Thursday, April 28, 2011

Guest Author Interview: Alexi Zentner

Please welcome today's guest author Alexi Zentner.  Alexi is the author of Touch.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

  I think, like most authors, I started writing as a kid, but I didn't start writing seriously until maybe six years ago. It took me a while to figure out the difference between wanting to be a writer and working at being a writer.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

I'm really interested in the ways that we accept the seemingly miraculous nature of science - just the fact that we are here, that we are conscious is amazing - as a matter of fact, but we have lost touch with a lot of the myths that used to be accepted as fact. In some ways, what fascinates me the most is the question of myth: how does a story go from being an accepted fact to a myth? There is a lot of magic in TOUCH, but I think of it as mythical realism rather than magical realism. What does that mean? Mostly that the myth and magic is woven throughout the story, an accepted part of the reality of the characters' lives rather than momentary bursts of amazement. The amazement should carry through the entire novel. The magic in TOUCH doesn't just take the forms of magical realism, whether the central and south American versions or the European versions, which are rooted firmly in their own place and traditions; I'd like to believe that I'm doing something new and unique to North America. All of that being said, I didn't really realize just how much magic, how many monsters and witches and supernatural things, were in the novel until after I'd finished writing it and I had to start talking about it. I'm sure some of comes from reading widely, both as a kid and now, as a writer. I'm not particularly snobby about what crosses my desk.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

On the purely frivolous level, I'd have the ability to find what I was looking for in my fridge so that I wouldn't have to feel so incompetent. More seriously, I think an underrated talent would be the ability to soothe pain. Not physical pain, though that would be useful, of course, but rather the emotional pain (or less dramatically, ennui) that so many people seem to suffer from. I'm a generally happy guy, and usually when I'm not, I can just sort of say to myself, "get over it." I recognize that's not true for everybody, of course, and I wish it was something I could help with. Oh, and also, I'd like to be able to eat whatever I want - i.e. candy - and have it be good for me.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

Why are readers going to enjoy my novel, TOUCH? I'm terrible at these questions. I'm much better at talking up other people than myself. Okay, here it goes: Touch is set in the fictional town of Sawgamet, a north-woods boomtown gone bust, where the cold of winter breaks the glass of the schoolhouse thermometer and the river freezes so fast it can trap the drowning. Stephen, a pastor, has brought his family home on the eve of his mother's death, thirty years after the mythic summer his grandfather returned in to raise his beloved wife from the dead. Publishers Weekly and Quill & Quire gave the book starred reviews and respectively called TOUCH "eerie and elegiac," and "one of those books that gets people talking." The incredibly generous and talented authors who read the book and praised it in advance of publication called TOUCH "haunting," "full of mystery and beauty," "ravishing," "enchanted with fables," and "full of a sinister magic straight from the Brothers Grimm." While TOUCH may not fit as neatly into the paranormal genre as some books - despite the magic and the monsters, I'm not sure what genre it truly belongs in other than the always slippery category of "literary fiction" - I think the reason why TOUCH seems to be resonating with early readers is that, at it's core, the book is a love story. It's about the grandfather - who walked across the country, stole a dog from a witch, and then founded the town of Sawgamet - and his inability to let go of the woman he loves even though she is in the grave, and it's about Stephen and his own memories. While the story is told in this incredibly harsh landscape, where I have the supernatural bumping against human heartbreak and loss, Touch is actually a really hopeful book. The monsters and myths in the story are sometimes one and the same, sometimes scary and sometimes simply part of Sawgamet.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

For a leading role? It's embarrassing to admit that I haven't really thought about this. It's hard to think of my novel as a movie. The honest answer would probably be whomever I thought would draw the biggest audience, though I'd probably prefer somebody who wasn't already defined by other roles.

