Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games - You know I have to...

Oh my God! The Hunger Games is truly a work of art in words!

Katniss Everdeen is a young woman that had to grow up too soon. Set in the future, the United States has become an area of Districts, all under the name of Panem. Each District has it's issues, mostly, the people are starving, while those in the Capitol live the life of excess and luxury. 

Each year, two tributes (boy and girl) are selected to fight to the death as a reminder of the Capital's power. Only one can survive. When Katniss' young sister, Prim, has her name drawn as Tribute, Katniss volunteers in her place and is thrown into the arena. Can she survive? Will she have to kill Peeta, the boy Tribute from her District?

Katniss is an unbelievable heroine. Her inner strength is unmatched, yet she does not realize how strong she really is.

I started this book on a Friday and finished it on the following Saturday. It is totally devourable. I'm reading Catching Fire now and I can not wait to see the movie. 

Five Stars for a brilliant story that will pull your emotions in every possible direction. Kudos Suzanne Collins! And Kudos to those who decided to put Jennifer Lawrence, from Louisville, Kentucky, and John Hutcherson, from Union, Kentucky, in two of the lead roles. Kentucky rocks in things other than basketball!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gnosis by Tom Wallace

This week we are blessed to feature Tom Wallace, author of Gnosis. 

Gnosis: Greek word meaning knowledge. Murder, mystery and redemption are at the heart of “Gnosis.” Detective Jack Dantzler has no clue why he has been summoned to the prison to meet with the Reverend Eli Whitehouse, a man convicted of committing a double murder twenty-nine years ago. He is stunned when Eli claims to be innocent and wants Dantzler to prove it. But Eli only gives Dantzler a single clue—look at the obituaries in the local paper for a specific two-week period. Reluctantly, Dantzler agrees to look into the case. As he does, two more people are brutally murdered. And although Dantzler isn’t aware of it, he has become a target for the killer. Dantzler goes back to Eli and pleads for another clue. All Eli says is, “think of Jesus’s empty tomb.” It will be this whispered utterance that unlocks the mystery and reveals the killer’s identity. But this isn’t just any ordinary killer. This is a man with a dark and bloody past, a man with connections to the highest levels of organized crime. Dantzler is now on the trail of an ice-cold assassin, fully aware that one slip will mean instant death. Sometimes having too much knowledge can lead to deadly consequences.

Tom Wallace is the author of two previous mysteries featuring Detective Jack Dantzler—What Matters Blood (2004) and The Devil’s Racket (2007), both set in Lexington, Kentucky, where Tom lives. He also wrote the thriller, Heirs of Cain (2010). Tom spent many years as a successful, award-winning sportswriter in his native Kentucky. He authored five sports-related books, including the highly popular Kentucky Basketball Encyclopedia, an in-depth history of the University of Kentucky’s legendary hoops program. Tom, a Vietnam vet, is an active member of Mystery Writers of America and the Author’s Guild. His Web site is

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was sportswriter at the time, and I simply wanted to try my hand at writing fiction. I started maybe a half-dozen books, only to discard them shortly after beginning. Then, in 1989, I began one titled “Match Point” that I stayed with. It was eventually published in 2007 as “The Devil’s Racket.”

How did you come up with the title?

For the current book, “Gnosis,” coming up with the title was easy. Gnosis is a Greek word meaning knowledge. In the book, several people have knowledge that, if revealed, will lead to their death. Sometimes having too much knowledge can lead to deadly consequences.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Probably Michael Connelly or Lee Child.

What book are you reading now?

Michael Connelly’s “The Drop.”

What are your current projects?

I have finished the third edition of “The Kentucky Basketball Encyclopedia,” which will be out in March. I am currently halfway through a new novel, tentatively titled “The List,” which will feature the Jack Dantzler character from my three detective novels and the assassin Cain from “Heirs of Cain,” which came out last year.

Do you see writing as a career?


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No. I think it came out pretty much the way I intended.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

In 8th grade, I became a fan of Poe’s writing, particularly his poetry. Later, I was influenced by Bob Dylan. Those two guys triggered my love for words, which led me into more serious literature. Once that happened, I became an avid reader. I read everything – fiction, nonfiction, poetry, history, philosophy, biographies and plays.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Dostoyevsky is my absolute favorite writer. I love his realism, and the way he can probe the tortured psychological depths of his characters. Dante would be my No. 2 choice.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I don’t think anyone can be a good writer (or anything, for that matter) unless he or she is an avid reader. So, my advice is to read, read, read.

What books have influenced your writing?

All kinds of books have influenced me. For “Gnosis,” Harold Bloom’s book “Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine” was a huge influence. A slim novel titled “The Pledge” by Friedrich Duerrenmatt has been an influence. So have books by William Goldman. A couple of books about the secret history of the CIA influenced “Heirs of Cain.”

What genre do you consider your book(s)?


