Monday, February 28, 2011

An Interview with J.H. Wear and a Vlog!

Check out this super cool vlog from Elena Solodow, reading an excerpt from A Ranger's Tale! A big thanks to Elena for that one!


***Also, don't forget to comment HERE about your perfect real or fictitious date for your chance to win a free signed copy of my debut novel, A Ranger's Tale!***

Learn more about Jack at!
Welcome to Interview #5, better known as the sci-fi author J.H.(Jack) Wear! His books, "Castle", "Castle 2: The Return to Domum", "Dragons in the Water", and "Shadows and Sensations" can all be found at Melange Books

Let's get rollin. First question:  Your website says you write "Science Fiction with a Heart"--can you tell us what that means?

Science fiction is my favourite genre to read, and I scrutinize any story carefully to see if breaks any scientific laws. However, as my wife points out, the story often is just about technology and doesn’t deal much with the interaction of people. So my tagline, Science Fiction with a Heart, is meant to show I want to include relationships along side of the science and technology part of the story. To me people are social creatures and I want to show that within the story. 

Tell us about yourself--what do you do when you're not writing about sexy sci-fi characters?

Click to order!
Well I do have an interesting job. I own a import company that specializes in New Zealand beverages, such as wine, cider and vodka. It means I have to travel and visit customers in the adult beverage industry. This weekend I’m doing a wine tasting that has about two thousand consumers. In the spare time I do have I like to read, listen to music, have fun with photography and go out for beer and wings with my friends.

The Castle books--looks like a duology--will there be more from the world of Domum? And can you tell us about the world you've created for those?

There will be a third Castle book, titled The New King. Domum is an alternate world. The world of Domum has a small variance in the physical laws of our universe. One is the ability of magic to exist, although the magic is adversely affected by electrical noise and iron. So Domum stays as a medieval world and that gives me some parameters to work with. Dragons and other fable creatures live on Domum and at one time were able to travel to our world, the basis for our legends of them.

What authors / movies / experiences have inspired your sci-fi writing? 

Several authors come to mind. David Brin, Author C Clark, William Gibson and Terry Pratchett all have given me a new way of looking at things. Some movies, like the Butterfly Effect, are interesting but not many to me are captivating. I usually watch movies only to be entertained as I tend to find a flaw in the more serious ones, much to my wife’s annoyance.  

Here's a good question--which book(s) have you had the most fun writing?

I guess it would be Castle, book one. We saw Jon turn from a big meek man into Sir Jon, the Dragon Slayer. On Earth he was quiet without much of a social life, but on Domum he managed to gain the respect of Lords and was the focus of attention within his associates. In book two, I had fun with Council Madoc during his exile on Earth. From a man of great influence on Domum to a man doing magic tricks on Earth he certainly was tested on what was really important to him. 

Can you tell us about any work(s) in progress?

I am waiting for the dreaded edits to begin on Castle three, due for a fall release. I am starting a new fantasy series dealing with a human kingdoms battling for power while witches are slowly trying to become the power behind the throne. I have a couple unfinished stories as well, a detective story and another Sheldon story (Dragons in the Water). I am thinking about writing a couple of short stories soon as I have a few ideas I want to put down.     

And the random question of the day--If you had your choice of any one superpower, what would it be?

To drink more wine without getting drunk. Seriously, I guess the ability to slow down time would be interesting. You could study people and things at your leisure, read a book during a coffee break. Maybe even make that mug of beer stay cold longer.

Finally, Mr. Wear, can you share a short excerpt from one of your published or in progress works?

I would be happy to. This is from Castle, The New King. This except is unedited, so any errors you may find are entirely the editor’s fault for not catching mistakes she has not seen yet.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

50 Followers! You Know What That Means...

Yes! Another book giveaway! I've got my author copies of A Ranger's Tale and one lucky duck will win a signed one, mailed straight to your doorstep. Of course, nothing in life is ever truly free.

So in honor of that thing they call romance, I want you to describe your perfect date right here in the comments section of this post. It could be a real-life or fictitious one, but describe exactly what encompasses a great night with your sweetie. Dinner and a movie? A walk on the beach? Counting stars while lying on a blanket in a field? Details, people! PG, of course.

This isn't a contest, just a random drawing, so don't worry about making the perfect "perfect date" post. I'll keep the drawing open until next Thursday, and then the magic hat will choose the victim winner!

And, please...don't describe your perfect date like this:


Friday, February 25, 2011

An Interview with Author Margo Benson

Learn more about Margo at!

Happy Friday, blog world! Today, I'm interrogating, I mean interviewing, Margo Benson! On her blog, she writes, "I have had flash fiction stories published on and am dreaming of my NaNo novel being made into a film starring Dame Judi Dench and Helena Bonham Carter." You can read some of her paranormal flash pieces on her blog, so head on over. 

Welcome to Unwritten, Margo! Now, tell us about yourself. When you're not dreaming up ghostly or romantic tales, what do you do with your time?

My life is rather chaotic (in a good way!) I design and make jewellery in sterling silver. I taught myself some ancient chain maille weaves, which lend themselves to beautiful patterns. I’m also an aromatherapist and reflexologist – plus, I’m involved in running make up workshops for the cancer charity Look Good Feel Better. All of these are part-time, which gives me time to write and sing in a three piece band, Three Ravens.

I see on your blog that you've had some flash pieces published. Are they romantic or paranormal themed? Where can we find them?

One is kind of romantic and the other is a rather sad observation based on a real event. They can be found at

It also says (yes, I stalk your blog) that you are working on a NaNo novel. What can you tell us about that?

I love being in this story! The plot evolved from a chance ‘What if…?’ What would REALLY happen if some UFOs appeared outside a rural home very early one morning? No big city, no Will Smith saving the world, no hostility. The UFOs only play a small role, the rest is the impact they have on a small town. It’s a quirky romp with a delicious romance woven in. It’s not space-themed in any way 

What authors or books have inspired your writing?

Everything really from A A Milne to Dickens. I love Isabel Allende, Oscar Wilde, Ezra Pound and Penelope Lively. I re-read Harry Potter when I’m ill and Chloe by Freya North if I’m in a dark place.

As you can probably tell, I like to throw in a random question now and then to keep people on their toes. If we were to look inside your refrigerator right now, what would we find?

A mess as I’m a lousy housekeeper! Some West Country mature cheddar cheese, soya milk, uncooked mince ready for a Shepherd’s Pie, some fresh cream and a few tomatoes.

Now, Ms. Benson, could you share a short excerpt of your work (published or in progress)?

I’d be delighted! Here is an excerpt from my short story ‘The Garden Party"

The Garden Party

Alf stood alone in the Oriental garden holding a glass of champagne and gazed up at the town hall. He remembered Jeanette telling him that it was painted green during the war.She had lived in the small upstairs flat as a child, the rooms now used for the council’s archives. Alf had enjoyed having to find some obscure council minutes up there, imagining Jeanette’s childhood. Her father had been the fire warden for the council and her mother a well-known local seamstress. The Murphy’s had moved into the centre of town when there was no more need for a fire warden.

Alf had been nineteen and arriving for his interview at Halewood and Gaines when he saw Jeanette behind the large wooden desk where she skilfully answered the phone, connected several patchcords and had a welcoming smile for him. She had wished him luck, giving him a wink and, when the job was his, was the first person he saw on his first day.

“Jeanette Murphy!” shouted his mother when he described the company personnel he had met so far. “A harlot allowed to work in a respectable place such as Halewood and Gaines? You stay away from her…..and those…those wild tinkers!” The bread and butter dropped from Alf’s hand in shock at his mother’s vitriol. “I’ve worked hard to keep you away from people like Mariah and Aengus Murphy. Them with their singing and carrying on!”

Thank you, Margo, for taking the time to share a few things with us today. I wish you much success!

Thank you for having me, I’ve had a brilliant time!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's a Love / Hate Thing

Don't get me wrong. I love my WIP. I'm attached to my characters. They're like my fictitious wayward children that I must shepherd to their happy ending. Except sometimes I lack the oomph, the spark if you will, that existed when I first began their tale.

Is this what you call stalling? Burning out? I know where the story needs to go (for the most part), but sitting down to write it sometimes feels like work. Yes, writing is work, I know, but I find myself procrastinating more often than actually writing, and that makes me sad.

So far, I've written a couple of short stories, which seem to flex the old writerly muscles, and I've finished up a writing course and signed up for more. Then, sometimes I feel guilty for those endeavors, like my characters are standing around, tapping their feet, hands on their hips, yelling, "Hey! What about us?"

I did manage to write a whole chapter yesterday, which got my gears turning. I am determined to get this draft finished so I can go back and really make it shine. Except, I may need a few diversions between now and then. That's just how I roll, I guess.

Do you ever reach that point where the writing feels too much like work? What do you do when that happens?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Interview with Author T.D. Jones

Visit T.D.'s blog at!
Kickin off our third author interview is T.D. Jones, author of "Hot Days" (available at Melange Books), a book of two novelettes that I had the pleasure to read recently. Thanks for visiting us, Ms. Jones. Let the games begin!

Please tell us a little about yourself, T.D. Family, kids, grandkids?

I’m a few months from being forty-nine. I have two grown daughters.  I became “Bumper” 6 months ago to a grandson and I can’t imagine having a greater job than being a grandma.  I work full-time at a hospital.

The first story, "Who Put Grandpa In The Garden!" is hilarious, and the second, "The Cockeyed Sheriff from Crockett County" involves a very strange crime scene. I'm dying to know, do you have personal experiences that inspired the stories in "Hot Days"?

For the Grandpa story, a friend was telling me about how his family member’s ashes were still in the closet after many years, well of course my imagination took off running and came up with the story line.

For the Cockeyed Cowboy story I don’t know of anything that really happened like that story line but I did work in the Medical Examiner’s office for five years when it was located in the hospital and loved it, so I think I’m always looking to put a crime scene and a dead body in a story.

When you're not writing about strange crimes and laugh-out-loud family squabbles, what do you like to do with your time?

Read, needlepoint, gardening.

Are you working on any stories now, and if so, can you tell us a little about it (or them)?

Right now I’m working on a mystery series called Tootles McGee Mysteries. The first one is “Dead is Dead.” Tootles is the neighborhood sweet, little lady who loves bourbon soaked fruit cake and touts a gun. She somehow always manages to help solve local crimes.

Here's the random question of the day--If you were stuck on an island by yourself, what three things would you want with you?

Potatoes, I love potatoes. A pen that never runs dry and endless amounts of paper.  I know I would want to write about being on an island with a gorgeous man I just happen to come across while running from the local tribe trying to kidnap me...LOL...always creating that storyline.

Finally, Ms. Jones, could you share a short excerpt from one of your stories or even a work in progress?

This is from “Who Put Grandpa In The Garden!”

      “I said I took care of him.” She shut her eyes really tight.
      “What?” her sister screeched, “What do you mean you took care of him? Chelsea, what have you done. How could you make a decision on your own? Oh, my god, what have you done?”
      “Grandma called me this morning at work and asked me to come by and get him, so I did.”
      “Oh, thank heavens. You just took him home with you. I thought you did something drastic with him." Margaret paused, “Like the time Mom asked you to clean the fish and you scrubbed the scales right off those poor, little gold fish.”
      “She didn’t say bowl. She should have said fish bowl. Chelsea hollered into the phone.
      “Face it Chelsea, you do have a tendency to screw up the simplest things,” Margaret stated.
      She rolled her eyes. Her sister, ‘little miss perfect’ always had to point that out.
      “So?” Margaret asked.
      “So what, Margaret?”
      “Chelsea, so you brought Grandpa home with you?”
      “Uh, huh.” Chelsea mumbled.
      “Chelsea?” Margaret questioned.
      “What Margaret?” Her voice cracked.
      “You’re not telling me everything. I can tell because your voice always cracks when you are nervous.”
      “I brought him home, and now he’s in the garden,” Chelsea whispered.
      “What? Did you say the garden?” Margaret demanded.

Thank you very much, T.D, for your time today, and I wish you much success in the future!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Things I Have Learned...

I think I'll make this a semi-regular theme. Straight to you from the fount of useless knowledge that is Mysti.

Recently, I've been seeing some really negative posts here and there when someone has been unhappy with a critique or a review. I understand their pain. I really do. I've had my share of "This is total crap," comments too. Even less nasty things sting. Still does. It pricks my spirit to think that I didn't convey what I so desperately wanted to convey to a particular reader or critiquer.

But, what I've learned (and am still learning), is that at least they took the time to read what I wrote! That's huge--really. They could easily just overlook it and go about their day to find something more suitable to their tastes. Instead, they sat down and took the time to read and offer feedback or a review. I'm learning to be immensely grateful for just that.

About the feedback--sometimes it's not all rosy, and if I'm getting something critiqued, then, I really hope it isn't, because NO story is 100% perfect. I need to see where I've veered off the wrong path, no matter how small in terms of grammar or plot. What I'm learning to look for is consistencies. If five people point out that X doesn't work for them, then I probably should change that. Ultimately, it's up to me, the author to accept or reject the advice, BUT I have to first be grateful to have received it.

First thing to do when you get a negative critique or review? Just say "Thank you." The person has taken the time to read your work and offer feedback. If it's stung, stop right there before you bash their efforts. A simple "Thank you" is good enough. Take a few days, calm down a bit. If you still feel the need, privately message the person to ask exactly what didn't work and what they would suggest to change. And then say "Thank you" again.

It's how we grow. We write, we fail, we edit, we fail again, we edit again, and before long, we finally start to get more positive remarks than negative ones. It's just like any other craft. We get what we give, so if we're serious about writing, then by golly, stay on the ride and hang on tight!

Now get to writing!

Monday, February 21, 2011

An Interview with Author Mila Ramos

Visit to learn more about Mila.
It's Monday, but fret not, dear blog followers, for we have another fine author visiting us today. Meet Mila Ramos, author of  the anthology "Echoes and Illusions", "The Seventh Legend" (in the Dark Pleasures anthology), and "The Watchers" (in the Strange Desires anthology). All of these can be found at!

Thanks for stopping by, Mila. First, tell us about Mila. What do you like to do when you're not writing fantastic tales? What makes you tick?

I'm actually a chemist, so when I'm not writing I'm working in the lab trying not to lose my mind and throw my work out the window. Some days the work drives me nuts, other days its the best adventure ever. Usually happens when you love something as much as I do chemistry and writing. But normally the essential component of my day is coffee,the delicious java. I can't function without a cup

What authors have inspired you over the years? What do you like to read?

When I have time to read, I usually like to read JR Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood and Fallen Angels Series or Karen Marie Moning's Highlander Series and Fever Series. I have always loved their books and find them to be amazing writers.  After I get my fix from these authors I venture to different others like Katherine Neville who wrote The Eight.I think I've read that book at least ten times and it still intrigues me. Dan Brown is another favorite, Nora Roberts, Caridad Pineiro, Bertrice Small...I have too many books that its impossible to state right now. 

Let's hear about your latest release, "Echoes and Illusions". Looks like "The Watchers" and "The Seventh Legend" also appear in this anthology. Do the other two stories have similar themes?

Yes, they all carry a paranormal feel. Each carry a theme that echoes all through out the book, and each story states an element that isn't really there about each characters. Whether it be their emotions for another person or the way the go about finding the truths about their world.  I was actually reading the story Reel-to-Real to my husband the other night. He knows my stories are out but hasn't been able to read my stories because of his own work load. He then asked me to read Echoes & Illusions to him at bed.  I have never had someone ask me as many questions about each story as much as he has done. He is also now on my butt to finish one of the stories because he is truly interested to them and wants to hear more.

Do you currently have a work in progress, and can you tell us a little about it?

As of last night the works in progress list increased with my husband's request. But here are a few of my works in progress:

Dual Natures
Madelyn Wagner is a woman of prestigious pedigree, and it drives her crazy. When she crosses path with Cole Treunmhor, she learns that sometimes life isn’t so much about what you’re made of, but more of who you really have become.

Glass of Infinity 
“To see a world in a grain of sand and hold eternity for an hour.” – William Blake

They are a special sect given the ability to harness the power of time and use it wisely.  Gifted with powerful and special paranormal gifts including the power to travel through time, the sacred group Divinas upholds the laws and tenements of their order and of the planet they guard. With their constant vigil of time past, present and future, they take their responsibility as well as the possible consequences with serious regard.  When an imbalance within the order starts the downward spiral of destruction, a unique Divina strives to bring peace.

The Snow Queen 
When Adrienne Harris opens an anonymous gift, her world changes..literally.  Kyle Farrell has spent all his time and energy searching for that perfect woman who would understand him and his gifts. When he meets Adrianne, he knows she doesn’t belong in his world, but in order to send her back, he must awaken her to what she has given up.

Now, here's a totally random question: What is one thing that most people don't know about you?

Well that's an easy one, not many people know I'm a belly-dancer.  I think it does not really go with what one thinks of a chemist. Then to find out the chemist is a writer tends to throw a few people a bit back, but to add that that same chemist-writer is a bellydancer, that tends to spin circles a few times. Personally I like doing that, but that's just one of my fun little quirks.

Finally, would you share a short excerpt from one of your published stories or a work in progress?

This is my work in progress; Glass of Infinity.  (copyrighted work)

“To see the world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity for an hour.”
            As the author William Blake has stated, in my hands I hold infinity and the knowledge of the ancients.  My life before is a blur, many of the High Priestesses know a greater magic has played with my memories. 
            I know much about the stars and celestial motions, about the essential nature of entities, about the powers of the immortal gods. Taught the traditional doctrine of the soul's immortality, I have watched the world and its remarkable change. The human mind is outstanding when challenged to its infinite possibilities. Visiting the world many times over, it still holds majestic beauty.
            The flowing of a stream of water, the journey of the sun from rising to setting, the wind blowing through the day setting motion to life.  Each vision of beauty has held an answer.  Mysterious visions giving responses resulting in a new light to unconquered paths waiting for exploration.  All these roads have led me to where I am now.
            My name is Aurora Stannon and I am a Divina. Born to this life, I am a guardian of time and her secrets.  I protect and aid those in need and strike deep into the heart of those who use fear as their weapon. I have come to love this life, though it took time. I have revered it with humbling adulation.  Perseverance and dedication has led to the control needed. In doing so, with ancient times I join the ranks of generations before and bear the sacred mark of the Divinas.  

Mila, again, thanks for visiting us today, and I wish you much success in the future!

Thank you for having me!

Friday, February 18, 2011

An Interview with Author Ruth J. Hartman

Good morning Bloggers! We're kicking off the first author interview at Unwritten today! Please welcome Ruth J. Hartman, author of "My Life in Mental Chains" (available at Amazon), "Pillow Talk" (available at Class Act Books) , and "Flossophy of Grace"(available at Melange Books).

Thanks for visiting, Ruth. Now, let's start with a little bit about yourself. When you're not writing, what do you do? What do you like to do?

My husband and I are homebodies. We like to hang out at home and read, watch movies, or use our computers. And our two cats are always there with us, too.

Where do you get the inspiration for your stories? Any funny tales to tell about that?

Since most of my romances have to do with dentistry in some way, I’ve gotten several of my ideas for books from my experiences as a hygienist. For “Pillow Talk” about a tooth fairy who falls in love with her dentist, I got some funny stuff from a little girl who said she had actually seen the tooth fairy in her room the night before. I looked at her mom who was trying really hard not to laugh out loud. Obviously, Mom had been a little noisy trying to carry out her tooth fairy duties.

Tell us about your latest release, "Flossophy of Grace". I'm itchin' to read it.