Touch by Alexi Zentner

In Sawgamet, a north woods boomtown gone bust, the cold of winter breaks the glass of the schoolhouse thermometer, and the dangers of working in the cuts are overshadowed by the mysteries and magic lurking in the woods. Stephen, a pastor, is at home on the eve of his mother's funeral, thirty years after the mythic summer his grandfather returned to the town in search of his beloved but long-dead wife. And like his grandfather, Stephen is forced to confront the losses of his past.

Touch introduces you to a world where monsters and witches oppose singing dogs and golden caribou, where the living and the dead part and meet again in the crippling beauty of winter and the surreal haze of summer.

Thank you Alexi for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about Alexi Zentner and his books, please visit his website.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Author Interview: C.J. Henderson + Giveaway!

Please welcome today's guest author C.J. Henderson!  C.J. is the author of many short stories and novels, including Brooklyn Knight and Central Park Knight.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

My earliest memories, actually, are of telling stories to the other kids around the street light at night. In the 8th grade, someone said, "you should start writing stuff down." And I did. I did that until I exited college in 1973, at which point someone said, "you should send stuff to publishers." And I did. So, the writing began in the mid-sixties. I don't honestly know when the storytelling began. Selling started in the mid-seventies. That was about 300 short stories and 70 books and/or novels ago. More answer than you gave question, but old people ... you know ... we ramble.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

The first work that really took off for me were hardboiled mystery stories. At the same time I sold my first mystery novel, I had also started toying with the idea of a supernatural detective. Basically taking my same main character, but doing a "what if" with him. What if he came across a case that had a horrific, horrors beyond kind of explanation at its heart?

I got the idea basically in reaction to reading HP Lovecraft. It was a kind of ... why doesn't anyone do something? Call the cops, get the army, hire a bodyguard, pick up a baseball bat? Yeah, I know I'm gonna die, but at least I'm going out swinging!

Yes, we all know that Lovecraft was ahead of his time and his tales ending with the hero stammering, "the horror, the horror," and then swooning just before they get eaten was something that no one had ever seen before, and that he had all manner of reasons for doing so. But ... 75 years later, people were still writing the same stories as if it were fresh. I was sick of it, and a lot of unreality I saw in horror ... especially movies. No one seemed to be looking at things realistically, trying to put themselves in the place of characters who were actually experiencing the things going on around them and not simply responding to plot point cues.

Anyway, I stumbled into this virgin territory before even the X-Files came along, and I've kind of been there ever since.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

  I'd probably want to have the abilities of my character Lai Wan. She's a psychometrist who can read past histories from the slightest contact. Her powers caused her a certain amount of grief while she was learning to get them under control, but after appearing in a number of novels, comics and short stories, she's gotten to the point where she's the boss.

Why? First, she's probably the most realistic character I have. I can believe in her power. And, in many ways, even though it's the simplest supernatural ability I've given any of my characters, it is extremely powerful. She routinely thwarts gods and monsters with something little more than female intuition or the old "Mommy always knows what you're doing." Since I live in a world without much in the way of horrific menaces to combat, to know when people were lying to me, to be able to shove their weaseling attempts to mislead me down their throats, yes ... I'd enjoy that. Would I become isolated? Sure, but at my age, to be able to drive away the cheats and liars and other charlatans ... yes, I'd pay the price.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

  Well, that would be Central Park Knight, less than a month off now. It's the sequel to Brooklyn Knight, and so far, the folks who have read the first seem to like it quite a lot, and those who have read both have reported to me that they like the second one even better. There seems to be a consistent sort of agreement that while the certain amount of set-up which has to appear in any first novel was not over done in BK, the fact that there isn't any in CPK makes it more enjoyable. The reader knows who Piers Knight is, and can jump right in.

The book also gets more into his personal life, answers a number of questions set up in the first book, and doesn't follow the pattern of the first. I myself don't like getting the same old thing in book after book of a series. I won't name anyone living, because that's rude, but take the old Doc Savage novels from the pulp era. The main writer for the series actually had a formula, and the same thing happen in every novel chapter by chapter. Menace introduced. Meet Doc and his crew. Someone dies. Someone is kidnapped ... et cetera. Granted, I didn't notice when I gobbled them down at age 12, but I'm hoping my audience is somewhat older.

In BK, we see Knight gather all manner of magical devices from throughout the museum in which he works and then use them against the menace. In many series, that would then be the formula for every book. Meet the menace, bring in Knight, he studies the problem, gathers the right tools from across the eras of humanity--most likely giving a history lecture on the Druids or Incas or someone--and then dispatches the menace.

I purposely set up the gathering scene, then destroyed all the gathered items. I write without an outline, and I know my subconscious did that to me on purpose ... "go ahead," it sneered at me, "get him out of trouble now." And I did.

I also played with things by giving him a new sidekick. Again, series seem to assemble the same cast and then those are the people we see every book, and they can't die, and blahblahblah ...

Knight's sidekick in the first book is his summer intern at the museum. This was done on purpose so every book we would have to have a new sidekick.

I realize it might seem as if I've strayed from answering the question, but I don't believe I have. What I'm trying to get across is that I believe folks will enjoy the second book because it's not just a rehash of the first. The tone is different, the menace, the characters ... some return, some don't. Some folk died in the first. More die in the second. And, if I go on much further I'm going to give away too much. So, let me just say that so far, those who have only read the second have enjoyed it, and those who have read both like it as much or better.

And, you can't believe how happy that makes an author. I'm one of those guys who has very little ability to love something I've done. Like Groucho Marx used to say, "if I could do it, how good could it be?" And, now I am straying from the question, so I'll shut up.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

Since I have so many different series, let's stick with Knight for this interview.

The God's honest truth, I have tried to cast the Piers Knight series in my head a thousand times, and I just can't do it. Not even if I bring in dead actors. The fellow who plays Dr. Who in the second/third/fourth seasons of the new run comes close to Knight (I assume he could do a decent American accent) , but then I think Hugo Weaving would be good, too. And Edward Norton. I simply can't choose.

A young Katherine Hepburn could make a good Bridget. The role takes the ability to project intelligence, humor, self-control in the face of terror, fear of going mad, wonder, feistiness, it's a part with a lot of range. And, she has to be tall. A lot of today's young actresses don't get too many chances to show all that. And Ms. Portman, excellent as she is, is short.

And, I could start getting into the secondary characters, but since I'm afraid your readers all stopped following along long ago, perhaps I shouldn't make this another 1,000 word answer.

Central Park Knight (Piers Knight #2) by C.J. Henderson

Professor Piers Knight is the Brooklyn Museum’s very own Indiana Jones. His specialties include lost civilizations, arcane cultures, and more than a little bit of the history of magic and mysticism. What his contemporaries don't know is that in addition to being a scholar of all these topics, he is also proficient in the uses of magical artifacts.

Knight receives a chilling message from Tian Lu, a former lover and an agent for the Chinese government. Years ago, they made a frightening discovery at an archeological dig when out of the depths rose… a living, fire-breathing dragon. Now, the dragons are waking from their slumber before their scheduled time. And one particularly diabolical dragon is set on eliminating the others and taking over the world.  As civilization plunges into panic, Knight, Lu, Knight’s seventeen-year-old techie intern George Rainert, and an untrustworthy dragon ally must use all their resources— magical and otherwise—to stop the destruction before it’s too late.

Thank you C.J. for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about C.J. Henderson and his books, please visit his website.

Don't miss E.J.'s review of the urban fantasy anthology Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives including C.J. Henderson's short story Impossible Love.

 **Piers Knight Series 2 Book Giveaway**

We are giving away one copy each of Brooklyn Knight and Central Park Knight, the first two books in the Piers Knight urban fantasy series by C.J. Henderson, to one lucky winner!

To enter, please leave a comment on this post including your email address (so we may contact you if you win).  You do not have to be a follower of this blog to enter (though I always appreciate a follow!).  This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses.  Giveaway ends May 11th midnight EST.

