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Karai MadillA chronic “head in the cloudser” K. Madill lives in a rickety house on a well treed street in British Columbia, Canada.  When she’s not hanging out with her best equine friend in the woods she can be found trying to stay upright on her roller skates or mediating the affairs of her various furred and feathered friends that rule the aforementioned rickety house. 

K. Madill’s website: kmadill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Madill/161159890706088

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraiMadill1  

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20643483-the-stolen-herd

About the book

Mandamus is only a foal when his herd is captured by the terrible Rakhana Army. Rescued and raised in secrecy, he knows nothing of his heritage until a dreadful incident in the woods brings him to the attention of the Forest council – and everyone else. Sent away for his own protection, he is determined to seek help on behalf of the many animals who have gone missing from the forest, including his own family.

With the help of a troubled man and a stout-hearted bat, can Mandamus save his fellow creatures before it’s too late?

Purchase on Amazon

Interview

Would you call yourself a born writer?  

Storyteller, yes…writer, no.  I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. I used to try and get my pets to act out parts I’d written for them. Talk about bedlam!  None of them were trained. We all had creative differences.  Needless to say, I gave up on being a playwright and turned to short stories and then novels.  The Stolen Herd is my first book and, let me tell you, writing it was like being lost in the wilderness.   I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing.

What was your inspiration for The Stolen Herd?

I clearly saw my main character, Mandamus, standing before me one day. He had this really troubled look on his face. The Stolen Herd was carved out of a stack of notes that took me about three years to create. The novel itself took six years, but that’s because a whole lot of life happened during that time.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Ohhh, this is my favorite question! I began the series to write about animal rights, equality for human beings and environmentalism.  Yeah, nothing too heavy there!

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Six years. I’m a relentless planner/rewriter/agonizer.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I can be disciplined but only if I have a deadline, seriously – I’m terrible at keeping up a writing routine.  Truthfully, I’m terrible at keeping up any kind of routine. A good writing day will find me putting in about 10 hours of work, broken up by taking care of my horse, ferrets, dogs, cats, turtles and fish. That’s on a weekend. During the week, I do all of that, plus work a full time job, so I don’t get lots of scribe time. I have no writing space at my house so sometimes I’m reduced to finding the nearest closet and scribbling madly in there for an hour or two.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I think stripping layers off of myself was hard.  I chose Mandamus to be raised by another herd and I’m adopted so, you know…some of it is quite personal.  Some of the great qualities my characters have come from me and, unfortunately, some of the nasty traits do as well.

What do you love most about being an author?

Love most? Hmmm…let’s see. Living in a different world, not being able to relate to most people? Not being able to hold my own at a party where people are discussing mortgage rates or the deficit because I’m too busy thinking about how a grizzly bear, a cougar and a man could break a tribe of Yeti out of prison? Those are the definite downsides.   I suppose what I love best is being able to write that nonsense down and share it with people who are drawn to that sort of thing.

Where can we find you on the web?

kmadill.com

or on Facebook under K. Madill

Pump Up Your Book and K. Madill are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and conditions:

    • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older.
    • Raffle runs from 12:00 AM EST on June 2 through 12:00 AM EST on June 28, 2014.
    • Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter.
    • Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is selected.
    • Prize will be sent via email from the author’s representative.
    • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

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Why do I write? Well, because the little voices in my head tell me to—seriously, I’ve always talked to myself—now I put the voices on paper.

I was a late bloomer and didn’t start my love of reading until I was in my twenties and then I couldn’t get enough of the wonderfully, smutty Harlequin books.

I’ve worked in the government sector for fifteen years and always dreamed of having a job that I could work from home. This crazy idea came to me one night, after reading a particularly sizzling romance. Why not try my hand at writing one? So, out of the blue I told my husband I was going to write a Harlequin novel. He said, “Okay.”

I figured I’d read enough of them, I could write one—no problem. Eight thousand words later; I realized it was harder than I thought. I also realized, I wasn’t writing what I was most comfortable with—animals.

I put my Harlequin attempt on the back burner and started writing “The Boss from Hell”. My boss, who I adored, had been fired and his replacement was a living-terror. It was really easy to come up with material to write about and of course I threw in a bunch of romance and of course animals. Ninety thousand words later I was still optimistic that I could write for a living, but I’d need a lot of support, my cat couldn’t give me. The support came in the form of Romance Writers of America and all the people involved in the local chapter.

