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Sunday, October 30, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Santa Club by Kelly Moss


TITLE: The Santa Club

AUTHOR: Kelly Moss
ILLUSTRATOR: Jim Keserich
PUBLISHER: Palmary Press
DATE OF PUBLICATION: July 1, 2011 
FORMAT: Hardcover, 32 pages
GENRE: Children's Picture Book
ISBN: 978-0982134016

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS:
 

A delightful book with captivating illustrations, The Santa Club transitions your child from receiving gifts to experiencing the joy of giving. With sensitivity, faith, and love, The Santa Club tackles the serious question, "Is Santa Claus Real?" To be read with your child, this wonderful book not only answers that sometimes "dreaded" question but it also addresses the questions of why Santa comes at Christmas and who was the first Santa. The Santa Club is a wonderful parenting resource and a stunning children's book, and is sure to become an annual family favorite.

MY REVIEW: 

I received this book for review from The Cadence Group through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer Program. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. 

Moss answers two questions in this book that every child will undoubtedly ask: Is there a Santa Claus? and Is Santa Claus real?

I thought this was a cute book, and I liked the tie-in to the Birth of Jesus. Many people look at Christmas as an “either/or” deal: You either believe in Santa Claus or Jesus – not both. Christmas has also become so commercialized that we forget the “Christ” in “Christmas.” The simple explanation that Moss provides is that all people who give belong to “The Santa Club,”  whose members love children so much that they give without expecting anything in return. This book is a sweet reminder to remember the spirit of Christmas and to give joyfully.

The hardcover version of the book is of gift-quality with heavier pages. The illustrations are bright and colourful, and I love the way that St. Nicholas is depicted. 

MY RATING: 4 stars! I really liked it!!

This book qualifies as:
#91 for my 2011 100+ Reading Challenge 

BOOK REVIEW: Blood's Voice by Áine P. Massie


TITLE: Blood's Voice 
SERIES: House Millar, Book #1 
AUTHOR: Áine P. Massie 
PUBLISHER: Geas Publishing 
DATE OF PUBLICATION: June 1, 2011 
FORMAT: E-book, 400 pages 
GENRE: Paranormal Romance 
ASIN: B005405MYK 

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS: 

Anya Millar had no memory of her life or an instruction manual on how to navigate the insane world of humans, biting, and reality. Instead, Anya has had to learn to navigate the world of love, life, and sanity while avoiding those that would see her dead or enslaved.

This is the ongoing journey of Anya and Nicholas, human loving vampires and the human they love, Declán. What makes it all more complicated is that they are abominations in their own world and Declán is a natural born vampire hunter called a Guardian.

Anya must come to terms with who she is and her missing past, Nicholas must win back the object of his eternal love while dealing with new cravings in his silent heart, and Declán must learn to destroy the very creatures that he has unequivocally given his heart and blood.
 


MY REVIEW: 

I received this book for review from the author as part of her virtual book tour. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. 

This book is about a vampire named Anya, who is forever a teenager. I do not believe her exact age was mentioned, but she is about 16 or 17 years old. She was abducted and held against her will for three decades by a group of mysterious people called The Educators who tried to turn Anya into a lethal weapon. When she finally resurfaces, she has no memory of the time during which she was held captive. Anya, aka the Assassin, also has the unique ability to control and even destroy people with her voice.

Anya’s pseudo-mother is Star, who is a “bloodless” one. I am not really clear on what that means.

In Massie’s vampire world, the vamps do not sparkle in sunlight or burst into balls of flame. They can walk among the living. Anya wants to fit in with other teenagers her own age, so she attends the local high school. There, she meets a human boy named Declán and the two fall for each other. It reminded me of Twilight in reverse: Instead of human girl falling for vampire boy, we have human boy falling for vampire girl. Another Twilight similarity is that Anya does not drink human blood but, rather, animal blood.

Anya also shares a “blood bond” with a vampire named Nicholas, and the two drink from each other for pleasure and not for sustenance. Nicholas lives as a family with his sire, Jonathan, and Jonathan’s wife, Amber.

As noted in the synopsis, we find out later in the book that Declán is not an ordinary human but someone with special powers to destroy vampires known as a Guardian. Apparently, the Guardians were thought to have died out a long time ago.

When Anya drinks from Declán, she bonds him to her and also to Nicholas by way of his existing bond with Anya. Their relationship eventually turns intimate for them (the trio).

In a nutshell, some bad vampires want to destroy Anya because of the power that she possesses. Some “good” vampires come to town (Geoffrey and Peony) and want to join Anya’s “house” or “family.” Anya buys a larger home and Nicholas' family moves in with her, as well as Geoffrey, Peony, and Declán. In order to get to Anya, the “bad” vampires kidnap Nicholas and Anya must then risk her life to rescue him.

I really struggled with this story. I could not make a connection with Anya. I really did not like her character, and I felt ambivalent towards her. I also did not “get” the 3-way relationship between Anya, Declán, and Nicholas. Normally, vamps are extremely territorial and unwilling to share their mates as with most members of the human race. Call me old-fashioned, but I could not embrace their relationship.

I think that Massie’s best developed character is Nicholas. I actually did feel a connection with him and enjoyed the parts of the story where his role figured prominently.

The pace of the book moved very slowly for me. This tome is lengthy at 400 pages, and there was a lot of talking but not a lot of action.

The numerous typographical and grammatical errors were distracting and interfered with my ability to enjoy the book. For example, “loosing” and "loose" instead of “losing” and "lose," and “shuttered” instead of “shuddered.” There are also instances of awkward word usage, where words or phrases could have been replaced with more suitable and eloquent ones. With a good editor, I feel that the book could be improved. 

MY RATING: 2 stars! Meh, it was just "okay" for me.

This book qualifies as:

In My Mailbox - October 30, 2011

I am participating in this weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share what books we received this week.

I received this hardcover in my "real" mailbox this week, which I won in the Giving Me The Creeps October Giveaway the Second hosted by Rhiannon at The Diary of a Bookworm: 

Double Dexter
(Dexter, Book #6)
by Jeff Lindsay

Thanks again, Rhiannon!


 I received this paperback in my "real" mailbox this week, which I won in a giveaway hosted by Michelle at Life in Review:

by Cheryl Robinson

Thanks again, Michelle!




I received this paperback in my "real" mailbox from the author's publicist for the author's upcoming Scavenger Blog Tour (be sure to stop by for a Q&A with Julie Kagawa on November 19th!):

(Iron Fey, Book #4)
by Julie Kagawa

Thanks again, Erin!


I received this paperback ARC in my "real" mailbox, which I won in a giveaway hosted by Teddy at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time!: 

by Jesmyn Ward

Thanks again, Teddy!




I received this paperback in my "real" mailbox, which I won in a giveaway hosted by Kristi's Book Nook:

(The Habitats of Baby Animals Series)
by Bobbie Kalman

Thanks again, Kristi!
I received this paperback in my "real" mailbox, which I won in a giveaway hosted by The Book Trib:

by Kim Kircher

Thanks again, Book Trib!
I received this paperback in my "real" mailbox, which I won in a giveaway hosted by Steph at Paper Cut Reviews:

(Unbound, Book #1)
by Rachel Vincent

Thanks again, Steph!



I received this hardcover in my "real" mailbox this week, which I won in a Shelf Awareness giveaway hosted by the author:

by Robie H. Harris

Thanks again, Robie!




I received this audiobook for review from Iambik Audiobooks through Audiobook Jukebox's Solid Gold Reviewer Program: 

(The Steele Chronicles, Book #1)
by Hayden Trenholm

Thanks again, Miette!



What did you get in your mailbox this week?

If you are also participating in the In My Mailbox meme, please leave me the link to your post so that I can drool over all your goodies!

If anyone has read any of these books yet, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward


TITLE: Lover Avenged
SERIES:
Book #7 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
AUTHOR:
J.R. Ward 
NARRATOR: Jim Frangione
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
DATE OF PUBLICATION:
May 14, 2009
FORMAT:
Unabridged Audio MP3, 23 hours and 6 minutes
GENRE: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
ISBN:
978-1101053041

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS:



Now, as the vampire warriors defend their race against their slayers, one male's loyalty to the Brotherhood will be tested--and his dangerous mixed blood revealed...

Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood-even though his sister is married to a member, for he harbors a deadly secret that could make him a huge liability in their war against the lessers. As plots within and outside of the Brotherhood threaten to reveal the truth about Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in his darkening world, Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him-and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.


MY REVIEW:


This book was a little bit different than all the rest because it is mainly about someone who is NOT a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I was always intrigued by Rehvenge’s character, and I enjoyed learning more about the Sympath colony. However, I could have done without the details of his sexual escapades with his HALF-SISTER. Ewwww! I realize that it wasn’t Rehv’s fault and that he was being blackmailed, but I didn’t like reading this part of the book, solely because he was related to the Princess. Too incestuous for me.

As with Zsadist and Vishous, Ward has a way for making us fall in love with these bad boys! Rehv is a hooker with a heart of gold (as well as pimp and drug lord), and only Ward could make us feel the way we do about Rehv. There is a reason why he does what he does, and he doesn’t do it for selfish reasons. I love the protector role that Rehv takes with his sister, Bella. As Rehv’s past unfolds, we see what a man of character he is and what lengths he has gone to in order to protect Bella and his mother. The scene towards the end with Rehv singing a lullaby to Nalla had me in tears!

I enjoyed learning more about the two shadows, Trez and iAm. They are absolutely committed to Rehvenge, and I like that. I hope we get to learn more about them!

Rehv falls for Ehlena, who is a nurse at Havers’ clinic. I loved everything about Ehlena, and it was not a surprise that she melted Rehv’s sympath side. I loved her “fall from grace” from the Glymera, which showed us how resilient and tough her character is. The intimate scenes between Rehv and Ehlena were totally hot! I am sure my face was flushed while I was listening, especially during their steamy phone sex during which Ehlena found a new use for her stockings! Ward has created another brilliant pairing in Rehv & Ehlena. I love them together!

I loved that Ward drew in a lot of the other members of the BDB into this book. There are so many sub-plots going on! Even Mary and Doc Jane resurface!

I enjoyed revisiting the relationship between Wrath and Beth, and I find that I like Wrath more now than I did in Dark Lover. His battle with himself over the loss of his sight was heart-breaking, and I loved seeing that vulnerability in him. Wrath’s relationship with Payne is interesting, and I can’t wait to see where that goes!

I loved delving further into John Matthew’s relationship with Xhex, but I hate how John Matthew changes during this book. I wish that Ward hadn’t turned him into such a cold-hearted bastard! I know he is hurting, but sheesh! He is taking it out on the whole world! I am glad that Tohr is finally getting his act together, even though it is "too little, too late" for John Matthew.

We learn more about Xhex and her ex-lover, Murhder, who was a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Her shell, too, is chipping away and underneath all that tough exterior is a woman who is struggling to keep a lid on her emotions.

And let’s not forget Lash…he is turning into quite the antagonist! He is the villain that you love to hate.

Ward masterfully ties all the sub-plots together into a superb ending! And what a cliff-hanger!! I could hardly wait to start on the next one.

I love Ward’s sarcastic humour, and I was laughing out loud on a number of occasions throughout the book.

            Wrath to Butch: “Put on your big-girl pants and deal.”

And the touching moments:

Wrath’s thoughts: “But every once in a while, from out of the blue, someone reaches the quiet place where you spend your private time and changes the way you see yourself. If you’re lucky it’s your mate…and the transformation reminds you once again that you are absolutely, positively with the right person: because what they say doesn’t touch you because of who they are to you, but because of the content of their message.”

Ahhhhhhhh, just melts the heart, doesn't it?

Jim Frangione, how do you do it? I want his job. I want to narrate steamy novels, LOL! I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Frangione *IS* the BDB! There can never be another narrator for this series! His smooth, sultry voice during those intimate scenes is the icing on the cake!

