Book Review – Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead as a Doornail

Author: Christine Harris

Format: Hardback

Published: 2005

 

When I pick up a Sookie Stackhouse novel, many time I feel like I’m putting on warm fuzzy bunny slippers.  There is a familiar comfort to the cadence and the flow of these books that I simply enjoy.  When I read Charlaine’s books I simply just sit back, enjoy the ride and maybe live a little vicariously through Sookie seeing as she gets to be around the types of beings I only get to dream of, vampires and werewolves and the like.

 

While I enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse books and they all have that familiar comfort this book felt a little outside of the norm.  I enjoyed the read and it was just as cozy as I described above but it was lacking at the same time.  In picking up one of these novels I’ve come to expect a good bit of mystery and intrigue, Sookie’s life to be in danger on more than one occasion and for there to be some rather sexy moments between Sookie and a supernatural male of choice.  Sadly this was not the case with the book. It had promise it had intrigue – Sookie’s life was in danger but not in such thrilling ways where I was on the edge of my seat.

 

Sookie also spent most of her time swinging from one even to the next trying to keep her head afloat and not really digging into any mysterious events or deaths even though there was a serial killer roaming around trying to kill shifters.  It was kind of clear at least to me who did the shooting long before Sookie even pieced any of it together and honestly the discovery of who did it was merely by chance.  Additionally the only sexy moment was when Sookie was getting her leg licked by a newly introduced shifter.  It sounds kinky and weird I admit but given the situation it was less kinky and more logical and a bit sexual.

 

Honestly this book in the series was akin to the second movie in a trilogy, lot of important information and filler but a bit lacking in the action.  I will admit it made a lot of sense for Sookie as a character to not get too romantically involved with anyone given everything that had happened in her life.  She had recently been through a lot of drama in the previous books and most people like Sookie would need a break and would sort of swing from event to event as it played in the book – so I can credit Charlene Harris for her use of character development in this book but it was still highly disappointing when you are expecting something a little more both romantically and mystery wise.  I am hoping the next book will pick back up with the romantic interludes and mysterious intrigue.  With that said I’ll have to give this book a 3 out of 5 pages – it is not worth skipping but you don’t want to expect to get much out of this book.

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Writer Wednesday – Christopher Carroll

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Christopher Carroll, second son and third child of a Quebec Irish family born and raised in Ottawa Canada

Tell us (briefly) about you…
Raised with a love of books. Bed time was extended if we were reading in bed. For every hour of television or video games we wanted to watch we had to read a book of some sort. Dad wasn’t picky. It could be a thick comic. As long as we were reading something. That started the love affair.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
I’ve published about a dozen short stories in various mediums and have self published a half dozen collections of everything from pulp fiction mysteries to kink erotica and non fiction… self help pieces for alternative and risky lifestyles.

…and what you’re working on right now.
Right now I am working on a series of short (100 page) horror/thriller novels set around the concept of the empty miles of highways you find all over Canada. Ten minutes north out of any city and you find yourself on seemingly purposeless roads that look like they haven’t been travelled in years heading to parts of the country where there are maybe one person every ten miles.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
Picking out Winnie the pooh books from the public library after church on Sunday afternoons to read with my dad that night before dinner.

What are your three favorite books?
American Tabloid by James Ellroy (picked it up at Union Station in Toronto to read on my first trip to New York. Missed most of New York as my head was buried in the damn book)

Richard III by Shakespeare. I don’t know why I like that play so much but I really, really do. I keep envisioning it playing out in Nazi Germany but still…

The Magus by Jon Fowles. It was gifted to me by a friend in Huntsville with the caveat that I’d only be able to read it when I needed it. I tried about a half dozen times and couldn’t get past chapter one. Then, after dropping out of University and getting dumped I found myself pouring through it three times in a week. It was magic. It set me right.

I haven’t been able to open it since.

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
Five or six at any given time. If I read anything more then a hundred or two words of anyone writer everything I write for the next three weeks comes off like me trying to sound like them. And I can’t read Stephen King at all anymore or I end up mimicking.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book,
I am gone from the world until I fall asleep or someone kicks me in the head.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
Re-read. Some books are worth it. Some books are complicated. Danielwski’s House of Leaves and J G Ballard’s Attrocity Exhibition have been re read about six times each (and I still have no idea what the hell they’re about!)

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Very. Unless it’s the in thing. Then I’ll read it later. I just read The Millenium Trilogy. I imagine I’ll get to The Game of Thrones sometime in 2014.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very. My last job was special event coordinator for an independent bookstore. Pretty much my job was earning and recommending local authors. The only way we’ll survive these days as authors is through self networking… especially if we’re going the independent route and don’t have major publishing houses backing us.

What do you look for in a good book?
An interesting narrative voice. Someone with a good voice can write about their laundry list for a hundred pages and I’ll devour it. Someone could be talking about the end of the world by zombies and killer robots but if they write he said she said they did this he said this she said this they did this the sun rose they sat down he said this she said this they talked… ick.

Why do you write?
It’s therapy. It lets me close my eyes and shut off my ever critical brain and just vent out whatever is sitting inside me causing me grief. I know I’ll never get rich doing this. That doesn’t stop me. It gives me release and sometimes stuff I write sparks feelings in others. There is nothing more precious to me then that.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
A monk Seriously. Cloistered in stone walls with books and quiet contemplation.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I honestly have no idea. Stories start for me with a monologue. A character starts talking. I let them talk. Then I close my eyes and see where they bring me.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
I am a terrible editor, and self critical to an insane degree. And I am a lot more clever than I thought.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
I think most of them are wishing I’d hurry up and get over it already. Even the most die hard of the highschool artists have settled down and gotten a decent paying job by now.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
I’ve never heard a stereotype about writers.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
That first rejection shut me down for about twelve months. You don’t start great. Hell, you don’t even get great midway through. I think you get one really, really phenomenal story. The trick is to not ever let the last story you wrote be that one story. Always write one better.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Oh, no. I was an arrogant little twit when I started and I think I still kind of am. I just know, looking back on what I wrote then, that I was an absolute idiot. There is no such thing as pure talent. Don’t ever let anyone convince you there is. All talent needs three AM hammering it out on a keyboard practice. All skill needs refining. Back then I thought I could coast on talent.

Now I know talent is but a tenth of what is actually needed for success.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
The Walking Dead is awesome. I’d kill to work with Geoff Johns (DC COMICS) or Joss Whedon at least once before I die. Mostly, I would absolutely love to work on a Shakespearean revival. The Bard is cliche now and that irritates me because every single drama you can imagine he dealt with four centuries ago. Oh, and if anyone has the magic mojo to bring Lovecraft back from the dead for a book or two I’d love to work with him. He is the ONLY writer to ever give me the creeps.

How do you deal with your fan base?
With shocked awe. That anyone reads me stuns me. That people like what I write humbles me. They become my best friends. I try to be as nice as possible at all times.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know I’m not actually a crazy serial killer. I’m a normal guy who drinks beer, screws up really badly and sometimes worries too much about oral care.

Thanks for this
Chris

Writer Wednesday – Candy Little

Let’s start with the basics.  Who are you?
Candy Little

 
Tell us (briefly) about you…
…and a bit about what you’ve written…
…and what you’re working on right now.
I write Christian romance and general mystery novels. I live in Michigan with my husband and two grown kids. I have three books out right now. The Unwilling Bride is a Christian, historical romance. Unforgiving Ghosts is a Christian, contemporary romance. Death By Broken Heart is my general, cozy mystery novella.  

 
What are your earliest book-related memories?
When I was a teenager my mother would read romances then give them to me to read. If they made a movie out of the book we’d watch it together. My aunt is an avid reader and we got most of the books from her. So reading was a family affair!!

 
What are your three favorite books?
Come Love a Stranger by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
A Wedding For Maggie by Allison Leigh
And, The Bible

 
How many books to do you read at any given time?  What are you reading now?
Unfortunately I haven’t read much in the past two years. I’m lucky if I get the book read for my book club. I did read a Christmas novella, The Angel Song by Marry Manners a few weeks ago. Not reading anything at the moment.
 

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
like a good glass of wine and some romance!!

 
To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
I have re-read a few books. However, since I don’t have much time to read I usually have a huge pile of new books to read so I don’t get to re-read my faves.

 
How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
It depends on the other person’s taste. I have read books recommended by friends and hated them. Our tastes were too different. So I’d guess it’s about 50% chance I’d read a book based on recommendation.

 
How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
VERY likely. I do it all the time.

 
What do you look for in a good book?
Vibrant characters.
Good paced plot – it doesn’t necessarily have to be fast paced but it shouldn’t drag either.
I also love adjectives that described the characters, clothing and setting.
And, multiple POV’s so I can understand what other characters are thinking and feeling. When I read a novel that has 1 POV I get bored. You might as well just watch the movie if you have to read body langue and pick up emotion cues from dialogue. Pull me into the story by putting me into the minds of other main characters!!   

 
Why do you write?
Obviously from my comments above, I love to break the rules!! But, seriously, I wrote my first novel, Unforgiving Ghosts, after I had a stillborn daughter. I was able to express myself in a fictional way. Writing is more therapeutic for me. I love expressing my feelings through the thoughts and actions of my characters.  

 
If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
A teacher.
 

 
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
All my inspiration come from God!!
 

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That I’m unorganized and undisciplined, working on both of those. J
But it has also shown my creativity and dedication. I self published after 10 years of rejection and having my family give me no support. I was determined to show them all how wrong they were. And I DID!!
 

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
My husband and kids think it’s a hobby and I don’t really work. Thankfully I have some supportive friends and neighbors who always encourage me.

 
Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
I don’t think writers are as shy as they have been portrayed. I’m certainly not shy!!

 
What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Understanding how to market in this digital age. Also, they need to learn the business and understand that book covers and editing are the most important investment they can make.

 
Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Yes, editing!! I had a few friends help go over my manuscript early on. Then a friend who is a retired English teacher helped do the final edit, but we still missed so much and The Unwilling Bride -paperback- is full of errors. I’ve corrected the mistakes in the ebook but nothing I can do for the print copies. I hired a professional editor for Unforgiving Ghosts. I learned that editing is best done by a professional and not friends!

 
Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
Can’t think of anything.

 
How do you deal with your fan base?
I love talking with my fans and I’m thankful for each one!! I guess FB, Twitter and Goodreads is how I stay connected to them.

 
Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
that I have a racy mystery coming out with a very sexy love scene.

 
Anything else we should know?
Only that I love you all. Thanks so much, Mandi for helping me promote myself and my novels. Praying that you and everyone have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!!

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday – Abigail Keam (and a giveaway!!!)

Abigail Keam is an award-winning author who writes the Josiah Reynolds mystery series about a beekeeper turned sleuth.

Death By A HoneyBee won the 2010 Gold Medal Award for Women’s Lit from Reader’s Favorite and was a Finalist of the USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books of 2011. Death By Drowning won the 2011 Gold Medal Award for Best Mystery Sleuth and also was placed on the USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books of 2011.

Ms. Keam is also an award-winning beekeeper who lives on the Kentucky River in a metal house with her husband and various critters.

*

Let’s start with the basics.  Who are you?
Abigail Keam, born and bred in the great state of Kentucky, sired by Appalachian and Southern parents.

Tell us (briefly) about you…
I’m pretty much a stereotype.  I’m old, cantankerous and an embarrassment to my children.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
I write the Josiah Reynolds mysteries or the Death By ____ series.  My first book was Death by a HoneyBee.  The mysteries are about a female Kentucky beekeeper who becomes an amateur sleuth.  I’ve been fortunate that the books have been so well received by positive reviews and awards like the USA Book News – Best Books List of 2011, which included Death By Drowning as a Finalist.  

…and what you’re working on right now.
Death By Lotto

What are your earliest book-related memories?
I have lovely memories of my mother taking me to the Cincinnati library and checking books out for me.   My mother didn’t drive, so we had to take the bus, walk seven blocks to the library and then back to the bus station.  I’m sure it wore her out, but she was determined that her children be educated.

What are your three favorite books?
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain
To Kill A Mockingbird  by Harper Lee
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

How many books to do you read at any given time?  What are you reading now?
One at a time.  I am currently reading Herakleitos and Diogenes.  Translated from the Greek by Guy Davenport.  You asked.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
I’m transported.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
Everyone should reread the classics.  It’s important the people read the great books in all genres and streamline those books into our culture.   It’s sad that many young people do not know the great ancient myths or they don’t understand the meaning when someone says “thirty pieces of silver” or “the road to Damascus”.   Regardless of our ethnic or religious backgrounds, we should have a common understanding of our western culture.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Rarely.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Hmmm.  Next question.

What do you look for in a good book?
A good book will draw you into it.  That’s all it needs to do.

Why do you write?
I feel compelled like Moses in the Wilderness.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
A beekeeper.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My past.  My cultural identity.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That I am a terrible speller.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
They could care less.  Remember the saying that a prophet is not honored in his own country.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
I think that they are all true.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
To get an even break.  Thank goodness for Ebooks.  Also they are handicapped by their lack of education.  A person graduating from high school in 1970 is better educated than a person graduating from college today.  This is very true in Kentucky.  

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
I don’t contemplate on them because it would undermine my confidence.  A writer shouldn’t look back but keep on truckin’.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
I would love to co-write a novel series with one or two authors that I know.

How do you deal with your fan base?
I am sorry to say that I am an adulation whore.  I just love my fans.  My Street Team is called Josiah’s Queen Bees.  Hokey I know, but I love it.  

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
That I was surprised when my readers told me that the Josiah Reynolds series was funny.  I didn’t intend them to be.  

Anything else we should know?
Let’s keep a little mystery, shall we?

*

Links you might be interested in:

Abigail Keam’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/abigailshoney

Abigail’s website: http://www.abigailkeam.com

Death by Bourbon Paperback link – http://www.amazon.com/Death-Bourbon-Josiah-Reynolds-Mystery/dp/0615651593

Death by Bourbon eBook Link –  http://www.amazon.com/Bourbon-Reynolds-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B0098BMV54

Or find Abigail on twitter @AbigailKeam.

So, hey, you saw the title of the post, right, and you totally want a chance to win stuff?  So here’s the deal.  Rafflecopter’s pretty box can’t imbed in wordpress, so follow this link and you could win copies of Abigail’s books *and* jars of her award winning honey!

CHECK OUT ABIGAIL’S RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE!!!

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