Friday, October 30, 2009

The Zombie Today Show

Yesterday was a little depressing as I shared about a couple of eerie, yet sad authors, so today I've set that aside to share some zombie fun. That's right. I'm introducing you to The Zombie Today Show, and this cutie named Dylan:

You can visit him and his partner Roger McKnight, who is also a zombie. I know you will chuckle, and perhaps you'll fall on the floor laughing like any idiot  intelligent person would when they are confronted with zombies reviewing books.  Visit Dylan and Roger here: for a good time. I'm still laughing:)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

The "Weird Tales" of Robert E. Howard & H.P. Lovecraft

In the spirit of Halloween I wanted to explore the world of horror beyond Edgar Allen Poe, who as most of you know wrote in the 1800's. His writings have been an inspiration to generations of horror writers and poets. What about later writers? Who makes you shiver with fear? For me it's H.P. Lovecraft (his picture is to the left), who I discovered in college, and about the same time Robert E. Howard, of Conan fame. I don't think we can look at one, without looking at the other. They were close friends, and died about a year apart. Actually, many people confuse some details of their lives. H.P. Lovecraft actually died of cancer after checking himself into a hospital in March of 1937. Robert E. Howard committed suicide in 1936, planning to die before his mother who was laying inside their home in her sick bed, unconsious. When it was clear she would not wake up, and would soon die, he shot himself outside their home. She died the day after her son, and a double funeral was held. He had left this message on his typewriter:

“All fled, all done

So lift me on the pyre.

The feast is over

And the lamps expire.”

I've noticed over the years that people tend to confuse the two deaths, claiming that Lovecraft committed suicide, rather than Howard. I think this is because of the two, Lovecraft seemed more "disturbed" to those reading bits from his biography.

After reading both authors' biographies I was struck by the loss of these two creative, brilliant minds under such tragic circumstances. Through letters these two men reached out to each other. For many years they corrisponded and challenged each other. Lovecraft had a huge influence over Howard's writing, and vice versa. They continue to influence writers today, but they would never know the impact their writing had on fellow writers.

You can read some of the stories both authors wrote at different periods of their lives at the links below. Lovecraft is known as a horror writer, but didn't start out as one until he began writing for Weird Tales. Robert E. Howard wrote some fiction that I would call horror, but it best known for his fantasy books and tales.  He is often called the Father of Sword and Sorcery, which is another blog entirely.

The Call of Cthulhu
by H. P. Lovecraft

by H.P. Lovecraft

Spear and Fang
By Robert E. Howard

In the Forest of Villefére
By Robert E. Howard

I hope you enjoy a little eery reading this week!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Vampire Haiku

I had mentioned that VampChix is having a cool scavenger hunt this week. Today is a guest blog by Ryan Mecum, author of Vampire Haiku and Zombie Haiku. Our challenge is write a vampire related haiku. I took up the challenge and composted the following:

Draws me in slowly
His natural charisma
Staying despite fear

Hold your applause. I haven't written haiku since high school. I may start doing so now that I'm on a roll. Perhaps, I'll write Werewolf Haiku next:)


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Goodies For Readers

It's Halloween week, and for fans of Paranormal fiction there are a lot of goodies out there for the taking.

The first one I found today and just finished reading. It's a cool little short story from Christina Dodd. This story takes place after the last Darkness Chosen book, Into the Flame. IF you haven't read all four books you'll want to save the short story until you do because it has spoilers. You can read it here:

Writerspace is hosting the 2009 Halloween Mash Chat. It's on Wednesday, October 28th from 8 pm to 11 pm Eastern Time in the Writerspace Readers Chat Room. You can register here: They have authors galore and prizes too!

Kim Harrison is throwing her Annual Halloween Costume Contest! Category winners received a signed cover flat of a Hollows book. Grand prize winner is pulled from the category winners, and will receive a signed ARC of BLACK MAGIC SANCTION. All the details on entering are here: Isn't that fun?

VampChix are having a Vamp Bash this week! It's a scavenger hunt with author interviews and prizes through Friday the 30th. Vamp fun for all:) It's here: (I'm multi-tasking and doing their hunt as I type this. *snicker*)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Musical Interlude: Lacuna Coil

I'm heading out to my inlaws for the weekend, books in hand, and a notebook to jot down any fiction ideas I have while there because I won't have internet. Yikes!

My little musical interlude today is from an Italian band called Lacuna Coil. This video has a paranormal feel. It's a little creepy, a little Goth...


Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Been a Good Day...

