Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reviewing Your Universe

Talisman of El by Alecia Stone
Published by Centrinian Publishing Ltd
ARC provided by NetGalley

Rating:  3 Stars

I cut my reading teeth on fantasy novels. Nothing cured my school angst better than escaping to different worlds filled with interesting characters and never before seen creatures. So when I read the synopsis for Talisman of El, I couldn’t wait to find some reading time and jump right in.

The idea of an orphaned young boy having trouble fitting into his new life—family, school, friends—is not new, but Ms. Stone found a way to create a story with her own twist.

Charlie is a young boy suffering from nightmares. He gets through the day by rationalizing his dreams. But when Charlie meets a man from his dreams in real life, he discovers nothing is as it seems. A different world exists, and he has a vital connection to it.

As Charlie journeys through this new land called Arcadia, searching for a way to save his new friend Derekin, he encounters allies and foes at every turn. Mythical creatures, people with the ability to shape shift, even demons and angels populate Arcadia.

Talisman of El is the first step in Charlie’s coming of age story. He must decide who his true friends are and how much he is willing to sacrifice for them.

Ms Stone has created a vivid fantasy world in Talisman of El. The creatures, the land they inhabit, and even the “other” beings are clear and detailed. I pictured every nuance described. Unfortunately, the fantasy elements were the best part of the story.

I wish I could say I loved this book, but I can’t. The characters are written younger than described. I felt I was reading a middle school book, not a young adult novel. The characters were not as dimensional as other aspects created by the author.

The plot was also a little difficult to follow. I had to reread several passages to ensure I had not missed a transition. I’m sure the world and its inhabitants are clear in the author’s mind. Regrettably, the story on the page does not reflect the same precision.

Will I read the rest of the series? No. But I do recommend the book to younger kids and tweens who enjoy fantasy. My issues with the book may not matter to them at all.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sharing Your Universe

Welcome to Sharing Your Universe. Kinley Baker is sharing a
little about herself and her latest release with us.

Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance series, Shadowed Love. She read her first romance at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband, Benjamin, and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. Ruined and Denied are available now. Look for Freed in July 2012. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and futuristic romance. You can find Kinley at : 

Kinley's latest release:


When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits.

Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.

When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most--including each other.

Add DENIED as To-Read on GoodReads! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13646204-denied

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Changing Your Universe

I'd like to welcome Kinley Baker, fellow Crescent Moon Press author, to Changing Your Universe. 

We're all the sum total of our life experiences, but there are moments when someone or something affects us, possibly even influences the direction our lives will take. Here is one of those stories.

Everyone Needs a Friend by Kinley Baker

I love friends who turn into more than friends in romance stories, probably because it reminds me of my own experience with my husband. He’s really one of the people who changed the direction of my life, and it all started with an unlikely friendship.

During my younger years, I was very conflicted. I started figure skating at age three, and started competing around age five. By the time I was a teenager, I was practicing hours a day, and doing all sorts of off-ice training, as well. Between classes, skating, and my shyness, I wasn’t very close to anyone. When I met my husband at seventeen, he wasn’t my biggest fan. I was very lost and really struggling to figure out who I was.

I got mono and ended up staying home from school for several weeks. We ended up talking online a lot and started a friendship. I wasn’t quite as annoying as he thought I was. He wasn’t quite as much of a jerk as I had thought. And most importantly, at the time, we both could have really used a friend.

We didn’t start dating until college, but those initial years taught me a lot about myself, and he was there for me during the most challenging time in my life. He proved he would stick, no matter what happened.

Eventually, I had to admit to myself that I was never going to the Olympics as a figure skater. Luckily, I found something I loved even more in college: writing. I don’t think my husband understood how important writing romance novels was to me, until I started reading like crazy and writing stories. But he’s supported me for the last four years, as I got serious about seeking publication. I’ve been trying to navigate the publishing jungle ever since.

My husband taught me a lot about friendship and caring for other people. His family taught me about love and acceptance. I’m definitely lucky he came into my life, and didn’t give up. Looking back at how lost I was makes me realize how lucky I am now to have a direction. Everything I went through and we went through together, took me here to writing romance stories set in fantasy realms, and it all feels just right.

I think in my stories, the couples go through a lot. In Denied, Tabitha and Caleb face numerous challenges, and they go through a lot together. I think part of that stems from my own experiences, and finally believing that someone will stay for the first time, and learning to trust that.

I hope you’ll relate to Tabitha’s journey as she fights for the right to be the first female guard in her kingdom, and Caleb, who wants to protect her after losing the women and children of his home realm, and his homeland. They’re both struggling to find their place, and I definitely relate to their journey.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sharing Your Universe

Welcome to Sharing Your Universe. Louann Carroll is sharing a little about herself and her latest release with us.

I was probably 7 or 8 the first time I read a horror story. It was The Haunting of Hill House, straight out of Reader's Digest condensed stories. I was frightened, curious, and fascinated. The thoughts and ideas expressed within the Haunting thrilled me. One day, I thought. I'd write something that would thrill a reader, well, hopefully that is.

As I grew older different ideas about my first horror story surrounded me. My friends and I played with ouija boards, automatic writing, we put tape recorders in graveyards. Elements of the paranormal surrounded my family and close friends. Each of us had our own unique experiences. I often wondered if in some way I was trying to find my father whom I lost when I was five.

Still, things happened to me--continue to happen to me. In some way we are all interconnected. You run into old friends, people you haven't seen in years but you think about them and the next thing you know you run into them in the grocery store. You have the odd dream that sparks into reality a week or so later. You think of someone and the phone rings. A friend's son sees the future. Your dog runs around the house, barking at someone or something that floats near the ceiling, something she can see and you cannot. You get a phone call from a relative with a warning about someone in the family.

I held my nose, took a deep breath, and jumped into theoretical physics. What a miraculous place we live in where thoughts can influence reality. Strange things happen outside of our visible world. There are more dimensions than we can comprehend, a world filled with wonder and delight. And ofttimes cruelty.

I wondered, is evil real? Or is it genetic, crossed wires, written in our DNA.

From all these thoughts A Shadow of Time was born. It is a world of possibilities, multidimensions, evil, and the overpowering force of love. Welcome to my world, where things that go bump in the night are all too real.

Louann Carroll has written numerous radio talk shows, articles about adoption, Gemini Rising, a sci-fi romance, and The Journey Series, helping our children navigate through life.

Louann can be found at:  http://louanncarrollbooks.weebly.com/

And her latest release is A Shadow of Time.

Kellyn O'Brien strives to create the perfect family. Then, disaster strikes. Her husband is dead. Three weeks later, she discovers her son is heir to Shadow Ley, a nineteenth century estate nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Reeling from Michael's death, Kellyn moves to Shadow Ley. Soon, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary: broken drinking glasses repair themselves, stair rails that were once old are now new, and suddenly the estate of Shadow Ley is not what it seems.

She turns to the local historian and learns of Sha' na ho bet, the angry fire god, bound forever to Earth. Native Americans tell her about Coyote, the Trickster who creates chaos out of order. Then the dreams begin with windows into past lives, hints of multidimensionality, and the promise of life beyond death.
Legends abound and so Shadow Ley, the home Kellyn had hoped would bring peace to herself and her children, becomes mired first in doubt, then in terror, and finally in love eternal.

Buy Links:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Changing Your Universe

I'd like to welcome Louann Carroll, fellow Crescent Moon Press author, to Changing Your Universe. 

We're all the sum total of our life experiences, but there are moments when someone or something affects us, possibly even influences the direction our lives will take. Here is one of those stories.

I have a sense of humor and laughter has seen me through life. I don’t remember a time when there hasn’t been change. Sometimes I pray, “Can’t you just give me six months of peace?”

In that context, I’ll share a few precious moments with you.
One of my first memories is staring at our house from a neighbor’s window. The darkened windows speak of loss, the silence of change.

My father had died, the ambulance whisking him away to parts unknown. I was five and my dad was my hero. When he moved on, he taught me loss, fear, love, and faith. In a Shadow of Time, Kellyn learns to cope with the loss of her husband. She walks through grief, struggles though loneliness, and ultimately finds love again. Grief comes to all of us in one way or another, but it is in the walk that you learn to dance in the rain.

Twenty years later… Needing a quick pick-me-up, my husband stopped at our local 7-11 for a cup of coffee. A gang of kids, the oldest just seventeen, grabbed him from behind and stabbed him nine times. The next thing I knew, I received a phone call from our local emergency room. The police officer who called, said, “Stop at all stop lights. Do not speed, but get here as soon as you can.”

In one moment, my life changed. We had three children. The oldest was nine, the youngest six months old.  From that experience, I learned to say I love you even when just going to the store.  In Gemini Rising, Kate’s world changes in a second and her reaction to those changes is the basis for the sci-fi romance trilogy.

Another change came when I had to write a thesis for my philosophy class. Struggling to get through it, I finally stopped typing when a friend of mine came into the room. She asked, “Can I read it?”
Reluctantly, I let her.

Several moments into the paper, she shouted, “This isn’t a thesis, this is a novel!”

Johanna Laird wrote a column for our local newspaper. From her that was some compliment.

“You think?” I asked.


From that moment on, I began to write. Since I’ve led a rather tumultuous life, I have plenty of material. Bits of my life is sprinkled throughout my books, lending my characters a reality they’d never have had had I not had my struggles.  

From my dad dying to almost losing my husband, sprinkled in with the birth of children, the loss of my mother, and various other life-changing events, I learned you are never given more than you can handle. Even though at the time, you might be overwhelmed. In some moments, I’ve dropped to my knees in prayer. Through this, I discovered that no one is ever alone.

 Each unique bit of my history has taught me something, but the most important lesson I have ever learned… is that good comes from bad.


You just have to have faith.