My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Guest Post + Giveaway: Mixing Genres by @CatGerlach

Mixing Genres

One problem I've had from the beginning is the classification of my stories. Most of the publishers my German agent approached loved my writing style, my ideas and especially my characters, but they couldn't decide which label to put on the manuscripts. So ultimately, they passed.

These days, the box (or genre) is not half as important as it used to be. Many of the novels I read contain elements of romance as well as traditional fantasy elements; some incorporate elements of westerns or science fiction. New genres are popping up out of nowhere (5-10 years ago, steampunk was unheard of in Germany), and new age groups follow. Up until recently there was no reading age group of New Adult. These days there is although it's not (yet) as established as Juvenile, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult.

If find that more and more readers don't care so much about genre any more either. The people that follow me on Goodreads for example, are always willing to try something even if the initial genre isn't theirs. I have found many gems that way. Take science fiction as an example. For me those were mostly stories set in outer space with lots of technical babble involved and usually a space alien here or there. Two masterful writers I know and love to read (Holly Lisle's Cadence Drake series and J.A. Marlow's Redpoint Romance series) cured me. Sure, they have some outer space scenes too but it's mainly about humans and the way they interact.

The same goes for my "Gendarmerie Magique" series. Sure, it is basically YA Urban Fantasy, but it's also a crime story (a murder mystery police procedural to be precise), and it's got elements of romance and family problems as well. It sheds light on friendships and on non-human species. All in all, it's a conglomerate of genres. I can tell you what genres it isn't: it's NOT Science Fiction, it's NOT historical, and it's NOT contemporary. But putting a single label on it would be like declaring that a bird is a dinosaur – it sort of is but it sort of isn't too.

Don't you think it's time to set aside our concepts of genre and be prepared to trust the writer? If a story is well written, why should it matter what genre the publisher put it under?

About the Book

CSI with magic but without the gore

Despite her obvious lack of magical talent, nineteen year old Moira Bellamie apprentices with the Gendarmerie Magique, the magic police. She puts all her effort into solving a burglary at the National Museum where antique weapons have been stolen, to keep the hard won job. Falling for her partner Druidus wasn't part of the plan. When more and more people are murdered with one of the stolen weapons, Moira must tame uncontrollable magic, or the people she cares for will die, her partner first and foremost.

For lovers of Fantasy and Mystery from 14 years up.



I’ve been telling and writing stories all my life, but only two year ago, with the success of eBook publishing, I became an Indie author. I never looked back. Sure, my manuscripts have found praise with traditional publishers, but no one had the courage to publish something they couldn’t neatly stuff into a labeled box.

Well, just like my books, I don’t fit one box. I’m the daughter of a forester and a studied forester myself. I’m sister to three brothers, and a mother to three daughters. I’m a tomboy at heart and simultaneously tidy and chaotic – I can’t be any different with my Muse (the creative part of me) dragging me in one direction and my Editor (the neat, logical side) pulling in another. There are three things in this world I love more than anything: my family, stories (mine and those of others) and nature. The best thing that can happen to me is when someone I don’t know leaves a review for one of my books telling me how much (s)he liked it.

Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook

Giveaway for "Swordplay – A Gendarmerie Magique novel"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Audio Book Review: Revenge Wears Prada by @LWeisberger

Series: The Devil Wears Prada #2
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Source: publisher

Andrea Sachs has finally gotten what she wanted. She is the editor of her own wedding magazine, The Plunge, which she started with her former adversary, Emily. She is married to the son of a media mogul, Max. Max is also the biggest investor in Andy’s magazine which has now caught the eye of Andy and Emily’s old boss, the devil herself, Miranda Priestly.

From the beginning the reader knows this is going to be a bit dramatic, especially if you read the first book. It starts with Andy’s wedding when she finds a note from her husband’s mother urging him not to marry Andy (that has to suck finding out your mother-in-law hates you) and that he ran into his ex during his bachelor party. What does Andy do about this…obsesses…forever. Then Andy discovers she is pregnant.

Her pregnancy is enough for Andy to stall Emily from selling to their former boss but the time is coming to end and Andy must make a decision. About her magazine and about her “perfect” life. She does not want Miranda back in their life and she doesn’t understand why Emily is obsessed with having Miranda as a boss again.

This is when the story takes another weird twist and since I don’t want to spoil for those haven’t read it yet I will keep it minimal in details. Let’s just say all of a sudden someone that seems supportive is now the villain and friendships all around start to deteriorate…fast.

Not one of my favorite books I will admit. At times it was entertaining (especially when Miranda was on scene) and at other times I just found Andy needed an attitude adjustment. She usually just made the situation worse. All in all it is an entertaining read and if you enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada you will enjoy this one too.

DISCLOSURE: I received this audio book from the publisher at no charge and in no way influenced my review.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Blood From A Silver Cross by @ES_Moore

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Jeremy seemed to get it, though. He broke into a wide grin, picked up his beer and tipped it my way. "To staying alive."
Some people still call Kat Redding by her hunter name: Lady Death. But she’s not eager to see more violence brought to her doorstep. The neverending tide of hungry supes and vicious humans doesn’t change the math—sooner or later Kat’s one-vamp battle against the nightmares that infest Columbus is going to leave her dead. And she has innocent people—well, a werewolf and a demon-summoner—depending on her now.
But when a rogue werewolf who’s opted out of the bloodbath is found crucified and mutilated with toxic silver, Kat knows she’ll be tangling again with the dangerous Pureblood murderers of the cult of the Left Hand. She already has an undead countess blackmailing her into taking out the city’s garbage and a demon playing with her head. Add to that her serious suspicions about changes at the house of her uneasy ally Jonathan Alucard, werewolf denmaster, and Kat might have finally gotten in danger so deep, not even Lady Death can survive… 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: January 27, 2014

What is Stacking The Shelves all about?

We are all book lovers and the need to share our enthusiasm is sometimes overwhelming. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you’re anything like me, you are probably hoarding books and even though you are excited about your latest book arrival, it might be a while before you get to review it and Stacking The Shelves is a good way to express your undying enthusiasm for those titles!

How to participate? Just head on over to Tynga's Reviews and sign up!


In the Blood by Lisa Unger
from Amazon

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review: Predatory by @AlexandraIvy @ninabangs @DianneDuvall @Hannah_Jayne1

Publisher: Zebra 
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Source: publisher

Predatory contains short stories by Alexandra Ivy, Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall and Hannah Jayne. As with most anthologies, a reader will get a mix of strong reads and at least one weak read. Here is my breakdown of the four stories.

Out of Control by Alexandra Ivy

Angela Locke is special. Even though she doesn’t know how special she soon learns when she is kidnapped by a woman named Dylan. What Angela learns is that it isn’t her intelligence that helps her alter DNA, but her “otherness.” This soon makes her target of the psychopath that is Dylan. Angela soon discovers that the hot professor, Dr. Nikolo Bartrev, is also different. He is a Sentinel from Valhalla send to protect Angela but along the way he ends up falling in love.

Ivy’s new world is intriguing. This short story is just the very tip of the iceberg. I lapped up every word written and now I am excited to read the first book in this series, Born in Blood. This world is unique and I enjoyed all the interesting characters. If you are looking for a fresh take on urban fantasy, this is a series I would recommend.

Ties that Bind by Nina Bangs

Cassie Tyler gets more than she bargains for when she agrees to sub for her friend at a funeral home. All of a sudden she is thrust into a world of vampires and other things that go bump in the night. Ethan, a vampire with a face so beautiful and will kill you (for real), becomes her savior as they try to escape the bad guys who are capturing vampires and turning them into something else unworldly and frightening that they are able to control.

This was my least favorite short story. The storyline just fell flat for me and didn’t keep my attention.

In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall

Richart d’Alencon’s secret is finally revealed! As a fan of the Immortal Guardian series, I have been patiently waiting to read what he has been up to. I figured it was because of a woman and I was correct.

Richart saves Jenna after she is attacked by vampires. He returns her home (drugged up) but is unable to shake off the incredible kiss they shared. He begins to court her because Jenna remembers nothing from that night. Slowly Jenna becomes sicker and sicker and after Richard appears suddenly in the middle of Jenna’s living room after being gravely injured, he has no choice but to bring her into the fold. Mainly to discover why Jenna is becoming so sick and also to explain what he is.

There is a lot packed into this delicious story and well worth picking up this book.

High Stakes by Hannah Jayne

Nina LaShay’s design contest rival turns up dead and she becomes the number one suspect with the sexy photographer Pike being their number two. Nina risks outing herself as a vampire but it could be the only thing that will save her.

There is bits and pieces that I liked and then there was other scenes I just didn’t care for. I thought the characters were interesting but the story was a bit weak and predictable. I did like the humor that was interjected throughout and had be laughing out loud.

Since this was my first book by Hannah Jayne and I won’t judge an author on their short story, I do plan to read something else by her.


Overall, Predatory is a mixed bag of stories, all of which work together to make this anthology a great one to pack on your carry on for a quick airplane read.



DISCLOSURE: I received this book from the publisher at no charge and in no way influenced my review.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Guest Post: Don't Lose Sight of What's Important by @GreggBell1


As an Indie author I confess to being totally guilty of what I’m about to write, namely, in the scramble to make it as a writer, I have a tendency to lose track of what’s really important.

In a way it’s hard not to lose sight of what’s important. The competition in ebook writing is so fierce. The odds of making it so long. That it seems that only a total all-consuming effort will suffice to break through. And in that effort what is important is excluded.

Like I said, I’ve done it. And there are temptations to step across the line as far as ethics go, as well. Nothing drastic of course, but, I tell myself, other people are doing it and therefore I have to do it as well to compete.

More than anything I don’t like that that sort of monomaniacal drive can change me as a person. In the panic to compete I become someone else.

So what’s the solution? 

Realize that life is about trade-offs. Can you be a kind, generous, helpful, giving person and still be a 24/7 super-obsessed ebook writer, marketer, networker etc? Simply put: no. You only have so much time in one day and only so much energy and—ultimately—only so many heartbeats in a lifetime to spend in any way you choose. What you give to one area of your life, takes away from another. Life is a zero sum game.

So what do you want to achieve? Best-seller status at all costs? Or to be a fully realized, kinder, more giving person? The choice is up to you.


When I was ten a drunken guy almost drowned me in a swimming pool. It was in Miami Beach at the Chateau motel. The guy was a pool hand and he was wrestling (playfully, for the most part)with us kids. Then he said, "I'm going to show you a good hold" and he got me in a headlock and took me under. It was a good hold all right. He held me there and held me there and held me there. I struggled but this was a powerful man. There was nothing to do. I would either die or I wouldn't.

That experience gave me an appreciation for life's tenuousness. If you think about it, we're only alive as far as our next breath will take us. 

I write novels and stories about characters like you and me with their heads underwater. (Figuratively speaking of course.) Characters under so much duress their brains are about to burst. They're at the end of it all. No way out of this one. But I also write with a sense of humor. (You have to have a sense of humor, right?)

I was born in 1956 in Chicago. A lifelong Illinois guy. Married once. Divorced. No kids. No pets. Passionate about things: people, classical music, golf. And I always seem to be on the side of the underdog.

 Blog  /  Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook

Lainey Tripper is no doughnut-eating bounty hunter. She’s a whiskey-drinking hard-living animal rescue feminist. But she has just this one little problem: she can’t seem to stop killing men. 

The nefarious misogynistic dog-hating Donovan has taken his evil to a new level—stealing all of Chicago’s dogs to sell them to China for lunchmeat. Only Lainey and the IWS, the radical feminist animal rescue group she heads, can stop him. 

Will Lainey stop Donovan in time? And when she’s done, will any men be left alive?