Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review: The Facility

Read 4/18/11 - 4/26/11
4.5 Stars - Highly Recommended

Leapfrog Press continues to bring it! They are very quickly rising to the top of my indie/small press list of favorites, and it's all based on the consistent, quality literature they have been releasing.

When they created this mission statement - "... to search out, publish, and aggressively market books that tell a strong story. What we promise is writing that expands our webs of connection with other humans and the natural world; books that illuminate our complexities; tough, unsentimental books about our difficult and sometimes insanely funny choices in life and how we make them." - they were not joking around.

But I don't want to get all wrapped up in the publisher, just yet. Let's save that gooey, gushy, mushy stuff for another post. I want to redirect the focus of this post to the discussion of their 2010 release The Facility which, sadly, is severely under reviewed. How haven't more people found out about this strange and tormented novel?

Scratch that - I know how. And I could go on and on about the differences between gigantic powerhouse publishers and indie, small press arenas when it comes to marketing and publicity, but I won't. For obvious reasons. And I could also go on and on about the reviewers who chase after those gigantic powerhouse publishers for those gigantic powerhouse novels rather than seeking out the unknown, undiscovered gems of the indie, small press businesses. Or the fact that adding one more review to the already swelling ocean of reviews on a best selling novel does about as much for that book/author/publisher as adding one more grain of sand to a sandbox would. Whereas, reviewing a lesser known novel by a lesser known author listed under a lesser known publisher could potentially influence readers to purchase said book, thus generating income for the publisher which enables them to continue publishing while also putting them, their book, and their author on the map. But I won't do that either.

What I will do, though, is share with you my thoughts on Michael Mirolla's The Facility. And why I would place Leapfrog Press up against any large, corporate publishing house when it comes to literary content.

The book deals with the end of mankind. Or, more specifically, an end to mankind as we currently know it. The world had been dying a slow death, almost all of it's plant and animal life had become extinct, and a group of scientist constructed a building in which they were conducting cloning experiments.

Within the walls of this Facility, these scientists have recreated every animal that ever existed. Here, when the animals climbed out of the cloning tanks, they were blank slates. They had no natural extinct, no need to hunt for food, no need for violence, and they were placed into habitats that were created in near-likeness of their original, natural homes.

An ad went out into the public, seeking human test subjects. Our main character's grandfather answered the ad. But rather than allow the scientists to conduct tests on his genetic matter, he convinced them to use someone historically famous, someone people would recognize, and was quickly put to work.

Fausto, our protagonist, used to accompany his grandfather to the Facility, where he played in the Petting Zoo - the animal habitats - petting and cuddling the wild animals, while his grandfather went to "work". One day, the grandfather invited Fausto into the center of the Facility and introduced him to Benito Mussolini, who he then promptly shot through the head.

Many years later, upon his grandfather's final plea, Fausto finds himself back in the Facility seeking answers to the questions that have always haunted him. Upon entering the compound, which at first glance appears to have been abandoned, Fausto soon discovers he is not alone, and he cannot escape.

Imagine a building that can spontaneously create or regenerate life based on supply and demand. When something dies, the Facility replaces it with another, forever. When you shoot Mussolini in through the head, and he dies, another Mussolini begins crawling out of the cloning tanks. The first few clones require programming, as they, like the animals, are born blank slates. The Facility has a room where information can be projected at the clone that, over time, act as memories. As a person is cloned again and again, the memories begin to stick, and programing is no longer needed. But the Facility follows strict orders - only one clone can exist at a time.

Now imagine that you are trapped in this building. Every attempt at finding a door or window by which to escape through has resulted in failure. Every attempt at blowing something up or destroying something has resulted in the Facility neatly and efficiently putting it back together. Imagine that no one on the outside knows where you are, and if they did, they would have no way of entering to rescue you.

Now imagine that the one and only option of escape left was to die? Would you be able to do it? How would you do it? What if the Facility had somehow gotten hold of your DNA, your genetic matter? What if the Facility wouldn't let you die? What if, once you've managed to kill yourself, the Facility simply released a new you from the cloning tanks? And you were born back into the very place you were trying so desperately to leave?

What if, when you finally come to terms with the new "way" of things, the Facility gave you control over what, and when, and how to clone? What would you do? Who or what would you create? Would that make you a God?

This novel can be a tough read. It's a strange, outside-the-box, conceptual novel. It requires an extreme amount of mental commitment and a semi-suspension of belief. It's a brooder, a slow-to-start thinker. What I call a "sleeper"... it starts off like any old book does, with the set up and a few flashbacks to help you understand how Fausto got to where he is now. Once I put the book down, I didn't really think about too much until I was ready to pick it back up again.

But then, somewhere around the middle of the novel, it began to take hold. It crawled it's way into my brain and would replay itself over and over each time I stop reading. I mean, if we are not careful, this could very well be what our future has in store for us, don't you think? The jump from cloning rats with human ears on their backs, and cloning sheep just to see if we can do it, to cloning humans without their knowledge or consent is not really that great. It's certainly feasible.. isn't it? And let's not get me started on the whole secret government experiments and cloning being man's way of cheating God... this review is already long enough without me getting sidetracked on the whole science aspect of things.

My whole point here, and yes, I do have one, is that Mirolla's novel takes the whole human vs. god, human vs. death, human vs. nature, human vs. fear thing and attacks it from a very significant angle. He messes with things that we, as a society, may actually, frighteningly, already be doing... and tries to show us how his character, or anyone for that matter, can take a somewhat bad situation and attempt to turn it into something good. Something that starts out being selfishly good, but may eventually be for the greater good... good for humanity, good for the world. If there is a world left......

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Small Press, Large Contribution

The New York Journal of Books has said what I've been saying, but they managed to say it to a larger audience.

"Their (small presses and literary magazines) offerings are not the books you find on the front tables of a Borders or Barnes & Noble. Yet these books offer some of the finest writing in the country. In fact, it has long been the case that the small press community discovers, publishes, and supports much of the finest literary talent in America. Were it not for these independent small presses, these university presses, these literary magazines, the voices of many excellent writers would never be heard."

Small press communities get a rather large, and well deserved, shout out for the amazing authors and writing they crank out. Read the entire article here. It's long, but it's worth the once-over.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Cleaning the Blog

When I think of Easter, besides the usual images of wicker baskets filled with chocolate and fuzzy little bunnies hiding colorful eggs, I find myself thinking of spring and spring cleaning. With the weather finally warming up, I crack a few windows to let the fresh air in, and start mentally taking note of all the things that will soon start needing attention.

The house needs a repaint in most of the rooms, we are going to be replacing the downstairs rugs with laminate wood flooring, reorganizing the books on my bookshelves, and who knows - I might even attempt a flower garden again this spring! (The last time I tried to plant flowers almost nothing grew in, and those that did very quickly died. I think I am cursed with a "black thumb".)

It's also a good time to make changes to my blog. I know, I know, my blog gets random face lifts throughout the year as well. That's because it's nearly impossible for me to find a layout I can live with for any extended amount of time.

Since spring = rebirth, or renewal, I really just wanted to breathe new life into my blog. I went with a more streamlined, simple layout, while still maintaining it's rather unique personality. Not to mention that BEA is quickly approaching, and now seemed like the perfect time to initiate the change.

What about you guys? What does Easter and Springtime mean to you? What preparations or projections do you start to tackle around this time of year?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making Friends With YouTube

Well, after all the frustration and aggravation I put myself through these past few days, attempting to edit and upload videos that were too large for YouTube, I decided to put the new TNBBC Presents YouTube page to good use in a different way. I will be using it to feature Indie book trailers, readings, and interviews. Be sure to stop by and take a peek, drop a comment, and if you're feeling super supportive - share it, like it, and subscribe to the page!!

TNBBC is a proud reader and supporter of Independent literary fiction.

If you are an indie author with a book trailer you would like me to feature,
please comment below or email me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Ass Cheeks, Interviewing, and Youtube Suckage

Oh Baltimore! How I love you!
But oh, how you teased and tormented me this weekend!

The hubby and I headed out to Inner Harbor, Baltimore this past weekend for the annual CityLit Festival held at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. We left midmorning on Friday, with plans of a late afternoon interview with two wonderful authors that I have been in email-contact with for quite some time: Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody, The Way the Family Got Away, How Much of Us There Was, and the upcoming Us; and Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and Drinking Closer to Home.

Of course, we leave later than I anticipated, and as we attempt to jump on the interstate, there are backups everywhere (spring is here, and so begins all the nightmarish road work!) - so we tack on some extra time by sticking to the back roads as long as possible. Once we clear the roadwork, it was smooth, speedy sailing all the way!

We stayed at the Renaissance hotel right there overlooking the harbor. As we pulled up to valet, I head to the back of the car to grab our overnight bag - you know, the one with all the toiletries: toothbrush, deodorant, perfume, conditioner. Huh. Not there. The hubby and I make eye contact over the roof of the car. "Did you grab it already?" my eyes ask. He shakes his head. "Is it in the trunk?" my eyes plead. He pops the truck. Nope. Not there either. Shit! We left it at home. This means a $70 run to CVS to ensure I can wash my hair, brush my teeth, and smell good for the upcoming weekend. But that's cool, whatever, it's fixable. We laugh it off and check in.

We take in the view, freshen up, grab a quick bite to eat at Hooters (what? I like their Western Cheeseburger!) and decide to hail a cab for the trip out to the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is where we planned to meet Michael and Jessica. As I slide into the taxi cab, I somehow manage to catch the back of my jeans on a sharp edge and simultaneously hear the tear and feel the cool breeze on my ass cheek. I immediately hop out of the cab, and we run back up to the room to change. Just my fucking luck! Those were my favorite pair of jeans!! Thank god I had a long tshirt on...

Once I'm changed, we try it again. I gingerly step into the cab, keeping my ass raised until I reach the center of the backseat, and then let out a sigh of relief.. we are on our way!

