Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lala Pettibone's Act Two by Heidi Mastrogiovanni Tour


Lala Pettibone, a forty-something widow whose outrageous antics befit women half her age, has been imagining her sexy boss, Gerard, is as smitten with her as she is with him.  Enter Gerard's fabulous girlfriend from Paris.

After spending the rest of the day drinking wine straight from the bottle, Lala attends the monthly meeting of her Greenwich Village co-op, where the residents are informed that a toxic wasteland has appeared in the building's basement and everyone needs to pony up forty grand by the end of the week.

Ever the one to make limoncello out of lemons, Lala reluctantly decides to sublet her apartment and visit her Auntie Geraldine in Los Angeles.  Good things come her way in sunny LA, including Dr. David, a handsome veterinarian, and inspiration to transform her previously rejected, uproarious, screenplay into a novel.

Lala Pettibone's Act Two is a wonderfully hilarious, second coming-of-age novel.  Bridget Jones has absolutely nothing on lala in the Late-Bloomer-With-Maybe-Lots-of-Potential Department.

An interview with Heidi Mastrogiovanni:

1.  What inspired you to create Lala Pettibone's Act Two?

I absolutely love to make people laugh.  And I love authors who make me laugh.  I'm proud and humbled that I share a birthday with P.G. Wodehouse, one of the funniest and most charming writers I have ever had the great pleasure of reading.  So a big part of wanting to write Lala's story was the desire to make people laugh.

And, having lived through great sorrow and having found new happiness (with the wonderful help of my incredible friends and family) after I was widowed at the age of 41, i wanted to write a story that might give people a sense that there is always hope for new beginnings.

The desire to have fun was also a big part of the inspiration to write Lala's story.  I find that, more and more, I treasure making decisions about my professional life that bring me the most joy and fun.  I have a good time writing about Lala.  It was that way from the beginning.  And I'm having such a great time writing the sequel to her story.

2.  There are a few nods to theatrical blocking directions in your book.  Do you have a background in theatre?  How did it help inspire you?

I do, indeed.  I majored in Theatre and German in college.  I caught the acting bug in second grade, when I played the dormouse in my elementary school's production of "Alice in Wonderland."

I moved to new York City after college to work in the theatre.  The only thing I didn't realize was that apparently you need to have actual acting talent in order to be an actor!

That sounds a little too precious and self-deprecating...

I was part of a wonderful sketch comedy group in New York for many years, and occasionally I was funny in some roles, but they had to be exactly the right roles for me.  I didn't have the ability to make every role I was given real, and that's my litmus test for the kind of acting I admire.  In "Manchester by the Sea,"  just as a recent example, the acting was so brilliant, I felt as though I was eavesdropping on real people's lives.

As an aside, I just have to add that there is film footage somewhere of a show the sketch comedy group did, and on it I answer a question before my partner in the scene finishes asking the question.  Trust me, it is not pretty.

But working on stage made me very aware of how dialogue sounds, and I think this is an absolutely essential skill for a writer.  Theatre and film and television are all a wonderful part of the storytelling world, and I am always inspired by beautifully written works in the performing arts.  I truly think that there is nothing more inspiring than seeing and reading stories about relationships and about change.

3.  What initially attracted Lala to Gerard?

At the time Lala first met Gerard and had an absolutely instant attraction to him, she managed to bury the fact that Gerard looks like her beloved late husband's twin very deep in her subconscious.  In fact, when her best friend points out the startling similarity to her, Lala thinks she's crazy...

Lala has excellent taste in men...Gerard is smart and funny and charming and he works in the world of words, Lala's favorite place to be...and of course there's also that fabulous French accent...

4.  What made you choose Los Angeles as Lala's destination of choice?

That journey mirrors my own.  I moved to Los Angeles after living in New York City for many wonderful years after college.  Going from east to west in our vast country seems to me to be a quintessential pioneer's journey, and Lala's Act Two involves setting out to discover a new feeling of home for Lala when her tentative feeling of rebirth after the death of her husband is shattered.  It was time for her to find a new beginning, and Southern California seemed to me to be the perfect place to turn her face back toward the sunshine.

It's also a way for Lala to come back to her roots, however reluctantly she does that.  She grew up in Santa Monica and went to college on the east coast.  She swore she would never go back west...and I enjoyed putting her in a position where she had to make going back 'home' work for her.

5.  Do you see yourself in Lala or would you say you're both complete opposites?

I very much see myself in Lala.  We're alike in so many ways, both in terms of certain major aspects of our history and in terms of our values and idiosyncrasies.  I was also widowed at an early age, and I also found love again, as Lala does.  And I love to eat and savor wine and talk a bit too much, just like Lala does!  We share a vast love of language and of senior dogs.  We both love to take long walks and we love to exercise.

We're both only children, and we both never wanted to have kids of our own...We both always wanted to be the kind of crazy, fabulous aunt that nieces and nephews treasure.  The list goes on...

Oh, and Lala and I both overuse ellipses in our writing.

Really, she's a younger version of me...with a fabulous apartment in New York, which I don't currently have, but I'm thinking about shopping for one...

6.  You have a background in screenwriting.  How does writing a novel differ from writing a screenplay?  Do you have a preference?

There are many similarities and many differences.  I love writing screenplays because I love writing dialogue.  In the case of both forms of storytelling, I always want the journey to be about relationships and about change.  And, for me, a story that I want to read or see has to have a hopeful ending, so I always try to put that in my screenplays and novels.

Both novels and screenplays are at their best, I think, when they convey a story that is rich and layered without being convoluted.  I think it's essential to write in a lean style that is still full of nuance.  I think anything that is over-written is hard to get through as a reader.

My current preference is novels, because I love what I feel is the freedom in the novel form to convey inner thoughts.  Screenplays require a very visual approach and they, to a great extent, rely on what is happening in the moment to convey the story.  But I truly do love writing both.  I love spending time with words.  I'm a voracious reader of novels and of screenplays, and I think any writer has to constantly be absorbing examples of their medium.

Screenplays generally have a three-act structure (though goodness knows there are a lot of screenplays that don't), and novels don't require that.  But I actually really like the three-act structure as an audience member, so I tend to write prose with that structure in mind.  I do think novel writing gives the writer more freedom to experiment because novels can be almost anything, whereas screenplays really do have to follow some kind of classic screenplay format.  But I really do love them both!

7.  Favorite book-to-screen movie adaptation?

It has to be "To Kill A Mockingbird."  The actors are brilliant, and they created those unforgettable characters in a way that I can only think of as being like magic.  Gregory Peck was incredible as Atticus Finch, and he earned a well-deserved Oscar for that performance.  And the young actors who play the kids?  Absolutely amazing.

8.  How do you think Lala would do on the big screen?

I have to confess that I wrote it with a movie adaptation in mind.  So I think and hope that it would do well on the big screen.  I think of Lala as a slightly older, American version of Bridget Jones, and I have to say that I really enjoy watching and re-watching all the Bridget Jones movies.

I love romantic comedies that star smart, strong, vulnerable women who take a journey of change and growth.  I'd love to think that the role of Lala would be one that brilliant comedic actors like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kristen Wiig, Amy Schumer (and how great is it that we have a growing list of wonderful women starring in films!) would have fun with.  Of course, if the always-fabulous Kate Winslet played Lala, it might be a form of revenge for an American actor playing Bridget Jones!

9.  The novel has much humor and wit.  How big of a role does comedy play in your daily life?

I'm going to be melodramatic and say that comedy is my life.  Comedy and kindness...and alliteration...

The classic film "Sullivan's Travels" really encapsulates my idea of why comedy is so important.  Joel McCrea's character is a successful producer who is mistakenly jailed.  While he's in prison, he sees how much comfort funny movies bring to the prisoners.  I think comedy brings solace, and I think it helps carry us through the challenging times.

I love words, and I love when words are put together in a smart and inventive way to make people smile.  A great example for me is the Caption Contest in The New Yorker.  The magazine prints a cartoon, and people send in caption ideas.  I swear, I look at those cartoons, and I got nothing.  I mean, no ideas for a funny caption.  And then I read the three captions the magazine chooses for us to vote on, and they are brilliant and hilarious.  It's both inspiring and humbling.  And it's comedy.  Seeing those captions always makes me smile.  Smiling is a wonderful thing to do.  Every day.  As often as possible.

10.  What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

That it's never too late to begin again.  That there is nothing more important than kindness (especially to those who are most vulnerable, such as children and animals) and generosity.  That it's possible to find new happiness after great sorrow.

That a short-waisted woman can find cute outfits to wear if she goes shopping with the right friends who will tell her the truth about which clothes don't work on her...

That too much champagne is never enough...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Newsletter Writing: Being Gender Specific

I read a lot of newsletters.  It's the quickest way for authors, publishers, agents, marketers, and bloggers to keep me up to date on what's happening.  I spend hours a day reading them.  Hours.  Thousands every day.  I love it!

We've had several discussions lately about how to 'up your game' on your newsletter.  You want something that is going to keep your audience coming back.  Let's face it, the average household doesn't spend a lot of money on books.  Considering giveaways, contests, and reader copies, the average reader doesn't need to ever buy a book.  How do you get them to buy your book?  They have to know who you are.  They have to like you.  If they feel a connection with you, they will buy your book.  Your newsletter is your chance to establish that connection with them, as well as keep it going.

As a newsletter writer, you HAVE to stop being so gender specific!  This isn't political!  I know what's going on in the world today and I'm sure some of you jumped to that conclusion.  This has nothing to do with gender issues at all.  It's a simple fact that you are costing yourself money.

Horror authors:  There are women out there like me that eat it up!  I will gladly spend money to buy a book that I know is going to be full of violence and gory good fun!

Romance authors:  There are men out there who love romance and erotica!

By making your newsletter gender specific, you're alienating an entire fan base.  Do NOT open your newsletter with 'Hey gals!'  or 'Hey ladies!'  or 'Yo bro!'  Simply don't do it.  If you're sending your letter out to males or females, you're missing the other half.  No matter how famous you are or how much money you make from writing, every sale counts.  Stop costing yourself sales!

As a consumer, it comes across quite clear to me. When you're gender specific, you're actively going out of your way to not build that author/reader connection.  If you start off with 'Yo bro!', I know you're not talking to me.  You're actively asking me to not take part in your writing world.  You're telling me NOT to spend any of my money and buy your book.  Why would you do that to yourself?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Our new logo!!

I am so excited!  I know a few of you have already noticed it!  Our new logo is finished!  I've been planning to have one made for years.  As with most things, unless I have a sticky note right in front of my face, it isn't happening.  But it's finished!

A huge, huge thank you to Simon Critchell for this!  I didn't know it when we began discussing it, but this is exactly what I wanted!

What does this mean?  It means I'll finally be putting together business cards!  I'll finally be printing up tote bags and t-shirts!

If you haven't seen it, here it is one more time (because it makes me smile and fills me with joy!):

Gather Her Round release day!

Try it before you buy it!  Go here and read an excerpt!


In critically-acclaimed Alex Bledsoe's Tufa novel, Gather Her Round, a monster roams the woods of Cloud County, while another kind of evil lurks in the hearts of men.

Love and tragedy are not strange bedfellows among the Tufa.  Young Kera Rogers disappears while hiking in the woods by Needsville.  When her half-eaten remains are discovered, the blame falls upon a herd of wild hogs, a serious threat in this rural community.  In response, the county's best trackers, including game warden Jack Cates and ex-military Tufa Bronwyn Chess are assembled to hunt them down.

Kara's boyfriend Duncan Gowen mourns her death, until he finds evidence she cheated on him with his best friend, Adam Procure.  Seeking revenge, Duncan entices Adam to participate in their own boar hunt.  Later, Bronwyn and Jack stumble across a devastated  Duncan, who claims a giant boar impaled Adam and dragged him off.  As this second death rocks the town, people begin to wonder who is really responsible.

Determined hunters pursue the ravenous horde through the Appalachians as other Tufa seek their own answers.  Between literal beasts in the woods and figurative wolves in sheep's clothing, what truths will arise come spring?

What reviewers are saying:

"The latest this marvelous series combines human drama with just a touch of otherworldlly m agic.  The split nature of the Tufa community is further explored, but Bledsoe never reduces the two sides to basic good vs. evil, as he allows his characters to make their own choices." --Library Journal

"Readers need not have read the previous Tufa books; this title works well as a stand-alone and a spectacular addition to the series.  A must-read for fantasy or literary-fiction fans and also a perfect fit for a mystery lover seeking something a little different." --Booklist

"Bledsoe comfortably inhabits the space where rural fantasy and magic realism overlap and makes it his own." --Publishers Weekly

Want more information?  Take a look at the music behind the book on Alex's author page!

Sins of Empire release day!

Sins of Empire is the first book in a new series set in the Powder Mage Universe.  Take a look at it below.  Then, I hate to say this, but skip Amazon.  Instead, go here and buy an authographed copy!  Of course, if you're not an autographed copy junkie like I am, the book should be available at all of your normal book purchasing places (including Amazon!).


A world on the cusp of a new age...
The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place -- a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past.  Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.

Sedition is a dangerous word...
The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall's present.

The past haunts us all...
As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in the wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Skulls by Tim Marquitz review

Cover Art:  Jessica Lucero

Life held little interest for Jacob...until he found death.

Abused and neglected, Jacob's only solace comes when he is alone in the woods or in the arms of his new girlfriend.  But when he stumbles across a hidden bunker filled with human skulls, he finds there is more than just empty blackness behind their lifeless stares.  Through their eyes he watches them die.

With every glance, he witnesses another murder, the memories of the dead playing out inside his mind until reality becomes a blur.  A primal cruelty awakening, Jacob returns to the morbid comfort of the skulls, over and over again.  But when he happens upon a fresh skull, a victim tortured and slain for his amusement alone, he knows his time has come.  Face to face with death, Jacob must choose whether to resist the darkness that dwells inside or condemn himself forever, murdering his innocence on the edge of an axe.

I've read a few of Tim's books, but this one really took me by surprise.  I'll admit, I bought it simply because it was out of print and I knew I'd want it for his shelf in my library.  I planned to read it eventually.  Over the weekend, I felt it calling to me and I quickly became lost in it.

The description in this book is astounding.  Tim uses minimal words and crafts them to create an experience.  You don't even have to close your eyes to be 'there' in the story.  I could actually taste the nasty, microwaved steak in my mouth.  I'm seriously blown away.  I don't remember the last time I read such vividness.

I've come to know Tim as a gore master.  In this book, there's some of it, but it's not as rampant in some of his other works.  I feel like he kept it on a leash in order to add more terror than blood.  He completely succeeds.  This is a terrifying story.

We're faced with a bit of a mystery.  We know there's a serial killer and that the skulls belong to him/her.  We don't know who the serial killer is.  Now, I was able to figure it out pretty quickly.  Thankfully, there was enough misdirection that most of the book was spent questioning myself.  I thought I knew who it was, but it was just a hunch.  I could easily have been wrong.  Normally, when I can figure out the mystery, it's a rough point with me.  In this case, I'm not even mad.  I had so much fun waiting to find out that I was right!

I only have one minor complaint.  I despised the addition of the last chapter.  Now, I realize that not everyone reads like I do.  People have different tastes and require different endings.  I do see the necessity for it.  I just hated it.  So, consider yourself warned.  If you get to the end of chapter twenty-five and you feel sated, stop.  Don't read the last chapter.  If, however, you need things wrapped in a neat little bow, continue reading.

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Debt of Survival by L.F. Falconer

I don't normally push books on you.  I tell you they're available and usually whatever information I have about them.  You can make your own decisions.  This time, however, it's a bit different.

If you like psychological thrillers, you NEED to go buy this book!  NOW!  Why?

Falconer's thrillers are breathtaking.  They're beautifully written and will mess with your head.  She has a penchant for the horrific.  Instead of pulling out all of the gore and messiness, she goes straight for that part of your brain that knows when something isn't right.  Then she worms her way in and begins to dissemble everything you know to be true.

Having devoured everything she's written, I've been waiting months for this one.  I'm actually upset that I somehow slept through the release date.  Otherwise this would already be in my hands and everything in reality would stop until I was finished reading.

The dead don't always sleep.  After doing his stint in the army, Don lattimore buried his battlefield demons deep inside and settled comfortably into Diablo Springs.  Serving as county sheriff, for nearly two decades he's enjoyed the tranquility of the Nevada desert until the day he discovers evidence of satanic activity inside an abandoned house.  Now he's trapped in a showdown with his own nightmares.  Threatening to fulfill a chilling prophesy, something inside him has clawed itself free.  The good people of Diablo Springs begin to die and the only way Lattimore can put a stop to it comes with a steep price--a price he's unwilling to pay.  But to save his community and family, he must.  And time is running out.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Bluff by Julie Dill

Cover Design:  Ashley Ruggirello

Description:  Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Knowles is your average teenager.  But she's harboring a secret that very few people know:  she and her dad can't pay the bills.  Broken by his wife leaving, Chelsea's father ignores his parenting responsibilities.  Between cheer costs, grocery bills, electricity, and other financial burdens, Chelsea knows it'll be up to her to keep the lights on.  She manages to sneak into a casino, and her first big poker win sparks the beginning of a downward spiral.  Money stops being a problem, but a complicated web of lies begins to spin out of control, threatening to reveal her bluff.

An interview with author Julie Dill:

1.  As a professor, do your students ever influence your characters or writing?

Yes, I would say my students have always influenced my writing in some way.  Also, I taught in public schools at the elementary level, and definitely some of the characters/settings (or even life situations)  have influenced the way I write.

2.  During your writing process- do you brainstorm with your students, colleagues, or family?  Or, do you prefer writing alone?

I read some early drafts of scenes of Bluff to friends and family and got feedback, and I guess it was positive enough to keep moving forward with the project.  Also, I have a critique group, and we're always bouncing ideas off of each other.  I've been with the same 3 ladies for several years, and I really value their opinions and input.

3.  Do your students read your writing?  What are their thoughts?

My students have not read any of my creative work.  I teach English composition, and that's a whole different ballgame.  However, my students have expressed interest in Bluff and are eager to check it out.

4.  What influenced Chelsea's character development?

It's weird how a character evolves.  I really tried to create a unique character - a high school girl who wasn't the norm.  My personal life, as a teenager, could not have been more opposite than Chelsea's so I really had to get outside of what I knew and what I was comfortable with to get in Chelsea's head.

5.  You yourself are a poker player.  How does poker serve as an underlying metaphor in the novel?

I'm a recreational player, and I only play a couple of times a year.  I think that the game of poker represents challenges - trying to get ahead and outsmart your competition.

6.  Many adolescents have to take on a the role as parent in their households.  What role did you play in your household growing up?

I came from a home that Chelsea would envy.  My household was nothing at all like hers.  I had a hapyp childhood, and unlike Chelsea's dad, my dad worked very hard to provide for us.  My mom was a stay-at-home mom, and we had stability.

7.  What inspired you to write Bluff?

I was reflecting on my first visit into a poker room, and in the early nineties there were hardly any women at all.  Even today, you can still walk by a poker room and notice that the majority of the players are men.  I think when you're developing a character it's important to raise the stakes as much as possible (pun intended.)  With Bluff, I really wanted something different and that wasn't already "out there."

8.  Chelsea's father doesn't fulfill his role as a parent after her mother leaves him and leaves Chelsea to become a provider.  How does Chelsea cope with both parents' absence?

She manages.  She doesn't have a choice.  I think down deep Chelsea is longing for some maternal guidance, and that's why I wanted her to have Ms. Stella.

9.  What attracted Chelsea to gambling and casinos?

Initially, it was her attempt to try to get some quick cash.  But long term, it became escapism.  She could enter this world where she didn't have to think about all of her responsibilities and just escape.

10.  Where did you write the majority of Bluff?

It's extremely difficult for me to write at home.  I get too distracted with things like laundry, my dog, Ellen, and naps.  The majority of Bluff was written in coffee shops or the Panera Bread near my house.

11.  What made you choose Bluff as the title?

I love one-word titles, especially in YA.  Since Chelsea's life is basically one big bluff - lies to her dad,  her friends, Nate and others- I thought it was fitting.

12.  Who was your favorite author growing up?  Has it changed?

I have many.  Alice Walker and Bille Letts are up there.  I once attended one of Bille Letts' book signings, and I remember standing in line staring at her thinking how does that woman come up with these characters?  her characterization is phenomenal.  And who doesn't love Alice Walker?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Undead Cheesehead by Scott Burtness Release

It's finally here!  If you haven't been following Scott's Monsters of the Midwest series, you probably know him anyway from his fabulous charity work with Vampire Books for Blood.  Personally, I'm a fan of his writing as well as his generous and witty personality.

Stanley's lonely.

Before the strange events of the past few months, the self-proclaimed alien abductee and T.V. crime drama aficionado would drink and bowl with his friends, Herb and Dallas.  But no one's seen hide nor hair of Dallas in the longest, and Herb's been spending all of his time with his girlfriend, Lois.

That just leaves Stanley, and Stanley's lonely.

Everything changes when Stanley becomes a zombie.  With each bite, he gains a new friend.  Soon, he has more friends than he would've ever thought possible.  If he could just sink his teeth into Herb, Lois, and Dallas, they'd all be together again, and everything would be perfect.

This is book three in the series.  Let me show you a glimpse at the first two.

In Wisconsin Vamp, we get to meet Herb.

In Northwoods Wolfman, we get to read Dallas' story.

If you're into nerds, dorks, monsters, and a rollicking good time, go give this series a shot!  I have hard copies of the first two on my shelf and as soon as Undead Cheesehead is available in hard copy, it will be joining them.  Keepers!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rise of the Deva'shi by Jennifer Provost Release

Just released today!  This is the third book in the Chronicles of Parthalan.  It's available for only 99 cents on Kindle!

A stolen girl.  A legendary champion.  A plan that might destroy Parthalan once and for all...

Aeolmar, First Hunter of parthalan, leads a solitary life.  Having long since abandoned his quest to kill Mersgoth-the demon that murdered his family-Aeolmar moves through his days with cold efficiency.  Everything changes when he leads a training mission in Brennus, where he's attacked by Mersgoth himself, and saved by an unlikely heroine.

Latera, first born and heir to Gannera's throne, is kidnapped and left for dead in parthalan's vast forests.  A lone human amongst Parthalan's fae, she makes a home in Brennus, and lives a quiet life-until she finds herself defending a wounded First Hunter from a clutch of demons.

Back in Parthalan, Harek warns Asherah of something called the deva'shi-a warrior loyal only to the demon lord, Asgeloth.  Both Aeolmar and Latera suspect that there is more to this deva'shi than what Harek has told them, but before they can learn the truth, Parthalan's borders are attacked.  Will Aeolmar and Latera be able to stop the deva'shi in time, or is it a distraction to hide Harek's true plans?

Interested in starting the series at the beginning?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Weekly Update

What a busy week!  I keep getting messages from all of my wonderful supporters asking me to let them know when the new site is fully functional.  It's really exciting, but as it stands, we're still only partially functional!

I was hoping to work on resources more this week, but I didn't find a lot of time for it.  This week was mostly spent beta reading, managing authors, picking up new contacts, taking care of some marketing issues, and reading Freeman Wills Crofts.  If anybody can find me a contemporary mystery writer that's as amazing, I'll be forever indebted!  I get migraines after fifteen minutes of reading, but I just don't care!  He's worth the headaches!

We've also been working on some really exciting new contests and giveaways!  I hadn't really planned to do them, but I just can't help it.  There's so much great stuff out there and it needs to be shared!  Not only that, thanks to a special writer friend, I've been able to start working on a contest idea that's been floating around in my brain.  I can't wait until we get it all ironed out and I can share it with you all!  It's going to be fabulous!!

I promise that I'll get more of those resources posted this week!  In the meantime, make sure you're getting our feed.  We've had some great writing opportunities posted this week.  We've been posting everything from educational opportunities and reviewing jobs to giveaways and new releases.  I'll continue to keep things as updated as I can while adding new resources.

Now everyone take a moment of silence to thank the great Chef Boyardee for feeding me this week!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Attention Book Collectors!

Mighter Than the Sword by K.J. Parker has just been listed for pre-order

An Imperial legate is called in to see his aunt, who just happens to be the empress running the civilized world while her husband's in his sick bed.  After some chastisement, she dispatches her nephew to take care of the dreaded Land and Sea Raiders, pirates who've been attacking the realm's monasteries.

So begins a possibly doomed tour of banished relatives and uppity royals put in charge of monasteries like Cort Doce and Cort Maleston, to name a few.  While attempting to discover the truth of what the pirates might be after, the legate visits great libraries and halls in each varied locale and conducts a romance of which he knows-but doesn't care-his aunt will not approve.  With enough wit and derring-do (and luck), the narrator might just make it through his mission alive...or will he?

There are 1000 signed hardcover copies to be published in June.  The awesome dust jacket artwork belongs to Victor Chong.  Priced at $40, this is an affordable addition to your library!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Returning to the Psi Academy with Vincent Scarsella

It’s not magic, it’s real... The war between good and evil psi warriors gets into high gear in this second installment of the Psi Wars! series with our teen heroes, Henry Greenberg and Sebastian Drake, involved in more thrilling psychic hijinks. Having escaped The Psi Academy, Sebastian and Captain Fabian come looking for Henry to help them rescue Sebastian’s father, Colonel Peter Drake, and the others being held captive by the evil Kinsman z-Prime on Level 13 of the Psi Cave. But after teleporting inside, Henry and Sebastian are met by the unexpected and find that who they thought was bad may not be bad after all. Their adventure takes them to The Realm Beyond The Realm—the place beyond space and time—a necessary step to enable them return the Psi Academy for a face off against the baddest of psi warriors in the most important battle of the Psi War. Amazing psychic powers are on display—telekinesis, telepathy, tele-influencing and more—in this rip-roaring adventure where the magic of flying vans, dragon wraiths, and wolfboars become reality in a battle for the minds of ordinary men. And lurking beneath all this is Henry’s struggle over who is truly good and who is truly bad.

I absolutely loved the first book in this series and couldn't wait to jump into the next one.  As a series, it has so much going for it.  The Psi Academy teaches young cadets about fringe science.  Every child at the academy has an ability of some sort.  It's like magic, but it's real.  Everything is well-researched and it's explained in a manner that young children can understand.

When I picked up the second book, I had a bit of an issue.  It's a little slow in the beginning.  You really need to start reading the second book as soon as you finish the first.  It needs that momentum to get you through the beginning.  After that, however, there's so much excitement!  Instead of focusing so much on science and teaching, this book deals more with strategy.  There are some great science lessons, but it's more adventurous than the first.  We get to hang out with the kids as they battle the big bad in this one.  If you begin the second book immediately after the first, you'll be thankful for the breathing time in the beginning.

The best part of this series for me is that it give the reader a chance for unexpected knowledge.  I remember as a young child, I read about Irma Baumlein and I learned what 'cerulean' meant.  That's stuck with me my entire life.  I was reading along, and BAM!, there was something I didn't know, and I had to find out.  This entire series is full of unexpected tidbits like that.  It's a fantastic way for kids to get lost in an adventure and start asking questions.

In the first book, we were able to attend lessons and have our world set up for us.  It was absolutely riveting!  This second book, we're out in the field more.  I'm anxious to see where Scarsella goes with the third book.  He hasn't announced he's working on it, but he left himself wide open at the end of this one, so I have no doubt that he is.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Attention Book Collectors!!!

I love collector's edition books!  They're the heart of my library.  When an opportunity comes along to get a new one, I get all jittery and excited!

Subterranean Press just announced that it's publishing a special release for Robert McCammon's Swan Song.  If you've read the book, you know it's a necessary addition to your own library.

This is a one time printing of 500 numbered and 52 lettered copies.  It has a unique wraparound dust jacket.  Illustrations, full page and gatefold, are done by David Ho, who does really breathtaking work.  The Lettered edition also has an exclusive gatefold illustration.  The Limited edition is slipcased and the lettered edition comes in a custom traycase.

Lettered editions are already spoken for, but you still have time to get a Limited edition!

If you're a collector, this is a great opportunity for you to indulge.  Jump over and take a look!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Life of Death gets revamped!

I'm a huge fan of the Life of Death series.  I've been waiting quite awhile for the third book in the series, Sacrifices, and I've been assured that it's coming out within the next few months.  I'm just as excited that Weston Kincade has redesigned his book covers.  There wasn't anything wrong with the old ones, but the new ones really pop!  There's a nice uniformity between each, even though they're all different.  I'm so happy with the new covers!  I can't wait to add these to my personal library!

In the Life of Death series, we follow homicide detective Alexander Drummond.  I'm going to show you the synopsis for each of the first two books, and you'll see for yourself that you want to read these!

Life of Death:  Homicide detective Alex Drummond is confronted with the past through his son's innocent question.  Alex's tale of his troubled senior year unfolds revealing loss, drunken abuse, and mysterious visions of murder and demonic children.  Is he going insane?  With the help of his close friend Paige Kurtley, Alex must find the source of his misfortune and ensure his sanity.

Golden Bulls:  Fifteen years of ritual sacrifices that began before Alex Drummond joined the force have become an anomaly in Tranquil Heights.  For most residents, anger at the unsolved murders has turned to disappointment with the small police force.  Now citizens hope this year's sacrificial lamb won't be one of their loved ones.  Alex Drummond's ability to relive victims' traumatic murders has not been enough.  There are misguided links to Egyptian funerary rights, but without evidence and the murderer's identity, no one outside of Drummond's tight circle will believe him, let alone make an arrest and stop the vicious killings.  After an anonymous tip, Detective Drummond discovers an annual visitor, a local who moved away years before with a similar flare for murder.  He follows her to Washington DC after watching the woman burn her husband alive.  His high school friend, Jessie Arturo, who settled in the large city after a failed baseball career, assists with the investigation.  In such a large place, unsolved murders abound like cobwebs under abandoned guest beds.  September 20, the serial killer's anointed date, is only days away.  How has the murderer proven so elusive, even from Alex's paranormal abilities?  Is he in over his head, or can Detective Alex Drummond save the ghosts calling to him and decipher this network of brutal, ritual sacrifices before someone else is burnt alive?

The third book coming out is titled Sacrifices.  I haven't been able to wrangle out of Weston much about it yet.  I'm pretty sure it's going to cost me a healthy batch of brownies in order to get early information on this one.  We'll keep you updated!  As of right now, Sacrifices is supposed to be released in May.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Another update!!!

We've been working like crazy on our new site!  I have to tell you, when I started these changes, I didn't realize just how far I was planning to go with it.  We've got our fingers in every area of the book industry at the moment!

We just added a Literary Agent page!  I only have a few of them listed so far, but I have far more to add.  These are ONLY agents that are CURRENTLY taking on new clients.  If you're looking for an agent, go check it out!  We've taken the guess work out of sending query letter after query letter in your search for an agent.  You'll see the agent's name, company, what they're looking for, and their specifications for contacting them.  Happy agent hunting!

We've added more books to the Reviewers Needed page!  Seriously, go look at this page!  I'm finding that I'm updating it daily!  It's the perfect spot to find something new to read!  You do NOT need to be a professional reviewer to apply for these books.  If you're willing to throw up a quick review on Amazon or Goodreads once you've finished, then you're eligible!  There are hard copies as well as e-copies and we're expanding our genres so you're sure to find something you'll love.  Just today, we posted our first cozy mystery!  One of my staff reviewers said that it's a phenomenal read and the best cozy she's read in months!

We did a little voting today, which is always fun!  Eventually, I'll have awards platforms listed up so that it's easy to see what voting is beginning and ending and who is eligible to vote.  For now, it's a pretty slim list.  I'd really like to finish getting agents listed before moving on to this.

We've updated our Editors page this week!  We added Hyde 'N' Seek Editing, who will offer you a discount if you use the magic word listed on our page.

I'm excited that we've added several new authors, agents, publishers, editors, reviewers and marketers to our circle.  I look forward to sharing all of them with you in the future. it possible to have too many contacts?!

Our office will probably be closed most of the weekend, so you won't be seeing a lot of updates.  I'm looking forward to getting back at it first thing Tuesday morning!  So much to do!  So much to do!  For the rest of the day, we're off for a little beta reading!

*If we can assist you in any way, please contact me at here.

Planetary Awards

The Planetary Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing is one of the newer awards out. There are two categories (short story/novella and novel)  and the winners are chosen by book bloggers.

If you were part of the nomination process, you're finished.  However, if you weren't and you're a blogger, it's time to go cast your vote.  Simply post your vote on your blog, youtube channel, or podcast and then leave a comment here so they can count your vote.  You can vote in both categories.  Closing date is April 1st, 2017.

Who are the nominees this year?

Short stories/novellas:

Athan and the Priestess by Schuyler Hernstrom
Awakening by Susan Kaye Quinn
Edge by Russell Newquist
The Gift of the Ob-Men by Schuyler Hernstrom
The Glass Flower by George RR Martin
Images of the Goddess by Schuyler Hernstrom
Paper Cut by Aeryn Rudel
Purytans by Brad Torgersen

Arkwright by Allen Steele
Babylon's Ashes by James SA Corey
Hel's Bet by Doug Sharp
Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani
Murphy's Law of Vampires by Declan Finn
The Secret Kings by Brian Niemeier
Swan Knight's Son by John C Wright

It was tough making my decision because there are a few good novels here.  However, Literary Litter is officially casting its vote for Murphy's Law of Vampires by Declan Finn.  It's the second book in Finn's Love at First Bite series.  I'm a big fan of Finn's writing style.  In this series, he's created fascinating characters and plenty of challenges.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Earthling Publications

This morning, I fell in love.

I've been a book junkie my entire life.  Always.  The stories inside, the new worlds, the fascinating people, that's only a part of it.  I could spend hours just holding a beautifully created book.  Give me slip covers, and rough cut thick pages and hand sewn bindings and beautiful artwork and I will be your reading slave. I can't even begin to count the rescue books that I have.  Beautifully created pieces of art that are being used as decoration in an antique store just sickens me.  Just last summer, I saved a first edition Poe from being used to prop a chair.

Earthling Publications.  How have I never heard of these guys before?!  This is mass market production.  These are beautifully crafted books!  I can only imagine (at least, until my copies begin to arrive) how wonderful the stories inside are.  A well-told story is artwork.  These books,  in themselves, are artwork.

How did I find out about them?  By accident!  I saw a friend post about Bloodstained Wonderland.  I love Facebook for this very reason!  I find the most fascinating stuff!  I've already ordered my copy and began searching for the perfect copy of Bloodstained Oz (2006) to accompany it in my library.

These are not the types of books that you want to order just because you want to read it and hand it off.  These are the types of books that you put in your personal library, love, and then hand down for generations.  Every book they produce is a collector's edition.  I know that most people can't afford some of them, but they have different price listings so that they're incredibly affordable.  If we're being completely honest, I'm the only person I know that has a book buying budget.  Books can be expensive, but you don't have to sacrifice quality.  To buy a numbered, signed, and beautifully crafted copy of Bloodstained Wonderland, it's only $35.  That's the price of a mass produced new release and a copy.

Friday, February 10, 2017


I'm really excited with the progress on the new direction of Literary Litter!  We've made some great new friends along the way and I've received such an amazing amount of support from the book community that I'm just overwhelmed!  No one is luckier in friends than I am!

Admittedly, our progress has been going much more slowly than I'd anticipated.  Then again, I'm pretty impatient when it comes to something I'm excited about.

We've got our Publishers page all set up.  I still have several more to get added and I'm sure there are plenty that I've missed.  I'm keeping a running list and feel free to send me names of any publishers that you see missing.  At this point, the page is mostly links (as many of them to submission pages as possible)  to smaller publishing houses.  A few of the websites have issues, so we'll update those links as they're available.  Some of the publishers are actively seeking new submissions and we've noted that beside their link.  The hope is to have a comprehensive list of publishing houses with a snippet about their company, as well as whether or not they're currently accepting.  This way, once you finish that manuscript you're working on that doesn't have a home, you can hop on and see right away where it belongs.

We also have several additions to our Reviewers Needed page.  If you see a book on here that you're interested in reading, follow the link to apply for it.  These review requests come from authors, publishers, marketers, and professional review sites.  So far, these wonderful people have been great about letting me know when a book is no longer available for review so that I can take it down.  You do NOT have to be a professional reviewer or run your own site to apply for these books.  A simple review on Goodreads and/or Amazon is all that most of them require.  If any of you have books you want me to post up on the board, just shoot me a message and we'll get it.  It's going pretty slowly so far, but we're only week two into the changes.  Be patient ;)

Next week we're going to start focusing on our Reviewers page.  There are so many great review sites out there that have so many followers!  Paying for marketing can be a pretty big expense.  We're going to provide you with an easy link list.  This way, when it's time to start marketing and getting those reviews, it's as simple as going down the list and contacting who you want.  No more keeping a written list somewhere of where you've previously had luck.  No more internet searching.  Initially, it'll just be a contact link.  Eventually, I'd like to put a snippet of each review site as well as a rough idea of their follower numbers and expected review time.  If you have a review site, feel free to contact me and I'll put you at the top of the list.  Otherwise, it's going to take me a few weeks to get a list built.  Again, be patient ;)

When I found out that my review career was over, I thought my life in the book industry was over.  I'm learning that it's only just begun.  There's still a lot I can do to help support even though I can't read every book that's created.  I'm looking forward to continuing to expand this as a reference site and adding more literary litter than just reviews.  If you enjoyed our reviews, most of our reviewers are now staffed with Minding Spot so feel free to  pop over there and check them out.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The 12:30 from Croydon

My favorite part of Poisened Pen Press has to be their British Library Crime Classics.  If you like crime and mystery, these are a must for your personal library.  I'm excited to share with you that this month they're releasing The 12:30 from Croydon by Freeman Wills Crofts.

My first introduction to Crofts was Antidote to Venom, which was an amazing read.  Throughout the book, you know more information than anyone else, but you still don't have all of the key elements to put it all together.  Most of the book is a fascinating look at human nature.  The rest of the book is figuring out the 'how' of it.

Crofts was one of the biggest detective writers in Britain in the 1920's and 30's.  Some consider him to be the founder of realistic police detection.

If you're a crime fan, and you love good literature, this is a release you won't want to miss.  I've already put mine on my 'to order' list.  Run over to Poisoned Pen Press and read the first chapter!

Intensive on Show, Not Tell

Are you a writer who's looking to improve upon your craft?

NY Times Bestseller Shirley Jump is holding a two week class designed to help writers learn how to show, not tell in their writing.  Writers will work with their own manuscripts.  She'll be teaching how to put more emotion and power into your writing.  Class runs from February 15-28 and the sign up fee is $60.

This is an online class offered through Lawson Writing Academy, so travel isn't an issue.

Daisy McDare Box Set!

If you're a cozy mystery fan, check out the latest release by K.M. Morgan!  Return to Cozy Creek with Daisy McDare!  This set includes six previous favorites as well as TWO new books in the series!  At the opening price of 99 cents, you can't go wrong!  This is a great time to load up your Kindle with a fun and fresh cozy series.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why you should write a review

*  We do not advocate sending babies down rivers.

If you've ever met an author, attended a book party, followed an author on Facebook or Twitter, then you already know why it's important to an author that you review their books.  Every review written has an impact on their sales and popularity.  It's a huge deal for a writer!  Not only that, sometimes a positive review can be the difference between a writing afternoon and a Jack Daniels afternoon.

Let's leave the author perspective out of the rest of this conversation.  This is about why YOU should be writing a review.

Here's a blunt and brutal fact.  In the world we live in, anyone can be a writer if they have internet access and half an ounce of ambition.  Don't believe me?  Send me an e-mail.  I'm willing to put my theory to the test.    What does that mean?  It means that there are more published writers/authors than ever before in history.  Theoretically.  I haven't run the numbers, so I can't prove that.  Regardless of which genre you prefer, there are more authors and books than you could possibly read in a lifetime, even if you read several books a day.  As a reader, that means you need to choose wisely where you spend your money.  By writing reviews, you can give others an idea of what to expect from a book so that they can make an informed decision on whether that's a book they want to purchase or not.

The book industry is a symbiotic relationship.  Writers create because they have to.  Readers read because they have to.  One creates, the other consumes.  There's a third step that is often missed.  Feedback.  Every author I know wants someone to enjoy their art.  They put their heart and soul into a masterpiece and then send it off into the void, in the hopes that someone will love it.  From the void, it's chosen by several.  Some embrace it, some abhor it.  How does the author know?  Unless you review it or tell the author in some manner, they have no clue.  Writing a review let's the author know how you feel about their book.  It helps them choose direction for the next one.  It helps them hone their skill so that you continue to get better and better stories from them.  Without this feedback, the author is flying blind.  They've sent a baby down the river in a basket and they're just having faith somebody fed it.  Perhaps they'll choose to send another baby down the river.  Perhaps they won't.  The more information they have, the wiser the decision they can make.  As a reader, you're the best suited for giving them this information.  

The second reason you should write a review is that it can be a bridge between the author and yourself.  Having spent even a few moments chatting with the author of a book can add an extra layer to your reading experience.   Every book is infused with the writer's spirit.  Having an idea of who the writer is let's you pick up their personality while you're reading.  It's the difference between chocolate mousse and chocolate mousse with sprinkles.

When you begin to write reviews for books, you begin to read differently.  I wasn't aware of this until years ago when I was 'ejected' from judging reader's contests.  I'm a professional.  I'm no longer a reader.  When you start reviewing, you look for entertainment, but you also begin to notice storytelling abilities, character creation, world creation, flow.  These can vastly enrich your reading experience.  You're no longer just a novice looking for someone to whisk you away for a few hours, you're now someone who can really appreciate the artistry held in your hands.

Writing reviews can help others make informed decisions about where they spend their money.  It helps authors hone their craft so that they produce better stories.  It enriches your reading experience.

If you've never written a review, I'm about to give you some great advice.  If you ask an author, they'll tell you that words as simple as 'I liked it.' will suffice.  That works from a writer's point of view, not a reader's.  When I'm looking for a new book to read, that doesn't help me at all.  Not. A. Bit.  It helps the author's numbers, but that's it.  There's an important piece of information missing.  'Why?'  'I liked it because it was easy to read.' 'I liked it because the characters were funny.'  'I hated it because there was a lot of description.'  'I hated it because it didn't make sense.'  Those are tidbits of information that I can work with.  Your review doesn't have to be long, but please answer the 'why' of it.  Not only does it help inform other readers, it helps you to start using critical thinking skills while reading, which is a huge part of how much you get from your reading experience.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Hanging out with Matt Beier

I've found that as a reader, I enjoy most authors more when I know a bit about them.  Usually their personality is infused in their writing.  If I enjoy their personality, I'm sure to enjoy their books.

A couple of years ago, our staff reviewer, Carrie Anne, reviewed The Confessions of Jonathan Flite. In December, the sequel, The Release of Jonathan Flite, was released.  To celebrate, we decided to sit down and have a nice visit with the author, Matt Beier, who is an absolute sweetheart.

Me:  Who is your favorite writer and why?  You can choose alive, dead, made up...the sky is the limit here.
Matt:  I would have to say J.K. Rowling is my favorite writer-but not just because I love the Harry Potter books like everyone else (and yes, I do love them).  She is my favorite writer because, apart from showing me how beautifully a story could be layered over the course of a long series, she actually affected the world with her work in an incredibly positive way.  She got people of all ages excited about reading again.  She inspired millions of people worldwide to gather at bookstores at midnight to celebrate book releases, and even build friendships as a result.  She wrote a story about the power of love, courage, and unity, and some of that moral code seemingly trickled into her readers' psyches, because (as one recent example)  we now have people referencing her books in protests against America's new divisive government regime.  If I were to see J.K. Rowling on the street, I would probably burst into tears and fumble over any words of gratitude I might try to express-even though it would be my life dream to have tea with her.  Finally, as she's a fellow INFJ, I'm sure we'd have a lot to talk about while sipping said tea.
Me:  I hadn't really thought about it, but I have to agree with you on most of those points.  I was one of those people at midnight book release parties.  I know my world needs more of that!

Me:  What makes you laugh?  Like, Santa Claus belly laugh?
Matt:  I'm a very internally oriented person, which can sometimes make me seem overly serious (which in turn can make me feel like the odd one out), so in pondering this question, I was quite excited to realize I had an immediate answer:  my dear friend Matt Russell, whom I went to middle school and high school with but didn't get to know solidly until our early 20s.  I laugh to the point of ripping my abdominal muscles (well, almost)  when hanging out with him or even sharing a text exchange.  I can scarcely do him justice in a description here, but I've often said that he's the one person on this planet who gets my head out of the clouds and back down to Earth.  I'm very thankful to have someone like that in my life.  We rarely talk about anything of grand substance, because it just doesn't seem necessary, yet we have a shorthand of humor-infused speech that has somehow evolved over the years to be intimate in its own ridiculous way.  I have zero control over my laughter when I'm with him.
Me:  Where can I buy my own Matt Russell?
Matt:  *silence*  (Because I didn't really ask him! )

Me:  When you get dressed, do you put in the left leg first or the right?  There may be another option here if you've created a new sort of suspension dressing system.
Matt:  I put in my left leg first.  I also launch with my left leg when doing handstands.  If I were to be a karate master, I would also brace myself with my left leg.  But I'm right handed, so go figure.
Me:  I want video footage of the handstands.

Me:  Where is your favorite place to decompress?
Matt:  Other than my couch with Netflix and wine and dinner (which is pretty basic), I have a few tiers of favorite places.  Since I moved to Marin county just north of San Francisco a few years ago, I've been surrounded by gorgeous nature, so on a regular basis I like to go hang out there, either hiking or lying on the beach or even sometimes taking my book work and setting up shop near ocean cliffs with my extremely portable camping chair.  My next more realistic place to go for decompression is the Desolation Wilderness surrounding Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  I spent the best day of my life up there last May, just hiking alone until the snow blocked me from going farther.  Finally, my least-visitable favorite decompression place is New Zealand, where I was lucky enough to study for a semester in college and return to once more in 2010.  That entire country is heaven.  i wish it weren't so expensive to get there and back again.

Me:  Why are you a writer?
Matt:  I'm a writer because storytelling brings me joy like nothing else in life does.  It's the one thing above all else that makes my little life worth living.  I've been through many bouts of self doubt regarding the challenges of building a career as a storyteller, but when I sit back and truly reflect on what I want my life to be, it's the only life trajectory that makes me feel as if I'm on the right path.  I like to think that stories help us make sense of real life, and that they have a much greater effect on the world and people's understanding of it than they are given credit for.  I like the idea of contributing to that effort in whatever unique way I can.

Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with me today :)  You're a dear, and I'm a fan of both you and your work.

If you're interested in reviewing either The Confessions of Jonathan Flite or The Release of Jonathan Flite, simply send a quick message here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The change from harfing to savoring

harf- to hastily scarf

With my recent eye weakening, I've had to change the way I read.  I've always been one who devours.  A book in my hand?  CHOMP CHOMP SLURP MMM.....yum!  Now, I'm having to take little bites daily.  It's been an eye-opening experience for me.

Reading has become a crock pot roast for me.  All day long I can smell it.  I can imagine how sumptuous that it's going to be so vividly that I can almost taste it.  I'm frustrated and angry because it takes soooo long to cook!  I want it now!  I'm hungry!

By being forced to slow down, I'm finding that I'm having to rely more on my memory.  Instead of being whisked away to another world and another person, I get little glimpses that don't satiate me.  When I pick up the book, I read one page.  One.  Then I have to walk away.  When I pick it back up, my brain has to struggle to push itself back into that alternate reality.  Once it's done that, it seems like only a blink before I have to pull back to my own reality.  It goes far too quickly.

I have noticed, though, that because my reading time has become more precious, I'm not skipping over parts like I previously did.  There are a lot of times when information is given more than once, or something is described and I prefer the image I already have in my head.  I don't want to miss one single word on that one page that I get to read!  Also, because I'm having to take breaks in between, my relationship with the characters has grown stronger.  I really get a chance to miss them.  I wonder what they're up to and wish I could text them really quickly.  Since I can't, I look forward even more to the time when I can reunite with them.

Even though I constantly long to be captivated in the book world, I'm finding that being forced to slow down is actually making me a better reader.  I can't say I'm enjoying it more, but that's only because I'm an instant gratification sort of girl.  I want it and I want it now.  However, now that I'm forced to take dainty bites, I'm finding flavors that I didn't realize were there.

Nicole Taylor is looking for reviewers!

Piercing the Veil is the first book in The Crusaders series.

Nicole is currently looking for reviewers.  Simply send her a message here.



Eighteen-year-old Alexa Moore has had enough of her rigid, controlled existence.  Shortly after her graduation, she decides it's time for her to make the decisions in her life, and quit letting her grandmother have the last say.  But when she sees a man watching her-at her graduation, at the market, outside of where she volunteers- her excitement is snuffed out by a sense of dread she can't shake.  And that's only the beginning...

Soon, strange things begin happening:  doors opening by themselves, books falling off shelves.  At first, Alexa ignores the bizarre occurrences, chalking them up to coincidence.  But when things take a violent turn, she discovers that these occurrences aren't coincidence at all.  In fact, they're all tied to one thing:  her.  It isn't long before she realizes that telepathy and empathy are not the only abilities she possesses.  And these new abilities-ones she cannot begin to explain-are growing in strength...becoming more and more dangerous.

Lost and confused, Alexa turns to her grandmother, the one person she trusts above all others, for help.  But Gran isn't who she appears to be, and Alexa finds herself embroiled in a family history that's shrouded in mystery and lies, where no one, not even the young Irishman she's fallen for, is who they seem.

Part romance, part thriller, and part fantasy.

Stacy Claflin needs you!

Stacy writes everything from psychological thrillers to sweet romances.  She's actively looking for a few people to join her review team.

How does it work?

Fill out the Review Squad Application!

How does it work?  She'll send you an email letting you know which book is available for review.  If you want it, fill out a simple form.  She'll send you the book and you write up a review once you've finished.

You don't need your own website or blog to apply.  Amazon reviews will suffice.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Under a Brass Moon Stuffies!

I love bookish memorabilia.  LOVE it!

In July, Curiosity Quills Press published this great steam-punk anthology.  Now, you can order some great memorabilia to go along with it!  Have I mentioned that I love this kind of stuff?

You can get a poster, mug, or various types of clothing.  It's only available for another 24 days, so hurry over and take a look!  Prices?  Surprisingly low, but I'm not sure about shipping costs.

Free copy of Bad Date

Right now, if you go to A Pius Geek and sign up to receive their newsletter, they'll email you a free copy of Bad Date.

Keep in mind, you can always get the free book and then unsubscribe.  You won't want to, though, because Declan Finn is pretty darn entertaining.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Life is But a Nightmare cover reveal

Erin Hayes recently revealed the cover for her latest work.  Pre-order price is only 99 cents!  It's scheduled release date is February 28.  This is the second book in the Elysium Legacies.

Former police detective Callie Saunders shouldn’t be alive, but she’s been thriving with her new lease on life away from the machinations of the ancient Greek gods and goddesses.

But there’s always been someone missing from this little piece of paradise.

When a vengeful god kidnaps her son, she travels back to a world she barely understands to find him. A world where she must face humanity’s greatest enemies and her former lover. If she’s not careful, she’ll lose her soul again. And, maybe, even her heart.

Congratulations to Vera Mae!

In October, Vera Mae produced her first romance book.  If you haven't read it, I suggest you pick it up.  It will melt even the most frozen hearts.  I can personally attest to that.

We, here  at Literary Litter, want to extend our heartfelt happiness and well wishes to Vera Mae on her recent marriage.

May your own life inspire many more romance novels!

Pick Your Potion Pre-order Sale

If you're into cozy mysteries, you might want to check out this newest series by CC Dragon.  CC is the author of Strawberry Top mysteries and Deanna Oscar paranormal mysteries.


Gypsies, vamps, and weres…these are just some of the people powerful witch Claudia Crestwood and her friends protect. In the city of Hartford, Connecticut—years before Salem, there were witch trials. Now the paranormal coexist with humans, more or less. With the help of her hippie aunt and cousins, her gypsy uncle, and other paranormal friends, Claudia stands on the line between humans and paras—helping to keep the peace.

When a human customer dies after an incident at the coffee shop, Claudia must dig into the case to protect the cafe and the coven. Threats have been made and what’s worse, she’s harboring a hunter wanted by the police in her basement. A hot and powerful wizard starts showing up in the shop when Claudia needs help and is at her worst. Intriguing and annoying… She isn’t sure she can trust him and his reclusive family but it’s time for her to dig deeper into the magical world.

The e-version is scheduled for release February 21.  Pre-order price is only 99 cents!

The Messiah by Vincent Scarsella

Scarsella's newest book was released January 28.  He's best known for his Lawyers Gone Bad series, but personally I'm a fan of his Psi Academy series.

I'm really interested to see how this book compares with Duncan Whitehead's Reluctant Jesus.  If anyone reads them both, please let us know!

I've been told that for you hard copy readers, it's in the works and should be coming soon.  Right now it's only available on Kindle.

Update:  This has been released in hard copy!  Go here!


“If you’d come today you could have reached the whole nation, Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication...”

What if a Jesus-like preacher came today? Would his message of peace and love be heard by the masses? Would they reject their beliefs and adopt those he espouses calling them to do and think things that improve the lives of their fellow man, enhance the survival of the human species and bring humanity closer to a comprehension of God? Would they seek to overthrow the ruling elite and establish the Kingdom of God on Earth?
“The Messiah” chronicles the meteoric rise of such a Jesus-like preacher, one Cristos Pantera, a direct descendant of Jesus Christ, whose revolutionary message threatens the Supremacy, the elite of bankers, corporations, priests, and politicians that for centuries has secretly ruled the world. But as Pantera’s fame and influence grows to frightful proportions, the Supremacy decides to do to him what they have done to other messiahs who threatened their rule - crucify him. In a thrilling climax, one wonders if they have succeeded, or will he rise from the dead?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Step one in our changes

At the end of last year, I had wonderful new visions for Literary Litter.  I even began to implement some of them.  Shortly after that, I found out that my vision is failing.  It has been for awhile, but I've been forcing it.  I can still see!  I just can't see to read.  I can force it for a page or two at a time, but that's my limit.  It just seems silly to run a book review company when you can't read.  So I closed.

We've got some great new stuff coming up, and I think it'll be even more useful and entertaining than before.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We will no longer be posting any reviews here.  Editing the reviews, writing them, and posting them are just too much for me.  It goes far beyond my reading time limit each day.  Minding Spot has kindly agreed to take over our reviews for us.  All of our review staff will continue to do reviews, but they'll be posted there instead of on Literary Litter.  I'll still be doing reviews, but it will have to go down to a few a year instead of what I was doing.

I sincerely want to thank all of my wonderful friends for being so supportive the last few weeks.  Everyone has had great ideas for how to continue reviewing as well as showing sincere sympathy for what I've been going through.  It's nice to know I'm loved :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


It is with great sadness that I announce the closing of Literary Litter.

Due to medical constraints, I can no longer read for any length of time.  It seems a little silly to be a book reviewer who can't read.

I don't know what's coming next for me, but I'm sure it will be a grand adventure.  I believe in miracles and I believe in magic.  I don't remember a time when I wasn't glued to a book.  This is definitely going to be a change for me.

Should things improve in the future, I'll return to doing reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.  I still want to be as supportive as possible to my author friends out there, so please keep me informed when you have something new coming out.  Even though I currently can't read, I still need your books for my library and I'll cherish them just as much.

Giveaway Notice

All winners of giveaways will be notified as soon as their name has been drawn. Each winner will have two weeks to respond in order to receive their prize. Prizes cannot be delivered without an email/physical address. Any prizes that are not claimed within a two week period will be forfeited.


All books (unless otherwise specified) belong to me already, have been borrowed, or are sent to me by the author, publisher or review company for review. I do not receive any monetary rewards for reviewing books. The opinions expressed in my reviews belong solely to me.