Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest Post: Dawn Binkley, Hellfire Publishing...

Thank you so much Mel for letting me have the day on your blog to talk to other writers and

A quick little bio about me :)

Executive Editor, Dawn Binkley

Dawn Binkley, a writer since her late teens is driven by the written word. She believes, without
writers, the world as we know it would cease to exist. Books, scripts, advertisements, history, the
daily news reports, none of it would be possible without smart, articulate people to write it.

Mrs. Binkley is also a writer and is better known under her pen name Keira Kroft.

Dawn, co-owner of Hellfire Publishing and Hellfire Comics, also carries a vet assistance degree.
Her love for animals is as great as her love of people. She gives a percentage of her personal
book sale profits to the animal welfare league.

She was born and raised in Chicago and now resides in a quiet suburbs in the outskirts of the
city with her husband and her daughter. Dawn spends her spare time working with her cats
Scamper and Sawyer, to achieve total world domination, one shared Twinkie at a time. Her
passions include reading, writing, football and shopping.

Dawn will read anything you put in front of her. Whether she will like it, is another story. Her
preferences are vampires. If an author were to submit something with what she calls “real”
vampires, she will rip the hair out the head of any one that will try to take it from her. Also
amongst her preferences are ghost stories, werewolves and other paranormal beings. She looks
for creativity and wild imagination.

Direct quote from Dawn “Without great imagination, writing would simply be nothing more than
meaningless paper.”

She strives to bring the best fiction possible to the plate and has carefully staffed HP with like-
minded, smart, driven people in the editor positions. The entire foundation of Hellfire Publishing
is built upon community, love and trust.

I would like to talk about the fact that writing is not a one person career.

Who do you have to thank? As a writer, now that your or when your career takes off, who do
you have to thank? I mean sincerely, not just people you promised, whose egos you would puff
up by placing their name and kind words inside your novel. I mean the real people that actually
sacrifice themselves for your career.

My husband is number one. He always supports me and lets me take the time I need to write. He
is also not afraid to tell me if I come up with an idea, that he deems, stoopid? LOL He also gives

me the freedom to take his advice or not and most of the time he is right. But, don’t tell him that,

My daughter. Yes our kids sacrifice themselves in their own way as well. In my daughters case
it’s giving up time IM’ing her boyfriend and believe me that’s a sacrifice for her!

My proofreader Jeanette, She had to read the first piece of crap I had ever written, God love her.
She was wonderful, very objective and not afraid to tell me like it was.

Books and internet, made it easy for me to look up info and get answers.

Decadent publishing, for taking a chance on a newbie. Because everybody has to start
somewhere, and without people that are willing to do that, we don’t stand a chance. They have
been so wonderful to me, I don’t consider them a starting point, I consider them a home where I
would love to reside as long as they will keep me.

Last, but not least my friends that simply just believed I could do it! Their trust and faith in me,
made a believer out of my toughest critic— myself.

Both of my businesses are both supportive environments to my writing career. Especially the
writers at Hellfire Publishing, they understand that on top of everything I do, that I have a career
as well and they make allowance for that. I am truly blessed.

So tell me, who do you have to thank, really?

Most of all I would like thank the reader’s. Out of the millions of books available nowadays you
chose mine, and that means everything to me. Thank you.

Writing is a career choice and a very tough business. Don’t be afraid to accept help. Writing is
hard work, however it’s the friendliest business :-D

So enjoy!

I would like to offer a free ecopy of Glow in the Dark to anyone who comments.

Dawn Binkley
Executive Editor
Hellfire Publishing

Also known as:
Keira Kroft

Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: Glow In The Dark by Kiera Kroft...

Title: Glow in the Dark

Author: Kiera Kroft

Publisher: Decadent Publishing Company

Pages: 290 (Print), File size: 437 kb

Page Number Source ISBN: 161333043X ASIN: B004ZH3M3Q

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Summary from Amazon.com:

Determined to be out from under her mother’s ruling and away from a no-good soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, Corey Nolan exercises her independence. With a place to call her own and a job that doesn’t pay well but makes her happy, her life is full and her young daughter is content. There is no room for distractions, until she meets a local firefighter—who stirs an immediate forbidden attraction. In need of control, she tries to ignore Jake Gilroy, but circumstances bring her closer to him when someone is hell-bent on destroying her.

Dutiful playboy Jake is known as the smoking hot fireman. The first time he sets eyes on Corey, he knows he wants her. But when threats and strange occurrences start to happen, he finds the need to protect her and give more than he’s ever given any other woman.

Being together becomes more than they bargained for when their desire for each other becomes a matter of life and death….

My Thoughts:

This is a page turner. I love a romance book with a good, strong story. This is yet another one! I can't believe my luck. I'm all for hot firefighters, there is just something about them that makes a girl swoon...

Corey is a girl with some emotional baggage and health issues, but that doesn't stop her from leading a productive life and wanting to be independent. She has her family, her friends and even her young daughter around to support her. She lands a job, moves into her own place and is doing well, even if her so-called boyfriend isn't always in the picture.

On her way to her first day of work, she notices those hunky firemen checking her out and she falls for one of them. Literally! She crashes on her bike right there in front of them. Embarrassed? You betcha! But what a way to make an impression. She quickly befriends them and much more than that with Jake.

Weird things start to happen on the first day of her job and get creepier from there. People in her life suddenly start dropping like flies. Is she the cause? Are people dying because of her and if so, who's next? Corey fears for her daughter, Molly's life. She would do anything to protect her little girl.

Jake is always there for Corey, even if he doesn't believe her at first about the strange things that keep happening. But it seems the person stalking the woman he loves is closer than anyone thinks.

