Tag Archive | books

And We’re Off

…but gods help me, I think I might lose my mind over the next two weeks.

Last Friday began my 10-hour days, which allows me to have one of the five days in the week off. Since I’m sitting here typing this, I’ll give you a guess as to which day that is.

I’m kidding. I actually typed this up on Friday (during my last 30 minutes of work…shh, don’t tell anyone), but I *do* have Mondays off for the next several weeks. On top of that, I will be taking my vacation from the day job June 5th through June 16th for varying reasons:

  1. Phoenix Comicon is the 5th through the 8th and I’m flying in one of my Just Ink Press authors, RC Murphy, to sit at the booth with me and for general diablerie, of which, of course, I mean mischief and not Satanic magical debauchery. Watch out for two Zombie Survival Crew Commanders running around the con and slaying zombies (if I can find any new weapons now that I’ve discovered all of mine are BANNED).
  2. Denver Comic Con is the 12th through the 15th, where I’ll be working with Michael Rooker, who unexpectedly decided to show up in Phoenix on the 8th so get your asses down to the Civic Center on Sunday! It’s also my 45th birthday weekend when I’m in Denver and I plan to make it a totally DRAGON birthday (only some of you will get the dragon thing). W00t!
  3. I figured I’d take off on the 10th and 11th because really, what’s the fucking point of going to work for two days in the middle of two 5-day weekends?

So as you can see, I’m going to be quite busy during my “vacation,” with exception to those two days in the middle where I plan to do N.O.T.H.I.N.G. Where you can find me… Just Ink Press will be sharing a booth with Magdalena Peach Clothing Co. at Phoenix Comicon, booth 793. Find us. Buy things. We’ll have a nice assortment of craftware as well.

Con BooksThe next two days are going to be HELL on me, but oh the blessed time off will be wonderful…until I have to go back on the 17th. *sigh*  Hey, at least I have a good day job, right? 😉 Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Target to return my Nerf bow that is prohibited at the convention. I know, right? WTF?

 

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Book Review: Plagued: The MidAmerica Zombie Half-Breed Experiment

Plagued

Plagued: The MidAmerica Zombie Half-Breed Experiment

When Tom, the son of a powerful Senator, becomes stranded in the Plagued States of America while searching for his lost sister, his only hope of survival rests in the hands of a few grizzled veteran zombie hunters and a mysterious half-breed zombie woman he thinks may know where to find his sister.

I was asked to review this book by the author for the Zombie Survival Crew website (zombiesurvivalcrew.com), and chose to purchase it myself rather than receive a review copy because I was impressed with the first few paragraphs.

One can’t say this book by Better Hero Army lacks action. In fact, it’s full of enough action and detail to really keep you reading. The first three chapters move quickly and are very well-written. Beginning with chapter four, however, the editing errors creep in and take over, though the action and detail never stop.

I was impressed with the detail throughout the novella. Better Hero Army does an excellent job in describing the people and surroundings, giving a good layout of the land, enough to give the reader a good visual. Logistically, I had a few issues, but other than that, it was well done.

Tom is the main character, of course, and I’d consider Penelope–the half-breed zombie–the other main character, as Tom grows quite attached to her and the story centers around the two of them. The only part that bothers me with Penelope is that “a certain thing I can’t discuss here because it’ll be a spoiler” doesn’t get explained in the end. Cliffhangers are one thing; leaving the reader hanging without an explanation by the end of the book is another. The author does tie up a lot of the story. It was just that one thing that got me.

Tom is desperately trying to find his sister for penance, for the mistake of the scared twelve-year-old boy he was ten years earlier. There is a good plot to this story, background is well thought out, but it doesn’t wrap up everything at the end. I know there will be other books to follow, so I’m hoping this isn’t one of those ‘let’s split one book up into five’ deals. As much as I enjoyed the story–though not totally enthusiastic about it–it drives me bonkers when an author splits a story like that. And I did enjoy the story. It’s not a complete halt at the end and you do get some closure. Just know that this is part of a series before you dive in.

Plagued is in need of a good copy edit by an experienced editor. I’ve rated the book 4 stars on Amazon, but rated it 3 stars on the ZSC site and on my own per my star rating system: 1=hated it, 2=disliked it, 3=liked it, 4=really liked it, and 5=loved it, because while I enjoyed the story overall, there were a lot of distractions with misspelled words, lack of punctuation, passive voice, and formatting, etc. I also thought the story was better than OK (Amazon’s 3-star rating).

