Monday, June 27, 2011

Writing Is…

I’m not sure where this meme began or if I’ve even done this right, but I’ve been tagged by @WookieStyle to write something that explains what Writing is to me. Here is my attempt at clearing that up. (Probably about as clear as a barrel of mud! LOL)

Writing is… my vent, my voice, my place to focus… my nightmare, my struggle, my inner angst… Where shall I begin and how shall I end?

All my life I’ve loved to write or do something, anything creative. As a child, I drew a lot. I’d sit in classes and draw some kick ass trucks and cars, as well as beautiful landscapes and houses. I loved colors too and enjoyed losing myself in coloring books. Through Jr. High and High School, I learned some typography and shading, so I made a lot of headlines.

Later, I became a homeschool teacher and began to teach our boys to read, write, do arithmetic, etc. I realized then that I would need to teach them to write various forms of poetry, literature, and reports as they grew up. I gave them a project to write a story through the whole school year, each day writing a little more to go in their stories. They easily wrote out a chapter a day, which really consisted of one page or so for their ages… but by the end of the year, they realized they created a creative story with their own world on the page. Their stories were mostly of aliens from other planets. My boys love to tell stories, so I turned their energies of telling them to writing them.

A few years after starting our homeschool, my husband lost his job and spent months trying to find more work. I had been learning how to write HTML code for building websites and was getting good at the basics. It was another means for me to create and I loved it. So, I decided that I would trade my skill for karate lessons to help the instructor with his website. I found that I loved creating websites and using the Internet as a way of showing off my art. Soon, my business began to bloom and I was working my butt off building websites. All of a sudden, I’m not enjoying it as much because the creativity part was less a part of the website, and the mechanics and technical parts became more of a necessity.

About three years ago, I stepped into Twitter and blog writing. I started reviewing books I’d read and movies I’d seen, thinking nothing of my writing ability but received feedback from followers on how well I wrote. One day, a Twitter friend asked me to proofread her stories that she had written. In so doing, I began to wonder if I could benefit from writing.

At this point in time though, my creative venue was leaning more toward Photoshop. I had decided to revamp my blog and try to give it a new direction. I touched upon an idea for a banner that would really symbolize the theme of my blog. On this one particular day, I was in my shower, where all great ideas come to me, when this idea popped in my head. As I stood there thinking about how to create this banner in Photoshop, it became alive in my mind. (No, I hadn’t taken hallucinogens.) The characters began to talk and show emotion. I found that I could move around the image in my head and describe what I saw, smelled, and touched in my mind. I found that the main character in my head was talking to me and telling me her story. I sat for hours that day, typing out everything I saw and heard. I sent it over to one of my best friends and asked her to read it and give me her opinion. I was so afraid she’d laugh and tell me I should stop smokin’ whatever it was I was smoking, but she didn’t. She wrote back all excited, “Tell me more! I can’t wait!” The next day, the same thing happened and all I could do was write what flowed. I’ve been writing ever since.

Writing is my outlet to calm myself down, or explode and voice an opinion. It’s my way of venting my emotions when I’m having a tough day. It’s my way to escape. Writing is a way for me to create -- people, emotions, worlds, and much more. I love words! I love describing ideas and analogies so that your mind begins to see what’s in my mind.

Fumbling through my garage, I searched for a story that I started years ago. I thought, now that the juices were flowing perhaps I could finish it. I never found that story, but I found oodles of journals that I would buy, write in and then lose track of, only to buy another and do the same. Apparently, writing has always been my way of working things out. I would write what was in my head, to calm the proverbial voices, and then move on. Now, I am working at completing one of my many stories.

Next step… I just need the courage to publish!

Hmm, whom should I tag?







Sunday, June 26, 2011

“Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain,” by Portia de Rossi

Reading this book was a total skew from the genre of books I normally read. What brought me to read this book was more of a general interest in how the author, Portia de Rossi, overcame two very strong concepts in her upbringing that she had to learn to accept in her life.

Before I chose to read this book, I read reviews on the book itself. The reviews were either good or poor, nothing really in the middle. I chose to go by the reviews that gave a good light on this book and now that I’ve finished reading it, I’m glad I did.