Today I received two awards today; which are the first ones I've received. Two in one day makes for a good day folks. The first one is the Blog With Bite Top Reviewer Award. I'm so pumped about this because the book review I wrote was my first one with them, the first one on this blog and it was for Covet by J.R. Ward, which I loved. I'm taking this as a sign that I should get in gear and start writing reviews for all the books I've read since Covet!

The second award was giving to me by Book Whisperer. You can visit her blog here: She gave me The Honest Scrap Award, which is for those bloggers who write from the heart. The rules: pass it along to seven bloggers and then list 10 honest things about yourself. Thank you SO much for giving me this award!

Let's do my list first because I'm a list person:

1. I'm turning 50 this summer, and a part of me really hates that I will be that old. I don't feel old, but 50 seems more traumatic for me than 30 or 40 did.

2. I would rather read than watch television.

3. I own boxed DVD sets of ALL seasons of: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly.

4. I buy wine based on how cool the bottle looks

5. I hate reality television. ALL reality TV, even American Idol. Sorry folks:(

6. I don't like talking on the phone or texting. I'd rather email.

7. I like space around me. A lot of space. We have ten acres, and most of it is straight back from my deck sliders. I used to feel closed in when we lived in the city. Here, just knowing I have ten acres of my own space makes me feel less stressed.

8. I love wearing my husband's t-shirts after they are all worn and comfortable. I'm wearing his black AC/DC tee right now.

9. I love books. Old books, new books... I have a 6 foot tall monster of a bookshelf of garden and herb books, plus another large book shelf of fiction that I'm currently reading or going to read. Then there are the plastic tubs in the basement with more books. Yes, I'm addicted.

10. When I was a new writer on my college internship I LOVED doing feature articles for the small town newspaper I worked at. Once I interviewed the president of the local La Leche League (back in 1981) and I quoted her as saying "You can't prop a breast!". This freaked out my family and they still make fun of me when it comes up. I thought it was funny, and still do:)

It's so hard for me to pick winners of awards, and I'm suppose to pick seven. Instead, I would be thrilled to offer it to any of my commenters who have blogs and haven't received this award yet. It would help me get to know you better, and you DO touch my heart just by leaving a comment for me.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Snicker For Today

I swear my humor becomes more warped each day:)

Monday, October 19, 2009

What I'm Reading This Week

This week I am finishing up my third read of Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward. I love this book more every time I read it. If you haven't read this series and like your paranormal romance on the edgy side with some sarcasm thrown in, you should pick up Dark Lover, the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

Two books I ordered from ebay were in my mailbox today. Crimson City by Liz Maverick and Stray by Rachel Vincent. I'll start Stray next after I finish Lover Awakened tonight.

I also joined Paperback Swap yesterday after finally hearing so many good things about it that I couldn't resist. Some books I won't part with, but I have a lot of paperbacks that just didn't make my "Keeper Shelves". I have the first two swaps packaged and ready to go to the post office tomorrow, plus I ordered two for myself. I put in for Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson, Guardian, Bk 1) by Keri Arthur and Fantasy Lover (Dark-Hunter, Bk 1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Since I started reading paranormal romance later than most readers, I have a lot of catching up to do on series like these.

I will try to post reviews this week of several books/series that I've read recently.

I'm hanging out at the Barnes and Noble website this week where J. R. Ward is the featured author. It's set up as a forum where fans can ask questions, and she answers them, or not, depending on what they are trying to squeeze out of her:) It's here: Barnes and Noble Center Stage from 10/19-10/23:


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Book Giveaways & Contests: Vamps Galore!

There are so many cool give-aways going on in October. Spend a little time going to these blogs and have some fun. Good Luck! (A new window will open for each one.)

If you haven't seen the button or heard about it yet, Bitten by Books is having a 31 Days of Dark Events and it's crazy! Each day they give away multiple prizes to a few bloggers, not just one. You can enter all or some of the daily contests on the blog. It's easy, it's fun and while there head on over to their author interviews. MORE prizes given away on some of those. It will make your head swim! Here is the main page with details:

Here are more contests going on around Blog Land:

The Story Siren: The Vampire's Assistant Prize Package. Ends 10/22/2009

The Book Smuggler: The Vampire's Assistant Prize Package. Also ends 10/23/2009.
Double your chances to win this cool package!

Anna's Book Blog: Box O' Books Give way. Ends 10/31/2009
Cool book lot of paranormal fun!

Plus, guess what other giveaway she has? Yep, another Vampire's Assistant package!

Fantasy Book Critic: Riyria Revelations book set Ends 10/232/2009
They also have a (go ahead and say it) Vampire's Assistant Giveaway!

