Sunday, August 31, 2008

Farworld: Waterkeep -- Win Your Own Copy!

I am most enthusiastic about this new fantasy series written by J. Scott Savage. Even though it is written for the age 9-12 audience, it carries intense interest for this 57-yr-old reader.

I fell in love with young Marcus - "Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place- Farworld." (book blurb)

And Kyja, who lives in the world that Marcus dreams of, is the only one who can't do magic. She works and works at doing a simple magic act and can't succeed. She feels like such a failure. Both Kyja and Marcus are characters that anyone from 9 to 99 can identify with. I look forward to book two so I can reconnect with them and their quest.

The two meet and build a great friendship, but they are faced with horrendous challenges as they discover who they are and what their roles are.

Savage provides a provactive, engossing story filled with clever and creative new fantasy characters. Kyja's horse, Chance, is delightful with his jokes and her pet scythe, Riph Raph, who develops a jealous dislike for Marcus. And then there's the bad guys - pure evil. Think of Disney's Maleficent. The Thrathkin S'Bae had the same effect on me.

Win a Copy!

***Farworld: Water Keep*** will be out in hardcover on Sep. 12, but you can get an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in paperback, signed by the author and in your hands days before that.
* Leave a comment telling about a literary character that you identified strongly with and/or felt a great attachment for.
** I will draw a winning name on Sep 1.

Author Interview
I was able to interview J. Scott Savage via email. I must say from the emails, he seems like a very likable guy - the type you'd like to invite over for a rousing game of Farkle, Killer Bunnies, or Mormon Bridge (otherwise known as Oh, Heck, Darn It and various other more colorful names!) Of course, I'd hope he would bring his wife and some refreshments! JK - Candleman and I could whip up some green jello salad and funeral potatoes!*
And of course, my whole family would be invited so we'd have to have a high, low, and several medium tables.

Anyway, to the interview... The blue stuff is my questions and comments and the red are Scott's.
1. Start off by telling us a little bit about yourself. What are 3 words that describe you, in addition to writer and author? Where do you live?What's your occupation or do you write full time? Do you have children?
Three words huh? How about goofy, dopey, and sleepy. (Which one does not fit with the other two for extra credit?) (Are you related to Ken Jennings of Jeopardy! fame?) I live in a little town at the mouth of a big canyon. It's called Spanish Fork. I'm a manager of software sale people until I can write fulltime. I have four children ages, 20, 18, 10,and 8.
(I think you'll be writing full time very, very soon. Farworld is going to take off like fire in a haystack!)

2. I've read one of your earlier mystery novels, which I thoroughly enjoyed What led you to change direction and write a fantasy series?
I honestly don't know. This story just refused to not be written. Itwouldn't let me go to sleep until I started it.

3. Where did the idea(s) for Farworld originate? Is there a combination ofbooks, movies, etc. that inspired its conception?
Not really. People have mentioned elements of LOTR, HP, The Talisman, etc. But I wasn't trying to emulate any particular style. Just putting on paperwhat I saw in my head.

4. Can you provide us with a brief description of the first book in the Farworld series: Water Keep?
Basically it's about a boy and a girl from different worlds who find thatthey have a link between them and can briefly travel to each other's worlds. He uses a wheelchair and she is immune to magic in a world where magic is
used for just about everything. They are really unlikely heroes, but thefates of their worlds depend on them. Oh, and there are lots of cool creatures, magic, battles, and elementals.

5. I want to throw a book across the room when I read "copy-cat" names orplaces. Names that have a familiar ring to Lord of the Rings or HarryPotter, for example, drive me crazy. Your places, creatures, etc. are your
own. How difficult was it to come up with names for the different creaturesand places? Did you have input from family and friends?
Not too bad. I love coming up with creatures and names that are my own. I got lots of help from the family.

6. Your descriptions are so vivid. Did you major in English or take other writing classes?
I did take a couple of writing classes. I think I always had the talent formaking up stories, but mostly I learned by doing and studying books I admired. (You also have a talent for writing.)

7. You must have a vivid imagination. I mean, the idea of a place likeWater Keep blows my mind. Do you have any funny stories to tell about when your imagination got you into deep trouble, other than relating to the
fairer sex?
What? You don't think my imagination made me a babe magnet? Yeah. I got intons of trouble as a kid. Once I put wax crayons in my teachers filled coffee pot to see what would happen. That didn't go over so well. I was also nearly arrested in a search for the elusive golden banana. (I thought it was probably your good looks that made you a babe magnet! We want to hear more about that elusive golden banana. Maybe you could tell us that story in more detail for one of your blog posts?) Scott's blog: Find Your Magic

8. Farworld is the traditional story of good versus evil told in a creative fresh way. Do you personally believe in God and Satan, the ultimateexamples of good versus evil? I have to say that your descriptions of Bonesplitter and the ThrathkinS'Bae sound like creatures from Hell. I was shaking in my boots!
I definitely believe in good and evil. I don't know how you could look at the world around us and not. There are things so beautiful and perfect, youjust know there is a creator. And then you see or hear about things that you
wish had never entered your mind. I think that's why kids love fantasy somuch. It mirrors a lot of what they see and hear in a non-threatening way.

9. Did you have an outline of all five books in the series before you wrotethe first book?
Not when I started. But by the time I was done, I had learned a lot about the next four books in the series. Book two is going to be really powerful, and the end of book four will blow people away. If I do book five right, it
should be unlike anything I've ever read or hear about.

Hey, what happened to number ten? Do you have something against ten? Hmmmm. (I used to leave out numbers on my tests and worksheets when I was a teacher, too. Good grief! Nothing against the number 10.

11. Another personal question: What are some of your favorite books and who are some of your favorite authors?
Honestly that list changes by the day. I love reading and I'm always discovering new books. But lets go with:
Bag of Bones by Stephen King
Shadowlands by Peter Straub
Enchantment by Scott Card (I loved Enchantment)
Life Expectancy by Den Koontz (Koontz is one of my favorite authors)
And Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck

12. Along the same lines as question 11 - Do you read during the same time frame as when you are writing or do you find that distracting? And if you do read, do you read within the fantasy genre or anything else but fantasy?
Yes and yes. I find it inspiring to read great books in the genre I am writing.

13. What types of things do you like to do when you are not writing?
One of my favorite things is to go on long drives with my wife. We both like to discover out of the way places.

14. If pushed to come up with five places you would like to visit - past, present or future - what would list?
Well, first of all, I'd say, "Hey. Stop pushing!" But then I might pick
The Sermon on the Mount
The moon
New York City when the end of WWII was announced
And the day Tolkien finished writing LOTR.
Or I might not.

15. I am an anxious fan and want to know WHEN will the book two be released?
September of 2009, but hopefully I can send out more ARCs before that.

Didn't I tell you that Scott sounds like a nice guy? Want to join us for some games?

Be sure to comment so you'll have a chance to win an ARC. Also, Tasses has a terrific interview with Mr. Savage posted on her blog AND she is giving away an ARC, too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


by Masahiro Tsurumoto

From the back of the book - "Are you an Affectionate Tiger? A Romantic Koala? An Elegant Pegasus? Find out what animal you are with Charanavi (character + navigation, pronounced kare-uh-nah-vee), a fun communication tool to explore your own personality and find out more about your family, friends and coworkers."

My family had fun sitting around the dining room table finding out what animal characters describe us. My husband and 3 of my four children are monkeys and I am a Lovable Wolf. (Emphasis on lovable!) My oldest daughter is a Black Panther and so is her husband and both of her children. They are the only ones out of my family who belong to the Sun group, all the rest of us belong to the Earth group.

As with all things 'superstitious' some of the traits hit the nail on the head, but others don't seem to fit at all. The descriptions are always a bit ambiguous. For example: a description of the Earth group that is so me is "I like to be in my own world." I love my alone time and need LOTS of it. The description also applies to Candleman, but in his case I think it applies because he is often occupied in his mind and misses what's going on around him. A description that does not fit as comfortably is "I aim to be a wealthy person." I don't want to be wealthy, I just want enough money to have a comfortable house and travel a lot. Hmmmm. . . maybe it does kind of apply.

I just reread the Lovable Wolf description and it fits me to a tee. Weird! One thing that we thought was fun was each animal description also includes a 'Success & Luck' chart. For 2008 it says that I tend to waste my time, energy and money. I know many who would agree with that! Next year jumps from a 2 to a 5 and says I need to make my move while in good health. If I put a lot of stock in this stuff I would be planning my move to Portland that I keep threatening to do. I'd also be worried that my health was going to decline rapidly thereafter. On the other hand, 2014 hits the 10 mark and "I'll be successful in everything!" Hope I live that long.

You can see how much fun this book is. It's also very easy to find out your group and animal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Matrimony: A Novel and a Chance to Win!

The paperback copy of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin is being released on August 26. As a booklover I think that's reason to celebrate and hold another book drawing.

You can win a copy of your own, but you must do more than just leave a comment this time. There's been discussion before on blogs about book covers. Most authors don't get a say in what the cover of their book is going to look like. (I think that's a strange practice.) That said, I would like you to tell me which cover you like the best. Those of you who like the cover I like will all receive a free book. Oh, just kidding! Everyone who comments, one way or the other, will have a chance to win. The author is only giving me one book, so I'm only drawing for one book. I just got a little carried away. Sorry.

The cover on the left is from the hardcover book and the one on the right is from the paperback. Leave a comment as to which cover you prefer and I'll add your name for the chance to win the paperback book.

I will draw the winning name of August 19.

And the Winner of Matrimony is . . .

from A Reader's Haven

Congratulations Paula. I'll be anxious to read your review of this book. Hope y'all will stop by a visit Paula and congratulate her.

It was fun to read everyone's comments about which cover they liked best. (read comments) I like the bathroom cover better. I think it's more intimate. Which suggests to me that people involved in this marriage knew each other and shared life, love, good times and bad. It will be interesting to read the book and see if that's even close to what's described. I didn't like the connotations I read into the shoe cover. The man's shoes - black, polished and with the ring on his side - suggests he may be more in control of the marriage or has a greater investment. I would bet he's older and authoritative. The "Mary Jane" girl's shoes make me think the wife may be younger, less committed to the marriage or stifled.

Like I say, it will be interesting to read the book and find out what's really going on. The covers have provided lots of questions which beg to be answered.

Be sure to enter for a free copy of Farworld: Water Keep. It's a great fantasy.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Join Colleen Gleason's Webcast

Join Colleen Gleason, author of the acclaimed Gardella Vampire Chronicles, as she celebrates the release of her fourth book.

Colleen Gleason

When Twilight Burns

Book Release Webcast
August 5, 2008 - 8:30 P.M. Eastern Time

She'll read an excerpt from When Twiilght Burns, talk about how she researches her books, and answer questions from the audience. Login early for your chance to win door prizes, including an advance copy of the fifth book in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles, As Shadows Fade.

Webcast Information

This webcast will be shown within Windows Microsoft Media. If you are using a MAC please download "Silverlight" prior to viewing the webcast. You can download a Silverlight free by clicking here.

For webcast instructions click here. Also if you want to test to see if you can view a webcast click here.

If you have any questions prior to the webcast email and Larry will assist you. If you are experiencing issues during the webcast call 734-476-0689 and we will assist you.

Winners Announced

It's always fun to hold drawings and give away books. Today I get to give away three books, all written by Colleen Gleason.

The winner of The Rest Falls Away is


The winners of When Twilight Burns are



Literary Feline

Congratulations to the lucky winners. You are going to love reading these books. The story just keeps getting better and better! Please email me your shipping addresses so those books can get on their way to your homes.