Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Veronica Roth - Divergent - Review

Books with imagery that sears itself into the consciousness certainly make a lasting impression. Divergent by Veronica Roth is no exception. In a post-apocalyptic Chicago, Lake Michigan is a barren swampland, and half the city consists of abandoned ruins. Yet teenagers jet line off skyscrapers for fun. Climbing to the top of a rusted-out Ferris wheel is a game. Unmanned elevated trains run on a continuous circuit forcing would-be passengers to jump on and off at will. Living facilities stationed underground surround a subterranean river whose raging current is known to consume the evidence of accidents, suicides and murders. How is a 16-year-old girl to cope in such an inhospitable environment? She chooses to be dauntless.

Divergent's world is composed of a caste society categorized by personality type. Our heroine, Tris, is born into Abnegation, the society of the selfless and the designated rulers of government. Their self-effacing nature grants them the right to hold the reins of power. However, Tris knows her first instinct isn't to put the needs of others before her own. Upon her coming of age, she chooses to transition into Dauntless, known for its bravery and courage. As an initiate, she is put through three rounds of grueling trials in order to stay among the ranks of the fearless. If she fails, she will be thrown out and left to fend for herself on the cold and windy streets.

Of the three remaining factors, Candor (the brutally honest) and Amity (the peacemakers) pose no threat, but Erudite (the intelligent) desperately crave Abnegation's authority and they'll use their skill coupled with the brute force of Dauntless to seize it. The war mongering begins soon after Tris enters the Dauntless compound. She's ridiculed for her gray, shapeless clothing and her submissive upbringing. She is repeatedly harassed by the initiate transfers from Erudite and Candor as they belittle her by calling her "Stiff," a derogatory slur directed at those from Abnegation. She is beaten, sexually exploited and nearly killed by her fellow bunk mates over the course of the initiation, yet she stays strong gradually working her way up the ranks.

Tris is able to succeed thanks, in part, to being Divergent. A dangerous designation whereby she doesn't fit into any defined classification, instead she shows inclinations toward several. She is multi-faceted, and those in control are out to eradicate all who show these tendencies toward such an inherent display of free will. She knows she must keep her true identity a secret, but she comes to suspect that her instructor, Four, might be harboring the same tendencies.

Yet Tris sees Four as more than just a possible ally, she begins to fall in love with him over the course of her training. Yet she finds him to be excruciatingly unpredictable. He's afraid of heights, yet he makes her stand in front of a bulls-eye during target practice while objects are hurled at her head. He openly flirts with her while drunk, yet won't make eye contact across a crowded cafeteria. He erases the simulation evidence showing her to be a Divergent, yet is less than forthcoming in revealing who he truly is.

But one thing is for certain, Four believes that the goodness within Tris is what makes her strong. His unshakable faith in her ability to protect others through her bravery is only questioned when he begins to see that the cruelty underlying the Dauntless training missions is beginning to take its toll. Tris savagely beats a fellow initiate. She refuses to forgive a former friend for turning on her. She takes pleasure in the injuries of one of her attackers. While Four's total fears equal the number of his name, he does not use this to his advantage when it allowed him to became the top recruit of his own class. Instead, he chose to take on the less glamorous role of instructor in order to help underdog initiates like Tris succeed. She has his loyalty and support, but will it be enough when the head honchos of Dauntless and Erudite are looking to eliminate Abnegation as well as the Divergent? Roth weaves this spellbinding tale to a blood-rending, heart-pumping conclusion. The repercussions of which are sure to be played out in a subsequent sequel.

While it shares similarities to other young adult works like Stephenie Meyer's The Host (the cave-like headquarters), Lauren DeStefano's Wither (the homeless style of living for those left adrift in an urban wasteland) and Ally Condie's Matched (the life changing event at 16-years-old), it still holds its own for depicting the specifics of a world that is more fully realized and for sustaining a level of excitement and momentum throughout.

In terms of characterization, Tris is a three-dimensional character struggling with her faults and dealing with her imperfections. Four takes on more depth as his hidden back story is slowly revealed, and the supporting cast is fleshed out and not too extensive. The best friend, the bad guy, the mom, the dad, the brother are all there, and they fulfill their prescribed roles while maintaining a solid identity. But where Roth excels is in her ability to actualize a scene. Her adventure sequences come to life in a way that ignites the imagination.

Overall, Roth knows how to create dystopian action that literately jumps off the page.




Divergent by Veronica Roth is available for $17.99 at Amazon.com and at VeronicaRothBooks.blogspot.com.

Thank you to Deb for recommending this book. Follow her fantastic book blog and Twitter posts.

Review copy provided by Valley Community Library.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Russell Scott - Time Donors Wanted - Author Interview

My thanks to Russell Scott for stopping by Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways for an author interview about his book, Time Donors Wanted.

