Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Wide Open by Deborah Coates

by Deborah Coates
Release Date: March 13th, 2012
2012 Tom Doherty Associates
Hard Copy Edition; 304 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-765-32898-4
Genre: Fiction / Urban Fantasy
Source: Review Copy from TOR/Forge

3.5 / 5 Stars

When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days' compassionate leave, her sister Dell's ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her.

The sheriff says that Dell's death was suicide, but Hallie doesn't believe it. Something happened or Dell's ghost wouldn't still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell's loss, think Hallie's letting her grief interfere with her judgment. 

The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn't have to. 

As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace.  Soon, someone's trying to beat her up, burn down her father's ranch, and stop her investigation.

Hallie's going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command.

My Thoughts
Wide Open has an interesting paranormal twist to it that I really enjoyed as I can easily be swayed by anything that has ghosts or witches in the material.   I found this novel to be a very imaginative and creative thriller set in a small town with some pretty interesting dynamics and some very interesting characters and personalities.

One of the highlights for me was definitely the setting as I enjoyed the dynamics of this small town world and the interesting interchanges between the characters, some of whom Hallie has not seen in over six years.  Coming home on leave from Afghanistan in search for answers to her sister's mysterious death (she just happens to see her sister's ghost and knows her death was not suicide), I found the interactions amongst people she hasn't seen in a long while to be quite interesting.  I liked learning, through Hallie's eyes, how things have changed since the last time she was home, and her struggle to adapt to those changes when in her eyes she remembers things how they used to be.

The writing style was sharp and descriptive and I could imagine myself on the plains, feeling hot, cold, tired, as Hallie was experiencing those feelings simply through the imagery. And the author was great at not overwhelming the author with too many descriptions of the ghosts so the paranormal stuff didn't quite take over the regular story as sometimes the paranormal aspect has a tendency to do.  I liked how Ms. Coates didn't waver with her concept of the ghosts either, and they remained elusive but always there, enticing the reader to want to learn the truth about what was going on.

So you're probably wondering where my complaint in this novel lies?  It has to do with Hallie herself.  I couldn't connect with her character as I found her to be quite abrasive and cold, more willing to fight everyone rather than talk to people.  Part of the problem is that I didn't quite understand where the anger was coming from; her experiences in Afghanistan were brushed over although there were hints at some important events that happened there.  I wasn't quite sure how to take her and I definitely didn't like how she treated people she called 'friends'. While definitely loyal and fierce to those she loves, her attitude was sometimes a bit of a turn-off and I found myself more interested in some of the secondary characters rather than Hallie herself.

Wide Open was an interesting, quick, and suspenseful read.  With elements of the supernatural, the premise had some original moments and I really enjoyed many of the secondary characters that were present.   I would recommend it to anyone interested in urban fantasy, and look forward to reading more novels by this author; dare I say, more Hallie Michaels' novels?

Giveaway:  One lucky reader will win one (1) copy of Wide Open.
1) Open to U.S. and Canada residents only.
2) Contest closes 08 April 2012.
3) Write a comment leaving your email address in order to be entered.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Guest Post: Heather Smith

Letting Characters Write Their Own Story
by Heather Smith

When I first started out writing I thought it was all about the plot. I treated fiction like I treated research papers. Outline what you were going to write about, do the research, and then write. What I came out with were interesting stories, but lifeless characters. Frustrated, I went the other direction. I decided that I didn’t need a plot. I just needed to know my characters. So I wrote down some characters. What they were like, what jobs they had, what their hair color was, etc. But when I got to writing, all I had was a bunch of people standing around in a big, white room talking over each other. No interaction, no relationships, no point. 

Now, tearing my hair out, I gave serious thought to giving up on being a creative writer. Maybe I’d just stick with research papers and technical things. There was a long dry spell and then it suddenly hit me: the urge to write.

I sat down and decided to try a middle ground. I’d have a general idea of who my characters were and where I wanted them to go. I set the story in my home town, so that it was easy to describe, and thought of a simple popcorn-romance plot. And then I just started writing. I figured that it was a lot easier to edit things out than add things in later, so I wrote with abandon.

