Friday, November 30, 2007


That was quite the barrage of reviews and interviews, wasn't it? I've read a lot lately, as you can see. And there's more reading to be done. I have a stack of magazines about two feet tall to catch up on, and at least three books on my bedside table to polish off.

There will be no book review next week, but there will be at least one each week, after that, through the month of December.

This weekend is looking to be a little bit busy. We are expecting our first major snowstorm tomorrow, here in Minnesota. So, we'll be shoveling, and baking, signing Christmas cards and trying to stay warm. Hot Chocolate and red nosed kids, here we come!

Maybe if it looks like Christmas outside, it'll feel a little more like Christmas inside?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Interview - Diana Holquist, author of Sexiest Man Alive

Today's 5 Q&A is with Diana Holquist, author of Sexiest Man Alive.

1.) Who are you?
I love to write. That's pretty much all I do. Ask my family about the undone laundry, the un-bought groceries, and the fact that I rarely find time to get dressed in the morning. Actually, if you train your family right, they won't notice any of these things. "Popcorn for dinner again, mom! Cool," say my filthy children. God bless them, they don't know what panty hose are.

Oh, my poor husband.What else do you want to know about me? I love kids. I love cats. I love chocolate. (Not necessarily in that order.) I live outside of Philadelphia now with my husband, two kids, and one cat.

2.) The main character of Sexiest Man Alive is cripplingly shy, at least when it comes to breathtakingly handsome men. Are you shy?
I can be shy, but not around sexy men. I do have a bit of a phobic shyness around a certain kind of person just like Jasmine does, so I understand the panic. I won’t tell you who or what, though; it’s too personal. But if you know me, and you’re that kind of person, you think I’m INSANE. If you’re not that kind of person, you think I’m completely normal. (Hah!) It’s a kind of phobia—like of snakes or heights…only for Jasmine, it’s sexy men. It’s actually surprisingly common.

3.) How did you come to write romances?
I lived in New York City with a great job and wild life…and then my husband got a job in Ithaca, New York. Well, I wept when I saw the place—a tiny town. No work. But after a while (and two kids), I grew to love Ithaca. The town is packed with writers, so writing a novel seemed like something that was no big deal, everyone was doing it. Then, by chance, I picked up Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s First Lady, and that was it. I knew what I wanted to do: write something as fun as that. I’m still working on it!

4.) Who is your sexiest man alive?
Oh, that’s easy, Sexiest Man Alive was inspired by my husband. Hi, Honey!

Okay, is he gone?

Right then. Sexiest Man Alive was really inspired by a famous guy whose name I will not mention. I used to work for his father. Famous guy would show up in the office every now and then and stroll about and we’d all swoon and try to catch him bending over the water fountain in the hall….

5.) What's next?
Hungry for More will be out next fall. It’s Amy’s story, the Gypsy psychic who has been messing up everyone else’s lives with her soul mate prophecies in Make Me a Match and Sexiest Man Alive. She loses her power and has to take a job in a restaurant to support herself. Wouldn’t you know, the chef is one sexy dude….

Thank you so much, Diana!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Interview - Dyan Garris, author of Voice of the Angels Cookbook - Talk to Your Food! - Intuitive Cooking

Today's 5 Q&A is with Dyan Garris, author of Voice of the Angels Cookbook - Talk to Your Food! - Intuitive Cooking.

1.) Who are you?
For many years Dyan Garris has been counseling clients in order to help them positively move forward in their lives. She is clairvoyant, clairsentient, and clairaudient. In addition, Dyan is also what is known as a voice recognition psychic and trance channel. This means that she can help her clients via phone, which is how she conducted her readings throughout her career. Dyan became aware of her clairvoyance, and other gifts, at a very young age. She spent years learning how to use these gifts to help others.

