Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Listening Old School...

Radio.  I'm old enough to have heard radio shows on my grandmother's radio.  I came in at the tail end of it, though.  TV was coming into its Golden Age.

Fast forward a couple of centuries and I am again listening to radio.  On the internet. BBC radio in particular. It turns out that Jedediah Berry's The Manual of Detection is being broadcast on BBC 4, read by Toby Jones (only a couple of episodes left, though). He's doing a good read and the voice is just right for the mood of the book.  It's hard for me to keep up, since I don't know the scheduling.  Almost missed episode 2.

There is also a production of Dr. Who. A whole production, not just a reading. Complete with sound effects. ::big sigh::

That kind of radio requires me to be tucked up in bed or on the sofa under something comfy. Preferable with the lights off and nothing else to do. It's my radio listening set up, the one I established when I was still in high school. This was back when FM radio still had some flexibility.  The DJs were unique.

I would listen to Rocko or Jonathan Schwartz, or Alison Steele, the Nightbird. That was the way I first heard The Velveteen Rabbit. Lying on the long sofa that was my bed on my grandmother's porch. It's how I spent the last two years of high school, listening to the very large radio that stood at one end of the sofa keeping me company through the night. I don't remember the music as much as I remember listening to the voices. 

Looking up Schwartz on Wikipedia, I found that he left WNEW-FM the same year I left New York. No coincidence. I'd stopped listening to that station by then. My life had shifted away from a porch life with a very large radio keeping me company.

  I'm not the sentimental type.  I don't live in this time but look at it my foundation.  When I listen to radio on the internet, it is because what I am listening to is a reflection and a continuation of what I have lived, happily, with before.  Alison, Scott and Rosko are still with me as I pull up the covers to listen to the next episode of Unwin's adventures as a hapless detective.

I will leave you with this, however.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Forging a Path with Tarot

My theme for this year, as I mentioned last time, is to be fearless in my writing and art projects.  Whoa, just saying the word fearless makes my knees knock.  But, I’m tired of the roller coaster ride that takes me up and down, round and round and never ends.
Do you know what I mean?  Einstein’s thought on the subject. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  I’m tired of doing that.  How about you?  Do you have a way of taking a different route?

Well, I have an idea to forge a new path with Tarot cards.  No, I’m not into fortune telling, but I am into stirring up my muse with a game.

I want to find a way to ignite the written word with art and vice versa using the Tarot.  Nothing new by any means, writers have been using Tarot cards to stimulate their muse out of her slumber for a long time.
I’ve used the cards when inspiration or a brainstorming partner are not available.  For example, if I’m wondering something about how my character would respond to an event or what in the world happens next in my story, I would do the following.  Thinking of my quandary with my wip, I would then pick a random card from the deck.  And this is where the fun and the possibilities begins.

It’s like having your muse or brainstorming partner at your desk and saying how about this idea.  I suppose it’s a visual equivalent of the ‘What if?’ question.  The question starts with words and ends in words.  The Tarot cards starts with an image with the integration of words through the symbols within the card.  Then from the  card and the question you’ve placed in your mind about your wip you create more images and story ideas.  You could play with the cards until you have your whole story and characters mapped out. I think it’s a way to go deeper into your story in the most surprising way.

 Of course, you still have to plan or play this around a sound structure for it to work.  Otherwise, you’ll be faced with many holes in your story. 
I believe our stories are unique because let’s face it there’s no one like us. Whew!  When I was looking at the different tarot cards and the images portrayed, I found them lacking a connection to my story.  So, I decided to create my own Tarot cards that align with my wip.  It will be like funneling ideas straight from my muse without even trying.
I will be documenting my process, choices for images, symbols, colors and whatever else comes up.  I’m hoping you’ll join me in making your own cards and add your thoughts and suggestions about mine.
Next time, I’ll be doing a book review.  So, it will on the 20th of February that I will show you my progress. 
To get you started here are some links about Tarot.
 More of the Tarot card images above by Pamela Coleman Smith 1909:
More links on the sacred-texts site:
Till next time,



Monday, January 21, 2013

What's in a Name? Fantasy Fiction Titles ~guest post and cont*st by Jolea M. Harrison

At the Speculative Salon, we're very pleased to have a wonderful fantasy author, Jolea M. Harrison, talking about an interesting topic--the importance of book titles in fantasy fiction. Be sure to also check out her fantasy series below, as well as an awesome contest she is offering to our readers.

