Book Review: We Can’t Be Friends: A True Story by Cyndy Drew Etler #BookReview #AuthorInterview #NGEW2018

We Can’t Be Friends: A True Story

by Cyndy Drew Etler

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From Goodreads:

For the readers of GO ASK ALICE, TWEAK, and DEAR NOBODY, Etler details her turbulent readjustment to life at home and high school after spending sixteen months in Straight, Inc. Advertised as a rehab program for troubled teens, in reality, Straight subjected Cyndy and her fellow Straightlings to cultlike brainwashing and bizarre “treatment” methods. Continue reading “Book Review: We Can’t Be Friends: A True Story by Cyndy Drew Etler #BookReview #AuthorInterview #NGEW2018”

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan | Book Review | Author Interview | Signed Giveaway Including a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! #HistFic #BookReview #Giveaway #Fiction

HiIn the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

by Michael A. McLellan

From Goodreads:

In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history.

Continue reading “In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan | Book Review | Author Interview | Signed Giveaway Including a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! #HistFic #BookReview #Giveaway #Fiction”

N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration – Book Review and Author Interview + Giveaway!

I had the pleasure of reading N.N. Light’s new book N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration recently. You can read my thoughts on the book and see an interview with the authors below.

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N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration

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Blurb: “Spread the Light and inspire others to do the same.” — N. N. Light

In 2013, we wrote a mission statement and started the Princess of the Light (POTL) blog. We wanted to test a theory. Could one person (or in our case, one couple) use uplifting words to create change?

The answer is a resounding yes! People from all over the world responded to our short inspirational thoughts of the day, and our following grew. What started out as a few people promoting kindness and goodwill turned into a movement. In every city, there are Light-Bearers making a difference and we want you to join us.

Everyone needs inspiration. It doesn’t matter what spiritual belief you hold dear, you have the Light inside you. Kindness, compassion, empathy, encouragement are all attributes of the Light. In this book, you’ll find a ninety second inspirational thought for each day of the year. You’ll be inspiring people to spread the Light daily with our collection of inspirational thoughts. From giving of yourself to simply smiling, these are easy concepts for anyone to apply!

My Thoughts:

I already follow the authors’ blog Princess of the Light and enjoy the inspirational messages they have to share, so picking up this book to read was a no-brainer. I actually read this book along with another book I’m still reading titled, Think Forward to Thrive and it was a perfect combination. Both books are enlightening and have helped me realize that I have more work to do in my life. It’s far too easy to let the negative thoughts creep in and what I learned is that you are the one who’s in control of how things effect you. You don’t have to waste time with negative thoughts unless you choose to. You don’t have to accept what others say to you as truth. Choose to be happy and seek the truth. You can do anything you put your mind to! Also, why wait for Thanksgiving to have gratitude? Have it every single day! These are the positive messages I want to concentrate on in 2018.

This book essentially reminds me of an inspirational calendar I once had, but it’s so much more. Each daily quote is written along with an experience or story from the authors’ life journeys and I was astonished with how many of the stories applied to myself as if this was my own personal guide. Some of my favorite parts in the book referenced the author’s grandfather which prompted me to think of my own grandfather and the lessons he taught me in life. The inspirational quotes can be a tool to help all people live their best lives in 2018 and beyond. I plan to reread this throughout the year for daily inspiration myself.

Something I plan to do every morning when I wake up this year is to think of something I’m grateful for, whether it be the healthy food I have to eat or the hot shower I take for granite. There are so many things to be thankful for in life and I want to remind myself and my family of these everyday.

Overall, I loved it and I’d recommend it to anyone. Of course, we can all use a little inspiration!

5*****


Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon:

  • Paperback: 546 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (October 31, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1973171589
  • ISBN-13: 978-1973171584

Author Interview with N.N. Light

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Q: Can you tell readers something interesting about yourself?

A: We’re a husband-wife writing team and we’re huge sports fans. We’ve been big NFL fans since 1985 and we cheer for rival teams. Mr. N roots for the Chicago Bears and Mrs. N is a huge Minnesota Vikings fan. Our teams face each other twice a year and we can get quite competitive. We’ve been known to place a few fun side bets on the game. No money exchanges hands but there’s stakes on the line. *wink*

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Q: Did you enjoy reading as a child? What are some of your childhood favorites?

A: Yes, we were voracious readers as children. While Mr. N was all about adventure, horror and war battles, Mrs. N devoured any fantasy book she could get her hands on. Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, we read a lot in school and lived at the library. Books were an escape and still are.

Here are some of Mrs. N’s favorites:

George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater

 

Q: Do you enjoy reading now? Who are some of your favorite authors?

A: Yes, books are a huge part of our lives and the focus of our business. We’re literary matchmaker; we couple up readers with outstanding books. We read a variety of genres and have a hard time picking our favorite authors.

 

Q: What have you written so far?

A: N.N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration is our fifth published work. We’ve written contemporary romance, young adult paranormal, paranormal romance and love poetry. We don’t write in just one genre but write stories that are meant to inspire and uplift.

 

Q: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?

A: Mr. N is a retired chef and is a numismatist for one of the largest coin dealers in Canada. His primary duties include appraising and grading historical coins from around the world.

Mrs. N, after being in the book business for more than twenty years, switched careers and is a social media marketer by trade.

Together, we own and operate a very successful family-run PR firm specializing in books and authors.

 

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A: We love the freedom in expressing our thoughts and our characters’ personal stories in book form for anyone to read.

 

Q: How do you publish and market your books?

A: We self-publish and are proud to do so. It allows us to have complete artistic control, which is stressful sometimes, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We hire professionals for editing, formatting and book cover design but we get the final say on what the end product becomes.

As for marketing, we do the same things we do for our clients. We create buzz and get our name out there. We have a solid reach and our followers love what we write.

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Q: Do you have any advice for others on publishing and marketing?

A: It’s tough being an author and publishing books. It takes a lot of hard work and patience. Yes, patience. Success doesn’t happen overnight, contrary to popular belief. It’s a marathon not a sprint.

Publishing Tip – Make sure the book you publish is as perfect as you can make it. It’s your one chance to grab a reader and if it’s riddled with mistakes and/or has a cheap-looking cover, they’ll never come back. Stake your reputation on everything you publish, and you’ll be fine.

Marketing Tip – Be consistent. Whether it’s on social media or your blog, keep at it. Studies show that a customer needs to see an advertisement eight times before it registers in their brain they need to have it. Why do you think there’s so many fast food commercials on television? They’ve embraced this idea and you should too. Remember, be creative in your advertisements and you’ll get noticed.

 

Q: How much research did you do for this book and how long did it take you to write it?

A: This book was four years in the making. Back in 2013, Mrs. N started writing inspirational thoughts. We never imagined how it would take off and last year, we decided to publish a year’s worth of motivation. So, we combed through all the thoughts and chose only the best ones for this book. The compiling itself took six months, the editing another three months and here it is.

 

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Q: If you could give your readers one piece of inspirational advice about life, what would it be?

A: Spread the Light. Each of us, no matter what we believe, have the Light inside us. We’re all bearers of the Light and have the potential to make a difference. Through kindness, love, understanding and exuding positivity, we can inspire others to do the same.

 

Q: How do you feel about e-books?

A: I used to hate them. I love the feel and even the smell of books, but I need e-books to run our business, so I’ve accepted them.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite quote?

…Writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done—so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway on Writing

Continue reading “N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration – Book Review and Author Interview + Giveaway!”

Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy – Book Review & Author Interview!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! We are reading all of our favorite Christmas books and introducing some new ones as well. We had the pleasure of reading Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy over the last few days and I have our official review for you and an interview with the author as well!

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Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy

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Blurb:

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license, just like his hero, Vixen.
In this first exciting chapter in the ‘Ronaldo’ series, our hero is faced with his toughest flying test ever – The Endurance Challenge!
Can Ronaldo triumph over mean bully, Dasher, and win the ‘Golden Wings’ medal? Spurred on by Rudi, his quirky, loyal best friend and with a belly full of his favourite carrot pancakes, Ronaldo takes on the challenge of his life!

My Thoughts:

This is the first book of three in the ‘Reindeer flying Academy’ series. I read this with my children in one sitting and we all enjoyed it very much.

Ronaldo is a reindeer who dreams of being just like his hero Vixen–part of the North Pole Reindeer Team. Only the best reindeer will be chosen by Santa for the team. When it comes time for the Endurance Challenge during Saturday’s Flying School, Ronaldo dreams to win. He remembers his grandad’s advice,

“Don’t just think it! Imagine! See it, feel it, believe it!”

Will Ronaldo win the challenge and receive the Golden Wings?

Ronaldo has strong family support and a best friend named Rudi who became one of four favorite characters. Everyone could use a friend like Rudi! Ronaldo is nearly reluctant to heed his families advice at times, but may learn that they’re smarter than he thinks!

I thought this book was very inspiring and appreciated all the important lessons that influence young readers about standing up for yourself, trusting your loved ones, following your dreams, and believing in yourself. The story is well written, cute, and comical. The illustrations are perfect and offer breaks in the reading. When paired with the short chapters, this makes it an easy read for early chapter book readers.

Overall, I personally found this to be an encouraging book for all ages that my children adored. We’re looking forward to reading the other two books including the full-color illustrated edition. 4****

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  • Print Length: 109 pages
  • Publisher: Maxine Sylvester; 1 edition (December 16, 2015)
  • Publication Date: December 16, 2015
  • Ages: 5-10
  • Grades: 2-5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read this book for free!


 

Author Interview with Maxine Sylvester

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Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A: I wrote my first book in the Ronaldo series, The Reindeer Flying Academy, three years ago. I followed up with The Phantom Carrot Snatcher one year later, and self-published Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza a few months ago. Some reviewers for the first book commented that they would have preferred colour illustrations. I liked the suggestion so recently published a second edition of The Reindeer Flying Academy in glorious colour. I think children will love the colour illustrations. The book is a perfect Christmas read.

(Click the covers to find these on Amazon)

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Q: What made you decide to write children’s books?

A: I’m still a child myself! I get as excited as a five-year-old every time a new Disney film comes out. My illustrations are inspired by animation. My niece says I am in touch with my inner child. I think it’s an advantage as I naturally write for children.

Q: What are some of your favorite childhood books? (or one favorite)

A: My first reading books were Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, and Paddington by Michael Bond. As I grew up I read anything by Enid Blyton, The Famous Five and Secret Seven books. I also loved The Railway Children by E. Nesbitt.

Q: What influenced you to write Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy, and are any of your books influenced by your childhood?

A: I have to admit, I stole an idea from A.A. Milne! He wrote about the toys in Christopher Robin’s playroom. I wanted a reason to illustrate so decided to write a short story. I looked around my bedroom, and my favourite toy was a plush reindeer. I took it from there. Some incidents in the book were inspired by my childhood. Ronaldo has a different name to all the other reindeer and gets teased because of it. I was teased about my name. He also has to wear a hideous hat. I had one of those as well. Furry and with pom poms!

Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

A: I have written three Ronaldo adventures, but there are four books. Two editions of The Reindeer Flying Academy are available, one has colour illustrations, the other has black and white.

I think my favourite book is the last one, Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza. The characters are well-developed now, and I had a lot of fun with them. The book still makes me laugh even though I know what’s going to happen. I also have a soft spot for the ending of The Reindeer Flying Academy.

Q: What do you think makes a great children’s book?

A: I think values should be in there, but it’s important not to preach. Children are smart; you never want to talk down to them. I try to get a message across in a fun way. Ronaldo is a good role model for children. He’s kind, conscientious and brave, but never boring. He also has to overcome adversity and I think it’s good for children to see how he handles things. Needless to say, the stories need to be entertaining with lots of laughs and fun illustrations. The Ronaldo books have heart and I hope that children feel they are picking up a friend in a Ronaldo book. You never know what is going on in a child’s life, and books can provide comfort and inspiration.

Q: Do you create all of your own illustrations?

A: Yes, they take longer than the actual writing of the story. I trained in “cartoon art’ and was mentored by British cartoonist/, caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. I did further studies in children’s book illustration with talented artist/illustrator, Jan Nesbitt.

Q: What’s the publishing process been like for you and how do you market your books?

A: As a self-published author on Amazon, it was quite easy; especially as my partner Mark does most of the technical stuff! I am hopeless. He say’s Facebook and Twitter are great tools for reaching people. We have had varying success with promotions. A lot of it is trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Q: Do you like to read a lot? If so, who are some of your favorite authors and are there any that heavily influence your writing?

A: I read every night before going to sleep. I read all sorts! I’ve read all of Sidney Sheldon’s books and most of Lee Childs, Jack Reacher series. If ever I feel anxious or wracked with self-doubt, I read Dr. Wayne Dyer. His gentle words always encourage me. I think he’s a must for anyone in this industry!

I loved the Harry Potter books; they were like picking up old friends. I have so much respect for J.K. Rowling. The whole world waited with baited breath for her books and she never disappointed.

I am a total Disney geek and have just finished a book on Walt Disney. What a visionary! Walt Disney has always been my biggest inspiration. I think my stories come from a lifetime of watching Disney movies.

Q: Are you working on anything now and do you have any future projects planned?

A: I have just started writing the fourth book in the Ronaldo series – The Vixen Pederson Workshop. It will be ready by Christmas 2018.

Q: Can we expect more books in this children’s series?

A: Absolutely. I find as one book evolves, ideas for another book come to the surface. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is limitless!”

I’d like to thank Maxine Sylvester for participating in this interview.

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Continue reading “Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy – Book Review & Author Interview!”

Blog Tour: Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney – Book Review & Author Interview

I had the pleasure of reading James J. Cudney’s debut novel Watching Glass Shatter last week and what a treat it was! You can read my review of the book below and also check out my interview with this incredible author. You’ll learn more about James J. Cudney as a reader and writer as we discuss the book and also his plans for the future.

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I’ve come to know James through our blog communications and he quickly became an inspiration to me. I follow his blog @ thisismytruthnow and enjoy every post I read from his book reviews to the 365-day challenges. He’s a wonderful writer and I was so excited to learn that he was publishing his first novel. It seems to have happened so quickly and I’m ecstatic to be part of the blog tour! I hope you’ll enjoy reading this post about his new book.

Watching Glass Shatter

by James J. Cudney

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Blurb: The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family.

My Review:

Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney is one of the best books I’ve read in 2017. It’s a debut novel about a family with secrets. These secrets have the potential to tear the family apart.

The matriarch of the family is Olivia. Her husband Ben, the patriarch, has just died unexpectedly and she is left with their five grown sons, their families, and her sister Diane. She’s also left with a secret from Ben regarding one of their sons. Olivia decides to take some time to spend which each of the boys and in doing so, she discovers that each and every one of them has their own little secrets they’ve been hiding.

I was sucked into this story as soon as I started reading it. A worry that I had was that with all the characters in the book, I would get confused and lost because each of the sons have their own family members as well, but not once did I have an issue with it. The characters are so well detailed and described. After reading about each one, I felt that I knew this family and they all felt so realistic to me. I think overall my favorite character was Diane, but as the story moved on, it became Olivia. In the beginning, I almost couldn’t stand Olivia, but she begins to change. As she discovers so many new things about her sons and their spouses, she starts to realize that she’s too much of a control freak and needs to let people make their own decisions. I loved this transformation, although it may not have been complete, she becomes more understanding, more kind, and less judgmental which I admired. The boys…where can I start? Each one is unique in their own way. I loved all of them, but my favorite son was Ethan. I had issues with Zach and a certain situation between him, Teddy and his wife, but it came together in the end which was unexpected. I couldn’t wait to find out whether the Glass family would heal or simply fall apart. I was literally astonished by this book because it has many twists and turns. You just won’t know unless you read it from beginning to end.

I enjoyed the writing and the plot was unique to me. I thought the book was put together perfectly. Readers know that it takes more than just a good writer to offer a great book and everyone has their own opinions on this. Some say they need to be captivated and that the characters need good development. Others say they really want to ‘think’ or be taken on an adventure, but a good book to me is one that makes you feel, and this book did that for me. I had a myriad of emotions. I laughed, cried, jumped for joy, and got angry at times throughout the book. It’s truly heart-wrenching at times! I can’t remember the last time I was this emotionally involved with characters. It’s definitely been a while!

As far as the end, I liked it, but I expected something different. I wasn’t sure if I was happy with Olivia’s choices, or Rowena’s choice for that matter, but it turned out that I was pleased with it.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’d recommend this book to anyone. What a ride. I can’t wait for the next book! Every star for Watching Glass Shatter!

5 Sterne

 


You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 24, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1978233434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1978233430

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Continue reading “Blog Tour: Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney – Book Review & Author Interview”

The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller – Author Interview + Book Review

Recently I read The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller. You can read my book review and the interview I did with the author below.

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The White Raven

by Carrie D. Miller

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Blurb: In her thirteenth life, Aven has settled into the now witchcraft-friendly Salem where she has found true happiness and friendship, maybe even love. Despite her contentment, the truth of Aven’s existence haunts her. When she dies, her Spirit is forced from the Veil to live again in the body of a stranger.

Does the elusive white raven, who has shadowed Aven through each of her lives, hold the secret to her release–or is it the cause?

To make matters worse, an unrelenting, twisted evil from Aven’s past lurks closely behind her. Sustained by his hatred of the witch, he won’t give up until she’s paid for what she did to him.

When the truth of Aven’s connection to the white raven is revealed, it is more horrifying than she could ever have imagined.

Her freedom will come at a terrible price. And even then, will she truly be free?

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: FiveFold Press; First edition (April 28, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1947024019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1947024014

My Review:

Aven is living the happiest life she’s ever had, and she’s had twelve others before. She lives with memories from her past lives and unfortunately her deaths too, including the remembrance of her murderer-Morris Stiles.

“This is the happiest I’ve ever been. I have been through so much pain and suffering in my previous lives, but here I feel like I’ve finally found a place where I belong and can thrive. When the recurring dread and despair that this life will end too soon creep into my mind, I pack them back down tightly. I’ve set aside all thoughts of my curse for now. I will make this a good life.”

Aven’s been cursed to continue living on Earth no matter how many times she dies. In this life, she’s settled down in Salem and owns a little shop where she does readings and sells magickal items. She has Jo- her very close and supportive friend who accepts her for who she is and has true power herself, Cal- a man who’s just come into the picture and might be just what Aven needs, and the white raven- who seems to follow her wherever she goes, but she cannot see it.

“He’s always around you, you know,” she says absently, looking off behind me again. “I know.” I don’t turn around; he won’t be there. “But he never shows himself. This has been going on for several lifetimes. I think almost all of them.” I can’t remember a time when the bird wasn’t there.”

Everything seems to be perfect until suddenly something haunts Aven from her past. Will she overcome it? How will she ever break this curse of living over and over again?

This book is written well and I thought the character development was perfect. The characters are memorable and I must say, Aven ended up being my favorite character in the book. She’s so strong-minded and doesn’t let anything stop her from using her magick. She has a strong and important message to be who YOU want to be. I loved Maggie – her canine companion, Jo, and Sylvia as well. I cherished all the details, descriptions and imagery that really pull you in and make you feel like you’re living the story. The author managed to add a little bit of everything here–romance, magick, jealousy, friendship, evil, and love. This is the perfect book to read this time of year, especially with all the magick and Halloween elements. I’m hopeful there’s going to be a sequel and I’ll definitely be reading it if there is!

5 Sterne

You can find The White Raven on Goodreads and Amazon

 


 

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Q&A With Carrie D. Miller

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Can you tell readers something interesting about yourself?

Many people have commented on how authentic the magick feels in The White Raven. Well, truth be told, that’s because I really am a witch. 🙂

Have you always wanted to be an author?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a published author.

Did you enjoy reading as a child? What are some of your childhood favorites?

I loved to read. And before I could read, I loved my mother reading to me before I went to sleep.

My favorite as a kid was C.S. Lewis. I read the Chronicles of Narnia over and over.

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Do you enjoy reading now? Who are some of your favorite authors?

I still love to read. Some of my favorites are James Rollins, the Preston & Child writing duo, and Marie Brennan.

Are there any authors that have inspired your writing?

My tastes change all the time and I take away a little something from every author I read. Who has affected me more recently is Paula Brackston (The Silver Witch, The Witch’s Daughter). Her writing style is like a song in my head.

What have you written so far?

I’ve written many stories over the decades but only completed and published one, The White Raven.

What are some of your writing tactics? Do you outline?

I am a planner! I outline, research, and spreadsheet or diagram as much as I can about the story. I create character dossiers, also. The outline for TWR was 18 pages. I don’t treat the outline as gospel, though. I use it mostly as a guideline. If my writing veers off in other directions, I go with it. I scraped many pages of TWR’s outline because I loved the different directions it went.

Do you do all your own editing?

While I do revise and edit as much as I can, I know what my limitations are. I hire professionals for that kind of stuff.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do? 

