Saturday

Cocktails for Book Lovers by Tessa Smith McGovern

Cocktails for Book LoversCocktails for Book Lovers by Tessa Smith McGovern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a book lover, I love this book! Everything from the cover design and the perfect size of the book, to the cocktail recipes, which are easy to follow and sound yummy (can't wait to try some of these), to the stories about some of my favorite authors, it all comes together for a beautiful and clever collection. Love it!
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book through the Goodreads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Thursday

freeze frame fiction volume ii: Preorder Now

Volume ii of freeze frame fiction will be published on January 1, 2015 and is available for Pre-order now. Edited by Dino Laserbeam, with stories from some of my favorite flash fiction authors, like Ani King and Anna Zumbro, and gorgeous illustrations by Luke Spooner, I'm excited about this collection and highly recommend it to all my readers who enjoy flash fiction.
You can also grab a copy of volume i here, and see my review of volume i here.
Also, for my writer friends, look for Dino's forthcoming article, Five Tips for Writing Twist Endings (in flash fiction), to be published January 15, 2015 in Flash Fiction Chronicles.
You can find out more about freeze frame fiction here.
Don't wait - Pre-order your copy of freeze frame fiction volume ii today.

Saturday

The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice

The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and PracticeThe Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice by Gary L. McDowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, this book is a treasure. You’ve heard the question, if you were stranded on a desert island, what one book would you want to have with you? This is the one I’m taking with me.
This book fed my two souls, the one that belongs to the writer part of me and the one that belongs to the reader part of me. Not only is it jam packed with gorgeous prose poetry, but the essays themselves are as evocative and sensual as the poems.
Also, this isn’t one of those books you buy only to be disappointed in the length. This one is substantial and so satisfying.
If you love reading prose poetry, you need this one in your hands. And if you want to learn the craft, I can’t think of any better source than The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry. Highly recommend it to all my writer friends.
Time luxuriously spent.



View all my reviews

My Very End of the Universe: Five Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the Form

My Very End of the Universe: Five Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the FormMy Very End of the Universe: Five Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the Form by Tiff Holland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love experimental form in fiction, and the idea of a novella-in-flashes intrigues me. I wanted to learn how one might go about it, and this was the perfect book to read and study. Like the description says, there are five gorgeous novellas-in-flash, and each author has included their own essay on the craft, so you get to read how it’s done and even why it might be done, and then you get to see it in action. I literally am carrying this book with me everywhere I go. Highly recommended to all my writer friends.
Time luxuriously spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Bava's Gift by Michael Urheber

I took this book out of my mailbox and sat down to read, and literally did not put it down until I had read the entire thing. It was that good. Intriguing, inspiring, incredible story that touched my heart in so many ways. You have to read this story. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one, this book will help you to know that truly death is not the end.  And interesting enough, I hadn’t been finished with the book but maybe fifteen minutes when a special little something was delivered to me. Blew me away. I won’t say what that something was for the sake of spoilers, but anyone who has read the book will know exactly what I am talking about. Thanks, Michael, for taking the risks you took to get this book out there, thanks to the publisher for getting this book into the hands of readers, and most of all- thanks, Frank.
Time richly spent.
Click here to get your copy of Bava's Gift.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and the opinions in this review are my own.

Novel Interiors by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by LiteratureNovel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a writer, I loved the idea of this book, and the thought of decorating my home after settings from my favorite stories. Awesome. This is a beautiful work, rich with gorgeous photos and literary quotes and references. Even the cover itself is stunning and feels good in my hands. This book was a delight to all my senses. If you are a decorator, a home owner, a writer like myself, or a lover of all that is literary, you need this book.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

San Juan Island Stories Anthology by Wendy Lynn Clark

San Juan Island Stories AnthologySan Juan Island Stories Anthology by Wendy Lynn Clark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been finished with the book for a while, but got behind on some stuff and just now got back to post my review. Apologies to the author.
I loved this collection. All of the stories are connected in one way or another, and the theme here is all about first loves and about going back, about getting even or letting go, and about moving forward. If you like short stories, this is a nice anthology to add to your collection.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

One Chance, One Moment by Judith Kohnen

One Chance, One Moment (The Mandy Story, #1)One Chance, One Moment by Judith Kohnen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A nice love story with bits of humor dashed in.
Engaging right from the start, with a compelling cast of characters, and a touching story. The author has done a wonderful job of taking Barry Manilow's Mandy and weaving her own story out of it. Even if you don't usually read romances, you'll like this one.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Thursday

Easy Origami Animals by John Montroll

Easy Origami AnimalsEasy Origami Animals by John Montroll
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is what it says it is. Very easy to follow instructions, diagrams, and illustrations. