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Monday, November 7, 2011

Trying to Read Again

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I have come before you this week to discuss books. Yes, I know. We're always discussing books. In fact, it's why we're all here, isn't it? The issue for me, you see, is I have very little time for it.

Those who have known me for a while know that I have an 11 hour day job which gets me out of bed at 3 am. After work, it's all about house, family and whatever current laptop work I might have. I endeavor to get to bed before 8 pm, hoping to both catch up on reading as well as tire myself out. Unfortunately, what usually happens is I end up staying on the laptop much longer than I should, thus erasing my reading time.

Over the course of my year, I go through spurts where I read a lot, and enjoy the heck out of it, discovering new authors, new voices and new ways of writing. It really is very important, and I certainly have taken note of some of the greats and how they adore other writers and their work.

So lately, I have gotten back into the groove of reading. Today, I come to you with a couple of new voices that I have enjoyed recently. The first is my buddy, Lorelei Bell. Her and I did a book exchange. If you read about my recent vacation, the one thing I left out is the fact that I took my Kindle along on the journey, and read Vampire Ascending.   

First, let's allow the author herself explain the set up: "Sabrina Strong is a Touch Clairvoyant who needs a job after her father dies. Bjorn Tremayne of Tremayne Towers in Chicago has hired her to find out who murdered his life-time mate, Letitia.

Sabrina is not thrilled about the aspect of working for vampires in Chicago, but she needs the money, and she also wants to find the gorgeous and mysterious vampire who has been turning up in her dreams. Is he the one who bit her when she was ten, marked her for his own, and turned her mother so long ago?

Little does Sabrina know that her whole life is about to change as her best friend's fate intensifies the desperate need to find the murderer and, consequently, brings her into contact with a rogue vampire, Vasyl."

Okay, that's really only a bit of a tease, because the novel is really much bigger and ambitious, and it needs to be, if we are to follow the series. Before we begin, I must tell you that I am an old-school vampire fan. Pushing the envelope a bit is okay, but go too far, and I'm out of here. You can probably guess that I have gone nowhere near Ms. Meyers' vampires. I mean no disrespect to her or all of those who adore her work. It's just not my particular cup of Long Island Ice Tea. Another thing I really do not do is read fantasy. When it's great, it's Tolkien. When it's not... Let's just say that I grew up with Horror and leave it at that. Having said all of that, when Bell began revealing her werewolves, elves and shape-shifters in her tale, I began to get worried. However, let me tell you, it worked. Bell makes no apologies for her characters or plot; she simply told her story, and did so very well. In a less-skilled writer's hands it could have been silly. With Bell at the helm of this tale, it was more a case of: Seriously, guys, this is how it happened. By the end, I had bought in and was ready for the next installment.

In fact, being a writer of vampires myself, there was more than one occasion where I asked myself why I had not thought of a particular bit of action, character trait or plot device that Bell was using with great success.

If you like your skies overcast, the sound of chainsaws at work, your music well past heavy metal and your films filled with gore, then this may not be your book. On the other hand, if you like your paranormal in the PG-13 vein and to be trailblazingly different; a strong yet flawed female lead character; a complicated supporting cast of villains, heroes and antiheroes; a good helping of romance; and a twisting suspenseful plot that will keep you turning pages, then I may have just the book for you.

Lorelei Bell is extremely talented and you can find her at Lorelei's Muse.

Before I go, I really want to tell you about another buddy of mine. This guy has been great. When I least expect it, I'll notice that he has retweeted some bit of promo of mine. He also seems to be one of the most positive guys that I have met out there on the web. In any event, I would like to introduce you to Mark Souza. I had the opportunity to read one of his short stories recently, and I'd like to share it with you.

Once again, we'll let the author tell it: "Sean has popped the question and dreads the drive across the bleak Kansas landscape on Valentine's Day to announce his intentions to his fiancee Janet's parents. When he sees a sign for a corn maze, he pulls in for a momentary reprieve. Little does he know what a mistake he's made."

This is a story that one can read very quickly because it is short and gripping. This was the first of Souza's work that I had ever read, and I was hooked by his tight, believable prose right away. The "signposts" within his story were perfect. He didn't give too much away, but just enough to make one pause momentarily, knowingly. We didn't know what was coming. We only knew that we had to find out what it was. I will definitely be back for more and will never, ever stop the car on any long stretch of road. Ever.

