Thursday, December 25, 2008

Review - Jenny's Dream by Linda Weaver Clarke



Jenny is home from college for the summer and is feeling unsettled with her life but can't figure out exactly why.

Restless Jenny awaits news of a journalism job in Texas with eager anticipation. When not helping around the house or playing with her younger brother and sister, Jenny finds solace in a secluded field where she spends hours getting lost in books. Finding a new friend to confide in and share her dreams with, soothes Jenny's soul, but she needs to confront and accept her past before she's able to make any strides toward the dreams she has for her future.

Clarke's passion for historical subject matter shines through with solid writing which transports the reader back in time effortlessly. She has created layered characters who are empathetic, caring, and independent. The entertaining writing allows the readers to examine a moment in hitory as though they were on location with the characters. The realism with history makes reading the novel and educational experience.

Linda Weaver Clarke's first historical fiction novel, Melinda and the Wild West, was a semi-finalist for Reader Views "Reviewers Choice Award 2007." Clarke writes articles for newspapers and teaches a Family Legacy Workshop where she encourages people to write their family history and autobiographies.

Jenny's Dream, the third of five novels in the series A Family Saga in the Bear Lake Valley is a recommended read. It shares a notable lesson on how one's impressions may be tainted by one's experiences.

Title: Jenny's Dream
Author: Linda Weaver Clarke
Publisher: American Book Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-58982-446-1
Pages: 263
Price: $22.00

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Review - Scent of Danger by Doranna Durgin


Scent of Danger
Written by: Doranna Durgin
Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Dale Kinsall has the sinking feeling that someone is in danger. Worse, that someone may be him.

While Dale deals with ongoing construction at his clinic, he starts discovering mysterious notes in the most unexpected places. The riddles seem to forewarn danger, but could be a prank. With regular worries of managing a staff and maintaining a full schedule of furry clientele, Dale wonders if his life will ever settle down again.

Dale’s best canine friend, Sully, is great at sniffing out varmints, treats, and danger, but with no particular priority to any it’s hard to know when he’s on a serious scent. While the two find time to train together for upcoming dog shows and obedience competitions, they find themselves entwined in a new mystery that has them each stretched to the limit.

Author Doranna Durgin’s newest Dale Kinsall Mystery is an entertaining and fun novel that delves further into Sully the Beagle’s life, which includes training for shows and investigating any danger his nose can sniff out. The dialogue, human and canine, adds humor and a different perspective for the reader. The author weaves veterinarian and performance sports details into this cozy mystery with such seeming ease as to educate the reader while offering the well-disguised details needed to solve the puzzle.

Doranna Durgin’s novel writing career has spanned genres and form to include over twenty novels in mystery, SF/F, action-romance, and franchise (such as “Ghost Whisperer”). She has also published numerous essays and short stories. With several new novels in the pipeline, Doranna also enjoys hanging around outside her Arizona home riding dressage on her Lipizzan and training for performance sports with her dogs.

Creative play with a dog’s point of view combined with humor and lots of heart combine to make Scent of Danger an enjoyable read for the whole family. I highly recommend this book to any cozy mystery lover interested in cuddling up with a fun, light-hearted story full of suspicious coincidences.

Scent of Danger will be available at: http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.bn.com/, other online outlets, and local book stores in December ‘08.

Title: Scent of Danger
Author: Doranna Durgin
Publisher: Five Star
ISBN: 978-1-59414-675-6
Pages: 279
Price: $25.95

Friday, October 24, 2008

Review - Partners Again by Arthur T. Lee



Albert McTweed has such an active imagination that PJ McDougal, his imaginary friend, actually comes to life and helps Albert with his troubles.

Albert is an intelligent young boy who lets life's experiences ooze into his drawings. He lets his imagination, in the form of a cowboy named PJ, take on a life of its own. PJ, always in precarious situations that seem to have one dreadful outcome, stays focused on the problem at hand and takes advantage of luck and common sense to save himself.

The author's dedication to entertaining his readers is as prevalent as his desire to inspire education. He includes definitions of certain words in the back of the book. The prose is descriptive and engages all of the senses. Short, tight sentences add to the unpredictable, interesting, and constantly active pace of the story. The two main characters, Albert and PJ, come alive through their vivid perceptions of their individual worlds.

Arthur T. Lee realized when he was a very young boy that writing was what he had to do. It took several school years and encouragement from teachers before he decided to embrace writing completely. Partners Again is his first novel, but several more for middle grade and young adult are in the works. Arthur is a long time advocate of increasing child and adult literacy. Arthur and his family live in the northwest.

Partners Again has something for everyone and is a recommended uplifting family read. It's a wonderful reminder of the enjoyment and power of the imagination.

Title: Partners Again
Author: Arthur T. Lee
Publisher: Nobility Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9802297-0-7
Pages: 240
Price: $9.99

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Review - Spun Tales by Felicia Donovan


Spun Tales
Written by: Felicia Donovan
Fiction / Mystery
Rated: Excellent (*****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Linda Jordan just needs a little more time to put the finishing touches on her newest medical thriller before submitting it to her publisher by the deadline, but life isn’t that easy.

The Black Widow Agency accepts a case involving a well-known and easily recognizable author. While trying to keep Linda Jordan secluded from fans and protected from foes while she finishes her latest novel, the Black Widows need to figure out how to deal with a required upcoming speech the author needs to give in a highly public location.

Also challenging the Black Widows is a co-worker who is continually absent and unavailable without explanation. The women balance worry with work as they struggle without their computer geek and hunt down the mysterious person or persons who don’t want the controversial medical novel manuscript to ever see print.

Author Felicia Donovan uses her computer forensics experience to create an intelligent and fun story line with women of varying skill sets (from finance to cyber geek), and ages (from twenty-something to sixty-something) righting the wrongs done to their clients. Her writing balances crime-solving with insight into the lives of the four main characters. She portrays strong women with soft sides and weaknesses.

Felicia Donovan began writing stories early on and completed her first novel before graduating high school. She became a teacher, but always felt compelled to return to the joy of writing fiction. Felicia left teaching to join a New England-based police department where she discovered the fascinating world of computer forensics. She resides in the bucolic countryside of NH with her two children and three dogs. She has a deep affection for her family, her friends, fine chocolates and well-spun tales.

Spun Tales is a wonderful continuation of the Black Widow agency series. Like the first novel, this is an engaging read. It is entertaining, suspenseful, fun, and fast paced. The four main characters are further developed and overcome new challenges. I highly recommend this novel to any mystery lover, especially those interested female leads.

Spun Tales is available through: http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.bn.com/, other online outlets, and local book stores. Keep an eye out for the third in this series, Fragile Webs.

Title: Spun Tales
Author: Felicia Donovan
Publisher: Midnight Ink
ISBN: 978-0-7387-1310-6
Pages: 234
Price: $13.95

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Review - Freezing Point by Karen Dionne



Ben Maki is focused and determined to supply the world with fresh water before the need hits critical levels.

The technology, people, and polar cap event finally fall in line and Ben Maki is poised to realize his dream of having an endless resource provide clean drinking water to millions. Staying at the forefront of budgets and years of knowing his company’s competitor could sweep in and take credit, keeps Ben on edge.

He juggles dealing with protestors, an unsatisfied boss, and his daughter’s school science project with an unknown scientist called “Iceman.” The surprises Ben encounters continue to surprise him and cause him to question everything he’s known as truth since the inception of the project.

Debut novelist, Karen Dionne, has crafted an amazingly engaging, fast-paced novel that makes the reader wonder just how the ratio of fiction to reality plays out. The science research is woven seamlessly into the storyline, and the reader can’t help but become educated about the earth’s fresh water resources. Short chapters are filled with tight writing and no extraneous detail. Thriller writing at its best.

When Karen Dionne first moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, her indoor interests were stained glass, weaving, and constructing N-scale model train layouts. Eventually, her creativity turned to writing. Karen’s short stories have appeared in Bathtub Gin, The Adirondack Review, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine and Thought Magazine. She worked as Senior Fiction Editor before founding Backspace, an Internet-based writers’ organization. She and her husband live in Detroit’s northern suburbs.

