Thursday, April 17, 2014

First Chapter Review: Hair of the Corn Dog by A. K. Turner



A.K. Turner is on tour with Pump Up Your Book to talk about her humor book, Hair of the Corn Dog

A.K. Turner is the author of This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store, Mommy Had a Little Flask, and Hair of the Corn Dog, as well as a co-author of Drinking with Dead Women Writers and Drinking with Dead Drunks. Her work has been featured in various publications and anthologies, including Folio Literary Magazine, Leave the Lipstick, Take the Iguana, and I Just Want to Be Alone. A former writer-in-residence and creator of "The Writers' Block" on Radio Boise, she lives in Idaho with her exceedingly tolerant husband and two daughters.

Learn more at AKTurner.com.


BLURB:  In the latest laugh-out-loud confessional from A.K. Turner's "Tales of Imperfection" series, the author of This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store and Mommy Had a Little Flask relates her adventures on the Jersey Shore, at an Idaho drag show with her in-laws, and surviving the perils of an elementary school ice-cream social with equal parts wit and heart. The laughter pairs well with two parts cocktail.

COVER: This one is a riot. Don't you expect a corn dog to be paired with a beer or a soda? I wasn't expecting a Bloody Mary. The color scheme catches the eye. Between the look of the cover and the title you're bound to pick this one up to glance at it.

FIRST CHAPTER: The author relays a story of visiting a local dive with her husband and his former college buddy. There's lots of drinking, some storytelling from a cab driver, and a next day regret.

KEEP READING:  All I can say is that if this is the opening chapter, you're in for one heck of a ride. I had not expected a chapter titled "Humpin' Hannah's," and I don't drink, so going out to the bar to tie one on means nothing to me--except horrible memories of pretending to fit in and faking it. But I have to tell you, this is a funny chapter. If nothing else, it made me feel so much better about some of the exploits of my youth. Actually, it made me realize that had it not been for some of the wonderful people in my life, I might have been  one of those people the cab driver told the author and her husband about on their ride home from that dive.

Turner is funny. In some parts she seems almost vulnerable or too innocent for her own good. The cab driver's stories are outrageous, making me glad I don't live somewhere like New York City where cabs are the regular mode of transportation. The one thing I could really relate to was how Kelly (the former college buddy) learned keeping up with his college-age tenants wasn't as easy as it seemed. Getting old stinks.

The content isn't my usual style, but I had to admit I snickered and chuckled more than once. If you enjoy edgy, sometimes bawdy humor, this is a book you'll get a kick out of.

Series: The Tales of Imperfection Series
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Fever Streak Press (February 8, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0991375920
ISBN-13: 978-0991375929

I received the first chapter only of this book from Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Interview: Peter Murphy, Author of Born & Bred


Peter Murphy was born in Killarney where he spent his first three years before his family was deported to Dublin, the Strumpet City.

Growing up in the verdant braes of Templeogue, Peter was schooled by the De La Salle brothers in Churchtown where he played rugby for ‘The Wine and Gold’. He also played football (soccer) in secret!

After that, he graduated and studied the Humanities in Grogan’s under the guidance of Scot’s corner and the bar staff; Paddy, Tommy and Sean.

Murphy financed his education by working summers on the building sites of London in such places as Cricklewood, Camden Town and Kilburn.

Murphy also tramped the roads of Europe playing music and living without a care in the world. But his move to Canada changed all of that. He only came over for a while – thirty years ago. He took a day job and played music in the bars at night until the demands of family life intervened. Having raised his children and packed them off to University, Murphy answered the long ignored internal voice and began to write.

He has no plans to make plans for the future and is happy to let things unfold as they do anyway.


Visit Peter online at www.peterdamienmurphy.com

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a nice respectable suburb on the south side of Dublin, Ireland. It was the type of place you would imagine that children would be happy in but in my late teens, I wandered downtown in search of the places where my literary heroes had roamed. I found them and spent the next few years absorbing the atmosphere that still lingers.

When did you begin writing?

Growing up, I was strongly encouraged to read and write. As a lovelorn teen I wrote poetry and songs and became a bit of a troubadour for a while. Later, after I moved to Canada and became busy raising a family, I stole a few hours, here and there, to write short stories—some of which were not too bad. A few years back I got cashed-out of a job that I had grown very tired of and decided to start doing what really made me happy—writing.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I find the evenings are best for writing and I spend the day editing and reworking the previous day’s work. Reshaping it always gets me in the mood to take another plunge forward.

What is this book about?

It is the story of Danny Boyle, a pious and innocent child who gets waylaid by the storms of the world around him. His granny, a formidable and influential dowager, raised him to be good but when she dies, all of her secrets come tumbling out and shatter everything Danny believed in. Lost and confused, he gets involved with the drug scene and gets duped into leaving his fingerprints on a murder weapon. But his family still has powerful friends who are prepared to move Heaven and Earth to save him, only, even that might not be enough.

What inspired you to write it?


A few years ago, I was having dinner with family in Dublin when the talk turned to the recent murder of an alleged drug-dealer. Everyone voiced reasonable and insightful opinions and it set the wheels in motion. Even the greatest villains among us begin life as babies and I wanted to explore what might have happened along the way.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Danny Boyle’s grandmother, Nora. She seems so self-assured at first and doesn’t hesitate to put everyone in their place. She does what she believes has to be done and pays her penance forward. But, as the story unfolds, her certainty is tested and Nora is forced to look at things differently.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Notwithstanding that the whole process can feel like it moves at glacial pace, I have been very fortunate. I found someone, my editor Lou Aronica, who saw something in my writing and has spared no effort to coax me along. Initially, some of his opinions ruffled my feathers but he has been proven right. Because of that I get to do my part—write—and trust that the rest will be well taken care of. Writing, publishing and reader’s reactions all make for a bit of a rollercoaster ride but what part of life isn’t?

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

No because all of that led to this. I spent over 3 years working on my first novel, Lagan Love, and have managed to produce the first 2 books of Life & Times; Born & Bred and Wandering in Exile in 2. What I am learning along the way is to avoid filling pages with anything that is not central to the story—a practice that can only be improved by making mistakes along the way.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.ca/Born-Bred-Peter-Murphy/dp/1611881161

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/born-bred-peter-murphy/1116303578

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/born-bred/id755632981

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/born-bred

Local Bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781611881165

Chapters/Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/born-bred/9781611881165-item.html?ikwid=peter+murphy+born+%26+bred

Ben McNally Books: http://www.benmcnallybooks.com/?q=events/fine_print_presents_born_and_bred_peter_murphy

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write, write, and write. Like anything else, it gets easier with practice.

What is up next for you?

I have been working 10 to 12 hours a day for 3 years and when the 3rd book, All Roads, is done, I need to take some time to attend to the rest of my life. I need a haircut and I need to get organized for my move to Portugal. I tell myself I must take a few months off but, already, I’m playing with a few new ideas!

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to talk about my work.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own

1


Reading room/library

2


Built-in bookshelves

3


Window seat

4

Book wall art

5


Book stairs

6


Book page furniture

7


Book chair

8


Book clock

9


Unusual bookshelf

10


Book Christmas Tree

Monday, April 14, 2014

Musing Mondays - April 14


This is a weekly meme run by Miz B of Should be Reading.

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musing:

Just polished off the latest Rocky Buff P.D. novel by F.M. Meredith. I love these books and they are all quick reads. I polished this one off in less than twenty-four hours. That doesn't mean it was short on content. It amazes me how much Meredith can pack into one 176-page book. Murder, a serial rapist, several developments in the personal lives of the members of the Rocky Bluff Police Department, and a few surprises make this an awesome read.

