Sunday, October 21, 2012

This week's Spotlight Author is Toi Thomas

A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, Toinette a.k.a. Toi Thomas was born in Texas, but considers Virginia to be her home. As a young child growing up in Dallas, Toi had a strong interest in reading fiction and loved to watch movies. Even today, many of Toi’s friends come to her for the answers to movie trivia. While working with computers and cooking lavish meals have become reoccurring pastimes for the Virginia Beach teacher’s assistant, Toi has now decided to rekindle her romance with creative writing by authoring her first book; a passion she has decided to share with the world.

A wealthy doctor in search of a purpose and an isolated outcast searching for acceptance, meet online and discover that they may be just what the other has been looking for. Mira’s a woman who believes in what she knows and Giovanni’s a man who knows better than to think he truly knows anything. When Mira decides to meet Giovanni face to face, for the first time, at his secluded country home, their journey truly begins. Will the doctor and the outcast be able to stand strong against all the powers of heaven and hell to pursue their ultimate purpose?

"Toi Thomas presents an uplifting, vivid and well-crafted paranormal romance that is so very unlike anything that I have previously read. " ~Bex 'n' Books's review 

The Official Companion Guide to Eternal Curse Giovanni's Angel

If you love extra features and behind-the-scenes footage of your favorite movies, then you will love this official companion guide to Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel. 40 Days and Nights of Eternal Curse breaks down the first installment of the Eternal Curse Series with writer’s notes, excerpts, character profiles, outline details, and special tidbits that you won’t find anywhere else. This companion guide isn’t just all info and no fun; this is a fulfilling and interesting read all on its own. At only 70 printed pages, this is an easy and inviting read in any format, and will prompt your mind to wander and wonder of things to come

Author Interview

 What is the working title of your book? The title of my published book is Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel.

Where did the idea come from for the book? The idea for this book came from a reoccurring dream about a gray man who turns into an angel, but that’s not the story I wrote.

What genre does your book fall under? It is considered to be fantasy, spiritual fiction, and to some speculative fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? That’s a tough question because my main character is so odd. I think I’d have to choose an unknown for the role of Giovanni (the hero). I think I’d pick Naomie Harris to play Mira (love interest) and as for Abraham (the father figure), I might need two actors if I’m going to show him as young and old, but I have no suggestions at the moment.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A gray man meets a woman online who helps him discover his true purpose in the world, only to find out that he is not of this world.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I have self-published my book. To learn about this, visit my Info. tab or go to this link

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? It took me about a year to write the first draft of my manuscript and another year to work out all the kinks.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Many people have compared the story to an unusual take on the classic Beauty and Beast tale. I agree with that assessment, but also consider my story to a bit prophetic in the sense that it has a character being singled-out as “the one.” Such is the case with stories like the Matrix (the movie) or The Wizard of Oz. In these stories, on character becomes “the one” that will solve all the problems.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I was inspired to write the book because my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about it until I did.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? This book is part of a 3-4 part series. The second draft of the sequel is complete and an outline with three chapters of the third book is complete. The Eternal Curse Series will travel back and forth through time following the life of Giovanni and will open up a world of angels, demons, and half-breeds. Even the fate of the world may be involved at some point.

Imaginging Dreams

Eternal Curse Wants to Entertain the World

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires

Bites is ten different stories written by ten different authors. Each author has taken their own individual views on vampires and created this fun and entertaining anothology.
First up:
Tangled Dreams
by Liv Rancourt
Choir chick, Allie, meets a mysterious and very handsome man, Roderick, after choir practice one night and after an amusing conversation about the choice of music, the pair agree to a dinner date. Allie's sister Renee imposes herself on their date and so it is that the three go to dinner. Dinner is bizarre, to say the least. After excusing herself to the ladies room, Allie returns to the table to find that both her sister and Roderick are gone. Several hours late, with the help of a waiter from the restaraunt, Allie locates her sister. Renee is sitting on a bench  with a blank star, mumbling. What did Roderick do to Renee to leave her walking like a zombie? That is the question...
Reality Bites
by Jim Bernheimer
Reality Bites is a fun read. Mr. Merrill is now a member of the undead and he wants his life insurance money. Unfortunately, Fundamental Insurance doesn't recognize vampires as being actually dead, since they haven't officially experience death.
Night Train
by Rayne Hall
Shelley, having just been touring Switzerland, decides to board a train and move on to less rain laden territories. The train is crowded and Shelley has a difficult time finding a sleeping car to occupy for the trip. Once finding a car to sleep in, she settles in for the night. Moments later, the conductor comes around to collect tickets. A polite man, he offers a friendly warning to Shelley about robbers and...vampires. She immediately thinks he's joking, but then other occupants of her car nod in agreement. The conductor continues to explain this is especially a problem in the winter. Right away she starts thinking of ways to get off the train but the next stop isn't until morning. Paralyzed by fear, she climbs into her little space to wait out the night...and to see who didn't make it.
Winter Flower
by Jonathon Broughton

Set in London in what I can only guess is early 1900's, Cecelia is anything but the proper lady her mother wishes she was. Old widow Lady Milligan is known for her psychical research and her knack for successfully matching couples. Cecelia's social climbing mother has high hopes that Lady Milligan has chosen Cecelia for a very important match. Cecelia has no desire to marry anyone she doesn't love  and would rather spend her time in the gardens tending to her flowers. Despite her mother's insistence to stop acting like a common gardner, Cecelia persues her love of horticulture.
During her visit with Lady Milligan, Cecelia becomes entranced with Antoine, the Lady's servant. Upon learning of her love for horticulture, Lady Milligan asks Cecelia to accompany Antoine to the library and help him translate the names of the herbs he needs. Almost too excited to contain herself, Cecelia agrees to help Antoine. Once the pair are alone, Cecelia learns of Antoine's true intentions. The match has been made. This story really displays the romantic side of vampires nicely.

It's in your blood
by Pamela Turner
"Emily claimed Goth citizenship, Anna carried a green card"

The two met in college when Anna became curious about the music Emily was listening to. It was in that moment the two became friends and Emily taught Anna everything she needed to know about the Goth subculture. One night, Anna and Emily are preparing to go to a party in a cemetary, though Anna is reluctant. Once they arrive at the party, Anna realizes this is no ordinary party and that she is the guest of honor.

The Land of the Rising Sun
by Debbie Christiana

After a deadly earthquake hits Sendai, Japan, Karl and his search and rescue team go in to look for survivirs that the former search and rescue team couldn't reach. Karl's team has certain advantages over the other team. Moments into the their search, Karl and his partner find  a young woman who has been crushed from the waist down, clinging to life. Karl sits with her while his partner goes for help. In the brief moments alone with the young woman, Karl makes a monumental mistake, one that will cost many people their lives.

The Fledgling Doubt
By Lana Bange

Vampire hunter, Amy Hunt, is tracking a fledgling through the Farrington Subway station when it all goes terribly wrong. The fledgling is killed, leaving behind a gory mess but before he was killed, he managed to bite his victim, only Amy isn't sure about that yet. So, she accompanies the woman to the hospital  and stands vigil until she knows if a change will occur. By the time the whole ordeal is over, the only thing Amy wants to do is leave London.

The Dhampir's Kiss
by Carole Ann Moleti

This is a hard one for me to sum up and review. I can't say I really enjoyed this story. Lord Dhampir Raul recalls the events of the night his mother was killed and he was changed into a vampire, as he stalks Taina. If I am understanding this correctly, Taina is seeking revenge against the vampire and werewolf that attacked her more than a decade ago. Raul plans to silence her either by turning her or killing her. You'll have to read this one and judge for yourself.

By Amy Grey

Madeleine Jameson, a Vegas showgirl, decides to take a vacation after injuring her leg during a chorus. Laying out poolside at the resort, she meets fellow American, Ricki Shannon who openly admits to her use of gigalos and suggests Madeleine gives it a try. Madeleine, slightly appalled, politely excuses herself and goes about her business. Days blend into weeks and Madeleine is enjoying the "zen-like balance" she has achieved, her bizarre conversation with Ricki already forgotten. One night, while getting ready for bed, a man knocks on her door saying that Ricki sent him. With every fiber of her being, she wants to deny him entrance but something inside her won't let her. Their night together is nothing short of amazing and they agree to meet again for a second time. After their second time together, they both admit to falling in love. Madeleine knows that if there is a third time, she will become one of him, a vampire frozen in time and pain free. The idea of this new kind of life is so appealing that she almost goes thru with it. Almost....


Thursday, October 18, 2012

This week's Spotlight Author is Christine Hughes

A former Army Brat, Christine Hughes moved quite often. She spent much of her time losing herself in books and creating stories about many of the people she'd met. Falling in love with literature was easy for her and she  majored in English while attending college in New Jersey. Not sure where her love of reading and writing fit, she became a middle school English teacher. After nine years of teaching others to appreciate literature, she decided to take the plunge and write her first novel. Now at home focusing on making writing her new career, she spends her time creating characters and plot points instead of grading papers.
Music has become an integral part of her writing process and without the proper playlist, Hughes find the words don't flow. At least a few times a week she can be found at the local Barnes & Noble with her mac and headphones working on her next novel. Her YA novel Torn will be released by Black Opal Books June 9, 2012.
With the sudden, mysterious death of her father, Samantha discovers her life isn’t what it seems. Not only isn’t she the normal teenage girl she thought she was, Sam must now take her father’s place in the fight between two groups of fallen angels—the Faithful and the Exiled—in a race to save humanity. In addition to dealing with the devastating betrayal of her friend and her feelings for someone she is forbidden to love, Sam must also fight the growing darkness within her as she struggles to make a choice between fighting alongside the Faithful or succumbing to the temptation of the Exiled. Both sides require sacrifices Sam isn’t sure she can make.

