Sidhe Vicious Reviews

Spoiler Free Reviews & More Book-ish Goings On :)

Exciting News


  • Mood:
  • Watching: Desperate Housewives
  • Currently Reading: Dead Man Rising

As you can see from the post before this one, I’ve been accepted as a reviewer at Paranormal Romance.org! I’m pretty darn excited about it too.  But don’t panic readers, I’m not going anywhere. I will still be posting my own reviews, interviews, contests and I have another surprise in the works for you. I really enjoy sharing my love of great books with you all, and appreciate you taking time out of your busy lives to stop by for awhile.

It has been brought to my attention that some people are having problems with loading my blog.  I’m wondering if this is a common problem, or is it just the few. So can you please leave me a comment to tell me if you ever have problems with getting here, loading the pages, etc. If this is an ongoing issue, I’ll move the blog to another host. Please let me know. I can only try to fix issues if you all let me know about them, so don’t be shy. Thanks!

I’m excited for you all about the contest going on with JF Lewis, so scroll down & leave a comment to have a chance at winning!! Sending out big hugs to you all my fellow paranormal/urban fantasy peeps!

16 Comments. Click HERE to view comments.

( Moved over from my original blog )

April 27, 2008 Posted by | Rambling | , , | Leave a comment

Unholy Night (Reviewed for PNR)


Unholy Night by Candice Gilmer

Publisher: Lyrical Press, Inc.
Genre: Romance/Shifter
Line: Moonlight and Shadows
ISBN: 978-0-9817144-2-4
Length: Novella
Price: $3.50
Publication Date: May 5, 2008
Cover art by Renee Rocco

Marissa Van Dyke has a bad “taste” about Halloween after traumatic events occured years ago on that date. She gets talked into going to a Halloween party and meets an enigmatic man. Unexpected things happen, paranormal things.

My full review is available at Paranormal Romance

( Moved over from my original blog )

 2 Comments.

 

 

Posted by Candice Gilmer:

I just wanted to thank you for such a great review of Unholy Night — talk about a wonderful thing to find in my inbox! I appreciate it so much. 😉 Take care
Thursday, May 1st 2008 @ 7:12 PM

Posted by Judi:

You are most welcome! 🙂 It was a good quick read. Thanks for stopping by.
Thursday, May 1st 2008 @ 7:41 PM

 

April 27, 2008 Posted by | Review for PNR | , , , | Leave a comment

Staked by JF Lewis – Interview & Contest


Please note that this contest is over – just moving it over from my old blog – thanks! I hope you all enjoy the interview if you have’t read it yet. 🙂

  

Sidhe Vicious welcomes Urban Fantasy novelist J.F. Lewis! We’re looking forward to getting to know you, and all about your novel Staked.

 SV:  Your debut Urban Fantasy novel, Staked, was released in March 2008 by Pocket Books, can you tell us about it and the main characters Eric, Tabitha & Rachel?

 JFL:  Thanks for having me; I’d be glad to!  

 Eric is very much a “guy’s guy” turned vampire.  I like to think that he’s very different from your typical lead vampire in urban fantasy.  He’s physically older than many… in his late thirties.  He’s only been a vampire since 1965, so his past is not so far behind him that it no longer counts.  He lived through World War II and Korea, which makes him an undead representative of the greatest generation.  He’s a good guy deep down and he’s coping with the fact that he’s become a monster.  He isn’t going to revel in it, but he’s not one to whine about the situation either.  When he was a boy, you took the hardships life handed you and made do… so that’s what he’s doing.  The love of his life is still around, but since she wouldn’t let him turn her, she is in her eighties.  He’s always trying to move on, but he’s not very good at it.  He’d dump any of his younger girlfriends for Marilyn in an instant, age notwithstanding.

 Tabitha is Eric’s current girlfriend.  She’s in love both with Eric and the idea of vampiric immortality.  She’s young, attractive, and smarter than she acts… essentially, she has tons of potential, but she’s not living up to it.  At the beginning of the novel, she convinces Eric to turn her into a vampire and roughly a third of the novel is from her point of view.  When it comes to his own feelings, Eric is an unreliable narrator, so I put Tabitha in, both to provide a more interesting way to show readers the process of becoming a vampire, and to let us see Eric through her eyes. 

 Rachel… where to begin with Rachel?  Um… Rachel is evil?  Before the beginning of Staked, Tabitha’s little sister Rachel died.  Yet she’s alive and willing when Eric runs into her in Staked.  Is she really Tabitha’s dead sister?  (You’ll find out in the sequel, tentatively titled ReVamped.)  Of the three, she’s the most mysterious.  People who have read the book tend to either love her or hate her… or both.

 SV:  What about vampires and werewolves inspired you to write about them?

 JFL:   This may sound odd, but I when I decided to write about Eric, he was already a vampire, so there wasn’t really a decision to make.  The werewolves came in because it just seemed natural that werewolves and vampires should be at odds with one another.  The whole Werewolves versus Vampires schtick was something that had been done to death though, and that’s why I decided to spice things up by having the werewolves be religious and… not necessarily the bad guys.  I mean:  William’s son is dead.  He wants revenge.  What father wouldn’t?  Werewolves tend to stick together in packs and when the pack is attacked, the whole pack responds.  Why wouldn’t they?

 I decided to write Eric’s story when I did because I wanted to write a very different take on something that was out there.  Plus, I’d been rereading a very well written vampire series, one that I’d enjoyed before.  I’d loved the main character the first time through, but on the second pass, he struck me as whiny and unpalatably consumed by his own ennui.   I’ve said it before, but I could no longer stomach the idea of vampirism being the ultimate coolness aid.  Want to be cool?  Want to know how to dress?  How to dance?  Want to be tragically hip and bi-sexual in an instant?  Just get bitten and join the rest of us in our eternal gloom/party!  I don’t think so.  I pretty much tossed the book across the room and started writing my own. 

 SV:  Will we be seeing more of Eric, Tabitha & Rachel in the future?

 JFL:   I certainly hope so.  I’ve submitted the manuscript for my proposed second book in the series.  I hope to get the yea or nay in the next week or so.  In the meantime, I’m working on book three and a few other projects.  Book two’s tentative title is ReVamped.  It focuses on a soul-stealing demon that has something Eric wants.  It also features Eric’s first meeting with the infamous Lord Phillip from Staked.

 SV:  How did you get your start in writing? What, if anything, lit the “spark” to get you started and keep you motivated?

 JFL:  Getting sent to the counselor’s office by a supposed creative writing teacher was a good start.  I wrote a short story during free write in which I personified all of the furniture in the class room.  The funny thing was… there wasn’t anything objectionable in the story.   It was thoroughly G-rated.  The desks were tired of people sitting in them, except for the ones that didn’t have anyone sitting in them.  The chalkboard wanted everyone to stop looking at it until they did.   It’s not hard to figure out where a kid would get such emotions, but the teacher suggested therapy. 

 In a college creative writing course, I ran into another closed-minded individual.  It was an award winning published author who told me, “Genre fiction is a masturbatory effort.  It’s sad to see you wasting your time with it.”  I’ve been determined to get some “genre fiction” published ever since. 

 /shakes head

 Masturbatory effort.  That still gets me.  Let me go write some more…  I have got to outsell that guy.

 SV:  What was the path to publication on this, your first urban fantasy novel, like? Highlights? Pitfalls?

 JFL:  Now that is a long story.  I’ve been chronicling the whole journey on my blog, but here are some of the highlights:  I’d describe the road to publishing as this incredibly Quixotic quest.  When you think about it, the whole idea requires no small amount of hubris on the part of the writer.  You’re setting out with the idea that essentially your stories are so good that you should be paid for them.  The highlight is, of course, when people agree with you.  In-between those agreements, you have lots of anxiety about whether there will be another kind soul along the path who will also agree.  So, in my case, I sent off query letter after query letter, a little over a dozen, I think , and then Shawna McCarthy picked me up along the wayside of my quest and gave me new armor, sharpened my sword, and went out in search of a patron for me.  Another highlight was when Jennifer Heddle over at Pocket Books bought the book.

 One of the coolest moments for me was seeing the cover art.  I’d been walking through the book store, at one point, checking out the book covers of other Urban Fantasy books and I picked up cover after cover with these awesome cityscapes that were all done by Chris McGrath and I thought, “Wow.  If I could pick anybody to do the cover, I’d want him.”  I didn’t say anything to anyone about it, because I really had no control over the cover.   When I got the email with the cover art work, and I was looking at it for the first time…  Chris has this feel to a piece that really stands out and I realized “Holy crap!  This was done by Chris McGrath!”  I checked the email and sure enough, it was Chris.  So I promptly printed it out and carried it around with me at Dragon*Con, showing it to everybody who would look.  Which lead to another highlight when several authors at the con (most notably in terms of sheer niceness Sherrilyn Kenyon, Maggie Shayne, and L.A. Banks) took the time to congratulate me and talk a few minutes about what I should do next and what I should expect.

 After that?  Getting my first blurb was cool.  Finding out that I was going to get a foil effect on the cover, holding the first real copy of the book in my hands, actually seeing it in on display in a store.  All that stuff was just awesome.  My Author Debut party, featured in Locus Magazine… awesome. 

 The pitfalls?  I’ve caught a lot of flak on a personal level for some of the content in the book, the language, and some of the things vampires say or do…  acquaintances who have never taken the time to really get to know me tend to have a “you wrote what?” reaction.

 SV:  Who or what was your inspiration for the characters of Eric, Tabitha  & Rachel, if any?

 JFL:  I think that all characters are some aspect of the writer’s own personality even if it’s a tiny sliver that gets warped and twisted all out of proportion.  Eric’s rage, for example,  is very much the rage of a much younger me.  When I was growing up, I had rage blackouts, so I really do know what it’s like to be standing there getting annoyed one moment and then to “wake up” later with people holding you down and having no idea what happened.  I never did irreparable damage, thank goodness, and I don’t have that problem anymore.  Sooner or later you have to make a decision that you’re never going to allow yourself to become that angry again and then stick to it.  It’s been twenty years since I’ve been anywhere close to that angry.  Writing helps.  

