Sidhe Vicious Reviews

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

Cate Morgan – Guest Post


Today we have Cate Morgan, debut author of apocalyptic fantasy here with us at SVR to celebrate the release of her new novella, Brighid’s Cross! She’s written up a hilarious guest post about her ahh… writing process, lol. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. Here are some details about the book first, and then I’ll let Cate take over for awhile. 🙂

Brighid’s Cross

  • Pub. Date: November 2011
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
  • Sold By: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: NOOK Book (eBook) , 87pp (Also available at Amazon/Kindle)

Book Description:

“One woman with a job to do. One gorgeous hacker with a plan. One apocalypse. Any questions?

Aika Lareto is a descendent of St. Brighid in her incarnation of all things fire and warfare in a time when heroes were revered as gods.  In 2025, this means Aika is hunted by all things demon and government.  All she wants is to get on with her work as guardian of the dregs scraping out a fringe existence in London’s blitzed underground—the lost, forgotten and the just plain ignored.

Declan Pryce is the hacker who finds her first. Quite a feat, considering current ruling government conglomerate Dreamtech has issued a bounty on Aika’s head for her ability to bypass their security systems.

When she escapes Dreamtech’s net, the vote is unanimous— Aika is a liability in need of immediate resolution—dead or alive is entirely her choice.

No choice, really. She’ll take death over disloyalty every time. Declan has a plan that doesn’t include falling for an impossible woman in an impossible situation. She has plans of her own that don’t leave room for a love life.

If they’re incredibly lucky, it just might work.

Warning: Contains a hot hacker with a penchant for redheads, battles with demons, a little light torture, explosions and a heroine willing to do whatever it takes to do her job.”

Sounds like a fun read right? I’ll pass my blog over to Cate for a bit. Let’s give her a warm welcome!

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What Stories Are Made Of

Or, Sugar and Spice and Some Things . . . Not So Nice

I’m in love.

Not with my husband. (Well, okay, yes with my husband, but that’s a different, much longer blog post.) But with stories. I’m in love with stories the way certain kinds of  guys are in love with their Little Black Books. In fact, I have a Little Black Book, too. And just like other Little Black Books, mine is full of sexy new possibilities and the occasional Sure Thing. Deep inside, on some unconscious level, I’m really searching for The One. But until I find it, I’m happy to play the field. If some new, interesting detail crops up regarding one of the entries, I make careful note of this fact for future consideration.

You can meet a story anywhere, so it’s best to be prepared. As a case in point, here’s a few examples of reliable places I tend stumble over a sexy new idea:

Dreams
Neil Gaiman
Frightful Weather
My Mom
Books/TV/Movies/Music
Neil Gaiman
The Mailman
The Security Guard at my condo complex (who tells FANTASTIC Irish jokes)
My Grandparents (who’re Irish, and fantastic)
My Barista (who advises me regularly to write about vampires)
My Bartender (who begs me not to give in to writing about vampires)
Neil Gaiman

In short, stories come from everywhere, because everyone has them. In fact, I’m pretty sure Neil Gaiman keeps his chained up in his basement behind an iron door with a dozen sturdy locks and tiny food slot in the bottom, held in check by Cthulhu-like cultists in fezzes until he needs them (the stories, not the fezzes). But, again, that’s another blog post. An investigative one, perhaps, requiring a road trip.

Mainly, I’ve found stories come from dreams. My dreams, your dreams, the dreams of the kid down the street who fries ants on the sidewalk with a magnifying glass (creepy little bastard). Dreams make us strive to make them true, and striving makes us search for the life experiences that will lead us to our dreams.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Characters are no different. They are mirror reflections of ourselves, banging on the other side of the glass to be let out. Sometimes I do; other times I tell them they have to wait their turn, and add them to my Little Black Book. In the writing world, the philosophical question of the age is not so much “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?” but “What comes first, character or plot?” My answer has been, and always will be, character, because that is where the stories live. Plot is the order of events in which a story happens, mastered to a time-honored framework of milestones and plot points when certain, important things happen. But without characters and their stories, there would be no plot.

It’s like catching butterflies. Writers run around with a little journal and a net, swiping madly at beautiful, fluttering and altogether elusive story elements, looking  just a little bit silly in the process, but determined nonetheless. Once we catch enough elements that fit into the framework of a plot, we kill them dead, if humanely, and pin their gorgeous little corpses into the framework. Not for the faint of heart, mind you.

Yeah, writers tend to be a little weird, even if we look normal to the casual observer. Like a mad scientist, it comes of spending too much time in our heads, and being rather too attached to our Little Black Books, and having a propensity for attracting lightning. Be wary of the quiet, thoughtful ones. If we’ve suddenly gone quiet and/or thoughtful, it means we’ve spotted a story in the distance and are working out how to capture it. Be especially careful it’s not your story we’re after.

And while I’m giving out Public Service Announcements, let me just say that life is too short not to have dreams, let alone not to go after them. Whether you’re an aspiring, intrepid butterfly catcher or looking to raise a Great Old One from the murky, leviathan-snuggling depths, no one has any right to tell you that you can’t, or shouldn’t. Especially not yourself. And if your self has the gumption to try it, beat it back with a large stick. Here, borrow mine. Never mind the dried blood, or that particularly worrying gouge at the end.

Now, then. Back to work on pacifying the latest story into submission.

Put the kettle on, Neil. I’ve got a map, a large net, and a Little Black Book, and I’m not afraid to use them.

Let the storytelling begin.

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November 4, 2011 Posted by | Guest Blogger, New Author, New Book Releases, New Releases, Spotlight On... | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jess Haines – Guest Blog & Giveaway


Today I have Jess Haines, author of the debut Urban Fantasy novel Hunted By The Others, here guest blogging along with a giveaway!

Hunted By The Others, which will be hitting the shelves on April 27th, is the first in the H&W Investigations series. The next book, Taken By The Others is due to be released around December 2010.

See my review of Hunted By The Others HERE

I’ll pass my blogging reigns over to Jess, let’s give her a warm welcome! 🙂

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Vampires vs. Werewolves

 Like cats and dogs, vampires and werewolves classically do not mix. This kind of conflict makes for some tasty media treats. For example, let’s take the deliciously action-packed Underworld movies.

 Vampires, the blue-blooded aristocrats of their society, have long ruled over humans and Lycans (werewolves) alike from the shadows. Many werewolves were at one time forced into servitude to the vampires, and when the Lycans revolted, the enmity between the two races was never resolved. The hatred between the vampires and werewolves (and hotties like Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman dressed in tight leather) has led to a franchise that has spawned three released movies, a fourth in the works, as well as comics and a series of novels.

 Now, with the three movies garnering ratings of 7% to 49% between Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, or C+ and D+ respectively from Yahoo Movie Reviews (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underworld_(film_series)), how is it the three movies made a combined box office revenue of $601,858,330? We’re not even talking DVD or other merchandise sales. With reviews like: “…a relentlessly unpleasant fantasy epic…” (David Nusair) and “The film even has the nerve to set itself up for a sequel. Of course, the ending is so sloppy, that this may have just been an oversight.” (Joe Lozito), both from www.rottentomatoes.com, something doesn’t quite add up here.

 Not to put too fine a point on it, but for movies so poorly rated, it looks like they did just fine at the box office. Perhaps the critics are missing something? That or the movies have something to them that isn’t being delivered by the usual summer blockbusters. Perhaps there’s something to them that moviegoers (and comic book readers/collectors and readers of the novels in this genre) are hungry for, and will take in whatever form they can get.

 What is it that’s so fascinating about vampires and werewolves being at odds with each other? Is it the idea of two strong, vicious creatures clashing, each vying for dominance? Is it the Matrix-like sword/fang/claw/gun-play? The abundance of tight leather-and-lace outfits?

 Whatever the case may be, I believe that this is a market that has not been fully tapped. I could have used a different example (the Twilight Saga comes to mind), but I don’t think that would properly illustrate my point. The focus of that series is more upon the romantic aspect of Bella and Edward’s relationship than the hostility between vampires and werewolves. There have been video games and tabletop role-playing games and novels that are based around the Vampire vs. Werewolf mentality. Take the hugely successful Vampire: the Masquerade role-playing game, the same one that spawned its own video game spinoff. Or there’s Michele Hauf’s recently released novel, HER VAMPIRE HUSBAND (HQN Books, April 1, 2010). The basic premise is a need to mend a long-standing rift between the vampire and werewolf communities through marriage of a vampire aristocrat to a werewolf princess. This conflict has reached the romance section, ladies and gentlemen! Even Facebook (link: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2526220728) has joined the fun and games.

 So, in short, it appears that our fascination with these creatures being at each others’ throats isn’t limited to novels and comic books. The makers of Underworld may not have made the critics happy, but they’ve certainly entertained an awfully big audience. What do you think? Do we need more books and films that cover this quarrel? Could Hollywood stand to do something big and pretty and with a huge budget on the order of Lord of the Rings or Avatar with the Vampire vs. Werewolf plot? Or would it flop spectacularly on the level of something like Catwoman or Gigli?

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Thanks so much Jess for that thought provoking blog! I’ll state my thoughts and response to your question in the comments as it could be a long one, lol. 😀

Giveaway Details:

Jess Haines has generously offered one winner a signed copy of Hunted By The Others! Giveaway is open to Everyone. Jess will also be popping by to respond to questions or comments. 

Question:  What do you think? Do we need more books and films that cover this quarrel? Could Hollywood stand to do something big and pretty and with a huge budget on the order of Lord of the Rings or Avatar with the Vampire vs. Werewolf plot? Or would it flop spectacularly on the level of something like Catwoman or Gigli?

For one entry: Please leave a comment with the answer to the question.  (+1 entry) OR a question for Jess (+1 entry)

 For extra entries:  

  • Subscribe to my blog, Sidhe Vicious Reviews, through the links at the top right hand side of the blog, and let me know in your comment. Be sure you verify your subscription through the email you’ll receive or it won’t count. (+1 entry)
  • If you’re already subscribed, you’ll receive two extra entries, but be sure to let me know in the comments if you’re an old follower. (+2 entries)
  • Post a link to this contest on your Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, GoodReads, LibraryThing, or on your blog and send me the link either in the comments or by email and you’ll get an extra entry for each place you add a link to. ( add 1 entry each for  however many links you’ve done)
  • Follow me on Twitter, Add me as a friend on FaceBook, GoodReads, MySpace, Chapters Community or LibraryThing. (add 1 entry each for however many places you followed/friended me)
  •  
  • Contest is open to Everyone  and will run through May 4th until 11:59pm. The winners will be posted here on May 5th. Please leave your email addy in your comment for me to contact you if you’ve won. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 7 days, a new winner will be drawn from the eligible comments. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator. Good Luck everyone! :)

(I should also mention that if you’re leaving me a bunch of links in your comment, do not panic if it doesn’t show up right away. It just automatically gets held for me to moderate, which I will as soon as I’m online. :D )

April 24, 2010 Posted by | Contest, Contests, Guest Blogger, New Book Releases, New Releases | , , , | 39 Comments

Helen Scott Taylor – Guest Blog & Giveaway


   

Today I have paranormal romance author Helen Scott Taylor gracing us with a wonderful guest blog and giveaway! She’s the author of The Magic Knot and the up-coming The Phoenix Charm, on shelves  January 14th, 2010. Both books are from her Magic Knot Fairy World and have plenty of awesome fae characters, of which I am a fan. 🙂 Helen will be responding to comments today so let’s be sure to give her a warm welcome. The details of the giveaway will be at the end of the interview, so be sure to read all the way to the end.

I’ll pass the reigns over to Helen…

 I love books that contain animals as characters or where pets figure in the plot. I especially love the concept of spirit animals or familiars where the animals have a spiritual or magical connection with the characters.

 I have two Shih Tzu dogs and a burmilla cat, but I have to admit that my heart belongs to my cat (the bit of my heart that doesn’t belong to my husband and kids!). I indulged myself in the second book in my Magic Knot Fairies series, The Phoenix Charm, and gave my heroine a cat who reminded me of my own cat. My heroine Cordelia is a pisky witch and wise woman and her cat Tamsy is her familiar. She rescued Tamsy, who was an abandoned kitten, and has been bonded to her ever since. She can sense Tamsy emotionally and in stressful or frightening situations she and her cat anchor and calm each other. She doesn’t exactly take Tamsy’s advice—they don’t communicate in words—but she can sense her cat’s reactions to people and events to help her make decisions. Cordelia can also send her consciousness into her cat’s mind and see through her eyes.

 The concept that the type of animal we identify with reveals something of our personality is embodied in many cultures. For me, the peculiar wisdom of animals gives a peek into a mysterious world that exists outside of our understanding. We think we know what goes on in their world, but we see everything through the lens of our human understanding and values. The rules of nature are both harsh and pure, a conflict that is elemental, but honest in its brutal demands. This has an almost paranormal quality that lends itself perfectly to the paranormal romance genre.

 I guess taking this to its ultimate extreme is the melding of human and animal consciousness in a shape shifter, which may be one reason why they are so popular.

 One of the fantastic aspects of the myths and legends of the fairy world is that they encompass every type of paranormal creature imaginable—vampires, shape shifters, witches, and many others. The fairy world I’ve created in The Magic Knot series is based mainly on Celtic Myth and Legend with some of my own creations thrown into the mix as well. I love the freedom this gives to create a variety of characters. I include Cornish piskies, Leprechauns, a nightstalker (a black vampiric fairy with wings), the noble Irish Tuatha Dè Danaan, Tylwyth Teg (Welsh fairies), a druid, a dragon, and of course Tamsy the cat.

 I have a novella linked to my Magic Knot Fairy world called The Feast of Beauty in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance coming out on Jan 26, 2010. This story is about the people of Lir the Irish Sea god.

The Feast of Beauty (Blurb)

 Kate’s grandmother’s dying wish is that she should return her pearl pendant to the tiny fishing village in Ireland where she was born. At the village’s Midsummer Feast of Beauty, the unearthly silver hair and emerald eyes of Esras, the wealthy local landowner, mesmerize Kate. But how can she trust her heart to a man who claims to be a sea fairy king?  

 The Phoenix Charm (Blurb)

 He’s Pure Temptation.

Cordelia has sworn she’ll abstain from looking into Michael’s future—particularly when the image in the gilded smoke of her divination mirror shows him half-naked. Yet she can’t resist watching the sexy rascal slowly running his hand down his ribs, over his abdomen, flicking open the button on his jeans with a little flourish like a magician performing a trick.

 She’s Trying To Resist.

Respectable wise woman Cordelia restrains her secret water nymph sensuality with the Celtic symbols painted on her skin. But Michael’s powerful fairy glamour leaves her breathless, off-balance, struggling for control. When Gwyn ap Nudd, the Welsh King of the Underworld, steals away Michael’s infant nephew, Cordelia must work with him to save the child. But how can she trust her instincts with Michael tempting her to explore the hidden elemental depths of her nature and insisting that she believe in the power of…The Phoenix Charm.

To celebrate the release of The Phoenix Charm, I have a free fantasy romance short story on the Dorchester website called Jack’s Garden. http://www.dorchesterpub.com/Dorch/SpecialFeatures.cfm?Special_ID=2759

To read book excerpts or for more information on my work go to www.helenscotttaylor.com  

Also, Dorchester is having a Stocking Stuffer Sale on their website at the moment with some romance novels only at $2.99. Helen’s book The Magic Knot is included and so are The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox and Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton to name a few.

Here’s the link:
www.dorchesterpub.com/Dorch/Genre.cfm?L1=2&L2=49

Contest Details:

Helen would like to ask, “If you could have a spirit animal or familiar, what sort of animal would you choose?” As I said, she’ll be responding to your comments today, so be sure to say hello and let us know the answer. Helen is offering up a signed copy of The Phoenix Charm to a randomly picked commenter!

For one entry: Please leave a comment with the answer to Helen’s question.

For  extra entries: 

– Subscribe to my blog, Sidhe Vicious Reviews, through the links at the top right hand side of the blog, and let me know in your comment. Be sure you verify your subscription through the email you’ll receive or it won’t count. (+1 entry)

– If  you’re already subscribed, you’ll receive an additional entry, but be sure to let me know in the comments. (+2 entries)

– Post a link to this contest on your Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, GoodReads, LibraryThing, or on your blog and send me the link either in the comments or by email and you’ll get an extra entry for each place you add a link to.  

 Contest is open to Everyone/Anywhere Internationally and will run through January 6th until 11:59pm GMT. The winners will be posted here on the 7th. Please leave your email addy in your comment for me to contact you if you’ve won. If I haven’t heard back from the winner/s in 7 days, a new winner will be drawn from the eligible comments. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator. Good Luck everyone! 🙂

December 21, 2009 Posted by | Contest, Contests, Guest Blogger, New Book Releases, New Covers - Release Dates, New Releases, On My Bookshelf, Upcoming Releases | , , , | 30 Comments

Guest Blogger – Dante & A Contest


 

Sidhe Vicious would like to welcome Dante, from Adrian Phoenix’s A Rush Of Wings! He’s been kind enough to join us as a guest blogger, so without further adieu, I’ll leave you in his, oh so capable *cough-sexy-cough*, hands…

 For those of you who don’t know me, my name’s Dante.  I’m frontman for Inferno, I live just outside New Orleans, and I accepted Judi’s offer to guest blog on her cool RAVES & RANTS site before me and the band hit the road on tour.  She asked me if I’d do a bit on pet peeves, and I’m more than happy to oblige.  Judi’s not only tres jolie and tres cool, she’s beaucoup honest.

 (aww, I’m blushing now) 

 Ain’t nothing more solid than the truth. 

 So…pet peeves.

 Pet peeve numero un is this question:  What’s it like being vampire?

 (Oh, btw, I’m nightkind.)

 Merde.  Beaucoup merde.  Dunno.  What’s it like being human?  Being mortal?  Care to wrap that up in a sweet one paragraph answer?  After all, what do you have to compare it with?

 My response is usually along the lines of:  “Dunno.  Tell me, what’s it like being an asshole?”  C’mon, why not ask, “What’s it like being black?  Asian?  White?  Male?  Female?”

 It’s all I know, so it feels pretty fucking normal.  It’s who I am.

 Another question that rates high on the pet peeve o’meter is:  “Will you turn me?”  Yeah.  D’accord.  So then the world will have not only another asshole, but an immortal asshole?  Umm, no.

 ( I wonder if asking him to “bite me/nibble on my neck awhile” counts? Oh Shush… You know you were all thinking it too!) *grins*

 In truth, that question’s no different than asking, “Wanna have a baby?  One that you’ll have to raise alone?”  Yeah…sign me up for that one.

 But my pet peeves ain’t aimed at just mortals.  Hell, no.  Nightkind are often the biggest, loudest assholes of all.  My personal fav?  This one:  “Lady Nose-in-the-Air/Lord Kiss-My-Boots requests a personal audience with you before/after the show.”

 Just because they’re nightkind, they believe they should get special treatment – especially from other nightkind.  Like me.  (*snorts*)  Yeeeaaaahhhhh…like that’s gonna happen.  They can get in line for the meet and greet after the show like everyone else.

 Do they?  Nope.  They usually stalk away, faces looking like they just sucked down a mouthful of cold blood, muttering promises regarding my future comeuppance(s).  Hah.  See my eyes rolling?  Get a life.