What’s in a Name?

How do you decide what books you’ll read? Amongst the millions that are out there online and on shelves, how do you choose? Is it the cover? The author you’ve always read? Or is it something as simple as the title.

When I first started reading books, I didn’t pay attention at all to where they sat on the bookshelf, or what category they fell in. Back in the day, I found most of the books I liked to read in my high school library. They were hardbacks. They didn’t have the cover sleeve. There were no pictures to attract my attention. Nowadays I have to wonder how those authors ever managed to make a sale without the shiny story-within-a-story book covers that splash across my screen when I go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble (.com) to see what’s new. Then, there were only titles, followed by story, followed by read the book.

If a title interested me, I picked the book out and read a few paragraphs, or more, as the case may be, if it was a gripping story right at the start. It turned out that most of the books I ended up reading straight through were fantasy. When I started buying books and ended up at the mall bookstore (whatever happened to those?) I landed in front of the fantasy section, picking out books from their titles, yes, but now that I had access to paperbacks, I did judge a lot of books from the vivid images splashed across their covers. The Dragon Lance Chronicles, by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss are one of the first book series I started reading – right after Lord of the Rings – due in part because of the cover. That first edition cover, which I remember to this day and still have somewhere in my old house – had three people, a couple of Viking looking guys and a girl warrior (that was new and different) and in the background a red dragon slinking across a wooded hilltop, low and menacing. It was that dragon, along with that great series title, Dragon Lance, that drew me right in.

Another series of books with a great title was Nine Princes in Amber. Nine? I was interested enough to start reading, which immediately led to finishing that book and moving on to the next and the next. The book cover of that first book didn’t strike me so much for this one – it was black, had two rings with a armored guy in the middle, a castle on a hill on one side and a horde of creatures on the other. I remember thinking what is going on there, but I loved the title. It set my imagination off, and then, of course, I was hooked. (In case you’ve never read them, you absolutely should, the whole series by Roger Zelazny – I can’t imagine life without awareness of the Pattern and Shadow).

My point to all this rambling is that a book cover isn’t the only thing to pull a person into reading a great piece of fantasy. A great title can do the trick almost as well. I almost never read book blurbs either, still, but opt for the look inside feature online or thumbing through actual pages if I’m at the bookstore or library. Other great titles that have endured the test of time – The Wheel of Time. The Dark Tower. Earthsea. These are just a few incredible, lasting series, but they all have a couple things in common. Great titles, and above that, amazing stories. For of course, even the most captivating title won’t garner lasting attention without a great story behind it.

Do you have a favorite series or a catchy book title to share? Post them here. I’ll draw a random winner, who’ll get my entire Guardians series, Books 1-7 and an advance copy of King, the Eighth Chronicle, when it is completed (sometime in late February)!

Inline image 3Barnes and Noble

The Series:

Inline image 1

Friday, January 18, 2013

A-Review-a-Month Epic/High Fantasy Edition

My fellow scouts are joining reading challenges in their genre. I decided to find one for epic and high fantasy novels and found one does not exist. Apparently challenges are not favored in that genre. I can't blame them since some of the books can approach near 1000 pages. But never the less I want to participant in a challenge.

Not difficult or easy to complete. A balance of reading but also writing a review on the book. My solution: review one book a month.

[Insert Reading Challenge Image Here]

No official image except for the written string above. It's a challenge fitting for my limited time. A win-win in my book. Each review will be posted the following month. This challenge will finish in the following year.

My first book of the year will be Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes.

Look forward to the review next month!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Second Childhood? You Betcha!

Ok, so I fully embraced the act of completing the wheel of life, according to the Chinese zodiac. I've gone through all the signs and all the elements once (5 elements x 12 signs). I have the luxury and privilege, according to that tradition, to be a child again. Not a problem! I get to keep all the skills and lessons I've learned on the way. I have all the licences and legal permissions I need to play. So, what is left to do? I can buy my toys, sing and dance anywhere and anytime and have people smile, rather than look at me funny.

Paper dolls!

I remember Betsy McCall dolls in the back of Good Housekeeping magazine and not wanting to cut them out. If I did that I wouldn't have them all on the page anymore! I still don't want to cut them out if there is only one page. Fortunately, there are copies! Let's hear it for the printer and computers.
There are so many artists out there who are putting together their own collections of paper dolls. Illustrating stories that have not been written.

