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Mega Giveaway On Another Blog

Monday, October 31, 2011
 Follow this link to the massive giveaway at Once Upon A Twilight.  Entry is super easy, there will be FIVE winners, and the winners get to choose from a huge list of books.  What are you waiting for?  Go enter!

Cover Reveal!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lil  isn't just an average teenager. She's one of the Nephilim--the  descendants of humans and angels--which gives her some serious psi  skills and a mission for redemption. Just when Lil thinks she's found a  balance between her normal life with human friends and her training to  become a Guardian, she's warned that someone close to her will betray  her. When the boy she loves starts acting strangely and one of her human  friends acquires a supernatural ability, Lil begins to realize that  someone is manipulating the people she loves... and won't stop until  she's been lured to the dark side.

Title: Betrayed
Series: Guardian Legacy
Author: Ednah Walters
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press,
ISBN: 978-1-937053-18-5 (Trade Paper), 978-1-937053-19-2 (e-book)
Release Date: June, 2012

How cool is that cover?  The model on the front is amazing ^^  I will be looking forward to this book!

Promissory Payback: A Jane Perry Novelette by:Laurel Dewey AND Unrevealed: A Jane Perry Novelette by:Laurel Dewey

Raves for Protector:
“A great novel and a fabulous mystery.”
– Mysterious Reviews
“A unique, entertaining, emotionally powerful, deftly crafted, highly recommended work.”
– Midwest Book Review
And for Redemption:
“I took my time reading this book, actually savoring every page as it is possibly the best book I have read in a couple years.”
– TCM Reviews
“I loved it and can’t wait for book three.”
– Armchair Interviews
Laurel Dewey’s Detective Jane Perry is quickly becoming one of the most distinctive, dynamic, and unforgettable characters in suspense fiction today. She’s rock hard, but capable of extraordinary tenderness. She’s a brilliant cop, but she’s capable of making life-altering mistakes. She’s uncannily talented, and she’s heartbreakingly human.
In this novelette, Jane is called in to investigate the gruesome murder of a woman who profited greatly from the misfortunes of others. The case leaves Jane with little question about motive...and with a seemingly endless number of suspects.

Goodreads Summary

This short detective story relates the mysterious killing of an unsympathetic victim, Carolyn Handel.  Through dialogue, the reader learns about the self-centered victim’s personality and illegal financial dealings.  The suspects are down on their luck - or champions of charity.  When the swearing,smoking, observant, on-the-wagon, detective, Jane Perry solves the crime, the reader will not be surprised at the wrap up.
This crime novelette is satisfyingly short.  It harks back to the thirty-minute detective radio shows of the 1940’s.  The detective is hard-boiled but likeable.  The characters are caricatures;they are bluntly sweet, obstreperous, irritating etc…  Teens and adults who enjoy crime mysteries will be glad they picked up and finished “Promissory Payback” during a break from class or while riding home on the train.

3 Stars

Find this book:
Barnes and Noble

"Laurel Dewey has definitely earned a place in any discussion of the top mystery authors of the present day."

"I don't know if Laurel Dewey is as widely known as Dean Koontz or James Patterson, but if she isn't she is definitely able to hold her own against the big boys."
Literary R&R

“I really enjoy the style of Laurel Dewey’s writing. Her characters are strong and interesting, and her protagonist, Jane Perry is just plain gutsy."

Laurel Dewey’s Detective Jane Perry is quickly becoming one of the most distinctive, dynamic, and unforgettable characters in suspense fiction today. She’s rock hard, but capable of extraordinary tenderness. She’s a brilliant cop, but she’s capable of making life-altering mistakes. She’s uncannily talented, and she’s heartbreakingly human.

In Unrevealed, Dewey gives us four indelible portraits of Jane Perry:

ANONYMOUS: One of Jane's first AA meetings leads her to an encounter with a woman in need of her detection skills...and a secret she never expected to uncover.

YOU CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER: Forced by her boss to speak at a high school career day, Jane meets a troubled boy and finds that his story is only the beginning of a much more revealing tale.

YOU'RE ONLY AS SICK AS YOUR SECRETS: An early-morning homicide call introduces Jane to a mystery as layered as it is unsuspected.

THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM: Jane finds herself sharing a 2:00 am conversation at a downtown bar with an old acquaintance. Will the bloody night that proceeded this moment complicate Jane's intentions?

Filled with secrets disclosed and others desperately covered, Unrevealed is an absolute treat for all Jane Perry fans – four stories, all told from Jane's distinctive and unparallelled perspective.

Goodreads Summary

Four short stories reveal more about tough yet intuitive detective Jane Perry, and also showcase the descriptive writing skill of author Laurel Dewey.  One story - “You’re only as Sick as your Secrets” - combines an unexplained death, a touching love story, a teen’sshattered life, and a “sick secret.”  The author’s explanation of what may lead to the murder of a spouse is succinct but expressive: “a boiling hot explosion wrapped in a blinding primal frenzy.” 
These short stories may remind a reader of 1940 detective radio dramas - if they’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to one.  Dewey’s characters are larger than life with exaggerated qualities. The drama draws the reader briefly into a mysterious crime world, letting the reader enjoy the story during any short break in their day.  

3 1/2 Stars

Find this book:
Barnes and Noble


Devil. May. Care. Winner: Valerie Long

Stopain: Lori Thomas

Konsyl: Sherry Strode

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Friday, October 28, 2011
After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.

Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.

Goodreads Summary

Looking for a perfect Halloween book?  Pick Shifting up.  Maggie has been shifted from one foster family to another.  She has no stability in her life and no guidance.  When she comes to Silver City, she figures her stay will not be for long.  However, her new foster "parent" is much more forceful and willing to let the arrangement work.  As she slowly adjusts to the town, she experiences quite a few disturbing, somewhat alarming events.  Will Maggie be able to stay in Silver City?

Maggie is a very likable character.  She is slightly mysterious to the reader, prompting a further look into her character.  She can be cautious, intelligent, and very self-protective.  Bridger, the love interest, is charismatic, handsome, and contains more than a few skeletons in his closet.  The secondary characters are interesting, each has a unique quirk that will make him/her memorable to the reader.

The events of this novel were fast-paced, there were a fair number of action scenes.  The reader will not be able to anticipate the future events, there tends to be a surprise in every chapter.  The fight scenes were very realistic, the author does a great job of detailing every sense the reader can experience through the characters.  They are high-intensity scenes that a reader can appreciate.  This book is highly recommended to young adult/teen readers.

5 Stars

Find this book:
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

God Makes Lemonade by Don Jacobson

Thursday, October 27, 2011
Do you know anyone who could use some encouragement? Perhaps that someone is you.

In God Makes Lemonade™ you’ll read stories from everyday folks—people like you and me who discover unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances.

Some of these real-life stories are laugh-out-loud funny, others are sobering, and more than a few will have you reaching for a tissue. But these true stories all have one thing in common: hope.

There’s no question that life gives us “lemons,” like issues with health, employment, and relationships—truly sour circumstances we wouldn’t wish on anyone. But when those lemons become lemonade, it’s as refreshing as an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day.

It’s true that in life “stuff” happens, but I have found that Lemonade Happens™ too! It is my deepest wish that God Makes Lemonade brings you encouragement and inspiration.

Goodreads Summary

This book was a wonderful compilation of factual stories that are meant to be encouraging and are completely realistic.  The stories are both heart-breaking and will teach the reader a lesson or two along the way.  The stories do not always end well, but that really depends upon the readers' perception.  The stories can be medical related, drug related, familial related, etc... There is definitely something for everyone.  A reader does not have to read nonfiction constantly to enjoy this book. 

There were so many touching stories combined that this book is not meant to be devoured, but savored.  This is the perfect read for a long car ride or to put by the bedside table.  This book is recommended for teens/young adults/adults.

5 Stars

Find this book:

Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

Monster Mash and Bash Blog Hop and Giveaway! (Includes link to Ereader contest on this blog as well)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In a small college town in Northern California, Laney Alexander leads a regular, uneventful life-that is, until the charming and alluring Oliver Knight enters her world. Who is this gorgeous and mysterious stranger? Or, rather, what is he? As Laney's sophomore year of college begins, so does an unbelievable adventure-including a love she didn't know she longed for. She soon learns that Oliver is not ordinary, nor is the rest of his family, including a sister who openly hates her and a brother who will stop at nothing for revenge. As she fights for her life, and Oliver's love, Laney discovers that the fictional world of vampires isn't so fictional after all. Nobody is safe, especially Laney, Oliver's most important priority, and he will stop at nothing to protect her. With her mortality at risk, and a commitment revealed that she, without a doubt, knows she wants, Laney's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn...

Goodreads Review

*I reviewed this book and adored it!  The review for Darkness, the next in the series will occur sometime in November :)

Spooktacular Giveaway! (Includes link to Ereader Giveaway on this blog)

Sunday, October 23, 2011
In Other Worlds: Science Fiction and the Human Imagination is Margaret Atwood’s account of her rela­tionship with the literary form we have come to know as science fiction. This relationship has been lifelong, stretch­ing from her days as a child reader in the 1940s through her time as a graduate student at Harvard, where she explored the Victorian ancestors of the form, and continuing with her work as a writer and reviewer. This book brings together her three heretofore unpublished Ellmann Lectures of 2010—“Flying Rabbits,” which begins with Atwood’s early rabbit superhero creations and goes on to speculate about masks, capes, weakling alter egos, and Things with Wings; “Burning Bushes,” which follows her into Victorian other-lands and beyond; and “Dire Cartographies,” which investi­gates utopias and dystopias. In Other Worlds also includes some of Atwood’s key reviews and musings about the form, including her elucidation of the differences (as she sees them) between “science fiction” proper and “speculative fiction,” as well as “sword and sorcery/fantasy” and “slip­stream fiction.” For all readers who have loved The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood—not to mention Atwood’s 100,000-plus Twitter fol­lowers— In Other Worlds is a must.

From the Hardcover edition.

Goodreads Summary

This book is an exploration of science fiction.  Margaret Atwood splits the exploration into three parts.  Part one is more of a foray, analyzing her approach to the subject and some of her works that have been considered science fiction.  The second part takes a look at some major contributors to science fiction and the third part is a compilation of mini stories from Atwood herself in the science fiction genre. 

Atwood leads the reader on a journey through science fiction as the genre appears to her.  It is hard not to enjoy this book if you are, in any way, a fan of Margaret Atwood.  The reader rarely gets to see inside an author's head so clearly.  This book is highly recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

Find this book:
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

Thanks to Doubleday Publishing I have two copies of this book for two USA/CAN entrants.  Thank you also to for this wonderful giveaway linky :)

Giveaway on Another Blog!

2 Winners will get to choose from a compilation of books this blogger has reviewed! Click here to enter!

It's rafflecopter, so easy entry :)

Guest Post with Rochelle Melander and Giveaway!

Carbo-loading for National Novel Writing Month
By Rochelle Melander

In five days writers across the world will begin their 50,000-word write-a-thon, hoping to finish before midnight on November 30. If we were marathon runners, we would spend the next five days resting and carbo-loading in order to preserve the glycogen stored in their muscles. Runners need this fuel on race day. When a runner hits the wall, it’s because their muscles have run out of glycogen. They need to fuel themselves with carbsin order to finish.

But what about writers? How can we maximize the next five days so that we are ready for NaNoWriMo? Start by designating one of the next five days as a planning and preparation day for NaNoWriMo. If you cannot take a whole day off, use a few afternoons or mornings to complete the five tasks below. The following five actions will help you start strong, maintain a steady pace, and finish well!

1.​Plan Your Book. Relax—there’s no heavy outlining involved in this step. Still, it helps to have some idea of what you are writing about before you begin the write-a-thon. Get a notebook or open a fresh document on your computer. This will be your story bible. Take a few hours to sketch out characters, setting, and plot points for your book. If you have time, imagine the first five to ten scenes. If you have already done this, review what you have and add anything you think might be missing. You might also use the time to bookmark some of the online sites you will visit regularly during NaNo.

2.​Create a Writing Space. Now that you know what you are going to write, it helps to know where you will write. You do not need to have a fancy office to create a great novel. Barabara Kingsolver wrote her first book at night in a closet while pregnant with her first child. Claim a small corner of your house as your study—you can use a favorite chair, a small table, or even a counter in your kitchen. Gather your NaNo supplies—your story bible, computer, and any books you think you will need. Sometimes it can be helpful to post a sign to remind family members (and yourself) that this is your sacred writing space!

3.​Cancel stuff. Before you schedule time to write, take a long, thoughtful look at your calendar and decide what you can let go of for the month. You probably won’t be able to get out of Thanksgiving dinner, but maybe you can skip book group or the monthly neighborhood block watch meeting. Send those regret emails now and cross the items off your calendar.

4.​Schedule Writing Time. We tend to do the activities that we put on the calendar. If we want to succeed at National Novel Writing Month, we need to schedule enough writing time to get the book done. Check your calendar and count the days you will not be able to write because of previous engagements. Subtract that number from 30 and figure out how much you will need to write each day to be able to finish on time. I recommend that most people plan to take off about four days during the month, even if they do not have anything scheduled. Emergencies happen. By planning (and writing) ahead, you will have a better chance of finishing on time. When you schedule time in your calendar to write, be as specific as possible. For example, “Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:00-7:00 AM Write at home.”

5. Plan food and snacks. It’s hard to write on an empty stomach! When I had my first child, we spent the month before his birth cooking and freezing food so that we would not have to cook while we figured out how to parent. Plan some quick and easy meals now before NaNo starts. At the very least, stockpile your favorite NaNo snacks in a secret place so that your friends and family don’t eat them.

There you have it writers, your quick and easy carbo-loading guide to write-a-thon success! Now it’s your turn. What do you do to prepare for NaNo?

Author Bio
Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach and the author of 10 books, including a new book to help fiction and nonfiction writers write fast: Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) (October 2011). Melander teaches professionals how to get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Writing Group, a program that teaches writing toat-risk tweens and teens. Visit her online

Rochelle Melander
Write Now Coach
Chief Executive Officer

Rochelle Melander is the CEO of Write Now! Coach, a writing, editing, and coaching practice that she founded in 2001. Her 10th book, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) will be released in October 2011.

As the Write Now! Coach, Melander coaches professionals, executives, writers, business owners, and aspiring authors. Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander values the power of writing to change the lives of writers and readers. She teaches aspiring authors how to make time to write, shape their ideas into a book or product, sell their work, and navigate social media.

Write Now! Coach evolved from Ms. Melander’s related careers as an author, feature writer, copywriter, editor and coach. Rochelle writes a popular Ezine, Write Now! Weekly Writing Tips, blogs regularly, and hosts the Write Now! Mastermind Class.

In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Creative Writing Workshop, a program that teaches at-risk teens how to use writing to express dreams, set goals, and connect with readers.

Rochelle Melander earned two Masters degrees and is a certified graduate of Coach-U. She is a graduate of the National Writing Project Summer Writing Institute and in 2006 was awarded a writing fellowship by the Louisville Institute, part of the Lilly

Foundation. Melander is a member of the International Coach Federation and the American Society for Journalists and Authors.

She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, the writer Harold Eppley, and their two children.

GIVEAWAY: USA/CAN a signed, print copy is available for one lucky winner.  Leave your name and email with a comment, thank you for stopping by! Giveaway will end November 3rd. 

Guest Post with Barbara Ardinger

Your book is composed of 26 chapters or stories. Do you have a favorite chapter in the book?  Do you have any that were difficult to work out and how did you get it all to come together?