 Tabitha was inspired by those girls (and guys for that matter) we’ve all met at some point who are incredibly good looking, have a lot of things going for them, but choose to dwell on the superficial.  I like her because she really *is* smart and clever, she just has a lot of growing up to do.  She’s extremely confident about herself in some areas and yet, in others not so much.

 I can’t put my finger on exactly or where Rachel comes from other than green kryptonite.  Yeah, she’s definitely inspired by green kryptonite and if she wasn’t, then she should have been, because she’s certainly Eric’s equivalent.  Rachel is one of the characters I have the most fun writing, because it’s not as if she wasn’t born with a moral compass, she just sat it next to really strong electromagnet until it didn’t point North anymore.  In book two, we find out much more about why Rachel is the way she is, the full extent of her powers, and whether or not she’s really Tabitha’s sister.  I’ll spill the beans on one of those questions right here:  She’s really Tabitha’s sister.  One day we might meet Tabitha’s mom… that would be fun.

 SV:  Did you find it harder or easier to write the second novel in this series, because of already having created this world?

 JFL:  Easier.  In the first book you have all of this setup to do, characters to introduce, and while the second novel does need a little recap, it’s more jogging the reader’s memory.  I’d also sold Staked at that point, so I had more confidence that I wasn’t wasting my time.  I still have these feelings of anxiety about never getting published, never finding an agent… only they’re very silly now because I have and I did.  Now I stress over sales numbers. 

 The only hard part is being consistent.  I have a word document called The Rules of Void City, that I use to make sure that my vampire stuff works the same way all of the time and so even if I haven’t revealed it yet, I know how Eric became a vampire, what happens to each kind of vampire when they die, that sort of thing.

 SV:  Do you have any funny writing quirks/habits that you do when you’re in the “zone” writing?

 JFL:  I build playlists for characters, places, situations, etc and then listen to them to get me in the mood.  Avril Lavigne’s The Best Damn Thing  is perfect for writing Rachel.  For Eric I tend toward an eclectic mix of Sinatra, Iron Maiden, and Nickleback…  Tabitha is powered by Tori Amos and Alanis Morisette.   I have a playlist for fight scenes and one for romantic scenes.  When I’m stuck on a scene, I get up and pace, which drives my wife crazy because there is a squeaky board in my office and it’s right over our bedroom…  remember that I work full-time and write late at night.  When I’m on a deadline, I put a sleeping bag in my office and get up frequently though the night to write/edit.

 SV:  Have you ever met a vampire or werewolf?

 JFL:  Well, one of my close friends is awfully hairy and he *thinks* he’s a werewolf…

 SV:  What supernatural power or creature would you most like to have or be?

 JFL:  Okay, two answers:  first, I’m a comic book geek, so I’d want to go with the Power Cosmic.  With just that one power, you get virtual immortality, the ability to fly through space unprotected and under your own power, you don’t have to eat or drink anymore, you shoot energy bolts, and you get a funky glowing effect.  The only drawback is that you tend to wind up with a skin tight costume or metallic coating.  I’d be the only guy with the Power Cosmic wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  J

 But the dad in me would pick the ability to heal.  One day people all over the world would just stop getting sick.  Severed limbs would grow back.  The blind would see.  The deaf would hear.  Peanuts would no longer send kids into anaphylactic shock.  We’d all still grow old, but it would be gracefully.  Best of all, I’d never even know I was the cause.  It would just happen one day when my powers turned on and no one would ever know why.  That would be cool.

 SV:  Who is your favorite urban fantasy fictional character and why? (Not counting your own, of course)

 JFL:  Corwin of Amber.  Does he count?  Corwin is the protagonist in Roger Zelazney’s Amber series.  One of my rules about writing first person comes from reading Nine Princes in Amber, the first book in the series.  I feel that first person narrators need to have an excess of personality.  They need to be flawed, witty, and opinionated.  Corwin is all of those things, but we root for him anyway.  He doesn’t always come out on top, but he’s only ever “down” or “out” –  never both at the same time.

 If the Amber series doesn’t count, then I’d have to go with Hellboy.

 SV:  Who’s your favorite author? TV show? Movie?

 JFL:  I’m a huge fan of Roger Zelazney’s Amber series (as if my answer to the previous question didn’t give that away), but I’d have to go with Terry Pratchett as my absolute favorite author.   I love his Discworld series, particularly the ones featuring Death or Granny Weatherwax.  Athough my favorite Pratchett novel is Maurice and His Amazing Rodents.  When I was a teenager, I wrote a serial for a local BBS magazine called BTN.  Anyone who has read that stuff can see that I was clearly aping Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams… quite badly, I might add.  It’s hard to write funny.  One of the hardest scenes to write for Staked was the scene with Eric, Greta, Talbot and the telephone.  Since the humor in that scene is somewhat physical, it was very hard to get it right.  Still makes my wife laugh out loud, though.

 The TV show question is much harder.  If we’re talking currently on the air, then I’d have to say either Battlestar Galactica or the new Doctor Who.  If we are talking shows that no longer air, both Buffy and Angel come really close, and so does the original Muppet Show… but I’ll have to go with… <drum roll, please>… classic Doctor Who. Tom Baker was my Doctor, the one that I watched on PBS every afternoon when I got home from school.  I remember taping all of the episodes as they were replayed time and time again, cut down to one show a week and moved later and later at night.  The special effects don’t hold up very well, but I still love them. 

 Favorite movie gets us back into the easy question realm.  It’s a near tie between Casablanca and Singin in the Rain.  Casablanca always comes out on top, but Singin in the Rain always finishes a close second.   I’m a huge fan of musicals, but I’m a bigger fan of Humphrey Bogart.

 SV:  Do you have any tips for aspiring speculative fiction writers?

 JFL:  Well, the obvious advice is to write.   Write every day.   If you get stuck on something, write something else for a while and come back to it.  I also think any aspiring writer should read Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas.  I also think that listening to Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing podcast is a good idea… particularly her interview with Neil Gaiman and her interview with Christopher Moore.

 SV:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with us at Raves & Rants and your readers?

 JFL:  Really, I’d just like to thank all the folks who’ve gone out and read the book and ask them to keep spreading the word.  This is my first time out of the box, so if you like what you read, then make sure folks know it, so we can keep the Void City universe going.  Great reviews on websites, blogs, or five star Amazon.com reviews don’t hurt, either.  And if you happen to be a Hollywood type that wants to make Staked into a movie, call Kevin Cleary at Content House.  <shakes head>  Okay, that was shameless.  I’m tempted to delete it, but it’s true.  Shameless hucksterism at it’s finest…

 Also, for those who have emailed about buying WELCOME TO THE VOID T-shirts, we are still working out the kinks but should have them available for sale soon.  Check my blog at http://writethefantastic.blogspot.com for details.

 Thank you for spending some time with us here at Raves & Rants Jeremy! It was a pleasure. We’re crossing our fingers and looking forward to ReVamped as well as wishing you every success in the future! You can find out more about Jeremy and his writing at http://www.authoratlarge.com/

 

 J.F. Lewis has graciously agreed to allow me to have a contest with not one, but two winners! 1st place winner will receive a much coveted WELCOME TO THE VOID T-Shirt, and I mean you will be among the first to own one of these awesome shirts, and the 2nd winner will receive a signed copy of STAKED.

 

Apologies to my overseas readers, but only residents in the USA and Canada may enter. To enter the contest, leave a comment by May 15th, it’s that easy. On May 16th I will put all entries into the “hat” and have an unbiased party (probably my 4 year old nephew), pull two names, which will then be posted here. Good luck everybody! And don’t forget to check back on the 16th

 

NOTE: To view the comments/entries from this contest go HERE  There were 23 comments and it would’ve made this post really, really long to include them.

April 24, 2008 Posted by | Interview | , , , | Leave a comment

Working For The Devil – Spotlight & Review


Working For The Devil by Lilith Saintcrow

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (Sep 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316003131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316003131
  • (from back cover) ” Dante Valentine’s working relationship with the Devil wasn’t her choice – but you don’t turn down a contract with Lucifer and live.

    Hired to kill Vardimal Santino, Dante can count as allies only a demon familiar she doesn’t trust and a small band of psychics. The thing is, Dante doesn’t need friends, she needs a miracle. Because the first time Dante Valentine met Santino, she almost died.”

    I LOVED IT! The idea of this book was similar enough to LKH’s Anita Blake to pique my interest, but the character of Dante Valentine and the story captivated me through-out. She’s a totally different character than Anita, but I found her (Dante), to be every bit as compelling.

    Lilith Saintcrow writes an amazing tale about a very interesting world with kick-ass characters. I can hardly wait to read the next in the series! I was totally captivated while reading this book. This is one of those rare works that was so good, I wish I had written it. Action, Romance, Paranormal elements, Danger, Heartbreak, Redemption, Revenge and a hell of a cast of characters make for a wicked mix.

    ( Moved over from my original blog )  

    2 Comments.

     

     

    Posted by Louise:

    Judi, I love this series very much!!! Dante is an excellent heroine and Japhrimel is so gorgeous, he leaves you wanting your own personal demon!!! 😉
    xxxxxx
    Thursday, April 24th 2008 @ 11:08 AM

    Posted by Judi:

    I hear that! I really, really hope that Japh is alive somehow, but don’t tell me, I want to find out by reading. 🙂
    Sunday, April 27th 2008 @ 10:40 PM

     

    April 23, 2008 Posted by | Reviews | , , | Leave a comment

    Staked – Spotlight & Review


    Staked by J.F. Lewis  March 2008 by Pocket Books

     

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket; 1st edition ( Mar 11 2008 )
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416547800
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416547808
  •  
    (from back cover)
     

    “UNREPENTANT. UNIMPRESSED.AND TOTALLY UNDEAD. Eric’s got issues. He has short-term and long-term memory problems; he can”t remember who he ate for dinner yesterday, much less how he became a vampire in the first place. His best friend, Roger, is souring on the strip club he and Eric own together. And his girlfriend, Tabitha, keeps pressuring him to turn her so she can join him in undeath. It”s almost enough to put a Vlad off his appetite. Almost.

