Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway ~ Birth of the Nyxian by Amanda R. Browning

This is a story about a young woman that is well studied, fairly alone, and strong minded. One night while walking home from work she comes face to face with death and he was hot as hell. Harlow’s fascination with vampire stories and the looks of the man before her, seemed to cancel out any fear she should have had. Harlow finds love and adventure while flying around the globe running from Hades himself. The book ends with just enough of a cliff hanger to leave you wanting more.  

I felt like the relationship moved way to fast between Harlow and Aiden in the beginning of the book. I would have liked to have had some more time to yearn for them to be together. The dialog was a little bit unrealistic at times, in my opinion. With that being said Amanda does a great job in the romance department. Her love scenes were written with taste and just the right amount of heat. The bond that Harlow and Aiden develop is uncrushable. It is hard not root for them.  

The beginning of the book moved a little slow, but once you get past the back story the book is full of action and suspense. Amanda had my jaw drop on occasion.

This is an author who does her research! It is evident that Amanda spent countless hours researching everything for this book. She is able to really set a scene and take the reader to places they might not otherwise visit.  I love the way Amanda integrates long standing mythologies into her vampire world. Amanda showed a lot of thought and creativity when writing in her mythological creatures we are all familiar with. 

While reading this book, I felt like I could see this writer growing as an author. I am looking forward to reading her next book and believe that it will be even better than this one. If you love vampire books, this is one to add to your shelf for sure.

Thank you so much Amanda for sharing this awesome giveaway!
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cynthia Lucas ~ Guest Blogger and Giveaway

DRIVE....The Path To Passion, or is Passion the Path?

So many new and aspiring authors and writers in the literary field and songwriting circles have questions about how to write and what drives the writing process. What is that exact thing that brings an idea to fruition for a writer and makes it come to life?

Being a musician, and award winning lyricist/ songwriter for most of my life, and an author in recent years, I've had a lot of experience in bringing ideas to life whether in print or in song. Earlier in my career, I took a lot of advice from 'experts' telling me what to do in music. Some advice was helpful but most was more damaging than constructive, and I found that whenever I listened to the 'experts', they always led me astray! Why? Because they have a set idea based on what they've 'seen or heard' or 'what will sell'...or 'what's already been done too many times.'

Well, I have news for the 'experts' could easily say that LIFE has been 'done too many times' if one wanted to. But it certainly hasn't and each and every life (and lifetime) is a new and wondrous adventure and story. If we forget this, we become jaded and lose our ability to get excited about those stories and to pour our passion into them. (This by the way, is the difference between a CRITIC and an ARTIST. A critic knows everything with little experience save personal opinion based often on their own insecurities and a jaded view of life. The writer..the musician..the artist knows nothing except the wild abandon and joy of creation based on their own drive, purpose and a desire to share what's in their imagination with the world.)

Bottom line: for every new generation that comes, a story that is 'old' is now new, because they have not experienced it yet, and there's ALWAYS a new way to tell a story. Each one is a unique, individual and special experience that will communicate to someone out there. I can't speak for everyone, but for me personally, I don't push or force the process. And I don't waste time on ideas or stories that I don't feel passionate about.

Sometimes an idea will come to me, whether it's a general plot for a story, or for a specific scene or chapter in a book I'm already writing...but it's something I allow to simmer and boil to the surface when it's ready. Some would say, "Well what if that takes too long?" And that's a valid question, and one that can mean the difference in getting a book written or not! If I have an idea that I am uncertain about but it's just sort of sitting there, sometimes I will do things to help it along.

If it's an idea for a book, sit down and think about how the story would go if it were real life....would it be exciting to you? Would you want it to happen to YOU?

And from a fantasy/diversion stand point: this something that YOU personally would watch or be interested in if you saw it on television or in a movie? Or if another author wrote this, would you read it and enjoy it? If not, then it's probably not something you're REALLY passionate enough about to create a story.

Sometimes I will have an idea that starts one way...and then morphs into something else, because of that very process of letting the story boil to the surface. My book BLOOD FROM A STONE started as something entirely different than the way it ended up. The original idea had a more tragic ending to it...but somewhere along the way, I realized that I wasn't feeling passionate about the idea anymore and I had to rethink it. Is it the idea of this or is it the story I am writing around it? Once I got that right, the fire turned back on and I knew EXACTLY where to take my characters and how to evolve their personalities and how their story was going to turn out. It flowed effortlessly and I actually cried when I re-read a couple of scenes I'd written. And I KNEW that I nailed it. It was completely from the heart. I'd poured my passion into every word.

I think that for all writers our happy ending always comes from never following a strict pattern, or trying to write something you think would be 'popular' or trying to make a story into something it's not meant to be. Instead LISTEN to that little voice inside your heart and let your soul take you where you know it's supposed to go. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks...because in all things art and creative, YOU are the one in the driver's seat, the blank screen is your open road....the keyboard is your vehicle. Throw away the map...look out there to the horizon in your soul and find YOUR adventure.

Most importantly remember: there is no road that leads to your passion....your passion IS the road that leads you wherever you want to go! So.....grab the keys, drop the top....and cruise!

Copyright 2012.
Cynthia Lucas, Author: When Lightning Strikes (2010)
Blood From a Stone (2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Second Round Pick)
Musican/singer/songwriter. Nominee NORTH 2 SOUTH: "All Messed Up": Country Song of the Year 2004/2005 JPF Music Awards. 4th Place Winner Best Lyrics; "Ka'Blam" 2005/2006.)

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Book Review ~ When Lightning Strikes by Cynthia Lucas

Why have you not read this book yet? That is a question you will ask yourself after you read When Lightning Strikes. Cynthia approached me and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing one of her books. I was not sure exactly what the genre was and the cover was not that intriguing to me. But, I LOVED this book. Where the cover image lacked for me at first look the story makes up for tenfold. (After reading the book the cover made more sense.) 

Sara Douglas travels through time to find a love she didn’t even know was missing from her life. Sarah has the boxes checked on how perfect her life will be. On the eve of her union to her father’s business partner’s son she receives a special gift from her mother. Apprehensively Sarah keeps the good-luck coin, galbi, with her all night as directed by her mother.  

Could her mother have known that a strike of lightning would shoot her back in time to the rugged landscape of Medieval France in the fourteenth century? Burned and alone under the night sky a mysterious dark, handsome, and pompous Dominic du Barbaronne comes to her aid.  

I am already missing being a part of Dominic’s band of Romani gypsies. This book is full of action, adventure, betrayal, jealousy, brotherhood, love and lust.  Cynthia is able to find a great balance between romance and adventure to satisfy both male and female readers. Although Sarah is the main character it is Dominic that I really got to know. His character development through out the story is delicately woven amongst both love and action scenes alike.  

There is so much I want to say about this book, but do not want to spoil the adventure for you. If you like a little romance combined with action and adventure you will love this book! I sure did. I love when I finish a book and keep wanting more.