Thursday, October 31, 2013

BOOK REVIEW (Halloween Edition): "Sorrow's Knot" by Erin Bow

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When Malena PR asked me if I'd do a Halloween special review, of course I said yes. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and stories containing ghosts, vampires and the like are my specialty.

I wasn't sure what to think, however, when I saw that the novel they sent me, Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow, was published by Scholastic. Young adult/kids' books featuring horror elements can be hit or miss. This was a HIT!

The pinch of Westmost has people, predominantly females, train to be experts in a particular craft: storytellers, rangers, bonesetters (doctors) and binders.

The people of their line have been casting wards and binding their dead with yarn for many moons, never since their old binder, Mad Spider, had bound her mother, Hare, when she died. But Mad Spider hadn't realized that, in binding her mother too tightly, she had created a monster known as the White Hand.

If the White Hand touches a living person, that person has only nine days to live before they are either murdered by their friends to save them...or turn into Hands themselves.

Otter is the youngest of the line to be a binder. Her friends Kestrel and Cricket (the only male storyteller) are okishae, their version of married. When Otter's mother, Willow, casts her out of her craft and hires a new girl, Otter moves in with her friends and tries to see what kind of new lfe she can make for herself.

But when Willow is touched by a White Hand and Fawn is killed by a too-strong ward, it is up to Otter to stop White Hands once and for all...but will it be too late?

Sorrow's Knot is by far one of the best books I've never read. Adults, fear not the labelng of "young adult"! This books can be enjoyed by all, though I'd caution younger readers, as there is quite a lot of death throughout.

The characters are all important in their own way, and all are so lively you feel as if you know them and are in the story with them. When they cry, you are sad. When they are frustrated, you will feel it. When they fall in love, you'll smile for them.

The dead are everywhere in this story, lurking in the shadows, ready to strike, but there is also light behibd the shadiws, as this books teaches you. It's intriguing, it's unique and it will keep you interested right up until the last page.

5/5--amazing!

Purchase Sorrow's Knot via the following:

Amazon (ebook & paperback)

Barnes & Noble (ebook & hardcover)

Scholastic

Find Erin Bow via the following:

Official Site

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook

Find Malena PR via the following:

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "The Struggle" Anthology

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I rarely review poetry, as I find it difficult to critique something so intimate & emotional.
I haven't reviewed any short stories...yet (some reviews are coming in the future), but I've always wanted to.
Here, I can do both...

Author/poet Sheila Hall gathered together some of today's best indie authors & poets to join her on this collection, whose proceeds go to helping indie authors struggling in the literary world.
She contributed a story & poem herself, as did other authors from Literary Escapism, The Darker Fun & poets whose work has been published in books & on highly prolific websites.

All stories & poems follow the theme of the title, and describe a struggle of some sort: everything from romance woes to arson fires, and each respective contribution will make the reader feel something, be it empathy or sympathy.

I can almost guarantee you'll shed a tear or two and, when you complete the book, you'll read it again and again before referring it to everyone you know.

Who do I recommend this to? Everyone with a heart! It's great work as a whole, and each writer is showcased at his or her best.

So pick up this book & help support indie art!

5/5--Beautiful work from everyone!

Purchase The Struggle via the following links:

Amazon Kindle (US)

Amazon Kindle (UK)

Find The Struggle online on these social networks:

Twitter

Blogspot

Facebook

Goodreads

(On the Blogspot you can find links to each of the talented contributors for The Struggle!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Stephen B. Pearl

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1. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and why?

Let’s see. I was twenty-three and had just finished a woolly mammoth hunt when…
Okay, a bit of an exaggeration there. I was twenty-three and woolly mammoths were on the endangered species list. ;-) Actually, I was dating a fantastic woman at the time. Smart, sweet, the most beautiful blue eyes in the world, and well, suffice it to say she had the total package. (Still does.)
To impress her I wrote my first novel. It was a fantasy piece with her featured as the princess. The book is awful and will never see print, but it did have its desired effect. We’ll be celebrating our twenty-seventh or twenty-eighth (I lose track) wedding anniversary this November. What that awful novel did in addition to helping me win the heart of my beloved is it showed me that I could do it. It also reminded me that I had stories to tell. As well, to be honest, I had things that I had to prove to myself. Markus, in Worlds Apart, being Dyslexic is taken from very close to home. When you’ve been called “tardo” and “dummy” all your childhood I don’t think you can be faulted for feeling that you have something to prove.

2. What authors did you enjoy when you were young? What authors influence you today?

J.R.R. Tolkien was and is my favorite author of all time. Read the books, the movies (dedicated Tolkien fan rolls eyes and shakes head sadly). The books are well worth the effort. In Lord of the Rings is the code for living a good life. The characters are so archetypal and the language so lyrical. This is what literary fiction is supposed to be.
Frank Herbert. Mr. Herbert was a world builder par-excellent. He also taught me how to think and to understand the inter-connectedness of elements in a story. You can’t change an element without it having a ripple effect on everything else in the story. For example, in any society with Faster Than Light (FTL) technology raw material shortages are very unlikely because their technology would have to be advanced enough to allow for the economic mining of asteroids. One thing leans on another. This is a constant source of irritation to me in a lot of sf and modern fantasy because people forget this simple fact. If someone can lift a couple of tons with their mind why aren’t they making a fortune launching satellites into orbit? In Dune you notice the only real thing in short supply was the spice, and on Dune water but that was a consequence of spice production, because it was a naturally occurring organic compound that couldn’t be synthesized and required unknown and rigorous conditions for its creation. Thus it became the basis for the economy. As I got older there were a lot of books by various authors. Pierre Berton with his books The Last Spike and The National Dream really impressed me. Here was the drama that was the birth of my nation not as dry text but as living characters put to the page. That is the way to interest people in history.
I went through a time where I read a lot of historical fiction set around the American Revolution. Some of the Founding Fathers of the USA were truly great men.
To acknowledge this takes nothing from the greatness of my nation’s founders. Sadly, I think that these great men are spinning in their graves so quickly that you could hook a generator to them and power several cities. It is the way of all nations. They rise, peak, do great works that advance humanity (Can we say the moon landing), then decline to make way for the next dominant state. The cycle has gotten faster as advanced transport and communications have come more into play. This is not said to be insulting, but to simply note the recurrent patterns of history. I should also mention H.G. Wells and Homer as major inspirations. Currently, I am following the works of Jim Butcher, Harry Dresden Wizard for Higher, and Laurell K. Hamilton the Mary Gentry series as well as others.A very funny book I read recently was Welcome to the Multiverse *Sorry for the inconvenience by Ira Nayman. It had me laughing out loud in the dentist office, which if you knew my history with dentists would be a fare more impressive endorsement. I’m also fond of the young adult works of Timothy Carter. For a light read that none the less has something to say they are fantastic.

3. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

Career, hopefully able to feed myself. Myself, I’ve learned not to second guess. The world around me is changing so fast and there are so many directions things could go. We could be one scientific breakthrough away from physical immortality, how would that change the world. Suppose the research in zero point energy pans out? Will we wipe ourselves out or will it propel us to the stars. I can follow a thread into the future to write a plausible fiction, but for personal predictions the variables are too vast. Even when I read Tarot or the Runes I am loathe to push forward more than six months.

4. If you weren't writing amazing novels, what would you be doing?

If I could go back I think I probably would have trained as ether an engineer, an electrician, or a Forest Ranger. Sadly my youth was plagued by a lack of guidance. Such is life.

5. In Worlds Apart, you discuss different religions as part of the main plot. What role does spirituality play in your daily life, both personally and professionally?

I am a devout Pagan following a Neo-Egyptian path. I’m also an archetypest. What that means is that I think there are only a few divine forces, but they have many names and each name takes on a flavor from those who use it. These labels ultimately all come back to the same force. To Illustrate, Thor, Horus (son of Isis), Lug, Jesus, Mohammed and others too numerous to mention all represent the perfected man to their various cultures. This is a thing to be striven towards though it can never be obtained. Isis, Kerridwen, Frigg, Mary all represent the wise woman, sorceress, mother force. The number of these forces or rays is a topic open for discussion, but if you examine any pantheon you can see exemplars of a general type for each. As a result of this belief I don’t get hung up trying to tell someone they are on the wrong path because to deny the gods of another would be to deny my own. I simply use the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses to codify the universal forces because I resonate better with them that any other.
As long as a person strives to show tolerance and respect to all and not hurt others or the world unnecessarily then I figure they are on a good path.
What a lot of folk need to learn is freedom of religion is the freedom to practice your own religion in privet or with like minded people, not the freedom to push your faith on others or use tax dollars or civil law to promote your religion over others.
What I mean is this. I have no problem with someone wishing me a Merry Christmas. I will return the good wishes with Blessed Yule. The positive wish is what is important. I do think it is inappropriate for a City Council to use Tax Dollars or public facilities to put up a nativity scene. However if a church wants to pay for and put up a nativity scene on their property they are a private organization and so long as they are in keeping with eyesore and noise bylaws I have no problem with that. I suppose you could say that I am a bit fanatic about the separation of church and state. A good measure is I think that under the law churches should have the same status as clubs. They both get to exclude members based on an internal set of parameters. They both can own property for use by their members. They both can apply for tax exempt status. The list of similarities goes on and if churches were treated legally as clubs it would solve much of the problem of one religion being given deferential treatment over others.
So, to answer the actual question. My spirituality affects all aspects of my life. It helped me form the ideal I strive to emulate and calls on me to try and be better. In my writing I try to give a bit of what Tolkien (a devout Christian) gave to me by supplying archetypes people can aspire to.

6. Markus lives in a world where magic replaces science as it is in our world. If it were possible, do you think our world would benefit or decline even more for it to happen in real life?

I think it would give a new set of problems while solving a bunch. In Markus’s world some individuals, like Markus, have a huge amount of personal power. The individual is more emphasized and social controls of a necessity would have to be looser. A cop with a stun wand is going to be rather hesitant about trying to bring down a suspect who could literally toss them into orbit with a thought.
It would be interesting to see how magic at the level on Markus’s world would play out.
The way I’ve written it in Worlds Apart the magic of Markus’s world is really just another branch of physics blended with psychology. There are limits and it behaves in a consistent manner. Isaac Bonewits in his book Real Magic put forward the argument that magic is in fact a science. I took that thought and jacked the power level to make it more interesting.I will say this much. Markus’s world may have had their World War Three, but they are far more environmentally conscious than we are. Maybe that comes from their use of magic which flows from the life in the natural world.

7. With Alcina and Markus being from different universes, and the differences/similarities between different religions, was it a commentary on the fact that we are all the same in the most basic sense, on the inside?

It wasn’t an intentional commentary, but when I think about it that definitely is there. We are all at our core the same. Because we all have to eat, drink, sleep, breathe and go to the bathroom we come from a common foundation. In Jungian psychology there is the collective unconscious. I’ve always viewed the concept like houses having the same floor plan. You’ll know where the bathroom is in any of the houses built to the plan. What colour the walls are, whether the second bedroom is a kid’s room, guest room, study or some combination of these, is up for grabs.
So, the answer is yes, but it wasn’t one I consciously incorporated. Though the left brain will gladly take credit for the right brain’s hard work.

8. Did you intend for Worlds Apart to be such a social commentary from the start or did it happen naturally as the story went on?

I say this often. I intend for all my books to entertain from the start. That is the duty of fiction, to entertain. After that if it can educate or inspire it may transcend from good to great, but the foundation of entertainment must be there first. That said, I did want to deal with social issues. Conflict grows out of issues and I feel if the issues are grounded in reality it adds spice to the conflict. So I had an incentive to pick issues that cut close to the real world then expand on them in the fiction. So half and half is the most honest answer I can give.

9. Will you ever write a sequel to the story?

Maybe one day. I have to market several novels that are sitting on my hard drive, write the sequel to Nukekubi (collectively that series will be called The Chronicles of Ray McAndrews); find a new home for Tinker’s Plague (sadly the publisher went out of business) and it’s first sequel, Tinker’s Sea; finally get enough time to work on a comedic, cyberpunk, romance called Cats I’ve been trying to do for over a year and have been perpetually distracted from.
I do have some vague ideas for how I would do a sequel to Worlds Apart. Basically, the elements I would exploit are that Markus has to finish scouting our world for transfer points, Carl is still alive and well, (excluding his mental state which was always a little questionable), Alcina was healed with other world magic, what it means to Alcina to move to Markus’s world, it’s not like she could hop on a jet and come back for a visit. There are threads that could be picked up in an organic way though I think I tied up the story nicely.

10. Can you give readers a sneak peek as to what projects you're working on for release in the future?

Hmm, I think I just did. I’ll give a taste of one I’m trying to market right now.

Cloning Freedom

Thousands of years in the future humans are an unimportant species in an interstellar republic. Clones are considered property in the human territories though for the rest of the republic they are just another human under the law. (With a few exceptions local law supersedes galactic law).
Rowan is a studio clone enacting full, virtual-reality plus emotion entertainments that are one of humanities few exports. She believes it is the early twenty-first century and she is living in a small city on earth. She is actually in the “Set Region” on the colony planet Gaea. A No Intervention order (NI) is issued on Rowan by the studio which is in effect a death sentence given she is in an action based show. Ryan a tech at the studio, and ex-space navy captain, liberates Rowan and is trying to get her to Republic territory where she will be a person under the law. The studio and government forces are hunting Ryan and Rowan.This scene occurs after Ryan has liberated Rowan while they are using a broken-down, space-services, surplus ATV to travel to the Space Craft Ryan has been restoring as a hobby since he was decommissioned. Rowan was poisoned in the set region where she has lived up until this time.
“Sit down.” Ryan leapt to her side and helped lower her into the co-pilot’s chair.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just can’t get enough oxygen.” Rowan’s skin had gone pale. Ryan took her pulse. It was racing.
“You’re probably still anaemic from the toxin. It will take a while for you to replace the red blood cells it destroyed.” Fumbling under his seat, Ryan pulled out a package about a decimetre square and passed it to her.
“What’s this?”
“Breakfast. Eat up, your body needs the fuel. Then you should go back to sleep.”
“I think I’m all slept out for a while. What’s that?”
Rowan pointed at the main screen where the steam pipe’s track way was displayed.“Just a geothermic energy transfer line.”
“Geothermic? That thing looks like it was put together by the same people who built Stonehenge. As far as I know there’s only one geothermic plant in North America, and it’s in Yellowstone. Somehow I think you could have found a parking space for your ship closer than that.”
Ryan began to sweat, and he gripped the arms of his command chair. “You should eat.”
“What did my father think you should tell me?”
Rowan’s face was pure focus.“You need to rest, regain your strength. Eat your ration pack. I’ll explain everything when you’re stronger.”
“No way, buster. You’ll explain now, or I... or I’ll...”
“What? Rowan, trust me. I do have your best interests at heart. Now eat your rations, and go back to bed, like a good girl.”
Red tinted Rowan’s cheeks despite her pallor. “Don’t you dare pull that little girl garbage with me. You want me to eat, fine! Tell me what’s going on and I’ll eat. Keep silent and I’ll starve myself.” Rowan stared at him defiantly.
“I always did have a thing for strong-willed women.” Ryan shook his head disparagingly.
“I’ll take that as a compliment, I think. Now spill.”
Ryan nodded. “After we’re underway, I promise. I’d have to tell you eventually anyway, and I need you to eat, but, for now, only the short version. You need to recover your strength.”
“I can live with that.” Rowan released the tab at the side of the ration box. The box folded out into a tray. “Sausage and eggs with a side of toast, and it’s hot.”
“You need the protein, and there’s no excuse for bad food when you apply good tech.”
Rowan picked up the black fork from the side of the tray. It was cool to the touch and slick against her fingers. “What is this made of?”
“Polycarbonate. About a hundred times stronger than tempered steel.”
“Star dust.” She stabbed her sausage and took a bite. It was pleasant, far from the best she’d had but better than her father’s rare attempts at making breakfast. At the thought of Gunther she hung her head.
Ryan saw pain cross her features. He wanted to ask why, but over half a century of marriage had taught him that sometimes it was best to give a woman her space. “I’m going to go out to prep the vehicle. I’ll only be a few minutes.”
“Okay then you tell me everything?”
“Everything is an awful lot. One-thousand-five-hundred and fifty-seven years is a long time.”
Rowan’s mouth dropped open as Ryan moved to the troop compartment.

The ATV jolted over the bedrock plain. The liquid-nitrogen feed masking its heat signature was perfect. The batteries were sinking fast.
Rowan stared at the man beside her, who kept his eyes on the screen in front of him. She felt sick, and she knew it wasn’t just from the poison’s effects.
“Just an entertainment? All those people died so somebody could watch TV? Farley cheated on me so people could have a cheap thrill?”
“Not like TV. It’s a full experience, all five senses, plus emotion. They tried to do thought, but the process is too complex.” Ryan’s voice was flat.
Rowan shook her head. She couldn’t believe it, wouldn’t believe it. It was too big, but in an odd way made sense of so much. Taking a deep breath, she focussed on a minor point, hoping that if she took it in little bites, she could wrap her brain around it. “Why the early twenty-first century?”
Ryan maneuvered around an area of sand that would show his tire marks. “By the mid twenty-first century any university lab would have had the equipment to spot some of the control vectors we use. They couldn’t make complex nano-bots, but they could spot them and get a good idea of what they were for. The clones have to be kept in the dark for the system to work.”
“You are a real bastard.” Tears came to Rowan’s eyes. “We’re people. You turned us into puppets.”
“Rowan, understand this. You aren’t a person, not on this world. You’re studio property, and I’ve stolen you.”
“You can’t own people, that sl--.”
”Don’t you think I know that? They don’t admit it though. Rowan, you were grown in a tank until your body was fifteen years old. Your memories were compiled out of archives of other clone’s experiences then imprinted on your brain. The process took less than a year.”
“Less... That time I fell off the horse, and my Dad picked me up and put me back on so that I wouldn’t be afraid of them?”
“Stock file, I don’t know the code designation, creation wasn’t my department.”
“When Anitose saved my Mom from cancer by making her a cyborg.”
“Your mother was a perfectly healthy clone, except for the studio’s tinkering. I wasn’t in on the start of the series.”
“She suffered so much. She hated herself so much, for so long, because she wasn’t totally human.”
“That’s e-entertainments. I don’t make the rules.”
“How could you?” Tears tickled over Rowan’s enraged features.Ryan bit his cheek then spoke softly. ”I couldn’t... not anymore. I couldn’t let you die.” He rubbed the back of his neck; the muscles were like ropes. “Look, there’s over a thousand years of catching up you need to do, and we aren’t going to do it today. Go to bed, let your body heal.”

11. Worlds Apart is not your first novel. What can you tell readers about your previous works?

Well, the laundry list is below.

