Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Plotter or Pantser?

Seems there is a hot debate on what is the proper way to go about things. I know plotters who swear they can't write a single word until everything is mapped out. Likewise, pantser could never make it through a story they already knew the details of. 

When I first started writing, I took all sorts of writing classes that said it was imperative you plot everything down to the last detail so you didn't get lost along the way. On my second book attempt, I followed this advice to the letter. I got out my note cards and wrote one scene per card for an entire book. It's a quite good story actually, about a woman whose father was killed and the prime suspect was her fiance. She broke up with him and decided to go on a single's cruise a few months later. Only problem was, her now ex-finance was on the same cruise...and a murder happens on the ship. 

Great story. Only problem is, once I wrote out all the scene plot cards, my muse basically shut down and wanted to move on to the next story. Essentially, I'd already written that book and there were no surprises left to discover. Therefore, my muse couldn't be less interested in actually going ahead with the writing part. 

I realized then and there I was never going to be a plotter if I actually wanted to accomplish anything. I like the freedom of letting the characters tell me where I'm going, what I'm doing. I like discovering the plot alongside them and living the story as I write.  In Always & Forever I basically intended it to be suspenseful and thrilling, but not really a mystery. Everyone said if I wrote a mystery, I had to plot because otherwise too many wrong turns would be taken and I'd have to delete pages and pages of writing. 

Coming in March 2013
Still, I knew my muse best and when I decided to write a real murder mystery, I knew it had to be pantsed all the way. I planned my hero and heroine, planned four suspects, picked the one I thought was the culprit but kept my mind open to other possibilities. What happened while I wrote Crime & Passion was amazing to me! Not only did the book take unexpected twists and turns that I never even thought of as a possibility, I came up with new and more interesting suspects than I even planned. The way everything ended up tying together and who the killer ended up being were complete surprises to me almost until the ending, and it was the most fun I think I've ever had writing. 

Early news from beta readers seems as though there aren't any chapters I'm going to be throwing out, and everything ties together in a satisfying, exciting mystery. I have one revision left to do before publication in March, but it is mostly going to be for sentence structure and all those little things a writer always finds to fix in their work. 

I can only hope my next project goes this smoothly and is this much fun! Can't wait to share this book with all of you. 

As far as I'm concerned, I'm definitely in the camp that being a pantser is better, but each writer has to listen to what their muse insists on. 

Happy writing and reading, my friends! Have a great rest of your week!

Monday, January 28, 2013

#BookReview ~ Maggie's Fall by Ricki Wilson

Title:     Maggie's Fall
Author: Ricki Wilson
Genre:  Mainstream fiction/women's fiction
Rating:  4 stars

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I really enjoyed this book. Being a long-time horse lover, I really liked that this was essentially a book about saving a horse ranch that was failing. Maggie is a strong woman who has had a lot of tragedy in her life that she needs to work out and get over. Her problems run deeper than she'll allow herself to admit and beyond this being the story of Maggie saving her parents' ranch and keeping it running, this is the story of Maggie finding herself. 

I love the entire cast of characters. Jonah and Martha, who help run the ranch and act as Maggie's extended family, are great people and I love Martha's no-nonsense way she deals with things. Maggie's son, T.J., adds his own brand of charm and, of course, I absolutely love Witt - the finance manager who helps Maggie at every opportunity he can. 

My one criticism would be that there is quite a bit of head-hoping in this book with shifts from one character to the next which is sometimes a little confusing. On the other hand, it does give readers a chance to look into the minds of all these characters and get to know each of them better than they would have if Maggie were the only point of view character. 

Even though this extended family face many challenges, together with love and perseverance, they show a strength to get through the tough times, even when things don't work out like they expect or want them too. A very satisfying story that I enjoyed and recommend. 

This book took me longer to read than I wanted it to since I've been finishing up writing my own book and had other things promised to read. That said, it was a really good book that I greatly enjoyed and I was frustrated by the lack of reading time I had available to devote to this. Even though I was supposed to be doing other things/reading other books, I kept coming back to this one to read a chapter or two when I could steal away some time. I really think people will love Maggie. She's a great character who has much to learn about herself, and the journey of her life makes a great read. I hear a sequel is coming, and I can't wait! 

Happy reading, friends! Have a great week!

Friday, January 25, 2013

#Interview ~ R. Milton Quibner - Satire

Today, I'm happy to interview and spotlight R. Milton Quibner and his sexual satire, How High Should I Jump? Now, even though it says - Warning: FOR MEN ONLY! I have to admit to being quite interested in this book after reading a bit about it. Here's the details. 

“The aftermath of infidelity can be devastating, but the key to survival is understanding the Modern Relationship, and making personal changes. You'll find the steps necessary to understand and begin these changes by reading, How High Should I Jump? The Satirical Guide to Pleasing Today's Woman, by R. Milton Quibner.”

Amazon Product Page

Try to describe your book in one sentence.

'The Marquis De Sade meets How-To For Dummies'.

Who is your mentor? Who do you look up to?

My mentor is Demetrius Toteras, the renowned absurdist theater director and pre-Classical scholar. I studied under Toteras many years ago and his impact on my life and work has been profound. I also admire the writer, vgrafen, as well as the poet, L. Robuis.

Truly, I must admit you are introducing me to an entire group of people I've never heard of. I'll have to check out their works as well. 

So, feedback is important to a lot of authors. Do you read reviews written about your book?