And ones that are very familiar...sort of.

That's one reason I got re-connected to the paper figures. Now, I'm looking at them as a way to visualize my own characters in settings that I find in history books. Think “paper theater”, “diorama”, assemblage, scrapbook, and collage.

Jennifer Cruisie's Wild Ride

Dogs and Goddesses

Ok, enough. Time to get out the coloring tools and scissors! What childhood pleasure has been updated in a way that gets you excited? What book or story would you want as a paper doll set?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Reading new addiction

I had no idea what a reading challenge was until I noticed that a few of the Scouts were talking and taking part in them. I did a little research and found that there are a ton of awesome reading challenges for every genre for every reader.

Being a paranormal romance writer, I naturally gravitate to reading that genre of books also. I don't know how many times I've tried to explain to my husband that I have to read the newest paranormal romance book as it is "research" and helps me to sharpen my writing skills. So for me, this reading challenge is a great excuse to buy and read more books.

I have opted to take the reading challenge from Megan Likes Books, as she's a girl after my own heart, with a devotion for paranormal romance novels.

2013 Paranormal Reading Challenge

Here's the information on my reading challenge, feel free to join me!

Welcome to the 2013 Paranormal Reading Challenge hosted by Megan Likes Books and Auntie Spinelli Reads! There are so many awesome sub-genres of paranormal books, that it's easy to find one you like and stick with it. So that's why I decided to make a reading challenge with the goal of reading about all kinds of paranormal creatures.

The goal is to read one book featuring each of the following paranormal creatures:

Other (ie: sirens, unicorns, centaurs, timetravel etc.)

1. This challenge runs from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.
2. You must have a blog to able to participate, since reviews must be added to the linky.
3. When you sign up with the linky, please put the link to your post about joining the Paranormal Reading Challenge.
4. You're welcome to list your books beforehand or just add as you go.
5. Sign-ups are open until December 1, 2013
6. At the beginning of each month, I will post a kick-start post, each month featuring a different category of paranormal creature. This post will also include a linky to include your reviews from that month.
7. Each review you link will qualify you for an entry into the monthy giveaway and if your review includes the feature paranormal creature of that month, you get a bonus entry.
8. Each book can only count for one category, even if it contains more than one paranormal creature. For example, Twilight contains both vampires and werewolves, but you can't use it for both the vampires and werewolves/shifters categories.
9. Everyone who completes the challenge will be entered into a grand prize giveaway at the end of the year.
10. If you read multiple books from one category, feel free to add them to the linkies. Don't stop at just one!
11. Book can count for other challenges.

Each month, we'll be featuring one of the creatures on the list at both Megan Likes Books and Auntie Spinelli Reads.

January - Vampires
February - Angels/Nephilim
March - Fey
April - Demons
May - Aliens
June - Zombies
July - Witches and Wizards
August - Mermaids
September - Dragons
October - Ghosts
November - Werewolves/Shape-shifters
December - Other

So if you opt to join in with this challenge or if you have a recommendation of another, let me know. Also if you can recommend any books, please do!!!

Happy reading and writing!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mystical Moonstones in Fantasy Fiction

In the process of writing the fourth book in my Enchanted Bookstore Legends, entitled Staurolite, I’m expanding and developing the foundation of the magical lore of my fantasy world. It’s based upon a group of four mystical gemstones that connect with the four Chinese elements of air, earth, fire, and water. The book’s title is actually a known gemstone, staurolite. The gem corresponding to air that I have chosen to work with is the moonstone. In my series, it serves as one of the powerful keystones that can empower the good Alliance to overcome the threatening attacks by the evil Dark Realm. When I selected my keystone which corresponded to air, I considered many attributes that would make it an empowering symbol.

I’ve long been fascinated with blue-white opalescence of the stone, sometimes described as ‘billowy light’ gliding over the smooth cabochon surface. Gemologists refer to this characteristic as adularescence, and a synonym for the stone is adularia. Moonstone can be colorless, white, yellow, green, brown, orange, pink, or grey, but it always has a white or blue sheen. The best moonstone is colorless with a blue sheen. The colored varieties mainly come from India.

The mystical connections of the gem intrigue me. Moonstone is considered a birthstone for February, a mystical birthstone for June, an astrological birthstone for the star sign Cancer, and the Ayurvedic birthstone for September. I’ll soon be studying Ayurvedic yoga during my teacher training this year and am eager to learn how this stone is used in that science.

