Author Archives: StephB

Audi, New Tool in the Vamp Slayer’s Arsenal?

Did you catch the 2012 Super Bowl on Sunday?  I did, but here in Okinawa we don’t get the commercials, which can sometimes be the best part of the game.  Thankfully, the internet has made it easy to catch-up on all the commercials I missed.  And, I couldn’t resist sharing Audi’s Vampire Party commercial.  In case you missed it, here it is:

So, what’d ya think?  I thought it was hilarious, in a “Dumbass!” kinda way.  That’s what makes it funny, in my opinion.  I love the two dudes at the end – the one who smiles and starts to say “Hey!” and the one who pops up behind the rock before poofin’ into non-existence.  Then, the driver … “Dumbass!” Too funny!

One blogger claims it was one of the year’s worst commercials stating “First off, it’s stupid that vampires are bursting into dust at the visage of an Audi. Secondly, a vampires-centric commercial? What is this, 2008? This would’ve been cutting edge the last time these two teams matched up, perhaps.”  I tend to disagree, especially since the vampires aren’t sparkling, but rather sport True Blood-like fangs, but ok.  You’re entitled to your opinion.  And, another stated, “As for the subject matter of the commercial, I think they tackled a pretty touchy subject with a lot of respect; the biggest murder-suicide in the history of vampires. But if what I’ve heard happens in True Blood is true for vampires, these vampires probably deserved it. And you have to make sure you hit the demographic that buys cars based on the brightness of their headlights. Good effort, overall.”  This makes me laugh, “…they tackled a pretty touchy subject with a lot of respect…”  Seriously?  That’s a bit deep don’t you think?  I, for one, can’t picture the Audi advertising group thinking, “Ok, this is a touchy subject, so we must be respectful about how we approach it.”  Can you?

This year’s commercials seemed to be auto manufacturer heavy, which is understandable I guess considering the financial state of things in the US, but there was one more commercial that made me laugh out loud.  It’s not at all para-related, but I thought I’d share it as well.  And, really, who can resist a nekked M&M shakin’ his booty to LMFAO?  Not me!

If you’d like a play-by-play of the commercials, check out the Washington Post‘s break-down here.   And, while I didn’t really care who won the Super Bowl, congrats to the New York Giants for pulling off another win.  Hopefully my Steelers will make it to the Bowl again in 2013.  🙂

Return of ‘The Walking Dead’

AMC’s The Walking Dead returns Sunday, 12 February.  I can’t wait!  How ’bout you?  What’d you think of the mid-season finale?  Were you happy with Shane’s actions?  What will happen now?   Here’s AMC’s sneak peek at Ep 208, Nebraska. [SPOILER ALERT: Video clip contains spoilers from Episode 07 of Season 2.]

For those who have missed some episodes, don’t fret.  AMC is airing a two-day marathon beginning on Sat., Feb. 11 at 8/7c, covering the full series to date. They’ll show all six episodes of Season 1 back-to-back on Saturday starting at 8/7c. Then on Sunday, the marathon continues with Season 2 episodes starting at 1:30PM/12:30c, leading right into the Midseason Premiere, “Nebraska” at 9/8c.   You can check here for the full recap schedule.

Word is the show’s third season has been extended to 16 episodes.  While I’m thrilled I have more Walking Dead to enjoy, I hope the episodes are more intense that they have been so far in Season 2.  Is it just me or where the episodes in Season 1 just a bit more edge-of-your-seat intense?  That said, I have enjoyed Season 2’s more character-based episodes.  They have allowed us to get to know them all a bit better, even if that means we like them a little less.

I have to say, the character who surprised me the most in Season 2 is Daryl.  In season 1, he was just a background character and not one of my favorites.  In season 2, we get to see him shine.    He is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  Who’s your favorite?  Are you ready to see some changes in the group’s leadership? Or think all is as it should be?

If you’re not already a fan of the series, what are you waiting for?  Catch-up this weekend and you’ll be hooked like the rest of us!

Be sure to check out AMC’s “10 Ways to Get Ready for The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere” for more videos.  You can also take their “Which Character Are You?” quiz to see who you’d likely take after should you survive the apocalypse.

[The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere Airs Sunday, 12 Feb]

Related Posts: Get Ready for the Return of The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead Returns, and Zombie Awareness Month (ZAM).

Fiction2Film: Zombies … an Oral History & a Love Story

In our Fiction 2 Film (F2F) posts, we will share news and tidbits we learn about author’s stories which have made the jump from paper to film.

~ Zombies … An Oral History ~

If you are a fan of zombie novels, you have already heard about Max BrooksWorld War Z film adaption starting Brad Pitt.  In fact, if you’re a major fan, you’ve already read the book.  But, have you heard the major changes to the story?  writing for Screen Rant.com discusses the fact that, although it is a “tricky narrative format to transfer to film” the main character, who in the book is a U.N. employee that interviews zombie apocalypse survivors on their experiences, will be quite different in the film.

Paramount’s announcement stated, “The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.”  This is indeed a different take on the story.  How does author Max Brooks feel about the change?

He acknowledges how difficult it could be turning the book into a film during his interview with the Daily Record.  He admits, “It doesn’t have a main character, the storyline is told from a hundred different points of view, would be prohibitively expensive filming in all these different countries.”  He also realizes the challenge this brings saying, “You couldn’t pay me to turn it into a film.”  However, he doesn’t seem worried about the changes, but rather excited to see how it all turns out.  “I’m not involved so I just want to be able to enjoy watching the movie when it comes out,” he explained. “At least I know they did at least as much research into things as I did for the book.”  In his 26 Aug 2011 blog post, after visiting the set in Glasgow, Max stated, “While I’m still largely in the dark concerning the overall story, it was reassuring to hear from Brad Pitt and Marc Forster that their goal is to make a smart, deep, geopolitical movie. I trust their talent and their intentions and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.”  He also learned from the January 3rd LA Times article, that states, “Forster [the director] and Paramount Pictures each view “World War Z” as a trilogy that would have the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, Damon’s Jason Bourne series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead.'”  That’s a nice thought (for them financially), but will fans love the first film enough to support the making of a trilogy? 

‘World War Z’, the Fiction

“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

‘World War Z’, the Film

Will the film be a hit among Brooks’ fans?  Zombie fans?  Pitt fans?  Only time will tell.

But, in E! News’ interview with actress Mireille Enos, who plays Pitt’s wife in the film, she said, “It’s like zombies are the new vampires.” And, it would seem she isn’t far off as we have seen the number of zombie-related books increase over the past year.  “It’s taking over. But somebody said to me this movie might end the zombie genre because, after this, what else is there to do? It’s huge!”  Now, this statement is not one with which I can agree.

I’ll watch the movie, I may even love it, but “end the zombie genre” because of its awesomeness?  Nah, probably not.  Romero has been doing good zombies for many, many years.  Others will surely follow.

‘World War Z’ is scheduled to hit theaters on, you guessed it, 12/21/12.  How apropos.

[Trailer can be viewed here.]

~ Zombies … A Love Story ~

Now, I have to admit that about a year ago, someone told me about a zombie romance and my first reaction was “Thanks, but no thanks.”  Then, I decided to give Isaac Marion‘s Warm Bodies a go.  The story is told from the perspective of R, a zombie who, try as he might, cannot remember much about his life before now.  Then, he meets his (living) sweetheart.  The book was a quick read, but one that proved in the end that Virgil may have had it right when he said, “Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to love.”

I was happily surprised to see on that Isaac’s book is also being adapted to film.  Unlike Brooks’ “fiction2film,” Marion’s appears to be more of a direct adaption than a variation on the story.  Although director Jonathan Levine is writing the script, he consulted with Marion during the process.

In an interview with Jonathan Liu, or “GeekDad” of Wired Magazine, he explained, I’ve not been directly involved as far as collaborating on it, but I’ve been consulted a lot, a lot more than what’s normal, from what I’m told. When they first hired the director he had lunch with me and just chatted about his ideas and vision for the whole thing, and he’s been interacting with me as he wrote the script. He’d call me up and ask me questions: what’s this part about, or how do you see this and that.

I read some draft of the script — I’m not sure how far along it was — and then I got to give notes on that, and later read another draft and gave some notes. It seems like they’re really respectful of my opinion and they seem to really care what I think, which is cool. Very unusual, from what I’m told. Even major best-selling authors who have all the clout in the world, sometimes they just tell them: “Get lost, we don’t care what you think. Just let us make this movie.” Everyone I’ve told about this who knows how that works has been amazed, that they actually have involved me.

Do you think that will make a difference to those who have read the book and watch the movie?  I know it will for me.  As much as I enjoy seeing a film director’s interpretation of a novel, sometimes I want to see the author’s original story, as is, on the big screen.  Of course, just because there has been so much director-author collaboration does not mean the film will be identical to the novel.  It is always hard to completely translate one to the other, yes?

Either way, Marion sounds excited about the film.  Although he did not have much say regarding the casting process, per the USA Today article, he didn’t see that as a problem because he wasn’t sure “how it would have been if [he] had hated them. But they worked out.”  He plans to watch the film in the theater instead of with the executives because “If something bad happened, [he] wouldn’t want them to see [him] cowering.”  That said, he wants to visit the production set as much as possible because, “The whole thing is fascinating and exciting.”   He may even try to “… sneak in the background and get eaten by a zombie.” 

‘Warm Bodies’, the Fiction

A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.

‘Warm Bodies’, the Film

As I said, it was initially hard for me to envision a zombie novel as a romance.  However, either Marion’s writing changed my perception or love really does affect us all – living or undead.  Marion can relate to our uncertainties about a romantic zombie.  “I didn’t want to sanitize him into something I called a zombie,” Marion says. “You watch him kill people and eat people and do horrific things zombies do. There’s a germ of change in there, so you hear him give his distaste for things but this is what we do.

“A lot of people can relate to that mindless repetition, that people do things they don’t want to do all the time. It’s the starting point for his character, and he develops an awareness for what his options are. It seemed natural to make him sympathetic because everyone’s been there at some point, in a place of misery and wanting to get out.”   The fact that R goes through his routines even while he dreads them was absolutely something to which I could relate.  It made him feel more real, I guess.

Teresa Palmer, who plays R’s love interest, Julie, says Nicholas Hoult is “… so beautiful to work with. He does such an incredible performance. He’s playing a zombie, so he can’t say much, but he’s very expressive with his eyes.”   And, he would have to be to pull this off.  The book is full of R’s internal dialogue, so  I’m very interested to see how that will be represented on screen.  I’ve certainly seen that work well in some and not in others.

I wasn’t going to say this because so many others are asking the same question, but after seeing this picture I feel I have to ask … Will these two be the new Edward & Bella?  It may not be too far fetched a question since Summit Entertainment, the production company behind Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight films, is also behind Marion’s film. The picture is certainly reminiscent of Twilight pics.  I’d say they should try to be more original, but on second thought, it was most likely intentional as they try to lure young adult paranormal romance readers into the theater.

‘Warm Bodies’ is scheduled to hit theaters on 8/10/12.

[To date, no official trailer exists, but you can view the book trailer here.]

Related posts: “Fiction2Film” feature on Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’ and our “Zombie Awareness Month” posts

Review: Demon Song by Cat Adams

In a world where magic is real and the supernatural is almost normal, bodyguard Celia Graves has survived a vampire attack which made her a half-vampire and awakened her latent Siren abilities. She’s battled a Siren Queen to the death and twice faced down a demon that wants to kill her–slowly. She’s also had her heart broken–twice–by her old flame, magician Bruno DeLuca.

Perhaps the worst thing was the discovery that Celia’s life has been warped by a curse laid on her during childhood–the cause of everything from the death of her little sister to the murder of her best friend the same night that Celia became an Abomination.

An ancient rift between the demonic dimension and our own–sealed during the destruction of Atlantis–begins to open, threatening to loose all the demons of hell on humanity (including the one personally bent on destroying Celia). Celia’s hellish recent experiences have given her the unique combination of abilities needed to close the rift. But to overcome the curse, which nearly guarantees her failure, she’ll need to join forces with people she no longer trusts…and put people she has come to care about directly in harm’s way.

Demon Song (Blood Singer #3) by Cat Adams

Release Date: 17 Feb 2011
Read Date: 5 May 2011
Rating:

Demon Song, the 3rd book in Cat Adams’ Blood Singer series, finds Celia still coping with her fight to not go full vamp, while also dealing with the demon that just won’t leave her alone and her recently discovered heritage. Troubles a brewin’ and she finds herself smack in the middle of it.

The action in this series is non-stop. Trouble follows Celia around, but the girl carries some major weapons, many hopped on magic and always gets the job done. This edition to the series has a bit more romance than the previous books, although not like you’d expect. As with everything in this series, it’s fresh, unique ~ just like Celia herself. For the first time, she finds herself in the midst of a hottie triangle. Neither mage seems anywhere near close to backing down and each one of the men evoke different emotions for Celia. Unlike most triangles, this one proves to be interesting. I look forward to seeing how it plays out in future editions.

This is definitely one of my favorite urban fantasy series to date. I continue to be impressed with each book, each better than one before it. I am anxious to read The Isis Collar in March 2012.

This series is hard to review without spoilers, but I believe I blocked the only one I’ve included in my Goodreads review. Please note that each book’s blurb tends to provide spoilers for the previous books in this series. So, it’s best to read only the blurb for the next book in your TBR list.

Series Reading Order:

Blood Song (Blood Singer, #1) Siren Song (Blood Singer, #2) Demon Song (Blood Singer, #3) The Isis Collar (Blood Singer, #4)

Review: Hexbound by Chloe Neill

Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.
They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…

Hexbound (Dark Elite #2) by Chloe Neill

Release Date: 7 Dec 2010
Read Date: 6 May 2011
Rating:

Hexbound picks up where Firespell left off. Lily is still learning about her powers and that of the Adepts. “As Adepts, we promise to give up our magic, to give it back to the universe before it turns us into soul-suckers. Reapers don’t. And in order to keep their suddenly hungry power from devouring them from the inside out, they have to feed from the souls of Adepts or humans.” They believe that after twenty-five years, “the magic begins to degrade you, to devour your soul like some kind of rangy tentacle monster.”

Lily and her friend Scout are trying to avoid the “brat-pack drama”, but unfortunately it’s ever present. I do like Lily and Scout, but at times the story seems to be weighed down by too much angst for me. That’s the risk I take when choosing to read YA. I do enjoy the different types of powers Chloe has created in Lily’s world. Some can touch buildings to “read the history”, manipulate fire or ice and some are wicked fighters.

I’m also intrigued by Sebastian. He’s a Reaper who appears to be trying to help Lily. Lily is attracted him and visa versa, but he’s the bad guy. Or is he? We can’t really get a lock on him. I’m looking forward to learning more about him and whether or not everything he’s told her is true.

As Sebastian tells Lily, “…things are rarely as simple as they seem. Sometimes you don’t figure out how the story is supposed to end until you’ve read it.”

I’ll be continuing the series with Charmfall, which is due in Jan 2012.

Review: Kiss and Kin by Kinsey W. Holley

Brotherly love? Oh hell no…

A Sexy Shifter story.

On the surface, court reporter Lark Manning looks like the luckiest girl in the world, blessed with great friends and a wonderful family. Underneath, she harbors a hopelessly unrequited love for the sexy werewolf everyone thinks of as her cousin. Taran rarely notices her except to condescend or lecture. He’s treated her the same way since she was eight years old, and there’s no reason to think he’ll ever change.

Taran Lloyd, a detective in the Houston Police Department’s Shifters Investigations Unit (SHIU), lives for those rare moments he gets to spend around Lark, torturing himself with what he can’t have. Kin only by marriage, she thinks of him as her big brother. He couldn’t bear her pity—or her disgust—if she learned he wants her for his mate.

When weres from a rival pack attack her, Lark screams out the first name that comes to mind—Taran. Only this sexy alpha can keep her safe until they find out who wants her dead, and why. But keeping her safe means keeping her close. And the closer they get, the harder it gets for these not-really-cousins to honor their commitment to keep their paws off.

Kiss and Kin (Werewolves in Love #1) by Kinsey W. Holley

Release Date: June 2009
Read Date: 7 May 2011
Rating:

Kiss and Kin is the first book in Kinsey W. Holley’s Werewolves in Love series. It was also my first introduction to Kinsey’s books.

