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Join HOLLOW TOURS for Stained By: Ella James! Feb19-25th!


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Friday, July 27, 2012

I Listened, Momma By Darlene Franklin- Campbell

Synopsis: Chippie Pablo, is a third generation Mexican-American growing up in southern Appalachia during the late 1970s. Times are hard for Chippie’s family. They face prejudice and poverty while they struggle with internal battles, but it’s tragedy that threatens to rip her family, her world, apart.

For my extra credit class I took Spanish. That night when Daddy was sitting at the table, having his coffee, I went into my room and took my schedule out of my tablet. I held it for a moment; imagining the day when I would speak Spanish as well as I spoke English, when I could speak the language my family hadn’t used in eighty years. I stepped back through the kitchen door and eased into a chair at the table.

“What are you grinning about, Sis?”

“Daddy,” I laid the paper on the table in front of me, even though I knew he couldn’t read it. “I’m going to learn how to speak Spanish.”

“What’re you talking about?”

“Mexican, Daddy. I’m going to speak Mexican just like Great-Grandpa did.”

Daddy set his coffee down and gritted his teeth. “Sissy…” he shook his head.
I didn’t understand what the problem was. I fumbled with my paper, drawing it closer to myself.

“You don’t understand. We been treated like colored folks my whole life. I want better than that for you kids. That’s why we don’t speak Mexican. I don’t want you speaking Mexican just like Momma’s people didn’t want me speaking it when I was little. My Uncle Henry spanked me for saying words I heard from Grandpa until I learned the difference. I forgot them Mexican words. Forgot every one of them and here you are wanting to go dig them up again.” 

My Thoughts: Man oh Man can this author write. I really felt like I was sitting at the table with Chippie, see what she saw. You can tell she was writing from the heart.  She draws you in and you can almost feel what this family is feeling. She paints a true and accurate picture of Appalachia and what life was like for people living in rural Kentucky. Even though I was born and raised in Kentucky it was an eye opener to see this part of my state.  This books tugs at your heart and keeps you thinking. Rich and Beautiful writing, 

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells Edited by Herika R Raymer

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Kerlak Enterprises, Inc. (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937035107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937035105

Steampunk Machinery Versus Magic! The Victorian era brought us the wonderful world of steam powered gadgetry and industry. It also still held many of the old beliefs. The Challenge: to write intriguing steampunk tales with a twist - magic versus machine.

My Thoughts:
It is rare for me to find an anthology in which I enjoyed every story but this one was one of those. Herika R Raymer has done an amazing job in selecting the perfect stories to fit in this anthology. There were many stories I loved but they were all enjoyable reads. I think that it is awesome that there is a mix of stories, poems and art. Going into this anthology I did know a couple of the authors but was so excited to find several new to me authors that I fully intend to read anything by them I can get my hands on. Robert J. Krog being the one I am most excited about, his story "Discombobulation" was a great tale and I love the way this author tells a story. Jackie Gamber is a favorite from before this anthology and I quite enjoyed her story as well. Other stand outs for me include Kathryn Sullivan, J.L Mulvihill, Mandi M Lynch.  Kathryn Sullivan has quite a way with words, I can tell she really understands fantasy and can write it well. With Mandi M. Lynch's story "Wax Seal", I found myself wanting to read more about and more stories set in the world she has created.

The intorduction to the anthology really got me thinking and Herika R Raymer is right you really can not guess the amazing writers that can be found just around the corner, she talked about small press and self-published authors and encouraged the readers to look at book fairs, conventions and local events to discover new books and authors. And I will add to that check out anthologies there are truly gems to be found.

Well done to the editor and writers this is a awesome book.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Where to buy:
B & N

Available in Paperback and eBook formats.

Anthology contents:
The Stories:
Ironwork Falcon by Jackie Gamber - Magic and metal, sometimes at odds, can work great beauty
Discombobulation by Robert J. Krog- Even the most ambitious magician can overestimate his own abilities
Moved To Action by Angelia Sparrow - Labor problems are not always restricted to humankind
The Taste Of Treasure by Kathryn Sullivan - A precious item is often defined by the one who appreciates it most
Quest For The Dragon's Scale by M. R. Williamson - A race, a prize, and a lesson about both
A Bit Of A Bind by CRS Bailey - Who wears the corset does not define the person inside
The Leprechaun's Story by J. L. Mulvihill - A chance encounter on the river turns into an interesting take on luck
The Witch Of Midnight Hollow by Alexander S. Brown - The great detective faces a new supernatural challenge
When The Heart Lies Open To Steam And Star by Anne E. Barringer - A mix of magic and mechanics to serve a Queen, with a cup of tea to top it off
Wax Seal by Mandi M. Lynch - Oppressed magical healing may be the last, forbidden hope of a dying royal
Survival by S. P. Dorning - That you are enemies does not mean you cannot respect each other
The Black Dress by Nick Valentino - Innovation in fashion can be equal to just about any task
Words in Eden - Lewis Sanders - A prayer, or a confession?
Time by Windsong Levitch - Two ways of looking at time, from those who measure it and those who live it
Adventure: A Series of Steampunk Haiku by Michael Greenway - Ten haiku on a theme

Edited by : Herika R Raymer
Cover image by: Dan Gamber
Cover Design by: Allan Gilbreath

Published By : Kerlak Publishing

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Spirit of Fire By Stephen Zimmer Blog Tour

Stephen Zimmer has had so many cool stops along his blog tour and I am so excited to be a part of the tour. I thought long and hard about what I wanted my stop to be like. I thought I could do a regular review where I tell you I love the new book, Spirit of Fire, (cause I did), I could let you know how I rated it, (4.5 out of 5), I could say buy and read this series ( which you should) but I wanted to do something different.

I had the real honor and pleasure of spending last weekend hanging out with Stephen Zimmer at Fandom Fest, as well as tons of other cool book people. Thanks to Stephen I have discovered so many authors I may have otherwise never found. Especially small press authors and one of the books that I was lucky to get my hands on over the weekend was an anthology, Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells edited by Herika R. Raymer and in her introduction she talked about small press and self-published authors and encouraged the readers to look at book fairs, conventions and local events to discover new books and authors. Which was in fact how I “discovered” Stephen he is a local writer from the Kentucky town I was living in, so we should take her advice and discover what is all around.  But anyway this got me to thinking about how awesome Stephen’s books are and how I think they are a must read for fantasy lovers…. OK well everyone really.  So I asked Stephen Zimmer what he thought were musts for people. I asked him his top 5 books, movies, places and foods/beverages he thought everyone could discover in their lifetime. And if you know Stephen at all you will not be surprised that Monster Energy Drink topped the Food/Beverage List.

  1. Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)- Perhaps the most important fantasy literature ever written, the Lord of the Rings gave literary credibility to the fantasy genre, in addition to being the godfather of epic fantasy.  Middle Earth, in many ways, is a standard by which most all other fantasy and speculative fiction realms are measured. 
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)-While a different style of fantasy than Lord of the Rings, there are few novels in any genre that can match the celebration of life that flows through these books.  The Last Battle, the final installment of this series, is in my opinion the most satisfying conclusion to a series ever.  You can’t end on a higher note than this one does. 
  3. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)-A deep, thought-provoking novel that goes to the essence of what it means to be truly free and have self-determination.   Few books illustrate an entire philosophical outlook as comprehensively as this novel does.   We need a John Galt very badly today.
  4. Song of Ice and Fire (George R.R. Martin)-An incredible series with such an amazing range of characters and layers to the story.  This series shows the power of epic fantasy and what it can deliver. 
  5. The Bible (multiple authors)- Even if you are not of a religious persuasion, the Bible is an incredible collection of works involving a multitude of authors covering the history of a people and the birth of a religion that gripped the world.  It is filled with a host of interesting characters, history, imagery, and multiple styles of writing. 

  1. Lord of the Rings-Peter Jackson pulled off a stunning adaptation of a series that few thought could be brought to the big screen in a satisfactory manner.  The right blend of physical effects and CGI, a superb cast, and so much more made these films magical for me to watch.
  2. Star Wars-Star Wars mesmerized me as a child.  It is epic fantasy in space, on the big screen, and really inspired me to the potential of epic-scale stories and what movies could do.  The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi concluded what was a timeless trilogy.   
  3. Kingdom of Heaven-Kingdom of Heaven is simply incredible in its balanced portrayal of events during the heart of the crusades.  There are good and bad individuals on all sides, and there is a subtle, mystical undercurrent to this film if you look for it carefully.  Just a brilliant movie that brings to life an age in history that is near and dear to me. 
  4. Blade Runner- Dystopian science fiction has always appealed to me, but the depth of the story and characters in this film is rarely approached in the movie world.  Some very deep philosophy and concepts are explored in Blade Runner in a way that is anything but dry or dull.  The visuals are extraordinary in a tale that, to me, looks at what life ultimately means.
  5. Spartacus-A grand epic in which Kirk Douglas pulls off a stirring portrayal of one of humanity’s greatest heroes of all time, Spartacus.  This film also explores what it means to be free, and that sometimes you may have to take a stand and fight against tyranny, even if the odds are overwhelming.  Truly, this  a film that looks at the potential of humans to reach heights of courage, honor, and nobility.
  1. Caribbean- Truly a magical region to visit, the islands almost seem timeless when you are visiting them.  The waters at St. Martin’s seem to be from another time and place, and the luxurious flora of Dominica echoes what I imagine the Garden of Eden to be like. 
  2. Alaska-Rugged and gorgeous, Alaska beckons you to adventure and stimulates your imagination!  The abundant wildlife and spectacular vistas make for some inspirational moments.  The place resonates with self-determination and inner strength, from the land to the people that inhabit it. 
  3. Wales-Probably the best-kept secret of the United Kingdom, Wales is incredible.  From the canals with the longboats to the gorgeous hill and mountainsides draped in rich green, Wales is another land of timeless grace.  Walking around the base of the walls of a castle like Caernarfon, or looking at the unique wooden spoon-sets in one of the shops, Wales has little adventures to undertake at every turn. 
  4. Texas-Big skies that hint of infinity, and hardy landscapes that sing of endurance and vitality, Texas is a place that speaks strongly to my individualistic nature.  The people of Texas reflect these qualities, exhibiting both toughness and a generous spirit that restores my confidence in human potential. 
  5. Britain-Such a richness of history, where a short walk in London can take you from a Roman-era wall, to a medieval fortress, to a soaring cathedral, Britain is a treasure trove for those with a passion for the things of the past.  Rustic scenes in the countryside, to towns surrounded by medieval walls, Britain spoke to my imagination at every turn.  It is easy to see how the likes of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien thrived with such an environment.   An abundance of good-hearted folk cannot be overlooked either, as no matter where I went I encountered warm receptions by the people I met.

