Sunday, July 31, 2011

SEAN SWEENEY WRITER FEATURE-REVIEW OF MODEL AGENT

Hello followers,

Sean Sweeney is one of my Book Junkie's Facebook Group buddies.
You can find him here His place on the web  or follow him on Twitter @SMSweeneyAuthor
Jaclyn is a kickass heroine in his books:

I will have his interview and giveaway up later this week:)

MODEL AGENT BY SEAN SWEENEY

This refreshing perspective on the feminine hero was an exhilarating ride with a volatile mix of action and thrills. Agent Jaclyn Johnson is a stunning heroine who doesn't let her disabilities impede her activities as a CIA agent. She was born partially blind but can see shadows. At the age of 14, after her parents deaths in 9-11, the government took her under their wing and trained her to become a CIA agent and outfitted her with special Foster Grant glasses equipped with Heads Up Display (HUD) that enhances rather than hampers her duties as an agent.
I was quickly caught up in the intrigue of the storyline and impressed with the super spy gadgetry, which includes a loaded Porsche and specially outfitted I-Pad. I want those. The plot line was exceptional with lots of excitement from the start. Grant Chillings, the terrorist of the story made me worry about our country's safety if our bottled and natural water supply was tampered with. It made me think twice about drinking bottled water.

I'm highly anticipating reading the next installment of this explosive series.

I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy hold-onto-to-your-seat adventures with a lot of action and thrills. It also speaks to those who have a special place in their heart for kick ass heroine who overcome impossible odds to save the day.

5 fairies given for the electrifying ride into Agent Jaclyn Johnson's world.





SUMMER SIZZLER SCAVENGER HUNT STARTS TODAY



'Summer Sizzles with Imajin Books' this August: Scavenger Hunt

This summer, celebrate the opening of the innovative Canadian publishing company, IMAJIN BOOKS. Our huge summer event began on July 1, 2011 and we rewarded readers and book reviewers, our way to say "Thank you" for reading our books.

This August, the fun continues with an exciting Summer Sizzler Scavenger Hunt.

This event runs Aug 1 - August 31. Participants have a chance to win some fabulous prizes, including a Kindle ereader with wi-fi.

To enter:
1. Check out our Scavenger host list (posted on August 1st) and click on each blog link.
2. Scavenge through these blogs until you find our Scavenger Hunt badge/graphic. You'll find the graphic at our website, so you'll know what to look for.
3. Email us at imajinbooks@shaw.ca with "Scavenger Hunt" in subject line and the website link to the page with the badge you found, your name, mailing address and phone number, plus the title of the ebook you would like to receive if your name is drawn. Entries will be voided if this info is missing.
4. Each correct entry counts as 1 point or one entry into our prize draws, so the more you find the badge and send us those links, the more chances you have of winning the Kindle and other prizes.

Prizes:
31 winners will receive one ebook of their choice from our published titles.
4 winners will received a signed novel (trade paperback) by authors Alison Bruce, Melodie Campbell, Cherish D'Angelo and Cheryl Kaye Tardif.
Grand Prize: Kindle with Wi-Fi ($140 value): One grand prize winner (Kindle) to be selected from all eligible entries. Additional prizes may be added later.

This contest runs Aug 1 to Aug 31. Winners will be notified by email by September 3rd.

Official Rules:
  • Entrant must be at least 18 to enter and be a Canadian or USA citizen for paperback and Kindle ereader prizes, but can be international for all ebook prizes. 
  • No purchase necessary.
  • No substitution, no refunds, no cash value.
  • The grand prize (Kindle ereader) is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded.
  • This contest is void where prohibited by law.
  • Imajin Books authors, their families and any subcontracted associates of Imajin Books are excluded from entering this contest but may participate as a host.

Imajin Books is an innovative, unique Canadian publisher with an eye on exciting, ever-changing trends and opportunities in publishing that opened its 'doors' to authors worldwide in late February 2011. They promise great reads by wonderful authors, with ebooks priced under $5 and trade paperbacks under $18.

From ImajinBooks.com: The future of reading is ebooks, and the future is NOW!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

ANDY HUELLER INTERVIEW

I had the pleasure of reading Andy's book, Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth and have posted my review earlier this week. This book is a delightful read for all ages.


What inspired you to become a writer??
The easy answer is that I loved stories as a kid (and still do). I loved hearing them (from my dad, grandparents, and others), and I loved reading them. I typed stories, as a child, on my mom’s old typewriter. I remember sending movie pitches to Disney, too. I would write them letters about the movies I wanted to see and then asked them to make those movies. I remember how much fun it was to write books in school, too. We would get these blank hardcover books that we would eventually fill with our own stories. Not only was the story ours, but the cover, the illustration, the back-jacket summary.

What is your favorite genre of book to read and/or write and why??
The most fun I ever had reading was when I was ten years old and devouring Roald Dahl books. So when I found my way to writing for children, it felt right. My reader became me as a ten-year-old. I write the books I would have wanted to read at that age.

Back then, though, as now, I read all sorts of books. Mystery, adventure, science-fiction, light fantasy (like Dahl), sports stories. I read newspapers, too. While my first two books have a lot of fantasy in them, who knows what the next ones will look like? (Actually, I just finished writing a draft of a Young Adult novella that’s also a writing text. The narrator, a senior in high school, has gotten rich writing papers for his classmates, and in the book he divulges his secrets.)


What aids do you use to write your books? Music?? Nature???
I guess I’m a purist. I prefer a quiet space. I do tend to brainstorm and often draft by hand on lined paper. When I begin typing, I revise, as well.


What character of your book(s) do you relate to the most??
Well, Davey Cook from Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle is based on me as a kid. He has a bowl cut, wears basketball jerseys that go down to his knees, and loves to read. That was me. I do like Mr. Bruno from Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth, though, too. He wears the same dusty Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap I do, and he seems a patient man. I like to think I am, too. (I don’t spend any of my time sitting on front steps and smoking, however, and he spends most his time doing just that.)

What words of wisdom would you like to share with aspiring writers like myself?
Read as many books as you can, and allow yourself to get lost in their stories. Pay attention to language, though, too. Keep track of the words that are fun to read and bring them to your own writing.

How do you visualize your stories?? In pictures?? Conversations? Dreams?
Some begin with an image. Others begin with some line that comes into my head. I have a series of stories about a superheroic school janitor from another planet, and he was inspired by a custodian at the school where I teach. I was in the faculty lounge with him. It was teacher-appreciation day, and parents had stocked the room with fruit, bagels, and this heaping bowl of mini candy bars, and we both looked at it with big eyes and watering mouths. “They even got them belly bulgers, huh?” he said, as he patted his stomach. The line stuck with me as I walked back to my office. I sat down with the line and it became a character.

If you become a multimillionaire overnight, how would you use the money??
That’s a difficult question. I’m so far from (financially) rich, I’ve never considered it. Well, there’s a house a few blocks from where my wife and I live, one we pass when we take our dog for a walk, and if it were for sale, I suppose we’d move there. Then I’d pay off my college student loans. Then I’d buy my wife flowers, every day. We’d spend a week at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We’d do a little traveling. And then . . . well, I’d figure out a way to create some kind of writing tutoring program for all kids. I’m inspired by the 826 program (http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_eggers_makes_his_ted_prize_wish_once_upon_a_school.html), which brings working writers and middle- through high-school kids together for authentic writing time. It would be fun to figure out how I could contribute to that effort. I’d only want to save enough of the money so my wife and I would feel secure and I would never feel guilty about spending a couple summer weeks doing nothing but reading novels.

How long did it take you to write Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth?? What inspired this book??
It took me 4½ years to write a draft of Skipping Stones. I didn’t always know how the different story lines would intersect. Finally, one day, it all made sense. That was a wonderful day. As I wrote the book, I found inspiration all around me. I was driving one afternoon, for instance, and saw this grand, green lawn that had just been mowed. That became the lawn between Hidden Shores Orphanage and Mr. E’s shack.

If you could have dinner with someone dead or alive, famous or not famous, who would it be and why??
The real (though sappy) answer? My wife. She’s as smart and funny as people come, and we’re both incredibly busy and don’t see each other enough as it is.

The more entertaining answer? Maybe Steve Carell. He’s seems like an awfully nice, grounded guy who’s also remarkably observant and funny.

Let's do something fun...write something about each of the the next 5 words in 10 words or less.

Fantasy
Best when in conversation with our world; then it’s magical.

Books
The single best human creation. Hands down.

Chaos
Multitasking and/or running errands. Ugh.

Energy
My dog has it. So do my students.

Balance
A rewarding day at work. A quiet dinner with my wife and a glass of wine. (Sorry. I recognize this answer’s 16 words. Guess I haven’t found the right balance yet!)



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ARC Review for Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth by Andy Hueller

Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth

by Andy Hueller

I was invited to be a host of Andy's blog tour and he will be stopping here on Saturday July 30th. I was able to read his book and get my review ready to go in anticipation of this event. I will have my interview up on Saturday. This arc was downloaded from netgally.com and the author sent me a hard copy of the book.


Blurb from Goodreads:)



Calvin Comet Cobble lives at Hidden Shores Orphanage. Location: the very center of the earth. Cal's life is full of the school bully and mean teachers, but when he meets Mr. E, who can skip a stone clear across Lake Arctic, everything about Cal's life changes. Told with wit and charm, Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth is guaranteed to excite and inspire readers of all ages.


My thoughts:

I knew going into this book that it would be for children and early teens but was pleasantly surprised by the quality and content for the older crowd. It was a quick read and enjoyed it immensely. I could relate to Cal and his feelings about being different and being bullied. I was once a Cal in school. Socially awkward and a wallflower but as I grew older I became more confident with myself and ending up becoming that social butterfly.

His boring life ends one day when he meets Mr E. As the story goes on you find out who Mr E is and why he and Calvin are at the Center of the Earth also known as Robert, Alaska and he sets off on adventure to find out who he is and why he is there.

This is actually a book about a lonely and misunderstood kid who finds his inner strength and learns that sometimes you have to reach for what you want in life even if it seems impossible. As long as you have friends, you can handle anything.

I would recommend this book for kids around 8-12 years old as the writing is very easy to read. Adults and older kids may find they enjoy this read as well.

I give this book 5 fairies for allowing me to reflect on my past and realize that there other misunderstood kids out there who need a helping hand and giving them the courage to stand up for what they want so that they don't fade back into the wallpaper.

Thanks for the great read, Andy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

GUEST BLOG POST-CHERYL KAYE TARDIF

Please welcome Cheryl Kaye Tardif to my blog today. She has took the time to write an excellent post about what inspired her to write Children of the Fog. I'm going to be posting a review later this week on this book.Please comment and tell me what is your deepest darkest fear?



Children of the Fog Delves into a Mother's Worst Fears


Any good writer can plot a suspense novel, and take characters from danger to escape/happiness, but I like to dig a bit deeper with my characters. I like to delve into their deepest, darkest fears. Often, those fears mirror my own. For a mother, there is no worse fear than that something horrible will happen to your child.

I know this fear intimately. I experienced the death of my first baby, a son born after the most perfect pregnancy with no warning sign of what was to come. After sixteen hours of hard back labor, I gave birth to my first child and immediately knew something was wrong.

Fear gripped me like a noose around my throat and I couldn't breathe. My heart raced and my mind soared into all those dark scenarios, ones that led to only one conclusion. I watched as a nurse lifted my son's purplish leg a few inches from the table and then let it drop. He didn't respond or move.

My son never cried. I did though. I knew in my heart that I was watching my son in his final hours, and even though I willed him to live, I knew he wouldn't. I would have given anything, including my own life, to have him live. My baby...my firstborn...my little love. He died four hours later, a fluky brain stem stroke.

Yes, I know a mother's fears. When my daughter was born a year later, I had survived 9 months of intense fear, but knew that the real terror was just beginning. As she grew, I fought those fears, determined not to be an overprotective mom. I think I did well, all things considered.

When the idea for Children of the Fog first came to me, it appeared as a thought. The thought went like this: What if someone broke into my house and kidnapped my daughter? That thought turned into: What if I confronted a kidnapper as he was trying to take her? What would I do? That thought evolved into: I'd fight, of course. I'd fight with all I had.

Eventually, these thoughts became a plot idea, and the plot brought out my darkest fears. Could I let someone take my child if the only other choice I had was to watch her die in front of me? What a horrible choice that would be. What an unbelievably difficult decision to make. How would someone live with that decision?

And Sadie and Sam were born...


YOU HAVE 10 SECONDS TO MAKE A DECISION:
Let A Kidnapper Take Your Child, Or Watch Your Son Die.
Choose!

Sadie O'Connell is a bestselling author and a proud mother. But her life is about to spiral out of control. After her six-year-old son Sam is kidnapped by a serial abductor, she nearly goes insane. But it isn't just the fear and grief that is ripping her apart. It's the guilt. Sadie is the only person who knows what the kidnapper looks like. And she can't tell a soul. For if she does, her son will be sent back to her in "little bloody pieces".

When Sadie's unfaithful husband stumbles across her drawing of the kidnapper, he sets into play a series of horrific events that sends her hurtling over the edge. Sadie's descent into alcoholism leads to strange apparitions and a face-to-face encounter with the monster who abducted her son--a man known only as...The Fog.

eBook and Trade paperback editions at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and more.

Reviews:
"A chilling and tense journey into every parent's deepest fear." ―Scott Nicholson, The Red Church

"A nightmarish thriller with a ghostly twist, CHILDREN OF THE FOG will keep you awake...and turning pages!" ―Amanda Stevens, author of The Restorer

"Reminiscent of The Lovely Bones, Cheryl Kaye Tardif weaves a tale of terror that will have you rushing to check on your children as they sleep. With exquisite prose, Children of the Fog captures you the moment you begin and doesn't let go until the very end." ―bestselling author Danielle Q. Lee, author of Inhuman
Author Bio:
Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an award-winning, bestselling Canadian suspense author of numerous novels, including Whale Song, which New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice calls “a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart...a beautiful, haunting novel."

Follow Cheryl on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cherylktardif

Children of the Fog is available in ebook and Trade paperback editions from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and many more.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WRITER WEEK FEATURE CONTINUED REVIEW OF HEARTS OF FARELLAH

HEARTS OF FARELLAH BOOK 1 REVIEW

AUTHOR: BRINDI LUNDBERG
FIND HER HERE BRINDI LUNDBERG BLOG

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
Aura Telmacha Rosh is a lower-than-average songstress-in-training intent on making it through her coming-of-age ceremony with as little attention on her as possible. With abnormal, silver hair that shines like starlight and immediately draws people to her, she should be used to it by now, but even so, she's never been one for such embarrassing notions.

The night of the Rite comes. Aura's nerves are a mess, but so far she's performed perfectly. Things seem to be going surprisingly well . . . until she's kidnapped by Elves. At first, she can't believe it. Real elves? She'd always known Elves existed, of course, but never had one entered her secluded home-village of Farellah since the days of her great-grandmother. What could they possibly want with someone like her?

The answer turns out to be far more troubling than she could have imagined. Her kidnappers are convinced that she's the “Heart of Havoc”, a maiden of disaster prophesied to unleash a song of destruction that will destroy the world. Aura knows she isn't the wrathful destructress her captors claim her to be, but there's seemingly no way to convince them. Thus, Aura suddenly finds herself whisked into a journey across the Westerlands, where a corrupt empire known as Druelca seeks to use her power for evil, an unlikely array of warriors form her protective guard, and a mossy-haired Elf she's mysteriously drawn to might be the love of her life, her greatest weakness, or both.

Whether she chooses to accept her fate or escape it, getting over her stage-fright might help




I couldn't help but be pulled into this wonderful high fantasy and into the world of Farellah. This is a fairly long read, over 600 pages, but the story just flew from the pages and I ended up reading it in less than a week. In a land called Farellah, we meet Aura, a budding songstress who is about to be given her “song”. She isn't all that excited just nervous but is resigned to her duty. As she is about to go into her Rite of Discovery, she is taken captive by a pair of elves, Nyte and Rend, whom are entrusted with the task of taking her to their Elders to find out if she holds the song of Destruction as their prophecy states. Their journey is interrupted by members of a secret society who thinks Aura holds the Song of Salvation. Aura feels like she is normal and average but finds she isn't that at all and ends up questioning who she really is.
As their journey continues they are followed by an evil group of people called Druelca who also want to fulfill the prophecy. She finds out they have captured her twin sister Illuma and sets out to save her and the world.
This is a classic tale of good versus evil with a motley band of travelers who journey together and whom each has their own story. It also has some twists and turns that you don't expect.
I give this stunning masterpiece 5 fairies for grabbing me out of my chair and taking me for a whimsical journey of one's self discovery and the self doubts you have when you find out you aren't so normal after all. It also encourages you to accept yourself no matter who you are.
I would recommend this book for high fantasy lovers who enjoy a twist of romance. The book is 600+ pages but it keeps you turning the pages for more. Looking forward to the second book.



Monday, July 18, 2011

WRITER WEEK-FEATURED BRINDI LUNDBERG

I had the wonderful privilege to interview debut fantasy writer Brindi Lundberg. She is a very down to earth person and I enjoyed reading her book as well as the interview. Give her some love. She is offering Hearts of Farellah for free to one lucky commenter chosen by random.org. Please feel out this FORM. Extra entries if you GFC my blog.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WRITER WEEK CONTINUES-WISH I WOULD'VE BY AYNOIT ASHOR

WISH I WOULDV'E BY AYNOIT ASHOR REVIEW





This hard hitting book by Aynoit Ashor gets under your skin and makes you think about how deep family secrets go. It will make your uneasy but draw you in with the first page of the book. The book deals with sex, drugs, rape, and incest and is not for the faint of heart or for people who are sensitive to these things being written down for the world to see. It was pretty unsettling but mesmerizing.
I would recommend this book for readers who like to think and don't mind being unsettled by the subject matter. It's a psychological tale of abuse. Don't read this if the subject matter offends you.
Keep in mind not all books have a happy ending and sometimes I think that is important. The happy ending of this book is not what you expect.

