Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interview and Blood of Kings giveaway!

Jake at Teenage Writer posted an interview with Mrs. Williamson! And, he is giving away your choice of a Blood of Kings book! If you win, you could choose any in the trilogy, how cool is that?? Head on over and enter!! http://teenagewritingrocks.blogspot.com/2011/04/interview-with-jill-williamson-giveaway.html

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Swords of the Six

Swords of the Six, Scott Appleton, Sword of the Dragon, Living Ink Books, Fantasy/Allegory, 2011, 320 pages.

Synopsis: In ancient times a band of warriors escorted a young prince homeward. Only one warrior remained true. He watched helplessly as the others slew their young charge. Death seemed to claim him as well. But he awoke one thousand years later, brought back by the prophets of God to serve them once again as an invisible guardian. One of the prophets, an albino dragon, hatched human daughters out of eggs by giving them the life in his blood. The daughters sought out the traitor to bring him to repentance. Out of remorse for his sins, the traitor slew himself on a sword. Upon the daughters’ return their dragon father sent them to live in a far off forest. The youngest daughter fell in love and wed. But upon giving birth to a beautiful baby girl she gave up the life in her blood and died; making the ultimate sacrifice to bring a child of promise into the world.

My thoughts: Considering this is Mr. Appleton's first novel (though republished), it is very well written, but on one account. I will get to that in a minute. The fantastical setting was enchanting, yet full of danger. I loved his description of the creatures, and the mannerisms and attitudes of the dragon, Albino. The themes of love, betrayal, sorrow, sacrifice and regret could be found anywhere in the story, and tied you to the characters' emotions and reasoning.

The one flaw I found with this book (with the help of a friend) was that Dantress was too perfect. She never seemed to do wrong, while her sisters often argued and erred. Enough said, I think.


My rating: 4 stars

This book was provided free by the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.


Upcoming reviews:
  • I Kissed Dating Good-bye by Joshua Harris
  • Johann Sebastian Bach by Rick Marschall
  • And The Beat Goes On by Tracy Krauss

Check out Scott Appleton's website!
Buy Swords of the Six
Check out more Allegorical Fiction

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour - The Strange Man - Day Three

For the final day of the tour, I am bringing you a second interview with Mr. Mitchell! Enjoy!


NA: Welcome Mr. Mitchell! How do you feel about your book being published by Realms?

GM: It’s really great. From the cover to the layout to the fact that it’s in bookstores all across the country—it’s certainly a huge step-up from the book’s humble origins.

NA: What do you feel has improved in this edition compared to your self-published edition?

GM: On the technical side, the book benefits from finally having an editor. The last go round, it was just me—an inexperienced writer—going over the book and deeming it ready to go. But once Realms picked it up, I was assigned editors who had far more experience and knowledge than I do. They really shaped it up. But aside from that, I think the writing’s improved, especially in the new scenes. And there are a lot of new scenes. The book is expanded quite a bit from the original version, including more spooky stuff, more nail-biting action, but also more of the town of Greensboro and its people. We meet some new characters that will play a bigger role throughout the trilogy, and get some new insight on characters we first met in the self-published edition. The self-published version was very much a skeleton, but now we’ve got meat on the bones.

NA: If you could choose any Christian publisher for The Strange Man, would it still be Realms?

GM: Absolutely. The entire team has been really helpful and have given me the space I need to tell the kind of horror story I want to tell. They’ve been nothing but kind and patient and, hey, the book’s in stores! I can’t ask for much more than that.

NA: Can we expect the sequel to The Strange Man to be released soon?

GM: The sequel—Enemies of the Cross—is tentatively due out February 2012. The team at Realms is working on the cover right now. I’ve got my draft turned into the editor and we’ll be working that over in the summer.Enemies of the Cross is going to take the mythology into a whole new direction. I don’t think anyone is going to see it coming, so it should be quite the surprise. You’re going to learn things that will reshape how you view The Strange Man. Plus, more monsters. The action and the horror are ramped up considerably, as the Christians in the town of Greensboro gear up for all-out war with the forces of hell. It’s also a darker book, more mature. I’m interested to find out what people will think of it.

NA: Do you have any other writing plans?

GM: Boy, do I. I’m currently working on three novels simultaneously. All of them are adapted from earlier stories that I wrote before The Strange Man and its two sequels consumed my life. They were sort of “try out” stories and were great building blocks to get me to The Coming Evil Trilogy. But, looking over those old stories, there’s an inherit coolness about them that I’d forgotten. We’re talking about stories that I started in high school and in my early twenties. So, I’m dusting them off and giving them lots of love and letting them benefit from the lessons I’ve learned as a writer in the 10+ years since I left them. I’m not ready for an announcement yet on what they are or what they’re about or when they might be released. I’ve got paying gigs I’m working on, too, for other publishers, but these three novels—all loosely connected—are just about me connecting to a simpler time in my writer life. Right now, they’re just “for fun” with an eye toward publication eventually. We’ll see what the future holds for them.

NA: Thanks for another interview! Do you have any parting words for our readers?

GM: Thank you, Noah. You always have great questions. Parting words…hm. I’d say thanks to everyone who’s checking out The Strange Man. It’s been quite the journey getting it to you, and things are only going to get more exciting as the sequels finally see the light of day. I hope everybody checks out my site atwww.thecomingevil.blogspot.com to stay updated and read some free short fiction that serve as character prequels to The Strange Man.

Participating bloggers:
Red Bissell
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
Amber French
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Inae Kyo
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Gavin Patchett
Andrea Schultz
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour - The Strange Man - Day Two

For the second day of this tour, I am posting my review of the new edition, published by Realms. Enjoy!

The Strange Man, Greg Mitchell, The Coming Evil - book one, Realms, Suspense, 2011, 292 pages.

Synopsis: Dras Weldon lives in a world of horror movies and comic books. Twenty-two and unemployed, he is content to hide in the shadow of adolescence with a faith that he professes but rarely puts into action. 

But when a demonic stranger arrives and begins threatening his friends, Dras is drawn into a battle that forces him to choose which side he is on. In a race against the clock, he must not only fight these evil forces but also somehow convince his best friend, Rosalyn, to join him--before she is lost forever.

Engaging and darkly humorous, The Strange Man is the first act of a trilogy that depicts a world where monsters are real and simple men and women must overcome their doubts and fears in order to stand against the unspeakable creatures of the night.


My thoughts: For the second time reading this book, I noticed many great scenes that were added, and a lot of description. Mr. Mitchell is wondrous when it comes to showing rather than telling! The characters were well portrayed, despite needing a little more of Josalyn. *SPOILER ALERT* The character shift in Dras was realistic, in the way that Christ can change a person so suddenly, like Paul, for instance. *SPOILER ALERT*

Now for the horror part. I was reading it until I finished at 12:45 a.m. The suspense is nail biting, and you can’t help but read further. Very frequently I imagined it so vividly that I thought I was hearing scratching at my window.

Though there is quite a bit of gore, there are no inappropriate scenes or references. The book is very good in that regard. Realms chose well in publishing this book.

My rating:
5 stars

Upcoming reviews:
  • Swords of the Six by Scott Appleton
  • I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris
  • And The Beat Goes On by Tracy Krauss
Participating bloggers:
Red Bissell
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
Amber French
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Inae Kyo
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Gavin Patchett
Andrea Schultz
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler

Check out Mr. Mitchell's blog!
Buy The Strange Man
Check out more Christian suspense/thrillers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beyond the Dead Forest giveaway winner!

Well, let's hear a drumroll! *strains to listen* oh well... here goes!

The winner of both the book and audiobook, determined by random.org, iiiiiiiiiissss...

Well now, I must write a bit more before revealing the winner :P or people will see it on the post preview, without even coming to this page. Let's make them work a little :P So, after a little rambling, I'll reveal the winner.

Today I thought about my career interests, and I am wondering a lot about missions. I like to learn about foreign cultures, and I like learning languages. Maybe that's a clue?

Anyway, I think I've extended the post long enough.

NOW FOR THE WINNER!!

CONGRATS MICHELLE ARCHER!!!

I will email you shortly. Please email me with your mailing address soon! (manuscriptna[at]gmail[dot]com) If you don't respond within a week of when I email you, I will choose another winner.

Casting Crowns - Stained Glass Masquerade

I love this song, because it does what few other songs by other bands do. It addresses a serious issue in the church; in the everyday people you meet there. "Would it set me free if I dared to let you see the truth behind the person that you imagine me to be? Would your arms be open, or would you walk away? Would the love of Jesus be enough to make you stay?"



Decision Points

Decision Points, George W. Bush, Crown Publishers, Autobiography, 2010, 497 pages.


Decision Points (Hardcover)Synopsis: In this candid and gripping account, President George W. Bush describes the critical decisions that shaped his presidency and personal life.

George W. Bush served as president of the United States during eight of the most consequential years in American history. The decisions that reached his desk impacted people around the world and defined the times in which we live.

Decision Points
 brings readers inside the Texas governor's mansion on the night of the 2000 election, aboard Air Force One during the harrowing hours after the attacks of September 11, 2001, into the Situation Room moments before the start of the war in Iraq, and behind the scenes at the White House for many other historic presidential decisions.

For the first time, we learn President Bush's perspective and insights on:

  • His decision to quit drinking and the journey that led him to his Christian faith
  • The selection of the vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, Supreme Court justices, and other key officials
  • His relationships with his wife, daughters, and parents, including heartfelt letters between the president and his father on the eve of the Iraq War
  • His administration's counterterrorism programs, including the CIA's enhanced interrogations and the Terrorist Surveillance Program
  • Why the worst moment of the presidency was hearing accusations that race played a role in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and a critical assessment of what he would have done differently during the crisis
  • His deep concern that Iraq could turn into a defeat costlier than Vietnam, and how he decided to defy public opinion by ordering the troop surge
  • His legislative achievements, including tax cuts and reforming education and Medicare, as well as his setbacks, including Social Security and immigration reform
  • The relationships he forged with other world leaders, including an honest assessment of those he did and didn’t trust
  • Why the failure to bring Osama bin Laden to justice ranks as his biggest disappointment and why his success in denying the terrorists their fondest wish—attacking America again—is among his proudest achievements
A groundbreaking new brand of presidential memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on eight remarkable years in American history—and on the man at the center of events.

My thoughts: This book was long. I’m not used to biographies and autobiographies, so it was a bit boring to me. Not to say this wasn’t a good book, though. Former president Bush relates many of the issues that faced him during his presidency, going through each with the theme of “decisions.” Through each of the 14 chapters/issues, he explores how each was affected throughout both of his terms. It gave me a view of how politics worked then. I recommend this to anyone familiar with economics and politics, because without that knowledge, this book can get tedious.

However tedious it may get, this book still has importance to any person interested in the goings-on in the US.

Upcoming reviews:
  • Swords of the Six by Scott Appleton
  • The Strange Man by Greg Mitchell
  • After the Cross by Brandon Barr and Mike Lynch

Buy Decision Points
Check out more political memoirs.

CSFF Blog Tour - The Strange Man - Day One

For the first of three posts on this tour, I am going to show you some blasts from the past. Some may recall that I owned the self-published edition of The Strange Man. To start, here is the old review of the old book:

  Before I get started on my criticism of this book, I will have to say that if you plan to read this, go for it! The rest of this review contains spoilers, so I give my approval of the book now. If anyone reading this has read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, (spoilers here for it too) the ending of each book is quite similar. The Strange Man (The Coming Evil, Book 1)There are some important differences, though. In A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton, a reclusive drunkard, comes to “save himself” through one “righteous” act. He is shown to be a Christ-figure: one who dies in the place of an innocent person. The problem with this is that man cannot earn salvation by anything he does. When I finished The Strange Man, I had to do a double-take. Dras is beaten and killed for what he was thought to have done, but didn’t. He could have stopped it, but he knew this would change Rosalyn’s mind about Christianity. I did not get this message clearly the first time through, and was struck by the similarity between the two books. Then, I didn’t recall exactly where it said he earned salvation by doing this, and re-read it. At this point, I did not find any statement, and realized my mistake. Instead of dying for his salvation, he died, not for Rosalyn’s salvation, but for her gaze to be moved from the world to Christ, who Himself would then give her salvation. All in all, this was a great book, very pleasing to those who enjoy suspenseful monster material and yet satisfying to the Christian.

Now, for the second flashback. An interview I did with Mr. Mitchell September last year!

NA: What drew you to write Christian horror?

GM: Wow, a hard question right out of the gate! That’s a difficult answer to nail
down, but I’ll give it a shot. First off, I’ve always been drawn to the “spooky”
side of life. About the only books I read when I was a kid were “true life” urban
legend/ghost story books. As for movies, I was always terrified—but also
fascinated—by Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, and as I’ve said
a million times, The Monster Squad and Ghostbusters were huge, huge influences on
me. I made a profession of faith when I was eight and, one of the things that my
parents and Christian mentors always instilled in me was, if you’re going to do
something, do it for the Lord. As I began to figure out that I wanted to tell stories,
I knew right away that I wanted to tell stories about God that hopefully pointed
the way to Christ. As a writer, we’re also told to write what we know, and I know
monsters. It seemed only natural to me to write a story of faith that also was filled
with nasty, ghoulish monsters. Some people look at me cross-eyed when I say I
write “Christian Horror”, but, to me, I can’t help but to write it. It’s in my blood!

