Terra Luna guest post by Vikki and John Woodward

Vikki and John Woodward are a married couple in Tallahassee, Florida. They are the authors of TERRA LUNA, an epic VikkiandJohnurban contemporary romance, which they have published on Amazon Kindle. Two sequels are under way, and they recently completed IN THE CAT’S EYES, a paranormal romance and thriller which they hope to publish soon.

You can buy TERRA LUNA here: http://amzn.to/1bPsfY7

You can learn more about their universe of Faeries, bagpipers and the world’s greatest scones at their blog, http://mactamicksfinestscotchltd.com/

In this guest blog post, they talk about writing together as a married couple.

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Vikki:

Every day I would sit in my car under a giant oak tree, and wait for my sister to finish work so I could give her a ride home. I’ve amused myself by making up and telling stories all my life, and during those weeks of sitting under that oak I made up a story about the tree: a Faerie and many other critters lived in and around it.

I started writing my story down in a notebook. Whenever my sister would finally leave work, I read her the next installment of the story. She was impressed and encouraged me to continue. I mentioned to my husband John I was writing a story about a Faerie that that had to live in two worlds: our Human one where she pretended to own the Faerie Lands (a private “wildlife preserve”) and her Faerie community, where she never fully fit in or was trusted.

Although I had never seen or heard of Little Five Points in Atlanta, Terra Luna’s Human community, when I described to John what I saw in my mind’s eye he said that L5P was exactly it. Weeks later he took me there. It was strange, because it was just as I had imagined.

I have a lot of stories and characters in my head, but it is hard for to put solid words into a story the way I’d like. John is great, really super at research and the technical stuff, whereas I provide the ideas. Honestly, my grammar and syntax need help, which John gives me. I am the creative and emotionally wise half of the team. My characters need me to write their life story and I need John to help, because honesty I could not do it without him. I can tell to my stories to anyone that would listen, but I really and truly need John to write in a comprehensive way so people can appreciate them.

John:

I used to write nonfiction, mostly articles for magazines that dealt with disability issues. I learned the mechanics of getting to the point, cutting excess, keeping the grammar good and simple and so on. I offered to help Vikki write TERRA LUNA because she needed help with the Prologue, in which a jumbo jet crashes at take off and only the baby Terra Luna survives. The scene had to be tragic and was just too sad for her. I wrote it so she could begin the main story. A few pages later, I decided that the minor character Barry Davie should be a doctor who would eventually become the hero’s best friend and deliver the heroine’s baby. That was my start as a creative contributor.

Vikki created all the major characters in our book, and half the minor ones. Nothing gets in without her approval. The final decisions about plot, descriptions and continuity are always hers. My job is to get it into the computer file. We began writing together at night, with her describing what should happen and me writing it. We switched to a system where she described to me every night what should happen next, and I would write it the next day while she was at work. Then I would read it to her in the evening, she would correct any mistakes and we would repeat the cycle. Later on I invented a few scenes of my own, to give the characters extra room to grow.

My own “growth” as a writer has mainly been a steady improvement in my skills as an editor and re-writer. We spent hundreds of hours writing TERRA LUNA — it’s an epic — but I spent almost twice as long on editing and re-writing.

TerraLunacoverWe have now finished our second book, IN THE CAT’S EYES. Whereas TERRA LUNA is urban fantasy, CAT’S EYES is a paranormal romance set in New Orleans. It started as our National Novel Writing Month book for 2012. We are currently writing the second book the TERRA LUNA series, RAVEN. We don’t know when CAT’S EYES will be published, or when RAVEN will be finished, but we are looking ahead to Labor Day Weekend, when we will join the Novel-in-Three-Days challenge and November, when we will do National Novel Writing Month again.

It’s strange that I always envisioned myself as a “writer,” but never had any plots that excited me enough to sit down and write. Vikki gave me the gift of her imagination, and that made all the difference.

 

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Review of K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander

I’d been meaning to get K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander and read it for a while now.  Well, not long ago, Katie posted on Wordplay about Story Cartel, where readers can get free books in exchange for an honest interview.

I missed the deadline for her challenge, which might have won me an Amazon gift certificate (moar books!), but since I always intended to write the review up anyway, I figured I’d just carry on and post when I actually finished the book.

I don’t read as fast as I used to.  I blame it on the day job, but I have a feeling that even if I wasn’t working I wouldn’t be consuming a book a day like I used to. Besides, I wanted to savour Dreamlander.  If that doesn’t give away the nature of my review, I don’t know what will 😉

One of the reasons I was so keen was the concept: a man goes to sleep in this world and wakes up in a parallel world.

Any of you who have followed my blog for any length of time will know about my tonsillectomy trauma and the dream that I had upon my return from my second visit to the hospital.

For those of you who haven’t seen the post and don’t want to take the time to read it, here’s the short version: I had a near-death experience, and as a result, I dreamed that I had, in fact, died.  I fell asleep in one world and woke up a new person in another world.

So you can see how Dreamlander kind of fed into my life-long fascination with dreams and dreaming.

DreamlanderThe Amazon blurb:

What if it were possible to live two very different lives in two separate worlds?

What if the dreams you awaken from are the fading memories of that second life?

What if one day you woke up in the wrong world?

Only one person in a generation may cross the barrier of dreams to reach the other world—a world of war-scarred countries and fallen faiths. When a Chicago-born journalist finds himself on the far side of his dreams, he must hurl himself into battle to save a princess from her own people, two worlds from annihilation, and himself from a dream come way too true.

My thoughts:

I loved Dreamlander (did you see that one coming?).  Weiland has created a flawed protagonist in Chris Redston who wins our hearts over as he attempts to undo the damage caused by the mistakes he’s made.

Having lost his mother and one sister in a car accident he survived, and having subsequently lost his father to alcoholism, Chris is done with alternately lending his father money and bailing him out of jail.  He can’t find his focus though.  Once a talented writer, Chris finds himself blocked and unable to support himself.  Then there are these bizarre dreams he keeps having…

Chris turns out to be The Gifted, a rare man who can cross over into the land of his dreams, a very real world where he lives an alternate life.

Allara Katadin, princess of Lael and Searcher, is equally damaged.  The last Gifted who crossed over sent her world spiralling into chaos and she feels it was her fault.  She can’t trust Chris not to be the man his predecessor was, and when he initially proves her right, she shuts Chris out, not understanding that life is about taking chances and about giving second ones when it matters most.

Dreamlander is true epic fantasy, with not just one, but two worlds in jeopardy.  Chris and Allara must work together and sacrifice everything to do the right thing, even as Allara’s own people cry for her blood and that of the Gifted.

The denouement was both heart wrenching and satisfying, Weiland proving that the writer must be cruel to her characters to be kind to her readers.

My highest recommendation.

My rating:

5 out of 5 stars.

About the author:

K.M. Weiland grew up chasing Billy the Kid and Jesse James on horseback through the hills of western Nebraska, where she still lives. A lifelong fan of history and the power of the written word, she enjoys sharing both through her novels and short stories. She blogs at Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors, where she mentors other authors and shares the ups and downs of the writing life.

Now I’m off to post my review to Story Cartel, Amazon, and Goodreads 🙂

Later, ‘taters!

Caturday quickies: What I did this afternoon

Hi all!  I went to the local Chapters and hung out for a bit with my friend Kim Fahner, who was doing a book signing with her new writing friend Sarah Lashbrook.

Kim and Sarah talking to fans :)

Kim and Sarah talking to fans 🙂

Of course, I bought Sarah’s book, Where the Stream and Creek Collide, and asked her if she wouldn’t mind doing an interview on Writerly Goodness 🙂  Look forward to that in the coming weeks.

