I bought We Are Not Alone (WANA, as I call it), by Kristin Lamb, on the recommendations of Dee Dee Scott and several other authors (Waving at the WG2E...moreI bought We Are Not Alone (WANA, as I call it), by Kristin Lamb, on the recommendations of Dee Dee Scott and several other authors (Waving at the WG2E), after seeing something called a ‘Tweet’ with #WANA in it. Being a newly published author, and a complete social media neophyte, I knew I needed help. I wanted to be sure I was doing things properly, and with so many powerful endorsements, Kristin seemed just the gal to set me straight. I started reading WANA with all of the joy and expectations that one might feel opening a computer programming textbook. I was, as you might guess, very pleasantly surprised within the first few pages. Kristin teaches in exactly the way I like to learn.
1. She begins with ‘Why’, as in “Why do I need to bother with all of this ‘Social Media’ voodoo, anyway?” 2. Next comes the ‘What’, as in “Ok, I’m sold. Now what should I do?” 3. Finally, she gives us the ‘How’, as in “Step One: go to this website. Step two, click that button…”, only she does it much better than I am describing. Trust me.
The writing is flawless and entertaining, the content is well laid out, and the material is explained in clear terms with pictures, screenshots, and (don’t you love eBooks?) links to helpful websites and utilities. She took a fairly dry subject (sorry Mr. Zuckerberg), and not only made it interesting, but got me excited about it, and eager to explore the Twitterverse.
Before I read this book, I thought that “social media” was political commentary, websites were made with magic smoke, and a platform was the secret ingredient in my special shoes. Now, I know better, and I’ll be posting all about it next week on my Blog, which will update to my webpage, my Facebook Author page, and MySpace. Don’t worry! I’ll tweet the links.
I am a real stickler for giving honest ratings and reviews, so these five stars are not a giveaway. The only problem I have with this book, is that I didn’t read it six months before releasing my own book, and after all this book has done for me, that’s just not worth taking a star away. If you are an author, or want a step by step guide to building your social media platform, go get this book. And tell it Greg sent you. (less)
That Ghoul Ava is an original, witty peek into the world of the supernatural that will leave you with a fond smile smile every time you think of eatin...moreThat Ghoul Ava is an original, witty peek into the world of the supernatural that will leave you with a fond smile smile every time you think of eating zombie flesh. This book simultaneously pokes fun at the horror genre while creating an entirely new mythology to explain what most of us think we know about vampires, zombies, ghouls, witches, and just about every other supernatural creature you can think of. Throw in a ton of 80's pop-culture references, and you get one of my favorite books of the year. Ava and Lisa are terrific characters, and I can't wait for more of their adventures.(less)
Jade O’Reilly and the Twelve Days of Christmas is a charming short story about my new favorite Private Detective. I first met Jade when I read Jade O’...moreJade O’Reilly and the Twelve Days of Christmas is a charming short story about my new favorite Private Detective. I first met Jade when I read Jade O’Reilly and the Graveyard Shift, Ms. Ward’s submission to the Tales From the Mist anthology, (which, in the spirit of full disclosure, also included one of my stories). Graveyard Shift was a delightfully spooky haunted house tale that literally had my pulse racing, and it was a wonderful introduction to Jade and her fictional hometown of Sweetwater, NC.
I enjoyed her Halloween story so much, that I purchased this one the day of its release. Ms. Ward captures the charm (and the warts) of small town Southern life with style. Not only do I feel like I grew up in Sweetwater, I want to keep going back.
Jade is a fun, clever, and eminently likeable character, and this light hearted Christmas mystery will help put you in the spirit of the season, no matter what time of year you read it. If you’re more the “Bah! Humbug” type, fear not! You’ll get a kick out Jade’s client, too; bless her heart. Either way, I recommend this short story to anyone who enjoys a fun, quick-paced mystery, or has a thing for plaid-lined combat boots and plastic utensils. I’ll see you in Sweetwater! (less)
Catie Rhodes’ debut novel, Forever Road, is one of the rare books that gets it all right. The characters and setting are well crafted, and made me nos...moreCatie Rhodes’ debut novel, Forever Road, is one of the rare books that gets it all right. The characters and setting are well crafted, and made me nostalgic for the small South Carolina town where I grew up. The romantic tension was just right for my taste, and the murder-mystery elements were solid and had me changing my mind regularly on who I thought “done it.”
Beyond the true to life characters, the mystery and a setting that feels like another character in itself, Forever Road is written in a consistent tone, perfectly seasoned with wit and a few laugh-out-loud moments, with a supernatural element that adds both levity and some really spooky scenes. The entire package feels more like the work of a veteran novelist than a new writer’s debut. Well written and beautifully edited, this story puts Catie on my Must Read list, and I’m eager for her next title. (less)
The Consuming by Rhonda Hopkins is the story of young professional woman who inherits her crazy uncle's sprawling Carolina mansion. It's a premise tha...moreThe Consuming by Rhonda Hopkins is the story of young professional woman who inherits her crazy uncle's sprawling Carolina mansion. It's a premise that offers everything I love in a scary story. We have a strong, yet vulnerable main character going back to her roots in a small Southern town, a mysterious old mansion, and a family history of insanity to cast a shadow of doubt over the spooky stuff I know waits in the pages ahead.
In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know that I was one of the lucky few to read this story before its release in the "Tales from the Mist" anthology in October, 2012, and that I was privileged to have one of my stories published in the same anthology. There are no spoilers here, so you can experience every well-crafted shock and OMG moment "The Consuming" has to offer.
Ms. Hopkins has taken the classic components of a solid haunted house tale and engineered a piece of literary horror with a wonderfully spooky vibe. There is a journey of self-discovery that mirrors the protagonist's exploration of the house and its history, giving us very well developed and sympathetic character. The house, itself, also feels like a living character; perhaps a well-disguised homage to Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher." As the plot unfolds at a perfect pace, we get to enjoy the building the sense of peril as Serena learns bit, by frightening bit, of the truth, until the climactic moment when she realizes what she's...
Well, I won't spoil it for you.
With a conclusion you won't see coming until it's too late, this story delivers on every promise. As with all great stories, "The Consuming" will haunt you long after you've finished reading. Ms. Hopkins masterfully leaves us with just enough of an open ending to make us want more. With a permanent place on my "Favorites" shelf, I still treat myself to a re-read when I feel like enjoying a bit of a scare.(less)
I must admit that this title decorated my Kindle for over a year before I read the first sentence. My preconceptions about The Anvil of the Craftsman...moreI must admit that this title decorated my Kindle for over a year before I read the first sentence. My preconceptions about The Anvil of the Craftsman as a Christian novel kept me from starting what I feared would be a thin veneer of a story wrapped around a preachy message. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Dale Amidei has masterfully, almost magically created the total literary package. This book is meticulously edited and formatted, and thoroughly researched. The level of detail goes beyond building an utterly believable world. It pulled me into the story so seamlessly that some of the scenes feel more like personal memories than something I read.
With a fairly large cast of characters, I am impressed by the apparent ease with which Mr. Amidei gives each a distinct voice, not only making them real, but making them so engaging that I feel like I know them, both the good guys and the baddies.
What I did NOT get from this book was any confirmation of my foolish preconceptions about this genre. This is a beautifully crafted, exciting, thought provoking ride, and any true master of his craft, Mister Amidei makes it look easy. I could kick myself for not reading it sooner. This author has jumped right to the top of my Must Read list.(less)