I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
“Damian’s Oracle” is the first in the War of Gods series and depicts how the White God (who is the leader of good on earth) meets his match, the Oracle Sofi. It’s also depicts Sofi transforming from a normal human into an Oracle, and the struggles she faces trying to adapt to a new world and life.
I noticed that Damian’s Oracle is part of the War of Gods series. What can you tell us about the rest of the series?
There are four books in the series, and three books are out. Each book depicts how one of four brothers finds his mates, and the unusual magic powers each of their mates possesses. The romantic elements of the story are nestled within the larger good vs. evil battle, and each book furthers the plot of how this battle – which had been basically at a stalemate for thousands of years – is suddenly changing.
The three books already published are: “Damian’s Oracle,” “Damian’s Assassin” and “Damian’s Immortal.” The fourth book, “The Grey God,” will be out in May.
I need to read that one still. As a reader, I had trouble assimilating the beginning of Damian’s Oracle because there was so much information provided and introduced. Characters like Damian, Jake, Czerno, Sophia; types of beings like Guardians, Naturals, Oracles; and so much more. But once I grasped who the players were and what was happening, I was enthralled. As a writer, how do you manage to keep all of these details straight?
It’s funny you mentioned how the beginning is rough! The start to the “Rhyn Trilogy” is as well. It’s a stylistic technique that people either love or hate. Basically, what I try to do is throw the reader head first into a world that already exists. There are few introductions to this world. It’s like going to a foreign country for the first time, where you have to figure out how things work, why, who people are. But the one thing that is very clear is that your visit is part of a much larger world.
It’s the same with my books. The worlds exist, and readers start out peering through the window to watch. My goal is to kidnap readers into these new worlds. By the time they’ve followed enough breadcrumbs to figure out what’s going on, they’re in the middle of the forest.
As for how I keep things apart – I don’t know. I just do. Haha! Awful answer, but I don’t have trouble keeping my world straight, maybe because it’s essentially alive in my head? I’m not sure! I guess a better answer: the demons keep track of such things! I call my muses ‘demons’ because they never leave me alone. I dream in stories, and anything I can’t explain, I just blame on the demons!
With so many books and ongoing projects, do you ever forget character names or details within your stories?
For the series, I need a refresher, just to make sure I didn’t leave myself clues in the first book that I need to exploit in the second book (which I do often.) So I’ll usually reread the preceding books in a series before I start writing the next book. Otherwise, the demons track things for me! Ha!
LOL. What’s next for Lizzy Ford?
More writing! I have a goal of ten more books in 2012, so I’ll be holed up writing most of the year. This month, I release the third book in my other series, the Rhyn Trilogy. My readers are beating down my door for that one. I’m also entering a couple of contests this year for indie authors, too, and working on a marketing plan to take over the world. I’m no longer traditionally employed, so I’ve gotta make this writing thing work!
Here is the Rhyn Blurb:
I believe this is how we met, Ms. Kendra, over a Twitter discussion of just how good waffles are! Waffles are perfect in every way except one – they get cold too soon. I think someday, someone should invent a genetically altered waffle that’ll stay warm longer than a minute after it’s been out on your plate.
That said, waffles are comfort food for the body, just like books are comfort food for the soul. Someone else thought I was crazy for carrying on so many Twitter discussions about waffles, but that’s the secret waffle-book connection: they’re both a type of soul food. Waffles can be cheap and chewy, like a free Kindle book originally written on toilet paper then published as a sugary overload of porous plots and cardboard characters. Or waffles can be textured and slightly sweet, like a well-written novel that leaves you satisfied yet anticipating your next encounter.
And now, you and your readers are the first to know about this secret connection between words and waffles. Guard this secret well. (Or tweet me about waffles and know you are now some of the few who know the secret!)
Secret connections involving waffles … Who knew? You all should feel privileged that Ms. Ford let us in on this awesomesauce secret. How do you keep in contact with your readers?
Anyway I can. I receive tons of comments on my website, email, Facebook and some through Twitter Goodreads, G+, etc. My goal last year was to set up an online presence in as many places as I could, so people could find me. Then, when someone contacted me, I just tried to respond back soon. I welcome feedback (good and bad), and readers have helped me improve my writing quite a bit over a very short time period.
When did you begin your journey as an author and what pulled you in the direction of writing?
I’ve always felt drawn to writing. I think some people are born with a pull in a certain direction, and this is the direction I was pulled in. I’ve written since I was in the third grade, though I never understood my calling until a couple of years later. I finished my first novel in the seventh grade. It was awful! I wish I could find it, though, because I bet it would make me laugh!
I’ve always known I was meant to be a writer. I floundered on my path in life until 2011, when everything on the personal side of my life came to a head, and I had to make some really hard choices. I chose to leave the path I was on to do what I’d dreamed of doing.
Well, it seems to have been a good choice if the War of Gods series is any indication. What are you reading now? Any favorites you tend to go back to?
Right now, I’m getting ready to read a book on dieting, because the downside to waffles is um, weight gain. Haha! My all time favorite book, though, is “Pride and Prejudice,” and I make a point to reread it at least once a year. I always find something new with that book, and it fascinates me to continue discovering a nuance I missed the first few million times I read it!
Was there something in particular that gave you the idea for this book (series)?
I get a lot of my ideas from dreams. People, places, bizarre events – I dream about them, then I let the demons do what they will and put some sense behind the dreamland-type of occurrences. Eventually, I find either a new story in those dreams or I develop scenes that can be added to one of my stories.
Even working when you are sleeping. Do you even know the meaning of the word rest? Any advice you’d like to share for aspiring writers?
It takes both talent and will to make a living at this, but it can be done. One of the things I tell people (that’s not to popular!) is not to listen to Those Who Think They Know Better. There are a lot of people who will tell you what success is in the industry, and they’ll tell you what they think you’re doing wrong at the drop of a hat. Ignore these people. Surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive. The people with the most to say are often the ones who don’t say much of anything in the public forums with all the other preachers.
Great advice! What is one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing?
I guess this is a twofold answer: I wish I had known not to waste 10+ years trying to get an agent or publisher AND I wish the capability to electronically publish (to Amazon et al) had been around while I was wasting my time trying to find an agent or publisher. I’ve been told I’m fortunate that I was never given the time of day by anyone in the industry for 10+ years, because I might’ve lost my desire to keep writing if I had realized too soon I could never become a fulltime writer, which has always been my dream. So, I’ve learned to look upon even the 10+ years in a more positive light. Some things in life happen for a reason, and I’m ecstatic to be a fulltime writer now!
I think that everything in life happens for a reason. Good and bad. You just have to be willing to “see” it. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and who would you meet?
I’ve been watching the “Ancient Aliens” series on the History Channel. This answer will probably change for me, but I think I’d go back to the time of the Sumerians, just to see what life was like 5,000+ years ago. I’m not sure who I’d want to meet, but I think it would be a fascinating time to be alive and to see exactly how advanced those types of civilizations really were.
Good choice! Salty or Sweet?
What is your favorite drink?
Right now, it’s a caramel brulee latte from Starbucks.
YUM! Opposites: 1 thing that never fails to make you happy and one thing that never fails to make you see red.
Happy: my bulldog
Seeing red: people who take advantage of others.
Right? What’s up with taking advantage!?!?!? Just saw the worst case of it the last couple of weeks. I was livid. Not cool! E-reader or Paperback?
Although I write books for Kindles and other ereaders, I still love the feel of a paperback! My husband has a Kindle, and I have my collection of paperbacks.
Absofrickinloutely! Do you have any hidden talents?
I make a mean batch of caramels.
I must try these caramels you speak of! Who is your favorite fictional character ever?
Elizabeth from “Pride and Prejudice”
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Extreme introvert! People are surprised to learn that after talking to me via my website or other online medium, but I try not to leave my little cave at home, if I can, and I’m shy and tend to fumble around verbally in person.
Me too! I could hole up in my house and read and never leave and love life. DH – complete opposite! He doesn’t get this part of me. But you would! Random Thought:
I need to find more fleurons for my other books.
Breakfast! I love quiche!
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Hey, Donovan. You got a visitor. The sound of his commander, Achilles Stefano's voice echoed in his head, waking him from a dead sleep and leaving his ears ringing.
Slade grimaced, turned over in his tangled sheets. Talk about lousy timing. Can it wait?
No. Get your ass in here.
What vampire on earth would want to speak to him at this ungodly hour? Either something was wrong, or was going to be. Slade grumbled. He grappled the sides of his sleeping spot, a double-wide grave-sized hole carved out of the gray bedrock, the black satin sheets pooling around his hips as he sat up.
He phased himself a fresh-showered look and clean fatigues so he'd at least look presentable, then focused pulling his energy together at his core, visualizing the security room inside the clan headquarters, so he could transport.
An image of pale green smooth walls and military issue furniture circa 1950 filled his mind, accented by the musty smell that pervaded the room despite the heat thrown off by the banks of flat-screen computers. A pull, centered at his navel yanked him by the balls inside out as he transported from his position in the Cascade Mountains to the complex system of passages and rooms fifty feet below the asphalt streets and buildings of Seattle.
The minute his particles knit back together he could see exactly why the hour was so damn late, or rather so damn early. His visitor wasn't a vampire. It was the woman from the woods, only now she was in full uniform for a state police officer - a pair of olive green pants, a short-sleeved khaki shirt with matching olive green breast pocket flaps and epaulets, a standard issue gun belt, ugly black shoes, and her glorious ebony hair pulled back in a no-nonsense bun at her nape. Damn. Double Damn. The cop.
Before being brought into the clan, he'd had his share of run-ins with the law and still felt uncomfortable around cops. Even pretty, strawberry-scented ones. He glanced at Achilles. His commander was one-hundred-percent pure golden Spartan warrior, but his modern military-short hair cut was starting to grow out. His hard jaw didn't flex in a smile, but the wicked twinkle in his unnaturally green eyes said he knew something about this woman Slade didn't.
Slade shifted, crossing his arms over his chest, forcing himself not to wince at the sharp sting in his ribs that were still a little tender. "Can I help you?"
She extended a slender hand. Her nails were short and mostly clean, only a few had fine traces of dirt underneath.
"I'm Raina Ravenwing, Mr. Blackwolf." She said smoothly, extending her hand. There was no sign of recognition in her dark brown eyes. "Fish and Wildlife Officer with the state wildlife department." She clarified, just in case the emblem on her sleeve didn't do the job.
He stared at her hand but didn't take it, and she let it drop. "Sorry, wrong guy. Last name's Donovan. If that's it, I'm out of here." He turned on his heel, giving her his back as he headed for the door.
"So you go by your mother's maiden name?"
That stopped him cold. His mother's maiden name? He didn't know whose name it was, let alone why he'd used it for as long as he could remember. The only glimpse of his mother - at least he thought it was her - were distorted slow-motion images he saw in his daymares.
Dark hair, wide brown-sugar eyes. A wide-generous mouth, which smiled one moment and screamed the next. A wash of red blood and the howl of wolves.
To think Officer Raina Ravenwing knew something about him that he didn't even know about himself rankled. He turned slowly, facing her once more. "Couldn't tell you. Don't know."
The petite woman widened her stance, pulled her shoulders back and stiffened her spine. "Well, Mr. Donovan, I've been told you're a wolf expert of sorts." Her gaze flicked to Achilles briefly, disbelief evident in the firm set of her generous mouth.
The dark hairs prickled all along Slade's arm. Somehow, gut deep, he knew she wasn't here to talk about just wolves. "I guess."
"Don't let him fool you Officer Ravenwing. There's not another vampire who can track better than Donovan." It was true. Slade's senses were more finely tuned than most of the other vamps in the clan. That's why he'd been tapped to be in the security detail by the commander himself. While his technical specialty was explosives, tracking came in a close second. Very close.
She stuck her chin out a bit, almost daring him. "What do you know about unusually large wolves in our area?"
Slade brushed at the slowly healing cut at his scalp line. Good. She didn't remember a thing. Weres weren't something you talked about in polite vampire society, let alone with mortals. They were less than mortal. A cruel joke of the gods. A cross between an unpredictable animal and an unsympathetic mortal.
"There've been reports of some rather unusual wolves causing trouble in the edges of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. The people are getting lathered up about it and ready to go on a wolf hunt."
"So let them."
Her eyes narrowed. She crossed her arms over her chest, making her B-cup breasts jut out enticingly. At least he thought they were B-cups. They might be just a shade larger, but he wouldn't be able to tell unless he got his hands on them.
Whoa. Where had that come from? Slade flexed his fingers, reigning in his wayward thoughts. She wasn't even his type. Of course, who the hell did he think he was kidding? Female was his type. It was police officer that wasn't.
"My job as a Game Warden, Mr. Donovan, is to protect these animals and enforce the laws in this state. The fact that they've returned at all and may be migrants from the reestablished packs in Idaho or Montana is significant enough. They're an important part of our ecosystem and until I find out who or what is really behind these attacks, I'm doing my best not to let anyone near those wolves."
The scrape on his scalp was beginning to itch like holy hell and he wasn't really interested in her long-winded eco lecture. "Lady, the wolves aren't in any danger. If you want my advice, you'd do better to worry about keeping people away from them."
"It's Officer Ravenwing, Mr. Donovan, and that's about what I expected from a vampire." She said the last word with such distain that Slade could smell the sulfur of it like rotten eggs tainting the air.
Achilles stepped closer placing a huge hand on her delicate shoulder. "Officer Ravenwing, Donovan will be happy to help you with whatever you need to bring your investigation to a close."
Slade glared at his commander. What the hell? I don't want to be anywhere near her.
Achilles glanced back at him, his words echoing loud and clear in Slade's head. She's part of the mortals' law enforcers, so we will cooperate fully. We don't need them digging up problems with the Wenatchee Were Pack to put at our door. You'll help her or you'll be pulling day shift for the next decade. Do I make myself clear?