What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Secret by Morinda Montgomery

What do you get when you arrange a marriage between fire and ice? Morgan’s world is turned upside down when she is forced into an engagement to Brian DeMacleo. Brian is an infuriating, overbearing, conceited, arrogant bastard who does nothing but treat her like a child. Not only does Brian have to deal  with his...condition... but now he has to deal with the lovely Morgan. Or rather, the not so lovely as personality goes. The woman does nothing but argue and try to irritate him. At least they can find some common ground in that neither of them wish to get married. They will get out of the marriage no matter what it takes. But can they keep their secrets as the moons cycle continues?

Morinda Montgomery spent most of her time blending in, it wasn’t until her last 2 years of high school that she became truly interactive with others and now she doesn’t know a stranger, believing you can learn any number of interesting things from many different people. Her love of writing came before the growth of her curiosity however. She wrote many poems and short stories. Secret wasn’t the first ‘novel’ completed by the young author, it is however the first to be published. Many more are expected in the years to come.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I guess I would have to say I’m a first person writing style, I also like to switch from one person to another, to give you a better insight to the book and a variety.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

A bit of both. I try to pull from a variety of inspirations, books I’ve read, stories my mom told me, things that have happened to me, my family, and friends.

What books have most influenced your life most?

The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, The Fever Series, and The Immortals After Dark Series.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, I certainly hope so. I love to write, I’ve always had little stories and things going through my head, I thank my mother for that. I love to read and I only hope that my books can bring the kind of pleasure to others that the books I read do.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Maybe, but only a few things. I would have researched a bit better I think, other than that I’m happy with the way things played out.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I was in 4th grade writing class, we had to write a short story, I wrote Rugra and the Fox and let a local children’s author read it. She told me I had a talent and I took it to heart.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure, I’m writing about Vampires and Werewolves deep in the highlands.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I would have to say that I like the intensity of Karen Marie Moaning, the brutality of J.R. Ward, and the edge of Kresley Cole. I will always admire the historical angle of Hannah Howell as well.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not yet, but I might in the future, my Fiancé would like that.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Finishing it maybe, either that or actually turning it over to be edited.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I didn’t really learn anything until it got to the editorial stages, I learned that spell check is not always my friend and that my grammar is horrible.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Enjoy the book and if you have any story ideas, push forward with them! The best of luck to your escape from reality!

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Well, I had trouble focusing on my writing when I picked up a good book, I wanted to read more than I wanted to write. Also I had a lot of trouble with my grammar.

What books have influenced your writing?

Nearly every one I’ve ever read. I can’t say that any specific book inspired everything, but I can say that I have tried out a few different writing styles for myself and that even if I like a writing style it doesn’t mean I can write that way.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

Paranormal Romance. I don’t think I have anything other than that.

Do you ever experience writer's block?

All the time! The way I get through it is to write something else or to just walk away for a while.

Do you write an outline before every book you write?

Not really. I just kind of get an idea off what I want and then go for it.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Yes, I have thrown away a few things.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?

Love? I’m not really sure. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bridgeworld by Travis McBee

William Haynes was the type of guy that everyone either wanted, or wanted to be. He was an honor roll student and captain of his middle school football team. He was dating the most popular girl in the school and had dozens of friends. Yes, life was perfect for Will…that is until a strange man shows up and forces his parents to reveal a secret they have kept hidden since he was born. He is told that he has been given a scholarship to a prestigious private school that his parents attended, a private school that happens to be in space. Will must choose between a life many would die for and a life none could imagine. A life where he is no longer perfect, where he must make new friends, and where he must survive a school rivalry like no other.

Travis McBee is the younger of two children. He wrote Bridgeworld during his sophomore year of college at North Georgia College and State University where he studies history. In his spare time he enjoys playing rugby, watching football, and backpacking. Bridgeworld is his first novel.


What inspired you to write your first book?  
Bridgeworld was inspired by three books. The first is obvious to anyone who has even read the back of the book: Harry Potter. The second book that started the ball rolling was much more important and I was musing about it when I came up for the idea for Bridgeworld. The name of the book is The Dark Side of Nowhere. It’s a middle grade book about a boy who is part of a community of aliens, but he thinks he is human. It was when I was wondering about what it would be like if he had been forced to reintegrate into his parents lost world by himself that I came up with the idea and over the course of several months of musing, the full story came into place.

  How did you come up with the title? 
The title was one of the hardest things for me to create, believe it or not. I knew from an early stage in the planning process that I wanted it to be the name of the school. The problem was that I didn’t know what the school should be called. When I came to the part of the book where the school was mentioned by name for the first time, I had to stop for several hours and tackle it.
I eventually managed to create a mutated version of my old high school’s name. I attended Brookwood High School. All I did was take two words, hopefully intergalactic in nature, and replace the B and W words that made up the word. “World” came quickly but I couldn’t come up with a B word. Then—like so many ideas do—the word just popped into my head. I thought ‘Bridge’ was  perfect because that’s exactly what Will was doing, bridging two worlds. 
(as a trivial aside that I can’t leave out: Our rival school was Parkview, Hence Bridgeworld’s rival was Starview)

How much of the book is realistic?
The endearing part of my book—in my own opinion of course—is the fact that my book is completely unrealistic while being perfectly realistic.
What I mean by that is simple: Bridgeworld takes place in two worlds; one is equipped with rooms that the gravity can be switched off as easily as the lights and flying saucers for daily commuting; while the other is the same world that you and I live in.
This conglomeration of worlds lets the reader “believe in disbelief” as I like to say.  The reader knows that it’s fake, that it can’t be true, yet the book explains how it just might exist just out of sight.

 If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Although I don’t know many writers on a personal level—and none of which I could claim as a mentor—there are several well known authors that influence me as a writer.
The first and most prominent of these is Stephen King. He is what I consider a Writer’s writer. The passion for writing is so completely evident in every book he writes that I feel myself filled with an unquenchable desire to get to writing whenever I read him. His book On Writing is pretty much the bible for fiction writers and I would recommend every writer to read it.
Another author that really jumpstarted me from wanting to write a novel to actually writing is

Conn Iggulden. He writes historical fiction (emphasis on fiction) and is one of the few authors that I go by their books in hardcover the moment they come out. He is extremely active with his fan base via an online forum and started a great guide for writers that really pushed me into gear and got me started writing.

What book are you reading now? 
At the moment I am reading Relentless by Dean Koontz.

 Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I recently read a Anon by Peter Giglio. He’s published through the same house as I am –Hydra Publications—and he premise of his book really interested me. It was a good read and I’ll defiantly pick up his next book as well.

What are your current projects?
At the moment I’m working on the sequel to Bridgeworld. It’s entitled Bridgeworld: Encounter at Atlantis. I finished the first draft a couple of weeks ago and am in the process of polishing it up. I’ll be sending it out for publication by the end of the year so keep your eyes out for it. 
I’m also working with my editor on the first two books in a new series called Triton. The first of these is scheduled to be released in March.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members:
When I was working on Bridgeworld I had a great deal of support from my best friend, Mitchell Woodward. We would go to the gym everyday and I would bore him with what was going on in the book at the moment. The great thing was that he wasn’t just bored and do the oh-that’s-interesting-head-nod like so many others would do. He actually helped me work through plot holes, figure out different problems a whole new world would pose and how to solve them. He even traveled to Kentucky with me for the book launch—although he might have been more motivated by the prospect of finally going to Whitecastle. He was an enormous source of help and support for me and I am extremely grateful for having a friend like him.

Do you see writing as a career?
I would defiantly like it to be and I’ll continue to put in the work for it to become that. I’m only twenty-one and have already secured contracts on three novels so I think I’m on the “write” track.
10.  If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Well my latest book is still with the editor so at the moment I can’t say yes to that since I still have the power to change it, ask me again right after it’s released and I’ll be able to tell you something though. The thing for me is that I’ll always want to change something, to tweak it here or there, make it better. If you never want to publish you can always work on it but if you want others to read it you have to act like a mother and just let it go sometimes, knowing you did the best you could.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
When I was nine I went into a bookstore with my mom. While she was browsing through her romance novels I noticed a little book with Taz on the front. I opened it up and was surprised to see that it only had blank lines in it. What magic is this? I thought to myself I could be the one to write the story in it!
I took it to my mother, telling her I wanted to buy it, and she explained to me that it wasn’t a magic blank book, it was a journal. Well that kind of ruined the magic for me of course, but from that moment on I had a goal in the back of my head, I wanted to write a book.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My current work, like I stated earlier, is the sequel to Bridgeworld. This book has one theme. Collision. Will’s two worlds are on a crash course for each other and he will find himself stuck between them.

 Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s?
I live in the mountains of North Georgia so traveling is a must unless I become a hermit. I went to the launch of Bridgeworld in Louisville, Kentucky in July and I go to numerous other conventions every chance I get. I plan on going to a writing convention in Savannah in February. I also travel all around the state and to sit in book stores and sign copies of my books. If anyone owns a store and wants me to come in for a signing let me know, I love doing it!

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Keep at it. Whenever I’m doing a signing or just talking to people about writing, I get one or two people that tell me that they’ve been writing a book and then go on to say that they’ve been writing it for five or more years. Every time someone says this to me I think one of two things: “Wow that’s a big book!” or “You’re not serious about it then”.

Writing is something you do for fun, believe everyone when they say there’s no money in it. So let loose and have fun. Take an hour each night and write. You’d be amazed at how fast the pages pile up if you just work at it. Don’t say you don’t have enough time, I wrote Bridgeworld when I was a fulltime student with a part time job. If you have enough time to watch a television show you have enough time to write a book. Remember when you’re doing it that you’re doing it for one reason, fun, otherwise it’ll start to feel like a job.

Do you ever experience writer's block? 
Not really. I do experience something I call Writer’s Laziness, where I just don’t feel like typing out the story. Even then I’m consumed by the story and see it flickering through my head whenever I close my eyes.

Do you write an outline before every book you write?
My first two books I defiantly did. I planned so far in advance that you could have told me all about the book just from reading the notes. As I got more experienced I just started writing without much of any material preparation. The difference is that I know the feel of how the book is forming and I don’t really need a map for it anymore, I know the roads now and know when to turn.