NA: What is unique in The Strange Man compared to other Christian
horror?

GM: I’m certainly no expert on what others are doing in the “Christian Horror”
genre or how I’m different than them. The books I have read seem to take a very
psychological suspense approach to the subject matter, but I like to think of The
Strange Man as a Saturday matinee monster movie from the ‘80s. Something that’s
fast-paced and fun, with lots of laughs and scares as well as the dark subject matter
of the book. But that’s sort of my approach to what I like in horror, in general.
Horror takes itself so seriously these days, and, while The Strange Man is far from a
comedy, I don’t mind having a little fun. I’m writing about monsters! What’s not
fun about that?

NA: Were there any books that you read that became inspiration or interest
in the genre?

GM: Frank Peretti was a big influence on me as a kid. When my mom dragged me
to the local Christian bookstores hoping I’d show more interest in “those kinds”
of books rather than the secular horror movies of the day, Peretti was the only
person I saw who was writing anything remotely classified as “horror” and I had
tunnel vision as soon as I discovered him. His Piercing the Darkness and This Present
Darkness books had demons and tough warrior angels and spiritual warfare and, as
a comic book/scary movie kid, that really made an impact on me. That was long
before I decided I wanted to be a writer, but it still planted a seed that told me I
could write stories about my faith, but also with lots of intense, “scary” stuff. But,
really, most of my inspirations come from the movies I watch, and that affects

my writing. Hopefully for the positive. I tend to think of my books as “movies on
paper”.

NA: Where did the story idea come from?

GM: I site two main inspirations for The Strange Man. One of them is an
independent Christian movie called The Appointment. It was written and directed
by Rich Christiano. When I was bit by the writing bug after high school, my first
thought was to be a screenwriter. Over the last decade or so, I’ve been involved in
film as well as novels. Rich would probably never admit to this, but I really think
of The Appointment as a “Christian Horror” movie. For those who don’t know, it’s
about a mysterious visitor (probably an angel, though it’s never specified) coming
to this skeptic and telling her that, on a certain day, at a certain time, she’s going
to die. Then the movie revolves around her trying to investigate the Christian faith
and struggle with her own doubts, all the while wondering if it’s true. If she’s really
going to die as prophesied. The movie actually kind of freaked me out. After it
was over, my mouth was just hanging open. I think the first thing I tried to write
professionally was a sequel to The Appointment. It involved a young man (who
would become Dras) being told by a mysterious visitor that, at a certain day, at a
certain time, his best friend (who would become Rosalyn) was going to die. Then
he’d have to race against the clock, trying to convince her of the truth before it
was too late. Rich passed on the idea, and good thing, too. It was because of that
that I began to develop the script into its own thing. Meanwhile, I watched an
episode of The Twilight Zone called “The Howling Man”. It was about the deceptive
power of the devil and it really wowed me. So, I threw a devil into my burgeoning
script and, from there, the tiny germ that would become The Strange Man was born.
That was back in 1998/1999.

NA: Were there any smaller influences that came into the book?

GM: Way too many to count! Again, I’m inspired by all kinds of monster
movies. Fright Night, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Lost Boys, almost anything John
Carpenter. Other than that, of course, are my favorite movies of all time, Back to
the Future and its two sequels. That’s why I wanted to write a trilogy in the first
place. On the surface, Back to the Future is sort of branded as just this kooky ‘80s
comedy, but there’s really a lot of deep, powerful stuff going on in those films.

NA: Have you ever had a strange experience like those in your book?

GM: I got spooked pretty easily as a kid. Me and my friends had our own sort
of “monster squad” and we’d sneak into houses that, for some insane reason
or another, we believed to be haunted. Or we’d spook ourselves into thinking
there was a Bigfoot loose in our neighborhood. I was always scared, but I had a

thrill “investigating”. But, there was a time many years later that wasn’t fun at all.
I was fresh out of high school and was struggling with my faith and whether or
not I was really a Christian. It was really a confusing time and a traveling evangelist
really shook me up. Pretty much talked me out of my faith. I listened to him more
than the Holy Spirit and I got really scared. There was one night where I felt Evil
in the room. I can’t explain it other than to say I thought that, if I went to sleep,
I’d never wake up again. I was terrified of death and confused about where I stood
with God and it was a whole different breed of scary that I can’t even accurately
describe. But, the only way I could combat it was with prayer. I just cried and
prayed for God to help me. For me not to be so scared. Suddenly the weight was
gone. I was still shaken and had a few days of hard praying and talking to God
before I could really take hold of my faith again. But once I did, I was stronger for
it, and I’ve never doubted my salvation since.

NA: Wow.  Which character was the hardest to write?

GM: Hardest to write was Isabella, Jeff Weldon’s wife. When I first started writing
her, I didn’t have much insight into women. I hadn’t really dated, I didn’t have
any girl friends. The character of Rosalyn is a girl, sure, but she’s got so much
emotional baggage and sarcasm that I felt I could relate with her on that level.
Writing Rosalyn was easy, but if I wasn’t careful, I was afraid that Isabella would
just become “the loving wife”. In the beginning, she was dangerously close to
being this June Cleaver 1950s housewife who was simply there to support her
husband—which I think is a terrible disservice to the character (and to women,
in general). I really had to dig deep and find out who Isabella was as a person, not
just as a wife. She still doesn’t get much “screen time” in The Strange Man, but just
wait. She really comes into her own in the next two books.

NA: Which character was the easiest to write?

GM: Dras is probably the easiest. Dras is me. Jeff’s me, too, but Jeff is me on
a bad day. Dras is me when I’m at my geekiest. When I’m standing the middle
of Wal-Mart and squeal for glee upon seeing a new copy of Back to the Future on
DVD with the footage from Back to the Future the Ride (and yes, I did do that),
that’s Dras. Dras is not perfect. He’s awkward and clumsy and very rarely knows
what to say. But when he’s faced with these horrible odds and realizes he will
probably fail miserably, he fights on anyway. That’s heroic to me and that’s the
kind of person I hope to be.

NA: If you could be any character in your books, which would it be?

GM: Wow, if I could be any character? I’ve never really thought of that. So much
of me is already in all the characters, but if I had to go through the experiences of

one of my characters, it’d probably be . . . Wow. I don’t know. I think I put all my
characters through the wringer—whether physically or emotionally—so I don’t
know if I’d want to be in any of their shoes! Maybe Hank Berkley, the sheriff. I
like Hank a lot.

NA: If your books were made into a movie, would you have any preferred
actor, director, composer, etc?

GM: The Strange Man began life as a screenplay. It was only after I realized that
I didn’t have any way of raising the budget to make the movie that I began to
explore writing it as a novel. Having said that, though, I really don’t know who I’d
pick now to work on the picture. At the time I began writing, Ethan Embry (from
That Thing You Do and Can’t Hardly Wait) was Dras, hands down. He’s got that
goofy little brother quality, but a real sense of “good guy”. For Rosalyn, I was sold
on Eliza Dushku (Faith from Buffy). Music, I probably would have picked Danny
Elfman. Director, though, I don’t know. Someone who could have fun with the
monster FX, but also drive home the “love story” at the center of the piece. But,
I will say that I would kill to have the movie filmed on the lot at Universal that
served as Hill Valley in Back to the Future. I can only imagine Dras riding on his
bike, being chased by gremlins through the streets of Hill Valley. Talk about your
dream come true.

NA: That’s cool! Can you tell us three things about yourself we readers may not know?

GM: I don’t like cheese unless it’s on a pizza. I’m afraid of chickens. I’ve never
seen The Godfather.

NA: Do you have a title, cover, or plot idea for the next book you can share
with us?

GM: No cover yet. That’s a ways away, but the title for Book Two of The Coming
Evil Trilogy is Enemies of the Cross. It’s a darker book. A lot more complicated and
shades-of-grey, character-wise. It deals with the survivors from The Strange Man.
They’re left to pick up the pieces and it’s really affecting them. There are a lot of
strains on their relationships and arguments and a couple characters go to some
really dark, scary places—emotionally, as well as literally. Plus, look for new heroes
and villains, big revelations, more action…and more monsters!

NA: Do you have any other book plans or ideas after your current series?

GM: The Coming Evil has pretty much dominated my entire adult life, so I don’t
think it’ll ever really go away. I’m sure I’ll want to revisit this world and these
characters in the future, but there was a script that I wrote just before The Coming

Evil swooped in and stole all my affection. I read that script a couple months ago
for the first time since 1998 and I really had a great time. I’d forgotten so much of
it, it was almost like brand new. I’m considering dusting it off and turning it into
a novel. Needs a title change, though. The original title was Soul Decision…then
I found out some dumb boy band came out a few years later with that name.
They’re lost to the annals of history, now, but I still wouldn’t use the name.

NA: Do you have any advice to those writing or planning to write Christian
horror?

GM: Write what’s in your gut. Don’t try to pattern yourself after anyone else—
even writers that you admire. At the end of the day, you’ve got to write what
you feel passionate about regardless of the market or what your contemporaries
are doing. If you really feel that God has given you something great, be a good
steward of that. Guard it, cultivate it, and He’ll bring about the harvest when it’s
time.

Participating bloggers:
Red Bissell
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
Amber French
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Inae Kyo
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Gavin Patchett
Andrea Schultz
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler


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Friday, April 15, 2011

By Darkness Hid

By Darkness Hid, Jill Williamson, Blood of Kings, Marcher Lord Press, Fantasy, 2009, 490 pages.

Synopsis: Half of Er'Rets is locked beneath an impenetrable shroud. On the side that still sees the sun, two young people struggle to understand the mind-communication abilities thrust upon them. It's called bloodvoicing. Some say it's a gift. One of the newly "gifted" wish it had never come. Achan has been a slave all his life. He is consigned to the kitchens of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head. Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her. While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell's true identities--and a different kind of voice is calling them both.

My thoughts: Wow! I am very impressed with this book. Marcher Lord Press made another great choice of book to publish. Mrs. Williamson is a fantastic writer, very descriptive, and she executes the “blood-voicing” gift (telepathy) very well. I enjoy tales of poor, poverty-stricken people being given a great gift, and this is no exception. I was distracted with the current adventures, while the destination of the plot was hidden around a clever corner. I never saw it coming! Yet, it was a great twist of providence. The ending left me satisfied with the book, yet thirsting heavily for the next. Awesome job, Mrs. Williamson!

Rating: 5 stars

This ebook was provided free by Marcher Lord Press. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

Upcoming reviews:
  • Decision Points by George W. Bush
  • Swords of the Six by Scott Appleton
  • After The Cross by Mike Lynch and Brandon Barr

Buy By Darkness Hid
Check out Mrs. Williamson's website!

The Grandfathers

This is a great film. Following up from the EGM documentary and feature film, Beyond the Gates of Splendor and End of the Spear, this documentary focuses on the grandson of Nate Saint, Steve Saint’s son, Jesse Saint. Jesse spends some time in the Waodani village and befriends his father’s murderers. Overcoming the language barrier, they connect deeply. The Waodani have changed very suddenly, and it is apparent they are brothers in Christ.

I enjoyed this documentary a lot, from the great graphics to the original footage. Many stories were told about Mincaye, Jesse, and other Waodani, some humorous, some sobering. In a previous review of an EGM (Ethno-Graphic Media) film, I commented that the music was often loud and distracting. In the beginning of this documentary, the music was loud, but very shortly dimmed down and I could easily comprehend everything happening, while still enjoying the background tunes.

I did have one scare concerning the movie, though. When I slid the disc in, the menu appeared as that of the Little Town of Bethlehem movie’s menu. I was startled, thinking that the wrong movie may have been put on the disc. However, when I played it, it played the correct movie. Later, I went back and repeated what I had done, and there was no sign of the false menu. It was unusual.

If you haven’t watched any of the three movies by EGM, be sure to watch either of the previous two first.

This documentary was provided free by TBB Media. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.


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New Gates of Heaven book!

The cover for C.S. Lakin's new Gates of Heaven book has been revealed! I think it is the best so far!! What do you think?

http://www.gatesofheavenseries.com/images/landofdarkness.png

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jill Williamson audio interview

This is a first for me, and it shows. I did an interview on Skype with fantasy author Jill Williamson, who wrote By Darkness Hid, To Darkness Fled, and From Darkness Won. As I have never done an audio interview, I sounded very far from professional, so there's a warning. Still, it's worth listening to, because Mrs. Williamson is a very good author, and a great person. (thanks for putting up with all the trial and error, especially error, Mrs. Williamson! Also thank you for the audio help, Mrs. Williamson and Leighton)





Friday, April 8, 2011

Bread of Life Christian Bookstore and Gift Shop

While on vacation in Ridgecrest, California, I came across this wonderful Christian bookstore/gift shop run by 1-4 employees. Of the books they carried, I noticed The Berinfell Prophecies by Christopher Hopper and Wayne Thomas Batson, The Door Within, Isle of Swords, and Isle of Fire by Wayne Thomas Batson, Dragons In Our Midst, Echoes from the Edge, and Starlighter by Bryan Davis, The Betrayal and Guns of Providence by Douglas Bond, The Resurrection by Mike Duran, Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, Chosen Ones and Flight of the Outcasts by Alister McGrath, The Invasion by Jon S. Lewis, and many more! I was really impressed at how this relatively small shop in a small town in a desert has this kind of selection and service. They even offer signed books! (Guns of Providence was signed by my teacher) Even when I had to return a book, they were very good-natured about it and very, very helpful. If you ever find yourself in Ridgecrest, CA, go to this address:

111 Balsam Street
Ridgecrest, CA 93555-382

Here are some pictures:

Mine


Not mine

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dragons: Legends and Lore of Dinosaurs

Dragons: Legends and Lore of Dinosaurs, Bill Looney, Master Books, Science/Religion, 2011, 24 pages.