I give this 5 fairies as I liked how it made taboo topics open for people to read. Hopefully it will help someone to know that they aren't the only ones experiencing these things.

Monday, July 11, 2011

WRITER WEEKLY FEATURE-AYNOIT ASHOR INTERVIEW & BOOK GIVEAWAY

BUY HERE AMAZON 
Join Aynoit and I as we sit down and do an interview so that you can learn more about what makes her tick. She has generously offered to giveaway a copy of her book for one lucky commenter chosen by random.org.
Please fill out this FORM for entry into the drawing to win one of her books.
What influenced you to become a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer from a very young age. I always loved telling stories for people’s enjoyment.

What inspired you to do the book material that you chose in Wish I Would’ve?
I’m not sure what my inspiration was. I just had a story in my head that needed to get out and be told. It was like the main character was talking to me. Like she wanted her story to be told so she could help others.

How do you see your books that you write? in pictures, sentences, or inner monologues with your characters?
My books play out like movies in my head. I can see, touch, smell everything as it happens, which is not always a good thing, because my characters go through some very traumatic stuff!

What sensory items do you find that you use to help in your writing? Do
you listen to music?? If so, what is your play list for your novels?
You may find this hard to believe but while writing I Wish I Would’ve I listened to an old time radio show called The Great Gildersleeve. I don’t know why but it kept my creative juices flowing. When writing Sixty-7 I listened to lots of old school hip-hop from the eighties like Run DMC and The Beastie Boys and Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall and Thriller. There’s a scene in Sixty-7 when the main character (a young teen) goes to the Victory tour with his parents. I never got to see MJ live but would have loved it! I lived it through that scene.

If you had a million dollars, how would you spend it?
Funny. I was just watching The Twilight Zone last night and the couple on there was given four wishes. They wished for $1 Million, but forgot they would have to pay taxes on it.


I would put money in a trust fund for my children, give money to a non-profit that supports survivors of domestic violence, buy a home and a new car.

What kind of advice do you want to share with your readers and or fellow writers? 
Follow your dreams. What ever it is that you want to do, do it!
 You may feel like you can’t do it, but you can. All of the power is in you.

I see from your website, you are a writer, poet, playwright. What medium do you find easier to write? 
It’s easiest for me to write stories. Poetry used to come to me easily when I was a teen and writing plays is fun, but it doesn’t flow like writing fiction does.

if you were on a deserted island and could bring 10 items to use, what would you bring and why??
  1. My husband for sex,
  2. my teen aged children to argue with,
  3. a pencil to write,
  4. a notepad to write the ideas on,
  5. A tent, to live in
  6. A fruit tree of some sort, to eat from
  7. a fishing rod, to catch fish
  8. a shovel, because I’m sure I will have to dig at some point
  9. A large roll of fabric, to make clothing, blankets and pillows
  10. A cellphone because I would need to talk to my extended family


What type of publishing do you prefer? Indie, self, or large press??
Tough question. Indie and self-publishing are great because the author has total control. But a large press seems to give authors validation. As of right now, I am totally happy being a self-published, indie author.

If you could have dinner with someone famous, alive or dead, who would you choose and why? 
Oprah. I would want to pick her brain and ask what gave her the drive to keep moving.

And another fun question, if you could live in any time-line, where would you live and why?? 
I would want to live right here, right now. It may not sound true but it is. I used to think I would want to live in simpler times, but after much thought, I realized I can make today, just as simple as the those times (and still have the luxury of the internet, cellphones and electricity).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WRITER WEEK CONTINUED-KENDER MACGOWAN REVIEW OF HUNTER AND THE ELF QUEEN


Buy the book here:

Follow him on Twitter Kender MacGowan and Facebook Kender MacGowan

I had the pleasure of reading Hunter & The Elf Queen by Kender MacGowan and found myself drawn into this stanza about love. It’s more than a poem it’s a feeling. Kender’s writing flows effortlessly and creates a wonderful description of love gained and love lost. It takes a talented wordsmith to appeal to my poetic appetite as poetry was my first writing medium. His words paint a beautiful masterpiece and pulls me right into the Hunter’s search for his love. Poetry has to flow and create a world for me in a few short lines to capture my interest. I would recommend this wonderful painting to anyone who loves to read a story within a poem. It has otherworldly elements that appeal to anyone who has a whimsical nature about their person. I give this piece 5 fairies and hope to read more of Kender’s words. Brilliant wordsmith Kender and I am proud to know you even if only online. I imagine we would have quite the conversation in a pub sometime.