C.J. Henderson is also offering, for a limited time, a link to free reads on his website here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spirit Guide Series Giveaway!

Here at From the Shadows we are celebrating the holiday weekend with a Spirit Guide Series Giveaway!

We are giving away fab Spirit Guide series books and swag!  One lucky US winner will receive a Spirit Storm tote bag stuffed with Spirit Guide series bookmarks, postcards, romance trading cards, and signed copies of She Smells the Dead and Spirit Storm.  One lucky International winner will receive ebook copies of She Smells the Dead and Spirit Storm.

To enter, please leave a comment on this post including your email address (so we may contact you if you win).   You do not have to be a follower (though I always appreciate a follow!).  There will be one US and one International prize pack (see details above).  Giveaway ends Saturday May 7th midnight EST.

Happy Holidays! xx

She Smells the Dead is the first book in the YA Paranormal Spirit Guide series by E.J. Stevens.

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.


The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears. Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?

"She Smells the Dead provides something new and fresh to the YA realm."
-Stacey, Flippin' Fabulous: A Reader's Record

"This series is like Nancy Drew meets the Winchester Brother's from Supernatural."
-Natalie, I'd So Rather Be Reading

"I absolutely loved every last delicious page of She Smells The Dead!"
-Mary, Sparkling Reviews

"If you love ghosts, Goths, and a little bit of YA romance, you will want to check this book out."
-Yvonne, Diva's Bookcase

Spirit Storm is the second book in the YA Paranormal Spirit Guide series by E.J. Stevens.

Spirits of the Dead are coming...

Yuki is about to face an army of lost souls on Samhain, the night of Halloween, when the spirits of the dead roam free. Yuki will need all the help she can get from her friends, but will Calvin be there for her when she needs him the most?

"Part mystery, part adventure, part romance and all the things a reader wants."
-Mechele, Read For Your Future

"These characters are so unique and fun to follow."
-Amber, The Musings of Alymbnenr

"I haven't read a truly great YA paranormal in more years than I can remember, and Ms. Stevens delivers the most well written tale imaginable!"
-Tamela Quijas, At Your Fingertips

Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review: The Well

The Well by Peter Labrow.

Trapped. Missing. Cursed. Fourteen-year-old Becca Richards and her stepbrother have fallen to the bottom of an ancient well. Their parents are away; they won't be missed for days. The predatory man who had been stalking Becca now switches his attentions to her best friend. Two women who know where Becca is trapped are desperate that she should never escape. Over the course of a week, family, friends and strangers are drawn together by a terrible shared fate - from which not all will escape. 'The Well' is a darkly gripping tale about how we respond to the hand fate has dealt us - and the consequences of our choices. The Well deftly intertwines a story of supernatural horror with a tale of one of the greatest fears of modern life. As the book progresses, the two stories become one - driving relentlessly towards a single, thrilling finale. The Well is a fast-paced, riveting story that will grip you - and keep you guessing - until the very end.


Contemporary horror with a supernatural twist.  The Well is a horrifying blend of supernatural evil and the darker side of human nature.  Peter Labrow weaves a tortured tale of horrors, past and present, that entangle and ensnare both victim and malefactor.  The lives of multiple characters are entwined in this realistic, emotional story.  Labrow presents flawed characters that are at once identifiable and believable.  These are characters that readers can have strong feeling for.  I found myself tensely rooting for the survival of some characters and vehemently wishing for the demise of others.  If you are looking for a haunting tale of horror that delves deep into human motivations (sex/pleasure, survival/self preservation...), then this is the book for you.  A dark work that will appeal to fans of psychological and supernatural horror.

I recommend The Well to readers of contemporary, psychological, and supernatural horror. 

Sensitive reader warning: sexual situations, sexual predation of minors, language, death and violence.

Source: This book was provided by the author or publisher for honest review.

Don't miss our Q+A with author Peter Labrow May 12th!  We will be giving away one signed paperback copy of The Well by Peter Labrow.

The Well on Amazon.
The Well on Goodreads.

The Silent Land Giveaway Winner + More Giveaways!

Congratulations JaylieG winner of The Silent Land GiveawayJaylieG will receive a hardcover copy of The Silent Land by Graham Joyce.

Thank you to all who entered. 

Didn't win?  Check out our Rot & Ruin Zombie Giveaway for a chance to win a hardcover copy of Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura #1) by Jonathan Maberry (ends 5/04) and visit next week for our Piers Knight Series Giveaway for a chance to win Brooklyn Knights and Central Park Knight by C.J. Henderson.

E.J. will also be giving away ebook copies of She Smells the Dead and Spirit Storm, the first two books in the Spirit Guide series, today on Twitter as part of Emma's Earth Day Celebration.  Emma is a character from the Spirit Guide series.  She is a hardcore Vegan and animal rights activist who cannot wait to celebrate Earth Day with free, non-tree killing, ebooks! 

To enter, please tweet: 
Save a tree, read an ebook! Giving away #spiritguideseries ebooks today. Happy Earth Day! PLZ RT

**From the Shadows giveaway winners selected using**

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Guest Author Interview: Deborah Andreasen

Please welcome today's guest author Deborah Andreasen!  Deborah is the author of The Gifted.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a tiny tot; I wrote a book in first grade about a girl abandoned in the forest. She was raised by fairies and returned to her parents when she was a teenager. New York Times Best Seller List, here we come! As a teen I won awards for my writing, but when I got to college, the fire died under the heaps of course work. After I graduated and worked for a few years, I felt like I had to write, or I would simply explode! That was about the time I took myself seriously as a writer. It’s been about four years now.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

  Well, I’ve always loved the paranormal. I grew up devouring King Arthur stories and loving fairies and things we can't explain (nor should we try). It just fits me. I think that we should all believe in a little magic now and then. I’ve tried writing a “normal” YA novel. No Fae, no magic, no special abilities. Just raw human nature. I couldn’t do it. I had to add a ghost in there just to make it fun, and ghosts aren't even my thing.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

  Well, in The Gifted, Pyper has telekinetic abilities. That would be my number one choice. I have an unfinished work about a boy who can travel through dreams, and I think that would be fascinating as well. I can tell you right now I would not want to read minds. *shudder* I prefer to deal with the chaos in my own head, thank you very much.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

The Gifted is the story of a girl who doesn’t fit in. I think all of us can relate to that in one way or another. It also has all the necessary elements for a good read: danger, love, death, intrigue, and good old fashioned sarcasm and teenage angst. Really, though, Pyper is the kind of character that most of us could curl up inside and become at one point or another. She’s very real and just wants to be loved, even if she won’t admit it.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

Oooh, this is a toughy. I did not write any of the characters with a specific actor in mind. In fact, the characters tend to write themselves sometimes. Anyway. I think Emma Roberts would make a good Pyper. She has that wholesome beauty, but she can also do dark and mysterious. Plus she rocks red hair. The male lead, Kael, was tough. I couldn’t really find anyone who fit him, both in looks and personality, but the closest I came was Zac Efron. I told you he was a tough one! For mean-girl Summer, I picked none other than Dianna Agron from Glee. Need I say more?

 The Gifted by Deborah Andreasen

Pyper just wants a normal life. But ever since the day she died, she’s been able to control objects with her mind. What she can’t control is a mother who fears Pyper’s ability and the possibility of it being discovered. Pyper only finds solace in her friend and brother, Baler.  When Pyper moves to yet another new school, she meets Kael, who takes an immediate interest in her. He knows her secret, and he's got one for her: he needs her help saving the Fae people.

The problem is, Pyper doesn’t believe in Faeries. But when her brother is abducted, Pyper doesn’t have much choice. Can she really save a race she doesn’t believe exists? Can she rescue her brother? And can she accept her second chance at life?

