Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bloody Blizzard! robgirlbooks' Review of Dark Prelude by E.J. Wesley + Double Character Interview

Dark Prelude (Moonsongs Book 3)
by E.J. Wesley
53 pages
I bought this novelette

Jenny's newly established monster fighting business has hit a dry spell and a cold front is moving in startlingly fast. With the ice and snow comes something more destructive than anything Jenny and Marshal have faced so far.

Dark Prelude is my favorite installment yet. The action and gore hit you early in the story. There's less mystery and more adventure this time. I love the potential for this series to reshape the scary and not so scary things in the world. So far Jenny hasn't wavered in her resolve. If she's scared she just holds her tomahawk that much tighter. Maybe one day she'll take the wussy way out (can't imagine). There's no limit to where E.J. Wesley can take us with this series. And I have to mention Wesley's style of writing. With few words he takes me to Texas, this time to a blizzard that would have me snuggling under blankets sipping hot chocolate. His action scenes are thrilling, sometimes cringe-worthy. No doubt I spent the entire read curled over my computer not wanting it to end.

E.J. Wesley was kind enough to do a mini-interview when I reviewed Blood Fugue. This time, he went all out and did a double character interview.

I'm delighted to have Jenny and Marshal with me today all the way from Texas. They've agreed to answer a few questions.
You two went to school together. What was your typical after school routine?

Jenny: *points screwdriver menacingly* Is this another one of those Census things? If so, scratch us down for 2.5 kids, Republican, gun enthusiasts, and whatever else it is the rest of the world thinks makes Texas, Texas—I’ve got a computer to crack open.

Marshal: *chuckles nervously and whispers* Shush! This could end up on E! or in People someday. Try to sound glamorous.

Jenny: Whatever. After school was cross-country practice, right? *laughs* God, I used to sweat and stink so bad Granny would always threaten to hose me off in the yard before she’d let me inside.
Marshal: *sighs* So much for glamorous… Yes, it was just cross-country team practice most days.

Marshal, if Jenny gave you carte blanche with her style, what would you change?

Marshal: *claps hands together and turns to Jenny* First is the hair—the purple faux-hawk was cool on Joan Jett in like 1984 or something.

Jenny: Hey, I thought you said it was alternative chic? And Pink’s look isn’t that far off, so don’t act like I’m the first—

Marshal: *clears throat* My question! As I was saying, ditch the hair, the cargo pants, the tacky videogame t-shirt that I totally don’t get, the—well, everything. We’d give her a shoulder length bob with angles sharp enough to cut tomatoes, a skirt to show off those long legs, and maybe something sleeveless to accentuate her shoulders.

Jenny: *glares*

Marshal: What? You have pretty shoulders. If you didn’t dress like an angry tarp, people might actually notice. When you aren’t running around the house in your underwear that is.

Jenny: See the sharp, pointy tool in my hand? That’s what I think you should notice.

Same thing for you Jenny, what would you change in regards to Marshal's style?

Jenny: Assuming I can’t rearrange his face, I’d start with his hair, too. *grins*

Marshal: *gasps* I have fantastic hair!

Jenny: You use enough hair pomade to straighten the Leaning Tower. It’s kind of like metro-frat-boy meets Sonic the Hedgehog.

Has there ever been someone you wanted to set the other up with?

Jenny: Seeing as how Marshal is the only openly gay man I know in Center Pointe, no.

Marshal: Seeing as how porcupines would find Jenny prickly and threatening, NO.

Now that you know the world of monsters exist, is there any mythical creature you actually want to encounter?

Jenny: Come on, I was just teasing you about the hair thing. You know I barely notice what you’re wearing.

Marshal: *huffs* Mmmhmm… Mythical creatures I’d like to meet? After watching the Little Mermaid as a kid, I’ve always wanted to see a mermaid. I’m guessing the Apache monster hunters of the plains didn’t venture out to the islands much, though.

Jenny: *slaps Marshal on the shoulder* Tell you what, to make up for the hair comment, if I ever come across Ariel I’ll be sure to have her mounted for you when I’m done taking her out.

Marshal: There’s something very wrong with you.

Jenny: *laughs* Seriously though, the only monster I want to meet is one that isn’t trying to kill me. I’m learning those are usually the dead ones.

This or That
Texas summer or Texas winter
Jenny & Marshal: Winter?! *laughter*

Jenny: We don’t get much winter here, so I guess that leaves summer.

Marshal: I’d love to see some snow this year!

Jenny: *snorts* I’ll send it over with the mermaid fish sticks.

Ice cream or s'mores

Jenny: Yes.

Marshal: My stomach says s’mores, but my thighs say ‘Fat Free Frozen Yogurt’.

Mermaid or pixie

Jenny: *shakes head* Here we go…

Marshal: Mermaids!!! *sings* “I want to beee, part of that woorrrrllldddd.”

Jenny: Still holding that screwdriver by the way.

Bubble baths or chocolate

Jenny: Chocolate and a shower. Not necessarily in that order.

Marshal: Bubble bath—on a moonlit beach while a shirtless cabana boy sings me to sleep.

Jenny: And you say there’s something wrong with me?

Well cared for pet iguana or well tended to Bonsai

Marshal: Plant.

Jenny: Lizard.

You can find E.J. Wesley on his blog, The Open Vein.
Click HERE for my review of Blood Fugue and mini-interview with E.J.
Click HERE for my review of Witch's Nocturne.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [14] All American

Sidekick Saturday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in this week's type
• Share a picture and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• Put your link in the Linky thing and comment

Okay, Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven is killing me! All American? I keep wanting to pick Adam Hauptman from Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books. Then I hear Adam growling in my ear, "I'm no one's sidekick!" Fine, I won't pick the Vietnam War Vet turned Alpha werewolf and most bestest mate ever! Then I thought of Seth from Succubus Blues. Author, hottie, wear-er of funny T-shirts. But that series was a roller coaster of emotions and part of me still wants to kick his butt for being so stupid.

So I went with a girl. A sweet Colorado girl who hikes and bounces around, but still speaks her mind, Kiara Westford from Rules of Attraction. She's the girl in high school who volunteers for everything and not because it will look good on transcripts. She's not popular, doesn't conform to trends of stupidity, and has a stutter. Oh, and it seems no matter how nice she is to Carlos Fuentes, he's determined to be a shit.

I have a standing lunch date with my mom and sister every Saturday where I pose this challenge to them. My mom chose Betsy from my Touched Girl series. Betsy has the bouncy looks, just not the bouncy personality. My sister almost said Shane from the Morganville series, but I jumped in and told her Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Book Views chose Shane. Maybe I was a tad gleeful to burst her bubble. I'm a brat that way. Shannon quickly recovered and hit me with Alcede from the Sookie Stackhouse series. Oh, Alcede, the best, most poorly utilized character of all time! That was the Sookie book that made me cuss the most. Alcede is so beautiful. Sure he has a scary on again/off again restraining order kind of girlfriend, but he's worth a possible trip to the ER.

There's my Sidekick Saturday. Come and play. It's so fun thinking of the other characters in the books we love...or hate.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Feature & Follow [10] Music and Books

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow
This is a weekly blog meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.
Here are the general rules to Follow Friday:
1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - This week's feature is: Beauty but a Funny Girl and I'll Tumble for YA
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
Please take a look around. I follow a couple awesome memes, Think Out Loud and Sidekick Saturday. For a last minute chance at a $50 Amazon gift card, check out the list of awesome blogs HERE.

Q: Is there a song that reminds you of a book? Or vice versa? What is the song & the book?

The song Smile by Lily Allen holds a special place in my heart for most awesome morale boosting break up songs ever. When I read the opening scene of Easy by Tammara Webber I related to being the recipient of lame break up words. Jacqueline didn't get as pissed as I did, but in my head I sang Smile, you know for solidarity sake. (Please note the song contains profanity and the actual music video goes in a different direction than I envision when I listen to the song.)

Okay, one more song and book, Faster by Matt Nathanson makes me think of Shane and Claire in The Morganville series. Shane is so cool (maybe not in the last book) and the way he loves Claire is young and fresh and hot; it makes me think of this song.

Think Out Loud [6] Movies!

I'm a sucker for sports movies and romantic comedies. I love finding a foreign film that can make me forget I'm reading all the lines. All those big blockbusters with monster budgets love me; I'm their target audience. Slapstick comedy, bring it on. Sappy love stories, hello, right here. I've even seen way more horror movies than a wussy girl like me has any right.
Here are few hit and misses I've watched this year.

Skyfall - I think if James Bond is licensed to kill he should have a bigger gun. The opening scene drove me nuts. I'm Bond. I wear a slick suit in the boiling sun. I have a tiny gun and maybe two extra clips, but I'm good with my hands. I'll chase you to the ends of the the top of a super fast train. I'll fail, I'll get ... SPOILER ALERT ... I'll get shot, fall a long way to the water below, be rescued by a mermaid (seemed that way in the opening credits), be too injured to shoot straight, but not too injured to have sex with the hot mermaid up against a wall, then I'll call myself old dog for the rest of the movie while I sex my way to being the cranky, tired hero. Grrh! Bourne Legacy and Jack Reacher were much better action/suspense movies.
Flight - This is the best example of a fantastic preview and a crappy movie. I was hoping for something triumphant, what I got was an alcoholic going through the basic stages, pre-rock bottom, rock bottom, enlightenment, but throw in a plain crash at the beginning. GRRH!! A much better movie about alcoholism is When a Man Loves a Woman. Heavy and amazing.
Chasing Mavericks - This one was my mistake. If I had known this was a true story, I would have looked into the main character's story. I have to suggest Soul Surfer here as an alternative. It's my favorite surfing/true story movie out there.

Perks of Being a Wallflower was so amazing. My head is still swimming with scenes flashing so vividly my moods are affected by what tidbits I recall. I had to return the movie to the library, but I plan to hop right back on the waiting list. Sure, this is a coming of age movie, but it's more than that. It's a movie about trauma and pain and loneliness. About fitting in and finding where you fit in. It's about the damage caused by terrible actions. It's about soaring, screaming, laughing, and crying. It's about falling in love with friends, with that one person you'll never get over, with yourself. Can you tell it's one of my new favorites? 

Here Comes the Boom is funny and sweet and throw in that's it's a sports movie, I loved it. Kevin James hasn't been this good since Hitch. There's a bit of romance, but mostly bromances all over the place. I cheered, laughed, cringed, laughed again. Great family fun for sure!

Jack Reacher was so much fun, and then sometimes not fun at all. I wrote a movie review for this one because of the car chase awesome! Remember, I'm the target audience. Tom Cruise played the role perfectly and romance didn't play into the story at all, which was refreshing. The bad guys were Russian prison type bad guys, guys impervious to little things like pain and loss. I covered my eyes a couple times, I admit it.

Join Think's awesome meme. Share a thought twirling around in your head, a gripe you mull over while driving your kids to school, a quote that made you laugh or cry. Share anything. We'd love to have you join us.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mosaics That Will Entrance! robgirlbooks' First Artist Talk!!

Late last year, I made a promise to reignite my relationship with art. An easy feat in my city. Most people don't associate Tacoma, WA with the arts, but we rock.
Looking down the Bridge of Glass
(By J Brew from near Seattle, USA (Chihuly Bridge of Glass  Uploaded by admrboltz) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Common)

Okay, I've never seen the sax guy any of the times I've ventured to Chihuly's Bridge of Glass, but you get the idea. We also have a fantastic public library system with an art gallery, the Handforth Gallery, which was where I fell in love with the mosaics by John Sollinger. I went to the show with the preconceived notion I would see designs that would make me smile. Thirty seconds in, I realized the world of mosaics was nothing like the pretty slides I stared at in Art History in college. Amazing canvases of glass, stone, and rock. The heavily abstract pieces by various artists were hit or miss with me. I went for movement and flow of energy. Also, I'm pretty easy to dazzle with anything sparkly.

Then my eyes caught a landscape in the middle of eternity and ether; a frozen landscape reached inside my chest and squeezed my heart. I could feel the cold ice. I closed my eyes and I could see my breath.
I wanted to run my fingers over the sharp ridges of glass. More than that I wished there was a bench in the museum so I could park it and stay there in daydreaming land. I haven't had that feeling since I was an art student and dreamy about all things art. Sollinger's work touches on photorealism for sure, especially with one piece that depicts daisies. Goodness, I wanted to stand in that field of flowers and smile up at the sun. In all that realism is the fracture of emotion that glass so superbly reflects.
John Sollinger has a big fan in me. And you know what? He agreed to do a mini-interview with me! Yay!!

Your work is very much science and emotion. With that kind of dichotomy, do you feel split between the two worlds when you're working?
Actually, I find myself in the hinterland where the two worlds converge. The pursuit of science, biology in particular, for my entire adult life has shaped my perspectives and visual vocabulary, but beauty and emotions are the experience of everyone – even scientists. Having recently made the decision to take my artwork more seriously, and, thus, redirect my energies, I am gobsmacked to be learning principles of perception and expression and styles that, heretofore, were unknown to me.

