Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: The Royal Assassin

Reis was promised the Heir of the Chalice as a companion, only to have her stolen away by another man. Frustrated and confused, Reis avoids the couple as long as possible, but is shocked when his promised gift comes in the form of his stolen lover's child. The question now, is whether or not Reis can protect his beloved Shadowen from not only her vicious father, but from a dangerous fate Reis never expected. 

One of the most compelling aspects of this book is the world the characters live in. Valantis is an underground society ruled by magic, but not your typical fantasy-style magic. Valantis is ruled by shadows. These shadows are everywhere. They can be used to travel, drawn from to gain power, and to a select few they can do even more. I enjoyed this unique style of magic for its creative slant as well as its somewhat dark quality. 

The relationship that develops between Shadowen and Reis was very good as well. Reis meets Shadowen when she is a small child and immediately knows she will be his. That may seem a little creepy on the surface, but Nemnich handles it well, keeping Reis focused on her protection through the early years, then easing the relationship into a more romantic stage. This was a very tortured relationship, and the tension between them made it quite compelling. Shadowen has had a very difficult life which causes her to fear Reis' love. Put that up against Reis' desire for Shadowen fighting against his need to guide and protect her, and you start to see what I mean. As a warning to younger readers, there were several sex scenes and adult topics, that while not terribly graphic, were descriptive. 

The overall storyline was also interesting. This book is a small glimpse into the arching plot of the Chalice, the effect corruption has on this world, and the fates of these two characters. Nemnich gives you good reason to keep reading further into the series. 

Aside from the interesting story and world, and good romantic relationship, there were a few areas that gave me some trouble. The beginning of the story was quite slow. There was a lot of explaining about the world as Reis went through day to day motions rather than letting the reader experience this world first hand. This was a show vs. tell issue that mainly held up the first several chapters, but was also an issue throughout the book. 

I also felt like the language used wasn't fantasy based and it took away from the reality of the story. This came through in the prose as well as the dialog. Straight up fantasy usually leans toward a more formal writing style, even when it comes to internal thoughts and dialog, and this felt to modern for me to really fall into the fantasy mindset. Serious fantasy readers may have the same issue. 

Another area that needed improvement was the editing. With indie publishing, it is hard for the author to catch all the mistakes on their own, but there were enough errors that it was distracting. Another pass at cleaning this up would help improve the overall experience. 

As a whole, the story and characters were interesting and entertaining. The modern language, editing errors, show vs. tell, and over-explaining gave the manuscript a less than polished feel. For some this won't be a problem, for others it will. The Royal Assassin has good potential as a series, but it did have shortcomings that will hopefully be addressed in future books.  

Would I recommend this book? I would because the story was good, but only selectively. Hard core fantasy readers may struggle with the writing style, the sex scenes and adult topics were enough that I wouldn't pass it on to my nieces, and the more technical issues will hold up picky readers. 

Who would I recommend this book to? Adult readers, mainly light fantasy readers who lean toward urban fantasy than strict fantasy and won't be bothered by the more modern style. Those readers looking for a good romance will enjoy Reis and Shadowen as well. 

The Royal Assassin is available now from Amazon.

You can also enter to win a Kindle ebook of The Royal Assassin below!

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Favorites: The Royal Assassin

Like Shireen, I find shadows both a little scary and fascinating at the same time. I think a lot of people feel that way about shadows. One of the most interesting aspects of The Royal Assassin was the way shadows were brought to life within the story. 

Shadows are not simply an absence of light in this story. They are alive, in a way, and an integral part of the world the characters live in. Reis is able to travel through shadows, stepping from on to another even though the may be quite a ways apart. I liked the idea that while the shadows were individual, they were also all connected.

It gave the impression that the world was constantly being watched by these shadows. Again, it was an idea that was slightly disturbing, yet also reassuring in some ways. The characters were never truly alone. At times, the shadows were even able to help and protect Shadowen. It was an interesting concept that added to the overall story. 

Read on to find out more about the next book in the Shadows of Myst Series ~ The Royal Seer

Scious the Royal Seer from the Royal House of Darkness and Shadow is not only the most celebrated Seer to date he is also the longest standing one. His visions are powerful and so is his magic. Yet such power comes secrets and with secrets come vulnerability. This keeps Scious on guard and prepared at all times. However nothing will prepare him for his encounter with a strong willed Nightelf by the name of Vestrial. He could see everything except her. Her future eludes him, which only intrigues him. He wants her for his lover but he settles for her as his seamstress.

Vestrial born part Nightelf and Mystic is truly gifted with her magic, yet she has no idea how gifted her talents are. She has no idea when she makes an errand for the Mystic Oracle that her life is about to suddenly change. That the Royal Seer, a single man, a Mystic, will introduce her to magic like she's never known before. There's something about the Royal Seer that touches her heart and her soul.

Although relationships between Mystics and Nightelves are forbidden there is something about Vestrial that he cannot let go of. There is something so pure and untouched inside her that never ceases to amaze and astound him. It's not until he's thrust into a vision he will never escape from that he fully understands why.

Myst's future lies in the balance and the Royal Seer has seen the outcome of two possibilities. He knows his actions will decide the future of not only Vestrial but of all of Myst. He prays he chooses wisely.

The Royal Assassin is available now from Amazon.

You can also enter to win a Kindle eBook of The Royal Assassin below!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interview: Shireen Nemnich

Yesterday we got to learn more about who Shireen Nemnich is, now let's get to know more about how her series, "Shadows of Myst." Today Shireen talks about her inspiration behind The Royal Assassin

1. What was your inspiration for "The Royal Assassin?" I have to say the character Reis. I began working on The Forgotten Assassin first. This is written in Shadowen’s POV, which takes place around 1,000 years after The Royal Assassin. I was half way through the book and it’s time to actually introduce Reis. The whole book up to this point has Reis in this bad light. I mean he’s really the bad guy… suddenly I hear his voice in my head just as plain and sexy saying, “Uh… I’m the good guy.” I was like “What?” and he just kept whispering in my head how wonderful he was and sexy and all he wants to do is love and protect Shadowen. It was only a matter of days when I had to just stop writing the Forgotten Assassin and Reis’s story had to be told first.

 2. Can you briefly describe the world this book is set in? Valantis is full of magic and since there is magic there really hasn’t been a need for technology as we have in our universe. There are horses, carriages and boats. Magic comes in many different forms as well such as light, dark, life and death. There is a lot about Valantis that is not in this book. Such as dragons, knights and so forth. Not to forget goblins and other such creatures. This is because I have other series that take place in Valantis but for the Shadows of Myst series it focuses more on Myst and some surrounding areas. However in my other series when released you will find that Mystics and Nightelves will pop into them upon occasion.

For the most part, though, the series of Shadows of Myst takes place in Myst. Myst was created by Mysteria and Her Consort Darkness… uhh not going to explain how they did that but I’m sure it was awesome! ;)

Myst itself has hollows under the surface and this is where Mystics live. There is no way to reach the hollows unless you are Mystic because they are so deep underground. The only way is through a shadow and only Mystics can travel through shadows.

3. Shadows are an important theme in this book. How did you decide to use shadows as a basis for magic? Shadows have always been beautiful and frightening to me, yet fascinating. When I was writing the Forgotten Assassin I already had decided to use the name Shadowen for the central character and originally her twin brother was Shadow. However I felt that was a bit too much, so by page two he became Shade. These are the two essential characters through the entire series and if you’ve read TRA you understand why. While writing, the images of shadows and magic just seemed to flow so perfectly together. It just seemed to make sense that to us a shadow is just an absence of light. But to a Mystic who lives under the surface in hollows, it’s real and a tangible object/spirit that they can touch and feel, which continued to grow as I wrote and still does.

4. Can you explain the importance of a young person coming into their magic having someone to help them? The day of reckoning – when magic first begins to flow through a Mystic it’s overwhelming. This usually takes place when a Mystic is at the age of sponsorship (an adult) and is ready to have sexual relations. (Not to be confused with our concept of human puberty.)

The day of reckoning usually is accompanied with burning and fever. Since they’ve never had magic or used it before they have no control. When magic is uncontrolled it’s violent and painful not only to themselves but to others. So they need a “Consort”. A Consort can be anyone who has mastered their own magic and is skilled enough to actually control and join their magic until they are able to control it themselves. Although the joining of bodies sexually is not required to ease the magic. The trust that is involved in joining bodies actually helps teach control on an intuitive level. The merging of magic is actually beautiful and powerful between two people. It gives both parties strength even though it can wear out the Consort who has the control.

 5. The two main characters share an interesting relationship that spans many years. can you describe how the relationship changes? Reis loves Shadowen the moment he meets her, but she is far too young to understand or comprehend. Reis has to practically raise her from a child to an adult as her Consort and yet never be able to bed her because she’s not old enough. When she finally is old enough she’s not ready and when she is ready… Reis is all freaked out. Hehe. Isn’t that so much like life. There are many changes as they evolve from adult/child to adult/adult however I hope that it’s obvious that Reis will always be her champion/protector.

6. There are some dark themes in this book. How did you balance the light and dark sides to keep the book from becoming too dark? I honestly did worry that the book was becoming too dark and yet some of those dark issues is what made them stronger. It’s what shaped who they were and who they are still yet to be. On retrospect I believe it’s the love between Reis and Shadowen that keeps the balance. There is strength of love, not just passion/lust, but purity of souls that I think pulls us back from the dark into the light.

 7. Can you tell us a little about the surface world and how it impacts the story? The surface can actually be deadly to Mystics. The sun is their enemy. Nightelves do not have this problem because they’re from the surface of Myst. I felt it important for them to have this vulnerability. A species that lives with shadows and moves in shadows will not like large amounts of light. It’s perhaps more apparent in Shadowen’s fear than in Reis, who is part Nightelf. Also the Royal House of Darkness and Shadow is actually corrupt and has been for some time but it’s not until we visit the surface and meet these other races that dwell on the surface does this begin to unfold. It’s not exactly explained how or why in TRA because that wasn’t actually needed to tell Reis’s story. But in the other books, more of the details are explain because it is needed in their story.

 8. Who are your favorite authors? Fiction - Christine Feehan and Lisa Kleypas are my two favorites. I have all their books. Non Fiction – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Louise Hayes.

9. Do you have any interesting habits or rituals when you write? I listen to music when I write. It really helps set the tone of my writing when I’m at home. I have my iTunes set up with book titles or character names for my playlist. So for example while writing TRA I listened to – Falling Again by Lacuna Coil, Believe it or Not by Nickelback and Blow me Away by Breaking Benjamin.

10. Can you tell us about the other books in the series and any other projects you're working on? Of course! I’d love to!

The Shadows of Myst series –

The Royal Seer – Scious and Vestrial’s story. This actually takes place prior to TRA in the timeline. I’m almost finished with it. I have cover art all done, but I’m still editing and fleshing out a few details.

The Royal Warrior – Darken’s story. This actually starts during a very tragic moment of Shadowen’s and Reis’s that occurs during TRA. It then continues Darken’s journey that ends with the beginning of the Troll War.

The Royal Conjurer – Shade’s story. This is a very dark story as he has a very troubled and tragic life. This book takes place during the height of the Troll War.

The Royal Chalice – Reis and Shadowen again pick up the gauntlet and their story continues with the Troll War ending.

The Forgotten Assassin – Shadowen’s POV that takes place almost 1,000 years later. It brings all the previous stories to a full circle. Hopefully it also answers unanswered questions these other books hint at or brought up. This book is finished but I was advised to not release it until the others are done and released. (Also a small notation about the ending. It was around 0500 and I was listening to my iPod when the ending came to me in a rush. I actually started crying as the scene and dialogue flowed through me. It was so overwhelming and I thought, I better write this down! I’ve never been brought to tears before over writing anything. So I literally sat on my bed pulled out my laptop and wrote for the next two hours, crying and wiping my tears away as I typed until I was done. I still can’t read it without tears filling my eyes. I really hope that means it’s good.)

 I am also working on other books that have nothing to do with Valantis, but nothing quite ready for release. However I do have some vampire series in the works.

You can connect with Shireen on: TwitterFacebookThe Royal Assassin on Facebook, and her Website

The Royal Assassin is available now from Amazon.

You can also enter to win a Kindle eBook of The Royal Assassin below!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Introducing: Shireen Nemnich

This week's featured author is Shireen Nimnich. Shireen writes young adult fantasy, and is here this week to talk about her series, Shadows of Myst. But, before we learn more about how this series came to be, let's get to know Shireen a little better. 

"Shireen Nemnich born 1964 in Kansas. She presently calls the picturesque Williamsburg, Virginia her home, which she shares with her teenage daughter and two cats. She's been a nurse working with geriatrics since 1992. She is a retired "wizard" for the internet mud game, Genesis the original Lpmud, which she still plays and interacts on when time permits.

Shireen's writing genres - Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Romance and Science Fiction.
Favorite fictional authors - Christine Feehan and Lisa Kleypas.
Favorite non-fictional authors - Dr. Wayne Dyer, Michael Bernard Beckwith and Abraham-Hicks.

One of her favorite sayings - Life is what we make it... so I'm making mine with chocolate!

February 2011 she released her first novel The Royal Assassin from the series, Shadows of Myst, which takes place in the fictional realm Valantis. She is working diligently on releasing several other books in the Shadows of Myst series along with working on her vampire series, which is to be announced at a later date." 

More about Shadows of Myst

Shadows of Myst is a series dedicated to Mystics and Nightelves who live within the confines of the magical land that the Goddess Mysteria of Shadows created with her consort Darkness. Each story takes you deeper into this rich and mysterious land of Myst that only a Mystic and Nightelf can truly understand.

Mystics must wear veils to protect the innocent of their bewitching eyes. It is said however to look into the eyes of perfection is what truly bewitches. But Mystics long have known it is their shadows that one succumbs to. One must be strong in magic to not feel the call of the shadows.

Nightelves born with the magic of darkness lived upon the surface but a war long since forgotten by many brought them to live under the surface to serve Mystics. A servitude that some despise and some who have had the memory of war stamped in their soul are grateful to serve.

Corruption has long since been infiltrating Myst. Will the two races that are bound together by more than Myst and magic survive this insidious parasite? When the final blade is drawn and the final spell cast will there be anything left? Will it even matter? Only the shadows of Myst know.

You can connect with Shireen on: Twitter, Facebook, The Royal Assassin on Facebook, and her Website

The Royal Assassin is available now from Amazon.

You can also enter to win a Kindle eBook of The Royal Assassin below!

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The Royal Assassin Giveaway

This week Shireen Nemnich is offering up a Kindle ebook copy of her debut novel, The Royal Assassin!

Entry is easy! Just leave a comment on any of the posts this week, or follow Shireen on Facebook or Twitter. 

Don't forget to check off what you've done on the Rafflecopter buttons to make sure your entry is counted. 

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Monday, August 27, 2012

New Book: The Royal Assassin

We are going underground this week to the world of Valantis, home to Mystics and Nightelves. Shireen Nemnich's YA fantasy novel, The Royal Assassin, is the first book in the Shadows of Myst series. Read on to find out more. 

"Reis, the Royal Assassin to the Royal House of Darkness and Shadow had waited for Essence, the Heir of the Chalice to grow up and become his wife only for her to be taken away by Phantom another Heir of the Chalice to be his consort.

Reis petitioned the Royal House but the Royal Advocate stood on the side of Phantom and Reis lost her. He was given compensation however in the form of being allowed to train one of their children to be an assassin for the Royal House and or a consort if he so chooses.
Reis has no idea when he grudgingly visits Phantom and Essence to give his congratulations and inspect their children he would be blessed with a vision of the goddess Mysteria. He is shocked yet relieved when Mysteria whispers for him to claim their daughter Shadowen to train and be his consort.

Reis now must wait for her to grow up and come into her magic so his claim will be sanctioned in the Royal House. But he has no idea how furious Phantom is or the lengths he will go through to keep Reis from his new consort. Once Reis fully comprehends the obsession Phantom has for his daughter, the true Heir of the Chalice, he vows not only to train her but also to protect and cherish her for eternity as his consort." 

The Royal Assassin is available now from Amazon

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Melynda's Labor Day Blogfest and Book Fair

Melynda Fleury's courageous battle with diabetes and close call to losing her eyesight has inspired this fabulous event. Wayman Publishing is sponsoring a Blogfest and Book Fair giveaway the week of Labor Day in her honor. All entrants in the giveaway will have unlimited access to download Wayman Publishing's top ten books from September 2nd-4th. The direct link will be available on September 1st. 

As an added bonus, Mommy Blog Designs, a blog designer with a well known reputation for great service and beautiful designs throughout the blogosphere, has offered up one of her Premade Design with full package ($269 value) for FREE to one very lucky winner. 

One more incentive to participate, $200 Paypal cash will also be awarded to one lucky winner! 

The Giveaway runs from 8/28 through 9/5. 

Wayman Publishing and all the other wonderful hosts who have helped put this event together (voiceBoksLinkie's Contest LinkiesMommy Blog Designs, and Terri's Little Haven) thanks everyone for there help and participation in making this event a success. 

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Review of: Blurry

Excited to leave for college, a talented musician, a top student, focused and driven...Rachel seems to have a life to envy. In her eyes, life is just as it should be. But when an estranged friend dies under strange circumstances Rachel is forced to face the possibility that her small town life might not be as perfect as she thought. The secrets that begin to crop up bring danger with them, something the unsuspecting Rachel may not be ready for. 

Blurry is a story about a young woman who must come to grips with the idea that the world is not black and white as she wishes it could be. People she loves and trusts have secrets, dangerous ones. 

This was a clean book, which is becoming more and more rare even in YA. There was some kissing between Rachel and Layne, but Moorer kept it at that. The language was also clean, and even thought there is some violence, Moorer didn't feel the need to go into gory detail or get carried away with twisted motives. 

The mystery in Blurry was solid, with no glaring holes. The mystery was on the lighter side. It is not overly complicated, either. As an adult reading it, I did find the twist a bit predictable, and I thought the ending was somewhat over-explained, but this may not be a problem with younger readers. Even though the main characters are 17 and 18, because of the items I just mentioned, I think this book would be most appealing to the 12-13 age group. 

Despite the cleanliness (which I appreciate) and the well-formed mystery, I did have a few issues with this book. I had a hard time with the dialog, which often felt formal and a bit stilted. When reading, I pictured adults speaking, not teens. The number of characters was also distracting at times. I think it would have flowed better if I could have focused on a few integral characters instead of having to keep track of so many. For young readers, this will probably be especially distracting. 

Two things I had a particularly hard time with was the level of emotion and the issue of show vs. tell. As far as the emotion went, there wasn't enough. Rachel faces some pretty serious events in this book, things that would have people crying and on the verge of losing it completely, yet she seemed to handle it with a sense of detachment. I had a hard time connecting with her emotionally because of this. I wanted to see her get angry or breakdown, hate the people who were causing so much pain, but she stayed so even tempered throughout. At one point a bomb explodes and I expected her and the others to really freak out at this point. Rachel only seems a little off balanced for a few moments and then moves on. The best part of YA fiction is the constant emotional turmoil teens experience. Everything is life or death in their eyes. But in this book, even when Rachel actually was facing death, the emotion felt short. 

The Show vs. Tell I mentioned contributed to this problem. Throughout the book, rather than letting me experience the story along with Rachel - letting me inside her head and emotions - Rachel instead "told" me what happened. I think this line (*Spoiler Alert*) is an example of the emotion and the show vs. tell issue. "Looking at the casket, she couldn't believe her oldest friend was dead." This is the depth of emotion shown at a funeral for one of Rachel's best friends. I am told that Rachel is shocked rather than shown through her tears, emotions, posture, internal thoughts, or even facial expressions. But where is her anger or sadness at this loss? This could have been a much more emotional moment than it was. 

Overall, Blurry, is an interesting read. It is a clean, light mystery, but the lack of emotion and depth of characters made it difficult for me to get into.  

Would I recommend this book? Only as a casual read. 

Who would I recommend this book to? Only to young teens who won't mind the uncomplicated mystery and characters, and straightforward writing. This isn't a mystery that adults will become wrapped up in, and older teens will be looking for more emotion and deeper characters. 

You can get your copy of Blurry from Wings ePress, Amazon US, B&N, and Amazon UK

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Favorites from: Blurry

For me, one of the most interesting aspects of this book were the changes that the main character goes through. In the beginning Rachel is a very naive young woman. It's hard to blame her - she grew up in a small town with a loving family and good friends. Her quiet upbringing shows in her skewed view of not only her home town, but life in general. 

To Rachel, the world is easy to understand. Choices are made after careful consideration and weighing the options. She does what she thinks is right and expects everyone else to do the same. When she realizes that isn't the case, it's quite shocking to her. 

I wouldn't want to give away details, but it was interesting to see Rachel morph throughout the book as she is put in difficult situations and learns truths about people she thought she knew everything about. 

