Sunday, September 30, 2012

Taking the Fantasy Proneness Plunge

I like fantasy. I like to read while lying prone on the sofa (kindles are so much better than desktop computers for this). And I'm plunging into the world of being a published author (though Divide by Zero is a contemporary drama, no fantasy there). But what is fantasy proneness, and dare we take the plunge? You've got to admit Steve Finegan has a catchy title there for his guest post on my blog and I'm delighted to welcome him here. You'll be delighted too as you read his article (below) and learn to measure how fantasy prone you are.

Steve Finegan is writer living in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of INTO THE MIST: SILVER HAND, the first book in a two-part series (the second book is due out next year) that features Gabe, a young hero with epilepsy, whose best friend Ellie thinks his “weird brain” gives him supernatural powers. This novel explores the hidden gifts and abilities many of us possess, as well as the misty border realm between fantasy and reality.

I reviewed Into the Mist: Silver Hand a little while ago (click the link for my review) and I've just enjoyed a fascinating visit to Steve Finegan's website ( Meanwhile, I really enjoyed this guest post from Steve. I hope you will too. Over to you Steve...

Taking the Fantasy Proneness Plunge 

“An excess of childhood is the germ of a poem.” – Gaston Bachelard

Think about this for a second: there are people—kids  especially—who can venture into other worlds in much the same way Alice plunges down the rabbit hole into Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland), or Lucy climbs into that old mothball-smelling wardrobe and walks straight into Narnia (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe).


The real-world people who can do this kind of thing are called fantasy prone, a psychological condition said to be behind everything from imaginary childhood friends to grand adventures in fantastic realms and even mystical experiences.

The whole idea that some people might be considered clinically fantasy prone was the brainchild of psychologists Sheryl C. Wilson and Theodore X. Barber, who came up with the concept while studying hypnotic suggestibility back in the early 1980s.

Wilson and Barber observed that their research subjects often showed an over-the-top tendency to fantasize. This got the two so excited that they sat down with these folks and picked their brains about everything from their childhood beliefs in fairies and other imaginary creatures to the number of hours a day each of them spent daydreaming, and much more.

From these interviews, Wilson and Barber developed a list of 14 characteristics of the fantasy prone personality. The two psychologists considered anyone having six or more of their identified characteristics worthy of being called fantasy prone.

Do you think you might be fantasy prone? To find out, see if you match up with six or more of the following traits...

1. Being an excellent hypnotic subject.
2. Having imaginary playmates as a child.
3. Fantasizing frequently as a child.
4. Adopting a fantasy identity.
5. Experiencing imagined sensations as real.
6. Having vivid sensory perceptions.
7. Reliving past experiences.
8. Claiming psychic powers.
9. Having out-of-body or floating experiences.
10. Receiving poems, messages, etc., from spirits, higher intelligences, and the like.
11. Being involved in “healing.”
12. Encountering apparitions.
13. Experiencing hypnagogic hallucinations (waking dreams).
14. Seeing classical hypnagogic imagery (such as spirits or monsters from outer space).

I didn’t quite make it over the bar. All I can say for certain is that I fantasized a lot as a child, and part of this was pretending to be various characters out of the books I read. I especially enjoyed playing Alexander the Great and conquering the world with my broomstick spear and garbage-can-lid shield, but that was more playacting than it was adopting a fantasy identity. The terrors of the night were more likely to conjure up fantasies in my young mind. There was this hat rack in the hall outside my bedroom door that used to stalk me at night, and I heard whispered voices and footsteps in the attic above my bed, but I think this sort of thing is pretty typical.

How’d you make out?

Turns out a number of studies have found an overlap between certain types of mental illness (e.g., dissociation disorder) and fantasy proneness. Of course, like many so-called disabilities, fantasy proneness also might be considered an ability or gift. It has been suggested that people who are predisposed to be fantasy prone also demonstrate high degrees of creativity and include actors, artists, and writers.

Just in case you were wondering where Steve got his facts from, here are some sources to prove this is genuine research:


Merckelbach, H., Horselenberg R., Muris, P. (2001). The Creative Experiences Questionnaire (CEQ): a brief self-report measure of fantasy proneness. Personality and Individual Differences, 31 (2001) 987-995.