How do you choose your projects?
For the most part, I follow my heart, which belongs to the forest. I make art for myself and without (much) thought of monetary profit, which frees me from concern about the business side of art, such as figuring out what sells, how to better make use of internet home pages. I do think about making my very small body of work cohesive, so I look to find common threads in my projects.

I had a drawing teacher who worked from photographs. While I gaped at your exhibit, I wanted to know your process. Do you take pictures, make a preliminary painting, have a photographic memory?
A photographic memory has long been on my wish list; in its place, I use a digital camera to record patterns and settings that appeal to my sensibilities regarding the beauty of nature and, especially, the untamed remnants that remain. I then look for images that have an overall interesting abstraction (e.g., the balance in tones, the contrasts, and other basic design principles). Then I find a theme, such as radial symmetry, or opportunity for commentary, such my latest work about global warming. I crop, adjust contrast and color saturation, and then print a poster that then serves as my template. As my work progresses, I increasingly react to what I have layed. That helps maintain my interest and results in generating my impression of the subject rather than a biological illustration.

How did your creative side manifest itself when you were a kid?
I do not recall being particularly creative. I spent much of my time climbing trees, instigating fights between spiders, building cages for my hamsters, and reading. Art projects in elementary school are among the few memories I recall of that period of my life.

There are endless stereotypes regarding artists. What is one stereotype that is spot on with you?
Well, I am the absent-minded AND nutty professor, but I am not the starving artist, which is the only artist stereotype I know. I am at once an extrovert and introvert, which, perhaps, describes a significant proportion of artists.

Thanks to John (Solly) Sollinger for taking the time to answer my questions. Northwest Mosaics Today runs through 4/26/13 at The Handforth Gallery (inside the Main Library). If you have the chance, see the show. It's pure visual delight.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Jenny Makes a Friend! robgirlbooks' Review of Witch's Nocture

Witch's Nocturne
by E.J. Wesley
published 12/16/12
55 pages
I won the ebook (novelette)

Jenny has a destiny. She also has an attitude problem and a tomahawk. The gamer slash monster hunter embraces her family lineage and goes all Ghostbusters on the supernatural world, craigslist ad and everything.
Witch's Nocturne drags our favorite sassy hero (and her sidekick best friend) into the world of witches. At least she has her grandfather's journal to help her...right?

I love these novelettes. We're set in Texas with a Native American nearly six foot tall girl and her gay best friend. The duo are still reeling from the epic battle in Blood Fugue when Jenny fishes out her first client. During the quest to decrypt her grandfather's journal, Jenny makes a new friend, a hilarious exchange that offers a glimpse into the more vulnerable side of our protagonist. There's more character development this time around, especially when it comes to the relationship between Jenny and Marshal. I love that despite his misgivings about the way the battle in the first book ended, he's committed to riding shotgun on this Moonsongs wild ride.

Dark Prelude is the third installment. I'll have that review next week (4.5 STARS). I love that the books are short bursts of supernatural adventure (and even some gore). You can read my review of Blood Fugue (Moonsongs book 1) or check out my fun mini-interview with author E.J. Wesley HERE.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [13] Hot and Cold!!!

Sidekick Saturday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in this week's type
• Share a picture and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• Put your link in the Linky thing and comment

Katee Sackhoff
(By MR O [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Deputy Victoria Moretti (Vic) is hot and cold at the same time. You first meet her in Craig Johnson's The Cold Dish. Sheriff Walt Longmire is one of my favorite male characters of all time. His self-effacing humor, keen awareness of women, and liberal cowboy personality make him irresistible. His deputy on the other hand is beautiful, rude, arrogant, flirtatious, half in love with Walt, half ready to bolt. I love that she's too good for the tiny Sheriff's department. She should be working a detective post in some big city. I love that she tells people this. I love that Walt treats her the same way he treats everyone even though he notices her looks and her flirting. She's portrayed differently in the book than the A&E TV series, but I love Katee Sakhoff.

I asked my mom and sister over lunch their picks. My sister has been on a Rachel Caine Morganville kick and she chose Amelie, the queen bee. If you ever watched the show Medium, the oldest daughter would play the regal vampire who goes from viewing humans as chattel to part of the community back to chattel. My mom chose a Millay, a character introduced in A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams. I just started the mystery series, and I already sense a push and pull from her.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Feature & Follow [9] What author do you want to hang out with?

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

This is a weekly blog meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.
Here are the general rules to Follow Friday:
1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - This week's feature is: Bookworms' Avenue YA Reviews and Words Fueled by Love
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
Please take a look around. I follow a couple awesome memes, Think Out Loud and Sidekick Saturday. The Soul Bender Tour is still going on with reviews of both Soul Walker and Soul Bender, character interviews. a couple Top 10 lists, and a $50.00 Amazon gift card giveaway. Check out the full schedule HERE.
Q: If you could hang out with any author (living) who would it be and what would you want to do?
I just saw a clip on Rainbows and Books with John Green. I would love to hang out with him, though I do not think I'm up to his speed, literally; the man talks a mile a minute with pure conviction and he's funny! Also, I would love to hang out with Patricia Briggs. She's one of my favorite authors. Okay, and Craig Johnson too. He has to be funny in real life because his Longmire series always makes me laugh.

But just so you know, I'd be a bumbling fool. I wouldn't really be "hanging out" as much as nodding and smiling and tapping my toes. With John Green I'd love to sit in that library of his while he rambles about whatever. I'm sure something he says will cue a book he has, then he'll look for it in his maze of shelves. I'd love to go on a walk with Patricia Briggs. She could show me her horses and then get so comfortable talking to me that she shares the plot line of the next Alpha & Omega book. With Craig Johnson (and his wife) I would just hope I didn't ask them to adopt me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Think Out Loud [5] I have lipstick and I'm gonna use it!

Okay, so my mom has been on a mission since my divorce...a spruce up Robyn do or die sort of thing. It started with my winter coat, a blue tired zip up number. "You just look so cold in it," she'd say after telling me, "You have to get a new coat!" I'd look down, run my hands over the soft material, "It's not cold because there's enough room for me to wear two shirts and a sweater underneath." She'd laugh, stop laughing, then shake her head. I've had the coat since my oldest was 4. He's eleven now. This Christmas while we were already at the mall for something else, she gave me honest to goodness puppy dog eyes. "Mom, while we're here, why not stop in Sears and see the sales?" She bounced all the way to the store. I saw the coat I wanted in less than a minute. Tried it on. Fell in love. I'm sure she expected the whole mom/daughter shopping experience, but I do not like indecision.

Part two, which occurred in the same timeline with the coat, was operation "get rid of those damn glasses." So I had my glasses longer than my coat. They were pretty. I liked them. My mom shook her head and told me, "No way are you wearing those things another year!" New glasses...check! Christmas stocking-new lipstick (only lipstick). Makeup...check!

Now I'm armed with glasses I'm still not sure about, a coat that's awesome, but not a two T-shirt/sweater combination type of coat, and girly lipstick. Thing is, I'm still me. I'm past the stink eye part of post-divorce life; if a guy smiles at me, I don't immediately want to kick him. Progress. But I am no where near the flirting stage. I'm barely in the smiling back stage. I have a feeling my mom is growing restless and something new will be added to the list. Dresses? Shit.

Join Think's awesome meme. Share a thought twirling around in your head, a gripe you mull over while driving your kids to school, a quote that made you laugh or cry. Share anything. We'd love to have you join us.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Soul Bender Blog Tour!

Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven is hosting The Soul Bender Blog Tour. So very awesome of her! Please do stop by and check out her blog. She has a couple unique features like Sunday Cover Scramble and Sidekick Saturday. She's also featuring an indie writer series (by me!).

April 15th
Bookworm Brandee - Review, Top 10
PRUF Reads - Review
Aussie Bookworm - Reiew of Soul Walker (book 1)

April 16th
Forget the Housework, I'm Reading... - Review, Top 10
Sycho Faerie's Book Obsession - Review
Bookshelf - Review of Soul Walker (book 1)

April 17th
Rainbows and Books - Character Interview, Excerpt
JC's Book Haven - Review
Margay Leah Justice - Top 10 List
April 18th
My Favorite Escape - Excerpt
Donnie Darko Girl - Review
Bookshelf - Review

April 19th
WeaklingNo14's Wondrous Reviews - Review, Character Interview, Excerpt
Bookwyrming Thought - Top 10
Aussie Bookworm - Review

Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter for a fantastic $50.00 Amazon gift card giveaway and three chances to win your choice of Soul Walker or Soul Bender.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [12] GRUMPY!

Sidekick Saturday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in this week's type
• Share a picture and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• Put your link in the Linky thing and comment

Today's sidekick type is GRUMPY. Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven chose Zee from Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series. She is so right on with her pick. I love Zee like I love that one really grumpy grandma who considers Halls Cough Drops hard candy.