Thank you Deborah for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about Deborah Andreasen and her books, please visit her website.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rot and Ruin Zombie Giveaway

From the Shadows is giving away a hardcover copy of Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry to one lucky winner!

Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura #1) by Jonathan Maberry

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

*Rot & Ruin Zombie Giveaway*

To enter, please leave a comment on this post including your email address (so we may contact you if you win).  You do not have to be a follower to enter (though I always appreciate a follow!).  This giveaway is to US mailing addresses only.  Giveaway ends May 4th midnight EST.

Guest Author Interview: Alma Katsu

Please welcome today's guest author Alma Katsu!  Alma is the author of The Taker.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

  I was one of those kids who was always reading, and then always writing stories for myself. I guess I got hooked when I started writing chapters of a story that my friends in high school wanted to read; I'd finish a chapter and they'd be clamoring for the next one. I haven't had an audience like that in a long time, though!  I studied writing in college but took a long break for work, and came back to writing fiction at age 40. That's when I got serious about it: went to grad school, attended conferences and workshops, joined writer's groups, and wrote every day.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

I grew up in a creepy little New England town, in a house that we believed was haunted, so you might say I was destined to write in this vein. The TAKER is a bit different from many paranormal books in that it doesn't draw on familiar paranormal tropes, such as vampires, werewolves or ghosts, but has a magical element to it that's unexplained, much like the supernatural in real life.   (All is explained by the end of the third book, rest assured.)

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

  It wouldn't be immortality, I tell you that. I might opt for the ability to forget particularly painful memories, and the ability to erase painful memories for others. Regret can be destructive and crippling for people, after a certain point.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

  For one thing, the story is fairly unique (or so I've been told.) It's not something you'd heard before. What grabs most readers, I think, are the characters. I wanted to write a big story with big emotions and characters that you won't forget and you won't want to say goodbye to once the last page is read.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

  When my agent was pitching the book to publishing houses, this was the question editors most liked to talk about, because the characters are so distinctive, I think. For Adair, the villain, Jonathan Rhys Meyers name came up quite a bit, but I think that's because people like him as a villain :-)  One of the other lead characters, Jonathan, is supposed to be not only a very handsome man but perhaps the epitome of male beauty, so who would you cast for that part? It's very difficult -- though Johnny Depp's name came up, he might be a little old for the part (and it pains me to say that.) I don't have a clue who would be the female lead, Lanny, and so I leave that up to my agent, who knows Hollywood much better than I do. Who would you cast?

The Taker by Alma Katsu

Described as an "epic supernatural romance," The TAKER combines historical fiction with a supernatural element for a dark romantic story that's "astonishing... heartbreaking and magical."

In the novel, set in the 19th century, a girl from northern Maine falls for and gets impregnated by a wealthy local out of her social league. When she flees to Boston to have the baby, she gets swept up by a group of immortal beings, and a tricky love triangle develops after the leader of the undying crew falls for her and gives her everlasting life.

Thank you Alma for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about Alma Katsu and her books, please visit her website.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guest Author Interview: Seleste Delaney

Please welcome today's guest author Seleste Delaney!  Seleste is the author of The Ghost of Vampire Present, Of Course I Try, and steampunk novel Badlands.

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

The easy answer is when I could hold a pencil, but I started writing seriously in 2007 when I found my writing group. I haven't stopped since.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

  I've always been attracted to things that are speculative in nature. Most of the stories I wrote as a little girl featured talking dogs. It was a natural progression as I grew up to move on to horror, and once it took off as a genre, paranormal. Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire was the book that probably most set me on this path, but there have been so many authors along the way whose work has inspired me that I can't even be certain about that.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

  Right now? The ability to slow down time. I have so many stories to tell and not enough hours in the day to accomplish that and everything else I need and want to do.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

Badlands is actually a departure from the supernatural for me. It's a steampunk/alt-history romance, but it still has the attitude of my other work. I don't like to play it safe, not even in a romance, and I think that's one thing readers value about me and my work. So, it's the same me, just a new world with more toys than talents. Plus, Ever is my favorite heroine of all the ones I've written. She's kick ass and take names and who cares if someone finds the bodies. I really love that about her.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

I am an author who needs visuals, so I "cast" my characters as I write.
Ever = Peyton List (Ever was inspired by a piece of artwork, and Peyton looks so much like the model it's a little scary. Plus from what I've seen of her, she could pull off the attitude.)
Spencer = Ian Somerhalder (Spencer isn't supposed to be a really big muscley guy, but he is strong, and he has a very haunted look. That's something Ian pulls off perfectly.)
Henrietta = Scarlett Johansson (Henri is the buxom blonde with a brain. Really? Is there anyone else?)
Zeke = scruffy/Blade3 Ryan Reynolds (Zeke was a tough one for me, but the moment I saw Ryan in Blade with the scraggly beard and messy hair and muscles...he was all Zeke. He just needs the Texas accent.)

Badlands by Seleste DeLaney

After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation's border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.  Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen's assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever's reluctant ally.

As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands— if death doesn't find them first.

Thank you Seleste for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about Seleste DeLaney and her books, please visit her website.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Review: Laney (The Brookehaven Vampires)

Laney (The Brookehaven Vampires #1) by Joann I. Martin Sowles.

What would you give to be with the one you love?  Would you give it all, including your life?

In a small college town in Northern California, Laney Alexander leads a regular, uneventful life–that is, until the charming and alluring Oliver Knight enters her world. Who is this gorgeous and mysterious stranger? Or, rather, what is he?  As Laney’s sophomore year of college begins, so does an unbelievable adventure–including a love she didn’t know she longed for. She soon learns that Oliver is not ordinary, nor is the rest of his family, including a sister who openly hates her and a brother who will stop at nothing for revenge. As she fights for her life, and Oliver’s love, Laney discovers that the fictional world of vampires isn’t so fictional after all. Nobody is safe, especially Laney, Oliver’s most important priority, and he will stop at nothing to protect her. With her mortality at risk, and a commitment revealed that she, without a doubt, knows she wants, Laney’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn…


Leaves you dying to sink your teeth into book two.  Laney is the first book in the The Brookehaven Vampires series by Joann I. Martin Sowles.  This is an exciting new vampire series, but not judge this book by the opening chapters.  Laney begins very slowly.  The first half of this book is setting the stage for the events to come, with a gradual build up to the breakneck, edge of your seat action and suspense of the final chapters.  Delaney "Laney" Alexander is a fairly normal college Sophomore.  She's of average intelligence, average height, average weight, and average motivation for school, but when her overachieving roommate has a fainting spell moments after meeting the hottest guy on campus Laney's life becomes anything but average.  Laney and hot new guy Oliver Knight have an unnatural magnetic attraction that quickly becomes an obsession...for both of them.  Some readers may see parallels with another popular vampire series (there are vamps and an overprotective stalker type boyfriend), but I found myself completely sucked into the second half of Laney and cannot wait for book two.  The chemistry between the characters, though not always healthy, works.  Young adult paranormal romance fans will love the steamy tension between Laney and Oliver and there is just enough scary "oh my god do not do up that alley" suspense and fang action to thrill urban fantasy fans.  A wonderful beginning to a promising new vampire series.

I recommend Laney (The Brookehaven Vampires #1) to readers of paranormal romance, young adult, urban fantasy, speculative fiction, and especially to fans of vampire fiction.  Laney may appeal to fans of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz, the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick, and Soul In Love by Vone Savan.

Source: This book was provided by the author or publisher for honest review.

Don't miss our Q+A with author Joann I. Martin Sowles June 9th!

Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires on Amazon.
Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires on Goodreads.