Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop


As part of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, I was tagged by S. R. Drum  in her post last week. The purpose of this hop is to introduce readers to writers and works that might be unfamiliar. This includes new releases or Works in Progress (WIP).  This is week 29 of the hop.

According to the rules of the hop, I will be answering the same questions as every other blogger on the hop about either my newest release or my WIP and then I’ve tagged Julie A'Darcy, who will do the same thing in her blog next Wednesday, 01/16/13. Visit Julie's Blog for the Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Q & A

What is the working title of your book?
Conquistadors In Outer Space, written under the pen name Maeve Alpin. It will be released February 1st, 2013.

What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ana, the heroine played by Fernanda Andrade from The Devil Inside and Rodrigo Santoro from What To Expect When You're Expecting. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Forbidden love… so strong… it spans the universe.

What is the longer synopsis of your book?
Thrown off the Spanish estate she worked at all her life, Ana, a milkmaid, seeks a new life. Disguised as a rich widow, she boards a rocket, to be blasted out of a huge cannon, and targeted for the newly discovered planet, X.  Sparks fly when she finds Ramon, the only man she ever loved, heir of the estate she worked on, is flying to Planet X as well. As the Spanish governor of Plant X searches for gold, the treasure Ramon seeks is Ana. His conquest is challenging, though he swears to protect and love her, as a noble he cannot marry a peasant. Ana cannot deny her desire for Ramon, but she will not be his mistress. Will his conquest of her heart succeed or will Ana make a life for herself alone amid the wonders and dangers of Planet X.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The publisher of this book is Eternal Press. I have several other books with them under the name of Cornelia Amiri as well as another Steampunk/Romance, To Love A London Ghost, under the name of Maeve Alpin

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Conquistadors In Outer Space is a novella of 30,000 words, so the rough draft or first draft took four weeks. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
In 2000 I participated in a historical re-enactment of  the Hernando De Sota North American expedition of 1541 in Parkins Arkansas at the Parkin Archeological State Park. It's located on the spot De Sota and his men visited, a Native American village stood there from A.D. 1000 to 1550. Then when I saw flying ships in the latest Three Musketeer movie I decided to bring steampunk to my conquistadors. I've always loved Jules Verne's book From The Earth To The Moon and in a nod to it I added giant cannons to my story and sent my conquistadors into space. I used alternate history to enhance inventions of Leonardo De Vinici and discoveries of Galileo Galilei, though the steampunk in Conquistadors In Outer Space is based more on fantasy than working science.

What else might pique the reader’s interest?
Though Conquistadors In Outer Space is an erotica romance, the heroine, Ana, doesn't have sex with Ramon until they are married. Also there are aliens on the planet they land on and these natives have a special way with their hands. I won't explain that any further as I'm leaving it as a surprise and special treat to everyone who reads the book. 


 Continuing the Blog Hop next week, Julie A'Darcy on Wednesday 01/16, 13.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Reviews: Elegant Charm in the style of Downton Abbey


Maid to Match

by Deeanne Gist

* * * * *

five stars

This is a charming and heart felt historical/inspirational/romance set in 19th century America. The heroine is a lady's maid in a grand manor. Loved it. It's darling.

Murder on the Salsette (George Porter Dillman & Geneiveve Masefield #6) 

by Conrad Allen

* * * *

four stars

This is the second book I've read in the series. I do plan to read all of them. This series is so charming and this book is a true delight. It's 1909 and the husband and wife ship detectives, George Dillman and Genevieve Masefield are traveling on the luxury passenger ship, the Salsette, from India to England. Along with interesting passengers and the delights of first class dining and bridge playing are thefts and a murder to solve

Murder on the Oceanic (George Porter Dillman & Geneiveve Masefield #7) 

by Conrad Allen

* * * *

four stars


It's 1910 and ship detectives, George Porter Dillman and Genevieve Masefield solve thefts and a murder on board the luxury passenger ship, the Oceanic, as it sails from England's Port of Southampton to New York, with a stop first at Cherbourg, in France. J. P. Morgan boards the ship there and apparently along with him a murder, who later kills Mr. Morgan's security man.

As always interesting passengers and a glimpse of life in first class on a lush passenger ship of days gone by.

A charming, cozy mystery.

I love this series.



Murder on the Celtic (George Porter Dillman & Geneiveve Masefield #8) 

by Conrad Allen

* * * *

four stars

This is a charming mystery giving the reader a glimpse of life in the early 1900's on the first class deck of a luxury passenger liner traveling from America to England. The detectives that work for the cruise line are an unusual husband and wife team, George Porter Dillman and Genevieve Massfield. She’s English, he’s American, and they keep their marriage a secret for as two singles they can separate and investigate and gather information better.

In this particular book, two passengers have bet on which one of them can win Genevieve Massfield’s affections first, thinking she’s single. Toward the end of the book she’s able to announce to them both, with her husband present, that’s she’s a ship detective and that she’s married to the other ship detective. That was a great scene. And giving it away is not a spoiler so don’t worry about that. That information will not spoil the plot for anyone at all. I had no idea who the murderer, and in this case also the thief, was and I don’t think most readers will be able to guess either. There is also a medium aboard ship and a séance scene. I loved that.

There is an entire series featuring this married couple, George Porter Dillman and Genevieve Massfield and I'd like to read the rest of the series as well. I enjoyed this, anyone who like Victorian or Edwardian books that take place on the wonderful passenger ships of days gone by or who like a really good cozy mystery - will love this book. I highly recommend it.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Book Reviews: Headlines and Hollywood Humor

Here are some humorous books I read recently that tie into world events and Hollywood.

Murder At The Academy Awards: A Red Carpet Murder Mystery

by Joan Rivers and Jerrilyn Farmer

* * * *

Four Stars

In the acknowledgments in the book, Joan Rivers states, the characters based on her, Max Taylor, and the her daughter Drew, based on Melisa Rivers are asking the red carpet stars whodunit instead of who are you wearing. This is a comedy mystery and a fun read. The heroine, Max Taylor has Joan River’s humor, so the book is hilarious.

This is the first book of a series by Joan Rivers and Jerrilyn Farmer called Red Carpet Murder Mysteries. The award winning co-author, Jerrilyn Farmer, has written seven books in the Madeline Bean mystery series: Desperately Seeking Sushi, The Flaming Luau of Death, Perfect Sax, Mumbo Gumbo, Dim Sum Dead, Killer Wedding, Immaculate Reception, and Sympathy For The Devil. The titles alone entice me to read them, if they are a s funny as this one, I’ll love them.

This book doesn't have strong fleshed out characters but it doesn't need them. Everyone knows who Joan and Melissa Rives are so there is an immediate connection to Max and Drew Taylor. The book Is full of interesting characters and the dialogue is fabulous, reflecting each character’s distinctive voice. The story begins when Max gets an exclusive interview with Halsey, a famous starlet, a child star who successfully became a notorious adult star, involved with drugs. She has just been released from rehab and has been nominated for an academy award. When Max interview her on the red carpet at the academy awards, Halsey is wearing a bra and a thong, no designer dress, no dress at all, and she appears under the influence. Then, as Max interviews her, she drops dead. As you guessed, it turns out she was murdered. The story pulled me in from the beginning. It’s a fast, fun, funny read and I was surprised to find out who did it. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

They Eat Puppies Don't They by Christopher Buckley

* * * *

Four Stars

This is incredible satire. The book is hilarious, insane, and frightening as when I read it I thought – this could actually happen. A Washington lobbyist is hired to create anti-Chinese sentiment among the American public to help a company working on a top secret weapon system gain congressional approval. When the Dalai Lama is hospitalized, this lobbyist sees his chance to start a rumor that will gain unfavorable media coverage of China. Things unwind from there. A maddening comedy of errors.

Christopher Buckley is the author of 14 books. You may be familiar with his, Thank You For Smoking, which was a hilarious move, released in 2005. In his bio on the inner back cover of the book, it states he, “visited China in 1974 as a guest of the government. A spontaneous attempt to present Chairman Mao with a jar of American peanut butter resulted in his nearly being gunned down by unamused palace guards.”

Anyone that likes humor and satire and current events would love this book. If you are a fan of such shows as John Steward and Steven Cobert, then this is a must read as you will love this book. It’s creative, refreshing, original, and laugh out loud funny. I highly recommend They Eat Puppies, Don’t They.


Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

* * * *

Four Stars

This book was written after she created her Broadway Show by the same name and apparently it's basically the same content as the live performance. It's about her life, growing up with a celebrity mother (Debbie Reynolds)  and coping with her bi-polar disorder. It basically reads like a comedian's monologue. The humor is wry and witty and the book is very honest. Anyone who likes Carrie Fisher or books about celebrities or the humorous side of copying with a mental illness should love this.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Batty Books by Cornelia Amiri

I haven't blogged on my own blog in awhile so I thought I'd start out by doing book reviews. These reads all have a bat theme.

Haunted Honeymoon (Casa Dracula #4) by Marta Acosta 

* * * *
four stars

When Haunted Honeymoon begins Milagro is still torn between her feelings for her vampire boyfriends Ian Ducharme and Dr. Oswald Grant, her ex. Now there’s an added character in the mix, she’s found a vibrant lover who is fun to be around, Wilcox. She loves his name. It’s a wonderful name. Also Don Pedro is back, and due to a large advance he’s paying her, she’s ghost writing another book for him.

Then, tragedy strikes, there’s a murder of one of the above, and she gets a case of amnesia because of it. She’s in denial of being a vampire or even of acknowledging the existence of vampires.
Milagro has to discover who the murderer is, convince the Vampires Council she didn’t’ do it, keep safe from the killer in case they come after her, recover from her amnesia, chose between Ian and Oswald, and write that book for Don Pedro.

This is the forth and I believe final book in Marta Acosta’s award winning Casa Dracula series. The others, in order, are Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, Midnight Brunch, and The Bride of Casa Dracula. She attended Stanford University, receiving degrees in English and American Literature and Creative Writing. She is also the author of an award winning young adult book, Dark Companion. In addition she wrote a comedy book, Nancy’s Theory of Style, under the name of Grace Cooper Smith.

I love Marta Acosta’s multicultural/romantic/comedy/vampire series. It is one of my favorite and one of the best vampire series out there. The main character is so believable, easy for any woman to relate to. Every woman on some level is or has a friend like Milagro. Like all the other books in the series, Haunted Honeymoon did not disappoint. I highly recommend this fun read. In fact, I recommend the entire series.

Wayne of Gotham by Tracy Hickman
* * * *
four stars

Justice Is blind. In Wayne of Gotham a story unfolds of what made justice blind in Gotham, why that was bad, and how bad that it got. Batman, Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne is at the center of the tale. Secrets are revealed such as why Thomas Wayne was killed and why Gotham is so ridden with strange costumed villains.

I attended Tracy Hickman’s reading at Space City Houston earlier this year. He said that when discussing what book he might write next, his agent brought up the idea of a super hero. The author deiced if he were to write about any super hero it would be batman because he had no actual super powers. He told us about a fond memory form childhood when he and his brother saw the bat mobile at a car show. The author did an excellent job of describing the bat mobile and its technical features in the book. He did his research into the entire history of batman and kept to the traditional story so fans of the original comic will not be disappointed.

The book is action packed and intriguing. The character of batman, Bruce Wayne, is well flushed out as is that of his father, Thomas Wayne. This is an interesting, enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.

Undead and Unstable (Undead #11) by Mary Janice Davidson
* * *
Three Stars
            “Out I went into the deep November cold, searching for some meaning in all the crazy shit that had been happening since Giselle got me killed a few years ago. And I was also searching for a shovel. And after this yuk-o errand, I would be searching for a booze smoothie. Ah , the glamorous life of a vampire queen.”

In the first chapter, Betsy finds her cat, Giselle has died. The relationship between Betsy and Giselle was based on the cat hanging around because Betsy fed her. Also the first time Betsy got killed, she was trying to coax Giselle into coming out of bad weather when a Pontiac Aztek ran her over Betsy. However, Giselle got off without a scratch.

So Betsy buries her cat, but like most beings at the mansion, she doesn’t stay buried. Betsy’s roommate Marc, recently dead, doesn’t stayed buried either. Marc is now a zombie and so the book Undead and Unstable begins. This is the eleventh book of the Betsy the Vampire series but there are many more stories of the Vampire Queen in Mary Janice Davidson’s anthologies and novellas.

If you’ve been following the series, you know the book of the dead is supposed to be made of the skin of her husband, this is something she is apparently going to create in the future when the whole world is a frozen waste land. She spends most of the book trying to find a way to change the future. Betsy can’t imagine ever harming her husband, Sinclair. She comes up with a surprising solution, which also brings an added benefit for Sinclair.

Undead and Unstable is a funny, zany, fun read. I’m so glad that unpleasant business of future Sinclair getting skinned alive and made into the Book of the Dead is over. Hopefully it is, with this series you never know. For humorous, chick lit type romance reading, I recommend the entire series, including this latest book, Undead and Unstable.