Of course, I had to feed my book addiction and spent $80 altogether on Sarah’s book, YA fantasy and adult fantasy novels.  In the past couple of weeks I also scavenged a pile of books from the several boxes my mom was taking to a book sale, and got the StoryBundle of ebook classic SF for a nominal donation (excellent deal – go, consume).

Yes, I read procedurals, classics, and other stuff as well as fantasy ;)

Yes, I read procedurals, classics, and other stuff as well as fantasy 😉

Did I mention addiction?

Yeah.

In other news, I’m going to take a short blogging holiday next weekend.

I’m off to a friend’s pre-wedding celebration in Michigan City, IN on Saturday.  If I was independently wealthy, I’d be going to her destination wedding, but this seemed a happy compromise for both of us.

Try not to miss me too much 😉

Next up: I’m finally finished K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander and I’ll be reviewing that today.  I joined Story Cartel and got the ebook free for an honest interview.  This is another great ebook site I’d highly reccommend.  Free books!  ‘Nuff said 🙂  I also hope to have a guest blog coming up for you tomorrow.

Upon my return, I’ll get Sarah’s interview up and continue on my merry way.  There are a couple of fun things coming up in August: a Dala concert and a Great Big Sea concert.  I’ll be blogging those as well as keeping you up to date on the work sitch.

My current acting will be up as of August 31 and I still have no idea whether I’m heading back to my old unit (absolutely fine with me), if the pool I’m in will result in a new assignment, or if my application on an internal competition will result in something else.  I’m not good with uncertainty.

So lots of Writerly Goodness yet to come 🙂

Another great webinar with Marcy Kennedy

This past week, I signed up for another WANA International webinar.

Yesterday, between 2 and 3:30 pm, Marcy Kennedy spoke on the topic of showing and telling.

First, she defined her terms and gave examples, demonstrated the difference between showing and telling, and let us know that she would not only be sharing tips for showing and for detecting when telling isn’t appropriate, but also that she would be discussing instances in which telling actually works better than showing.

She covered several telling ‘tells’ in writing and shared strategies for detecting and eliminating each.  Each of her strategies was accompanied by more examples, which was great, because it’s good to have something solid to base your own efforts on.

She also mentioned that her strategies were suggestions, or guidelines, rather than rules, per se.  There are always exceptions, and she’d be getting to those.

When it came to when telling, while I won’t give away the content of her webinar, I will share one suggestion with you: use telling in your first draft.  This was very interesting and Marcy shared her experience and how she came to this conclusion.

Marcy used to be a slow writer. Her first drafts might have emerged in nearly perfect form, but they took forever to write.  Then she decided to try tactics to write a fast first draft.  Using telling as a way to help her get her ideas down and give her a cue for where to deepen her narrative on the next draft was something she found very effective.

Overall, it was a very insightful webinar and I took away lots of good information.

I’d highly recommend Marcy’s sessions.  Visit the WANA International site to view their course calendar.  Marcy will be giving her pitch, tagline, and logline session again in the fall.  I attended that one as well. Awesome good.  She’s also a Twitter and Google+ maven, so if you want tips for the social media, look for those too!

WANA webinars are very reasonable and many are held at times convenient for the writer with a day job 🙂

I’ll also encourage you to visit Marcy’s site (linked above) and to sign up for her newsletter.  It’s good stuff!

That’s it for this week, my writing peeps.

Review of Finding Meara by Lara Schiffbauer

Once again, I finished Lara’s book a while ago and am just catching up on some overdue reviews.

The Amazon blurb:

FindingMearaCoverTo keep her safe, twenty-six-year-old Hazel Michelli’s parents never told her she was adopted, or that her birthplace was in an alternative land where magic and monsters exist. She found out the truth the day a ferocious winged creature stole her from her Denver apartment and delivered her to Lucian, the sadistic Lifeforce magician who happens to be Hazel’s biological father.

“Dysfunctional family” takes on new meaning when she learns Lucian must sacrifice a daughter to maintain immortality and take over the Realm. When Hazel’s younger half-sister disappears just days before the Rite, Lucian moves Hazel to the top of the sacrificial short list.