A year and a half ago, I quit my ‘day job’ to become a full-time writer. I was a vice president of a software company, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I decided that it was time to take the leap, to take a shot at the dream I’ve had since I was a kid. I have zero regrets.

What do you love most about writing?

I love seeing the story build and grow. I love seeing the characters come alive, watching their unique personalities and behaviors take shape. I love the tingling feeling, the excitement flitting around in my chest as an amazing scene flies out of my fingers.

How do you publish and market your books?

I decided early on that I would self-publish. I am a bit of a control freak, so it made sense for me to go that route in the beginning. I initially published exclusively on Amazon, but in July I expanded to everywhere else – Nook, iTunes, Kobo, etc. I’m running ads on Amazon and Kobo right now.

Do you have any advice for others on publishing and marketing?

One word: RESEARCH. Don’t just do things blindly. Don’t wing it. Research, research,
research. Follow and observe what other authors are doing, read articles on best practices and the mistakes made by others, and ask questions. That will save you heartache, headaches, and embarrassment in the future. And for heaven’s sake, don’t create your own book cover or rely on only your own editing skills. Hire professionals!

What do you consider literary success?

I have discovered that my definition of literary success has a few levels. My initial success was that I actually published a book! Now that people are buying it and giving it great reviews, that’s a whole new level of success to me. The way that feels in my heart, knowing that people are sitting down on their couches or curled up in their beds with my book in their hands, giving me their precious time, gives me such a feeling of success that I couldn’t have imagined before. My next success will be when I can make my car payment without having to dip into my savings. 😀

What made you decide to write this book?

The creation of this book sprang out of frustration. At the time, years ago, I couldn’t find any books featuring witches that weren’t annoyingly cliche or that didn’t perpetuate the Hollywood or Christian stereotype. I wanted to write the kind of book that I wanted to read. Since then, I’ve discovered several authors that pen wonderful stories featuring witches and magick that I just love, so I’m very happy with the shift that’s taken place over the years.

Can you tell us about the covers for The White Raven and who designed them?

The original book cover was designed by an artist, Helen Lloyd (http://www.helenlloyd.com), from England who specializes in animals. I had seen an amazing pencil drawing of a crow and knew she would be the one to bring Ren to life. I kept the original cover for about 3 months.

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After doing some more research on how book covers should be done, I decided to go a different route with it. The new design was done by Damonza (http://www.damonza.com) and I’m thrilled with it.

Are you working on anything now and what are your future writing plans?

I’m 23k words into a story involving copper pennies, dead criminals, a bad guy wanting to do bad things involving demons, an old woman’s spirit held in a cracked crystal ball, and twin red-headed sisters who know nothing about magick but have to stop the bad guy from doing bad things with his own spell book they can’t read. It’s set mostly in modern-day Prague and Boston but will venture back into the 1930s. I foresee these sisters becoming a series. Two or three books, I think.

Do you think your writing will remain in the fantasy genre?

Probably but I do have a science fiction idea in my head. Maybe one day I’ll resurrect the high fantasy I started 15+ years ago. I even created a world map. It’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

Is Halloween a special time for you and an inspiration for writing this magickal book with Halloween elements?

I absolutely love Halloween. Not just because it’s my birthday either. If I could dress in costume all the time and have my home decorated for Halloween all year long and not be looked at like a crazy person, I would totally do it.

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Do you have a special connection with Salem or have you visited there?

I’ve visited it twice. Once because I was in Boston on business and the second time as research for the book.

How much research did you do for The White Raven and how long did it take you to write it?

As they say, write what you know! I didn’t do that much research for the witchcraft aspects of the book. I am a witch myself, so I knew much of this already. I needed help from my sisters in the Craft when it came to the past life rituals, of which I knew nothing, and the selection of a stone to shield energy. And I’m not very good with auras so I researched online what colors are associated with deep negative emotions. Although I had been to Salem before, I went back there to specifically research the area for the book. All-in-all, it took me about 3 months to write the whole thing, minus the few chapters I’d written over the years, which got mostly rewritten.

Is there a book trailer for The White Raven or do you intend on making one?

I’ve considered it but no, it’s not in my plan. It’s a costly endeavor, especially since I want movie-quality awesomeness.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

The hardest part by far to write was the first sex scene, no pun intended. I ended up having to google how to do it! How much detail do I go into? How far do I go? What euphemisms do I use without sounding corny? I think that first one was rewritten three or four times, thanks to the help of my editor.