I choose Jerome from Richelle Mead's Georgina Kinkaid Succubus series. He's the local boss. He's not a happy go lucky guy. And he's a demon. Oh, oh, and he looks like John Cusack. DO NOT TELL HIM. He has this sort of bromance/rivalry with Carter, the most slovenly (hottest) angel ever. Jerome is more likely to flay you than pat you on the back. Goodness, and if he signs you up for the bowling league so he can beat the pants off a fellow demon, you'd better freaking bowl strikes!
John Cusack Headshot
(John Cusack [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

I posed this challenge to my mom and sister. My mom mentioned Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton's Alphabet mystery series. Kinsey isn't a side character, but I LOVE her attitude problem. One year during the holidays she was so pissed she grumbled the entire book. Her ex showed up just to make everything worse. I was going through my anger stage of divorce so I felt like we were kindrid spirits. My sister offered up Snape. So right on. And she suggested Oliver from Rachel Caine's Morganville series. Oliver is a shit. There's really  no other way to put it. Caine has allowed his appearance to evolve over the series. Picture hippy middle aged man, then suave warrior. I'm not sure what he looks like anymore.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sass, Friendship, Redemption, and a Bit of Gore! robgirlbooks' Review of Blood Fugue by E.J. Wesley

Blood Fugue
by E.J. Wesley
44 pages
I won this ebook novelette

Jenny does her best to be your typical hostile gaming hermit. Then she opens a seemingly innocuous email. Suddenly she has a living grandfather she believed long dead, commits to doing a favor that involves bullets, and discovers a destiny that will test her tendency to push people away.

I'm so happy I won this novelette! E.J. Wesley created the best protagonist in Jenny. She's rude, she's nearly six feet tall, and she sports a purple Mohawk. I did not fall in love with Jenny from the start, yet I loved reading from her perspective. Through her interactions with Marshal, her pushy best friend, and her mysterious resurrected grandfather, I discovered a girl I wish I knew in real life. She'd be the coolest friend. I can't forget to mention the setting. I've read books set in Texas before and yet I never felt like my car broke down there and forced me to spend my entire vacation waiting for it to be fixed. Between Jenny's rudeness and the Texas backdrop, I fell into this story with zeal. If you're in the mood for an edgy paranormal read or love a strong female protagonist who knows how to handle guns get this book!

My new thing has been requesting mini-interviews from the authors of books I've fallen in love with. Thank you, E.J. Wesley, for taking the time to answer my questions.

You created the toughest chick ever in Jenny. I half expected her to grab herself and spit. How did you come up with a main character like her? I mean, we're talking purple Mohawk.
I think Jenny might view herself as just a TOUCH more ladylike than that—but probably just by a little. Lol She’s had a lot of heartache in her young life. She has lost both parents, and all of her grandparents by her early 20s. As they probably would anyone, these experiences have left her feeling isolated and alone. Rather than having that manifest in her character as vulnerability—which unfortunately isn’t all that uncommon with many of the female protagonists I’ve read—I wanted her to take it the other direction. She has certainly built walls to protect herself from more hurt, and her walls are more brick than glass.

I love the best friend. Will there be a solo story from Marshal's POV?
Marshal gets a lot of love from readers! I think that’s because I never really wrote him with the intention of him being a sidekick. I’ve always viewed him as Jenny’s other half, and I think she is probably his. Together they make a whole person/character. Basically, it’s hard for me to even imagine what Jenny would be like without him, and I think readers feel the same. While I haven’t really considered giving him his own adventure up to this point, I can definitely say he will continue to be a very important part of the series. We’ll learn lots more about him in coming ‘episodes’ and maybe even explore the limits of he and Jenny’s friendship a little.

Texas serves as the backdrop in your novelettes. What other settings are you dying to create for your main characters?
Everything (through book 3) has taken place in a very rural Texas setting. I don’t have immediate plans to take the series out of Texas, but you never know. (The idea of Jenny and Marshal traipsing around Manhattan IS pretty hilarious. ) However, we’re definitely going to explore some other locations within the state. Living here, I can tell you that Texas is like its own country—it’s that large, and there’s that much diversity in terms of culture and landscape. In the short term, I’ll just say that Jenny is going to be making a trip to a very large Texas city, very soon.

I can't wait to read Dark Prelude (Moonsongs book 3), but I want more. Will we get a novel?
I’ve definitely considered it. I love the characters so much already, and I think there’s plenty to explore in the Moonsongs universe. However, I also feel like part of the fun with these stories is letting them unfold in bite-sized portions. Realizing that readers are anxious for the next episode, I’m working hard toward decreasing the time between publication for the next batch (books 4, 5, and 6) and beyond. I’ll probably kick that new publishing cycle off early this Fall.

If I’m being completely honest, these books were something of an experiment. I wasn’t 100% certain people would enjoy them, or ‘get’ the format. As a result, I think I’m still feeling out how to best implement them. That being said, I suppose if there were enough reader enthusiasm behind creating a full-length novel, I’d certainly give it some serious thought.

You have a wonderful blog, especially for anyone interested in creative ventures. Has your writer identity evolved into a blogger identity?
Thank you! You know, I’ve probably identified myself more as a blogger than a writer up until recently. That was never the intention, but it just kind of worked out that way. But that’s definitely changing some—it might take a while to get going, but once the publishing wheel gets to spinning, it’s hard to stop. That cuts into my blogging time for sure. So I’m trying to learn how to evolve my blog into this new phase of things, yet also still be a resource for the creative community you mentioned. I draw so much energy and knowledge from my fellow bloggers, artists, etc., and hope I can give a little of that back to them in the ways I know how.

I read and loved Witch's Nocturne (Moonsongs book 2). I will be posting that review soon.

Meanwhile, I already hurried over to Amazon and bought a copy of Dark Prelude (Moonsongs book 3). Can't beat the price. Can't wait for another Jenny and Marshal adventure! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Think Out Loud [4] Embarrassing Moments

I decided to lighten things up since my last two posts were on the serious side.
Embarrassing Moments...I've had a lot of them. I can't possibly go through all of them, so I'm picking one in high school, one in college, and my wedding over a decade ago. This will be my family if they find out about this post: "Do you remember the time in Japan when you ran into the massive power pole?" Or "Didn't you get hit in the head with a crew boat?" So maybe I won't tell them about this.
I had a high school sweetheart like a lot of girls. One night we went to Blockbuster to rent a movie. We were talking about what we wanted before I wandered off. When I returned I slipped my arms around him from behind. "So what are we going to get?" "I don't know." Wrong voice completely. "You're not my boyfriend." "No I'm not." It took me a few more seconds to unfreeze and let go.
After I started taking Studio Art classes in college I didn't want to take anything else, especially Art History. I wanted to lose myself in paint or ink, not nod off in a dimly lit class as slides of early American architecture click away. One day my American Art History teacher gave me three tickets to the symphony. I was so touched. Then while my friends and I waited in line to get in, there he was! I hurried over to him. I meant to just do a little thank you wave, but there I was hugging him. Then I absolutely did not mean to kiss his cheek. But I did. It's like I couldn't stop myself. At the very last second I gave his wife standing next to him the wave I failed to use.
Okay, now for my wedding. We wrote our vows the morning of the wedding and each selected a poem for the other to read. I was the opposite of a Type-A bride. I should have read his pick all the way through, but the beginning sounded pretty. Then standing in front of our family and friends I see a word I've never seen before. I look at it for a few seconds, then lean toward the groom for him to help me out. "Bivouac." I might have given him a look that said you're a weirdo for picking a wedding poem that turned into some kind of Boy Scout cheer.
That's my Think Out Loud. Do you have something on your mind you'd like to share? Maybe something unrelated to the blogging universe? Come and play. Join Think's cool meme.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April is Autism Awareness Month

Your little one doesn't talk, so this is what you hear from your loved ones. "Einstein didn't talk until he was five."
You can't believe his intense focus when he plays with his toys."He's going to be an engineer."
You repeat his name over and over again. "He's such a snob."
You finally reach out to a professional and ask a simple question. "He lines up all his toys. Is that normal?"
The answer? Most likely your first inquiry will be ignored. So ask again and again until you're heard. You'll be okay, I promise because I went through this. There is a silent grace to autism. No matter how hard you work to reach your child, no matter how much you cry over his future struggles, there will always be this beautiful untouchable part of his spirit that belongs to this strange puzzle of the mind, or the nervous system, or the ether of the soul. Who knows? But it will be okay.

Here are a few of my tricks of the trade.

During my son's nonverbal years, he loved his shows. We had a stack of DVD's he'd throw fits in front of until I guessed the right one. I took the DVD's out and put them in a Case Logic. Next I taped the empty DVD cases shut and placed them on a shelf he could easily access. Here's the hard part. I had to stretch my patience and ability to sit back and not jump in to solve the problem. We started small. All Will needed to do was indicate somehow which show he wanted. We moved on to pointing his finger. I showed him over and over what I wanted, then played the role of cheerleader for even the smallest step in the right direction. We went from slapping the cases to pointing at them to grunting sounds to saying "want" to making word combinations. Maybe you won't reach the words part, but don't discount sign language, which you can add after the pointing stage. (pointing is a huge deal, so don't give up on that)

Winter time was a nightmare with my son because he refused to wear his coat. The fits were insane! So here's what I came up with and for whatever reason it worked like a dream. "One arm, two arms." Can you believe it? Just that line in a singsongy voice as you hold the coat up for him to slip one arm in, then the other. I'm telling you it's magic. It works with pants and shoes too! "One leg, two legs." "One foot, two feet."

Reading. Goodness, this is tough. My son has an amazing memory; the words free float in his mind instead of him putting them together to create concepts and connections. I took his favorite story books (Cars, Scooby, Bob the Builder...) and wrote little captions on the pages using words he knew and referring to the pictures displayed. "Do you see the moon?" Keep it simple and stick to your captions when you read the books. Make sure to throw in questions so you have a better chance at getting a response from him.

Stimming. Yikes! We lived in a house with a galley kitchen through his toddler years. I ran that boy into the ground. "I'm gonna get you" is universal for all abilities. We laughed and ran. I wore him out maybe five or six times in the thousands of laps. Only thing with this trick, which helped greatly at centering him and calming him down for the rest of the day, was he went through a smacking phase. I do not like to be smacked. Make sure you quickly address that before it becomes ingrained. Life is too hard to throw hitting on top of it.

If you have any tricks you want to share, please do. Will is closing in on eleven and he acts like a petulant teen already. We struggle with homework and class participation. He has bouts of mimicking (echolalia) that usually have to run its course until he's calm enough to take a breath and be quiet for a bit. Do you have a story to share?
Will at the Special Olympics. He tried to make the runners even by slowing down. He wanted everyone to win. He really is so neato!

I'm not good at praying

Reef1309 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library
My thoughts are with my loved ones on Guam who read online and see on the news the drama unfolding surrounding North Korea. On Facebook, I read comments about being scared, wishing for more information, praying for this all to go away. My mom said, "I cry when I see the news stories on the North Korean threats." Guam sits right there in the South Pacific. During World War II, right after Pearl Harbor was attacked, it was invaded by Japan. When the US freed the island two and half years later, the generation of Chamorros who survived were beyond proud to call themselves Americans. Guam was declared a US Territory and citizenship was granted. The small island has gone through growing pains and identity shifts over the years. It suffered along with Hawaii when the drug Ice hit the streets hard. It was devastated when the Japanese market crashed back in 1989. It's a tourist hub. It's hot and sticky. It's beautiful. It's where I grew up.

Photo by David Burdick. (NOAA Photo Library: reef1309) [CC-BY-2.0 ( or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My Vacation!

I went to Colorado this week. Yep, I saw beautiful mountains, deer, elk, buffalo, buffalo chips (poo), a black bear, and every shade of brown under the sun. I set out on this vacation to snow ski. I've always wanted to, but figured it was one of those things a clumsy girl like me should never do. I did it! Sure I stayed on the bunny hill the entire time and my dad (a real ski person) kept telling me to stop looking at my skis and my four year old zipped past me without falling on his rump once. The kid even lifted one leg then the other. Showboat! I fell twice at the very beginning. I felt unsteady and my brain automatically sent the message to fall good and proper. I excel at falling the right way to minimize injury. You learn that nifty trait after hundreds of stitches, a handful of concussions, a few broken get the picture. Once I realized the point was to find balance, I stopped throwing myself down on the slush. I loved it. I sucked at it. I wanted to chuck my snow boots off the mountain, or maybe chuck them at my dad. I'm happy to be back in the land of rain and all-over-green. Maybe I'll try skiing again, or maybe it's time to tackle another adventure wish line baby!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Upcoming reads!

A storm is coming. My public library has this wonderful feature, "suggest a purchase." Goodness, do I suggest. When/if they purchase your submitted request, the book automatically lands on your wait list. It's so awesome! Only thing, the library is stalled because I have close to a dozen books sitting there with me being the first in line and they could all come in at once! It's hard to choose another book with a list that size looming. What's a girl to do? Duh, my ereader is packed with exciting reads. The first three I won and I'm so excited to dive into those. The Rise of Nine takes a certain mood because it's sci-fi, it's in first person present tense, and there are multiple POV's (not to mention the author's name is based on the storyline, which is odd).