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The original title of the screenplay, which I wrote first, was simply Time Donors. It was a play on the idea of sperm donors, but reproduction wasn't what the characters in the book were looking for. It wasn't love that they were looking for either, or necessarily even sex. The story is about wanting so badly to have someone to simply want us back that we're willing to look where ever we have to to find it.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The book is mainly about modern loneliness and how it can overcome us, even in the middle of a marriage. Leaving us hurt, bruised, and looking for someone or several someones to fill in the holes in our lives.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
I'm afraid the book is all too realistic. As divorce rates go down, and more and more people are fighting to keep their marriages intact, for a lot of reasons. For some there comes a desperation, a feeling of isolation as it were. Some want their marriages to be protected but they are not getting what they need from their partners. As both partners get busier and busier trying to survive and prosper as a family but they lose what it is that binds them.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I've changed everything in the book a dozen times, and every time I reread it I want to reword or reshape. There comes a time when you have to say okay this is it I'm done. I'm a painter as well and I love a saying attributed to Emile Grupe that the the key task of the instructor is to stop the student before they ruin the painting.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing the book is always what's referred to as murdering your darlings. Sometimes you write great stuff that takes your story exactly nowhere, or even worse in the wrong direction. It doesn't matter if it's a great line or a great bit, if it doesn't advance the story you need to consider axing it. That's hard to do sometimes, it's harder to see if an editor points it out to you. But swallow, take a deep breath, and honestly consider any criticism you receive. Once you reread it you will know.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I can't even start. I learned how to write a book for one thing. A good novel is tough. It has a different discipline than the columns, short stories, screenplays I'd worked on in the past. I'm starting my third novel now and it is so much harder to start now than it was then, because I know what kind of commitment writing a novel requires.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As a child I was dyslexic. I still am. My mother was quite young when I was born (16 years old) so she didn't know that she was suppose to believe it when the teachers told you your child was "delayed." Kentucky in 1960 wasn't a well spring for special education or understanding about earning disabilities. My mother decided that the way to deal with a spatial learning problem was to learn to "see" in three dimensions. So I began art lessons. I developed my own way of seeing how letters fit and flowed. I became an insatiable reader. I became an ardent note taker and chronicler of the things I went on to do. As a physician, as a navy diver, and as a radiation oncologist and biophysicist. These things have carried me through my life.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh my gosh, that's a hard one. Vonnegut, Faulkner, Twain all shape how I feel about literature and how I write. Hemingway certainly effects the way I shape a plot or phrase. But the yardstick I use to measure my writing is Shakespeare the sound as it is read. My wife and I used to pass the time on long road trips in the car by reading Shakespeare aloud to one another (the passenger reading to the driver, of course). When my read the words aloud they have to have a flow that allows the words and sentences to be read together as a whole and come our sounding as if they fit together, that is the quest you fight to achieve.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Latest news - My second novel, The Hard Times, is finished and in final editing and cover design right now. It is about a physician that finds himself in the middle of a diamond smuggling plot, in which the key to the success of the plot is the doctor's death. This was written really as an action adventure, but like Time Donors Wanted it has a much more complex emotional subtext, in this one I think the underlying theme is, how men love. Not a simplistic or sexually oriented brushstroke, but a complete portrait of how men feel about themselves, their wives and lovers, their friends, and most strongly their families.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope I haven't been too boring, please feel free to contact me and let me know how you feel about the book. You can get me on Twitter @RussellScott3, Facebook as Russell Scott, or at my publisher's website www.IsoLibris.com.

About the Book
Time Donors Wanted

Book Details:
Genre: Adventure/Murder/Mystery

Publisher: IsoLibris
Publication Date: November 2011
Pages: 238
Format: Paperback, ebook
Price: $16.50 paperback, $7.99 ebook
Buy Link:
Amazon, Kindle

Synopsis:
“If you could have a one time affair with someone you’ve never seen before and would never see again and there was no way that anyone could ever find out, would you?”

If you can answer no without having to think about the question for even a moment then you probably won’t have a lot in common with the characters portrayed in Time Donors Wanted. If you’re not so sure, then you may want to at least have a peek and see what happens to some folks that took that chance and said yes.

Jarvis Sloan was an Internet success story. He’d left a thriving private practice as a psychiatrist specializing in sexual medicine in San Diego to form LifeSolutions Seminars, an on-line counseling site for unhappy people looking for an alternative to classical counseling. Ironically, it isn’t just Jarvis’s patients that are suffering. His own marriage is a hollow shell. He loves his wife Sharon, when he isn’t hating her, and he loves his sons unconditionally.

Jarvis convinces himself that there’s only one way to deal with his growing frustration, affairs. But the affairs pose a risk to his family he’s not willing to take. To minimize the risk Jarvis takes a step in an unexpected direction. A site devoted to pairing people to meet one another’s sexual needs on a one-time basis.

Jarvis with the help of Brooke Werner, a brilliant young computer engineer, establishes a registry inside LifeSolutions, which allows members to enter a high-security area, in which they can locate anonymous sexual partners for a single meeting, no commitments, no attachments, no threat to either party’s marriage. To ensure confidentiality, all information about both parties is erased from the embedded server every seventy-two hours. Making any connections made inside the server impossible to trace.

Little did Jarvis suspect, when he created the TimeDonors sub-site, that at the height of its success, it would inextricably link his own life to seven others in a web of death and betrayal. Over a two-month period, all eight of them would have their worlds irreversibly changed. More than half of them wouldn’t survive, and one woman would be forced to find reserves of courage she never knew she had.

About the Author
Russell Scott

Russell Scott is one of the three names I write under. My full name is Russell Scott Anderson M.D. I’m a Radiation Oncologist who serves as the Medical Director of a Cancer Center in Mississippi. I’m a former Navy diver who worked in operations in the Middle East, Central America, and in support of the Navy’s EOD community, SEALS, the US Army’s Green Berets, the Secret Service, and the New York Police Department at various times during my service.

Russell Scott is a novelist who writes for an adult audience. Time Donors Wanted is the first novel to be published. I have also written as a screenwriter as R. S. Anderson and written the family oriented literary columns Una Voce and the Uncommon Thread in the JOURNAL of the Mississippi State Medical Association as Scott Anderson M.D. for the past four years.

Time Donors Wanted started as a screenplay, I had written the feature film Teary Sockets as part of a writing team and we had put together a production company, obtained funding, hired a crew and were filming the first half of the film in Los Angeles when I was contracted by the Williams Brothers, who were in talks with Tyler Perry at the time, to write their family’s story, Still Standing Tall. I convinced them to give me six weeks to write it from the time we finished filming. So after three months of filming in L.A. and Mississippi, I sat down for six weeks and wrote my first solo screenplay, and they bought it. Pumped up by my success, I wrote Time Donors and got commitments for partial funding, but then the financial picture in the United States melted down and the hedge funds that were doing a lot of film funding suddenly disappeared from the landscape.

I thought that the story line was too good to remain unrealized, so I spent the next year learning how to write a novel. I hope you like it.


Connect with Russell:
Web Site
Twitter
Facebook

Monday, November 21, 2011

Julie Kagawa - The Iron Knight - Review

"There is no pass or fail. There is only endure. Survive."

Julie Kagawa's epic Iron Fey series concludes with a point-of-view shift as Prince Ash assumes narrative command in The Iron Knight. The switch in perspective pays off as the royal son of Winter tries to gain a mortal soul. He will stop at nothing in order to join Meghan, his half fairy/half human beloved in the Iron Kingdom of which she is now queen. Since no fae can survive in a land of technology and metal, he is determined to forsake his birthright to be with the girl he loves. Yet the question remains - by becoming human, will he gain more than he is willing to lose?