I described the scenery, the setting, the time and temperature. My character appeared in a bank. I intended the story to be a sort of simple boy meets girl, but somehow she ended up a bank teller. That was fine, though I was confused on how that came about. But I figured, well, a bank teller meets a lot of people, so it will work.

Then she looked around. What do I mean by that? I mean that the character took over. She did! Instead of imposing my will on her, I let her look around and tell me what she saw. Like a real person, she saw many things at once: the color of the flowers outside the bank, her co-workers, the wheezing of the air conditioner, and the rattle of the coins. And then she saw ski masks, and I realized that she was smack dab in the middle of a bank robbery.

Well, this story just got a lot more interesting!  But where was the love interest? There were all these guys running around in ski masks: the guard, the minions, and the guy in charge. Which one was the right guy for her? Or was it a police man that would save the day? Some SWAT guy, all armor and strength? I honestly had no more idea then my character did. By the way, she didn’t have a name yet. I just named her Name, to hold the place. After all, I had to know more about her before I arbitrarily stuck her with a moniker. A name gives you a sense of who the character is right off the bat, and I didn’t want to screw it up.

Anyway, she and I were mightily surprised when she was taken hostage and dragged away by the bad guys. It wasn’t until her guard gave her a second look as they left the bank that I realized he would be the love interest. What the heck? He was interested in her? When did that happen? I didn’t plan for any of this! The characters were writing their own story now, and I was just along for the ride.
From then on, I let it happen. I let the characters show me, like real people, their wants and desires. Their fears. They interacted, and it was awkward and confusing, and oh so real. I learned more about her from her attitude towards him, more about him from his reaction to her. Even the simple things, like where she put her shoes or how she held her body showed her character. She evolved from a vague idea into a full-fledged person of her own, completely organically. He, too, evolved from a faceless, nameless bad guy into a misunderstood darkly heroic figure trying to run from his family and his past. 

The moral is this- to have a general idea of who and what you want to write about and then write. Don’t worry if your characters are not fully formed in your head. Like friends, they will change and grow as you get to know them. No one can be fully known by anyone else; we are always surprising each other. So let your characters surprise you. Let them out of the box and see where they go. Your stories will be deeper, richer, and much more real.

Author Bio
Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at]

Guest Post: Deborah Coates

Curling Up by The Fire is pleased to welcome Deborah Coates, author of the newly released Wide Open (March 13th, 2012), a novel about a young woman who returns home searching for clues to her sister's death and embroils herself in a far-bigger mystery than she would have imagined.  She is here today to discuss why she likes to write and why it is so important to her. 

Why I Write
by Deborah Coates

Let's Do This Again Sometime

This is the last guest post of my first blog tour. Thank you so much for having me here, for participating in some part of this tour and sharing the first few days of Wide Open as a published novel.

When I thought about what I wanted to write for this particular post, I asked myself if there was anything I really wanted to say that I hadn't said in any other guest posts or interviews. It turns out there was.

Here's what I'd like to talk about today--why I write. And specifically why I write for publication. Lots of people say that they write because they can't not write, which is a good reason--for them. But it's not my reason. I could fill my time with work, dogs, books, and wasting time on the internet. I'd bake more, exercise more, spend more time doing yard work (What? I would!).

I don't have to write, but I do.

I write because I like creating something, not just the initial idea when it seems like it's the most amazing, perfect story ever written by anyone ever. I like when it becomes a problem to be solved, when it seems as though it can't ever be solved, at least by me. I like when it comes down to the end, when I'm fitting the last pieces of the puzzle together so it's a story with consistent characters and a coherent plot. And I love playing with words.

That's one reason. My other reason is both simpler and more complicated.

I write to be read.

It's true that I write to understand things, to 'see' things that are important to me. I'm not a detail person and one of the things I enjoy about writing is recapturing telling details, figuring out what made a particular experience or place memorable and unique. Sometimes I succeed. I think.

And then, I want to share it. I want everyone to read it. I'd love for everyone to love it too or at least to see what I saw when I wrote it. Some will. Some won't. Some of the most popular books out there are as much hated as loved. Everyone brings different things to the book and that makes it a different book for everyone. But they're reading it. That's the thing. They're reading it.


This is not the perfect post. I wish it was. But it's not. What I want to say is that I hope you'll read Wide Open. Buy it. Get it from the library. Borrow it from a friend. I hope it works for you. I wrote it to be read.