KUDOS for Torn

Torn is a paranormal YA thriller, that also nudges at the romantic suspense genre. It’s a good vs. evil with touches of forbidden young love. Our heroine, Samantha, thinks she is a normal human teenage girl—not that any teenage girl can really be called “normal.” But Sam has no reason to suspect that she is anything other than human. Her life revolves around school, her best friend and foster brother, Lucas, and her secret crush on her other foster brother, Ethan. Then her father dies and Sam discovers she is much more than she thought she was. She is supposed to fight for the light against the dark, but the dark side is so very tempting...the book is well-written, the storyline unique, and the plot strong. So whatever age you are, grab a nice cup of tea, a comfy spot on the couch, and enjoy. – Taylor Jones, reviewer

The storyline in Torn is unusual and refreshing. While it’s about the fight between good and evil—a common enough plot—the heroine is born of the dark but determined to fight for the light. She is also confused. She knows she wants to fight for good, but she is very tempted by the darkness within her. As she struggles to make her choice, the plot shifts on us and gives us more than one surprise. I was very impressed by Hughes. Her writing is quite good, her characters refreshing, and the storyline much more sophisticated than is normal for YA. I found myself riveted from the very first page. – Regan Murphy, reviewer

Interview with Christine Hughes by Belladonna's Book Corner

What inspired you to write your first book?

While I was watching Vampire Diaries (Season 1, last episode - Founder's Day) the song "All I need" by Within Temptation played during a dance with Elena and Damon. As soon as I heard it, images started flashing through my head and I ran to iTunes to download it. I listened to it over and over and built a playlist around it until the images solidified into a coherent storyline. I love shows like Vapire Diaries that have great soundtracks. I'm always finding new songs when I watch tv.

How did you come up with the titles of each book ?

The original title to TORN was Choices but I felt it wasn't strong enough. I was having a conversation with my sister-in-law about the book since she read the manuscript for me and she characterized Samanatha, the lead character, as torn. And VOILA! Epiphany! The book title switched to TORN.

For Three Days of Rain (due out early January 2013), I titled to book after the song that inspired it. If you look on Spotify, search Three Days of Rain by Jason Liberatore and you'll find the words that helped make the book.
The sequel to TORN has always had a working title - BETRAYED - but there are way too many books out there with the same title, and many are romance. After discussing it with some author friends, I've since changed the working title to DARKNESS BETRAYED. Hopefully it sticks. We'll see.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Everyone had two sides to them. There is beauty in despair. If there wasn't, we'd never know what hope was. I also just want them to get out of what they read exactly what they want. When I was teaching, I never understood why blue curtains couldn't just be blue curtains. Why did they have to represent tha main characters call for help? Maybe that's why my college English professor rolled her eyes at me.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No. Just ideas I had. I am sure there are many parts of my books people will be able to relate to but as for basing it on reality? Nope. Not brave enough to go there yet. Besides, I'm not all that exciting.
What books have most influenced your life most?

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway, Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - there are so many! I used to read more than I do now. It's harder now because I don't necessarily want to start retelling stories. I try to keep them as original as my brain will allow. But I love to read. Hell, I read shampoo bottles if there's nothing else there!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

A mentor? Gosh. I don't know. Maybe Cyn Balog since she gave me so much advice and encouragement in the beginning. She's a wonderful person, a creative author and a great friend. Bonnie Hearn Hill is another. When I was contemplating joining Black Opal Books, she and I had a fabulous phone conversation that I will never forget. And lately, Dean Sault has been giving me some good advice.

What book are you reading now?

An ARC of time Assassins by Kyle Hannah (buy it!)

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Since I've become published, a whole new world of authors has been opened. I loved Leslie R. Wright's Basement Level Five, David Perlmutter's Wrong Place, Wrong Time, and am very enamored with Kyle Hannah's Time Assassins.

What are your current projects?
Three Days of Rain is a Women's Fiction that should be released in early 2013 and I am almost finished writing the sequel to TORN, DARKNESS BETRAYED. After that I have quite a few ideas to choose from.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books ?
TORN is in 1st person and I love it that way but I can't help but think how much more in depth I could have gone were it in 3rd. I could've picked apart Sebastian's character more, gotten into his head. That would have been fun. There is, of course, always the option of writing Sebastian's story. We'll see.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I don't remember. I've loved writing since I can remember. I was always writing stories - page after page of worlds and characters. I wrote angsty poetry most of my teen and college life. Who knew? Men and women my age were able to write about being "emo" before "emo" was a thing...

