Kathryn Meyer Griffith, Author of 14 novels and 7 short stories, Chats about her favorite Christmas Memories

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Meet Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been writing for nearly forty years and has published 14 novels and 7 short stories since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the horror, romantic paranormal, suspense and murder mystery genres.

Her published novels & short stories:

Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure 1984; Damnation Books 2012)
The Heart of the Rose (Leisure 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Blood Forge (Leisure 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out February 2012)
Vampire Blood (Zebra 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out July 2011)
The Last Vampire (Zebra 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Witches (Zebra 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Nameless One (short story 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions;
Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Calling (Zebra 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out October 2011)
Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery 2003)
All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery 2006)
Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
Winter's Journey (The Wild Rose Press 2008; Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press 2008; Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
Don't Look Back, Agnes short story (2008; ghostly short story Eternal Press Jan. 2012)
In This House (ghostly short story 2008; Eternal Press January 2012)
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books June 2010)
The Woman in Crimson (Damnation Books 2010)
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels: Volume 1 2011 (I wrote the foreword) ***

I would again like to welcome author Kathryn Meyer Griffith to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. In this Christmas Season, I'm always drawn back to my own childhood memories and love to talk to others about their own particular Christmas memories. I was overjoyed when I received the following guest post from Ms. Griffith to share with you all here. Below is her lovely guest post in her own words:

'Christmas Memories'
by author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

My real childhood Christmas memories, in fact most of my holiday memories, essentially began in my ninth year. Oh, I have memories, scattered and muted, of earlier times but none as crystalized as those after that year. That’s because months earlier on a sultry hot August day around my ninth birthday I almost died; the whole experience changed my young life forever from that time on.

It was early August 1959 – a terribly hot and long summer pre-air-conditioning – and I lived with my six siblings, mother and father, in a rambling run-down house near St. Louis. We didn’t have much money or material possessions, wore hand-me-downs and sometimes we didn’t have lunch money or even a working telephone. Our utilities were often cut off for lack of payment, things would disappear from the house and into the pawn shop and a car would one day be ours and the next not. But we had each other and…love.

My maternal grandmother, Mary Fehrt (joy bringer and storyteller of her generation) was always there for us when it came to providing the things we desperately needed; care packages of food and cash. As much as they could give because they weren’t rich either, but frugal; both worked long grueling hours at a dry cleaner. They’d gone through the Great Depression and could stretch a dollar. I always thought it ironic they’d responsibly had just one child, my mother, Delores, but she gave them seven grandchildren. I thought of my family as a modern day Walton’s. Heck, we even had a writer John Boy (me…though I was an artist and a singer with my brother Jim before I became one) and a musician, Jason (my brother Jim), a loving mother and father and a generous grandmother and grandfather. We were poor but happy. A good-hearted family.

Anyway, that August I got sick. My side hurt and I lay moaning on the couch for three days while my mother and father agonized if I should be taken to the ER. Money we didn't have. In the end, my mother won out and they took me. I had a bad case of appendicitis and the doctors, as they rushed me into the operating room, told my parents if they’d waited another hour the appendix would have burst and I might have died. Died.

Thank God, I didn't. Afterwards I languished in a hot hospital room (I can still smell the antiseptic, bloodied bandages and feel the pain of the stitches to this day). Ech.

My ninth birthday was two days after I returned home and my family, relieved I was alive, showered me with gifts. A brownie camera. Art supplies. Homemade cake and ice cream. Everyone was there. I, for once, was the center of attention and loved it. I look back now and realize that was the beginning of wanting to be different, to stand out, make a difference in the world, to shine, and shortly after that I began drawing pictures and singing with my brother on the rusted backyard swing set.

The holidays that year were different for me and my family as well. Thanksgiving was full of grateful laughter, a huge roasted turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and marshmallows (my favorite) and lots of my father’s special treats, nuts and tangerines. I was acutely aware of everything. I was looking at the world through new eyes and was excited at the life I’d been given back. Happy. Thankful for my loving family.

Christmas was a child’s sweet fantasy. Christmas Eve, as the snowflakes, the temperature and the night’s amethyst twilight fell, my brothers, sisters, mother, father and I piled into my Dad’s big Buick and drove through the woods and neighborhoods of twinkling lit up houses to our grandmother and grandfather’s house. We usually stayed home on Christmas Eve and opened our presents the next morning when our grandparents arrived. Not that year. Dad and mom announced it was special and we were going to grandma’s house. Opening our presents there that night. Yippee! What child didn't want presents early. Sooner the better.

It was snowing heavily by the time we drove into their driveway and I can still see what I saw as a child as I walked wide-eyed into grandma’s house (my grandmother loved the holidays and had twinkling Christmas lights, the big fat old-fashioned bulbs, strung along the front of their house and there were decorated Christmas trees in every room). My grandmother had outdone herself and there wasn't a corner of her home that wasn't full of Christmas.

We traipsed downstairs and into a Christmas wonderland. Grandpa had gone out and cut a huge pine tree that stood at the end of their 50’s remodeled basement in all its glory. On its fragrant limbs hung hundreds of cherished family heirloom ornaments and beneath it were piles of brightly wrapped presents, more than I’d ever seen in my life, and a miniature Christmas village with a tiny train that chugged noisily around a little metal track, blowing its whistle. The whole glittering sight took my breath away.

They made us kids sit on the floor and handed out our presents one by one. Grandma and grandpa had gone overboard, as always, and I remember sitting there unwrapping present after present and crying because I’d gotten so many of the things I’d wanted. A large drawing tablet. Colored pencils. Pastels. A watercolor set. A sparkly (some of you remember those don’t you?) paint-by-number of winter sunsets. A new blouse. A big bag of my favorite nuts, cashews. All for me. I was in seventh heaven. The other kids did pretty well, too. By today’s standards, nothing much, but small trucks, cars, new clothes and dolls meant a lot to us.

I gave my grandmother and grandfather a set of porcelain fishes; my mother an inexpensive necklace and father some gloves. My brothers, sisters and I had gone out on a cold night days earlier to the local five and dime and picked out what we could afford, not much, but it was given from the heart. After the gifts we sat down at the long table full of grandma’s delicious food and ate, laughed, and made memories as the snow continued to drift outside the windows. Later, stuffed, content and exhausted mom and dad loaded us all into the Buick and slowly drove us home on the slick streets. Magic. I’ll never forget that night and the joy of my large family. The love. It’d sustain us through the hard and bad times to come and to this day gives me a smile and a catch in my throat whenever my thoughts touch it. Merry Christmas everyone! ***

Written a lifetime away on this nineteenth October day of 2011

- Kathryn Meyer Griffith, author rdgriff@htc.net

- Visit my sites:

May you read well and often

Creston Mapes - Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

28. Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol by Creston Mapes (2005)
Rock Star Chronicles Book 1
Length: 403 pages
Genre: Christian Fiction
Started: 19 December 2011
Finished: 20 December 2011
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Cheryl at Media Guests for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 14 December 2011
Why do I have it? I was intrigued by the concept and Creston Mapes is a new author for me.

The heavy metal band DeathStroke had it all: adoring fans, money, fame and a high-selling music career. The four members of the band were life-long friends who had already been through so much together. Their lead singer was the one who led them to stardom and he knew it! Everett Lester was a man who had everything: drugs, women and a true God-given talent which he was currently squandering while on a dangerous and destructive path.

Everett ostensibly had everything he had ever wanted in life; and yet he had nothing that he truly wanted - love, acceptance and contentment within himself. Then a young Christian woman begins to write to him. Her letters are bewildering to Everett - she professes to hate everything he stands for but to love him with Christ's pure love.

As Everett continues to spiral down into darkness, he clings to the lifeline Karen's letters to him represent. He is completely unaware of the spiritual battle that is being waged for his very soul. When Everett is charged with the murder of his personal psychic - a murder that he doesn't remember committing - he is thrown in jail and threatened by the powers of darkness.

Can Everett as a newly-saved Christian survive the trial and successfully turn his life over to God or will Satan entice Everett to fall again?

I have to say that I enjoyed this book very much. I started reading this book honestly believing that the plot of rock and roll, drugs, and loose women might not lend itself very well to Christian fiction. I was wrong. It was tough starting it, true, but once I began reading it, I couldn't stop! I give this book an A! and look forward to the next book in the series.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Connie Corcoran Wilson, Author of Laughing Through Life Chats About Finding Humor in the Midst of Tragedy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Meet Connie Corcoran Wilson

Connie Corcoran Wilson has published 10 books since 2003. "Hellfire & Damnation" (www.HellfireandDamnationtheBook.com) came out in February, 2010. Her three volumes of true ghost stories of Route 66 (Ghostly Tales of Route 66, www.GhostlyTalesofRoute66.com) are out from Quixote and in E-book format from Quad City Press. Connie has been writing for pay since age 10 and taught writing at 6 IA/IL col.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Laughing Through Life is the book of funny essays and observations that critics have called "Erma-Bombeck-meets-David-Sedaris," with hilarious results. You'll find yourself nodding your head in recognition of many of the situations that a young mother, teacher and business-owner encountered while raising 2 children born 19 years apart (PTA membership from 1973 to 2010!). Connie's adventures while covering the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns with press passes also will amuse - especially if you thought "W" was a bonehead. (If you are not a progressive, you might not laugh quite as heartily. Be warned.) Smile. Enjoy! Laugh through life with Ava and Elise Wilson, the author's 2-year-old twin granddaughters, who provide a never-ending supply of funny anecdotes, (just when she thought it was safe to go back in the water.)

Coming to Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon!

I would like to welcome Connie Corcoran Wilson, author of Laughing Through Life to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Ms. Wilson was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in her own words:

"Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and  you weep alone." (Solitude, st. I)

In 2003 my mother, then 94, began the long slow fade to black that comes for each of us. She was still of sound mind, but she had a series of small strokes which robbed her of the ability to play bridge (her passion), and it was quite clear to me, her youngest daughter, that she was fading fast. In fact, it had become clear to me that the end was near since Thanksgiving.

Later, nursing home personnel told me it was only my son's  wedding and the festivities  that surrounded it that kept Mom alive six more months. I was hosting a "welcome to the community" party for the bride and groom. They had married in Matamoros and none of our Midwestern friends would be able to attend the ceremony, so a full-on party was planned, a mini-wedding reception, complete with gowns and cakes and flowers.

I carried in various outfits from the nearby shopping mall for mother to try on (over her strenuous objections that she could simply wear an old velour jogging suit I had once given her for Christmas). The preparations to bring her to the party, 60 miles away, for the evening, even though wheelchair-bound, were many and numerous. I even purchased  a giant 52" TV screen (the pre-plasma behemoths) that would replay the actual ceremony in a continuous loop. Mom would be able to see her second (of four) grandchildren being married on this large television set, (contingent upon the store being willing to re-deliver the same TV set to my house after the party was over at no additional fee, which they agreed to do.)

I urged my sister to come with me to visit Mom on Mother's Day in the nursing home where she had resided for 5 years (a necessity imposed by her need for constant medical monitoring for her 4-shots-a-day brittle diabetes.) My 4-years-older sister, who could often be as blank as the proverbial fart,  said, "Let's wait until her birthday."

 My mother's birthday was May 31st.

 I remember saying to my completely oblivious older sister, "Kay, she won't make it to May 31st."

And she didn't.

My mother died  May 2, 2003 and we buried her on May 4, 2003.   I had begun divesting of my businesses, my responsibilities, my very life, in order to be by her side to be able take care of her and, after that, to be able to take care of estate matters when she was gone---something I never really ever believed would actually happen before she hit 100, as my mother was an indomitable force. (My father died in 1986).

 I sold my two businesses (Sylvan Learning Center #3301 and the Prometric Testing Center), businesses I had founded, two months to the day before Mom died, on March 2, 2003.

 I remember asking her, on the final day of her life, as she received oxygen and faded  in and out of consciousness and I held her hand, witnessing her losing the battle that I had always felt  quite sure she would not lose until at least the ripe old age of 100, "What was the favorite city on Earth you ever visited?"

She was very weak, almost to the point of being unable to converse,  but she was lucid. She looked at me and said, "Anywhere your father was. And Iowa City."

Mom died in Iowa City, where she had moved over some objections from her children at the age of 82, after an entire lifetime spent in the small northeast Iowa town of Independence, a life spent teaching kindergarteners while my father worked in the bank he had founded. She slipped away in the early hours of the morning to join her husband of five decades.

While my father's death had come at a time when I was expecting a baby and had just launched a new business, my mother's death came when I had dropped everything else in my life, primarily to care for her. In the process of doing so, I had severed ties with my entire support network of colleagues and co-workers and customers.

My husband, recently retired, was doing taxes for H&R Block. I was at home, alone, for long hours, in what seemed like a very cold house. I later learned that the furnace was broken; it took me the better part of a week wearing a parka and gloves in the house and seeing my own breath in front of me to convince my husband that there really was something wrong with the furnace. (It turned out that it was only blowing out cold air.)

What could I do to cheer myself up? Depression was one silly millimeter away?

I dug out the humor columns I had written for a local paper  in happier times, when I was a young mother, a young teacher, a budding entrepreneur. I added poetry sold, pictures, my lasagna recipe. (Nobody knew what to make of this book, when it was finished, and I imagined it only as a gift for friends and family, like those ubiquitous calendars that you  make as gifts at the holiday season.)  I fashioned anything I had ever sold  into my second book Both Sides Now. (A few of those columns have made their way, again, into Laughing through Life, but much more of the book is new or the product of online blogs for which I have written).

I found that, as I revisited the silly or the ridiculous or the happy times represented in those columns, my mood rose.  Eventually, I sent the columns and pictures off to be published. I did not know this at the time, but this marked the beginning of my "writing long" career. A lifetime hobby had turned into a time-consuming second career as a writer and publisher.

Without humor, for me there is no quality of life. And, in life, even in the grimmest of times, as limned recently in the movie "50/50" about a young man battling a life-threatening form of cancer, there can be humor in hardship.

Humor, to me, is as much what I am all about as weeping and gnashing of teeth.  I hope I can continue to see the humor in life, even when I am at my lowest and things seem most bleak. Humor will sustain me and lift me up, I hope, even on my own deathbed.

Maybe I'll leave an epitaph that says, "I can't be done yet. I still have checks left!"

And let us not forget these sentiments from someone far more eloquent than me:

"They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses;
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream."
                                   (Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longani)

- Connie Corcoran Wilson Author of Laughing Through Life
Visit my website: http://weeklywilson.com

May you read well and often

Connie Corcoran Wilson - Laughing Through Life

Thursday, December 15, 2011

27. Laughing Through Life by Connie Corcoran Wilson (2011)
Length: 115 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started/Finished: 15 December 2011
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Connie and Teddy Rose a tour guide from Premier Virtual Author Tours for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 27 October 2011
Why do I have it? I liked Ms. Wilson's It Came From the '70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now and jumped at the chance to read her next book.

This is a collection of humorous essays written by Ms Wilson as part of her newspaper column. I absolutely loved this book and chuckled all the way through it - from start to finish. There have been comparisons made between Ms. Wilson and Erma Bombeck. I have read several of Ms. Bombeck's books years ago and I have to totally agree with these comparisons. It was also an incredibly fast read for me as well. I give this book an A+! and look forward to Ms. Wilson's next book with bated breath.

A+! - (96-100%)

May you read well and often

Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Author of Black and Orange Chats about why he writes Dark Fantasy

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meet Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Benjamin Kane Ethridge is the Bram Stoker Award winning author of the novel Black and Orange (Bad Moon Books 2010). Beyond that he's written several collaborations with Michael Louis Calvillo, one of which is a extreme horror-comedy novella called Ugly Spirit, available soon. He also wrote a master's thesis entitled, "CAUSES OF UNEASE: The Rhetoric of Horror Fiction and Film." Available in an ivory tower near you. Benjamin lives in Southern California with his wife and two creatures who possess stunning resemblances to human children. When he isn't writing, reading, videogaming, Benjamin's defending California's waterways and sewers from pollution. Drop by his site at www.bkethridge.com or tweet him at @bkethridge, or Facebook him at www.facebook.com/benjamin.kane.ethridge

Synopsis from Goodreads: Forget everything you know about Halloween. The stories are distortions. They were created to keep the Church of Midnight hidden from the world. Every October 31st a gateway opens to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to open the gateway and unite with its other half, the Church of Morning. Each year they've come closer, waiting for the ideal sacrifice to open the gateway permanently.

This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it. Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on an endless mission to guard the sacrifice. Their only direction is from notes left from a mysterious person called the Messenger. Endowed with a strange telekinetic power, the nomads will use everything at their disposal to make it through the night alive. But matters have become even more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most... because ever on their heels is the insidious physical representation of a united church: Chaplain Cloth.

I would like to welcome Benjamin Kane Ethridge, author of Black and Orange to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Mr Ethridge was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in his own words: 

Why I write Fantasy o' Dark

It happened much like a well-performed magic trick occurs. That is, I never saw it coming, never saw which hand manipulated what and created such a surprising outcome. When I started out to write stories I only desired to write fantasy and science fiction. I enjoyed horror immensely but that wasn’t what I was trying to do with my career. So I started submitting stories and receiving rejections. Submitted more, got rejected more. Submitted more, got an acceptance. Hold up though—this was fantasy, but it was pretty well grim subject material. I noted that and continued on. More submissions, more rejections, and then another acceptance. This one was straight up Horror. Unconsciously I think I wanted to replicate that first sale and it worked.

I got the picture and I’m sure you do now as well. My writing was most successful when I turned up that darkness dial. Thing was, I still wanted to write fantasy and science fiction. But all wasn’t lost because that such a combination is completely viable nowadays. The dark fantasy writer, probably more than the dark science fiction writer, but build a name and you can probably have it anyway you slice it.

So here I was, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, once open to everything speculative, but I'd not been defined. I’d become a Dark Fantasy writer. I have no shame in wearing the Horror badge or the Fantasy badge, but being called one or the other just isn’t at all honest. I write horrific, fantastical things, and that’s what I’ve become. For me this accident was like slipping and springing an oil well because it’s difficult to find your feet as a writer; there is much to read and much to write about and therein lies a decision for every upstart writer. Building a brand means putting your marbles in a particular basket, at least during the audience building stage.

The easiest thing to say was that I didn’t choose Dark Fantasy, it chose me, but that isn’t accurate. I came to a conclusion based on my past successes and my own personal tastes for storytelling, which is how I ended up pulling out free a scale-covered, fang-bearing rabbit from the magician’s hat.

- Benjamin Kane Ethridge Author of Black and Orange
Visit my website: http://www.bkethridge.com

Coming to Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon!  

The Kickoff of the One Million Bookprints For One Million Books Campaign From Scholastic

Monday, December 12, 2011

So, today I was watching The View and Whoopi Goldberg mentioned the One Million Bookprints For One Million Books Campaign hosted by Scholastic. Then I received an email from Scholastic telling me about it as well.

The One Million Bookprints For One Million Books Campaign is an initiative to donate one million books to kids in need through the literacy nonprofit Reach Out and Read. By joining Scholastic’s online book community YouAreWhatYouRead.com, you can make a Bookprint – a list of 5 books that have shaped your life. And for every Bookprint, Scholastic Book Clubs will donate a book. It is that easy to make a difference this holiday season! People who create a bookprint can also enter a giveaway to win the same books given to the audience at The View (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, The Hunger Games, The 39 Clues: Maze of Bones, Captain Underpants, and Clifford the Champion.)

I just had to sign up for myself. Here are my five books for my personal bookprint:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - To my mind, the quintessential Christmas book. Everyone knows the plot, but even though I have read it almost every year since I was about eight, it always gives me a good feeling to read it around December. I have had a copy that I bought through my own Scholastic Book Club when I was in third grade. The book itself is yellowed slightly but still in relatively good condition. :)

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien - Alright, so I haven't read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien but I do have all three books hidden away somewhere and I have to dig them out and read them sometime. I have bought a new copy of The Hobbit through a Library Book Sale recently, but originally read  this in seventh grade as part of my summer reading list. At my school, on the last day of English class we were all given a three page list and told to pick three books to read over the summer. On the first day of the next grade, we were given our ultimate assignment: write up a book report on the books we'd chosen and why we'd chosen them.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - This book I read in the ninth grade again as part of my summer reading list. I have to say that that was the year that I procrastinated on my book choices. I had started out reading the book and wasn't so sure that I wanted to finish it. It was somewhat "chunky" and because I hadn't ever read Daphne du Maurier before I was unsure if I would enjoy it. I ended up loving it because it had a "ghost". :)

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas - I seem to have chosen four out of five books that I read as a child, but I wouldn't call them young adult at all. This book I read in the tenth grade, I think. I would read this aloud in my bedroom and my mother would hear me start to laugh and come in to check on me. :) I would just explain to her that it was a scene in The Three Musketeers. I loved the action and adventure of this book and my favorite character was the young and brash D'Artagnan.

Tender Warrior by Linda Lang Bartell - Okay, I generally read just about anything but I never truly enjoyed historical romances that much until I read Tender Warrior by Linda Lang Bartell. Yes, it probably would be considered a cheesy romance by today's standards - it was written in 1992 - but I was literally enthralled by the fact that the author actually had the characters speaking some French and chuckled to myself as I successfully translated what the Norman knights said to one another in my mind.

It also really sparked my interest that the lead heroine in the book was a Saxon noblewoman named Merlyn trained in the healing arts (of course) but that the Normans were generally suspicious of her and kept whispering about her being a witch (purely based on her name Merlyn, I'm sure) It took place at the time of William the Conquerer and I thought it was loads of fun to read! :) I was about 18 or so at the time and this was the first adult historical romance that I read.

May you read well and often

Welcome to the Loveswept Holiday Hop

Hello everyone and Happy Holidays to you all! Starting today and lasting through 8 January 2012, Romance at Random is celebrating their 'Loveswept' line with the Loveswept Holiday Hop. They will be giving 25 randomly chosen lucky winners a free e-book through Netgalley.

Then all you have to do is stop by Romance at Random and comment in order to be entered in the drawing for one Grand Prize of a Selection of great books! There will of course be only one winner for this prize, but it will certainly make that person's Christmas merry! :) INCREASE your chances to win by visiting all of the participating ‘Loveswept – Holiday Hop’ sites! Winners will be contacted after 1/10/12. Many thanks for stopping by Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Have fun hopping and Good luck, everyone!

Loveswept Holiday Hop - 12/12/11 to 1/8/12

Visit all the Participating Blogs!

May you read well and often

A Wonderful Award Given to me by a Wonderful Blogger

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Many, many thanks to Grace at Growing Old With Grace for gifting me with the Liebster Blog Award! I  really do enjoy blogging for myself, but to realize that others must enjoy reading what I post about is wonderful to know. Thank you all! :) Please visit Grace's wonderful blog and the five hardworking bloggers that I post here. They blog for the love of it, I know. :)

I would now like to pass on this wonderful award to five bloggers I have had the pleasure to correspond or visit with through the three years that I have been blogging:

Crazy For Books
Fade Into Fantasy
Incandescent Enchantments
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Puss Reboots 

May you read well and often

Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon.com
Hello everybody and happy Sunday! :) I am swamped with books that I will start reading as soon as I get back from the radio station. I always have a lot of books around that I'm either reading or beginning to read. It's just finding the time to sit down and read! :)

There are so many wonderful books coming out it's hard to choose which one to start reading, I suppose. :) Hopefully, I'll have some reviews coming this week. Wish me luck! :)

May you read well and often

Introducing Five Books Just Released Today

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Meet Karen Charlton

Karen was born in Sheffield but grew up in Leeds. She obtained an English degree from Hull University. After a few years roaming between various jobs in Harrogate, Ripon and Scarborough she finally settled in Teesside, where she was invited to stay and improve the gene pool. It needed improving. 'Catching the Eagle' is the true tale of her hubby's notorious criminal ancestor.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Easter Monday, 1809: Kirkley Hall manor house is mysteriously burgled. When suspicion falls on Jamie Charlton, he and his family face a desperate battle to save him from the gallows.

When £1,157 rent money is stolen from Kirkley Hall, it is the biggest robbery Northumberland has ever known. The owner sends for Stephen Lavender, a principal officer with the Bow Street magistrate’s court in London, to investigate the crime. Suspicion soon falls on impoverished farm labourer, Jamie Charlton, and the unpopular steward, Michael Aynsley.

Jamie Charlton is a loving family man but he is hot-tempered and careless. As the case grows against him, it seems that only his young brother, William, can save him from an impending miscarriage of justice.

But William is struggling with demons of his own. Desperate to break free from the tangled web of family ties which bind him to their small community, he is alarmed to find that he is falling in love with Jamie’s wife. 

Set beneath the impenetrable gaze of a stray golden eagle whose fate seems to mirror that of Jamie's, Catching the Eagle, the first novel in the Regency Reivers Series, is a fictionalised account of a trial that devastated a family and divided a community.

Meet Michael Burr

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Michael Burr moved to New Zealand when he was eighteen years old where he fully indulged his passion for playing rugby. He went on to train as a primary school teacher. Since 1981, he has specialized in teaching history with brief forays into educational administration, teacher training and school review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: In the dead of night, a band of Vikings ravage a lonely convent on the Brittany coast –and their fearsome leader makes a decision that will eventually lead to his downfall. 

Ranulf de Lannion is fifteen years old. Crippled, deformed and abandoned by his family to the charity of the convent, he is seized by the Vikings during a midnight raid. Contemptuously nicknamed 'The Scraeling" by his captors, his future appears grim. 

Harald Sigurdsson, or 'Hardrada' as he will come to be known, is the leader of the Viking band. A violent mercenary with designs on the throne of Norway, Hardrada abducts The Scraeling on a whim. 

Ranulf grows into an invaluable asset, smoothing Hardrada's path over their thirty-five years together from mercenary to commander of the Varangian Guard, all the way to king of Norway. 

But all is not as it seems in the heart of Ranulf de Lannion. Having sworn secret revenge upon Hardrada for the murders at the convent, he vows to end the day of the Viking forever. When the king of Norway launches an attack against the Anglo-Saxon throne of England in 1066, what role will The Scraeling play in bringing the age of the Viking to an end?

Meet James Conroy

James Conroy is a former business executive currently self-employed in logistics consulting. He also writes full-time and tutors in English literature, basic composition and creative writing. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in over one hundred internationally respected literary journals.

A collection of his poems was published in 1997 and two novels in 2001 and 2007 respectively. After living in New York and Chicago, Conroy currently resides with his wife in Newport, Rhode Island.

He is a frequent contributor to local publications and an active community volunteer.

Synopsis from Goodreads: In the midst of the Great Depression, one man must do battle against corruption with nothing but his wits and a host of great literary figures... Amos Jansen is merely a clerk. He is not a crime fighter, the next great writer, or a man of privilege. He is the humble employee of a Chicago literary society. That is, until he is arrested for murder. The scapegoat of a perfidious lieutenant, Jansen stands wrongly accused while his idols rally around him. Literary personalities the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Nelson Algren, and H.L. Mencken, as well as civil liberties war-horse Clarence Darrow, join Amos in his search for the real murderer of both the society's vice-chairman and his own father. Will the pen prove mightier than the pistol? Will mercenary police, politicians and money-barons meet with justice? Or will Jansen fail to solve the mystery and wind up literally dead?

Meet Evan Ostryzniuk

Evan Ostryzniuk was born and raised in western Canada, where he attended the University of Saskatchewan. After graduating with a B.A. in History and Modern Languages and an M.A. in Modern History, Evan did post-graduate work at the University of Cambridge, concluding five years of research with a doctoral thesis on the Russian Revolution. He eventually found his way to eastern Europe, where he took up positions as a magazine editor, university lecturer and analyst in the financial services sector before finally settling on writing as a career. He currently resides in Kyiv, Ukraine. Of Faith and Fidelity: Geoffrey Hotspur and the War for St. Peter’s Throne is his first novel.

Synopsis from Goodreads: As the papal wars of the Western Schism rage across Europe, a young man takes his first step on the journey of a lifetime.

Geoffrey Hotspur dreams of knighthood. As an English orphan-squire bonded to the court of Sir John of Gaunt, uncle of the English King Richard II, his prospects are few.

An inveterate gambler already deep in debt, young Geoffrey accepts an invitation to participate in a raid on French lands. His plans go awry, however, after a deadly street brawl results in his banishment from court. As further punishment, he is ordered to join a royal commission bound for Florence.

Accompanied by Jean Lagoustine, a mysterious Frenchman whose intentions towards the young squire are not all they appear to be, the ship upon which they journey is waylaid by corsairs. Barely escaping with their lives, Geoffrey and Jean find themselves forming part of a company of Catalonian crossbowmen en route to enlist with the Roman papal army.

Intrigue and betrayal dominate the war between the two popes, and the young squire's understanding of faith and fidelity are soon challenged. The need to do right inspires Geoffrey to take a personal stake in the outcome of the conflict. With little more than his wits and a sword, the young squire must find a way to fulfill his duty to his lord, to his faith and to himself. As the war culminates in the final battle for the throne of St. Peter, will Geoffrey find that a knighthood is worth the risk to his honor?

Meet Annmarie Banks

Annmarie Banks spent twenty years as a buyer and seller of used books. She knows firsthand the excitement of uncovering a treasure among piles of dusty old books. Her first novel, The Hermetica of Elysium, draws upon that feeling of discovery as her protagonist travels through Spain and Italy in the time of the Spanish Inquisition on the hunt for forbidden manuscripts.

She grew up all over the eastern part of the United States because her father was a search-and rescue pilot for the Coast Guard. She moved every four years to a different city along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Because she changed schools and friends often, she was somewhat shy. When one is always the "new kid" , a lot of time is spent sitting on the sidelines at lunch and recess. She used that time to read books from the library, mostly history and natural science. By the time she graduated from college with a degree in English, she felt she wanted to spend her life with books. She promptly got a job in a bookstore and over twenty years worked her way to inventory manager.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 1494 Barcelona. As Torquemada lights the fires of religious fervor throughout the cities of Spain, accused heretics are not the only victims. Thousands of books and manuscripts are lost to the flames as the Black Friars attempt to purge Europe of the ancient secrets of the gods and the bold new ideas that are ushering in the Renaissance.

Nadira lives a dreary life as servant to a wealthy spice merchant until the night a dying scholar is brought to the merchant’s stable, beaten by mercenaries who are on the hunt for The Hermetica of Elysium. To Nadira, words are her life: she lives them as her master’s scrivener and dreams them in her mother’s poetry. She is pursued as passionately as the fabled manuscript for her rare skill as a reader of Ancient Greek, Latin, Arabic and Hebrew that makes her valuable to men who pursue the book to exploit its magic.

Kidnapped by Baron Montrose, an adventurous nobleman, she is forced to read from the Hermetica. It is soon revealed to her that ideas and words are more powerful than steel or fire for within its pages are the words that incite the Dominicans to religious fervor, give the Templars their power and reveal the lost mysteries of Elysium.

As Nadira begins her transformation from servant to sorceress, will she escape the fires of the Inquisition, the clutches of the Borgia pope, Alexander VI and the French king, Charles VIII? And will Montrose’s growing fear of her powers cause her to lose her chance for love?

These books all look so good that I don't even know where to start! :)

All coming to Amazon 8 December 2011!

Introducing The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe by Glynis Ridley

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Meet Glynis Ridley

I'm a Brit. living and working in Louisville, KY, where I'm an English professor at the University of Louisville. My favorite period to read, teach, and write about is the eighteenth century - which is the the setting for The Discovery of Jeanne Baret.

Synopsis from Shelfari: The year was 1765. Eminent botanist Philibert Commerson had just been appointed to a grand new expedition: the first French circumnavigation of the world. As the ships’ official naturalist, Commerson would seek out resources—medicines, spices, timber, food—that could give the French an edge in the ever-accelerating race for empire. Jeanne Baret, Commerson’s young mistress and collaborator, was desperate not to be left behind. She disguised herself as a teenage boy and signed on as his assistant. The journey made the twenty-six-year-old, known to her shipmates as “Jean” rather than “Jeanne,” the first woman to ever sail around the globe. Yet so little is known about this extraordinary woman, whose accomplishments were considered to be subversive, even impossible for someone of her sex and class.

Coming to Amazon 6 December 2011!

May you read well and often

First Ever Apps Review

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hello everyone and I hope that you're all having a wonderful day today. Recently, I received a tweet from a Ron Davis who actually asked me if I reviewed apps on my blog. I did explain to him that my blog was primarily a book review and book-related review blog.

Anyway, long story short he was nice enough to offer me two apps for language and business use. One was the Worldictionary and the other was a WorldCard Mobile app.

He explained that the Worldictionary would actually be great for travelling. I can certainly see the use of that. I am able to speak French, a little Spanish and a little Irish myself. Languages are something that if you want to become a fluent speaker in any specific one you need to keep up with it. That's something that I have to say I have been somewhat unsuccessful in doing. Perhaps if I had had the Worldictionary to help me I might have been able to keep up better for myself. :) Oh well.

The next app that was gifted to me was a WorldCard Mobile app. This is an app that helps you keep all your business cards together. I might end up needing this particular app for myself because I do get a lot of contact cards from authors and I'm forever losing the little white cards they send me. Maybe the WorldCard Mobile app is something that I need to invest in. :)

Both apps can be downloaded through the Apple I-Tunes Store You will need to download I-Tunes for yourself to use both apps. Don't worry I-Tunes is free. They might be something that you would be interested in downloading. I know that I'm going to check them out as well!

Thanks so much, Mr. Davis for thinking of me for your review and I hope to hear from you soon again. All the best to everyone. Have a wonderful day!


(pronounced My-reen is Irish for "little Mary". My dad once told me that that was the closest translation of Mareena. My name has such a unique spelling because my dad named me. He told me as a joke once that he didn't want to name me after a harbor marina.) :)

May you read well and often

Sunday Salon

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Sunday Salon.com
Hello Everyone and welcome to the first Sunday in December. It's freezing here today and I have to go out at 11:30 AM to do my radio show. Brrr! I guess I have to bundle up! :)

Anyway, even though I haven't posted any reviews yet, I am reading and have been updating my blog's template. I have many things coming up in December though, definite reviews for Chill Run by Russell Brooks, Untraceable by S. R. Johannes, Black and Orange by Benjamin Kane Ethridge and many other books so stay tuned for the posts! :)

I have also been helping my mom update her blog at Moonshine and Rosefire. A shameless plug for her I know, but she would never do it for herself; she's too nice! :) She's reading so fast as well, compared to me she has two books read already this month. It's only the 4th of December and she's posted two reviews. Wow! :)

Anyway, that's my update for today - kind of a slow day for me but very good. See you all next week! :)

May you read well and often

Chill Run Contest extended by the author, Russell Brooks

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hello everyone! I hope that you are all having a wonderful day today and I have a confession to make. The new book Chill Run by Russell Brooks is being released today, December 1st, 2011 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

My confession is that I am currently reading it and I don't think that I will be posting my review today. I want to finish the book before I write my review. :) I'm sorry to all of you who might have been waiting with baited breath for my thoughts on Chill Run but please be patient for a little while longer; my thoughts on Chill Run will be along soon for your reading enjoyment.

Until then, please accept this combined Book Release and Contest Post. First of all, the Book Release part of my post:

Meet Russell Brooks:

Russell Brooks is the author of Pandora's Succession, Unsavory Delicacies, and the mystery/thriller, Chill Run. Russell has been compared to a young Robert Ludlum in the way that he wrote Pandora's Succession and Unsavory Delicacies.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

You know a publicity stunt has backfired when someone dies. Starving author Eddie Barrow, Jr., will do anything to get a book deal with a NYC publisher. Even if it means getting caught by the media while engaging in S&M with a female celebrity as a publicity stunt.

What Eddie gets instead are details of a billion dollar fraud scheme from a suicidal client who's fatally shot minutes later. Now on the run from the law and the killers, Eddie seeks help from two unlikely friends—an alcoholic and a dominatrix.

With few resources, Eddie races to clear his name, unveil the fraud scheme, and expose the killers before he becomes their next victim.

Coming to Amazon and Barnes and Noble on December 1, 2011!

Now on to the second part of my email: the Contest! Below is an email that I received from Mr. Brooks. In his own words:

1. Every person that leaves a comment with their email address (Important) is automatically entered in the draw. You could your email address on the current blog or on my blog If you're not comfortable leaving your email address out in the open, then email me russellbrookswriter@gmail.com with "PICK ME" in the subject and I'll respect your confidentiality.

2. To be sure the contest is fair and impartial, Clinton (my cat) will select the 10 winners for a free eBook copy of Chill Run

The contest will run from Sunday November 27, 2011 to December 1, 2011 at 9PM EST. The winners will be announced via my blog and my page on YouTube the same evening.

I wish you all luck in taking part in the Contest and stay tuned for my review of Chill Run! :)

May you read well and often

Reading Wrap-up for November at Emeraldfire's Bookmark

Hello everyone out there and I hope that you all had a terrific reading month for yourselves. I am known as Emeraldfire around the Internet and this is a reinstatement of my personal reading blog. I originally posted my reviews on my old Blogger blog Emeraldfire's Bookmark but am now in the process of transporting all my old reviews over from Shelfari. I have been helping my mom set up her own new reading blog at Moonshine and Rosefire this week along with reading quite a bit as well.

Anyway, I started out November with about two hundred unread books lying around the house and ended the month with...umm...uncountable amounts of books unread. All of the books that I acquired this month came from Bookmooch or the authors and publishers for review. I have bought one new book this month that is a reinstatement of an ebook that became corrupted for me back in June.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Changes to the TBR pile:

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine! I think?)
- Demi and the Dolphins: A Lesson in Ecology by Alyssa K. Harrell and Marlene Siegal, DVM
Robin of Sherwood Forest by Ann McGovern
- Say Not What If by Andrew Friedman

Added to my TBR pile (Wait! Didn't I just clear a space over there? What are more books doing there - oh yeah, I'm a reviewer! :))
- Impaled on the Horns of the Devil: The Development of Vulnerability to an Abusive Marriage by Barbara Boatright
- My Corner of the Sky: Though I Never Expected Life to be Quite Like This! by Kerri Dyer-Keen
-The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey: A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary by Deborah Barnes
- Black and Orange by Benjamin Kane Ethridge
- Covert M. D. by Jessica Andersen
- The Illegitimate King by Olivia Gates
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl - The Definitive Edition by Otto M. Frank
- Lady of the Knight by Tori Phillips
- Priestess of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Guardian Angel by Julie Garwood
- Daughter of the Mist by Quinn Evans
- Familiar Christmas by Caroline Burnes
- Bewitching Familiar by Caroline Burnes
- Shades of Familiar by Caroline Burnes
- Familiar Fire by Caroline Burnes
- The Ice Bridge by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
- Chill Run by Russell Brooks
- Bedtime Stories For Cats by Amy Neftzger
- Bedtime Stories For Dogs by Amy Neftzger
- The Lion's Lady by Julie Garwood
The Once and Future Prince by Olivia Gates
- The Gentle Thief by Amanda Dickson

Well, there it is...the breakdown. Holy Mackerel! I need to read more next month. Here's a further (shaming) break down:

Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 287
Grade Range: A!

So, there you go! The month that was November. All in all, a terrible reading month for me. I hope that you all had a better reading month than I did. Maybe a whole lot better! See you next month. :)

May you read well and often