This the first instance in the series where I have noticed some technical issues with the recording. There are some long pauses, and I can hear at other points where there was noise in the background when Frangione was cued in. It also sounded like Frangione was shouting the chapter numbers, and I jumped nearly out of my skin each time. It seemed like the volume on the chapter headings was louder than the rest of the narration. Either that or his voice was more commanding. I also prefer when the chapter number is preceded by the word "Chapter". I believe that this is also the first time in this series where Frangione simply says "One" instead of "Chapter One." I much prefer the latter.

MY RATING: 4.5 stars! Highly recommended, and I know I’ll read it again!

This book qualifies as:

#63 for my 2011 100+ Reading Challenge

#33 for my 2011 Audio Book Challenge

#15 for my Vampire Challenge 2011
#9 for my Paranormal Romance Challenge 2011

#7 for my Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Challenge

Spotlight Saturday: Author Interview and Giveaway with Michael West, author of Cinema of Shadows

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Michael West. 


About Michael:
 
Michael West a member of the Horror Writers Association and serves as President of its local chapter, Indiana Horror Writers. A graduate of Indiana University, West earned a degree in Telecommunications and Film Theory, and since that time, he has written a multitude of short stories, articles, and reviews for various on-line and print publications.

He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their bird, Rodan, and turtle, Gamera. His children are convinced that spirits move through the woods near their home.

For further information, please visit Michael's site at www.bymichaelwest.com.



Author Interview:

Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Michael! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Well, anyone who follows me on Facebook and Twitter knows I love two things: coffee and Horror. I’ve loved Horror as long as I can remember; as a child, I used to trick babysitters into letting me stay up late to watch Night Gallery episodes and Hammer films, I subscribed to Fangoria and read every Stephen King that came out, and I wrote my first novel while still in high school (A work that will never, ever see the light of day. Awful. *shudder*). My love of coffee didn't start until much later, but if you took it away from me...well, let's just say that would be a real Horror story.

 
Do you have a specific writing style? Do you write an outline, or do you write more “by‑the‑seat-of-your-pants”?

I do a little of both. I tend to have an ending in mind when I start. That's not to say that the ending doesn't change half a dozen times by the time I get there, but I need to have a goal, something to work toward. I don't tend to outline the novel as a whole, but when I get to the next chapter, I first jot down the key things that happen in it, then I fill in the prose. But even then, the characters really dictate what happens. I could do all the planning in the world, but the characters would just do their own thing anyway. LOL


Do you discipline yourself to write a certain number of words daily? Or do you ever have dry periods where you do not write?

I do try to set goals for myself. There are days when I will type a thousand words and other days when I'm lucky to string a sentence together. I have to admit that I hate writing that first draft. For me, that’s the most difficult thing in the world, just getting all the words out onto the page and giving the story a beginning, middle, and end. But once it’s out there, once I get into the editing process and the re-writes, that’s when I’m most happy. I’ve spoken to writers who feel just the opposite, they love getting it all out there and hate doing edits, but I view it the way a sculptor views a huge block of marble; it’s a pain, getting that stone into the studio, but, when you start to chip away at it, when it starts to like what you envisioned, or, in some cases, better than what you envisioned…there’s no greater feeling in the world than that.


What is your ideal writing environment? Do you prefer music or solitude? Is there a time of day (or night) that you prefer?

I’ve got a coffee mug covered in artwork from my short story “Jiki.” I usually fill that up and turn on music, either film soundtracks or 80s music, I can’t work when it’s totally quiet. I also like the room to be as dark as possible, so I will turn off lights or close blinds before I start. I write as much as I can whenever I can. I used to be a night owl, but now that I have kids who have to get to school, I tend to do more of my work in the mornings now.


I see from your bio that you have a Degree in Telecommunications and Film Theory. Did your interest in writing precede your studies, or did it come about as a result of your studies?

I’ve always loved telling a good story. Before I could write, I drew pictures to illustrate the tales that were spinning inside my head. Then, I wanted to be the next Steven Spielberg or James Cameron. Growing up, I would write screenplays for movies I would make with my friends and my parents’ video camera. When I saw the film Super 8, it really took me back, because that was me and my friends at that time. As I got older, and the stories that I wanted to tell outgrew my meager budgets, I turned them into short stories and novels.


Where did you come up with the idea for Cinema of Shadows?

I’m a huge movie buff, and I worked as a theater manager for a time. One of the cinemas I managed was haunted. If you walked in, and it was completely dark, you could see the glowing outline of a person sitting in one of the seats. Someone told me that it was the spirit of a man who had a heart attack and died right there in his chair.

Then, years later, I started going to classic films at an old movie palace in Franklin, Indiana. The Artcraft. It had fallen into disrepair, but now it is being restored to its former glory–the original Art Deco design, the neon, the huge marquee with the chasing bulbs. This is what theaters were like before the multiplexes, and now they are quite rare. Just amazing! 

So the more I thought about it, the more I wondered…if the theater I managed was fairly new and already had a ghost, how many spirits might be trapped inside one of these cinemas that had been around for decades? And that’s when I realized that a crumbling movie palace would be a unique and amazing setting for a Horror story.


Are any of the characters based on someone you know?

Not specifically. But as a writer, you do take elements and experiences in your life and fictionalize them to add depth to your characters and give your situations a shot of reality. Because you know how you felt when something happened to you, you can convey that through the eyes and emotions of your characters and make the entire narrative more believable and authentic.


I see that your next Harmony novel is entitled Spook House. Can you tell us a little about it, and any other upcoming writing projects?

In Spook House, the Harmony fire department works to turn an old farmhouse into a haunted attraction. Growing up, there was always that haunted house put on by the local Jaycees to raise money. So much fun! But, since this is Harmony, the house they've chosen sits atop a gateway to another dimension, and there are some nasty things on the other side of that doorway that have been waiting a long time to get out. Robby Miller (The Wide Game, Cinema of Shadows) really takes center stage this time out. He's been a supporting player up until now, but this is his novel, and we get just a little bit of set-up for the climactic battle of good vs. evil that will take place in the final Harmony novel, Field of Screams.

Spook House will be out next fall.

Before that, I have a dark, epic urban fantasy series titled The Legacy of the Gods that will kick off with the release of a novel entitled Poseidon's Children in March, 2012. Look for an announcement on that from Seventh Star Press very soon. And I am editing an anthology called Vampires Don’t Sparkle! for all those Horror fans who want to read gritty tales about vampires who don’t mope and brood about going to prom. That will be out in the first half of 2012.


What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I like going to movies and Horror conventions with my sons, and meeting my faithful readers.


Who is your favourite author and what really strikes you about their work?

Wow…I’ve had so many influences over the years—everyone from Clive Barker to Richard Matheson to Rod Serling—but, growing up in the eighties as I did, I’d have to say Stephen King is…well…king. I just love the way he can take a normal, everyday, real-life place or situation and make it into something horrific. Going to the grocery store? Well, you’re going to run into a monster. Oh, and that quiet little town you live in? Overrun by vampires. The hotel you’re staying in and the car you’re driving right now? Haunted. That’s something I try to do in my fiction as well, making the real fantastic and vice versa.


What book are you reading now?

I just finished re-reading all six volumes of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing. I've read it several times, and it just gets better with each pass. Next, I need to pick up a copy of The Monster's Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes. My friend Gary A. Braunbeck has a story in it, and I just love stories told from the monster's point of view.


Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?

I just want to thank them for their support. Writing is a very solitary process, just you and your laptop with no idea how your work will be perceived. It's very gratifying for me that so many people enjoy what I do, that they're actually out there waiting for the next thing to come out, and I can't wait to give them more.

In the meantime, however, faithful readers can always get up-to-date information on me and my work at my website, http://www.bymichaelwest.com.
 


*Fun Facts*

Favourite horror movie? The Exorcist

Dog-lover or cat-lover? Snake-lover 


Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Vanilla

If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be? Stephen King

I can't live without my... Coffee

The craziest thing I ever did was... What happens at the 1988 Def Leppard concert, stays at the 1988 Def Leppard concert. Now I'm intrigued! Pssst! If anyone was with Michael at this concert in 1988, please do share what crazy thing that Michael did! Inquiring minds want to know!

If I could take an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, I would go to... Japan.


Thanks so much for joining us today, Michael! It was a lot of fun getting to know you better, and I am looking forward to reading Cinema of Shadows!



