What I'm Currently Reading...

Interview With the Vampire (Vampire Chronicles, #1)Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
I started reading these books when I was a kid but never really got into them. Time to give them another shot!

Death du Jour (Temperance Brennan, #2)Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs

Friday, April 29, 2011

Reunion by Jeff Bennington

ReunionReunion by Jeff Bennington

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Purchase Reunion here

While making my way through this ARC that I received from Jeff Bennington, I found myself entranced. It was the first book that I read on my Kindle (an entirely new experience for me) and I couldn't put it down. I have to say that this was an excellent book and worth the read.

Bennington really grabs the reader with this supernatural tale, dragging them kicking and screaming the whole way. Now keep in mind, this is not a horror novel but it does have many horrific aspects to it. He brings you into the lives of survivors of great tragedy and throws in a paranormal twist.

There are a lot of different characters to follow, each learning to deal in their own way. This is a very complex story, yet it is so well written, making it easy to follow. Bennington has a brilliant imagination that will mesmerize even the most picky reader...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Different...

An interview! That's right folks. It's time for me to finally invite a fellow author onto my blog to answer a few questions about what I've been reading. Today we meet with Jeff Bennington, author of Reunion.

Don't know Reunion? Well, here's a bit of background... And don't forget to drop in tomorrow for the review!

David Ray killed eight students and then turned the gun on himself. He thought the shooting and suicide would fix his world. It didn't. The massacre threw Tanner Khan and the other survivors into chaos.

Twenty years later, Tanner and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion to lay the past to rest. Although they suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited, and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray.

Once they're inside the school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt, long overdue, and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears, putting the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare?

Jeff Bennington
Jeff has become, not only an author that I plan to watch for, but also a pretty good friend and is definitely a great person!

He will keep you interested through the suspenseful skills of his writing or laughing from his goofy and lighthearted personality.

Q ~ I truly enjoyed the concept behind this novel. Please tell me what brought you to write about a school massacre?
A ~ Thank you, Courtney. The concept grew out of my concerns and questions about how young people involved in traumatic events like school shootings deal with their emotions over time. That was the starting point. After wondering and researching I began to think about the killer and how different ways the survivors respond. From there I was able to sketch my characters, the heart behind the story.

Q ~ Did you feel really connected with any of the characters in Reunion?
A ~ Yes. I felt connected to each one. They all have something that I care about, but I’d have to say that I have more at stake with Tanner. There’s more of me in him…the chasing, the going after the next thing to cover fears, etc.

Q ~ What was the hardest part to write?
A ~ The hardest part of writing Reunion, was creating characters thet were seventeen and eighteen years old and developing them into likable teens. Once their personalities were established, I took the cast and dramatically changed them after the massacre occured, in a way that is realistic, maintaining some of their traits but keeping each character’s response to the tragedy unique. And because there are seven of them, I had to be very careful not get confused!

Q ~ Are you a plotter or a pantser or maybe a little of both?
A ~ I’m definitely a little of both. I write out character sketches and a very rough plot outline, with no more than one or two sentences to guide each chapter. From there the characters and I battle it out until the end!

Q ~ What is one thing you hope your readers will take away from reading your novel?
A ~ That’s hard to answer because I think there are a lot of “take aways” from Reunion. I wanted to write in a message of hope to survivors, a picture of the lasting effects of trauma to those who don’t understand, and a reminder that the pain continues long after the camera crews leave town. But there is one message in particular that comes across at the very end…a message that I can’t hardly get through without tearing up, even after reading it literally dozens of times. I wish I could post those last paragraphs but that would weaken its impact. If you remember, I sprinkled this theme with references to music in the first chapter and then concluded the book with a powerful statement about how time has a way of healing. What’s funny is, you can’t fully grasp how these messages are communicated while reading Reunion, because it’s a supernatural thriller that’s frightening and suspenseful and filled with emotional moments. So please, don’t ask me how I did that, because I don’t have any idea!

Q ~ Being the family man that you are, how difficult do you find it to disappear for awhile to write?
A ~ I have a weird work schedule. I work two twelve-hour days and then two days off, two days on and it repeats. I basically work 6 months out of the year. I try to make good use of my time, but as an indie author, it is a personal battle to be “present” at home when I have so much running through my mind. I recently wrote an article about this battle at Scott Nicholson’s blog.

And the last question…
Q ~ Are you ready for the success that this novel will bring to you?
A ~ If you could only hear me laughing right now! There is a fine line between hope and expectation. That is to say, I hope Reunion does well and I’m getting better feedback than I anticipated, but you won’t find me chumming up with Ron Howard or M. Night Shyamalan any time soon. I have a lot of books to write and I don’t know how much time I have left on this spinning ball of earth and saltwater. I’m not going to waste my time thinking about fortune and fame…I’m going to keep writing…I’m ready for that.

A BIG thank you to Jeff for honoring my blog with his presence for the day and for giving me the opportunity to review his work. Below are the links for where Reunion can be found. While Jeff's novel may be available all over, I recommend going direct to his website, http://www.jeffbennington.com/, and purchasing a signed copy today!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Giveaway time!

Were Vamps Romance is currently hosting a giveaway of my debut novel on her blog right now. Hop over and sign up to win a copy of The Blood Moon of Winter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

This Bird's flight has ended...

This Bird Flew Away
Well, the giveaway for This Bird Flew Away has finally come to a close and a winner has been selected!

A big congratulatory cheer goes out to Louis for winning this one!! I hope that you enjoy this novel as much as I did.

As with all giveaways, we hope that you will review the book for the author and tell all your friends.

Thanks to everyone who entered and I hope to have another giveaway soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Mind Entangled (work in progress)

Currently, I'm working on a series of short stories. Part one is entitled 'The Mind Entangled' and I'm hoping to have it available to readers by the end of May.

I intend to have it available on Smashwords and Amazon. I plan to offer it as a free download on Smashwords. Of course, since Amazon doesn't allow free things, It will be up there for $.99 for those that choose to get it there.

I'm looking for a bit of feedback on the cover image though. I want to keep it simple and here's what I've come up with so far... What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment with honest opinions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld, #28)

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld, #28)The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All I can say is that I would love to have a talking cat like Maurice. Also, I'm not the fondest of rats but the whole crew (especially Peaches) really keeps the reader, as well as the towns they appear in, on their toes.

Pratchett draws a picture that makes the reader feel for the characters, even if they are trying to pull one over on the town's inhabitants. Each time I find myself back in the Disc World, I find myself chuckling from beginning to end. The puns that Pratchett comes up with never get old and I find myself quoting bits and pieces. Most authors only write lines every so often that really stick in my head. With Pratchett's work, I can't even count how many there are!

In conclusion, this is definitely worth the read. It is book 28 in the Disc World series, yet doesn't require the other books to be read, as it seems to be a standalone as well. It's cute, silly and you won't be able to put it down!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ahh... Vacation!

So for the last week or so, I've been MIA. I've had a few things going on that have kept me offline. The first was that my company blocked the internet from letting employees get on any social media. This means no Twitter, Facebook, or even my blog. I can't even blog on lunch!

The second thing to occur was my 30th birthday! I ws busy plotting and planning a fabulous day/week...

And lastly, some amazing friends flew halfway around the world just to celebrate that day with me. We partied like rockstars and had a blast doing it. We ate Mexican food, played pool, shopped, drove to the Grand Canyon and finished up in Vegas!

It's been an amazing time but I must return to work...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This Bird Flew Away by Linda Martin

This Bird Flew AwayThis Bird Flew Away by Lynda M. Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Purchase This Bird Flew Away here.

Lynda Martin displays such a great writing style in this amazing tale of heartbreak and hardship... At the beginning of the story, I had one minor issue but it quickly resolved itself. The problem was that Bria was only 9 yet thinking, in her mind, like an Oxford grad with such words that most people don't use on an average day let alone think. The girl didn't learn the style from Nancy Drew (which was what she mainly seemed to read). As I have said, this resolved itself after the first few chapters and the flow of the book took off to a very real tune.

This book contains a tale that could so easily be a true story. It's sad to think that this ficticious book could so easily have actujally happened. The way that it's told, following Bria through some of the most horrendous situations, tears at the heart of the reader. It also shows that success is possible, no matter what you have been through. Be strong and a person can move past anything...

Martin really knows her stuff and knows how to draw the reader in. I really enjoyed reading my way through Bria's life.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's interview time!

So my radio interview is this afternoon and I'm so excited! I've been trying to figure out what might get talked about but am at a loss. I do believe that it will be an interesting experience, as long as I don't get nervous and forget what I'm supposed to be saying...
Get The Blood Moon of Winter at Smashwords or Amazon for only $.99!!

Radio Interview with ParaYourNormal Internet Radio at 3:30 PST on 4/6/11.
The number to call in is (619) 639-4626 so make sure to call with your best questions!
Don't forget to drop by their blog for a chance to win a copy of my novel!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23)Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is no better way to pass the day than by reading (or listening as the case is here) to a novel that makes you laugh out loud from the shear silliness of it all. I've been in love with Terry Pratchett's novels for some time now and can never seem to get enough!

His creative mind and the puns he uses will keep any reader turning the pages. Carpe Jugulum - Go for the Throat!

On a side note, Nigel Planer is my absolute favorite narrator, when it comes to audiobooks. He's very animated and seems capable of really making me want to press play!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Goodreads Giveaway Winners Announced!

The Blood Moon of Winter by Courtney ConantSo the Goodreads giveaway for my debut novel has come to a close and the winners were selected at random. This one was open to the world and 2 winners were chosen.

What are the odds that BOTH winners would be from the same country and only a couple hundred miles from each other?

Well, that's exactly what happened! Ma Karen Lee and Charly Baars each won a copy of my book and they both live in the UK. I look forward to finding out what they think of it!