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Monday, April 30

The Littles: An SSCD Crime Thriller

The mountains of rural Georgia will never be the same after a series of viscous murders rock the area to its core. Not only does the killer target children, his gruesome murders are designed to inflict the ultimate agony upon their parents and to instill extreme terror within the small communities.

An SSCD team, part of the FBI’s Special Serial Crimes Division, accepts the case and the conditional Governor’s liaison, a prosecutor with more baggage than anyone realizes. Travel with them over the hills of the mystical Blue Ridge Mountains as they hunt the psychopath stalking the innocent. Can they capture him before he strikes again? Will he turn the tables and ensnare one of their own in his devious trap?

This psychological thriller delves into the mind of a deranged serial killer as it follows the twists and turns of an SSCD manhunt. Action packed and filled with suspense, The Littles takes readers on a thrill ride they will not soon forget.

Sunday, April 29

Book Blurb - Circle Spinner and Other Tales by Elizabeth Baxter

Circle Spinner and Other Tales by Elizabeth Baxter

Five fantasy and science fiction stories that will sweep you to other worlds.



Circle Spinner
Edith longs for a quiet retirement. She longs for her cottage by the sea and the company of her dogs. But the world, it seems, hasn’t done with her yet. For Edith is a Circle Spinner, the only one who can save the city of Shine from the terrifying Pantheon.  6000 words

The Following Star
Angus walks the corridors of a starship with only his dog for company. He guards a precious cargo: a population of colonists searching for a new home. But when a sudden course change threatens the ship, Angus discovers that all is not as it seems. 6000 words

One of those Days
Simon is a high-flyer. Good job. Nice apartment. It’s not his fault if his company is involved in shady dealings with the fairy realm is it? No, if he keeps his head down and mouth shut, Simon is sure everything will be okay. But the Prince of Fae and his motley band of followers have other ideas. They have Simon in mind for a very special mission.  7000 words

Saturday, April 28

DVD Review - Heathcliff: King of the Beasts


 Last month I entered a DVD giveaway on a blog just for a chance to win the Heathcliff: King of the Beasts. Luckily, I won the contest and I have been spending my free time watching new and old cartoons. Even though I was only a three-year-old when Heathcliff originally aired back in 1984, I vaguely remember the show, but for some odd reason I do remember the catch theme song.

Heathcliff is based on the comic strip by the late George Gately. Prior to the 1984, Heathcliff appeared in the 1980 series Heathcliff and the Dingbats, which last two years and 25 episodes. When Heathcliff returned to TV in 1984, it followed a similar format with each episode having two 11 segments, followed by a short ending segment with Heathcliff giving good pet advise to kids. The old Dingbats segment was replaced with The Catillac Cats, which was created by Jean Chalopin, Bruno Bianchi.

ARC Review - Star Wars: Invasion Volume 3 - Revelations



TITLE: Star Wars: Invasion Volume 3- Revelations
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE DATE: April 25, 2012
ISBN: 9781595828828 
AUTHOR: Tom Taylor
CONTRIBUTORS: Chris Scalf; Colin Wilson; and Wes Dzioba 



In this third volume, featuring issues 1-5 of the Star Wars: Invasion graphic novel series, continues the story of the Galfridian family from the peaceful world of Artorias as they battle a race of deadly warriors that call themselves the Yuuzhan Vong, whom are taking over the galaxy. Finn Galfridian, a Jedi in training, along with his Master Dray, discover a terrible secret about the leaders of the New Republic. Meanwhile, Finn’s mother (Nina) and sister (Kaye) struggle to help refuges from their home planet, but they must defend themselves from the Yuuzhan Vog and the Empire.

With all this craziness going on, Kaye learns the shocking truth of what her adopted mother really is. The New Republic has made many alliances with other planets and brings an armada against the Yuuzhan Vog and the Empire, which leads to an epic space battle.