Dragons: Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs (Hardcover)Synopsis: Explore the links between dragon myths and the reality of dinosaurs through vivid illustrations, interactive pages, and fascinating insights!

Did you know?

 There are dragon legends in nearly every culture, from China to Australia, India to Europe, and Persia to the kingdoms of the fiercest Norse warriors.

Eyewitnesses to these last dinosaurs include Job in the Bible, Alexander the Great, and Marco Polo.

Drawings on cave walls and on ancient art show images that closely resemble beaked dinosaurs and flying pterosaurs.


Re-visit history as you trace the tracks of these creatures throughout cultures in Asia, the Americas, Europe, and more, learning the facts, and revealing the fallacies of dragons. Whether battling saints or terrorizing medieval castles, these creatures provide a fascinating link to man's earliest history, as well as a shadowy mystery now found only in the pages of ancient texts.


Thoughts: This was a good introductory book to dinosaurs vs. dragons. It gives a lot of evidence, some eyewitness accounts from old documents, murals, etc. and more. The terms and explanations are more understandable to older, mid-to-high-school students, but the page count seemed more fit for younger readers. The fold-out pages, pop-outs, and other features also seemed made to appeal to younger readers.


*This book was provided free by the New Leaf Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.*

Rating: 4 stars

Upcoming reviews
  • By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson
  • Decision Points by George W. Bush
  • Swords of the Six by Scott Appleton
Buy Dragons: Legends and Lore of Dinosaurs
Check out more books about Dinosaurs!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!

Thanks to Katy for awarding me with the Stylish Blogger Award! (Sorry it took so long)


To accept this award, I must do four things:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Award 15 great bloggers :D
4. Contact the bloggers and tell them of the award.

Seven things about me:
  1. I read a lot. I am never NOT reading a book.
2. I have two cats, and adore them :D Dogs... eh. :P
3. My favorite video game that I never will tire of is Downhill Domination
4. I really, really like photography, but don't know much about it yet.
5. I have moved to the opposite coast of the US, twice.
6. I have asthma, so I don't do sports often.
7. I am quiet and keep to myself, unless playing basketball (not that often), ping pong, airsoft or fooseball.

Those who now get the award:
 Whisper at Jabberwocky
 Hark at The Ink and Quill of Hark
Suzanne at ~Clicking Her Heels~
Miss Pickwickian at The Erratic Muse
Jane at Book Ponderings
Angela at Dragon Fire
Amanda at The Eclectic Blogger
Janet at Along The Way
Creative Artist at Drawings Anonymous
Emily at Grace Like Rain
  Seth at The Narrowing Road





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Monday, April 4, 2011

Adam and Andrea Graham interview

Please welcome Adam Graham, co-author of Tales of the Dim Knight! Feel free to ask him any questions in the comments.


NA: Welcome! What drew you to write comedy/fantasy?

For me, it was what I grew up on. I had a steady diet of sci-fi growing up: Star Trek (original series, Next Generation, and Deep Space Nine) and superheroes were quite prevalent as well in my TV viewing habits. There were also some comedic superhero stories that were fairly big in the 1990s, "The Tick" and "Darkwing Duck" both were some of my favorites.

NA: What is unique in Tales of the Dim Knight compared to other fantasy?

The comedy element is somewhat unique, albeit not heard of. The family story may be the most unique element. Dave not only has superpowers, but also some serious family problems that arise from his adventures that are both realistic and poignant.

NA: Where did this story come from?

It came from the idea of having a superhero who had a real life with real responsibilities. I also set out to parody every superhero convention imaginable. I didn’t quite make it, but I did come close.

NA: Were there smaller influences that came into the books?

My love of detective stories plays a bit of a part in the speed-dating scene. Of course, there were other little touches and homages. In the “Powerhouse v. The Car Thieves” chapter, Powerhouse has a rhyming line which is a bit of an homage to Underdog. In the Megalopolis Scenes, we have an homage to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a hero who lives in the sewer.

NA: As you look back on writing those books, what challenged you the most, and how did you get through it?


Adam: The Summer 2010 rewrite.  We committed ourselves to the process, but really held firm to our vision and style. I think we did pretty well in the end.

