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Gratitude Giveaway Winner November 29, 2010

Posted by Jaidis in Random.
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I would like to thank all of you who entered my Gratitude Giveaway! The turn out was amazing and I’m so happy I could be a part of this blog hop! As a reminder, the winner of my giveaway will receive a copy of Touch the Dark by Karen Chance, a Skull Tote bag, and a Holographic bookmark.

I used Random.org to pick the winner…and the prize goes too…Beth S!!! An email has been sent to the winner and has 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Thanks again to everyone who entered, and I look forward to hosting more giveaways in the future!!

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

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Featured Author: Daniel Arenson November 28, 2010

Posted by Jaidis in Featured Authors.
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This weeks Featured Author spotlight is shining upon…Daniel Arenson!! Let’s jump right in and get to know more about him, his writing, and his book Flaming Dove!

Born in 1980, Daniel Arenson is an author of fantasy fiction, from epic to dark and surreal.

Like many writers, he began his career writing short stories. He sold his first story, “Worms Believe in God”, in 1998. Since then, dozens of his stories and poems have appeared in various magazines, among them Flesh & Blood, Chizine, and Orson Scott Card’s Strong Verse.

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Without giving too much away, can you tell us what Flaming Dove is about?

The battle of Armageddon was finally fought…and ended with no clear victor. Upon the mountain, the armies of Hell and Heaven beat each other into a bloody, uneasy standstill, leaving the Earth in ruins. Armageddon should have ended with Heaven winning, ushering in an era of peace. That’s what the prophecies said. Instead, the two armies–one of angels, one of demons–hunker down in the scorched planet, lick their wounds, and gear up for a prolonged war with no end in sight.

In this chaos of warring armies and ruined landscapes, Laila doesn’t want to take sides. Her mother was an angel, her father a demon; she is outcast from both camps. And yet both armies need her, for with her mixed blood, Laila can become the ultimate spy…or ultimate soldier. As the armies of Heaven and Hell pursue her, Laila’s only war is within her heart–a struggle between her demonic and heavenly blood. 

How long did it take you to write Flaming Dove?

Probably about three months for the rough draft, but much longer to revise.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

I’d like to quote David Dalglish, bestselling author of The Half-Orcs:
“It’s really very simple: if you want to read about angels tossing around godlight and demons lashing whips and shooting fire while super-powerful archangels and archdemons blow up half the world trying to crush each other…well, here you go.”

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was thirteen or fourteen, our English teacher gave us an assignment to write a short story, two or three pages long.  I handed in a 40-page novella.  My teacher asked me if I wanted to be a writer. On a whim, I answered “yes”.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I wrote Flaming Dove in longhand.  That often surprises people.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Reading, of course.  I also enjoy painting.

What does your family think of your writing?

My family is supportive and reads everything I write.

How many books have you written so far?

I also wrote the fantasy novel Firefly Island.  Five Star Publishing, an imprint of Gale, released Firefly Island in hardcover in 2007. It’s about a slave girl who fights a cruel stone king made of stone.

You can learn more about Firefly Island on my website,
DanielArenson.com.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I don’t think I celebrated selling Firefly Island in any particular way, but it was a strange feeling opening the cardboard box Five Star sent me and finding a bunch of books inside.

Which book was the most enjoyable for you to write? What about the least enjoyable?

Both my books were a blast to write.  I had lots of fun writing them. I don’t think I’d write if I didn’t enjoy it.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?

I don’t have one, single piece of advice.  There are so many things to learn.  I’ve collected quite a few writing tips onto my website.  If you’re interested, please take a look:
http://www.DanielArenson.com/FantasyWritingTips.aspx

Do you hear from your readers much?

I hang out a lot on KindleBoards.com and get to meet many great readers there.  Readers will occasionally email me too.  I love talking to my readers; their opinion is even more valuable to me than reviews by critics, fellow authors, friends, or family.  I write for my readers.

What do you think makes a good story?

Conflict and drama.  Good stories are about a character struggling to solve a problem.  I’m not big on “slice of life” stories that don’t involve danger.

What genre do you find the most difficult to write in and why?

I stick to fantasy and some science fiction, and feel comfortable writing in these genres.  I imagine that I would have no idea how to write a romance novel, say, or a western…and don’t attempt to.

Outlines? Are they needed or just a waste of time?

I outline.  Not all writers do, but it works for me.  My outlines aren’t always very detailed, but they give me a basic road map to follow.  As I write, I sometimes discover new things about the story and characters.  The final product is often different from the original outline.  But I do like having that initial blueprint.

If you had it to do all over again, is there anything that you would change in any of your books?

No.  My books reflect who I was, as an artist, when I wrote them.  If there are clunky passages here and there, well, so be it.  I’ll learn and improve for the next book.  Generally, I’m not big on artists changing their old creations.  I didn’t like, for example, how George Lucas revised Star Wars or how Steven Spielberg redid E.T. in CGI.  At some point, you just have to say, “The story is done.”  And you go create the next one.

Is there anything that you find challenging in your writing?

Promoting my novels can be a challenge.  There are millions of books out there, and it’s hard to get the word out.  I try to be active online, answer interviews, get great reviews, and reach as many readers as I can.

Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so, how to you overcome it?

No.  If anything, there are too many stories I want to write, and not enough time to write them.

What is the last book you read?

Steven King’s “The Dark Tower” part three.

If you could take any book and rewrite it, putting your own twist on it, which book would it be and why?

I’d give “The War of the Worlds” a different ending.  The humans would manage to defeat the aliens through ingenuity and courage.  The aliens wouldn’t just catch colds and die on their own.

Is there anything you need in order to write? (ie music, silence, chocolate)

Coffee and music.  I depend on both, and rarely write without them.

Night owl or Early bird?

I’d probably be a night owl, but in addition to writing novels, I have a day job (I’m a software developer) and wake up early to go to work. If the office didn’t force me to keep normal hours, I can see myself staying up all night to write.  Nights are so peaceful and quiet; I love that about them.

If you could have dinner with 1 person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I’d love to have dinner with Shakespeare.  I’d probably in such awe, though, that I’d barely touch my meal.

If you could travel into the past or future, where would you go and why?

I’d visit Tahiti before European colonialism.  I hear it was pristine and beautiful.

What does the word success mean to you?

In the context of writing:  Selling enough books to write full-time.

In the broader context of life:  Finding a way to live the life you love, with family, friends, and time to devote to your passions.

If you had to compare yourself to an animal, which one would it be and why?

Since I write fantasy, I’d say a unicorn, dragon, or some other fantasy creature.  That would definitely fit the type of books I write.

If you were written about on the front page of the newspaper, what would the headline be?

Well… I don’t know if the front page would normally print anything about my books.  Maybe if I pulled some crazy publicity stunt, for example, barged into Oprah’s house demanding that she add my books to her book club.  That might get me in the news.

If you had to have one word or phrase written on your forehead for an entire week, what would it be?

“Give me cookies.”

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I’d love to thank Daniel for stopping by and being the Featured Author on my blog!

You can find Daniel Arenson’s important links below!

His Website

Facebook

Get your own copy of Flaming Dove!

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Playing the Game November 24, 2010

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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I recently won Playing the Game by Barbara Taylor Bradford in a giveaway hosted on GoodReads. This is the first book that I have read of Ms. Bradford’s and I was excited to be peeking in the world of an author that I am not familiar with.

Playing the Game is centered around the life of Annette Remmington, a rising star in the art world, and her struggles to succeed in not only her art consultant business but in her personal life as well. Married to the controlling, manipulative Marius, Annette’s life is turned upside down when she starts to fall for the young journalist, Jack Chalmers, who confesses his love for her. As the story progresses, we start to learn the truths about Annette’s past and why it continues to haunt her in her present life.

For me, this book was a little difficult to get into as it moved rather slowly in the beginning and seemed to drag out in places that could easily have been avoided. Once I got to the middle of the book, it started moving much more quickly and kept me intrigued for the remaining pages. There are some brief flashbacks brought to life in the book about Annette’s childhood that some may find disturbing, but other than that it would be a good read for mature audiences.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Featured Author: Lori Titus November 23, 2010

Posted by Jaidis in Featured Authors.
2 comments

I’m happy to announce that Juniper Grove is starting a new Featured Author section! Each week I will post a new Featured Author, along with an interview so that you can get to know the author better! For those authors who request it, I will also be posting a review of their book. Now, to get the ball rolling, I’d like to announce our first Featured Author…Lori Titus!!

Lori Titus started writing at ten years of age, spurred on by nightmares and a steady diet of The Twilight Zone, Bewitched, and Edgar Allan Poe. In 2008, Lori became serious about her secret writing hobby and started submitting short stories to horror sites. Since then she has been published by ShadeWorks, MicroHorror, DemonMinds, Crimson Highway, The New Flesh and Flashes in the Dark.

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Without giving too much away, can you tell us what this book is about?

The book is called Hailey’s Shadow. It’s a novella about a woman who claims to be tormented by dark figures that she calls “shadows” which foretell the future.

How long did it take you to write Hailey’s Shadow?

The first draft only took about three days, but it’s been through numerous re-writes since then.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

You’ll want to read it because Hailey is a sexy, frightening woman that makes you want to find out what makes her tick.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I knew when I was about ten years old that I wanted to be a writer, but I grew up and started chasing more practical concerns. It wasn’t until three years ago that I got serious about it again.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Probably the amount of time that I can let an idea sit before really working on it. I always keep story ideas around, but a lot of what I’m working on now were storylines I thought of more than ten years ago.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read, and I edit other writers work. I listen to a lot of music.

What does your family think of your writing?

My family has been largely supportive. There’s one or two that think writing is an odd endeavor, and don’t really understand why anyone would want to do it. But I have other family members who are my biggest cheerleaders.

How many books have you written so far?

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I consider Lazarus to be my real first book, and I am still celebrating! I was expecting the book to be out in October. I was on the internet one night, and happened to stumble across it on Amazon.com. It had been out for a day, and I didn’t know it! I wrote a lot of emails that night, and there were a lot of congratulation calls that next morning.

Which book was the most enjoyable for you to write? What about the least enjoyable?

Lazarus was both the most enjoyable and the most difficult. The words came to me hard and fast, and I felt like I couldn’t get everything down as fast as I wanted to. I went through ten days or so with little jags of sleep, three hours here and four hours there. By the end of the book, I was sleeping during the day and staying up all night. Some of the zombie action was also invading my dreams, so every time I had a nightmare I got up and wrote about it. Still, it was incredibly satisfying. There is a little punch at the end of that story that made me stand up and say “no he didn’t!” Things fell right into place, as if this were someone’s life and I was just writing it down.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?

First of all, write. A lot. Read. A lot. Experiment with your work and hone it for a time before you start putting work out for publication. Watch movies and listen to stories. Look for the things that made you like or dislike books that you’ve read. Learn what plot devices work, which don’t, and why.

When you’re ready to submit, send your work all over. There is a publisher out there for any writer who is good at what they do– the biggest trick is finding the right one.

Whether or not you chose a publisher or self publish–educate yourself about the process as much as you can. And don’t expect to be perfect, but do the best you can. Like most jobs, becoming a writer is more about the day to day push to get things done than anything else. Stick with it. Be tenacious. Don’t give up.

Do you hear from your readers much?

Yes and no. I get emails from people that read my stories, but they come in spurts. I won’t hear anything for a while and then suddenly, I’m getting a lot of comments. I have been pleased that everything so far has been pretty positive.

What do you think makes a good story?

You have to care about the characters. They can be good, bad, or an enigmatic mix of both. But the reader has to see something in them that makes them relate to the characters on a personal level. Next, the plot needs to intrigue the reader and move the action along. Reading should make you feel like you’re experiencing something in another person’s skin.

What genre do you find the most difficult to write in and why?

Comedy. I have been able to write things with humorous elements, but I have never been able to write anything that was mostly humor.

Outlines? Are they needed or just a waste of time?

It depends on what you’re writing. If it’s a story that takes place over a set amount of hours or days, or a complex story that requires world building, they can be a necessity.

If you had it to do all over again, is there anything that you would change in any of your books?

I don’t think I’d change anything. Not to say that they’re perfect, but we do learn from our mistakes.

Is there anything that you find challenging in your writing?

Finding the time to get it done between my regular work and all normal things like doing laundry and running errands. No matter what the rest of my day is like, I look forward to the hours and days I can concentrate on my writing.

Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so, how to you overcome it?

I’ve never suffered writer’s block, but there were periods of time in the past when I didn’t write because of other things going on in my life.

What is the last book you read?

The last book I read was Mr. Moon’s Nightmares.

If you could take any book and rewrite it, putting your own twist on it, which book would it be and why?

There are so many books to choose from! I’d love to take one of the later books from P.C and Kristin Cast’s House of Night Series and rewrite it. I loved the way that series started, but it seemed to lose its fire along the way.

Is there anything you need in order to write? (ie music, silence, chocolate)

I prefer to have something going in the background–music, television, something to break up the silence. Writing horror late at night alone and in complete silence is not a good idea.

I understand you have a website called Flashes in the Dark. Can you tell us what Flashes in the Dark is all about?

Flashes in the Dark is a website that features a new story daily. They are all short stories, one thousand words or less. The vision of the site is to help promote new writers, and get people into reading more fiction. Our readers make the site part of their routine, catching stories on lunch breaks and such. The stories are a great, momentary escape.

Is there anything exciting or new that is going to be appearing on Flashes in the Dark?

Starting November 24th, we’re featuring a new serial in the spot usually reserved for Marradith Ryder. It’s an eleven part serial I wrote called The Daughters of Warring. While the story is set during the holiday season, it’s not warm and fuzzy. There’s death, drama, deceit, magic…lots of things I love in a story.

How do you choose which stories appear on your website?

My co-editor Bob Eccles and I review all the stories. We look for content, a good twist, and a voice that keeps us interested all the way through.

Night owl or Early bird?

Night owl! Some of my nights have turned into early mornings.

If you could have dinner with 1 person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I think I’ll skip the dead people. I’d have dinner with Oprah.

If you could travel into the past or future, where would you go and why?

I’d like to go to the future, to see what frightening things mankind is going to do to itself over the next three hundred years. But I’d only do it if I had a guaranteed way to get back home, so I could go write about it.

What does the word success mean to you?

Of course, to have books out there making enough money to earn a living off of would be great. It’s easy to get stuck on that part of it. However, I already think of myself as successful, just because I have books out there. These characters that used to only exist in my imagination have a “life” that others can read about now, and that’s a big thing.

If you had to compare yourself to an animal, which one would it be and why?

A cat. Quiet and independent, but always observant.

If you were written about on the front page of the newspaper, what would the headline be?

Hopefully, it would be on The Los Angeles Times and read: “Local Writer Makes it Big on Bestseller’s List.”

If you had to have one word or phrase written on your forehead for an entire week, what would it be?

It would be two words. It would say “Read Me.”

To visit Flashes in the Dark, just click the link above. Also, Hailey’s Shadow was due out this month but has been pushed back slightly. However, you can get her other novel Lazarus

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Gratitude Giveaway-Now through November 28th November 17, 2010

Posted by Jaidis in Giveaways.
53 comments

Now through 11:59pm on November 28th, I will be participating in the Gratitude Giveaways Blog Hop! To thank all of our followers, over 175+ blogs are coming together and having amazing giveaways that all have to do with reading books! Below you will find the information for my giveaway. I hope you decide to enter for your chance at some great prizes!

The items above are up for grabs for 1 lucky follower! Package includes:

* Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

* An adorable Skull tote bag! Perfect for carrying your books and accessories with you where ever you may go!

* A holographic bookmark that features a skeleton coming out of his coffin!  

I have made entering this giveaway as easy as I could! Complete the 2 requirements below and you are entered for you chance at this prize package!

Rule #1: You must be a follower of my blog! This blog hop is to thank my followers after all!! Since this is a WordPress blog and I haven’t figured out how to get the Google Friend Connect to work, the only way to follow my blog is through Networked Blogs.

Rule #2: Please leave a comment containing the email where you would like to be reached if you are the winner! An email will be sent to the winner, upon which the winner will have 3 days to respond to the email and claim the prize or another winner will be chosen!

Here is a synopsis of Touch the Dark: Cassandra Palmer can see the future and communicate with Spirits–talents that make her attractive to the dead and the undead. The ghosts of the dead aren’t usually dangerous; they just like to talk…a lot.

The undead are another matter.

Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires. But when the bloodsucking mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with vengeance on his mind, she’s forced to turn to the vampire Senate for protection.

The undead senators won’t help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire–and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay…

To see the list of other blogs participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop, Please visit

http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/p/gratitude-giveaways.html

Thanks for entering and Good Luck!!

Jaidis

Book Review: The Suspicious Spouse November 11, 2010

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, GoodReads, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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I recently won a copy of The Suspicious Spouse by Keith Jones in a giveaway on GoodReads. I originally entered the giveaway because I was intrigued with the description of the book as I haven’t read anything that had the main character portraying both male and female characters.

Hesitantly peeking inside the covers, I soon found myself being pulled into the novel as mysteries began to unfold and I began to have my own questions and suspicions, just as Christina/Christopher did. Though a few parts seemed to be heavy with needless detail, all in all I feel as though Keith Jones did a wonderful job with this book and I look forward to reading more of his work.

I’d also like to add that I really enjoyed the cover art as the single image of both Christina/Christopher adds a bit of intrigue.

The Suspicious Spouse is available by Salvo Press on December 1, 2010. To get your copy, visit Amazon

Available now on Kindle!

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Cameo the Assassin November 3, 2010

Posted by Jaidis in Books.
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Cameo the Assassin

by Dawn Mccullough-White

The Kingdom of Sieunes is rife with taverns, dirty streets, and clay pipe smoking citizens all toiling to feed their families and keep themselves in something little better than rags. With a foiled revolution just ten years prior still burning in the hearts of many, the royals enlist the aid of assassins to keep things in order.

The townsfolk entertain themselves by dreaming of better times to come and regaling in stories of the undead said to walk the graveyards at night… and of Cameo the killer with corpse-like eyes… Scarred and jaded Cameo is one of the most effective assassins in the employ of the Association, moving from one mission to the next as long as the alcohol keeps flowing.

Her acceptance of the murder-for-hire lifestyle is thrown into doubt when she meets a local highwayman with a penchant for fine clothes and women, and then she begins to think about breaking with the company but no one ever breaks with the Association under good terms.

Available in paperback on Amazon or you can pick up a copy for your Kindle for only .99! How cool is that?!

To learn more about Dawn, visit her website!

Blessings,

Jaidis

Nurture Your Books Celebration November 2, 2010

Posted by Jaidis in Nurture Your Books.
2 comments

Want to enter for your chance to win some awesome giveaways! Of course you do!! Now through December 31st, Nurture Your Books is celebrating all readers and authors by giving away some amazing prizes!

Here’s how the celebration works for READERS:

Spread the word and invite others to celebrate with us — it increases your chances of winning more fantastic, FREE books!

50 entries – 1 book for 1 reader

100 entries – 3 books for 2 readers

200+ entries – 6 books for 3 readers

Here’s how the celebration works for AUTHORS:

Grand Prize: Premium Book Promo./Spotlight Package & a spot in the Nurture Your BOOKS™ SHOWCASE for 6 months ($495.00 USD value).

2nd Prize: Enhanced Author Promo./Spotlight Package & a spot in the Nurture Your BOOKS™ SHOWCASE for 2 months ($245.00 USD value).

3rd Prize: Any four À La Carte Author Services ($120.00 USD value).

Click the image above, or enter for your chance to win by clicking HERE

Blessings,

Jaidis