Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blog Tour featuring Diana Nixon and her Love Lines Series

Join readers, writers, and all kinds of supporters to Diana Nixon's Blog Tour Event! It will feature 25 days of interviews, teasers, reviews, giveaways, and much more!

From the February 1st to 25th these blogs will be featuring Diana and the Love Lines Series! Just click a blog and enjoy!

February 1stAmina Black’s blog
February 3rd  – Samantha Combs writes
February 5thBook Nerds across America
 February 7thValsul Fluturilor
February 8thCurling up with a good book
February 9thMe. Just me
February 10thAmina Black’s blog
February 11thThe Cover Contessa
February 12thThe Book Town
February 13thThe Book Mystress
February 14thAripi pentru a visa
February 16thNic’s Nominations
February 17thBooks and their Wordly realm
February 18thThe Indie Bookshelf
February 20thAs you wish book blog
February 21stFantasy World
February 22ndBibliophile Mystery
February 23rdLady Amber’s Reviews
February 24thA Blue Million Books

From Scratch
Diana Nixon
To learn more about Diana Nixon or to buy her works:
Love Lines
Ebook or Paperback
Songs of the wind
Ebook or Paperback
From Scratch
Ebook or Paperback

Thank you everyone for being amazing, reading the blog, joining US on the BLOG TOUR, and supporting all things LOVE LINES and DIANA NIXON related! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Grave Illusions by Lina Gardner

I really loved the concept of your leading lady, Jess, being saved by her brother through baptism. It was a completely different take on the world of vampires than anything I've read recently--something I found so refreshing. Though her outfit is a bit ridiculous for fighting, and I mean more so the six inch heels with the built in spike, who doesn't like having a woman in leather kicking butt? I would have gone with cotton because it breaths, but we all have our different tastes.

You’re leading man, John Britain, is like any other man who was kicked off the force for having ‘accidently’ killed his partner, never going to prison because the body went missing, sends money to his dead ex-partners grieving widow anonymously, divorced from his cheating wife, drinks too much, and lives in a crummy apartment working as a night taxi driver. I think that just about covers it all! But he’s a hell of a man that begins to straighten up his life when Jess offers him a job after almost seducing him at the beginning. The down side is that for the first twenty percent of the book you are going back and forth between Jess trying to recruit John as a vampire hunter and John unable to make up his mind about it because he not only wants to know more information but doesn't feel he deserves a second chance to work with the police.

As an added plus to the book, there were plenty of moments with sexual tension--though I was rooting for more in that department. Not to mention enough fights and surprises to keep you coming back for more. I know I did!

It was a fast read and easy to follow until you got to the last fifteen percent. Things began to not add up in conversation and some actions I wanted to ask the characters themselves, “what about that made sense” or “where’s the other guy”.  Though a few started to not add up, and the battles seemed lacking at the very end, I found it to still be a good and enjoyable read.

I give this book a four out of five and I would recommend this to several people.

By Brenda Franklin author of the Pulse TrilogyTwitterFB, and goodreads to learn more about me and my works.

Review for the Vampire hunter's Daughter and Ghost of a Chance

The Vampire hunter’s Daughter by Jennifer Malone Wright

This was a very interesting fast paced read that draws you in within the first couple of paragraphs. Your leading lady is 14-year-old Chloe, who from the very start is attacked my vampires and witnesses her mother’s death. In a surprise turn of events she is rescued by vampire hunters and finds out that it runs in her blood. Now, with her mother dead and vampires gunning for her, Chloe starts her new life as a vampire hunter.

It’s an easy read to finish in one sitting and my only issue about this series is that you have to buy it in installments. Though that would normally shy me away from my purchases, in this case, I can’t wait to read the rest and look forward to grabbing the others. Jennifer has done such a wonderful job and her writing is very refreshing. I would recommend this to a lot of people and already have. 5 stars!

Ghost of a Chance by S.J. Maciver

You’re two leading characters are Josh Hankins, how is a celebrity and can’t see past his image, and Tory Olson, who is his loyal personal/business manager. Within the first couple of chapters the characters must come to the realization that they had died! Yes! They have both passed into a more spiritual plain, but at the same time still walking among the living-so to speak.