Giveaway:

One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Michael's book, Cinema of Shadows.

This giveaway is limited to entries from Canada and the United States only (sorry, international folks!).

SYNOPSIS:

Welcome to the Woodfield Movie Palace.

The night the Titanic sank, it opened for business...and its builder died in his chair. In the 1950s, there was a fire; a balcony full of people burned to death. And years later, when it became the scene of one of Harmony, Indiana's most notorious murders, it closed for good. Abandoned, sealed, locked up tight...until now.

Tonight, Professor Geoffrey Burke and his Parapsychology students have come to the Woodfield in search of evidence, hoping to find irrefutable proof of a haunting. Instead, they will discover that, in this theater, the terrors are not confined to the screen.



To enter the giveaway, please complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is limited to entries from Canada and the United States only, and it will close on Saturday, November 5th at 12:01 AM EST.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Character Interview and Giveaway with Áine P. Massie, author of Blood's Voice and Blood Bound

Hi, everyone!


I am pleased to participate in Áine P. Massie's Virtual Book Tour for Blood's Voice (Book #1) and Blood Bound (Book #2) of the House Millar Series presented by Geas Publishing.


About Áine:

Áine P Massie is originally from Florida, she now lives in Wisconsin where she works on her House Millar series full time while raising four children (the term herding cats comes to mind). Her major in College was Childhood Education (0-5) with a minor study in Deaf Culture/ASL. She is also a Wiccan priestess dedicated to the gods, family, and love.

A life-long reader, Áine has always had a particular fascination with vampires, mythology, and the unusual. When she can escape from her children and books, she enjoys .. oh yes, reading, playing, ritual, a good cappuccino, and working with her healing stones.

Her first published work came in high school where she was part of a writing and drama group. But, she’s been reading the likes of Shakespeare and Poe since late elementary school and enjoys most forms of fiction. Blood’s Voice has been a long time in coming and with its publication (June 2011) Áine embarked on a new chapter in her life.

Áine P Massie is currently working on her third novel, Glamour Blade.

For more information visit Áine P Massie at http://housemillar.host56.com.


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Áine!

We are doing something a little different today. Rather than an author interview or guest post, we are going to do a Character Interview with my favourite character from Blood's Voice.

Character Interview with the Vampire Nicholas of The House Millar Series:

Thank you for allowing me this inside peek into what makes you, you.

Settling down in the chair across from me, I note Nicholas is dressed in tight black slacks, hair styled perfectly, leather bracer on his right wrist and over-sized watch on a biker band on the other, topped with a dark blueberry silk dress shirt.  The shirt was unbuttoned more than just the collar and at the bottom just a little.

Thank you for the invitation.  I love your site, by the way.


I’ll start off with an easy one.  You’re a vampire?

*Flashing a smile, showing his fangs*  Of course.  I am one of few aberrations but I am still happily fanged.


Can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

My name is Nicholas Andrew Gray Young.  I am, as you graciously pointed out, a vampire, though I try to protect the fragile humans around me.  I was born in 1815 in Canada and love my country of origin dearly.  Jonathan sired me in 1835, which is an interesting story but I won’t get into that right now. 

I am the bonded mate to Anya and Declán, though you have to read Blood’s Voice to find out all the details of how I ended up with two such loving and amusingly twisted partners.


You obviously had feelings for Anya from before. How did you feel about her friendship with Declán at first?

I loved Anya almost from the moment I met her sixty years ago.  She is an amazing and complex woman. *pausing for a moment then swallowing hard he continued*  Losing her nearly destroyed me.  Finding her again was the first time in nearly three decades I had felt much of anything so having to deal with her wanting Dec too… was trivial to me.  I was far more concerned with rebuilding our friendship and hoping to have my love returned than if she wanted to play with Declán.

I have to admit though; I was a bit naive on this point.  I didn’t honestly think she would fall in love with him but as he managed to steal my heart as well, I can’t really fault her.  My only true fear with respect to Dec was if she would prefer the life he could provide her.  Our relationship and style of passion, I suppose you would call it, was not the same as with him. 

Sharing I could do, losing I could not.


Nicholas, you now share a blood bond and have strong feelings for both Anya and Declán.  How do you feel about having to share Anya? How do you feel about having to share Declán?

As I said before, I love them both.  Sharing is not a problem in my mind.  Anyone else touches my beloved ones is a whole other topic though.  The blood bond with me was accidental in Declán’s case but neither of us regrets it.  I didn’t even at the time, though I would have preferred the choice to bond with him.

The hard part isn’t sharing; it’s knowing how to deal with the views of others.  I hate dealing with those that want to relegate Dec to the status of pet. 


I know you’re not too male-centric so I’ll ask this next one… How did you deal with being rescued by Anya? Has it affected your relationship in any way?

I had no problem from the point of view that she was female but rather that of all beings to have to enter into that area, Anya is the last person ever I would have wanted there.  I think the trauma to her was far worse than to me. 

The only lasting issues are from what I saw and what she did to retrieve me, not from the fact it was a woman.  Women are far more powerful than others often realize.


In Blood’s Voice it’s mentioned that you ‘super hero’ for humans and you help train Declán.  My question is, were you ever in the military?  Where did you receive your combat training?

No, I was never in the military.  I should have been but due to my human family and their needs I stayed at home until shortly before I “died” and became as I am now.  I have great respect for those that are called to be warriors of any form, as long as they are seeking to protect and defend, not murder and destroy.  A bit of an oxymoron for a vamp, I know, but hey.  *wink*

Most of my combat skills were picked up and honed after Jonathan found me.  He is a great fighter, though he rarely shows that side to others.  A few of his friends also taught me.  A weak vampire does not survive long so he made sure I would be at his side for ages to come.


You don’t speak as someone from the time you were born, why?

I have been told that my manners and inflections are often a bit ‘old fashioned’ but I strive to keep up to date with my speech.  If I didn’t I would stand out more than I do, yes?  I just can’t do the slouching and cursing that I see so often though, and ugh, the way so many males dress now.  It’s inappropriate and disrespectful.  Sorry, I will get off my soap box now.


One last question and I’ll let you get back to your family.  Who was your first love?

Oh, to love, to laugh, to live a lifetime within ones heart and soul.  My first love was Anya.  I had never met anyone that could hold my interest or heart until I met her.  She is, and always will be, my love, my heart, and my soul.  I am thankful that she is willing to share that spot with Dec as I could not imagine my life without having met either.

**Salutations

Thank you for taking the time to invite me and for helping to share our story.  It’s been a pleasure spending time with you.  *Nicholas takes Darlene’s hand, bending to kiss the back of it before giving her another fanged smile on his way out.*


Thanks so much for joining us today, Nicholas (and Áine!). It was a lot of fun getting to know you better, and you are as charming in person as you are in the story!

Giveaway:

 One lucky winner will receive an e-book copy of Blood's Voice (Book #1 of the House Millar Series).

This giveaway is open internationally.

SYNOPSIS:

Anya Millar had no memory of her life or an instruction manual on how to navigate the insane world of humans, biting, and reality. Instead, Anya has had to learn to navigate the world of love, life, and sanity while avoiding those that would see her dead or enslaved.

This is the ongoing journey of Anya and Nicholas, human loving vampires and the human they love, Declán. What makes it all more complicated is that they are abominations in their own world and Declán is a natural born vampire hunter called a Guardian.

Anya must come to terms with who she is and her missing past, Nicholas must win back the object of his eternal love while dealing with new cravings in his silent heart, and Declán must learn to destroy the very creatures that he has unequivocally given his heart and blood.


To enter the giveaway, please complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open to all with a valid email address until 12:01 AM EST on November 4, 2011.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Post with Cassiel Knight, author of Relic Defender: Key of Solomon


Hi, everyone!

I am pleased to participate in Cassiel Knight's Relic Defender: Key of Solomon Virtual Book Tour hosted by Nurture Virtual Book Tourz.

About Cassiel:

In the job that pays the mortgage and allows her to indulge in her real passion, writing, Kim Wollenburg, writing as Cassiel Knight, works for Clackamas County in the beautiful state of Oregon. Crazily passionate about the writing industry, Kim published a paranormal romance with Samhain Publishing and has a post-apocalypse novella coming in early 2012 from Lyrical Press. She writes paranormal romances with kick-assitude that blend archeology and mythology -- just a few of her favorite things. Kim is the proud current president of Rose City Romance Writers, a feisty bunch of talented writers who are just as passionate about writing as they are about helping each other succeed.

When she's not writing or doing writing-related things, Kim enjoys spending time with her patient and loving husband of 20 years and thrives with the adorable companionship of her three Shih Tzus: Ginger, Abby and Chloe.


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Cassiel!
Cassiel has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her.

Guest Post by Cassiel Knight:


For years, writers were told to “write what you know.”  And this was something I heard when I began this path over ten years ago.  I did some research on who said this and while this is most frequently attributed to Mark Twain, there is a general consensus that no one really knows who said it but more than that, it’s something that should be banned.

So, what does it mean, really? Well, some believe it should be taken literally – to mean writers should not write about things we have not personally experienced. This is actually the definition I heard many years ago. Now, I find it very amusing and my reaction to it can be summed up by a quote from Robert Duncan (writer for Rolling Stone, Circus, Hit Parade and Life among a few), “If I write what you know, I bore you; if I write what I know, I bore myself, therefore I write what I don’t know.”

Isn’t that great? Here’s another by Howard Nemerov (an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry) that made me laugh - “Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.”

So true. Now, I don’t consider myself uninformed. I’m smart. I know stuff. But I don’t know enough about places and things to infuse my stories with the atmosphere readers are looking for. Because while we read about characters, we also read for places and things. If I were to write only about what I know, I’d be writing short, flat stories.

I write paranormal stories. I have yet to meet a fallen angel, demon or a shape-shifting rock. I have yet to travel to another planet. I have to visit Egypt and see the pyramids at Giza. I have yet to explore the Mayan ruins in South America. Yet, these are all places I have visited in my research.

I’d like to leave you with another great quote on author’s writing what they know. This is from Valerie Sherwood (romance novelist): “Don’t write what you know – what you know may bore you, and thus bore your readers. Write about what interests you – and interests you deeply – and your readers will catch fire at your words.”

Would my writing be any better if I experienced some of these things? Maybe. I don’t know. I think what makes it great is that I haven’t been there so I can infuse my stories with the passion of discovering something new. And that’s what I try to do.

I hope you agree.

 Thanks so much for joining us today, Cassiel!

If you would like to learn more about Cassiel and her books, you can find her at the social media links below:

Author’s Website: http://www.cassielknight.com 
Author’s Blog: http://www.relicdefender.wordpress.com 
Author’s Twitter Account: http://twitter.com/#!/CassielKnight 


Giveaway:

One lucky winner will win an e-book copy of Relic Defender: Key of Solomon!
This giveaway is open internationally!

Title: Relic Defender: Key of Solomon
Author: Cassiel Knight
Genre: Fiction: Paranormal Romance
Published by: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Age Restriction: None
Content Warning: Mild Sex Scene
Recommended Age: 18+
Format(s): eBook
ISBN 13: 978-1-60928-372-8

Synopsis: Anthropology PhD candidate Lexi Harrison never bares it all when she belly dances for a strip club crowd. She doesn't have to--she's that good. Every performance earns money towards her degree, and restores the sense of power that her painful childhood ripped away.

Something is different about tonight. A man whose silver gaze seems to touch her skin beneath her veils. When a rowdy customer crosses the line, he comes to her rescue with the speed of a hawk--complete with wings.

Mikos Tyomni has never seen anyone dance the raqs sharqi like Lexi. Trust his tormentor, Archangel Michael, to put him in close contact with the cause of his downfall: a mortal woman. Particularly this mortal woman. The Defender. He has only thirty days to win her trust before Hell's deadliest demon attempts the mother of all prison breaks.

No matter how sexy the messenger is, Lexi's career plans don't include the crazy idea that she's the last line of defense against the forces of evil. Until her university mentor's murder leaves her holding the key to Hell. And fighting a losing battle against a passion forbidden by Heaven.

 To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open to all with a valid email address until 12:01 AM EST on November 2, 2011.
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