  1. Monster Energy Drinks-The magic elixir itself, I can’t say enough good things about Monster Energy.  Like I always say, “Epic Fantasy Requires Epic Energy” and Monster Energy is Epic in every way.  The company never rests on its laurels, but is always developing new types, from the several energy drink variations, to the coffee-energy line, to its rehydration options.  I have had about thirty types of Monster Energy and all of them were winners.  Simply an amazing, wondrous company.
  2. Pizza-the most complete food in nature, if you put the right toppings on it, you can cover all of the food groups!  Pizza suits any occasion, and I never get tired of it.  The New York style is my favorite, but there isn’t a type that I have a problem with! 
  3. Fried Rice-I love fried rice, and it makes up a part of so many of my favorite Chinese restaurant dishes, such as General Tso’s Chicken, Sesame Chicken, Beef and Broccoli, and Sweet and Sour Chicken.  Whether beef, pork, chicken, or plain, fried rice always hits the spot!
  4. Hamburger-No, I’m not a steak person.  I confess that I simply love ground beef and especially hamburgers.   Like with pizza, you have all kinds of options on toppings, and there is nothing better in the summer than a nice grilled burger with fresh tomatoes, cheese, lettuce and a sesame seed bun! 
  5. Beer-With lots of Irish and German heritage, beer is in my blood, from light to dark and everything in between.  I love trying new types of beers from around the world, lagers, pilsners, porters, stouts, all manner of variations.  A cold light beer on a hot day, or a German lager with a dinner, there are beers for every occasion!

  • Paperback: 772 pages
  • Publisher: Seventh Star Press, LLC (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193792985X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937929855

 Synopses: A maelstrom of war engulfs the lands resisting the designs of the Unifier to bring about a new order, of a kind that has never existed within Ave. Battered by a massive invasion force from Gallea, the tribal people of the Five Realms and their Midragardan allies are being driven eastward, towards the sea, while the Saxan lines are wearing down ever thinner on the Plains of Athelney. Time is running out quickly, as an ancient creature of legend soars through the skies with a brave young Saxan. They carry the desperate hopes of two realms sorely beset by a voracious enemy. Diabolic entities conduct a great hunt, as a malignant darkness deepens across all of Ave. The exiles from another world must gain refuge, or find themselves ensnared by the long reach of the Unifier. The very nature of creation itself stands in the balance. It is a time when the honor and fortitude of many are put to the test, and terrible prices are paid for resisting great evils. It is also a time of awakening for many, old and young alike, some of whom may yet discover the spirit of fire that lies within. The third installment in the Fires in Eden series, Spirit of Fire is richly imagined epic fantasy with a diverse ensemble of characters that offers a new world to explore for the readers who enjoy large-scale tales along the likes of George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Steven Erikson, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

One thing you will also see is Stephen's books as well as all Seventh Star Publications have kick ass art so I thought I would share a sampling of the art here. These can all be found in Spirit of Fire. Matthew Perry is the artist and he is fabulous.

Find Stephen Zimmer on Facebook
Fan Stephen Zimmer  on Facebook
Order from the Publisher Seventh Star Press (Books and the some artwork as well)
Order on Amazon

And you can see what a huge fan we are of Stephen's these are hanging up at our house. :)


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