, pub-4807045201008872, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 meta name=", pub-4807045201008872, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Ginger High- Books R Us: mystery


Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I would like to welcome T.L. James to Books R Us. She is virtually touring the blogosphere with NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™

The MPire: In Search of the Lost (The MPire Trilogy)The trilogy of The MPire starts with, In Search of the Lost which is the story about Mallory Towneson Haulm, a sexy financial powerhouse, who lives in a quasi paradise in Austin, Texas. His opulent world is decorated with expensive toys and women more exquisite than an exotic candy shop.

After fourteen years of separation from his family, Mallory is summoned to return back home to join The Family Business. Poised for success, Mallory is focused on turning around the ailing business, not realizing that taking his assigned reigns will put him in a position of unrelenting power which he is unaware he even has. His world crashes as he reunites with his brothers and becomes Death, the forth horseman of the Apocalypse.

With every complication popping up in his life, the biggest one by far is in the form of an old love from the past coming back to reclaim the spot in Mallory’s heart.

About the Author-

TL James graduated with an MBA from LeTourneau University. At LETU, James cultivated an interest in biblical studies and research. Little did James know, but her love for research would become an integral thread in her writing style.

After many sleepless nights, James began writing her first speculative fictional book, with her newly born son tucked comfortably at her side.  She developed the family drama storyline that showcases her love of research, biblical studies and literary classics (i.e., Chaucer, Shakespeare and Mythology). The MPire Trilogy was born.

In 2008, TL James revived PHE Ink, a Writing Solutions Firm, after discovering a number of gaps in the publishing industry.  James works with aspiring writers, one-on-one, to develop their literary voice. PHE Ink, also, assists entrepreneurs with transforming their business dreams into defined objectives and business plans. 

My thoughts-

I have never read a book like this one before. All of the characters in the Haulm family were unique and each had a hidden agenda that is revealed throughout the book. I have not read the precursor of the book, The Chronicles of the Haulm Boys and I wish I had. I had some difficulty figuring out who the brothers unique qualities were until the middle of the book. Then it all fell into place and the book came alive. The relationship between Mallory and Matthew was sweet as well as troubled. Mallory was a sexy, wealthy and intriguing individual who has to make a choice between life and death. He has to live up to his destiny of being the Forth Horseman (Death) and continue the family legacy. Throughout the book, there were supernatural beings and images surrounding Michael that kept me thinking. Who were these spirits and why are they after Michael? I guess you have to read the book to find out the answers. The author's descriptions of the supernatural was fantastic and the ending was unpredictable. I did not want the book to end and I wanted more. I look forward to reading the all of the books in the series.  I have to warn you that this book is only suitable for the adult reader due to the erotic and sometimes violent scenes in the novel.

Contest- International

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Disclaimer: I was not compensated for my review.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Do you like horses and horse racing? Then read Bullet Work and enter into the world of the Sport of Kings.

Bullet WorkThey lived for that one chance; the chance to get home first. They waited for that one second. For that moment when they broke into the clear down the home stretch, and no one was going to catch them. Behind the glamorous exterior of horse racing, lies the gritty reality of the backside. Within this fiercely competitive world of owners, trainers, vets, and jockeys something has gone terribly wrong. As opening day approaches, one racehorse is poisoned, another has her leg crushed by a lead pipe and a third mysteriously disappears. Shock and horror grip the racing community. Despite all security efforts, the brutal killings continue.

For Dan Morgan it becomes personal when his precocious two-year-old filly is targeted. Dan befriends AJ Kaine, a lonely, "horse whispering" young man. AJ is a hotwalker, the lowest of jobs in the backside food chain. But AJ has a secret—perhaps a secret that can corner a killer. With AJ's help, Dan must crack the extortion scheme or risk becoming the next victim.

About the Author-

Steve O Brien is an attorney, author, and former thoroughbred owner. Bullet Work is his second novel. It follows the critically acclaimed Elijah's Coin, recipient of nine literary awards, including Best Young Adult Fiction, National Best Books Awards, and Best Novella, Next Generation Indie Book Awards. He lives in Washington, D.C.

My Thoughts-

While I was in college, I had the opportunity to work in OTB and I learned a little about horse racing. Mr O'Brien wrote a realistic novel with a mysterious twist. The character I liked the best was the hotwalker AJ. He had a way with horses and was able to feel their emotions. Throughout the story, AJ is harassed by grooms and other hotwalkers and he still kept on going. The author recently wrote a wonderful post about AJ on my blog and after reading the post, I had a better understanding of AJ. There was sadness, greed, murder, and revenge all wrapped up in a well written novel. The ending was unpredictable but very sad. I will never tell. If you are a fan of horses then this is the book for you.

Author's Website.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the Cadence Group for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Sunday, February 27, 2011



I want to welcome Aya Knight to Books R Us. Aya is the author of The Chronicles of Kale: A Dragons Awakening (Book 1) (Old Line Publishing). Thanks for stopping by.

 My Inspiration
It all began with the passion to write—combine a touch of Diablo II (yep, the computer game), a dash of D&D, and a cup of imagination and you’ve got the perfect mixture of inspiration for The Chronicles of Kale: A Dragon’s Awakening.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugI’ve always been fond of the fantasy genre and anything that can “sweep me away” to an alternate reality. As years passed, little pieces of the story would come to me. Eventually, a plot began to form within my mind and all I could think was “I need to write this down before I forget”. It started with a few simple paragraphs and before I knew it, my pen began to lead the path ahead—page after page filled with words of a hot-headed dragon and his amazing journey. I soon fell into a repetitive routine of scribbling notes and paragraphs of content down on a nightly basis.                       
What started as an adventure I was in control of, was quickly taking me on an epic quest. Many of the aspects in the story I had originally planned out never happened. As the story progressed I began to let things unfold naturally. My advice to other aspiring authors would be to devise a plan before writing. You’ll need to have an idea of A (being the beginning of your story) to Z (the conclusion of your story). Mapping out how your character(s) will get from A to Z is highly recommended since it will greatly aid in the flow of your story—you won’t find yourself questioning “what will happen next?” as often by pre-planning. However, never let your ‘structured’ plotline hold you back. While it’s great to know where you’re going in a story, as the story progresses allow things to flow in the direction that “feels right”. If you push yourself to abide solely by your original outline, the story has good odds of coming off as forced to readers. You, as the author, know where you want to go in the story—let the characters show you how they want to get there. That to me is where the true “life” of a novel comes from.
To shed a little more insight on my book: A dragon versus humans has been the cliché storyline in countless novels and movies. I wanted to take this classic plot and throw a completely new twist into the mix. Kale, known to most as the black dragon Firehart, despises human-kind more than any other species in the world of Revaxis. Suddenly, his life is thrown into shambles as a spell is cast, transforming him into the very flesh he has longed to avoid.
It’s a roller-coaster ride of emotions; from heart-pounding battles, to bittersweet romance. If you’re a fan of dragons, yet looking for something out of the norm in a visually painted world unlike any other—then take a chance on The Chronicles of Kale: A Dragon’s Awakening!

About the Author-

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugAya Knight was born in South Florida, where she spent the majority of her childhood. At a young age she developed a strong passion for fantasy and a love of writing. Through movies, books and video/computer games she would escape into an alternate reality filled with adventure, magic and epic quests. As Aya entered adulthood, she expressed her enjoyment of writing through becoming a freelance journalist. She wrote about a broad variety of topics that gave her a brighter insight of the world. Eventually a story began to develop within her mind involving characters she immediately grew attached to. Aya knew that she needed to compile her thoughts onto paper. She grew so intrigued with the evolving storyline that she placed all hopes within the hands of her imagination, leaving journalism behind. Aya now lives in Central Florida with her husband and two sons where she continues her passion.

The book will be available on May 6th 2011 but you can pre-order the book at
I will be reviewing the book on my blog soon.

Disclosure: This was an unpaid post.

Monday, February 14, 2011



I want to welcome  Pamela Samuels Young, author of the legal thriller, Murder on the Down Low (Goldman House Publishing), as she virtually tours the blogosphere on her eleventh virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book! Thanks for stopping by.

Story Ideas are Everywhere

You hear it all the time: Write what you know. But where do you find a story idea that might become the next best seller? Everywhere.

Great plots are all around us. The plots for my legal thrillers are usually spurred by something I’ve heard or read.

The Oprah show gets credit for Murder on the Down Low. I can still remember the day I watched in stunned silence as Oprah interviewed JL King, the author of On the Down Low. He boldly professed to sleeping with men, but at the same time, claimed that he was heterosexual. His shocking revelations about the secret world of men on the “down low” really shook me up. The very next day while I was driving to work, the plot for Murder on the Down Low came to me: What if a number of attractive, successful family men who all shared a shocking secret were being gunned down on the streets of L.A. and no one knew why?

The plot for Buying Time came to me while chatting with a guy at a party. I knew he was in the insurance business, but when he explained that he was a viatical broker, I started asking lots of questions because I’d never heard of the viatical industry. When he finished explaining that a viatical broker helps terminally ill people sell beneficiary rights to their insurance policies in exchange for quick cash, I knew immediately that the industry was the perfect backdrop for a thriller.

On the drive home from the party, the following idea came me: What if a disbarred lawyer becomes a viatical broker? And what if his terminally ill clients start dying sooner than they should and he is suspected of killing them? I was so excited about the idea, I started outlining it the very next day.

The more difficult task for me is coming up with plot twists that will surprise my readers. It’s so disappointing to read a book that ends exactly the way I expected it to. So I work really hard to come up with twists and turns that keep my readers guessing.

My best plot twists usually hit me while I’m stuck in traffic. I’ll rack my brain for days trying to come up with a red herring for a particular scene. Nine times out of ten, my light bulb moment will happen while I’m in my car stuck in rush-hour traffic.

So as a writer, I’m constantly looking and listening for interesting story ideas. Once I have an intriguing “what if,” the fun part is developing characters and creating conflicts to bring that question to life.

About the Author-

 Pamela Samuels-Young is a working attorney who squeezes in time to write whenever and wherever she can find it. Her desire to see engaging African-American characters in today's mainstream legal fiction prompted her to pen her first novel, Every Reasonable Doubt. The former television news writer earned her law degree from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. She has a master's degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Southern California. Pamela served as legal consultant to the Showtime television series, Soul Food, and speaks frequently on writing and 'Pursuing Your Passion'. 

Authors Website.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


The Book of Tomorrow: A Novel

In the Book of Tomorrow, Tamara Goodwin lived a life of luxury and got everything she wanted but when her father suddenly dies her life falls apart. She and her mother are left with a pile of debt and has to live with her aunt and uncle. When a traveling library comes to town, Tamara finds a leather bound book with a gold clasp and a padlock. There is no author or title and when she finally gets it open, she is surprised at what she saw. There are entries written in her own handwriting but dated for the next day. In her quest to find answers, Tamara soon learns that some pages are better left unturned and that, try as she may, she mustn't interfere with fate.

My Thoughts-

I liked the book but it was not easy to read. There were a lot of characters that I had to keep track of and each one was developed fully. The book was full of mystery, humor, relationships, detailed scenery and a little craziness. Tamara was a spoiled brat and there were times that I disliked her. As the plot developed, Tamara started to mature, grow and she uses the magical book to make sense of her life and her new home. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to escape from reality for a while.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Fatal Judgment (Guardians of Justice, Book 1)In Fatal Judgment (Guardians of Justice, Book 1), U.S Marshal Jake Taylor was on a special mission in Iraq and when he returns home he is assigned to a new mission to protect  Liz Michaels who is a Federal Judge. She has kept her life secret and was married to Jake's best friend. Liz's sister was murdered in Liz's house and the killer might be after Liz. Jake was very upset after the death of his best friend who was married to Liz and he has not spoken to her in many years. While the Marshals are searching for the killers, there is an attraction forming between Liz and Jake. When it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life--and his heart--are in mortal danger.

About the Author-

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 25 novels, including the CBA bestsellers Against All Odds, An Eye for an Eye, and In Harm's Way. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier award, and the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine. She lives in Missouri.

Author's Website-

My Thoughts-

 Fatal Judgment is full of suspense, faith, a little romance and is very realistic. I have never read any of the author's books before but I will definitely be reading the second book in the series. I was hooked from page one and the book was a page turner.  All of the characters were realistic and when the villain was introduced in the story, I wanted to find out more. There were times that I was at the edge of my seat and I was always rooting for Jake and Liz. So if you like suspense with a little romance this is the book for you.

Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Monday, January 3, 2011



Human BlendIn Human Blend, Laney is not like other girls... she has special abilities that sets her apart from others. She escaped from a difficult life and she wants to keep hidden. She was held captive because of these special abilities. She is haunted by memories and flashbacks of the suffering that she had to endure. She decides to change her appearance and her name to Julie. She decides hideout in a small town.
Ignoring her own warnings, she begins a relationship with a local boy. The relationship turns dangerous when the boy begins developing similar abilities. This development does not fall under the radar of the men who are trying to recapture her. A young doctor's interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child's illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney's new life falls apart when she meets a young intern that seems to have all the answers to her questions. The information sends her into a tail spin. Thoughts of going on the run once again are thwarted as those whom she was running from find her.

About the Author-

Lori Pescatore is currently teaching preschool in Bucks County, PA. She is a married mom of two boys and has been actively writing her whole life. Human Blend is her first in a trilogy of books in this series. Multiple Sclerosis became part of her life seven years ago, a battle she continues today. Visit her Facebook page.

My Thoughts-

This is a fantastic paranormal story. I was drawn into the storyline from page one. All of the characters were exciting and well developed. When I found out Julie's special ability, I wanted to find out more. The book was fast paced, with twists and turns throughout the book. All of the male characters were intriguing and each of them had their own special ability that was discovered throughout the book. The information about the Human Blends were very interesting and each one had different abilities. I have never read any book like this one and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of the book for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Friday, December 31, 2010



The Clouds Roll Away (Raleigh Harmon)In The Clouds Roll Away, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns home for Christmas but discovers Richmond, Virginia running low on goodness and light.

Although her exemplary service in Seattle lifted her disciplinary transfer, Raleigh lands a hometown civil rights case riddled with problems that could get her sent away again. When she helps out a fellow cop, her life goes on the line, forcing her undercover in a sting operation. As Raleigh realizes the lines are crossing and double-crossing, her domestic life starts to unravel. Her mother's mental health cracks like ice, her closest friend grows cold, and her old boyfriend DeMott comes a-calling, hoping for more than chestnuts by an open fire.

While the city glows with Christmas lights and carols, Raleigh is forced to rely on her sharpest skills to stay alive, hoping for that one clear moment when everything makes sense and the clouds roll away.

sibella-in-blueMeet Sibella:

Sibella Giorello grew up in Alaska and majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College. After riding a motorcycle across the country, she worked as a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons. Find out more about Sibella and her other books at her website.

Click here to see the other stops on this virtual book tour!

You can purchase your copy here.

My Thoughts- 

The book was written well and I was hooked from the first page. This is the third book in the series and I had no difficulty reading it. As I was reading it, I noticed that Sibella included information from the other two books to keep you up to date. I really liked Raleigh because she was believable and had a good relationship with her mother, Nadine. The storyline included mystery, a little romance, and plenty of twists and turns to keep it exciting. All of the characters were developed well and there was a lot of emotion throughout the book. So go and get yourself a copy of the book. You will not be disappointed.

Win a KINDLE from Sibella Giorello!

 Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Clouds Roll Away by giving away a KINDLE prize pack worth over $150.00!


One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift certificate to
To enter simply click on one of the icons below! Then tell your friends! Winner will be announced January 3, 2011 on Sibella's blog:

About The Clouds Roll Away – “Beautifully written with exquisite descriptions, Giorello’s mystery also features well-developed characters…”
—Booklist, starred review

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the Lifuse Group for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.

Friday, December 17, 2010


The 19th Element: A James Becker Nuclear ThrillerIn The 19th Element: A James Becker Nuclear Thriller, Al Qaeda plans to attack Minnesota’s Prairie River Nuclear Power Plant as a means to return the down-trodden terrorist organization to international prominence.
In addition to their own devoted forces, the terrorists enlist some homegrown anarchists, and a Three Mile Island survivor with a pathological vendetta against the nuclear establishment, to assist in the assault.
James “Beck” Becker is a former elite U.S. government intelligence operative who has retired to his childhood hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota – just six miles down the Mississippi from the Prairie River nuclear facility.
Possessing wisdom born of experience, Beck suspects the terrorists’ intentions as soon as the body of a university professor turns up on the Mississippi shore – the clear victim of foul play.
He recognizes connections between seemingly unrelated incidents – the murdered agronomy professor, a missing lab assistant, an international cell call, a stolen fertilizer truck – but can’t piece it together in enough detail to convince government authorities that a larger threat exists.  Only his American Indian friend, “Bull,” will help Beck defuse the threat.
So it’s Beck and Bull versus international terror.

My Thoughts-

The book started out slowly and then picked up speed rather quickly. There were some chapters that provided me too much technical information and I felt that I was reading a chemistry textbook. This is a great psychological thriller and I was able to finish the book in one afternoon. It was scary and I felt like I was right there with Beck stopping the terrorists. The characters were well developed and believable. I look forward to reading the next book in the series and his newest book A Higher Court, One Man's Search for the Truth of God's Existence.

About the Author-

The author holds a Bachelor's Degree, cum laude, in English from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. He has practiced law for more than twenty-five years in the Mississippi River community of Red Wing, Minnesota. He has also been a long-time supporter and coach of youth volleyball there. Mr. Betcher has published three feature articles in COACHING VOLLEYBALL, the Journal of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. His most recent article was the cover story for the April/May, 2009 Issue. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the author for my honest review and I was not compensated for this review.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010



I want to welcome Melanie Nowak to Books R Us. Melanie is the author of Almost Human ~ The First Trilogy . Thanks For stopping by.

Almost Human ~ The First Trilogy ~ 3-in-1 Bundle

What is Almost Human about?

Melanie: ALMOST HUMAN puts a venomous new twist on the classical vampire, and blends elements of many genres. It has drama, humor, romance, some action, and a pinch of horror and even a touch of science fiction in the 2nd trilogy.

The story begins with a vampire who found that in losing his life, he gained his faith and a purpose. He now spends eternity trying to teach younger vampires to exist without hurting humans – working the will of God among the undead. Enter a young college girl in danger, the beginnings of an ill-advised love affair, and a few vampires who aren’t eager to follow the advice of an elder, and you have the opening of the ALMOST HUMAN series. At the start, it may seem like a familiar story, but as readers become involved, it reveals itself to be an original new experience, immersing readers in fresh insight. The books can be read as fun and light, to a certain degree, but they also lend themselves to deeper contemplation.

For me, the driving force behind the series is the emotional connections of the characters. I do not have black and white villains and heroes in my books, although different characters fit those roles from time to time. I have a core group of realistically evolving characters with different motivations, making choices throughout the story. Each reader will connect with the characters differently; some they’ll love, and some they’ll love to hate. Some readers will agree with the character’s decisions, and some won’t, but hopefully all can understand the characters on an empathetic level. The story prompts the reader to ponder what they would do in similar circumstances.

I am not in the habit of quoting from reviews and things, but I recently received a fan letter from a reader who described what I was striving for beautifully:

“I fell in love with the characters and your wonderfully descriptive use of language. There was something different about your books, some element that put me right into the storyline, giving a fantastic dramatization of what was unfolding before me. Almost as if while reading, I was inserted into a vivid dream-like representation of not only the plot, but the characters feelings and emotions as well. Your books are so much more than just vampire novels. You are writing about real people, who have real emotions.” Alison Irvine.

(I hope she doesn’t mind my quoting her, but I so greatly appreciate her letter, and want to give her credit for her own words!)

It is so rewarding to know that what I feel in my heart as I write, actually does get transcribed to the paper in a way that strongly resonates with readers. I don’t think I can describe the books better than that. It is a story of vampires and humans, interacting in circumstances that can be fun, exciting, romantic and scary at times, but most of all, hopefully they will stimulate your mind and touch your heart.  

Can you tell me who or what was the inspiration for the book?

Melanie: A few things came together to bring ALMOST HUMAN to life. I’ve always been interested in bats. Vampire bats have a anticoagulant in their saliva called “draculin” (named after Count Dracula!) that keeps blood from clotting. I had the idea that such a thing would be useful for vampires as well. It would also be useful if they had something to keep the victim calm, like a drug.

I always wondered about a vampire’s ability to put victims in thrall. In old movies, vampires are always able to hypnotize people, and it’s never really explained. People are just ‘under their power’. I always wondered – why? How does it work? I put those questions together with the anticoagulant/drug idea, and took it further. What if vampires could inject their victims with venom – like a snake? Only the venom would not be deadly poison, but a combination of drugs that kept blood from clotting, kept the victim calm and even willing, and also could mark territory for the vampire – leaving a mark that other vampires could see. The vampire could then use the existence of this ‘drug’ in their victim’s system, to put them in thrall as well. 

The idea of venomous vampires seemed so logical to me, that I assumed for sure that someone else had done it already. I began searching my library for a book like that, so I could read it! This was probably in the early 90’s and there weren’t very many vampire books around at that time. I never found what I was looking for, and I filed the idea away. It never occurred to me to write it myself, LOL.

In the late 80’s, I had discovered Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles and absolutely loved them. That was the first time I read something from the vampire’s point of view. The way that she captured emotions and described surroundings was mesmerizing to me, and I really connected with her story. I’m also a huge fan of the T.V. series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Joss Whedon is a genius! That said - towards the end of the show, I started disliking some decisions the writers made. I understood their vision, but I also saw missed opportunities. I would have done things differently.

That started me thinking of my own storylines and my own characters, incorporating my venomous vampire idea. None of this was written down, just daydreamed during housework. Then one day I realized that a lot of the ideas I had were really good, and it depressed me to think that it would all just be forgotten. So, I sat down one night at the computer, to write out a few things so I wouldn’t forget, and could look back at them one day. The scenes just came pouring out and before I knew it, I’d been up writing almost the whole night! That’s when I realized that I had a real story to tell, and wanted to write it all out from beginning to end. That is how my ALMOST HUMAN vampires were born.

How long did it take to write the book, and how long did it take to get the book released?

Melanie: That’s not an easy question for me to answer, because I did not start out writing a book that I planned to publish. Bored with housework and lacking a creative outlet, I began making up a story one day, using my venom idea, just for my own entertainment. I had no aspirations of relating it to anyone, I just didn’t want to forget it. So one night, I sat at the computer and decided to just write it down for myself, so I could look at it again one day.

Before I knew it, I'd been writing for hours! It just came pouring out! I never planned to publish it, I just had fun writing it. The story was very long but I knew just where I wanted it to go, and what I wanted to happen. I knew it was too long, so I decided to break the story into 3 parts and make it a trilogy. I still wasn’t sure what I would do with it, but it was nice to feel the accomplishment of finishing the books. I wrote all 3 books in 2 years (I was completely obsessed, I wrote every free moment, staying up until 2 am most nights). Then I spent the next year polishing them up, editing and such. I let a few people read it; family and friends insisted my books were better than many others they'd read, and should be published, so I decided to try.

I first tried publish my series back in 2004, and as it is for most authors, it was a long and difficult endeavor. I spent a few years trying to get published by traditional methods. I researched the whole process and jumped through every hoop. Unfortunately, most publishers and agents are swamped with inquiries these days, and are unable to give each submission the attention it may deserve. I got numerous rejection postcards without a single request to actually read my manuscript.

As a busy wife and mom, I wasn’t able to attend conventions or camp out on door-steps to be read. I was earning my Masters Degree to be a school librarian, when a professor mentioned that Amazon would accept previously unpublished books for the Kindle. I knew that once you self-publish, most traditional publishers will not consider your work, but no one was considering my work anyway. After some research and deliberation, I decided to publish on Kindle in 2008, because it was an effective way to share my stories with the public. I could have closure, feeling like I'd done something with the books, and be able to move on. I wanted to begin writing the 2nd trilogy for the series, which had already been playing out in my head, no matter how I tried to focus on other things.

After my series began to gain Kindle readers, I got many requests for print copies of the books. To try and make that happen, I shopped around again for agents & publishers in January ’09. This time I had verifiable sales to show them – but it didn’t help. There is still a stigma against ‘self-published authors’ (although I believe that is slowly changing). They didn’t like the fact that my books were already out in e-book format, even though they had never been printed. Again I was constantly rejected without even being read first. I finally decided to publish in print independently, because I was more interested in sharing the stories with readers, than waiting for a publishing house to back me.

There are quick and almost instant methods to publish, but I wanted to be very thorough in doing everything myself, and owning all rights and my own ISBN numbers. I handled every aspect from editing & formatting, to cover photos (that's me on book 1). It took a lot of time, research, learning what needed to be done, and finding the most cost effective way to carry it out. I chose a printing company that allows me complete control, and I learned what was involved to become Independently published in print. In April of 2009, WoodWitchDame Publications was born. Word-of-mouth through readers has helped spread the addiction of my venomous vampires, and I’ve been blessed with many devoted readers. I am very happy with the success of my series being Indie published.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

Melanie: Being asked to choose a favorite character, is like trying to pick a favorite child. I can’t choose one among the others. Honestly, I really am all of the characters in this book! It may sound strange because my characters are pretty diverse, but it’s true. Each of these characters has been taken from the seed of something within myself. I have been lucky enough in my life never to have been sexually abused or addicted to drugs - but everything that goes into making up the personalities for my characters, how they feel and react to things, has come from some little grain of dealing with something in my own life - magnified. At some point in my life I have totally identified with and "been" these people. Even if it didn't outwardly show - this is how I felt and wanted to react.

I wondered a little at first, whether I would be able to write a believable ‘guy’, but when you come down to it, we are all just people. I take care to really examine his motives throughout each scene, and to try and observe and notice things the way I think a man would. It’s actually rather fun writing for my guys Cain and Ben, and stepping into the male perspective.

Outwardly I’m sure my friends and family would say I am most like Felicity. Physically, I have modeled her after myself; intellectually and emotionally she is very much the girl that I was at that age. I was usually pretty quiet and shy, constantly reading my fantasies rather than trying to live them out. Because of that, I identify very closely with Felicity, but I have to admit that it’s often more fun to write for my other ladies, Allie and Sindy. Allie is much more sassy and daring than I have ever been in life, and Sindy… well let’s just say it; She can be an evil bitch – and who wouldn’t think that was fun to write?

Do you have any tips for a young writer starting out?

Decide why you are writing. Is your ultimate goal to be on a bookstore shelf, or to tell an amazing story? If you just want to see your name on something, that is an entirely different path from someone who wants to truly express & share feelings and ideas. If you are passionate about your writing & want to share your story with readers, here’s my advice: 

1st - If you have a story inside of you yearning to be told, then be unafraid to really give in to it and write your true thoughts and feelings. The passion will come through! You cannot write while worrying about who might read it or what they will think. First, be true to that inner voice and write the story that you want to write. 

2nd – Edit – a lot. You’ve poured your heart out onto the page and it’s a moving and wonderful work. Now you need to look at it with a critical eye for grammar, story structure, continuity, and make decisions about what you’re comfortable sharing with the public. If you’ve bared your soul (writing can be wonderfully cathartic) you have to decide if anything should be kept strictly in the “author’s edition” rather than shown to the public. I made the decision to keep everything I’ve written in the original story – but that isn’t right for everyone. Do not write “down” to your readers – it is important to be sure they can follow the plot and understand the story, but don’t be afraid to write something that will make people stop and think. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation is so important I have to say it again. If you’re unsure about something – look it up! EDIT!

3rd – Believe in yourself and be strong. Getting published is HARD. Even if you have the best book ever, getting the right people to read it will be even harder than writing it – you have been warned. I was rejected over 200 times without anyone even being willing to read my manuscript! Do not give up!

4th – If you want to share your story, you will find a way. Traditional publishing isn’t for everyone – neither is Independent publishing. You have to figure out what is right for you. Large publishing companies will be hard to reach without connections. It’s not impossible (but close). Be aware - larger publishers often want you to edit your work to fit their image. There are many small presses that are more open to accepting new work without many changes, you just have to find the right one for you. Otherwise, Independent publishing is also a good option to keep your story true to your own vision – but be prepared to put in the effort.

5th - Decide how you will define your success. If to you, success = money, quit now, LOL. To me success is the feeling of accomplishment and the swell of excitement I feel when someone tells me they read my book and it really resonated with them. In my experience, take care of the emotional success and the physical success will follow. I concerned myself with telling a good story, putting in tons of work to research certain elements, refine and edit it to the best of my ability, and learned what was needed to publish and promote it. I make myself accessible to readers and view it all as a labor of love. Through that sincere effort with no help from paid promotion, I have earned approx. 7,000 readers in 2 years. That number may seem small by traditional publishing standards, but for an Indie, it’s more than I ever expected! Now writing is my full time job and I can pay my bills with it!

What was some of your favorite books when growing up?

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
Split Infinity by Piers Anthony
The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
WitchDame by Kathleen Sky
The Secret Country by Pamela C. Dean
Ariel by Steven R. Boyett
Wolfwalker by Tara K. Harper

Those were (and still are) some old favorites.

I would sincerely like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce everyone to my venomous vamps. The ALMOST HUMAN series is available in ebook and paperback, online and in your local bookstore – if it’s not on the shelf – ask for it!
Also available through the authors website, where you can read free sample chapters:

And on Amazon:

Happy reading!
~ Melanie Nowak
 Check out my review of  Volume 1- Fatal Infatuation and check back for my review of Volume 2- Lost Reflections coming soon.

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Contest ends 12/18/10 at 11:59pm EST