It’s about a dental hygienist (gee, I wonder where that idea came from?) who falls in love with her patient. When her mean boss finds out, he threatens her with losing her job if he finds out she’s still seeing the patient. Grace and Bruce, the two main characters, sneak around to try to see each other, but when that isn’t working out so great, they come up with a plan to see each other right under her boss’ nose. Bruce makes all kinds of appointments with Grace at the office for stuff he doesn’t need, just so they can spend time together.

How about a little bit about your next story idea or work in progress?

The one I’m working on now revolves around two dentists who compete for all the dental patients in their small town. But they can’t seem to fight their growing attraction for each other. 

Finally, a question off the beaten path:  If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

 Sandra Bullock, no question. She’s my favorite actress.

And to whet our appetites, Ms. Hartman, would you post a short excerpt from one of your published stories or even a work in progress?

Here’s an excerpt from “Flossophy of Grace”

Grace loved kids. She really did. They were funny and sweet, and loud and annoying. They asked the most interesting, offbeat questions. And she normally looked forward to doing their prophies (cleanings) since their tiny mouths had less square footage than most adults’ gunky ones. But sometimes the little people tended to tell her way too many intimate details about their parents she’d rather not know. Ever. And they all seemed intensely hyper today. The hooligans who weren’t bouncing like pogo sticks were playing trampoline on the waiting room chairs. Had their parents given them all ultra doses of Mountain Dew before their appointments? That would be wrong on so many levels. She’d had enough of the little guys for today. It was usually a nice reprieve from a day full of adults, but enough was enough. They had worn her down to a frazzled nubbin. 

She looked at her yellow cat-face clock on the wall. It was almost time. In forty-five blessed minutes, she’d be finished with her last patient of the day. Thank goodness! It couldn’t come soon enough. Whoever it was, she wanted them done and scooted out the door, toothbrush in hand, as soon as possible. The only thing she knew about her next patient was that it was a man, and that he was fairly new to town. Other than that, she had no clue what to expect. Grace desperately hoped he wasn’t one of those men who thought he was good-looking in his plaid pants, white belt, and bad toupee. She always had a hard time holding back a snicker in those situations. She grabbed the last, lonely chart from the pink plastic holder on the wall and wearily called out the name. 

“Bruce Gardener?”

As Grace looked up to greet her new patient, the sight that entertained her eyes nearly knocked her on her size-twelve backside. Good grief, he was gorgeous.

Many, many thanks to you, Ruth, and I do hope we will be seeing much more of you in the future!

Monday, February 14, 2011

To All The Writers I've Loved Before...

My blog is itching for some excitement. Therefore, I'm doing a shout out to see if any of you lovely writers would like to be interviewed here. Not that I have a huge following, but I'm adding a few each week, and I post on Facebook my author page via Networked Blogs. I also post blog links at Critique Circle, and often on my publisher's yahoo group page. So, you might get a little more exposure.

The interview will consist of just a few basic questions, and I might even have you send an excerpt of your work to post here as well. Plus, I'm steadily reading and doing book reviews, which you'll continue to see here. I'm not taking requests for those yet, as my time is limited, and I'm a notoriously slow reader.

But, for now--if anyone wants an interview, please leave a comment, or send me a message via the link at the top right. And away we'll go!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Final Curtain Call

Here's a short story I submitted to Angie's Diary. Grab a cup of Joe and enjoy a free read! Comments always welcome.

Friday, February 11, 2011

RANDOMfest Blogfest Entry

At Loralie Hall's blog, we've got yet another fun blogfest. Look through your hard drive, find those random story ideas/snippets you started way back when, and enter through the end of TODAY! Yeah, I'm a last minute girl, what can I say? Anyway, here's my entry. It's a story idea I got from the song "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You" by Heart. It's the opening paragraph I thought up on the fly. And it's gone no where since. Enjoy!
File: All I Ever Wanted.rtf

New story:  Potential title--All I Ever Wanted, inspired by the song, "All I Want to Do is Make Love to You".