Yes, I read everything written about me and/or the book, and though I always take into consideration what is said, I never waver in my faith that my book is both well-written and timely. It's always fun to see what others think, though, and I'm never offended by anything said.

Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

Yes, become a grammar freak! Present written work that is grammatically perfect every time, because you cannot expect publishers to copy-edit your work, and anything you submit, unless it's grammatically clean, will be tossed. Besides, any glitch sends the message that you weren't as careful as you could have been and makes your manuscript suspect. So, become technically as clean as you can be.

I agree 100%. Very good advice! 

How long did it take you to write your current book?

I began the book in outline form back 20 years ago, but in 2003, I produced the first draft, which has been under the knife since! I have gone through many edits and many versions to produce what you now see before you.

Wow! Twenty years? That is dedication. Well, tell us w
hy you chose the satire genre?

Having studied with Toteras, the noted absurdist, I chose satire and its sub-category, absurdity, because I could both make strong and sincere intellectual points while keeping it all in a fun tone of general mockery. You get to learn while you laugh at yourself, a great combination and how literature used to be done, in my view.

Did you do any research before start or during of the writing of the book?

Plenty! If you go over my Recommended Reading List from the back of the book, most if not all of those authors were on my desk several times before the book was finished. I tend to absorb an author and the, later, find I've almost incorporated his essential spirit, especially the ones who really moved this book.

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

There is no question in my mind that everyone should read and then re-read Plato's Apology, or as some term it, The Last Days of Socrates, the account of Socrates' trial in Athens. In that book is the essence of what it means to be a free human being and without that understanding, you will be prey to all those who seek to enslave you. Other than perhaps the Bible, this is the most important book in Western Civilization hands down!

Where is your work available?

Right now, it's on Amazon only, but soon it'll be available at brick-and-mortar bookstores like B&N and others. The ebook version recently came out. You can Google it, head straight to Amazon or go to my website and order it from there.

If I give you a time machine, what time period and in what place would you travel to?

Without hesitation, I would say 480 B.C. and Athens, Greece, the heart of the Golden Age! Imagine spending the day listening to the various poets and philosophers duking it out, seeing Protagoras and Socrates there beside you, with Pericles watching over the city and Alcibiades stirring up trouble! Chantel, send me home, please!

Haha - okay, come back. No causing trouble! 

Thanks so much for being here today and sharing with us a bit more about you and your work. I really appreciate you taking the time. 

About R. Milton Quibner 
A die-hard, life-long San Francisco Giants fan, I am a Senior Fellow at the Pataphysical Institute of Northern California, and am one of the world’s leading Heterosexual Relationship Specialists. I have developed a unique and hard-hitting self-help program for men based on Pre-Classical values and ethics.

I draw upon the fundamental works of Western Antiquity, focusing on the ontological, axiological and epistemological discoveries found in the early texts as a means of shaping the male role in the modern heterosexual relationship, though I do employ, where applicable, later source material.

Aware of the impossibility of asking a modern man to emulate the rigorous virtues and behavior of a long-dead society, yet convinced the overwhelming majority of men are desperate for major personal over-haul, I have designed a program geared to the more modest scope and capabilities of today’s heterosexual man.

I am happily married, a fervent and devoted Good Partner.

Want to connect with Milton? You can find him:
Facebook FanPage:
Facebook: RmiltonQuibner
Twitter: #rmiltonquibner

Happy reading everyone! Have a good weekend!

Monday, January 21, 2013

#NewRelease ~ Hidden Under Her Heart

HIDDEN UNDER HER HEART (A Story of Abortion & Courage) by Rachelle Ayala 

Maryanne Torres is a compassionate nurse who fails at relationships. After a string of losers, she swears off premarital sex, hoping to land a marrying type of man. 

Lucas Knight, a law-school dropout, moves to California to train for the Ironman Triathlon. He's smart, sweet, and everything Maryanne wants in a man, but their relationship suffers from his dedication to the sport. Seeking consolation in the arms of a handsome preacher's son, Maryanne attends a church party where she is raped. 

Maryanne is pregnant from the rape and plans to abort. But the identity of her rapist is hidden in her baby's DNA. Lucas asks Maryanne to seek alternatives and pledges to support her through the pregnancy. When Lucas becomes the prime suspect, Maryanne must clear his name and make a life changing decision. 

The rapist has other ideas. In order to destroy the evidence, he offers Maryanne an illegal offshore abortion. With Maryanne's life in danger, Lucas races to save her and her baby. However, Maryanne hides a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever. 

A 99,000-word women's fiction, HIDDEN UNDER HER HEART deals with the consequences of rape and abortion. 

From the Author 
Hidden Under Her Heart is an emotional and hard-hitting story about a young woman facing a heart-wrenching decision. We’ve heard the rhetoric, maybe even argued over the issue of abortion and rape. But behind the debates are real people—women and men with real problems and feelings. My story is not meant to be preachy, but compassionate, especially for post-abortive parents seeking closure. I think people on both sides of the fence will find meaning in the changes that both Maryanne and Lucas go through. Ultimately, it is an uplifting story, and my hope is that it will be a help to you. 

About the Author 
I am the author of three novels: Michal’s Window, a historical romance between King David and his first wife, the princess Michal, Broken Build, a romantic suspense thriller set in a Silicon Valley startup, and Hidden Under Her Heart, a story about a nurse wrestling with her decision to abort. My stories tend to be dramatic and emotional, crossing genres and cultures. I like to dive deep and live through my characters’ eyes. Each of them are passionate but flawed women paired with conflicted men with good hearts. I hope you enjoy the emotional journey I take you on. I love to hear from readers. Please contact me on Facebook: or my blog: 

Book Links 
Hidden Under Her Heart 

Personally, I love this story (review to come soon). For the next three days (Jan. 21st through 23rd) Hidden Under Her Heart is going to be on sale for 99 cents at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon. You don't want to miss this book!

Happy reading everyone! Have a good week!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Author versus Character Interview ~ A Simple Matter of Justice

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author Annamaria Bazzi and Samantha, the lead character from her recently released short, A Simple Matter of Justice. Before we get down to business, check out the cover and product description. 

Brutally murdered, Samantha discovers her life doesn’t end with her death. While in spirit form, she speaks with a wolf, which offers her a chance to bring her killer to trial…but there are strings attached. Even so, she accepts his proposal, and together they hunt the city. However, when the man responsible can’t be located, she worries the wolf’s proposal might be more than a simple matter of justice. 

The trunk opens and she comes face to face with her abductor, rapist and killer. 

Samantha receives a chance to bring the killer to justice. In accepting the challenge from a talking wolf, she never imagined she would become a spirit hawk by night. In the turmoil of her new existence, will she find the courage to bring the killer to the forest where the strange and powerful will pass judgment on the man? 

The spirit wolf goes with Samantha to help and support in her difficult endeavor. It’s a shock to discover the murderer goes into hiding when he sees her walk by his newspaper stand to go to the office the day after he left her dead in the middle of nowhere. 

Scared and afraid, she persists with Steve, the spirit wolf, who lends support and help. Is Samantha ready to discover the secret that protects the forest and can pass judgment and punish criminals? Will she find the strength to watch the judges punish the brutal criminal she is able to bring back to the forest? Will she be able to pick up the pieces and go on living?

Amazon Product Page

First off, thanks for being here. Glad you could join me for a while.  Let's start at the beginning. Want to tell me how the two of you met?  

Annamaria:  First off, I’d like to say how wonderful Samantha really is. Good, solid morals give her a compassionate heart and even though she sets out on a quest for justice, it never turns into one of revenge. But, in my regards, I think the spirit hawk is a bit spiteful, haven’t figured out what she has against me. 

We met one evening while I was getting out of the car, in my driveway. This crazy bird smashed into my windshield. When I realized it was a hawk, I was afraid to touch it. You should have seen those huge talons. The nutty bird spoke in my mind. 

Samantha: What were you thinking, turning me into a freaking bird?

Annamaria: You can talk.

Samantha: You should know, you created me. Are you going to ask me in? It’s cold out here.

Annamaria: I tell you Chantel, I never imagined my writing creations would come to life.

Samantha: What did you think we do, live in a two dimensional world of paper?

Annamaria: Isn’t that the idea of books?

Samantha: That shows how much you know. We can now also live in virtual space.

Annamaria: Inside a computer?

Samantha: Duh! 

Chantel: Try not to worry about it too much, Annamaria.  All of my characters have a habit of talking to me too - don't shut up is more like! Okay, so what was your first impression of each other? 

Annamaria: I think our first face-to-face impressions were a car wreck.

Samantha: Are you trying to be funny?

Annamaria: Okay, we both know I don’t have a sense of humor, so stop rubbing it in.

Samantha: I might be your creation, but you… you’re a brutal woman.

Annamaria: What did I do?

Samantha: Go read your story (she pouts).

Chantel: Oops...touchy subject? Let's delve a little deeper then, shall we? Annamaria, what does Samantha do that annoys you the most? 

Annamaria: I believe Samantha is angry with me because of the opening scene in the book… and she’s upset that for a while she had to turn into a spirit hawk. So, in the evenings while she stayed with me she’d leave droppings all over the house. Let me clarify, she’d leave them in weird places like the fireplace bricks, the kitchen counter, inside the bathtub, dripping down my dresser mirror. Have you any idea what it’s like to have to clean bird poop? 

Samantha: I’m a person. You didn’t have to turn me into an animal.

Chantel: I don't could be kind of nice. I take it you didn't think so though, Samantha. I want to give you equal time. If you could say just one thing to Annamaria, what would it be? 

Annamaria, you’re a crazy woman.

Chantel: Crazy woman seems a little harsh. I can see some tension here. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened between you two?

Samantha: The woman must come from a different world.

Chantel: What do you mean?

Samantha: She must have a love hate relationship with people. I mean, have you checked out her new work. She does weird things to people there too.

Chantel: She’s coming out with a new novel?

Samantha: Heck no, I don’t think she knows how to write a novel. No, it’s another short story, for young adults this time.

Chantel: I bet it's great. What does she do to those characters?

Annamaria: You’re going to have to read the story to find out, it’s called White Swans: A Regency Era

Chantel: Hey! I was asking Samantha! LOL Okay, okay. I'll move on to the next question. Annamaria, what do you feel the worst about doing to Samantha? 

Annamaria: Now that I’ve had the pleasure (rolls eyes) of meeting Samantha, I must say that turning her into a hawk might have been extreme. As an author, I needed an interesting twist for the story to work. Let me ask you, Samantha, don’t you enjoy soaring in the night sky, free, where no one can hold you back? 

Samantha: (pauses for a while) I do have to admit that it is an exhilarating experience.

Annamaria: You see. I gave you a gift no other human will ever feel.

Chantel:  I would love to be able to fly! Though, I'm not so sure about the being a bird part. I look forward to reading Samantha's experiences though. Do you think you two will meet again in the future?

Samantha: God forbid. If I meet up with her again, she might turn me into something more horrifying than a hawk.

Well, I suppose we should wrap this up. I don't want to take up too much of your time, but I do appreciate you ladies stopping by my blog!

About the Author:
Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. 

Upon returning to the states, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. 

She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish. 

Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.

Want to connect with Annamaria? You can meet up with her here:
Twitter: @AMBazzi


Want to read A Simple Matter of Justice? Check out the Amazon Product Page

Thanks for reading everyone! Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Location, location, location ~ Girly Book Blog Hop

Click here to enter the grand prize
I had such a fun time participating in the last Girly Book Blog Hop that I jumped at a chance to play again. Thanks so much to Libby Mercer for organizing another great hop. Best part for all of you? At each stop on the hop (haha - I'm a poet) each participant is giving away some sort of prize (enter below for a chance to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card). In addition to that, there is one huge grand prize that will be the ultimate reader's dream. Many of us have contributed various items to the grand prize, so be sure to click over and enter that too!

So, our posts this time are supposed to center around location. What is it about books that can transport you to another time and place? I've been to so many locations, enjoyed many places not only from our world, but places available only in the imagination. Fantasy was my favorite genre to read growing up: from the dragon-filled skies of Anne McCaffrey's Pern to the world full of talking horses/spirit guides, griffons, and other magical beings, Valdemar, created by Mercedes Lackey. I've spent many hours in these other worlds, pretending I was the characters I read about. As I got older, my reading choices have changed somewhat, but I've spent a lot of hours in New York with Mary Higgins-Clark, solving mysteries, and I've spent a significant amount of time in Bon Temps, Louisiana, falling in love with a certain vampire viking from the imagination of Charlaine Harris.  Oh, and I absolutely love traveling back to the Victorian era to fall in love with numerous men while reading the fantastic imaginings of Amanda Quick. 

While the locations in my book are certainly more mundane than places I've visited, I find that water plays a significant role in my location choices. Always & Forever takes place on the shore of a large lake in fictional Serenity, Oregon. My upcoming release, Crime & Passion, opens with a murder on the beach in a small town in Northern California. Even though I told myself I wasn't going to do another story next to the water, in the book I'm writing next at some point the characters will end up at a mansion next to a lake while hiding from the enemy. I can't seem to get away from it, and I love it! Water is the soothing balm that my soul cries for. The sound of waves crashing, a river rushing down a mountain side, the gentle patter of rain even. I love it all. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to visit everyone's blogs, read their contributions, and enter for a chance to win some great prizes!

Visit Libby's page to enter the grand prize drawing:

What are the favorite places you've ever visited in a book? Happy reading and good luck in the giveaways!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

#BookReview ~ Trouble Triangle by Travis Casey ~ Humor

Title:      Trouble Triangle (Book 1 of Tyler's Trouble Trilogy)
Author: Travis Casey
Genre:   Humor/splash of romance
Rating:  Five Enthusiastic Stars!!

Okay, I have been so excited to give my review on this book! I absolutely love Trouble Triangle! If you like your humor a bit off color (some say raunchy), prepare to laugh! Travis Casey is one of my favorite new authors! 

Amazon Product Page
Tyler Chambers thinks he has it made, living the sailor life and a dream most men would love--two of the hottest girls on base want relationships with him. When things turn ugly, Tyler will have a hard time talking himself out of some sticky situations.

I first read this book as a critique partner and just could not read through it fast enough. Even before it was totally refined and all fixed up as it is now, I loved this story. I've read the final version, and it is great!! As funny as I remembered.

I don't want to give the plot away, but I really enjoyed this one. In the beginning, Tyler is a character you have to struggle to love; kind of a bad boy with a chip on his shoulder. However, he is very funny and stole my heart by the end. I enjoyed watching his growth throughout the book. The cast of characters is great, all feeding off each other with some very funny scenes (I love Mark). The further into the book you get, the funnier things are!

Though this is an easy read that keeps the laughs coming throughout, the author did a great job and loaded in several unexpected twists.

I would categorize this book as adult only. Be prepared for strong language and sexual situations (they're sailors, after all). If you are looking for a light read with a splash of romance that will keep you laughing, give this a try! It's on my automatic re-read pile!

Travis is currently working on the second book in the trilogy. Can't wait to share that one with you all too! If you love racy humor, you are going to want to pick this series up! 

Happy reading, my friends! Have a great week!

Friday, January 11, 2013

#AuthorInterview ~ Joshua Silverman ~ Legends of Amun Ra

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm so pleased to have Joshua Silverman on my blog today to talk a little bit about his book and himself. I've tried a new interview format, and Joshua has been kind enough to be my first - guest. I meant guest!

Before we get started, check out his book cover and product description!

Amazon link
Do you wish you could have the power of a god? Would you use it for good…or for evil? 

When an archeologist 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, loose 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.

Thanks for being here, Joshua! Let's get right to the interview. Try to describe your book in one sentence, though your blurb already sounds very interesting!
Boy must discover the secrets to the universe to save a planet from the forces of evil. 

If you weren't a writer, what you would be?
A lawyer. They write a lot too.

I actually have a friend who is a lawyer and a fiction writer! So I guess they are compatible. 

Do you listen to music while writing?
I used to. Now, not so much. I’m actually getting more reclusive in my writing habits. Lock me in a room, close the door, turn off anything electronic but my computer (but turn off the internet) and type until my fingers bleed. 

I agree with turning off the internet and music. They are both too distracting for me, too! 

Do you have any advice for unpublished authors? 
Don’t be so anxious to get yourself out there. The world doesn’t need another bad novel. Everyone’s looking for the next great one. Take your time. Learn your craft. Write, rewrite, and edit a thousand times. 

Great advice! 

Why did you choose the genre you write in? 
Simple. I love science fiction and fantasy. I grew up in it. I used to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation with my parents when I was a kid every week. But I also loved history. MY father had a passion for it and would retell ancient battles in such a way that it wasn’t boring. He was a great story teller. So I wanted to find a way to bring the non-fiction, the historical side of me, into alignment with the sci-fi/fantasy geek. So I decided to write historical and mythological based sci-fi/fantasy. 

Did you know the title before you started writing? 
Absolutely not! I went through about five different titles before I settled on The Emerald Tablet (Legends of Amun Ra, #1). I think my first title was called “Battle Potara”. But that didn’t keep me interested for very long. Choosing a title was agonizing but I wanted something that represented the central theme yet be different and unique; something readers would remember. 

Titles can be tricky, for sure. So, what was your favorite scene? 
My favorite scene is any scene where I learn something about my characters that I didn’t already know. I find that is the most exciting thing about writing – the discovery of a new person which you spawned from your mind. However, if I would have to pick a “scene” from book 1, it would have to be the scene where Atlantia, a fourteen year old girl who is a slave, takes Leoros to her room. It was such an act of vulnerability for Atlantia to let him into her private world. Call me crazy but the fights weren’t my favorite of book one, it was how the two young adults relationship grew throughout the book. 

I think that really is the most important thing in a book...the human connection. I don't think you're crazy. I totally understand what you mean. Where do you get your inspiration? 
I remember very clearly the inspiration for the entire seven book series. I was talking to a friend of mine who was interested in Egyptian mythology and she suggested I check out the mythology of Thoth and alchemy. So I did. I picked up a book on alchemy at the bookstore that very day and went home and started reading it. In that book there were three sections (among others). One was on the mythology of the Emerald Tablet, one on the mythology of the Staff of Hermes, and one on the mythology of the Pillar of Hermes. And I don’t know how else to describe it but something clicked in me after I read those sections. I knew there was a story there that was supposed to be told. Within a month I had the entire plot for book one. Within four months I had the basic structure of all seven books. And it’s all based on the mythology of the Egyptian god of magic and wisdom, Thoth. 

That's pretty awesome! It's hard to get even one book written. Neat that you already have your idea for all seven! Which genres do you prefer to read?
Although my favorite genres are sci-fi/fantasy, I try to read from as many different genres as possible. I think that keeps you open and doesn’t pigeon hole me as an author. I also read a lot of non-fiction as well, primarily sticking to historical stuff like Paul Cartledge, Donald Kagen, or David McCullough. You should vary your reading list – it keeps you sharp and open to new ideas. 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews? 
Communication is very important. I love going to the sci-fi/fantasy comic conventions around town and meeting the fans and doing book signings. If they leave me a message on Facebook (my preferred method of communication), I’ll always reply. In fact, I encourage it. One of my readers and I had a lengthy Facebook chat about how we would re-do the movie ‘300’. That was a good one. I also respond to all emails I get. I try not to read too many of the reviews. I could spend my whole life analyzing every single word asking myself ‘Well what do they mean by this?’ If they liked the book, I’m happy. If they loved it, I’m happier. If they didn’t, well, you can’t please everyone. That’s part of being an artist anyway – I don’t love every author I read so it’s unrealistic for me to expect that everyone will be gushing over my work. 

Morning person or night owl?
Can I say afternoon? Haha. I hate waking up early and I don’t like staying up too late. I’m an afternoon person. 

Fair answer. :-)

What projects are you currently working on right now? Would you mind sharing them with us? 
Right now I’m finalizing edits with the publisher on Gardens of Ampheia (Legends of Amun Ra, Expanded Universe) which is a novella outside of the main seven book series. Gardens is due out March, 2013. I’m also about mid-way through my own edits on Soul of the World (Legends of Amun Ra, #2), before I hand that over to the publishers for editing. Soul is due out around November, 2013. At the same time, I am also writing book 3 for the main series and the second novella (yes, I’m writing two books at once).

Wow! You are a busy guy! Thanks so much for being here today. Best of luck to you! 

About Joshua
Joshua Silverman was born in Washington DC and currently resides in Orange County, CA. He grew up watching Star Trek, Star Wars, and other science fiction series with his family when he was young. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a ritual show in his house. In his spare time, he collected a respectable collection of comic books and Magic: The Gathering cards. 

When he’s not writing (or working in his day job to be able to write at night), he spends his time thinking about how to avoid traffic, what he’s going to have for dinner, watching cheesy apocalyptic or Kung Fu movies, working out, hiking, or reading.

Want to connect with Joshua? Here's all the places you can stalk him!
Twitter: @JoshuaSilverma2

Don't forget to swing over and check out his book on Amazon -

Thanks for joining us and finding out more about Joshua's books. Happy reading, everyone! Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Crime & Passion ~ Decorated police office accused of murder!

The cover art for Crime & Passion is here! I was able to use the models on the cover that I wanted from the very beginning. The man in this picture makes the most perfect Donovan Andrews there could be! What do you think? Good, right?

Cover by LFD Designs for Authors
A decorated police officer, more intent on justice than following the letter of the law, lands in trouble when a gorgeous schoolteacher finds a dead body on the beach. 

Playboy Donovan Andrews knows how to have a good time--ask any woman in town. But when it comes to men abusing their wives or children, Donovan takes it upon himself to make them regret it. 

Madeline Scott visited her fiancĂ© the night before their wedding—only to find him sleeping with another woman. All Madeline wants is a quiet place to heal, far away from cheating, womanizing men. Everything changes when she stumbles upon the body and witnesses someone fleeing the scene. 

The victim is a wife beater Donovan had a recent altercation with, and Donovan quickly becomes the prime suspect. He turns to Madeline, hoping she can help clear his name. However, the passion between them may prove more dangerous than the elusive killer.

I'm pretty excited about it! In celebration of my getting closer to publication, I thought I would share the next scene with you. If you missed the first chapter when I posted it before, you can read it here - 

Want to read the next two scenes? Enjoy!

Chapter Two
(c) Chantel Rhondeau 2012

“So that’s when I saw the man in the dark-colored suit running away,” Madeline said. 

“Can you describe him?”

Madeline thought about the figure. She had just walked over the top of a rise when she saw the person on the beach, but had been too far away to see him clearly. In fact, she wasn’t even certain the runner was a man.

She shook her head. “I didn’t realize anything horrible happened until I found the...victim.” She tugged on the leash to encourage Brutus to keep walking instead of inspecting the same bush for the hundredth time. “I’m plenty busy with this beast.”

“I can imagine.”

Glancing over at Donovan, another thought occurred to her. “You know, it might not have been a jogging suit I saw, considering the person obviously wasn’t down there for a run.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the color the person wore was like your outfit.”

Donovan sucked in a breath, and Madeline risked another look.

He ran his hand over his face. “You think it’s a cop?”

“No, I didn’t mean...that’s not to say...” Great. She offended him. Certainly, the other cops would love hearing she half-accused one of them of being responsible for the crime. Madeline exhaled heavily. “Look, it could have been anybody wearing anything. That’s all I meant. The color was similar to your uniform and there was something shiny the sun hit when the person turned my direction for a few moments. It could have been metal, like a badge.”

Donovan stopped walking and made a notation in the notebook he carried.

Happy to take advantage of the break, Brutus trotted over to mark a signpost. Thankfully, they were only three houses away from his owner, and Madeline could drop him off and head home. She felt in desperate need of a hot bath and some chamomile tea.

She dragged Brutus away from the post and hurried to his owner’s door. Donovan stayed on the sidewalk, watching her. That at least kept her from having to answer questions about why she had a police escort, though Mrs. Stanfield might have wondered about the jacket saying ‘Police’ in big, yellow letters. Perhaps she didn’t notice.

After Brutus was safely inside the house, Madeline returned to Donovan. “I really don’t have anything else to offer, sir. Is it okay if I head home now?”

He nodded. “That’s probably for the best. Where’s your car? I’ll walk you to it.”

“That’s nice of you, but my apartment is three blocks away, over on Holly Street. I’ll be fine.”

“Holly Street? Overlooking the ocean?” At her nod, Donovan quirked his eyebrow. “Kind of a nice neighborhood for a dog walker...or a substitute teacher.”

Madeline looked down at the sidewalk, refusing to answer the unspoken question. He didn’t need to know she’d pulled out her entire life savings to chase her dream of living next to the ocean. Northern California seemed like the perfect escape once she realized she wouldn’t be marrying Cameron.

She had just enough saved up to finance the apartment for one year. After that, she’d have to rethink her life plan and make a decision that wasn’t so impulsive. Still, falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, watching the waves crash into the shore beneath her picture window while she ate breakfast, talking walks on the beach–spending all her money was worth that.

“I’d better walk you home,” Donovan said, and she looked back up. “There’s a killer out here somewhere. I don’t think you should walk alone.”

Her stomach twisted uncomfortably. “I’d appreciate the escort.”
“So this Scott girl probably saw the killer but can’t give an accurate description?” Chief Kenneth Stone boomed from behind his desk. “That’s not a lot of help to us unless she remembers more.”

Donovan sighed and clasped his hands behind his back. “Sir, she saw someone in a blue suit running away, but she was on the hilly part of the beach at the time and didn’t even realize there was a body or that a crime had been committed. She was too far away to be useful.”

“She’s new in town. Do you know anything about her background?”

“No.” Donovan shrugged. “Why? You think she overpowered Frank and then stuck around to report her crime?”

“Doubtful,” Stone admitted. “Then again, a coldly calculating killer might in hopes we wouldn’t look at her for the crime. We’ve never had something like this happen here before. New residents are automatically suspicious in my mind.”

Eric laughed from his place on the tiny office’s only guest chair. “Miss Scott’s quite a willowy thing. Tall, but I doubt she could’ve taken down a tough guy like Frank Johnson.”

“Never underestimate a woman, rookie.” Chief Stone ran a hand through his silver-streaked hair and shook his head. “Check into her more to make sure, but she’s probably a dead end. Did she tell you anything useful?”

Donovan hesitated. “She did say one thing that was interesting.” And sure to land Donovan in trouble as soon as Stephanie Johnson complained.

Stone raised an eyebrow. “Out with it, Andrews.”

He knew he’d have to tell them. It would look worse if he didn’t. “She thought maybe, and she’s not very sure about this, but it’s possible the jogging suit could be a police uniform or some other type of suit entirely. If that was the killer she saw, obviously he wasn’t down there for an evening jog.”

“Hmmm...” Stone leaned back in his chair and put his arms behind his head. “And you two were the only officers near the scene at the time. What does that say?”

“We were eating dinner, sir,” Eric squeaked.

Donovan launched a quelling glare at his partner, praying the dumb rookie wouldn’t say anything else. “Like I said, Chief, Madeline wasn’t too sure about anything.”

Stone sat straight up in his chair. “Madeline?”

“Miss Scott,” Donovan amended, shaking his head at his own carelessness. He already sat in a precarious position with Chief Stone, and it wouldn’t do to act interested in another woman.

Donovan dated Stone’s daughter for a few weeks before growing tired of her possessiveness and clingy nature. Stone foolishly thought Donovan would commit to her and had been pissed when Suzie tearfully informed him Donovan had other plans. Donovan couldn’t help it if he wasn’t the marrying type.

More accurately, he couldn’t help it if most women bored him to tears. He’d dated Suzie as long as he had out of respect for the Chief. She still came around the station house nearly every day, making mooneyes in Donovan’s direction. It was enough to drive him mad.

Then again, he’d cycled through the available talent in this small town. Heavy tourist traffic wouldn’t start for another few months. Madeline Scott just might provide a much-needed break in the monotony of his current dating life. She seemed smart and definitely had a sarcastic sense of humor, even when faced with a body. They could have fun together for a while.

The Chief stood from his chair and walked toward the office door. “See that you keep things on professional footing with Miss Scott, Andrews. I don’t want any problems with my witness.”

Donovan nodded as Stone opened the door, and Eric hurried past them out into the main room.

“A quick question, sir.” Donovan’s heart beat fast, but at Stone’s nod he dove on. “Who’s questioning Stephanie Johnson?”

“It’s already been handled.”

“And did she mention a reason someone might have done this?”

Stone shrugged. “She’s only interested in getting her children back. She didn’t even blink when they informed her Frank was murdered. Maybe she’ll talk to us more once she’s met with Social Services.”

Well, wasn’t that funny? Here Donovan worried about Stephanie accusing him of killing her husband, but perhaps she did it herself. “Are we looking at her for this?”

“Yeah.” Stone wiped a large hand across his wrinkled face. “She seems a more likely candidate than Miss Scott. So far, she’s the only person I’ve found who has motive. Get back to work and round me up more suspects. I don’t want those kids yanked out of her house a second time if there’s a chance someone else did this.”

Donovan nodded and walked to his desk. He flopped into the chair, fear clutching his chest. So far, at least, no one knew about him punching Frank.

Eric glanced up from the papers in front of him. “You okay?”

Closing his eyes and leaning back, Donovan didn’t respond. If word got out Stephanie was a suspect and it looked like she wouldn’t get her children back, there was no way she’d keep quiet about the threats he made yesterday.

He had to find more suspects before that happened.

This will be published late March 2013, and I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have a fantastic rest of your week! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

#BookReview ~ The Sun Zebra by R. Garcia

Title:    The Sun Zebra
Author: R. Garcia
Genre: ? A children's book for grownups/short stories
Stars:   3-4

The star rating is a little difficult for this book. Basically, I liked it. That makes 3 stars on Goodreads and 4 on Amazon. I really wish they could get together and agree on what the stars mean. Okay, on to the nitty gritty:

This book is a bit different from anything I've read. The stories revolve around the narrator and his family (especially his daughter, Nell, and her imagination). Each chapter is basically its own story and tells some part of their life. The stories seem to have a moral-type ending or something to ponder. I found them enjoyable, though this is not the usual sort of book I read. All in all, it is only around 65 pages and has five different stories included. 

My favorite story was the first, "The Sun Zebra," as I thought it really captured childhood and what we forget as we get older. I did, however, have problems with some things in some of the stories. There were a few times I had issues with decisions the narrator made in terms of protecting his child and her feelings (especially during the second story), instead of taking an opportunity to teach right from wrong. However, things turned out okay in the end, but life unfortunately doesn't always work out that way. I guess the reason that this bothered me so much was the way the story was resolved was pretty unbelievable (although I'm not sure if these are true stories and it really happened that way, or just the author's imagination). Anyway, I thought the more responsible thing to do would be to tell Nell the truth about that fact she had made a mistake. 

Still, even with that minor complaint, I found the stories enjoyable and it is a quick and easy read if you are looking for something fun and light. A lot of things to make you remember the magic of being a child and seeing the world through a child's eyes again. 

Happy reading, everyone! 

P.S. Don't forget my policy to read the samples before you buy! Everyone's tastes are different. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

#AuthorInterview - Jeffrey H. Baer ~ A Song Apart

I am so excited to have Jeffrey H Baer here today for an interview to talk about his general fiction book, A Song ApartBefore we get to the interview, check out the description of A Song Apart:
Amazon Product Link
Rising pop singer Shannon Kistler never expected to see college student Kevin Derow on a Manhattan street wearing her concert shirt. But she offers gratitude in her own way, leaving her biggest fan in shock. When the two teenagers meet again six days later, Shannon slips Kevin her phone number, and the unlikely romance begins.

Soon they find they have several things in common: lonely childhoods, a passion for music, and making unpopular choices about their own lives. The public cannot take Shannon seriously as a teenaged recording artist, but she risks her sudden success by making some public mistakes after breaking into a soulless music industry with unusual ease. Meanwhile Kevin loses the respect of family, friends and coworkers over the girl he idolizes–and unwittingly blows the lid off a payola scheme devised by Shannon's record label, threatening her career and possibly his own freedom.

A Song Apart revolves around two young people from distinct backgrounds who choose to follow their hearts rather than their peers and find a greater reward at the end of their paths. 

It's great to have you here, Jeffrey!

Thanks. I appreciate it. 

So, why don't you tell us a little bit more in depth about your book?

A Song Apart is about two teenagers–an up-and-coming pop star and her most surprising fan– whose lives collide on a Manhattan street. They’re hopelessly drawn to each other and fall in love, but they still have to cope with society’s unreasonable disapproval of their own life choices. I tried to get it published via the traditional route, but it was rejected 336 times (337 if you count the telephone rejection). After hearing agents decide they couldn’t sell A Song Apart, I hooked up with CreateSpace (Amazon’s print-on-demand service) to offer the book to the people who really wanted to read it–the public. 

A lot of authors are finding Amazon to be a viable option in publishing.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why? 

Kevin Derow, the protagonist. At 19 years old he has the chutzpah to stand up for himself and make no excuses for who he is. I wish I’d done the same thing at his age. 

Good thing we can always live vicariously through our characters! So, have you always wanted to be a writer? 

Something always nagged at me to become a writer since I was so good at it, but I never thought it was practical. I actually hoped to major in accounting in college, but after several years I realized I didn’t know how to crunch numbers the way they should be crunched. I detoured into journalism for a year, but my heart wasn’t in it and my imagination was too hyperactive to be a reporter.

Most writers I talk to have always wanted to write, but I figured out my love for it later on too. I guess it doesn't matter when we figure it out, just that we do! 

Okay, movies or books? Which do you prefer? 

No preference, as long as they both tell a good story. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I sing and play guitar, as well as compose old school R&B-style songs with software. When summer rolls around, I visit the karaoke stage on the Coney Island boardwalk to sing for the public. I’m also a sports fan; I root for the Mets, Knicks and the Dallas Cowboys. 

Sounds like music is an important part of your life. I'm not big on sports, though I do follow football. The Cowboys are the team for a lot of my family members, but I root for the Miami Dolphins...too bad we missed the playoffs this year!

What does the future hold for you? Are there any new projects in the works that you want to tell us about? 

I began writing a novel, a parody of Sidney Sheldon’s books, called Desperate People–and let’s face it, that’s all he ever wrote about. It’s set in 1979 New York City during the twilight of the disco era, in which a gorgeous club owner comes between an FBI agent and the head of an organized crime family. Researching it has been tough, especially where the Mafia is concerned, but I’m not giving up on it. Still, I heard another project calling to me, begging for revision–The Strickland File, which I wrote between 1997 and 2003. It’s about a college graduate coping with politics and adversity at his new job–and it’s based on experience. : / 

You certainly have lots to keep you busy. Good luck on both the researching and the revisions!

More about Jeffrey:
I was born January 21, 1969 in Brooklyn, NY. My dad was stationed in Fort Huachuca, AZ after his return from Vietnam, so I was an army brat without knowing it. 

My childhood was like a lot of others–difficult. I was advanced for my age, as everyone discovered when I read the Times Square message boards at age two– out loud, no less. My grandparents told me how surprised the pedestrians were; I was too engaged to notice, or else I'd pass the hat around. 

Unfortunately, the other kids weren't surprised. In fact, they were downright offended and often reminded me as much. The worst of it came in junior high school, when the entire grade hated my guts without knowing why. Looking back on it, I should've thanked those kids for giving me all that attention. 

I realized I could write when our seventh-grade English teacher asked us to write an essay about a famous woman. Since I loved listening to pop music, I wrote my essay about Roberta Flack, but I was out sick the day after handing it in. The next Monday a girl in my class complained “Gee, thanks, Jeff. We all really wanted to hear about Roberta Flack.” Apparently the teacher was so impressed with my essay, he read it to the class–and my classmates had yet another reason to consider me persona non grata. 

My so-called “bad reputation” followed me to high school. Suffice it to say I was never so relieved in my life than graduation day. 

I entered Baruch College in 1987 to study accounting, but after seven years I realized I didn’t know how to crunch numbers the way they should be crunched. I detoured into journalism for a year, but my heart wasn’t in it, so I took time off to sort out my career goals. At the same time I worked as a receivables manager for a Manhattan-based trade magazine. It was the worst job I ever had, as I coped with office politics and the nastiest, most manipulative boss I ever had. But the experience inspired THE STRICKLAND FILE, which I wrote between 1997 and 2003 and am revising at the moment. 

After Mill Hollow I worked at a list management company called Stevens-Knox & Associates for sixteen months. After losing that job I had trouble finding steady work for fourteen years. But in April 2002 I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is high-functioning autism that affects social skills. It answered a lot of questions, particularly why I was socially inept as a child and couldn’t get jobs on my own. Now I work part-time for a security firm thanks to a supported-employment group called JobPath. 

In addition to writing fiction, I compose songs using software. I enjoy old school R&B as well as 70s pop. I also sing and play guitar, bass and drums. 

Want to connect with Jeffrey or find out where to buy his book?
Web site:
Twitter: @JBaer10314
Facebook: (book page, where I prefer to chat with readers)
Amazon link: (readers can toggle between book and Kindle version)
Smashwords link: (e-book version for all other gadgets)

Thanks so much for being here today, Jeffrey! Best of luck to you in all your future endeavors! 

And thanks to all my readers for stopping by and reading more about this book. Have a terrific weekend and happy reading!!