Reading “Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain,” was touching, honest, & heart wrenching as we followed Ms. de Rossi’s life & her reasoning for the decisions made in her life. There are many people in the same place as Ms. de Rossi, choosing to live by society’s standards & not accepting how they were born. I am one who has had trouble accepting myself, perhaps not in the same way as Ms. de Rossi, yet just as painful. Reading this book helped me to look deep within myself and evaluate my choices. Many of my own choices were made based on my understanding of what was expected of me from family, friends, and my Christian beliefs. From simple decisions such as, how I vote to whom I accept into my social circles. As a child, and even into my adult years, I found ways to dislike myself and learned ways to be accepted. All it takes is just being you, nothing more and nothing less.

The book, “Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain,” was well written and made you feel as if you were in Ms. de Rossi’s shoes as she went through her life experiences. I appreciated how she shared her experiences, yet didn’t impose her life decisions on her readers. She spoke sensibly and straight to the point. She explained her confusion and her lack of acceptance very clearly. She also shared how love and support from friends and family helped to find her inner strength to succeed.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

“Lover Eternal” by J.R. Ward

Once finishing J.R. Ward’s first book, “Dark Lover,” I had to jump off into the next. “Lover Eternal” is book two in this series, Black Dagger Brotherhood.

As I stated in my review of “Dark Lover,” the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, written by J.R. Ward, is about an ancient order of warrior vampires who defend and protect their race from vampire slayers known as lessers. These lessers are de-souled humans, recruited by an evil supernatural being known as the Omega. There are six warriors in the Brotherhood who stand between the extinction of their vampire race and the Lessening Society.

In this series, the author creates a vampire race, which is separate from the human race. In fact, to be a vampire, one must be born with vampire DNA. Vampires are born like humans, looking like humans, acting like humans, and in some cases, unaware of the changes the must go through in their mid-twenties, when their bodies go through dangerous changes. Surviving this transition, they must drink the blood of vampires of their opposite sex to survive. Living as vampires, they can drink any blood, human or animal, but to stay strong and live healthy, they must consume the blood of their opposite gender.

In this book, “Lover Eternal,” J.R. Ward brings to life the brother “Rhage,” also known as “Hollywood” to his friends. Rhage is the brother/vampire with the biggest appetite and he seems to be the best fighter of all the brothers. He has a dark side that lives inside him. The Scribe Virgin (the vampiric goddess of sorts), casts a curse on him that is to last two hundred years, a curse that forces him to live his life not feeling love. Sex and violence are his only means to keep the beast within him under control. When Rhage loses control, everyone around him takes cover as his beast bursts out and consumes every thing in sight. One day, Mary comes into his life and Rhage finds that he is drawn to Mary.

Mary is a human who suffers from leukemia again. Through circumstances brought in with other characters connected with Mary’s life, she meets Rhage. He’s handsome, strong, and he’s interested in her. She knows this time she will most likely die from her affliction. So now, she wonders if her life will end happily.

Mary is brave on so many levels. She fights for her on life, gets mixed in with the vampire race because of a secondary storyline within this book, and learns to understand the beast in Rhage.

I loved this story very much and in some ways felt, I could relate to Rhage the most. His constant battle with his own demons and the lack of control of his beast seemed to connect with me in many ways. It seemed that the more he pursued Mary, the more capable he was able to cope with his beast.

This book was a definite page-turner! It was dark with moments of sadness, yet a romantic sensual love story. J.R. Ward cleverly weaves a secondary storyline that introduces the next book in the series.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

“Immortalis Carpe Noctem,” by Katie Salidas

Katie Salidas is, or I should say was, an unknown author to me. I have begun to follow numerous authors on twitter in the past months, but Ms. Salidas began to follow me first. I found her to be an excellent conversationalist, willing to chat at the drop of a, eh… tweet. She’s known on twitter as @QuixoticKatie… the name alone intrigued and caused me to watch her stream and what she posts.

Generally, new authors email me or tweet me to request that I read and review their books. Ms. Salidas never did this. She has promoted her books herself and with the affection that she whips up in her following. One day, I caught a random tweet where she was promoting, “Immortalis Carpe Noctem.” I browsed the link a couple of times, but honestly, I didn’t care for the cover. This is the truth. I did it… I judged a book by it’s cover!

I’m not sure exactly how the conversation came up but Ms. Salidas offered me a one time opportunity to download one of her books to read and review. I chose “Immortalis Carpe Noctem” because I really wanted to start the series at the beginning. Go figure.

I’m really hard on storylines. I have to tell myself that I have to read past the first couple of chapters, because quite honestly what I do is read the first chapter and if I’m not gripped in the storyline right there, I lay the book down and don’t pick it up again.

“Immortalis Carpe Noctem,” is written in first person and it is all the experiences of a young college aged woman who decides to walk home by herself in one of the roughest cities in America, Las Vegas. Of course, reading Alyssa’s point of view, she took us through her walk in the dark and introduced us first to her attackers who intended on raping, mugging, and killing her. They succeed at nearly killing her by stabbing her as she attempted to free herself. However, during her scuffle with her would be attackers, an ancient vampire named, Lysander, arrives just a little late to her rescue. Instead of taking her to a hospital to receive life saving skills from a doctor, he chooses instead to drain her further and then give her his blood thus turning her into a vampire.

At first, my thought was that this was just going to be another vampire love story. It wasn’t really. Actually, this author went one-step further. This whole story is Alyssa’s first hand experience of becoming a vampire and learning how to live as one in the twenty-first century. She has rules she must abide by, new senses to discover.

Ms Salidas kept with many, if not all, of vampire folklore. Her vampires can’t take sunlight, they live off of human blood, and of course they all have fangs.

So, what is my opinion of this story? I usually love any story that involves vampires. However, this story really didn’t have anything that different to it that would make me Oooh and Aah about it. There was no love triangle or for that matter a love affair. We do see Alyssa begin to fall for her maker, Lysander. They do have sex together… but aside from learning, what it would be like to experience vampirism first hand it was an okay start to a series. I am interested in reading the rest of the series. I feel there is great potential for Alyssa and this first book has laid a good foundation to springboard into the next book of a series. I would love to see what kind of a person Alyssa turns out to be.

This book was an awesome start to what I hope to be an excellent series. It definitely is worth the read. Let’s hit me with your next book, Ms Salidas.

You can find the link to Katie Salidas' web site in the left sidebar.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Press Release: "Forever Vampire" by Michele Hauf

Award-winner author Michele
Hauf introduces a new kind of vampire—one with an undying need for revenge…

Forever Vampire
Michele Hauf
ISBN: 978-0-373-77572-9
HQN mass market paperback
April 19, 2011

"Hauf delivers excitement, danger and romance in a
way only she can!" — #1 NYT bestselling author,
Sherrilyn Kenyon on Her Vampire Husband.
"Adventure, intrigue and a voice like no other—
Michele Hauf is a force to be reckoned with!" — USA
TODAY bestselling author, Emma Holly
"Vampires, shifters, and faeries—oh my! Michele Hauf
is a master of them all!" — NYT bestselling author,
Kerrelyn Sparks

Vail the Unwanted is a pure-blooded vampire. But raised in Faery, he has neither home nor peace, and when his aid is sought in the recovery of a priceless diamond gown, his price is information. Specifically the whereabouts of his accursed father. His goal is revenge, and the supernaturally sexy Lyric, the icy blond vampiress with whom he must work, is a distraction he can't afford.

Outwardly as cold as the diamond dress in which she was kidnapped, Lyric has her own secrets. Desperate to break free from her criminal family, she aligns herself with the brooding Vail. Together they seek justice while each secretly works for freedom and a fresh start. For Lyric that means, holding herself apart, even from the smoldering blue-eyed Vail. For Vail, it means a battle to the death for revenge—and for a temptress he can't deny.

Michele Hauf has been writing paranormal, historical and fantasy romance for over 20 years. Populated with vampires, angels, werewolves and more, her wickedly enchanting stories will appeal to today's paranormal readers. It's Twilight for big girls!

Reviewers, download an electronic review copy of FOREVER VAMPIRE at
Publicist: Megan Lorius
HQN Books
416-445-5860 (ext. 7189)


Friday, March 4, 2011

“Chosen” by P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast

Oh Man! This is a highly addictive series!

In this book, "Chosen," the heroine, fledgling vampyre, Zoey Redbird, finds that her friends have turned on her and she ends up turning to her sworn enemies for friendship. Her best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead and struggling with her humanity and Zoey doesn't have a clue how to help her. Now Zoey finds she's got three boyfriends, which can be a social disaster.

I was bothered by the fact that Zoey falls in love with her teacher and ends up having sex with him. I know this occasionally happens in real life and I know we don’t want to treat it like it should never be brought out of the closet. However, this is a YA (Young Adult) series. I do expect to read some language and sexual innuendo or perhaps tame sex scenes, but I don’t think things like this should be introduced as acceptable to our teens. The fact that she falls in love with just about every boy she makes contact with is grating, but it is a known fact with teens. Hormones are coursing through her veins.

Although I found a couple of points to take issue with in this series thus far, I did enjoy the overall story. The basic plot to the story focuses on a murder that happens on campus. This causes Zoey to move off campus where she attempts to save her best friend, Stevie Rae. Of course, Stevie Rae, now a red vampyre, seems to have lost her humanity, but Zoey can’t believe this to be true, and she makes it her goal to try to save her best friend.

Neferet is as evil as ever and we see what else she has to offer as she attempts to get rid of Zoey. I think out of all these characters, I truly love Aphrodite. She seems to put everything out there whether you want to hear it or not. Even in the most “Valley Girl,” “Rich Bitch” kind of way, Aphrodite holds no punches.

Again... a very addictive read! I couldn't and didn't put the book down until I was done!!

Now, if you have read the first two books of this series then this book is a must-read. However, if you are checking out the series as a mother or father of a teen who wants to read this, be cautioned there is adult content here… more than most other paranormal YA books.


“Betrayed” by P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast

After reading "Marked," there was only one thing I could do and that was to continue into the series by reading, "Betrayed."

Betrayed is the second installment in the House of Night series. It is dark and sexy, and was fantastic to read. It picks up where Marked left off.

Our heroine, Zoey Redbird, seems to be an anomaly among fledglings in the House of Night. She is the most powerful fledgling at the House of Night and quite possibly the most powerful in vampyre history. After taking over leadership of the Dark Daughters and Sons, she seems to be settling in nicely at the House of Night finishing school. She finally feels like she belongs. In this book, Zoey is determined to change things in the school, from a snobby elitist clique to something of substance, meaning. We begin to see Zoey feel comfortable in her own skin and she actually seems to mature a little.

Along with Zoey’s growing pains with learning to be the priestess that she seems to be training for, her love life seems to be a mess. She finds herself in love with two boys and one of her professors. Just when things begin to look up, trouble happens to the humans in her old life. They keep disappearing. Zoey must find the courage to face a betrayal that could break her heart and her soul.

Once I started to read this book, I couldn't put it down. It was obvious how hooked I had become. I like how the Cast’s are developing the characters and how they seem to get along with each other in this series. Each character is beginning to grow into what they believe is their path in life. Even though I really like Zoey, I think I like Aphrodite and Stevie Rae a little better. They seem to be the most open and straight forward what’s happening throughout the book.

I find it odd that the Cast’s did not proofread their books though. I’m seeing a number of grammatical errors throughout the story. I can only hope they will see this in their future installations.

If you enjoy vampire stories, this is a good one. However, it is not like your typical vampire story. I think that is why I thoroughly enjoyed it.

You can visit the Cast's website to learn more about their other books in this series.


Monday, February 28, 2011

“Amaury’s Hellion” by Tina Folsom

I finally found the time to read Tina Folsom’s book, “Amaury’s Hellion.” This book is the second installment to her Scanguards Vampires series. As I told Ms. Folsom after I had read her first book, “Samson’s Lovely Mortal,” I became fascinated with Amaury and really wanted to read more about him. When she told me that book two was all about him, I was ready to go.