In the final edition to the saga, Kagawa references some of the greatest literary passages of all time while creating something that is uniquely her own. There are shades of Tolkien in the endeavor of the group quest. Forming their own fellowship, Puck, Grimalkin the cat, the Big Bad Wolf and a girl from Ash's past (a surprising twist!) set out on a journey to the End of the World. Together, they believe they can help Ash in obtaining his desire. The single-minded pursuit to aid another is a theme that resonates from The Lord of the Rings giving The Iron Knight its heart.

Upon reaching their destination, the pilgrims are forced to run the gauntlet. A series of physical, intellectual and emotional challenges lay before them reminiscent of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. While Harry, Ron and Hermione faced a series of tests in the basement of Hogwarts, Ash and company are put through the ringer by a mysterious hooded entity. This guardian subjects them to giant stone dogs, a multitude of scorpions, fire-breathing dragon lamps and a swarm of clawing, grabbing ghostly wraiths.

The most intriguing is a room of mirrors that brings to life full-bodied clones embodying the worst features of a gazer's personality. King Ash steps forth from the glass to battle the former Unseelie prince. He is a possible future version of Ash where he fails at obtaining a soul and turns bitter for breaking his promise to return to Meghan. He ends up killing his mother and taking over the Winter kingdom. He even goes to war with the Iron Queen he once cherished. This evil Ash lies beneath the surface, and Ash knows he must defeat this inner darkness so that it does not one day overwhelm him. It is a fascinating plot device that draws out the full possibilities of Ash's character in a realistic, three-dimensional way.

The highlight of the book is when Ash enters the Testing Grounds. The cloaked figure takes on the persona of the ghouls in Dickens' A Christmas Carol. He forces Ash to endure the hardships of what it means to be human. The grim reality of having a mortal body that succumbs to pain, sickness and injury. A body that lacks the power and protection that the magic of glamour provides. The capacity of having a conscience where he is made to feel the weight of his past actions. A vivid account is given of Ash's former transgressions when he played with mortals' hearts and cared nothing for their lives. Finally, he's given a look at the life he could have with Meghan and their future son and what will happen when he grows old while they remain untouched by the ravages of time. The agony he feels is excruciating.

But what makes Kagawa a good storyteller is that she allows Ash to make the ultimate decision concerning his fate. What does he want? What can he bear to leave behind? What can he not live without? He is the master of his own destiny. He is aware of the choices laid before him, and what each will entail. He has his doubts, but at his core he knows what he wants his future to be.

Relationships are what drive a story, and unlike the previous three installments, Meghan only appears in a dream sequence, a fast-forward possibility and the conclusion. However, Puck steps in to fill the breach. His broken friendship with "ice boy" is beautifully repaired throughout the novel. Grimalkin adds his touch of knowing authority and dry sense of humor to the various situations, while the Big Bad Wolf fulfills his potential as the gruff protector. The girl from Ash's past (whose identity will not be given away here) adds a depth to the inner workings of the prince's motivations. She forces him to prove his unflinchingly loyalty to Meghan and whether his utter devotion is to her alone. She is a remarkable addition to an already stellar cast.

Overall, a fascinating portrait of a character that Kagawa dubbed her hardest to write.




The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa is available for $9.99 at Amazon.com and at JulieKagawa.com.

Thank you to Jenn for recommending this book. Follow her fantastic book blog and Twitter posts.

Review copy provided by Valley Community Library.

David Friedman - Fundamentally Different - Author Interview

My thanks to David Friedman for visiting Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways and participating in an author interview during the blog tour for his book, Fundamentally Different.

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title, Fundamentally Different, is based on the 30 values and behaviors that I wrote and taught in my working career. I called these values our “Fundamentals.” I titled the book Fundamentally Different because I wanted to highlight the fact that behaving in a way that’s consistent with the Fundamentals creates differentiation for our organizations as well as our personal lives. To be fair, it was my 21-year old son who came up with the title!

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For business leaders who read the book, I want them to understand how important organizational culture is to success, that great companies create their cultures intentionally, and that the key to creating a high-performance culture is the effort to institutionalize the organization’s most important values.

For the everyday person who reads the book, I want them to more deeply appreciate the role of values in their lives and I want the chapters on my Fundamentals to spark their own thoughts about how they want to live each day.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
One of the things that makes the book so powerful is that it’s entirely based on my own personal experiences. Everything I talk about and recommend, I’ve done as the leader of my company and/or in my personal life. None of it is academic or theoretical.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No. I love this book, and the responses and reviews from all who’ve read it are a testament to its impact.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was deciding when it was “good enough.” In other words, when do I stop editing and polishing and submit the manuscript for publication? Unlike public speaking, where I can constantly adjust what I’m saying based on audience reaction, my writing has to stand on its own. This means that I have to be sure that each sentence and each paragraph expresses what I want to say precisely the way I want to say it. Editing can be a never-ending search for perfection. Deciding when to stop polishing can be a tough judgment call.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I suppose my biggest lesson was more of a reminder than a new learning. It was the old Nike slogan, “Just Do It.” This slogan was meaningful for me on a day-to-day basis as well as on an overall project basis.

On a day-to-day basis, there were times I found myself stuck not being sure how to write a particular section. I would often avoid working on it because I didn’t know how I wanted to handle it. However, sooner or later, I always had to face it and figure it out. I had to “just do it.”

The same can be said with regard to the book as a project. It’s fascinating to me that I hear so many people tell me about the book they’ve always intended to write; yet, most will never sit down to get it done. We all have quite reasonable excuses for avoiding it; but in the end, it simply comes down to “just doing it.”

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
To be honest, I don’t recall how I originally became interested in writing, but for as long as I can remember, I enjoyed expressing my thoughts in written form. I’ve always been pretty comfortable in doing so. In high school, I was interested in journalism, wrote for our school newspaper, and eventually became the editor-in-chief, so I’ve appreciated writing for a long time.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t really have a favorite author. I like many different authors in many different genres. However, one that I particularly enjoy is Robert Fulghum. He’s the author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, as well as several other books. I love his wisdom, his humor, and his ability to communicate in such a warm, unpretentious, inviting style.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Right now, I’m pretty focused on speaking and consulting engagements, and working on developing materials to supplement my book. I often do talks, seminars, and workshops teaching the concepts that are in the book. As I do these, I’m always thinking about additional materials that I can create that will help make the program I deliver more impactful for people.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just that I’m so excited to share this book with your readers and I know, without any question, that they’re going to be just as excited to share it with their friends, family, and colleagues. It’s a book that can change people’s lives.

My website is the central place where readers can learn more about me, my work, and my writing. There you can find a longer biography, see the full list of the 30 Fundamentals, read reviews of the book, read my blog, find out about booking me for speaking or consulting, and see the list of where I’ll be appearing.

You can even read a sample chapter of my book there as well as listen to a chapter from the audio book (which I narrated!).


About the Book
Fundamentally Different


Book Details:
Genre: Finance/Business

Publisher: Infinity Publishing
Publication Date: June 2011
Pages: 286
Price: $28.95 hardcover, $19.95 paperback, $9.95 ebook
Buy Links:
Amazon (hardcover), Amazon (paperback), Kindle

Synopsis:
Known for his compelling logic and easy-to-understand style, Friedman shares the most important insights he learned during a 27-year business career in which he led one of the most unique and successful companies in his industry. Captured in his self-styled Fundamentals, this collection of wisdom is so simple, yet powerful, that you’ll wonder why the principles he describes aren’t more commonplace in every organization across America.

But Friedman’s Fundamentals aren’t just about business. They’re a guidebook for life. And like so many other people who’ve already embraced them, you’ll no doubt find your life enriched by their practice.

About the Author
David Friedman

David Friedman is the former President of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm in the Philadelphia area. He is a frequent guest speaker and seminar leader on organizational culture, leadership, and values. A graduate of the College of William & Mary with a degree in Philosophy, Friedman currently lives in Moorestown, NJ with his wife and 2 college-age children.

Connect with David:
Web Site
Blog
Twitter
Facebook


About the Tour

Pump Up Your Book

Tour Participants:

Tuesday, November 1st

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Book spotlighted at Pump Up Your Books, Blurbs and Bytes

Wednesday, November 2nd

Interviewed at Broowaha

Thursday, November 3rd

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Friday, November 4th

Interviewed at Divine Caroline

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Monday, November 7th

Book excerpt featured at Between the Covers

Tuesday, November 8th

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Wednesday, November 9th

Guest blogging at The Book Connection

Thursday, November 10th

Interviewed at Examiner

Friday, November 11

Book spotlighted at The Writer’s Life

Monday, November 14th

Book spotlighted at Reviews by Molly

Tuesday, November 15th

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Wednesday, November 16th

Book spotlighted at Books, Products and More!

Thursday, November 17th

Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

Friday, November 18th

Interviewed at American Chronicle

Monday, November 21st

Interviewed at Tribute Books Reviews and Giveaways

Interviewed at Paperback Writer

Tuesday, November 22nd

Book spotlighted at Life in Review

Wednesday, November 23rd

Book reviewed at The Book Connection

TBD: Guest blogging at Tribute Books Mama

Guest blogging at Mick’s Leadership Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Holiday Message from Author, Karina Fabian

Dear friends and readers,

This winter, I have two things in my heart and on my mind: caring for those less fortunate than me (or indeed, much of the world) and my DragonEye, PI stories. For Christmas, I’m combining them and would like to share them with you.

Those of you who are “Vern Fans,” know about my dragon who works in our world as a private investigator, and his partner, Sister Grace, a mage and nun in the Faerie Catholic Church. They’ve saved the worlds and their friends in numerous stories and novels. Last year, I wrote a story for Flagship about their first Christmas together. Not only is Grace struggling with the Mundane idea of Christmas, but their home is threatened by a land developer who wants to tear down the entire neighborhood and make a mall. When the Ghosts of Christmas come to visit him, however, Vern and Grace have to solve the mystery before the Christmas Spirits become Angels of Death.


I have revised and am publishing “Christmas Spirits” as a serial story to raise funds for Food for the Poor. This is a wonderful charity that helps people in impoverished nations help themselves. It allows donators to choose their gifts--whether rice for a family for a month, school supplies, livestock, tools or even houses.

I'm asking that you please check out the story, and, if you enjoy it and want to see more, that you donate even a dollar to the cause. Also, if you enjoy the story, let your friends know. I'll post every Tuesday and Thursday as the donations come in. Right now, we have raised enough to send a family 20 baby chicks and are halfway to a fruit tree in addition. Vern would like to send them a cow (he is a dragon, after all), but Sister Grace and I are dreaming of raising enough to buy someone a home. Can you imagine giving a HOUSE for Christmas? Will you help?


Find the story at http://christmasspirits.karinafabian.com. You can also get to it via my website, http://fabianspace.com. Look under the Christmas dragon for the link. You can learn more about Food for the Poor at http://www.foodforthepoor.org.

Thanks for your attention!
Karina Fabian


Karina is the Tribute Books author (along with her father, Deacon Steven Lumbert) of Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life, the 2011 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

P.H.C. Marchesi - Shelby and Shauna Kitt and the Dimensional Holes - Guest Post

My thanks to P.H.C. Marchesi for stopping by Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways for a guest post about her book, Shelby and Shauna Kitt and the Dimensional Holes.

Guest Post

"Sci-Fi Imaginings: The Moon and Why I Write Sci-Fi for Teens"
by P.H.C. Marchesi


A few weeks ago was “Observe the Moon” night, which meant that people all over the world – from amateur sky-watchers to knowledgeable astronomers – were united by their interest in, and love of, the cosmos. I don’t know how many of these space lovers will become “sky-walkers,” and actually have the privilege of visiting space. Just the act of looking up at the night sky, however, reminds me of the vastness and beauty of the universe around us. It connects us with all of those who’ve done the same thing in the past, as well as future generations who will be looking up to the sky with a similar sense of wonder. It does not matter how much you know about planets, suns, stars, and galaxies: when you direct your gaze to the night sky, you feel wonder because a part of you connects with the immensity of everything out there.

So I caught myself thinking about the night sky – and how, long before I wanted to become a writer, I wanted to explore it. As a kid, I was obsessed with space. I wrote a letter to NASA, asking what I had to do to become an astronaut. I watched every sci-fi TV show I could, and explored space with my favorite heroes. I daydreamed constantly about my intergalactic adventures. My favorite cinematic moment was Elliott and E.T.’s bike ride in the sky against the giant moon in the background. To this day, I still have goose bumps whenever I watch the scene. To this day, the beauty of the moon still inspires me to think about our place in the universe.

As you’ve probably guessed, I never became an astronaut. My space journeys have all been in my mind, created from the space within. Yet they have been no less adventurous or meaningful to me, and have eventually found their way into my debut young adult novel, Shelby and Shauna Kitt and the Dimensional Holes. I hope you will be encouraged to read it, and join me in celebrating its key elements: courage, exploration of the unknown, and the overall beauty of the universe.


About the Book
Shelby and Shauna Kitt and the Dimensional Holes

Book Details:
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Publisher: Out-of-This-World Books
Publication Date: January 2011
Pages: 386
Format: Paperback, ebook
Price: $14.99 paperback, $0.99 ebook
Buy Link:
Amazon, Kindle

Synopsis:
Who would want to have tea with mushrooms, when it’s a hundred degrees and humid out? As Shelby and Shauna Kitt find out, quite a few people. These are, of course, people from Miriax, a planet in a different dimension where nothing and no one is anything like what the thirteen year-old brother and sister twins expect. On Miriax, lilac tea is served with explosive mushrooms, agitex leaves cure motion sickness, stick insects patrol the jungle, and library books carefully choose their readers, refusing to leave the shelf for anyone else. And, if you’re not careful, the walls spit on you.

Shelby and Shauna's lives change drastically when planet Miriax recruits them to seal a dimensional hole that allows Klodians - nasty aliens - to travel to Earth. In order to succeed in their mission, Shelby and Shauna discover skills they never thought they possessed, make friends they never expected to have, and face enemies they never imagined existed.



About the Author
P.H.C. Marchesi

P.H.C. Marchesi has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder and teaches at Northern Arizona University. She has lived in many different countries and experienced several cultures. These experiences shaped the world of Miriax she created in Shelby and Shauna Kitt and the Dimensional Holes, her debut sci-fi novel that teens and adults alike will enjoy. She is currently working on the sequel

Connect with P.H.C.:
Web Site
Blog
Twitter
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Reviews

"I gulped this book down in one sitting. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Marina and what was really going on with Dale Falconbridge. I’ll be keeping this book on my kindle to read again, and hope that Shelby and Shauna Kitt will be going on further adventures. Highly recommended." Starships and Aliens

"Marchesi is a phenomenal storyteller, roping the reader into this wonderful tale of other dimensions and species. Though the story revolves around two thirteen-year-old protagonists, I’d have to say that this is a book for everyone. Parents can read it to their children, MG and YA readers will eat it up, and adults will enjoy the premise, themes, and overall fun this book has to offer." A Book Vacation

"I’m not too sure where to start the review because this book was, literally, out of this world! I’m not normally interested in science-fiction, but the concept is so original, unique and intricate that it was hard for me not to get swept away." A Life Between Pages


"I do not read a large amount of science fiction, but Shelby and Shauna Kitt and the Dimensional Holes may change that for me. The characters are realistic and engaging. The setting is magical--I want to take a trip to Miriax. The story drew me in and kept me guessing until the last page. I hope there is more to come for Shelby, Shauna, Jit, Vanessa, Marian and Lendox because I very much want to see them all again." The Book Addict

"Not only did I love this book, I couldn't put this book down. P.H.C. Marchesi has created a whole other universe, a place where you can get lost in forever." The Book Blog Experience

"Marchesi combines magical genius and some science and take us on a ride with these young characters. Young adults and adults will love the story alike. A great read to devour this summer." The Pen & Muse Book Reviews


"[. . .] this is a really fun read that has adventure, humor and a few hidden messages about the power of positivity that are worth considering. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I suspect that the intended audience (MG) will enjoy it even more!" A Reader's Ramblings

"I would recommend this book to people who like adventure and fantasy. . .It was very entertaining and I didn't want to put it down until I finished it." 13-year-old Ben Weldon, Reader Views Kids

"The plot was a complicated web that spanned across several dimensions and had me flipping pages until the end. With wacky characters being introduced along the way, Shelby and Shauna Kitt went on an adventure to save Earth. Answers to the mysteries surrounding both the characters and the many dimensions are slowly revealed. I really enjoyed the white-knuckle part of their adventure. My younger brother is reading this soon and I have a feeling he is going to love it." A Reading Vacation

"A few friends and I started an indie ebook book club and this was one of the first one's we read together. We chose this book because we noticed the author had a PhD in English. We figured it had to at least be well-written. And it was!

I loved the special powers that Shelby and shauna have. I found myself wishing I could manipulate gravity to make myself lighter. ;) . . . we all really loved this book. We can't wait for the sequel. :)" amazon.com


"It is so unusual to find a 'different' book these days. No wizards or Quidditch games, but this book as its shares of heros and super characters in a TOTALLY different way. A must read for teenagers and even adults." - amazon.com

"I read the book on my Kindle on my trip to Europe. It was such a good read! I had a hard time putting it down, some nights, by 2:30 am I had to force myself to close it and go to sleep!" - amazon.com

"P.H.C. Marchesi has created a company of intriguing characters who are called to battle the Ancient Evil of the universe [. . .] P.H.C. Marchesi's masterful use of the English language draws your imagination into fascinating new worlds and characters. A story that is worth reading more than once." - Fran Zech

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stephanie Perkins - Anna and the French Kiss - Review

What's so refreshing about a well-written young adult novel is that teenage characters have no qualms about saying what's on their mind. There's no pretense, no trying to put a good spin on a bad situation. If something sucks, they'll tell you. If something rocks their world, they'll be sure to let you know. That's why Stephanie Perkins' writing in Anna and the French Kiss fizzes and pops off the page. It's filled with chuckle-inducing dead pan humor, spot on references to popular culture and the agony and ecstasy of first love. These American students at a Parisian boarding school have no problem expressing their opinion on everything from gaudy plastic rings to what to order for breakfast, but it takes Anna and Etienne a whole year to find the words to give voice to their true feelings for each other.

Perkins expertly captures the push and pull of a high school romance. With a light, breezy touch, she exposes the confusion and exhilaration the couple undergoes while trying to grasp the power of the attraction that keeps bringing them together. Anna arrives in Paris as a senior transfer student since her dad (a novelist not so subtly portrayed a doppelganger for Nicholas Sparks) feels it would be a good experience for her. Against her will, she is separated from Toph, her movie theater co-worker who just happens to kiss her for the first time on the eve of her departure. Now she doesn't know a soul, can't speak the language and is afraid to leave the confines of the school grounds. That is until she literally bumps into Etienne St. Clair, a dead ringer for Robert Pattinson with great hair and a British accent. Only problem is - he's already in a committed, long term relationship.

The two go on to become fast friends. Etienne builds Anna's confidence to acclimate herself to her unfamiliar surroundings while she provides him with the type of companionship that is sorely lacking in his life. Yet they can't keep their passion from igniting whether it be their legs brushing in a darkened movie theater or the supposedly hidden looks of longing they give each other. Etienne is clearly into Anna, but she is unwillingly to believe it. She's frustrated by the mixed signals he keeps sending her. Anna is the girl he wants to be with, yet he is unwillingly to break-up with his girlfriend. This strands Anna in no man's land. A place no girl wants to be in.

Things heat up over Thanksgiving break when the two are left alone in the dormitory as everyone else heads home to the States. Etienne's mother is undergoing cancer treatment and his domineering father refuses to allow him to visit her. Distraught and undone, it is up to Anna to pull him out of the doldrums. After taking in the delights of the city, they end these stolen days cuddling in Anna's bed. However, when everyone returns, Etienne acts like nothing happened. He distances himself from Anna throwing up a wall after finally letting down his guard.

Sick and tired of Etienne's failure to make up his mind, Anna lashes out. She makes out with another boy. She gets in a fight. She has a little too much to drink on her birthday. Just when she practically alienates herself from everyone in her life, things take an unexpected turn on the wings of a spur of the moment kiss.

Attention to detail makes for a good read and Anna and the French Kiss fits the bill. Paris itself becomes a character in the novel. Indulge in the savory goodness of French pastry. Visit the towering majesty of Notre Dame. Go to a Mom and Pop movie theater. Make a wish on the star at Point Zero. Through all of these new experiences, the city comes alive through Anna's eyes as she falls in love with Paris...and with Etienne.

Overall, the inexperience - of knowing how to deal with the power of love - is charmingly captured.


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is available for $16.99 at Amazon.com and at StephaniePerkins.com.

Thank you to Yara for recommending this book. Follow her fantastic book blog and Twitter posts.

Review copy provided by Valley Community Library.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cheryl Malandrinos - Little Shepherd - Author Interview

My thanks to Cheryl Malandrinos for returning to Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways and participating in an author interview during the blog tour for her book, Little Shepherd.

Click
to read my review of Little Shepherd.

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
It is the story of a young shepherd boy in the hills outside of Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth, so I titled it, The Little Shepherd Boy. My publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP), shortened it to Little Shepherd.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I hope with Little Shepherd I have written a story that makes the first Christmas more personal for children. I want them to see a child not very different from them who decides to step out in faith and is rewarded for it.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
The story of the first Christmas is real. Obed, my little shepherd boy, and his father are fictional characters.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I think it’s a bit too wordy. I would cut back on some of the description and let the pictures paint in those details.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was coming up with the conflict. When I first wrote it, there wasn’t any conflict. It was merely the story of a young shepherd who visited the newborn King. Adding in the hungry wolves and Obed’s fear that they would swoop down and steal his sheep, created the necessary conflict to move the story along and made it more meaningful.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned the importance of patience and market research. Changes in the publishing industry seem to come as fast as the speed of light lately, but the overall process of pitching to a publisher or agent hasn’t really seemed to change at all. You need to perform market research to know where to send your pitch, and then you spend a good deal of time waiting to hear if your book is accepted, and more time waiting from the date of the signed contract to the day your book is released. It’s a challenge for an impatient person like me.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. I was the kid in school who enjoyed outlining and writing book reports. I began writing as a teenager to help me cope with the death of my mother. Life got in the way, and I didn’t seriously pursue writing as a career until I became a stay-at-home mom in 2004.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh my, you had to ask. I have so many. For children’s it’s a tie between Laura Ingalls Wilder and Lucy Maud Montgomery. Both women had a keen eye for detail. While Wilder’s prose was simpler than Montgomery’s, both of them painted great pictures for their readers using visual details.

9. Tell us your latest news.
My second book, A Christmas Kindness, was contracted by 4RV Publishing. It should be released next fall under my pen name, C. C. Gevry.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you’ve read Little Shepherd, I would love to hear from you or your children. You can reach me at ccmal(at)charter(dot)net or visit my website at ccmalandrinos.com and click on my “Contact” page.


About the Book
Little Shepherd


Book Details:
Genre: Children's Picture Book

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
Publication Date: August 2010
Pages: 16
Format: Paperback
Price: $9.95
Buy Link:
Amazon

Synopsis:
Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. Can he trust the miracle of Christmas to keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Excerpt:
“Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us,” Father said to the men.

“What about the sheep?” Obed’s brow furrowed.

Father’s smile drew deep lines into a face well worn by many days in the sun. He set his gaze on the sky, then down into Obed’s curious, brown eyes. “Somehow, I think they will be safe.”

Obed’s eyes widened in amazement. “Father, surely we mustn’t leave them alone.”

“The angels must want us to see this Savior. Come now, let us not waste any more time,” his father said.



About the Author
Cheryl Malandrinos

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI.

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. She is also a former contributor for the Writer2Writer eZine. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.


Connect with Cheryl:
Web Site
Blog (Little Shepherd)
Blog (Adult Book Reviews)
Blog (Children & Teen Book Reviews)
Blog (Book Reviews)
Twitter
Facebook


About the Tour

Pump Up Your Book

Tour Participants:

Tuesday, November 1st

Book reviewed at So Many Books..So Little Time

Wednesday, November 2nd

Book reviewed at Splashes of Joy

Thursday, November 3rd

Podcast interview at A Book and A Chat 6:30 PM Eastern (Lack of electricity may cause rescheduling)

Friday, November 4th

Book reviewed and giveaway at Day By Day in Our World

Monday, November 7th

Podcast interview at Stories from Unknown Authors 1:00 PM Eastern

Tuesday, November 8th

Book reviewed at Unionvale Homeschool

Wednesday, November 9th

Book reviewed at One Day at a Time

Thursday, November 10th

Interviewed at 4 the Love of Books

Friday, November 11th

Guest blogging at Nancy Stewart Books Blog

Monday, November 14th

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Tuesday, November 15th

Guest blogging at The Plot

Wednesday, November 16th

Guest blogging at Let’s Talk Virtual Book Tours

Thursday, November 17th

Book reviewed at Shaky Mommy

Friday, November 18th

Guest blogging at InkyBlots

Interviewed at Examiner

Monday, November 21st

Guest blogging at J Q Rose

Tuesday, November 22nd

Blogging at Little Shepherd

Wednesday, November 23rd

Book reviewed at Coffee and a Keyboard

December dates coming soon!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games - Review

Making a spectacle of death is nothing new. The Romans fed the Christians to the lions as a form of entertainment. Town squares would fill during public hangings throughout the American West in the 19th century. So it's not hard to follow Suzanne Collins' logic in the possibility of a child-killing-child reality TV show in her mega best selling young adult series/soon to be epic movie franchise, The Hunger Games. But the question is - do we really want to go there? Could this level of crassness and brutality ever exist outside the framework of a fictional dictatorial realm? Is the idea so repulsive that we are guaranteed that its implicit horror could never spill off the page and enter the real world? Collins' message can be viewed as a precautionary tale. Stay vigilant against the eroding of humanity. Unfortunately, anything is possible.

We see this merciless, post-apocalyptic world through the eyes of 16-year-old, Katniss Everdeen. She sacrifices herself in order to save her younger sister, Prim, from having to compete in the games. In order to make it out alive, she will have to kill every contestant in the competition, 12 boys and 11 girls. One of these boys is Peeta, a baker/artist from her own district, who once endured a beating in order to provide her family with bread after the death of her father. How can she be expected to kill someone who had once saved her life?

But Katniss is a trained and lethal hunter. Her aim with a bow and arrow is deadly. It is her responsibility to put food on the table, and she will not fail. Her partner, Gale, is a seasoned tracker who passes his knowledge onto his willing sidekick. The two share a bond that runs deep, yet they never explored the possibility of a romantic relationship. A new found tenderness emerges as Katniss prepares to leave and Gale realizes he might be losing her forever.

The love triangle takes on new dimensions as Peeta begins to play a part for the cameras declaring Katniss to be his girlfriend. In order to play up the PR angle to secure votes and crucial gifts from sponsors, Katniss goes along with the ploy although she suspects Peeta might be harboring emotions for her under the surface. However, she is determined if one of them is going to survive this ordeal, it is going to be her. She will not let sentimentality stand in the way of returning home to her mother and sister.

Katniss and Peeta come from a poor mining area known as District 12. It is a hardscrabble, hand-to-mouth existence. When they arrive in the Capitol to compete, they undergo head-to-toe makeovers. Hair is coiffed. Teeth are whitened. Skin is bronzed. Designer clothing is abundant. Gourmet food is plentiful. They are pampered within an inch of their lives in order to put on a good show for the scores of viewers watching at home. They are the main event.

Collins is smart enough to show the seductive nature of this privileged treatment. Katniss can't help but walk a bit taller in her glamorized role, even if she feels more comfortable with a make-up free face and bitten down nails. She does feel a surge of power flow through her veins when she realizes she commands the attention of an entire nation. But it is a double-edged sword. This new-found prominence is fleeting. If she lets it go to her head, she knows it will end in her untimely death.

Conditions in the ring deteriorate rapidly. Katniss and Peeta are pushed to the limit. Still unsure of Peeta's motives, Katniss must decide whether or not to trust him. Regardless, she vows to protect him as long as she can. When barriers come down and children succumb to the violence of other children, the two desperately seek in each other the sanity needed to survive in a world gone mad.

Overall, a revolting premise, so skillfully told, you just can't tear your eyes away.




The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is available for $8.99 at Amazon.com and at SuzanneCollinsBooks.com.

Thank you to Yara for recommending this book. Follow her fantastic book blog and Twitter posts.

Review copy provided by Valley Community Library.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Karen Arnpriester - Anessia’s Quest - Author Interview

My thanks to Karen Arnpriester for returning to Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways and participating in an author interview during the blog tour for her book, Anessia’s Quest.

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I met a young girl while volunteering at a shelter for moms and kids. Anessia was her name and she touched a very deep place in my heart. I also loved the name. Anessia was the perfect choice. Life can present incredible challenges for us to conquer and hence the use of Quest.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, that love and forgiveness is essential to acquiring true joy in our lives. That everyone has a purpose for being here and that our decisions and actions create powerful ripples that impact many lives.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
A small portion of the book is based on my own life experiences and others that I have known through the years. It is a culmination of challenges and circumstances from many lives. I grew up in a loving family and this is not my life story, but I did face some of the decisions and circumstances that are in the story. The relationship between Pagne (the main character) and her angel are loosely based on things that either others or I have experienced, and what could happen since Heaven is limitless.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Not in the story. I would have been more organized, kept better notes. I thought this would be my hobby and remain on my computer so details weren’t so critical. Once I took is seriously, I had to go back and make sure descriptions and names of sub-characters were consistent.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Time, I own my own full-time business and became a mother again through the foster care system.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I confirmed what my values are. That my belief in love and forgiveness is much stronger than I realized. I learned that we all want to know that this life and our struggles have a point. That we are not random. I also learned that I have the ability to transport the reader to a place where they connect and care about the characters, as if they are real. I believe my characters represent people in their own lives.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I always made up stories for my kids and considered writing children’s books, but life got in the way. Our church put together a testimonial book as a fund-raiser for our women’s ministry events several years ago. Once published, quite a few people asked if I ever considered writing a book. They really enjoyed my contributions. It planted a seed that grew into a possibility. I started writing Anessia’s Quest on a whim, to see if I could. Friends were so encouraging and insisted that it was good and I should take it seriously.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favorite, but I was really impacted by The Shack, written by William P. Young. I loved that he challenged the reader to see beyond the expected. I found some very important answers for questions I’ve struggled with all my life. I was the person sitting at the desk, judging. I enjoy Dean Koontz, Ted Dekker and Lynn Austin. I have also recently started reading James Patterson, the teen adventure books. I particularly enjoy books that have a base of spiritual truth, but are creative in the storyline; or filled with fantasy, conflict and triumph.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I have a new book coming out in the next few months. It is a psychological thriller. I was able to think like a angry criminal and that was fun. Raider’s Vendetta pits a man filled with hate for God with a struggling Christian woman who brings all of his rage to the surface. It is about survival, faith, forgiveness and love.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I have discovered a passion for writing in the later part of my life. My tag line is Never Too Old to Instigate. Dreams, discoveries and adventures are yours if you take the first step. I have realized that there is still much more to my life and contributions I can make. If you have a dream, go for it. The process is very rewarding, even if it doesn’t become a success by society’s standards. Someone wise said … it’s not the destination, but the journey.


