Friday, November 28, 2014



 A lady forgotten by all...

 Ruby St. Augustin must find the truth of her past to determine what her future holds. She only has a short time in London to uncover the identity of her real father and the secrets behind her birth. If anyone learns of her mission, she will disgrace everyone she holds dear. What she doesn’t expect is to draw the attention of a man who doesn’t care about his reputation or her past.

 A man mesmerized by one...

Harold Jakeston is a man without wealth or title. Resigned to a life he loathes, Harold has the chance at a few weeks of freedom before being trapped in a future he wants no part of. When he’s drawn into the mysterious quest of a woman from his past, he embraces the opportunity to forget the life that awaits him. What he never anticipated is falling in love with a woman who ignites his desire to create a new future for himself and for her. 

A love neither can abandon...


London, England

January 1816

                        Ruby took a deep breath before trying the final drawer that could hold all the answers to her past, her true heritage. Her lungs expanded; she held the air inside. She didn’t exhale until it burned. With trembling fingers, she reached for the last drawer and pulled.

             Her nicely trimmed nails nearly snapped when her grasp on the handle slipped from the force of her tug. The drawer hadn’t budged.


             “Oh, poppy cocks!” she hissed. Moving her hands to the folds of her evening gown, Ruby procured a small pouch tucked neatly into a hidden pocket. Setting it on the desk, she pulled out her array of lock-picking devices, really only hairpins and small wires she’d collected since her first night—and her first failed attempt at breaking into a desk—to help her disengage the drawer.

             She had to know what secrets this lord held. Would she find an envelope inside labelled ‘Abandoned Daughter,’ or a report from the Bow Street Runners with details about herself—her hair color, the particular green shade of her eyes, places she’d been, perhaps the details of her activities over the course of her life?

Nothing worth finding was that simply ascertained.

No man, married or not, would leave record of their nefarious past. It was more likely her father had not spared her, or her mother, a second thought after throwing his pregnant mistress from his townhouse in the middle of the night with no coat and no means to get home.

             Ruby was anything but a fool, but she found herself continuing to search regardless. She didn’t need a signed confession—she just needed that letter opener.

             Picks in hand, she knelt before the locked drawer and eyed the keyhole, blowing a wayward strand of hair that had fallen across her face. She’d been unsuccessful more often than not when attempting to open locked drawers. But luck may have been on her side this evening. She’d entered the ball with little fuss, shortly after the host and hostess had quit the receiving line. It was surprising how similar the layout of most London townhouses were. Ruby had navigated the halls of the second floor and found the room she sought fairly quickly, encountering not a soul.

            The pins slipped into the lock and her tongue darted out of her mouth to lick her lips as she concentrated on moving them exactly right to click the lock over. She fought to keep her hands steady when sweat broke out across her forehead. She was running out of time.

             Ruby applied a bit too much pressure and the pin snapped, falling uselessly into the locked drawer. “Damn you to hell, mother!” she cursed and sat back, wiping her slick brow.

             She’d always viewed herself as a sensible girl, a dutiful daughter, and an honest friend. She could only imagine the horror on Vi’s face if she saw her now. A common thief. A midnight prowler. A defiler of privacy.

            Although, it could not be helped.

            She sought answers and at the moment all she had was an endless list of questions.

            Gaining her feet once more, she bundled her kit and slipped it back into her pocket. She turned her attention to the long table against the wall behind the desk. Leaning over, she ran her hand along the underside of the ornately carved piece, feeling for hidden compartments or—if her luck returned—a forgotten folder of papers.

            “Sherry, Miss Ruby?” an oddly familiar voice asked behind her.
~Giveaway ~
Christina will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner, and a $15 Amazon GC to another winner, both via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. Currently, she focuses on Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance.
Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.
 Follow her on Twitter: @CMcKnightWriter
 Keep up to date on her releases:
 Like Christina’s FB Author page: ChristinaMcKnightWriter
Add Forgotten No More to your Goodreads List:
 Buy Links:
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I am Dreaming of an Undead Christmas

It's Christmas in Half-Moon Hollow and newly turned vampire Iris Scanlon-Calix wants to make Gigi's first visit home from college as normal and special as possible. It's taken months for Iris to work up the nerve to spend time around her baby sister after her vampire transition, so she enlists help from Jane Jameson and Company to keep her blood-thirst under control and assure Gigi's safety. Gigi, on the other hand, has problems of her own, including the demise of her relationship with high school sweetheart, Ben, and a looming job interview with Ophelia Lambert, the scariest potential employer in the Hollow. And then there's the small matter of the handsome, frustrating vampire who keeps appearing in Gigi's peripheral vision, then disappearing before she can talk to him. Can the Scanlon sisters negotiate romantic problems, vampire politics, and Christmas cookie disasters and enjoy a relatively normal holiday?