If you'd like a sneak peek of Blurry, keep reading for an excerpt. 
Chapter 10
Josh sat in the Auto Shop Thursday night surfing the Internet and drinking a beer. He knew he shouldn’t drink while he was taking antibiotics for a sinus infection, but he needed something to take the edge off. The fumes in the shop kept his sinuses clogged, and he had to keep squirting nasal decongestant up his nose to keep breathing. His doctor recommended the decongestant to help manage his symptoms until they cleared up. He hated it, especially since it started stinging his nose and sinuses today. That was odd. He had been using it since Tuesday and had no problems with it until today. He shoved the bottle in his pocket. He thought about calling the doctor the next morning to ask about something that didn’t burn so badly. He should probably go home and go to bed, but he had too much to do.
      Josh stayed late to do more work on his car, which he couldn’t seem to keep fixed. Every time he replaced one part, another one went bad. It was like an evil imp was coming to his house every night and breaking all of the parts under his hood, one by one. Rachel had been giving him rides to school every day that week, but this morning she dropped a bomb on him. Layne was coming to Woodland for a visit this Saturday to meet her parents and her friends. She thought it would be a good idea for them to get to know one another.
He took a last swig from the beer and threw it in the trash can. He’d done some checking on the Internet regarding Layne and called a few of his racing buddies upstate. His efforts came up empty until he got a call from some girl in Westwind Mountain an hour ago. She didn’t want to tell her name or where she was from, but she told him something that made him wonder what kind of life Layne had in Westwind Mountain. It jolted him so much that he didn’t want to wait until he got home – he decided to check up on it right away. Pulling up the county records, he typed in a name and scrolled down a short list until he came to what he was looking for. 
“I can’t believe it,” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes. His head felt funny and his vision seemed blurry. That was odd – the beer was hitting him harder than usual. Then again, the antibiotic could amplify the affects of alcohol. Trying to shake it off, he focused on the screen. Even in his dazed state, he couldn’t deny what was right in front of him. He hit the print button and wondered how he was going to break this to Rachel. Should he go straight to her house now, or wait until the morning? Certainly, he couldn’t call her with this. She wouldn’t believe it unless she saw it with her own eyes.
He paused a moment when he thought he heard footsteps. Glancing around, he didn’t see anybody, so he turned his attention back to the computer and clicked on the linked files, printing more pages. He shook his head. Danny lied to him. He either had a bad case of amnesia, or he was dumber than Josh thought. There was no way something like this quietly went away. He should have known it would come up sooner or later.
Shutting down the machine, he swiveled the chair to grab the pages off the printer. They weren’t there.
“I bet you wish you saved that weblink and E-mailed it to Rachel right now,” a voice said behind him. Looking up, he saw a tall person in a dark, hooded sweatshirt standing behind him with a wrench in his hand. He didn’t recognize the person, but then again he couldn’t see clearly. He was terribly dizzy.
“What?” Josh mumbled, trying to stand but failing.
The person bent over. “Tell me Josh, how are you feeling?”
Josh looked up and tried to focus on the person. “What’s going on?” he asked before he was knocked out of the chair and hit the concrete floor.
You can get your copy of Blurry from Wings ePress, Amazon US, B&N, and Amazon UK

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interview with: Sherri Fulmer Moorer

Today you get the opportunity to get to know more about Sherri Fulmer Moorer as a writer, as well as more about  her YA novel, Blurry. Read on to find out more. 

1. What was your inspiration for "Blurry?" Dreams I had while my husband and I were building our home in 2007. I had recurring dreams of being in high school while the house was under construction. After the house was complete and we moved in, I kept having them for a while, so I pulled them together, added some fictional elements that had been stirring in my head for a potential novel, and created "Blurry." And the funny thing is that the dreams stopped after I finished the rough draft of this book!

2. Your main character changes throughout the novel. Can you describe how she grows without giving away too much? She has to learn to accept people that have different moral convictions than she does. Her world is very black and white, and the events of this novel show her that most of the world lives in shades of grey. She has to learn how to deal with that and incorporate it into what she knows and believes.

 3. Can you tell us about the difference in the male characters in the book and how they impact the stories? There have always been a lot of men in my life, ever since childhood. I'd say the biggest things I learned were from having a big brother. Those stereotypes of "tough men" just aren't true. They do have feelings and we may say they aren't as complicated as women, but they can be complicated in their own way. Guys can beat the crap out of each other one minute, but threaten them and they'll unite to turn against you in a heartbeat! The men in "Blurry" are a reflection of men I've actually known. They do care and have strong protective instincts. Those instincts might be misplaced at times (as is reflected in the relationship with Rachel, Layne and Joshua), but they do mean well. Honestly, woman say we can't live without them and we can't shoot them, but the truth is that I do love them! Men may confuse us, but they're good.

4. How much research did you do for "Blurry," especially for the police involvement aspect? A lot. I was working with a department that had a law enforcement division at the time I wrote "Blurry" and I talked to them some. I also did online research, and I do like to watch shows like "Dateline" frequently.

5. Your main character is a musician. Do you have an interest in music as well? Yes, I was in band all 4 years in high school and 2 years in college. I even met my husband in the marching band at the University of South Carolina. I played the piccolo in marching band and the flute in concert band. Unfortunately, I was a mediocre musician and gave that up in college. I'm a writer now, obviously!

6. "Blurry" is set in a small town. How does this effect the story? I set it in a small town on purpose. In fact, all of my books have been set in small towns. I believe confining the setting to a small town makes it easier to control the setting and to show the connections with relationships amongst characters and how the lifestyle of the place influences the characters better. I live in a small city and even there things can get so impersonal with so many degrees of seperation amongst people. Small towns are easier for me to manage.

7. What kind of town/city did you grow up in? I still live in the town where I was born. In fact, my husband and I built on my great-grandparent's homeplace, which is two houses from my parents, and next door to my in-laws. My brother and sister-in-law live in the woods behind all of us, and my first cousins live about half a mile away. I live in a surburb of Columbia, SC. The area had a "small town" feel to it as I was growing up, but it's grown due to urban sprawl in the area. I have mixed feelings about this. It's great to have things nearby and available, but I also miss the local feel of the place that seems to be disappearing.

8. Who are your favorite authors? J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis are my absolute favorites. I also love the work of P.D. James. She's a great writer, and I can only hope to be a fraction of as good a storyteller as she is! I also like sci-fi and like Kim Robinson Stanley and Ben Bova.