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I loved the ending and have to ask, will there be a sequel to The White Raven and when can we expect it?

There will absolutely be a sequel. I hope to get it out sometime in late 2018.

Was anything edited out and did you have alternate endings for the book?

Honestly, I had the ending written years ago. I never had any other thoughts on how else it could end. It simply had to end like it did. As for what was edited out, the original manuscript was over 115k words. The final was about 107k. With the guidance of my amazing editor, she helped me streamline scenes and cull bits that did nothing to move the story along or build out a character.

If The White Raven were adapted into a movie, who would you see playing the main characters?

I see Eva Green as Aven, maybe even Kate Beckinsale or Charlize Theron.

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Eva Green

 

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Kate Beckinsale

 

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Charlize Theron

Cal is absolutely Viggo Mortensen.

 

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Viggo Mortensen

Continue reading “The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller – Author Interview + Book Review”

Q&A with Lew Watts – Author of Marcel Malone – Book Review – SIGNED PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY

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I’ve had Marcel Malone on my TBR list since the beginning of the year and finally read it this past week. In addition to reviewing below, you can read my Q&A with author Lew Watts and learn a little more about him.

Marcel Malone by Lew Watts

31298354Blurb: Dr Vera Lewis has a difficult but intriguing patient, Marcel, whose symptoms result from multiple levels of rejection—from family, colleagues, relationships, and those journals that receive his poetry submissions. Desperate to achieve a breakthrough, Vera prescribes a very unusual treatment that begins to desensitize Marcel to rejection, albeit with unexpected side-effects. It is only when Vera brings poetry into their therapy sessions that Marcel begins to reveal his deeper problems, and is able to confront the demons of his past. As for Vera, she has her own problems…
Set mostly in Washington, DC, Marcel Malone is a story of how the love of poetry can lead to personal transformation.

 

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Red Mountain Press (October 23, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0997310227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0997310221

 

You can find this book on:

Goodreads | Amazon

 

My review

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book. Marcel Malone is a first novel for Lew Watts and one that is definitely unique.

Vera and Raymond are a married couple living in DC. Vera is a psychiatrist who lacks attention from her husband as he places more importance on his job as a lobbyist. Raymond worries about his reputation more than anything and lacks the ability to pick up on Vera’s needs.

The focus in the story is mainly Vera and her life with her patients. A particular patient that she becomes almost dependent on is Marcel. Marcel enjoys reading and writing poetry which is something he and Vera have in common. They share their thoughts with each other and Vera looks forward to these conversations. The result of this relationship and Vera’s own curiosity results in a story with interlaced poetry which I thought was unique, and the poetry just might be what they both need to unleash the past.

“Near this rose, in this grove of sun-parched, wind-warped madronas,
Among the half-dead trees, I came upon the true ease of myself,
As if another man appeared out of the depths of my being,
And I stood outside myself,” lines from The Rose by Theodore Roethke

As Vera learns more about Marcel, she learns that he’s had a hard time with rejection in the past and Vera prescribes a new experiment of paradoxical intervention and journal writing to see if it might help him as a sort of “rejection therapy.” This becomes comical at times, but the outcome she receives from this is unexpected and Vera finds that her own demons and life choices need to be addressed.

The story kept me interested enough to finish it and the ending was quite emotional for me. There were a few times where I became bored with the story as there wasn’t a lot of excitement, but then something would happen or a mystery would be introduced which would yank me right back in again. I’ve always enjoyed poetry, especially Haiku, and I think that anyone who has an appreciation for it will enjoy this book. Even those that don’t particularly care for poetry will more than likely enjoy it. I have a goodly amount of authors and books to add to my list now after reading it and I’d like to thank the author for sharing a complimentary copy of this book with me.

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Continue reading “Q&A with Lew Watts – Author of Marcel Malone – Book Review – SIGNED PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY”

Q&A with Author Nicholas Kotar & My Book Review for The Song of the Sirin + Signed Paperback GIVEAWAY!

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Last week while on Goodreads I happened to see a blog post by Nicholas Kotar regarding his new book release The Song of the Sirin. I read the blurb and decided to dive right in. After reading I was able to ask Nicholas Kotar some questions about his new book, being an author, and what he’s doing now. You can see my book review for The Song of the Sirin, and the Q&A with Nicholas Kotar below.

You can enter the giveaway for a free SIGNED copy of The Song of the Sirin at the bottom of the page.

 

35479763 Blurb: An evil omen clouds the sky. A song of lore returns. Can one man’s quest save the world?

Voran can’t help but believe the rumors. As blight ravages the countryside and darkness covers the sun, the young warrior of Vasyllia hears of an ancient spirit that devours souls. He feels powerless to fight the oncoming devastation until a mythical creature entrusts him with a long-forgotten song. Legend has it that such a song can heal the masses, overthrow kingdoms, and raise humans to divine beings…

Armed with the memory of the song, Voran must hunt down a dark spirit before it achieves its goal of immortality. His quest takes him through doorways to other worlds and puts him on a collision course with seductive nymphs and riddling giants. With each step of the journey, the strength of the villainous spirit grows, as does Voran’s fear that the only way to save his world… is to let it be destroyed.

The Song of the Sirin is an epic fantasy retelling of the Russian fairy tale Prince Ivan and the Grey Wolf.

  • Series: Raven Son (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Waystone Press (June 26, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0998847909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0998847900

 

My review

 

*This review may contain a few very mild spoilers*

Fantasy isn’t one of my favorite genres and when it comes to epic fantasy’s like The Song of the Sirin, it takes me extra time to read it along with some concentration. After reading the blurb for this one and finding out that it was inspired by a Russian fairy tale, I couldn’t resist. I rushed to Amazon and picked it up at sale price. I believe it was an exceptional reading choice for me.

The story begins with Voran and Lebía, a brother and sister living  in Vasyllia. Their father Otchigen and mother Aglaia have vanished and no one knows where they are. Some say Otchigen vanished after killing many people and stories abound claim him to have beaten his wife Aglaia. Voran doesn’t know what to believe, but he trusts in his heart that his father didn’t commit these crimes. He meets a pilgrim in the wilderness and discovers that everything may not be how it seems.

“You surprise me, young Voran,” said the Pilgrim. “How quickly you pierce to the heart of things. Whatever happens, my falcon, do not forget this. Vasyllia is everything. You must never let Vasyllia fall. She is everything.”

Voran begins to realize that Vasyllia is on the brink of destruction and he’s told that he must locate Living Water to save Vasyllia. At this point, everyone in Vasyllia and the outer lands is in danger. The Covenant Tree is fading, the Sirin sings for Voran, and the adventure unfolds…

There’s so much going on in the story and I was thoroughly surprised throughout the entire book. Even with each chapter having an excerpt from other tales, there was no way I could predict what was ahead. Every chapter had something new happening with separate plots taking place. New characters and events come into the story and they literally leave you aghast. The plot and the characters were so complex with a few of my favorites being Voran, Tarin, and Leshaya. Nicholas Kotar writes beautifully and his writing is very detailed and descriptive. With that said,  I have to admit that there were times when I found the reading to be a tad difficult. I ended up with 235 notes and highlights by the time I was done. This may not be a book that you sail through quickly, but it’s very enjoyable to take the time and relish in the beautiful prose.

Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. This epic fantasy has a lot of what fantasy readers expect including shapeshifters, giants, wolf-like monsters, weird creatures, good and evil, magic, and mystery. The ending was heartwarming for me which was not expected with the events that were taking place throughout the book. I’m definitely going to recommend this one and I’m looking forward the other installments.

Anyone who enjoys fantasy will love this book. 4.5*****

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

Continue for the Q&A and Giveaway!

Continue reading “Q&A with Author Nicholas Kotar & My Book Review for The Song of the Sirin + Signed Paperback GIVEAWAY!”

Q&A with Justin Roberts – Author of The Policewoman

 

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I read The Policewoman this past May after reading a few reviews on Goodreads. People had good things to say about and it sounded like a unique story. I noticed that The Policewoman was even on Amazon’s Best-Seller list for awhile as you can see below. I gave it a go and was very pleased with the story. I originally did a post in May with my review, but after speaking with Justin Roberts, I thought it would be nice to learn a little more about him and share it with readers. You can see my review below, what a few other Goodread’s friends are saying about the book, and a Q&A with Justin Roberts.

 

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Continue reading “Q&A with Justin Roberts – Author of The Policewoman”