Including the prologue, which is also a full story, the book is composed of 27 braided stories, including two arcs of related stories. The first arc is two stories about the mischief one of the women and the talking cat create at a psychic fair at a metaphysical church and the consequences of that mischief. The second arc concerns the Wintergreen Sisters, who arrive from snowy Minneapolis to take over the circle in Long Beach. They don’t succeed, so they start a war using weather as their weapon. This arc comprises three stories—the arrival of the sisters, the war, and its consequences. In addition, the shaman of the prologue appears in two or three other stories (she’s about 6 ½ thousand years old by 1989. No, I don’t know how she’s still alive.) and has her own story later in the book.

I tied things together by braiding the stories. Characters or plot developments are foreshadowed in one or two stories, then they have their major story, then details are resolved and denouments are given in later stories. Madame Blavatsky, the talking cat, is introduced in Ch. 2 and appears in nearly all the rest of the stories, sometimes as a major character, as when she disguises herself as the Cheshire Cat to drive the residence manager into a nervous breakdown. Another example is a scrying session with a magic mirror at the Halloween party. The mirror shows the denouments of some earlier stories and predicts a relationship that will be critical to the pyrrhic victory of the weather war.

How did I get everything to come together? The book has two dozen major characters and many minor characters. I made lists! I have lists of when all the characters were born and where they grew up. I have lists of which women are present in which scene—that’s so someone who’s not there doesn’t start talking. I have lists of who did what in which story. I have lists and diagrams that show the story arcs, with foreshadowing and denouments and where they occur. For the action that occurs in Long Beach, I have Google maps on which I drew where the retirement residence is and where other characters live. I have note on details, including one character’s Ozark dialect. I have notes on what happens to them after the book ends; most of this information is given in the final chapter.

Do I have a favorite chapter? I’m extremely fond of my version of Red Riding Hood in which a long goddess comes to Long Beach to deliver a message and is more or less taken captive by two horny old men (the wolves). I’m extremely fond of the chapter in which the Green Man and the university professor fall in love. He’s a very sexy fellow! I’m extremely fond of the chapter that takes us through the history of a famtrad (a family tradition), which includes Scotland and the Ozarks. You know, as I sit here, I can’t think of any chapter that I do not love. I’ve been living with these characters for 20 years. They’re very real to me, and I love them all. Well, except for the novel’s two major villains.

Please let me know if you have any more questions. For more information, you can visit the FREE READER’S GUIDE on my website, The reader’s guide is like the commentary track for a DVD.

From Chapter 3 of Secret Lives:

Sarah’s son has cooked up a big real estate deal in Yorba Linda and moved her out of her home and into the Center Towers Retirement Residence in Long Beach.

Herta looked Sarah straight in the eye for a long moment. Neither woman blinked.
“Your daughter and granddaughter are very concerned,” Herta finally said. “They tell us your other children are also very concerned because you’ve been ‘depressed.’ Well, that’s understandable, since almost all your treasures were packed up and put away when you moved. … But, frankly, there seems to be nowhere else you can go. Your children are willing to take you in, but none of them really have the room. Or the time.”
“I lived that way before I came to the Towers,” Sophie said. “A couple months with Doris, and her at work all day long, then pack everything up and move down to Sissie’s, then a couple months and, wham, back with Doris. It’s no way to live. I can tell you that. Never a room to call your own. Never your own friends. Watching daytime TV because there’s nothing else to do. Practically everything you own in a suitcase all the time. Waiting for your kids to find time to do for you. I never knew where to call home. That’s why I let the social services find me a place here.”
“I lived with my nephew and his wife,” Bertha said, petting the feather boa as she spoke. “I did their cleaning—well, I helped Lupe, the maid. Taught her some English while I was at it so she’d know what’s what. And I had to put up with their tight-ass Republican friends.”
“So,” Herta resumed, “you don’t have much of a choice. Your son is willing to support you as long as you live. And you do have friends here. But I guess you know that by now.”
“Why, I guess I do.” Sarah looked at these strangers who were spending time with her and actually listening to what she had to say. She was being cared about and cared for as if she really mattered. “I think you are my friends. Even though I don’t hardly know all your names.”
“Sarah, what do you want?”
She took another sip of her tea and looked down at herself in the wheelchair. She considered the days and weeks and months and years ahead, knowing that she was getting older, weaker, knowing she’d always be afraid she’d fall down again. She thought about her children, living and dead, and her Jake, whom she missed every night of her life, and every morning. She was grateful that her children and grandchildren (and even the greats) came to visit, phoned, sent her pretty cards, but she realized that they all had lives of their own. She saw that some of these women lived in this old folks home and seemed to be happy here. But maybe they’d never lived the way she had, out in the country (back then) with clean air and clean land.
How could she ever learn to be happy in that bare little room with no kitchen in this old folks home with a hospital pressing down on top of it? How could she be happy with endless days of nothing useful to do?
“What do I want?” She looked around at her circle of new friends. “I want to die.”

Read about the magical circle the women cast to help their new friend!
Check out the FREE READER’S GUIDE:

About Barbara Ardinger

Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (, is the author of Secret Lives, a novel about crones and other magical folks, and Pagan Every Day: Finding the Extraordinary in Our Ordinary Lives, a unique daybook of daily meditations, stories, and activities. Her earlier books include Goddess Meditations, Finding New Goddesses (a parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Quicksilver Moon (a realistic novel … except for the vampire). Her day job is freelance editing for people who have good ideas but don’t want to embarrass themselves in print. To date, she has edited more than 250 books, both fiction and nonfiction, on a wide range of topics. Barbara lives in southern California.

Here's the Facebook page for my new novel, Secret Lives:

Guest Post with Theresa Meyers

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Steampunk Guest Blog by Theresa Meyers

The curious thing about steampunk is that most people aren’t aware that they’ve secretly liked it because they didn’t know such a thing had a name. That was me.

In high school my mother had one rule about formals for school dances, if I wanted one, I had to sew it myself. Since I’d been good friends with my sewing machine since age 8, this wasn’t such a hindrance as an opportunity. Most of my formals ended up with a lot of Victorian flair. There was even an over-skirt and bustle on one!

I also happen to be a hopeless tea addict with a collection of teapots and a taste for tea from Whittard’s of Chelsea, thanks to a friend who lived in London for a few years. I have always been fascinated by Victorian architecture and clothing. Other little girls asked their mothers for calendars featuring fluffy kittens or cute puppies. I wanted the one that was Victorian houses, complete with floor plans. I also subscribed as a teen to the magazine Victoriana and live in a “new” Victorian house. (So really, you see really this is something that’s been brewing beneath the surface for some time now.)

So when I came up with an idea about a trio of brothers in the Wild West who were supernatural Hunters in 1998, I didn’t actually realize I was writing steampunk. All of them were named after their father’s favorite guns: Winchester, Remington and Colt. I knew that the oldest was a lawman, the middle brother an attorney and the youngest a gunslinger/outlaw.

What I didn’t know is how they fit together, their history of how they became what they were. Fast forward ten years. In watching the television show Supernatural, I began to think, hey what would it have been like to have these hunters in the West or Victorian times? How would they have functioned, who would they have been, would they have had a secret society that trained them? I merged that idea with my brothers and found out what I had was a Steampunk story-line.

My brothers are hunters in the Weird Wild West. They have an inventor friend who creates and maintains the unusual weapons they use to find and hunt down demons, shapeshifters, ghosts, vampires and the like. My youngest brother rides a mechanical clockwork horse. I have a vampire Countess who has a dirigible. Applying the Steampunk aesthetic to my book made it so much better! It was like finding the missing jigsaw piece that made the whole thing work. The whole series has come together in three books called The Legend Chronicles and the first one, The Hunter, will be out in Nov. 2011, followed by The Slayer in April 2012 and The Chosen in early 2013.

Now I have had some people say, wait, you can’t set steampunk in the West. Actually yes, you can. While the word Victorian makes people think of England, the truth was it was an era that lasted for almost 70 years. The fantastic thing about the steampunk aesthetic is that it is so completely versatile. From Far East to Wild West, you can create settings and characters that are anywhere in any decade of the Victorian era (for that matter even outside that time if you look at H.G. Well’s Time Machine). That said, there are a number of character archetypes you can use when creating costumes or ideas of your own.

Some of the most common character archetypes found in Steampunk include: Adventurer, Airship Captain, Aviator/Aviatrix, Aristocrat, Cardsharp, Cowboy, Dandy, Explorer (which is different from Adventurer because they are more specific in their pursuit, like an archeologist or botanist), Femme Fatale/Soiled Dove, Hunter/Fighter, Inventor, Mad Scientist, Lolita, Mechanic, Military Man/Woman, Pirate, Professor, Reporter, Snakeoil Salesman, Suffragette, Tycoon (different than aristocrat because these are the garish new rich who have working class roots and like to flaunt their wealth.)

So how do you make these archetypes fresh? One way is by putting them in different settings. For example by taking a typical archetype and blending it in with an unusual setting, you could certainly see how a Femme Fatale in China might come across as a Dragon Lady or a Dandy in the Wild West might have a more Southern Gentlemen styling to his clothing. A Snakeoil Salesman in Australia would be very different from one in the American West. And a Lolita in Russia will likely look very different from one in Japan, or even Argentina during this same Victorian era. Are they all equally valid? Absolutely!

For the more outlandish fantasy type archetypes such as airship captain, the country of origin might play into how their ship is constructed and out of what materials. For instance an airship captain from China might be flying something more akin to a junk, while one from Britain might have a three or four-masted barque that flies. Think how different the pirates appeared in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie when they came from all different parts of the world.

You can also blend archetypes. For instance what if you had an inventor who is also a suffragette? What kinds of inventions is she going to create to advance her cause of women gaining the right to vote? How different would a cowboy aviator from your standard aviator?

Steampunk is a world of endless ideas just waiting to be explored. So what about you? If you had to pick a character and dress the part, what would you pick?

Here’s a taste of The Hunter, coming out 11-1-11 from Zebra.

Everything in the little mining town turned ice hub in Arizona Territory seemed coated with a ghostly layer of grit, even the chipped crystal chandeliers overhead. He felt the grit in his lungs and in his nostrils. It stunk of putrid eggs and worse, probably from the smoke stacks billowing white outside against an endless cerulean sky. He picked up his smeared, nearly empty glass of ice water leaving behind a dark ring in the pale dust on the scarred, liquor sticky table.

Hell, the only reason he’d stopped in Wickenburg in the first place was for the ice. Ever since the mines deep in the desert had flooded out, and ingenious businessmen replaced the old rock crushers with steam-powered freeze machines, ice had become one of the most profitable commodities next to copper, gold and silver in this special little sizzling corner of hell on earth. He glared at his glass. The ice water had cost him almost as much as a good whiskey.

The lithe blonde saloon girl he’d been eyeing since he walked in strolled toward him across the warped wooden floorboards worn smooth from the sand of so many boots, her hips swaying to the sound of the out-of-tune piano plunking away near the stairs that led up to the rented rooms on the second floor. The cheap glass beading on her dark blue off the shoulder dance hall dress flashed in the illumination of the gaslights overhead creating sparkles to dance along the curves of her pale cleavage.

“Would you like some company, sugar?” Her smile didn’t reach her heavily kohled eyes. She was anywhere between sixteen and thirty. How many men had she had? Worse, did he really care? He wanted the comfort of someone who smelled sweet and womanly. Someone in whose arms he could forget, if only for a few hours, who and what he was.

Colt smiled wide. Enough women had told him his smile was dead gorgeous that he’d learned when to use it to his advantage. He’d dressed with more care than usual tonight, in clean black trousers, a white starched shirt and black brocade vest threaded with a pattern of silver and blue he’d been told matched the blue in his eyes. Seemed the effort had been worth it. “Yes, ma’am.”

She cuddled up beside him, throwing a long leg, bare to the thigh, over his. “So what brings you to Wickenberg, cowboy?”

He slid a hand over her smooth thigh. “Hunting.”

She let out a husky laugh, full red lips tilting up in a come hither pout. “Most men here are lookin’ to strike it rich in ice. But I knew you was different the moment I saw you. In fact, I’ve seen your face before. What’s your name?”

Colt tensed. He worked fairly hard at keeping a low profile, but every now and then a completely unwarranted wanted poster tended to circulate with his likeness. “Colt Jackson.”

“Relax, handsome,” she said, rubbing her hand over his chest, delving beneath the edge of his vest. He felt the heat of her hand through his shirt as her soft fingers stroked right over his heart. “We get outlaws in here all the time.”

Yeah, but Colt seriously doubted they were anything like him. Her constant kneading touch began to drain the tension out of his shoulders, but only a little. His gun hand had started itching the moment he’d stepped into the bar, and his instincts had never steered him wrong before. Something in this little town wasn’t right.

“So are you famous? Are you dangerous?” she asked, her fingers threading through his shock of dark, nearly black hair as she wiggled on his lap. Her perfume was way too strong, and verging on unpleasant. Her skin under all that make up looked dirty. Her blonde hair felt stiff and brittle beneath his fingers and he dropped his hand to her waist feeling whalebone and crisp satin, not silky skin.

“Not exactly,” Colt muttered, finding her less appealing by the moment. “Really more like a modern Robin Hood.” 

Glossy ruby lips pouted. “It’s so much more fun when you’re dangerous.” He realized that it didn’t matter how much he wanted or needed a woman right now, a tumble wasn’t going to give him what he truly wanted and could never have—a home, a place where he belonged. No matter how delectable she looked, she wouldn’t satisfy the deeper craving.

These days nothing could. There wasn’t a way to feed the hunger that gnawed deep down, belly-deep. It bit into his bones and wouldn’t let go. Hunting was a like a drug. Once a man knew supernaturals existed, he saw them everywhere. Once a Hunter knew that those creatures were the cause behind deaths no one else could explain, duty lay heavy on his shoulders.

Once a Hunter started hunting, he couldn’t just stop.

Evil didn’t take a holiday. Hunting wasn’t a profession, it was a way of life.

For an instant he wished he could be like his older brothers, Winchester and Remington, upstanding citizens who didn’t run from place to place even if they too were named after his pa’s favorite guns. While the Jackson brothers looked a lot alike on the outside, with their pa’s jet hair and wide shoulders and their ma’s blue-green eyes and winning smile, they were different as could be on the inside.

Winn was a solid, steady, ordinary man. Remy straddled the line, looking respectable but hunting on the side. But being like Winn and Remy wasn’t his destiny. No, Colt had every intention of living up to the family legend his pa Cyrus “Black Jack” Jackson had started as one of the most notorious outlaws of the western territories, rather than living it down like his brothers. That was the life of a Hunter. Tracking down supernatural monsters one at a time and killing them to make the world a safer place. Winn and Remy may have shirked their responsibilities to the Legion of Hunters, but he never would.

“So tell me somthin’ mister. If you’re a gun slinger where’s your gun?” She snaked a hand down to wrap around the inside of his thigh, rubbing suggestively at his groin and wriggling her bottom into his lap. That got his attention. It’d been a long time since he’d rested long enough to find a woman. If he’d been a less focused man all the blood would have drained out of his brain right then and there regardless of how she’d looked.

With practiced ease she slipped one leg over the far side so she straddled him. The damp heat of her seeped right through his britches. He let out a ragged breath and she pressed forward, her soft breasts pushing against his chest as she skimmed the tip of her soft slick tongue along his neck.

Then he heard it. Right next to his ear. The distinct sudden flick of a vampire’s fangs being extended. He caught a sudden whiff of sulfur so strong it burned.

Colt reared up from the chair, but the vampire clung to him, her smooth legs firmly encasing his middle with the strength of a metal handcuff. Knowing he had only seconds to act, he shoved an arm between them, pushing her away from the blood pumping hard and fast in his neck.