Last one for today is the first giveaway for Blog With Bite! They are giving away 4 sets of VAMPIRES by Joules Taylor and WEREWOLVES by Jon Izzard. Ends 10/31/2009


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

World Building: Vampires 101

I'm sitting here roaming around ebay for books and eating soup at the same time. Usually as I multi-task the ideas start popping in my head. If I don't get them written down, they disappear into that foggy area known as my brain. I know I need to outline my world with every detail. I've seen how fans of an author's world expect details. As writer I want readers to keep me on my toes. This is the first of many posts where I will ask myself questions on a world building aspect. Feel free to discuss, tell me you love or hate what I've mentioned, or add more questions I can consider.

I know it feels like everyone and their Cousin Billy Ray has written about vampires, but I can't imagine writing a book without including them in one way or another. Here are the questions my mind is asking:

Can vampires read minds and/or control humans?
Do they have souls?
Are they all evil or are there degrees as with humans?
Do they regain youth or come to a stand still from when they are changed?
How are they changed over or are they born a vampire?
Can they conceive? With who?
Do they only drink blood? Human, animal, vampire?
Can humans drink from them?
Do they all have the same strengths? What are they?
Do they have the same weaknesses? What are they?
Are they all beautiful and flawless?
Is their population wide spread in my world or is it limited in numbers?
Does the general public know of their existence?
Are all vampires wealthy?
Are there male and female vampires?
Do they die in sunlight or what effect does it have?
What did they come from? Otherworldly, infection, genes, etc.
Are they all intelligent?
Do they sparkle? (Just kidding!)
Do they have a leader? Or a group/council that leads?

These questions have already led me to some good ideas. Do you have any questions to add to the list?


Friday, October 9, 2009

Book Review: Covet by J.R. Ward

This is my first review with Blogs With Bite, a group review blog, and it just so happens I read the book being reviewed last week after picking it up the day after it was released. J.R. Ward is an author I'm very familiar with, but for this review I'm going to go with the premise that you haven't read any of her other books.

Review Book: Covet: A Novel of the Fallen Angels
Author: J.R. Ward
Reading Level: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis: Redemption isn’t a word Jim Heron knows much about—his specialty, both personally and professionally, is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charged with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. His weapon: the power of love. His enemy: the darkest of evil. And failure is not an option. (copyright J.R. Ward)

The author grabbed me right from the first sentence of the prologue:

"Demon was such a nasty word. "

That one sentence had me wanting to read more, and the questions were already rushing into my brain: Are demons bad? Are they neutral? Will they be corporeal? Many books start off with a prologue that is necessary, but often more along educational or historical lines. I will find myself skimming to get to the guts of the book faster. J.R. Ward uses the prologue to educate, amuse and to lead us into the story with flair, so I soaked it up instead of skimming.

We meet our main character Jim Heron in the first chapter and immediately wonder if he isn't about to get himself into trouble. The author is very descriptive of both people and places, but not so much that it slows the book down. In the first chapter we meet all but one of the main characters. Ward uses humor and sarcasm in her writing along with pop culture references, and slang. She never sugar coats her characters. They jump out of the pages with their good traits and their flaws.

We meet Jim before he finds out about his mission to save souls, which will be the ongoing plot in the book series. As the book goes on we discover much about him as a person and how he deals with his past and his future. Covet has plenty of twists and turns as we are taken through a gambit of emotions. I laughed out loud at many things, cried at a couple of others, and shared anger with the characters as they suffered. Ward doesn't allow us to feel "neutral" about her characters. We may think we don't care at first, but by the end of the book we are right there, either loving or hating them.

For me, Covet was a nonstop read, though not necessarily a fast read because of it's complexity. I loved the book from start to finish. I highly recommend it to fans of urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. If you love books with romance, action, battles against good and evil plus good old fashioned butt kicking thrown in you will love this book.

Random Notes: This is not a book for teens in my opinion. Some scenes are what I would call extremely steamy, though,to me, that is a side bonus to the action. It's not the focus of the story though. I tell my teens that they can read this book (or other adult reads) when they are over 40 like me.

There are some cool crossovers from Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood books that will tickle her fans, but first time readers of her books won't be confused in the least.

The following are questions are from Blogs With Bite for the group review, so I'm including them here also:

Q#1 - Did you relate to Jim at all? Did you feel like he was a good choice or worthy of this mission?

I related to him as far as his emotions, good and bad. I actually don't like characters that are too much like myself, which is why I enjoy good paranormal books. I like characters that can kick butt and do something about the evil in their world.