In Kiss and Kin, we meet Lark Manning who has been hot for cousin (by marriage, not blood) for as long as she can remember. That cousin is a hottie, were, Taran Lloyd. He’s a detective in the Houston Police Department’s Shifters Investigations Unit (SHIU).

Cue couples row down d’Nile. She believes he still sees her as the the cute little girl he’s known forever and he believes she sees him as the brotherly type. But, when she’s attacked and calls out his name, he rushes to her rescue and throughout her recovery, neither can resist the heat between them or the fact that Taran’s known she’s his mate. Oops! Did he forget to mention that?

The baddie was kinda predictable, but, hey, the sex was smokin’. >;) I will be continuing the series and look forward to reading more by Kinsey.

Series Order:

Kiss and Kin (Werewolves in Love, #1) Yours, Mine and Howls (Werewolves in Love, #2) Ready to Run  Werewolves in Love story

There is also a Yours, Mine and Howls prequel (Werewolves in Love #1.5) called The Nanny Years available at Smashwords.

Review ~ Queenie’s Brigade by Heather Massey

Queenie’s Brigade by Heather Massey

Captain Michael Drake desperately needs an army to save Earth after a crushing defeat by alien invaders. When his damaged starship docks at a remote prison colony, he discovers Earth’s last best hope—an army to replace the one he lost.

But, Queenie, the feral goddess ruling the prison, has other plans for the rugged star ship captain. After imprisoning Drake and seizing his ship, she prepares to lead her blood-thirsty band to freedom before the invaders track them down.
Despite her intentions, Queenie secretly falls for the sexy, hotshot captain. Drake makes it plain he wants to win back Earth with her by his side. But is following her heart worth betraying her people?

The author provided some great bullets to pique your interest:

*a smart, charismatic, and honorable Alpha hero with a touch of angst
*a kick-butt Latina anti-heroine in search of redemption
*a biracial romance (of the enemies-to-lovers/opposites attract variety)
*high stakes & high-octane action-adventure space opera featuring underdog heroes (Think: THE DIRTY DOZEN in space.)

Heat Level: Sexual tension; one steamy love scene
Tone: Dark and edgy; strong language; graphic violence

She offers a free-preview of the first three chapters.  Once you read them, you’ll want to finish the story!

(PDF) (ePub) (Mobi)

The eBook is available for purchase from: (Red Sage) (Amazon) (Barnes & Noble)

You can visit the author at her website or check out more from Red Sage Publishing.

Release Date: 1 October 2011

Read Date: 19 October 2011

Rating:

Queenie’s Brigade introduces us to Michael Drake and Queenie.  We meet Starship Captain Drake when he’s retreating from a losing battle against a Calithian invasion against Earth. The last thing he wants to do is flee, but he does so because they may just be Earth’s only chance.

He and his remaining crew dock the damaged ship, Relentless (love the name) at a prison colony called Hades Station.  Queenie rules colony. When Drake’s ship lands, she quickly captures him and his men, then takes control of his ship. He begins to see an opportunity to rebuild the army he lost while she wants to free her people.  Will Queenie’s people and Drake’s space soldiers be able to work together?

Queenie’s Brigade was a good mix of sci-fi action and romance.  I read the three-chapter preview and couldn’t wait to read the rest.  I immediately liked (Michael) Drake.  The flashbacks of his loss were touching and helped the reader relate to him early on.  Queenie, while not blessed with the best name, was a wickedly fierce heroine who is strong, yet vulnerable and always looking out for her people.

I would like to follow these two as they continue their battles, if the author plans on turning this into a series.

Review: Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood

Every dog might have his day, but the hellhound guards the night . . .

As a snowstorm locks down the city, more than the roads are getting iced. Someone’s beheaded the wrong girl, and vampire-on-the-lam Talia Rostova thinks it was meant to be her. Now she’s the prime suspect in her own botched murder—and the prisoner of her smoking-hot neighbor.

Lore is a hellhound, bred to serve and protect, so he’s not freeing Talia until he’s sure that she’s the prey and not the hunter. You’d think a beautiful woman in his bedroom would be a good thing, but trouble-prone Talia has run afoul of someone more sinister than your average lunatic killer. An ancient Undead is wreaking vengeance on the city—and on her—and Lore will have to go far beyond a stake to put him back in his grave . . .

 

 

Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten #4) by Sharon Ashwood

Release Date: 7 Jun 2011

Read Date: 20 Jun 2011

Rating:

I have always enjoyed Sharon Ashwood’s Dark Forgotten series. Frostbound was no exception. I think she does a great job of blending UF and PNR. Like a PNURF, paranormal urban romantic fantasy.

This book focuses on one of my favorite characters so far in the series, Lore, a hellhound who managed to escape from the the Castle. He’s acting sheriff during a time when supes are on edge. Why? Because the first supe election is only a month or so away. Supernaturals have only been out of the closet for a short time and the humans are still adjusting.

Talia, a newly turned vampire/former hunter, has been running from her abusive sire and is staying with her look-a-like cousin. When her cousin is murdered Lore investigates, Talia freaks and the who-done-it begins.

While I thought I’d be more drawn to Talia, seeing as she was turned against her will, grew up killing “monsters” and now is having to adjust to being that which she’s always hated … I was only partially interested. I was more interested in Lore, Hellhound Alpha. I did feel like they were a good fit though.

Definitely continuing on with the series.

Series Order:

Ravenous (The Dark Forgotten, #1) Scorched (The Dark Forgotten, #2) Unchained (The Dark Forgotten, #3) Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten, #4)
EXTRAS offered on the author’s website include a book video & excerpt for Frostbound, including excerpts for the previous books as well.  Frostbound was Nominated for Romance Reviews Today Best Book of the Year 2011.

Review: The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant by Vivi Andrews

It’s bad enough to be sexually frustrated. But as a medium, it means until Lucy Cartwright gets some, she’s doomed. Oh no, not to death. Worse. To nightly visitations by recently deceased, wanna-be Cassanovas without the bodies to back it up. Then a living, breathing fantasy arrives on her doorstep, and Lucy thinks her dry spell is at an end. Much as he would like to be Lucy’s personal gigolo, PI Jake Cox has a job to do. He’s been sent to prevent her from getting laid until a particular horny phanto–and key witness in his mob investigation–pays her a visit. The real challenge? Keeping his own hands off Lucy long enough to get the job done. Or the lonely, geeky ghost of a murdered mob accountant could rip a hole in the fabric of the universe…

The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant (Karmic Consultants #1) by Vivi Andrews

Release Date: 17 Feb 2009
Read Date: 23 Jun 2011
Rating:

The title of this one is almost as long as the story, but this little book is packed with laughs. Lucy is the Ghost Shrink, or so she considers herself. She “helped the deceased work through their issues and move on to the next plane. The white light. Whatever.”

Her boss just happens to be Karma, “pure sex. Walking, talking sensuality.” Lucy classifies herself as the girl next door and she’s having a bit of dry spell in the sex department. To top off that bitter piece of cake, her sexual drought seems to attract the ghosts of horny businessmen. The first one we meet, the Larrinator was a riot in his ghostly and ghastly attempts to seduce Lucy.

Karma advises her to change the energy she puts out into the world, if she wants to change the type of ghosts that pop in. She can’t believe her luck when “Jake Cox walked through her door that afternoon like a walking, talking gift from Cupid.” When he tells her that Karma sent him, she’s a bit mortified, and more than a bit Thank.You.God. She’s convinced her boss has sent (the Accidental) Gigolo to help her “change her energy”.

Jake’s a PI and he needs to talk to the Poltergeist Accountant who should be arriving at Lucy’s very soon. There have been a series of murders and he’s investigating them. Who better to help him that the girl that talks to dead people.

I could go on and on, but really, at this point I’ve already told you too much. The story is short, so take your time reading it. I promise you’ll be drawn to these adorable, sexy, funny characters just like I was. I look forward to continuing with the series.

Karmic Consultants Series:

The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant (Karmic Consultants, #1) The Ghost Exterminator (Karmic Consultants, #2) The Sexorcist (Karmic Consultants, #3) The Naked Detective (Karmic Consultants #4) A Cop and a Feel

Plus an eFreebie, Love Potion #9, short story offered by the author HERE.

A Valentine’s Day Free Read | A Karmic Consultants Short Story

It’ll take a helluva love potion to make Lara – practicing witch, potion
expert and Valentine Scrooge – fall head over heels. Luckily, bar-owner Connor mixes a mean Cupid Cocktail…

What’s in a Name? {Pseudonyms, Pen Names & Nom de Plumes}

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet” ~ William Shakespeare

pseu·do·nym | noun |ˈsoōdn-im| a fictitious name
* Geisel was best known by the pseudonym ‘Dr. Seuss’

* Synonyms & related words: pen name, nom de plume, assumed name, false name, alias, professional name, sobriquet, stage name, nom de guerre.

* ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from French pseudonyme, from Greek pseudōnymos, from pseudēs ‘false’ + onoma ‘name.’

I have always been a bit confused by the reasons behind a pseudonym.  But, then I realized I have several myself.  We all do, probably.  We have screen names and avatars for different sites scattered around the WWW.  Hopefully not for any nefarious reasons, but sometimes it’s nice to go unnoticed by those who know you best.

During my search for not only which authors use a pseudonym, but the reasons for them, I found several interesting articles and a YouTube video that helped clear up my confusion.  The first article I found, 9 Reasons Why You Should Use a Pseudonym, was written by Carmela for the Huffington Post.  It showed some of the more odd reasons an author would use a pseudonym such as when William Sydney Porter was released from prison in 1901 and wanted to reinvent himself or Fernando Pessoa, who apparently had multiple personalities and wrote under 70 different names.

Nah, make fun, but that's typically NOT the reason

There were others, but the one that really helped clarify it for me was the YouTube video discussion between Brian Felsen of BookBaby and author Jennifer Ashley at the 2011 Romantic Times Convention.  Jennifer explains her reasons for writing under four different names {Jennifer Ashley, which is her real name, Allyson James, Allison Gardner, and Laurien Gardner}.  It started when she was trying to get published.  She was submitting different stories, in different genres, to different publishing houses.  Two houses wanted to publish her writing, but they asked her to use two different names –

hence the creation of her first two pseudonyms.  She explains that the differences in her writing styles {POV, tone, and genre} were good reasons for the different names.  It was a way for fans to distinguish between the different types of writing and therefore know what to expect from her books {under each name}.  When she decided to write some spicier, erotic novels, she felt the use of a pseudonym offered her some protection and anonymity in case she wasn’t any good at it.

The way in which Jennifer explained it helped me better understand why an author may choose a pseudonym.  It’s a way for authors to establish different writing styles within different genres without confusing their fans.  It’s a way to be carefree when you write about steamy, hot sex without worrying about offending the family, your friends, or fan base.  I’d love to hear from authors about why they chose their pseudonym(s), if you’d like to share.  🙂

Additionally, I found some good reference sites when trying to hunt down who’s who.  Sometimes you may think you’ve found a new-to-you author, when in reality, it’s an author you’ve already been reading and following.  Here’s a list of some authors I follow and their pseudos, plus some websites to help you on your hunt.

Author Pseudos

Tessa Adams = Tracy Deebs = Tracy Wolff

Ann Aguirre = Ava Gray = Ellen Connor (with co-author, Carrie Lofty)

G.A. Aiken = Shelly Laurenston

Jennifer Ashley = Allyson James = Ashley Gardner = Laurien Gardner

Julie Kenner = J.K. Beck

Laura Bickle = Alayna Williams

Jessica Bird = J.R. Ward

Jayne Castle = Jayne Ann Krentz = Amanda Quick = Stephanie James

Maureen Child = Regan Hastings

Dawn Cook = Kim Harrison

Sydney Croft = Larissa Ione & Stephanie Tyler

Kristina Douglas = Anne Stuart

Mira Grant = Seanan McGuire

Sherrilyn Kenyon = Kinley MacGregor

Jill Myles = Jessica Sims

Savannah Russe = Lucy Finn

And, my favorite writing duo, husband and wife team, Ilona & Gordon make up Ilona Andrews

There are many, many more.  Here are some links to sites that can help ya out:  A-Z Pseudonyms | Mystical Unicorn’s Pseudo List | Wikipedia’s List