Friday, April 27

Guest Post with author Holly Bush

. . . And the walls came a tumbling down

I’m headed into a new phase of my life. I’m transitioning from unpublished author begging agents to read a few chapters to hot, middle aged mama (hot is an overstatement of my general aura), boldly self publishing my novels for all the world to see.

I have spent the last ten years working the agent/publisher gig; writing, querying,  attending conferences, reworking my synopsis, posting & reading at publisher and industry sites and generally immersing myself in an industry that equally prizes innovation, cherishes imitation (read sequels), is entirely subjective and seems unable to  understand that their world is on the cusp of a change so large that they’d best soon schedule a meeting to address that change or someone may escort them out of their office when the rent goes unpaid.

Truthfully, I’m a little pissed off. It’s like a spent a boatload of time cataloging 8 tracks to find out the players are no longer made. I’ve been following this business for a quite some time, I knew change was coming. I remember when I found out about the first ereader and thought to myself, change is coming. But who knew when? And who could have predicted the depth and breadth and speed with which a centuries old industry was turned on its head.

Thursday, April 26

The Friday 56 - Roan by Jennifer Blake

Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Tintin, Dracula, More Books to Read, and Follow Friday



It has been a slow, boring week for me, as I am just now recovering from a cold sore. I haven't written any fiction lately, but I hope to find a few minutes to write (besides from writing reviews and blog posts) this weekend. I have tons of books to review, so I have made myself a reading schedule for the next month.

 I picked up three books from the Walmart for $2.95 each. They are Night School by Mari Mancusi; He Is Legend edited by Christopher Conlon; and Sugar and Spice by Lauren Conrad.

Books in the mail this week were: Beyond Hope's Valley by Tricia Goyer; A Sister's Forgiveness by Anna Schmidt; The Messenger by Siri Mitchell; Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan; and How to Apologize to Your Woman by Karen Field Bolek.

I bought 4 Film Favorites: Draculas (featuring: Horror of Dracula; Dracula Has Risen From the Grave; Taste the Blood of Dracula; and Dracula A.D. 1972) a few days ago, but I haven't had time to watch any of them. Last weekend, I watched The Adventures of Tintin, which was surprisingly entertaining. I'll post a more depth review on it next month.

Guest Post with author Grant Palmquist & Giveaway


A while back, I wrote a book called A Song After Dark. I remember thinking it was crap when I finished it, and I was afraid to show it to anyone. Truthfully, I’m very harsh on my writing, and most of the time I think it’s terrible. It takes someone whose opinion I trust to look at my writing and tell me that it’s pretty good.

That wasn’t my first novel, more like my eighth. But the situation hasn’t changed. It rides ever onward, morphing and reappearing with each book and story. I’ve learned, after almost a decade, to have fun with it, to love that part of writing—journeying into the unknown, into your own subconscious. It’s scary at times, but it’s always rewarding.

Luckily, I have my girlfriend, whose opinion I trust and who encourages me endlessly. I know now that looking at one’s own writing and being unsure of whether it’s good or not is just part of the game. The same goes for those times during writing a novel when you wonder whether you’ve taken the right path or not, when ask yourself where the hell all this nonsense is going, when you doubt whether you’ll ever finish the thing at all. It’s all a natural part of the process. Learn to love it, to let the third eye do what it will. Then, when the story has finally laid itself upon the page, clean up the mess and turn that coal into a diamond.

Wednesday, April 25

Guest Post with author Brian Beam

Letting Your Story Flow

by Brian Beam


Like many writers, I have had my share of discarded manuscripts, some only paragraphs, others dozens of pages. So many hours, so many ideas, all thrown away.

At the height of my frustration at not being able to finish a complete fantasy novel, I knew I had to try something else. I wanted to identify that special “something” which would allow me to fulfill my dream of finishing my first novel. Through articles about writing, interviews with my favorite authors, and instructional books, I found that a common theme was outlining your story. 

So, I started outlining. However, instead of discarding my manuscripts, I found that I couldn’t even start one to discard. It made no sense to me. The story was right there on the page. All I had to do was expand it into narrative. It should have been easy. For me, though, easy as it may have been, the inspiration to write those stories evaporated.

After taking a step back, I realized that I felt too constrained with my outlines. I had written out the flow of the stories, but then I felt stuck to that flow. Getting new ideas meant going back through my outline to figure out exactly how that new idea would affect the rest of the rest of the plot points. It felt tedious. I kind of gave up.

After a few years of minimal writing, I got a general idea for a series of short stories. It was the first idea I had been excited about in so long that I just had to put it to paper. I forewent the outlining, just wanting to enjoy the feeling of writing again. I was only a couple pages in when I realized that my first idea was not going to work as a short story. My new plan was to expand my story into a trilogy of novellas.

Review - Pirate Therapy and Other Cures

 
Pirate Therapy and Other Cures
BY: Mark A. Rayner
PUBLISHED BY: Monkeyjoy Press
PUBLISHED IN: 2012
ISBN: 9780986662782
Pages: 158


  
    When I saw the book request from author Mark Rayner for his book Pirate Therapy and Other Cures, I had to laugh and at the same time I wondered what Pirate Therapy was. Mark Rayner has a website/blog skwib.com where he publishes flash fiction, in which some of those stories have made it into this book. I don’t read very many humor books, so I was skeptical about reading Pirate Therapy and Other Cures.

    The author has collected some of his best flashes for this edition, which are hilarious tales that will put a smile on your face. You’ll learn what happens when a worldwide virus turns it’s victims into clowns; learn about the strange mythology of unicorns; learn about what high fiber foods you should be eating (if you are a cyborg); find out how Batman really feels about his Justice League of America team; learn the history of Groundhog Day; and learn ten great facts about Canada.

Tuesday, April 24

DVD Review - Gilmore Girls - The Complete First Season




While flipping through channels a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Gilmore Girls. I recall when the series was first aired in 2000 and for some reason I never got around to watching an episode. What caught my eye was that Lauren Graham was constantly carrying around a cup of coffee, which so do I. After twenty minutes of viewing and listening to the snappy dialogue, I was now a fan. A few days later I went to a Target store in the city and found seasons one and two bundled together for twenty dollars.

Gilmore Girls is set in the small, wacky town of Stars Hollows, where single mother Lorelai (played by Lauren Graham), manager of the Independence Inn, is raising her sixteen-year-old daughter Rory (played Alexis Bledel). When her daughter is accepted into the Chilton Preparatory School, Lorelai asks her rich estranged parents for financial help due to the school’s expensive tuition. Of course things are not so simple as her parents want them to have Friday night dinners with them and be an active involvement in their lives.

Monday, April 23

ARC Review - Star Wars: Knight Errant Volume 2--Deluge

 
TITLE: Star Wars: Knight Errant Volume 2--Deluge 
AUTHOR: John Jackson Miller
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics 

PUBLISHED DATE: June 5, 2012
ISBN: 9781595826381
ARTIST CONTRIBUTORS: David Daza, Iban Coello, Ivan Rodriguez, Joe Quinones, Michael Atiyeh, and Sergio Abad




Set in the beginning of the Old Republic, a 1,000 years before the birth of Luke Skywalker, this epic tale centers around a young female Jedi Knight named Kerra Holt, who is attempting to fight against the evil Sith Lords. The Sith Lords are trying to control large portions of the galaxy while continuing a war with the Republic. In the five issue series titled Deluge, Kerra Holt returns to the ocean world of Aquilaris, the planet she once called home, which is currently under control by the Sith Lord Daiman.

As soon as Kerra arrives she jumps into a battle against the Sith Lord’s army and she allies with other Republics. Her people have been enslaved and she’ll do anything to save them. Soon, she realizes that there is another enemy - a Hutt. Now determined more than ever, Kerra must go against all odds to stop them from flooding her home planet.

Sunday, April 22

Review - The Thirteen




The Thirteen
BY: Susie Moloney
PUBLISHED BY: William Morrow
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-211766-3
Pages: 330


    After being fired from her waitress job at a strip club, Paula Wittmore is notified that her mother has taken ill. She packs up her bags along with her teenage daughter, Rowan, and returns to her home town, a suburban called Haven Woods. Everything may look normal there, but Haven Woods has dark secrets at every corner, including several strange deaths and apparent suicides.

    Returning home is putting Paula on an emotional rollercoaster as she reunites with some of her childhood friends, not to mention her mother’s strange frenemies - twelve women bound by terrible secrets that requires a thirteen to be sacrificed.

Saturday, April 21

Great Finds Issue #107


Here are my current book finds from my local thrift store.


Paperbacks:

Peter and the Starcatchers
 by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Deep and Dark and Dangerous
by Mary Downing Hahan

Terror Academy: Sixteen Candles
by Nicholas Pine

Fear Street: Super Chiller: High Tide
by R.L. Stine

Review - How to Start and Make a Conversation


How to Start and Make a Conversation: How to Talk to Anyone in 30 Seconds of Less
BY: Christ Gottchalk
FORWARD BY: Deanna Anderson, M.ED, CCC/SLP Speech Language Pathologist
PUBLISHED BY: Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60138-383-9

Pages: 288

 Before there was Facebook and Twitter, there was a thing called talking - actual face to face communication. In the book How to Start and Make a Conversation you'll learn how to talk to anyone in thirty seconds or less. You may think this is easy and just text somebody, but in the competitive business world, or just life in general, good communication skills are required.

The book's target readers will be mostly shy men and women who have a hard time getting up the nerve to talk to someone, but it can easily be used by students, teachers, business owners, etc. The author quickly takes you through the basic reasons of why conversation is important in our society. There are many reasons why someone can struggle with communications, like social anxiety, fear of rejection, self-esteem, etc. Throughout the book you'll learn about how important body language is; speaking to a stranger in thirty seconds or less; how to make small talk; how to leave a conversation; communicating at work; making friends; the romantic art of conversation; and learning how to communicate in the social media world.

Friday, April 20

The Friday 56 - Wish You Were Here




"For the first time in a long time, I don't know what my future is,
Meggie." Allison rested her head on Meghan's shoulder.

"If you can stop controlling your life, maybe God will finally have
a chance to get a word in edgewise and be able to tell you want he
wants for your life."


page 56, Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt

Thursday, April 19

Geeky Cartoon Shirts, Gilmore Girls, Ghost Protocol, More Books, and Follow Friday


I am officially a cartoon geek as I bought three shirts last week, which were Thundercats (On clearance for $2.), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($3), and a Grumpy shirt (paid full price at $8). I also bought Dungeons & Dragons: The Animated Series: Beginnings for $2.50, The Last Unicorn for $5, and Silver Hawks Volume One for $15, which are a few more examples of me being a cartoon geek. I just happened to go to the city over the weekend, which is rare for me. At Target I found a pair of Homer Simpson sleep pants for under six dollars. While I was there I bought Gilmore Girls Seasons 1 & 2 for only twenty dollars. I have no idea why I like this show. I never watched it while it was originally on, but I stumbled upon it early one morning and liked it. I also went to a much bigger Walmart, where I bought Elixir by Hilary Duff for $5.97. I didn't even know that she had written a book. Has anyone else read it or even heard of it?

DVD Review - Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors Volume 1

Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors Volume 1 is another DVD that I won in a recent giveaway. I didn't recognize the name or the cover art. It wasn't until I played the first episode that I finally, more like vaguely, remembered the show, as I was a four-year-old when it aired on television. Actually, I don't recall much about the show, but I do the toys, which were released by Mattel before the show was created. Mattel needed a way to explain the strange looking silver vehicles and the even stranger looking organic/machine vehicles, thus Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors was created. Talented writes such as Larry DiTillio, Barbara Hambly and J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, wrote most the episodes.