My Impressions: 

I loved this book, all the way until the end when it cut off unexpectedly. I was left feeling very dissatisfied.  It was like the book was just getting going, really picking up pace and then BAM, nothing. The story itself was great. Very funny,snarky,  laugh out loud,comical happenings that make you shake your head. Great character development. The whole time I was reading I could picture the  characters, their style, personality, etc. I adored all the tongue n cheek humor and I could easily see a sister working this hard to give her "family" the best Christmas ever since so much has changed between them.

Overall I give this book 3 stars, but would definitely warn people about the abrupt ending,

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review and opinion.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe Celebratory Menus and Recipes from New York's Premier Plant-Based Restaurants Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda

This collection of vegan holiday recipes—the first of its kind from award-winning chefs—elevates plant-based fare to a new level. With fresh, inventive menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Lunar New Year, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine's Day, Passover, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and Independence Day, this cookbook blends favorite traditions with a modern sensibility. Tantalizing dishes include Sweet Potato Latkes with Almond Crème Fraîche for Passover; Porcini-Crusted Seitan with Glazed Cipollini Onions and Mushroom Gravy for Thanksgiving; and Red, White, and Blue Margaritas for the Fourth of July.

Now home cooks can entertain in the spirit of New York’s premier vegan restaurants, Candle Cafe, Candle 79, and Candle Cafe West. With forewords by Alicia Silverstone and Laura and Woody Harrelson, plus sumptuous photography throughout, this festive cookbook invites vegans and omnivores alike to gather around the holiday table and enjoy.

My Impressions

This book has some delicious, mouth water vegan foods that were simply incredible and easy to make! I have a hard time finding good quality vegan cookbooks that are centered on the holidays that will not cost you an arm and a leg to prepare for your family, but this group of authors managed to do just that! My kids and I loved picking out and preparing different appetizing meals, drinks and desserts throughout this book. Some of our favorite recipes were the Braised Cranberry-Orange Tofu; Quinoa Vegetable Cakes; Sweet Fried Dumplings with Blood Orange-Ginger Sauce; Passion Fruit Creme Brule and Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Temph with Roasted Ginger-Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cranberry-Orange Relish!! Yes, it tasted even better than it sounds!

The measurement conversion charts at the back of the book were a life saver on several occasions, giving great advise on volume, temperature, length and weight. We also got tons of useful information from the very informative and well put together Resource Guide at the back of the book. This lovely little guide gives you tons of web sites that you can visit for ordering, preparing and great meal plan tricks and tools.

Broken down into ten menu sections that cover sports, Lunar New yYar’s, Valentine’s Day, Passover, Easter, Cinco de mayo, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. At the start of each menu the author's give a small paragraph about what you can expect and then they lay out the menu on the following pages. The book is chalked full of beautiful illustrations that will have the best foodie drooling.
About the Author: 
Nutritional counselor Joy Pierson established the Candle Cafe and Candle 79 restaurants with her partner, Bart Potenza. They have also developed a growing catering and wholesale business and are the authors of The Candle Cafe more

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher via blooging for books program. I was not required to give a positive review.

God Gave Us Angels

God Gave Us Angels“What do angels do all day, Papa?”

When Papa finds Little Cub looking for angels, it gives him a chance to tell his beloved child about those that may be in their midst, even when they can’t be seen.  Exploring their exhilarating Arctic world as they talk, Papa lovingly answers all of Little Cub’s questions about angels—and as usual, she has a lot. She wants to know what they do, how they look, how they guard God’s loved ones, and best of all, how they serve the Creator of the world. 

“God really created angels to serve him more than us, Little Cub.
They love him and would do anything for him.”

This uplifting tale will encourage young hearts by exploring the glory and design of God’s messengers, while turning toward him with praise.  

My Impressions:
This is the second book I have read in the "God Gave Us" series and I have yet to be disappointed. Laura does an amazing job with the illustrations.  They are beautiful, detailed, bright, colorful and really bring this book to life. My son loved looking at the pictures and trying to guess the conversation before reading each page. He got such a giggle with the little bird landing on Little Cubs head when they are floating in the water.

The book is laid out in a question and answer style between Papa Bear and Little Cub based around Angels. Little Cub asks questions that are appropriate with Papa Bear giving sound, non-judgemental biblical responses. I loved the main theme that ran through the book of God being in control of our lives.

This is an easy book to recommend as a gift that parents or grand parents can read with their children/grand children that is touching, biblical and heart warming.  

Also available:
God Gave Us You
God Gave Us Two
God Gave Us Christmas
God Gave Us Heaven
God Gave Us Love
God Gave Us the World
God Gave Us Easter

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy from Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.  

44 Animals of the Bible

Each beautifully illustrated animal includes details to help clarify its meaning for children, important cultural information, and connections between the historic world of the Bible and our world today!

God once told Job that animals are important to Him, and that they are a big part of His creation. God watches when the doe gives birth to her fawn. He makes the leopard swift to hunt its prey. He commands eagles to soar. Animals are important to God. He loves them and cares for them, and wants us to do the same. Many of the animals mentioned in the Bible are featured in 44 Animals of the Bible.

My Impressions:

This beautiful 48 page hardback, full-color, children's book was amazing. My kids adored reading about each fascinating animal. From the ant, to the majestic eagle all the way to the viper, the author shows us how each animal has a design and purpose laid out by God. There are many animals that you will recognize, but also plenty that are not that familiar such as the asp, pygarg, ibex, and kite.

 The illustrations are done in a water color design that brings this book to life and captures the curiosity of children. Each illustration has a short description or paragraph about the animal, its importance in the bible and a scripture verse that correlates with the animal. This is not meant to be an all encompassing book, but a place to get your curiosity peaked. Perfect book for kids ages 4-8 that you can read again and again.

About the Author: Nancy Johnson graduated with a B.A. from the University of Colorado, and continues to write and travel throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Lloyd R. Hight worked for various advertising agencies, designing several covers for RCA records, and developing a variety of projects for Master Books.

**Disclosure** This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from Master Books and my part on the Moms of Master Books Blogger Team.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Betrayal by John Wendell Adams

Betrayal. It’s an ugly word, and virtually everyone has experienced it in one form or another. The

question is, what do you do about it? Seek revenge? Recover and go on? Or allow rage and

despair to destroy everything you’ve ever worked for?

In his riveting debut novel, author and longtime businessman John Wendell Adams details the

story of a man caught in an ugly web. Jack Alexander has landed a great job as a divisional

director of sales in a Chicago-based IT company. Hired to turn around a regional disaster, he

is rewarded with additional responsibilities. The problem: his vitriolic new boss, a co-worker's

unwanted advances, and their secret conspiracy.

Fired from his job, forced to confront both his present and his past, Jack goes through an

emotional tailspin before he is able to reconcile what has happened to him. Eventually, he’s

hired as a vice president with a much larger firm. When his new company decides to acquire

his old one, Jack comes face to face with the two people responsible for his earlier demise.

Meanwhile, he uncovers some illegal activities that could put the acquisition at risk.

Is this the time for revenge, to right the wrongs that have been done to him? What should

he do? Is it possible to act effectively and also with integrity when confronted with those who

compromised his marriage, his career, and his sense of self-worth?

Adams comments, “I have worked in the corporate world all my adult life and have witnessed

or personally experienced the highlights and moral failings that come with it. To put it simply, if

you’ve ever experienced betrayal in the workplace, in love, or in a family, this book is for you.”

“Betrayal is simply a stunning, must-read work that will transform hearts that are open to

receive the life lesson within its pages.” ~ Reader Review

follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

$50 Amazon/BN GC - Commenter
$25 Amazon/BN GC - Host
a Rafflecopter giveaway


If Jack’s own father had provided him even a little visibility and exposure to life as he grew

up, Jack would have thrived on it. Jack came to realize that his dad just didn’t have what was

needed to be a “real” father.

"I found out where your father‘s working. I’m sure he’d like to see you.” Jack’s mother’s

comments caught him off guard. Jack was eight years old when his mom and dad separated

and divorced. The fact that his father wasn’t coming home any more affected Jack greatly. In

his home, their living room windows faced the street. For several weeks after his dad left, Jack

would stand in the window every evening looking out and waiting for his father to come home.

So, when Jack’s mother told him and his three sisters that they could go see their dad, he was

elated. Looking back, he was more affected by the divorce and not seeing his father than Jack’s

sisters. Also, for some reason, Jack thought he had done something to cause the break up. No

one ever told him that, but it was still something he struggled with. Jack needed the protection

and security of his father. He wanted him to guide him through life and introduce him to the

things his neighborhood buddies experienced. Jack hoped that his dad would teach him how to

hit a baseball, ride a bike, swim, or make a snowman in the winter.

 “Can we go see him today?” Jack asked his mother.

 “No, I’ll set it up with your dad and then you and your sisters will be free to go see him.”

 It was a cold, snowy winter day. The snow had been falling for two days. It was the kind of

snow that would be great for having a snowball fight or making a snowman. None of that

mattered to Jack. He just wanted to go see his dad. So off they went; Jack and his sisters.

 His two older sisters, twelve and thirteen, were given instructions by Jack’s mother on where

they were to go and how to get there. It must have been a fifteen- minute bus ride but it felt like

hours. As they got off the bus and walked to their Dad’s office, all Jack could think of was seeing

him and asking when he was coming back home.

 “Hey, it’s great to see you kids. How did you get here? How are you doing? Did you have

lunch?” Jack’s dad seemed so happy to see them. He introduced them to all of his co-workers.

He was beaming.

 “These are my three daughters and this is my son Jack,” he said. “I had to name him after me.”

Jack was so proud. He felt like the son of a President. His dad made Jack feel great.

 After all the introductions, he sat down with them in a conference room and talked to them for

quite a while.

 “So, how’s school? Are you getting enough to eat? What about your homework? Are you going

to bed on time every night?” Jack’s dad was so attentive to them.

 Finally, their time with him was rapidly coming to an end. He had to go back to work. Jack had

been saving his question and he felt like he needed to ask it now.

 “So when will we see you again? And when are you coming back home?” Jack blurted out.

 Jack’s dad didn’t answer for a long time. He just looked away. Then finally he said,

 “Look, I have to get back to work. Why don’t you come over to the place where I’m living and

we can sit and talk for a much longer time?” Jack thought about that for a moment and then


 “Ok, but then will you tell us when you’ll be coming back home?” His dad looked away again

before he answered,

 “Sure, we can talk about it then.”

 He wrote down his address and phone number for them. They agreed on a time to show up at

his house on the upcoming Sunday right after church. Before they left he hugged each of them.

He waited to hug Jack last. Looking back,

understand until much later.


John Wendell Adams has more than twenty-five years of experience in management,

marketing, and sales. With degrees in business and management development, Mr. Adams has

led highly effective sales teams, managed an executive briefing center for senior leaders, and

won numerous awards as a leader and individual contributor. His senior leadership positions

and assignments stretch across domestic and international markets and include Aragon

Consulting Group and IBM. These experiences served as a catalyst for Betrayal, his newly

published work of fiction. The author of A Man's Story, a collection of motivational short stories

for men, John has conducted seminars and speaking engagements around the country and

is involved in various charitable organizations. He and his wife Grace have five children and

currently live in Skokie, Illinois. 

 Links:, ,

Author Interview: 

What were you like at school?
No one has ever asked this question.  I was always in trouble.  My mother had to regularly come to school to address my issues.  That continued until almost the end of freshman year.  My mother challenged me to give school a real try.  I did and a whole new world opened up for me.

Were you good at English?
When I applied myself, I was great in English, and every other subject.  What is interesting is I got very good grades even without fully applying myself.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I love writing.  I plan to continue writing both fiction and non-fiction material.  Also, I plan to use my writing as a platform for speaking.  The latest effort is holding seminars on the topic of “Betrayal”.

Which writers inspire you?
There are a few writers that I enjoy and I read everything they write.  A few of my favorite authors are John Grisham, Jim Collins, David Baldacci, Malcolm Gladwell, Randy Singer, D.L.Buffa, John Maxwell Joseph Finder, and Rick Warren.  Since I am writing fiction these days, not all of these authors are on my current radar, but I still appreciate their writing styles.  

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Jack Alexander is a man who has issues just like the next person but he works at being honest, integral, and fair.  He is a family man who loves his wife.  He tries to rise above the hurts and betrayal that he has experienced in his life.  In spite of getting bushwhacked, he works at not retaliating. 

What are you working on at the minute?
I’m writing the sequel to “Betrayal”.  The working title is “Retaliate”.

What’s it about? (*if relevant)
When you get betrayed, there are typically three responses, 1) try and rise above the injustice, heal and move on, 2) close off that part of yourself and promise that no one will ever get that close again, or 3) retaliate and strike back.  It is the latter that the sequel is focused on.

What genre are your books?
They are classified as general fiction or suspense.

What draws you to this genre?
It suits my makeup, my personally.  Someone once said that you should write about things you know.  My books fall into the genre that best suits me and the things I know.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I was vacationing in the Caribbean with my wife.  Since I am a runner, I was just coming back from a long run.  Sweating like a pig, under the hot sun, I heard a voice say “John, you are a writer.”  I realized that there was no one around me and there was no one in my vicinity who knew me.  My wife was in our room on the 2nd floor.  So, after a few minutes passed, I went to the front desk and asked for paper.  I went back to our room, showered, told my wife what I had heard, and started writing that day.  Someone might read this and say, “Spooky”.  But to me, it gave me the freedom to simply start.  It took me six month to finish the first draft.  I didn’t write every day.  I didn’t even have specific times when I would write.  But when I did, the words just poured out of me.  I could sit down and write pages and pages at a time.

Why do you write?
This one is simple.  I completely enjoy it.  I like the idea of fitting together the elements of a story, writing dialog, exploring how to move the story along, building a compelling ending. 

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
For fiction…it’s the same answer as above. I was vacationing in the Caribbean with my wife.  Since I am a runner, I was just coming back from a long run.  Sweating like a pig, under the hot sun, I heard a voice say “John, you are a writer.”  I realized that there was no one around me and there was no one in my vicinity who knew me.  My wife was in our room on the 2nd floor.  So, after a few minutes passed, I went to the front desk and asked for paper.  I went back to our room, showered, told my wife what I had heard, and started writing that day.  Someone might read this and say, “Spooky”.  But to me, it gave me the freedom to simply start.  It took me six month to finish the first draft.  I didn’t write every day.  I didn’t even have specific times when I would write.  But when I did, the words just poured out of me.  I could sit down and write pages and pages at a time

Do you write full-time or part-time?
I’m a full-time writer at this point.  In addition, I am a public speaker.  So, I use my writing as a platform for speaking.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Some authors write every day.  Others only write when they get “inspired”.  So, each person is different.  My days are all different.  My day is a combination of writing, reading, planning, investigating, and holding business meetings. I believe that I am the king of multi-tasking. Some days I will allocate several hours to writing, especially when I encounters a story angle that I hadn’t previously considered. Other days I may only devote a short time to the writing process. But my motto is “Make sure you write something every day, however long or short.” I have a habit of completing a draft, giving it to a community of people to read, and not looking at my work for an extended period of time. 
In the end, writing is like your DNA.  Each of us has one that is unique.  Some elements will be the same as others.  Some will be quite different.  It is important to recognize your own and allow it to guide you and your writing direction. 

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
Some authors write every day.  Others only write when they get “inspired”.  So, each person is different.  My days are all different.  My day is a combination of writing, reading, planning, investigating, and holding business meetings. I believe that I am the king of multi-tasking. Some days I will allocate several hours to writing, especially when I encounters a story angle that I hadn’t previously considered. Other days I may only devote a short time to the writing process. But my motto is “Make sure you write something every day, however long or short.” I have a habit of completing a draft, giving it to a community of people to read, and not looking at my work for an extended period of time. 
In the end, writing is like your DNA.  Each of us has one that is unique.  Some elements will be the same as others.  Some will be quite different.  It is important to recognize your own and allow it to guide you and your writing direction. 

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
No, I write based on what flows out of me at the time.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Great question, I actually use a spiral notebook.  It just seems to work for me.  Once I have the draft complete, then I convert it to a computer.  This serves as a review of the drasft.

Where do your ideas come from?
Webster says… An idea is something that you imagine or picture in your mind.  When I think on that definition, I agree with it.  I have had numerous ideas that I’ve imagined or have been pictures in my mind.  There are several ways that ideas arrive at my mental doorstep.  Here are a few of them. 
One way is for me to be in discussion.  I’ve been in meetings or simply having a conversation with another person.  In the midst of the discussion, I’ll have an idea that seems to pop up from out of the air.  But I generally attribute it to the “Lively Art of Conversation”.  It is my opinion that my mind goes into action when prompted by discussion.  If I had been simply sitting gazing off into space, I’m not certain that the same idea would have come to the forefront of my brain.  I find that I am mentally simulated during conversation and ideas arrive. 
Another way is when ideas are revealed to me when I’m asleep.  It has happened enough times that I regard it as a “place where ideas are born”.  Previously, I tried to analyze the process in order to determine the genesis of it all.  I had reasoned that an idea likely came because of something that happened before I fell asleep, watching TV, reading a book, or reviewing work papers.  But I have decided that ideas totally unrelated to my pre-sleep activities came to me during my sleep state.  Actually, I love this process because I am energized by the thoughts and the ideas that I received.  It’s as if they are sitting and waiting for me to open my eyes and begin a new day.  It’s like hearing the sound of birds chirping to herald in the morning and the prospect of tremendous things to come.
One more is when I have gotten a vision of something while I have been attending a totally unrelated event.  This one might seem a bit strange but for me it is very real.  One example…recently, I was at a leadership retreat and all of the attendees were watching and listening to a video.  All of a sudden, I got a vision of an idea.  It turned out that the vision was totally unrelated to the video or the retreat. That idea led to a significant series of life-changing events.
As a result, I’ve concluded that there is no rhyme or reason as to how ideas show up for me.  I attribute them to God and His desire to “Wow” me.  As a result, I try to stay open to what He wants to convey.  I’ve also learned that I can go with an idea or not.  My sense is that God is going to make it reality with or without me.  If I say “Yes”, I get to go along for the ride. 

What is the hardest thing about writing?
The editing; syntax, spelling, and punctuation, this was the really hard part.  I’d like to simply ship this off to someone who enjoys this part of the process.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The editing; syntax, spelling, and punctuation, this was the really hard part.  I’d like to simply ship this off to someone who enjoys this part of the process.

What is the easiest thing about writing?
Creating the first draft

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Betrayal took over two years.  While I finished the first draft in six months, the final novel was a labor of love over a much long period of time.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?
No, thankfully

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
No, except to just stay open to the possibility of the next section/s

What is your favourite motivational phrase.
“Keep writing”

Monday, November 17, 2014

Love on the Run Blog Tour! (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Love on the Run Blog Tour! (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Love on the Run
Author: Dean Moore
Series: N/A
Pages: 304
Date Published: March 29th, 2014
Publisher: Dean Moore
Format: eBook
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

What if the one way to pay for your ongoing cancer therapy was to rob banks? And you discovered that not only were you good at playing a thief but you could use the money to right a few other social injustices along the way?

The thing is, the FBI profiler hounding you is the best in the country, and she doesn’t much care if you have a penchant for rescuing society’s castaways.

“Any big ideas, bright guy?” Delaney said, holding the broken rearview mirror in her hand to check out what was going on overhead, to avoid giving those inside the chase helicopter the satisfaction of her looking up.
“Just drive straight into the ocean.”
“Please tell me you’re joking.”
“Why would I be joking at a time like this?”
“Okay, fine, I’m sorry for picking on you so much.  I know you’re doing the best you know how.  There, I said it.  You happy?”
“I’m not depressed, Delaney.  I just need you to drive into the ocean.”
“A psychotic break?  Is that it?  You picked now for a psychotic break?  Why not all those times I chewed off your male appendage, metaphorically speaking—not to make myself out as a man-eating black widow?”
“You dragged along the equipment I asked you to, right?”
“So, you get it now?”
“Yeah, duh.  God, that just makes so much more sense in context.”
Kerry looked up from the photos of the couple to the big screen again.  Her jaw dropped as she watched Delaney drive the convertible Thunderbird straight into the ocean.  They made no attempt to get out of the vehicle; they let the sea swallow them up along with the car.
“Are we finally rid of them?” Carter said.

Kerry started chuckling slowly.  The guffawing grew into a geyser of loud laughter, which finally subsided.   “No, Carter, not yet.”  She glanced back up at the screen.  “God, that’s clever.”
~About Dean!~ 
I write sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventures and thrillers, or some combination thereof—usually with a strong vein of dark humor.  Though, my works are dramas first; the humor is there to take the edge off as with the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Transformers, and Jurassic Park franchises.
I wrote screenplays for a while, and while enjoying them, I found them a bit confining.  After a while you just need the extra page count to flesh out characters better and do additional world building, especially when considering doing anything epic in scope.  I also took a run at future forecasting and trend tracking, being as I always had my head in the future, things like Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock.  I also relished this, and can certainly see myself releasing a few titles accordingly in the nonfiction area.  But since delving into novels, short and long, I’ve definitely found my home and my voice.  For the first time I feel the restraints have been taken off of my imagination.  I suppose all mediums have their limits, so I may end up doing a mix of things, but I suspect I will continue to spend most of my time with novels.  Series add an additional dimension, allowing for even more depth and development both in the character and world building departments.  But I remain at heart a divergent thinker, so, no surprise, I seem to have more series going than follow up installments at this point.  That too may change over time; we’ll see.  Until then, it may be best to just think of these books as one-offs if you’re fond of my writing style and some of the themes I work with.
My current catalog of twelve books represents a little over five years' worth of work.  I'm currently averaging a couple books annually.  Of my existing franchises with multiple installments, The Hundred Year Clone books can be read in any order, while the 5 books of Renaissance 2.0 must be read in sequence as they form part of a singular story arc (much as with A Game of Thrones.)

I live in the country where I breed bluebirds, which are endangered in these parts, as my small contribution to restoring nature's balance.  When I'm not writing, or researching my next book, I may also be found socializing with friends, or working in my organic garden.
Dean will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host.

~Author Interview~ 

What were you like at school?

I remember from the ages of five to nine I was always rescuing animals and bringing them home.  The sad ones, the abused ones.  The ones chained and forgotten or beaten to within an inch of death.  I’d grow up to become both a human and an animal rights advocate.  But I consider it strange that these tendencies would surface at such an early age.  Especially when what else I remember from that period boils down to being obsessed with winning at marbles, and scoring the big giant ones out of the circle or the fancy swirly ones.  I had good penmanship drilled into me from this early age, and I recall taking it quite seriously.  I didn’t grow up to be a gambler, but I can’t say the marbles thing was merely a phase, either.  As I’m as obsessive as ever, only nowadays it’s with my writing.  As to the fancy penmanship, while I recall being quite a master of the game back then, today it’s complete chicken scratch.  Anyone that sees it says, “Oh, you’re a doctor.”  “Why, yes, I am.” 

Were you good at English?

I had more than one English professor tell me, “As the English goes, this is a B-grade paper.  However the critique is so brilliant, I split the difference with the A-grade analysis and gave you a B+.”  It was pretty much that way if I was writing for a sociology professor, taking a class on futurism and trend tracking analysis, a philosophy or psychology class.  Apparently I had a lot to say and was just a bit clumsy at saying it.  Of course, I was fresh out of high school, entering Cal Berkeley, so I guess the Freshman English classes being a challenge to take my game to the next level could also be looked at as a good wake up call.  It was.  But it would be many years after before I hit my stride as a writer.  Part of the problem is I would over-think things, and in the world of philosophy, everything really does connect to everything else.  So if you’re going to anticipate every argument in advance, you’re going to end up with some very long-winded diatribes that people are going to lose patience with.  Or you’re going to end up with these grandiose intellectual designs that only other philosophers can follow, which is another form of inarticulateness, plain and simple.  Einstein was right, if you can’t make it so anyone can understand, then you really don’t understand it yourself, either.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I would like to be able to live off of my writing, because that would mean living a life doing what I love.  If you’re looking for some valid social causes of your own, please add this one to the list.  From there I think I would have an added degree of freedom if I could continue to follow my imagination wherever it led me, and not be pigeon holed to one particular genre forever, or one style of writing.  I think that’s the price of being overly successful for many; they end up writing essentially the same book over and over again forever for fear of alienating their fan base and falling off the precipice of the best-seller list into God knows what Dantean hell of ever-more obscure realms of literature, with ever diminishing reader bases.  I’d like my author’s voice to be compelling enough that my readers follow me gladly into whatever book I write, regardless of the genre or subject matter.  I’ve been lucky enough to score a few of those fans so far.  Hopefully as more and more people stumble upon me, that readership will grow until I can say I’ve achieved the Holy Grail for writers. 
Which writers inspire you?

I think it depends a lot on what project I’m working on.  As I’m constantly challenging myself to do something I haven’t done before, the writers I have to study who excel in that particular area change accordingly.  When I wanted to write a very big book (as I did with Renaissance 2.0), I studied people who wrote these colossal, epic novels of 1,500 plus pages.  It was great homework and a new love affair was born between myself and people like Peter F. Hamilton (who also write a lot of sci-fi), and Terry Goodkind (who also pens a lot of paranormal fantasy).  In the case of the latter, his Wizard’s First Rule isn’t quite so big as say, Hamilton’s, The Naked God, but is no slouch of a book either.
Now that I’ve been writing largely sci-fi and paranormal fantasy for a while, I’m looking to break into other genres, if only to come up for air once in a while.  Love on the Run definitely fits that bill as it’s a romantic comedy and action adventure and heist story.  Strays, coming out in 2015, fits this mold as well.  I love a good heist story, so venturing into crime fiction with a comedy-drama tone seems a good fit for me.  Next up, I think, will be period-based fiction.  I’d like to take my paranormal fantasy, sci-fi, and crime story writing into periods like Victorian England.  So I’m revisiting Caleb Carr now, one of my all-time favorite authors, and his book, The Alienist, as nobody does period anything better than this guy.  The Alienist, moreover, has a deliciously paranormal feel for much of it.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Love on the Run has three main characters, the two unlikely co-protagonists, namely the husband and wife team of bank robbers, and the antagonist, the lady detective on their trail.  As to what makes them special… that might deserve a book in itself, as I wanted to write them with that degree of realness and depth.  But I’ll pick one or two stand out qualities of each in the interest of brevity. 

Zinio is an out-of-work risk assessment manager, and a rather brilliant one at that.  So when he turns his mind to robbing banks, as it turns out, he can see more steps ahead than a supercomputer. 

But, as they say, like attracts like.  So, Kerry Pierce, the hotshot female FBI profiler hounding him, becomes obsessed with him precisely because he’s the most satisfying prey she’s ever hunted, and perhaps the first person who can play the game at her level.  What’s most remarkable about Kerry (to me) is that even as Zinio is forcing her to face her own inner demons and get to know herself on a level she didn’t think possible, she presses on.  She has the courage and self-deprecating sense of humor necessary to face any challenge; the fact that she doesn’t shrink away from anything bodes badly for our heroes. 

As to Delaney, she’s the heart and soul of the story in many ways.  She’s perhaps me, in female drag.  She’s the human rights advocate and the bleeding heart chasing after more save-the-world causes than she can track.  And she’s not beyond using the spoils from the bank robberies to make the world right.  But her real gift might be working with these superstar mental athletes like Zinio and Kerry and keeping them from wasting their lives not knowing how to purposely direct that much mental energy.  

But those are my impressions of the leads; because these are multifaceted characters, the readers’ takeaways might be something else entirely.   

What are you working on at the minute?

I’m usually working on several things at once.  It’s just how I roll.  That way as soon as I finish a draft of one book, I can move on to editing another, minimizing, if not entirely eliminating any downtime.  You can see the slate for 2015 on my website by checking out my books under the various genres.  It’s a fairly ambitious schedule; I can’t say that I’ll meet the deadlines on all of them.  What you won’t see on there though is the latest pet project to get under my skin.  It’s a paranormal ditty that involves a psychic hero.  Think the TV series, The Listener meets The Dead Zone and you’ll be able to taste the flavor of this franchise.  If it keeps getting under my skin as it’s been doing it will be out in 2016, assuming it doesn’t bump something else off the roster, in which case it will be out sooner.

  Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I write every day, but I think that’s more out of obsession than necessity.  In fact I’m trying to cut back a bit to something more sustainable to ensure I don’t burn myself out.  But setting the pen down has got to be the hardest thing for me to do.  I think it’s that way for many reasons.  For one, it’s a natural high like none other for me.  So when I leave my happy place, no substitute quite equals what I can get while inside the twilight zone of my own mind.  I think that’s the curse and blessing of being a writer in one.  You’ll never be bored, but you have to work that much harder to engage with life.  Because life isn’t fantasy, it isn’t filtered, it can’t live up, as the songwriter Paul Simon would remind us, to the Kodachrome pictures we take of it.  So you have to grit through that pain to connect with people, places, and things. 

But I think it’s hard for me to walk away from the computer also because I got off to a late start in life, and feel like I have a lot of ground to make up.  If there is anything to reincarnation, I definitely want to be reborn as a child prodigy so I can just hit the ground running and start cranking out books from the age of five, say.  The cool thing about the younger generations coming up now is they have precisely this opportunity to do that with the renaissance era tools and processes that are empowering and enlivening the arts and making it more of a participatory sport for everyone. 

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write at a laptop exclusively for right now, but I’m trying to break myself of the habit.  As it translates into permanent neck and shoulder strain.  The screen needs to be higher up (and separated from the keyboard) to allow for any kind of healthy posture.  And as artists go, I’m very visual, so why not treat myself to a bigger HD screen?  Of course, that might lead to distractions from the writing.  But hopefully just enough to counteract the obsession with cranking out new titles in order to restore a more natural balance to my life.  I make the most of the current situation by setting my laptop before a window overlooking an enchanted forest in the backyard.  And as I stand before the computer I practice my dancer’s pliés and turnouts—a carryover from my college days when I was training in modern dance every day. 

Where do your ideas come from?

They well up from the depths of my unconscious.  But not the superficial layers Freud talks about.  These are more like communiques from the Jungian archetypical unconscious shared by all.  Of the many layers of my consciousness, I suspect it is most in touch with my higher-self or higher power.  In these deepest layers of myself is forged those projects perfectly suited to liberate me and the world at the same time.  Because if you’re going to make the world a better place, you first have to make yourself a better person.  Finding the story that’s just the right catalyst to transform both is a job that’s too big for my humble conscious mind.  For this reason, I’m subject to these upwellings and feel myself moved by these very unseen forces.  It will be much later into the journey of writing the actual novel before I begin to decode the nature of the magic that will help to transform both of us. 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I started out in a very Woody Allen-esque world where my stories involved these high-functioning characters who were hyper-verbal, whip-crackingly funny, and deeply neurotic.  Okay, maybe my leads were not quite as neurotic as Woody’s characters, whose could be?  Over time, I learned to balance the comedy drama better so that not all my characters had to be quite so high functioning or quite so witty or quite so off-kilter, and yet could remain every bit as personable. 

Because my background is in screenwriting I continue to see the movies playing out in my head and to employ dialogue driven stories.  So the challenge for me in later drafts is to edit up, including more scene painting and world-building that for a screenwriter would be left to the director and the set designer and cinematographer and so on.  Over time I’m learning to do more and more of this up-editing in the early drafts so I have less filling in to do in the later drafts.

I think all of us as writers have our strengths and weaknesses and, if we’re not careful, habits that we slip into.  So we have to keep challenging ourselves to take our game up a level with each novel in one way or another.  We have to be able to continually step back enough to say, okay, this is what I do well, let’s keep getting better there, but this is what I don’t do so well, so let’s give this even more attention next time out.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Zinio is very good with gadgets and the hi-tech stuff.  And so is the kid he and Delaney adopt into their ad hoc family of suburbanite friends.  And I knew if I didn’t keep a lid on things, the tech would quickly dominate and this would become a hi-tech crime story, and very possibly a near-future sci-fi story, because of how much I love to extrapolate with current technology and breakthroughs I anticipate coming down the road.  It’s “boys with toys” syndrome I suffer from, I suppose.  And I thought, Dean, you have plenty of that stuff going on in your near future sci-fi thrillers as it is.  This is a different kind of story.  So let’s let different elements of the story steal center stage for a change.  So while the hi-tech stuff remains a fun component of the story, it remains in the background.  It’s really the characters and the humor and the human drama that steals the show with the Love on the Run franchise.

What is your favourite motivational phrase.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas A. Edison

When you’re an indie author, it takes that much longer for people to discover you, and to trust you, because it means taking a risk on a new writer when they may have a full stable of writers they’re already following.  So I think tenacity, and determination factor in, and patience, and realizing that failure to be discovered and appreciated may have to do more with the tough, hyper-saturated media marketplace than with shortage of talent, per se.  That’s where confidence comes in; you have to continue to believe in yourself even when your books aren’t selling because your audience has yet to discover you.  If you read the signals wrong, you may think it’s you as a writer that’s not doing your job.  It could be.  You have to do those soul-searching self-assessments constantly.  But you have to be realistic too.  Even with folks who have the biggest advertising budgets in the world, it can take years for people to stumble onto your project.  So many of my favorite TV shows, as just one example, were on TV for many seasons before I stumbled onto them and got hooked.  Prior to that, I had no idea the series even existed.  So imagine how much more difficult it is to get the word out on a shoestring budget.  With that in mind, Thomas Edison’s words are a good tonic for the soul of the indie author.