    Eric tries to solve one problem, only to create another: he turns Tabitha into a vampire, but finds that once he does, his desire for her fades — and her younger sister, Rachel, sure is cute. And when he kills a werewolf in self-defense, things really get out of hand. Now a pack of born-again lycanthropes is out for holy retribution, while Tabitha and Rachel have their own agendas — which may or may not include helping Eric stay in one piece.

    All Eric wants to do is run his strip club, drink a little blood, and be left alone. Instead, he must survive car crashes, enchanted bullets, sunlight, sex magic, and werewolves on ice — not to mention his own nasty temper and forgetfulness.

    Because being undead isn’t easy, but it sure beats the alternative.”

    Another awesome take on Vampires! It’s a gritty, violent and totally believable take on what being a vampire could be like for you or I. I loved it!  Eric is like “that guy”, you all know someone just like him, only he’s been turned, and he has a hell of a time with it, along with some rotten luck and “troubles” with women. J.F. Lewis is another new author and I’ll be looking forward to reading more of his work. Here’s hoping that this book is the first in a series!?

     

    ( Moved over from my original blog )
     
     
    5 Comments.

     

     

     

     

    Posted by JFLewis:

    Thanks for the great review! The manuscript for my proposed sequel (tentatively titled ReVamped) has been submitted to my editor and I hope to get the “yes, no, or change it” reply soon. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

    Jeremy

    Monday, April 21st 2008 @ 5:02 AM

    Posted by Judi:

    You’re most welcome! 🙂 I know that there are a bunch of us crossing our fingers that you’ll get a YES!! Thanks for popping by Jeremy.
    Monday, April 21st 2008 @ 8:53 AM

    Posted by Louise:

    Loving the sound of this one Judi, any new vamp tale has me itching to read it!
    Louise 🙂
    Tuesday, April 22nd 2008 @ 10:31 AM

    Posted by Judi:

    Trust me, this book is well worth buying! It’s especially impressive as it’s also a debut novel, but I loved the down-to-earth grittiness of Jeremy’s writing style. It was so believable. 🙂
    Tuesday, April 22nd 2008 @ 10:50 AM

    Posted by Pike stephenson:

    Tag! Come by if you want to play.
    Wednesday, April 23rd 2008 @ 6:05 PM

     

    April 21, 2008 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Fire In His Eyes – Spotlight & Review


    Fire In His Eyes by Stella & Audra Price

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tease Publishing LLC (October 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934678139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934678138
  • ( from website )

     “Alcyone Sterling, succubus and owner of Pinkys XXX has a secret admirer, who is leaving her exotic and rare flowers and jewelry beyond beautiful. She doesn’t know who it is, and gets even more curious after a clandestine liaison in her bedroom involving a few silk ties and a blindfold. Char, Fire elemental and strongest of the last dragons left in the Eververse, is obsessed and in love with the young succubus, and recognizes her as his mate, regardless of her demon status. He has to have her, and will do anything to attain her. When the rest of what’s left of his dying race decided to interfere, Char is forced to made some very rash decisions, all in the name of love.”

    Alcyone and Char make one HOT couple! I really enjoyed this tale from Stella & Audra Price’s Eververse and Afterverse. Dragons, Demons, Love, Lust and strong relationships abound. All the characters are extremely likeable, and if you’re looking for a fun, sexy read that has paranormal elements, steams up the room and fulfills fantasy, then this is a must read.  

    ( Moved Over from my origional blog )

     

    2 Comments.

     

     

    Posted by Stella Price:

    Oh Sidhe I’m so glad you liked the book! Though you made no mention of Kael, his book is the second in the series, and its called Deep Water. Apparently readers like that one even more, LOL.
    Thanks so much for the review!

    Stellao:)

    Sunday, April 20th 2008 @ 8:20 AM

    Posted by Judi:

    Your welcome! Kael is an intriguing character as well, they all were! 🙂 🙂
    Sunday, April 20th 2008 @ 11:51 AM

     

    April 20, 2008 Posted by | Reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

    Interview With Adrian Phoenix, Author of A Rush Of Wings


      

    Sidhe Vicious welcomes Urban Fantasy novelist, Adrian Phoenix!  We’re looking forward to getting to know you and all about your novel, A Rush of Wings.

     AP:  Thanks so much for the warm welcome, Sidhe, and I’m very happy for the opportunity to meet your readers.

     SV:  Your debut urban fantasy novel, A Rush of Wings was released in January 2008 by Pocket Books.  Can you tell us about it and the main characters, Heather, Dante, and Lucien?

     AP:  You bet.  FBI agent Heather Wallace tracks a serial killer known as the Cross-Country Killer to New Orleans.  The location of the latest victim’s body leads her to Club Hell and Dante, the young frontman of the band Inferno.  She comes to believe that Dante is the killer’s next intended victim and does everything she can to keep him safe and alive. 

     What she learns in the next few fast-paced and heart-wrenching days is that not only do vampires – nightkind – exist, but Dante is nightkind and he is guarded by one of the Fallen, Lucien De Noir.

     She also learns that the Cross-Country killer may not be working alone and he will stop at nothing to get his hands on Dante.  The reason why is in the past Dante can’t remember, the source of his migraines and nosebleeds.

     And Heather quickly learns that she can’t trust anyone – not the Bureau, not her mentor and supervisor, not even the New Orleans police – except Dante and those who are trying to protect him from his past, the Cross-Country killer, and his own destiny.

     SV:  Will we be seeing more of Heather, Dante, and Lucien in the future?

     AP:  Yes.  The next book, In the Blood, will be released in January 2009.  The story picks up three weeks after the events in A Rush of Wings.  Two more books are planned for this particular story arc.  And I have other stories planned for the characters.

     SV:  How did you get your start in writing?  What, if anything, lit the “spark” to get you started and keep you motivated?

     AP:  Writing has always been my one true love.  Well, that and reading.  I wrote short stories for my sisters and friends all through school.  I’d create characters and yearn to put them in situations and tell their stories.  When I was raising my sons as a single mom, I didn’t have much time or energy for writing.  I wrote and sold a handful of short stories, one of which received an honorable mention in The Year’s Best Horror and Fantasy, fourth edition.

     Once I’d successfully raised the boys, I returned to writing.  I’d never written a novel before because I believed I didn’t know how.  I attended a workshop on story structure taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch and learned that, yes, I could write a novel.  There was no mystery behind the process at all.  So, I sat down and wrote A Rush of Wings.

     I wrote the book I wanted to read about characters I’d fallen in love with.  Writing is a job and needs (I learned) to be approached like one.  You need to sit down and write everyday.  Even when you’re tired.  Even when you don’t feel good.  Even if it’s only a page a day, that’s still steady progress.

     I keep motivated because this is what I’ve always wanted to do.  Even if I hadn’t sold anything, I’d still be writing and hoping that I would.  Each story I wrote would bring me that much closer to my goal.   

     I love writing.  And I love hearing from readers who’ve connected with the story and the characters!  Truly, it’s like a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier.  (Well, okay, I’ll be even happier once I can give up the day job and just write.) 

     SV:  What was the path to publication on this, your first urban fantasy novel, like?  Highlights?  Pitfalls?

     AP:  Research is part of that path.  Know your markets, learn about agents and editors and who is buying what and from whom.  The Publisher’s Marketplace is an excellent online resource.  Agents and editors list their sales and deals and you can look up everyone listed.  (It costs $20/month.)

     I landed my agent first, Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger (Dan Brown’s agency) and he immediately sent the manuscript out to eight major houses.  Pocket bought it and the unwritten sequel two days after I’d had a car accident.  Believe me, I was so excited I pogoed around the house even though it hurt!

     I haven’t really experienced any pitfalls, but I’ve heard horror stories from other writers, so I realize I’ve been very, very lucky.  Have I mentioned how happy and grateful I am? 

     SV:  Did you find it harder or easier to write the second novel in this series because of already having created this world?

     AP:  It was both.  It was easier for the very reason you mentioned – I’d already created the world, the characters, and the driving force behind the story.  It was also harder because, suddenly, I had to think about other people’s expectations while writing.  The only person I’d worried about pleasing while writing A Rush of Wings was myself.  Now, I was wondering what my editor expected, what the readers of RUSH expected, what I expected and it was a little daunting.  Eventually, I had to shut out all these outside expectations and just continue with the story, being true to the characters and myself.  In doing that, I also keep true to my readers.  At least, I hope so!

     SV:  Do you have any funny writing quirks/habits that you do when you’re in the “zone” writing?

     AP:  In the zone – I love that place, writing in a white-hot heat.  I start talking out loud as my fingers fly across the keyboard.  “And then he turns, man, he’s so pissed off…”  A constant little narrative to myself.  I also eat red licorice vines.  Bad, bad, bad, but so good.

     Once I attended a week-long workshop learning how to write query letters and proposals.  The writers had each been assigned a room (in one big house) with bed, bookshelves and a desk.  I was at my desk working on my assignment with my earbuds in (I listen to music non-stop while writing) since I didn’t want to afflict my particular tastes (and volume preference on innocent ears).  I finally realized someone was standing in my doorway.  One of the other writers was looking at me with some concern, so I plucked out the earbuds.  He asked me if I was all right.  Puzzled, I assured him that I was.  He told me that I’d been saying, “Goddammit!  Goddammit!  Goddammit!” over and over.  Hysterical!  I had no idea. 

     SV:  Have you ever met a vampire or angel?

     AP:  I’ve certainly thought so in the bedroom! *winks* (In my dreams, that is!)  I like to people watch, especially while sitting in a dark corner of a club nursing a drink, and I’ve seen a few that I thought could very well be beautiful vampires (or nightkind as Dante says) out playing games with unsuspecting mortals or maybe a vampire hoping to just have fun for the evening like anyone else. 

     And as for angels, look up, take a long look at the roofline of that tall building across the street.  Is that silhouetted figure perched on the edge a shadowed gargoyle or something else altogether?  Someone dark and brooding, whose wings unfurl behind in a rush of air…

     SV:  What supernatural power or creature would you most like to have or be?

     AP:  I’ve always thought it’d be incredible to teleport, go anywhere in an instant. I’ve also always coveted the gift of telepathy.  To speak mind to mind, even in moments of intimacy, wow, imagine the connection.  I’ve often wondered about being a vampire, so I’d probably pick that.

     SV:  Who’s your favorite author?  TV show?  Movie?

     AP:  I’ve always loved Stephen King’s work.  He always inspired me.  I enjoy Neil Gaiman’s work, as well – always beautiful and tragic and deeply, deeply moving.  I so hate to admit that I haven’t read very much urban fantasy.  I have tons of urban fantasy in my TBR pile, but…ack!  I can’t wait until I discover the same writers that you and your readers have already discovered.

     My favorite TV show is Supernatural, with Lost as a close second. 

     Ah, movies!  I love, love, love movies!  I think one of my all-time favorites is Moulin Rouge.  And The Crow, that one always breaks my heart (hell, so does Moulin Rouge).  I loved Aliens, The Last Samurai, Gladiator, The Last Mohican, Desperado, Casino Royale (when Bond tells Vesper, “You’ve stripped my armor from me…whatever is left of me is yours.” So moving!), all of the Bourne movies, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Underworld movies, Big Trouble in Little China… the list goes on!!

     SV:  Do you have any tips for aspiring speculative fiction writers?

     AP:  The most important one is to believe in yourself, always.  No matter what anyone tells you!  My father once told me not to pursue writing because it was so competitive and I was bound to fail.  I believe he meant well, that he was hoping to spare me hurt, but I ignored his advice.

     And write!  Write every single day – even if it’s just a page or for only 30 minutes.  Practice your craft.  How can you expect to improve and grow if you don’t practice rigorously and with dedication?  Look at musicians – if a violinist wants to become the best, they practice for hours every day, sometimes until their fingers bleed.  I’m not saying you need to smear blood on your keyboards, but practice, study, read.  Pursue your dreams and they will come true.  But first and foremost, believe in yourself.

     SV:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with us at Raves & Rants and your readers?

     AP:  A cool place to visit if any of you visit New Orleans – in the Quarter, on Bourbon Street, there is a bar – Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which was built sometime before 1772.  The interior is lit only with candles just like it was back in the day.  Stepping inside into the flickering orange light and long shadows was like stepping back in time.  I loved it.  It used to be a favorite hangout for the vampire crowd for that very reason.  Just sign up for the vampire tour and a visit to the bar is included.  The vampire tour was incredible fun and our guide was a master storyteller and managed to totally creep me out several times.  I loved it!!

     I want to thank everyone for their interest and support!  I appreciate it very much.  Please feel free to contact me via my website, I’d love to hear from you.

     And, thank you, Sidhe for your time and for the interesting questions.  Merci beaucoup!

     Thank you for spending time with us Adrian! It was a pleasure. We’re looking forward to In The Blood and wish you every success in the future. Go to Adrian’s website  www.adrianphoenix.com

     

    ( Moved over from my original blog ) 

     4 Comments.

     

     

    Posted by Louise:

    Yay!!!
    Judi, this interview rocks and Adrian you are so cool!!!
    Really enjoyed reading this.
    Hugs to you both 🙂
    xxxxxx
    Thursday, April 17th 2008 @ 1:44 PM

    Posted by Pike stephenson:

    Great interview! Adrian’s books is on my TBR hot list. I love hearing the writer’s process, what’s going on while they’re plugging away, and those little tidbits (chomping on red licorice) that reminds us that they’re just as quirky as we are.
    Saturday, April 19th 2008 @ 11:56 AM

    Posted by Amber:

    I am looking forward to reading this! I just hope I get a copy sent to me…problems ordering lately…

    Thanks for the interview!

    Sunday, April 20th 2008 @ 12:29 PM

    Posted by Judi:

    Thanks everyone, I had fun doing the interview with Adrian! She’s a great inspiration to me. 🙂
    Sunday, April 20th 2008 @ 3:55 PM

     

    April 17, 2008 Posted by | Interview | , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Bewitched – Spotlight & Review


    Bewitched by Sandra Schwab  Published by Love Spell/Dorchester April 2008

  • Mass Market Paperback: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Dorchester / Historical Rom (Mar 10 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0505527235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0505527233
  • (from back cover) “SWEET PASSION. After a magical mishap that turned her uncle’s house blue, Miss Amelia Bourne was stripped of her powers and sent to London in order to be introduced into polite society – and to find a suitable husband. Handsome, rakish Sebastien “Fox” Stapleton was all that and more. He was her true love. Wasn’t he?

    OR THE BITTER TASTE OF DECEIT. At Rawdin Park, the country estate of the Stapleton’s, Amy began to wonder. Several inexplicable events suggested that one sip of punch had changed her life forever – that this love, this lust, was nothing but an illusion. She and Fox were pawns in some mysterious game, and black magic had followed them out of Town. Without her powers, would she be strong enough to battle those dark forces and win? And would she be able to claim her heart’s true desire? Magic potion or no, what she felt for Fox was a spell that could never be broken.”

    A Historical Paranormal Romance, though not my usual fare, it was quite enjoyable. Ms. Schwab paints a wonderful tale that takes you back to a time in London when magic and the like were to be kept very hush, hush. Amy and Fox are perfect for each other and the tale is one of intrigue, romance, danger and true love. If you’re at all a fan of historical paranormal romance, then I highly recommend this book.

    ( Moved over from my original blog )

     

    2 Comments.

     

     

    Posted by Sandra Schwab:

    Thanks for the lovely review! I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed Fox and Amy’s story! 🙂

    Best wishes from sunny Frankfurt,
    Sandra

    Wednesday, April 16th 2008 @ 8:37 AM

    Posted by Judi:

    You’re welcome! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
    Wednesday, April 16th 2008 @ 3:29 PM

     

    April 15, 2008 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment

    Saturday Soundoff


    • Mood: tired but satisfied
    • Watching: Eragon
    • Currently Reading: Bewitched & Staked

    We interupt our regular reviews to bring you…  An update! LOL I spent about 9 hours yesterday doing spring cleaning – bleach the walls, ceiling and everything in-between cleaning. Sadly, no reading was accomplished.

    Anybody who is going to be in or around the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada area on May 17th, Kelley Armstrong, author of The Otherworld series, (Bitten, Broken, Stolen),  will be doing a signing at the west-end Chapters at 2pm. I’m excited to get to meet her and have my books signed. It’s her first time out here, so lets try to make it a great event for her.

    Books I’ve aquired this week include: The Mammoth Book Of Vampire Stories By Women – Anthology, Demon Night – Meljean Brook, After Dark – Jayne Castle, Carried Away – Sue Civil Brown, My Enchanted Enemy – Tracey Fobes, Dark Moon – Lori Handeland, Dark Seduction – Kathleen Korbel, The Phantom Of The Bathtub – Eugina Riley, The Sharing Knife – Beguilement – Lois McMaster Bujold, If His Kiss Is Wicked – Jo Goodman, Beast Of Desire – Lisa Renee Jones, Mind Games – Merline Lovelace, Last Wolf Standing – Rhyannon Byrd, and Last Wolf Hunting – Rhyannon Byrd. Not a bad haul if I do say so myself!

    So what’s everybody reading this week? Leave a comment and let me know!

    ( Moved over from my origional blog )

     

    3 Comments.

     

     

    Posted by Amber:

    Congratulations on winning the Dragon Wytch ARC!!! I am totally jealous and may not visit you for a week just to make myself feel better 😉
    Sunday, April 13th 2008 @ 9:14 AM

    Posted by Judi:

    LOL, Thanks! I’m really stoked about it, and didn’t you win something last weekend from Lynda Hilburn? 🙂
    Sunday, April 13th 2008 @ 9:40 AM

    Posted by Amber:

    I won an ebook from Lynda the other week. I also won a signed copy of Poison Study last week. I obviously have good book karma lately…maybe it is the amount of money I am spending on them 😉
    Wednesday, April 16th 2008 @ 9:55 AM

     

    April 12, 2008 Posted by | Rambling | , , | Leave a comment

    Happy Hour of The Damned – Spotlight & Review


    Happy Hour Of The Damned by Mark Henry   Feb. 2008 by Kensington Books

    Format:Trade Paperback

    Published:February 18, 2008

    Dimensions:288 Pages

    Published By:Kensington

    The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
    ISBN – 10:
    0758225229
    ISBN – 13:9780758225221

    (from back cover) “Seattle. One minute you’re drinking a vanilla breve, the next, some creepy old dude is breathing on you, turning you into a zombie. And that’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six-inch stilettos, Balenciaga handbag on sale) while satisfying her craving for human flesh (Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken.) and decent vodkatinis.

    Making her way through a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, werewolves, celebrities, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters – not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo – isn’t easy. And the minute one of Amanda’s undead friends disappears after texting the word, “help” (The undead – so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly.

    Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle’s undead underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than death…”

    Mark Henry’s debut urban fantasy is absolutely one of the most unique, hilarious (side-splitting), gory, and twisted tales I’ve ever read. Amanda Feral brings to mind Paris Hilton zombi-fied! She’s a total Bitch, but I love her! The cast of characters in this tale are really well done.  Mr Henry’s unparraleled spin on the undead underworld is uproariously witty, and entertaining to the max. I highly recommend Happy Hour Of The Damned. Now go and get yourself a copy – you know you want to.  

     Zombies are going to be the newest it-thing!

    ( Moved over from my original blog )

    2 Comments.

     

     

    Posted by Amber:

    I won the ARC of this one…The ARC type with no proper cover!!! It is a really cool book and one of my most prized possessions!

    Anyway…I wrote a review for this one the other day for http://www.paranormalromance.org

    Glad you enjoyed the book!

    Thursday, April 10th 2008 @ 1:42 PM

    Posted by Judi:

    I can imagine! I would treasure any ARC’s I may get as well. Them’s better than gold in my books. 😉 I saw all your reviews on PNR, you go girl!
    Thursday, April 10th 2008 @ 6:22 PM

     

    April 8, 2008 Posted by | Reviews | , , , | 2 Comments