Her face was warped beyond recognition, the brows protruded and bent, the eyes red, feral and hungry, her fangs twin white daggers bracketed by stretched ruby red lips. “Now, hunter, you will die.”

He looked her straight in those red eyes and didn’t flinch. “Ladies first.”

With his free hand he pulled the Stun Shooter from the holster at his hip. A high-pitch keening sound split the air an instant before he shot her point blank in the stomach.


The arc of bright blue electricity catapulted her to the floor with a thick thud. She writhed and bucked on the floor like a beached fish, smoke curling in a black wisp from between her red lips.

The piano abruptly stopped. Half a dozen screams echoed in the bar as people came up from their crouch on the floor and stared at the barmaid, then at Colt with accusing eyes. Her face had already returned to its human shape. Her fangs retracted as she lay on the floor in a spreading, glistening black pool that leaked from two charred and smoking holes seared straight through her.

Shit. He hadn’t intended for it to kill her, merely stun her senseless. That would teach him to use one of Marley Turlock’s inventions before it was fully cooked. Marley was a brilliant inventor, but sometimes his ambitions outpaced his execution.

Colt knew better than to wait until the town’s people could get their hands on him and string him up on the nearest tree. So he did what any sensible Hunter would do. He ran like hell.

by Theresa Meyers
Price is $6.99
Zebra paranormal romance with steampunk elements
They’re the Chosen—Winchester, Remington and Colt—brothers trained to hunt down supernatural beings using the latest steam-powered gadgetry. It’s a hard legacy to shoulder, and it’s about to get a lot more dangerous…
Colt Jackson has gotten his name on many a wanted poster with success in the family business: hunting supernaturals across the frontier. Lately, though, there’s a sulfur stink in the wind and the Darkin population is exploding. A rift in the worlds is appearing. To close it, Colt will have to do the unthinkable and work with a demon to pass arcane boundaries no human alone can cross.
Except when he summons his demon, he doesn’t get some horned monstrosity: he gets a curvy redheaded succubus named Lilly, who’s willing to make a bargain to become human again. He also gets Lilly’s secret expertise on the machinations on the dark side of the rift. And her charm and cleverness help to get them out of what his silver-loaded pistol and mechanical horse can’t. Of course, when all hell breaks loose, he might have to sacrifice his soul. But what’s adventure without a little risk?

About Theresa Meyers:
Raised by a bibliophile who made the dining room into a library, Theresa has always been a lover of books and stories. First a writer for newspapers, then for national magazines, she started her first novel in high school, eventually enrolling in a Writer's Digest course and putting the book under the bed until she joined Romance Writers of America in 1993.
In 2005 she was selected as one of eleven finalists for the American Title II contest, the American Idol of books. She is married to the first man she ever went on a real date with (to their high school prom), who she knew was hero material when he suffered through having to let her parents drive, and her brother sit between them in the backseat of the car. They currently live in a Victorian house on a mini farm in the Pacific Northwest with their two children, three cats, an old chestnut Arabian gelding, an energetic mini-Aussie shepherd puppy, several rabbits, a dozen chickens and an out-of-control herb garden.
You can find her online on Twitter, Facebook, at her Web site or blogging with the other Lolitas of STEAMED!

Curiosity with a Capital S Tonya Trimble

Ten-year-old Tracy worships her big brother, Stan, even though his insatiable curiosity often leads him--and Tracy--into unexpected, eye-opening, and sometimes frightening adventures. When Tracy's family moves to a beautiful South Carolina island during World War II, whole new opportunities for exploration and adventure unfold. Tracy watches with admiration as her brother grows up an learns to channel his curiosity to find his life's passion and pursue his dreams.
This sweet, poignant story of youthful inquisitiveness conveys the texture of life on a South Carolina island during a unique time in United States history. It is perfect for children, parents, and adults.
A comprehensive reader's and teacher's guide will be available for downloading from the publisher's website.

Goodreads Summary
World War II relocates ten-year-old Tracy and her big brother Stan to Lady’s Island off the coast of South Carolina.  With a brand new rowboat, archery set, tree house, secret cave, beautiful beaches, bridge tending towers, and flying lessons, the children grow up full of curiosity and fun!   Stan gets into trouble many times when his curiosity exceeds his experience, but all his scrapes turn out okay although they cost him some punishment time from his parents and principal. 

The author includes memories from America during the time period.  Curious children may ask their parents for model airplane kits or for a trip to see a bridge-tender’s tower.  There may be questions about World War II.  Will parents be curious enough to find a CD of 1940’s radio shows to listen to The Green Hornet or Inner Sanctum?

Young children will enjoy the adventures of Tracy and Stan.  Their parents will enjoy how the stories spark an interest in American history and family hobbies. 

Four Stars

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*Review writen in conjunction with Colleen Corsiglia, another Live To Read ~Krystal Reviewer

When Cancer Hits by Britta Aragon

When Cancer Hits is your complete guide to navigating all the changes you ll experience between the doctor s office and everyday living. Whether your future includes surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, you ll need to know how to best manage your side effects, stress, and home recovery and how to sustain positive energy during treatment and beyond.

Goodreads Summary

This book is incredibly informative, clearly well-researched.  The book is full of survivor testimonies, instilling that hopeful quality.  The reader will perhaps be able to identify with some of those stories as well.  The author will become like a friend to the reader, the author has a very gently tone, caring.  The author herself was diagnosed with with Hodgkin's disease, the reader can be assured that he/she is receiving complete sincerity and compassion. 

This book should help the reader plan ahead, think about options, and cope.  The author makes sure the reader knows that he/she has a choice as to how cancer affects him/her.  The book can help immensely towards making anyone diagnosed with cancer more comfortable through hints and tricks that most would never think of.  The author has suggestions about skin changes, toxins, mediating chemotherapy effects, etc...  This book is invaluable for anyone dealing with or who knows someone suffering from cancer. 

5 Stars

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God's Eye Ebook Special

Take a look at A.J. Scudiere's ebook special! A.J.'s new book God's Eye will be only $2.99 on ebook from 10/24 to 10/31

Froggy Boots Go With Everything

Froggy Boots Go With Everything is a sturdy board book that celebrates a boy s inseparable love for his froggy boots. Simple phrases and colorful illustrations follow the boy through many activities in which his froggy boots become the prop that drives his imaginative play. The boy is accompanied throughout the book by a little frog friend who always finds his way into the scene. Adults will recognize activities from their own homes or get new ideas for playtime fun while reliving some favorite childhood memories with nostalgic appreciation. An easy Can you find... game at the end brings children back again and again while teaching important recognition skills.

Goodreads Summary

This book is perfect for very young children.  My little three year-old cousin adored it.  The colors are vivid, the drawings simplistic, but detailed, and the words easy for anyone under five to comprehend.  The main character performs multiple interesting actions all while wearing his froggy boots.  There doesn't seem to be anything one can't do with those froggy boots.  This book will have the reader wanting to slide into his/her froggy boots and right into a fun-packed life.  This book is recommended to very young children, especially those beginning to learn to read.

5 Stars

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Lethal by Sandra Brown

When her four year old daughter informs her a sick man is in their yard, Honor Gillette rushes out to help him. But that "sick" man turns out to be Lee Coburn, the man accused of murdering seven people the night before. Dangerous, desperate, and armed, he promises Honor that she and her daughter won't be hurt as long as she does everything he asks. She has no choice but to accept him at his word.

But Honor soon discovers that even those close to her can't be trusted. Coburn claims that her beloved late husband possessed something extremely valuable that places Honor and her daughter in grave danger. Coburn is there to retrieve it -- at any cost. From FBI offices in Washington, D.C., to a rundown shrimp boat in coastal Louisiana, Coburn and Honor run for their lives from the very people sworn to protect them, and unravel a web of corruption and depravity that threatens not only them, but the fabric of our society.

Goodreads Summary

Sandra Brown produces another winner with this book.  Honor is the main character; ironically, Honor's name is similar to her character.  She is compassionate, kind, and honest.  Coburn is running for his life, he must find a way to show that he is not the man everyone believes him to be.  Honor finds herself at gun point due to Coburn's circumstances, he thinks he needs to find something hidden inside her house.  Coburn and the reader get off to a rocky start in this respect while the reader will like Honor instantly.  Coburn makes Honor question her past and her late husband. 

Honor's character is likable, Coburn will grow on the reader.  The secondary characters do not play a huge part, but even Honor's late husband plays a fairly important part in the novel.  The events are fast-paced, exhilarating at times.  The ending is perfect, sort of predictable.  The love scenes are believable, passionate.  This book is recommended to adult readers (a few love scenes). 

4 Stars

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Love From The Other Side by Carol Shimp

In her compelling memoir Love from the Other Side, author Carol Shimp tells the fascinating story of her quest to balance her daily life with her strong experiences of the spirit world. Growing up Catholic in the 1950s, Carol went to church, learned self-discipline, and participated in traditional religion. But even as a child, she experienced precognitive dreams and messages which she could not discuss with anyone. The death of her mother inspired Carol to learn more about her gifts, and to find a small group of spiritual seekers. But Carol could not have imagined the journey she would take when the earthbound spirit of someone from her past became a very real presence in her life and in her marriage. Calling on her spirit guides and her support system, Carol navigated dangerous territory, seeking to free herself, her husband, and the unquiet soul who resisted going to the light.
"Carol has always been tuned in to the creative and otherworldly dimension of life. It is a blessing that she has chosen to share her powerful experiences in her book."
- Mark Dodich, astrologer and spiritual counselor
"Carol Shimp came to me requesting that I assist her in exploring her past. The result of this experience is her book." - Bob Decker, certified clinical hypnotist and regression therapist
"Carol's story is true and powerful. She was determined to heal emotional scars and help a troubled spirit into the light. Her book tells of spiritual contact and life after death through communication and meditation." -Reverend Edward "Red" Duke, spiritual leader of The Haven for Spiritual Travelers

Goodreads Summary

This was a very interesting book if a reader is interested in the spiritual side of life.  The author is very informative, she explains her ability in understandable terms.  The reader will enjoy the fact that the author gives background from her childhood and her life in general.  The reader will likely feel as if he/she knows the author very well and may even feel close to the author at the end of the book. 

The details the author includes, especially about her everyday life, are integral to the development of the novel.  The writing is very fluid with no awkward transitions.  The characters are interesting to say the least, the author distinguishes the secondary characters very well to the reader.  The events were fast-paced and exciting.  The ending was somewhat unexpected, but will leave the reader with a feeling of satisfaction.  This book is recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

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