Several of the members of my local chapter read my book and made numerous suggestions, one of them came from an independent publisher—Books to Go Now. She told me to put the novel aside for now and try my hand at a short story. That’s where I incorporated the paranormal aspect to my writing and it really clicked for me.

I submitted ‘Flamingo Blues’, as a Christmas short story to Books to Go Now and I was offered my first contract. ‘Be Mine’, a Valentine short story, is book two of ‘The Corny Meyers Series’ and in addition to a contract, I won the holiday contest too. Woo hoo! Klutzy Love is book three of ‘The Corny Myers Series’, which was released August 2012.

I’ve been a jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none, my whole life. I’ve worked in restaurants, weight loss centers, worked in a fish cannery and even worked in a top salon in Seattle, but none of that was as satisfying as seeing my own words in print. That’s why I write….

About Klutzy Love blurb:

Corny is a hot chick with a great job that she loves. All that changed in the blink of an eye when her boss had an accident involving an oversized rubber band. She’s still a hot chick, but her boss is dead.

Steve Spears is a seasoned narcotics cop who ends up wanting to strangle Corny on a regular basis. After finding out Corny’s dream of opening a pet detective business, he decides he doesn’t want a girlfriend who routinely puts herself in danger. That’s his job!

Corny misses Steve, but she’s getting on with her life. She decides to get a month’s worth of dating out of the way in a single night, by combining her three favorite things—men, food, and alcohol.

Steve’s big gun and cop’s intuition saves Corny’s life, but not from another trip to the emergency room. He makes Corny promise never to get hurt again—she agreed, but has her fingers crossed behind her back.

Bio:

Sharon Kleve was born and raised in Washington and currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband.

She loves romance. Loves reading romance, living romance, and especially loves writing about romance. She gets no greater feeling than watching her characters come alive in each other’s arms. Most of all, she loves giving her characters the happily ever after they deserve—with a few bumps and bruises along the way.

One of her favorite things to do is picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing herself in the emotions between the characters. She hopes to inspire her readers the same way her favorite authors have inspired her.

When not writing, she can usually be found either curled up in her recliner with her cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels.

My website: http://www.sharonkleve.com/

My blog:  http://www.sharonkleve.com/blog.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Klutzy-Love-ebook/dp/B0091HGE6W/ref=la_B006JAH14S_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346092549&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/klutzy-love-sharon-kleve/1112629112?ean=2940015197198

 

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The Realms of Animar is an enjoyable read, one that will appeal to teens who are fans of fantasy and science fiction.

Set in a world where people have two forms, one human and one animal, this is the story of Thane, a teenage boy whose life is suddenly turned upside down when his animal form unexpectedly transforms into something never seen before. Filled with inmmense power, he now holds the key to the future of Animar and to saving his people from struggle and oppression. But Fatalis, the evil force who plans to rule Animar, learns about Thane and creates an army to destroy him and anybody who gets in the way of his plan. In order to fight Fatalis, Thane seeks the help of other beings, the Avians and Aquans. In a twist of fate, the hunters and the hunted must get together to save their world. 

Though the beginning was kind of slow, with a lot of information being presented by dialogue, I was intrigued with the story enough to keep reading. The author does a fairly good job in creating his medieval world — which, by the way, doesn’t have dragons, elves or sorcery like so many other books in this genre nowadays — and dividing it into five realms: Herbivore, Carnic, Avian, Aquan and Reptilian. I enjoyed the action, battle scenes, and watching Thane grow into a brave, fearless warrior and hero. Though it has some violence, the language and other aspects make this book appropriate for the lower young adult crowd and even for middle graders. Recommended for readers 11 & up.

Website: http://www.therealmsofanimar.com

Purchase from Amazon or B&N

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-the-realms-of-animar/#ixzz1vuXLnMbH

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In Latin America and Europe combined, approximately 250,000 bulls die each year. Do these bulls fall prey to a deadly virus, perhaps? Far from it. The bulls are tortured and killed for the sake of entertainment. Have we evolved at all since the Roman times?

Latest polls show that over 72% of Spanish citizens have no interest in bullfighting, yet, because of a small group of influential people in Spain, this inhumane tradition is being kept alive. Fortunately, in Europe and Latin America a growing segment of the population is standing up against bullfighting and calling for an end to this cruel spectacle.

