Monday, December 17, 2012

Meet and Greet with Author Julie Campbell Plus reviews

     I am pleased to welcome Julie Campbell, a person I highly admire and and whose footsteps I aspire to follow one day She has graciously agreed to join us today to promote her new book, the sequel to Senior Year Bites, Summer Break Blues.

Julie: Aww, thanks Sally! It’s a pleasure to be here.

    Sally:  1. In Senior Year Bites a young teen is turned into a vampire during her senior year of high school. You have just released the sequel to this wonderful book on the 14th of November titled Summer Break Blues. Can you give those of us who have been anticipating this release a little sneak peek as to where the story is heading?

Julie:  Maine… Oh, wait, you wanted more than that? Hehe. Well, Meg and Alexander still have to deal with the Sidhe who may, or may not want them dead. Then Ann’s parents go missing on their annual trip to Maine and the police have no idea what happened to them. So Meg, Steph and Ann and Alexander go to try and rescue them. There might even be another vampire in this one.

   Sally:  2. In Senior Year Bites when Meg is turned into a vampire she acquires new superpowers, some of which she finds useful, and others harder to cope with. If you could have a superpower what would you chose, and how would you cope with the differences it would cause in your life?

Julie:  Strong Telekinesis. I didn’t even have to think about that, because oddly I’ve pondered this question many times. So much you can do with the ability to move things with your mind. You could fly, start fires, toss people, retrieve things from the kitchen while never leaving your chair… oh, and you could totally pull off the Tommyknocker’s trick where the author writes a book with her mind. Yeah, being able to type while doing other things would be phenomenal. Coping with the differences. Well, I’d probably have to keep the powers quiet, but I bet I’d get a lot more housework done if I could write and do dishes at the same time.

Sally: 3. Of all your characters, who do you most relate to?

JulieAs much as I’m not trying to be my main characters, probably Meg. In this story anyway. I have one character that I’d kill to be (except if I were going to be her, I’d have to change her name) and one character that really feels like she’s my alter ego, but that’s a long story.

  Sally:   4. Is there one of your characters you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?

Julie: Well, at the beginning in Senior Year Bites I hated Alexander. He was fun to write, but he was such a dick. Actually, he still is, just not as often. I’ve had fun with the complexities of his character, and I’ve found I actually really like him. A lot of other people do too. Originally he was supposed to be my bad guy in Senior Year Bites. Turns out he wasn’t though. I already knew how I felt about my characters by the time I got to Summer Break Blues though. A little teaser for all of you who love Gage, he’s on of the main characters in the next novel.

  Sally:    5. Your characters seem to jump off the page as if they are real. Did you learn this skill from somewhere, or does it come naturally to you?

Julie: *grin* Thank you. I learned it through countless hours of reading and writing. I didn’t consciously ever work on the skill, but it’s part of writing great stories. I didn’t take a class or anything, just lots of practice.

 Sally:     6. You write urban fantasy for young adults/ adults. Is there something that draws you to that genre specifically? For example: I write children's stories because my children are my primary audience.

Julie: I’m laughing right now because I never intended to write young adult. It just kind of happened. I wrote a few stories and a friend said, wow that’s a great young adult. I had no idea you wrote young adult. I responded with, yeah, I had no idea I wrote young adult either. That kind of boggled my mind a little. I actually rewrote one of my novels to be young adult because it worked better. I love the age group, so I guess it works. As to the genre, I love fantasy. I write other forms of fantasy too, but Urban Fantasy is so much fun because it brings the fantastical into our world and that tickles my mind. I mean really, legends and myths have to come from somewhere, right?

Sally:  7. You are a winner of NaNoWriMo and continue to be an active participant. Can you tell us a little bit about what NaNo is and what motivates you to join Year after year? 

Julie: NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is where crazy people from all over the world try to each write a novel of 50,000 words in a month. That means you have to write 1667 words a day for the entire month of November, or 2000 words a day to finish early. No easy task when life constantly tries to get in the way. The fundamental goal of NaNo is to get those people who say, 'oh, I think I'd like to write a novel someday,' the excuse they need to write. It's also a great way to meet other writers in your local area and connect with like-minded people while trying to pound out the word count. Keyboards are left smoking at the end of the month.
     Nano is a ton of fun, and it will always have a place in my heart because NaNo taught me to actually finish a story. I’d never managed to actually finish a novel until 2005 when I did NaNo. I’ve lost count of the novels I’ve written since then. The local group is also really supportive and I’ve met many of my good friends through NaNo. It’s also a good excuse to ignore housework for a month. 

Sally:  8. What is your least favorite part about writing? Your favorite?

Julie: Least favourite: Editing and Marketing. Most favourite: writing. I just love to write, explore new worlds, create new things. Positive feedback is always nice too.

 Sally:     9. When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation?

Julie: Uh, relaxation? What’s that? Hehe. I ride horses and play with my dog. Trailriding in the mountains or camping is my idea of heaven. I read a lot. I like movies too. 

  Sally:    10. Can you tell us a little bit about your other projects / anthologies?

Julie: Oh gosh. I have an adult Steampunk Novella called Serpent Queen coming out from Inkwolf Press very soon. I have an old west ghost story being published in the Anthology Gunslingers and Ghost Stories due out December 1st – Doc fans will like that I think. I’m working on a few other short stories for submissions in December, and then back into the next Clanless novel. Then I have a few more novellas to write. Doc fans will also be happy about that. Hehe. And then a novel in a brand new series. It’s got dragons and unicorns in it, but don’t let that fool you, it won’t be a lighthearted tale.  

  Sally:    11. Where can your books/stories be purchased.
Buy Links: 

 Sally:    Thank You for joining us today! I wish you well on this new book and the many more to come.

Julie: Thank you so much for having me.

Julie writes fantasy novels. When she’s not out riding her horse, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer with a cat on her lap and her dog at her side.

 Blurb For Summer Brake Blues:
     Meg managed to survive her senior year of high school as a vampire, and now she’s looking forward to a relaxing summer with her friends before trying to tackle college. Unfortunately, some unfinished business from the previous year rears its ugly head and Meg is forced to deal with the Sidhe who are distinctly unhappy that she killed one of their kind last winter. Then Ann’s parents vanish while they are on their annual summer vacation in Maine and it’s up to Meg and the rest of the gang to come to the rescue. Though she is still trying to figure out who, and what she has become, Meg and her friends feel they are up to the challenge. That is until things really start to fall apart.

Included below are my reviews of the Julie Campbell books I have read. I would recommend them to anyone who likes to read, and even if you don't, these are so good they might spark something inside you.

Senior Year BitesSenior Year Bites by J.A. Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you find yourself suddenly turned into a teen vampire then this book is a must have instruction manual. High School is hard enough to handle without the drama of being turned into a vampire. This is a wonderful book about how one such teen does just that. She turns a horrible situation into a positive one by becoming a hero instead of a monster. I found that Senior Year Bites is something you can really sink your teeth into at any age and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read.

Westward, Yo!Westward, Yo! by J.A. Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every child hates to move and Tina is no exception. She is leaving her best friend and a wonderful mall for desert and a old farm house. Tina's only consolation is that she can work for a local ranch where she can ride in exchange for a little hard work. When the ranch owner asked if she would like to go on a cattle drive with them she jumped at the chance. On their journey one of the calves goes astray however and her well trained horse takes her on a wild goose chase to retrieve it. You will never believe the wild adventure she has. I have to say that with out a doubt this short story is well worth the read for any age group that likes fantasy, horses, and a little bit of mystery.

Range FeudRange Feud by J.A. Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this latest installment of Into the West Tina's adventure continues to unfold. This time while checking the fence she is once again drawn to the mysterious canyon that takes her into the past. This book is a wonderful adventure that is like a long kiss good bye it leaves you hungry for more. It is written for young adults but I would recommend this book to anyone who likes, adventures, mysteries,and a little romance with a hunky cowboy.

Thanks to Julie for a great interview, Raven Quill for another wonderful edit, and to everyone who stopped by to read this.

For more info on Nano visit

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Intensity by Dean Koontz

IntensityIntensity by Dean Koontz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this book Chyna is a 26-year-old graduate student still coming to terms with her abusive past. She is staying at her friend’s house for the weekend when Edgler Foreman Vess enters the home. When a scream pierces the night, Chyna hides under the bed. Edgler comes in and searches her room but finds no one. Driven by a weird sense of duty, Chyna ventures out to find that he has killed everyone. Frightened and alone she does not give up but hides away in his motor home. This act leads her to learn of a girl who is trapped in his basement. She takes it upon herself to save this girl and herself in the process.
Despite the dark nature of this book that will leave some readers with a pit in their stomachs, I love its power. A non-stop roller coaster ride that does not disappoint, on the front of this book, it says Intensity: A Novel. What it should say is An Intense Novel. This book is a page-turner from page one. If you plan to read Intensity make sure you make time to read it all at once because you will not be able to put it down. This is my third time though and I would not hesitate to read it again. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery, horror, and suspense.

View all my reviews

Cold Fire by Dean Koontz

Cold FireCold Fire by Dean Koontz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holly Thorne’s life and job as a reporter was at a stalemate until she meets a mysterious Good Samaritan named Jim Ironheart. Right before her eyes, he plucks a young boy from the street just minutes before a deadly truck comes sailing over the crest of a hill. Captivated by his blue eyes and humble manner she decides to use her skills as a reporter to track him down. What she finds was more bizarre then she could have imagined. The boy is not Jim’s only heroic act; stories all over the wire tell of a blue-eyed man who saves people just in time and then disappears into the shadows. When Holly finally catches up with Jim, she learns that he needs her. His gift of being lead to save people is tearing him apart, and without a little love to keep him together he may just go mad.
This book is about the power of literature to influence the mind of a boy to do extraordinary things with his gifts a force so influential that it last until his adult life, and the power of love to tame it all. I love this book and unlike Dean Koontz’s other books Cold Fire is not as filled with horror, just suspense and mystery that will keep you turning the pages. This was my second time through this book and it will not be the last. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Sci-Fi, mystery, suspense, love, romance, and books that change your life forever.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 6, 2012

Texas Noir, Volume 1 by Milton T. Burton

Texas NoirTexas Noir by Milton T. Burton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you came across a book writen by your favorite author without a cover, could you tell just by reading a few pages who the author was? It would be a given, just because you know that author so well you could spot their style even without seeing a name in print first.
This book is a collection of Texas Noir short stories. In classic Milton Burton style, delightful stories filled with cynical humor and a passion for honor unlike any other. The titles are A Good Beginning, Fine Tuning, Cherry Coke, Fangs, Grassy Knoll, Hobby, Old Ira’s Still, The Collector, Quick lube: A Fable, The Grays, The Watchers, Vessel unto Honor, Thrice Hanged Throckett, The Day of the Hornet, The Gipper in Purgatory, The Apprentice, and The Question.
I would like to take a minute of your time to honor a fallen hero and the author of these great stories. Some people, after you meet them, your life will be changed forever. This happened to me after meeting Milton. I am a wannabe writer who has been working on a series of stories about a detective pig. I joined a yahoo group that was run by a woman author who writes detective books for a living. When I posted my work there, I was ridiculed and treated very poorly by another member of the forum. Milton came to my rescue, and in Milton-fashion told the member to “Go have relations with himself!” Milton then contacted me privately and invited me to his yahoo group where I have found a home among his friends. He also told me that I had the potential to become a truly talented writer and begged me not to give up. I can honestly say if it were not for Milton, I would have stopped writing. Since writing my first story, I have written and completed five of the detective pig stories and am working on more.
I am deeply saddened to say that on December 2 2011 Milton left us. I just wish I could have told him how thankful I am, he gave me the kick in the pants I needed to rediscover a long lost passion I thought was lost forever. I wish you Gods speed my dear friend and please do not give the Big Guy upstairs to much guff as he is doing the best he can.

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Edited by:

On WritingOn Writing by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this book well-known writer Stephen King looks at the horrors of his own life and tries to put into words what it means to be a writer.
I have never been much of a fan of Stephen King’s books due to their wordiness. Since reading this book, I have a new respect for the man and I think that I will give him another chance now that I understand where he is coming from. The one thing I take away from this book is the same thing I’ve used as my motto since I got back into writing. “A Writer Writes Always!” If you are a writer or an aspiring writer, I think that this book is well worth the read.

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Edited by:

The Pentacle Pendant by Stephen M. Debock

The Pentacle PendantThe Pentacle Pendant by Stephen M. DeBock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Lukas, a handsome TA at Claire Delaney’s college, approached her at a bar, she had no idea that her life would change so drastically. At first she thought their meeting was just a cliché encounter that you could find in any smutty romance novel but as they talked she found him so intriguing she could not let him slip away. During their first night together, he begged her to share his gift with him. Unwittingly she accepts and soon finds that her whole life has been turned inside out. You will have to read this book to find out if her new found abilities are a curse or a gift.
This novel is classified as horror and is not for readers with weak stomachs as it is filled with a lot of killing. I do want to point out however that this is a wonderful book filled with romance, animals, and some seriously vindictive behavior. It is well worth the read if you like fantasy romance and are not turned off by grossness.

Edited by:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

ThresholdThreshold by Devin O'Branagan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Life is a set of bumpy roads. These winding paths all lead to one event that changes your life forever. The way you choose to travel, determines how the end will play out. For Cole Dillon that choice came sooner than expected when he died after falling into a frozen lake. With a little help from his friend Elijah Thunderbird, a Native American Shaman, he is given a second chance on life and a mission to close a dark rift torn open by his return. On the surface this book is about how a near death experience changes the lives of the Dillon family and those closest to them. Underneath it is a tale of love, loss, and a deep faith that will leave you speechless. I would recommend this book to anyone who feels there is something missing in their lives. If you are anything like me you will do just as I did and as soon as you read the last page you will find yourself turning back to the front to read it again.

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Edited by:

The Kringle Chronicles: Catching Santa Book One by Marc Franco

Catching SantaCatching Santa by Marc Franco
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Are you tired of the old tale of Santa in his jolly red suit? Do you think he would be more fun if he was more like a commando? Well then this book is for you. When a rogue assistant of Santa named SR starts turning naughty children into wood and locking them up instead of just giving them a lump of coal, it is up to Jakob and his friends to set a trap to catch Santa and lure SR out into the open. Do they succeed? You are going to have to read this book to find out. This is a children's book but I would recommend it to readers of any age who are still kids at heart or if they were once teased about still believing in Santa.

Edited by:

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Find The KringleCronicles on twitter Here is an author interview Marc did recently:
Here is an author interview Marc did recently:
Before we get started, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a dad of three great kids, husband to a wonderful wife, brother, son, pet owner, author and former sex crimes detective. Being a Navy brat, I grew up living around the world. My dad met my mom in Spain. She’s a Spaniard. I guess that makes me half Spanish. She is also the reason I speak fluent Spanish. I drive a Jeep.  Let’s see, what else? Oh yeah, I love the beach, surfing, swimming and any sport that involves the water. I play competitive soccer. I have a PS3 and love to play the Battlefield games. Okay, I think I just bored your readers.
How long have you been writing? 24 years on and off. I’ve ten books yet to publish.
Why did you start writing?  I was bored. See, during my first year of college I was working for Pan Am. Now wait. I have to mention that I’m not that old. The year is 1987 and yes, Pan Am was still around, although not for much longer. I was an international travel baggage inspector. Translation: I sat around during my 5 hour shift until summoned by a ticket agent. This happened maybe twice during a shift. I would then physically inspect travelers baggage searching for anything suspicious. So, after I’d complete my school work, I’d write. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Nope, not really. I mean I never thought I’d pursue publication. Writing was a hobby.

Who or what has had the most influence on you as a writer? No one person. Well, God, because I always want to do what’s right in his eyes.
Do you have a favorite book, place, song, person, or movie that inspires you? Inspiration? Wow. It comes from all places. My brain is little ADD(my wife's diagnosis) so data comes in fast and scattered. And when it comes I scramble to find my writing journal to download the brain dump. My favorite book is Genesis, yes, just Genesis. Creation fascinates me.
How much research do you usually put into your books? Research, hmm, let me think because it depends on what I’m writing about. Catching Santa was quick -- 4 hours. All I did was research Germanic Santa lore. On the other hand The Eternal Library has taken weeks and research continues to consume my time.
Do you base events or people in your books off of your life, or your friends' and family's lives? Sure, the three Jablonski children in Catching Santa are based on my kids. I even use their first names. Their surname, Jablonski, is my mother-in-law's maiden name. 

What do you do when you're not writing? I workout at the gym with my wife, hang with the kids and play soccer.
What was your favorite book or author as a teen? Anything R.A. Salvatore. What's your favorite now? Joseph Delaney of the Spook’s Apprentice series and anything written by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
What is your writing process? Each book is a project. I outline first -- so as to know where I am and where I ‘m going with the story. Seriously, I see the outline as a skeleton. Once in place I add the flesh. I know that’s gross but it works for me. Do you write regularly at certain times or just when inspiration hits? I usually write either during the early morning hours or late evening hours. It just depends. If inspiration hits I write it in my writing journal which is never to far or I’ll record a voice memo on my iPhone.
What keeps you motivated? It’s fun creating and seeing my work in print and online. Positive reviews and awards are cool too.
What is your favorite quote? Believe in love. Believe in magic. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don't, who will?” – Jon Bon Jovi
Are there any books you wish you'd written? No. Not yet.

What is Catching Santa about? I thought you read it? No, just kidding. It’s about a special boy, Jakob, and his friends. They find themselves in the middle of an age-old power struggle between Santa and Santa’s former assistant, the devilish S.R. See, things begin six days before Christmas and weird things are happening in 11-year-old Jakob's Florida neighborhood. His friends are convinced their Christmas is in danger, and then live snowmen strangely appear and confirm the threat. Jakob dismisses the bizarre events as an elaborate hoax concocted by the neighborhood bully. But when the bully turns into smoke, a devilish stranger appears as the mastermind behind the mayhem demanding that Jakob catch Santa...or else!

What inspired this book? I was tired of the Disneyesque portrayal of Santa and wanted to create a whimsical Brothers Grim-like story with sci-fi and fantasy elements.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Don’t give up. Give 100%. Look and see what others are doing and do it better.
Interview provided by:
Cris Francet
Marketing & Publicity
Phone: 863-546-0760
Fax: 407-505-4243

Threshold by Devin O'Branagan

ThresholdThreshold by Devin O'Branagan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Life is a set of bumpy roads. These winding paths all lead to one event that changes your life forever. The way you choose to travel, determines how the end will play out. For Cole Dillon that choice came sooner than expected when he died after falling into a frozen lake. With a little help from his friend Elijah Thunderbird, a Native American Shaman, he is given a second chance on life and a mission to close a dark rift torn open by his return. On the surface this book is about how a near death experience changes the lives of the Dillon family and those closest to them. Underneath it is a tale of love, loss, and a deep faith that will leave you speechless. I would recommend this book to anyone who feels there is something missing in their lives. If you are anything like me you will do just as I did and as soon as you read the last page you will find yourself turning back to the front to read it again.

Edited by:
Black Maps (John March, #1)Black Maps by Peter Spiegelman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Despite his family’s wishes John March became a deputy sheriff for a small town until his wife was killed. Then he became a private investigator. In this book his lawyer asks him to investigate a blackmail case for one of his clients, a high profile banker. In doing so March finds himself in a mess bigger than he bargained for. This book is a great mystery that will keep you guessing to the end. I found it very enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone who likes PI crime books.

Edited by:

Dashing though the Snow By Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

Dashing Through The SnowDashing Through The Snow by Mary Higgins Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a group of workers at a small town grocery win the lottery their joy is overshadowed by the sudden disappearance of one of their co-workers. The amateur sleuth Alvirah Meehan and her friend Reagan Reilly, a private investigator, jump in to unravel a mystery so big that it takes the whole town on a wild ride. I liked this little book. It was worth the quick read and written in the classic Clark style. Great characters, wonderful story, and just when you thought you knew exactly what was going on, they throw in a curve you never would have expected. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a comfort book to curl up with by the Christmas tree.

Edited by: