Thursday, 31 March 2011

Fool for Books Giveaway Hop!


Welcome to the Fool for Books Giveaway Hop. 
This is a 2 day hop taking place on Friday, 1st April & Saturday, 2nd April 2011.Thanks to The Bookish Snob for helping host and for the awesome graphic she created! 
There are 200+ blogs signed up to host a book related giveaway so you have a great chance of winning something!


I am based in the UK, so have posted this up earlier than the majority of blogs that are taking part in this hop, which are mainly based in the United States of America/Canada, as they are about six hours behind me time wise, so their link blog hop posts will not go up until 00.01 am on 1st April in their specific time zones.


If you visit this blog and have joined as a 'Google Friend Connect' follower, leave a comment on this post (also include your e-mail address in your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner), you will be entered into a draw for one of the following great book titles:


'Ghost Town' by Rachel Caine
'Bone China' by Roma Tearne
'Sea Glass' by Maria V Snyder





Only one book can be won by each draw winner. There will be three winners from this draw. Each entrant will be allocated a sequential number. After the closing date for this draw (Saturday 2nd April 2011 at 23.59GMT), the winning numbers entered for this draw will be chosen by random.org. This is an International Giveaway!


There are over two hundred blogs taking part in this giveaway! When you have entered this draw click on the links below to move onto the other participating blogs to see what prizes they have on offer once their links are up according to their time zones! 
Good Luck Everyone!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

'Riversong' by Tess Hardwick to be Released Soon!

Publisher: Booktrope.com
Release date: 23 April 2011

When Lee Tucker’s husband commits suicide, he leaves her pregnant and one million dollars in debt to a loan shark. Out of options, she escapes to her deceased mother’s dilapidated house located in a small Oregon town that, like her, is financially ruined, heartbroken and in desperate need of a fresh start. Lee's resilience leads to a plan for a destination restaurant named Riversong, to new chances for passion and love, and to danger from her dead husband's debt as her business blooms.

Author Tess Hardwick assembles a colorful cast of endearing small-town characters and takes you on a journey that will make you believe in the possibilities of life – even in the face of overwhelming adversity and unimaginable grief. Lee Tucker is the kind of woman you find yourself rooting for long after the last page is read.

A surprising mix of romance, humor, friendship, intrigue and gourmet food – Riversong entertains while reminding you of life’s greatest gifts.

Monday, 28 March 2011

'Message' by Jessica Kristie

Jessica Kristie is another new poet that I would like to introduce you all to. Jessica's new book called  'Dreaming in Darkness', is due to be published soon. You can see the video trailer for her new book on this blog. Jessica will be visiting us shortly at 'The Secret Writer' and she has very kindly given me permission to post one of her poems for you to enjoy. I think it is beautiful and I hope you all like it too!




Message

I dream within this bottle,
and throw it out to sea.
For in it holds the meaning
of all you are to me.

If you listen really close,
and hold it to your ear,
within my deepest heart,
a message you will hear.

I speak upon the wind,
so my words will catch a breeze.
Then travel through the waves,
and land within your seas.

The whispers of my soul,
lay on your ocean’s wind.
Now listen as they speak,
and tell you what’s within.

I dream inside this bottle,
whisper to your sea.
So you will hear my heart,
and know your love is in me.

Dreaming in Darkness
COPYRIGHT © 2011 by Jessica Kristie
Excerpt appears courtesy of Willow Moon Publishing, LLC

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Winners of the International Book Giveaway Draw!

The Winners!
I would like to say a great big thank-you to everyone who joined my blog as a follower or were already a follower and entered the draw and posted a comment, during this great event! Again I wish that I could send everyone who entered this draw a book, but within the rules, there were to be only five lucky winners! For those of you who have not won this time, there are plenty more giveaway draws to come. Please keep visiting this blog and entering the Giveaways. You never know your luck, you could be one of our next winners!

I visited random.org earlier today and the winners of this draw are, drum roll!!!

Laura Fabiani - Caught
Jen7Waters - Seige
Jessica Bell - The Long Song
Mayhem and Magic - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Jessica R. Patch - The Kingdom of Light

Congratulations to you all !

I will contact the winners for their postal details. If I have not been able to make contact with a winner within 48 hours of this post, another winner will then be drawn. Thanks again to everyone who entered this draw and who follow my blog. Happy reading!



There will be another great Book Giveaway Draw running here on 'The Secret Writer' blog , over the 1st and 2nd April 2011.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Book Review - 'Secret of the Sands'

Secret of the Sands
by Sara Sheridan
Released: February 2011
Published by: Avon Harper Collins


If you like reading historical fiction, then ‘Secret of the Sands’ by Sara Sheridan is a book well worth seeking out. Set in the 1800’s, what makes this book some what different and attractive, is that this historical adventure and romance, is actually set in the geographical region of the Arabian Peninsula.

The historical elements within this book have been very well researched by the author. The story provides the reader with a clear and vividly descriptive picture of the Arabian Peninsula during this period in history, the work of a Royal Navy survey ship in this area, the relationships found within the ship's crew, and the brutality of slavery which had been abolished, but which was still rife within this region.

It is within this very rich context, that the story of a harsh adventure and a probable socially and professionally forbidden type of romance for that period in time, is told.  As a reader you can almost imagine yourself in the desert with the main characters of this story as it unfolds. The scenes are described so well within this book, that you can actually feel the atmosphere that has been created within this fascinating tale, as well as almost smell the goods that are for sale in the oriental markets of Muscat!

‘Secret of the Sands’ is a very enjoyable and historically accurate book that really 'drew me in', as the story developed. I think that this book may well be a possible strong contender for a historical romance book award this year. We shall have to wait and see!

Friday, 18 March 2011

International Book Giveaway Draw!

As a great big thank-you to all 'The Secret Writer' blog followers, I have decided to hold an International Book Draw! If you visit this blog and have joined as a 'Google Friend Connect' follower, leave a comment on this post (also include your e-mail address in your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner), you will be entered into a draw for one of the following great book titles:

'The Kingdom of Light' by Giulio Leoni

'Caught' by Harlan Coben

'Siege' by Jack Hight

'The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly' by Jean Dominique Bauby

'The Long Song' by Andrea Levey






Only one book can be won by each draw winner. There will be five winners from this draw. Each entrant will be allocated a sequential number. After the closing date for this draw (Saturday 26th March 2011 at 23.59GMT), the winning numbers entered for this draw will be chosen by random.org. This is an International Giveaway! 


Good Luck Everyone!



Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Moses Legacy Coming Soon!



The Moses Legacy 
by Adam Palmer 
Release date: 19th May 2011
Published by: Avon Harper Collins


When fragments of Stone with ancient writings are found in Sinai, the Egyptians call in 
expert Daniel Klein. But when Daniel's decipherment of the ancient text threatens to reveal the origins of the Bible, others are determined to prevent the truth from seeing the light of day. Framed for murder, Daniel and beautiful archaeologist Gabrielle Gusack, find themselves pursued across Sinai by a deadly female Mossad officer and a ruthless killer with shadowy motives. But as they try to stay one step ahead of their pursuers and follow the trail of clues, they are forced to ask themselves how many more secrets are waiting to be discovered? The trail leads them all the way back to the Samaritans - an ancient sect who claim that they descend from the true Israelites, and a sacred mountain shrine that may hold the answers… or cost them their lives.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

New Release Coming Soon!


Letters from Home 
by Kristina McMorris 
Release Date: 5th May 2011
Published by: Avon Harper Collins

Chicago, Illinois…the year is 1944 and America has just entered the war. Young men and women are being drafted in to fight with their allies on Europe’s distant shores. Liz Stephens is already betrothed to budding US politician Dalton Harris, but when she meets GI Morgan McClain, she feels an instant and intense connection. But then he dances with her flirtatious best friend Betty and Liz is left feeling like just another soldier’s fancy. Betty is mesmerized by Morgan and begs Liz to write letters for her to post to him overseas. Liz reluctantly agrees, in the end anxious to retain a connection to him. As the last searing days of World War II loom, a correspondence begins that will alter the course of their lives forever.


This tale is based on Kristina McMorris’ grandparents whirlwind wartime courtship. Having only dated twice before marrying while her grandfather was home on leave from the Navy, the couple forged a relationship almost entirely through an exchange of letters.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan



Please support this International disaster response organisation in what ever way you can. Click on the link below for further details.
Thank-you!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Author Interview with T.L.Gray




TSR: A very warm welcome to you TL, and a very big thank-you, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.

TL: It’s my pleasure!

TSR: Can you tell us a bit about where you live and why do you like living there?

TL: I live in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in a cosy little town of West Georgia. Temple has all the convenience of the big city and the slow-paced family feel of the small-town.

TSR: What sort of books did you read when you were a child and what was your favourite?

TL: I love everything from Shel, Silverstein, Nancy Drew, Piers Anthony and Jane Austen. I was never pigeon-holed into one particular genre, I read anything that helped me escape the reality in which I lived. All of them were my favourite, especially the ones I made up.

TSR: When did you first start writing seriously?

TL: Not until my late twenty’s when I was making up stories for my children. As the stories grew bigger, names, dates and plots began to mix together so I had to write them down to keep them in their own stories. They were little ramblers back then!

TSR: Did you always want to become a writer and why?

TL: No, I never gave it a thought, however as I look back on my life I was always a story teller and a people watcher, never believing anything people said; waited to see the real stories develop by their actions and body language. I think that’s also what helped form my writing style, choosing active/showing, verses passive/telling.

TSR: What genre would you say your book ‘The Blood of Cain’ belongs to?

TL: Historical Thriller, paranormal, I’m not really sure. It could fit in many different genres. I didn’t consider a genre when I began writing the story, I never do. I just write and this is what comes out.

TSR: What inspired you to write a book based on the well known biblical tale about Cain and Abel?

T.L: The mystery was already written. I love unanswered questions, because they always send me on a quest for an answer. Here you had the first born son of humanity, the world’s first murderer, and the only human to ever be personally cursed by God with an unfinished tale. A few sentences were said about him, declaring this great consequence for such an evil act, positioning Cain to become un-relatable, even pushing him to an almost inhuman status, yet nothing else is ever said about him. He’s a blip that just disappears off the radar. Well, I saw Cain as a human being, a person with hopes, dreams, feelings, regrets, sorrows, anger, and so on... and I put myself into his shoes and asked, “What would I do? What is the true punishment for the sin committed? What were the circumstances?” Then from there I began studying everything I knew about Cain. I began polling everyone I met what they thought and overwhelmingly no one thought more of him than a mere murderer. I wanted to flesh him out, because he was someone’s son, he was someone’s brother, he was someone’s father... and he has a story. Thus, the Blood of Cain was born.

TSR: ‘What gave you the idea in having two timelines within your story?

TL: I wanted to incorporate a beginning, a history, a foundation, but I always wanted to pull the story into the modern day, to illustrate that actions have consequences, even if it’s not in our lifetime; that humanity though it has changed and evolved over the years, still face many of the same decisions, problems and pains.

TSR: How did you go about developing Teagan and the other characters in your story?

TL: I never really know what new characters show up, until I type their names on the keyboard. After I’ve studied and my brain sponge has absorbed all it can at a time, I release it on the page. I meet them and either hate, or fall in love with them, much the same way any reader does. I tell people often, I’m not really an author, but more of a scribe... writing down what I see, hear, feel and observe in my imagination as it is shown to me. But, I personally don’t create the characters or the story. I just have the privilege of writing them down and introducing them to the world.

TSR: How and why did you write a Christian based story with a story about vampires and immortality, vampires being generally viewed as evil (ok Cain killed his brother = evil), but vampires are also looked upon in a sexual way, in modern day writing about them. These are two opposing and conflicting themes, but yet, it has worked very well for you in your book. Can you untangle my thoughts and tell me your feelings about this, or have I got this entirely wrong?

T.L: Well in my study in the vampire lore, and having been a biblical scholar for more than fifteen years, I was very interested in the foundation of the vampiric myths - where it started, what does it mean, why can they do or not do what they do? I’m a 'why, why, why' person. I was that little girl that drove everybody crazy because I constantly asked, "Why".

In my thirst for answers, I discovered a lot of the foundational lore came from Judeo-Christian religious symbolisms used to teach safeguarding against attack or possession by demonic spirits. That's where things like the cross, holy water, having to be invited in, and blood consumption/transfusion became part of the lore. Of course sin, in its raw form became the 'personality' of the vampire, making them evil, lustful, and so forth. The immortality was introduced to mirror and oppose spiritual immortality, which of course is gained through the 'blood of Jesus Christ' and the practice of communion or passed/infected/consumed by the vampire.

The reason many Christian vampire stories don't work is because they're trying to mesh two stories with their own distinct foundations into one, but you can't do that unless you tear or change one of them down. In essence, Jesus is not Lord of the dead or demonic, but of the living. You essentially can't have a 'saved' demon under either established foundation. So I had to go back to the beginning - literally... all the way back and the story of creation and Adam & Eve. Cain held the perfect mystery, the perfect catalyst. Here he was the first human, first murderer, the only human every cursed or marked by God... and yet the story just fades away. You've got the story of the fall of humanity, God closing off access to the Garden of Eden, placing two cherubim with flaming swords to keep people from eating from the Tree of Life. Why? My thoughts instantly asked, 'Why - what would happen if they did'? And that led me to... "If they did, what does that mean for salvation?" There was a reason God separated it from us, but why?

Most importantly, I saw Cain as a human being with thoughts, feelings, emotions, faults and weakness... JUST LIKE ME. Yet, I found no one who shared the same thoughts. Most never gave him a second thought, simply labelling him as a murderer, evil, unworthy. I saw him as somebody's son, somebody's father, somebody's brother, somebody's husband - and couldn't help but think... "What would Cain think of how people think of him?" He's forever marked with a Scarlett letter by people who have done the same, if not worse, than he has. How would I feel living under such a stigma of knowing it was my parents who condemned the whole world? How would I feel knowing that I was the only person in all existence that was cursed for their sin for everybody in the world to ALWAYS see... and then marked and protected by God? There was a mystery that my imagination just exploded with... and there was no stopping it once it got started.

Then I read several vampire series and after reading them, felt really frustrated because NONE of them ever answered the simple questions like: "Who was the first? How did this happen? What's the purpose? What's the eternal result? Why can they do some things and not do other? What happens to a vampire when it dies? What is a vampire really, a demon, a soul-less human? What makes us human - that makes them vampire?

The next thing I know... I was answering all the questions... from the foundation of what I already knew from my study of the Bible. Cain is essentially NOT a vampire because he's NOT dead, but is immortally alive. With that immortality comes a certain supernatural ability. My science=geek turned into high gear and everything I knew about cell reproduction, DNA, blood, how our bodies work, tanning, the earth, gravity, our atmosphere and environment, etc... mixed with everything I knew about the supernatural... and then all of that mixed with all the things we don't know and only speculate - like the dead zone areas of our brains, telekinesis, regeneration, telepathy, etc.

Thus, ‘The Blood of Cain’ was born... and continues on in The Arcainian series. I guess it all comes down to the fact that I'm a biblical scholar, science geek, history nerd and supernatural enthusiast... who has a very big imagination and can't stop asking... "WHY".

I hope that at least starts to answer your questions. This is one of those things where I'd like to sit down to tea and can discuss each tiny segment for hours. I've got lots and lots and lots of research. However, all that research doesn't do me any good without the ability to transfer it onto the page in a format that is understandable to the reader. If readers would 'Google' most of what I wrote in that book... the story would magnify a billion times its 192 pages. I don't change one thread of mythos, religion, science or history. EVERYTHING, every name, every date, every theory is something based on something else. I'm not a ‘creator’, I'm a good manipulator - taking bits and pieces from things I've learned, mixing them together and painting a different picture. One I hope people will love and enjoy.

TSR: When is the movie coming out and who would you like to see in what roles?

TL: Hopefully soon! There is interest in the story. A movie producer and a screenwriter are considering the book now. Something great may come out of it and I may one day see my book on film, or not. Either way, I’m excited just because there’s interest.

While writing The Blood of Cain, once a character developed on the page, my mind automatically tried to fill that image from an already known image, so I do have certain actors in mind for certain characters. Such as Steven Strait – Cain, Jensen Ackles – Teagan, Mila Kunis – Tatiana, Paul Bettany – Abital, Justin Bartha – Bartemaeus, Allison Mack – Blythe, Alex O’Laughlin – Carpus and Emma Stone – Chloe. These are not necessarily my favourite actors, but they fit very closely to the image of the characters I’ve created.

TSR: Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?

TL: Study, research, write, write, edit, study, research, write, write, edit, edit and edit some more. Put it to the side for awhile and work on something else. Then, come back to it, re-read, edit, edit and edit some more. Then let it go. Send it out into the world and see what it can do!

TSR: Where do you like to do your writing?

TL: Mostly in my home office. I do like sometimes to take my laptop out into nature, go for a hike, but usually when I do that... I never get out the laptop. I let my mind, my body and my spirit absorb all the beauty and inspiration around me... when I get back to my keyboard it spills out of me as I go through the story in various places. If I try to force it into a specific place, it usually doesn’t work.

TSR: Would you have any sound advice for those who would like to start writing a book for the first time?

TL: Yes – you must settle it in your heart to discipline yourself, because writing is a tedious task. While at the same time it’s the greatest excitement as inspiration hits and a story flows from your fingertips, you spend MORE time doing tedious work, editing, researching, posting, submitting, reviewing, networking and handling the business side of things. This area I see most people fall by the wayside. Be diligent and disciplined and you’ll get to experience one of the greatest joys... seeing your work in print and your characters come alive in the mind and imagination of other readers.

TSR: Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you enjoy?

TL: I love the outdoors and like hiking, white-water rafting, horse-back riding, camping, etc. I love teaching, helping others. I do a lot of volunteer work feeding the hungry. I’m very active in my writer’s group and community cultural arts. I love to travel and see EVERYTHING!

TSR: Are you currently reading a book at the moment and if so, what is it?

TL: ‘The Exiled Queen’ by Cinda Chima Williams. It’s the second book of the Seven Realms series. I’m a huge fan of Williams.

TSR: What is your all time favourite book and why?

TL: The Harry Potter Series – because it is able to take me out of my current reality and plop me right down into the middle of a magical adventure, every time, no matter how many times I’ve read it!

TSR: Are you planning to write any other books at the moment?

TL: I’m actually working on several projects: The Blood of Cain is the first book in the Arcainian series. The second book, The Arcainians – Atlanta, is already finished. I’ve got a few other projects I’m working on getting released first and then it will be available. I’m hoping later this year to start working on book three. This is my current work schedule:


The Arcainians – Atlanta – Completed but want to go through another round of edits before I release it.


Mary Perry Hudson Autobiography – Mary is the mother to pop star Katy Perry and I’m writing her authorized autobiography.


Keezy’s Ten Awesome Rules to Teenage Dating – this is a little novelty handbook I’m writing with my 16-year old daughter about the pitfalls, perils and preposterous plots of teenage dating.


• I’m ghost-writing on two Christian non-fiction books right now. Both are due for publication soon.


Bitter Tea – a fictional murder mystery I wrote about 5 years ago. I want to breathe new life into it and release her into the world.


The Necromancer Series – I’ve already written the first two books – 'Orientation' and 'The Year of the Unicorn'. After I get some of these other projects cleared off my desk, I’d like to get these first two published and then start working on the third.

TSR: What simple things in life make you smile?

TL: Playing games with my family; watching a movie; reading a great book; debating plot points in movies or books; playing with my pets; having a girl’s spa day; being out in nature.

TSR: TL, I have been absolutely delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed by me for this site. I would also like to thank-you again for taking the time to speak to us today.

TL.: You’re very welcome!


If you are interested in finding out more about T.L. Gray and her writing, these are the direct links to her web sites:

http://www.thebloodofcain.com/


http://www.tlgray.net/

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Free Amazon Kindle Version of 'The Highest Stakes' for my Blog Followers!!


As regular followers of this blog will know, the author Emery Lee visited us a short while ago for an author interview and at that time, also kindly agreed to assist in an International giveaway for a free copy of her novel 'The Highest Stakes'. There could only be one winner for the free copy of Emery's book and quite a few followers did enter this giveaway, but unfortunately did not win.


Well,  Emery has just been in contact with me and has asked that I  let my followers know, that Amazon  is currently offering a free Kindle version download of her novel, 'The Highest Stakes'! We are not sure how long Amazon will allow this offer to stay open, so we are advising that you claim your free Kindle download of 'The Highest Stakes' from Amazon, as soon as possible.Please click on your Regions link listed below to bring you to the correct page to download your free Kindle copy of Emery Lee's fantastic book 'The Highest Stakes', from Amazon:


Amazon UK Link:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Highest-Stakes/dp/B003CTEFIY/?tag=arcadata-21


Amazon American link:
http://www.amazon.com/Highest-Stakes-ebook/dp/B003CTEFIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1299423951&sr=1-1


Thank-you ever so much Emery, for letting me know about this great offer for my blog followers!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Book Review - 'The Blood of Cain' by T.L. Gray


The Blood of Cain by T.L. Gray
Published by: Fireside Publications. October 2009
ISBN : 978-1-935517-01-6


Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’   Genesis 4:9


‘The Blood of Cain’ by T.L. Gray, is probably one of the most thought provoking books that I have had the privilege of  reading in quite a long time! 
The Blood of Cain is a marvellous work of fiction which can be either read as a simple and straight forward story, or as a story that has a very complex theological and thought provoking content.


The main protagonist within this story is called Tegan Dacre, who loves fast cars, loud music and beautiful women, but Tegan carries a dark secret, which makes him very different from the majority of other people in the world. Tegan is immortal and has a blood thirst that he must satisfy by each new moon. Thinking that he was unique, Tegan’s world is suddenly turned upside down when he meets a disturbing family of immortals similar to himself who are seeking their father and maker, the world’s first murderer Cain! 

Two time-lines are followed and two stories are told within this book. In its simplest form, this book recounts the author’s interpretation of the famous bible story about Cain and Abel fused with a parallel story of the immortal Tegan, living in the fast paced world of the 21st Century and trying to discover an understanding of his, as he sees it, curse of immortality.

At a higher cogitative level, ‘The Blood of Cain’ introduces the reader in a unique way, into thinking about the concepts of evil, murder, sexuality, love, vampires, immortality and Christianity. I would not say that this book is written as a religious book, but behind the stories being told, the foundations of Christianity are being explored in a very cleverly put together academic way by the author T.L. Gray, and it works exceptionally well.

T.L. Gray has packed a lot into the 188 pages of this book. I still have not figured out how she has managed to do this, but she has done it very well. This has been a very enjoyable and thought provoking book to read. I have been left with some questions that remain unanswered in my mind and so I really do look forward to reading the further books planned in this series, in order to see if my remaining questions will actually be answered!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

New Release Coming Soon!


The Perfect Hero by Victoria Connelly
Published by : Avon Harper Collins
 Released date: 7 April 2011

Kay Ashton is holding out for a hero – she thinks she’s found one when the film 
makers come to town to make an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and she is swept off her feet by handsome heart-throb Oli Wade Owen. Meanwhile, co-star Gemma Reilly is worried that her acting isn't up to scratch, despite landing a plum role. She finds a sympathetic ear in shy producer, Adam Craig, who is as baffled by the film world as she is. Kay thinks the two are meant for each other and can't resist a spot of matchmaking. Then, when Oli turns his trademark charm on Kay, it seems that she has found her real-life hero. But do heroes really exist?

Victoria Connelly was brought up in Norfolk and studied English at Worcester University before becoming a teacher in North Yorkshire. She now lives in London with her artist husband and a mad Springer Spaniel. This is her second Austen-inspired novel.