Q#2 - How do you feel about the tone of the book? Did you think that there was too much slang/not enough/just enough? How did you feel about the word choice in the book- did it add to your reading of the story or take away from it?

I loved the author's use of slang and pop culture references. I thought the language fit the circumstances and the reality of the book's world.

Q#3 - When the "fantasy" of the book is based on a belief system that is regarded as truth by some religions (the angels & demons) does it help you relate better with the story, as opposed to a story about vampires and werewolves?

Not really. I love complex characters that aren't perfect, but who passionate in their beliefs, whatever they happen to be. The fallen angels were fascinating to me, but so are vampire and other supernatural characters.

Q#4 - In the opening of this book we read about a football game analogy of Demons verses Angels, even though this is fiction what do think of Demons in this case Jim the Fallen Angel being portrayed as a "Good Guy"?

Hmmm...I didn't get that out of the opening. Jim isn't a demon; his mission is to save souls, to even the playing field so to speak. I thought by the end of the book his nature was fairly clear. I think the term "Fallen Angel" is not used in the traditional way we may have seen in other books. To me it's "fallen", as in working/interacting on earth, rather than in heaven.

Q#5 - How do you feel knowing this will be a 7 book series featuring Jim and he might win all of the battles?

I love it! I can't wait to read the next book. This first ones gives a hint of what the next one will be and I think it's going to be a great read. I think Jim and his friends will come through with flying colors while giving us a fantastic reading experience.

(To see more reviews on Blogs with Bite or participate click here.)


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Keeping Track of Your Reads

I wonder how other readers keep track of all their favorite books and authors? I sometimes print out lists from Fantastic Fiction. A friend in Australia told me about this website years ago and I am there at least once a week or more. It's a resource I cannot live without. It's here: I have yet to find an author that is NOT listed on this website. You look them up alphabetically where each has their own page which gives a breakdown of every book they've written, plus any that have been announced with a publication date. It also lists any short stories that have appeared in anthologies. If they have a website they give a link to that too. Another feature I LOVE are the links to books the author has recommended and a list of links to similar authors.

Printing out lists usually doesn't work because I end up losing them. I'm thinking of creating a Word document that lists the authors, their books, and color code what I've read, what I own, and what I need to buy yet. Or is this just me creating busy work for myself? We shall see.

I have finished all the books mentioned in the side column and I am currently reading Patricia Briggs, Mercy Thompson books for the third time. Of course, I had to go to the above mentioned Fantastic Fiction to see what's coming up with one of my favorite authors.

I've read and own:
Moon Called (2006)
Blood Bound (2007)
Iron Kissed (2008)

I've read, but need to buy:
Bone Crossed (2009)

I also found out that the fifth book in the series will be out February 2010 and it's called Silver Borne. Woo-hoo!

I love Mercy. She is one of my favorite fiction characters. She's strong, unique, quirky and sarcastic. If you like strong female heroines who aren't perfect you need to read these books. It won't give too much away to tell you she's a mechanic who works on German cars, she was raised by werewolves and she's smart. Mercy is my kind of gal.

You can read a sample chapter from Moon Called, the book I'm rereading right now by going here:

~Enjoy. Moonsanity

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Are One Shot Novels Gone Now?

Remember when novels were wrapped up in one book? Whether it was To Kill a Mockingbird, Carrie or The Stand, when it ended it well, ended. Do you think series are out of control?

I personally LOVE series. I think it gives the author SO much more room for developing characters and world building. Could you imagine Lord of the Rings in ONE book or ONE movie? Hell no. I think sometimes it's a matter of what the author or publisher decided to do though. Tolkien wanted his book to be in all one volume, but the publisher divided it. The Stand could have easily been broken into 3 books it was so detailed and long. As I work on ideas for my two book ideas I have mixed feelings. The one I can see as a one time novel, but the other I can see as a series of books, much like The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I'd like to think it out and outline at least 6 or 7 books, developing characters as they progress.

There are many ways authors do this. J.K. Rowling wrote each book based on a year's time, which worked really well for Hogwarts, and the age group of the kids. Jim Butcher's Dresden books are more of one crisis/bad guy per book and he "solves" the problem by the end. Though poor Dresden is looking worse for the wear isn't he? J.R. Ward has a book for each member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and in her new series Fallen Angels has a unique spin on each book, starting with Covet and the second being Crave. I like the idea of each book revolving around a person or a specific event. I think it would make it easier to wrap each one up before going on the next.

Hmmm...just a few thoughts.