Novella, Steven (2007, April 3). The Fantasy Prone Personality. Message Posted to

So, are you fantasy prone? I think I almost am. Thank you for introducing me to the concept Steve nd for visiting my blog--oh, and for letting me read and review your book!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friends, e-friends and books

Divide by Zero's blog tour is visiting Andi's Realm today with a post on friends, e-friends and acquaintances. In a world just before the internet, neighbors made friends made community. But what's your community now? Go to and see what you think.

If Divide by Zero reverses the village-to-raise-a-child dynamic, Donovan Galway's Indian Nation might equally reverse the European invasion of the Americas. My publisher,, is offering it free on kindle today (Sunday). So head on over to and download your copy. I know I shall.

Of course, finding time to read it might be a problem as I go through my book review list, but I'll get there one day. Meanwhile, here are some reviews from my recent reading... Oddly enough, I read three court room dramas this week, so grab yourself a coffee and I'll start with them.

First is Jerry Banks' Head On. I've read several of Jerry Banks' Barry O'Shea books before and knew I'd enjoy this one too. Lawyerly investigations and machinations ensue after a horrific car accident, and it's fascinating to see how blame can be rightly or wrongly apportioned. As always, Jerry Banks fills the everyday courtroom with intriguing thoughts and arguments and great characters. A fun novel to enjoy with a well-balanced 3-star coffee.

Next is Karen Kingsbury's Waiting for Morning. It's the first Karen Kingsbury book I've ever read (now there's an admission) but I plan to read more. The case of a drunk driver takes a long time to move to court in this novel, and the story centers on a mother determined to get "justice" for her husband and daughter. I probably wouldn't have agreed with the jury in this tale, but the characters are wholly believable and the insight into pain, distraction, and the burden of unforgiveness is scarily real. Read this one with a 5-star intense cup of coffee.

But my favorite of the three is Larry Thompson's Dead Peasants, where a rich lawyer retires and returns to his roots, using the skills that earned his fortune to fight for the disenfranchised of his old neighborhood. When people start dying it'll take more than legal skills to save the day or the lawyer--an exciting thriller with great characters, wonderful Texas locales, and a thoroughly modern sense of financial ruin and decay, this is one to enjoy with a rich complex 4-star cup of coffee.

Enza, by Kristy James, is a very different tale, set during the first world war in a small American town, and filled with memorable characters who almost seem like friends as the story progresses. War's not the only threat in this well-researched tale, and if you're anything like me, you'll find yourself moved to tears as the story ends. Beautifully evocative and beautifully told, this is one to enjoy with a 3-star thoroughly well-balanced coffee.

Finally, a set of puzzles to keep you busy when you run out of books, Grabarchuk's next kindle book, 104 Puzzle Quizzes, is as fun as the rest, as easy to master and as challenging to complete. I like the fact that no-one can see me cheat, and I like the way I feel myself improving as the puzzles get harder. Drink some 1-star mild crisp coffee and enjoy some puzzles on your next plane journey.

And don't forget to follow the Divide by Zero blog tour!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Reading, writing and answering interview questions

So... that blog tour's just starting for Divide by Zero and Peter Joseph Swanson is kicking it off with an interview over on gather. Just go to and see what questions he asked... well, you can see how I answered them too, and ask your own questions in the comments if you want, or in the comments here...

Meanwhile I'm still trying to catch up on all those book reviews after my vacation, so here's the next batch: Enjoy reading. Drink coffee. Oh yeah, and eat chocolate (see the interview above).

Starting with another very English book, When god was a rabbit by Sarah Winman is set in Essex and Cornwall (amongst other places) and tells the story of a misfit girl, her misfit brother, a family displaced, and the anchor of someone to talk to--in her case a rabbit called god. Laugh-out-loud funny, heart-breakingly sad and deeply enthralling, this is a good one to enjoy with a 4-star elegant complex coffee.

Next is a very American book, Angels, Chimps and Tater Mitts, by Mike Ball. Subtitled What I've Learned So Far, this collection of essays on modern life is gently funny, poking fun at Paris Hilton's Christmas list, football, politics and the sort of religion that cares more whether Christmas is Holidays than whether the hungry are fed. A thoroughly enjoyable read, this one goes well with a 2-star easy-drinking coffee but be careful, you just might find he makes you think.

The Last Seer and The Tomb of Enoch, by Ashland Menshouse, is a children's adventure story set in America with an enjoyable eclectic and interesting cast of characters, with Aubrey and his inhaler, Native American and African American schoolfriends, an overweight genius inventer, and a classic but redeemable towering bully. Ghosts, bigfoot, witches and legends abound and the plot's truly intriguing, but the novel's long, deeply detailed, and probably not one for slow readers. Enjoy with a 5-star dark intense coffee (but keep some fresh juice around when enjoying the humor).

Cataclysm, return of the gods, by the other Stephen King, continues a theme of gods (with a small g) and mythology. The science is a little too odd for me, but the premise is intriguing--a universe that flips between magic and technology every two thousand years, making Armageddon a somewhat different prospect than we've all imagined. When a young mother finds she's married to a god, well there's lots of mythology, humor and danger to be dealt with in the aftermath. Enjoy with a 2-star lively cup of coffee.

And finally, if you're feeling like it's time to get down to work after reading all these books, Dr. Liz Hardy's E-Learning 101 will help you get over any nervousness about the process and technology of learning over the internet. It's even got dogs to keep things lighthearted, and their pictures portray the emotions of the frazzled student most excellently. Enjoy with a 2-star lively easy-drinking coffee.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

More book reviews as the emails stay unread

I've not decided yet, does reading books take longer than reading emails? Somehow when the email list gets up to three figures, the seventeen overdue book reviews begin to look like a more manageable task. Ah well--good job I'm a fast reader. And reading offers a pleasant reprieve from housework, shopping, yardwork and everyday life.

Here are a few more books I've read recently, starting with An Unattended Death by Victoria Jenkins, a beautifully evocative mystery set in the Puget Sound where the clues to death are as hidden as the clues to relationships. Enjoy this intriguing drama with a 4-star elegant complex coffee.

Another mystery-themed book from the Permanent Press is Looking For Przybylski by K. C. Frederick. In this story, as in life, the journey counts more than the destination. A wonderfully evocative road trip across America introduces the reader to a host of characters and thoughts, revealing interesting insights on humanity and hope. Enjoy this richly elegant tale with another 4-star coffee.

The Tangled Web by J. P. Lane is a more conventional mystery, weaving drugs, politics violence and romance into a very tangled globe-spanning web. Enjoy with a blend of mild crisp 1-star coffee and the some 5-star bold dark undertones.

Then, for fans of tangled tales, there's  Tim Kizer's Days of Vengeance which offers even more entanglements as an amnesiac finds himself accused of a murder he doesn't remember. The amnesiac's sense of abandonment is very convincing portrayed as the dialog runs in his head. And the paranormal twists are quite intriguing if somewhat gruesome. Enjoy with a 5-star intense cup of coffee.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A well-controlled book release from S. R. Johannes

S.R. Johannes' second Nature of Grace novel, Uncontrollable, was released on Monday. The first book, Untraceable, has won and been nominated for several awards including Winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award (YA), 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (YA Nominee), and a finalist in The Kindle Book Review's "Best Indie Book of 2012 (YA)".

Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."

If you like a page turner, you will love this series! So head over to Mundie Moms for a Big Uncontrollable Launch Party with tons of prizes and then over to SR Johannes blog for even more. 
To continue on with the blog tour, you can check out the line up! Where SR talks about anything from marketing to writing to her books to personal interviews and giveaways. Don't miss her great posts.

Book Summary
As 16-year-old Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program". 
While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants. 

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues. 

Little does she know, she is being hunted too. 

Uncontrollable is on sale in paperback and ebook at all major booksellers including Amazon, iBooks/Apple (coming soon),  Smashwords, and B&N. And if you haven't read Untraceable, you can get it in paperback and ebook
at all major booksellers including AmazonAppleSmashwords,and B&N.

S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes.  Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for September 2012.

S.R. Johannes is a winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Awards (Young Adult) and was also recently nominated for 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (Young Adult). Untraceable was also recently named a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review's Indie Book of the Year (YA)

After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. 

Follow S.R. online on her websiteTwitterFacebook, and Pinterest
You can also sign up for her newsletter to keep up on author or book news.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book reviews and a free book

Teric Darken's U-Turn Killur (yes, there's an I and and You in the title) is free on Kindle today (just follow the linke), so don't miss this chance to sample the author's seriously edgy Christian writing. He's been bleeding ink from his heart onto paper for the last twenty-five years and his cutting-edge thrillers have become known for their innovative nature:  filled with darkness, despair, light and redemption.

Meanwhile I've been letting ink from other writer's books feed my fevered brain for another week and here are very English book reviews from my vacation in England.

Brick Lane by Monica Ali combines the scents of India and the streets of London in a tale of belated coming of age where people hide truth behind tatoos, cultures hide behind the promise of fate, and society hides its secrets behind bricks and laws. Humorous, deeply absorbing and filled with great characters, this is one to enjoy with a 4-star elegant complex cup of coffee.

Children of Men by P. D. James is so much more than the movie drawn from the book. Combining global and intimately personal viewpoints on a world without children it's haunting, harried and hopeful all together and a really good read. Enjoy with another elegant complex 4-star coffee.

Black-Eyed Devils by Catrin Collier is a much shorter tale, dealing with a smaller-scale end of the world as union and management clash in the mines of Tonypandy in the early 1900s. A short sweet romance with hints of mystery and a well-researched social conscience, this is one to enjoy with 1 3-star well-balanced coffee.

La's Orchestra saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith is a thoroughly evocative and absorbing tale of England during World War II where the small betrayals of love are set agains the larger ones of war, and human hearts win through. Enjoy with a 3-star well-balanced cup of coffee.

Plus one American novel, set in America, that enjoys a peculiarly European feel in the writing: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender tells of a girl with a remarkable talent for reading people's emotions in the food they cook--a talent which renders family meal-times almost unbearable as she bends under the weight of too many secret thoughts. With gentle hints of the paranormal and a thoroughly engaging teen protagonist, this is one to enjoy with a 4-star complex cup of coffee.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marketing doesn't have to be Shadowed with Suspicion

I'm delighted to welcome author Ashley Dawn to my blog today with some very timely (for me) tips on book marketing. My first novel, Divide by Zero, has just come out, and so has Ashley Dawn's romantic suspense, Shadows of Suspicion, 2nd in her acclaimed Shadows series. I reviewed Shadows from the Past a while ago, and hope to read and review Shadows of Suspicion soon. Meanwhile, here are some invaluable suggestions for fellow authors from Ashley.

Marketing Tips

With so much going on with books on the internet, there are a lot of options for authors to promote their work.  I’ve used several of these…some worked and some didn’t.  For me it was trial and error type work so I thought I would share what has worked best for me:

  1. A Blog.  This can be FREE or there are some places where you pay for the blog, either way it is useful.  I have a review blog where I read and review other author’s work.  It gets my name out there and I have a page on my blog dedicated just to my books.  That way, when authors are out there promoting their book and send people to my blog, I have the possibility to have them check out my books as well.  It isn’t a guarantee but it has worked for me.
  2. Help other authors.  This one sort of goes along with the blog idea.  If you review an author’s book for them, you have made a contact that in the future (or now if you agree to do a swap with them) can do a review for you.  If you help other authors with reviews and promotion, they will help you.
  3. Facebook page.  It is a wonderful and FREE.  You can post what is going on in your writing life, upcoming releases, book covers, etc.  People click ‘like’ on your page and immediately see your feed.  You have to post on there for it to be useful but there is a whole lot of people on facebook that can be reached through this and it doesn’t tie up your personal account.
  4. Blog Tour.  On this, you set up a time frame (either by yourself or hire someone to do it) where on certain days you are on certain blogs either doing reviews, guestblogs, giveaways, excerpts…the possibilities are almost endless!  This way, you reach a completely new audience through the blogger’s followers and at the same time, you are helping them promote their blog by promoting your book!
  5. Twitter.  It works a lot like facebook only with more limited character space.  I admit I don’t utilize this one like I should but it is there as a promotion tool for us authors and once again it is FREE.  You can promote yourself, gain followers, announce release dates, or just talk about what you are working on to keep people interested.
 All 5 of these can be used together to help you market and promote your work.  Make sure to have fun with your marketing.  I know it is work and you so bad want to get all the exposure you can but remember to take time to stop and see what you are accomplishing along the way.  I hope this helps or at least gives a few ideas!

Thank you Ashley. All great ideas, and I'm looking forward to reading Shadows of Suspicion soon:

Revenge is the agenda...

"Find my sister."

Rick Reiley's words were what drove Luke to search mercilessly for Kerry. He is in a race against time to find her and will have to face more than a criminal mastermind to get close to her. He is prepared to give his life for her, but what about his heart?

"...I would like you to meet....My wife."

Those words from her enigmatic rescuer threw Kerry more than anything else that had happened to her in the last few days...and that was saying a lot! Kerry's simple life is turned upside down when she is kidnapped and dragged to the middle of nowhere by a madman. She trusts Luke with her life, but can she trust him with her heart?

As Luke fights to keep Kerry safe, the chemistry ignites and the danger gets closer.

Will God protect them while Luke tries to sort out his heart....and capture Kerry's?

Shadows sounds like a pleasingly intriguing romantic suspense with plenty of action and Christian themes. Readers can find out more about the author or find her books by following these link
Website:  AuthorAshleyDawn

Thank you so much for visiting my blog Ashley, and I wish you every success with marketing, the blog tour, and the book. Thank you again for sharing your ideas.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time for a Blog Tour?

Join the tour. Leave a comment or send me an email if you'd like to host me or one of my characters during this blog tour. Ask about book reviews too. I'd love to hear from you. And please scroll down for links to lots of great places where generous writers and bloggers have hosted me.


Divide by Zero is available from:


Spotlights and news:

October 2nd: A novel of contemporary small-town life  dealing with family relationships, love, redemption and the haunting effects of childhood trauma and abuse. 


October 10th: Excerpt from the beginning of Divide by Zero:
October 5th: Meet single mom Mary in this excerpt:

Readers' Guide and reviews:

December 12th: "weaves [characters] together in relationships that work while carefully reminding us who each person is"

November 30th: “Great writing and storytelling”:
November 21st: “when tragedy strikes a community pulls together”: 

November 17th: A wonderful review on Gather:
November 7th: My fifth review:
October 30th: A fourth review:
October 28th: Book Reader's Heaven:
October 27th: Review excerpts and bookmarks on Gather:

October 27th: My second review:
October 22nd: My first review:
October 12th: Book group questions.

Interviews with author and characters:

November 17th: Interview with Amy Manemann:
November 2nd : Conversations divided by Zero with Dean Mayes:
October 28th: Writing Mathematician interviewed at Rachelle's Window:
October 27th: Mary Russel interviews Evie from Divide by Zero:
October 24th: My Next Big Thing at
October 22nd: Pat Bertram introduces me in an interview at
October 7th: Lee-Ann Graff-Vinson interviews me on Writing Commando:
October 3rd: Meet Peter, the garage guy, in this interview:
September 27th: Peter Joseph Swanson interviews me on Gather:

Guest Posts:
November 17th: Where the story came from, with Anne Petzer:
November 1st: Mathemagic with Joe Velikovski:
October 28th: Rasana Atraya: road from self-pub to e-pub to small-pub
October 22nd: Predators, and teaching our children to be safe, on Manic Monday:

October 19th: Seven steps to editing--or the day I almost said the church provided babies instead of diapers, on Glenda Bixler’s blog:
October 4th: On being a storyteller, a guest post on A. F. Stewart's blog:
September 30th: Friends, e-friends and countrymen, come visit Andi's Realm for my guest post on friendship and acquaintances at