In 2005 she created a CD series of music and meditation for self-healing, relaxation, chakra balancing, and vibrational attunement of mind, body, and spirit. While sitting at the piano, she heard specific songs and titles coming from her psychic connections. Writing them down as fast as she could, the result was “A Healing Journey – The Voice of the Angels” CD. This is the first in the series. There are six CDs in the series (all available separately) plus two radio version music-only compilations and two meditation-only compilations. The radio version music compilation “Spiritus Sanctus” Volume 2 was a 2006 NAR Lifestyle Award qualifier in two categories and is still charting well over a year and a half later.

Her new CD of instrumental relaxation music sprinkled lightly with the angelic vocals of award winning recording artist Amber Norgaard titled “Release” was released in late September 2007.
Dyan’s music can be heard nationally and internationally on numerous radio stations and was recently in the top ten on Music Choice’s “Soundscapes” cable TV channel.

Dyan is the author, developer, and artist of “Voice of the Angels-A Healing Journey Spiritual Cards.” These are a thirty card deck of angel cards based upon scenes from “A Healing Journey Guided Fantasy,” which is the guided meditation found on the last track of her first CD. Each card has its own channeled message in verse from the Angels and free card readings are available on her website.

Dyan writes a “Daily Channeled Message” which posts on her website. Recently, she authored “The Book of Daily Channeled Messages,” which is a compilation of uplifting, inspirational angelic messages to be used for daily guidance.

Her new book “Voice of the Angels Cookbook-Talk To Your Food!-Intuitive Cooking” is available at the author’s website and This is an adventure in opening the creative centers and communicating with your food so it can transform from raw ingredients into what truly nourishes you on every level. The book includes twelve food-related channeled messages such as “Ode to Popcorn” and “The Measure of Success” plus several “Intuitively Speaking” paragraphs which explain how to prepare the recipe using one’s own unique creativity. For more information visit

2.) What prompted you to write a cookbook?
I believe we should take everything we have and blend it into our own special recipe of life. I don’t believe in labels or limiting myself to one particular category in life. That would be like living just one chapter in your whole book over and over. The first thing anyone ever asks upon meeting is, “What do you do?” And then from there a conclusion is drawn based upon what the inquiring person’s frame of reference is. I want to read, live, and experience my whole book without limitations and with no regrets. It’s a journey. I wrote the cookbook for several reasons, but a main reason is because it goes along with my body of work which is transformation of energy. My work is about taking what you have – raw ingredients — and transforming them into the best they can be. My work is about balance of mind, body, and spirit. I teach people how to do that. My music and meditations are about that, and the cookbook is simply an adjunct to that. I love to cook. I love to have people over for dinner. My heritage is Greek. My family had restaurants. It’s where I grew up. My grandmother lived with us and did most of the cooking. I learned to cook from her and it was fascinating to watch her. She didn’t measure anything. I know she must have been talking to her food. One of the goals for the cookbook was to keep things simple, yet elegant. We’re all busy. I put a lot of recipes in the book that are easy. I put some in there that are more complicated. The main idea is to make what your physical body says it wants and do it in a way that you are opening up creatively and entirely present in the “now.” It’s a simple way to achieve balance and harmony on more than just one level.

3.) What’s your favorite food to eat?
I don’t think I eat like most people eat. I need my body to perform in a way that most people don’t. So there is a conscious effort on a daily basis to take care of the physical body. By the nature of my work, I need to be able to hold consistently a high degree of very focused energy for a long period of time. Most people don’t need to do that. So I never eat anything with chemicals or unidentifiable ingredients. I make everything from scratch. I don’t use convenience products. I don’t eat “fast foods.” I believe that everything our bodies need for optimum health was put here on the planet. If it isn’t in its whole and natural state, I don’t eat it. I love a good mystery, just not with my food. So many things get diluted and distorted in the name of “convenience.” Right now I’m enjoying plain yogurt and a lot of fish and salad. If you listen and tune in, the body will tell you what it wants and needs. Here is what I had the other day and also an example of cooking intuitively:

Open Face Tuna Melt

1 pound fresh raw Ahi Tuna (Sushi grade)
1 T olive oil
1 T onion powder
Dash or two of garlic salt
Seafood spice blend
¼ cup Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese
2 to 4 slices rye (or other) bread

In food processor pulse tuna with olive oil and spices. Stir in cheeses. Shape into patties. In skillet fry in olive oil until tuna is cooked rare, medium, or well done. (To your taste). Place on toasted rye bread and pour cheese sauce over top. (Note: The recipe for cheese sauce is in the book).

Now, here is the intuitive cooking part: I’m on vacation and I don’t have a food processor here. So I chopped the tuna up and put it in a bowl. I added some olive oil – a little more than the recipe calls for - about 2 T, and some seafood spice and a little salt. I didn’t want any onion that day; so I omitted that. However, I was feeling a taste for a nice juicy tomato, so I chopped up a little bit of that and stirred it in. Intuitively I felt I needed some additional “zing.” So I added in a little hot spice. I wasn’t feeling the love for garlic that day; so I left that out. Since I only had American cheese here, I chopped up one slice and threw that into the mix. Because this was looking a little soupy, I tossed in a bit of Parmesan cheese. I wasn’t in the mood for the bread or cheese sauce; so I left that part out too. When the tuna was cooked to my liking, I ate it with my salad. The whole thing took less than ten minutes. It was delicious! And here is something on another level to contemplate while you’re cooking:
Salt Water (Channeled message from the book)
“What is at the root of our perceptions of limitation? Fear. Let go of fear and limitation dissolves and disappears like salt in water. You can then choose to see the transformation as a small pot of salty water on the stove or as an ocean you can swim in, fish in, or sail a boat upon.” © 2007 Dyan Garris - Daily Channeled Message.

4.)What’s your favorite meal to cook?

My favorite thing to cook is Cinnamon Chicken. It smells fabulous and tastes even better. It’s a delightful marriage of tomatoes, garlic, onion, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice and there is a secret thing to do with the butter at the end that makes the whole dish sizzle! It’s a fast and easy recipe and incorporates a hard, salty Greek cheese called Mizitrah, which is available at most grocery stores now. I make this when I want the whole house to smell warm, spicy, comforting, and completely inviting.

5.)What’s next?
I’m in the process of writing a book about money and manifesting. So many people have challenges in this area. Money is very basic and very “root chakra” as is food. And a lot of people don’t know how to manifest. So this next book is a recipe for “making” money. Money is simply energy and we work with that in the same way as we do with anything that resides in the root chakra. We transform the lower into the higher. We don’t “make” money. We open pathways to creating a flow of abundance in our lives. I’ll also be doing a lot of promotion for the CDs and I have plans to host some live meditation events. I’ll be doing another CD in the Spring. But, I’ll always be talking to my food and may even open a restaurant. Come over for dinner sometime.

Thanks so much, Dyan!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Book Review - Voice of the Angels Cookbook-Talk To Your Food!-Intuitive Cooking by Dyan Garris

Voice of the Angels Cookbook-Talk To Your Food!-Intuitive Cooking
Dyan Garris
Journeymakers, Inc.
ISBN # 978-0977614028

This past summer, my son asked for scrambled eggs for lunch. Simple, easy and quick - I'm all over that when cooking for a five year old. He helped scramble the eggs, and he sat on my hip while I fried them. When he was done eating, I heard him say "DELICIOUS!" - then he looked at me and asked, "Did you put two teaspoons of fresh ground love in my eggs?"

That's what cooking is all about and Dyan Garris has perfectly illustrated it in Voice of the Angels Cookbook. This book is visually beautiful, with over 100 easy to follow recipes, and the pages are peppered with commentary about love, relationships and food.

Oh! and be sure to read the story about Johnny and Susie at the end of the book!
(August 22, 2007, pp 157, $19.95)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Book Review - Sexiest Man Alive by Diana Holquist

Sexiest Man Alive
Diana Holquist
ISBN # 978-0446617987

"Jasmine Burns’s One True Love as destined by Fate is named Josh Toby. Of course, he might not be THE Josh Toby, the biggest movie star of the decade. After all, a shy girl like her could never be loved by a movie star like him? Could she?"

You should never judge a book by its cover. If I had to guess what would be found in the pages of Sexiest Man Alive, I would assume shallow characters and lots of sex, and I would have been terribly mistaken. I would have missed out on a great story, as well.

Jasmine and Toby are polar opposites when it comes to personality, but not so much regarding their core values. Add in a quirky, supposedly psychic sister, a patient and kind librarian, and a manipulative wanna-be girlfriend - and an ecclectic romantic comedy is born. This book is a terrific study of people's insecurities and the confusion that ensues when fear gets in the way of honesty.

I'll probably be stuffing someone's stocking with this deliciously funny book!
(October 1, 2007, pp 352, $6.99)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Interview - Michael Simon, author of The Last Jew Standing

Today's 5 Q&A is with Michael Simon, author of The Last Jew Standing: A Novel.

1.) Who are you?

Born in Levittown, Long Island, the birthplace of mass-produced housing, Michael Simon is a former actor, playwright, and Texas probation officer. He has taught at Brooklyn College and New York University.

In 2004, Viking published his first novel, Dirty Sally, which introduced Dan Reles, a half-Jewish, New York Mafia-born Texas homicide detective. Dirty Sally was lauded by The Chicago Tribune as “A bloody and intriguing delight for noir aficionados.” The Seattle Times called it “the finest crime-novel debut since Dennis Lehane’s A Drink Before the War in 1994.” It was named one of the Top Ten Thrillers and Mysteries of the Year by

In 2005, the second book in Simon’s Texas series, Body Scissors, was published, also to critical acclaim. The Rocky Mountain News called it, “Fast paced and suspenseful from start to finish.”

Viking signed on for two more Dan Reles thrillers, Little Faith (2006) and Last Jew Standing (2007).

To date, Simon’s works have appeared in Swedish, French, Italian, Japanese, and on audio tape.

He lives in New York City.

You can read more about him and his books at

2.) What do you like best about crime/thriller/mystery writing?

Paul Edwards wrote that I use “the conventional form of detective fiction as a platform for social satire and an often grotesque vision of human behavior.” While there’s plenty of room for variation within these forms, once you introduce a detective, there are certain expectations, beginning with a corpse at the beginning and a solution at the end. Working within these expectations, meeting them, varying them, delaying gratification, gives me a lot of freedom in other areas, such as those Edwards describes.

3.) Have you ever considered writing in a different genre? Horror or Sci-Fi, maybe?

In spite of the level of violence in my first book, Dirty Sally, I can’t imagine writing horror. Sci-fi is a possibility. Working in the realm of the future, or a place just beyond the edge of scientific likelihood, opens up dramatic (and comedic) possibilities you don’t find in the natural world. Think of the TV show “Third Rock from the Sun,” my favorite work of science fiction.

4.) Who are your favorite writers?

Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, Jim Thompson, Vladimir Nabokov, Grace Paley, Kevin Baker. In no particular order.

5.) What's next?

An extended break.

Thank you so much, Michael!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Book Review - The Last Jew Standing by Michael Simon

The Last Jew Standing: A Novel
Michael Simon
Viking Adult
ISBN # 978-0670063246

"Lieutenant Dan Reles has a new house, a wife, and a son, and a great career as head of Austin Homicide, but it’s funny how your past catches up with you. When Dan’s deadbeat father Ben Reles, a Mafia legbreaker who’s spent the last twenty years on the run, shows up on Dan’s doorstep with an escaped prostitute in tow, trouble is sure to follow."

The opening paragraphs of this book are amazing! Michael Simon hooks the reader from the first word and demands your attention until the very last page. I saw the entire story in my head as if I were watching one of the old black and white detective movies. You know, the ones where the door has the P.I.'s name etched into the frosted window glass, the door opens and some gorgeous dame walks in asking for help.

The Last Jew Standing reminded me of the old saying "Live fast, die young and leave a great looking corpse." - it's a fast paced, action packed piece of work. Fasten your seatbelts, it's gonna be a fantastic ride, oops, read!
(August 16, 2007, pp 304, $25.95)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Interview - Sheila Roberts, author of On Strike for Christmas

Today's 5 Q&A is with Sheila Roberts, author of On Strike for Christmas

1.) Who are you?

I am a writer and a musician (played in bands for years, had a singing telegram company - if there was an unusual way to make money I found it). I am a happily married woman with a great family and very cool and fun friends. I love to dance, play volleyball, and have company over to play cards and crazy party games. And I love the holidays. I am the prototype for Joy in On Strike.

2.) What was the impetus behind the idea for On Strike for Christmas?

Actually, it was a naughty husband. My hubby was not showing the proper Christmas spirit one year so I threatened to put him in a book. He is the prototype for Bob Robertson, aka, Bob Humbug.

3.) Do you have a Christmas horror story? Forgot to turn on the oven, dropped the mashed potato bowl just before you got to the table, that sort of thing?

We have enjoyed many memorable Christmases. Probably the best one was when our car got stuck in second gear as we were leaving my brother's house on Christmas eve. We had to drive 25 miles at 20 miles an hour - every back road known to man. I was not a happy camper. I still had stuff to do!!! Anyway, we got home around two in the morning. It was the only year the kids slept in on Christmas Day.

4.) What will you be asking Santa to bring you this Christmas?

A healthy and happy new year for my family and friends. And, if there's room to fit it in the sack, I'd love a Wii game. I hear they've come out with a version of Dancing with the Stars. Sadly, gaming may be the closest I ever come to getting on the show. I really think they need an author on there, don't you?!

5.) What's next?

Look for my next book with St. Martin's Press, BIKINI SEASON, which will be out this coming May (2008). I should have an excerpt up on my website in January. Meanwhile, anyone who has read ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS is welcome to pop on over to my website ( and enter the contest we've got going. Winner will get Godiva chocolates. So, that's probably it in a nutshell. Thanks again so much for having me. Happy holidays.

Thanks so much, Sheila!

If you'd like to know more about Sheila Roberts and her book, please visit Sheila's Place.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Book Review - On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts

On Strike for Christmas
Sheila Roberts
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN # 978-0312370220

Even if you can't do it better, do it yourself!

The members of the knitting group come to this consensus after a bitch fest about the monumental task of preparing for Christmas. They throw in the reindeer motif tea towel, and leave all of the details to their husbands. Many times the strike almost ends, due to the womenfolk desperately missing years long traditions, and the men feeling lost and incapable. The hilarity - and clarity - that ensues will have you laughing out loud, tearing up a little and recognizing yourself in at least one of the characters.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the holidays, and a little less than jolly, make some time to read On Strike for Christmas. Sheila Roberts reminds us that Christmas is not about getting, it's about giving. Sharing our talents, our gifts, and our love with others is what life is all about.
(October 30, 2007, pp 352, $13.95)

Friday, November 16, 2007

In Review

Yesterday, I finished reading the last of four books for review. I'll have two reviews posted next week, and two the following week. I'm hoping to have interviews with the authors, as well.

I've been fortunate to receive good books to review. I've been even more fortunate to work with awesome people who happen to be authors. Every one of them has been gracious, kind and forthcoming with their answers to my questions.

I'm curious. Do those of you reading like what I've been doing with this blog? It started out as a push to write something (anything) five days out of seven. It's turned into a book review - author interview - place to write about what I love most - reading and writing.

Is there anything else you'd like to see here? Please let me know.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's a conspiracy, I tell ya...

I very seriously considered applying for a job, a month ago, with our local police department. Decent pay, no commute costs (I could have walked to work) and I would've sported a sharp looking police type uniform. The week I planned on dropping off my application, four people in my house came down with Strep Throat.

I am incredibly happy I decided not to put my name in the hat. I have had at least one kid home from school, once a week, since. With four kids, keeping a "real", out of the house job seems to be an impossibility.

The reason I bring this up is my youngest son was home yesterday. He woke up with a queasy tummy. He never vomited once during the day, but last night was a different story. He was sick, off and on, from 12:30 until 3:00 this morning. We both finally settled down to sleep about an hour before my husband got up for work.

He's feeling better this morning, but I couldn't send him to school. He'll be exhausted by noon, and the school doesn't want my little darling back until 24 hours after the last "vomiting episode" - which wasn't at seven this morning.

I'm heading to the kitchen to search for toothpicks, to hold my eyelids open until mid-morning. Then, my littlest boy and I will crawl into my warm blankets, snuggle up together and sleep (hopefully) for a couple of hours before the rest of the troops show up around three.

Faith, family, career.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Book Sales Up In September

According to Publisher's Weekly, bookstore sales rose for the third consecutive month in September, increasing 2.7%, to $1.56 billion, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This is good news!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And you can quote me...

Jim Melvin asked me if he could use part of what I said in my review of The Pit, Book One of The Death Wizard Chronicles on the back of Book Three. Who am I to deny a good man a small favor?

So, if you click on the above image, you can see my words and name on the back of Jim's book, entitled Eve of War. It'll be available for purchase in a few more days.

Monday, November 12, 2007

That's all she wrote.

It's been cold here at night. We held off on using the furnace until the very end of October. When we woke up to a 58 degree house, we fired her up.

I walked into the bathroom Saturday night and discovered the window was open. Not a big deal in and of itself, but I realized it was quiet. No crickets chirping, no cicadas screaming, no kid voices drifting on the breeze. It's over, folks. No matter how warm the days are, Summer is gone and Autumn is damn close to climbing on the bus, too.

It was a great run here in Southern Minnesota. A long growing season provided an excellent harvest. We had more than enough produce for our family, and our friends, and our friends' get the picture. We pulled the last carrots and harvested the herbs a couple weeks ago. The gardens are now covered in a gentle blanket of golden straw, soon to be insulated with snow.

This time of year always finds me torn. I know, that like us, nature needs to rest. A quiet time to breathe and rejuvenate. But, as the days grow shorter and people begin to cocoon in their homes, I feel melancholy and a little lonely.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Still here, lots of reading and gifts from the muse

Lots happening here over the last few days.

We were gifted with a quarter of a deer. This is not a lot of meat, but more than we expected. We helped with the butchering and it brought back memories of hunting season when I was a girl. I'll probably write upon that sometime in the coming week.

I have more books going right now at one time than I ever have. Reading them, not writing them. I should be caught up with the required (book review) reading by Wednesday and then I'll dive into the chosen reading. I found a few books at Goodwill yesterday that I've been dying to read.

Husband and kids were home Thursday and Friday, so it's been a long weekend. Busy, productive and chaotic.

I'm looking forward to the silence that will descend tomorrow at about 8 a.m.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Interview - Owen King, author of We're All In This Together: A Novella and Stories

Today's 5 Q&A is with Owen King, author of We're All In This Together: A Novella and Stories.

1.) Who are you?

I'm a graduate of Vassar College and I hold an MFA from Columbia University, but above all I'm a proud product of the Maine public school system! In 2005 I published my first book, WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, a novella and short stories. I live in New York.

2.) Is writing a compulsion or a choice for you?

This is a tough question. I guess writing is a compulsion for me in the sense that because I've never been particularly good at anything else, I feel compelled to do the one thing that I'm reasonably capable at in order to justify my place in the universe. By the opposite token, every time I write I have to make a conscious decision to sit down and really dig into it. That's not always easy.

3.) Do you feel that - like any other talent (singing, acting, dancing, painting) - the ability to write and/or tell stories is genetically passed down through generations?

Genetics is completely beyond my purview, I'm afraid! I can say that I believe that stories are necessary for every generation, to try and make sense of the way we live, and to entertain, and to pass the time.

4.) How do you like to spend your spare time?

I read a lot, and when it's baseball season most of my spare time is dedicated to following the Red Sox. Ooops. I mean, THE WORLD CHAMPION BOSTON RED SOX!

5.) What's next?

I'm co-editing (with the novelist, John McNally) an anthology called, WHO CAN SAVE US NOW? It's a collection of stories about brand new superheroes by literary writers and it's due from the Free Press in the summer.

Thank you so much, Owen!

To learn more about Owen King, and his book, please visit his website at

Monday, November 5, 2007

News Flash!!

The first flurries of the winter are falling as I type. When I walked to the bus stop to meet my son, I could smell it on the air. I had told my husband we'd get our first snowflakes right around my birthday. I was right!!!

I love the first snows of the season. By February, I've had quite enough, but right now, I'm giddy!

Book Review - We're All In This Together by Owen King

We're All In This Together: A Novella and Stories
Owen King
Bloomsbury USA
ISBN # 978-1582345888

George is the 15-year-old son of a single mother. Al Gore has just lost the 2000 election, at the mercy of the Electoral College. His mother is planning to re-marry and his former union organizer grandfather is waging a paintball war against the local paperboy, whom he assumes is defacing a huge poster of Al Gore on his front lawn. George tries to prevent the wedding and help his grandfather catch the neighborhood vandal.

Obviously, there's more to this story - so much so, in fact - that this novella feels like a full length novel. King has a way of drawing you in, and then throwing in a small detail capable of bringing about a huge revelation. It's almost as if he's checking to see if you're really paying attention.

The short stories are good in their own right, but will leave you wanting more.

It's tough to be an adolescent, but even harder when every member of your family has an agenda, and you find yourself going with the flow, not quite sure how it will all turn out. Owen King, in an elegantly understated style, has shown what it is to be a teenage boy on the cusp of manhood, trying to navigate a world gone mad and a dysfunctional family.
(July 2006, pp 242, $13.95)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Paid Reviews

From what I've been reading, there has been some controversy regarding paid reviews on blogs. I thought I'd talk about how and why I do book reviews.

For the record, I do NOT get paid to write book reviews. I usually receive an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) or a .pdf file. I read the book, I think about it for a day or so, and then I give my opinion. If I have a not-so-great opinion, I talk (via email) with the author and leave it up to them as to whether they want me to review it, or not.

I've been lucky. Most of the books I've read for review have been good, some very good. But, I am always honest. I do not give great reviews for a mediocre book. It smacks of false advertising, and I would be angry if someone did it to me.

I write book reviews because I love books. I read book reviews because I love books. Reading is like eating, sleeping and breathing to me. I don't know if I could live without books. I do the follow up interviews with the authors who have time, because I'm curious about the people who wrote the story.

So, all that having been said, it would be nice to make some money for the work I do. But, it won't be coming directly from reviewing books.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Freelance writing work - patience and keeping things close to the vest

So freelance writing requires many things...

ideas, lots and lots of ideas
did I mention patience?

I have some irons in the fire, but I can't really talk much about them until, oh, say, December. These are really exciting things and I want to sing about them from the rooftops, but until they actually come to fruition, I have to keep my mouth shut. I'm good at keeping secrets (ask any of my friends), but this is testing the limits of my sanity.

Just know that I continue to read and write and research, and I will share my accomplishments when I can.