Here is the series main plot: Audric, a botanist, was experimenting with biotechnology, and developed a crop that could grow in any environment.  A burst of radiation from a solar flare mutated one of his crops, transforming it an evil creature called Saw Boss. The other plants transformed as well and were called the Monster Minds. Audric created a magic root to destroy Saw Boss, but time was not on his side as his laboratory is being attacked. He splits the magical root in half and gives the other half of it to his faithful servant, Oon. He commands Oon to take the root to his son, Jayce, and serve under his command.

Oon (a magically animated suit of armor servant) finds Jacye along with Gillian (a wizard/scientist), and Flora, who was created from a flower by Audric. With the help of a Han Solo ripoff character, Herc Stormsailor - a pilot and  mercenary, they become known as the Lightning League. They use their ground vehicles to battle the Monster Minds vehicles, that are grown from vines. The Lightning League travels to planet to planet by the Pride of the Skies II, Herc's space barge, as Jayce searches for his missing father.

Wednesday, April 18

DVD Review - Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century ...on the Case

I recently won a bundle of DVDs from a blog giveaway. One of those DVDs was Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century ...on the Case, featuring the first 10 episodes from the short lived 1999-2001 series. Honestly, I have never heard of the cartoon series before. The nifty cover art caught my attention, so I decided to give the series a try. I suppose this series was released to tie in with the recent Sherlock Holmes film franchise.

The episodes in this release are:

  1. The Fall and Rise of  Sherlock Holmes
  2. The Crime Machine
  3. The Hounds of Baskervilles
  4. The Resident Patient
  5. The Scales of Justice
  6. The Five Orange Pips
  7. The Adventures of the Beryl Board
  8. The Adventures of the Empty House
  9. The Secret Safe
  10. The Adventure of the Mazarin Chip 

Tuesday, April 17

Review - Princess Alessa and The Frog War


 
Princess Alessa and The Frog War
BY: A. L. Albion
PUBLISHED BY: CreateSpace
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1468004618
Pages: 462


 With an original title, Princess Alessa, the Frog War, and a cool cover to go along with it, I was very eager to jump into this young adult fantasy. I was looking for a quick read in between reviews, and, well, I was shocked to find out the book was over four hundred pages. There is nothing wrong with a four hundred plus length. Some of the best books for children and young adults are way over it.

 We, the readers, journey into a land called Gracbog, where the Princess Alessa has a strange encounter with a talking frog, Erwin, from a gypsy circus, warning her that the High Priest was plotting to kill her father the king. Of course, this is to throw the kingdom off as the frogs, yes I said frogs, starts a war with everyone.


Monday, April 16

Review - The Taker




The Taker
BY: Alma Katsu
PUBLISHED BY: Gallery
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4391-9706-6
Pages: 456



After midnight, Dr. Luke Findley of St. Andrew, Maine gets an unusual patient, murder suspect Lanore MeIlvare. A young man’s body had been found in the nearby woods along with “Lanny”. As Luke attends to this young woman, who the police said looks “pale”, which is probably due to the cold Maine temperatures, Lanny begins to tell the doctor an unbelievable tale. The man’s body that is now in the morgue is none other than the body of Jonathan St. Andrew, which cannot be true as no St. Andrew has been alive for a few hundred years.

    Pleading for Luke to help her escape, Lanny continues her story which starts in 1811 and talks about her admiration for the town founder’s son, Jonathan, despite her father’s and brother’s hatred for the St. Andrew family. You see St. Andrews were quite wealthy, while everyone else struggled to get by. Secretly, and despite being a few years younger, Lanny develops a friendship with Jonathan that later turns into a fling, one that results in her pregnancy. Lanny tries to hide her situation from her family. Jonathan becomes engaged to another very young girl, an arrangement made by his father. With nowhere else to turn, Lanny tells her parents of her pregnancy. Her father is furious and embarrassed. The decision is made that Lanny will be sent to Boston to live at a nunnery, in which the baby will be given up for adoption.