You journey along with these two characters as they go through events/trials to try and move on with the guidance of Belle. Belle asks them to do certain things and if they say no it will lead to a not so pleasant punishment. As the story progress, which is quite slow at times, your characters begin to change and see that they care deeply for each other, but when Josh is given the chance to return only one of them to the living world who will he choose? Or is there another way to break free?

It’s a good moral booster for anyone looking for one of those ‘love conquers all’ tales. It does have its slow points. I found that it was easy to put down at times and get lost doing something else, but I always found a way back to it. In the end I’m glad I finished it. And the ending doesn't let you down. You’ll have to read the book and judge for yourself what you think, but I’d give it a four out of three. It was a nice little story, good character development, and I nice read. I give it a four out of five.

By Brenda Franklin author of the Pulse Trilogy. Twitter, FB, and goodreads to learn more about me and my works.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Zazzle products and an interview from artist Troy Aaron Ratliff

Mouse Pad Space Octopus by Troy Aaron Ratliff

Zazzle is a website for any number of people, from a person wanting to custom design their own greeting cards, calendars, or picture books, to the artist wanting to reach more people with their photos, painting, and sayings.  You can design several different kinds of products here, such as shirts, mouse pads, kindle cases, iPhone cases, bags, ect... But if you're more in the market for selling your own art than this site is just what the doctor ordered. They give you a mega listing of blanks products you can apply your art to and sell. What artist wouldn't feel like a kid in the candy store here!

One such artist by the name of Troy Aaron Ratliff is doing just that! Every piece of art in this blog is from his amazing collection. And like every artist he has a very unique style. Two of my favorite works from him is  his Space Octopus and his Turtle art pieces. If you're more of a Dali fan you may like his L.A. Awakening piece. He has a little something for everyone and his motto on a few of his pieces it "Try Harder". A bit of positive inspiration for anyone purchasing his work. I would recommend his art to many people in a heartbeat.

A Quick Bio:
Turtle Laptop Skin by Troy
Troy Aaron Ratliff was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio and self-educated in writing, art, photography, and voice impersonations. When he's not not reading, writing, and cooking up his next monstrosity, you can generally find him defending the galaxy from the forces of evil, feeding hippopotamuses, dinging with foreign dignitaries and zen masters, waking up to his supermodel wife, alternating the space-time inter-dimensional warp or, more than likely, stuck in traffic somewhere in southern California on his magic carpet.

He was kind enough to allow me to interview him and here's what he had to say about his work and working with Zazzle.

1.) You have a very unique style.  Where did that come from?

I think every artist - like every writer and musician - has their own style to offer somewhere inside them, and I think they’re unique because of combining what they've learned along the way and where they came from.  Picking up a style here, mixing it with some of your own personality there, before it begins to take on a life of its own.  The thing with art is there are no rules.  Not really.  The mistakes are part of the art just as mistakes are a part of living.  You learn along the way.  Like with my writing and my photography, I’m auto-didactic, but with my art I can let loose my creative side completely.   Eventually, everyone will find mistakes in everything and want you to change them.  It’s living with what you feel is right that’s important, and that goes with writing too. 

2.) At what point did you begin to express yourself and begin drawing?

As far back as I can remember to tell you the truth.  My whole family is artistically inclined, but no one ever did anything with it.  None of them took any serious classes or pursued it beyond a casual hobby.  So, I can’t say that it comes completely natural to me, but I do feel that some shred of my talent comes from blood.  I think what really sparked the desire and the passion for art was - don’t laugh - Bob Ross.  That guy…  That guy rocked my world.  The first time I ever watched him on PBS I was about seven years old.  I remember being awestruck by his talent and how he was able to paint this stunning, eye-candy of a picture in just 30 minutes.  I was so entranced by it that I taped the show and brought it into art class to show everyone.  They were just as blown away as I was.  Whether he had the same effect on them as me, I don’t know.  But I’m still in awe of him.

And don’t get me wrong, I had self doubt for years.  And, again, the same goes for my writing.  I've surrounded myself with art and writing my whole life because they were natural interests of mine.  When I finally decided to try my hand at it - drawing and art being first, followed by writing, which I started when I was eleven - what I came up with was pretty much what you’d expect for a seven year old.  My craving to draw actually laid dormant for years afterward because I became so focused on my writing.  I didn't start drawing again until I was about nineteen or twenty.  And it comes and goes in waves.  Now, at thirty, I try to infuse some form of creative expression into my everyday life.

3.) Do you produce you art in one sitting or has it taken a few days?

Oh, it takes a few days.  I’m not at the point where I could whip out my pen and produce something of any worth.  I’m not at Bob Ross level yet.  I have two pieces that I’m very proud of that I’m probably going to release sometime this year.  One of them took me twenty-four hours over a course of two days.  But if I stick with a project for a long time, I’m fine with that.  I like getting lost in the work and watching where it takes me and what I can take from it.  I’ll say it once, I’ll say it a thousand times: Give me a notepad and my pens, turn on KCRW in Los Angeles with a big cup of coffee between 8:30 and 9 am and that is absolute heaven for me.  It’s the start of a new day open for my creativity.  With that being said, I like to take my time with what I’m working on and let the music, the coffee, and the feel of the morning take over.     

4.) Working with the website Zazzle, has it been a positive experience?  What’s the pros and cons of the site if any?

Absolutely!  I’d say the biggest pros are the incredible amount of items you can put your work on.  Some art critics or purists would call it selling out, but I have to eat.  With all of the options it doesn't come off as over saturation but just more exposure, and in this digital area, the more the better.  As far as the cons, using the back end of it for my store is a little clunky, but I’m sure after enough time I should have to a better handle on it.  Usually, though, it doesn't take me very long to get the hang of a layout, which is why I mention it here as the one drawback.

5.) What advice would you give up and coming artists who want to step into the market using this site?

Do your research and build buzz about it long in advance.  I still kick myself because I was still getting the hang of it when I launched the store.  I felt rushed and thought I would have a handle on it once I set the date to open the doors, but that kinda goes hand-in-hand with what I said above.  I’d also say that any artist should feel like they have a lot of work to offer.  In the end, like your writing, it’s about the art.  The roots go back to the blank page or the canvas, not online.  I've heard a lot of New Years resolutions from writers that they are going to spend more time writing and less time online.  Well, this is nothing really new.  Hasn't that been the goal for every writer for the past decade?  There’s always some promotion, some YouTube clip, some game, some podcast that distracts us from creating.  Well, the same goes for your art.  Write, draw, and photograph what you want to see more of in the world and learn new tricks along the way.  Words I live by: Big plans will find you.  Know where to look for them.  Usually it’s on the white page.

L.A. Awakening clock by Troy
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Blog by Brenda Franklin

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review of Phantom in the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love.

This is the first book of the BAD series that I have read and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I had heard mixed reviews about the book, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from reading another one of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s works. I’m glad I read it and I will most likely begin reading author Dianna Love’s work soon after this. It really is a book I will add to my shelf of favorites. Now getting into the story…

You’re leading character is Special Forces member Nathan Drake who is quickly represented as a strong, self-sacrificing, and revenge seeking man after the death of his brother who sought out Nathan’s help in the beginning of the book for being tangled in the wrong crowd. Nathan later runs into Terri Mitchell, a new, gusty, female agent working for the Bureau of American Defense (BAD), who is working to bust an organized crime ring suspected of funding terrorism. The two of them end up crossing paths when the people Nathan is looking for are tied into Terri’s case.

Throughout the story--and many untrusting moments between both Terri and Nathan--they find themselves having to work together to not only survive, but to keep a threat from being unleashed on thousands of innocent people.

Without giving too much more information away I must say that it took me a little bit too really get into the story, but once chapter two was at my fingertips there was no shutting the book and walking away. The plot is thoroughly thought out with interestingly, well-rounded characters I would want to have conversations with. And a couple of characters I wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley. I’m also glad to see that they mixed loads of action with the right amount of romantic flare. There were a few moments when the story was a bit much on the details, but you could keep up easily enough. Most of the time when I struggled to get the information clear in my head was because it was way past my bedtime!

The story does shift between POVs, which could be frustrating at times when you’re really into a character and you have to jump to someone else, but it’s not so bad as to take away from the book.

Sherrilyn Kenyon
All in all I have to give this book 5 stars.

Dianna Love
To learn more:

Brenda Franklin. Click the follow button on my blog to stay tune to all my reviews and plenty more to come. Thanks for reading! Twitter. Facebook. Author Page.