Jessica arrives first, and shows us around the museum as we wait for Michael, then we head out to the Sculpture Garden. It was a gorgeous day outside, we get ourselves situated, and my hubby begins to record our interview. Both authors recently released novels that revolved around death, and I cleverly began the interview by pointing out this coincidence, asking them to share just how much of their own personal experiences were included in the novels. From there, the interview segued to their beliefs on what happens after someone dies and ghostly experiences. Jessica and Michael have a great, natural chemistry - they know each other well, share their manuscripts with each other, and have a great appreciation for one another. The interview was progressing extremely well when suddenly, I look over at my husband and he informs me that the camera has just run out memory. Damn! 28 minutes in, and I have no closing.. I was two minutes or so away from wrapping it all up!

(I'm thinking to myself that this is strike three. First we forgot the bag, then I ripped my favorite jeans, now the damn memory runs out while interviewing.. what the hell is going to happen next?!)

After the embarrassment of cutting the filming short, we continued to chat for a few minutes longer, then split up and went on our separate ways. Jessica was wonderfully funny and refreshing, and Michael was charming and soft-spoken. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and interview them, even if it did end rather awkwardly.

I saw Jessica again the following day at CityLit, a cold, windy, rainy Saturday event filled with Baltimore's finest authors and publishers. She was wonderful enough to introduce me to Ron Tanner, author of Kiss Me, Stranger and the man who introduced her to Michael. Ron and I had a great conversation about the independent side of publishing, getting your stuff out to the world, and the joys of traveling. I made sure to sit in on both Jessica and Ron's readings, and recorded them both (of course, using a brand new memory card so I wouldn't end up with a repeat of yesterday's drama).

Once CityLit wrapped up, we prepared for the super long, super wet ride home.

Once home, I downloaded the interview and the videos of the two readings from my camera to the laptop, only to discover that all three clips begin to freeze up and get choppy around the 4 1/2 minute mark. What the hell? Is it Windows Media Player, I wonder? I decide to try to upload the shortest video - Ron's reading - through Youtube, and see what happens there.

Youtube tells me the upload will take apprx 225 minutes so I relax, pick up a book, clean around the house, and come back to check on it every so often. At first, the counter is winding down, slowly but surely. At the 4 hour mark, I could swear the counter started going up, adding more time. What was originally supposed to be 4 hours, has now somehow turned into 7 hours... and then 8... and then 9... And then after all that waiting, the darn thing crashed!

Determined not to get upset, I attempt the upload again. Only to accidently hit the back button on the browser about 2 hours in. SHIT! My bad, let's try this again.

The third time, I watch as the upload hits and exceeds the 100% completion mark. It's ticking off 103%....107%.... 113%.. and then promptly fails.

As I type this, I am on my final attempt at uploading to Youtube. It went much quicker this time, 3 hours total to get to 98%, which, even though I should have known better, gave me some hope. Of course, it has been completely frozen there ever since.

Clearly the universe is mad at me. What the hell I ever did to it, I suppose I will never know.

The videos, for the time being, will have to go unseen by the world. And for that, I apologize to Jessica, Michael, and Ron - they are three of the most extremely gracious, wonderful people I have had the pleasure of meeting and I wish I could share their brilliance with you! I had so much fun spending time with each of them, and cannot wait to get back to Baltimore to do it all over again - much more prepared and professional this time, I swear!

And thank you readers, for allowing me this completely selfish opportunity to vent. But at least I showed you my ass... that's gotta mean something, no?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli

Read 4/15/11 - 4/17/11
4 Stars: Strongly Recommended
Pgs: 238

In an effort to get me reading and reviewing more female authors - a shortcoming of mine that became glaring obvious when I posted a list of Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition - TNBBC BFF Ben Tanzer pointed me towards Ginnetta Correli and her very dark and twisted coming of age novel The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli.

Initially, and I'm being honest here, the cover creeped me the hell out. I was certain this was going to be an extremely unpleasant, warped, mind-fuck of a novel that would find me pissing my pants or cringing under the covers at night - all based solely on the cover of the book prior to ever reading the blurb.

That's the problem with covers, I guess. No matter how badly I try not to judge a book by them, upon seeing it I automatically start mentally constructing it's subject matter. (I do the same thing with book titles too... but that's a story for another day). Now, don't misunderstand me. I am totally open to extremely unpleasant, warped, mind-fuck novels! And in this case, though it wasn't piss-my-pants cringe-under-the-covers scary, it was most definitely warped with a hint of the unpleasant.

In The Lost Episodes, we are introduced to 12 year old Beatie, the unfortunate daughter of a schizophrenic, neglectful mother and violent, child abusing father. Beatie, as both narrator and viewer, looks back on her life as if it were a series of lost television episodes.

Correli's novel removes the blindfolds from our eyes and shows us the sad, stomach-turning events that occur behind the closed doors of more families homes than we care to admit. Beatie, victim to the twisted situation she was born into, unable to control what is happening around her, protects her sanity by creating an 'imaginary friend' named Petey, who takes the shape of one of her stuffed animals. Petey is the voice of reason and hope in her otherwise gloomy and destructive life. He comforts her at night, begs her to be strong, and forgives her when no one else will.

As Beatie's mother finds herself in and out of mental institutions, and her father pushes her away physically and emotionally, Beatie is bounced from house to house, endlessly stuffing her belongings into black trash bags, stealing money in order to purchase clothes and food, and picking fights with the girls at school.

Correli takes the term "broken home" and smashes it into unrecognizable pieces. She holds a magnifying glass up to all of the ugliness we try to ignore. She shows you the irreversible effects poor parenting can have on the behavioral development of a child. She grabs you by the back of the neck and presses your nose against the pages, saying "see.. see... see what we do? See what we allow to happen? It's not the child's fault!"

This novel was self-published by Ginnetta Correli, through her film company Marshmallow Press. The editing issues can be distracting, if you are the type of reader who is easily irked by misplaced or missing quotation marks and commas. But if you can get past them, I recommend you pick up a copy for yourself.

Self-publishing is no easy feat and smart gems like this one can very easily go unnoticed. The Lost episodes of Beatie Scareli is relatively quick read, but one that is certain to leave you with something to chew on.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Review: Warm Bodies

Read 4/10/11 - 4/15/11
4.5 Stars: Highly Recommended

I cannot tell you how I excited I was when I tore open a package from Regal Literary and discovered they had sent me a copy of Isaac Marion's zombie novel Warm Bodies!

Anything but your typical run-of-the-mill zombie story, Isaac does something that no author (that I'm aware of, at least) has done before... He puts you inside the head of one of the Undead.

Meet R. He does not know how long he has been dead, or what killed him for that matter. He assumes from his body's slight state of decomposition that he is recently Undead. He has vague, incomplete memories of who he used to be yet he clearly understands what he is now.

Breathing new life into a somewhat tired genre of monsters and mindless villains, Isaac takes a huge risk by spinning R as an entirely likable, and even potentially lovable, character. By giving R the ability to rationalize, while perhaps unable to completely vocalize, his reasons for being who he is and doing what he does, Isaac encourages his readers to take everything they thought they knew about zombies and forget it all...

The zombies in this novel lives surprisingly human-like lives. They have best friends, they get married, they are given kids to look after. Our leading Zombie R and his hive-mates have built a church of sorts, bring their children to school (where they are locked in a ring with a kidnapped human for training purposes) and pair up on hunting expeditions for food. Oh yes, let's not forget - they eat brains! They are zombies, after all!

On one particular hunting trip, R falls in love with a Living girl named Julie, the girlfriend of the man whose brain he's just ingested, and makes the decision to wisk her away and keep her safe.

What we are witnessing is the transformation from Zombie to something else entirely. As R spends more time with Julie, he notices changes in his thought processes, he can control his hunger for flesh, and begins to register emotions. He begins to feel... more human.

Isaac introduces "What If".... What if the plague that caused the dead to rise could be reversed? What if humans and zombies could come together and fight alongside one another to battle an ever greater enemy? What if the Living and the Undead could fall in love?

Part horror story, part love story, Warm Bodies is certain to catch you off guard and have you questioning everything you thought you knew about the zombie apocalypse. It's sure to stick with you long after you've read the last line.

Take a peek at Isaac Marion's homemade trailer for the novel. His book hits shelves on May 17th, under Atria Books. Go buy it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Indie Spotlight: Fleeting Pages

Have you ever walked by the empty shell of what was once a gigantic corporate bookstore and thought "I should rent this space and fill it to the ceiling with independent literature" if for no other reason than the obvious symbolism?

Meet Fleeting Pages, an independent "popup book emporium", who is doing just that. Temporarily taking over a space in Pittsburgh, PA that was previously occupied by a big box bookseller, founder Jodi Morrison will be re-opening the doors for one month starting April 30th.

What can you expect to find at Fleeting Pages?

According to Jodi, she is not entirely sure yet! The challenge? Reaching out to publishers, authors, zine makers, and artists via email. The draw? "There's 24,000 sqft to fill and an opportunity to use a space that many didn't have access to before to show how diverse and how much indie work is out there".

In addition to books, Jodi plans to have workshops and group work stations as well as event spaces. She is currently working with people to design and build the floor layout.

When I asked Jodi where her interest in independent literature and fiction stemmed from, she said, "The way I learned about things that I was interested in was through zines and indie mags. I used to order records through the mail. I would participate in mail art projects. When I went to Boston for college, I was amazed by the work that was out there that I never knew about. The first indie book I bought was at a show. Some kid was walking around and trying to sell them. I can't remember his name. But I'll always remember the conversation with him about what it took for him to get it printed and all the people he's met traveling around with his friend's band to sell it."

If you are a publisher, author, or are otherwise indie-affiliated and are interested in partnering with Fleeting Pages, you can find contact information here.

Please help spread the word, and if you can make it out to Pittsburgh in May, be sure to swing in and show your support!

I think this quote, taken from, sums up this initiative quite nicely:

“It’s sort of an ode to the transformation of the publishing industry and a way to comment on the irony of the big box bookstore’s demise giving rise to the independent book creators and sellers who were pushed out by box stores.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On "Being Indie" : Lorena Bathey

On "Being Indie" is a new monthly feature that will be hosted here on TNBBC. We will meet a wide variety of independent authors, publishers, and booksellers as they discuss what being indie means to them.

Meet Lorena Bathey. In 2005, she self-published her first book Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother. Unwilling to buckle under the pressures agented/published authors were having, she went on to develop her own publishing company and calls it Lorena B Books. In celebration of her new novel Beatrice Munson, Lorena shares what being indie means to her.

What is an Indie Author?

I = Independent: Is a nice way to say self published or balking the conventional publisher/agent route to do everything yourself. I like the moniker Indie author because it fits the definition more than simply self-published. As an Indie author you must be writer, editor, printer, sales, marketing, publicity, and promoter all rolled into one. A tough but satisfying job.

N= Nervous: Being an Indie author can be nerve wracking. Success is happening for Indie authors, especially with eReaders, but it's still a gamble. Being an Indie gives you control over the things that make you nervous like publicity and promotion. You then can get more involved with wonder

D = Dedication: To win in the Indie genre you have to be dedicated. You must know your work, the promotion, and the Indie publishing industry. But mostly you must dedicate yourself to writing. Wearing all the hats means dedicating time for all aspects that aid your success as an Indie author. Stay the course; don't give up if you don't make a million dollars with your first book. You need to build a platform of fans.

I = Innovative: This medium changes quickly so you have to pay attention to the trends. Be clued into sites that tell the scoop in the Indie world then get to know individuals that are forerunners of the concept. Sites are popping up every day giving advice to help keep your work out there, be noticed, and creating an Indie author community. The market sees the intelligence of this rapidly growing format. Even established authors with success at standard publishing houses are now self-publishing to reach those using the newest technology.

E= End Result: We Indie authors write because it lets others feel and experience. Creating a printed book, eBook, poetry, etc, you have something that someone centuries from now can pick up and read. That is a thrilling concept for us. We also like the idea that whatever profit is made from the hard work is ours to keep. This is a strong motivation!

Self-publishing is changing, but it can only continue to do this if the writing is strong and the package it arrives is professional. Editing and marketing take time, ingenuity, and some cash, too. Those that go Indie but don't take the time to create quality work make it more difficult for other authors to break into the mainstream.

I'd like to introduce you to Beatrice Munson.

Being released today, April 13th, my first novel is a trip to a neighborhood and a group of women that you may recognize. Released by Lorena B Books ( it is available in both print and as an eReader.

"In Vista Heights, the women of the neighborhood have started to look like their homes, varying shades of beige. Lost in this world of suburbia, Marissa Lyons learns her high school nemesis has bought the house right across the street from her. Afraid that her arch enemy, Beatrice Munson, will arrive with Marissa’s high school crush as her husband and cause Marissa to relive the insecurity of high school in her forties she decides to face the music and heads to Beatrice’s house with warm cupcakes. But what Marissa finds is something she never expected.

How will Marissa and the rest of the women of San Martino deal with someone like Beatrice Munson, whose defining moment in her life was to get a boob job or go on a trip to Egypt.

This story is about friendship, love, learning to look at things differently, and great parties."
You can find the print version at or download for most eReaders at . Those with an eReader can receive a 20% discount as a Beatrice Munson birthday present! Just input this code BD76M on the Smashwords page. This coupon will be valid until April 16th.

Thank you to TNBBB for letting me stop by and share what I know about the world of Indie authors and publishing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Us

Read 4/9/11 - 4/9/11
5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book

Michael Kimball has blown me away with his upcoming release Us - a beautiful, heart-wrenching novel about a husband who wakes up to find that his wife is not breathing.

Though Us is a fairly quick read, it packs a lasting punch. Cutting straight to the emotional core of each moment, Kimball uses sparse sentences and first person narration to work his spell on the reader.

The subject matter is one that most of us have had to deal with -whether the death of a beloved pet, grandparent, close friend, perhaps even a parent. In some cases, those we lost were taken from us quickly, unexpectedly. In others, we had time to make our peace and come to terms with their inevitable passing. In no case has it ever been easy.

Us strips this husband's experience with death down into 7 parts, which I find to be similar to some of the phases of grief - Denial: the refusal to believe his wife could die. Bargaining: the belief that his actions and thoughts can exert a certain control over her ability to remain alive. Acceptance: soaking up what time they have left together. Depression: the inability to change out of his funeral clothes or wash her smell off of her dirty laundry, and the sad act of dressing up a lamp in his wife's clothing.

If nothing else, Us will force you to remember to appreciate the people you love, because you never know when you might wake up to find them no longer there.

Here is an excerpt from the novel, on which the book trailer below is based on:

How I Danced With the Floor Lamp

I pulled one of my wife's dresses off a hanger in her closet and pulled it down over the length of a floor lamp. I pulled on a hat of hers down over the lampshade. I glued a pair or her shoes down onto the base of the floor lamp and waited for the glue to dry. I plugged the floor lamp into an outlet in the living room, turned the floor lamp on, and her head lit up.

The dress was floor length and it had long sleeves. I held onto the cuff of one long sleeve of her dress with my palm and fingers and tucked the cuff of the other long sleeve into my waistband at the small of my back. I placed my other hand behind the long stand of the floor lamp just above where the base of her spine would have been if the floor lamp were my wife.

I waited for the music to start playing in my head. I pulled the floor lamp up against my body and felt the heat form the light on my dace. I tipped the floor lamp back with my one arm and leaned over with her. I stood back up and spin the floor lamp away from me along the edge of its round base and along the length of my arm and the long sleeve of her dress. The base of the floor lamp made a scraping noise against the hardwood floor and so did my shoes.

I could see myself dancing with her on the living room walls. I could see the shadows of us dancing ont he walls all the way around the living room.

Many thanks to Michael Kimball and his publishing company, Tyrant Books, for making this book available for review. Us will release on May 10th, 2011.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review: The Last Werewolf

Read 3/30/11 - 4/9/11
5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book

Glen Duncan does good Werewolf. Man, oh man, does he do good Werewolf.

A huge fan of Glen Duncan's previous novels (I, Lucifer; Death of an Ordinary Man; Weathercock; A Day and a Night and a Day), I went ahead and took a shot at securing a review copy of his newest novel, The Last Werewolf. When it arrived, I broke every review policy I have and placed it on the top of the TBR pile... and I am so happy that I did.

Duncan does not hold back in this violent, moody, and not surprisingly intellectual look at what it means to be hunted as the last of your kind. After decades of running from WOCOP Hunters (an organization whose number one goal is to drive werewolves into extinction), Jacob Marlowe, upon discovering that he is the last, has finally lost the will to go on. He plans to make the best of the next few days leading up to the full moon, and fall quietly into the hands of Grainier - head of WOCOP with a personal grudge against Marlowe.

Of course, things don't work out the way Marlowe plans and Grainier finds a way to get Marlowe's head back into the game, ensuring the final hunt will be one worth savoring.

In my opinion, The Last Werewolf rises above most "monster" novels. It focuses more on the human side of The Curse, entertaining the idea that werewolves retain their human thought processes throughout the entire transformation. Do not confuse it with other novels that share it's subject matter - it's unlike any that has come before. Duncan is on a quest to redefine werewolf - as a tortured, purposeful creature.

When I started the novel, I tweeted #thelastwerewolf as a hashtag for anyone who was hungry for a taste of the writing. Duncan's skillful phrasing jumps off the page and inserts itself into your brain like no other. Like many of his previous novels, there are trickles of atheism that weave their way through the story in the form of beautifully crafted one liners that scream to be shared:

"Every now and then you look out at the world and know its gods have gone utterly elsewhere."

"Humans go to their graves with none of the big questions answered. Why should werewolves fare any better?"

"The universe demands some sort of deal."

A powerful look at survival, loneliness, guilt, and love in the face of the unknown. How do you come to terms with yourself when you don't know what you are or how your kind came to be? How do you quiet all the questions?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Immortal Blog Tour - Interviewing Adam

Welcome to Day 9 - The Second Leg of The Immortal Blog Tour!

I was thrilled to be among one of the first to read and review Gene Doucette's first person narrative Immortal. You can find my blurb on the first page of the book:
"Part science fiction fantasy, part action adventure and thriller, Gene Doucette creates the perfect balance of humor and edge-of-your-seat anticipation in this genre-defying story of an immortal man named Adam, who finds himself battling demons and bounty hunters in his eternal search for Eve, the red haired mystery woman of his dreams. Witty and wonderful, with a bite of sarcasm, Immortal is a five star read for any fiction lover. "

The novel is a first person narrative where we are introduced to Adam, our immortal but not invincible quazi-hero. With his witty sarcasm, quick quips, and an uncanny knack to self-preserve at all costs, he quickly endears himself to you. Let's have a quick chat with Adam to dig a little deeper and discover what makes him tick...

How have you survived all this time?

If you mean biologically, I don’t know the answer. My body just doesn’t age, and I can’t seem to get sick. I have had people go out of their way to make me sick, too. I don’t mean like sneezing on your hand and then shaking mine, I mean like injecting me with concentrated doses of lethal viruses. Nothing seems to take.

In every other sense, I guess I have a talent for figuring out what can get me killed and then not doing that, which is not as easy as it sounds. Every society has some sort of fundamental dysfunction, and most of them are difficult to guess. I remember a tribe—this was… well, it was a really long time ago—that thought a particular rock was sacred. In every other sense the people of this tribe were the happiest, friendliest bunch you could imagine just as long as you never touched the rock. So I never touched the rock.

It may seem stupid, but you’d be amazed how many cultures can be boiled down to that one rule: don’t touch the rock.

I was expecting alcohol to come up in that response.

So was I.

Alcohol didn’t enable me to survive, it just made portions of that survival more bearable. And I’ve gotten a lot of less-than-positive feedback about saying things like that, which I understand. I just don’t think my perspective has been fully appreciated. For one thing, it’s the only thing I’d call a “drug” that actually works on me. For the same reason I can’t be poisoned or infected, I also don’t enjoy the more beneficial aspects of other recreational drugs. (Also, and this is just karma, aspirin does nothing for my hangovers.) So if the question is why alcohol instead of some sort of opiate, that’s why.

Two other points: one, you have no idea how dull history has been. I mean it. Pick any point in history, and unless there is a volcanic eruption or something equally catastrophic going on at that exact moment there is a very good chance everyone is either mind-numbingly bored, or having sex. The second point is that alcohol has been more important to humankind than anyone from this age can imagine. Compared to most of humanity for most of history, I am a lightweight.

Speaking of sex…


…you’re not shy about your interest in young women. Some might even use words like “lecherous” or “misogynistic” to describe you.

Might they? I don’t know; I think I’m fairly advanced, all things considered. I grew up at a time when clubbing a woman until they were semi-conscious was foreplay. And I’m really not joking.

I will concede a degree of boorishness, but only because I’m in the United States, and this country is outrageously uptight. I have never seen a more advanced country that was more terrified of its own genitalia than this one. Seriously. I knew an Anglican bishop who kept regular company with a succubus. He’d spend a night with her and then six nights flagellating himself. Every week. America is like that bishop, except you all seem to enjoy the self-flagellation more than the succubus.

And you’ve had relationships. Do you keep in touch with Clara?

I have had plenty of relationships, and I suppose many of them were “long-term” by the standards of a normal human lifespan. And no, I’m not currently in touch with Clara, but I’m sure we’ll come across one another again eventually. The world is too small not to.

(end of interview)

I want to thank Adam for stopping by the blog and be sure to stop by Feeding My Book Addiction tomorrow for more of the Immortal Blog Tour!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Who Doesn't Love a Good Interview?

Check out my bloggish interview at The GateKeepers Post.

Here's a short excerpt from it:
"The more an author or publisher personalizes their pitch, the more interested I am going to be in working with them. If they not only address me (or my blog’s title), but also speak to specific authors or books I have discussed on the blog, that’s a win! They’ve got my attention now. If they share their website, book site, book trailer, twitter page, etc. in their email, that’s a win! I am not going to chase those things down on my own, but if you include it in the pitch, you can be sure I am going to take a peek at it... if you’ve read my review policy and you’ve seen the type of books I review, please don’t pitch me your YA Historical Romance Non-Fiction book with the disclaimer “ I know you usually don’t read this type of book but….”. That’s just a big fat hairy fail. I stop right there. You’ve just lost me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"What Are You Reading" Wednesdays

"What Are You Reading" Wednesdays is really just my way of sneaking a peek at your night-stand, coffee-table, book-shelf... where ever it is that you stack your current reads, when you aren't reading them! And of course, returning the favor by allowing you a peek at mine...

In the right hand column of my blog, you will see a section called "currently reading". I update this as I start each new novel. Today, I am currently spending time with Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf.

Having read many of his previously novels (I, Lucifer; Death of an Ordinary Man; Weathercock; A Day and a Night and a Day) I had very high expectations for this one! And Duncan is not letting me down. A fresh spin on what is quickly becoming a tired genre, Duncan explores what it would be like to be last of your kind. The werewolf in question - Jacob Marlowe - is being hunted, and has decided to go down without a fight. That is, until he uncovers the whereabouts of "Quinn's Diary" - a book that he has been searching many many years for, which documented the origins of the werewolf.

The book contains amazing one-liners that I have been tweeting like a loon under the hashtag #thelastwerewolf. Here are a few:

"Falling in love makes the unknown known. Falling out of love reverses the process"

"The devil wants meaning just like the rest of us"

"Every now and then you look out at the world and know its gods have gone utterly elsewhere"

"Telling the truth is a beautiful act even if the truth itself is ugly"

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"The Bird Sisters" Giveaway

TNBBC is giving away copies
of the book that everyone on Twitter
has been dying for!

have agreed to give away 10 copies of the Bird Sisters
to US and Canada residents.

Here is the description from Goodreads:
When a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds' heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can't, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who've brought them. These spinster sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health.

But back in the summer of 1947, Milly and Twiss knew nothing about trying to mend what had been accidentally broken. Milly was known as a great beauty with emerald eyes and Twiss was a brazen wild child who never wore a dress or did what she was told. That was the summer their golf pro father got into an accident that cost him both his swing and his charm, and their mother, the daughter of a wealthy jeweler, finally admitted their hardscrabble lives wouldn't change. It was the summer their priest, Father Rice, announced that God didn't exist and ran off to Mexico, and a boy named Asa finally caught Milly's eye. And, most unforgettably, it was the summer their cousin Bett came down from a town called Deadwater and changed the course of their lives forever.

Rebecca Rasmussen's masterfully written debut novel is full of hope and beauty, heartbreak and sacrifice, love and the power of sisterhood, and offers wonderful surprises at every turn.

In order to snag a copy, you must:

1 - Post a comment here telling us what your favorite bird is and why, be a resident of the US or Canada, and leave me a way to contact you. If your comment is missing any of this information, it will be considered ineligible.

2- Agree to participate in a group read book discussion that will run during the month of May over at TNBBC on Goodreads. Rebecca Rasmussen has agreed to participate in the discussion and will be available to answer any questions you may have for her.

By commenting, you are agreeing to read the book and join the group discussion at TNBBC on Goodreads (the thread for the discussion will be emailed to you at the first of the month).

It's first come, first serve so the first 10 commenters who agree to the above term will secure a copy for themselves for the group read.

The contest ends when the last copy has been claimed.
* please note that I moderate comments before they are posted so it may appear that there are copies available before I publish them.

So don't hesitate!

However, if you are not a winner, no worries. You can purchase a copy of the novel or simply join in on the discussion to ask Rebecca questions about the writing and publishing process... All are welcome!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An Overnight Scavenger Hunt in NYPL

This is probably the coolest bookish thing I have seen in a long time. If it weren't for BEA the week after, and all the vacation time I have already put in for that.. I would totally attempt to do this!

Visit this page of the L.A. Times to learn more about who, how, and why.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"The Time Traveling Fashionista" Giveaway

Attention fans of Fashion and Fiction!!!
TNBBC has a great giveaway
for YA lovers....

We are giving away 3 International copies

Here is the description from Goodreads:
"When Louise Lambert receives a mysterious invitation to a traveling vintage fashion sale in the mail, her normal life in suburban Connecticut is magically transformed into a time traveling adventure.

After a brief encounter with two witchy salesladies and donning an evening gown that once belonged to a beautiful silent film star, Louise suddenly finds herself onboard a luxurious cruise ship in 1912. As Alice Baxter, the silent film star, Louise enjoys her access to an extensive closet of gorgeous vintage gowns and begins to get a feel for the challenges and the glamour of life during this decadent era. Until she realizes that she's not just on any ship-- she's on the Titanic!

Will Louise be able to save herself and change the course of history, or are she and her film star alter ego, destined to go down with a sinking ship in the most infamous sea disaster of the 20th century?"

In order to enter for a chance to win a copy of the novel,
a luggage tag, and a widget for your blog,
you must:

1. Tell us what moment in history you would most like to travel back to, and why.

2. Leave a way for us to contact you if you are chosen to win.

3. Promise that if you win, you will read the novel and post your review on Goodreads and Amazon.

The contest will remain open until
April 15th.

The 3 winners will be announced here on April 16th.

Winners will be chosen by me, so hit us up with some great moments to time travel back to!!!!

In the meantime, please visit TNBBC on goodreads and chat with Bianca! She has joined the group to help promote the release of The Time Traveling Fashionista and would love to answer any questions you may have her.

And Good Luck!

Tell Me A Story - Ben Tanzer

Welcome to TNBBC's 3rd edition of Tell Me A Story.

Tell Me a Story is a monthly series that will feature previously unpublished short stories from debut and Indie authors. The request was simple: Stories can be any format, any genre, and any length. And many amazing writers signed up for the challenge.

This month's story comes to us from Ben Tanzer. His newest novel, You Can Make Him Like You, is a sort of "coming of age novel" for adults. It illustrates the unexpected craziness that comes with being in a relationship and having a baby, while also demonstrating the bravery of breaking through those new boundaries.

I am pleased to announce that this previously unpublished short story has been picked up by Ben's publisher, Artistically Declined, and will be released April 12th in a limited edition short story chapbook titled "Party Pit", as a companion to You Can Make Him Like You.


The Intern

It is a book reading. The intern is there. She isn't really your intern any more, hasn't been, but she will always be the intern to you. She was the first. She is your favorite. She was so young then, awkward, terrific. You were protective of her. Paternal. Careful too. Always appropriate. Had to be. Others would come and go. Many were fantastic, smart, and only one turned out to be a stalker of sorts. But she is the reference point, always will be, like your first girlfriend or first born. You learn with them and as time advances and memories fade they slowly hold a place in the firmament of your brain, their greatness exaggerated, their time with you filled with nostalgia. And now she is here, there, right in front of you, so mature, classy, like Claire Danes, or Natalie Portman, all grown-up before your eyes. You are reading from your new book, and in it you take a small swipe at the Peace Corps, or more accurately, people who join the Peace Corps, not at all people though, just an old boss actually, someone you could have never made fun of in person, too sensitive, too cognizant of how little your other boss thought of her. But here, in this book, here was a chance, cheap maybe, but funny, selfish, but well-matched to the moment. The thing is, she, the intern, the intern for life, she too has since served in the Peace Corps, and she too has the read the book, and she has let you know that maybe that Peace Corps dig is not so funny to her, even if she says it with a smile. And now she is here, at the reading in front of you, and you know that you will need to reference her reaction to the book, it's funny, cute, and will relax the crowd, but that's not all, because there is a new book, its nascent, not a line has been written, not one moment spent with pen on paper, but it is marinating, taking form, and you already know how it will start. The protagonist will be in bed, no strike that, the protagonist will be on top of an intern, and you will have to say something about that at the reading as well, how if she, the intern, isn't digging the Peace Corps reference, connection, how will she feel when, if, she is there as you read the next book. Not that she is the model for that character, not remotely, no one truly is, the character is what interns, young women frankly, represent to the aging male, possibility, youth, vigor, freshness, all that is slipping away day by day, moment by moment. And yet she is the intern, will always be the intern, and she is all grown-up, and she will be hanging out with you tonight, having drinks, running around, because she is not so young any more, and does not work for you, and it means something, or says something, and you know that, even if you refuse to acknowledge or explore it except for on paper. You also know, that maybe you shouldn't even joke about it with her in the room, but you do, because its not her, or you, and you will keep saying that like a mantra, and then you write the book, actually write it, and the opening scene unfolds as you always thought it would, and now, now, you will read it, here, there, everywhere, and maybe, just maybe she will be around when you do.


I want to thank Ben for participating in TNBBC's Tell Me a Story. If you like what you've read, please support Ben by checking out his website and book. Help spread the word by sharing this post through your blog, tumblr page, twitter and facebook accounts. Every link counts! And be sure to check back with us next month for the next installment....