Achilles gave the game warden a nod, and she relaxed. "If you'll excuse me, Officer Ravenwing, I have another pressing matter." He grasped her free hand and lightly brushed the back of it with a brief kiss. "I'll leave you to fill Donovan in on how you want this handled."
She gave Achilles a generous smile that pissed off Slade even more.
She blushed slightly. "Thanks for your help."
Achilles vanished in a swirl of dark particles as he transported from the room leaving Slade alone with the cop.
He glared at Officer nature girl. Just because he had to help her didn't mean he had to like it. "What do you need?"
"I need your help tracking one of them down so I can find out if they've established a new pack from the groups further east, or if they are a new breed or rare mutation. And find out what's really going on with this rash of incidents."
Damn. Double Damn. Sure, waltz in on the Were territory and give them a 'hey, whatz up?' Why didn't she just ask him to go stake his balls to the ground and sunbathe nude? That would be less painful. Well, maybe. "So you want me to go on a nature hike with you?"
Raina restrained herself from making a smart-ass comeback. If nothing else she was a professional. She would have preferred to have Achilles go with her. At least he could be trusted and had some respect for her badge. With Donovan it was a whole other matter.
Everything about him shouted 'danger', from the rumble of his deep voice and dark good looks to his tiger-like topaz eyes. But it was his broad shoulders encased in black tight black t-shirt and military cut camo fatigues and wide jaw bisected by a devil-may-care dent in his chin that made him appear intriguing, which were an even greater danger to any female in sight. That was, if he'd been her type. Which he wasn't.
Something at the edge of her mind nagged her. She'd seen him before. He'd done something horrible. But no matter how hard she concentrated it floated in her memory just out of reach.
"It's a bit more complicated than that. There's an investigation currently underway. I need to track one down and put a locator on it."
He glanced away, sending not so subtle uninterested signals her way. "I'm sorry am I boring you, Mr. Donovan?"
He shook his head. "Locator. Please continue."
Raina was slightly surprised he had actually been listening. "I need to know if there's only one, or if there are more and if so, what the pack's territory is so I can advise the state game department of potential impact on the local farmers and the game in the area."
She didn't like the way he narrowed his eyes. The air around him swirled with a potent mixture of testosterone and wild side that were too intense to be comfortable. While his commander was at least polite, Slade Blackwolf, or Donovan, or whatever he wanted to call himself, was barely civilized.
He reeked of bad boy, something she'd tried scrupulously to avoid since graduating the police academy. If she got close enough she could probably smell motorcycle fumes and leather on him if she tried. But she had no intention of getting that close, now or ever. Getting mixed up with a bad boy was career suicide for a cop, especially a young female cop, no matter what department she worked in.
This was business, plain and simple. Being a game warden offered her an opportunity to help out her tribe in a practical way instead of all the hocus-pocus they kept insisting she was somehow tied to as part of their hopelessly outdated beliefs.
From what she'd been able to discover he was her best chance at finding the elusive wolves. So far everything else she'd tried had gotten her squat. And if things went on much longer it wouldn't be just the state she'd have to deal with, the Feds would get involved since her investigation was criss-crossing areas of the Wenatchee National Forest. She needed to find those wolves. Now.
"Sounds like a lost cause. Can't prove something's perfectly harmless when it's not."
Raina didn't like his belligerent attitude any more than his bad-boy demeanor. "Look, if you aren't capable of helping me-"
Between one breath and the next she found herself wedged up against the wall. A hard male body too dangerously close to her own in front and the rough edges of a cold brick wall digging into her back. Power, like smoke billowing from a forest fire, rolled off of him in waves. He pinned her, his arms on either side, a lethal look in his golden eyes that was mesmerizing like a wild animal's. She'd never been this close to an actual vampire before and it scared the hell out of her.
With an audible flick his sharp fangs appeared out of the gums just above his very normal looking teeth. His voice came out low, almost a growl. "I'm perfectly capable of doing anything you could possibly need done, Officer Ravenwing. But let's get one thing straight. You came to me. You need me. So if I tell you to jump when we're out there bushwhacking, you don't ask why, you just jump. I don't want have to explain to my commander why I came back with a dead game warden. Are we clear?"
Rania managed to gather enough moisture in her dry mouth to swallow, but words were beyond her. All she could manage was a nod, her heart pounding so hard her pulse throbbed in her fingers and toes.
All the resolve she'd made to keep good and gone from bad boys of any kind began to dissolve, running like heated honey through her veins. He was too close and it was too confining. She tried to push against him, her hands on his broad chest, and found herself falling forward and stumbling.
He'd dissolved beneath her touch into nothing but smoke, then reappeared on the other side of the room, in less time than it had taken her to blink. His large hand was where hers had been a moment before, his eyes darker than before.
His voice came out almost a growl. "Next time you touch me, it had better be because you want to."