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Archive for October, 2012

Open Door

By Christine Locke

Book Description:

ENTRANCING OPPORTUNITIES BECKON A YOUNG GIRL…

It’s 1987, and 16-year-old Carin White desperately needs her first job.  An elegant woman she’s never met appears at her door offering employment.  “Aunt” Helen asks Carin to work for her on the family’s rambling, enigmatic estate in the tiny resort town of Eureka Springs.

IN A WORLD WHERE NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS…

Carin takes little notice of Rafe Allen, Helen’s other hired help.  But a brutal assault forces Carin to confront her own capacity for violence.  Carin learns her mother concealed her identity from her, and the mansion hides horrific secrets of its own.

AND ONLY LOVE CAN SAVE HER.

Carin exposes the truth about her presence on the estate.  Will she be strong enough to recognize love and redeem her family legacy?  Or will the temptations of power and control lure her to the same dark places where others lost themselves?

Amazon
Notes to Readers:

This novel is NOT about werewolves, vampires, or fallen angels.  It is a story about magic.  The gothic Mallace Mansion lives and breathes as a character, and only one woman controls its Legacy.  Is Carin the one? Read OPEN DOOR to find out.

This novel does NOT have a cliffhanger ending.  The author does not believe in them.  The story is complete in itself, and the ending points the way to a new storyline for IN TIME, the second novel in the Legacy Trilogy due out this Halloween.

OPEN DOOR is a full length novel at over 46,000 words.

About the Author:

Christine Locke was born in California and grew up in various locations around the United States as a Navy brat. She was the oldest of six children and today is mother and step-mother to seven. She attended Texas A&M University, receiving her Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature in 1995.

Christine has worked as a writing instructor, a salesperson, and an award-winning retail manager and management trainer, among other things. Today, she co-ordinates makeovers for a local magazine. She and her husband, Mike, live with their children, two dogs, and two cats in Arkansas.

For years, Christine has been writing novels around her work and family life. Open Door is her first published novel. Several other manuscripts are almost ready to follow Open Door onto Amazon KDP, including the Open Door sequel, In Time.

Twitter: @wrtrdoll and @CarinsGriffin

christinelockebooks.blogspot.com
carinatmallacemansion.blogspot.com

http://www.goodreads.com/wrtrdoll

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About the book

There are witches in the world…some are good and some of them are downright evil. Amanda Givens is careful how she uses her powers. She doesn’t want the people of Canaan, Connecticut, to know they have a witch among them…even a good, white witch. For years, she’s lived quietly in a remote cabin in the woods with Amadeus, her feline familiar. When she’s wrongly blamed for a rash of ritualistic murders committed by a satanic cult, she knows she can’t hide any longer. She’s the one the cult’s after. More than that, she’s the only one who can stop them and prove her innocence. In doing this, she’s drawn back in time by the ghost of the malevolent witch, Rachel Coxe, who was drowned for practicing black magic in the 17th century. Now, as Amanda tries to rehabilitate Rachel’s reputation in an effort to save lives, as well as her own, she has to rely on a sister’s love and magical knowledge, and a powerful sect of witches called the Guardians, to help her get home safely.

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My thoughts…

First of all, I’d like to say that I LOVE the cover and that’s the main reason I initially decided to read the book. How can you not be persuaded by a cover like that? Also, this being the Halloween season, I thought the topic appealing. That said, I did have my reservations. I don’t like books about witchcraft if things get too grim and graphic. Fortunately, the author didn’t disappoint me in this aspect. Witches is a light horror novel with an old traditional quality to it. It’s spooky at times, and certainly suspenseful, but not scary.

Apart from this, there are many other things I liked about this novel. Let me talk first about the main character, the good witch Amanda Givens. Except for the part about being a witch and having her shape-shifting familiar Amadeus, she’s your regular, next-door widow in her mid thirties. Pretty yes, but not beautiful or in any way extraordinary. She’s quiet, with a kind heart, and lives a solitary life in the woods. She also has a mature, thoughtful voice that I enjoyed a lot. So Amanda certainly is a sympathetic character that made me care for her and her predicament.

I also enjoyed the well-plotted storyline which includes all the elements paranormal fans enjoy: magic, shape-shifting, ghosts, and even there’s a little of time-travel thrown into the mix. Add to that a dash of love and you have a very entertaining story to sit by the fire this Halloween.

The prose flows well and, as I mentioned, the style is kind of traditional, taking me back to those horror novels I used to love reading in the 80’s. Some of the descriptions are beautiful, with vivid images. In addition, the author does a good job in bringing the ‘small New England town’ to life, making her fictional world real to the reader.

In sum, this is a novel about good vs. evil with a good share of twists and turns and exciting scenes, some spooky, others sad, yet others humorous. If you’re looking for a light horror about witches to read this Halloween, pick this one up!

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Arlette Gaffrey’s Behind the Columns is a well-written, compelling historical novel about the romance between a young Creole belle and a handsome, charismatic New Yorker.

New Orleans, 1847.

Having lost both her parents at an early age, Désirée Bordeaux lives with her grandfather, a man with a weakness for drink and gambling. When he suddenly dies, Désirée finds herself in a desperate situation as her beloved plantation Chêne Vue must be auctioned off.

Philippe Jaunet, a hateful man–also a heavy drinker and gambler–who used to know her grandfather, is intent on marrying her, getting the plantation for himself and use it to pay his own debts.

To add to her unhappiness, the man she thinks she loves and whom she believes promised her marriage when she was but a child of ten, has married another woman.

Enter handsome and wealthy Lance Van Buren, who immediately is mesmerized by Désirée’s stunning beauty and feisty, proud personality. At first, she despises him, even though he evokes in her the most sensual, unsettling feelings. Then, to her surprise, she discovers that he has won the auction and is the new owner of Chêne Vue. But nothing prepares her for the next shock: he proposes marriage.

Behind the Columns is an entertaining, fast-paced read. Passion and intrigue abound as the novel follows the lives of Désirée and Lance as they marry, move to New York for a while, and have their first child back in New Orleans. Philippe Jaunet remains a villain until the end, haunting Désirée and filling her nights with nightmares. In New York, she must face another villain in the shape of Inga, Lance’s sister in law. Love, passion, lies, jealousy–readers will find their share in this book,and then some.

Gaffrey does an excellent job in bringing the old South and the Creole society to life: the food, the fashion, the way of life, the values and beliefs, etc. There’s also a lot of interesting information about Creole history which I found fascinating. In short, if you love historical Southern romances a la Gone with the Wind, you’ll enjoy Behind the Columns.

Find on Amazon.

Visit the author’s website.

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ImageWith all the hundreds of thousands of self published writers trying to find an agent or make a name for themselves in today’s rapidly changing book market, I thought it would be interesting to satirically comment on the situation and write a crime fiction novella on the topic.  I’ve written four novels in the genre and, although some talented and successful writers who are friends of mine thought they were excellent, I haven’t yet reached that elusive ‘breakthrough’ status.  Undaunted, I decided to write this book, streamlining my style and trying a minimalistic approach since the supply of words on the world is plentiful but the demands seems to be falling.  Maybe it’s time for a novella renaissance?

About the book: Struggling writer, Sam Uhl, unable to find a foothold in the traditional publishing industry for his work, decides to go to New York and hunt down the literary agent who he believes unfairly led him along. From the very first sentence to the last, the story is a contradiction of comedic horror that Sam narrates with pseudo-intellectual aplomb.

ImageAuthor’s bio: Conrad Johnson was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where he escaped violence, poverty and despair by going to sea and studying literature. Now he writes about what he’s lived and learned.

Link to author’s website: http://johnbyk.blogspot.com

Link to excerpt: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009MADSNA

Link to purchase page: http://www.amazon.com/dpB009MADSNA

Link to book trailer: http://youtu.be/0c3lxFYCFPQ 

 

 

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GIVEAWAY!

Mark Tufo is giving away:

$50 Amazon Gift Card

8 copies of The Spirit Clearing (signed print or digital winner’s choice)

audio copy of Zombie Fallout

audio copy of Indian Hill

To enter, sign up HERE.

*****

Some of the elements that make a good ghost story can translate over into any genre, but first and foremost a good ghost story should be scary. It should make you pull your legs in tight to the rest of your body where you can cover them with the monster repelling blanket. It should make you put on extra lights in your house DURING the day. It should keep you up at night wondering if the noise you heard was within the normal scope of things or perhaps paranormal.

There should be characters you are truly vested in, who cares if a cardboard character is whisked away in the cemetery, you need to care, you need to be involved in their lives to make the story more than words on a page. It needs to make you forget that you are reading fiction and that you are now living it. These are things I try to instill in every book I have written, from Paranormal to Zombies to Science Fiction.

A couple of things I try very hard to steer away from is predictability and easy outs. If I get my characters in a tough jam there has to be some fairly believable explanation as to how they got out (if they ever do). I read a story once about young kids as wizards (not Harry) where every time they got in trouble they would instantly discover that they now possessed the exact power they needed to repel the evil. I always thought of that as the author taking the easy way out, kind of phoning it in at that point. So that’s my take on a good ghost story, Have characters you care about, BE SCARY, don’t be predictable, steer clear away from contriteness, and most importantly have fun writing. We write stories because we have a story to share not because we think it’s going to make us rich and famous, writing is hard enough don’t add any more stress to it! Thank you for allowing me to spend some on your blog!

The Spirit Clearing      
by Mark Tufo 

Genre: Horror/ Ghost 

ASIN: B0094JWLYG 

Number of pages: 264

Word Count: 85,713 

Cover Artist: shaedstudios.com 

Amazon    Barnes and Noble   Kobo   Smashwords 

About the book: 

After a horrific accident Mike wakes to find himself blind in one eye. He now sees things that others can’t and nobody will listen to him.

That is until he meets Jandilyn Hollow. Will she be able to pull him out of the depths of his despair?

Can love transcend even death?

About the Author: 

Mark Tufo was born in Boston Massachusetts. He attended UMASS Amherst where he obtained a BA and later joined the US Marine Corp. He was stationed in Parris Island SC, Twenty Nine Palms CA and Kaneohe Bay Hawaii. After his tour he went into the Human Resources field with a worldwide financial institution and has gone back to college at CTU to complete his masters.

He has written the Indian Hill trilogy with the first Indian Hill – Encounters being published for the Amazon Kindle in July 2009. He has since written the Zombie Fallout series and is working on a new zombie book.

He lives in Maine with his wife, three kids and two English bulldogs.

Visit him at www.marktufo.com  or http://zombiefallout.blogspot.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Tufo/133954330009843 for news on his next two installments of the Indian Hill trilogy and upcoming installments of the Zombie Fallout series.

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ImageWhen Beverly was a child she hated to read. Even though her eighth-grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to a high school anthology and it was published in Young America Sings she hated to write. In spite of her rocky relationship with books, she managed to graduate from high school then attended Midwestern State University, where she read more books than she could count. After four years, she graduated cum laude with, you guessed it, a teaching degree. And somewhere along the way, perhaps reading to her sons or reading great Newbery winners with her students, she discovered what she’d been missing: reading was fun. Now she reads most every day. She also writes stories and articles for children and teens.

Beverly lives in the country with her husband, two cats, and a variety of wild critters that stop by for a handout or just to peek in the door. Besides writing, she plays the piano, searches for her ancestors, and teaches a women’s Sunday school class. She also has the most beautiful grandchildren in the world.

Website: http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

Blog: http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/beverlysmcclure

Twitter: http://twitter.com/beverlymcclure

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11462.Beverly_Stowe_McClure

Congratulations on yet another book release, Beverly! How do you keep yourself so productive?

Thank you, Mayra. It is fun to see a new book, after so many months of writing and editing, finally in the hands of readers. As for being productive, I think as an older writer, realizing I’m in those supposedly “golden years” motivates me to stay busy. Each hour of every day is precious to me. I hate to waste time. Maybe my years as a teacher helps too, since I’m used to a schedule. Even though I retired years ago, I still write out my plans for each day, not that I always stick to them, but I try. Also, my sons are grown and away, leaving me time for myself, which is rare when you have children at home. I do not see how writers with young kids and even teens manage to write.

I write at least two hours every morning except Saturday, which is catch up day, and Sunday, church day. Sometimes, my words are not worth keeping. Other times, they flow onto the screen and a story forms.

What was your inspiration for Life on Hold? Sounds like a compelling mystery.

ImageOne day, I read an article in the local newspaper about a young couple that had a baby while they were still in high school. The girl’s parents made her give the child away. The teens eventually went their separate ways, married others, and had other children. Years later, a chance conversation between the boy or girl (I forget which one) and a friend mentioned an 18-year-old boy they knew that had been adopted when a baby. The article went on to tell how the former boyfriend and girlfriend, who no longer were married to their spouses, found each other again and decided to search for the son they’d given up. And, you guessed it, the teen mentioned was their son. They went on to have a wonderful relationship with him. I love stories with happy endings. I also imagine this story happens quite often.

Could you share with us what your process was like during the creation of this novel?

Most of the time, my stories start from something I read about, or sometimes a little voice speaks to me, or an event begs to be told. With Life on Hold, I basically started with the plot of a teen discovering her father really was her stepfather. At first, I wasn’t sure how the story would end or even how we’d get there. The characters carried me along, occasionally as confused as I was; other times knowing exactly where they were going. I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to my writing and try to write a little every day, as I mentioned earlier. My schedule is flexible, but mornings are my best writing time. It took me a bit over two years to write the story, including many revisions and then more edits with my great editor. Yes, I’m slow, but like the turtle I eventually reach my destination.

Did you hit any walls while writing the book? If yes, what did you do to overcome them?

Not walls exactly, but the final version had many changes from the original as I got to know the characters better. I keep each draft on the chance an earlier edition might have a scene I’d want to add back in. When a scene wasn’t working, I rewrote it in different ways to see what worked best. Many times the first thought was the best.

Did you celebrate when you typed The End?

I didn’t do anything special, but the words The End are two of my favorite words. They give me a sense of accomplishment, because many times in a story, I’ll wonder if it will ever end or if I should scrap the whole thing.  

What do you want readers to get out of this book?

I’d like for children/teens who are adopted or those that are step children to realize that bringing a child into the world does not make a man a father. (Or a mother, a mother) Holding, rocking, and whispering gentle words to a child when she’s sick make a father. Attending her programs at school, helping her with spelling, taking her to the movies make a father. A father and mother show their love by actions: love, discipline when necessary, and always being there when the child has a crisis, whether big or small.

What do you enjoy most about being a childrens book author?

The most exciting thing about writing for children to me is when a child or teen says he/she likes my books. What greater reward can an author wish for?

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

You’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Hang in there. Never give up. I have enough “No thank you” letters to paper my whole writing room, but some of them also contain a word of encouragement. Cling to those comments. Use them to improve your story. Keep writing. Learn more. Attend conferences, Online ones if you can’t get to live ones. Keep writing. Yes, I’m repeating myself, but if you stop writing when times are tough, you’ll never be published. If you’re persistent, one day, you’ll succeed. Hint: Don’t expect to get rich, unless you write a blockbuster. Enjoy the writing. For me, the finished story is the reward.

Whats on the horizon? 

My chapter book, Kate, Little Angel Sometimes (title will be changed) is scheduled for a May/June 2013 release from 4 RV Publishing. January 2013 is the release date of my Tween paranormal A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat, MuseItUp Publishing. My orphan train story, Scattered to the Winds, is under contract with Twilight Times, and Guardian Angel has Weird Noises in the Night, no dates set yet.

Is there anything else youd like to share with my readers?

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my thoughts. I hope they help you in some way. Visit me on my blogs. I love comments. If you read my books, please let me know what you think.

Thank you, Beverly! 

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Book description: 

An ancient predator has been reborn in the caves beneath Crater Lake…and it’s hungry.

Ex-cop Henry Shore has been Chief Park Ranger at Crater Lake National Park for eight years and he likes his park and his life the way it’s been. Safe. Tranquil. Predictable. But he’s about to be tested in so many ways. First the earthquakes begin…people begin to go missing…then there’s some mysterious water creature that’s taken up residence in the caves below Crater Lake and it’s not only growing in size, it’s aggressive and cunning…and very hungry.

And it’s decided it likes human beings. To eat.

And it can come up onto land.

So Henry, with the help of his wife, Ann; a young paleontologist named Justin; and a band of brave men must not only protect his park and his people from the monster but somehow find where it lives and destroy it…before it can kill again.

Find on Amazon 

My thoughts…

Dinosaur Lake will appeal to fans of Jurassic Park and Jaws.

Author Kathryn Meyer Griffith creates a strong opening, deftly pulling the reader into the story and into the world of Henry Shore and Crater Lake National Park. The setting plays an important part in this tale and I was able to transport myself to the woods and striking, postcard-perfect scenery that eventually plays an ironic contrast to the inevitable horror. From the beginning, the conflict is clear and the stakes are high, and Griffith keeps the tension mounting as the creature becomes more and more daring and the bodies begin to pile up.

Though the idea isn’t unique (killer creature sets out to kill humans), Griffith makes her novel stand out among others in the genre by creating real, genuine characters readers root for. The author certainly pays special attention to characterization and I especially enjoyed the dynamics between the men and the way they come to know each other and bond during their search for the creature. This aspect reminded me of the movie Jaws and the way Chief Brody bonds with Hooper and Quint. Because of this, at times the story seems to get off track as each of the characters reveal their personalities and their own special demons.

Having now read two of Griffith’s novels (look for my review of WITCHES in a few days), I can say she has a distinct writing style: her prose is smooth; her images vivid, and she pays a lot of attention to the characters, often getting lost in the details–but, as far as I’m concerned, the same goes for Stephen King and Anne Rice, so…

Another thing I noticed about her style is that, even though there’s a high body count and the manner of deaths is gruesome, her horror is ‘soft’ and one that won’t offend the average reader. In other words, no slasher scenes and the murders are more often alluded upon than graphically described.

Dinosaur Lake has several subplots that don’t get in the way of the main story. I also like the way Griffith weaves in and portrays various themes such as man over beast, nature against man, the evilness of greed and the power of friendship.

Is it a page-turner? No. But it is a suspenseful novel with realistic, compelling characters. I enjoyed reading Dinosaur Lake and can honestly recommend it.

One last thing I’d like to add is that I’m glad I discovered Griffith because back in the nineties she was one of the horror authors writing for Leisure Books. I was a big fan of this publisher back then.  Many of her Leisure titles (among them, WITCHES) are now being republished by Damnation Books.

Find out more about this author on Author’s Den.

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