In an interview I did just before the book came out, I was asked to name a favorite line from Wide Open. That line--several lines actually--is from about halfway through the book, but not, at least this part of it, very spoilery:

Boyd’s shoulders rose and fell in a silent half laugh. “Yeah,” he said. He was quiet for another minute, looking into the depths of his coffee mug. Hallie’s finger twitched at the loose edge of the paper label on her beer bottle.

“It’s complicated,” Boyd finally said.

“Everything’s complicated,” Hallie said. “Just spit it out.”

“Okay.” Boyd nodded. “All right.” But then he didn’t say anything else.

“Uhm . . . Boyd?”

“Do you think I’m a Boy Scout?”


“Honest, loyal, helpful, friendly.”

“Hmmm . . .” Hallie frowned. This was not the direction she’d imagined this conversation taking.

“Yeah, I kind of am. And I’m . . . good with that. I mean, I’m okay being a Boy Scout or whatever you want to call it. But you’d think the payoff to that would be that people—people who know me, would believe what I tell them.”

“Okay?” Hallie said, because she didn’t know him and if he thought she did, then he had a weird idea of what knowing meant.

He leaned forward, intensity coming off him in waves, in the direct stare and the tight muscles underneath his jaw. Hallie wondered if this was what he bottled up in precision haircuts and polished boots and tightly creased khakis. “Because you have to know this before anything else makes sense. Before I can explain earlier today. Which I can. Explain. But this first. Yeah. I think . . .”

“Just spit it out,” Hallie said, almost laughing because—wow— the Boy Deputy stumbling over his words was . . . kind of cute, actually—made her willing to listen, at any rate.
Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Initiation by Imogen Rose

by Imogen Rose
Release Date: December 25th, 2011
2011 by Imogen Rose
Ebook Edition; 411 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-982-80028-7
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Author through Bewitching Book Tours

4.5 / 5 Stars

Welcome to Bonfire Academy. Set in the foothills of the alpine mountains in St.Moritz, this exclusive private school caters to a special kind of student. Enter at your own risk... but if you are human, you may not want to enter at all. 

My Thoughts
Initiation is the first novel in the Bonfire Academy Series and I really had a hard time putting this one down.  The intrigue begins right from the beginning when Cordelia is summoned to meet the Student Council President, something that shocks and disturbs her as the identity of this person is usually a closely guarded secret.  We also learn that the academy had just recently re-opened due to a serious fire three months previously under mysterious circumstances and the students had been sent home during reconstruction.   When Cordelia learns that she is the new mentor for a thirteen-year-old demon princess who has no idea how to control her own powers, things definitely move swiftly from this moment as the two are soon attacked and almost killed while walking through the halfway to another part of the school.  And the action just kept going, from scene to revelation, pretty much like this for the entire novel.  It was hard to keep up with all of the information.  But I was so hooked!

I have always enjoyed any novel that takes place in a boarding school and adding the paranormal twists make it that much more appealing.  This novel is slightly different however, as these paranormals have a slightly twisted take on their morality and all sort of crazy things could happen at any time.  The love-triangles happening in this novel could make you dizzy, and I found it kind of hypocritical for Cordelia to be so mad at Jagger all the time whenever he did something with the opposite sex just because she liked him when she was busy canoodling with her own boyfriend all of the time.  However, in keeping with that, many of these scenes were quite clean and it was through hints and suggestions and nuance that you knew what was happening, not outright descriptive scenes.  

One of the other things I really enjoyed was the concept that the author never let you forget that you were dealing with paranormals all of the time.  Just when you got comfortable with the characters, something would happen out of nowhere to remind you that you had to take into account the supernatural side of their personas, and those personas could be downright nasty, even Cordelia, who is a demon princess.  One of their mottos is Trust no one and as a reader, you need to keep that firmly in mind as you read through the story.  Many of the characters have good hearts, good consciences, and are nice and friendly, but when their supernatural sides come out, it is so much fun, and I have never read so many fight scenes in one boarding in the first half of a book before.  Hopefully Cordelia won't spend so much time in the infirmary in future novels as she does in this one.

Initiation was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it tremendously.  The quirky and unique cast of characters made this novel so interesting, and I couldn't wait to discover what supernatural power each character had.  The writing style is beautiful and flowing and just draws you in until you can't put the book down. I enjoyed the fact that the characters were not quite trustworthy as it added an element of fun and suspense to what could have been a conventional novel.  I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.

Character Interview

I have to be honest. I approached this interview with some hesitation, perhaps even a little trepidation. After all, even though I feel I know him a bit through Cordelia, I’ve never experienced Jagger directly. As he sits before me, I can empathize with Cordelia. He is impossibly magnetic, his aura both powerful and dangerous, the only release, a hint of humor gleaming in his silver-gray eyes.

IR: Jagger, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Are you excited about starting a new year at the Academy?
JR: My pleasure. I am, though I’m not exactly sure what my role will be this year. I guess I’ll find out when I get there.

IR: So, you’re not heading back as the Student Council President?
JR: I wouldn’t think so. That position is usually only awarded for a year. Plus, my time at the academy is officially over.

IR: Why are you going back, then?
JR: Mainly to keep an eye on my brother, Ryker.

IR: And Cordelia?
JR: Yes, hmm. You said that you had some questions from my fans...

IR: I do! Here is one from Sean Sweeney. He wants to know what you got Cordelia for Valentine’s Day.
JR: Myself. However, like any girl, she obviously needed a “token” as well. I got her a little secret something from Harry Winston.

IR: Nice! The next question is about Cordelia as well. Al Kunz, the infamous celeb book blogger, aka The Snake, wants to know what really happened on the slopes. He wants details.
JR: He couldn’t handle the details.

IR: LOL! There you have it, Al! Moving on... Michelle Cable wants to know what you thought when you first saw Cordelia and what you thought of that electrifying kiss.
JR: That she’s stunning is apparent to all who are lucky enough to behold her. I was struck by her beauty as soon as I saw her, when she first arrived at the academy. It was my policy to stay away from demons, though. Every kiss with her is electrifying, but I’m guessing you mean our very first kiss. I was shocked, but immediately realized what had happened.

IR: Too bad that doesn’t happen to humans. Synching sounds unbelievably intimate...
JR: It is, but the realization that one is bound forever to this one being frightening, too. That’s unnatural in the supernatural world.

IR: I can see that. Faustine seems to bridge the gap between the human and the paranormal worlds. My daughter Lauren wants to know what you think of Faustine, and Vickie Boehnlein wants to know if you’re scared of Faustine.
JR: I love Faustine. She’s like a little sister to me. I feel very protective of her, even though I know that she can take care of herself. And yes, I’m scared of her. I’d be stupid not to be. She’s one of the most powerful demons I’ve ever come across.

IR: Demons seem to like their food, meat in particular. Lynn O’Dell would like to know if you prefer filet mignon or T-bones?
JR: I’m not a demon, but I do prefer Filet Mignon.

IR: That doesn’t surprise me. I have a last question from my friend Allirea Brumley. She wants to know what’s going to happen to you next?
JR: I’m not a Wanderer, so a trip into the future to answer that is not possible. Say “hi” to her from me, though. I love her name... Allirea. Is she a faery?

IR: Ha, ha. No, I don’t think so.  Thank you so much, Jagger!

Giveaway Time

4 signed paperback copies of INITIATION

1 of each:
Inititation Sack Pack
Initiation Bear
Initiation Toiletrybag
Initiation Gym Bag

8 winners

Open to US Shipping

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 23, 2012

Author Interview: Sheryl Steines

Please enjoy this interview with Sheryl Steines, author of the urban fantasy novel, The Day of First Sun. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

1. If you could travel in a time machine, would you go back to the past or into the future?
I would go to the past, meet famous people, see history as it happened. I’d be afraid to go to the future. I’m not sure I really want to know when I die.

2. If you could jump into a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
This might be to expected, but I would love to live at Hogwarts, stroll through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, play with all the magical stuff, and visit the Weasleys at their house. I saw the Harry Potter exhibit at the museum a few years ago, and it just seemed so fun.

3. If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
Sandra Bullock. Since she became a movie star, people all over the place tell me I look like her. She’s also funny. I can only imagine how much more interesting and funny my life would be if she were the lead.

4. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. There were times that I thought I wanted to be an interior decorator, but in the end, I was always much happier writing and creating.

5. Who are your favorite authors of all time?
I have two. The first would be Stephen King. I was always amazed by the detail and imagination he used in his books, especially the earliest books. I watched him on an interview many years ago and he was talking about the things he was afraid of, one of which was sleeping with his feet outside the covers at night. He would always cover his feet so that the monsters under the bed wouldn’t get him. I laughed so hard because I do the same thing. J.K. Rowling is also a favorite. Her life story and Harry Potter reminded me that I wanted to be a writer when I was seven. She reminded me of the genre that I loved. It got me thinking about what stories intrigued me. I watched her interview on Oprah and cried through the entire thing. It got me thinking of ways to take my personal experiences and hide them in the fantasy world.

6. What do you do in your free time?
I read, a lot. In the winter, I spend time at museums and go shopping. In the summer, I love to go to flea markets. You could never have too many fleas. I love to travel. I spend most of the summer driving my 1966 Mustang convertible.

7. What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m a huge fan of Ninja Warrior. Yeah, the Japanese obstacle course. On one side, it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. On the other side of it, the obstacles are so challenging, and the participants are so revered for making it through each stage that it is a huge honor to win.

8. Favorite places to travel?
I love Europe, London being my favorite city. I’ve been to Scotland, France, Italy, Germany and Austria. The Austrian/German Alps are some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.

9. Favorite way to spend a rainy day?
In front of the television watching my favorite movies. Who doesn’t love Ferris Buehler’s Day Off and Sixteen Candles.

10. If you could have a superpower, what would you choose?
Telekinesis! Then I could clean my house without actually having to do anything.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Day of First Sun eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of The Day of First Sun for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
Help my blog win:
The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.

About the book: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.
Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

by Mary Lindsey
Release Date: December 8th, 2011
2011 Philomel/Penguin
Softcover Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-399-25622-6
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

My Thoughts
Shattered Souls is one of those books that I enjoyed immensely due to the unique twist on the 'getting rid of ghosts' scenario, but there were also elements, upon reflection, that I am still not quite sure fit smoothly and easily into the threads of this novel. 

One of the elements I really did enjoy was the interesting twist of soul sharing and partnership between the characters.  It added an element of fun and sometimes even creepiness, as the partnership didn't have a lot of privacy and and both people could feel and sense the other partner's thoughts and emotions.  The whole ghost element is always something that attracts me in a novel, even as a younger reader, and I was definitely hooked right from the beginning as Lenzi's issues with ghosts were apparent very early on; the author was very clear and descriptive about her issues, and takes the reader right to a cemetery in the early stages of the novel where some interesting things happen, but not necessarily good things.  I adore cemeteries and love it when they are used as settings, especially when creepy things happen.  Perhaps I am biased in this way?

I do not however, like Zak and was not too impressed with Lenzi's relationship with this guy.  I am not really sure how he fit into the novel other than to try and create a love-triangle relationship, but it fell flat in my point of view as Zak was not likeable at all, and I was not impressed with his behaviour at the cemetery.  To be honest, I wasn't overly impressed with Lenzi either in some parts of the novel as I found her hard to empathize with and thought some of her actions were quite immature and childish.  I know she was going through a rough time with her father's death, but something just rang false to me with this relationship, and then when she fell hard and fast for Alden, I really took a step back in disbelief and couldn't quite buy into the relationships and the storyline.  Don't get me wrong!  I adore Alden and his personality and think he is perfect for Lenzi.  I love the whole amnesia storyline, but I found it somewhat too convenient as Lenzi's amnesia wavered with regards to convenience; either she has amnesia or she doesn't, you know what I mean?  Or perhaps call it something else rather than amnesia?  That would fit the storyline better.  Now I am hoping to see a lot more of Race and Maddi in the sequel as I loved their characters and thought they were a lot of fun as well as being strong and forthright. 

Shattered Souls is a fun, light read, and despite some of the issues I had with the main characters and the storyline, I really enjoyed the concept of the agency having control over the Speaker's and Protector's lives as it added an element of secrecy and danger that I hope is developed in future novels.   If you like the concept of ghosts as well as reincarnation, then I definitely recommend Shattered Souls if you are looking for a quick, entertaining read.  For me, I will absolutely be picking up the sequel when it is released.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Helping to Publish the Last Witch Series

Help Publish the Last Witch Series
Hello, my lovely readers!  While this is not something I typically do, I thought I would help out Elizabeth Kolodziej by passing along information about her fundraising campaign to raise money to publish her third book in her Last Witch Series (Vampyre Kisses, Werewolf Descent, Witch Devotions).  Having followed the independent publishing industry with a lot of interest, I am amazed at the lengths that authors have to go through in order to publish their novels and the amount of sheer work and effort promoting their novels can be. 
For more information, see:

A little about me and a lot about this project
My name is Elizabeth J Kolodziej and I have been writing about the paranormal all my life (cliche, I know) however, I didn't know until my early twenties that my writing might be something other people want to read too! Go figure. Writing is my passion and I found that I also love the marketing, publishing and everything that goes into the process of getting a book printed. It's said that most indie authors won't sell more than a 100 copies of there book. In one year I sold, not gave away, but sold over 1,000 copies of Vampyre Kisses. 
I was very lucky to have a family that believed in me and sponsored me when I needed it. Sadly, March 22nd 2012 will be the one year anniversary of my father, David Kolodziej, death. Without him in my life I have had to fight and work long hours to get the money for my books to be printed. Now, it is getting to the point where I'm running out of ways to get the money for publishing and marketing Witch Devotions, the third book in the Last Witch Series. Because it is the third I want to be able to give this book everything it deserves. A terrific cover (with a live model), creame paper, advertising on websites and much more. 
Details of the Plan
Witch Devotions is done and just about ready for print. I have already put together the marketing plan for Witch Devotions, which will entail: 
Button advertising on five big sites that are book blogs or book related sites. 
Setting up a blog hop AND a blog tour
Blog radio spots during the month of release
Book reviews from places like RT BookLovers, Kirkus, Amazon Vine, Apex, Reader Views, etc. 
Making a book trailer
Release "party" on 
And much more. I have never done something as big as this for a marketing plan since I have never had enough money to do it. Most of my marketing for my series was free. I know this series is great though and with the third book out it will get so many more readers. That is if I can get your help.
Synopsis for Vampyre Kisses
Vampyre Kisses is an enthralling story about a young woman named Faith, who was content with her life, but deep down craved more excitement. Then a mysterious man named Trent enters her life and everything changes. Surprising to Faith, Trent is a green-eyed vampire from Ireland. She is even more surprised to find out that she is a witch, and the last of her kind.

Faith finds out that she is destined to restore her witch line and becomes more powerful as she gains confidence and knowledge, but danger lurks everywhere. Especially when unknown assailants steal the most important gems from the vampire master and werewolf royalty.

Now surrounded by a world full of mystifying vampires and werewolves, can Faith gain enough power to help her friends and rescue the stolen gems?
Synopsis for Werewolf Descent
Last witch in the world, Faith Scott, and her Irish vampire boyfriend Trent have just come back from fighting for their lives to recover the Vampiric Blood gem and Werewolf Moon gem. Thinking they could finally relax and work on the romance growing between them, they now meet a mysterious psychic vampire named Vincent who has his heart set on being with Faith.

Soon bizarre killings of Zou Tai’s werewolf pack begin, with rumors of an alchemist possessing the famed philosophers stone being the assailant; which, causes Faith to turn to Vincent for help in figuring out why the werewolves are being murdered.

It isn’t long before all those around them test Trent and Faith’s love, along with their abilities, once again. It is all Trent can do to keep Faith safe by his side while both go up against a deadly alchemist, deceptive gods, and having to rescue the werewolf prince; yet, after a deal with the God of Werewolves will Trent be able to save himself too?
Working synopsis for Witch Devotions:
With Trent gone, Faith feels that she can not go on without him. The pain grows so intense that she even shuts out her friends and loved ones to be alone; unsure of what to think about the supernatural world anymore. However, on a trip to see Gordon she realizes what she can do to make the pain go away. A spell. 
The spell ends up back firing and Faith, last witch in the world, has now forgotten the past six months. All the memories of vampires, werewolves, and guardians have vanished. And the first to find her is Louis, her mother’s close friend and slayer.
With webs of lies and deceit falling upon her ears, Faith doesn’t know what is up and down. Then Louis gives her the option to become a slayer and she takes it, thinking vampires are evil. Along with the Goddess Circe interfering, Lilith still missing and Faith unable to remember Trent no one knows what will happen next!   
Then walks in Patrick who has a secret about him that he doesn’t even realize. Through him Morgan finds out where Faith is and fly’s to Vegas to save her, but Faith is more untrusting that a rabid wolf.
Are these vampires and werewolves telling her the truth? Is she a witch in love with a vampire? Or will she proceed with being a slayer? The coin is still up in the air…and Faith doesn’t know where her devotions lie. 
Along with this series, I write short stories and novellas under my own company name and other publishers. To learn more about me, my books, and see reviews please go to
What about money left over?
I'll be amazed if there is BUT for such an occasion know that the money will go into the next book in the series and getting it published. 
I hope you will contribute!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Guest Post: Sheryl Steines

Curling Up by The Fire would like to welcome Sheryl Steines, author of The Day of First Sun, who is here today to talk about strong female characters.  But first, a little about the novel.

When Princess Amelie of Amborix is murdered by magical means, Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard are called in by the FBI. Their job is to help solve the crime while keeping the non-magical world from discovering the existence of the Wizard Council.

During their investigation, Annie and Cham discover that Princess Amelie’s death is connected to a series of other crimes in the Chicago area. A larger plot involving, a vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soul-less zombies is revealed, but can Annie and Cham discover who is responsible before The Day of First Sun?

Please enjoy this guest post by Sheryl Steines, author of the urban fantasy novel, The Day of First Sun. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

The Strong Female

I am always amazed to hear that, in the year 2012, women are still talking about strong female characters. It’s funny that we’re always surprised when one comes along. Even in Hollywood, actresses still can’t find roles to sink their teeth into. As a reader, I look for characters that I can relate to in some way; a character who is more than a damsel in distress but less than an unfeeling, mean, witch. I’m putting it gently, but I’m looking for someone, who when facing a problem, doesn’t necessarily need a man to bail her out--a woman who can take care of herself in spite of her vulnerabilities. Because in reality, women are multi-layered and complex. We don’t fall to one end of an extreme or the other.

When I was younger, I started reading Danielle Steele, but I couldn't read her for long. Her female characters were far too needy and always put themselves in a position of requiring a savior. Even as a child, I couldn't help but wonder why these characters always needed a man to improve their lives. Why couldn’t they simply take care of themselves? It seemed as though female characters fell into two camps, and only two. They were either villains, witches, someone to be hated and despised, or they were weak, pathetic, your classic damsels in distress. Why is fiction lacking real women, women who can simply be human and celebrate all that they are?

As I got older, I found myself drawn to shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I saw in Buffy a strong character. Yes, she could kick ass, kill the vampires and fight the demons. She also had a brain, could plan, and could save the world each week. But she wasn't uni-dimensional. She also has a side that liked clothes, shoes and boys, a side that was feminine, a little vulnerable; a side that, okay, sometimes needed to be saved. She was a complex female character, real and human, a character with whom I could definitely relate.

The strong female character isn’t a caricature or stereotype. She’s not a total wimp like Snow White, and she’s not a total monster like the evil queen. She falls somewhere in the middle. She’s reactive, emotional, human, sexual, confident and sometimes unsure of herself.

When I originally wrote my character Annie Pearce in The Day of First Sun, I wrote her as a no-nonsense person, strong and smart, the girl who could survive on her own. But she didn’t feel genuine. As the story unfolded and changed, I rewrote her, gave her friends and family with whom she could interact. I gave her feelings, gave her stress. I let the other characters take charge once in awhile and offer some support. I melded two halves into one woman--a strong woman, who can take care of herself and ask for help when necessary. We’re not perfect, so why should our characters be? Instead, why can’t we make them simply authentic?

Charlize Theron made a really compelling comment regarding her character in the movie Young Adult. She said, "Women are usually either really good prostitutes or really good mothers. Maybe women are finally getting the chance to play more honest characters," Theron said. "We usually don't get to play bad hookers or bad mothers -- or anything in between."

Maybe it’s time to be a little more real and a little more honest.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Day of First Sun eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of The Day of First Sun for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
Help my blog win:

The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.

About the book: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.