 But the grand poo-bah of all pet peeves are the assholes who prey on others by using their hopes and dreams, their aching hearts.  Assholes who eat up their trust.  Twist them.  Scar them.  Strip them of everything.  For money.  Out of envy.  Or just because they can.

 Hell, I guess that ain’t a pet peeve.  It’s soulless something that edges right up against evil.  Fuckers who shapeshift a person’s dreams into delusions and suck them dry of all hope. 

 And it usually starts with a lie.

 Mortals and nightkind alike are guilty.  Mortals and nightkind alike are also victims.

 “A little white lie doesn’t hurt anyone.  Sometimes it’s better than a painful truth.”  Or how about this popular tune: “People lie.  It’s just human (insert species here) nature.” 

 I’ve heard those words or variations of them over and over.  And it’s pure top of the charts bullshit.

 A lie is a lie is a lie.  Hiding the truth is a kind of lie – a lie of omission, and just as harmful.

 Sure, I expect someone who doesn’t like me or is fucking with me or whatever to lie to me.  That’s all part of the you-suck routine.

 But a friend?  No.  With people you like and trust, everything they say becomes a part of your foundation, a part of your reality.  Because you believe them.  And you build on it – your friendship, your love, your every-night life.

 A lie is a termite in that foundation, devouring its integrity.  It doesn’t matter why that termite’s in there chomping happily away – Oh, I didn’t want to hurt you or I was worried you’d get jealous or I thought you wouldn’t understand or even the classic, I had your best interests at heart – the fact remains that the termite is in there.  And it ain’t coming out on its own and it ain’t coming out without doing damage.

 I have a lot of trouble remembering things that happened the first fourteen years or so of my life, even things that I’ve done.  But I’m gonna find out and learn my own truth.  (Yeah, I could be wrong about the ‘fourteen years or so’, I suck at dates and time.)

So night by night, friend by friend, I’m building a foundation, a solid one I hope.  A foundation to live my life by.  And I’ll never lie – not to spare a friend’s feelings, not to ease a lover’s jealousy, and I’ll never believe a lie is in anyone’s best interest.  Not even the teller’s.

 I expect the same – no lies.  No matter how painful it is, no matter how ugly, if I ask, give me the truth.  The truth will never come between us, but a lie will.

 I believe deep down, we all crave the truth – mortals and nightkind, yeah even assholes.  I think sometimes we’re scared to ask for it.  But we gotta, if we’re ever going to move ahead.

 Wow.  Pet peeves spiraled into a rant enorme.  Hey, Judi, I just honored the theme of your site!

 So tell me, ma chere, what’s it like being Canadian? 

 LOL, don’t even get me started!! ( Still wildly fanning myself from the hotness that is Dante) 

 Let’s see… there are the un-educated who actually believe that people who live in Canada all live in Igloos and that there’s snow 24/7! NOT! I live in a very metropolitan city ,thank you, and have never even seen an Igloo except in pictures.

 Then there are the people who actually think that everyone in Canada talks like that Bob and Doug McKenzie from some old comedy show (SCTV) that aired a zillion years ago, or that we say “Eh” all the time. That’s a negative! But I digress, see? I told you not to get me started, lol.

 I would like to thank Dante for spending some time with us here at Raves and Rants and I’m sure my readers will agree with the sentiment that you are welcome to come back and visit anytime! *grins*

 

Adrian Phoenix has graciously agreed to sign and send a copy of Dante’s story in A Rush Of Wings to one lucky commenter, so get commenting people!

 

I will pick the winner on July 15th, and if you’d like an extra entry, then blog about this post & contest on your blog, MySpace, FaceBook, LiveJournal,  BlogSpot, WordPress or spread the word in some form and send me the link.

 

 

( Moved Over From My Original Blog )

24 Comments. ( Click here to view comments made at the old blog – This contest is still ongoing and you may leave a comment here as well to be entered. )

June 25, 2008 Posted by | Contest, Guest Blogger | , , , , | 5 Comments