Saturday, September 13, 2014

I love the touch of paper in the morning

I never really liked newspapers. In the old days I didn't like the way the print came off on my fingers (and on the sandwich if I were foolish enough to read while eating). But even when the inks improved, I still didn't like the feel of endless sheets all crackling and strange as they entangled me. Then they shrank the pages but everything still felt too big, too scattered, too eager to distract me, especially with color, and get away. So I'd rather read books.

Then papers became electronic. My husband and I started lazing in bed every morning, sharing a tablet's glowing page. Which is okay. But I'd still rather read books. While I never liked the touch of newsprint in the morning, I love the touch of real, clean, neatly printed paper, the crispness of pages, their solid feel, the way I can rest the book on my leg and know the page won't turn while I'm checking the clock, while I'm suddenly realizing, HELP! Perhaps it's time to get breakfast in the morning.

Did I mention coffee. I love the taste of coffee in the morning too, a perfect accompaniment to books and enewspapers. So choose your read and I'll offer a brew to match as I review these three real, solid, printed, thoroughly wonderful books.

First is a wonderful literary tale of mystery and detection, River of Glass, by Jaden Terrell. A tale of fractured memories and fractured lives, it brings together East and West, and sends a former detective hunting human traffickers while trying to find and come to terms with surprise revelations about his own family. Highly recommended. Enjoy with a richly elegant, complex, four star coffee.

From the same publisher, A Billions Ways to Die, by Chris Knopf, continues and, for the time being, concludes a trilogy about a man whose perfect life was shattered when his wife was killed and he was shot in the head. But Arthur Cathcart's genius has survived intact, if lacking a few of his former much-prided skills. He's caught the guys who tried to destroy him, and he's enjoying a new life of love, hope and promise in the Caribbean. Then death tries to catch him again. What follows is filled with convincing high-tech sluething, clever plotting and planning, great characters, and compelling mystery as Cathcart tries to get his second life returned. Enjoy with another rich, elegant, complex four-star coffee.

Last in my trilogy of wonderful print books is The Reluctant Jesus, by Duncan Whitehead. Imagine Christopher Moore's Gospel according to Biff set in New York at the Millennium and you'll get the idea. It's great fun, gently thought-provoking, seriously cool, and a thoroughly good read. Enjoy with a well-balanced, smooth, full-flavored three-star coffee.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why Jackie Gamber loves Dragons

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Jackie Gamber to my blog. You may have read my reviews of her first two Leland Dragons books, Redheart and Sela. Soon I'll be able to enjoy the third book in the trilogy, Reclamation. But first, you get to enjoy learning why the author loves dragons so much. Welcome to my blog, Jackie Gamber.

Top Ten Reasons Jackie Gamber Loves Dragons

 JackieGamberBWAs the author of the Leland Dragon series, I’ve had ample opportunity to research, interview, and interact with dragons. I’ve even served on HADS: Humans Against Dragon Stereotypes, established by FODERP: Friends of Dragon Equality and Rights Preservation.

I can, with authority, say, however, that there isn’t enough time in the world to really, truly understand these mysterious, elusive creatures. As natural introverts, they evade attention, and the effect that media has had on their reputation as virgin-eaters and hoarders hasn’t endeared us to them, by any means.

So I’m happy to be involved in an effort to offset the myths and misunderstandings perpetrated by our culture by offering my list of top ten reasons I love dragons.
10. They have eclectic tastes in music. From Acid Rock to Bach, Count Basie to Ace of Base, dragons are impressively open minded and individualistic when it comes to musical entertainment.

 9. Dragons have wildly varied camouflage. It’s one of the reasons they are believed to be fewer in number than they really are. From the rainy-est green forest, to the arid copper sands of vast deserts, dragons have adapted to survive and thrive, and to become unified with their direct environment.

 8. They rival canines in their genetic size variance, from the hummingbird-sized sand skimmer (pygmaea flavus) to the mountain-dweller (tramea onustra), dragons come in fun- to biggie-sized!

 7. They have natural green thumbs! Meaning, they are terrific gardeners and foliage tenders, not necessarily that all of them have literally green digits.

 6. They love long walks on the beach.

 5. Most species are fire-breathers, and so are bring-your-own barbecues. They haven’t been willing to give up their favorite sauce recipes to me yet, but I’ve tasted them, and they are amazing.
 4. Dragons adore their tribes the way we value our family and friends. They bond the same way we do, and care and love, just like us.

 3. They have a terrific sense of humor! They also love riddles and puzzles. Some dragons have a dry, sophisticated sort of wit, and some giggle at downright sophomoric stunts, but as a whole, dragons can be a lot of fun to hang out with.

 2. They are also really good at board games.

But the number one, super important, reason above all reasons that I love dragons?

1. They love books! They are great readers, from the classics to horror, to science fiction and fantasy, dragons love reading books, sharing books, talking about books, and, if they hoard anything of treasure, then it would be their books. Some have even taken to e-books, when they have access to electricity for recharging. I have, of course, shared my books with them, and they have in turn tipped me off to some fabulous stories I might not otherwise have found.

It’s that giving and sharing attitude that make dragons such wonderful companions. And when it comes to books, there’s never too much of that good thing.

Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of many short stories, screenplays, and novels, including “Redheart”, “Sela”, and “Reclamation”, Books one through three of the Leland Dragon Series. For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world wide web at:

Jackie's visiting my blog as part of a great Trilogy blog tour with Tomorrow Comes Media, and her fellow traveler is H. David Blalock, author of the Angelkiller Triad. Again, you may have read my reviews of the first two books, Angelkiller and Traitor Angel. And again, I'm eagerly awaiting the third. Perhaps I should have asked him here to tell me why he love angels (or does he)? But he's busy elsewhere. See the end of this post for lots more great interviews and articles with these two great authors!

Special Trilogy Virtual Tour Authors: Jackie Gamber and H. David Blalock Featured Books: Jackie Gamber’s Leland Dragon Series H. David Blalock’s Angelkiller Triad

JackieGamberBWAbout Jackie Gamber: As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion.

Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.

GamberBookOne_RedheartCoverAbout Redheart - first in the Leland Dragon trilogy: Enter the lands of Leland Province, where dragon and human societies have long dwelled side by side. Superstitions rise sharply, as a severe drought strips the land of its bounty, providing fertile ground for the darker ambitions of Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, who seeks to subdue humans or wipe them off the face of the land.

As the shadow of danger creeps across Leland Province, a young dragon named Kallon Redheart, who has turned his back on dragons and humans alike, comes into an unexpected friendship. Riza Diantus is a young woman whose dreams can no longer be contained by the narrow confines of her village, and when she finds herself in peril, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. Yet to do so means he must confront his past, and embrace a future he stopped believing in.

A tale of friendship, courage, and ultimate destiny, Redheart invites readers to a wondrous journey through the Leland Dragon Series.

HDavidBlalockBW  About H. David Blalock: Born in San Antonio, Texas, David spent the majority of his formative years in Jacksonville, Florida. At the age of 16, his family moved to the Panama Canal Zone where David finished school and entered employment with the Department of Defense as a Powerhouse Electrician. Hiring into the FAA, he returned with his wife and two daughters to the States and settled briefly in Gulfport, MS. A few years later, he moved to Memphis, TN, as an Air Traffic Controller for the Memphis ARTCC. There he remained until his retirement.

BlalockBookOne_AngelkillerCoverDavid’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, webzines, and writer’s sites. His work continues to appear on a regular basis through multiple publishing houses.

  About Angelkiller, first in the Angelkiller Trilogy: Why do bad things happen to good people? Simple. In the ancient war between the Angels of Light and Darkness, the Dark won. Now it is the job of an undercover force simply known as The Army to rectify that.

Using every tool available, The Army has worked to liberate our world from The Enemy for thousands of years, slowly and painfully lifting Mankind out of the dark. On the front of the great Conflict are the Angelkillers, veterans of the fight with centuries of experience.

Jonah Mason is an Angelkiller, and his cell is targeted as part of plot to unseat a very powerful Minion of The Enemy. Mason and his troop are drawn into a battle that stretches from real-time to virtual reality and back. The Conflict is about to expand into cyberspace, and if Mason is unable to stop it, The Enemy will have gained dominion over yet another realm.

Want to know more? Follow these author Links:

Jackie Gamber
Twitter: @jackiegamber

H. David Blalock
Twitter: @Hdavidblalock


9/8 SpecMusicMuse Review
9/8 The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void Multi-Blogger Interview Part 1
9/8 Horror Tree Guest Post (Blalock)
9/8 Elizabeth Delana Rosa ~Book Lover & Creator of Worlds~ Guest Post (Gamber)
9/9 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (About Gamber)
9/9 I Smell Sheep Interactive Thread with Jackie and Dave
9/9 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post (Blalock)
9/10 The Southern Belle from Hell Art of the Angelkiller Triad (Blalock)
9/10 Bee's Knees Review Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 Blog of Sheila Deeth Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies Multi-Blogger Interview Part 2
9/10 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More Jackie Gamber Interviews H. David Blalock
9/11 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More H. David Blalock Interviews Jackie Gamber
9/11 Workaday Reads Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Vampires, Witches, & Me, Oh My! Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Trip Through My Mind Multi-Blogger Interview Part 3
9/12 Beauty In Ruins Guest Post (Blalock)
9/13 Jess Resides Here Review
9/14 Willow's Author Love Guest Post (Blalock)
9/14 Fantastical Musings Multi-Blogger Interview Part 4
9/14 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (Gamber)


Amazon Links for Redheart, the First Book of Jackie Gamber’s Leland Dragon Series:
Kindle Version:
Print Version:

Amazon Links for Angelkiller, the First Book of H. David Blalock’s Angelkiller Triad:
Kindle Version:
Print Version:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Entertaining the characters from Entertaining angels

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Emerald Barnes to my blog as she celebrates the recent release of her novel, Entertaining Angels. She's brought another guest with her, so grab a coffee, and enjoy the conversation. Hi Emerald.

Hi Sheila. Characters are so important to my novel, Entertaining Angels, and I want to have a sit down with Zach Taylor. He’s new to town, but he has his eyes set on my little Mads. And, her life will change forever!

First of all, thank you for hosting our little conversation, Sheila!

Zach: Yes, thank you so much, Mrs. Deeth.

Zach is dressed in jeans and a nice white, button down shirt. His hair is spiked just a little, and he’s smiling at me from his seat.

Emerald: Hey, Zach. How are you today?

Zach: I’m fine. And you?

Emerald: I’m good. How about we get started?

He nods his head.

Emerald: He’s a little quiet, so you’ll have to excuse him if he doesn’t answer my questions to the best of his ability.

Zach: I’m not exactly quiet. There are just things I can’t reveal quite yet.

Emerald: So you don’t spoil the book, I understand.

Zach smiles his brilliant smile at me and nods.

Emerald: So, Zach, how about you introduce yourself to Mrs. Deeth’s readers.

Zach: I’m Zach Taylor. I am in Emerald’s newest book, and I’m new around town.

Emerald: That’s it?

Zach: Well, I can’t really say more than that, can I? You created me. You know.

Zach laughs warmly, and I shake my head.

Emerald: You’re right. I guess that’s true. I laugh. How about you tell me your first impression of Madison, instead?

Zach: He smiles affectionately. She’s easily one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen. Sure, she’s a bit timid, and she doesn’t love herself like she should. But, I hope that changes soon. She doesn’t believe in herself either, but I can tell that she wants to, even if it’s deep inside of her.

Emerald: She is beautiful, isn’t she? Zach nods, still smiling. How about you tell me about Chase?

Zach: A deep laugh rumbles through his chest. Chase is quite the nerd, isn’t he? But he’s Madison’s best friend, and I think that they both need each other more than they know or will at least admit to themselves. I love how protective he is of her, and I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t even like me.

Emerald: Well, I’m sure that will change.

Zach: I have no doubt it will. Zach winks.

Emerald: I’m guessing you know something we don’t.  Zach just smiles at me. Clearly, he’s not going to speak about that. Okay. So, next question. What do you think of Ashley? She might actually be considered the villain of the story, right?

Zach: Maybe. I guess it depends on your definition of villain. Ashley has the chance to be a good girl, but instead, she thinks it’s best to degrade Madison. But, as horrible as it seems, Ashley might just be a victim herself. You never really know what’s going on in someone’s life. I’m not saying that it’s right for her to torment Madison. I see how much it destroys her, and that breaks my heart. Still, I don’t think Ashley is one hundred percent to blame.

Emerald: I agree. Although, she doesn’t make a good case for herself.

Zach: No, I suppose she doesn’t, but like I said, you never know what’s going on behind the scenes of someone’s life.

Emerald: You’re absolutely right. How did you feel about the way Madison handled going about trying to lose weight?

Zach: His smile fades as the thinks about the entire situation. I think that it wasn’t a very smart decision, but Madison was desperate. Desperation leads people to do things that we don’t necessarily agree with, but that’s why I tried to be there for her no matter what. And Chase was there, too. Sometimes, I think it was better that he was there instead of me. She trusted him more.

Emerald: Well, she’s known him longer.

Zach: Yes, I suppose that’s true.

Emerald: Well, let’s go on and talk about how you liked being in a new town and new place.

Zach: It was different. It was unlike any place I’d ever been, really. I mean, it’s a small town in Mississippi. There wasn’t much to do for fun besides hang out in a parking lot.

Emerald: Welcome to the South.

Zach: He laughs again, his smile returning. But, I did like it. I loved the whole experience, but nothing is quite like home.

Emerald: No. There’s definitely no place like home. Well, Zach, I think we probably need to wrap up this interview. It’s not like there’s much you’re willing to share with me anyway.
  My voice is light, joking as I tease him.

Zach: You know I can’t. His smile grows wider. They’ll have to read the book to understand why.

Emerald: Correct, sir! Thanks for sitting down with me today. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it, and I hope that the readers do, too.

Zach: Thanks for talking me. I’ll see you guys in the book!

Emerald: *waves* See you later!

Thank you Emerald and Zach. It was really cool meeting you. And now here's some more information about the book.

About the Book:
 Entertaining Angels
By: Emerald Barnes
Genre: Young Adult
Released: June 24th, 2014

 Madison Andrews can't face her reflection in the mirror. All she sees is a big, fat nobody. Yet, deep inside she longs for something more, something that's not skin deep.

Along comes Zach, the new guy in school.  He's smoking hot and totally out of her league.  She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once. But just as she gets close to Zach, her nerdy best friend, Chase, won't let Madison doubt her true beauty, no matter how many meals she skips.

Even as Madison begins to realize that she is more than she thinks, darker forces are at work, darker than the lies and mocking from her peers, stopping her from amounting to her full potential. Can Madison find true happiness in her own skin?

About the author:

Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women.  She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it.  She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages!

She's constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with.  She is a crazy grammar nazi who also proofreads novels!

She's an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews.  She's a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person.  God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.