If you would like to see for yourself what happens when you do stop the car on such a road, the story is free on Smashwords. You can also find the author at his website here.

I'm currently reading something else at the moment that is quite good, but I shall keep it to myself for the time being. How do you folks find time to read amongst all of the writing and promotion while the dishes and laundry pile up around you? Is daily reading as important as daily writing? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

We'll talk soon.


  1. Oh, my, Jimmy! I'm speechless! I've actually got the buddings of tears in my eyes. You rock, hon! Thank you for the review!

  2. Hi Jimmy!
    Normally, I read during my lunch hour. It's the only time I have where I don't feel guilty I'm not writing.

    Of course, when I get toward the end of the book, forget the writing. I gotta finish it!

  3. Hey, there, Jimmy, I've been asked by my friend Dora Dee to post this for her--her BB is acting up. She asked me through PM on my facebook page. So here it goes:

    "I agree with your assessment of Lorelei's work and talent. I loved her book as well and can't wait to read "Vampire's Trill"

    As far as your question, I was just telling Lorelei how unfocused I've become lately. Thank God for my Blackberry (I'm typing on it now on my way to work). If I didn't have it, I would have even less time to do my reading and catching up with the writing world out there. I've resisted buying an ereader, but I think this will be my next purchase. I'm hoping I can then catch up with some of the wonderful works out there. I still owe Lorelei a proper review of her book!

    As far as the chores in the house, I only do the absolute minimum... (Dora Dee)

  4. I read every day! During the week I read mostly at night, a couple hours before going to sleep, and I also read while eating breakfast (usually only a few pages, but that's something). But on the weekends I have time to read in the morning or afternoon, too. The only time I can remember not reading at all was my wedding weekend. But I made up for it by finishing two books and nearly finishing a third just from the loooong plane trip to and from our Honeymoon!

  5. Okay here goes: Dora Dee here verifying that I indeed asked Lorelei to post the above comment regarding her novel. I'll not mince words - I loved it.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that this post makes it. It's gotten to the point that I have to copy anything I wish to post because my bb has a bad habit of freezing and causing my cursor to fly here and there across the pages as if it's possessed. I'm in the danger of losing whatever I've written. Talking about frustration!!

  6. Corn maze? No way I'd go near one at night!!! I'm easily spooked. As for reading I do a little each day. The only time I can read for hours is when we're on vacation. But every day I'll read for at least 15 minutes. But I don't have a day job, either, and that makes a huge difference.

  7. Thanks, Ladies.
    Lorelei - You are quite welcome. Just don't forget us little people as you skyrocket, okay? ;)
    Stacy - Ha! I totally agree.
    Dora - Thanks for working so hard to leave your note. I sent you a note right back on FB.
    Laura - I guess if you love reading, you'll find the time.
    Julie - I bet you do have a day-job, mom. One that is tougher, but so much more rewarding than mine.


  8. Hey, Jimmy! I'm in a similar situation, in that reading and writing get phased out in order to make room for sanity and a little bit of a social life, (Twitter is my social life, guh). I try to put at least an hour a night towards writing, and by the end of that all I want to do is crash.

  9. I like to read in bed before I go to sleep. Sometimes I can only make it through one paragraph, and sometimes I stay up reading way too late and am totally worthless the next day.

  10. Ah yes. Preachin' to the choir, my friend. Preachin' to the choir. My reading time is approximately 20 minutes before I fall asleep, give or take 10 minutes (usually with book in hand). I just finished an 850 pager that I must've been reading for months. Wish I had more time to read, but we have long work days, also.

    Both of your recommends sound intriguing. It's nice when a writer does something new and refreshing (and yes, a bummer when we didn't think of it ourselves).

    Oh, and the wedding looked fun. Used to live in Rome, Georgia. Haven't been back in probably twenty years, but would like to at some point.

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog


Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate you taking the time. I'll get back to you here or on one of the other social networks. It's not like we're not on all of them, right? ;) Also, if you're here to give me an award - bless you. However, your friendship and visits are more than enough. Thanks and blessings.