Tag Archives: fiction

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The Source” is $0.99 on Amazon Kindle today through Friday (April 15). Get it while you can and tell me how much you love it. Fang on! v–v

grave

A Taste of “Finding Serenity”


The full moon in the night sky reflected in water

As I wait through the process of review and editing with “Mining the Dark,” I have been working on my Mountain State Vampire novella, “Finding Serenity.” This story is a bit of background on Dr. Rick Allstedt. Here’s a small taste. The tone is a bit different than the other books. Enjoy and Fang on! v–v

“Over several weeks I continued to acquaint myself with her, usually meeting at CBGB or another dank and dark club. Sometimes I just watched. Seeing her move in her world was like witnessing an epic adventure, a heroine navigating her way through the turmoil of the human condition, all while maintaining a dignity and grace that most humans can never claim. I was sleek in my observations, only making contact when the time was right…when she would be amenable to my advances. The last thing I wanted was for her eyes to fill with dread at my approach. Yes, I wanted her to excite when she saw me, a quick rush of blood through her veins, her skin warming a few degrees above normal, blushing her countenance with the anticipation of my attention, my enthrallment. To be sure, I was the one who was enthralled beyond my own imaginings as a vampire. When I was with her, there was no life, no death, no breath, no blood…just Serenity.”

Mr. Grey, Have We Met?


Fair, Panic, grunge portrait man in gas mask

Yes, I have read the 50 Shades of Grey books. I was honestly intrigued about what all the hoopla was about. I was not impressed with the story when I read the books. I mean, Anne Rice had written about BDSM decades before and had done it much better. Still, I wanted to understand the Grey frenzy.

As a fellow author, I was willing to give E.L. James a chance. I didn’t like the writing style even more than I didn’t like the plot. But I was rooting for her, to witness her writing ability develop before my eyes. I saw hope in the second book. Unfortunately the writing in the third book was so much like the first, I questioned if any development was actually happening.

My hope was reignited for Grey. I admit, I haven’t finished reading the book, but, whoa! The plot is the same, but the writing style is SO much more improved that I’ve actually thought, “Is this the same author?” Yes, it’s still not at the same level as Anne Rice’s books, but the difference between the 50 Shades trilogy and the book told from Grey’s perspective is…almost unbelievable.

I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself a fan, but if the new book is truly an example of Ms. James’s development, brava to her. I hope that she keeps working at it for many years to come.

Reading – Always Reading


I’ve added more read books to my 2015 Reading List, which you can follow on my Facebook page. For those of you who follow, I’ve included my personal definition of star ratings:

5 stars – I loved the book so much that I would read it more than once.
4 starrs – I loved the book, but I wouldn’t read it more than once.
3 stars – I liked the book.
2 stars – I didn’t like the book (and probably stopped reading it).
1 star – I HATED it (and probably stopped reading it).

1. “Styxx (Dark Hunter World Book 22)” by Sherrilyn Kenyon – I started this one at the end of 2014 and finished in 2015. I give it 4 stars.

2. “The Reluctant Vampire (Argeneau Vampire Series Book 15)” by Lynsay Sands – 4 stars. This series is good for a quick paranormal read that focuses primarily on the romance side of things. What’s most intriguing about this series is the mythology that Sands has developed to explain the existence of vampires.

3. “The Darkest Kiss (Riley Jenson Guardian #6) by Keri Arthur – I REALLY like the Riley Jenson series. Think of an Anita Blake type character, only she is a vampire/werewolf hybrid, most emphasis on werewolf. Also like the later Anita Blake series, there’s quite a bit of sexual content. However, UNLIKE the later Anita Blake books, the Riley Jenson books focus primarily on the action of the store – there’s lots of sex, but it doesn’t get in the way of the plot. I highly recommend this series for anyone who is a fan of paranormal romance.

4. “Under a Vampire Moon (Argeneau Vampire Series Book 16)” by Lynsay Sands – 4 stars.

5. “The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood Series Book 12)” by J.R. Ward – 4 stars. This is actually a low star score for me to give a BDB book. I liked the history that she gave, but not all of it seemed relevant to the ongoing story. Plus there was not enough action with the Lessers. Still, an overall good book. I will say this – if there is anyone who could take the reins of the vampire genre from Anne Rice, it’s most definitely J.R. Ward.

6. “Christopher’s Diary: Secrets of Foxworth” by V.C. Andrews – 3 stars. I admit, I expected a lot more from this one. I had really hoped that the book itself would be more focused on the diary itself, almost reading like the format of “Frankenstein” or “Dracula.” However, the main part of the story focuses on Kristin, a teenage girl who is a distant relative of the Dollanganger’s. She and her father find the diary, and it’s her reading of it that is the basis of the plot. For what it is, it’s a good story, but not a great one. I’m always a little hesitant about the newer V.C. Andrews’ books since they’re written by a ghost writer. However, they are still simple, easy YA reads.

7. “The Home and the World” by R.N. Tagore – 5 stars. This is an absolutely fantastic book. I would even give it more than 5 stars. The book focuses on many themes, mainly human nature and how it plays out not only in public life, but in relationships. The political strife of Maharaja India is juxtaposed with a love triangle, layered with personalities depicting the various perspectives of Self. If you can imagine a discussion between Buddha and Machiavelli, then you can imagine the greatness of this book. A particular note that this eloquent prose was written by a man who was a high school drop out – actually, he abhorred formal education. This is definitely one of those books that I will read again to learn even more those things that I might have missed the first time. Highly recommended!

8. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee – 5 stars. This is my favorite book of all time. When the story came out that Lee wrote a sequel set 20 years later, with Scout visiting her father, I just HAD to read it again. It’s just as good now as it was when I read it the first time.

9. “The Three Musketeers” by Alexnandre Dumas – 5 stars. I have made a commitment to read some of the classics that I didn’t read when I was younger – “The Three Musketeers” is the first. I absolutely ADORE this book. I should have read it much sooner! Action, intrigue, mystery, romance all liberally sprinkled with tongue-in-cheek comedy. I can definitely say that this is now, by far, one of my favorite books of all time! If you haven’t read it, do so – you won’t regret it!

10. “The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien – 5 stars. I love this book. And I have read it before. An embarrassing confession – I decided to read it again because I’ve never read “The Two Towers” or “Return of the King…”..or “The Hobbit” for that matter. My re-reading of “Fellowship” is my commitment to read these other works by such a wonderful fantasy author. The world that Tolkien creates is magical and easy to disappear into – just what is needed for a mental vacation!

11. “The Lady is a Vamp (Argeneau Vampire Series Book 17) by Lynsay Sands – 4 stars. This one is just as enjoyable as the other Argeneau books. I liked this one in particular because it introduces the circumstances of a nuclear mortal family and what the turn and immortal laws mean for life mates.

12. “The Walking Dead, Volume 1: Days Gone Bye” by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore – 5 stars. If you love the show, you’ll adore the comic. Great story telling, awesome art – better than the T.V. show in my opinion.

13. “The Walking Dead, Volume 2: Miles Behind Us” by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn – 5 stars. As great as ever. Love going back over the original story and seeing the differences with the T.V. show.

14. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 9, Volume 3: Guarded” by Scott Allie – 4 stars. Love Buffy, love that the story has continued in comic form. The comic is good, just not “The Walking Dead” great.

15. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 9, Volume 4: Welcome to the Team” by Andrew Chambliss – 4 stars. LOVE the appearance by Illyria. And Willow’s back!

16. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 9, Volume 5: The Core” by Andrew Chambliss – 4 stars. Wow. Just…wow.

17. “The Sandman, Volume 1, Preludes and Nocturnes” by Neil Gaiman – 4 stars. Brilliant storytelling. The level of imagination rivals that of Clive Barker.

18. “American Vampire, Volume 1” by Scott Snyder and Stephen King – 4 stars. I admit, I’ve never really enjoyed Stephen King’s books, but this is definitely an exception. Love the subtle humor around horror vampires – no romance or sparkles here!

19. “Batman Eternal #1” by Scott Snyder, et al – 4 stars. I’ve never been the biggest Batman fan – in the DC universe, Superman and Wonder Woman were always my go-to super heroes. But I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed “Batman Eternal” and will look to read more.

20. “Fathom, Volume 1” by Michael Lane Turner – 5 stars. Wow. I’ve had this one for a while and just now read it. This is the best one I’ve read in a long time. The art is beautiful and the character development is intriguing. Definitely going to continue the series.

21. “Injustice: Gods Among Us #1” by Tom Taylor, et al – 5 stars. Loving the story. Another one that I will definitely continue the series.

22. “Superman (2011) #1” by George Perez – 5 stars. Superman. Enough said.

23. “Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale (Serenity #3)” by Joss Whedon – 5 stars. Love it! Love the story of the Shepherd and how it was presented in a brilliant reverse character development form.

24. “Son of No One (Dark Hunter Series #13)” by Sherrilyn Kenyon – 4 stars. I truly do love this series. Particularly how Kenyon interweaves the mythological worlds of Atlantis with the pantheons of the Celts and Greeks.

25. “The Walking Dead, Volume 3, Safety Behind Bars” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

26. “Angel & Faith, #5, What You Want, Not What You Need” by Christos Gage, et al – 4 stars.

27. “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury – 5 stars. Wow. This book is a dystopian masterpiece! I enjoyed it more than Orwell’s “1984.” I like Bradbury’s writing style so much more. It’s not just prose. He has a rather poetic way of writing that I quite enjoy. And to think, this book was published in the 1950s! Much of the world he describes is what we’re seeing today. Amazing. Definitely one of my all-time favorite books now.

28. “The Walking Dead, Volume 4, The Heart’s Desire” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

29. “Serenity, #1, Those Left Behind” by Joss Whedon, et al – 4 stars.

30. “The Sandman, Volume 2, The Doll’s House” by Neil Gaiman, et al – 5 stars.

31. “Are You My Mother?” by Alison Bechdel – 5 stars. This is a remarkable story by a very gifted comic artist. The story is personal, but as she would suggest, in being person, it’s universal. As she discusses her relationship with her mother, I see a lot of my own maternal relationships – both with my mom and my daughter. This book is one of those reads that I need to process it for a while, and most likely, read it again. I highly recommend it.

32. “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (Sleeping Beauty #1) by Anne Rice – 3 stars. I had read this book, actually the whole series, before and was not impressed. I thought after reading the horrible 50 Shades series I would give it another try – I had first read the Beauty series in my late teens. I couldn’t even get into it. I give it three stars because the writing style is indeed skillful and lovely. The story, however, is not to my taste. As I said when I was younger, it’s nothing more than print porn. There’s a huge market for that, but it’s not what I enjoy reading.

33. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: New Rules, Season 10, Volume 1” by Christos Gage, et al – 5 stars ++. Oh. My. Goddess. “New Rules” is AMAZING. This is the first book in a LONG time that has gotten back to its roots and is truly reminiscent of the spirit of the TV show. Love it! Can’t wait until Volume 2 is released!

34. “Angel: After the Fall, Volume 1” by Brian Lynch, et al – 5 stars.

35. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde – 3 stars. I LOVE Oscar Wilde’s writing style. I just could not get into this story. The way the plot was presented did not inspire me to care about any of the characters which made any of the circumstances they found themselves in rather lackluster.

36. “The Walking Dead, Volume 5, The Best Defense” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

37. “Serenity, #2, Better Days” by Joss Whedon, et al – 5 stars.

38. “The Sandman, Volume 3, Dream Country” by Neil Gaiman, et al – 5 stars.

39. “Celtic Myths and Legends” by Peter Berresford Ellis – no stars. I’m not rating this one because I actually stopped reading it. It wasn’t bad – it was written quite well, and the stories were interesting. It’s just that it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. This is one of those books that I might come back to later – my mind is just in a different place now.

40. “The Walking Dead, Volume 6, This Sorrowful Life” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

41. “Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom” by John O’Donohue – 4 stars. Again, this is a book that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I was pleasantly surprised. I quite enjoyed it. My only issue with it is that the author often repeated the same concept, just worded differently, multiple times. This approach can be quite useful for people who have difficulty understanding the concept. For those without that difficulty, it can become rather tediously redundant.

42. “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood – 5 stars. Wow. I know that some have often emphasized the satire of this book, but given the state of our world and the growing political climate, it might be more prediction than satire. The best way I know to describe it is feminist dystopia. I loved it. This classic is also one of my new all-time favorites.

43. “The Walking Dead, Volume 7, The Calm Before” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

44. “Christopher’s Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger” by V.C. Andrews – 4 stars. Wow. I still have some reservations about this book because of how much time is spent on the stories of the people reading the diary, but the revelations they make are quite intriguing. The ending of the book – oh, my! It was shocking, it both intrigued and made me happy…but more than anything, it has me excited for the next book.

45. “Saga, Volume 1” by Brian K. Vaughan, et al – 4 stars.

46. “Sandman, Volume 4: Season of Mists” by Neil Gaiman, et al – 5 stars.

47. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen – 4 stars.

48. “The Walking Dead, Volume 8: Made to Suffer” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

49. “The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison – 4 stars.

50. “Angel, After the Fall, Vol. 2: First Night” by Joss Whedon, et al – 4 stars.

51. “The Walking Dead, Vol. 9: Here We Remain” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

52. “Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures, Vol. 1” by Laurell K. Hamilton, et al – 4 stars. I liked this quite well – possibly even more than the books!

53. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 5 stars. Brilliant writing! Fitzgerald’s style and turn of phrase is unmatched. Contemporary writers would do well in holding him as the standard. I know I will!

54. “The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You” by Neil Gaiman – 5 stars. Oh. My. Goodness. I think this is by far THE BEST Sandman book in the series! I connected with it SO much in how I used to create fantasy worlds when I was young. I still do – I just write them down into stories and novels now. Highly recommend this series!

55. “Avatar The Last Airbender: Shells” by Gene Luen Yang, et al – 4 stars. This one was good enough that I want to read more Avatar comics.

56. “Edward Scissorhands #1” by Kate Leth, et al – 5 stars.

57. “Fight Club 2” by Chuck Palahniuk, et al – 5 stars.

58. “Jem and the Holograms #1” by Kelly Thompson, et al – 5 stars. SQUEE! This comic has SO much childhood nostalgia excitement bubbling over in me! Can’t wait for the rest of the series.

59. “Girlfiend” by Pander Brothers – 3 stars. I was quite disappointed by this one. Much of the art was really good. Although so much was going on in some panels that it got confusing. Sometimes I couldn’t even tell what was happening. The story was not interesting at all.

60. “Slaughter House Five” by Kurt Vonnegut – 5 stars. Again, this book is a classic for a reason. It’s one of the most powerful books I have read. Probably the most telling scene, to me, was the idea of what a war movie would be like if watched backwards, with the factory women disassembling weapons. Brilliant.

61. “Wonder Woman: Odyssey, Vol 1” by J. Michael Straczynski, et al – 4 stars.

62. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol 1” by Joss Whedon, et al – 5 stars.

63. “Batman Detective Comics #27 Special Edition” by Bob Kane, et al – 4 stars.

64. “Batman: Earth One Special Preview Edition” by Geoff Johns, et al – 4 stars.

65. “The New 52: Future’s End #0 Special Edition” by Jeff Lemire, et al – 4 stars.

66. “Saltwater Witch, Comic #1” by Chris Howard – 3 stars.

67. “Romeo and Juliet and Vampires” by William Shakespeare and Claudia Gabel – 4 stars.

68. “Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures, Vol 2” by Laurell K. Hamilton, et al – 4 stars.

69. “Angel: After the Fall, Vol 3” by Joss Whedon, et al – 4 stars.

70. “The Walking Dead, Vol 10: What We Become” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars. MORGAN! 🙂

71. “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens – 2 stars. I stopped reading this one. I just couldn’t get into it. The story didn’t pull me in like others.

72. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol 2” by Joss Whedon, et al – 4 stars.

73. “Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Circus of the Damned, Vol 1” by Laurell K. Hamilton, et al – 4 stars.

74. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales” by Joss Whedon, et al – 5 stars.

75. “The Walking Dead, Vol 11: Fear the Hunters” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

76. “Angel: After the Fall, Vol 4” by Joss Whedon, et al – 4 stars.

77. “The Walking Dead, Vol 12: Life Among Them” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

78. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol 5” by Joss Whedon, et al – 5 stars.

79. “Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Circus of the Damned, The Ingenue” by Laurell K. Hamilton, et al – 4 stars.

80. “Angel, Vol 5: The Aftermath” by Joss Whedon, et al – 5 stars.

81. “The Walking Dead, Vol 13: Too Far Gone” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

82. “Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland” by Malachy McCourt – 3 stars. There is a lot of great information here, however the prose is boring at times making it a rather dense read.

83. “Clive Barkers Hellraiser: Book 7” by Clive Barker, et al – 5 stars.

84. “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Vol 2” by Heather Nuhfer, et al – 4 stars.

85. “The Walking Dead, Vol 14: No Way Out” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

86. “Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Circus of the Damned, The Scoundrel” by Laurell K. Hamilton, et al – 4 stars.

87. “Angel & Faith, Vol 1: Live Through This” by Joss Whedon, et al – 4 stars.

88. “Withering Heights” by Emily Bronte – 2 stars. I couldn’t get into this one. I didn’t sympathize or like any of the characters. I actually stopped reading it.

89. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol 6” by Joss Whedon, et al – 4 stars.

90. “The Walking Dead, Vol 15: We Find Ourselves” by Robert Kirkman, et al – 5 stars.

91. “The Scarlet Gospels” by Clive Barker – 4 stars.