About the Book
Anessia’s Quest


Book Details:
Genre: Christian, Drama, Suspense, Adult

Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 2011
Pages: 302
Price: $11.95 paperback, $6.99 ebook
Buy Links:
Amazon, Kindle

Synopsis:
Anessia’s Quest follows the life of a woman born into dysfunction and neglect. The story takes you on her journey. A journey that begins with abandonment, abuse, and physical injury. Pagne (Pain) believes she is all alone, thrown away, but soon discovers that she is protected and guided by her guardian angel. A powerful relationship develops between this lost child and her loving protector that manifests as a unique method of communication.

Pagne encounters other broken people that become her family, friends and community. Her grace and compassion alter their destructive paths. She moves through her life unaware of the impact she creates, her purpose on Earth.

Her life is filled with tears, laughter, joy and heartbreak. She faces challenges that include ultimate betrayal, loss and shame. Challenges that are only bearable due to her trust and faith in heaven’s love and value for her. Love that is reinforced by her angel. She discovers the events that led to her mother’s indifference and neglect, and must decide how much grace she can extend to a woman she has hated for most of her life. The ultimate test of forgiveness.

When she faces her death, Pagne discovers the true value and power of forgiveness and love. She is shown how her life created ripples that spread into waves of glorious influence. She was not an accident, she was placed on Earth with divine intent.

Excerpt:

Several years crawled by, and somehow, Champagne had survived her mother’s indifference. On one summer evening, Leah finally could not take it any longer, the pounding on the door was killing her head. What a hang-over she had. When she jerked the door open, she looked into the chest of a police officer. Behind him stood her neighbor, Miss Nose Up My Butt. She could tell this wasn’t good by the smirk on Miss Butt’s face.

“We got a call that you have a toddler playing unattended on the landing,” said the officer.

“Well, I don’t see no kid out here, do you?” shot back Leah.

“Not at the moment, but your neighbor called quite concerned. She said that it is not unusual to see your front door wide open and your small daughter playing out here by the stairs. Do you understand how dangerous that is?”

“Well yes, Officer, I do. I’m not an idiot. I am always just inside the door, watching her every move. The kid has gotta have some fresh air and sunshine right?”

“Ma’am, unless you use better judgment and find a safer place for your daughter to play, we will be back out with Child Services,” threatened the Officer.

“Okay. I will figure out something.”

The officer filled out his paperwork and handed Leah her copy. “This call will be documented.” He held the paper for a delayed moment, while making eye contact with Leah.

“Thank you Officer,” Leah said sarcastically as she snatched it from his hand.


About the Author
Karen Arnpriester

Karen Slimick Arnpriester is a creative, passionate and adventuresome woman. She raised her two children, adores her seven grandchildren and is now a foster mom of two young ladies. She has been a self-taught graphic designer for twenty five years and started her own business twenty years ago. Her faith in God is strong and she believes that we are Christ’s hands, feet, arms and wallet. This translates into her involvement in youth ministries, local women’s shelter, street ministry, the elderly, as well as many other outreaches over the years. Her home has been available to single moms and their children, allowing them to get a fresh start.

ANESSIA’S QUEST is her first novel. The desire to write began two years ago as a hobby. She had an idea for a beginning and the end. The rest of the story flowed and took Karen on a journey. She cried and laughed as she followed the twists and turns of the characters. Once friends read the book, she was strongly encouraged to share her story with others.

RAIDER’S VENDETTA is Karen’s second novel. It will be released in October 2011. It is a psychological thriller between the main characters,Charley and Raider. Charley’s faith and ability to survive is challenged by
the rage of a shattered man.

Her third book, which addresses bullying, is in the works and should be released in 2012. The tentative title is HEY! LEADBOTTOM!

This author wants to take her reader to a place where they can evaluate their beliefs and who God is in their life. When asked why she limits herself to Christian fiction, she simply explains that it is where her heart is. If she commits her precious time to writing, it needs to be of value and have God’s ultimate purpose in mind. Bringing his children home to him. Karen welcomes God’s influence in her writing and prays that she is fulfilling His destiny for her life.


Connect with Karen:
Web Site

About the Tour

Partners in Crime Tours

Tour Participants:

November 1-Interview@The Musings Of A Book Addict
November 2-Interview@Tribute Books Reviews
November 3-Interview@I'm A Book Shark
November 6-Interview@Beyond The Books
November 9-Spotlight@Karen Cioffi Writing And Marketing
November 11-Review@Terri Forehand, Blog
November 13-Review@Live To Read
November 14-Interview@The Book Faery Reviews
November 17-Interview@Joel M. Andre, Website
November 18-Guest Post@Literarily Speaking
November 19-Review@Alaskan Bookie
November 22-Interview@The Book Connection
November 23-Spotlight/Interview@Double Crossing
November 28-Review@The Top Shelf
November 29-Review@I'd Rather Be At The Beach
November 30-Review@News&Reviews From The Heart Of A Dragons Den
December 1-Review@Celtic Lady's Reviews