Monthly Archives: October 2015

Review: THICKER THAN WATER

A young woman’s hard-won future with her new husband is threatened by an enemy from her past.
Thicker than Water (Book 3 of The Grayson Trilogy)
Thicker than Water

All of the characters we’ve come to love from The Grayson Trilogy are back as author Georgia Rose sets them off on new paths and also resolves longstanding mysteries. Rose gives us a meaty plot set firmly in Emma’s point of view, which allows us to experience events as if we’re there living through them. Departing from past installments, though, THICKER THAN WATER features a secondary POV, one which pops up at the most unexpected times and offers a tantalizing hint of rough waters ahead for our friends at the manor. I love how ambiguous this personality is at first. There’s a darkness surrounding him, sure, but his intentions are not quite clear. When he does step into the light, not only does the game between Emma and her enemies turn on its head, but a slew of questions dangling from the previous novels are suddenly answered. Yet even these filled-in blanks don’t lead to closure for Emma. Instead they free a deluge of pent-up emotions that are almost as big an obstacle to her happiness as the gang of Russian criminals out to kill her.

The other side of the close focus on Emma’s POV is that we can get caught up in her day-to-day activities to the point that the pacing of the narrative slows. I think it took a little too long for the suspense/danger element of this episode to come into play, but in return we do get plenty of deep character development. Plot vs. character is always a difficult battle. Throughout The Grayson Trilogy Georgia Rose shows a knack for this balancing act.

THICKER THAN WATER delivers the romance, suspense and, especially, the final satisfaction readers of this series pine for.

Review: Haunted House…Haunted Life

A dying woman’s obsession with her childhood “friend” follows her into an uneasy afterlife.

Disclaimer: This isn’t an easy book to review properly without spoiling. The story really needs to be experienced firsthand for the biggest impact, so forgive me for any vagueness here.

HAUNTED HOUSE...HAUNTED LIFE: (What We Leave Behind) (The Coffee Break Series Book 5)

HAUNTED HOUSE…HAUNTED LIFE: (What We Leave Behind)

HAUNTED HOUSE…HAUNTED LIFE starts out as a darkly funny drama, and the main character, Jeanne, seems like a long-suffering wife and mother yearning for one last contact with the only friend she’s ever had. Things quickly turn on their head, however, and we learn that “Anna Maria” isn’t quite who–or what–we think. Nor will Jeanne’s search for her be as simple or straight forward as we expect. Instead we watch in stunned horror as the woman we’ve been rooting for with the batty husband and disappointing kids slowly twists into someone else altogether as her obsession ratchets higher and higher.

At the same time as Jeanne struggles toward her goal, there’s a secondary family tale going on. This one centers on parental love and the lengths some will go to in order to make amends to those most important to them. I love how, in a way, misguided, tragic Jeanne provides the opportunity for another remorseful soul, to find his way to reconciliation and peace.

This is a funny, sad, moving book that I’ll remember for a long time.

How To Plan a Book Launch

This week’s THIS LITERARY LIFE essay, author Dawn Downey offers a funny–and angst-filled–look at how even the most carefully planned book launch can go wrong.

————————————————————————————————————————————

“How To Plan a Book Launch”

by Dawn Downey

Relax. You’ve written a book. You’ve ordered your first shipment.

Give in to spontaneity. Schedule three launch parties in three different cities. Bask in the good vibrations of your wonderful friends who volunteered event space, email lists, and creative prowess. They enjoy promotion. With friends like this, allow yourself to feel enthusiastic about marketing.

At 3:00 a.m. two weeks before Party #1, awake in a panic. Ask yourself if you actually ordered books from the printer. Stub your toe on the nightstand while feeling around for your glasses, trying not to disturb your husband. Suppress your desire to wake him up, even though you should not have to suffer alone. Click around the printer’s website. Locate the order. Find no definitive proof the order went through, but no indication there’s a problem. Go back to bed.

Postpone Party #1, because you have no books.

Having relieved the pressure of a potential disaster at Party #1, feel a renewed enthusiasm for marketing. Create a Facebook event for Party #2. What fun! Post, share, like, comment, message, invite.

Examine the printer’s website again. The eight-point font hieroglyphics reveal 1) they’ve charged your credit card for 100 books, and 2) the order reads “pending” instead of “shipped.” Decide that “pending” means the books are on a UPS truck heading toward your house.

Friday, write a blog post extolling the joyous time to be experienced by all who are lucky enough to attend Parties #2 and #3.

Saturday, postpone Party #2, because you have no books.

Sunday, decide it’s time to call the printer’s customer service line. Do you remember how telephones always remind you of your mother calling to tell you that your sister’s acting out again, and it’s your fault? Well, don’t think about that. Convince yourself you’re a businesswoman.

Monday, phone customer service. Offer up a prayer of gratitude when your call goes immediately to a recording, because you know they’re going to call you stupid. After a man says, “Good morning. Can I help you?” talk slowly so he cannot hear your voice shaking. Hold your breath while he researches your order. When he says, “I’ll put a rush on this, it was not your fault,” stifle the urge to respond no, really, it was my fault. Thank the nice man. Resolve to stop picking on yourself.

Arrange a book order from an alternate printer. Express delivery in plenty of time for Party #3. Right? Right?

Having relieved the pressure of potential disasters at Parties #1 and #2, feel a renewed enthusiasm for marketing. Take a nap.

Author Dawn Downey

Author (and expert book launch planner) Dawn Downey

Dawn Downey is the author of From Dawn to Daylight: Essays.

Read the latest news about the book launch that can’t get off the ground at http://dawndowney.com/

Review: THIRTEEN

There is nothing predictable about this collection of strange tales.

Thirteen: a collection of odd tales by B. A. Spicer

Thirteen: a collection of odd tales by B. A. Spicer

The stories in THIRTEEN: A COLLECTION OF ODD TALES run the gamut from speculative fiction with a scientific edge to Gothic fiction to darkly humorous detective fiction. Nor are Spicer’s characters any easier to pin down. They live in ambiguity and don’t behave or react in the ways we might expect, like the loving mother in “Angels” whose grief leads her to the unthinkable, or the young lover in “The Visit” who, on a weekend holiday with a fascinating woman, somehow dreams every moment of their getaway before it happens.

A couple of the stories go past “odd” into truly dark places. “Night Caller” had me checking that my windows and doors were locked tight. I couldn’t stop squirming as I read “Flashforward”. I kept hoping that somehow a last-minute miracle would reverse what we know from page one can never be undone.

Taken as a whole, the tone of the collection is meditative, exploratory. It’s almost as if Spicer set each story loose in its own glassed-in habitat and stepped back to see what would happen. What results is a wonderfully imaginative collection that never quite shows you its true face.

Cover Reveal: STORMS

THE SAGA CONTINUES!

A couple of months back I dedicated a week of this blog to The Bonds of Blood & Spirit saga and its amazing authors Deborah Dorchak and Wendi Kelly.

Now, I am lucky enough to have gotten a sneak peek at the first book of their second series, Tau’s Pride. Though I don’t have a launch date for Storms, I’m thrilled to show off the amazing cover. A reliable source informs me that it illustrates one of the biggest scenes in the book!

Want to learn the story behind the creation of this stunning cover? Learn all about it right HERE.

TAU’S PRIDE: STORMS

Tau's Pride Saga, Book I, STORMS

Cover of STORMS, book one of Tau’s Pride.