9. Do you have any interesting habits or rituals when you write? I have a full time job, so I'm not able to set aside "blocks" of writing time like some writers do. I write whenever I can, which is mostly lunch hours, nights and weekends. One thing is that I tend to carry my laptop EVERYWHERE when I'm working on a book so I can write whenever I have a chance. My family and co-workers don't even think it's weird any more, especially since I started publishing my work as ebooks. When a "newbie" asks why I'm on a personal laptop on my lunch hour they just say, "She's working on a book, it's okay." They think it's cool, and I appreciate that they accept and support me as a writer. And I'll be honest - sometimes I can get a bit "out of it" and "loopy" when I'm working on a novel. My husband, family and colleagues are very patient and understanding of this as well. I'm lucky to have a great support system and a lot of good people around me!

10. Can you tell us about any other books or projects you are working on? I have a sci-fi apocolyptic novel titled "Splinter" due to be released through Whiskey Creek Press in 2013. This story takes place in the year 3001 after a solar flare hits Earth while the magnectic field is reversing, and parallel universes start opening and revealing secrets of how the destruction took really took place. That was truly the most research I've ever done for a novel. I didn't realize how much work writing sci-fi is, but I did enjoy it. Now I'm working on another adult mystery novel titled "Move," which is about a young woman that unknowlingly makes a deal with a djinn (genie) that doesn't go as either of them planned. I'm really enjoying my work on this novel, but then again we should enjoy everything we write. That's the point, after all - is to enjoy the process of creating the story and sharing it with readers who enjoy escaping to those worlds we create!

You can get your copy of Blurry from Wings ePress, Amazon US, B&N, and Amazon UK

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Introducing: Sherri Fulmer Moorer

Before we get to know more about Sherri's writing in tomorrow's interview, here is a chance to get to know more about her and connect with her online. 

"By day, Sherri is a Program Assistant working in professional licensing. By night, she's an independent author that creates mysteries, sci-fi, and non-fiction pieces. Sherri is the author of four books: Anywhere But Here (Whiskey Creek Press 2012), Blurry (Wings ePress 2011), Quarantine (Smashwords 2011) and Battleground Earth - Living by Faith in a Pagan  World, as well as several other shorter works. Her next book, an apocalyptic sci-fi thriller titled Splinter, will be released through Whiskey Creek Press in 2013." 

You can stay up to date on Sherri's books by visiting her on her personal website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads

You can get your copy of Blurry from Wings EpressAmazon USBarnes and Noble, and Amazon UK

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Book: Blurry

Step away from fantasy, paranormal, and vampires this week with a book about a young woman who's perfect life is turned upside down with the death of a friend. Small town life suddenly doesn't seem so simple anymore when secrets start being revealed. 

"What happens when Little Miss Perfect's life is turned upside down? Rachel Shull is about to find out. A year ago she broke up with her boyfriend, Danny, over suspicions that he was hiding something from her. 

Now Rachel's life is full of accomplishment, achievement, friends, and even a boyfriend. It all seems perfect, until a childhood friend dies in a tragic accident. When it's discovered that Danny had a heated argument with Kirsten shortly before her death, suspicions about his double life resurface. 

As the case unfolds and tragedy strikes people close to Rachel, she discovers that Danny isn't the only one with dangerous secrets. Life in the small town of Woodland, South Carolina becomes blurry with lies and deceit, and Rachel finds herself questioning everybody; even her new boyfriend." 

You can get your copy of Blurry from Wings Epress, Amazon US, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon UK

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Melynda's Labor Day Blogfest and Book Fair

Sign up to join a Labor Day Blogfest and Book Fair. Sunday September 2nd -Tuesday the 4th. (Some free eBooks included!) 

    In honor of Melynda Fleury--who has bravely been fighting diabetes and almost completely lost her eyesight--Wayman Publishing is offering unlimited free downloads of their top ten bestselling books to all entrants during this event! 

    In addition, we're featuring some phenomenal books you should check out AND giving away X-amount of Cash (announced after Blogger signups completed). 

    Other bloggers can join in for this great opportunity to gain new traffic. We're excited to spread the word about some fantastic authors and Wayman Publishing; we hope you'll join us for this fun event. 

Click on the button at the top right of the page or click here to sign up. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Grateful Undead Giveaway WINNERS!

Congratulations to the winners of The Grateful Undead giveaway this week! Thank you to everyone who commented this week and connected with Susan Stec on Facebook and Twitter. 

And the winners of a signed copy of Susan's book are...

  • Deedra Climer Bass 
  • Alicia Hurd
Thanks for entering, and enjoy reading! 

Be sure to keep checking back for more giveaways!

If you didn't win a copy, but you want one you can still purchase a copy. The first two books in the series are: They're So Vein and Gator Batin'. Both are available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

You can also enter to win a copy of Gator Baitin' on Goodreads through August 24th. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Review of: The Grateful Undead: They're So Vein

All Susan wants is to get her phone over the bathroom stall wall so she can record the woman fighting with her seriously bratty child and post it on her website. One awkward fall later, and she lands herself in a mess of trouble. Becoming a vampire wasn’t quite what she meant she prayed for a more youthful body. To make things even worse, when her vain family members get a look at her new body they can’t wait to get a piece for themselves. 

I mentioned in yesterday’s post how much I enjoyed the humor in The Grateful Undead: They’re so Vein. It was over-the-top humor in many ways with crazy antics and characters that never seemed to stop, but there was also a deeper humor that stemmed from the idea of what a person might willingly give up in exchange for youthful bodies and immortality. The non-stop comedy bred a certain amount of chaos in the book. At times the chaos slowed the story down when outrageous arguments lasted a little too long or strayed away from the main story, but for the most part the humor kept the story moving at a swift pace. It was hard to ever predict where the story was going, but I felt certain that whatever popped up next was going to have me laughing. 

The story itself was enjoyable. It was light, and flowed along with the laughs. I was expecting a little bit more complicated plot at first, but really, how serious and deep can you get with vampire raccoons and pint-sized century-old vampires? This was more of a situation comedy. There aren’t intricate plot twists or overly complex designs. The characters are over the top as well, but each one has a unique personality. The odd dynamic of the family only increases that craziness and fun. The characters are definitely memorable. The majority of this book was dialog between the characters – largely arguments that were funny – but there were times when the dialog could have been broken up more often to give readers a break from the intensity of the characters. 

Despite being a very funny book, there are some aspects that may turn readers off. There is a decent amount of profanity throughout the book. There are multiple sexual references and several sexual scenes – one of which got quite graphic. Two of the characters are homosexual, and there relationship is discussed throughout the book. If you’re a reader that doesn’t care to read these types of things, this book is not for you, as they are found through the majority of the book. Because of these, this book does earn a spot on my “No way would I let my teenage nieces read this” book list. 

This book is a fun, quick read that’s great for when you need a break from all the serious day to day stress. 

Would I recommend this book? With caution, mainly because of the amount of language, sex, and homosexuality. It is a very funny book, and while some readers will have no problem with these, others will. If you want comedy and don’t mind the adults themes, you’ll really enjoy this book. If you don’t want to read those sorts of themes, this book is not for you. 

Who would I recommend this book to? Vampire enthusiasts won’t find the brooding and serious vamps they might be expecting, but I think vampire lovers and those who never really jumped on the Twilight bandwagon can enjoy Stec’s vampires. Comedy readers will love it. It’s definitely one for adults, though. I think chick lit readers will enjoy this as well as those who are in the stage of wishing their cute and perky days weren’t so far behind them. Teens and those looking for cleaner comedy may want to choose something else. 

Winner's of the giveaways will be announced tomorrow! Don't forget to stop back by and see if you won. 

The first two books in the series are: They're So Vein and Gator Batin'. Both are available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Or enter for a chance to win a signed copy by leaving a comment or entering below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter to win a copy of Gator Baitin' on Goodreads through August 24th. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Favorites from: The Grateful Undead: They're So Vein

The best part about getting bitten by a horribly bratty child vampire is definitely the chaos that ensues afterward. I loved the humor in this book. Susan is incredibly funny, and her characters never stop saying and doing the most outrageous things. She kept me laughing throughout the book. 

The idea of so many women, almost all extremely vain and self-serving all living under one roof and being presented with immortality is just too good to pass up. I loved that several of the women were getting into their older years, and seeing each of their reactions to the possibility of younger bodies that would last forever. I never knew what was coming next, but I knew it would be funny. 

The first two books in the series are: They're So Vein and Gator Batin'. Both are available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Or enter for a chance to win a signed copy by leaving a comment or entering below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter to win a copy of Gator Baitin' on Goodreads through August 24th. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Interview with: Susan Stec

Now that you've all gotten a chance to get to know Susan Stec a little better, here's your chance to learn more about what inspired her writing. 

1. What was your inspiration for "The Grateful Undead?" 
The women in my family. When I dragged myself into my senior years and realized that my mother had already been there for thirty years and my sister was right behind us, I began to think about immortality and how I could make us live forever.
I love fantasy, especially urban fantasy. And even more so if it's humorous. Anyway, I started to have this crazy dream every night: Sexy vamp waltzes through the French doors of my bedroom balcony, and after an erotically charged interlude (see chapter twenty-eight in book one, They're So Vein), he fangs me, which just happens to clock me back about 30 years. That's when the rest of the zany non-estrogen producing women in my family burst into my dream asking for a piece of the action. I laughed myself awake and then got out a pad and a pen.
After I cut the girls loose in my world there was no dragging them back out again! My dreams became filled with fanged fiascos and they mentally pushed me toward the computer every morning, fighting for top billing.

2. Can you describe your main character, Susan, and how her personality leads her into trouble? Susan has major control issues and she's very bossy. She's 5'11", has curly red hair, green eyes, and dresses in grubby jeans or cargo shorts, t-shirts and her Doc Martins, which drives her younger sister, JoAnn, nuts. But then again, JoAnn irons her underwear.
Susan hates relationships because they only lead to more laundry and sharing the television remote control. Am I ashamed of Susan? Nah, I'm very proud of her crude, sarcastic wit. I take full credit for each and every one of her unseemly qualities—taught her everything she knows. (Thanks Mom)

3. The Stechs have an interesting family dynamic. Can you tell us a little about how they interact? They interact like the women in my real family. The characters in my book are spontaneous, edgy, and verbally animated; nothing is sacred, no holds are barred. Unlike my real family, they all live under one roof which would be like being trapped in a hive with five slightly off kilter queens, and one tiptoeing through the poppy fields on the edge of town called Dementia. In the Stech household the outrageously candid conversations and animated debates never die.

4. There are rules to the vampire life style, but the ladies don't know anything about that at first. How did you decide on what the rules would be? I wanted the whole "Book of Rules" thing to be amusing, so while I go with the standard vampire rule of anonymity; no feeding on humans, no turning humans, no flaunting fangs, etc. I start things rolling with the girls trying to exist as immortals by reading a basketful of my favorite Urban fantasy novels which they purchase at Wal-Mart. Then I have the staunch and old vamps send out a brochure which offers assistance in getting to know "the family" and JoAnn promptly tosses it in the trash thinking it an advertisement for a time share.

5. Your book is filled with comedy. Do you plan for funny moments, or do they come naturally? I can never plan anything that spews from my character's mouths, or their actions and reactions to different situations. However, every family gathering was fodder filed away for the pages of a book. All I do is stick my characters in a situation and they write the outcome. I never know what's coming next. I start out with a plot which changes often, and I usually toss the first and only outline in the trash by chapter five, but I always have an ending. I just type and laugh along with them until we get there.

6. Can you tell us a little about the differences between the main Vampire men in this book? Marcus is patient, sexy, loveable, wise, and brainlessly in love with Susan. Although she is so totally attracted to him, Susan fights that attraction with every forward step they take. Marcus is the head of the council and the founder of BAMVC. He starts out a little proper in book one, a bit more down to earth in book two, and amusingly part of Susan's life by book three.
Dorius—the bastard—is in charge of the rogue hunters at BAMVC and is everything the women hate in a man; controlling, arrogant, borderline narcissistic, and so totally in control of all of them for the infractions they committed in book 1. But he does squirm when the women verbally gang up on him, not to mention when they refuse to be all that HE thinks they can be. For Dorius it's always about appearances and maintaining the stature expected of immortal beings that are highest on the food chain.
Christopher plays a key role in all three books and adds a lot of humor to the pages, especially in book two and three where he becomes a permanent fixture in the Stech household. He is a one hundred and five year old immortal in the body of a six year old with curly blond hair, blue eyes and a cherub face. He's intelligent, complex, a prankster, and vindictive when it comes to Dorius. Christopher's character surprises me constantly as I write, always challenging, always amusing. However, most of the time Susan's character would like to hold Christopher's head in the toilet until the bubbles stop.

7. Late in the book we find out that vampires often gain special talents. Without giving too much away how did you decide what those talents would be? I wanted my vamps to be as outrageously, over-the-edge different as my real family is. The women both sides of my family have some unusual gifts, talents, curses (ha!); and since the men in my family have been called demons on many an occasion (the control thing again) the characters in the series just expanded on some of those family gifts. I knew Susan would do a witch thing (a story for another time), and Mom would do her Italian, evil eye, curse thingy (I expanded her gift), and Resi has always been good at reading people. JoAnn's particular power was a total surprise. I absolutely had no idea that a raccoon was going to strut onto our back porch, sporting fangs. But somehow, it just all fell into place.

8. Who are your favorite authors? Stephen King (The Dark Tower series) and Anne Rice (The Witching hour) are by far my favorites. But I also enjoy: Carl Hiaasen, Janet Evanovich, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, and H. P. Mallory. I'm always looking for new urban fantasy/paranormal humor, without heavy romance.

9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? I have to listen to 70's-80's music while writing, mostly rock, the louder the better, and I have to start each chapter with a line from a song. I do remove them before publishing, though.

10. Can you tell us about the next book in this series, and any other projects you are working on? Book 3, Blood Sweat and Demon Tears, is on the editor's desk and I will be releasing it by the first of the year. 
Without giving away the plot I can say that JoAnn is missing, and there will be an Earth to Abyss cell phone involved. Chick (Susan's mother) and Christopher take a road trip and the whole team ends up in Vegas. You know what they say about Vegas, right?
I also have two YA's I'm doing final edits on: 
Dead Girls Never Shut Up: Necromancers, ghosts and lesbians; not your typical high school story.
The Other F Word: A fairy girl deals with friendships, coming of age, bullying, drugs, sex, and her race's expectations.
Mirror Mirror: A dark, adult thriller about a fifteen-years-old serial killer, a sadistic little girl who has an obsession with Erzsebet Bathory, the 'Blood Countess' from the 1500's. The tone and style is a stretch for me, out of my comfort zone, but a good challenge.
You can connect with Susan on TwitterFacebookPintrestWeebly, and Google+.

The first two books in the series are: They're So Vein and Gator Batin'. Both are available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Or enter for a chance to win a signed copy by leaving a comment or entering below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter to win a copy of Gator Baitin' on Goodreads through August 24th. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Introducing: Susan Stec

You're probably all wondering about Susan's interesting author picture. All I can say about it the first chapter of They're So Vein and it will all make sense. Read on to get to know Susan Stec a little better to get a sense of her and her writing. 

"I've always been weird, even as a child. Might've been influenced by all those fairies and trolls living in and around the streams behind Grandma's house, and the talking dragon in the cave on the other side of the lake. Today it probably has something to do with five crazy vamp-women, the fanged tyke, fairy, troll, werewolf, demon, and several sexy immortals living in my head.

In reality I live with my husband and my three King Charles Spaniels on 50 acres of woods, fields, and streams in upper Michigan; hunt deer with my Ruger or crossbow, paint watercolors, sculpture stained glass, and chase butterflies with my dogs.

One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead~~Oscar Wilde

 The first two novels in The Grateful Undead series; They're So Vein, and Gator Baitin' are available in paperback and ebook on Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Book three, Blood Sweat and Demon Tears will be released in fall of 2012."

You can connect with Susan on Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest, Weebly, and Google+.

The first two books in the series are: They're So Vein and Gator Batin'. Both are available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Or enter for a chance to win a signed copy by leaving a comment or entering below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter to win a copy of Gator Baitin' on Goodreads through August 24th.