 One of the first things I ever remember my mother saying was, "Children are a blessing, a gift from God."  All throughout my blissful childhood, I could see the truth in her words.  My seven brothers, three sisters, and I, filled her days with joy and busyness.  Hardly once did she ever raise her voice above a firm tone.  She loved us all equally and, though we each had our own childhood playmates, all of us siblings were the fastest of friends.  As each one grew and left home, I longed for life as it was when we still clung to our mother's skirts.  I realized as soon as my oldest sister gave birth to her first child, that the only way to recreate that idyllic seting was to marry and have children of my own.  So, when Angus Callaway, twenty years my senior, came calling, I pleaded with my father to allow our marriage.  He was hesitant, as Angus was so much older, and he, I can see now, whereas I did not back then, understood my impetuous nature.  He feared I would regret my decision, but as so often was the case, my stubborn charm won him over, and Angus and I were married on a lovely April day.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Catch Me TONIGHT at The Romance Studio

*EDIT: My mombie brain forgot what day it is. Chat is TONIGHT! 9 pm EST :)

The talented authors from Melange Books, including me, will be available for chat TONIGHT at The Romance Studio, 9pm EST. Tune in, chat, ask questions, have fun!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review of "Hot Days" by T.D. Jones

Pick up a copy from Melange Books!
This week, I had the pleasure of reading T.D. Jones' Hot Days, which is actually an anthology of two novella-length stories.

"Who Put Grandpa in the Garden!" opens with a problem. Chelsea's grandma needs her to do something with Grandpa. He ends up in her garden--but not in the way one would expect. This sets off a chain of events that makes everyone have to come to terms with some older family issues. This was a warm-hearted story, full of humor that made me laugh out loud numerous times. Chelsea's crazy family hit close to home (ahem), but her experiences as a nurse and as a woman who wants to have a baby really touched my heart. Chelsea herself is all heart and cares deeply for all those around her. She's a very sympathetic character. Her husband Sam is the kind of guy everyone wants, though he's goofed up a bit in this story.

"The Cockeyed Cowboy From Crockett County" features a lonely sheriff who's been unlucky in love. Will Tanner has been unlucky three times, actually. And after three ex-wives, he's sworn off love forever. When one of those ex's calls him to say her dog has brought home something very strange, he's forced into a case with the beautiful investigator Isadora Reeves. Isadora has her own demons, but she proves to be Will's match in every way. Despite their resolve to remain single, they're drawn together as they work to solve this unusual case. I was surprised to be so sympathetic to a character with three ex-wives, but Will came across as a lovable hunk of a sheriff who just hasn't found the right girl until now.

The only thing lacking in both stories were some grammatical issues and typos here and there, and the conflicts could have been a little more challenging for the characters to overcome. Overall, though, the lovable characters endeared me to them right away. The strongest point of both stories was the humor, which Ms. Jones generously infused throughout. It's rare that I read stories that make me laugh and touch my heart all the way through.

Click the link below the picture to order a copy of "Hot Days"!

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Review of "A Ranger's Tale"!

Thank you to T.D. Jones, author of "Hot Days" (which I'll be reviewing shortly) for the first review of "A Ranger's Tale". She writes:

As I settled in bed with a warm cup of coffee and a book called A Ranger’s Tale by Mysti Parker, I was expecting a good story. I didn’t expect to not be able to quit reading it until the last page. I was so intrigued with the details of the story and the adventures Caliphany Aranea, a high elf from the world of Tallenmere has. When Cali falls in love with ranger and ship captain Galadin Trudeaux, I found myself happy for them and wanting to keep reading to see what happens next. Believe me when I say, there are surprises in this book I never saw coming. That to me is writing at its best.

Ms. Parker writes A Ranger’s Tale with such clarity I felt like I was standing in the shadows of the room watching the chapters play out.  I love how the writer lets the reader get to know each character and learn what they are thinking. 

If you are looking for a love story that takes you beyond the heart then A Ranger’s Tale is a great book to read.  

Reviewed by Teresa D. Jones
This review is posted on and Melange-book reviews on face book and on Melange-books. Yahoo group.

Things I'm Learning, Sometimes the Hard Way

As a writer and a mom, I learn new things every single day. Wouldn't it be an injustice to society if I didn't share my wisdom with you? Hey, I heard that! Well, I'm sharing anyway. Get another cup of coffee and pretend you care.

1. Don't waste money on name-brand diapers. The store-brand ones work fine. I'll probably hear from a mama that those cheap diapers cause a terrible rash on little Johnny's tooshie. In your case, skip to #2. For everyone else, I figure we've spent about $3 billion on diapers already in the nine years since we've had children. Why not get more diapers for the money?

2. Learn to self-edit. Yes, I did just jump to a writing topic. By golly, I'll do it again too. I like to keep people on their toes. So, yes, self-edit! You cannot depend on your editor / publisher / retired high school English teacher to find all your typos. The best thing you can do is find a good circle of writer friends--get as many of them to read/critique for you and return the favor. Different sets of eyes will catch different mistakes. One person may be better at pointing out grammar issues, while another is great at catching those plot holes. Reading and critiquing regularly will also help you learn to find those flubs in your own work. And--READ OUT LOUD! Yes, take your story in another room if you must and read that baby out loud. You'll catch things much easier that way.

3. If you're a mom or plan to be some day, you will feel guilt from the moment the child is conceived or brought home if adopted. I think it's the sudden realization that another human being's life is now in your hands. Every choice we make can potentially affect that little bundle of joy. Therefore, guilt is born, right along with little Johnny. Get used to it.

4. You can spend hundreds of dollars on writing classes that may not help you any more than a free writing course. Look around. Try out a few. Read reviews about them. Ask other writers what classes they've taken. Just know that shelling out cash will not necessarily turn you into Steinbeck. The best thing you can do is write, write, write. And read, of course--see how other people do it. Try to find books of the same genre you like to write. Get to know authors who write those genres or write in a similar style.

5.  Nothing on earth is better than the sweet hugs and kisses of an adorable two-year old. You just can't beat it. Find the nearest two-year old and get a hug (with mom's permission if the kid isn't yours--otherwise, you'll just look creepy). Then, prepare for sweetness overload.

That's all for now. Aren't you glad you stuck around? Don't you feel smarter? Well, fine, be that way. I'll just be sitting here getting kisses from my two-year old. I know you're jealous.

Friday, February 4, 2011

We have a winner!

We have a winner! The Magic Hat has chosen Onalee! She'll receive a free .pdf of "A Ranger's Tale" and a $10 certificate to All Romance Thanks to everyone for entering.

Now, I'm sharing my all-time favorite love song. Yes, the incomparable George Jones and "He Stopped Loving Her Today". Such a powerful song that sings of unrequited love that only death can quell.

Stay tuned for more raffles. Print copies will be coming my way soon, so that means a lucky few will win a signed copy of "A Ranger's Tale". Keep checking in, and I post regularly on Facebook too. If you would like to friend me there, you can keep track of all my posts here.  Until next time...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review of "Onet's Tale" by Jack Eason

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Imagine slaving in a mine on a distant planet, where each swing of your pick throws poisonous dust into the air that will kill you in a few months time from breathing it. This is where "Onet's Tale" opens, but it doesn't stay there long. This epic sci-fi tale from Jack Eason includes a large cast of characters from various planets, including the human/nephile Akhen and Khan, who is a Drana. Once enemies, the two band together to escape the mine and start a rebellion that eventually leads to a war that spans years and galaxies.

The story itself is narrated by Onet, who happens to be a Khaz. Think little gray alien guy that might land in Area 51. Except Onet is albino and has red eyes. He's watching all this unfold, waiting for his chance to stop the evil that his own kind started, which spread through a goddess-type being called Shu, and continued through her horrible creations of berserker warriors.

Murder, war, and mayhem reign throughout this book, while the main characters try very hard to live normal lives. Their efforts are always ripped out from under them, and I sympathized with the tortuous events they lived through. On the other hand, I kept wishing for more character depth. I'm really partial to character-driven novels, and this one seems mostly plot-driven. For me, I would have liked to have been inside the characters' heads more, really feeling what they feel.

If you like sci-fi packed with battles,  futuristic weapons and modes of transport, you'll like "Onet's Tale". Pick up your copy at today!