Tinker’s Plague: A post-apocalyptic, science fiction, medical and political thriller, Available in paperback from the author. (The publisher went out of business)

Slaves of Love: e-book: A futuristic detective story of love and madness. ISBN: 978-1-9269839-04-2

The Hollow Curse: e-book: A centuries spanning tale of love and obsession. ISBN: 978-1-897532-53-9 Available from Club Lighthouse Publishing: www.clublighthousepublishing.com

Nukekubi: A paranormal, detective novel, ISBN 978-0-9867633-6-6 - eISBN. 978-0-9867633-7-3

Worlds Apart:  A paranormal Romance, ISBN eISBNAvailable in paperback and e-book formats from Dark Dragon Publishing: www.darkdragonpublishing.com

War of the Worlds 2030: Dark, Military SF, Romance, ISBN: eBook ISBN: 9781629290492 | Print ISBN: 9781629290508 Available in paperback and e-book formats from Damnation Books: www.damnationbooks.com

I suggest going to my website: www.stephenpearl.com for more information you’ll find reviews, free first chapters and a host of information on each book. To go into more detail then I have here would become space prohibitive.

12. Would you like to see any of your work made into a movie?

I’d love to see a TV series based on Tinker’s Plague and or Nukekubi (The Chronicles of Ray McAndrews.) War of the Worlds 2030 might translate well into a movie. I of course would love to have anything produced for screen as it means visibility and money. I have written a couple of scripts. Triangle of Fire a sf designed to be low budget and a movie version of Nukekubi. One lives in hope.

13. What would you most like readers to take from Worlds Apart?

One, the memory of an entertaining read.
Then, Accept the differences because they are what make the world interesting and allow us to grow. The divine has many faces do not focus so much on one you close your eyes to the wisdom of the others. Finally, let’s try to be nice to each other for a change. Isn’t that really what the core of all positive faiths is saying?

14. Are any of your characters based on real people or are they wholly imaginary?

They are all partially based on elements of real people. Alcina is about one quarter my wife, one quarter my favorite actress, or at least my perception of my favorite actress, a mix of other women I’ve known, and maybe a quarter my own creation. The proportions vary with my mood. I’ll be writing and find I lifted a gesture or turn of phrase from someone I know. The trick is blending the elements to be consistent. There is a bit of me in Markus, epically the literacy handicap, and his feelings about people who talk in a crowded classroom.
I’ve taught a little at the college level and I wish I could pull his trick. (Yes, I’m going to make you read the book to find out what it is. I’m a meany.) I also supplied the swimming and first aid aspects of my characters. Ray from Nukekubi, Markus and Alcina from Worlds Apart. I was a lifeguard / swim instructor for longer than I like to admit. A lot of it comes down to write what you know.

15. Thank you for participating in this interview! Can you please leave the readers with three things that they would be surprised to know about you?

Surprised. Hmm.
I’m actually quite shy. I’m a reasonable actor and put on a face for public appearances, but I’d rather be walking in the woods than at most social functions.
I have industrial hearing loss, which means I hear quite well, but I have little or no capacity for sorting background noise. Bars are a joy and a half.
I’ve spent a good deal of time dressed up as a noble from the middle ages hitting people with sticks. I was in the Society for Creative Anachronism for about nine years. It was fun until it wasn’t anymore, then I left. I have fond memories and recommend the club if you like history, crafts and want to put on a metal suit and hit people with sticks.

Find Stephen B. Pearl via the following online links:

Official Site

Blogspot

YouTube

Facebook

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Monday, October 28, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "Worlds Apart" by Stephen B. Pearl

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Growing up (and being kicked out of) the Roman Catholic Church was not fun. As a believer in God (both then and now) it was awful being told I wasn't worthy of being in God's House because of the way I dressed. Worlds Apart by Stephen B. Pearl, in a way brought me back to that time.

Alcina Woodgrove is a single mother with a wonderful little boy. On the outside, there is nothing to cause suspicion, but she is a Wiccan, the youngest member of a benevolent coven in England. Her husband, Carl, is a fanatical Christian, and wants to gain sole custody of their son, Tim, even though Alcina is a good mom.Alcina will fight tooth and nail to keep her son, but her husband's "people" like to play dirty...

Markus Tep is a wizard in an alternate universe Earth. This Earth is where magic thrives and is considered the norm for most humans. His work is his sole comfort. His parents are dead and his fiancee, Deb, left him to be a member of "alternative live": AKA a vampire. In his world, vampires are an accepted part of life, not fodder for popular media.
He is doing an illegal experiment involving "chaos magic", trying to find out if there really are other worlds than these. When he realizes be has only until Friday to either prove his theories correct or be arrested, he concocts a spell that will take him into another world...Alcina's world.

Markus and Alcina become allies and lovers: he promises to help keep her and her son safe and she vows to help him with his experiment. All the while, they discover a mutual affection for each other and have to deal with the prejudices forced upon them by the Christian community.

Back home, where Markus came from, he has no idea that be is being declared dead and his best friend is doing the ultimate betrayal...

This novel has a great story and lovable characters, especially the little boy, Tim. I love reading novels bout people taking on adversity with brace faces and standing up against bigotry.

I find it gave a fantastical novel a sense of harsh reality to show the Church's bad side, and show some of the more limited-minded of the readers that, just because you can't understand something, it doesn't mean it's evil. There is good and bad in every culture, class, race and religion, and Worlds Apart shows that perfectly.In no way is this novel unsuitable for any religion. I enjoyed it, and I believe in God. I know my Pagan friends will enjoy it, as well. It is so well-written that, no matter your personal beliefs, you will smile, cringe and maybe even tear up reading this excellent novel.

I do want to mention, however, that it is a funny (ironic) thing how the Christians accuse Markus of sexual abuse on an eight year old boy after the scandals that have come to light in recent years inside the Church!

All-in-all, it reinforced my personal belief that organized religion isn't what it's cracked up to be. Believe in what feels right, not what you're forced to, and it will enhance your life. Don't let anyone tell you your beliefs are wrong, as Carl tells Alcina.

I highly recommend it: it's entertaining and may even teach you something, too.

4/5--wonderful!

Purchase Worlds Apart via the following:

Amazon Kindle

iTunes Books

Barnes & Noble (paperback & Nook)

The Struggle Anthology is up on Amazon Kindle!

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The Struggle is a collection of today's most talented indie authors & poets, brought together by creator/editor/contributor Sheila Hall. It also features others from Darker Fun website, and upcoming novelist/poet Lily Luchesi!

Please purchase & share to help support indie art!

UK Kindle Link

US Kindle Link

Friday, October 25, 2013

TEASER: "Reconnected" by Lisa Calell

Last week I posted a book review for the psychological novel Disconnected and interviewed the author, Lisa Calell. (If you didn't see those posts, I will provide the links to both below!)

She was kind enough to allow me to post three exclusive teasers for the sequel to that novel, this one titled, aptly, Reconnected, which will be out in December.

Here is the first of the three. If you like how this book sounds, be sure to pick up Disconnected on Amazon, where it hit #6 on the bestseller list!

Six months had passed, each day the pain was still excruciatingly new. I poured myself into my work, every emotion in to every word. My life was so different from this time last year. I had him and I had hope. Now, my world was empty once more, I ached to see him. The night I left I had called mom, Chris needed her more than I did. She was horrified when she found him, I pleaded with her to keep the details from me but no, she wanted me to know what I had done. He had been found on the lounge room floor curled in a tight ball surrounded by debris. She said he had smashed the lounge to an unrecognisable state and then lay in the midst of it. This shattered the last remaining fragments of my heart and reduced me to even more tears. I asked mom not to tell me anymore and just to look after him and care for him. No - she couldn’t do that – every opportunity she had she would fill in the gaps. He had gone to London two days later, and according to her, he was a tired, empty shell. For months the tortures of his events were told to me on our daily call, Mom was never going to accept we were over.

If this teaser intrigued you, you might want to:

Read my interview with author Lisa Calell

Read my review of "Disconnected"

Purchase "Disconnected" from Amazon!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hunter's Moon Blog Tour: Book Review & Interview with Author Lisa Kessler

I am happy to be hosting Lisa Kessler's Hunter's Moon Blog Tour today!

Read on for everything about rye book, about the author, my book review & an exclusive short interview with Mrs. Kessler!

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Sasha’s future was stolen from her the moment she was bitten. Now she's on the run from the Nero Organization that transformed her from a human detective into a shape shifting jaguar assassin. When a rogue bounty hunter threatens her younger sister, she'll be forced to fight, and with nowhere else to turn, Sasha will need to trust the one man who has every reason to want her dead.

Aren is a werewolf with a secret. While protecting his twin brother and Alpha of the Pack, he found his one mate for life. Sadly she's also the jaguar assassin who tried to kill them both. Now Aren is struggling between his animal nature to love and protect her, and his loyalty to the Pack.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Kessler is an award winning author of dark paranormal fiction. Her debut novel, Night Walker, won a San Diego Book Award for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror as well as the Romance Through the Ages Award for Best Paranormal and Best First Book.

Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.

When she's not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego. You can learn more at http://Lisa-Kessler.com

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BOOK REVIEW: Hunter's Moon is the second book in author Lisa Kessler's Moon Series, about a Pack of werewolves living in Reno, trying to avoid an organization called Nero, who want to experinent on them and other shifters, jaguars.

In Moonlight, we learned about Adam Sloan and his finding his mate, Lana, a jaguar. In Hunter's Moon, we read from his twin brother, Aren's, point of view, and his mate: Sasha, a jaguar assassin who had tried to kill him and capture Lana so Nero could experiment on her.

Now Sasha is on the run from Nero, after she realized that there was no cure to make her human again. Nero tries to find her, but their hunters all wind up dead, thanks to Aren's desire to protect his mate. But, as be gets closer to Sasha, what will happen? His twin might've been mated to a kind jaguar, but his was a deadly killer!

And, since a werewolf novel is nothing without a little (actually, make that a lot) of danger, Sasha's human sister is now the target of a crazed bounty hunter sent by Nero, and the only place she'll be safe is with the Pack, none of whom are too fond of Sasha.

In this novel we learn more about the Pack, more about Nero and a lot more about human nature and the meaning of live. As the reader learns about Sasha's past and self-hate, they will feel for her as a friend, and many will swoon over Aren even more than Adam (I can honestky say that I did!).

It is refershing to read a story with frequent plot twists, revelations and romance that doesn't take away from the real story.
Mrs. Kessler's novels keep getting better and gripping the reader into their velvet chains.

If you haven't read Moonlight, do that before you pick up Hunter's Moon! There are a lot of spoilers from the first book, as it is the continuation! And be on the lookout for the next books, focusing on Nadya, Sasha's young sister.

Overall, this is a book that will keep the reader enchanted, make them laugh, cry and cringe. Amazing read for fans of romance, the paranormal and adventure stories!

5 out of 5--epic!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

1. I'm sure you'll get this one a lot, but why did you choose to write as Sasha and Aren this time around and what was the biggest difference as opposed to writing as Adam and Lana?

Great question! Each book in the series will be a new main pair, and the plotline of each book really leads us toward the next couple as the larger picture of Nero unfolds during the course of the series. After the big battle at the end of Moonlight, we weren't sure if Aren killed or saved Sasha, so it felt right that their book should be next to finish that story.
There was a huge difference between Aren and Sasha and my previous pair. Unlike Lana from Moonlight, Sasha knew what she was up against. It was so fun to write her, and I actually interviewed my cousin who is a female detective to get all the weapons information and police-sounding phrases. Lots of Sasha's kick-ass-ness is due to my cousin's insider info.
And Aren was very different from his twin in book one, not only because he has a permanent injury to his ankle, but he also felt extremely torn between his mate and the Pack. They had good reason to hate Sasha, and he knew that, so it made for layers of conflict to work my way through. :)

2. Why did you make both brothers fall for jaguars? Was it because they are twins or did it just happen?

It actually just happened. When Sasha head-butted Aren in the fight in Moonlight, it also hit me right then that it would be amazing if that was the moment he realized she was his mate. LOL
It didn't occur to me until much later that both brothers were mates to jaguars.

3. Why did you use Elvis as such a big part in Hunter's Moon?

When I named Adam and Aren I knew Aren's name was spelled uniquely because of his mother's love of Elvis. It was really fun for me to weave Elvis music into the book. I'm a huge fan and even got married by Elvis in Las Vegas! True story!

4. What emotions/lessons do you want readers to take from Aren and Sasha's stories?

I felt like they both learned so much! I think the bottom line of this book is that forgiveness often needs to start with yourself. And I think another point that resonated through the story is that love without trust isn't love at all.

5. The next book in the series is going to be from Nadya's point of view. Can you tell the reader a little more about it, please?

The next book, Blood Moon, will be Nadya and Gareth's story. Poor Gareth! He's lost every member of his family and now he finally finds his mate, but she's dying after being bitten by a werewolf with mutated DNA. Ugh!  It's a really powerful story so far though! I really love Gareth. He's very tortured, and Nadya is the opposite. She knows her future looks grim, but she's not hiding from it. She wants to really live with whatever time she has left. It's going to be a really powerful book...  (Don't tell Gareth, but I already know how to save Nadya. He'll figure it out.... eventually!)

Purchase Hunter's Moon via the following:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes Books

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Interact with Mrs. Kessler online via the following:

Official Site

Twitter

Blog

Facebook

Moon Series Facebook

Goodreads

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

COVER REVEAL: "The Struggle" Anthology

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Have you ever been in a situation that tested your patience? Your faith? Your spirit?
Then this is for you!

The Struggle was created by Sheila Hall & is a collection of pure talent, writers & poets, all contributions having to do with a severe life struggle.
It will be released on November 2nd, and proceeds go to helping authors in need.

Be sure to pick this up in less than two weeks & support indie art!

(Edited by Sheila Hall & Casey from Literary Escapism.)

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Lisa Calell

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Disconnected, which I reviewed yesterday, is a dark novel with bright pockets of light within its pages.
It talks about PTSD, abuse and also undying love.
Now get an exclusive look inside the mind of author Lisa Calell & make sure you stay tuned to my blog for exclusive sneak peeks at the sequel to Disconnected, Reconnected!

1. Disconnected deals with kidnapping and rape. What made you decide on the topic?

Most ideas come from somewhere - whilst writing Disconnected I read a fictional book about child physical and mental abuse. This book ripped my heart out. I was so emotionally taken in with the story, it affected me for months. In the plot for Disconnected I was aware that Katie was traumatised by something but I had not decided what that was. At first I had considered drug addiction but I wanted something that made it that little more heart-wrenching. When I started researching and looking for something, I came across an article about a girl that had been raped but never brought her attacker to justice because she was too scared and ashamed to go to the police. She suffered depression, night terrors and a fear of leaving her house to the point where she attempted suicide. It was such a sad article that touched my heart deeply and the thought of anyone getting away with such a heinous crime, bared heavily on me and therefore I decided that this was what I wanted to write about.

2. PTSD is a very debilitating disease that many people underestimate. Why did you decide to use it so prominently, as some rape victims don't have it as severely as others? (As a sufferer of it myself, thank you for writing about it so realistically!)

A lot of people relate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to soldiers, predominantly male. In actual fact, women are more likely to suffer from PTSD than men and at least 1 out of 10 women will develop it in their lifetime. It has also been recorded that one out of two rape victims will suffer from PTSD - obviously not as severe as in the case of Katie but that is a high statistic so I believe it is good to get it out there and make people more aware. As you say, it is a very debilitating disease and one that so often gets under-estimated. I have a close friend that has been through it and whilst you cannot erase the memories, with the right help you can find a way of dealing with them. I sincerely hope that you have found a way and thank you for your kind comment.

3. In the story, Chris loves Katie despite the fact that she lied to him about many things, even her surname! What was it about the theme of undying love that made you want to use it in the book?

Who doesn't love a good love story? I like nothing more than burying myself in a book that delves into the emotions of a man and his love for a woman. Emotions enter every factor of life and with Katie's story being so tragic, there had to be a light somewhere. Chris is her light, he understands her and knows why she lied. She was protecting him from her past and in essence, himself because of the damage it causes when he uncovers the whole truth. In Reconnected you will discover just the lengths in which he will go to for her. As the saying goes "Love conquers all."

4. Another subject you discuss is a miscarriage. Were you concerned with how the book would be received with all of the sensitive subjects you touched upon?

You know I never looked at it like that, I guess there are many elements of tragedy in this story but these are a common link to everyday life - drug abuse affects a lot of people as does the pain of miscarriage. In fact statistically nearly as many as 75% of all conceptions miscarry. My mum had one, my sister and a few friends, it is more common than you would think. When I was writing this story I just simply followed the flow and where it led me to.

5. The sequel, Reconnected is supposed to be out in December. Can you give the reader a brief glimpse into what may or may not happen?

I think there may be an element of shock from the storyline. I don't want to give too much away but Katie and Chris find a way of healing and 'reconnecting' together and as well as closure for them I am hoping it will bring closure to those readers who were left on the cliff-edge hanging at the end of Disconnected.

6. Casey's drug use is the reason Katie goes through what she does. What made you decide to use drugs as his reason instead of something else?

Unfortunately drugs are part of our society and make people do unspeakable and unthinkable things. What Casey did was more due to his drug addiction than anything else and something that happens or comes to light in Reconnected will show just how scary the levels are that a drug addict will stoop to in order to get their 'fix'.

7. Katie writes children's books. Did you ever or do you want to write for children in the future?

In Reconnected Katie writes a book called 'Orphan' - I have considered writing this book under the pen name she uses. Maybe I will - just have to wait and see. It is not something I have ever really thought about in great depth but I have learned that anything is possible so watch this space ...

8. How many books do you think Katie's story will span?

Reconnected will bring the series to a close for Katie.

9. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and why did you make that life decision?

In truth - last September!! I had just turned 39, I only had one more year before I hit 40 and as I looked upon my life I thought "What have I achieved, other than the kids?" The question kept coming back until one day I picked up my iPad and started writing a story on the DraftPad App. Still at that point I had not considered it would turn into a nearly 300 page novel, but by December last year that is where it was. I read it over and over, changed it many times. I asked a few select friends to read it - I needed to understand if it was any good. They were blown away but I still wasn't convinced that their opinion was not biased so I decided to go straight to the Lion's Den - Amazon. My life decision was never to be a writer, I always wanted to be a singer or an actress but Hollywood never came knocking on my door.
At the end of August this year, as I turned 40 I felt the greatest sense of achievement ever. Whilst standing at the top of The Empire State Building in New York as my 40th birthday came to an end, I realised that not only had I fulfilled my longest dream of going to New York - Disconnected has been a success with over 10,000 downloads in less than 6 months. I am grateful to every reader that has taken the time to not only read my book but to write to me personally and thank me. That is what matters to me more than anything that I have written something that people have enjoyed and as long as that is the case I will continue to write more.

10. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?

I am still in full-time employment at the moment with aspirations to write full-time but that is not financially viable at the moment. I am a total techno geek and love new gadgets which helps as I deal with IT, mobile phones and tablets as part of my daily job. So I guess I am doing what I would be whilst writing so I get the best of both worlds.

11. What authors did you read when you were younger? What authors inspire you today?

When I was really young The Famous Five by Enid Blyton was one of my favourite series of books to read. Through my teenage years I read a lot of biographies, I loved learning about peoples lives - some of the more memorable were Jim Morrison of The Doors, JFK and Marilyn Monroe. Another writer I loved in my teens was Erma Bombeck, anyone that can make me laugh out loud while reading - that is talent! I went through a horror/crime stage and read the likes of Stephen King, John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, Minette Walters and many more. I read all Harry Potter books within days of release - JK Rowling is the queen of imagination. More recently though, I have been heading down the romance route. Maybe that was the inspiration for introducing it into Disconnected. Like a lot of people, I have enjoyed the Fifty Shades of Grey experience, The Cross series, Thoughtless series and the Breathing series. In fact my book of 2012 was Rebecca Donovan's Barely Breathing and most probably my biggest inspiration at the time I started to write. There are so many authors that inspire me, all of the above to name a few but my real inspiration and the reason I will continue comes from the reader. When I read a book, I bring the characters into my life, I cry for them, smile for them and share every experience they have so when I hear that my characters have become part of someone else's life and they have taken them in to their heart - my inspiration to write grows and grows.

12. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

Always a tough question this one.
I would like to say having had Hollywood break my door down that I will be living somewhere warm and secluded, writing a few books a year whilst gaining a tan and drinking cocktails on the beach. Yes, my aspirations are to be more financially viable to consider writing full-time and that will be my continued aim. I have learned to live moment to moment though - as John Lennon said "Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans."

13. Would you like to see something you write be made into a movie one day?

Absolutely! How amazing would that be.

14. In the end, what would you like readers to take from Disconnected?

Disconnected is quite a tragic, traumatic story but people can always get through anything with help - be that a spouse, a counsellor, a doctor or just simply a friend. For me the Disconnected series is about never giving up and always moving forward. It may not seem like that at the end of Disconnected but by the end of Reconnected I hope that is what the reader gets out of it.

15. Thank you for taking part in this interview! Can you please leave the reader with three things that may surprise them about you?

Thank you for reading and reviewing Disconnected. It has been my pleasure to be a guest on your blog. Three things that may surprise people about me - that is another tough one.
I am Scottish - maybe some readers already knew that, I need to think harder ...I am currently in training for the London marathon and a purple belt in karate and last one (I will try and make it a good one) ... At school I would always get in trouble for not writing a story or an essay because I had a huge fear that it would get laughed at! I wish I could meet my English Teacher now and tell her about Disconnected.

Interact with Lisa Calell online:

Official Site

Facebook LIKE Page

Goodreads

Twitter

Other Twitter

Monday, October 21, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "Disconnected" by Lisa Calell

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"All this pain/Take this life and make it yours/All this hate/Take your heart and let it love again"--Adam W. Gontier

PTSD is a severe form of mental illness, making the sufferer disconnect from the world around them due to the lingering effects of a traumatic incident. It is most common in war veterans, but in Lisa Calell's novel Disconnected, she tells a heartbreaking and simultaneously terrifying story about Katie, a married writer who suffered unspeakable atrocities at the hands of a young man she trusted when she was sixteen.

Her family thought that she ran away, but in truth, between age sixteen and age eighteen, Casey was holding her captive, raping her every day.
When she got away she ran and made a new live for herself, but nothing was normal. Katie can't cry, and she can't tell her husband that she loves him because she doesn't feel real emotions anymore.
The past suddenly starts to come back, and now Katie has to face her demons...but will she and her husband survive?

In a story filled with deep emotion, danger and mystery, the reader will feel everything that goes through Katie's mind as she tries to come to grips with her past. You will understand her frustration and her fear.

For those readers who suffer from PTSD for any reason, as I do, you will enjoy reading about the familiar subject and reading about overcoming it.

I also loved the devotion between Katie and her husband, Chris. Throughout the dark story, their love shines like a beacon in the night.

The characters are realistic, the story is believable and well-written and Lisa Calell leaves us with a cliffhanger until December, when Reconnected, the sequel, is supposed to come out.

Great book overall and I can't wait for the sequel!--4/5

Purchase Disconnected via the following:

Amazon (US)

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (CAN)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Regina Puckett

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1. What made you decide to get into writing and what would you be doing if you weren't writing?

Writing is my second job. During the daytime, I work as an account clerk for a local university and only get to wear my writing cape at night. One day it would be nice to be able to write full time, but at least I have a job I enjoy while I'm waiting.
There are too many voices in my head to not to do something with all of their stories.
Besides I enjoy creating something out of nothing and have so much fun forcing characters do what I want them to do. In real life no one ever listens to me or ever behave like I think they should. It's a nice change creating a world where everyone has to do as I say.

2. What authors did you read when you were younger, and what authors inspire you today?

My first love was autobiographies and biographies. I guess I'm just naturally nosey and love seeing why people turned out to be who they are. My first experience with fiction was Gone with the Wind. That story hooked me into reading other genres. Now I'll read anything, but the only books I read over and over again are the books in the Harry Potter series.

3. Do you have anything new in the works and are you willing to give KSR readers a sneak peek?

I'm rewriting a romance I received my rights back on last December, Songs that I Whisper. Sneak peek:

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Songs That I Whisper
Chapter One

Seth stopped dead in his tracks.Standing with one foot still on the sidewalk and the other on the wooden floors of Dreams on Canvas, he stood for a full thirty seconds not being able to remember why he was entering the ultra-chic art gallery. The unexpected sight of a set of incredible legs disappearing into a pair of cut-off jeans left him stunned and with his mouth gapping open.
He had no idea shabby shorts could look so good on anyone. A silent war between common sense and admiration kept Seth lodged in place. Half of his brain was shouting for him to stand there staring for as long as he could get away with it, and the other half was telling him that he should go over and let Suzette Warren know he was there for their meeting before she caught him standing in the doorway drooling. Finally deciding that ogling the art gallery owner was probably a bad way to begin a new business relationship, Seth stepped inside and tried to remember all of the good manners his mother had taught him over the years. He had only driven to the tiny town of Murfreesboro because his manager had raved on and on about what a talented artist Suzette Warren was. What a shame that whilst Beverly had been naming all the woman's wonderful attributes she had failed to mention just how gorgeous she looked. At that very moment, while he was busy staring, the raven-haired beauty was slowly backing across the art gallery and making a cute little clicking noise with her tongue.
She appeared to be contemplating whether a painting was in the right position, or if her lanky, blonde helper needed to move it somewhere else. Seth loved the gallery owner's gorgeous hair, and was thoroughly fascinated to watch the long ponytail swish lazily from side to side with each turn of her head. Even with the thick mane pulled up, it was still long enough to reach her waist. Suzette's hair was a fantastic shade of black that glimmered with each turn of her head beneath the gallery's bright overhead lights. The man holding the enormous canvas finally lost all patience and groaned, "Oh come on!  Make up your mind already. This thing isn't getting any lighter."
Instead of replying, Suzette continued making the clicking sounds.
It took her a few more seconds before she finally smiled her approval. Her voice had a wonderful, raspy quality, "Bill, you've been helping all of thirty minutes." She made a point of putting a drawn-out emphasis on, "The painting surely can't be that heavy." She softened that with a quick grin, as if used to Bill's whining. She motioned for him to put the painting on the floor, and then held both arms out wide from each side. "It will be perfect here. Its blue tones are a wonderful contrast with the orange sunset on one side and the yellow daffodils on the other."
Bill was making certain the painting wasn't going to slide on the wooden floor and fall, when Suzette finally noticed Seth standing by the front door. When she did turn her full attention on him, Seth was shocked to the very core by her unusual, light blue eyes.
They had such intense intelligent they clearly said she didn't suffer fools gladly, but they also made him think of long walks along the beach and kissing in the moonlight. With a little trouble he remembered that long walks and kissing weren't on the agenda.  He needed an artist.
The last thing he needed was to make a complete ass out of himself over a beautiful woman. When Seth didn't say anything, she cleared her throat. Feeling like a twelve year old school boy caught misbehaving in class he hurriedly apologized, "I didn't mean to startle you."
"That's not a problem. I didn't know you were standing over there and waiting for me. I had no idea I left the door unlocked."
She gestured toward the artwork stacked along the walls of the long room. "The gallery's closed today.  We're setting up a new exhibit for tomorrow night's show."
Seth moved into the room a few steps more but he wasn't certain if she was going to have time to talk to him, since Suzette didn't look as if she liked being interrupted.
"I didn't mean to interfere with your work schedule, but my manager told me you would be expecting me this morning. I'm Seth Black."
Suzette raised her eyebrows and glanced at her watch.
"I had no idea it was so late." She made a motion for him to come over. "I was so caught up in what I was doing I forgot you were coming today." She turned toward Bill. "You can take a break for a little bit if you want to." But before he could wander off she touched his arm and turned back toward Seth.  "This is my office manager and best friend, Bill Fields. When he's not helping me hang paintings and answering the phone he paints the most outstanding abstracts in the world. Remember his name because he will be famous one day."
Bill blushed and tucked a strand of long, blonde hair behind one ear. He studied his feet as if he wished he wasn't the center of attention.   Seth liked the tall, lanky man right away. Feeling like a fool, because he was still standing clear on the other side of the room, he strolled over and offered his hand to Bill first.
"It's nice meeting you." Bill returned the handshake like a man relieved to have his workday interrupted. "I'm happy to see you. Suzette has been trying to kill me. If you will excuse me, I'll leave you two to chat."
Seth nodded. "Certainly."
After the introductions were over, Bill sauntered over to a nearby bench and there curled into a tight ball. He placed his head on one hand and threw his other arm over his eyes, as if preparing for a long nap.
Seth turned to Suzette and offered his hand.
When she held hers out, he encompassed it into both of his. She gave him a head to toe scan, and instead of being intimidated by his large, muscled frame, she returned his handshake with a firm and sure grip of her own. When he seemed to hang on to her hand a little too long, she smartly withdrew it.
"Beverly said you're interested in having your portrait painted for your next album cover."
He flashed his famous lopsided grin before saying, "I'm sorry if I keep staring. I swear this isn't the first time I have been allowed out in public by myself, but for some reason I was expecting a little, old, gray-haired lady. Beverly said you had years and years of experience painting portraits. Normally when someone has years and years of experience they have some gray hair to show for it."
Suzette headed toward the other side of the room and motioned for him to follow. "I hope you don't think I'm being rude, but I'm really busy today. Could we talk as I work?"
Suzette stopped at a stack of paintings. Seth followed her. "I don't mind. I can help if you need an extra pair of hands."
"It seems I could use them since my help seems to be taking a nap."
Together they glanced over at Bill. He didn't budge an inch, but could be heard snoring from clear across the room.
She shook her head and turned back to the paintings as if unconcerned. As she sorted, she divided her attention between the paintings and Seth.
"My parents gave me my first art set when I was four. I think I may have painted the walls as much as I did the canvases, but I was only four after all." She met his eyes and smiled. It was clearly infectious for he immediately returned it. She was very charismatic. "I didn't begin painting professionally until I was twelve." Seth loved her hands. They were so delicate without appearing too fragile.
"You waited that long, huh?"
She looked up from her sorting and when she saw he was just joking she chuckled.
"I would have started sooner but my parents were very protective. To be quite honest I threw a temper tantrum until they agreed." She rolled her beautiful sky-blue eyes.
"I was such a brat. Four years ago I purchased this gallery, so I now prefer representing other artists. When I paint now it's mostly for my own pleasure, but every now and then I will take on a project, if it interests me. I told Beverly I wasn't sure if I would do your portrait or not, but, after talking with her, I got the feeling she's a very determined, head-strong lady."
Seth laughed as if that was an understatement. "She has been called that among other things."
Suzette stopped what she was doing long enough to turn and face him. "Beverly doesn't have the market on headstrong. In the end, it will be my decision if I take the commission on your portrait or not."
Seth admired Suzette's confidence.
"I would never dream of pressuring you. I only ask for an opportunity to tell you about my plans for the new album cover, and then you can decide whether to do it or not. Beverly says that you're the best, and I value her knowledge on such matters."

4. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?   I'm on the beach and writing full time.

5. You've written poetry, horror and romance. Why do you choose to utilize different genres rather than write in one specific style?

I used to only write only romance but something in me shifted in 2012. My daydreams began branching out and my ‘what ifs' became more complicated. I hope that means I'm growing as a writer and not that I'm becoming more blood thirsty in my old age.

6. If someone gave you a choice to only write one genre, which would it be and why?

I don't believe I can go back to only writing one genre. What would be the fun in that?
I can either make people fall in love or kill them off in the most devious ways.

7. You set Concealed In My Heart in the 1960's. Why did you choose a setting fifty years ago as opposed to current times?

Eight years ago, when I first released Concealed in My Heart, it was set in current times.  It wasn't until I decided to make it into a series that I was forced me to rethink the time period.
When I received my rights back at the end of 2012, I had the opportunity to do a complete makeover. Getting things switched from the current time to the 1960's took every brain cell I had.
Fortunately, I grew up during those times, and my editor had eagle eyes.
She was able to catch the little things I missed.

8. Charity in the novel is a college girl who becomes an actress. Why did you choose show business as the backdrop, so to speak, of the story?

I have always thought it would be grand fun to be an actress or actor.
They get to pretend to be someone else, have people fuss over their hair and makeup and wear pretty clothes.
I knew I could use this backdrop to have my characters go to cool places and meet famous people.

9. Do you think that, had you set the story in modern times, that you would've had to change some outcomes, like Maria's death by high blood pressure?

At the time I was writing this book, this topic was very close to my heart.
Both of my daughters were struggling with high blood pressure during their pregnancies, and as hard as it is to believe, there is still a very real danger from dying from high blood pressure even with all of our modern-day drugs.
So I guess my answer is, no.

10. Were any of the unique characters in Concealed In My Heart based on real people?

There are bits and pieces of everyone I know in my books, but for safety's sake, I'll let my family figure out which character they are.

11. Will you ever write a sequel to the novel so that readers, like myself, will see how Charity's life has progressed?

Book 2-Songs That I Whisper-David and Maria's daughter, Suzette. I hope to have it re-released by the end of 2013.
Book-3-What the Heart Knows-David and Charity's daughter, Emily. It's out as a paperback but I hope to have the rights to it in 2014, so you might want to wait until I can release it as an ebook.
Book-4 Love's Great Plan-David and Charity's son, Coty. It's also out in paperback but I also hope to have my rights back in 2014, so hold on until I can release it as an ebook.
Book 5- Love is a Promise Kept-David and Charity's granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth.
This is already out as a paperback and ebook, so go grab a copy.
In each of these books there's a hint of how David and Charity are doing as they grow older with their family.

12. Since the book is set around a movie shoot, would you ever like to see a film made out of Concealed In My Heart or any other of your stories?

I have always thought it would make a great movie.
It is being made into an audiobook as we speak.
I'm hoping it will be ready for release by early December.
I can't wait to hear how it turns out.

13. Will you be writing and publishing more poetry collections or maybe doing a poetry tour anytime soon?

I'm always writing poetry.
My next book, Here Among The Ruins, will be ready for release by the end of October.

14. You talk about the cattiness of the other actresses towards Charity. Did you never have any personal experiences with bullies?

I don't know of anyone who hasn't faced being bullied at one point in their life.
Some people aren't happy unless they're putting someone else down, but I'm a firm believer that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

15. Thank you for doing the interview! Can you please leave the reader with three things that may surprise them about you?

I love painting abstracts. I will eat cheese on just about anything. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

Find Regina Puckett via the following places online:

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Concealed In My Heart by Regina Puckett

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Love stories might be the oldest and most appreciated, yet underappreciated, types of stories out there. We all know and yet make fun of Romeo And Juliet, Cinderella and even The Notebook, while deep down, these are the stories that make us smile, cry and believe in love again.
A modern day fairy tale that is well-written is nearly impossible to find. I know, because I've read many.
Concealed In My Heart by Regina Puckett, however, made me realize that the love story is not dead yet.

Charity is a college student who
gets plucked from obscurity to stardom when a talent scout goes to see her in a play in her hometown in Tennessee. Before she leaves for Dallas, Texas to star in his film about a cheerleader and a football player, she marries her high school sweerheart, Johnny, believing that it will make the six months apart easier to bear.
It didn't, and Charity has to film a major production with a broken heart and a new worry: her costar, the handsome David Warren, and his artist wife, Maria, are having a baby. They have become close friends, but with Maria's health troubles, this baby could cause disaster.
In between all of this, Charity has to deal with lying reporters, bitchy costars, a flirty agent and...the Oscars.

With all this going on, plus home troubles, how can she focus on her heart's main issue, the fact that she is in love with a grieving man who may never love her back?

Concealed In My Heart is a novel for everyone who has ever fallen into unrequited love, or lost the one they love.

It is a short novel that you will never want to end. It is also a testimony to the saying that you don't have to be blood to be family. The reader will be cheering for Charity, will smile at her success and cry at her heartache. I know that I did!

It is a beautiful book, filled with emotion and good intentions. While I have said before that my usual go-to genre is horror, I firmly believe that the world needs more books like these: a book that will make a broken heart heal, and a sad countenance smile, even just for a moment.

Beautiful, heartwarming work!--5/5

Purchase Concealed In My Heart via the following:

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Rayne Hall

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When one reads a novel like Storm Dancer, one that is very unique, enchanting & some may even say scandalous, he/she will inevitably want to know more behind it.
Here is your chance, reader, to take a look inside the mind of Rayne Hall...

1.What got you started wanting to be a writer?

As soon as I realised that there were people who wrote books, I wanted to be one of them. It seemed  a more exciting than becoming a housewife, and less painful than becoming a martyr. I think I was about five at the time. Of course, as I grew older I allowed myself to be sidelined into more sensible career options, but the writing vocation caught up with me in the end.

2. What authors did you read when you were younger? What authors do you enjoy today?

As a teenager, I loved the horror stories by Edgar Allan Poe and the historical novels by Rosemary Sutcliff, as well as the works of fabulous German authors you’ve probably never heard of: Hans Baumann, Anna Müller-Tannewitz, Otfried Preußler, Karl May.
As a voracious reader, I have hundreds of favourite authors today. I enjoy exciting fantasy fiction (especially epic and dark fantasy) by  Dave Duncan, Tanith Lee, Gene Wolfe, and also horror (the kind that’s psychological, atmospheric and creepy, not the slash & gore stuff) by authors like Amelia Edwards and Robert Aickmann. And I still love the stories of Edgar Allan Poe.

3. What was the inspiration behind Storm Dancer?

Many ideas clicked together like jigsaw pieces.
The first idea came to me  when I was staying in a ger (yurt) at the edge of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. It was a vague idea at first - two people who hate each other must become allies to survive, and although they have previously betrayed and harmed each other they must now depend on each other and learn to trust. Storm Dancer is set in a fantasy world loosely based on the cultures of the Bronze Age period and the climate and geography of the Middle East, so my travels in the Near and Middle East and in North Africa inspired many colourful details.  A few elements from Asia - including Mongolia - have also found their way into Storm Dancer. I also used personal experiences of what it's like to work in a distant Third World country, cut off from all support, at the mercy of an employer who doesn't honour the terms of the contract.
My experience of performing and teaching bellydance has found its way into this novel, too, so when Merida learns to bellydance in the harem, and when she entertains in a tavern, those scenes have authenticity.
Further inspiration  came from ancient cultures, especially Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Persians and Hittites, and from quirky characters and bizarre situations I've observed. Storm Dancer also explores a subject I've thought about a lot:  how we're not responsible for what fate deals us, but we're responsible for how we deal with it. Dahoud is a troubled hero with a dark past. As a siege commander, he once razed, raped and killed... and he enjoyed it. Now he needs to atone. He has sacrificed everything to build a new identity and a life of peace, and he devotes himself to protecting women from harm. But Dahoud is not alone. Inside him lives a devious demon, a djinn that demands he subdue women with force. It torments him with pains and tempts him with forbidden desires. How much of it is the demon, and how much is the dark psyche? How can he learn to control the evil inside him? How far must he go to redeem himself?

4. Why djinns? They are not a popular subject, but very interesting. Why did you choose them as opposed to vampires or ghosts?

The djinns are creatures of my own imagination. I invented them, inspired by demon mythologies of different cultures, especially North Africa and the Middle East. They are fantasy creatures, and at the same time they are a metaphor for human weaknesses that undermine our moral strength  – for example, drug addictions. Dahoud’s battle against his djinn is similar to an addict’s struggle. Several former addicts have written to me to say that they recognised the similarities and identified with Dahoud.
The message I want to convey through the djinns is this: We may not be responsible for our problems, but we’re responsible for how we deal with them.

5. You made very realistic characters. Were any of them based on real people?

The characters exist only in my imagination and my fiction, although I take small elements I’ve observed in real people. Quirky habits, surprising attitudes, overheard snatches of conversation, they’re all fodder for my fiction. Some characters have a mind of their own and don’t stay the way I created them.   Dahoud, for example, was meant to be a normal swashbuckling fantasy hero. I had no  idea how much pain he carried inside him, or what atrocities he had committed in the past, or how much he admired strong women. I didn’t even realise he was possessed by a djinn! I had written the whole novel before he revealed these secrets, so of course I had to rewrite the whole book. Sometimes I think that characters are real. Maybe they have lived before, and their souls are in limbo, like ghosts who find no peace until someone writers their story. They haunt the author until she gets it right.

6. What was it about the subject matter (rape, imprisonment, etc.) that made you want to write about it?

I didn’t want to write about any of that! Storm Dancer was meant to be a  nice escapist sword&sorcery novel. The dark elements crept in during the writing. The characters had their own ideas what they wanted the story to be about. They did terrible things and paid no attention when I begged them to stop.

7. Were you concerned that people might be offended at the scenes you depicted? I know many will say that this novel degrades women, though I don't think so, personally.

If anyone suggests that Storm Dancer degrades women, they might also say that Uncle Tom’s Cabin degrades black people, or Grapes of Wrath degrades migrant workers.
The women in Storm Dancer are strong characters who know their own mind and take their fate into their own hands.
In the Samil – the country where most of the novel takes place – women are viewed as superior to men, and their decisions take precedence of their male counterparts’. How can that be degrading to women? Even in Quislak –  where women are largely relegated to traditional and ceremonial roles – it’s the women who yield the real power behind the scenes. Take Teruma, for example. Officially, she is nothing but headwife in the harem, but in practice, she rules the country.   Yes, there is violence against women. There is violence against men, too. The Bronze Age was a violent time without 21st century standards of political correctness.Animal activists might get upset, because a dog gets murdered and two horses get ritually sacrificed.

8. What can you tell readers about other things you have written to get them interested in reading your other works?

Most of my fiction has a dark slant. I write a lot of horror stories – the subtle, atmospheric, creepy kind rather than violent and gory stuff.

9. Do you foresee yourself writing about these types of things again in the future?

Creepy atmospheric horror? Sure. I enjoy scaring readers.

10. If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?

You mean as a career? I’d probably work in some other role in the publishing industry. As a trained publishing manager, I’ve been a magazine editor, investigative journalist, production editor, cover designer, literary agent, book publicist, acquisitions editor and more, so I would work in that field. Or I might teach in adult education. I used to teach creative writing, journalism and bellydancing. I’ve also been a bellydancer, tarot reader, translator, museum guide, development aid worker and more, though those are perhaps not long-term full-time career options for me. I might be a gardener or an archaeologist, too.

11. Where do you usually get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from many sources. Usually I have far more ideas than I have time to write. Places where I’ve lived and travelled have provided a lot of inspiration. I live on the south coast of England. Rural cemeteries with lichen-encrusted tombstones,  ancient stone circles, mediaeval castle ruins, roiling seas and wave-lashed cliffs are perfect for writing dark and scary stories.

12. Where do you see yourself & your career in ten years?

Hopefully on the bestseller lists!

13. What is it that you, personally, hope readers feel/think after reading Storm Dancer?

Above all, I hope they’ve enjoyed their time with Dahoud, the sun-baked desert, the magic, the battles, the adventures, the love, the dangers, the journey to redemption.  I want them to think about what they’ve read, to ask themselves questions, to probe their own hearts:  Are they willing to forgive Dahoud the evil deeds of his past? Would would they have the courage to do what he did? What are the djinns in their own lives that undermine their moral strength? I hope that having shared Dahoud’s journey will inspire them to fight their own djinns, whatever those may be.

14. Do you have anything new in the works & can you tell us anything about it?

I’m always working on several projects at once. Right now, I’m revising a steampunk story about a werewolf in a funicular railway car and a quirky fantasy story about an introvert dragon. Several other fantasy and horror stories are in the works too. I’ve started another book for my bestselling series of writing craft books for authors, a practical guide titled Writing Dark Stories. A sequel to Storm Dancer is also in the making. The working title is Flame Bearer.

15. Thank you for doing the interview! Can you please leave the reader with three things that might surprise them about you?

Let me see... I’ve already mentioned that I used to be a bellydancer, so that’s no longer a surprise.
1. I’m German.
2. I don’t watch television.
3. I’m a mistress of the art of procrastination – a procrastinitrix. As a writer, I’m allowed to invent words, right?

Find Rayne Hall online via the following links:

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Monday, October 7, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "Storm Dancer" by Rayne Hall

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An avid reader since I was a little more than two years of age, I have always enjoyed delving into new books with themes I might not, perhaps, have come across had I read one type of novel over & over.
I had a suggestion on Twitter to check out Rayne Hall, so I did. We conversed, and I am so glad I listened to something on the Internet, haha!

In an old-time land where djinns run amok inside human vessels, forcing then to kill & rape to feed their desires, one of the land's most feared killers, the Black Beseiger, has been summoned to be the lord (satrap) of Koskara...the same place he had terrorized years before. Now, as he tries to silence the djinn inside him, he must save them & end their war.Can he do that without raping or torturing again? And will the stubborn Mansour ALLOW him to do that?

Merida is from the Virtuous Republic of Riverland, a city where they eat no meat, have no sex out of wedlock & treat each other according to their perusal value: the higher the number, the better.Merida is sent to Dahoud's land to work her magic & make it rain so the devastating drought will be over. When she arrives, however, things are not as she was told.The Queens' djinn-possessed Consort, Kirral, won't let her leave once she brings the rain: he wants her as one of his concubines instead.

How will Dahoud & Merida's stories end? Will he save her or will the djinns take over their land?

I will warn readers, this is a very dark novel, with rape, degradation, murder & even animal slaughter. It is not a novel for the faint of heart.That being said, I can also say that it is one of the interesting novels I've read to date!
Djinns are a highly underrated supernatural creature, and it was interesting to read a story about them.The characters are all unique, with individual personalities the reader will love...or love to hate.

It can be taken as a novel on the workings of the Middle East in a previous century, or the reader can dig deeper & they will find a novel about virtues, good, evil & fighting for what's right.

Other people may not see it, but I find it to be inspiring, especially Dahoud trying so hard to be a good person, and not give in to the djinn's demands.
I  see a determined woman in Merida who will not back down or give up to peer pressure or despair.

To sum it up: great story, excellent characters & Rayne Hall has a gift for colorful narration.

5 out of 5--will worth a read!

Purchase Storm Dancer via the following:

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Beem Weeks

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Yesterday, I reviewed a unique novel set in the 1920's, Jazz Baby. Now I have the privilege to give you, reader, a look inside the mind of the author, Beem Weeks.
This was a great interview to conduct, and I hope you like it!

1. Your first full-length novel, Jazz Baby, was published in November 2012. What was it like seeing your first book out there for all to enjoy?

It was an incredible rush, that first time I held a copy of Jazz Baby in my hands. I wrote the original manuscript by hand—no computer, no typewriter. I remember the various scenes, the inspiration that breathed life into them, and writing them down in black ink on typing paper. To see the end result—that was one of the proudest moments of my life.

2. You say you love coming-of-age stories, but what aside from that theme was the inspiration for the novel?

A love for the 1920s, really. It’s my favorite decade that I never witnessed. I grew up listening to these great stories as told by my grandparents and others of their generation. My grandfather wrote a memoir of his early teenage years, working on a riverboat, traveling up and down the Mississippi River. This memoir touched on all sorts of issues, like race relations, bootleg whiskey, girls of sketchy reputations. They were no different than any other group of young people from every generation since the world began. It’s just when we get older, wiser, that we tend to distance ourselves from the wild and crazy antics of our youth. We want to put forth a façade, a mask, something that shows us to be good and moral. That’s what grandparents are supposed to be, right? Good and moral? Well, my grandfather would every-so-often drop that façade, let slip one or two tales from his younger, wilder days. He and I were quite a bit alike as younger men. These stories he told, they formed the idea for Jazz Baby—though nothing in the book is actually based on his experiences. His stories gave breath to my ideas.

3. Were the characters based on anyone in real life?

No. Emily Ann is a loose amalgam of several girls I’ve known over the years—though none of these girls could sing jazz or any other style of music, for that matter. The other characters in Jazz Baby, they all come from my own mind.

4. The novel is set in the time when jazz was the most popular music genre. Are you a fan of jazz in real life or did you have to study up on it when you were writing?

Truth be told, I’m a rock and roller. I’m into Metallica, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles. I love all sorts of music, though. My CD collection (yes, I still rock CDs) is quite eclectic. You’ll find metal, jazz, blues, country, folk, and oldies from the 1950s on my shelves. I currently own 400+ CDs. I’ve got stuff from the 1930s through to the present. Yes, I did have to bone up on jazz from the 1920s while writing Jazz Baby. I even played some of those ancient songs while writing the speakeasy scenes where Emily Ann is on stage. I normally need complete silence when writing; but those scratchy old tunes really put me in the mindset, had me feeling like I might be sitting in the Crescent Club, watching this little white girl singing her heart out. An old American History book from the 1980s saw much use while I wrote the story.

5. Why did you choose to set the novel nearly a century ago? Will you continue to write historical fiction or will you change it up and pen more modern tales?

As I said earlier, I just love the 1920s era. But I also chose that time period because so much more could take place than is likely to be allowed in today’s world. For instance, it wouldn’t be a big deal to find a thirteen-year-old girl sipping whiskey in a speakeasy in 1925. Speakeasies were illegal, to begin with; secretive by nature (without a coded knock, the right password, or a familiar face, you just weren’t gaining admission). These were the first drinking establishments to allow women inside to share in the fun. A girl that young, she’s not getting into the clubs in today’s world—at least not in America. Another thing is the marrying-off of girls that were basically children. My grandmother, born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, often spoke of this girl or that one she knew who’d been married at the age of twelve or thirteen. Emily couldn’t marry Jobie Pritchett in these modern times. A big part of the fun in writing this book came in doing the research. That era just offered a wealth of inspiration for a story like Jazz Baby. As for writing historical fiction, my second novel will also be in that genre. It’s called The Secret Collector, and is set in 1910 Alabama. I don’t intend to write solely in that arena. Most of my short stories are set in the present or near-present.

6. In Jazz Baby you deal with numerous controversial topics: murder, illegal drugs, sexual promiscuity [for the readers who aren't familiar with early 20th century America, that was a very big deal back then] and rape. Is there a message you wanted to send with the goings-on in Emily Ann's life?

Not really a message. I just meant to illustrate that this girl, for all her certainty of being able to handle herself, proved ill-equipped to traverse the adult world without parental guidance. This is a child pretending to be grown up. The world is full of individuals who are more than willing to exploit a young girl like Emily Ann. Murder, illegal drugs, sexual promiscuity, and rape are common elements in today’s society; they took place in the 1920s and, substituting drunkenness for illegal drugs, you’ll find each these same issues in the Bible. Crime or sin occurs because of selfish desire. It’s our flawed human condition. I wrote Jazz Baby simply to tell a story. I didn’t set out to pen a lesson on morality or to send a message to readers. I’m just a storyteller.

7. You talk a lot about race in the novel, as that was a big factor in social status and even with whom one was friends back then. Since it is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, I have to ask how it felt to have to regress (in your mind) to a time when a white girl couldn't even play in a band with African-Americans?

Race was a huge issue in that era. It’s still an issue in the world today. But the whole Jim Crow south—I mean, separate drinking fountains? How ridiculous is that notion? Yeah, seeing the mindset of the day, that is something I still have a difficult time wrapping my head around. We’ve come a million miles since Dr. King’s speech. But we’re never going to reach Utopia where race is concerned. Humans are just so distrustful of those who are deemed different from self—be it skin color or nationality. As I wrote the story, I found situations that simply couldn’t work. I had to scrap a scene where Emily Ann, Tanyon, and DeShay have dinner in a New Orleans restaurant, because that wouldn’t have taken place in that day.

8. You run a Twitter account @VoiceOfIndie , where you take time to promote other indie artists, from bloggers to musicians to other authors. Why did you decide to do that (and the work you do is appreciated, by the way!)?

Thank you. I’m glad to hear the work is appreciated. I simply believe in the indie movement. There are some amazingly talented individuals out there of whom nobody has heard. That, to me, is a downright shame. I intended to use that account to promote my own work. But that would have gotten old after a while. So I decided to support others while dropping the occasional self-promoting tweet. The way I see it, a strong indie movement is good for all of us who are involved.

9. You said it took you nearly a decade to complete Jazz Baby, including a two-year "abandonment" period. Why was that?

The rewrites really bogged me down. I’d finished the first manuscript, put it up for a couple of months, came back for a fresh read, and found myself making all sorts of changes during the first rewrite. Then I did it again—three more times. During that period I grew frustrated with the work, convinced it would never be interesting to anybody out side of me, so I put it away for two years and started working on some short stories. Indie author Stephen Geez asked to have a look at the manuscript and liked what he saw; he encouraged me to give it one more rewrite, before he submitted it to publisher Fresh Ink Group. They liked it enough to publish it. I’m guessing just over eight years from start to finish. Novel number two won’t take nearly that long—I hope!

10. Emily Ann has a LGBTQA streak in her. Did you want to make a statement about sexual orientation or (in her case) lack thereof?

Not at all. No statement is intended. She’s just a very curious girl. She’s attracted to all sorts of people, be they boy or girl, black or white or Indian. Emily Ann discovers these new appetites and she sees no reason to deny herself the experiences—the consequences be damned. I knew a couple of girls like her in my younger days. Elements of these two young ladies—the sexuality—went into the makeup of Emily Ann. It’s interesting that you refer to her lack of sexual orientation. That sounds so much more interesting than labeling her simply bi-sexual.

11. You have written numerous short stories. Can you tell the readers a little about them and where they can find them to read?

The short stories take place mostly in modern settings—with the exception of Bodies Terrestrial, which is from a moment in 1922. Yearbook, a story seen through the eyes of a boy killed during a school shooting rampage, takes place in the early 1990s. With some of my short stories, I try to take the readers in one direction before jerking them completely the other way. Rave On is the story of a teen girl with a secret hunger. Medal Detector tells of a young man who, using a metal detector, discovers a mystery buried in his back yard. Forget Me (Not Fade Away) chronicles a life of love and loss from the point of view of a grieving mother who has lost everything—including her memories. There are several other stories as well. As an author, I don’t believe it’s necessary to tie up all those loose ends in every story. Real life isn’t like that. We don’t get tidy answers to all of the mysteries. So I sometimes leave it up to the reader to determine what happened. If people want to read my short stories, they can find them at the following link: http://www.readwave.com/beem.weeks/

12. Do you foresee a sequel to Jazz Baby in the future?

I didn’t imagine a sequel when I finally finished the book. I figured I’d let the readers determine what became of the characters. But lately I’m being asked that question often. So I’ve been playing with the notion. I have ideas about where Emily and Jobie end up. I had those ideas while writing Jazz Baby’s final chapter. There are all sorts of possibilities. So, yes, I’m leaning toward a sequel—though nothing is certain just yet.

13. What authors did you enjoy reading when you were young and what authors inspire you today?

When I was a kid, I enjoyed C.S. Lewis, S.E. Hinton, John Steinbeck. I read a lot of biographies on historical figures like Harry Houdini, Sitting Bull, and various sports stars. As an adult, I still enjoy biographies. Everybody has a story to tell, and I’ve always found the real stories of a life lived to be very interesting. My favorite novelists have to be Barbara Kingsolver, Daniel Woodrell, T.C. Boyle, Alice Sebold, and Wally Lamb. Among the indie class I’d count Stephen Geez and Sienna Rose at the top of the list.

14. What made you decide to be a writer and what would you be doing if you hadn't taken the literary route?

The idea that I could create characters, worlds, and situations that would not exist without my pen is such a rush. A good writer can transport his or her readers to faraway places and distance times. I may not be on that level yet, but I’m working hard to achieve it. If I wasn’t a writer, I guess I’d have put more effort into playing guitar. I walked away from playing about 20 years ago—though I recently bought a guitar and amp, with the idea of fooling around on it in my spare time. I just have this need to create.

15. Thank you for participating in the interview! Can you leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?

First off, thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about Jazz Baby. As for three things people may be surprised to know about me, well, I used to show ponies in 4H and open-class horse shows back in the 1970s. Another would be that I sang lead vocals in a heavy metal band in 1984. Finally, I guess it would be that I’m a distant cousin to country music legend Eddie Arnold. Younger people probably won’t know who Eddie Arnold is. Just Google him and learn something new today.

Find Beem Weeks online:

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