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Review: The Varangian (Book 3) by Bruce MacBain – An Exciting Viking Adventure

Today I have a review The Varangian, which is book three in a great historical fantasy series that I’ve been following (Odd Tangle-Hair Saga). However, it looks like it might end up only a trilogy. It’s so well-done though I can’t help but wish for more. You can also read them stand alone, but you’ll get so much more out of it if you read them all. Don’t forget to check out the giveaway for the book at the end of the post!

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Review –

I really can’t say enough good things about the Odd Tangle-Hair Saga penned by Bruce MacBain. The Varangian is the third, and it seems the final, in the series. You can view my review of the second book, The Ice Queen, HERE, and an interview I had with Bruce HERE. I was first drawn to this series because I love historical books that combine into fantasy, especially if they are dealing with ancient civilizations or Vikings.

Bruce’s story telling ability draws in the readers and often as soon as I start his books I’m completely absorbed into the worlds and legend he has created. Of course, with great anticipation, it was the same with The Varangian. Without being over flowerly or academic or hard to follow, Bruce somehow writes in a way that allows to feel as if we are also privy to the story as if we were in it ourselves. It’s like the long lost story your Viking grandpa would tell if you lived in a more far away time and you  had a Viking grandpa (haha)…but you get my drift.

I couldn’t wait to see what adventure Odd Tangle-Hair became drawn up into and as he venture into Byzantine empire in this book, I was as enthralled by Bruce’s authentic details and descriptions of this time and place as much as his protagonist was in the story. Of course, Odd must have some suspenseful mission up his sleeve as always that will take us through excitement, danger, sadness, and this time, even love. Constantinople is the perfect setting for such deep emotions and Bruce plays into that very well, allowing the reader to be swept away as well.

It’s also very obvious that Bruce is a true historian. He knows the people and places of the ancient worlds like he was living among them. This allows the reader, especially historical lovers, to be immersed even more into the story. A true feeling of place is captured in his dynamic prose.

Book three probably brings us the most compelling and climactic action as Odd finally comes head to head with antagonist Harald, as well as the friction between so many various cultures all coming to a point at this beautiful city of Constantinople. Both Odd and Harald are written with a high level of characterization and depth, but Bruce is also adept at bringing us a strong supporting cast of new characters in each book. They were exceptionally well-done in The Varangian, allowing the time and place to be even more engaing as you can’t have a good story without good characters.

As Odd tells his story, a perfect narrator, I could definitely smell, taste, hear, and see his adventure as if I lived it with him. I’ve completely enjoyed this series and will treasure it for years to come. Very highly recommended.

02_The Varangian.jpgThe Varangian by Bruce MacBain

Publication Date: November 29, 2016
Blank Slate Press
eBook & Print; 341 Pages

Series: Odd Tangle-Hair Saga, Book Three
Genre: Historical Fiction

The third volume of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga finds our hero in Golden Miklagard (Constantinople), posing as an ambassador from the Grand Prince of Rus. But his real mission is to assassinate his former master, Harald the Ruthless, who has now risen high in the Emperor’s Varangian Guard. Odd is dazzled by the brilliance of the Byzantine capital and its beating heart–the Great Palace, with the astonishing Throne of Solomon that levitates above the heads of kneeling courtiers.

Here, Odd will meet Constantine Psellus, an ambitious young bureaucrat who mentors him in the ways of the court. He will be drawn into an intrigue that involves the Empress Zoe, who spends her days brewing vats of perfume, and John the Guardian of Orphans, the powerful and sinister eunuch who schemes to advance his family. And Odd will fall in love with Selene, an alchemist’s daughter, who supports herself by gambling in the waterfront taverns.

Finally, after a hard-fought campaign against the Saracens in Sicily and the overthrow of an Emperor, Odd reaches the pinnacle of power and believes he has vanquished his enemy Harald once and for all.

Then disaster overwhelms him.

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Praise for The Varangian

“Thoroughly effective at explaining the intriguing and highly complex circumstances of the time period, Macbain’s (The Ice Queen, 2015, etc.) book shines in a way that only historical fiction can. Who needs King Jon Snow in Game of Thrones when one can get a glimpse of the historically real and undeniably sinister John the Guardian of Orphans? Even the most terrifying dragon pales in comparison to the sheer horror of a society so comfortable with castration. As the story ventures outside of Constantinople, the reader is treated to a plot that can only be described as epic … a highly entertaining Viking adventure.” – Kirkus Reviews

“This is the third and final of Macbain’s Odd Tangle-Hair novels. All three have been spellbinding in their storytelling, though this one may be the best. Odd’s journey takes us around the Mediterranean and eastern European world, and all the way north back to Iceland. The characters are wonderful, the story intriguing, the combat real but never superfluous, and Odd makes for the perfect protagonist. Highly recommended.” – Historical Novel Society

“Written by a historian with deep understanding of the cultures, peoples, and languages of this world, The Varangian speaks with an authoritative and compelling voice that can equally present naval battles decided by Greek Fire and court intrigue culminating in advancement to lucrative rank or in mutilation and blinding. This is a masterfully written and suspenseful tale that weaves fictional characters into the dramatic story of eleventh-century Byzantium and ambitious women and men, some home grown and some drawn from afar, who aimed to profit from an empire of legendary wealth and splendor.” – Emily Albu, Professor of Medieval and Byzantine Studies, UC, Davis

“The Varangian is the third and final volume of Bruce Macbain’s Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga, and like the first two entries, it is as compelling and wild a ride as historical fiction offers. Macbain brilliantly weaves in his vast knowledge of 11th century Viking and Byzantine life with a great storyteller’s ability to drive the plot forward, a plot filled with intrigue, violence, betrayal, and lust.” – Barton Kunstler, author of The Hothouse Effect

“Detailed and vivid writing.” -Albert Noyer, author of the Getorius and Arcadia Mysteries

Author Bruce MacBain, Biography

03_Bruce MacbainBruce MacBain has degrees in Classics and Ancient History and was formerly an Assistant Professor of Classics at Boston University.

He decided to stop writing scholarly articles (which almost no one read) and turn his expertise to fiction—a much more congenial medium.

His previous novels include two mysteries set in ancient Rome (Roman Games, The Bull Slayer) and the first two novels in the Odd Tangle-Hair series (Odin’s Child, The Ice Queen).

For more information, please visit Bruce MacBain’s website. You can also find him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Goodreads.

Giveaway

To win a copy of The Varangian by Bruce MacBain, please enter via the Gleam form below. Three copies are up for grabs!

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/MTA2D/the-varangian

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Follow along with the tour!

Hashtags: #TheVarangianBlogTour #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #Historical #Vikings

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @BMacbain

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Have YOU had a WHAT IF Moment? Matthew Turner Explores this Question in his Novel, Beyond Parallel #whatifmoment

Beyond-Parallel-Cover-MediumI just finished the novel Beyond Parallel by Matthew Turner, which is awesome because it launched today! I thought it was a really romantic and thought-provoking novel. In fact, it made me think without even having to try very hard to do so. It was extremely entertaining.

A concept we all most likely churn in the backs of our minds when we are in the shower, laying in bed awake at night…sometimes in our happier times and most certainly in our times of downcast….is the question of WHAT IF? WHAT IF I would have made the decision to go here instead of there, to choose to have a relationship with this person rather than that person? To take that job instead of the other offered? To move here or there?

There are many scenarios we can concoct. In this book, Turner takes on the WHAT IF question of decision-making in relationships. Many people might question if they made a right decision in choosing their life partner.  Some wonder if the “grass is greener on the other side” right? In times of true hardships, or sadness, or maybe even just boredom, we almost always wonder if we made a wrong turn on the road of life. But is that the case? Or maybe fate always has other things in mind for us.

In the book, Clark and Bella are both living life in their twenties and trying to make decisions unknowing what the future ahead of them holds. Turner tells the story from the viewpoint of them being together and also in a parallel story of if they had never met. It was a page turning festival of fun to see what would happen next in each scenario.

Turner writes simple prose with a minor number of characters, which is good because as the reader keeps switching between scenarios from chapter to chapter, it’s easier to keep everyone straight.  It’s not a heavily detailed book in setting or character development, but it does stick true to its premise which is to offer us a look into the lives of four people and their ultimate path to meeting each other. He is clear in his characters emotions and conversations, which is the premise of the book.  We see how their decisions alter their lives and also see on the parallel side what the other option would have entailed for them. It’s very interesting to take this concept and see if the “other” choice they wonder about really would have turned out any better for them.

I really enjoyed spending a few hours over my Holiday break reading this book! It was a fun detour from a lot of the heavier historical or horror reading I tend to do. If you are looking for a book to help you relax, and enjoy light romance that is not just the hot and steamy variety, then this book would be an entertaining read for you.  If you ever pondered the WHAT IF question in your relationships, I highly recommend you read this book!  In the fine tradition of British storytelling, Turners pen makes the mark.

So here is my own WHAT IF story in limited form:  I wanted to go to a certain University and study Journalism. I ended up at the one my mom said I was going to go to since she was paying. Right after college, still hanging around, I met my husband who is now my EX-husband though we did have two wonderful children together. I have been with my current partner, Tim, for almost 8 years (we met through a work partnership–again could have been another WHAT IF moment in job choice). He went to the certain University I wanted to go to at the same time I would have went there AND he studied Journalism. We do have WHAT IF moments about this because we wish we would have started our relationship earlier and not both gone through with ex-spouses what we do. I hold on to the fact that if fate would have brought us about then, I would have my two oldest amazing children. And we always say, you never know even if we were in the same classes we may not have connected at that age, it may have only been destined for an exact time and place. But I still wonder WHAT IF?

What is your WHAT IF moment? Share if you’d like in the comment below. I’d love to hear.

Giveaway~Giveaway~Giveaway~Giveaway~Giveaway~Giveaway~Giveaway

I’d love to hear your story, but to enter to win for the book all you have to do is leave a comment and a way to contact  you (email prefered or email me at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com) and you’ll be entered to win this new ebook!  Please enter by 11:59 p.m. EST (USA) Jan. 15, 2013. Anyone can enter. Winner will be given choice of digital copy! Happy New Year!

Beyond Parallel Synopsis~

One boy. One girl. One insignificant moment that changes their lives forever.

Bella and Clark are two young twenty-somethings, traveling and finding themselves in a chaotic and crazy world. One craves love; the other avoids it. Will they find one another, or will a single what-if moment send them down different paths?

In the same mould as Sliding Doors, Uncertainty, and Smoking/No-Smoking, Beyond Parallel flips between two parallel tales. One follows Bella and Clark as a couple, the other as if they never meet. Friendships, careers, dreams, fantasies…their lives are no different to yours or mine.

Follow the journey of two confused minds as they tackle growing up in the 21st century. High-flying careers, book tours, teaching teenagers, hipster warehouses, stories about talking whales, coffee shop hangouts, and even a despicable salesman are confronted.

Name: Beyond Parallel

Author: Matthew Turner

Word Count: 70,000

Pages: 180

Published: January 2013

Publisher: Turndog Publishing

ISBN Number: Coming Soon

Price: $2.99 (E-Book)

Contact: matt@turndogmillionaire.com l Skype: turndogmillionaire

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WHAT IF MOMENT Explained~

The premise behind Beyond Parallel is spurred by my wandering mind. I’ve always fantasized about what if.

What if I had said yes instead of no…or chose one idea instead of the other…or left a little earlier, or later, or never?

Beyond Parallel clings to what if. I’m fascinated by this idea, and I feel many young people are, too. We spend our lives knowing what’s going on around us. We go to school because we have to. We have our parents to lean on. It doesn’t matter if we mess up because we’re young and we have time to fix it. But then we enter the real world. We have a responsibility, and choice, and a journey of our own to craft. Every day we’re faced with decisions, but how do we know what is and isn’t the right thing to do?

And that, in a nutshell, is a what if moment. A brief period of time where a small, insignificant decision is made, with huge repercussions potentially coming from it. These moments happen throughout our lifetime, but it’s in the world of young adult where it’s most prominent. At university…during our first job…as we travel or search or dream of something more.

Book Sample~Prequel to Beyond Parallel (get it free)

As part of the lead up to Beyond Parallel, the author, Matthew Turner, wrote a short prequel set the night before. Not only is it a story in itself, but it introduces the reader to Bella & Clark, as well as offering an insight into what to expect in Beyond Parallel.

As samples go, Tales From A Tiny Thai Table is the ideal showcase into the writing of Matthew Turner.