Imagination mixed with a good dose of real science combine with a lot of answers to the ‘what if’ question to make Freezing Point an adrenaline rush from start to finish. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in an ice cold thrill ride. It feels like Perfect Stormwith ice caps instead of stormy weather. Totally engrossing.

Title: Freezing Point
Author: Karen Dionne
Publisher: Jove
ISBN: 978-0-515-14536-6
Pages: 320
Price: $7.99

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Review - Whittaker Family Reunion by Shirley Roe



The Whittakers are having a family reunion in 1881 St. Louis. Can their present celebration outshine the dark family history?

Martha and Jeremy's teenage daughter, Anna, is quite a different challenge from raising three boys. The excitement about Isaac, Abraham, and Zeke coming home after several years is a welcomed distraction, but ignoring issues doesn't make them go away. Changes abound as Abraham befriends and brings young orphaned Billy into the family and Zeke's respite from England allows him to escape some attention while recapturing the eye of a love from his past.

Roe's appreciation for history is prevalent in her writing. She subtly weaves in the details of travel, expresses the challenges men and women faced at that time, and captures the overall feeling of entrepreneurship and pride as towns burgeoned across the nation.

Shirley A. Roe is the Managing Editor and founder of Allbooks Review. Her previous historical fiction includes, Of Dreams and Nightmares and A Call to Faith and Freedom. Shirley writes a syndicated column for California Chronicles and articles for several webzines and web sites. She is a regular reviewer for Foreword Magazine, Midwest Reviews, Mystique Books, Poetic Voices, and several other review publications and sites.

The Whittaker Family Reunion picks up about twenty years after the family's introduction in Of Dreams and Nightmares. The story naturally flows as the new generation's stories are shared. The Whittaker Family Reunion is a recommended read for any family member. Look for the next in the series, Back to Whittakerville, soon.

Title: The Whittaker Family Reunion
Author: Shirley A. Roe
Publisher: RealTime Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-906806-51-4
Pages: 200
Price: $15.95

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Review - More than Dust in the Wind by Donald James Parker



Star college basketball player Lance "Bambi" Masterson is taken by surprise when his life turns from the path he's always imagined to one full of serious introspection.

Bambi Masterson and his college team finally make it to the national basketball tournament. His future is looking bright, especially with his girlfriend, Lisa, by his side. The tide turns within hours of the great national news, and Bambi is forced to evaluate what truly matters to him.

Parker's conversational writing style makes for a relaxing and enjoyable read. The characters are relatable and the dialogue keeps pace with the narrative. The main character's growth over a thirty year span is quick, but appropriate for the theme of the book. Parker mixes accurate historical data points in to keep the reader aware of the passage of time.

Donald James Parker grew up in Madison, South Dakota. He graduated from Madison Central High School in 1968 and obtained a degree in secondary education from Dakota State University in 1972. After moving to Washington State in 1981, Don focused his writing efforts on software. After twenty-five years of IT work, Don's passion for writing flared up again and the doctors couldn't do anything to cure it, so he now pursues fiction.

More than Dust in the Wind, the second of five novels in the Masterson Family series, is a great read. It shares a lot about the tough questions one may ask himself regarding is core beliefs and how important it is to find the answers by researching, asking questions, and keeping an open mind.

Title: More than Dust in the Wind
Author: Donald James Parker
Publisher: Sword of the Spirit Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-6152-1437-5
Pages: 208
Price: $12.95

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Review - The Black Widow Agency by Felicia Donovan


The Black Widow Agency
Written by: Felicia Donovan
Fiction / Mystery
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Amber Gordon’s life is on a downward spiral. She says she was fired from her automotive engineering job and lost custody of her daughter after being framed for possession of a controlled substance.

Amber turns to the Black Widow Agency where the all-female staff is ready to help her get her life back. Each woman at the agency brings her own expertise and each is willing to jump in to this case without reservation.

The Black Widow Agency doesn’t accept any client that comes to them with a tale of woe. The client has to tell them the truth from the start and must be willing to accept methods that may seem a bit questionable. Katie, the owner, relies on a computer hacker, office manager, and financial whiz to help her develop and execute plans that will give sweet justice to their clientele.

Author Felicia Donovan uses her computer forensics experience to create an intelligent and fun story line with women of varying skill sets (from finance to cyber geek), and ages (from twenty-something to sixty-something) righting the wrongs done to their clients. Her writing balances crime-solving with insight into the lives of the four main characters. She portrays strong women with soft sides and weaknesses.

Felicia (pronounced Fa-lish-a) began writing stories early on and completed her first novel before graduating high school. She became a teacher, but always felt compelled to return to the joy of writing fiction. Felicia left teaching to join a New England-based police department where she discovered the fascinating world of computer forensics. She resides in the bucolic countryside of NH with her two children and three dogs. She has a deep affection for her family, her friends, fine chocolates and well-spun tales.

The Black Widow Agency is an engaging read. It is entertaining, suspenseful, fun, and fast paced. The diversity of the four main characters makes their interactions down-to-earth. I highly recommend this novel to any fiction or mystery lover, especially for those interested in strong female leads.

The Black Widow Agency is available through: http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.bn.com/, other online outlets, and local book stores.

Title: The Black Widow Agency
Author: Felicia Donovan
Publisher: Midnight Ink
ISBN: 978-0-7387-1082-2
Pages: 234
Price: $12.95

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Review - Poison Pen by Sheila Lowe


Poison Pen (a forensic handwriting mystery)
Written by: Sheila Lowe
Fiction / Mystery
Rated: Excellent (*****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Claudia Rose joins a crowd at the star-studded funeral of her former friend, Lindsey Alexander. Claudia is amazed at the GQ model pall bearers, high profile attendees looking for one more big party, and swarming paparazzi trying to capture the best photo.

Claudia, Lindsey, and Kelly had been friends in college. Claudia and Lindsey studied handwriting analysis. Claudia stuck with it while Kelly studied law and Lindsey moved into high profile public relations. Lindsey’s personal actions and behavior pushed Claudia and Kelly away, yet there was still a lingering attachment between the trio.

Claudia would love to see the suicide note found beside Lindsey’s body due to professional curiosity, but she is not involved in the investigation. She is hired by a mutual friend of Lindsey’s who suspects foul play. Claudia hesitates to get involved, but finds herself suddenly propelled into the investigation and she has no choice by to follow the myriad of disturbing clues to the life-changing conclusion.

Sheila Lowe has crafted a unique protagonist using her professional experience. Claudia Rose is an independent career woman with a tender heart, great instincts, and the ability to deal with scary situations, including romance, as they come at her. Claudia learns from past experiences and gives people the benefit of the doubt for as long as possible.

Sheila Lowe is a handwriting expert and the author of the best-selling books The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis and Handwriting of the Famous and Infamous. She is also the author of the award-winning Sheila Lowe’s Handwriting Analyzer software. A British transplant, Sheila currently lives in Ventura, CA. Poison Pen is Sheila’s first published fiction and the first in the Claudia Rose series. Learn more about the series at: http://www.claudiaroseseries.com/.

Poison Pen is a solid mystery as well as a learning experience. The reader is pulled along with the protagonist as she follows the trail of clues to their conclusion, while being privy to some insight into handwriting analysis. It’s a great pairing.

Available at: http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.bn.com/, other online outlets, and local book stores.

Title: Poison Pen (a forensic handwriting mystery)
Author: Sheila Lowe
Publisher: Penguin/Obsidian Mysteries
ISBN: 978-0-451-22369-2
Pages: 311
Price: $6.99

Monday, August 11, 2008

Review - Dead Witness by Joylene Nowell Butler


Dead Witness
Written by: Joylene Nowell Butler
Fiction / Suspense / Thriller
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Valerie McCormick is combining a solo all-expense paid dream trip to Seattle with business, while her family is at home in Canada. Her trip takes a life-altering turn when she accidentally witnesses two murders.

