Archive for May, 2012

Karen Victoria Smith

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

 

Karen Victoria Smith grew up with an Irish grandmother who tried to teach her the old ways and watched horror movies with her in the dark. KV lives in New Jersey with her family who patiently allow her to believe that in a 24-hour world the monsters are real. You can find her books onAmazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

 

You can find out more about Karen by finding her at the following:

 

Review of Karen Wyle’s Science Fiction Novel Twin Bred

Monday, May 28th, 2012

In Karen Wyle’s science fiction novel, Twin Bred, humans have been living on a distant planet called Tofran for seventy years and have yet to find a way to communicate with the native species, the Tofa.

The Tofa don’t communicate through words, their faces are featureless so reading their expressions is out of the question and they emit odd smells at seemingly random times. Due to miscommunications and confusion, tensions between the two groups have been growing and the council is desperate for any sort of intervention. Scientist Mara Cadell, who has an obsession with twins after learning she lost a twin brother in utero, thinks she has the answer.  Her plan is to implant one human embryo and one alien embryo into host mothers. With the hope of using the scientific fact that twins have special ways of communicating between each other, Mara sets out to create special sets of twins specifically designed to bridge the gap between the two species.

Unfortunately, no matter how carefully engineered the experiment was, Mara couldn’t control certain important elements such as human ignorance and prejudices. As outside influences try to destroy the work she has dedicated her life to she starts to question the morality of her actions while trying to push through to achieve their one true goal of unification.

I have to say that Twin Bred is more science than I’m used to but Wyle handled the explanations, details and intricacies of the plot dealing with breeding people and aliens together quite well. Details concerning the sociological and psychological consequences of inseminating women with both human and alien embryos as well as the effects on the children themselves were carefully handled within the story. Wyle’s writing was meticulous in order to help even non sci-fi readers, such as myself, understand the specifics of the experiments without having it go over her reader’s heads.

The relationship between Mara and Levi was an interesting twist to the story and I think it really kicked up the psychological aspect of the story. I actually wish there was more time dedicated to their relationship. Wyle infused the story with a number of different characters to give a fuller and more detailed look at all the players involved in the experiment, (the scientists, the neighboring Tofa, the government officials, the twin bred, the host mothers, civilians) however at times it became too many points of view. By reading up on everyone’s stance on what was going on around them some of the characters who started out strong, like Laura, a host mother, lost steam as the story progressed.

However, with that said I found Mara to be a well developed and strong character. I loved how Levi was her voice of reason and the moments at the end of the novel involving her, Levi and the Tofa were tenderly moving.

Using science, psychology, and good intentions Wyle put together an interesting, thought-provoking read that any science fiction fan will love.

Karen Wyle

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University. She now considers herself a Hoosier. Wyle’s childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist. While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9.

Wyle is an appellate attorney, photographer, political junkie, and mother of two daughters. Her voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction. It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice. Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.

You can find her books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

Interview with Heather Huffman author of Jailbird

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Hey friends! Today I’m very excited to have Heather Huffman, author of Jailbird, join us at the bar. I met Heather a few months ago through the lovely people at Booktrope and after reading her novel, Jailbird, I thought, “Karen, you need to interview this woman.” So, without further ado, here is the lovely Heather Huffman!

 

 

KD:  Can you tell us a little bit about Jailbird and where the idea for the story came from?

HH: Jailbird’s story follows Neena Allen from her accidental jailbreak to the small town she lands in. The book actually begins in the middle of her jailbreak – that scene came from an incredibly vivid dream that inspired the book. In the dream, I saw everything through the eyes of a woman breaking out of prison. I saw what she saw; I felt what she felt. Also in the dream, there was no speech, no conversation, until I saw Charlie Russell and asked, “Who’s that?” Those are the first words of dialogue in the book, too.

Jailbird is more than the story of Neena’s jailbreak and subsequent new life. It’s a beautiful love story. It’s Neena’s journey to reclaim her humanity and the healing of her soul.

KD: Neena’s story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. She met adversity and through strength and hope she found her way. Is she modeled after someone you know or is she more of a collective thought of what a strong woman should be?

HH: Neena is a little me, a little of who I hope to be, and a lot of the women I see all around me everyday. Her plight seems so horrible; just the other day I heard that 1 out of 3 girls will be sexually abused by the age of 18, so it’s not an uncommon one. The details of her story are exceptional, but the heart of her tale is something many of us can identify with. Neena’s strength is a combination of the beautiful strength and power of the women in my world.

KD:  I absolutely loved the exchanges between Neena and, well, everyone. Her side of conversations were fast, quick-witted and honest; I felt as if I could pick up a conversation with her easily. Did you have a favorite Neena exchange or moment to write?

HH: It makes me happy to hear you say that – I genuinely like Neena. I think we’d be friends if she were real. My favorite scenes with Neena are the ones where she got tongue-tied around Charlie. That always made me smile.

KD: Due to the nature of Neena’s back story was there a scene or section that was particularly hard to write?

HH: Talking about the night of Neena’s attack was always tough. It was more than deciding how much to share – though that was part of it. I’m a visual writer; I often see the scene play out as I type, and many times it’ll keep playing over and over until I finish writing that particular part of the story. Those scenes were tough to watch.

KD:  You write romantic suspense, what draws you to this genre? 

HH: I didn’t pick my genre so much as it picked me. I just write down the stories in my head, and this is where they happened to fall. I suppose the fact that two of my favorite things in life are adventure and love might have had something to do with it, though!

KD:  Who are some of your favorite authors? Are you currently reading anything?

HH: When I’m not actively writing, I read a wide variety of books. Lots of classics line my bookshelves; they’re my favorites. When it comes to modern writers, I find myself buying a lot of Jennifer Crusie’s books. I used to tear through Nora Roberts books like crazy. At the moment, I’m reading something completely different. It’s a book called the Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. When I finish that, I plan to catch up on some of the books by my fellow Booktrope authors!

KD:  Your stories revolve around women who haven’t been dealt the best hand yet find a way to not just survive but thrive. Have you always been an advocate for social injustices for women? How did you become a part of the movement against human trafficking? 

HH:  I’ve never been able to keep my mouth shut when I see injustice. I believe that if something’s wrong, I should try to fix it. Why wait for someone else to step up? I became part of the fight against human trafficking when I learned it existed while researching Throwaway. At first, I struggled to find a way to plug into the fight. When I started using my writing as a way to raise awareness, things fell into place. I began to connect with some amazing organizations on the front lines like Project Liberty and The Covering House.

KD:  Your voice as a writer is strong and well developed, how long have you been writing?

HH: First, thank you – that means a lot to me. In answer to your question, I’ve been writing books for as long as I can remember. I got serious about honing my ability to write a novel and share it with others about four years ago.

KD: When you’re not writing how do you spend your free time?

HH: What’s that? My family recently moved to a 10-acre homestead, so tending the garden and animals is where the bulk of my non-writing time goes. I love to create – sewing, embroidering, weaving, refinishing furniture… the list goes on. I spend a lot of time with my kids; they are a lot of fun, and we have some pretty fantastic adventures together. In fact, as soon as I finish up with work today, we’re taking the dogs on a creek walk. That’s my kind of evening.

KD: Are you currently working on anything new?

HH: The next book is just wrapping up – look for Devil in Disguise to begin hitting the online shelves mid-June. I’m giving my brain a writing break until August, when I’ll start working on Roses in Ecuador, which tells the story of Devon McAllister. His sister was the main character in Ring of Fire.

Thank you so much, Heather, for stopping by the pub! I can’t read wait to read more from you and I urge you all to check out the wonderful works by the talented and wonderful Heather Huffman!

You can find out more about Heather on TwitterGoogle +Facebook, and on her website. You can find her books on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.  

 

When Life Gets Rocky, Add Some Scotch – Interview on Angelica Dawson’s Blog

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

This past week I was honored to be interviewed by erotica and romance author Angelica Dawson. We talked about blogging, writing and family. Check it out!

When Life Gets Rocky, Add Some Scotch

Review: Hope Road by John Barlow

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

In Hope Road, the first mystery in a series of nine books, John Barlow introduces us to John Ray, a son of a notorious criminal, who uses his father’s past to save his friend’s future.

John Ray is the white sheep of the family, his father, Tony Ray, a used car dealer, was part of a large counterfeiting ring that left the cops itching for a conviction that never came.  Instead of following in his father’s footsteps like his brother did, John stepped away from the family business; he excelled in school and was determined to live his life straight. After returning to home to take over the family’s used car dealership, and run it legitimately, his coworker and friend is accused of murdering a prostitute. As if things couldn’t get any worse, the dead girl was found in the boot of a car John just bought for the dealership casting doubt on his clean way of living. Stuck between a rock and a hard place John turns to the life and people he left behind in order to find the truth.

John Barlow’s writing is sharp and intelligent as it takes his readers through a complex, multi-layered story.  While characters hold stereotypical traits, such as gruff, no-nonsense and cocky cops, their personalities are seasoned with little nuances that make them unique yet relatable. I loved the character of John Ray. He lives just outside the shady criminal world yet when he’s forced to mingle among the old gang he falls quickly back in step. You can tell he’s an intelligent man with a good head on his shoulders yet there is something about him that makes you want to keep a close eye on him.

The pacing and flow of the story is well matched with the intricate details that go along with a plot of murder mystery. Character interactions, the settings, major and secondary plot points are all used together to create a well focused story with no added filler to confuse the plot. Barlow’s infusion of twists along the way keeps the reader guessing as to not only who the murderer is but how everyone fits into the story.

Hope Road encompasses all the themes pertinent to a murder mystery: betrayal, greed, love, lust, and even the Shakespearean notion of “sins of the father are to be laid upon the children.”  I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in an intelligent, smooth read that keeps you guessing until the end.

 

John Barlow

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

John was born in West Yorkshire, England, in 1967. He worked as a musician before studying English Literature at Cambridge University and language acquisition at Hull University. After teaching English for several years, he moved to Spain to write full-time, and has been there ever since. He is married to Susana, with whom he has two sons. They currently live in the Galician city of A Coruna. 

Barlow’s prize-winning fiction and non-fiction has been published by HarperCollins/William Morrow, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 4th Estate and various others in the UK, US, Australia, Russia, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland.

His current project is the LS9 crime series. Set in the north of England, it follows the life of John Ray, the half-Spanish son of crime boss Antonio ‘Tony’ Ray. The series will eventually comprise nine novels. Apart from writing fiction, he also works as a ghost writer and journalist. He has written for the Washington Post, Slate.com, Penthouse, Departures Magazine and The Big Issue, and he is currently a feature writer for the award-winning food magazine Spain Gourmetour.

You can find John at his website and on Twitter. His books are currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords