January 2017

Let’s Chat with Eli Celata

How does your work as an anthropology doctoral student affect your writing?

Pursuing my doctorate means classes, work as a teaching assistant, and more. I generally read 1000+ pages a day about forensics, anthropological theory, and biomechanical principles, so there are times the vocabulary slips over. Otherwise, it’s just a question of time or lack thereof.

What is your field of study for your doctorate degree?

I’m studying biological anthropology with a focus in forensics. Really, it just means I work with bones.

On your website, you mention five resolutions for 2017. When you make resolutions do you create a step-by-step plan or just wing it? Why did you choose the five you chose?

I over-plan. For any resolutions I make, I have stages with steps to ensure I have measurable goals. Those chosen this year came from necessity in part. They were already in process, so it was follow through. Focusing, however, on them was a decision made out of frustration. I’d spent the last year focusing on my degree despite my debut publication, so I had left the promo side a bit late.

Is writing always something you wanted to do?

Yes. I grew up with stories. All my siblings write one way or another.

What is your normal writing routine?

I schedule out my writing. When I’m ready, I set on the correct playlist and write. Outside of music, I don’t really have any particularities about my routine.

When you planned Warlock of Rochester did you plan on it being a series or was that an afterthought? If you planned it, how did that affect your overall outline?

I knew it would be a series due to the realization that a single novel wouldn’t be enough to get Jon from an excited, young college student / demon-hunting warlock to where he needed to go. Due to that, the end is clear as are a few of the stops along the way, but there’s some leeway in the middle.

Is it easier or harder to write YA novels and why?

For me, the story decides, so it’s not a difficulty unless I try to force a novel to be what it isn’t.

What is your greatest strength as a writer and what is your greatest weakness as a writer?

I can finish a story like nobody’s business, but I am horrible at editing. Luckily, I have beta readers who are willing to guide me in the right direction there.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Definitely a plotter. My notes and subnotes are ridiculous.

Advice for new authors?

Be prepared to work. Writing the book is the easiest part.

Halfway Hunted by Terry Maggert

I enjoy this series so much I didn’t wait for the tour to get a free copy. Instead, I used my Audible credit so I didn’t have to wait. Now all I have to do is wait for the next story (insert me with arms crossed, tapping my foot).

Maggert created a unique twist on time travel and spells. This propelled me to keep reading until I finished it. I had to know what was coming next. This was one of those stories where I wanted to forgo all my responsibilities and just listen to what happened. Since I normally listen to audio books when I walk, my dog and I walked a lot that week. Once again, the ending wasn’t expected and I am curious what direction the author will take.

Erin Spencer narrates this story as she has with all the other ones. I think the author needs to make sure she always narrates each of the books. In my mind, she is Carlie. I can hear her actions in her voice. She adds to each of the characters and helps them come alive.

digital composite of Wooden table with library background


Audiobook Title: Halfway Bitten

Author: Terry Maggert

Narrator: Erin Spencer

Publisher: Terry Maggert

Length: 6 hours and 56 minutes (unabridged)

Audio Release Date: Nov. 10, 2016

Synopsis: Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.

A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time.

Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie’s spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.

But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:

  1. Don’t complain about the diner’s waffles.
  2. Don’t break the laws of magic.
  3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.

Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire’s curse without burning the waffles?

Buy on AudibleAmazoniTunes


Kara M. reads… #carolinareads

What’s the first book you remember reading?
The earliest were probably Scholastic Readers, a series called I See Sam. In terms of “real” books, the first I remember is a cute little Golden Book that I actually bought for my own kids years later. It was called We Help Daddy.

What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
I recently read a novella by one of my favorite authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez Memories of My Melancholy Whores. The material deals with a sensitive subject, but the writing was incredibly beautiful.

Why did you choose that book?
Because I love, love, love the author, and it’s one of his books I had yet to read.

If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be and why?
I would certainly love to meet Ignatius Reilly from John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. He’s one of my favorite fictional characters. That would be an experience, for sure!

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?
A Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman; Brave New World, Aldous Huxley; Holidays on Ice/The Santaland Diaries, David Sedaris; Still Life With Woodpecker, Tom Robbins.


Kara Martinez Bachman has been heard on NPR radio and her work has appeared in The Writer, Funny Times, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and in dozens of newspapers, magazines, websites, and anthologies. She is the author of the humorous essay collection, Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-Mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women, and Careening into Middle Age, published by Quill Driver Books. Find out more at

I Remember the Time… by Kim Hemphill

**I received this book in exchange for a review**

Reading memoirs are hard. Happily ever after is not always promised in real life. Reading about the hardships and trials that people go through affects me. When I read memoirs, I try to visualize the story as I do when I read fiction. This memoir was really hard to read because of the main character, Kim, went through so much. As I read his story, I found myself hoping his life would improve. I wanted to “save him”. (If you knew me, this would make perfect sense to you).

This memoir was very well written and it is obvious the author’s intent is to share his story so the readers will see it as a light in a sometimes dark life. I found myself very inspired and encouraged that the baggage of my own past doesn’t define what my final outcome will be.

I want to caution the reader about the child abuse mentioned in this book. It is not thrown in just for effect, but it is a little hard to read.

The train collided into the car on the side that three-year-old Kim was sitting. This split second changed this boy’s life forever. The gash across his face and head took 105 sutures to close. The battle with his demons just started.

Kim shares with you the challenges of severe child abuse, poverty, effects of little parental support, and a rebellious rage within himself. He bought himself his first toothbrush at 14 years old!

He describes the severe pain that he endured when he lost his best friend, mentor, and only brother in the Vietnam War after just 2 weeks of combat.

As a teenager, he was homeless and living in a tent. His living room and kitchen was a campfire and lawn chair. His grocery store was the forest surrounding him.

Despite all the turmoil he went through, Kim turned his life into a rewarding, successful one filled with everything he yearned for in his younger years.

Kim’s life has been filled with huge success, love and acceptance. Without any formal education, he flourished in the banking and real estate industry. Over the past 40 years he founded three companies, all of which are still operating today. He invented numerous products that are sold across the United States and Canada.


Skin Deep by T.G. Ayer

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review**

This book has a decent storyline. I like the idea and the combination of all the supernatural characters. I also liked the idea of these characters struggling to fit in two worlds. It is a good beginning to a series. I had no trouble getting into it and it kept me reading. However, I wish the characters were a little more developed. I think including DPOV would have helped a lot. The plot seemed a little forced. It does move the story along, but each the story seems to be nothing but action. I would like to read more about from this series as I think a series gets better with each additional book.

I wanted to add that I appreciate the author giving a reader warning. However, I did not feel like the violence was too graphic and useless.

Abandoned by her mother and raised by her aloof Alpha father, panther shifter Kailin Odel has finally found a way to feel like she makes a difference. Discovering her unique power to track Wraith’s, Kailin moonlights as a Hunter – ridding the streets of Chicago of these soul-sucking demons. Her human friends have no idea the supernatural worlds exists alongside theirs. No idea shifter and demons walk in the shadows. And Kai prefers to keep it that way.

Until she discovers the body of a murdered shifter, and is quickly embroiled in a world of supernatural drug-dealing and renegade shifters who leave a trail of blood and mayhem wherever they go.

When Logan Westin, paranormal investigator and super-hot human, begins investigating the murder Kai refuses to allow her feelings to control her. Humans are off-limits, no matter how sizzlingly sexy they are. But can Kai keep him at bay? And does she even want to?

In her quest to find the killer Kai inadvertently puts her friends’ life in danger and brings her to the attention of the sadistic shifter killer. Her comfortable life is gone, her friend murdered, and shifters are disappearing around her. To survive and to save her friends, Kai must allow herself to trust Logan, to give her scarred heart to someone again.

Warning: Mature reader recommendation- this book contains violence & torture.


20 by Vatsal Surti

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review**

This is a story of a young girl who struggles with hopes and dreams just like all of us do.  The story itself relates to me, but I had some issues with the author’s purpose. Neither of the main characters is named and that threw me a little. Also, the story is told more from a stream of conscious style. I did, however, find myself thinking about the story days after I finished. Upon reflection, it seemed to just click more and maybe that is what the author intended to do. Like yesterday’s review, this book challenged me more than most.

The story of a troubled young model and an introspective writer, 20 is a novel about loneliness, love, hopes and dreams.

One night as she is driving back home from a show, she almost runs over someone. She holds her breath, and through the fog they see each other for the first time. Love begins to form in the space between them, in precognitions and thoughts, lights and intimacies. Seasons change. They come to know more things about themselves and each other. Life wraps them in its embrace like a haze, in a vacant space bigger than their eyes can see.

Fans of Haruki Murakami will enjoy this atmospheric and deeply felt debut from Vatsal Surti, who was described by an Amazon HALL OF FAME reviewer as “a young author to observe.”



Clovers by Samira

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review**

This is not a book that can be consumed, it is a book that needs to be savored. It is not a quick read. There were several words I did not know and I could not figure out given the context. I didn’t mind because it was nice to read a challenging book and the book only took a little over an hour to read. It is important to read all three sections of the book in order to get the full impact of the story. The writing style adds an almost lyrical quality to the story the enhances the uniqueness of the pictures in the book. Given the differences of this book, it is not for everyone, but I would recommend it for someone who is looking for something different.

This is a story of Androxen, the sea, a nice bunch of aliens of the Andromeda galaxy, Samira, and some serious citizens of earth. It begins with Androxen of the seas, who can only breed males and so ever on the lookout for siren-mates in a waterful life together. But the old sage androx and the equally mature sea-salt androx are Androxen of another sort. Appalled by the state of seas and land around, they badger aliens for blueprints for an all right world. And as the old salt plots across galaxies with his infallible plotter, unbanded frequency waves tingle with vibes of alien tracks.The rest is history, or rather, geography, as

The rest is history, or rather, geography, as final outcome is an earth with extended platforms. In its past, this planet had been exploited, explored, and exalted in song, word, and deed, but now it could breathe again.

Spacelings, normally visualized vandalizing the environs, reverse roles here, getting humans out of the hole and giving the planet an earthly chance.

Good, clean humour. But underlying the light tone, there is an anxiety over the crisis confronting earthlings and an earnest hope that it ends in a happy beginning.


Rick M. reads… #carolinareads

What’s the first book you remember reading?
The Cat in the Hat. I remember sitting in the backseat of my mom’s Studebaker outside of the library and paging through.

What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
Oblivion – a set of stories by David Foster Wallace – and a bunch of poetry journals we recently won in a raffle at a reading.

Why did you choose that book?
I’ve read the majority of DFW’s work. I have to be in the mood to put my mind through a blender, but there aren’t too many who can pull it off quite like him, outside of Joyce and Pynchon. Reading him is a somewhat masochistic pursuit, I admit. And I didn’t choose the poetry volumes — they chose us, as it were.

If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be and why?
Kurt Vonnegut. We’d spend an afternoon paddling around a lazy lake, pretending to fish. We’d talk about the planet Tralfalmadore.

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?
Slaughterhouse Five, Ulysses, Gravity’s Rainbow, Moby Dick, The Illiad.


I’m a Brooklyn-based author of two novels, the just-released Tellers, a unique novel/anthology hybrid, and Ebocloud, a near-future thriller about a utopian social networking movement. I run an online business forum for a living and do a lot of business writing and editing, although my background is in fine art and design (confusing, I know). You can learn about Tellers here.

Singing Fire by T.L. Martin

**I received a copy from the author in exchange for a review**

It is a strong start to what should be a great series. It took a little bit to get the story going, but I mean a very little bit like maybe only 5% (I read on Kindle). Once it got going though it was one of those books that I thought about when I wasn’t reading it and I wanted to come back and keep reading more. I really liked the characters, though I didn’t like what happened to one of them (sorry no spoilers- you will have to read it if you want to know who I mean). I would have liked a little more depth from some of the minor characters. I think that’s because I liked them and I hope we get to see more about them in coming books.

As a debut novel, Martin certainly shows she has a strength as a writer. I look forward to reading more.

Constant chills, panic attacks, and now paranoia – there’s a reason seventeen-year-old Charlie keeps to herself. Life is looking up when she gets a job at a whimsical tea shop and gains a few new friends, but little does Charlie know there are secrets lurking beyond its door. It only takes one night for her perspective on her small town to change forever. As if witches, vampires, and demons weren’t enough, she soon realizes she’s being hunted for a power she didn’t know she possessed. Singing Fire takes Charlie through an unexpected journey of self-discovery, betrayal, and forbidden love all while the clock is ticking for her to defeat the dark souls pursuing her – before anyone else dear to her has to die. Singing Fire is the first of a two-part series, and its sequel, Raining Fire, is due for release in 2017.



Sunstone: A Steampunk Reality by Holly Barbo

I wanted an audiobook to listen to as I exercised. This book on Amazon was a great price, and then adding the audio was an added bonus. I chose this book because of the reference to steampunk in the blurb. I am interested in the punk genre as a whole and wanted to read more.

I chose this book because of the reference to steampunk in the blurb. I am interested in the punk genre as a whole and wanted to read more. At first, I was a little nervous because this world is very unlike the one I know. I struggle reading books where I have to always remember what the new things are. However, after about 5% of the book, I realized that author did a fantastic job of making this imaginative world real and I was not going to need a cheat sheet or glossary to understand all of it. That made it way more enjoyable. And when I am listening to this as I exercise, which I really don’t like exercise, it has to be good.

The characters are solid and well developed. The conflict soon becomes symbolic of what we face in our world today. It moved the story forward. I wanted to keep walking to know what happened next (my dog was a little annoyed by that).

I stumbled on this book and I am glad I did.

Before there was a history, the sun goddess Navora visited a moon within her realm that held primitive ocean life. She dipped her staff of power into the primordial sea and stirred. Pleased with what she had wrought, she departed, not at all troubled that a divine spark had touched two small dying sea creatures.

As centuries pass, life on the moon develops into a geothermal steam-powered industrial age. A triumvirate of politicians, banks and corporations bring strain and suffering to the masses they rule over. Unbeknownst to the people of the moon, there may be help. With the gears of time ever moving and trouble spiraling to a crisis point, can three individuals and a handful of fossils prevent a violent revolution?