastard" Goyl.

The story is full of anguish, fear, heartache and love as Jacob and Fox realize how important they are to each other. Their feelings and undying support propel the story forward through one crisis after another. The magical world that Ms. Funke has created is inventive and exciting. There are so many twists and turns in the story that you'll be holding your breath to see if Jacob can find the crossbow before the Dark Fairy curse finally kills him. There is a cliff hanger at the end and I'll be eagerly awaiting the next volume to find out what happens to Jacob and Fox.

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

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Interview with Nicole Kuhn

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
I self published my first book in July of 2012. I wrote a trilogy, Mohawk Moon, Mohawk Sunrise and Storm of the Mohawk (releasing May 1). Last month, less than a year after publishing, I was offered a contract with WheelMan Press for the Tucked In (The Hollywood Files) series I’m writing. I’m also in talks with a second publisher for an alternate new series.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
WheelMan is a great stepping-stone Publisher. They are great to work with, leaving a lot of control with the author. They also have a lot of connections outside of the Publishing world that will benefit me and my success.

The first two Tucked In books will come out at the same time, and I am really excited, as the cover model Shane Keough is just awesome. He makes the perfect Lance Tucker.

Tom Townsend is part of WheelMan Press, and he’s great. Pep talks, answering questions and helping any/every way needed. He’s here to make me successful, and I love it. It’s nice to have some help doing all of this, as I’ve only done it on my own so far. (Not truly on my own, I have the best fans ever! I love all of them)

Did you design your cover art? If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
I use Ebook Cover Designs by Carey She’s amazing, and I’m so happy with every cover she’s made.

What is your writing process?
Honestly, lots of coffee, energy drinks and late nights. I still work a full time job, and have a family to take care of, so when everyone is in bed, I’m up late, music playing and writing away.

Do you use an outline for your books or just go where your muse takes you?
Truth be told, I would have no clue how to make an outline. My stories basically start with a thought or a sentence and just build themselves as I type. Half the time, I have no clue where it comes from.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner publicity for your book(s)?
Lots of Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I’m constantly doing Giveaways or having games for fun. I spend a lot of time talking to and trying to get to know my fans.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Barnes and Noble as well. Can’t leave the Nook readers out :)

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Not really. It’s pretty easy for me. Although I usually have to yell at myself to get off of facebook and get writing!

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Reading, Crocheting and my family. I try to spend as much time with my little one as possible. I know when she gets older she’s not going to let me curl up on the couch with her and read. So, I try to make the most of it now.

What is the best advice you can offer new authors?
It’s a lot of hard work to be successful at this. You need to put in the hours. You can’t just type something up and think it will sell. You have got to advertise yourself. Unless you’re signed with a big publisher, you’re the best promoter you have. And, my big pet peeve, when you get a bad review, don’t comment on it. Do not argue or try to defend yourself. It’s just going to make you look bad.

Author Links:

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Book Tour Blast: THE GATEKEEPER'S DAUGHTER by Eva Pohler

The Gatekeeper's Daughter 

The Gatekeeper's Daughter

In The Gatekeeper's Sons, Therese and Thanatos, the god of Death, met and fell in love. In The Gatekeeper's Challenge, they did everything they could to be together, even break an oath on the River Styx. But the Olympians don't tolerate oath-breakers. In this final book in the trilogy, The Gatekeeper's Daughter, Therese may have finally succeeded in becoming a goddess, but if she wants to remain one, she'll not only have to discover her unique purpose, but also make some allies among the gods. Artemis sends her on a seemingly impossible quest across the world, while Than searches for a way to appease Ares. To make matters worse, her aunt's baby's life hangs in the balance.


About Author Eva Pohler

Eva Pohler writes fiction for teens and adults and teaches writing and literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she lives with her husband, three kids, two dogs, and two rats.  

Follow Eva Pohler: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon  

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: THE ALTARPIECE by Sarah Kennedy

4 of 5 stars

This book explores the relationship when Henry VIII breaks from Rome to create the Church of England. He demands that all Catholic priests and nuns renounce their ties to the Pope and embrace his new religion. Catherine Havens, a young nun and healer, who lives in a small convent in Mount Grace faces the unimaginable when the King's soldiers come to Mount Grace to turn the nuns out of their abbey and to seize anything of value. The nuns try to hide as many valuables as they can and refuse to open the abbey doors to nobleman Lord Robert Overton and his soldiers when they come to claim their spoils.

Catherine is torn. She's been at the abbey since infancy when Prioress Cristina took her in and raised her, but her real passion is the healing arts. When she nurses Robert's brother with the pox back to health, her loyalties and faith are severely tested. The story explores her struggle between her growing feelings for William and her loyalty to the prioress and her vows. The book is well researched and a host of secondary characters immerses the reader in what life was like in 1535 England. I did find the story a little slow in parts, but the character of Catherine is compelling and will keep you turning the pages.

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

Monday, April 15, 2013

What the heck is Patriots' Day anyway?

I sometimes forget that people who don't live in Massachusetts, have no idea what Patriots' Day means. Patriots' Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775 and it is celebrated on the third Monday in April.

Observances and re-enactments of these first battles of the American Revolution occur annually at Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts, (around 6:00 am) and The Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, (around 9:00 am). In the morning, mounted re-enactors (National Lancers - Massachusetts) with state police escorts retrace the rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes, calling out warnings the whole way.