Sunday, April 15

Guest Post with author Nicole Borgenicht

Creating Interesting Characters

By Nicole Borgenicht, 
author: The Kids of Dandelion Township

There are many aspects to creating interesting characters. First of all, they have to seem true to life in some of their traits, and at the same time inhabit unique qualities so a reader will not always guess what each character will do or say. Secondly, three dimensional characters have spark and sizzle since they are deep in their feelings and thoughts as we all are in real life.

The creation of characters derives from an amalgamation of traits that we recognize as well as original ones from our imagination. When people describe the writing of characters as though ‘they write themselves’, this too occurs at times. Dialogue and/or action seems to jump into the story before we’ve had a chance to fully nurture it. Then comes the revisions and editorial process. None the less, between the muses and the unconscious, there is a whole active world inside our minds and in our spiritual existence, that is simply waiting to explode and dance on paper and in digital form! It is up to us, to release this energy when we feel it, and control portions of this in order to unleash characters that have deep inner conflicts as well as challenges they face externally.

Saturday, April 14

ARC Review - Lock & Key Volume 5: Clockworks



TITLE: Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
RELEASE DATE: July 24, 2012
ISBN:  9781613772270
WRITER:  Joe Hill
ARTIST: Gabriel Rodriguez




IDW Publishing and NetGalley have kindly let me review the upcoming Lock & Key Volume 5 graphic novel which consist of six issues. Only the first issue, Chapter One - The Locksmith's Son, was available for me to review, which is set in the year 1775 at Lovecraft, Massachusetts Bay. Sixteen year-old Ben Locke and his younger sister Miranda watch helplessly as their parents are hanged by the redcoats. Ben promises to settle his father's debts which leads them 120 feet below ground, where they meet Colonel Adam Crais and what is left of his minutemen. The Colonel and his army had dug up a strange door, and when it was opened, it unleashed bloody thirsty demons. Ben Locke is a son of a locksmith and he is determined to create a lock strong enough to hold the door shut forever.

Friday, April 13

Guest Post with author Peter Brandt



What an exciting topic and thank you for inviting me…I am addicted to both coffee and writing so I should fit right in.

To say that creating real characters is the most important thing in a story would be an understatement. Books are about people and we need them to be real, even if they are not. Your characters drive the story and in the end, are the people who will make readers love your book.

What do I mean by that? Sara Maple is the lead in my newest novel "Maple Express." She became a real person in my mind long before I put her on the page. I started by giving her a complete backstory. I wrote up a list of her family, her likes, and dislikes, where she lived, her grades in school and so on. I left nothing to chance. By the time I wrote her into my story, Sara had become a young girl that both appealed to me and repulsed me. She loves her friends but treats them terrible when she doesn't get her own way. She can be sweet when she wants to be but acts like a spoiled brat and is a bully at times. Yet, she shows her compassion by working at the Alzheimer clinic as a volunteer. In the end, she has a mother and father, a best friend, and a boy she has a crush on, just like every other girl. As well, Sara suffers with the same insecurities we all face in life.

In Alan Watts 90 Day Novel Alan discusses how important it is to sit down and write extensively about your character. Your character needs a full life. This is necessary to bring your character into the real world because readers are good at identifying a fake character.

"No one would do that," or "no one would act like that," is a sure sign something went wrong during your character development. I once wrote a semi-biographical novel about things that actually happened to me while I was growing up. A publisher reviewed my book and sent a nice letter to me explaining that the writing was fine but that no real character would do that. My wife and I had a great chuckle over that. I agree my younger years were a little bizarre but the things I wrote about did actually happen.