Gordon Butler, my favorite character in the series, has been one of those guys who if he didn't have bad luck wouldn't have any luck at all. Maybe things are changing for him. At least I can hope. Most of the members of the Rocky Bluff PD are familiar names, but there was a new introduction, in addition to the numerous townsfolk unique to the crimes.

Look for my review on April 28.

Guest Blogger: Carla Acheson, Author of The Whitechapel Virgin


Catherine, a fifteen year old runaway, stumbles into a seedy brothel-house tavern in the back streets of Whitechapel, London. She hesitates at the scene before her, one filled with low class prostitutes and drunkards, but it is late, and the dimly-lit labyrinthine alleyways are filled with deviant fellows and petty criminals.

Weary and hungry, she meets Eddie, the rugged young tavern boy who shows her to a room for the night. She settles down only to be awoken in the early hours by piercing cries from the room next door. Arising to find the cause of the commotion, she becomes witness to a gruesome abortion.

Filled with revulsion, Catherine decides to flee as soon as daylight arrives, but Eddie quickly soothes her fears and convinces her to stay, arranging for her to meet Madame Davenport, the nefarious brothel-mistress who employs Catherine as a serving girl, under the proviso she begins work ‛servicing’ men once she is settled in.

Difficulties arise, however, when Eddie’s growing romantic affections for Catherine clash with her sudden infatuation for the dashing middle-class gent, Mr Cross. Unknown to Catherine, the lothario is keeping a diary of his affairs with Whitechapel’s whores, with the dishonourable intention of turning his writing into a successful ‛gentleman’s, publication.’ Mr Cross quickly seduces the fresh young virgin, allowing his sexual fantasies to escalate into an unfathomable obsession.

As Catherine tries her hardest to fit into the ways of life at the lodging house, she encounters only jealousy from Eddie, and resentment from the other prostitutes who reside there. Annie, in particular, dislikes the new girl who has blossoming beauty and youth on her side.

Unexpectedly one night, a crime occurs within the narrow landing of George Yard Buildings. Local prostitute Martha Tabram is found brutally hacked to death by a cruel assailant. The police can unearth no explainable motive. The Victorian crime stuns the entire Whitechapel district, causing widespread panic amongst the prostitutes who each fear for their own lives.

Catherine’s anxiety increases when Edward Cross begins to show signs of ‘odd’ sexual behaviour and mental decline, as he brutally tries to expunge the girl of her virtues. When two more gruesome murders occur in the area, the prostitutes realise that there is no escape from the vicious killer who calls himself Jack The Ripper. But who is he? And who will be the next Jack victim?

London City by Carla Acheson

I'm not sure when my love affair with Victorian London began. I'm not even exactly sure what draws me to that particular era. Perhaps it's the pretty corsets and frilly apparel which the ladies wore, or maybe it is because it was the revolutionary golden age of technology. But I have a tangible link to the city, one which I could never erase.

Despite being born on a Rock in the Mediterranean Sea, my parents emigrated to the United Kingdom very shortly after my birth in the early seventies, where I grew up on the eastern side of the great city itself. Many years later we returned 'home' to the Rock where I brought with me a distinctive cockney-sounding 'twang.' It was an odd accent for the locals to decipher, and it threw me into the category of 'foreigner' almost instantly. I pined for my childhood home, yet never returned to live there.

So over the years, it is logical that I have always felt a certain affinity to the place where I was raised. I knew that I had left some part of me behind. There is even a particular children's swing in a small fenced off park close to where I lived, that I visit in my mind during troubled times. I sit and swing back and forth, calmly, returning to that innocent and carefree state of youthful existence.

Perhaps then my choice of London as a fictional setting for my books felt like the most natural choice. I have, after all, walked through the narrow fog-filled streets, and felt my fingers and tip of my nose turn numb in the bitterest winter evenings. To return there, even if just to indulge in the fantasy of my own inventions and imaginings is cathartic, and presses upon me the joys of an existence now long gone, but one which can be re-created in some ways over and over again in my own story world.

PURCHASE THE WHITECHAPEL VIRGIN:







Carla lives in Gibraltar with her family and is a member of the Freelance Writers Association. She works as a book reviewer and has interviewed and published book reviews and articles for best-selling and award-winning authors. Her articles and reviews have been featured in various press publications, as well as Waterstones Quarterly UK Magazine.

Her debut fiction novel ‘The Last Gift’ released October 2012, is available on both Kindle and paperback.

Carla is also the founder of the Rock Writers Group formed in Gibraltar in 2009.

Music production, singing, reading and writing have always been the main essential ingredients in Carla’s life.




Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review: Steam and Stratagem by Christopher Hoare

Roberta Stephenson is the daughter of the "Father of Railways." Practically raised in the engine works and educated at a private academy, she makes a fine candidate to become manager and designer at her father's steamship yard on the Clyde. Britain will depend on Roberta's expertise to help them thwart Napoleon's latest invasion plan.

Steam and Stratagem by Christopher Hoare blends steampunk and romance in one fascinating story. Hoare's trademark for crafting strong heroines serves him well in this story set in 1814 during the Napoleonic Wars.

A chance encounter between Roberta Stephenson and Lord Bond leads to the Stephenson Engine Works being considered to build steam powered rams for the Admiralty. Roberta is soon drawn into the world of intrigue, while her personal life gets more complicated by the attention of three suitors.

Having never read steampunk fiction before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. In some ways, Steam and Stratagem is a Victorian era Tom Clancy book. It's filled with details of ships, cannons, iron plates, and more. The romance aspect of the novel takes a back seat to the intrigue and ship engineering. This might shift a bit in future novels of the series, but in this first book, I was seventy percent into the novel before Roberta began considering these potential suitors. There are hints of the romance prior to that, but not much.

While I don't think steampunk fiction will ever be a favorite of mine, Hoare's writing--which I've enjoyed in the past--remains solid and his female characters sharp. I can't say I cared for Lord Bond, much, but perhaps there are some surprises coming in future installments. Holmes and Worthington were entertaining, and I would like to see more of them.

If you're a steampunk fiction fan, you'll want to check out Steam and Stratagem.

Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: Tyche Books Ltd. (November 27, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0991836979
ISBN-13: 978-0991836970
ASIN: B00GXHPMOS


The publisher sent me a digital copy of this book for review. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

I have read this book for the following challenges.




Interview with Dawné Dominique, Author of The First Series


A multi-published and award-nominated author of paranormal erotic romance and fantasy, Dawné Dominique's novels instantly hook readers until that last page is read.

Although published in the US, she's a Canadian author through and through. The second novel of her vampire series, Dark Diary, II: The First, is set in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she resides with her family, and Gunkers, a stray cat she recently saved, and Chumbly, their newest addition to the feline household.

She embraces life with one simple rule: “Everything in life happens for a reason, be it good or bad, and it’s because of this we learn to never take anything for granted.”

Drop by to pay her visit at: www.dawnedominique.com or www.DusktildawnDesigns.com.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in a small Ontario town called Alison Simcoe Co. People used to ask me if I was born in a baby factory. *chuckles* It was an army base way back when. My sister and I were the first set of twins born there. For the record, she's forty-five minutes older than I am. That's why our mom likes her more. *smiles*

What is your fondest childhood memory?

The very first time I ever saw my mom and dad kiss. I was about twelve years old, and I've never forgotten it.

When did you begin writing?

Since I was old enough to hold a crayon, then I'd draw pictures to go with the stories, but it wasn't until the late 1990's early 2000's, after I joined a writing site that I seriously began to hone my craft.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Well, I'm a contracted paralegal three days a week, and a cover artist for the rest. I write primarily at night because that's when my mind is the most creative. The week leading up to a full moon, my creativeness explodes. Whether it's writing or cover art, it doesn't matter. Some people have called me a were-author. *blushes*

What is this book about?

Crimson Cries is my most recent release and the fourth novel in my vampire series called The First. It blends biblical facts with fiction to give readers a very logical explanation as to where and how the first vampires and wolves came to be. Eden's Hell, the novel that begins the series, was nominated for an EPIC because of its uniqueness from all the other vampire novels out there. This series is definitely not your ordinary bloodsucking series.

What inspired you to write it?

You may get a chuckle out of this, but I entered a writing contest. The prompt was to write a chapter length story about a "unique" vampire. I won the contest, but every critique I received said "it's too short." Thus, Daniella Rolfe was born. She doesn't have to feed every night like other vamps. Only once a month. Like a woman's period, instead of expelling blood, she has to replace hers. So she hunts for a large man for one night of suck and, well, you know. It is erotica after all. Daniella has three days in which to do so. If she doesn't, the hunger can lead to blood madness wherein she risks losing herself in the feeding and can rip the victim apart. Daniella kills, but she's discriminate about who lives and who dies.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I have some very dear friends who have been with me right from the beginning. My associate at the office hadn't read a book since she was a junior high student. After she picked up my series, she told me that it has prompted her to begin reading again, except... she hasn't found an author she likes as much as me. That statement has had a profound effect on me. I lost my big brother a couple of years back. After he died, my joy and love for writing disappeared into sadness. She brought me out of my despair in more ways than one.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

Indeed, I am. There was a time I also moderated a Young Adult novel group in there, but my time right now is too consumed with my own writing and my cover art business.

Who is your favorite author?

I have a lot of them, but J.R. Tolkien and Anne Rice are two of my favorites.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I don't have an agent. I shopped around for one for a time, but didn't really pursue it too strongly. I should have. I'm a Canadian author published in the US. Everything I do here, such as book signings,promotions, etc., I have to do on my own. It would be nice to have some clout and backup.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

My very first two submissions to publishers were accepted. That was the smooth part of the ride. However, one of those publishers ended up being absolutely horrid. The experience left me scarred for life. It's also a big reason as to why I became a cover artist too. But I believe that everything that happens in life, be it good or bad, happens for a reason. Even though it was a terrible ride, I learned so much about the publishing business. In the end, it was a great experience, if that makes any sense.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

The good, the bad and the ugly...it's all a learning curve, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I've met some wonderful authors and publishers along the way, and I've learned invaluable lessons.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

You can find my books at my publisher, Purple Sword Publications, at 
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dawn%C3%A9-Dominique/e/B003BE8MMK/

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/dawne-dominique

(please note that B&N also lists many books that I've done the author's cover art, but I didn't write them, I swear)

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Absolutely.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vSbqa4bHtc&feature=youtu.be


What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

I'm still working on that. Between my paralegal job and my cover business, I don't have a lot of time to promote myself, so Pump Up Your Book may turn out to be my best investment. *crosses fingers & toes*

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Never give up. Be unique. And grow thick skin. You're going to need it.

What is up next for you?

This May or June, I'll be releasing a fantasy novel that I wrote many moons ago called The Tears of San'Ferath. It's about a land called Allanoria, with Druid Knights (who are good) and Nongéva Druids (who are evil). When the mage'ic begins to disappear because of the evil taint left by the Nongévas dark mage'ic, all the mage'ical creatures begin to die. When the last Druid Knight invokes a spell called The Undying Sleep on San'Ferath, the king of dragons who, incidentally, is the last dragon left, they do so in the hope of preserving whatever mage'ic is left in Allanoria. Then an illness called the Blue Fever sweeps through the lands and begins wiping out the humans. The prophesy of "The Cleansing" has begun.

Some five hundred years later, a freelance mercenary and dancer hold the key to restoring Allanoria's mage'ic, but it's a Nongéva Druid who awakens more than he bargained for.

For the record, there's no erotica in it. ; )

Is there anything you would like to add?

A HUGE thank you for having me here today. ☺