This was a very good book! It kept me coming back wanting to finish it. I thought I had it all figured out until about halfway through and then realized, there has to be more to this. It's just too easy. And I was right! And oh, man! I did not expect the ending. I began to put two and two together just before Corey but did NOT want to believe it. And that's all I'm gonna say! Must read this book! Some typos and the like, but not enough to deter me from the overall flow of the story.

I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 skull and crossbones

And look for two special guest posts this week from Dawn Binkley of Hellfire Publishing on Tuesday. Then a guest post from Kiera Kroft, author of 'Glow in the Dark' and much more will be on Thursday! Looking forward to seeing what they have to say.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Favorites, Fantasy Art & A Funny...

Well. Your views have spoken! I seriously didn't realize until I took some advice from Jamie over at Mithril Wisdom about your old blog posts, just how many people like my Friday Favorites posts. I mean, 4 out of 5 of the most popular posts were linked to these when I added that little popularity gadget to my blog. Who woulda thought?

So with that in mind, I'm going to give my best effort to maintain these posts.

Favorite Books/Authors:

I have to say, I love the Harry Potter books. I love the series as a whole, but loved The Deathly Hollows more. Not just because it was the last! But because of the answers it gave to all of those questions I gathered from reading all the previous books. J. K. Rowling hit the ball out of the park with these books. As in any series, though, there has to be at least one I didn't like and for me that was The Order of the Phoenix. Don't get me wrong, it was a very good book, but really kinda slow.

Favorite Movies:

On the subject of Harry Potter, my favorite movie of the series was The Prisoner of Azkaban. I'm a huge Gary Oldman fan. Although, I swoon over Alan Rickman more. I don't know exactly why I liked this movie so much. Maybe because Harry finally had 'family'?

Favorite Music:

The Rumjacks! No, this is not a drinking game. It is a band. My son introduced me to them recently. He loves this style of music and loved when I introduced him to the likes of Flogging Molly and the Pogues.

Fantasy Art:

Aaaand the Funny...

Hehe! Have a great weekend everyone and don't get too bored!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back To The Writing...

So I have been revising my second book. I have my little widget in the corner over there with the word count status.

I don't update that as often as I should. Or, I update it and then more inspiration hits and I keep working.

I have the drawing of Laria done. You have to forgive the bad picture, though. I took it with my cell phone and then tried to fix it on Photobucket. Meh.

At any rate, here it is. I used colored pencils and ink:

The original looks a lot better, obviously. The problem is the original size cannot be scanned in to the computer without professional help. It is larger than my scanner allows, so I have to figure out a way to get this taken care of and up on the internet to use on bookmarks.

A dilemma. Ah well.

Hope you have all had a good week. What are your plans for the weekend? Mine consist of cleaning the house, possibly re-potting my plant as it has finally taken off from a practically dead twig to a thriving houseplant. Now to just keep the cats away from it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Apology...

I obviously tend to react to things I read on the internet and sometimes I post in such a rush to get things out of my head and on to you.

In my haste, I did not contact a fellow blogger and reviewer properly and await a response. I dropped a comment on her blog and linked back to her in a post. That was terribly rude and wrong of me to do so, considering the bashing some bloggers and reviewers have been getting.

I am so very sorry.

I tend to speak before I think in real life, too. So, fair warning.

Here, however, I need to be lots more conscious of what I am doing and saying and try to be more patient.

I was not trying to make her seem like the bad guy in my post. I personally think anyone who stops reviewing indie authors has every right. I also feel it isn't just indie authors who can be the problem, though. If reviewers stop reviewing indie authors over what has happened, that is their choice.

I just hope that the actions of the man who started all of this are not repeated and that is really what I was wanting to get out into the blogging community.

Again, I am sorry.

So You Want Your Book Reviewed...

In light of recent events, I am going to put something out here that I have on my WDC (Writing.com) portfolio.

And now I am going to add to it. This is for me to use when I choose to do a review. Feel free to use this if you do reviews.

1. Reviews are given FOR FREE.

2. I, personally, do not get paid to review a book or short story. If you choose to give me a copy of your work in order to garner a review, do not think of it as payment. I would gladly purchase the book if you would prefer, but I honestly don't think I should. You want the review and are contacting me, not the other way around.

3. If I do not like your work, I will tell you in private and not put a bad review out there. If you are self published, I hope my critique of your work prompts you to fix it and put it back up for sale. You upload the content yourself, this has to be an option.

If I do like your work, I will post reviews for you where you ask me to, as well as post the review on my blog.

4. Please realize real time constraints. You know nothing of my personal life and how I spend my time. (If you truly know, you better be related...) You can only assume from what I tell people here on my blog and other social media. We all know what assuming does, don't we? However, should I fall behind, I will do my best to maintain contact and make sure you know this in advance. If you cannot wait, I'm sorry.

5. Please act in a professional and courteous manner. Rude will get you nowhere. Worse than rude, well, we won't discuss that, will we?

I am trying to make light of a situation here as well as give some real advice for reviewers and writers alike. There isn't much humor in the way people treat other people at times. There is no need for threats, stalking, name calling or any other rude, unprofessional behavior in regards to opinions.

We all know what opinions are like, right?

I am going to say this, whether I regret it later or not remains to be seen. This is a free country, I am allowed to express myself however I deem fit.

Don't. Push. It.

And one final thing to say about all of this. GROW UP and ACT YOUR AGE.

Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recap & Clarification On Mr. Bryant...

If the name Carroll Bryant is not familiar, it soon will be. And not in a flattering way at all. This man seems to have single-handedly made indie publishing that much harder for indie authors with his lack of ethics and professional protocol.

Now mind you, I'm going by other blog posts, some details I found through other blog posts and have yet to go look around on AbsoluteWrite.com and check out the forums. But, bloggers tend to be pretty good in gathering their facts, so I will leave you with two more blog links to see more of what has come to light in this whole situation.

This one.

And this one. This one, is the most important.

Okay, and I did just go through some of the forum stuff on AbsoluteWrite.com here.

Once you are a little more informed, like me, you'll still see this as a bad thing. This guy did not act in a professional manner at all.

Indie authors already have a bad rap! This is not going to help. Reviewers are throwing down the gauntlet and quite a few are not going to review indie authors ever again. Unless of course, they have built a rapport with them and like them.

So like one person said on the AW Water Cooler, Authors Behaving Badly is becoming a trend. Their numbers rise while those of us with professionalism and integrity struggle. (Okay, I didn't quote them verbatim, you get the idea.)

There are going to be some severe consequences to all of this, guys.

1) IF people continue to buy Mr. Bryant's books and his numbers continue to grow rapidly due to his now A.B.B. image, more authors are going to follow suit.

2) Reviewers will stop reviewing.

What does this mean for writers? Readers?

If Bryant's perverse way of gaining readers works and others follow suit, we're in for a world of hurt. People hide behind the computer every day spouting off things they would never say to someone face to face. Seriously, I would like to meet with people face to face who bad mouth me. In my experience, most of those people back down and try to explain away their actions to smooth things over so I don't end up using their head for a doorstop.

Not really.


Point is, he needs to be the one taught a lesson in all of this, not the reviewers who really had every right to do what they did. Again, a commenter on AW Water Cooler said he's the adult here, shouldn't he be acting his age?

Reviewers are vital to the publishing industry. Why? Because they tell people whether or not a book is worth it. Will one reviewer make or break you?


Because everyone's tastes in books varies. I can tell you what I like to read. It doesn't mean that you won't like it. If I love it, you may hate it. If I hate it, you'll adore it. Possibilities are endless here. The reviewers are just trying to help filter through the crap. Sorry, but there is lots of it out there, self published AND traditional published.

Pointing the finger at self pubbed authors is not going to help. Some review blogs I have read did state that most indie authors are more pushy. Maybe they are, but you can't tell me a traditionally published author can't be just as pushy. Or creepy. Or dysfunctional.

This is not something that is going to go away overnight. People love the drama. MY concern is this, however: If something isn't done about this as a writing community whether you are self published, traditional published, a reader, a reviewer or even a blogger - it is only going to get worse.

That is my opinion, take it or leave it, as always.

What do you think?

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm Sorry?...

I'm a little stunned.

You guys know me, I don't always comment on your blogs, but when I see something you've posted and it hits me like a ton of bricks, I have to add my two cents.

So here it is.

First of all, let me just link you to this post here about an indie author who went on a review rant. This post will link to another where you can see the details of it all.

Second, let me state right here and now that if I offered up to review your book and haven't AND you have not heard from me about it. I'm sorry.

Last thing I need is someone listing me as their source of angst. I mean... I can be, but not in this instance!

Now for the rest of my two cents. It doesn't matter if you are an indie author or traditionally published author. If you ask me to review your book (because hey, I've reviewed books here) please keep in mind that I have stuff to do with my own book, my work, my family. Even with *gasp!* other books. If I can't finish your book, for whatever reason, I will try again. If I still can't, I will email you. Personally, I don't like to give a bad review. I'll give you my review in private if it comes to that point, not for all the world to see simply because I know how hard it is to shake off negativity.

I also am seeing a trend in some of the indie authors out there (not that any of them have contacted me personally) that have the frame of mind that they're somehow better than traditionally published authors. Writers as a whole are pretty humble creatures. We don't expect anything or think we're entitled to special treatment because we write. So why have that attitude? Are you so jaded by the publishing industry that you would turn on your readers and fellow authors? If that's the case, stop writing and find something else to do. Otherwise, stop whining and work on your book. Hire an editor, join a critique group, make your self published book the best it can be to avoid getting bad reviews.

I try to review books I read, whether asked to do the review or not. If I like the book, I am going to review it. There were a couple of reviews I did that were not glowing, rave reviews when I was helping another reviewer on their blog, but I didn't enjoy posting them. I did contact the person I was helping and said, "I can't do this anymore, some of these books are soooo bad!"

If indie authors want to maintain respect, let me suggest that you act in a professional manner. Act like a published author! Don't call people thieves or liars if they did not review your book. Not everyone will contact you if they don't like your work, they'll just drop it, ignore you and hope you'll go away. If you really want that bad review, it can be done. But why would you?

Tips on professionalism:

* Politely email the people and ask if they've had a chance to read your work, if not, when can they do so? If they have, but didn't like your material, either thank them for their time or ask for constructive criticism.

* Don't bad mouth people, their blogs, their books, etc. Karma will come back to you. People will see you acting petty and think, "Wow, I am NOT going to read their book if they're going to be like this..."

* What you post on the internet will find a way to remain on here FOREVER. So, with that in mind... THINK about what you post before you post it. I'm sure I have stuff out there I would LOVE to take down...

* Treat people how you want to be treated. The Golden Rule. If someone offers up a review of your book, offer one in return if they are a writer. If they're not a writer, link to their blog or website. Support the people that support YOU. However, if they don't follow through on their review promise, don't get pissy. Again, politely email them and say, "Hey, you promised a review for a review. If you are unable to review my book, I will not be able to uphold the deal we had." Of course... maybe try not to sound so rude... But people will read things online in their own voice and you may end up coming across snarky anyway. So begin with "I'm not trying to be rude."

Overall, no one is entitled to anything more than anyone else in this business. Yes, indie authors seem to have a harder time of it because of the route they choose. But I know several indie authors and respect the hell out of them because of taking this route. I also respect them because they ACT PROFESSIONALLY. No matter what route you take, this is a difficult enough of an industry as it is, why add to it? Writers have been pretty good about supporting their fellow writers. I really don't see a need for such competitiveness in this field because readers will choose what they like, no matter what. Not everyone is going to like your book to begin with and it isn't your job to force them to like it. Take it in stride.

And I hope everyone reminds me of this when I get my bad reviews. Hehe!

Do you have anything to add to this? Did I not review a book for you and contact you? By all means, leave comments. Not the best way to start off the week, but hope you all have a good week regardless.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Speaking With My Muse, Part Two...

You all have to admit, your Muse finds the damndest times to start inspiring you and the same can be said of your characters when they start to speak to you...

When you're trying to fall asleep.

When you're nowhere near your computer and have no notebook and/or pen or even a recorder.

When you're driving!

When you're at work, in the middle of a meeting.

When you're in the shower and just got all soapy.

Seriously, what do you do!?

I was in the middle of my paper route this morning and suddenly started a dialogue between my character that I've been trying to figure out since last night. Nothing meshed, nothing worked. Then I started talking to myself in the car.

It's like I was speaking in tongues... If any other driver had seen me, they would probably assume I was on a cell phone ear bud thingy.

Or not.

So what do you do in a situation like any of the above? Me, I admonished my characters like they were kids acting up in the back seat. Then everything got quiet. I felt bad.

They'll be fine.

I apologized with a chocolate eclair.

What do you do when the Muse strikes you in the oddest of times and places?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Class Action Suit Filed Against Publish America...

Yep, you read that right. I couldn't believe it when I saw it, either.

I first saw it on Facebook, then here at this blog. And this article here.

Most of you know my history with these bast... er, people. Company. Whatever...

Not quite sure how I feel about it all yet. I have contacted the law firm and made some inquiries. We'll see what comes of it. I'll keep you all posted in the meantime.

Sorry to drag you away from today's topic. You can go back to it here! Have a great day!

**EDIT**:  Here's a link to the form, on the off chance you have a contract with Publish America.

Slipping Into Character...

I have to say, I'm loving my revisions and editing.

I know, I know... around this time last year I was swearing profusely and practically ripping my hair out over editing.

So what's so different?

Well, I used to think I was a die hard pantser. For those of you who don't know, a 'Pantser' is someone who writes without Structure, writing by the seat of their pants, damn the outlines!

I am now an Outliner. I have flipped over to the Dark Side (or is this considered The Light?) and have outlined book two into neat little categories and notes of what I want to see happen and where.


It is SO much easier, I have to admit. I never really liked outlining or Structure. (Notice the use of the capital 'S'.)

However, there is another reason why I am loving my revisions and editing this time around.

I've been patiently waiting for my edits to book one, 'Adversarius' and really didn't want to get all wrapped up in writing and revising until those were done. But, I've needed something to do, something to relieve some major stress I've been dealing with these days. So I started revising book two to get my silly ass in gear and back into the writing swing of things.

I have missed my characters SO MUCH! I almost wanted to draw up life size pictures and hug them all.

Okay, that would be a little... insane.

But you understand what I mean, right? Getting back into the 'groove' of it all, conversing with my characters in my head... I missed it all! Why did I take such a long break?

Oh. Yeah. Meh.

Well, I'm back to the writing board and working on revisions and edits and all that good stuff! I'm excited for book one to come out, but even more excited for book two. Is that possible? And book three?


I don't think I will be able to contain myself. But I shall try.

Hope you all are having a good week and gearing up for the weekend. See you all soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Build That Confidence...

You know, I was hesitant to begin revisions on my second book.


Because I suck.

Not really, but that's how I feel sometimes. I feel like, 'Why, oh why, am I writing? I can't crank out several books a year like So-and-So over there. And I certainly don't have the skills of You-Know-Who."

No, not Voldemort. Silly.

Hmm... Maybe I should have saved this for an IWSG post. Oh well, too late!

I have been building my confidence in myself, though. Lately, as I have continued to work on my revisions, I feel a lot more confident. I can see a light at the end of this strange little tunnel.

When I wrote the very first story and sent it off to The-Company-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named (Publish America), I thought. "It's a good story! I'm going to sell lots of books!" Then things began to go wrong and the more things began to fall apart, the more I felt my story as a whole fall apart.

Lack of confidence in your work crushes your work and obliterates it into itty, bitty crumbs that go, POOF!

I couldn't figure out the next book. I couldn't figure out a way to end that first story, how in the hell was I going to figure out two more books??? I began to panic, then I thought, forget it, I can't do this. Not to myself and not to my story. I'm done.

My attitude has changed quite a bit since then. I'm growing more confident every day these days as well, knowing that I have a good story and the second book is shaping up to be just as good as the first, if not better. I can't wait for my first book to come out. I'm so excited!

What has me even more excited is working on book two and getting it into the hands of all my friends and anyone else who craves to read it. So what exactly has built this confidence? Just revising book two and watching things begin to take shape. What used to be a formless lump with not much to it, had something wonderful lurking beneath. The more I work at it, the more it begins to shine.

I can't wait for book three! And everything else that is going to come after. The more I write, the more confident I become.

How about you?

Monday, July 16, 2012


You know, over the course of the years I have been blogging, not once have I ever talked incessantly about pirates.


Okay, but why?

Very good question. I have been told numerous times by people in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) that pirates were the rock stars of the 17th century. But that isn't why I like them. I think this may be why everyone else likes them.

Even though pirates were thieving, murdering, unruly scurvy dogs, they're popular as hell. That is why most people like pirates, they're popular in this modern age.

Personally, I like pirates because I love the open water. I would love to sail away on a barque, explore the sea. So why not buy a sailboat? It just isn't the same. The freedom the open water gives you and the fact that you could very well make a good living off of everyone else's hard work... did I just say that? Ha!

No. Seriously. I'd make a horrible pirate. I can't stand rum. I'm allergic to gold or at least the nickel in the gold.

Hmm... Pirates don't follow the rules. They don't follow the 'norm' of every day living and clash against what society thinks. They go against what society says they should wear, do and how they should act. THAT is the heart of it, for me. That is why I like pirates. I am an outcast in our society because I don't do things the way everyone else does. Combine that with a love of the sea and all things medieval, well... yeah, it is only natural I am drawn so heartily to pirates.

I'm sure there is more to this love affair. But, that is the heart of it all. I flaunt my individuality and tend to rub it in faces. I have strong, solid morals built into my very fiber, so that is another reason I would be a bad pirate, but those morals play a strong role when going against something I feel is wrong, no matter what society says. Yes, the pirate in me has come out on several occasions in the past couple of months. I can't help it.

So I hope that alleviates your curiosity. Do I write about pirates? You BETCHA! I have several plans for a certain pirate in my writing future. Don't worry, I won't make you wait as long next time.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 13, 2012


Hey all! Whee, two posts from me in one day. Woot! Well, in all fairness, one is a book review.

I just wanted to post a quick note to address two new additions to my blog. Both of them being Amazon.com widgets.

The one at the top is for books. I have either read these books and reviewed them or I want to read them and they are on my list. If you feel so inclined while you are here at my blog to purchase any of them (if you haven't read them, of course) I'd like to kindly ask you to click on the link above.

Obviously, you don't have to if you don't want to or that isn't how you purchase your eBooks.

I'm down to just the paper route these days until school starts and was trying to figure out how to get a good slideshow of books on my blog. Frustrating, I want to add here. I'm not an HTML person. But I saw this one on Amazon.com and you had to become an associate of sorts, so I get money from the clicks. Same with the other widget along the sidebar.

No biggie. I'm sure you've seen them before. Just thought I would ask you help a sister out. ;)

Have a great weekend and see you all on Monday!

Book Review: Return of the Rose by Theresa Ragan...

Title: Return of the Rose

Author: Theresa Ragan

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Pages: 311 (Print), File size: 654 kb

Page Number Source ISBN: 1463610068 ASIN: B004Q9TGG0

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords

Summary from Amazon.com:

Twin sisters are born in Medieval England. One of the infants is dying and is taken to the Witch of Devonshire, who uses supernatural powers to transport the ailing babe to the future. It is the year 1986 when Cathy Hayes, a woman who has lost her child and husband in a car accident, finds the baby at her doorstep, gets her the medical attention she needs, and raises the baby as her own. Morgan grows up in the twentieth century with a mysterious attraction to a hollow suit of armor that stands in the window of her mother's antique store.

Morgan is twenty-four years old when she becomes entangled within the armor's metal plates and is whisked back in time where she is mistaken for Amanda Forrester, a twin sister she knows nothing about. In Amanda's place, Morgan is forced to marry King Henry's favored knight, Derek Vanguard, Lord of Braddock Hall. Abandoned by his mother and having failed as a child to gain his father's love, Derek's heart is as cold as the stone walls of his castle.

In the end, Morgan discovers the true power of love and for the first time in her life she knows where she belongs.

My thoughts:

I have to admit, this book got my attention right away. Yeah, it is a romance. But not a mushy, gushy kind. There were a couple of times when some sexy scenes were back to back, but they weren't overly descriptive, which is what I prefer. I was skeptical at first, with the whole 'being whisked back in time' thing. I still have a bit of a problem with the fact that the historical characters didn't find Morgan's modern clothing a bit more surprising and more deserving of a quick glance. Had any of the characters paid attention, I think they would have noticed some differences between Morgan and Amanda right away.

That's just a minor thing, though. The book's over all flow and style was pretty darn good to hold my attention and make me want to keep reading til the end. There are times when I come across a book, figure I will give it a shot and then I can't finish it no matter what. Return of the Rose, however, caught my attention and held it all the way to the end, making me want to stay up late just to finish it. Not many books do that.

The characters, aside from being a bit too self absorbed, were fairly well developed. The beginning of the book, where Morgan is inside her mother's antique shop was good, I just wish it had lasted a little longer. Perhaps Morgan could have left, interacted with her mother a little more and then the next day get whisked back to the time she belonged. That's just me, though. A couple other spots could have had more attention paid to them, but these are trivial things.  Good book!

I give it 4 and a half skull and crossbones.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Writing Life...

I'm currently in the middle of reading 'Sometimes the Magic Works' by Terry Brooks. I have been trying to read books on writing, always improving my craft, you know.

As I am reading, though, I'm thinking... "Wow, if I were to ever write a book on my writing life, I wouldn't be able to."


Because I would feel like I am plagiarizing Mr. Brooks. Everything he has said in his book so far is exactly what I would say and how I feel. For those of you who have read this book, you sort of know what I mean. For those of you who have not read it, I'll give you a couple of examples.

First, let me link back to this post I did the other day: here. It talks about the difference between an author and a writer. This is exactly how I feel about it all.

I also like how Terry Brooks talks about writers living in two worlds. Here I thought I just had some major ADD because I will space out conversations, especially while people are talking directly to me. I'll suddenly have a flash of insight and start thinking of my writing world.

'Writers live in two worlds. The real world and the one they're writing about.' How true is this statement for you, as a writer? Just like in his book on writing, I always find myself in situations where I observe and use either the situation or the people in my writing.

I used to love going to the mall and just 'people watch'. I've learned so much from examining human behavior in my life that I can pretty much pinpoint personality traits in the space of a heartbeat. And I capitalize on this in creating my characters. Character creation is so super simple for me because of this. I can usually watch people and tell when they're lying. I used to love watching the show, 'Lie To Me' because I saw what the character saw. Maybe not right away or as quickly, but I could spot it. I also know the types of people I will be able to get along with in the long run and who I need to avoid.

I'm sure I'll be posting more as I continue to read this book. It is one of the best books by a fantasy author I've found. I know how he feels, I know of what he speaks! I feel the same way.

Do you feel like you live in two different worlds? What book on writing do you feel you have connected to the author? Have a great rest of the week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Did You Learn...

I sound like Stewie from 'Family Guy' when he's at the baseball game. He catches the fly ball and some kid wants to trade his bat for the ball. Stewie takes the bat, smacks the kid over the head and keeps both the ball and bat, then asks, "What did you learn?"

In this case though, I'm talking about writing. I've been looking back over some old stuff I've written and have winced, cringed and thought, "Oh good lord... what was I thinking?". It makes you think about what you've learned from your craft.

What have I learned? Well, I used to have an issue with changing tense in the middle of a sentence. Have I corrected that? Sometimes I think I have, but once in awhile, I catch myself. That is something I really don't look for. I try to keep a weather eye on my writing, but some things still slip past me.

I've also learned not to use 'was', 'that' or 'then' so much. Same for 'and'. I think I have worked harder at constructing stronger sentences and being more succinct rather than long-winded. Bet you wish I could say the same for my blog posts, huh?

I've learned I am a Writer. I have started reading 'Sometimes the Magic Works' by Terry Brooks. His book on writing. In the introduction, Elizabeth George defines the difference between an 'Author' and a 'Writer'. An Author seeks only to get published and get advances for their work while Writers write and seek to better their work with every book.

Do I agree with that? Perhaps. I agree that I am more along the lines of a Writer because I do try to better my craft with each sentence I write. I honestly don't care if I make money writing. I mean, yeah, I'll take the cash! But that isn't the point of getting my stories out there. I want them to be shared and loved by others as much as I love writing them. I don't think all Authors are seeking a paycheck. I do think there are some One Book Wonders out there, people who have no clue about writing but got something published anyway. Would they be able to do it again? Doubtful. I don't think they know how to work at writing.

I have learned a lot in the last couple of years. Blogging has helped, reading all your blogs has REALLY helped and of course, so have books like Terry's.

So, what have you learned? Would you define yourself as a Writer or Author according to Elizabeth George? Are you a better writer than you were?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Book Review: Build A Man by Talli Roland & Interview...

Hey everyone! I'm excited, because today I am going to review a book by an author I've been really looking forward to reading. Yep, that's right. Talli Roland!

A couple of weeks ago, I bought Build A Man on Amazon.com and after reading it, I purchased the next in the series, Construct A Couple. I can't wait to get started on that one, but I have others to get to first, sadly.

So without further ado, here is a very brief interview with Talli, followed by the review of Build A Man:

Me: This first one is a three part question: I understand this is your third book, correct? How many do you have published, total? How many more are in the works?

Talli: ‘Build A Man’ was my third book, and I’ve recently published its sequel, ‘Construct A Couple’. Next in line is ‘The Pollyanna Plan’ (Autumn 2012) and then ‘Marriage to Measure’ (2013), another in the ‘Build A Man’ series. (I can't wait for the next in the Build A Man series!)

Me: What sort of experience do you have in the plastic surgery world? Did you have to do much research?
Talli: Actually, most of my research was on the job! I worked as a receptionist for two years at a five-star spa that provided Botox and fillers, among other things. A lot of the anecdotes in ‘Build A Man’, while slightly exaggerated, are based on reality. Unfortunately! (That's kinda scary, but funny.)

Me: I know you are married and expecting. (Congratulations!) Is your husband your ideal man? Is there anything you would change about him?
Talli: Thank you. We’re pretty excited! You know, I think he is my ideal man. He doesn’t let me get away with anything, which – while frustrating at the time – is good in the long run. What would I change? I hate when he cracks his toes! *shudder* I’m also not a fan of the snoring. (I'm not a huge fan of snoring from my man either. But, he's ideal for me as well.)

Me: What inspires you to write? Do you have to have complete silence or some noise?
Talli: I’m very much of the mindset that if you wait for inspiration to strike, it’ll take ages to finish anything! For me, the most important thing is sitting down in the chair and getting out the words, regardless of the elusive inspiration. I write in silence, but I love the street noise that seeps in from outside: the roaring double-deckers, whizzing motorbikes, and shrieking police cars are my backdrop. (I'd love to have your soundtrack of background noise! And great mindset. Sometimes, I have to wait for inspiration or I wouldn't get anything written, lol!)

Me: And the last one is always for fun: What is your favorite meal?
Talli: I’m very into beige food right now, and eagerly awaiting the day I can return to coloured food. Right now, I eat a lot of rice and pasta. Boring, right? Sigh! (Nah, not boring, it's good and good for you!)
Me: Concerning the "recipe for perfect English tea", is that how it is really done? Is that your perfect recipe?
Talli: This is an ongoing debate in Britain! Everyone seems to have their own tried and true method of creating the perfect cup of tea. Dare I admit I’m not a fan? I’ve never been able to get into tea, despite many attempts. I’m a coffee girl at heart. (Hmm... I don't think I can keep this under wraps, girl. You're on your own! But, I have to agree. I am a coffee girl as well. Tea is rare, like when it's cold and I'm having a bad day. Otherwise, I prefer iced tea.)
Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories--complete with happy endings. Talli's debut novel The Hating Game was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK's Festival of Romance, while her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite. Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States. Construct A Couple is her latest release. To learn more about Talli, go to www.talliroland.com or follow Talli on Twitter: @talliroland. Talli blogs at talliroland.blogspot.com.
Thanks so much Talli! I can't wait to get into the next couple books in the series. I'm also going to be getting the other books as well because I love your style! Now on to the review of 'Build A Man'!

Title: Build A Man

Author: Talli Roland

Publisher: Notting Hill Press

Pages: 308 (Print), File size: 417 kb

Page Number Source ISBN: 1475081960 ASIN: B00642BCX2

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Amazon UK

Summary from Amazon.com:

Slave to the rich and the rude, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. When she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- Serenity knows she's got a story no editor could resist. With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy's progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success. But when Jeremy's surgery goes drastically wrong and she's ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, Serenity must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.

My thoughts:

I've been a follower of Talli's blog for awhile now. I love her wit and sunny personality and just knew her writing would have these same qualities. I was absolutely correct in assuming this! It took me awhile to get one of her books, but once I did, I read it quickly.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of romance or Chick Lit, for that matter, but this book held onto qualities I DO like of those genres. It focuses more on the characters and the relationships than the gushy, mushy feelings and gratuitous sex every other page. (Sorry, that is my opinion, can't help it...)

I love Serenity Holland. She's cute, she's quirky and she seems like a fish out of water there in the UK. Her current boyfriend, who also happens to be her boss, seems like a decent guy until Serenity is faced with a man she could really be comfortable with rather than instructed on how to dress and behave. Peter, Serenity's boss/boyfriend, is a well developed character and seems like wallpaper. He sort of hangs around. So when Jeremy walks into the clinic Peter owns and where Serenity is employed, you just have a feeling he's going to be a breath of fresh air in that sterile environment. Serenity's pals, Kirsty and Tim are wonderful, even if they do have their own issues. They all stick together and work very well together.

I am looking forward to reading more of Talli's work, simply because she's got a great writing style. She has a great flow with the story, she has well thought out characters and it's light and fun. There are serious moments, too and Talli can certainly tug at the heart strings, then make you chuckle soon after. I had several "Awww!" moments! Very sweet, charming story!

This book is a must read! I give it 5 out of 5 skull and crossbones!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

An Award...

Hey everyone! I got an award the other day and figured I needed something to cheer me up. So I am going to post as instructed. Lots of you have this award, I know. And it is going to take some serious time for me to find a couple who don't have this award, so for now, I'll share with everyone. Except Nicholas Milano... he doesn't have the award so he's going to get it whether he likes it or not! Ha! Happy July 7th, bro. Heehee!

Okay so here we go:

Here are the rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. List the rules.
3. List seven random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate ten people for the award. And notify them that you've given them an award.
Thank you, Kendra over at Flame Writer! I'm now following her, as she's new to the blogging world. So hop on over there! Follow and support!
Seven random facts about me... hmm...
1. Okay, well I did give this piece of advice to another fellow author/blogger. They were wanting to get back to the flow of their own story after helping someone else. So I suggested this: Talk to your characters out loud. I do this, believe it or not. Hey, you all know I'm weird, so this shouldn't be so shocking! But I do, I speak to them as if they're in the room with me when I am trying to reconnect to them to write. I speak the dialogue out loud to make sure it sounds okay, so why not talk to my characters?
2. My favorite color is royal blue, but it isn't my only favorite. My other two are black and red. I went through a whole black and red phase in school. I even had a red bandana until some member from the Bloods told me to never wear it again. Yes, I went to school with Bloods and Crips and had a best friend who was connected to the Mexican Mafia... Ha! Let's see how long I'm around now.
3. You all know how much I love the medieval recreation group I belong to. I own several swords. And dragon skulls hang on my walls. I'd decorate my bedroom like the main cabin of a pirate ship if I could!
4. Okay, here is something you all don't know. As I sit here wracking my brain trying to find fun facts that won't get me killed... like fact #2... ha ha!  I don't like Pink Floyd. Wow, I think I heard dozens of simultaneous clicks as you all unfollow me. I'm not much of a fan and my whole family gives me crap about it. Lol!
5. I met Stephen Baldwin once, while he was working on the 'Young Riders' series in Tucson. I was working at a Pizza Hut when he dropped in with his girl of the week on his arm. All the other waitresses were stunned into silence except me, because I didn't know who he was. So I asked what he wanted. He wanted the pizza in like 10 minutes, which we couldn't do, so I had to tell him sorry. I think he kind of liked not being fawned all over for a few minutes at the very least.
6. I used to volunteer for a Historical Fantasy park  in Tucson called Valley of the Moon. I miss that place. I'll have to get you  guys the link to the website. If you are ever in Tucson, Arizona, you MUST visit!
7. I'm hooked on the TV series, 'Pretty Little Liars'. I just finished watching season 2 on Netflix and am trying to catch up on season 3. I'll write more about that later, cause now I want to read the books!
Okay, so there you have it. Thanks again, Kendra! Hope you gain some more followers. She's also part of Alex's Insecure Writer's Support Group. Have a great rest of the weekend!

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm Blank Because...

This one will be a fun post. Again, I'm still on those topics from Little Miss Momma. I'm sure I will come up with dozens of other topics over the course of the next couple weeks, but for now this is working for me and scheduling purposes. I'm even going to use her Blank topics.

So here goes.

I'm Weird Because...
when I can't sleep, I'll sleep with my head at the foot of the bed.
I like drinking buttermilk and it grosses my family  out.
I like to eat saltine crackers with mustard on them for a snack.
I still act like I'm a teenager.
I talk to my cats like they're humans and sing silly songs to them.

I'm a Bad Friend Because...
I forget birthdays.
I don't write or call as often as I should.

I'm a Good Friend Because...
I'm always there when you need someone to listen.
I'll never talk about you behind your back.
I'd be in the jail cell with you after the bar fight.
I'll always be honest and tell you what is on my mind.

I'm Happy Because...
I've finally found someone I want to share the rest of my life with.
he loves me as much as I love him.
we still act like newlyweds after ten years.
I have two beautiful children.
my kids turned about better than me in some aspects.
bills are finally getting paid.

I'm Sad Because...
I don't get to see my mom every day.
I don't get to see my daughter every day.
I miss my family.
I wish I could be closer with my sister.
bills are stressing me out.

I'm Excited For...
my book to be published.
future plans with my husband.
my kids preparing to live on their own (but that is kinda sad as well!)

Feel free to share in the comments your own Blanks!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group...

I know it was yesterday. I had planned on posting the day before and failed epically. Then thought, "Oh, I'll post it up in time..."


I got sick and spent the day sitting on the couch blowing my nose, drinking tea and orange juice and water. I feel slightly better, but very drained.

Anyway, what I wanted to post for my insecurities sort of ties into not posting on time.

Down time.

Everyone will have something come up and interfere with their blogging world. Something will always come up and prevent getting that post up in time. Or, like me, having no time for months on end.

I'm sure I've had angst about this before. Worried about gaining new followers only to have them leave because I can't put up content. I hate when all I can do is put up a post saying, "I'm still here! I'll be back, I promise!" Or lamenting about everything going on in my life, rather than what I'm working on.

Down time is going to happen, no matter what. Now that I have some time these days, I'm looking for content. I'm sort of in limbo as far as my first book release goes. I've got a tentative schedule ready for reviewers and the like for the launch/tour. I've been working on character drawings. I got one done! I'll share later.

So I want to say thanks for everyone who has stuck with me during my down times. I hope to keep posting content, no matter what it is. I'll do my best to make it entertaining.

And check back on Monday! I have a Review/Interview with Talli Roland and her book, 'Build A Man'!

So how do you deal with downtime?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Things You Should Know If We're BFF's...

So this week I am working on some blog posts to kick start my brain for topics. I am making more time to do blogs, now I just need content.

I hijacked a list from Little Miss Momma's blog while Googling for ideas and prompts. And, giving credit where it is due, I'm sharing a link to her page that gave me these great ideas.

One of the topics/prompts is "Things You Need Should Know About Me If We're Going To Be BFF's".

I'm a geek, you all know that. I have a cat named Osiris and one named Gir (from the cartoon Invader Zim). I even named a cat Osmirik, after the librarian in a series of books I read, which elude me at the moment. I'll have to figure that out...

The one personality trait I have the people love and hate is my honesty. I learned a long time ago that I didn't like lying. I didn't like how it made me feel, I didn't like telling people what they wanted to hear because it caused too much trouble and drama. I. Can't. Stand. Drama. It ticks me off to no end. I get a lot of it at work lately and I want to strangle the source. Gah! I don't even want to go there. But I will tell you what I think honestly. I have learned to be sort of tactful. I may tell you exactly what is on my mind, but if I think it will hurt too much, I just won't say it at all. My husband loves that quality, so do most of my friends. My good, close friends. But most people who I hardly know, absolutely hate that about me. All I can say is, sorry. I don't sugarcoat anything for any reason.

I like to drive fast. I do! I love it. I've gotten two speeding tickets... no... one ticket, one warning. So I have learned to slow down and be a good little driver, but if I ever get the opportunity to speed, I'm gonna! I want to go to race car driving school. Ooh.. I should have added that to my Bucket List post.

I'm a homebody. I like to hang out with my friends, but because of issues with stress and anxiety and other horrible factors of my past, I feel more comfortable at home. I don't like to go out unless I absolutely have to or can't stand sitting at home.

I'm horrible at keeping in touch with people. I am the worst aunt/sister/daughter/niece/insert-title-here. I don't quite understand it. I have the best of intentions to send cards, gifts and what not and end up just flaking it off. I completely space it out and forget! However, if I see my family and friends online, I'm all about chatting it up, commenting on their Face Book page or whatever. Even before the internet, I was a horrible letter writer. I mean, really. Pick up the phone to call! Not. I don't even do that, except with my mom. And when I do remember to call someone? Time zones throw me for a loop. It's like I have a disease or something. I'm horrible about keeping contact.

Well, that's enough for now. I have to save some for mystery purposes. Right? Absolutely! This may be a post topic I come back to often. Care to share your quirks?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Top Ten On My Bucket List...

I don't know about you guys, but now that I find myself with time to blog, I can't seem to come up with topics. So here I sit, Googling stuff.

Sounds kinda kinky, but hey, we all do it.

Ahem. Anywhoo... I came across a blog post by Little Miss Momma. In which she gives 10 topic and writing prompts for blogs. The first thing she says, is be inspired what other bloggers have written. Don't plagiarize, just be inspired and give credit where it is due. Hence the link to her blog as well.

I did that last week when I was discussing the blurred genre lines of late. I don't mind revisiting that topic either. I think the discussion was excellent and would love to hear more from people. You can find that post here. I'll keep talking about it over there! Or maybe I will post again later in the week.

In the meantime, I'm going to work on some posts for this week using some of the topics from LMM.

One of the ideas was a Life List. I'm going to narrow it down to my Top Ten on my Bucket List. How's that?

Here we go!

10. Travel around North America, just to be a tourist and say, "I've been there!".

9. Become a tattoo artist.

8. Build/Own my own home. (I'm soooo tired of renting!!!!)

7. Pay off my student loan! I'm not kidding, that's a bill I don't want hanging over my head or my family's should something happen to me.

6. Publish a dozen or more books. Good books. I don't want to crank them out and have them be sloppy just to make this goal. I want to work hard, improve my craft and publish!

5. This goes along with number 6... I would love, LOVE to see my book world become aa game like World of Warcraft. How freakin' awesome would that be? I don't care if my books ever get made into movies, I want it made  into a MMORPG!! Yes, my geek is showing.

4. Visit Scotland. Being half Scottish, I want to visit. I also want to see if I can research my heritage on this side of my family more. But, time is something I don't have lots of.

3. Visit Holland. My other half is Dutch. I have a copy of this side of the family tree dating all the way back to the 1600's  in the Netherlands.

2. Aside from 3 and 4, I want to see lots of other places, so I will just say travel for this one. See as many places as I can before I kick the bucket.

1. Hmm... there is so much I want to do... but something I have yet to do is... go to Disneyland! That is one place I have to go at least once, right?

Got any cool items on your bucket list?