Download Tales From A Tiny Thai Table for FREE Here

Matthew Turner, Bio~

author-headshot-mediumMatthew Turner is a young writer from Yorkshire, England. He writes both Fiction & Non-Fiction, but his latest project is Beyond Parallel, a coming-of-age novel that focusses on two young twenty-somethings.

After years of playing with the idea of writing, he decided to take things seriously in 2010. He took his four-year old manuscript and ripped it apart; refining it, editing, and learning until the final copy was ready. That time is now!

As well as writing, Matthew acts as a consultant, speaker, and coach to fellow writers and entrepreneurs. With a passion for storytelling and creating brands with soul, he finds himself working with innovative, 21st-century minds.

You can find more information on Matthew Turner, and about Beyond Parallel too, at http://turndogmillionaire.com.

Beyond Parallel Reader Page <http://turndogmillionaire.com/beyond-parallel/>

Amazon Page <http://amzn.to/TDBcOj>

Goodreads Page <http://bit.ly/10on4tS>

What If Campaign Page <http://turndogmillionaire.com/what-if-campaign/> Beyond Parallel Launch Day/Social Sharing Page <http://turndogmillionaire.com/beyond-parallel-social-hub/>

Thanks for reading this blog!  I was given a complimentary ebook of Beyond Parallel in return for an honest review, which I’ve given. All opinions are my own.

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Isle of Shadows, by Tracy L. Higley, Showcases Historical Intrigue in Ancient Rhodes

_240_360_Book_728_coverIf you love historical Christian fiction, then Isle of Shadows, by Tracy L. Higley, is another book to definitely add to your collection and read over a couple of chilly nights, sitting by the fire or enjoying a cup of tea. I know that I am busy adding all Higley’s books to my shelves and I was very excited to read Isle of Shadows, her newest release after Garden of Madness that I also read this year (and loved).

Actually released previously in 2008 as Shadow of Colossus, Higley edited and revised the version for new release due to her increasing knowledge of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World she gained through travels and research.  As she decided to  continue the series about the ancient wonders (this first and current book surrounds the statue of Colossus) and felt she had come a long way in perfecting her writing craft, she felt she could make the book even better.

I hadn’t read the book in its former version as the first in her series, but I loved this version of Isle of Shadows for its easy and light prose, the mystery component, the growing romance, and the setting–which was the decadent Rhodes, circa the 227 BC, during a time that the Jewish people were fighting for their rights, lands, and their very existence as humans, rather than slaves. The Greeks ruled by democracy and the in-fighting for political gain was prominent.

Tessa, the main character, is a hetaera (an educated and beautiful professional female companion) to Glaucus, one of the ten army leaders who direct politics on Rhodes.  The life of being a courtesan is not for Tessa, even though she is widely admired for her beauty and prestige. She longs to be truly free from this life which she considers slavery.  Just as she begins to devise a plan to flee, her master has an accident. A cover-up ensues with help of members of the household staff, family, and a stranger named Nikos who shows up mysteriously saying he’d like a position in the staff. 

Nikos becomes Tessa’s partner in crime as they fend of the other leaders who are vying for position and leveraging the Jewish issue on Rhodes (the Greeks don’t want them integrated). But who is Nikos really? He seems more than a common servant. Tessa battles twists and turns, action, and adventure during the novel, but also grows tremendously as a woman. Can her once cemented soul really open to love again? Can she be loved by the One True God like these caring Jews present? Her independent nature serves her well, but will some of her walls be broken down to let others in to her heart?

I enjoy Higley’s books for their historical component as well as for their character development. She really knows how to write strong female lead characters who are torn by their past, making them angry and resentful, and placing other characters in their path that offer testimony to allow their barriers to be broken and their hearts to be mended. 

Higley’s books, and this series, really intrigue me for their historical and archeological references and time periods. However, the novels end up tugging at my heart-strings and showing me how God’s grace works too. I love how her strong, independent women fall slowly in love with tender-hearted, yet honorable men, who always know how to treat them right.

About the book, Isle of Shadows~

Revised and updated from the original, Christy-award finalist Shadow of Colossus.

Enslaved in a World of Money and Power, Tessa Dares to be Free.

Raised as courtesan to wealthy and powerful men, Tessa of Delos serves at the whim of her current patron, the politician Glaucus. After ten years with him, Tessa has abandoned all desire for freedom or love, choosing instead to lock her heart away.

But when Glaucus meets a violent death in his own home, Tessa grasps at a fragile hope. Only she knows of his death. If she can keep it a secret long enough, she can escape.

Tessa throws herself on the mercy of the Greek god Helios, but finds instead unlikely allies in Nikos, a Greek slave, and Simeon, Glaucus’s Jewish head servant. As Simeon introduces her to a God unlike any she has ever known and Nikos begins to stir feelings she had thought long dead, Tessa fights to keep her heart protected.

As an assassination plot comes to light, Tessa must battle for her own freedom—and for those to whom she has begun to open her heart—as forces collide that shatter the island’s peace.

About the Author, Tracy L. Higley~

timthumbFrom her earliest childhood, there was nothing Tracy loved better than stepping into another world between the pages of a book. From dragons and knights, to the wonders of Narnia, that passion has never abated, and to Tracy, opening any novel is like stepping again through the wardrobe, into the thrilling unknown. With every book she writes, she wants to open a door like that, and invite readers to be transported with her into a place that captivates.

Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. After attending Philadelphia Biblical University, she earned a B.A. in English Literature at Rowan University. She then spent ten years writing drama presentations for church ministry.

A lifelong interest in history and mythology has led Tracy to extensive research into ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, and shaped her desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past.

She has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy to research her novels, and looks forward to more travel as her writing continues. On Tracy’s website, www.tracyhigley.com, you can follow along with her on her travels and adventures.

Tracy is thrilled to bring readers adventures set in the ancient past, and it’s her hope that in escaping with her, readers will feel they’ve walked through these deserts, explored ruins, felt the white sand and blue sea under their feet, and met with the Redeeming God who is sovereign over the entire drama of human history.

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I was given a copy of Isle of Shadows by Thomas Nelson publishers in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Her Majesty’s Will by David Blixt is a Pun-filled Period Adventure

Her Majesty's WillHer Majesty’s Will, by David Blixt, was an unexpected breath of fresh ink on a stage flooded with a sea of books that is today’s publishing world. Blixt’s novel stands out as a unique and original prose that will have you laughing so hard you’ll spit out your drink. 

About Her Majesty’s Will~(Review continued after synopsis)

Publication Date: April 23, 2012 | Sordelet Ink | 247p

SYNOPSIS:

Before he was famous, he was a fugitive.
Before he wrote of humanity, he lived it.
Before he was the Bard of Avon, he was a spy.

A very poor spy.

England, 1586. Swept up in the skirts of a mysterious stranger, Will Shakespeare becomes entangled in a deadly and hilarious misadventure as he accidentally uncovers the Babington Plot, an attempt to murder Queen Elizabeth herself. Aided by the mercurial wit of Kit Marlowe, Will enters London for the first time, chased by rebels, spies, his own government, his past, and a bear.

Through it all he demonstrates his loyalty and genius, proving himself to be – HER MAJESTY’S WILL.

My Review Continued~

Though I knew the book was historical in nature, a period novel with a main character like William Shakespeare, I was pleasantly surprised by Blixt’s writing style. Being a playwright himself, and commanding the stage and festivals that surround the works and times of Shakespeare, I found this influence in Blixt’s books as well. From starting chapters proposed as  “Acts” to writing to make the audience (this time the reader) laugh, with a good mix of action as well, this book was fantastic and extremely fun! It really came to life off the page and I found a new love for Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as unlikely (and sometimes bumbling) detectives. Pure genius!

Blixt’s vocabulary and precision in his workmanship is literary gold. The way his words seemed to flow and move around on the page, it’s as if my eyes were deceiving me.  They seemed to dance and joust on the iPad as if I was watching a real live production. The words were so seeped in detail and the choices so extravagant that they seemed to roll around on my tongue as I savored and swallowed the plot.

I love to read novels set in the time period of the Elizabethan Age. And certainly there is alot that deal with the extravagance of court life, romance, and political intrigue. While this one deals with intrigue too, of course it was everywhere during this time period (the start of the intelligence agencies as we know them even now), it was presented through characters (commoners) that people sometimes forget were from the same jeweled era as the Tudors.  An era of society transition under Queen Elizabeth, no one knew who they could trust. Blixt takes this familiar scenario and shows it to the reader from a separate angle, from the life of simple playwrights, and takes on imaginative versions of the lives of Shakespeare and Marlowe, filling all the inconsistencies and holes in their history with “what ifs” and exciting adventures. Full of puns and slapstick harmony between the two friends, Blixt spins a truly hilarious yarn that you won’t want to put down.

Blixt has several other books out that I can’t wait to read now. His Majesty’s Will was a riot, as well as a good mystery, and should be a hit with period novel readers who have a funny bone or are looking for some light-hearted entertainment.

Stay tuned tomorrow (Dec. 14) for an EXCLUSIVE guest post brought to us by David Blixt! It’s one you won’t want to miss reading so schedule it on your calendar now!

GIVEAWAY~

One (1) e-book copy of His Majesty’s Will to a lucky reader!

Details:

–Open everywhere (it’s an e-book in .pdf or .mobi file)

–Leave a comment with your email (or email your email to hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com

–Open until 11:59 p.m. Dec. 19, 2012. Winner randomly drawn and notified by email on Dec. 20.

–Extra entries:  +1 additional entry each for following David Blixt on Twitter, his Facebook Fan Page, or Clicking Like on Amazon book page.  Please inform me which you did in comments or by email.

About the Author: David Blixt~

David BlixtAuthor and playwright David Blixt’s work is consistently described as “intricate,” “taut,” and “breathtaking.” A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS’D series, including THE MASTER OF VERONA, VOICE OF THE FALCONER, and FORTUNE’S FOOL) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY’S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history. As the Historical Novel Society said, “Be prepared to burn the midnight oil. It’s well worth it.”

Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, David describes himself as “actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order.”

For more about David and his novels, visit www.davidblixt.com.

Link to Tour Schedule for other reviews, interviews and guest posts on David, and all his other books, by clicking on tour button below.  Follow the Tour on Twitter with Hashtag: #DavidBlixtVirtualTour.

David Blixt Tour Button FINAL

I was given this complimentary copy in return for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Terror Lurks in the German Woods: Guest Post by the Amazing Horror Author Brian Moreland

Hi, Erin, thanks so much for having me back as a guest on your blog. Today, I’m sharing some background of my novel, Shadows in the Mist, a historical horror thriller that explores the dark side of World War II and the Nazis’ fascination with the Occult.

The main characters are U.S. infantry soldiers: Lt. Jack Chambers and his ragtag platoon known as “the Lucky Seven.” During the first weeks of October 1944, Lt. Chambers and his platoon have been fighting the German army tooth-and-nail in the bloody Hürtgen Forest that borders Belgium and Germany. All Lt. Chambers wants to do is get his few surviving men out of the war in one piece and return to London to find the English Red Cross nurse he fell in love with. But Fate has a different agenda for the Lucky Seven, and especially Jack Chambers who has ties to a top-secret war he didn’t even know was taking place.

The Lucky Seven are chosen to lead a rogue commando team behind German lines. The mission: infiltrate a Nazi weapons camp. As Lt. Chambers and his men venture into the thick and foggy woods, they discover something evil is hunting them and it won’t rest until every soldier is dead.

To make this novel as compelling and authentic as I could, I interviewed WWII veteran soldiers, both American and German, who fought in the famous Battle of the Hürtgen Forest. I traveled across Germany with historians and personally walked the battlefields, graveyards, and toured a private museum. You can see the photos here.

273_Shadows_Master_Front_cover_for_Samhain300Shadows in the Mist weaves together war-time adventure, horror, and historical facts based on my research of the Nazis and the Occult. The Indiana Jones movies Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade depicted the Nazis on quests for the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. There is plenty of evidence the Nazis went on such quests in search of mystical ways to gain more world power. In fact, they formed an entire division called the Ahnenerbe-SS. While the supernatural mystery I have created is a work of fiction, the inspiration behind it is terrifyingly real. Had the Nazis used their research to pull this off, we might have had a different outcome to the war.

I hope you enjoy reading Shadows in the Mist as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it. You can read a sample of the book at www.BrianMoreland.wordpress.com 

All the best,

Brian Moreland

GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Because Brian is the nicest horror writer I’ve even met (though most are pretty nice and normal people), he’s doing a giveaway that you DON’T WANT TO MISS!!

He’s giving away a free e-book copy of SHADOWS IN THE MIST and also a FREE SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY OF SHADOWS IN THE MIST!!

What an amazing deal. Try to win it for yourself or have him sign it to whom you’d like and you can give it as a Holiday gift!

Details:

*Signed paperback mailed to U.S. only.
*Must leave a comment after the post with email or
email me to hookofabook@hotmail.com with entries completed.
*Must enter to win by 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 12th.
*One entry for comment/leaving email.
*Email used for communication with winner.
*Will be randomly drawn on Dec. 13 and notified.

EXTRA ENTRIES:

+1 additional entry each (you can any you wish, one or all) for; just email which ones you did to me for credit.:

Follow my blog

Following @ErinAlMehairi on Twitter

Following @BrianMoreland on Twitter

Following Brian on Facebook (see below)

Liking Brian’s books on Amazon.

Author Bio, Brian Moreland~

368_Facebook_author

Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His first two novels, Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist, are now available. His upcoming novella, The Witching House, will release August 2013, and novel The Devil’s Woods will release December 2013. He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and eating cookies. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. You can communicate with him online at http://www.brianmoreland.com/

 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HorrorAuthorBrianMoreland

Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1150022.Brian_Moreland

Brian’s Horror Fiction blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com

Coaching for Writers blog:  http://www.coachingforwriters.blogspot.com

You can purchase Shadows in the Mist at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Mist-Brian-Moreland/dp/1619210665/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1354766751&sr=8-2&keywords=brian+moreland, Samhain Publishing: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/shadows-mist-p-6933.html, and many other places nationwide.

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Terri Blackstock’s Downfall is a Touching Story of Redemption with a Crime Drama Twist

Who wants Emily dead?  How does an old Alfred Hitchcock movie figure in as a clue? 

Newly released for March 2012 is Downfall, by Terri Blackstock, which is the final installment in her Intervention series . However, it also reads as a stand-alone novel. In fact, I had not read the first two books myself and was not the least bit lost while reading Downfall. In this series, Blackstock takes on the tough topic of drug addiction, one that hits really close in her own family life.

Downfall character Emily Covington has turned her life around after being rehabilitated for a drug addiction. However, her family still watches her every move and misjudges her actions as they try to make sure she isn’t slipping back into using drugs again. She is enrolled in college and staying sober. When a car bomb almost explodes her car one morning, everyone immediately wonders if it is drug related. Her mother’s police officer boyfriend promises he will monitor the case, but as he is distracted by another murder, Emily decides to take on some of the case herself, which puts her life in danger as the cases may be related. She wants to know who wants to kill her and if someone else is also in danger!

Blackstock’s opening pace is right on target, giving separate small glimpses between a mystery criminal called The Avenger, a seemingly unrelated murder (until she finds out it is someone she knows!), and Emily’s life while it is again at the point of unraveling. As a reader, I wanted to know the tie-in between all the scenarios and that kept me reading to the end.

Though Downfall is a novel of suspense, I think once you get halfway through the book, the suspense becomes a lighter focus and the book concentrates more on Emily’s redemption within herself, her life, and her family. It is very touching and though I don’t have experience with substance abuse, I think anyone who has had it grip their lives will relate to this book.

However, in general, it is also a poignant read and gives other readers insight into addiction, recovery, redemption, and God’s grace.  Putting the addiction theme to the side for the moment, it is a page turning mystery for suspense readers looking for a novel for a single evening or weekend read. Both reasons will keep you reading it through to the finish.

To read more about Downfall, as well as the first two novels of the Intervention series, click on this link to Terri’s website:  http://www.terriblackstock.com/books/adult-fiction-books/the-intervention-series/.

You can also find more about Terri and her work at www.terriblackstock.com.

Author biography, Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Her most recent book, Vicious Cycle, debuted on the New York Times best-seller list, as did Intervention, the first book in the Intervention Series. Intervention was also a 2010 Carol Award Winner. The series deals with the subject of drug abuse and its impact on families. Other reader favorites include her books Predator and Double Minds, as well as the Restoration Series, the Newpointe 911 Series, the Cape Refuge Series, and the SunCoast Chronicles series. In September, Shadow in Serenity will release. Her next Intervention Novel, Downfall, will release in February 2012.

In 1994 Terri was writing romance novels under two pseudonyms for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening prompted her to switch gears. At the time, she was reading more suspense than romance, and felt drawn to write thrillers about ordinary people in grave danger. Her newly awakened faith wove its way into the tapestry of her suspense novels, offering hope instead of despair. Her goal is to entertain with page-turning plots, while challenging her readers to think and grow. She hopes to remind them that they’re not alone, and that their trials have a purpose.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

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An Intergalactic Win for Readers: Silver Serenade by Nancy J. Cohen

Silver Serenade is by well-known and long-time writer Nancy J. Cohen. Taking her pen back to futuristic romance, Cohen pens a galactic tale of space intrigue and political drama which pits S.I.N. agent Silver Malloy against pilot Jace Vernon, who is forced to flee his home after he is framed for his parents murder. He’s trying to clear his name and find his missing sister when is runs into strong-willed assassin Silver, who is after a terrorist about to start an intergalactic war.  Jace realizes the same terrorist may be partly responsible for his own parent’s death and might have taken his sister. He wants to work with Silver as a partner, not a captive.

As Cohen juxtaposes their galactic pursuits with their budding romance, her novel takes the reader on one explosive ride in outer space. The sexy scenes are over-the-top hot and steamy and the action scenes are packed full of energy. Platinum-haired Silver is extremely strong-willed, independent and blazingly independent as Jace tries to gently tame her wild, mission-focused personality and show her another way, a way in which they can work together to both succeed in their agendas and save the universe at the same time.

With many interesting cast of secondary characters, the book is a thrill ride of twists, turns, and excitement. You’ll want to keep reading to see if Jace can truly win Silver’s love and take their relationship past just some romps in the bed. About the middle of the book is when I truly became even more interested in turning more pages in one sitting. I loved this book most from the middle to the end. I won’t spoil, but the quest they take to fulfill a major mission is visually stunning in my mind and engaging, as well as meaningful to the characters and you’ll be pulling for them to win out.

If you like science fiction fantasy, as well as romance, this book will hook you by the middle and keep you reading. A book of intergalactic proportions as well as action and romance are concerned. 

Nancy J. Cohen is a paranormal romance and murder mystery with a touch of hilarious author. With Silver Serenade she returned to the genre she started out in, futuristic romances.  She has written many fiction genres over the years and will soon publish the 10th in the Bad Hair Day mystery series in early 2012. 

Nancy and her husband are empty nesters who live in the Fort Lauderdale area. When she is not busy writing, Nancy enjoys reading, fine dining, outlet shopping, and cruising.  You can find out more about Nancy Cohen at www.nancyjcohen.com, including her other titles.

Silver Serenade can be found at Wild Rose Press, http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=4138, as well as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It’s available in print and digital e-book form, both.

*********

Thanks, Nancy, for sending me the book to review! I enjoyed it. Nancy in no way twisted my arm or offered me any of my favorite foods in return for a positive review. The opinions are my own.

 

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Tiffany Stained Glass, Women’s Rights, Turn-of-the-Century New York All Illuminate Susan Vreelaner’s Newest Historical Fiction Novel called “Clara and Mr. Tiffany”

I just read a fabulous new historical fiction book called “Clara and Mr. Tiffany” by author Susan Vreeland, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue among many more wonderful titles delving into art history. Her most recent novel is a must-read book for anyone interested or even willing to learn about the turn of the century in New York, which was alive with women’s rights and the business of decorative arts. You will learn much more than you ever could imagine and be so interwoven into the story that you will feel yourself  as more than just a reading onlooker, but as a vested part of the story. Her development of Clara Driscoll and her life, as well as the people in it, is fantastic way beyond normal measurment scales.

My Relationship to the Book

I first picked this book when I saw the title had to do with the stained glass work of Tiffany Studios. I have loved the art of stained glass ever since I was a young girl and had recently been to the Cleveland Museum of Art near where I live in Ohio. I went twice in fact and both times loved taking time to look at the large stained glass mosaic window salvaged from a former mansion in the Cleveland area, as well as several Tiffany stained glass lamps. I even took photos, which I will show here (though I wish I would have realized I would be showing the world and I might have taken better shots).

Here is my daughter standing next to the stained glass window made by Tiffany, which is on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art (www.clevelandart.org) and 3 of their Tiffany Lamps (they have more) that are displayed in a glass case. (Photos are rights reserved)

Background of the Book

When historians discovered, in 2005, that two sets of letters existed apart from each other (one set in New York, the other owned by a museum in Kent, Ohio) written by a Mrs. Clara Driscoll to her family in Ohio, scholars united to unlock this must-told story of a woman who recently became known through these letters to have designed such exquisite pieces of art that they are in very high esteem today.  She was never recognized for her artistic and design talent.  We know her story only because during the Victorian era many people wrote long and detailed letters to each other, and in fact, recorded their own history much to the delight of the world today. 

Since most of the world for the last 100 years had been thinking that the famous Tiffany lamps were created by Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the infamous Charles Tiffany of Tiffany and Co. jewelry acclaim, no one realized that a woman they knew little about would actually turn out to be the designer and creator of these special lamps. An exhibit called New Light on Tiffany:  Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls opened in 2007 and presented the work of those aforementioned historians and the New York Historical Society (which houses over 130 donated Tiffany Lamps).  Vreeland encountered this exhibit and decided to do her part to tell Clara’s story to the world in the form of the historical fiction novel, “Clara and Mr. Tiffany.”

About the Book

Holding true to as many historically accurate accounts as possible in the book, she expertly crafted a non-fiction tribute into a fluid and monumental historical fiction story that can capture an audience, filling only in between the lines from researched imagination to make it an interesting read and give us a glimpse into Clara’s life in a format we love to read.

Photo below: Dragonfly Electrolier with Twisted Stem Water Lily Standard. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA.

This book was so amazingly informative on so many levels. Not only did I love that she gave Clara her much overdo respect by telling her story, but it taught about the intricacies of glass making and stained glass art through the eyes of the Tiffany Studios’ Women’s department, the only factory in New York during the late 1800s-early 1900s to have a women’s department. I loved reading about Tiffany’s love of nature and how he taught others to see the beauty of it and put it into their art. Driscoll also had a love for the intricacies of nature, many times taking walks or excursions to gardens to view the amazing wonder of flowers and insects which she then consulted with Tiffany about and put into her design.  The piecework and patience that went into choosing the right glass and constructing both the Tiffany stained glass windows and their lamps was inspiring.

The work of fiction also dealt with Clara’s life as a widow and her life as a single New Woman (a term for the time used for women who had started to crave freedom and enjoyed life outside of the domestic home).  This era saw the rise of the women’s independence, such as women learning to ride bicycles, yet she was not allowed to be married while she worked at Tiffany Studios.  She remained single for most of her life, but several romances that carry through the book are based on true relationships.  Her romances gave an air of forbidden and misunderstood love and presented how women of this new age were trying to hold onto some of their mother’s Victorian way of romance so as not to offend society while becoming their own free and independent women. 

The novel portrays her lifestyle, like many at the time, in the boarding houses of New York. Unique personalities were many times brought together and in due course became friends and supporters of each other. In the book, Clara is surrounded by at least five men who truly had an impact on her life, each having meaning to her in different ways. The character development of these true to life characters come alive off the page and give us even more insight into lifestyles during the beginning of the 20th century.  Teaching us how different people, from different cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles could meld together to form a city full of life with the new century emerging is one key point the book sets-out. The book also shows us the life of the lower class in New York~the many immigrants who came to the United States for a better life only to live in plotted hallway sections as overflow, go through extreme poverty, child labor, and disease and death.

Many women that Clara employed she hand-picked either from free art classes, or from young teenage women on the Lower East Side that showed potential and promise that came from families where they might be the only one able enough to work. Being able to work in the Tiffany Studios’ Women’s Department, at a higher wage than they could ever make anywhere else, was an enormous accomplishment. The book certainly highlights the rapid changes in New York as the labor disputing begins and touches on the start of the discourse that unionized men began to have with women working out of the home.

Final Thoughts on the Book

Not only does this book redeem Clara Driscoll, posthumously of course, but Vreeland’s telling of her story helps to redeem all women from the isolation and ridicule of the working world. The book is a great gateway into the artistic art world of the new 20th century, the emergence of the New Woman, as well as the workings of the front-end of the industrial age, shown to us through the female point of view.

It gives a wealth of information on the illustrious Tiffany family and Louis Comfort Tiffany’s downfall from riches, which was extremely interesting. Since Tiffany’s esteemed (and too expensive) mansion Laurelton Hall finally burned in the 1950s, many records from Tiffany Studios were lost. The letters of Clara Driscoll were a miracle to historical preservation. Vreeland’s ability to use these letters to shine a light on the world of art during the turn of the century is just as miraculous as the history itself and makes this book its own work of art.

I urge you to read more about the book and the history behind it by going online to Susan Vreeland’s website at www.svreeland.com. There are also many historical photos as well as pictures of the many beautiful lamps.

About Susan Vreeland, author:

Susan Vreeland is the internationally known author of art-related historical fiction. Her newest, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, as well as three earlier books, are New York Times Best Sellers. Luncheon of the Boating Party reveals Renoir’s masterpiece, the personalities involved in its making, and the joie de vivre of late nineteenth century Paris. Life Studies is a collection of stories of Impressionist painters and contemporary people encountering art. Girl in Hyacinth Blue traces an alleged Vermeer painting through the centuries. The Passion of Artemisia illuminates Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. The Forest Lover follows rebel British Columbia painter Emily Carr in her encounters with native people and cultures. Three of these books have been winners of the Theodor Geisel Award, the highest honor given by the San Diego Book Awards. Vreeland’s novels have been translated into twenty-six languages, and have frequently been selected as Book Sense Picks. She was a high school English teacher in San Diego for thirty years.

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Interview with Indie Author Caroline Barnard-Smith and a Sneak Peek at “Jinn Nation,” her new vampire novel.

Today my blog is a stop along the “Jinn Nation” Book Tour of UK-based author Caroline Barnard-Smith.  I’m happy to share with you an excerpt of the her newest book and an interview with this Indie author, giving you a little taste into her juicy vampiric mind! We even are giving one e-book copy away to a lucky reader!

 

 Win a FREE E-book!!!

You can win a free e-book of “Jinn Nation” (in any e-format you choose) by reading this entire blog and leaving your comment in the comment section of the blog, by commenting to @ErinAlMehairi on Twitter, or by commenting on Faceboook under the post of this blog on my wall (www.facebook.com/almehairierin). At the end of the week, winner will be randomly drawn from the comments and name and info will be given to the author. Please be sure I know how to reach you if you comment or you will not be eligible.

Read an Excerpt from “Jinn Nation”

Once, the vampire Dylan had feared nothing and no one. He’d rampaged throughout the world on a seemingly never ending quest to fill his eternal years with the finest, most outrageous extravagances; with exquisite, soft-limbed young women and copious amounts of rich, vibrating blood. But life, however full of joy, inevitably changes.

Finding himself alone for the first time in his long unlife, Dylan turns to the preternatural race of savage creatures called the jinn – a path that inevitably leads him to Christa, a strangely childlike woman with the power to control minds and read thoughts. Mutually intrigued by each other, they set out on a blood-soaked road trip that crosses the United States and the Atlantic Ocean, finally leading them beyond the world itself to the mysterious fae kingdoms of the Inbetween.

Click on the excerpt link to be sucked into the story of “Jinn Nation”~ You don’t want to miss this!!! Jinn_Nation_-_Excerpt 

Interview with author Caroline Barnard-Smith

It has been so nice to meet you Caroline. I am very curious about your book and your host of anti-heroic vampires!

Q:  What makes you love to write stories of vampires and bloodlust so passionately?

A:  I think it’s the sense of freedom that attracts me to vampires. They’re not a part of society, they live on the fringes where they can go where they want, be who they want, eat who they want.  There’s also the rock star element, of course. Vampires are bad through and through (or at least they should be) and there’s something innately sexy about that.  As a writer it also gives you permission to be bad, which is far more fun than it probably should be.      
 
Q:  Have you always been writing this genre, or has it been a migration?
 
A:  I started out writing straight urban fantasy, spurred on after reading the newest book by an established urban fantasy author and realising it was so awful, I was sure I could do better (I’m not naming any names but trust me, it was bad!) I never actually found out if I could do better because that particular early novel will spend the rest of it’s sad life buried on my hard drive, but raw and ridiculous as that book was, full of witches and wizards and fairies and elves and anything else I could plagiarise from my favourite fantasy novels, it taught me a lot about the craft of writing. It taught me how to explore characters, how to plot and how to get to the end of a long project, so I actually owe that little book a lot.  

Q:  Tell me about your idea and the creation behind your newest novel….
 
A:  When I started all I had in my head was a scene in the middle of a nighttime American desert where two people, two people with secrets, met in a bar.  I started writing and before long the story turned into a sort of bloody travelogue across the United States and beyond, taking in many of the places I wished I could see but couldn’t afford to visit.  I’ve already talked about the freedom that vampires represent and there’s no freer place than the open road (if I’m to believe the movies, anyway), so putting the two together made Jinn Nation an immensely fun book to write.

Q:  What do you want most for your readers to take away from your book? How do you want them to feel?
 
A:  I know it’s a cliché but I really do write the books I’d like to read, and that certainly doesn’t involve gutless vegetarian vampires who sparkle in the sun; so I suppose I’d like readers to come away from Jinn Nation thinking, “Finally! Someone’s given Dracula his balls back!”  I’ve also tried hard to make my female character, Christa, less of a moaning, pining bore than many of the female characters I see in paranormal fiction these days.  The women in these books are always bemoaning their tragic, fated love lives or readying themselves to jump over some metaphorical cliff at their supernatural boyfriend’s command. They’re too Mary-Sue-like, ie. they’re ridiculously attractive, have every super power under the sun and are probably black belts in karate for no goddamned reason. I desperately wanted to stay away from this, even though Christa does have quite considerable mental powers… Hopefully, readers will think that I’ve succeeded.  

Q:  What was your debut novel, Dunraven Road, about and does it tie in with Jinn Nation?

A:  Dunraven Road does loosely tie in with Jinn Nation because the vampire Dylan stars in both novels, but that’s really where the similarities end. Dunraven Road is a close, oppressive novel, with the action mostly confined to just one street (hence the title!), while Jinn Nation is far broader, global even, and has lighter moments. I wasn’t planning to write about vampires when I started my debut novel.  I set out to write about the experience of living in a small town in your twenties and somewhere along the line, an ancient brotherhood of vampires appeared and forced me to include them.  The vampires were definitely the villains in that novel, leaving the reader to root for the hapless humans who happened to stumble right into their diabolical scheme, but Jinn Nation saw me going back to a format first made popular by Anne Rice that I hold dear to my heart: the vampire as anti-hero.        
 
Q:  What are the differences between traditional publishing and indie publishing? What are the benefits of indie publishing? The hardships?

A:  The biggest difference must be that you have to do absolutely everything yourself, or at least hire someone to do it for you. I’m very lucky to have an excellent proofreader, but after my manuscript came back from her I had to edit my work thoroughly, checking spelling and grammar as well as making sure the plot actually hung together. I then had to learn how to format my work as an ebook and a paperback to be published through a print on demand service. The only aspect I had to draft in extra help for was the cover, because I’m completely hopeless with Photoshop.  A traditional publisher will do all these things for you, but they also don’t give you much control. They might demand changes to your manuscript and you certainly wouldn’t get any input into the typesetting or cover design.  All of this is a lot of hard work, but personally I’ve found the experience immensely satisfying.  The paperback proofs of Jinn Nation were delivered just the other day and being able to hold that beautifully printed book in my hands and think, “I did that”, was fantastic.          
 
Q:  Would you like to tell me about your craft business? Is it just as dark and juicy?

A:  Sadly no! It’s completely different from my literary work. I taught myself how to knit in my early twenties because I wanted something to do with my hands so that I’d stop biting my nails. Since then I’ve become good enough to start writing my own patterns and these are what I sell at CazzCraft.co.uk, along with knitting supplies such as bamboo needles and stitch markers. It’s been a lot of fun and once I’m finished promoting Jinn Nation, I really should get back to work on it and write some new patterns!   
 
Q:  How do you juggle being an author, an artist, and a mom?

A:  Well, my daughter always comes first of course, and then I have to do everything else in moderation. It’s fairly easy to continue pursuing my personal projects at the moment because the Sprogling is only 4 months old. She sleeps a lot of the time or is content to sit with me while I work (one-handed) at the computer, but I’m sure this will all change once she starts running around!   
 
Q:  I hear you have a radio show, what should listeners expect from the show and how do we tune in?

A:  Yes, I had my very own radio show 🙂 It was called Write Around Devon and it aired on my local community radio station once a week. I loved doing it because it was basically just me playing my favourite songs and talking about my favourite subject. I even got to interview quite a few local authors. I gave it up when I was pregnant before I grew too big to fit under the desk (hehe) but I’d love to return to it one day.

Thank you Caroline for sharing about your book and offering advice to us!  Wonderful insight!! You’ve been awesome to talk to and I wish you much success. Stop by again!

For more information on Caroline and her books, go online to:  http://www.carolinebarnardsmith.co.uk and visit her blog at: http://barnardsmith.wordpress.com.

Contact Caroline online also at:

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caroline-Barnard-Smith/83412182938

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/CazzySmith

How do you buy “Jinn Nation”?

Paperback – https://www.createspace.com/3565931

Amazon Kindle USA – http://www.amazon.com/Jinn-Nation-ebook/dp/B0058OE3JC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309947539&sr=8-1

Amazon Kindle UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jinn-Nation-ebook/dp/B0058OE3JC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1309947612&sr=8-1

Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/70355

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The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker is an Engaging Thriller that will Keep You Turning Pages Late Into the Night

Tim Busbey, my much more entertainment savvy fiance, also has a blog on which he writes book reviews (among other writings) and we’ve decided to exchange our reviews on each other’s blogs in hopes that will be helpful to our readers! He is a writer himself, penning a novel in the thriller genre and you can read some of this first chapters also on his blog.  He most recently read Ted Dekker’s latest book “The Priest’s Graveyard” and his guest blog/review is below. If you wish to read his blog further, it is www.timbusbey.wordpress.com.

The Priest’s Graveyard is an Engaging Thriller that will Keep You Turning Pages Late Into the Night
by Tim Busbey, www.timbusbey.wordpress.com

“The Priest’s Graveyard”
By Ted Dekker
Center Street
In Stores Now

If there’s one thing Ted Dekker knows, it’s evil. Not just over-the-top, stereotypical, cartoonish, made-for-movies evil like a lot of writers create. Dekker knows how to get inside the minds of real people and explore that dark place that most of us are afraid to admit even exists. Almost makes you wonder what is going on in Dekker’s brain. Should we be afraid of him? Just kidding, Mr. Dekker. But seriously, he certainly has a gift for mining the depths of despair and depravity that lurk deep in the human soul. In “The Priest’s Graveyard,” Dekker again shows us how seemingly normal people can behave in unimaginable ways when put in the wrong situation.

This time around, the two “normal” people are Renee Gilmore and Danny Hansen. Renee is a recovering heroin addict from a broken home rescued by a knight in shining armor. After nursing her back to health, Renee and her knight fall in love. When he fails to return home from work one day, Renee knows something awful has happened and she becomes intent on gaining vengeance on the man responsible for her husband’s death. Danny is a Bosnian immigrant who saw the brutal murder of his mother and sister during the country’s tragic civil war. Years later, Danny emigrated to America hoping to escape the demons of his past. Now a priest, Danny doles out vengeance on evil men who have so far escaped justice at the hands of our system of justice.

When their paths cross, Danny is pulled into Renee’s quest for justice. At first, Danny attempts to dissuade Renee from continuing on this path, attempting to keep her from becoming like him. Eventually, Danny begins training Renee in his ways of vigilante justice and she proves to be a more than able student. Together, the pair travel down a dangerous, twisting path that leads them both to the edge, and takes them across lines they never thought they’d cross.

Dekker takes the reader on a journey with Renee and Danny, a journey where the characters and the reader alike come to see that love is the answer – not laws or rules or vengeance. Again, as he has become expert at doing, Dekker weaves a brilliant allegory about the true Christian life, a life built on accepting the sacrificial love of Jesus, not following a system of rules and regulations. But he does it in such a way that, for a casual reader, they can simply enjoy the story as a heart-stopping, riveting thriller.

“The Priest’s Graveyard” is an engaging thriller that will keep you turning the pages late into the night. It’s the perfect story for any Dekker fan and any fans of high-adrenaline thrillers.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give “The Priest’s Graveyard” a 4.5.

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