Afraid, yet compelled to protect her four-year-old half-sister, Hazel races between both worlds, searching for Meara while being hunted by Lucian. Their lives, and the future of the Realm, leave her no room for failure.

My thoughts:

At the outset of the novel, Hazel (love the name, by the way, unusual and old-fashioned, but made quirky by the character) only knows that she’s lucky, so dependably lucky that she makes a comfortable living by gambling. Then something huge and hulking bursts through the door of her apartment, calls her “Meara,” grabs Hazel, and leaps off the balcony, spreading its wings to fly her to a place she never suspected existed.

The action doesn’t relent as Hazel is taken prisoner by someone named Lucian, escapes (with the help of a talking bird and a flaming cat), finds her way back to Colorado, and reluctantly enlists her friend’s help.  When an insect-like monster attacks them on the road, it is both a validation of Hazel’s bizarre story and a warning: Lucian isn’t finished with her yet.

Though unwilling to involve her parents in this strange series of events, Hazel has questions only they can answer.  Those answers change Hazel’s life forever and send her on a worlds-spanning adventure, teaching her that her luck is only the tip of her magical iceberg, and that family is worth killing for, and dying for, if it comes to that.

The author weaves a great story, with just enough quirk to please the trope-weary reader.  She moves between Boulder, Denver, and the Realm deftly, and has created a unique and charming world that both recalls childhood favourites, and provides enough romance and danger to satisfy the New Adult audience.

I also appreciate that despite the romantic potentials (small spoiler alert!), Hazel remains happily independent at the end of the novel.  The denouement felt a little rushed, but was satisfying nonetheless.

Am eagerly awaiting Lara’s next novel 🙂

My rating:

4 out of 5 stars.  Really, I wanted to give her 4.5, but I had to give her some room to grow as an author 🙂

About the Author:

Lara Schiffbauer was born and raised in the Western United States. As a child she got in Lara Schiffbauertrouble at school for talking too much and daydreaming. She believed in Santa Claus until she was in the third grade, and thought she saw angels at the Catholic school she attended.

Unwilling to lose the magic of childhood, as a teenager she spent her years reading novels that let her live in fantasy worlds where she could vicariously experience the romance and adventure sadly lacking in her everyday life. Piers Anthony, Victoria Holt, and David Eddings were some of her favorite authors.

Many years later, after obtaining a Masters of Social Work degree and growing a family, Lara decided to recapture some of the magic found in creativity. In 2010, her horror flash fiction story “The Copier” was published in the anthology Daily Bites of Flesh 2011: 365 Days of Flash Fiction. In 2011, her erotic horror story “Phantom Deposit” was published in the anthology Steamy Screams, and in February 2012 her urban fantasy short story “Bear Hug” was published online at Hogglepot. She then turned to writing novels, and her first contemporary fantasy novel, Finding Meara, was released in March, 2013.

Lara loves connecting with others! Besides spending time on Twitter and Facebook, Lara also has accounts on Pinterest and Goodreads. All social media links can be found at her website, www.laraschiffbauer.com.

The next chapter: July 2013 update

Just a few words here about my writing life of late.

I am continuing to revise Initiate of Stone, but at least once a week, I can’t seem to get to it after all my other responsibilities.  Then sometimes I make a choice.  This past Tuesday, for example, I chose to go to North Bay rather than taming my daily dose of the intewebz or write.  Though it was well worth it, I still felt odd not writing.

It’s an addiction now.  Healthy, but an addiction nonetheless 😉

Acceptances

Since my last update, I’ve received some good news.  The Atomy picked up two of my poems, Enhance will be accepting one of my photographs (wow!), and most recently, Sulphur will be accepting three of my poems for its next issue.

I received my contract from On Spec and am waiting to hear from their content editor on next steps (still so excited about this!).

I’ve submitted a couple of flash fiction pieces, but they’re both fairly recent stories and may need to mature (read, to be edited) before they find a home.

Writers of the Future wasn’t fond of “The Gabriel” but I have yet to recieve my personalized response.

Still waiting to hear about a few short story submissions from April, May, and June.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  I submitted the first bit of a story to Erin Brady too, and I’m curious to find out what will come of that 🙂

Just as I was linking those publications, above, I noticed that Enhance has a call out for that flashy fiction stuff!  Go see!

Conferences

This year’s CanWrite! was a success.  I certainly hope everyone got a lot of good information out of my CanWrite! blog posts.

Since I’m now a member of the program committee, which includes responsibility for the conference and the CAA literary awards, I’ll probably have some news forthcoming about next year’s conference in the future.  Watch this space 🙂

I’ve had to make a decision about When Worlds Collide in Calgary.  Though I would love to go and the line up looks great (Patricia Briggs, Robert J. Sawyer, and Angela Ackerman will be among the guests), I just can’t afford it.

The conference fee is reasonable in the extreme, but it’s the air fare and accommodation that make the event costly.  Domestic flights are quite expensive. I had my eye set on Surrey this year, so I think I’m going to stick with that conference and go to WWC next year.  I only have enough Avion points to take 2 trips anyway and one is already spoken for (a friend’s pre-wedding party) so there you have it 🙂

There’s a writing contest associated with Surrey too, so I’ll probably aim to submit something for that as well.

It’s good to keep the creative opportunities lined up and ready to rock.

Writerly Goodness

What’s everyone working on these days?  I’d love to hear from you about your creative projects!

Sundog snippets: Inside and out

Just a quick little note to let you know that I have a new piece of furniture courtesy of my friend Kim, who’s just moved houses.

FileCabinet1This lovely file cabinet used to hold her father’s papers.

I have two metal filing cabinets in the basement, a fire-proof box, and a safety deposit box at the bank that hold all our important stuff, but I just couldn’t resist the cabinet when Kim said she wanted to sell it.

Phil and I rented a pick up truck to move it (it wouldn’t fit in our car, or my mom’s hatchback) and I spent some time yesterday afternoon polishing her up and reinserting the drawers (which we’d removed for transport).filecabinet2

This lovely’s new home is in our living room.  Sadly, there’s no room in my office for it because I have a honking desk 🙂  I’m calling her Sally, and she’ll house our DVDs, Phil’s games, and other miscellaneous stuff we’ve kept in baskets and other hidey-holes over the years.

I rearranged some of the living room furniture to make room, and Phil and I discussed last night that we’d like to get some new furniture and use Sally as the thematic piece.  We have a small house and we were going to wait until we renovated the living room to get new furniture, but the hand-me-downs we have are worn and due for replacement.

So we’re going to look into that in the fall and probably touch up the paint on the walls at the same time, pending the full reno.  For the latter, we take everything down to the studs, rewire, re-insulate, and make sure everything is safe and code-worthy.  It will probably be a while before either of us is ready to tackle that project, though.

Outside, my experiment in chaos gardening is coming along well.  The lychnis (the fuschia flowers that complement the one young clematis along the wall) and rudbeckia (black-eyed susans) have joined the party.

chaostheorycontchaostheorycont2On the other side of the garden my bergamot (bee balm) is putting forth its spidery blooms 🙂  Bergamot is one of my favourite smells.  The roses are starting to fade, and are also putting forth a lovely scent.  I have a whack of hyssop in the garden (not blooming yet) as well.  I love smelly plants!

Next up: a brief update on the writing life, and a review of Lara Schiffbauer’s Finding Meara!

Sundog snippet

Caturday quickies: The Conspiracy of Three reading series in North Bay

I went on a bit of a road trip on Tuesday evening with Kim Fahner and her friend Brenda—a poetic road trip!  Kim and our mutual friend Roger Nash had been invited to the Conspiracy of Three reading series in North Bay.

A word about the Conspiracy

Kim and I have both read at the Conspiracy before…like nearly twenty years ago (!) and on Tuesday, I learned that the series is close to twenty-five years old.  The reading series that preceded it (and out of which it emerged) ran for an even longer time.  So the Conspiracy has a long tradition in North Bay.

To the reading

The reading was hosted in the new location of the White Water Gallery and by Doyali Islam, who I met last year at the 100,000 poets for change event.

Also in attendance were Tim Robertson and his wife, Karin, Kevin Smith, and Natalie Wilson.

There was a brief discussion about upcoming events and the group’s concerns about Gulliver’s, a local book store that they’re trying to form a co-op for.  Otherwise, this independent book store might just disappear.

Kim and Roger were the featured readers.

KimSmilesTooKim was great, as usual, and managed to dig out a North Bay poem for the crowd.

Roger read from his recently published book of shYesRogerSmilesort stories, The Cobra and the Camera, and a few of his poems.

Afterward, the final set was for open mic participants.

I’m terrible with names, but aside from the curator of the gallery, there was a man who worked as a plumber whose poetic observations were witty and hilarious.  A young poet, Mary, I believe, was also quite good, but in the way of someone new to the reading experience, she needed to project her voice just a bit more.

It was a lovely night and the worst of the shadflies were over.  It started raining just as we arrived and stopped by the time we left.  While this mostly served to bring out the fishy smell of the shadflies, it was lovely and cool for the ride back to Sudbury.

Caturday quickies: The super sweet blogging award

Caturday Quickies

So here I am, almost a month later, and I’m finally getting around to taking care of this sweet little bit of business.

I got another blogging award!

So here are the rules:

  1. I must thank the person who nominated me.
  2. I must answer five Super Sweet questions.
  3. I must include the Super Sweet Blogging Award pic in my blog post.
  4. I must nominate a baker’s dozen of deserving bloggers.
  5. I must notify my nominees on their blogs.

The thanks

Super Sweet thanks to Lord David Prosser of the Barsetshire Diaries!

The questions:

Cookies or cake?

Will I be considered an anarchist if I say pie?  Pie is, as Phil likes to say, the perfect dessert. Cherry, banana cream, and apple and cranberry praline are my faves.

Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanilla.  Love vanilla beans.  Cut one open and pop it into your sugar.  The flavour will infuse.  Awesome for all kinds of things.  My fave ice cream is the vanilla with the flecks of vanilla bean in it.  It’s also a fab accompaniment to the above-mentioned pie 🙂

Favourite sweet treat?

I’m not really a sweet tooth (believe it or not).  Most nights we don’t have any dessert around here, or maybe I’ll just grab a piece of fruit.

I have a weakness for pie crust though (sensing a pie theme here?).  I once made an all-crust pie with some friends 🙂  In recent years, though, I find plain crust isn’t enough, so I’ll have to go for pettes de soeur, or nun’s farts.

French-Canadians must also be fans of crust.  When they make a pie, instead of tossing all those little scraps of dough, they collect them, roll them out, slather with butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  The pastry dough is then rolled, sliced into disks, and baked like cookies.

Can I just say—nom!

When do you crave sweet things the most?

Um, I’m a woman in her early forties already getting pre-menopausal symptoms.  When do you think I crave the sweet stuff?  I’m at the mercy of my hormones, people!

Super sweet nickname?

I don’t really have any nicknames.  There’s Smelly, of course, but I don’t think that’s very sweet.  Phil calls me Mellie, and sometimes adds on a –boo or –belly, so I think I’ll have to go with that.

The Award Pic

the Super Sweet blogging award

The ma-nominations (do-doo, da-do-do!)

Not sure if I’m going to be able to list 13 people who don’t already have it (!)

Here we go:

Kim Fahner;

Elissa Field;

Jenny Hansen;

Gemma Hawdon;

Rebecca Barray;

Bolton Carley;

Heather Button;

Lara Schiffbauer;

Hally Willmott;

Laura Howard;

Swati Chavda;

Claudette Young and Meena Rose; and

Amanda Socci.

I’ll notify them all, but it might be through email, FB, or G+ rather than their blogs per se.

Now to add the award to my awards page 🙂

Next up: The Conspiracy of Three reading series I attended in North Bay last week 🙂

Review of Blaze Ignites by JL Madore

As I mentioned in our interview, I’d worked with Jenny in an online critique group.  I was so pleased to hear that she moved ahead with her novel and was eager to read the results.

The Amazon blurb:

BLAZE IGNITES blends strong, clever women and tough, sexy men in a fast paced, Blaze full page covervolatile cocktail of action, seduction, and wicked humour.

“Destiny my ass.” Jade Glaster refuses to believe the Fates rule her life. Orphaned after an attack by Scourge soldiers, a young Jade vows never to be powerless again. Once grown and strong, wielding the affinities of fire and healing, Jade protects innocents as an enforcer for her world’s elite policing agency—The Talon.

When an emissary mission to reinstate a race of exiled Elves brings Galan into her life, Jade finds herself overwhelmed by new passions, some welcome, some not. Although Galan’s antiquated views on women offend her to her heated core, when the Scourge attack his family, she helps him navigate the outside worlds he knows nothing about—the magical Realm of the Fair and, stranger still…the modern streets of Toronto.

Through their sensually charged pursuit of justice, Jade discovers that when dealing with the Fates—destiny is never random.

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My thoughts:

Jade Glaster doesn’t think much of fate.  Her life has been a literal shit storm to this point (in fact, the series was originally called the Shit Storm Survivors, which I now note has been tactfully changed to Scourge Survivors) and if this was fate’s doing, Jade wants none of it.

Her Talon code name is Blaze because of her red hair and fiery temper, which often results in the unleashing of a literal blaze of power.

One of Jade’s laments at the outset of the novel (aside from the Scourge murdering her parents), is her apparent frigidity. When her duties for Castain, chief of the Fae gods, bring her face to face (and crotch to crotch—had to be said) with Galen, however, Jade’s problem ceases to be one of not reacting to men, but of her overwhelming reaction to Galen.

This is not what she needs right now. She has a mission to complete.

The writing is taut and gives the reader Jade’s attitude with both barrels. I like the ‘tude and the sexy bits, which are well-done. I only have a few issues with Blaze Ignites, and most of those are matters of personal taste (word choice, creative decisions) which other readers will likely not cavil at.

Events begin with a bar fight involving an Otterkie that is never mentioned again. Readers often expect details like this to have a pay off somewhere later in the novel. It’s a loose thread that should be woven in.

Though conflict, physical and otherwise, abounds, the novel takes a while to pick up the pace. When things swing into high gear, the author keeps them at a high pitch with few exceptions.

I have to point out, for a supposedly “kick-ass” heroine, Jade gets her ass kicked more often than not.  This I did have a bit of a problem with, especially given the denouement of the novel (which I will not give away).

It just seemed to me that Jade shouldn’t have had her ass handed her or to be in need of rescue as often as she did. Yes, Galen needs a maiden in distress, but there might have been another way around this.

Blaze Ignites is a solid contender in the paranormal romance and urban fantasy sub-genres and suitable for fans of Laurel K. Hamilton and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Readers of Charles de Lint will find Madore’s work enjoyable as well.

A good first novel in a new series that I’m sure we’ll see more of in the future.

My rating: four out of five stars.

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About the author:

JL MadoreJL Madore, lover of family, animals and chocolate, spends her days writing fantasy romance and paranormal erotica. Strangely enough, she hadn’t considered being a writer until her writing muse found her lying in a hammock in a Panamanian rainforest.Blaze Ignites, the first installment in the five novel Scourge Survivor Series, was born out of that tropical haven. Though she didn’t actually see any Elves or Weres running through the trees or swimming in the waterfall grottos their voices came to her there and had a story to tell.

To learn more, you can follow her at:
http://www.jlmadore.ca
http://www.twitter.com/jlmadore