Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Review - Girl on the Red Pillow by Angelika Rust

An average abusive childhood, a tendency towards depression. Annalee's life could be normal. If only she could get rid of the dwarf.
Annalee doesn't mind what people call her. After all, a name's just a name. What she does mind, though, is the dwarf trying to wall her in. Struggling between reality and hallucination, a black cat and a talking skeleton her only companions along the way, Annalee fights for her sanity, and a way out.

Delightfully quirky, funny, & exceedingly original. This novella is a psychedelic journey of discovery through one woman's mind and—quite literally—her soul, as she seeks to repair the damage of a difficult and tumultuous childhood. I really enjoyed this book, and I loved the offbeat cast of characters. Where else will you find a closet skeleton sidekick, or a manipulative dwarf with a skill for psychic masonry? The descriptions are vivid and excellent, and the story kept me hooked straight from the beginning to the satisfying conclusion. It's not always fun and games, as some dark and disturbing events do occur, particularly about midway through, but I thought this was definitely deserving of a full complement of stars.  The novella is available for 99 cents on Amazon. 

Review score: 5 stars.



Friday, February 14, 2014

Christian Larsen Author Interview

As promised, here's my video interview of author Christian A. Larsen from CapriCon 34.  In the interview, Christian talks about his debut sci-fi novel, Losing Touch, and shares a few of his thoughts on running his own table at a show.

Oh, and I should probably note that the dealer's room was only open for 2 hours on day 1 (a Thursday), and it was as cold as a Dear John letter that night, so that's why a few of the tables are still empty around us.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

CapriCon 34

Having a great time this weekend at CapriCon 34 in Wheeling, Illinois. Spotted a TARDIS in the wild, tried to sell a book to a chick wielding a fire axe, and even interviewed local Chicago author Chris Larsen on camera. Will try to share the interview once I edit out the parts where I went brain dead and couldn't think of any questions. For now, here are some pictures from my first day of the con.

I'll be there again Sunday, February 9th, 2014, from 11:00 to 3:00. 


Monday, February 3, 2014

Character Interview: Drew Adams from Starting Over: Starsville Book 1

STARTING OVER: STARSVILLE BOOK 1: Max deals with high school the way she deals with panic attacks… deep breaths and denial. But denying her brother’s friend is another thing altogether. Her nickname is ‘The Kid.’ She’s small, she’s socially awkward, and she desperately wants to be left alone. For most of her childhood, Max was punished for speaking, or for just being in the way. Life improved slightly when her abusive father was no longer in the picture, but she still felt the need to be invisible. Her older brother, Nate, is extremely protective and refuses to leave her side. He shelters her so she won’t be hurt again. They had a good system until he introduced her to his new best friend. Drew wants to coax Max out into the world so she can move beyond the pain. The method each boy takes in helping Max cope with her anxiety causes more conflict than Max is prepared to handle… especially when the school heart-breaker offers her more than a brotherly shoulder to lean on.

Mike: Hello, Drew.  Tell us a little about the book you’re in, and how you fit into the story.

Drew: First of all, Mike, thank you for having me. I always thought my first interview would be after a hockey game, but this is cool. To answer your question, I’m in a series of books that aren’t really about me. I’m the best friend, the school heartbreaker, the captain of the hockey team, the rich boy next door, the popular kid… the everything really. But if I didn’t have a secret crush on my best friend’s little sister, I probably wouldn’t be very important at all.

Mike: What’s your background?  Is there anything people should know about you before they read your story, like where you grew up, or anything in your younger days that might have led you to this point?

Drew: I was born and raised in Starsville, Ontario, Canada. I met the majority of my friends and teammates in my toddler years, and I can’t really remember a time without them. Since Starsville has two universities and a college, I’m not sure any of us will ever leave. Why would we? It’s like party town!

Mike: How would you describe your relationship with the author?  For instance, is it a collaborative process, or does she tell you what to do?  And just between us—I’ll make sure to cut out this part, to keep it off the record—what are your personal feelings about her?

Drew: Hmm, I’m not sure I really have a relationship with the author. She pretty much lets me do whatever I want, so I play a lot of hockey and a lot of video games. Plus, she gave me all the best characteristics. Sure, I might have a bit of an ego, but I’m working on it. Maybe I should pass some of my confidence to the author; she could use some.

Mike: If you could star in any other book or film, which one would you choose?

Drew: Oh, I don’t know, Mike. Max is the book lover; Ty is the movie buff. No matter what I say here, I know they’re going to laugh.

Mike: Between adventures, what do you do to blow off steam?  Any hobbies?  Favorite vacation spots?

Drew: My family owns a cottage up north, so we go there a lot. I haven’t really been on any vacations, but I plan to travel around Europe someday. I don’t have a lot of steam to blow off. I’m pretty laid back. If I really need to get rid of some stress, then I hit the gym.

Mike: How has your experience been so far as a character in a novel?  Has it been challenging for you?

Drew: You know, until Nate and his sister showed up, my worst problem was trying to get the clingy girls to stop… well… clinging. Now, what I’d give to have that one particular girl cling to me. How can I be the popular guy and not even get noticed by her? Probably better. Nate would kill me if he knew.

Mike: Of your co-stars, is there anyone you simply can’t stand to be around, or anyone you could see yourself being friends with outside of this story?

Drew:  Jill. That answers both questions really. She’s blunt, outgoing, says what she means, calls it as it is, and is sarcastic as all hell. She pushes all my buttons. I don’t have many, but she’s found them all. But she’s awesome, means well, and will have your back to the death. She’s like my annoying little sister really… the sister I never had… but don’t tell her I said that.

Mike: Are there any actors who could do you justice in a movie?

Drew:  Brad Pitt… in like… his younger days… or, um, like him in Fight Club. Have you seen that movie? He’s freaking awesome! Except I guess they wouldn’t get an old dude to play a teen, right? Um… what about that guy from Glee? Yeah, I’ve seen a few episodes of that. I like their song mash-ups. Anyway, that one guy, he plays Sam something. I looked him up once… Chord Overstreet. Cool name. That guy would make a good me, I guess. He’s probably too old to play me too, but he can pull off the high school look. He can sing, play guitar, and dance… triple threat right there… or quadruple, I guess, ‘cause the acting too. I can’t dance. Chord would make me look good. He’s got kinda the same hair… or he used to anyway… so I guess he kinda looks like me. Can he skate? If so, then yeah, I’d choose him.

Mike: And finally, what are your plans for the future?  Any sequels you can tell us about?

Drew: Big plans, Mike… big plans. I’m going to get the girl… somehow… I haven’t figured it out yet but one day… and then, then maybe I’ll start my own business. I’m great with people and good with numbers. I think I could be real successful. If not, there’s always hockey.

Jaclyn Aurore is the author of young adult fiction books The Starsville Saga: Starting Over, Standing Up, Giving In, Hanging On, Leaving Behind, and the stand alone fantasy, My Life Without Me.

Her books have been described as "Wonderfully human", "Evokes the awkwardness of teenage life perfectly", "Heart-wrenching and heartwarming at the same time", "Twilight without the vampires", and "Nothing at all like Twilight".

She is a wife and mother, and lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two children and two dogs.

WEBSITE: http://www.jaclynaurore.com/

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wrapped in White - A Ghost Anthology

This March, my next story "You'll Thank Me By Tomorrow" will be appearing in Wrapped in White, the new ghost anthology from the dark and twisted--but thoroughly lovely--minds at Sekhmet Press, who also brought you Wrapped in Red, a vampire anthology I was lucky enough to appear in. 

Here's a preview picture:

Contributors are scheduled to include:
Besides myself, you'll recognize a couple of the names from Wrapped in Red, including Patrick Greene, Bryan Alaspa, and Michael Williams. All told, it'll be 13 full ghost stories for your reading pleasure, just like Wrapped in Red included 13 vampire stories.