So if you find yourself in the Boston area, you might want to take a ride out to Lexington and see the battle green for yourself.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Character Interview: ARTHUR MURPHY from Legend of Mickey Tussler

You're a manager for a minor league baseball team, the Brewers, out of Milwaukee. How did you get there?
Well, that’s a long and somewhat involved tale. Looking at me now, you may find it hard to believe that I was once touted as the next Ty Cobb. Yup. I was. I had the baseball world on a string. I was a “can’t miss prospect,” the talk of the town as they say,  until that fateful day, when my teammate and now current nemesis and  rival Chip McNally got in my way chasing down a fly ball. He just had to try and steal the limelight. That was always Chip. It’s how he got he nickname “ Hollywood .” He still claims to this day that he never heard me call for the ball, and that it was his play anyway, but that’s not what others say. It was mine all the way. The result was a busted knee and the end (a few years later) to what could have been a long, noteworthy career. So, because baseball gets in your blood and beckons to be satisfied, I began coaching and managing. It’s not quite the same as playing, but it sure is better than putting on a three piece suit every morning and pushing papers across a desk in some godforsaken office. I’m out there in the sun, with the smell of grass and pine tar, doing what I love in a city that I also love. And, one day, with a little luck, I will get a chance to manage in the majors. I’m thinking that my incredible discovery – Mickey Tussler – just may get me there a little sooner than I thought.

You 'discovered' pitching phenom Mickey Tussler. Tell us how that happened.
Yes, finding Mickey was, as I already suggested, the discovery of a lifetime. I was on a scouting trip, all set to see another prospect whose name I have completely forgotten by now, when I ran into a little car trouble. So I run my car into this ditch.  Now I'm in the middle of nowhere, with nobody to help me, and obviously  no chance of keeping my appointment. Boy was I ticked off. I staggered up the road a bit, to a very old farmhouse. I wandered up the dirt drive, hoping to find someone who could help me, when I heard this unusual "popping sound" coming from the back area of the barn. I followed the sound. It did not take long to discover its source. It was there I witnessed the most amazing sight -- this young, very powerful, somewhat quirky  farm boy throwing apples into a barrel turned on its side -- throwing with power and accuracy from what must have been well over 100 feet away. One after the other. Splat. Right in the center of the barrel. I don' think he missed one time. Not one! It was remarkable. And what made it all the more surreal is that this boy was obviously "not right" -- by that I mean he was just a little off, maybe slow or something. Quirky. You understand. But despite the oddity, he captivated me instantly. Really. I've been around the game a long time, and I have never seen anything like this kid. It's only now that I understand Mickey has a condition of some sort that makes him special. It is challenging at times for us as a team, but Mickey has made al the difference fro the Brew Crew. After a little instruction about pitching mechanics and such, and more than a little TLC, I now have what I believe to be the most incredible pitching arm baseball has ever seen. Come out to a game and watch this kid do his thing!

What drew you to Mickey?
Of course what interested me immediately was the boy’s sheer ability. Power and accuracy are quite a combination for any ballplayer, especially pitchers.  I knew, just knew, that I could harness his raw ability into something magical.  It worked our very well to say the least. But I also want to say that a good part of the boy’s appeal lies in who he is.   His approach to certain things is certainly different, but I have to add that the boy’s simplicity and genuine nature make him truly special. I have developed real feelings for the boy.  I sort of feel responsible for him, like a father. You know? I think Mickey appreciates that, as does his mother Molly, especially since Mickey’s father is not exactly the nicest guy.

How was Mickey different from your other players?
Mickey is different in two very notable ways.  First, he is the most purely gifted of any player I have EVER had. Period. That elevates his status right there. Mickey does things on the field that have never been done before – that will never be done again by anyone else.  He is a “game changer” for sure as the old expression goes.  More importantly, Mickey sees the world differently from his teammates.  His condition leads him down some different paths, but that’s okay with me and all of the guys here. And you should see this kid with anything related to numbers. It’s amazing.

You had some trouble at the end of the last season. Did you think Mickey would ever come back to play ball again?
Well, did I think he would? No, mostly because his mother was so adamantly opposed to it. However, I did always retain hope that he would. And with a little persuasion and some serious groveling, I managed to allay most of Mickey’s mom’s fears and Mickey’s as well.  Now the Baby Bazooka is back and he is better than ever.

This season, you have another new player who brings his own challenges. Can you tell us a little about this situation?
Unfortunately, the Brewer family lost captain and Milwaukee icon Raymond “Boxcar” Miller to cancer earlier this year. It was a devastating blow to all of us, especially Mickey. I think it was the kid’s first experience with this sort of loss. The two of them were tight and Boxcar helped Mickey a lot when Mickey first arrived.  Naturally, you can never replace someone like Boxcar. I was, however, fortunate enough to sign another catcher – one who was a standout in the Negro Leagues – and he has filled in very nicely. Lester Sledge has all the tools that a manager wants to see from his catcher. He can do it all. The only thing he cannot do is enlighten some of the ignorant slobs who still do not want to see integration of black and white on a baseball field.   Cripe, it’s been a couple of years now since Jackie broke in with the Dodgers and we still have idiots sending hate mail and making threats to guys like Lester.  But, all of us have Lester’s back, and I am positive that this guy’s performance on the field is going to silence many of his critics. It has already begun to happen.

What would you most like people to understand about Mickey and baseball?
That Mickey is a special talent, but also a special person. And, being one doesn’t mean he cannot be the other.  Folks need to open their minds to things that are not familiar. If they do, they might be surprised.