Traditionally, some believe moonstone can be used to balance a one's yin and yang. The gemstone is thought to soothe and balance emotions and evoke calm responses. Called a visionary stone, moonstone brings inspiration, strengthens intuition and sensitivity, enhances creativity, allows the wearer to see situations from different angles, and helps one to see things more clearly. It has even been said that moonstone has the power to grant wishes. Some believe this stone will build self confidence, enhance compassion, and promote happiness and longevity. It is also thought to be a stone of protection, especially for travel at sea, pregnancy, and childbirth.

It is also considered an ideal stone for lovers, since moonstone is reputed to bring forth tender feelings, protect true love, support a person's emotional and dreamy tendencies, and increase sensitivity to others. It is said to attract friendship and loyalty to the wearer, encourage personal attachments, help obtain romance, and arouse tender passion.

With all of these positive characteristics combined with a captivating appearance, it’s no wonder this stone is often attributed with magical properties in fantasy fiction. One series I especially love that uses moonstones as a foundation for mysticism and spirituality is Sharon Shinn’s The Twelve Houses. Her goddesses are guided by gemstones, the most widely followed being the Pale Mother/Silver Lady/Goddess of the moon who uses the moonstone as her symbol.

What other works of fantasy do you know that use moonstones in mystical or magical ways?

Photo credit: By Memecry2 (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED, and Book Three, LOST VOLUMES. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A New Year of Being Fearless

It’s a new year with all the hopes and dreams you can expect from starting anew.  For me, it will be the year of clarity and being fearless.  Envisioning and being clear what it is I want to accomplish this year will go a long way to achieving my goals.  It’s especially helpful if you’re making those long lists for 2013.  Speaking of lists, Jeff Goins has a list that should be the foundation for writers building a life of writing as a career.
Having clarity is probably easier than being fearless, but that’s what I’m pushing to attain.  To go one step more than I would usually venture.  To get out of my comfort zone.  To reach out when I would usually hold back.  Gads, it’s scary just thinking about it and that makes it a challenge. 
Speaking of challenge, like my fellow scouts I will be doing a reading challenge. I will be doing the YA/MG Fantasy Challenge hosted by The Book Cellar.
Here is what The Book Cellar had to say:
"This will be the central hub of information for the 2013 YA/MG Fantasy Challenge. In case you haven’t heard about the challenge, the goal is to read and review 10 YA/MG fantasy books throughout the year. Some changes from last year:
  • Books can be any YA or MG fantasy, they do not need to be specific to 2013. I will still be doing roundups of releases each month just to keep news up on new releases.
  • Giveaways are no longer just for reviews – they will be for all challenge participants. Reviews will be worth the most entries and each giveaway will be run bimonthly, so there will be 6 prize packs available throughout the year.
I will be featuring authors who have fantasy books coming out this year periodically throughout the year in “Fantasy Five” interviews and will also try to do a compilation at the beginning of each month of all the fantasy books coming out that month. The challenge runs January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. Sign-ups will end Oct 15, 2013. As always, all types of fantasy are included in the challenge, not limited to urban, high, epic, general fantasy, etc. (See a spreadsheet of 2013 Fantasy Titles on site) The Goodreads list for 2013 releases will be up soon!"

There are a lot of books to choose from to read so this such be real exciting.

I’m reading Seraphina by Rachel Hartman at the moment and I can’t wait to tell you about it.  Come follow me and my fellow scouts on our journey this year.  And maybe, you will share yours as well.  

Also, the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month will be my posting day.  Hope to chat with you then.

Till next time,


Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

I'm trying some new things this year, like switching my posts to every other Monday here in the Salon, and (hopefully) conquering a reading challenge. There are a lot of cool ones out there, but I'm going with the Witches and Witchcraft Challenge hosted by Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf. I'm focusing on urban fantasy titles with lots of witch characters, and I'm including at least one non fiction book. Click on the button to get the details and join the fun.

2013 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

Challenge Rules:

1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2013 - Dec 31, 2013. I will be posting a place to link up a sign-up post (below), reviews and a wrap-up post. (Note: You do not have to review the books to participate, but only those who link up reviews will be entered for the prize)
2. Grab the reading challenge button (code & button below) and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate- you could track your progress and post reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.
3. Any full length book that includes a witch as a main character or major witchcraft elements counts. They may be fiction or non-fiction. However, they should not be reference books which are not read cover to cover-I will leave this to your discretion.
4. Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
5. Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
6. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
7. When you sign up in the linky put the direct link to your post about joining the 2013 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge.
8. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
9. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2013, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
10. Have some Witchy Good Fun !!!
The Levels:

Initiate: Read 1 - 5 Witchy Books
Maiden: Read 6 - 10 Witchy Books
Mother: Read 11 - 15 Witchy Books
Crone: Read 16 - 20 Witchy Books

Since it's my first time doing a challenge, I'm being conservative and shooting for Maiden level. Here are the titles I'm starting with, and if I can squeeze in more I'll add them as I go:

Bitter Night (Horngate Witches) by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson
The Last Apprentice, Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Every Which Way But Dead & A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison
Grave Witch & Grave Dance by Kalayna Price
Witch Fire by Anya Bast
Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennet
Italian Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi

I've already started Bitter Night and can't wait to start reviewing next month. You can also follow my progress on Goodreads, and feel free to leave a link in the comments if you're hosting or participating in any reading challenges this year. Happy reading in 2013!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Nothing New Journey: A Movie Review of the Hobbit

May Contain Spoilers and Harsh Words.

Fili and Kili
I went to watch the Hobbit and ended up watching the Lord of the Rings again. Certain scenes remained me so much of the first trilogy by Peter Jackson I thought for a second I came to the wrong movie. A shout out is fine but not key moments of the films. Since I never read any of the books, I can’t say if this is Peter Jackson’s doing or how J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the book. My gut tells me probably more of Jackson’s doing than Tolkien’s.

The best and worst part of making another film in vain of the first ones: trying something different.  Jackson’s use of 48 frames per second is technology wise great but at times the crisp, clear images make it cheap and at times blurry.  Films are normally done in 24 frames per second which is great on the eyes. It will take your eyes a few minutes to adjust during the opening scene. And you will notice the blurriness as the camera pans through cities and towns. Please note filmmakers I pay not to watch such scenes in my movies.

In the history of fantasy dwarves, I believe Fili and Kili are the hottest one’s ever. Peter you scored points in my book for that alone. (But you are not forgiven for the other things you did.) Overall the new and old characters were a delight to see for the first time and to see again. Martin Freeman is a great Bilbo portraying his doubt and want for adventure very well. I can’t forget Sir Ian McKellen reprising his role as Gandalf.

In the end if you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings films, this movie might be right for you if you overlook the similarities with the first set of films. I can’t dismiss those similarities and can only wonder if someone else had directed the films it would had been different. My biggest concern is how they made three movies when originally they said two movies only. I fear one of the last films will be filled with fluff to milk it for everything they can get. I rather it is less fluff and a good story line. I will keep my mind open for the next two Decembers and hopes the filmmakers will prove me wrong. And of course earn my Get Glue stickers.

Disagree? Agree? Or wish to add something else? Leave a comment and let me know. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Birth of the Blackthorn PNR Series by Lindsay J. Pryor

We're pleased to welcome today's guest, Lindsay J. Pryor, whose new PNR series, Blackthorn, begins with Blood Shadows. Get the scoop on the series origins, and follow the links to get your copy now.

Welcome To Blackthorn by Lindsay J. Pryor 

Sixteen years ago, walking home late one night, I got lost in an isolated, run-down part of a city where I’d resided less than a month. Phoneless, alone and with no one expecting me home, it was a mistake I never repeated. But one good thing came out of what was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life – my Blackthorn series was born. The first of the series was published just a few weeks ago… 

The concept behind the series… 

In an alternative future, the third species (hominids such as vampires and lycans) resolved to openly proclaim their existence, only to be faced with an abundant number of humans who were fearful for the safety of themselves and their families. Something had to be done. 

A human-only Global Council was formed to define the new social structure and set up global laws in managing this. All third species were defined as second-class citizens until they proved themselves to be as low risk as they claimed. ‘Locales’ replaced previously divisible villages, towns, cities and states so that humans and third species could be segregated. Humans were given opportunities and options. Third species had all of theirs taken away. 

Promises broken… 

Decades later, the world is still controlled by humans who rule over vampires with an iron fist. Society is divided and ‘third species’ remain both feared and discriminated against. 

Unfortunately for them, whispers of vampire prophecies foretelling of the overthrowing of the human regime has not helped their plight. In fact, it’s only given the Global Council more reason to maintain divisions, especially as they’re already dubious that the ‘third species’ self-disclosure was part of those very prophecies humans need to ensure never come into fruition. 

The heart of Blackthorn… 

Blackthorn is the nucleus of one such locale – the polluted, over-populated, rotten core where vampires and other third species are forced to live with convicted human criminals unfit to mingle in society. It is a melting pot, a subsequent hive of social unrest, managed by an elite team of human agents with ambiguous intent. 

This dark and dystopian backdrop is the setting for intense and dark forbidden romances – romances that will not only impact on the fate of humankind, but also on the fate of the ‘third species’ who have spent far too long waiting for their time. 

Blood Shadows is the first of those romances.  

Blood Shadows
Blackthorn Series Book One

Lindsay J. Pryor

Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Publisher: Bookouture 
ISBN: 9781909490000 
Number of pages: 380 
Word Count: 117,000 
Cover Artist: Henry Steadman 

Book Description: 

For vengeance - would you trust a vampire?

For justice - could you betray your family?

For love - are you ready to question everything you believe in?

Gifted with the ability to read the shadows of ‘third species’ beings, Caitlin Parish is the Vampire Control Unit’s most powerful agent. Despite that, her mission to hunt down Kane Malloy – a master vampire – comes with a death wish. Many have tried, but few have survived.

For Caitlin, tracking Kane is about more than just professional reputation. With her parents both mysteriously killed 7 years apart to the day, Caitlin knows that without Kane’s help she is next.

She has four days to make a deal with the wicked, the irresistible, the treacherous Kane Malloy. The vampire who despises everything she stands for.

Or die.

You can read the first three chapters on Scribd for free: 

Check Out What Readers Have to Say About Blood Shadows: 

“Lindsay J. Pryor easily earns a place alongside Paranormal Romance's best writers!” ~ Michele Hauf

“An incredible voice for paranormal.” ~ Rhyannon Byrd 

“I drooled on my keyboard.” 

“Wow! This is just soooo good.” 

“Utterly captivating.” 

“Flawless, tight, sensual, electrifying!” 

“Tell Kane he can have my soul RIGHT NOW!” 

“Every moment was dripping with tension.” 

“I forgot to blink.” 

“Girl, you can WRITE! And you can write sexxxy!” 


“I nearly fainted when he removed her belt.” 

“The sexual tension is off the charts.” 

“After Kenyon’s Zarek, I thought I’d never fall for another bad boy again...” 

“Jaw-droppingly good... I’d want to shout ‘Bite Me!’”

About the Author:

Lindsay J. Pryor is a British Paranormal Romance author who writes dark, intense stories set in the dystopian world of Blackthorn.

Her trademark powerful vampire heroes and utterly combustible sensual romances have earned Lindsay comparisons with both J.R Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon.

A finalist in Mills & Boon’s New Voices competition in both 2010 and 2011, Lindsay has already proved a smash hit with readers.

Comments like “Utterly captivating”, “Jaw-droppingly good”, “Awesome”, “I forgot to blink”, “The sexual tension is off the charts”, “I nearly fainted when he removed her belt”, “I drooled on my keyboard” and even “Tell Kane he can have my soul RIGHT NOW!” convinced Lindsay she just might have what it took to become a published author.

With the launch of Blood Shadows, that dream is now a reality. Her journey to published author though has been a long one.

Lindsay has been creating stories since she was nine years old, when she quickly decided that fantasy was more interesting than reality. She thought she’d grow out of it but hasn’t yet.

Despite years of bashing out stories on an old typewriter, it was the death of her father in 2007 that finally convinced Lindsay to try and become a published author.

“One of the last things my dad said to me was to do what I wanted to do in life. After he passed away, I pulled out all my scribbles from over the years and got back to writing what I loved most – paranormal romance.”

If reviews are anything to go by, it was a journey well worth making.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

And I helped!

Ding, dong!  Mail carrier at the door, left a small parcel on the porch.  It was too large for most of the books I had ordered and was expecting. Besides, the last book order fit into the mail box. 

Without looking at the return address, I opened it and pulled out...

AWESOME!  I'd forgotten about this in the rush of the holiday season.  I participated in the Kickstarter program for this book. Don't even remember how I got introduced to the project. Probably found them through one of the drawing or cartooning blogs I tend to wander across.  (It used to be Drawn! but it's more likely to have been ---.  He's still keeping things up-to-date)

Inside the cover were a couple more surprises: The autographs of the creators and a little poster.

There was also a little brown bag of....


Love the idea of the book, the story: two kids inherit a mansion that turns out to be a family museum of sorts.  Love the illustration style. (More here at Mike Yamada's blog. And here at Victoria Ying's) And since I have a couple of kids in my life, I am looking forward to sharing it. Mind you I said "sharing".  I wanted a copy for my own inspiration, and it has arrived just in time.

(You can't tell from the photo, but Uncle Markov is flossing in the painting...)

Yesterday, I picked up a Kindle copy of  Quinn McDonald's Raw Art Journaling, and between this and Curiosities, I'm brimming with ideas for a creative year.  More to come on this while I get my art supplies together. 

Between the two sources, as well as the reading challenge, I expect to be quite busy this year.  I discovered I have enough short stories of one kind to be able to put together a publishable collection.  I also have the beginning of another one as well as a collection of poetry.  So, look for more reviews of books and introductions to new authors as well as progress reports on my own words and pictures.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year!!
And may your dreams for the Post-Apocolypse New World include Peace, Prosperity, and all the Poetry that your heart can withstand.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year & New Reviews! Surrender by Rhiannon Paille

It's that time already again.  Setting up our activities for the year.  For me, that's a pile of books I am promising myself to get through. Some, I've been meaning to get to for a while. Others, just added.

From our on-going blog tour here's an adventure to add to you list.  Welcome Rhiannon Paille and her YA paranormal, Surrender!

In Avristar, hidden from the World of Men, Kaliel and Kishrani are elven teens waiting for their turn to receive the prophetic parable from the Great Oak. It's the rite of passage that will determine how their lives will unfold.  That is, unless there is something greater being asked of them. Neither seems to be well-suited for any role their communities require of them. Kaliel is clumsy and easily distracted. She is also known to disobey commands intended to keep her safe.  Her knowledge of herb lore is dangerously lacking.  Kishrani, on the other hand, is dangerous. His attempts at the rites end in destruction--not good for someone who is intended to marry and keep the land safe.  So, when they meet, they are inevitably drawn to each other, while knowing that they are never going to be allowed to do more than they have already.

Both are plagued with nightmares, yet both keep theirs secret.  What can anyone do?  Unexpectedly, it seems that the leaders of Avistar do have an idea of what to do with them. Bring them to the capital and serve as apprentices.  Their destinies are greater than anyone is willing to acknowledge.

Rhiannon has created characters that are charming in their mutual clumsiness.  The scope of the story is greater than I like, so it gets a bit dull in places.  However, this is a YA book, and I have not had that attention span for a very long time.  Living in separate communities, it can get confusing when "he" and "she" refer to anyone in the room!  However, that aside, the flow of the story is enough to lift me over the bumps. 

It will be a pleasant diversion for a winter's read.  

The Ferryman and The Flame Book 1
Rhiannon Paille

Genre: YA Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-1480029859
Number of pages: 402
Word Count: 100k
Cover Artist: Marc Wolfe
Review copies available on Netgalley:

Book Description:

How far would you go to save everything you ever loved?

Kaliel was warned about her love for the Ferryman. One day he will marry the land and leave Avristar forever. She doesn't listen, and because of what she is-- a Flame-- one of nine apocalyptic weapons, she sparks a war. In a desperate attempt to save her home and her love, Kaliel tries to awaken Avred, not knowing she may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.


Short Excerpt:

“Sorry I scared you,” he said.
            Kaliel pressed her lips to her knees, hoping she could hold in her emotions. “I’m not afraid of you.”
            Silence hung between them for awhile. He shifted on the cloak, the black tunic he wore shifting with him. He stretched his legs out, and Kaliel looked at his shin-high boots and breeches. He stole a glance at her turtle shell. “What are you afraid of?”
            Kaliel stood. “Happy endings.” She didn’t know how else to explain it. She had contemplated the parable so many times it was exhausting. It didn’t matter which path she took—neither of them seemed very appealing. She let the mist soak her sleeves and stick to her skin. She heard Krishani behind her before he ran his hand down her back making shivers run up her spine. He stayed there, a foot away, and she wished he would move closer, envelope her in his arms. He wasn’t supposed to talk to her. This had to be wrong. What would the brotherhood think?
            “Happy endings?” he whispered. He sounded both unsure and nervous. “What do you mean?”
            “What if someone comes?” She was worried Lord Istar would burst through the trees and find them in this compromising awkwardness. It seemed more taboo than practically drowning in the lake.
            Krishani let out a breath. “Nobody ever comes here.”
            Kaliel closed her eyes. “You come here.”
            Krishani took a step forward and she could feel the heat radiating off him. “All the time.”
She didn’t answer, instead listening to the sound of the falls. Moonlight glinted off the flecks of water. She thought about the orb of ice he created for her. She hadn’t been able to do anything close to that awesome.
“What are you thinking?” he asked again.
She closed her eyes and felt her energy shift; like it had the day she went to the Great Oak. Heat rushed through her as she leaned back, trying to feel him, but not trying to force it if it wasn’t what he wanted. It was clear to her he cared, but she was so worried about whether or not she should let him.
“My parable,” she whispered.
            He went rigid, his hand sliding down her upper forearm. “What did the Oak say to you?”
            She shook her head. “Never mind, I have to figure it out. Both paths seem so dreary.”
            “You seem too sweet to have a bad parable.”
She didn’t want to talk about the nightmares of the Flames, the parable, the fact the Brotherhood would disapprove of him touching her. It felt so natural; the last few moons had been lonely without him. She couldn’t explain what she felt, but she couldn’t watch him marry the land and leave the island.
            “But I do,” she said. She drew her hands instinctively to her chest, her elbows digging into her ribs. He dropped his hand as she turned, and buried her face in his chest. He reluctantly ran his hands through her hair, letting them rest on the small of her back.
            “I thought about you every day,” he said as she pressed her cheek into his tunic.
            She smiled against his shirt. “And I thought about you.”
            “Promise me something?” He wasn’t holding her, not really, their bodies weren’t pressed together and the inches between them made Kaliel feel cold.  
            “You’ll find a happy ending.”
            “What if I can’t?”
            He pulled back and brushed his thumb across her cheek. “Promise me you will.” His eyes met hers and his jaw dropped. His hand paused, cupping her face in his palm. He held her gaze, her heart beating hard. Before she had time to answer, he pressed his lips against hers. She didn’t expect him to do that and it was better than she imagined. She came to life under him, kissing him back with unyielding passion that made him pull away to seemingly catch his breath.
            Kaliel’s sadness drained away as he broke from her lips and then cupped her face with both hands and kissed her again, pressing the length of his body against her. His kisses made her feel light and giddy, like she could float into the sky. She slid her hands up his chest and looped them around his neck. There was swimming in the lake and losing her breath and then there was this. Being out of breath with him was like drowning in a sea of happiness. He could keep her prisoner forever and she’d never complain. He pulled away again, and wound his arms around her waist, trapping her against him. His lips found hers again, rough and inexperienced, but strong and satisfying.
She opened her mouth and his tongue grazed hers, warmth spreading from her heart to the rest of her body, making her tingle. She smiled against his lips.
“I missed you.” She tried to steady her breathing.
Krishani shook his head and put his hands on either side of her face. “This is all I want. This and nothing else, ever.” His mouth covered hers again. He pressed himself against her and she sighed. It felt like she had known him her entire life and even longer, if longer even existed.
Images appeared behind her eyelids—the shape of a boy and a girl wearing gaudy crowns on their heads. They were painted into parchment, but they were blurry. She was too elated by Krishani and his lips on hers to record the images, but they seemed familiar.
And then everything changed. Krishani pushed his lips against hers one last time and she felt the shift in her energy dissipate. It was as though all the joy evaporated, replaced by intense fear. She pushed him away and tried to understand the pounding in her heart that made her want to break in half.
Bloom the weed of temptation.
He looked confused and shocked. Without a word, she turned and fled towards the Elmare Castle. 

About the Author:

Rhi was never a normal girl. Her life was an urban fantasy wrapped in a paranormal romance and served with a side of horror. To escape her everyday weirdness she began writing fantasy. She studied at U of Sedona and MIMT, obtaining a PhD in Metaphysical Science and Parapsychology. She’s married to a chef/comic book shop owner and she has a fondness for architecture. She frequents twitter and facebook, but if you really want to get to know her you should visit her site:

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