I wish Better Hero Army the best of luck with the series and future endeavors.

Plagued can be purchased on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats.

Jinxie

Sorry for the Absence . . .

For the past week, I’ve been attempting to come up with something to write for today’s post, especially since I missed posting last week. I’m still at a loss, so I figured I’d just start writing the fucking thing and see what happens. This is the result.

*Note: there will likely be a lot of swearing involved, but since when is that news to anyone who reads this damn blog? Right.

To update you on what I’ve been doing and why I missed last week . . . actually, I can’t recall why I missed last week, but we’ll make something up, like Moon ate my blog post. Sounds good to me. Moon eats just about anything you put in front of . . . she can find. Yeah.

A lot of you know I’ve been editing the past few weeks. I’m working on a novel I wrote in 2006/2007 titled Dusk of Death. This book is the one I entered into a contest not all that long ago, which I obviously didn’t final in since I never heard anything, so I’m sticking to my editing schedule and will ship it off to my awesome editor Sharon before deciding whether to publish it through RIP or send it off to an agent. I really can’t decide. It’s driving me crazy.

Once I’ve finished this edit, I’m either going to work on Tír na nOg, Assassin (yes, m’dears, I know you want this book), or I’ll continue editing Gods & Vampyres. I may even have a vote/contest up about it next week. We’ll see. Not enough of you comment for me to hold contests, but I could change my mind if a bunch of you comment now. Either way, I need to get all three of those books out this year and only ONE of them is completely written. Yeah.

I’ve also started my own jewelry shop, which can be found by clicking on the awesome image below . . . .

One other thing I’ll be adding to this site is a Jinxie’s World clothing line of some sort. I’m working on some nifty designs and we’ll see what happens with them. As soon as they’re ready, I’ll let you know. That’s my new logo off to the side, by the way. *winks*

If you haven’t read my latest book review, please do so here . . . BOUND . . . as I get paid by you visiting the website. So go. NOW! I’d also appreciate a share, as with anything I post. Thanks! It is my new goal to attempt to post a book review every two weeks and then work my way up to one per week. I certainly have a very large To Be Read pile to go through for this!

And I think we’ll leave it at that for now.

So, should I hold a vote or a contest? Comment now.

What I Need

Most of you know, especially if you follow me on Twitter or are a Facebook friend, the kind of week and a half I’ve had. My paternal grandmother passed away on June 11th, two days before my birthday, and I spent my birthday at the mortuary and cemetery planning g-ma’s services with my uncle, as well as taking Umi, my mother, to the ER. During the course of this, I was awake for 35 hours–from 3pm June 12th to 2am June 14th. On the bright side, I can officially say that I was awake for my ENTIRE day of birth. How many of you can claim that? I thought not.

Anyway, Umi stayed in the hospital until Thursday when I brought her home. Friday morning, we held the services for g-ma and I was gone for most of the day because after the service, we had a luncheon. What? We’re Italian. We eat after any event. Friday night, while I was over at g-ma’s for a BBQ (yes, more food), Umi called and I had to take her to the ER again. She’s still at the hospital, though they’ve moved her out of ICU. Congestive heart failure or something like that. Although, her texts the other night were hilarious. My mother has a strange sense of humor, even when she’s sick and in pain. It’s no wonder where I get it from. The whole of my family, meaning both sides, has a very macabre sense of humor anyway, and I’ll explain that in another post.

In the midst of all these family emergencies, I did the final edit on my new book Nemesis. We finally got it out the door Monday and it should be available now on the Running Ink Press website.

And as I hop all over the damn place, from mortuary to cemetery to hospital to chapel to hospital to *breathe* home, a cavalcade of text messages, DMs, Facebook messages, emails, etc. have come through over the past several days, all asking the same question–What do you need?

It’s a good question, and I wish I could answer it, but the truth is, I don’t know what I need aside from my mother getting better. I’ve commanded that she’s not allowed to die for at least a year. She’d better listen to me. But she’s scared. She said so Sunday night when I visited. And considering that my maternal grandfather shot me a message Saturday night during a palm reading, I understand because I’m scared too. He said to me, through my aunt the psychic, “You’re strong enough for this, for what’s coming.”

Yeah, kinda creepy, right? Actually, I know exactly why he said that. Earlier in the day, as I sat on my computer doing some final quick touches on my book, I broke down in tears out of the blue, and said, “I can’t do this.” I know I can, that I’m strong enough to get through whatever comes my way. I mean, shit, I’ve been to hell and back several times over the years. But sometimes I have that moment of weakness, where it feels like everything’s going to fall apart. And since it wasn’t so long ago that my life actually did fall apart, it kind of ups the ante on the moments of weakness and when they hit. Truly, that moment really is a moment in time, it’s a few seconds and then I’m fine.

So, really, what I need right now is to just breathe, to make sure Moon gets attention because she doesn’t know where my mom is or why she’s gone right now, to continue doing the things I need to do over at my grandmother’s house for my aunt, and to tell you to go buy my fucking book, Nemesis. 😉

Fair enough? Thought so.

Interview with Sharon Gerlach

Today, I’m interviewing my partner in crime (fighting), in business, and in all things writing. Sharon Gerlach is an extraordinary writer and has always astounded me with her attention to detail and description, an area I’m severely lacking in when I write. Her character development is awesome, her sense of humor is quirky, and her love of tequila . . . oh wait, that’s the next book. *grins*

Let’s move on to the questions, shall we? Sharon has some wonderful advice for aspiring writers!

What types of books do you write; genre and such? And do you read the same genre you write?

I write contemporary romance bordering on Chick Lit, and paranormal romance. I read just about anything I can get my hands on—suspense, mystery, romance, fantasy, general fiction, horror, lots of YA (isn’t the YA these days fantastic?), the labels on shampoo bottles (seriously).

What was your inspiration for your book, Malakh, or how did it come about?

Malakh came about because I wanted to try my hand at a little urban fantasy, but I wanted to do something a little off the beaten path. I didn’t want my heroine to be your normal kick-ass half-human, trained in martial arts, currently possess supernatural abilities, or work in law enforcement of any sort.

So I thought, what if she’d once had supernatural abilities, but they were on loan from a supernatural being who was her lover, and she lost them when he left? That thinking of course led to finding such a creature who possesses supernatural abilities who could also mate with a human. During a random search on the internet, I saw the passage from the book of Genesis about the Sons of God—angels—taking wives among the human women, whom they found beautiful. Aha! I had my supernatural being.

Can you name any books that you absolutely MUST read the moment you see it?

Harry Potter was one such series; I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book. Right now, Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series has me impatiently waiting for the next book. (I did say I read a lot of YA, right?) There’s really nothing else right now that I MUST HAVE when I hear about it, but sometimes something will jump off the shelf at me, and after reading the synopsis, I simply have to take it home. Usually I’m not disappointed. Richard Russo’s Straight Man was like that—brilliant red cover with the picture of a goose on it, totally appealing blurb on the back. I can’t say enough good about the book. I’m a pretty eclectic reader—I can go from supernatural YA to general fiction to murder mysteries (I’m reading the rest of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta novels right now) to Harlequin romances (yes, Harlequin. Why not?)

Why do you write in general? What motivates or inspires you to write or is inspiration for your stories?

Haha—a loaded question. Why do I write. I often joke that I write to keep the voices in my head quiet and to stay off Thorazine. Sometimes I’m not so certain that’s not pretty close to the truth. If I don’t write, the stories are still there, knocking around in my head. The characters are still in there too, clamoring to be let out, and they aren’t quiet about it. If I don’t write, I’m still running dialogue between characters and building scenes and devising conflict—and I become a regular bear.

Then there’s venting the frustrations of life. Some people play racquetball to blow off steam; I knock off a bad guy in my books.

As for inspiration, sometimes it’s just a random line that occurs to me, and I write it down and build a story around it. Sometimes it’s a song, or a line from a song. Or an article I read. Or a dream I had. Or a personal experience.

Can you give any hints as to what’s in store for future books?

*grin*  Oh, there’s so much coming in the future!

Two women’s fiction books to be released this year (part of a series)—there will be margaritas and romance! A paranormal series, the first of which is completed and the second is near completion—there are witches and werewolves and demons and yes, a bad guy so appealing you can’t help but fall in lust with him just a little bit. And I’m entertaining the thought of doing a bit more with the angelic urban fantasy. Whether that entails expanding Suzanne’s story or taking up another thread remains to be seen.

Tell our readers what books of yours are available and where they can purchase them.

Currently, Malakh is my only release. It’s available on Smashwords, Amazon, Amazon UK, and direct from Running Ink Press.

The release of my first full-length romance novel (Office Politics) is tentatively scheduled for late summer/early fall.

Any advice to aspiring authors out there on where to start in publishing?

Where to start wholly depends on each individual’s goals. I don’t think there’s a right way or a wrong way to publish in regards to choosing traditional publishing or independent publishing. I think authors like Amanda Hocking have proven that indie publishing can catch the eye of the Big Six publishing houses; anyone who thinks trad publishing has turned a blind eye to the whole indie movement is delusional. They watch, they take note of the successes, they read the samples offered. I think that’s a very important piece: samples. How else will someone know what kind of writer you are or whether they’re interested in following your movements in the writing field?

The best advice I can give is this:

  • Polish your work. Proofread for typos, and proofread again. Read it aloud to find missing words and awkward sentences.
  • Find a beta-reader or three. At least one should be a writer, and at least one should be an avid reader. Make sure they aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. If something doesn’t work, you not only should know—you need to know. And you have to listen to them—they’re your guard; they keep you from committing an unforgivable faux pas before your readership. I have three beta-readers who are writers, one who is an English major, and two who are avid readers. The advice I get from each covers everything from content to mechanics to plot plausibility to characterization, and is invaluable.
  • Find an editor. Writers these days are generally a helpful bunch. I met my editor at an internet writers site, and she literally does not let me put anything stupid or unworkable into my writing. She questions things, marks things for rewording, even puts in comments like “Ummm….WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SAYING?”
  • Build a web presence. Get a Twitter account and start interacting with other writers, agents, and publishers. Get a blog, and blog about your writing. Post a few samples. Enter some blogfests—which are another way of gaining support from other writers. Get a Facebook and link your blog to it so your blog posts automatically post to your FB page.
  • Shop your work. Don’t be afraid of all the negative press out there about the Big Six publishing houses or uncaring, unfeeling literary agents. Their jobs are hard, and they have to wade through a lot of crap. Go ahead and shop your work to them, see what they say. Sometimes you get some great advice when one of them has the rare time to respond to your work on a personal basis. It’s worth the experience, and you never know—you could be one of the lucky ones that get picked up.
  • Don’t be afraid of going indie! It’s a big step, and there’s a lot of work that comes with it. You should know at least some basic HTML. You have to step out and pimp your own work. You have to make sure your work is as polished as it can be before you present it to the outside world.
  • Be able to take criticism. Because it’s coming. Not every piece of writing appeals to every reader, and sometimes reader expectations fail to coincide with what you’ve penned, or their understanding of your writing is flawed.  I know one writer who’s been dinged in some reviews because of strong language when the reader mistakenly thought the piece was YA. I’ve heard of others who received mediocre reviews because the reader simply didn’t like the story. Don’t go nuclear in the public eye like certain readers have recently; you’ll burn down your own career before it’s begun. Have your meltdown in private and then do two things: (1) Research the reviewer. I got a 3-star rating on Malakh from one reader, and my ego deflated really fast until I took a closer look at the average rating this person gives: 3.5 stars. So she rated me right along with everything else she reads, including famous traditionally published writers. (2) This is the hard one. Consider that the review has valid points. Did it point out plot flaws? Shallow characters? Great plot and finely drawn characters, but it’s like they’re walking through an empty world because you give no setting descriptions, or so few that the reader can’t form a visual of the story world? Listen to your reviewers—they’re taking the time to read your work and review it, and they’re usually avid readers who know what they like.

Who’s the best editor in the entire world?  =)

Ha ha!  Why you, of course! Who else?

For those of you who don’t know, Jinxie & I met almost five years ago at a writers website. We’ve read just about everything the other has written, edit each other, and are now business partners in Running Ink Press. And we’ve only spoken on the phone once!

That’s right, and we don’t need to go into why we spoke on the phone that one and only time. 😉

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HE HUNTS, SILENT AND UNSEEN

The string of mutilated bodies points to a madman, but the police are stymied. Trace evidence yields no DNA, animal or human. Male, female, young, old—the victims fall without a struggle to the killer in the shadows.

HIS NEXT VICTIM HAS BEEN CHOSEN

For a brief time, Suzanne Harper wielded supernatural abilities and super-human athletic prowess, but that was while she had been the lover of an angel. The murders point to her former lover, and the trail of bodies tells a terrifying tale: he’s working his way to her.

PREY BECOMES PREDATOR

Icarus, an angel who hunts those of his kind who have fallen from grace, enlists Suzanne’s help to stop the killer, for only one as close as a lover can anticipate his next move. Now she must reconcile her heart’s longing for her lost love with her sense of justice and honor, and she must do it fast … because the next murder could be hers.

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Thank you, Sharon, and yes, I am the best editor in the world. ;p Kidding, Sharon’s actually better than I am.