Amaury LeSang is a vampire and part owner of Scanguards with his good friend Samson. He has a problem though. Amaury was cursed to feel everybody’s emotions. Now I used to think it would be really cool to be able to read another’s mind or, perhaps feel another’s emotions…but not at all like Amaury. His curse manifested in a constant migraine that could only be relieved through sex. At best, the sex would lift the pain only for about an hour. After that, he would get a rush of everyone’s emotions all over again and the migraine would resume.

As Scanguards is under the magnifying glass for murder/suicides allegedly caused by employees, Amaury, Samson, and the New York vampires put their wits together to figure out who-done-it. That is when Amaury meets the feisty human woman, Nina, who is out for vengeance for the death of her little brother. Of course, Nina’s blood boils for Amaury because she believes Amaury is the responsible one for her brother, Eddie’s death.

Amaury’s and Nina’s first meeting turns out to be more of surprise. Instead of killing Amaury as planned, Nina ends up kissing him. Of course, she’s trying to throw off his guard… and it does! Amaury realizes that in Nina’s presence, all his pain vanishes…and they haven’t had sex yet! With a cure seemingly within his reach, Amaury strives to hook up with Nina.

The story is an exciting love story with a touch of dom/sub flavor. Yes, Amaury doles out the spankings and Nina enjoys tying him up.

I must say that over all I loved this story. Amaury is a very caring vampire and loves Nina right off the bat and he’ll do anything to keep her safe. The story seemed well developed and easy to follow all the main characters. However, I did find some sections tended to go a little slow. Perhaps it was my desire to want more detail throughout the story. I would have loved to have read a little more of the dom/sub flavor.

Aside from my specific desires, and I know I’m tremendously finicky, Ms. Folsom has done another great job of carrying on the Scanguards Vampire series. I look forward to the third installation, “Gabriel’s Mate.”


Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Ninja's Creed" (Movie)

Tonight I watched a movie I wish I hadn't. I really should have read the reviews first before watching this movie. The title is very misleading. It is called, "Ninja's Creed" & is rated PG-13.

In the beginning, even though it was clearly a low budget movie, I found it enjoyable. So much so that I searched the Internet to find out what book it was based on so I could read it. The only tidbit I found was another name the story had, which was "Royal Kill." The producer should have kept that name, then it would have made a little more sense.

This movie was very convoluted. At first you follow the movie where a warrior is sanctioned by a dying king to protect one of his daughters who was shuffled off to America to be raised by an "American Guardian." The movie timeline takes leaps where you are not sure how to connect the dots. You see the warrior supposedly locating the "princess" but not shown how. It's as if magically he knew where to go. You are shown a cold callous assassin who seemingly has some sort of martial arts training or some kind of mystical upbringing. The assassin apparently finds this "princess" at the same time our warrior does which again you are not offered a means to know how she found her target.

The "princess" is a scared shitless young teenage girl who doesn't know anything of her past. She is drug into this fiasco, led to believe that she may in fact be a princess, and begins to trust the warrior. She does what he says and hides whilst he turns to end the battle with the would-be assassin who mysteriously appears everywhere the warrior and girl go.

A sword fight begins between warrior and assassin... or so you are lead to believe. When the warrior finally slays the assassin, this is the point where everything goes off into right field and you haven't a clue what's happening.

Somehow, the assassin's dead body disappears and mystically becomes the warrior. There is some kind of magical osmosis that occurs binding the two into one thus apparently joining good with evil. Because this teen girl now trusts this warrior, she chooses not to run away. Stupid girl. Now the warrior turns on the girl (because the assassin is now inside the warrior) and he attacks and kills the girl.

Throughout the rest of this movie, you see the warrior struggle to only realize that he is just so joe who leads a boring life as a guard at a museum. Toward the end all I could understand was this man was no warrior at all but a psychopath who builds himself up to be something more than what he is, then looks for some teenage girl to live out his fantasy only to end up killing everyone around.

The music throughout the movie seemed more than it needed to be too. In fact, the music seemed too much for the whole movie. It gives the feeling that something big was going to happen and then nothing does.

This was really a stupid movie and a waste of 90 minutes that I will never get back. Why did I reserve this peace of garbage?