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Editing! I hate deleting anything but it's getting easier. I have a great group of editors at Black Opal Books who understand my mindset and have only worked to make my manuscripts tighter, stronger.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

For TORN, the ending. I couldn't figure out how to close it out. For Three Days of Rain, the sex scenes made me blush. I didn't want it to sound corny. I did all I could to keep the word "member" out of it!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
To never give up. I realized not everyone will love what I write and that's ok. I've read many books I didn't care for. It's all ok. As long as I stay true to myself when I write, that's all I can ask for.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Same as above - never give up. Take criticism gracefully. Take praise gracefully as well. I've met a lot of writer's over the past year or so and I have to tell you, most are amazing - helpful, kind, encouraging - but there are some that make me nuts. Don't be the one to make everyone nuts. Believe in yourself and believe in your writing but know there ARE people out there who've been around the block and CAN help. DOn't turn away because you don't agree. Listen. Be gracious. AND get a set of kick ass beta readers that aren't afraid to tell you what they really think :)

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Just keep reading. If you like an author, say so. If you like a book, write a review. Word of mouth sells more books these days than any advertising.

What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?

Run like hell. I am just started to get into zombies. My main thing is, they walk everywhere. Why can't people just run the hell away? Maybe I should read more zombies...

If you could be any paranormal creature what would you be and why?

Vampire. Ann Rice made them sexy.

Fav Movie ?

So many! Fave comedy - Zoolander (Mer-Man!) but I love all John Hughes films and will stop what I am doing to watch any one of them!

Fav band right now ?

30 Seconds to Mars. Jared Leto? Umm, yes please.

Fav food and drink ?

Nothing beats a good cheeseburger and a beer in the summer. Other than that, coffee, Earl Grey Tea and lime flavored seltzer water. And Pizza. Good thing I live in a place where good pizza is the norm. I can't take cardboard and ketchup.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Belladonna's Book Corner

For several weeks, a fellow reviewer and I have been discussing my joining her page over at Belladonna's Book Corner and helping her admin from this part of the globe. With her being in Australia and me being in the States, we are hoping that this joint effort will reach more people. If you are reading this, then you, too, have a love for literature. Indie authors are emerging from every crevice of this world and Tlani and I hope to bring well-deserved recognition to these new, talented and wonderfully creative authors. So come visit us over in The Corner where new and exciting things are about to happen. As we get more authors involved, we'll be offering giveaways and prizes as well as sharing our reviews on new books. See you in The Corner!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Last Resort
by Toy Davis

Uptight, snobby, and entitled, Hailey, thinks she's meeting her newest boyfriend, Flow, for a romantic weekend at his family's cabin in the woods. Upon her arrival, Hailey is greeted not only by Flow, but by several of his friends, none of which care for Hailey in the least. The others make no secret of their distaste for Hailey and she makes no secret of her distaste for them as well. After the first round of insults have been dished out, the group settle in for some pot smoking, munchies and ghost stories. Among the stories is the one about the very cabin they are currently occupying. Having come to be known as "The Last Resort", rumor has it that five families were all murdered in the cabin, and though it's been years, it is believed that the killer is still on the loose.

Laughing off the rumors as mere legend, the group plays a couple of typical slumber party type games, though this is anything but a teenage slumber party. They decide on a more adult version of "Truth or Dare" and "Hide and Go Get it" and the games begin. Truth or Dare becomes a little heated when it is revealed that one person is gay. one has abused prescription drugs, and the most surprising, Flow wouldn't "fuck Hailey even if by doing so would save his life". It takes everything inside Hailey not to break down and show just how hurt she is by Flow's revelation. When everyone decides that Truth or Dare has become boring, Hailey decides to go to bed and the rest of the group decide to play "Hide and Go Get It", a more adult version of Hide and Go Seek. This is when things start to become real and legend is not just legend anymore.

The Last Resort is a classic teenage thriller, though the characters are anything but children. I really only have one problem with this story. The author does not always make clear who is speaking at t he time. When the whole group is together, it is often unclear as to who the dialogue is coming from.

That being said, this is a good story. If the dialogue was more clear, I think this could be a really great story. The plot itself is entertaining and if you don't find the use of the word Fag offensive or if you can look past it for the sake of enjoying a good story, the go grab a copy and enjoy.

Diary of the Fag Hags

Diary of the Fag Hags 
by Toy Davis

Diary of the Fag Hags is just that, diary entries by self-proclaimed fag hags Darnisa, Jasmine, and Faye. I'm assuming these diary entries are fictitious in nature, but regardless if they are fiction or not, they are very amusing. The diary entries include lots of partying, alcohol, and self-imposed drama. Fag Hags have always amused me and the diary entries confirm what we already know; they are nothing short of pure entertainment.