Here to talk about bullfighting and what we can do to help is Alyx Dow, Programmes Officer (Anti-Bullfighting) for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

Thank you for this interview, Alyx. Could you start by giving us some historical information on how bullfighting began? What is its origin?

There is not much specific information on how or where bullfighting began, but it is thought to date back to Roman times when many different species of animal were killed for the sake of entertainment in public arenas.

Bulls were also sacrificed for religious purposes and more recently, bullfights were (and often still are) held on Sundays, as part of Christian Saints festivals.

Most people associate bullfighting with Spain. Besides Spain, which other countries practice bullfighting?

Bullfight in SpainWithin Europe, bullfighting can be found in Spain, France and Portugal. Approximately 40,000 bulls die in bullfights every year in Europe.

In Latin America, bullfighting can be found in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. ‘Bloodless’ bullfights can also be found in the USA. Approximately 210,000 bulls in bullfights die every year in Latin America.

Does bullfighting differ according to the country? If so, in what way?

There are 3 types of bullfighting ‘styles’ – Spanish, French and Portuguese. The Spanish version is the most common across both Europe and Latin America. Bulls die in both the Spanish and Portuguese versions, although in the Portuguese style it happens behind the scenes, after the bullfight has finished. The French style does not lead to the death of the bull but is also very stressful for the animals involved.

A lot of people ignore what really happens during a bullfight. They have a simple, even romantic image of a torero taunting a bull and of one final thrust of the sword bringing death to the animal. What exactly takes place during a bullfight?

In the Spanish style, which is the most common, there are 3 stages:

1. After the bull enters the ring, toreros wave capes so that the bull charges several times. This is followed by the entrance of the picadors on horseback, who drive a long spear into the bulls back. Both of these short stages are designed to tire the bull and weaken its neck and shoulder muscles, causing it to drop its head. There is also a significant risk to the horses involved – although they wear padding, the experience is very stressful for them and can cause serious or fatal injury.

2. Men called banderilleros enter the ring and use weapons called banderillas (colourful short spears with harpoon ends) which further weaken the bull when they are stabbed into the top of the bulls back. By this point the bull has lost a significant amount of blood and is exhausted.

Bullfight, Spain3. The matador enters with a cape and sword. Tiring the bull further with several runs at the cape, the matador thrusts the sword through the bulls back, with the intention of severing the aorta. The sword often misses, piercing the lungs and the bull drowns in its own blood – as can be witnessed when bulls are often be seen with blood pouring from their nose and mouth at the end. If the bull does not die quickly, a small knife is used to sever its spinal cord at the neck. If the crowd deems it a ‘good’ kill, the matador is ‘awarded’ the bull’s ears and tail which he cuts off himself (the bull is often still alive during this).

The whole process takes approximately 20 minutes – and the bull suffers an agonizing and torturous death.

In spite of bullfighting being a cruel and inhumane tradition, many people—not only Spaniards—watch this spectacle. Why do you think this is and what does this say about human nature?

Within bullfighting countries there is a small but strong following that keeps bullfighting alive, largely based on the claim that it is part of the country’s culture. All bullfighting countries have a fascinating history, with a rich culture that they should be proud of. However, evidence is showing us that most citizens of these countries do not want animal cruelty to be part of their heritage. Just as with the ban on foxhunting in the UK, citizens are speaking out about the importance of animal welfare over an archaic ‘tradition’ that is neither necessary nor humane.

The latest polls in Spain show us that over 72% of Spanish people have no interest in bullfighting. This climbs to over 80% in the autonomous region of Catalonia. Anti-bullfighting sentiment is growing across Europe and Latin America – people are standing up against the protection of bullfighting as part of national heritage and calling for an end to this cruel spectacle.

Furthermore, the WSPA believes that culture is no excuse for cruelty, no matter where in the world it happens or the rationale behind it.

Unfortunately a huge amount of support also comes from tourism; again because tourists are led to believe that bullfighting is part of a particular country. They are unwittingly supporting a dying industry that thrives on the torture of an animal: many leave the fights shaken and disturbed by what they have witnessed, which is, simply, animal cruelty for the sake of entertainment.

What arguments do supporters of bullfighting use to defend their tradition?

They use many arguments to defend the spectacle, mostly in reference to culture and the economy. You can read more on these ongoing debates at www.bullfightingfreeeurope.org, a website sponsored by WSPA and ten other animal protection groups across Europe.

What is the WSPA doing to end bullfighting? Have there been any significant developments in the last few years?

In Catalonia, WSPA is running its Culture Without Cruelty campaign with member society ADDA, and there have been a series of successes in the region in recent years. 47 towns, including Barcelona, have declared themselves anti-bullfighting. You can sign our petition, calling for a ban on bullfighting in Catalonia, here

In Spain, WSPA is supporting work done by member society Stop Our Shame who are working to end the national subsidies (funded by Spanish taxpayers) given to the bullfighting industry, which total a staggering 530 million Euros a year.

In France, 3 towns have recently declared their anti-bullfighting status. You can find out more at Anticorrida.com.

WSPA is also working closely with an alliance of ten other animal protection organizations from across Europe to tackle the issue at European level. The EU currently gives subsidies (funded by EU taxpayers) to breeders of fighting bulls, as part of its annual agricultural subsidy system. We recently held a series of events in Brussels at the European Parliament to highlight this issue and call on Parliamentarians and the Commission to end these subsidies. You can find out more at www.bullfightingfreeeurope.org

In Latin America many of WSPA’s member societies are working towards bans of bullfighting across the region. The first two anti-bullfighting towns in the region have recently been declared: Baños de Agua Santa in Ecuador and Zapatoca in Colombia. In Medellin, Colombia, the first ever group of anti-bullfighting city councilors has been established. You can keep up to date with the latest developments on the WSPA International website.

What is Spain’s position?

In Spain, there is a small group of powerful and influential people behind the bullfighting industry that are keeping it alive. Bullrings are suffering from declining attendance and a lack of patience from the public in terms of its increasing awareness of animal welfare. Unfortunately, government officials often hesitate to speak out against the spectacle; as was the case a few years ago with foxhunting in the UK. However, the Spanish people are telling us they have had enough, as shown in Catalonia and the Canary Islands (who have also banned bullfighting), and by the recent banning of the broadcast of bullfights on state TV, following the assertion that it is too violent for children. We think it is about time that the government listens to its citizens and ends bullfighting for good in Spain.

Do you see Spain making bullfighting illegal any time soon?

Based on public opinion polls that have been done, dwindling attendance at bullfights as well as the achievements in recent years in getting anti-bullfighting declarations, we are confident that bullfighting is a dying industry that is destined to be banned in the near future.

Is there a way bullfighting could be modified to become a humane practice?

No – the practice would still involve placing an animal into an unnatural situation that causes the animal stress and anxiety, for the sake of entertainment. WSPA wants to see an end to bullfighting worldwide, in all its forms.

What can Spaniards do to help stop bullfighting in Spain?

Spanish people can help to end bullfighting in their country by writing to their local politicians and high level officials within the government, expressing their wish for national subsidies to the bullfighting industry to end, and for their to be a national legislative ban on bullfighting in Spain. They can also avoid attending bullfights and spreading the word to their friends and family.

They can also sign our petition to achieve a ban in Catalonia which can be found here.

Another way to help is to support their local animal welfare organizations, either through donations or by attending peaceful events that call on the government to end bullfighting.

What can the rest of the world do to help?

The number one thing that people can do to help end bullfighting is not to visit bullfights when they go abroad. Tourist money is a huge factor in keeping the industry alive. Whilst curiosity can often lead people to ‘just go once’, this is enough to sustain the industry and the animal cruelty that it promotes.

  • You can pledge not to visit a bullfight at WSPA member society The League Against Cruel Sports.
  • Sign the WSPA/ADDA petition to end bullfighting in Catalonia.
  • Spread the word to any friends, family and colleagues, especially if you know they are visiting Europe anytime soon.
  • Write to politicians in your own country, asking them to call on bullfighting countries to improve standards of animal welfare and not to promote cruelty for entertainment’s sake.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

The WSPA is also campaigning for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) at the United Nations – international recognition that animals matter and governments should be doing more to protect them. Such an agreement would help us talk to governments about issues like bullfighting. You can sign the petition in support at www.animalsmatter.org.  

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions on this important subject.

I would like to end this interview by quoting some wise words from Mahatma Ghandi:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

 

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