Valerie realizes how alone she is when the murderers give chase to silence her. She is unfamiliar with the area and panics even more when she realizes what she dropped. Her inner need for self-preservation to stay alive and get home to her kids keeps her alive. She wrestles with her conscience about what to do about what she saw. It’s her personal family history that helps her make the tough decision and it might not be the safest one.

Learning she witnessed the murder of two FBI agents does nothing to soothe Valerie’s nerves as she makes her way home and tries to keep the graphic images out of her mind. With her brother’s unwavering support, she focuses on the family lumber business and raising her three daughters.

Joylene Butler’s protagonist is a ‘real person’ – a mother, wife, and co-owner of a family business – but it’s the exceptionally crafted, extreme circumstances Butler devises for the protagonist that yank the reader into the prose and keep eyes focused on the pages. Butler’s research is seamlessly written to make the story move along as quickly as the action. The tight, descriptive writing makes the characters seem like they are on a movie screen and not mere text in a book.

Joylene Nowell Butler was born in Manitoba, Canada, grew up in Haney, and raised her sons in Pr. George, BC. She and her husband built and now live in a cottage on Cluculz Lake. The jury is out whether they'll retire there or not, but it’s where Joylene is currently at work on her sixth novel. Check out her blog at: http://cluculzwriter.blogspot.com/.

Dead Witness is a true suspense novel. The reader naturally tries to anticipate where the story is going, but Butler has a surprise around every corner. If you enjoy thrillers or suspense, this book does not disappoint. The novel is a literal page turner if you focus on the story and overlook any editorial issues. Butler is a name to watch in the thriller genre.

Available at: http://www.lulu.com/.

Title: Dead Witness
Author: Joylene Nowell Butler
Publisher: Lulu Press
ISBN: 978-0-9810-3050-0
Pages: 282
Price: $19.95

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review - Honor of a Hunter by Sylvie Kurtz


Honor of a Hunter
Written by: Sylvie Kurtz
Romantic Suspense
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Faith Byrne has everything money can buy and is determined to be successful in her father’s eyes. Noah Kingsley is great with computers and hasn’t been in love since a brief teenage romance with a woman out of his league.

When Faith discovers someone has been in her secure high-rise condo she calls Noah for comfort. Noah is content with his position in Seekers, Inc. in New Hampshire since it involves adventure, catching bad guys, and at the end of the day he can relax in his country home. The early morning phone call from Seattle evokes numerous emotions, but Noah doesn’t hesitate to hop a plane and rush to protect his best friend.

Noah knows how to use technology to track Faith’s stalker, but her need to keep her obsessive work schedule and be seen in the office stretches Noah’s skills to the limit. Faith wants the stalker identified so she can confront him and show that she is in control of her life. Yet eventually, she realizes the only way to hang on is to let go completely.

As with all her prior novels, Sylvie Kurtz has created unique characters with interesting lives. Her writing brings the characters off the page so they seem like friends. Her strong male and female protagonists have vulnerabilities they try to hide and intense heartfelt emotions they try to intellectualize. The writing is solid and the suspense builds in increments that leave the reader as emotionally involved as the heroine.

Sylvie Kurtz earned her commercial pilot’s license and instrument rating but has since traded an airplane for a keyboard, where she lets her imagination soar to create fictional adventures that explore the power of love and the thrill of suspense. When not writing, she enjoys the outdoors with her family, quilt-making, and photography. For more information on all of her published works, check out her website at http://www.sylviekurtz.com/.

Honor of a Hunter is an engaging read. Readers of romance or suspense will be pulled in by the characters and pulled along by the continuous change of circumstances.

Available at: http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.bn.com/, other online outlets, and in local bookstores.

Title: Honor of a Hunter
Author: Sylvie Kurtz
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 978-0-373-69295-8
Pages: 240
Price: $4.99

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Owen Fiddler is here!

Mr. Fiddler, thank you for stopping by my humble blog today.
(Owen – nods acknowledgement, puts out his cigarette, takes a seat) – Pleasure Ma’am, Lisa.

How’s everything going for you lately?
How’s it all going? Oh, ‘bout the same as usual, I guess. Nothin’ ever goes too well for me, and even though I complain a lot about it, it don’t seem to help none.

How are you enjoying all these VBT visits?
VBT? What the h- … oh, that’s one o’ them ackernims, right? Lemme guess, ah – Virtual. Blog … Tour? He he, see, I ain’t stupid. Well, I’d haveta say it’s been JFD!

JFD? I’m sorry?
Just (bleep)in’ Ducky!

(wide-eyed, swallow a gasp and cover my mouth with my hand)Mr. Fiddler, I have to remind you this is a family friendly …
(Owen’s cell phone rings. He flips it open, listens for a second, then hangs up with a crimson-faced chagrin) – Sorry, Ma’am, that was Marvin, the author of my biography. He was royally PO’d, told me to mind my language or else. Sorry, didn’t realize we had kids an’ folks with virgin ears ‘n all that listenin’ in. My bad.

Well, okay, no harm, really – thanks for your consideration. Was it your idea to do a VBT in order to save gas and trees? No sarcasm meant, that’s a sincere question. I think it’s a great way to meet folks.
Nah, that’s all Marvin Wilson’s idea. He’s got all these marketing ideas, and he’s one o’ them ecological-minded kinda guys, y’know. OWEN FIDDLER is out now in trade paperback, but before that he put out our book in Ebook format for people who like to think they can save the world by singin’ Kumbaya ‘n all that new age warm ‘n fuzzy (bleep) – ACH! Darn – sorry, Ma’am. Anyways, the No Dead Trees Cyber Tour, it’s just a long drawn out cutsie way of sayin’ we’re doin’ this internet marketing thing right now, you know.

How are things with you and Kris?
Huh? Kris? Oh, oh, oh … yeah, Marvin tells me there’s some spooky crap gonna happen to me – gonna have some out-of-body spiritual experience, meet some deity called Kris or some crap – all that kind of talk gives me the creepy-crawlies. Me, I wish he’d just wrote the ending with me winning the Super Lotto. That’d be my idea of a happy ending.

Marvin has been darn good to you with introducing you to folks and getting you all sorts of publicity. Have you ever let him know you appreciate him? How?
Well, I’m sittin’ here not smoking, no drink in my hand, talking myself blue in the face, mindin’ my P’s & Q’s, ‘n been doin’ this for weeks now, just so’s he can sell him a bunch o’ books, so that’s my way of sayin’ thanks. Not like I owe him or nobody nothing. This thing takes off, I want my share of the profits, too.

What’s your take on the recent nationwide salmonella scare with tomatoes? Did it affect your eating habits at all?
Salma-who? Ah, I don’t read the news, much – it’s always bad stuff, anyways. I don’t get sick much – except for in the head (laughs) – but, no, I ain’t changed my eatin’ habits none at all. Salmonella, huh? Watch – betcha they find some way to raise the gas prices over that stupid (bleep). Dang! (slaps his cheek) Sorry again, Lisa.

No problem, we’ve got a 5 second tape delay for quick zap-edits. You’re doing fine. So -what’s a typical day in the life of Owen?
Get up, throw up, shake off a hangover, take a cold shower, eat somethin’ easy to fix, drag my a-, I mean, my butt off to work, suffer through another meaningless day, try an’ not commit murder dealing with my boss ‘n the idiots I work with, then head to the bar so’s I can tie one on and see if I can’t score me some – ah, well … you know. Then get up the next day and start the same old crap over again. Repeat this cycle ad infinitum, ad nauseum. That’s pretty much my life.

How’d Father’s Day go for you? I’m guessing you might have felt a little down. Maybe you sat and reflected on your past and made some great plans for the future? I’m just guessing.
Great plans? Yeah, right – that’s a good one. Nah, Father’s Day is just another lonely day. Did get to at least talk to my daughter, Frenda, though. She’s been tryin’ to get to know me better here lately, now that she’s grown an’ out on her own. That’s the one and only bright spot in my life, my baby girl Frenda. She’s really somethin’ special. Total opposite of me, a real angel. I lost out on raisin’ her for most of her life, my ex took her away from me in the divorce. Took her and everything else I had, that (bleep) – oops.

So you’re 45 and feeling old, I hear. How do you feel about the idea that maybe you’re only half-way through life?
The glass is half empty, an’ I don’t see no refills coming.

Got any big plans for the next 40 years? Well, other than sleeping with every woman on the planet, that is. But I must say that’s quite a goal – does that include married women? Or just the single ones 18 and over?
Oh, you read that in one of my earlier interviews, eh? I was just kidding, kind of - but not really … well, maybe. I like sex. Can’t seem to keep a wife, so I takes it when I can get it, y’know? I like catchin’ panties off-guard, makes me feel good for a little bit. And, yeah, if a woman’s married an’ still lookin’ – who’m I to tell her no? (laughs).

Mr. Fiddler, hypothetically, if I told you I saw a man drop his wallet the other day and that I picked it up and was going to return it, but then noticed how full of cash it was and so I kept the wallet and the cash…what’s your advice? Should I turn it in to the police?
Hell, no! If you’re gonna turn it in anyway, give it to me! Here’s my number – call me! What’re ya, nuts?

If humans start populating another planet, would you want to go into outer space and settle a new colony?
Jeez, now there’s a scary idea – Owen Fiddler in outer space! I dunno, maybe it’d be a good idea. Maybe there’s another world where Murphy’s Laws don’t apply – where God takes care of poor schmucks like me – where a guy can get a decent break without havin’ to bust his (bleep) for it all the time and then STILL not get a fair shake. Find me a planet or some world like that? I’m THERE, baby!

Do you like chocolate, Mr. Fiddler? How about jelly beans?
Huh? Weird. Ahm, okay, I like chocolate, and I don’t like jelly beans. Ya wanna know my favorite color, too? (shakes his head and snickers)

Thank you for your time, today, I’m sure you’ve made a lasting impression on any visitors to my blog. I wish you well in your travels!
Been my pleasure, Lisa. ‘N thanks for havin’ me on. Hey, if your readers wanna visit with me and communicate, I got a myspace at: www.myspace.com/owen_fiddler. If they want to get a copy of my book, it’s available at: http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.cambridgebooks.us/ and also at your favorite bookstore. The book info site is at: http://www.owenfiddler.com/
(Phone rings) Opps, excuse me (Owen answers, listens, hangs up) Sorry, that was Marvin Wilson – he wants me to let everyone know that he LOVES getting emails from his readers, you can reach him at: marvwilson2010@gmail.com – and his myspace is: www.myspace.com/Paize_Fiddler. Oh, and yeah – make sure and leave a comment on today’s blog. He’s giving away a free first chapter sample of OWEN FIDDLER to anyone who leaves a comment, and that also makes you eligible for a drawing – one person will get a free paperback copy of the book at the end of the tour – just after the 4th of July.
(Owen gets up, pulls out his smokes) Well, I guess that’s about it. It’s been real - thanks again, Lisa!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Review - Soul by Tobsha Learner



Two women, one living in the mid-1800's, the other in early 2000, have a lot in common, including their husbands' betrayals and perhaps a killer DNA gene.

Lavinia was intrigued with James Huntington's scientific research. The fact that he was more than twice her age didn't stop her from falling in love and winning him over with her insatiable intellectual curiosity. Their marriage fulfilled her dreams and bearing him a male heir made them the perfect family. In the present day, Professor Julia Huntington, a direct descendent of Lavinia and James, has just landed a dream DNA sponsorship with the Department of Defense. She discovers she's pregnant with her first child and is still madly in love with her husband of over a decade. The events in the women's lives parallel each other in an unsettling way and Julia is hoping to find resolution through her science.

Soul is a relaxing read. The author aptly separated the novel into three parts of the Garden of Eden tale: The Apple, The Serpent, and The Fall. The short chapters alternate between the women's points of view, which keeps the reader focused on the women and their lives. The book's many layers all relate to its overall theme of 'nature vs. nurtur.'

Tobsha Learner, born and raised in England, has lived in Australia and the U.S. Her third book, the bestselling The Witch of Cologne, was her first work of historical fiction. She has had a collection of short stories published before each of her novels.

I recommend Soul to anyone interested in a good story with intriguing female characters. Soul grasps right to the unpredictable end.

Title: Soul
Author: Tobsha Learner
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2010-0
Pages: 424
Price: $14.95

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

6/28/08 - Owen Fiddler is stopping by on his VBT!



Hi!

Join me here on Saturday, 6/28 as Owen Fiddler, lead character in the novel Owen Fiddler by Marvin Wilson, stops by to visit.

Owen is out and about with his No Dead Trees Cyber tour and if you haven't met him already, you really should stop by and ask him a few questions.

All commenters will receive the first chapter of his book (remember to leave your email addy), as well as receive a dose of Owen's view on the world. One lucky commenter will win a copy of the entire book at the end of the tour. What have you got to lose?
You can view his book trailer here.
The book review I wrote for Owen can be found here.

-Lisa

Visit other stops on his tour to really get a feel for him - he's a memorable character!

6/16 Joyce Anthony's blog http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog/
6/18 Peggy Bell's blog http://sappho-sings.blogspot.com/
6/19 Janet Elaine Smith's radio show http://internetvoicesradio.com/
6/20 Phil Harris's blog http://philipharris.blogspot.com/
6/21 Bradley Simpson (aka Veldane Darkhosis) blog http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=11425927
6/22 Beckie Joki's blog http://360.yahoo.com/chevynova71us
6/24 Kwame's blog http://kwameswritings.blogspot.com/
6/28 HERE!! Lisa Haselton's blog
7/1 Billie Williams' blog http://printedwords.blogspot.com/






Friday, June 20, 2008

Interview with Kim Richards

Hi Kim,

Welcome to my Reviews and Interviews blog. I enjoyed reading “Death Masks” – well, except for the not-sleeping-well effect it had on me. I found it quite horrifying.

What first inspired you to write this novel?
I wrote the first draft while living in Ohio, across the street from a metro park. Having come from the wide open spaces of New Mexico, the dense trees of Ohio and steep areas struck me as places to dump a body. Often in the news, people were found days after driving off into one of these areas. I did talk with the park rangers near me and found out they try to keep any assaults or other problems occurring in the parks under wraps so that people will feel safe in coming there.

What is a death mask?
Throughout the ages, man often made masks of the deceased faces. It is a way of honoring the dead and, before photographs became available, to preserve the visage of the deceased person for the living to view. There are many in museums around the world including some famous people such as Agamemnon, Cromwell, Edison, Newton and Volaire.

I made a plaster cast of my own face to use for promoting Death Masks and the detail of the features surprised me. The death masks I had the opportunity to see also had great detail. FYI: the one I did of myself is technically called a Life Mask since I am still living.

How did you choose your protagonist?
I decided early on I wanted my protagonist to be someone different than those you find in a lot of thrillers. Bill is an IT computer support tech instead of a detective or someone with law enforcement experience. His curiosity keeps him on the trail but his lack of experience causes him to make mistakes.

Why did you decide to publish Death Masks with Eternal Press, an e-book publisher?
I find every path to publishing valid in one form or another. My first book came out as a print on demand format because I had the opportunity to do it free. I do editing for Eternal Press and so took the opportunity to try my hand at an e-book when it was offered. It may not be the best choice for every book, but I believe a good one for this story. I prefer to form my own opinions about such things with a little of my own experience.

Tell us about the book trailer.
My fiancĂ©, William Gilchrist filmed it for me using ideas we brainstormed together. The music is from a death metal band from my hometown of Roswell, New Mexico. I wanted a rougher sound since this is not a happy, fluffy story. The neat thing is the band, Children of a Lesser God, and I are working together to promote ourselves. It’s opened up some interesting opportunities. They will be taking touring all summer and Death Masks goes with them. The trailer can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp2zpDNMfmM

What are you working on now?
I have a horror novel tentatively titled, Holy Blessed Homicide, which I am revising. It is also out in submission.

I am also in the first rewrites of a story about the Amazon warrior women from the region of Turkey. It was my 2007 nanowrimo project but I have two more in the series planned. The first of which is brainstormed and the first few chapters written.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
Perseverance: wrap it around your shoulders and tie it tight.

Do you belong to a critique group? Do you believe they are beneficial to writers?
I strongly believe in critique groups. The trick is to find the one for you. I’ve learned so much from the groups I’ve belonged to both in-person and online. Currently I belong to one which meets online weekly.

Critique groups are vital to any writer. They often see things you overlook in your manuscript. You know what you want to say; only another person can tell you if you said it clearly. They also give you a sense of accountability. For me, I am embarrassed when I don’t have my submission ready or my critiques done. Many times, once I sit down to do them, a lot more comes out of the time at the keyboard.


You do have to take the critiques themselves with a grain of salt. Remember, these are one person’s perspective and opinion. You are not obligated to make the changes they suggest but if several people tell you the same thing, that’s a sign it needs to be fixed.

You learn your critique partners strengths and weaknesses over time and then have a better idea of which areas of their advice to heed or ignore. Don’t take any of it personally. It’s the STORY they are critiquing, not you and it is okay to tell someone getting personal that they’ve hurt your feelings.

Do you outline before you write, or do you dive in and see where the characters take you?
I outline in a weird way. I call it brainstorming but I make a ton of notes and arrange them in an order once I’m done. I usually start out with a “What if?” and go from there. I’ve found that the research stage shapes the characters and the world so that they fit one another and the situation. Many plots have arisen from elements uncovered in research.

It’s true that you do need to know how you want the story to end and it helps to know a few important crossroads in the plot but don’t be rigid because the story will turn out feeling unnatural or forced.

What do you love most about being a writer?
That it’s okay to be creative and enjoy what you do. I’ve done the get up and go to a job that I hate thing and it’s not good for your mental health, which then affects your physical health and relationships. Life is too precious to waste it that way.

You write mainly horror and fantasy, but you’ve also written sci-fi, children’s and non-fiction. Are there any others? Do you have a favorite?
I love reading fantasy most, though horror is gaining. I just find writing horror a little easier and science fiction the hardest. My children’s story started out as a fantasy for an adult fantasy magazine. It was a writer in my local critique group who recognized it as a children’s story. I also write erotica, though have not yet published any.

I’ve had people in my life ask me to “write something nice” and so I tried my hand at inspirational stories. They royally sucked and so I returned to where my creativity thrives. Non-fiction is a lot more work for me as well and I struggle with my own fears that I’m not enough of an expert so I don’t write much of it. Most of the non-fiction I have written involves writing, book and tv reviews, scifi/fantasy/horror. I’d love to write magazine articles but so far nothing I’ve written along those lines is interesting enough.

Can you share the links to all your networking sites, please?
Writers Chatroom (Chats, newsletter, forum)
http://www.writerschatroom.com/
Pretty Scary (online community for women in horror) http://www.pretty-scary.net/
Broad Universe (women writers in sf/f/h) http://www.broaduniverse.org/
Good Reads http://www.goodreads.com/profile/Kim_Richards
Live Journal http://kim-richards.livejournal.com/
My Space
http://www.myspace.com/kim_richards
Blogger http://kim-richards.blogspot.com/
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=643339421
Eternal Press (my publisher and where I work as a marketing manager). Here’s the blog link:
http://www.eternalpressauthors.blogspot.com

NANOWRIMO
http://www.nanowrimo.org/
The Muse Online Writing Conference (in October each year) http://www.freewebs.com/themuseonlinewritersconference/index.htm

I also belong to a ton of email lists for fantasy writers, horror writers, book promotions, book news, and more. I don’t believe in joining a group just to promote my work but do feel free to promote in the places I hang out. I’ve found mentors here and a lot of great friends.

The best way for fans to connect with you would be…?
Please feel free to email me at krichards@kim-richards.com


Kim, thank you again for stopping by today. I’d like to remind everyone who visits to leave a comment to be entered into drawings for a copy of Death Masks, cds, and tshirts.

Review - Death Masks by Kim Richards


Death Masks
Written by: Kim Richards
Thriller
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Bill Cristo finally heeds his doctor’s advice to lose a little weight. Okay, so it’s really about 100 pounds, and it isn’t the doctor’s gloomy outlook that persuades Bill to lace up the sneakers, but he does start a fitness routine in a nearby park.

While out on his first day of physical fitness, Bill comes across what appears to be a mugging. He doesn’t consider himself brave, but he knows his size generally intimidates, so he moves forward to assist. Next thing he knows he’s waking up in a hospital with terrifying images of the guy he tried to save.

Bill keeps an eye on the news for muggings, attacks, and missing persons, all with no results. He knows he saw a terrified man in trouble, but there’s no evidence in the park to support his knowledge. Something isn’t right, though. He feels someone is watching him, and when his girlfriend calls to tell him she’s been getting voiceless phone calls all day at home, his fears spiral into overdrive.

Kim Richards’ unique protagonist is well-crafted as an average person. She’s written her characters so their actions are relatable and understandable. The writing of the characters’ emotions is seamless. She pulls the reader in and allows them to follow the action as if part of the scene. The tight writing puts the chill up one’s spine as the tale unfolds.

Kim Richards was born and raised in Roswell, NM. She currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA and will be getting married in May 2009. She loves all things in the fantastical genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction. Her hobbies include live action role play, Amtgard, belly dancing and costuming. She has one children’s story published and Death Masks is her first thriller. For more information on all of her published works, check out her website
.

Death Masks is a chilling read. If you enjoy thrillers, this book does not disappoint. Follow along as an average guy in an average job with an average life reluctantly follows his instincts to catch a ghost. Try not to read it close to bedtime, however, because some images may haunt you.


Available at:
http://www.eternalpress.ca/deathmasksnew.html, http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook66570.htm?cache, http://www.booksonboard.com/index.php?BODY=viewbook&BOOK=224596

Title: Death Masks
Author: Kim Richards
Publisher: Eternal Press
ISBN: 978-0-9804739-4-0
Pages: 111
Price: $5.95

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why I use a pseudonym

Reason for my pseudonym

Check it out! Sandy Lender asked me why I use a pseudonym and how I came up with the name.

You can read what I said at her blog.


Everyone has a story to tell, what's yours?

-Lisa

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kim Richards - Death Masks Book Tour 6/20!


Join me here on Friday, June 20th for Kim Richards as she stops by on her virtual book tour for her thriller novel "Death Masks"!

Check out the book trailer.


Kim will be here to answer any questions you may have for her, and you'll be entered into a drawing for copies of the book, tshirts, band cd's and more!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Review - Choices Meant for Kings by Sandy Lender

Choices Meant for Kings
Written by: Sandy Lender
Fantasy
Rated: Excellent (*****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Twenty-year-old Amanda Chariss has a lot of responsibility weighing on her young shoulders. She has been appointed as The Master’s Protector and must keep the god safe from coming to harm as the prophecies proclaim.

Long-time friend and companion, Hrazon has been on the run with Chariss for years. They find themselves now residing at Hleo-Arcana as guests of the Taiman’s. Chariss has sworn to protect centuries-old Rhone Taiman from all possible enemies. Her vow to Nigel Taiman to be his wife is centermost in her mind, but must not take priority in her life at the moment.

With enemies powerful in casting spells, Chariss longs to have use of her gaesa’n abilities again, but until then she must trust her gut instincts and experience. She also knows she can rely on her wizard, her betrothed, and her dragon to be there when she needs them. Her ability to win over warriors with a smile and light manner is balanced with her spectacular swordsmanship of which no one can best.

Sandy Lender grabs the reader by the hand and pulls him along until the finish with her exception writing style. The quick-witted dialogue keeps the story moving along at such a clip that the reader is grateful for a pause so he can catch his breath. Lender creates a fantasy world with gods and goddesses, dragons and wizards, swords and daggers, love and betrayal, that feels incredibly real. The characters are multi-dimensional and quite interesting. Lender’s style makes it seem like you’re watching a movie rather than reading a book.

Sandy Lender’s second novel and second in the Choices trilogy, Choices Meant for Kings, picks up just after Choices Meant for Gods. She has an English degree from Truman University and has been in the magazine publishing and public relations/marketing field for numerous years. She finds herself needing to stay extremely organized in order to make time for writing. She is hard at work on the final book in this trilogy and plans a prequel. You can read more at Sandy’s writing and marketing blog.


I highly recommend any lovers of fantasy read Choices Meant for Kings. The fantastic world is as real as its characters. The action and dialogue move you along a fantastic thrill ride that is as curvy and treacherous as paths along a steep mountainside. Make sure you have time set aside because once you start reading this book, you won’t be able to put it down. There is never a dull moment.

Title: Choices Meant for Kings
Author: Sandy Lender
Publisher: ArcheBooks Publishing
ISBN: 978-159507-219-1
Pages: approx. 323
Price: $27.99

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

6/20/08 - Book Tour Stop for Kim Richards

Virtual Book Tour for Kim Richards June 9th through June 30th, 2008.

If you've never done a book tour before, this is how it works: on the date listed, visit the corresponding blog where you'll find reviews, interviews, information regarding Kim's thriller, Death Masks. We will also be promoting the anthology containing Kim's story, Dragonfruit, called Firestorm of Dragons.

Whenever you visit a blog, be sure and leave a comment. For each comment, your name is put into a weekly drawing for prizes such as pdf copies of either book, tshirts, music from the band, Children of a Lesser God (who provided the music for the Death Masks video book trailer) and more.

Kim will be visiting the blogs so feel free to ask any questions you may have. It's all about having fun and talking about books. Consider yourself invited!

6/9/08 Sandy Lender
6/10/08 Ginger Simpson http://www.gingersimpson.com
6/13/08 Mike Philbin http://www.horrorquarterly.com/mikephilbin/index.html
6/15/08 Heidi Martinuzzi w/Pretty Scary
6/16/08 Lea Shizas http://leaschizaseditor.tripod.com/
6/18/08 Billie A. Williams http://www.billiewilliams.com/
6/19/08 Eternal Press Blog http://www.eternalpress.ca
6/20/08 Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews http://lisahaselton.tripod.com
6/23/08 Pamela K. Kinney http://fantasticdreams.50megs.com/
6/24/08 Diana Castilleja http://www.dianacastilleja.com/
6/25/08 Val Griswold-Ford www.vg-ford.com
6/26 & 6/27/08 Joyce Anthony
6/28/08 Glenn Walker http://www.comicwidows.com/
6/29/08 Sheri McGathy http://www.sherilmcgathy.com/
6/30/08 Arwen Spencer http://www.starmerrow.com/

Other places promoting the book tour. Please patronize them for their kindness.
Jordan Dane

Kathy Ptacek @ Gila Queen
Starmerrow http://www.starmerrow.com/
Karina Fabian
WritersChatroom
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Monday, April 28, 2008

Review - West of 16W by Dr. Mark Slomiany



Carrying only what fits in his rucksack, 27-year-old Mark buys a bus pass and travels across America in search of answers to life's questions.

Having just finished a doctorate in biology, Mark knows his parents are proud, yet filled with unspoken expectations about his future. He is confused about his personal life, but also about whether pursuing the profession he is now prepared for, or following his longing to write novels will be more fulfilling. He decides the answers can be found on a solo trip west of NJ and that now is a good time to travel.

Mark Slomiany's passion for Wiliam Carlos William's poetry nd Jack Kerouac's novels are apparent when reading West of 16W. The narrative reads more like poetry than prose with its verboses and descritive sentences. Slomiany's use of first person keeps the reader engaged as if in personal conversation. A novel touted to be for Generation X post 9/11 is applicable to all adults who realize life may not be all about the money.

The author grew up in Rutherford, NJ. He is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and the Medical University of South Carolin. He is an assistant professor at the state's medical university in Charleston. West of 16W is his first novel.

West of 16W is a good read for those interested in some descriptive adventures of travelling America by bus. One must also enjoy re-reading sentences for clarity.

Title: West of 16W
Author: Mark Slomiany
Publiser: Outskirts Press, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4327-0311-0
Pages: 404
Price: $12.95

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Review - The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
Written by: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Readers 9-12
Rated: Excellent (*****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

The Truth is a glimpse into the diary and thoughts of a girl who is ten at the start of the story. We follow her through two school years and get a candid look at a ‘tween’s perspective of life.
Everyone can remember feeling that we knew more than our parents when we were kids.

In The Truth, the narrator gives us her opinion on falling in love, the damage done when parents argue, and her fears about getting older. She does so in a sincere and straightforward matter. She makes a list of truths that she wants to remember as she gets older because she fears aging has a negative effect. She knows adults must know the truths but that they somehow forgot, for how else can they possibly accept yelling at each other.


The unique voice along with the diary entry format make the book a quick read. It has an educational value which should be shared with all young girls and parents. The entries are direct and honest. The reader feels privy to the secret diary of the girl whose writing is personal, accessible. The observations made within the diary follow a natural progression of personal growth, which makes it feel more like non-fiction than fiction.


Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self(R). She has been a positive psychologist in private practice and licensed in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts since 1981. She is currently in private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein.


I highly recommend reading The Truth. It is great for women of any age, and can definitely be appreciated by tweens and teens. It’s interesting to have memories of the tween years conjured up that are a mixture of enjoyable and hard to deal with.


Title: The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
Author: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Publisher: Enchanted Self Press
ISBN: 978-09798952-0-3
Pages: 96
Price: $6.95

Friday, April 18, 2008

Review - Voice of Conscience by Behcet Kaya

(uploaded new cover 10/1/09, pricing, and ISBN after book's re-release)


Voice of Conscience
Written by: Behcet Kaya
Fiction

Rated: Good (***)

Ramzi Ozcomert Junior is twelve. Being invited on the annual logging trip with his father means he is a step closer to manhood. Ramzi’s determination to prove his strength teaches him endurance. His father’s wisdom teaches him much more.


amzi’s sister, Erin, has their father’s support in marrying the man she loves instead of following tradition. Family and friends celebrate the nuptials according to custom. The wedding day is at hand and tainted by threats from the snubbed Kocdag family. As Ramzi’s entire life changes, he must rely on the knowledge he gained from his father to make sense of his life and aid him in survival. His travels introduce him to good, bad and devious people, and he quickly realizes he has the intelligence and strength to move on.


Behcet Kaya’s descriptive writing pulls the reader into the start of the story. The Turkish village comes alive and the reader is given a glimpse of beliefs and customs inherent for the times. The writing and tone shift as the story progresses and Ramzi ages. Philosophical narrative replaces dialogue. The point of view shifts to show the reader a large overall picture instead of a slice of life.

At sixteen, Behcet Kaya left his small Turkish village for England where he finished high school and pursued mechanical engineering. He became a US citizen in 1985. He and his wife currently live in southern California. Voice of Conscience is his first novel.

Voice of Conscience is a good read for historical appreciation of how culture and beliefs may affect personal choices; however, one must be able to overlook editorial issues.


Title: Voice of Conscience
Author: Behcet Kaya
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1449014537
Pages: 428
Price: $22.99


Reviewed for Allbooks Review

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Review - The Wildcat's Victory by Christopher Hoare


The Wildcat’s Victory
Written by: Christopher Hoare
Science fiction / Fiction / Time travel
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Gisel Matah is back! Still in her early 20s and now a Major, she’s still an Iskander operative to be reckoned with. Her hands are full with balancing a love life, dealing with an operative’s murder, and preparing soldiers for battle.

The Iskanders have an alliance with the Felgers, a Gaian merchant and banker family. Yet there are still areas where the trust wanes. Gisel’s engagement to Yohan Felger hasn’t helped matters. Each has to balance duty to their people with their desire to be honest with each other. The challenges they face on a daily basis test their limits. How can she fully trust Yohan, when he’s loyal to the Baron who has yet to accept her? What drew Yohan to Gisel is now the same thing he has the hardest time accepting, especially when her newest assignment has her directly reporting to her former lover.

Life on Gaia has improved and progress is being made, but with the murder of an undercover operative and a radical movement that needs tempering, Gisel is not bored. In addition, she is asked to command a cavalry to support the rear of a battle line which has recently lost its commander. She hesitates to accept, but is pulled into the role and quickly learns the challenges ahead of her. A sadistic Skathian prince uses the battlefield for his own enjoyment and strives to learn how to defeat both sides in order to obtain total control.

The story is engaging and intriguing. I liken it to an intense chess match. It’s interesting to see how actions cause reactions and know that there is a third party lingering on the sidelines about to blow all the strategies off the board. Gisel trains her young cavalry men as best she can with the limited time they have. At the climax, their lives hang on her quick thinking, negotiating skills and ability to remain calm under pressure.

Christopher Hoare’s second novel, The Wildcat’s Victory, picks up eighteen months after Deadly Enterprise. The strong female protagonist, Gisel, is solid and well-crafted. The author manages to keep the character’s voice true to a young female officer with a lot of responsibility in a male-dominated field. She comes off feminine yet also a strong warrior. The tight writing and focused attention to detail keeps the reader engaged.

I recommend reading The Wildcat’s Victory, especially if you are a strategist, chess player, or war enthusiast. The battle scenes are succinct, yet detailed enough to appreciate a commander’s skill needed for success. The pacing is quite in tune with the scenes so the reader feels part of the action, whether it’s calm or full of motion.

Title: The Wildcat’s Victory
Author: Christopher Hoare
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-55404-539-6
Pages: 320
Price: $16.99

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

4/23/08 - Book Tour Stop for Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein


Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is on a Virtual Book Tour this month and she'll be stopping by here on the 23rd!

Her book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything!) is an educational and fun read.

Here is a synopsis:

Every tween today faces social issues, questions about their parents’ relationships, gossip and crushes. In response to the crises young girls face today, positive psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein has written girls, and their moms, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything!) (Enchanted Self Press, Feb. 2008).

The Truth for young girls is that it’s OK to be unique individuals, have fun and delight in the wisdom of being young. Behind this fictional diary written by a young girl, are psychological messages about happiness for both daughters and mothers.

After reading The Truth it will be a perfect moment to discuss so many timely subjects, such as:
*Challenging behaviors, and issues such as being a victim of teasing, gossiping, the family relocating or parents fighting
*At what point parents should get involved if their child is being teased or not understood
*How technology can affect a tweens social life, and on the other hand how her talents can be nurtured and encouraged during these years
*What are the best ways to stay close to your tween
*The real emotions that girls struggle with, such as feeling not understood or having a serious crush on someone

Dr. Holstein merged her years of expertise as a classroom teacher, school psychologist, case study researcher and psychologist in private practice, and created this charming, wise and topically timely diary written by a girl. There are even discussion questions at the back of the book.

Along the likes of the candor of a Judy Blume book, this fun diary-format paperback gives girls 8-14 years old the knowledge they are not alone, while reminding mothers what it was like to be this critical age. The book is a win-win for girls and their moms, as better communication skills, honesty and fun are encouraged.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Thank you for stopping by to see Jordan Dane

Just a note to thank those who stopped by on March 15th to chat with Jordan Dane as she stopped here on her Virtual Book Tour for her debut novel "No One Heard Her Scream".

This was my first time being part of a VBT and there were a few issues but they were fixed.

It was a good visit. Jordan's comments were quite insightful. Feel free to check them out if you weren't able to stop in on the 15th.

I look forward to hosting more authors here, and the formatting will be clearer and there won't be posting issues, I promise. :)

-Lisa

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Interview with Jordan Dane

Thanks for stopping by and joining me in welcoming Jordan Dane on this stop of her virtual book tour.

Jordan Dane's first novel is being released by Avon HarperCollins on March 25th. Sit back, relax, and feel free to ask questions. Jordan will be stopping by to respond to your questions and comments today. Since Jordan has thrown a contest into the fray, your comments automatically enter you into a drawing for one of FIVE $20 gift cards to—what else?—a great bookstore. Winners will be announced at the live “Launch P-A-R-T-Y!” on March 30th at The Writer's Chatroom.

Jordan, welcome! I'm quite new to this virtual book tour concept, but am glad to be one of your stops. I appreciate the opportunity. :)
Hey there, Lisa. Thanks for including me on your blog today.

Jordan, you wrote "No One Heard Her Scream" in six weeks while on medical leave. That's quite an impressive way to stay off pain meds! But it apparently worked quite well for you.
And my doctor! I think he added a pool.

You have been writing fiction since 2003, is that correct? Or is that just when you started pursuing it for publication? Do you still have a full-time job, or is writing now the focus?
Yes, prior to 2003, I’d never even thought about writing a novel. But I have to say that the bug first hit me when I was at a Zig Ziglar presentation—the motivational speaker guy. I don’t remember anything he said that day except for one thing. (Not a good thing for Zig but great for me.) He said that he wrote his non-fiction book doing it a page a day. I thought, hell I can do that. I sold my first series in June 2006 and retired from my energy job in May 2007 before I sold the second series. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with these writing contracts if I didn’t quit my day job. But my energy job was a very lucrative one. It was not an easy decision, especially since I thought of my co-workers as family and still do. But my husband and I have been working with a financial advisor since the mid 90s and had been looking for a way to retire early. The writing gig put us ahead of schedule. Even selling in a great auction would not be enough for me to recommend anyone quit their day job unless they had a solid financial plan, two years of income saved, and coverage for medical.

From what I gather, No One Heard Her Scream wasn't the first novel you completed, but it sounds like the one you are most satisfied with to date. Can you share the evolution of your three to-be-released novels? Which one did you actually write first? Did you have a 3-book series in mind when you started?
Actually, I love all my books for different reasons and I always say that my best work is my next one since I’m learning as I go. I try new things all the time, pushing the boundaries of my cross genre type stories. The last book I completed Evil without a Face was submitted to Avon at the beginning of Jan and it was the first book in my new thriller series, Sweet Justice. That story was an amazing revelation to me and I loved it. I’m writing the next book The Wrong Side of Dead and the characters are so much fun to write. On the evolution of my first series, I had written No One Left to Tell (#2 red book) as my first ever suspense novel. It was my big contest winner. And when I ended that book, I didn’t want to let go of the characters since there was more to tell. (When you read the ending of that book, you’ll know what I mean.) I started a follow up story that picks up a half year later--my Brazil story No One Lives Forever. But I realized that if I didn’t sell the first one, I might be wasting my time to do a sequel. I set aside 6 chapters of Forever, but did a thorough synopsis as a guide when I came back to finish it, figuring a publisher might come back for my inventory. And by this time, the characters of No One Heard Her Scream were clamoring in my head so I wrote that book while I was home on the mend from surgery. I have more details at my website on the page marked
FOR WRITERS (see my FIRST SALE link). After I sold in auction, I had to finish FOREVER, but I had the other two done.
And no, I didn’t have a series in mind from the start. So the order was TELL first, then a partial start of FOREVER, then I completed SCREAM and went back to FOREVER. Convoluted, huh? And with my books not being released for almost two years after I sold, I would have been twiddling my thumbs for a long time if I didn’t sell another 3-book series and lucky me, my publisher Avon was open to the idea of buying more.

Do you write anything in addition to novel-length fiction?
No, I don’t, unless you count my INSANE Christmas letters to family. (Remember, I write fiction.) Novel-length fiction takes up all my time. I never tried to write short stories, although I think that would be a challenge worth trying sometime. In my opinion, they are harder to do (the right way) than attempting a full novel. But I heard Sue Grafton speak once and she said most people think a short story is the way to start, but she said that learning to write by doing short stories will only teach you how to write short stories. And I have to agree with her. I always had my eye on where I wanted to be, so my goal was always single-title books.

Every writer is different in her approach to the writing life - would you share a bit of yours with the readers? Do you have a particular time each day to write? So many hours/pages/words per week that you strive for? A particular location with a view?
A view? If I had a view, I’d be enjoying it way too much. A talented author friend of mine, NY Times Bestseller Cindy Gerard, has her desk near a window that looks out onto her horse farm. I could never do that. I’d be looking for any excuse to daydream. I’ve got a great big backyard with a Koi pond. (Yes, I’m a fish wrangler.) We feed the wild birds too, but I could never sit and look out my window.

I do have an office in my home that has a door to keep my curious cats out (and husband) while I work. (The cats are better trained.) But the door is most handy to cover my mess. I am organized on the computer and attentive to details in promo and my writing, but when it comes to clutter, I am a real pack rat. My forensics and other resource books are handy, but if mounds of trash had value, I’d be friggin’ Oprah.

And I don’t believe in placing undue strain on my process by giving myself a timetable. The clock is ticking in my head and I instinctively know when I should ramp up my game to meet a deadline. I’m usually early. I generally work from 9am-3pm every day, including weekends, when I’m on a project. My husband makes me breakfast (because I might have been up since the wee hours if something has gripped me) and we talk about crazy plots and the latest in news and politics before he goes to work. Then I’ve added an exercise bike to my day in the afternoon before I wind down to do edits for that day. I am a stickler for editing my work as I go. When I am done with a novel, I am completely done. No going back, no first or second drafts. It’s ready to go.

Was a lot of research involved in No One Heard Her Scream? The details surrounding how detectives conduct an investigation and the political dealings of working with a government agency feels real. Did you simply write what felt right, or did you conduct interviews with professionals, or find answers online? I'm thinking it might have been intuited from novels by your fave authors Robert Crais and Dean Koontz. :)
I generally start with online research because it’s easy, but I verify everything in different ways (expert help, books, interviews) to make sure my thoughts are solid. I love Robert Crais and Dean Koontz but they’d be little help for me to figure out how to write a ‘romantic suspense on steroids’ story. I read other authors for pleasure, not to de-construct what they do to emulate them. For me, that would ruin the read for me and have the potential for diluting my voice. I’ve never tried to figure out what my style is. (I talk about my method on my FOR WRITERS page at the link for START WITH A BANG and Free Association. I filter my life’s experiences and worldview through my characters—good and bad guys—which is a scary thought.) I think that’s why my publisher and advance readers have found my book a little different. My books are very cross genre and have elements of many types of stories I love—mystery, suspense, romance, humor, police procedural, forensics, and thriller elements. When it comes to research, I am a freak about it. I went through over 45 hours of presentations with my local cop shop, including a day spent at the firing range and blowing up stuff with the bomb squad and a ride-along with an on-duty police officer. My lieutenant for the class became my technical advisor for TELL. He knew I wanted to use a flashbang grenade in my story and set one off near me (at a safe distance…I think) so I could feel what it was like. If you read these passages in my novels, you will have the inside scoop. I’ve also taken online classes in forensics and I always have a handful of technical advisors on my books for any specialty stuff—like my Brazilian friend who helped me with Brazilian Portuguese for FOREVER. And for SCREAM, I had to study interrogations and was on my own for that aspect of the novel. That was a big part of my story and there is real subtlety to the process. A cop has to have amazing instincts. But for other things, I had a former Houston homicide detective help with details of Texas law enforcement. Each state is different. So as you can see, research is a big part of what I do. I choose to add the level of detail so a law enforcement person can read my books and like what they see. I’ve gotten compliments on this before, including getting a book blurb endorsement from former homicide detective turned author, the award winning crime fiction author Robin Burcell. After she read my crime scene excerpt from SCREAM on my website, she offered to blurb my book.

I enjoyed reading No One Heard Her Scream and look forward to reading the other novels as they are published. Your website and myspace page contain a lot of information and I love your down-to-earth humor and conversationalist style. I appreciate your time with these questions and look forward to talking with you in the future.
The honor has been all mine, Lisa. Thanks for taking time to read my work. And I wish you much success in 2008!


LISA: Since this is “SHOW—NOT TELL” month with Jordan Dane at
The Writer’s Chatroom, I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t direct our visitors today to the next stop on the tour. Please join Cricket on March 19th!March 19 Cricket Sawyer http://www.Cricketshearth.blogspot.com

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jordan Dane will be here tomorrow!

Please stop by this blog tomorrow to chat with Jordan Dane as she stops here as one stop on her virtual book tour for her debut novel No One Heard Her Scream.


Jordan announces her New 3-Ways to Win Contest
"HarperCollins has graciously offered a wonderful incentive to promote the debut of my suspense novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM, upcoming release March 25th. By going to my website contest page, you get an exclusive sneak peek inside my book-up to 20% of it. And to celebrate my first release, my publisher is giving you three different ways to WIN MY BOOK or OTHER BOOKS from HarperCollins. Click on the links below for more details."

The Browse Inside post link:
http://tinyurl.com/28nd9x.

And here is a link for a contest on Jordan's website to promote the Browse Inside post, listing the three ways to win:
http://www.jordandane.com/contest.php

After tomorrow, next up on the tour:
March 19
Cricket Sawyer at http://www.Cricketshearth.blogspot.com
March 22 Diana Castilleja at http://dianacastilleja.blogspot.com

Jordan has had plenty to say in our TWC interviews. If you haven't already done so, visit these previous stops for some first-hand info on how to succeed as a novelist:
Billie Williams at http://printedwords.blogspot.com
Linda J. Hutchinson at http://reviewhutch.blogspot.com/
Kim Richards at http://kim-richards.livejournal.com/

Sunday, March 2, 2008

3/15/08 - Jordan Dane's VBT stop

I'm one host of The Writers Chatroom first Virtual Book Tour. Please join me in welcoming Jordan Dane this month.

Stop by on the 15th and check out my interview with Jordan about her writing life and her debut novel No One Heard Her Scream.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Review - No One Heard Her Scream by Jordan Dane

No One Heard Her Scream
Written by: Jordan Dane
Fiction
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Self-inflicted physical pain does little to ease Detective Rebecca Montgomery’s frustration and guilt bubbling just below the surface of her hard exterior. Even with her experience and resources, Rebecca is unable to find answers.

Rebecca’s personal interest and combative attitude in the handling of missing and abducted girls lands her on the cold case squad. Her first assignment is meant to keep her occupied and away from the detectives handling her sister’s case, yet she quickly finds herself being removed from her newest project and told to take vacation time.

With time off from work and her heart breaking over her crumbling family, Rebecca knows she can’t sit around idle. She uses what details she has and contacts she’s made to build a theory. With a little maneuvering and no badge, she’s able to step outside the regulations a little to engage a reluctant mysterious man to become her partner. With only circumstantial evidence, Rebecca follows her gut and her heart with little heed to the consequences her actions will wreak.

The story is heart pounding. No One Heard Her Scream is unpredictable in a real-life way. The twists and turns that Dane takes the reader on are nothing short of an invigorating roller coaster ride into the dark pit of the real world. The reader is just as surprised to learn new facts as the protagonist, and just as puzzled as to how all the pieces fit together – or even if they do fit together. In the midst of all the action, Rebecca realizes someone is tugging at her heart strings. Love is nice, but now isn’t time.

The female protagonist in Jordan Dane’s No One Heard Her Scream is solid. The writing makes the book a page turner and difficult to put down. The array of characters keeps the reader engaged and involved in the action. They are unique in their own mix of foibles and strengths. Dane portrays the dark subject matter quite well with tight descriptive details and use of senses.

I recommend reading No One Heard Her Scream to anyone who enjoys police action, and a lot of fast paced suspense and a dash of romance. The reader is grabbed at the opening page, is breathless by the climax, and glad to be breathing normally again by the last page.