NA: Which character was the hardest to write?

Adam: The hardest to write was Dave’s wife, Naomi. As we went through critiques and edits, the one complaint we kept getting was that Naomi seemed to be absent for long periods from the story line, which did undermined our family story.  The challenge with Naomi was that her original scenes tended to be not very funny. She was upset, confused, and had a lot of angst. That could mess with the tone of our book.

I have to admit to another small influence on the book, radio series, Lum and Abner which relied heavily on conversational humor.  The solution with Naomi was to add scenes that were still often funny, but used conversational humor as opposed to Dave, which tended much more towards slapstick. To make this work, we fleshed out the character of her best friend, Carmela who, in the first draft, appeared in one scene, and now appears throughout the book.

NA: Which character was the easiest to write?

Bad guys really come natural to me. Night Lord and Diablo were fun to write as they were the typical cartoon villains. Marco is closer to the type I like to write, the conflicted villain really struggles with guilt over his wrongdoing.

NA: If you could be any character in your books, who would it be?

Well, I actually am a character in my book. (Look for a cameo in Chapter Two.) But in terms of main characters, I have to admit to liking Half Brain.

NA: Who is your favorite superhero?

That’s a tough one. I’d give it a four way tie between Zorro, Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man.

NA: If your book was made into a movie, would you have any preferred actor, director, composer, etc?

Maybe Hmmm. Haven’t given a whole lot of thought. Kevin James as Dave Johnson.
Mr. T as the Crusader. Beyond that, I don’t know.

NA: Can you tell us three things about yourself we readers may not know?

My mother was in labor with me for 5 days.

I love Disc Golf, but I’m not any good at it.

I’m doublejointed in my right thumb.
NA: Do you have future book plans or ideas?

Plenty, right now, I’m working on a non-fiction book about life lessons from great detectives. I’ve also tossed around the idea of a sequel.
NA: Do you have any advice to those about writing fantasy?

Be unique and remember to create characters and stories that people will care about.
NA: It’s been great to have you! Do you have any final words for our readers?

Be sure to go http://www.dimknight.com for the latest news and updates.


Thanks for visiting Mr. Graham!

Tales of the Dim Knight

Tales of the Dim Knight, Andrea and Adam Graham, Splashdown Books, Comedy/Fantasy, 2010, 354 pages.07-dimknight-250.jpg

My thoughts: I enjoyed this book, not only because it takes place in the local city of Seattle, but because it promoted great family values. Granted, it had some cheesy dialogue, but it played with the superhero clich├ęs quite a bit. Not all the book is light-hearted humor, though. There are a few points where it explores the dark territory of how far one should go in the name in justice, and where it becomes plain revenge and/or spite.

Marriage is a big theme in this book, I was surprised to find. Dave, the “superhero,” often finds himself away from his family, and mistrust builds between him and his wife. She eventually attempts a divorce, and Dave asks, “What haven’t I done for her?” He sets aside more time for his family, and ultimately turns to God for help.

Although not everyone will meet an alien symbiote and inherit powers, this book is still practical in everyday life regarding decisions about justice, revenge, and marriage.

My rating: 4 stars

This book was provided free by the authors. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

Buy Tales of the Dim Knight
Check out the book website


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Giveaway ending soon!

Just a reminder that the giveaway for Steve Groll's book and audiobook Beyond the Dead Forest ends this next Saturday, April 9th. Here are the details: http://noahsreads.blogspot.com/2011/03/steve-groll-giveaway.html

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Stats

I know, it's been awhile since one of these posts. I've been really busy over the past few months.

So, without much ado (:P), the facts!


Followers - 103 in December and 122 now. Welcome!


Total Pageviews - 4,734 in December and 7,654 now!

Unique Visitors - 1,830 in December and 2,525 now!


Top Referral Sites (for March only)
  1. http://www.google.com (183)
  2. http://www.facebook.com (27)
  3. http://www.csffblogtour.com (10)
  4. http://www.insidepages.net (10)
  5. http://www.authorsden.com (9)
Pageviews by country (for March only)
  1. United States - 883
  2. Germany - 68
  3. Canada - 65
  4. Russia - 33
  5. Ukraine - 25
  6. United Kingdom - 24
  7. Iran - 20
  8. India - 18
  9. Australia - 13
  10. Slovenia - 12
Welcome to all new and/or foreign readers!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sing Me To Heaven



This song is A-MA-ZING!! LOVE the acoustic effects! My school choir will be singing it soon! Can't wait!! Let me know what YOU think!