Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winners and How I Wish...

I wish I had multiples of myself this month so I could write my NaNo Novel AND write the reviews and my nonfiction, handle the teen drama at our house, cook, clean and do laundry. It would be wonderful to assign each of the "me" clones to a different task. Alas, there is only me, so that's why I'm late on announcing winners. I did email all of the winners but the last one, which I'll do today, and forwarded their names to the publishing company. I also have three packages to mail out from October, and promise to do that soon if the planets all align and my bank account doesn't empty out:)

The good news is I'm over 30,000 words on A Twist of Destiny, my NaNo novel. I have 20,000 words to write in ten days, and it's in my head:) Thanks for the patience everyone.

Ecstasy in Darkness
My 5 Monkeys(Julie
) said...
I love snarky banter between characters. It makes book fun. Haven't read this series yet.

Rise Again
Stephmartin71 said...
Since I work in a lab and my specialty just happens to be in firearms ;) I would have to choose Dillingers-Tommy gun. It's a Colt Thompson submachine gun. It fires 45 ACP ammunition w/a 100 round drum magazine, I would have to have alot of these in a bag filled to capacity though;) & it can effectivly shoot a target @ around 160 feet. It weighs approx 10-11 lbs fully loaded. (close to the weight of a gallon of milk) It is also a fully automatic rifle that doesn't need you to continually pull the trigger to shoot ;D

(By the way, my teens are now in love with Stephanie after reading her awesome comment! I think they just want to be around her in case of a Zombie Uprising!)

*yadkny* said...
Hi Merrie! I think I would like an extra shot at life, but then I guess it depends on if I have any regrets or if I was happy with how I lived. If I have any regrets I would hope to remember them so I don't make my second chance a waste. Great review!

Blood Trinity:
Timothy said...
Old Dan and Little Ann, they Redbone Coonhounds from the book "Where the Red Fern Grows" they story always brought a tear to my eyes every time I've read it.

WOW: The Shattered
Tore said...
Do you play World of Warcraft, or any other online games? I like playing Bejeweled. What do you enjoy about online with other players? I mostly play online games myself ocassionally I Play with other people. Please enter me in contest.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Release Week Review: Tyger Tyger

Tyger Tyger
A Goblin Wars Book
Author: Kersten Hamilton
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: 11/15/10
Available at: Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble

Summary: Teagan Wylltson is on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems. Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side, with a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Teagan's friend Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.

I asked to review Tyger Tyger because I thought it sounded like a fascinating read that sounded like there wasn't a vampire or werewolf in sight, which intriqued me. Don't get me wrong, I love all things supernatural, but it's nice to read a story that uses lore other than the two most popular myths.

Tyger Tyger is loosely based on the Fenian Cycle, which is prose written about the mythical Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna of Ireland. It's not necessary for the reader to know what the story is based on, but I found it fascinating to look up the Irish hero and his exploits. The character, Finn is the hero in the story. I fell in love with him while reading this book, and I can't imagine other readers won't do the same. He's brave, selfless, amazing and protective, not just of Teagan, our heroine, but of everyone in his life.

Tyger Tyger has themes of love, loss, acceptance, faith, friendship and doing the right thing. It's a fast paced, action filled story full of magical beings, both good and evil. The characters come alive on the page, and I found myself totally immerged in the author's world. The story doesn't just include our hero and heroine in the battle agaist evil. Aiden, Teagan's brother, is an amazing child with odd quirks such as hating Elvis impersonators and being able to find his way home at all times. Their father is a singing librarian, their mother was raised by Irish Travelers, and Teagan's bestfriend, Abby has dreams about the future and her family is in the Mob. Every character, good or evil, is fascinating.

I believe a person could read Tyger Tyger many times over and still find a new treasure they missed the first time they read it. It's a magical story that I hope will become a classic for kids and adults to read over and over throughout the years.

If you enjoy Terry Brooks or Terry Pratchett you'll love Tyger Tyger.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Blog Tour: Author Rie McGaha

Today I have an interview with Rie McGaha, the author of Closure. I'm participating in the blog tour for Rie today. You can read my review below the interview.

Rie, I just finished Closure, and have a few questions for you. I enjoyed the story, especially the main characters. Thanks for letting me pick your brain:)

Brenda: How do you research a crime novel like this one? I could tell you knew what you were talking about when it came to the procedures and details.

Rie: Funny you should ask. I watch the true crime channels at least eight hours a day. I also used to work in drug court, in community corrections, and I was the only woman on a unit with 120 male inmates. I've studied criminology and have been very involved with the justice system.
Brenda: I liked your explanation of why women who are abused don't leave their partners. Did you feel it was important to make that clear in the book for those that didn't understand?

Rie: I think there are a lot of people who have the attitude, well, if you don't leave him, you deserve to get beat, and they don't understand the dynamics between an abuser and the abused. An abuser doesn't just start beating his SO the first time they meet. There's a psychological aspect most people are unaware of.

Brenda: I noticed in one of your interviews that you have 12 children and 26 grandchildren:) Has your writing changed over the years as your kids have grown and you've experienced more of life?

Rie: You must've read an old interview because I now have 33 grandkids and counting! :) Of course my writing has changed. I wrote my first novel in the 8th grade and I'm quite sure it is very different from what I write now, at least I hope so! lol I've changed over the years, have gained knowledge and a great deal of wisdom and experience. I think some of my writing reflects who I wish I could be, or maybe the life I wished I had lived instead of the one I did live. Some of what I write is based on the lives of others, or on fantasies, but I tend to put at least one older person in every story that is the fount of wisdom, or an older loving couple with a rich sex life. I didn't receive a manual on being middle aged, and really have no clear idea what it means to be in my forties, and now in my fifties. But I hope to put just a little insight into middle age into each story. Being old ain't for

Brenda: You've written many books, do you have a favorite; one that you'd love everyone to read first if you had a choice?

Rie: Oh yes. CROSS THE LINE will be released Dec. 1 from Solstice Publishing and it is my personal favorite, followed closely by DEEP WITHIN MY HEART and WRITTEN IN STONE from Silver Publishing. Cross The Line was 5 years in the making and is about former southern belle, Carrie Robertson, who, after the Civil War destroyed the plantation, finds herself living in a cabin in Indian Territory. The hero in this story is Noah Mosely, a runaway slave who was adopted into an Indian tribe. The pair meet when Noah is hunting and his horse is spooked by a mountain lion and throws him. His leg is broken and his horse is gone so he has to drag himself to safety before infection sets in. He finds himself at Carrie's cabin, and finds Carrie greeting him with a gun to his head.

I have used actual historical events and inserted my characters into the action, which I have done in Deep Within My Heart as well. Both of these are family sagas that take the reader through the lives of the characters. In Cross The Line, however, the family line comes all the way to current times.

In books I've read the reader is taken from the time the H/H meet and the trials that befall them until they overcome and wind up a couple with a happily ever after. But I always wondered what happened next, so in these stories, I've answered those questions.

Brenda: Thanks Rie. I can't wait to read Cross the Line in December.

You can find out about Rie's book on her website at (She's having a cool contest where someone will win her ENTIRE backlist. Details are on her website.)

Author: Rie McGaha
Publisher: Champagne Books
Released Aug 02, 2010

Summary: High in the hills above Albuquerque, New Mexico Detective Zachariah Ellison arrives at the scene of a murder, and not just any murder, but one that definitely falls into the “gruesome” category even for a seasoned cop like Zach. When another body is found murdered in much the same fashion, Zach knows he’s got a serial killer on his hands, and to top it off he’s got an assistant district attorney hounding him about the case. As Zach tries to investigate the crimes while sidestepping nosey Amy Logan, a third body is found and Zach hasn’t a clue as to whom the perpetrator might be.

Amy Logan has worked hard to put herself through school and pay for law school on her own and now that she’s secured a position as assistant district attorney in Albuquerque, she’s determined to do everything she can to be the best prosecutor this office has ever seen. And as if luck was following her, she’s been assigned to the biggest homicide case the city has ever seen. The only problem she’s having is the homicide detective who’s leading the investigation—Zach Ellison.

I was asked to review Closure and agreed since I really like suspense, and hadn't read that much of the genre lately. The author has combined steamy HEA romance with a gritty suspenseful plot. It's fast paced, and moves easily between the romance and the investigation of a serial killer case.

I thought the contrast between Amy and Zach's relationship and the killer's experience with abusive men a nice touch to the story. Zach is protective and stubborn, but he treats Amy with respect and love. She finds herself explaining to him why a woman would stay with an abusive man because for him it's black and white-why wouldn't they simply leave? I've had this same conversation with my husband, and it rings true. Good men can't imagine abusing a woman, so they have trouble comprehending the horrible toll it takes on someone that is being abused.

Closure is a great read for those who love romance and suspense. It does have detailed crime scenes and autopsy details which may be disturbing to some readers. The romance is sweet, but the sex is steamy and erotic. So be prepared to say "Ewwww" and then "Oh, my...".

About Rie
Rie McGaha was born and raised in northern California along the shores of Humboldt County where her grandmother often took her to dig for clams and watch the whales migrate. Being raised with the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, gave Rie a deep love for nature. She has resided in the Kiamichi Mountains of SE Oklahoma for more than ten years with her husband, Nathan, where they rescue animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find homes for them. She is the mother of 12 and Nana of 33.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Afterlife Celebration with Merrie

After I read Afterlife I emailed the author, Merrie Destefano, to tell her how much I loved it, and to ask her if I could interview her about the book and her writing. I've known her online for almost a year now, and I am thrilled that her book is getting such a wonderful response. She certainly deserves the praise and I'm pleased to celebrate it's release with her. Be sure to enter the contest at the end of the post!

Brenda: Afterlife, to me, seems to be part science fiction mixed with a dystopian tale. It reminds me of good, classic sci fi when the authors made us question and think about our future. Did you mean for it to be that way? I ask because though I love Sci Fi and have since I was 16 or so, it seems intimidating as far as the writing, and the writers involved in the genre. How does it feel knowing your book might end up a classic like Fahrenheit 451?

Merrie: First, Brenda, thank you so much for inviting me to be part of your blog! I’m excited to be here! Now on to my answers: I’ve always loved science fiction too. The interesting thing to me is that I could never write what’s called hard sci-fi, the kind with real, technical science behind every gizmo and gadget that appears. But I’ve always loved social science fiction, like the stuff written by Ray Bradbury or Philip K. Dick. It’s basically where we have the science already and we’re looking at how that science has affected society. For me, this was much easier to write than hard sci-fi. I really enjoy creating characters and figuring out how they feel about the situations I throw them into, so a social science fiction tale seemed like a good fit. Of course, Afterlife has fantasy and mystery and dystopian elements tossed in as well, mainly because I love those genres too. Will Afterlife become a classic? Wow, that’s a great question. I think every writer would be thrilled if one of their books became a classic. I know I would. I always (jokingly) say that my goal all along was to write a book that would become required reading for high school students. Honestly, I loved high school English, so I would be delighted if any of my books were used to help a young person fall in love with reading.

Brenda: I loved Omega, but had a question-- I just have to word it correctly so as not to give spoilers. Omega, who is a dog, seems very smart to me. Was he simply a smart breed of dog, or did the things done to him in the lab make him more intelligent? I also noticed he could be a twin of your dog in the picture on your website:)

Merrie: Interestingly, when I first wrote the book, Omega had actual thoughts and they were very primitive. But in the process of editing, those were all taken out. What I was really trying to communicate in Omega’s scenes, besides his character, was his intuitive nature, the ability that dogs have to “read” a situation and instinctively know what needs to be done. One of my dogs—the one in my author photo—is super smart when it comes to any social behavior situation. He can stop a dog fight by just walking in between two dogs. He’s very gentle with children and our cat, but he knows when he needs to stand up for himself with our other German Shepherd. So I was trying to create a dog who was extremely loyal and had “street smarts” which would eventually put him in charge of a wild dog pack. By the way, I never mention it in the book, but in my mind the dog pack was descended from Katrina dogs: dogs who had survived Hurricane Katrina and then banded together when they couldn’t find their people. And yes, Omega could easily be a twin of my Joshua!

Brenda: Though Afterlife has romance, it's on a deeper level, more subtle. I actually liked that you didn't take a detour to have your characters getting all hot and steamy in the middle of a crisis. Did you make a decision to keep things toned down, or did it just end up that way as you were writing?

Merrie: [There might be some spoilers in my answer] From the beginning, I saw Afterlife as a book that contained elements of science fiction, mystery, fantasy and romance, but I never wanted any one of those elements to overwhelm the others. Also, Chaz was forbidden by his Babysitter code from having a sexual relationship with his Newbie during her first week after resurrection—this was one of codes that could have had serious repercussions if he broke it. I thought it was important to show that there were some rules Chaz was willing to break, but that he would never break any that might harm his Newbie. There even comes a point in the story when he has to decide whether his loyalties lie with someone in his family or with his Newbie. To me, the fact that he chose to follow his Babysitter code at that time helped to prove what an honorable man he was.

Brenda: I saw in an interview that your next book isn't a sequel to Afterlife. Will there be one? Or is it too soon to know? I would love to read as many books as you could write in this world.

Merrie: Thank you so much for wanting more books in this series! Yay! I do plan to write a sequel to Afterlife. My second novel, Feast: Harvest of Dreams, was written after I finished Afterlife and before either book sold to HarperCollins. At that point in time, I had no idea whether anyone would be interested in Afterlife, so I just started writing a different stand-along book. If I had known that Afterlife would be a popular book (something no writer can predict), I would have written a sequel immediately. As it is, I would love to write a sequel, and I can already see several potential books in the series. But right now, I think it all really comes down to how well Afterlife does in sales. Brenda, thanks again for having me here today and for all of your kind comments about Afterlife!

Brenda: Thank you for taking the time to let me pick your brain. Afterlife is a very special book that I think will become a classic. You are an amazing writer and I'm thrilled that your book is doing so well.

The Resurrection Chronicles
Author: Merrie Destefano
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Eos
Release Date: 9/28/10
Available from Amazon in Paperback

SUMMARY: Chaz Dominguez is a professional Babysitter in New Orleans, helping to integrate the recently deceased into their new and improved lives. Though Fresh Start has always been the only game in town, resurrection isn't all it's cracked up to be. Nine lives are all a person can get—and a powerful group of desperate, high-level Nine-Timers will stop at nothing to possess the keys to true immortality. Now the only hope for Chaz and his family—and the human race—lies in the secrets locked away in the mind of Angelique, the beautiful, mysterious Newbie he must protect .

Everyone who's ever thought about life and death should read Merrie Destefano's Afterlife. It will give you many things to ponder about what may come to pass in the future. Cloning is something we know the scientists will continue to work on until humans can be "created" in a lab. What happens when people are given the choice of not just one life, but possibly NINE chances to live again? The author of Afterlife has written a novel that explores this very concept. I was reminded of the saying "Just because we CAN, doesn't mean we SHOULD." Advancements in medicine and science are important to the world, to the human condition. We all hope for a cure to cancer, diabetes, heart failure, AIDS and so many other diseases. Who wouldn't want cures for diseases that kill so many? What if the person could get rid of their diseased body for a new one? Would research stop on cures for disease? The questions are endless.

Afterlife is a fascinating, fast paced read with rich characters, action, suspense and emotion. It has elements of science fiction and dystopian fiction, but I know for some people that brings to mind complicated plots that take intense concentration to sift through the details of the society and it's political and technical advancements. Afterlife is written by someone who is warm and generous in her dealings with fans, friends and fellow writers. If you have followed Merrie on Twitter and Facebook for any length of time, you'd know how true this is. She has taken a plot and concept that could have been overwhelming at times, and written it in a style that isn't complicated or overwhelming. The story will reach the reader on many different levels. Her writing is almost poetic at times; filled with strong emotion that brings the reader inside the heads of the characters, rather than just observing them from afar. I will be reading it again and again throughout the years, and hope that many others will do so as well.

If you are a fan of Vicki Peterssen, Dakota Banks, or Stacia Kane I think you'll really enjoy Afterlife. Even if you haven't read these authors but you love old fashioned science fiction that makes you think about society and our future, you should give Afterlife a read. You won't regret it.

Merrie is graciously giving away a signed copy of Afterlife to one of the visitors. Ask her a question or tell us if you would take another shot at life if it was offered to you.

I will randomly choose one winner from the comments on Sunday evening and announce it on Monday, November 8th, 2010.

Read an Afterlife excerpt here.

The Afterlife book trailer is here:

Merrie's website:

Merrie's blog:

Follow Merrie on Twitter:

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