Popular Posts

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Random Interview Saturday! Janeen Ippolito

The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning flashed and suddenly ... JANEEN IPPOLITO!

Janeen Ippolito

Author Bio: 

Janeen Ippolito is an idea-charged teacher, reader, writer, book reviewer, and the Fearless Leader (president) of Uncommon Universes Press. She writes quirky nonfiction writing help and speculative fiction laced with horror, humor, and cultural tension. Her co-written illustrated novella, Blood Mercy: Thicker Than Water, releases on October 29th.  In her nonexistent spare time she reads, cooks, and sword-fights. Two of her dreams are to eat a fried tarantula and to travel to Antarctica. Go to janeenippolito.com for world-building resources and off-the-wall insights from this sleep-deprived author.

The Interview 

On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think your chances are of surviving the zombie invasion?
Depends. Our  current plan is to grab the car and use the last of our gas to get to my in-laws. Safety in numbers. Plus, my mother-in-law is great with gardening and plants, and my father-in-law is well-trained ex-military with a gun safe. 
Teleportation or telekinesis?
Teleportation. Definitely. I have so many people I want to visit and cool places to see!
Write me some Vogon Poetry (for those not in the know, Vogon poetry is so awful you’ll want to rip your ears off and eat them. It’s considered a method of torture in many corners of the galaxy. So give us your worst).

Sadly, I'm having to use my 'serious writer brain' a lot, so my 'bad poetry brain' is a little flabby. I'm calling in my husband to pinch-hit for this one.

The horse will gallop, my heart will beat
And Ralph lives on, and I have feet
We pine for being in a forest and sigh the deepest of sighs
And Ralph lives on
I slam the door and am as mad as the floor
And yet Ralph still lives on.
I am so hungry, I am singing
Open the cold freezing fridge, brrr
Hot water is really hot (but not THAT way)
Ralph is dead

Favorite flavor (of what? EVERYTHING!)?
Bacon. Strawberry. Chocolate. Ranch dressing. Steak. Whipped cream. Not all at the same time, unless I was being paid or very, very bored.
You can rescue a fictional character from certain death or resurrect them to live again. Who do you save? Alternately, is there a fictional character deserving of death who you would like to destroy?
I do have a long-standing grudge against D'Artagnan for being such an idiot. I never finished The Three Musketeers because of him. 
If you favorite historical era had an ice cream flavor made in its honor, what would it taste like?
I like all the historical eras, so I'm going with "everything ultimate triple-fudge chocolate sundae. With strawberries and whipped cream." Because chocolate.
During an alien invasion, what would be your weapon of choice?
Lightsaber scythe with a blaster fuction hidden in the handle.
Which natural element (earth, wind, fire, water) do you feel the greatest kinship with?
I like fire and phoenixes. So fire.
If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
What would you name a pet tortoise?

Answer: Groot

Social Media Links
Twitter: @TheQuietPen
Instagam: janeen_ippolito
Pinterest: Janeen Ippolito

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Nyssa Glass and the Electric Heart

Nyssa Glass and the Electric Heart

Reformed cat burglar Nyssa Glass fled her home in New Taured after being framed for murder. Settled safely on foreign soil, her life finally seems back on track. However, fate soon throws another wrench in the clockwork. A determined detective tracks Nyssa down and threatens to drag her back for trial. 

Nyssa's desperate to shake off her past ... or at least the aggressive lady detective. A mysterious note promises hidden evidence to finally prove her innocence, but she can't tell anyone, even her beloved Ellis. 

Surrounded by new enemies as well as nearly forgotten old friends, Nyssa must fight to keep her freedom and clear her name once and for all.

Nyssa Glass and the Electric Heart is the fifth book in a series featuring
Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors
Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma
Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid
& Nyssa Glass's Clockwork Christmas

Click to add on Goodreads!Nyssa Glass and the Electric Heart

If you would be interested in receiving a free advance copy, fill out this application (Limited time offer). 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Random Interview Saturday! Kristi Cramer

The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

Today's guest has brought a mix tape of sweet tunes. Let's see what she's rocking out to ... Kristi Cramer!

Kristi Cramer

Author Bio

When Kristi isn’t riding her Harley or delivering nuts (and bolts) around town for her “day job”, you can find her in front of her computer, hammering out exciting suspense stories for anyone willing to read them, or slumming around on social media. (She’s a great procrastinator that way.) While she has worked on her writing craft for +30 years, like many authors, she had to work other jobs to make ends meet. She has a strange and varied work history, having held jobs in a hotel, a car wash, an insurance company, an electronics assembly line, an auto parts warehouse, a blueberry nursery, and as a truck driver and owner of her own trucking company. Now she’s a delivery driver for a fastener store/warehouse while she pursues her writing career in earnest. She got married for the first time at 38, skipped being a mommy and went straight to Grandma. She says, “It’s best for everyone that way.”

The Interview

Who is your fictional best friend and what activities do you choose to do together?
Malcom Reynolds, Captain of Serenity. We would misbehave together, epically. Of course, the whole crew of Serenity would have to be there. Especially Wash. (Still haven’t quite forgiven Joss Whedon about that.) And I kinda have a crush on Jayne.
Teleportation or telekinesis?
Teleportation, totally. That way I could escape any time I wanted. Wednesday night blues? Tahiti! Monday break time Arghhhh? Margaritaville for Margaritas. Bonus if I can teleport an annoying co-worker to the Artic for 5 minutes so they can chill out!
Write me some Vogon Poetry (for those not in the know, Vogon poetry is so awful you’ll want to rip your ears off and eat them. It’s considered a method of torture in many corners of the galaxy. So give us your worst).
Pickles, wrote the eldest bird, taut chickens fade the embers roll.
Beetles, tittered the farthing vonk, thou hast willow-wonked six fathom tolls.
Quark! the pithiest wormsell whistled, dig dig dig and swim.
Lightning, shouted the unambitious millennial twerk, I win!
Augh! Augh! Augh! Shlurpfizzle donk!
(Thanks for that – it was a fun exercise. I hope it is suitably horrifying. I’m afraid I can’t stop laughing at it.)
If you had a store, what would you sell?
I do have an eBook store, but if I had a brick and mortar store, in addition to my books, I’d also sell teleportation trips (see above), dragon poop (I’d say it had magical properties), and singing crystals (to soothe your aching chakra). If you meant real stuff... Um, I’d have to say I’d sell tools. I don’t get excited about shoe stores or clothing stores, but turn me loose in a hardware store and I get giddy. Especially about flashlights for some reason—probably harking back to caveman days when we had to build a fire to see at night.
If you had to get stuck inside a television show, what would it be?
Can I say Firefly twice? If not... Hmm. I’d say Justified, because Raylan is just soooo cool, but I’d probably end up shot or killed in some other horrific, ironic way. So... Ooooh! I know. I’d like to be on Doctor Who, as The Doctor’s most epic companion yet. I’d be his mistress (since he’s already married to River Song) and he’d love me more than he loves Rose Tyler. Our greatest case would be... Spoilers!
If your favorite historical era had an ice cream flavor made in its honor, what would it taste like?
Roman Rocky Road would be a lot like Rocky Road, only made with chocolate gelato, with ribbons of real vanilla ice cream. Instead of peanuts it would be hazelnuts, there would be chunks of truffles, and the marshmallows would be...eh, it’s hard to improve on marshmallows. Now, this is in honor of the end of the Roman occupation of England. One of my favorite authors is Rosemary Sutcliffe, who wrote about King Arthur as a clan chieftain who was uniting the tribes after the Romans left Britain in about 400AD. (Not the classic French Arthurian stories!) My favorites of these are Sword at Sunset, The Lantern Bearers, and Dawn Wind. “They” recently made a movie based on one of her books. “The Eagle”, starring Channing Tatum, was based on her The Eagle of the Ninth. (The book was much better – my hubby calls the movie “Batman and Robin” for the cheesy ending.)
During an alien invasion, what would be your weapon of choice?
I would get a giant boombox and blast Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” at them. They’d get it stuck in their heads and be rendered completely harmless by an earworm.
What mythical creature do you most wish to be real?
Pegasus. What’s not to love about a horse with wings? Want to have a gallop on the beach? Check. Want to go flying over the Grand Canyon? Check. Want to swoop down and conk Medusa on the head with your hammer? (G rated for the kiddies!) Check.
If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
It would be a four part Earworm question.
Q1) Do you “suffer” from earworms and why do you think that is?
A1) I have no idea why I am blessed with this curse when people like my husband almost NEVER get earworms. I ALWAYS have some song on my mind. Like a soundtrack to my life. It’s not always a good thing (see Q3).
Q2) What is your current earworm?
A2) Right now I have John Hiatt’s “Wrote it Down and Burned It” on my mind. Came out of nowhere, and it is one funky song. Check it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ftzdr5Be58
Q3) What is your longest running earworm?
A3) I once had a mashup of songs from Les Miserables on my mind for three weeks straight.
(One Day More, mashed with Red and Black, A Little Fall of Rain, and the Finale.)
Q4) What is your worst ever earworm?
A4) So I can ruin your day...mwahaha! Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”. It’s not a horrible song or anything...until you’ve heard it in your head for three days straight.
Bonus answer: My solution for earworms is that I have an entire playlist of my favorite earworms and I play it. It’s about 6 hours’ worth of them. My brain gets so overwhelmed with them that it doesn’t know what to do, and it jars me out of the long-running, crazy-making earworm.

Find links to other vendors on my website:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

So many reasons not to respond to reviews ... and maybe a couple exceptions.

Here I go, rambling on and on about reviews again ... but it's important because as much as there is about this topic out there urging people not to panic, not to engage, etc, it seems like I still run into authors repeatedly making the same basic mistakes or building up mental fortresses created by self-pity and the reassurance of peers that 'It's okay, the mean reviewer just doesn't understand you because they are a stupid troll.'

I just wanted an excuse to use this graphic again
Though commenting on the review is the major "no no" you see referenced in author posts, there are a lot of different ways that you can interact with a review that in the end may very well bite you in the butt. Here are some true tales (identities obscured to protect those involved) that I've seen ... from fairly innocent new author "mistakes" to full blown disasters ... I'll also mention two exceptions that I think justify a little bit of interaction/meddling.

1. The way too polite writer

I once ran into a writer who told me she leaves a comment under every review to thank the reviewer and it would be rude not to. 
I can see how this would seem harmless. I still advise against it for the following reasons:

1. It lets reviewers and potential reviewers know that you are "watching." It can be a little awkward. Imagine you're riding a bus and talking with your friend about a recent Steven Spielberg movie and how it compares to his body of work and what you liked and disliked about it ... when the man himself leans over the seat and says, "Hey, I hope you don't mind if I listen in. I really just love to hear what fans have to say about my work." 
Would it change the tone of the conversation? For reviews to be honest and organic, you really can't have the author hovering over the reviewer's shoulder.

2. Tone is HARD on the internet. When you say, "Thank you" to a positive review it comes out as sincere, but what about when that "I hated this book" review drops. Do you say "Thank you?" Does it risk coming across as sarcastic? If you only thank the reviewers who leave positive reviews does it look like you're sensitive and aren't thankful for the negative ones? 

2. The writer with the really "helpful" friends

This is one I see far too often, and a lot of times the author doesn't mean for it to happen, but they get a bad review, so they go to someplace they consider "safe" and start to talk about it. However, if this place is online (as opposed to just crying on your spouse or best friend's shoulder ... and only this if you know they won't do something stupid on your behalf), privacy is probably an illusion. Even if the post is in a closed group, it can be screen shot. Those people who read your post may go other places online and talk about it. 
All it takes is one friend/reader/fellow author with a crusader complex to start commenting "on your behalf" and things can spin out of control. While at first we might appreciate it and assume that since it comes from a reader, not from you, it won't in turn blow up in your face, with the anonymity of the internet this can quickly lead to accusations that an author sics her followers on those who dare to dislike her book ... or that the author is making up false accounts and commenting as "a reader" in order to get at the reviewer. And both of these things have happened, so it is not a totally unfounded suspicion. Just like I sometimes see authors worried that a competitor is the one leaving the bad reviews to try and mess with their sales (again, probably not, but it HAS happened), the suspicion can do a lot of damage to a reputation. 
And you can't always avoid this happening, but posting links to your negative reviews and talking about how much they hurt your feelings or how you fear they are damaging your sales can cause this. I've seen a lot of author groups swarm negative reviews with down votes, and it does look really suspicious when your only negative review has twenty down votes. 

3. Talking down the reviewer, in public or private.

Most authors I know are smart enough not to publicly trash a reviewer. Sure, there are a few delusional exceptions who don't understand how this can reflect badly on them and see themselves as "righting a wrong" when they go on the attack, but most at least have heard the advice not to respond ... however, in private, or places they think are private, they might give themselves permission to "vent." 
A lot of time the author is fairly innocent in their intent. They don't want to talk down the reviewer. They are just feeling sad (because getting a bad review can hurt, obviously. Merited or not, matter of opinion or not, no one likes someone to tell us that what we made doesn't work for them on some level) and want to tell someone about it.
The problem is, I have almost NEVER been in a group where this doesn't draw out at least one or two members whose response to "I got a bad review" is to start ranting about how the reviewer is a troll who doesn't have a life because the only reason to be negative about a book is because you are a negative person who likes to drag others down, right? 
Things I see said fairy frequently.
  • The reviewer is just a troll (trolls exist. Most negative reviewers aren't trolls. They just didn't like a book.).
  • The reviewer is stupid ... or "you really should be able to pass an intelligence test to leave a review" or "any idiot can leave a review." 
  • The reviewer "lacks a life" ... is a "sad, negative person" ... 
  • The reviewer has some ominous plot, is probably a frustrated author in their own right, etc.
Two things:
1. Do we really want to build up ourselves by tearing others down? Doesn't that make us as bad as the reviewer? And that's assuming the reviewer is in some way "bad." It's not really bad not to dislike something and to have an opinion on it, and yeah, sometimes the language in a review can be unneededly harsh or feel like an attack on your person rather than the book (though I find most writers are so interconnected with their work that they have a hard time separating an attack on the book in a true ad hominem ... I have seen it, though, where a reader takes something about a book and makes an assumption about the person. It does happen. However, literary analysis has always in some way come back to trying to figure out the author's intent and therefore their worldview and personality and some armchair critics can end up coming up with some bizarre conclusions when they attempt this. I'm apparently a sexist according to a couple of reviews, for instance.). 
2. No matter how private you believe your forum of choice is, it can probably get back to the reader. It's really hard to know who is watching online. The online world is a small world. 

Here are two personal stories illustrating this "small web" concept.

1. A while back I had a three star review that said some harsher things about the book and called my lead character boring. A few months later, I was in an author group and another author said, "Oh hey, I recognize your name. I think I read your book." 
Guess what review that person had left (they used their real name as their reviewer name). 
I had a moment of awkward fumbling for something to say, "Oh yeah ... haha, you did, didn't you?" Then I started chuckling about the whole thing and went into an unrelated author group (that was private), and wrote a post about how hilariously uncomfortable the encounter was for me ... well, turns out my "private" author group had an author who was friends with the reviewing author ... totally well-meaning friend decides she must patch things up between her two author buddies and next thing I know, I'm fielding an apology and an offer to change the review because she felt guilty for being harsh now that she actually knew me. I told her like three times it was fine. I just found it amusing. No, you don't have to change the review. I still think it's funny ... 
She still changed the review.
I got really lucky in this interaction. Could've gone a lot different. I am now a lot more careful about what I say even in online forums I think are safe places.

2. In a similar "safe space" "private group" an author friend posted about a "hurtful" new review she'd gotten. I click on the review and recognize the screen name ... it's my teenage sister. 
Now my family has a lot of natural snark and my sister is at that age where she knows EVERYTHING, so yeah, the tone of the review was kind of on the acerbic side ...

So I ended up messaging my writer friend and say, "Just so you know, the literary critic who has passed their scathing judgement on your Christian romance is a high school freshman who hasn't even been on a date yet." 
She deleted her mournful thread, and again, this ended pretty well.

Both of those situations were diffused by a mix of intervention and dumb luck, but either of them very well could've blown up in the writers' faces.
If the "trash the reviewer" thing had started, then lines are drawn and it becomes a writer vs reviewer, those who like the book vs those who don't full on battle. You really don't want to risk this.

4. The author who shot themselves in the foot

A bit back, someone linked a book a friend wrote in an author group ... I click on the link and start to read the blurb. It's not a good blurb. It reads more like a rambling synopsis than a true blurb and smack in the middle is a typo. Now, knowing that the friend of the author linked the book, I had a way to get to the author and tell them, "Oh yeah, did you know there is a typo in your blurb? Might want to fix that."
But my curious nature wondered, "Typo in the blurb ... I wonder what the editing on the piece is like."
So I scroll down and look at the reviews for mentions of editing. The piece had like four five star review and one three star ... and on the three star is a peevish comment from the author about how he/she didn't like how negative the reviewer was ...
I decided NOT to message the author about an error. They didn't seem like the type who could handle criticism. 

The exceptions:

At the beginning I mentioned exceptions and there are some potential exceptions which I think you can make an argument for getting a little hands on about reviews.

1. This book has been updated ...

A lot of indie authors get started without the support they need to have things done "right." Even if they pay for editing, they can get a bad editor. I know many authors who published a book after what they thought was "due diligence" only get to, "Good book, but way too many typos" in a review a few weeks later. 
Now typos do slip into books a lot more than readers realize. A review that mentions, "I saw a couple of typos" does not usually turn most readers off from a book. Saying the book is "typo ridden" or "poorly edited" might. 
It is not unusual for an author to republish their first book with a new and shiny edit ... maybe once they've saved enough money to hire a better proofreader ... maybe after they desperately go through it over again themselves and destroy the errors.
Either way, if you do that and your book still has a "most helpful" review that references the prior state of things, you have options ... you can wait for another review to come in and knock that review out of the most helpful slot ... you can make a note in the blurb that references the re-release and hope people will see that and understand that the review is dated ... or you can politely mention in a comment to the reviews that the book has been edited. 
Which of these you do is more up to your comfort level than anything else. I can't imagine a reviewer getting upset because you comment in this way. You basically are telling them that you took their review seriously enough to fix the error. 
Some absolute hands off purists might say NOT to do this, but if you're doing a risk vs reward, I think the reward side is tempting.

2. The flat out misleading/troll review ...

Again, there are a few ways to deal with this and a few reasons why it could happen.
I actually still have a review on one of my books that is clearly a review of Sense and Sensibility. My book isn't even a regency romance, and the title is nothing like Sense and Sensibility. I think it is hilarious, so I've never bothered to do anything about it, but the review is CLEARLY left on the wrong book for anyone who glances at it.
But sometimes this can be a little more misleading ... and sometimes it can be an actual troll who does it.
A while back an author's group I was in got targeted as some individual went and left about a dozen reviews over a couple of days on various books by the writers (including my own) claiming that the books were full of weird sexual stuff. I write young adult and middle grade, so this is potentially harmful to my sales (and the sales of the other writers involved though not all of them were children's writers ... ironically there was one erotica writer he reviewed and that book he said was "good for kids."). All in all, a jerk with too much time on his hands. 
Several members of the group spent three days calling and emailing Amazon customer service, just repeatedly pointing out again and again what was going on. Several of us asked our readers to report the reviews to Amazon as well. I didn't want my readers to "engage" the trolls, but two did leave, "I think you reviewed the wrong book. This book isn't erotica" comments on the review, which I did appreciate ... and after several days of fuss, Amazon simultaneously sent all the complaining authors "don't bother us again" emails as well as deleting the offending reviews.
Sometimes the squeaky wheel does get the grease. 
To me this situation was a little different. Because this fellow targeted a group of authors rather than a single, it was easier to nail him down as a pure troll rather than just a really confused reviewer who reviewed the wrong book. He was also clearly operating in an attempt to harm the authors' sales/reputations.
Swarming with comments and counterattacks would probably make this worse (Trolls love attention), but there is a time to turn to Amazon and just put all your combined force into making them act. It took a lot of frustration, a lot of time spent on hold, and a lot of hearing the same, "Reviews represent the opinion of the reviewer and we can't remove them" over and over again, but eventually we got Amazon to move on this. It can happen.


Don't interact with reviews ... no matter how you try to convince yourself that it is harmless, the internet is a huge, uncontainable force and attempting to "control" what is said about yourself or your books is impossible. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Random Interview Saturday! Sophie Ann Russell Sophie Ann Russell

The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

Today we hear the mighty cry of a great griffin and in swoops our next author: Sophie Ann Russell!

Sophie Ann Russell 

Author Bio

Sophie Ann Russell is a fresh young author who has self-published her first YA fantasy novel, called The Story of Jason Griffin - Book I: Tales of the Two Servants through Createspace.

She began writing as early as thirteen years old, but it was this particular series that started off her infatuation for writing and telling stories. She had the idea for her story and its characters during secondary school, and channeled her ideas into her creative writing project which was set by her English teacher a couple weeks later. Back then she was just writing the first chapter, but halfway through the project she realised her passion for developing the characters and the story and so decided to take on the overwhelming challenge of writing it all herself, with little knowledge in basic punctuation and grammar - she was only fourteen and a half.

Over the years she has been evolving her one book idea into several books, and after a four-year writer's block starting in her late teens, she finally managed to churn out 9 books in under 3 years alone. 

Since writing this series she has been coming up with other ideas for potential unique YA fantasies, but for the time being, she is focusing on developing her audience for the one that started it all.

Join her on this magical spiritual journey! 

The Interview

Who is your fictional best friend and what activities do you choose to do together?
Surfer Dude. We surf, sleep and chill. But most importantly, laugh.
Can you simply walk into Mordor?
It would hurt, if you walked into more door, don’t you think? Shouldn’t we try walking into LESS door instead?? (wink)
Your book is being made into a movie, who would you like directing it?
Alfonso Cuaron.
If you had a store, what would you sell?
Merchandise for my book!
If you had to get stuck inside a television show, what would it be?
Where’s my supersuit?!?!?!?
Whyyyyyy do you need to know? Okay, I stole it to save humanity from a weird alien. Here it is – oops, sorry for the ectoplasm... it sneezed on me.
During an alien invasion, what would be your weapon of choice?
I actually used my own lightsaber complete with pepper shaker on the end of the handle – hence why it sneezed.
What mythical creature do you most wish to be real?
Are you kidding me? They’re ALL real, aren’t they? No? Well, I don’t know about you, but I see griffins quite a lot – and who doesn’t love to fly on one?
If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Have you ever believed you were a Jedi? The force is strong with this question.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Short Story Round Up!

I read a decent amount of shorts. I love a good story that you can devour in a sitting. Here are some that I recently really enjoyed in three different genres (though they all have fantasy elements).

Smoke and Fears

Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Marsden cannot remember his real name, nor how he came to be a valet for the schoolboy son of a powerful magician. Phantom wisps of incense and narrow glimpses of memory are all he has, until he chances upon a family secret which only compounds intrigue. What might his young master Abel know of his amnesia? What binds him to the Wensleys? And why does he, a simple valet, know fragments of magic?

My Review

I did very much enjoy this short story. It starts with a character who is essentially a blank canvas, not even knowing his name until it's told to him. His calm method of putting the pieces together was intriguing to me. 
For the length, there is a decent amount of world building and characterization. I knew it was a short story (I read it in maybe a half hour while pushing my daughter on the swings at the park), so I wasn't expecting anything long and involved (because short stories that try to cram in too much quickly get cluttered and rushed).
That said, I never really got a feel for Abel. I never understood his motivations and actions ... whether he was in on it or an innocent pawn, for instance, was kind of blurry. I would've liked more clarity on that, especially considering his actions in the end. The Lady A thing also really didn't seem to lead anywhere or add anything. To the extent that I actually checked to see if she might be a character from another series and her appearance was a "cameo" of sort (She might be. I couldn't find anything definitive), because she just sort of appeared and disappeared without any real impact on the plot. 
But the main, Marsden, kept my interest enough to carry the story on his own. 

Cave Yates

When myth becomes reality it’s time to become legendary. 
Cian’s cushy new job was a long way from undercover work catching terrorists and drug dealers. When he travels to Japan for a funeral, things go awry. A monster, the magical kind, goes on a rampage. To survive Cian must learn to use powers he doesn’t understand. He must become the protector his fate decrees. Will he learn to adapt before the hammer comes crashing down? 
Book 1 in the Saga of Kiban short story series by Cave Yates is an Urban Fantasy with a new life. Set in Japan with rich characters and new monsters it will have you on the edge of your seat. If you like Terry Brooks, Lee Child, and Full Metal Alchemist then you’ll love this series that combines the best of all three. With mysterious pasts, fast paced action, and unique magic this is a series that is destined to please. 
Buy Forge and find the power hidden within today! 

Click for book on Amazon

My Review

This is a hard one for me to review, because reading it, there was an overwhelming feeling of "I'm not the intended audience for this." The writing and characters reminded me a bit of Tom Clancy ... maybe it was the character's military backstory (and admittedly, it's been about a decade since I read any Clancy), but that wasn't what I'd usually expect out of this genre, so it was an interesting combination for me. I personally like a little more whimsy to this sort of tale, but this is more hard hitting, factual, sort of blow by blow action. And it works, I think, though it isn't something I'd usually read. Interesting mix of Japanese myth and modern action.
Download on Amazon

Fairy Eyeglasses

Emily Martha Sorensen
When Cassie finds a magic pair of glasses that allow her to see fairies, she has to figure out where they came from . . . and what the fairies want her to do with them.

A 12,000 word children's fantasy story.

My Review

 A very quick read, but since it is designed for a younger audience, I think it's not really a bad thing. This is about the right length for early chapter book. I think young girls would love this one. There's a good message in it about making friends and a clever premise. I was really impressed that the parents actually believed her and were allies rather than just sort of off thinking, "Oh no, my crazy daughter sees fairies." I'm not sure how realistic that is, but for kids it's good to see the parents portrayed that way every so often. 
Download on Amazon

A Spoonful of Spice

Liwen Y. Ho

Josh Pepper has one goal: to become the next manager in the IT department. But his career plan gets sidelined when the first woman, bubbly Cin Thomas, joins his team. He now needs to keep everyone from being distracted by her presence, a task that appears easy to accomplish ... until her piercing green eyes start invading his dreams. 

This 10,000-word short story is perfect for your lunch break, workout, or while you wait in line at the mall. Read it today to get a taste of autumn any time of the year!

My Review

I'm so so so picky about what I'll read for romance. I want real characters, not cardboard people meant to just look pretty. I like real conflict, not made up drama ... and you know, sometimes I'd rather just have a little bit of sweetness instead of drama. This provides that. Sweet with a little bit of humor and a lot of heart. 
This is the second of these short romances I've read, and this one was my favorite of the two. 
I actually choked up a bit because this charted a very real emotional arc for the leads. Very enjoyable. Very recommended. 
I received an ARC in return for my honest review. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Random Interview Saturday! Kimberly A. Rogers

The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

We hear a growl from the bushes. Is it the elusive questing beast?
No! It is Kimberly A. Rogers!

Author Bio -

Kimberly A. Rogers writes urban fantasy with a Christian twist. She lives in Virginia where the Blue Ridge Mountains add inspiration to an overactive imagination originally fueled by fantasy classics such as the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Kimberly A. Rogers

What method do you suggest for dealing with dragons?
Bribe them by reading whatever books they want to them. Dragon claws aren't very good for turning delicate pages, after all.

During an alien invasion, what would be your weapon of choice?
Dry ice.

If you had to be physically one age for the rest of your life, where would you stop the clock?

What weather is your writing? A dark and stormy night? A sunshiny day?
My writing is more sunshine in the morning but partly cloudy and chances of storms in the afternoon that will turn to clear skies by day's end.

When cats take over the world, how do you plan to win their good graces?
I have catnip and am well-versed in the art of petting them due to the cat who already owns me.

Favorite flavor (of what? EVERYTHING!)?
Chocolate. Everything is chocolate.

If you could live inside a theme park ride, which would it be?
Carousel or Ferris Wheel depending on whether it's a day to touch the sky or just ride the painted horses. 

Vs movies seem to be all the rage. If you had to put one together, what on screen match up would you like to see?
Oooh, tough one. I know! Battle of the archers! Legolas Vs Hawkeye.

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Why do you write? Because I can't not write. It's in my blood and it's how my soul speaks and flies and sings.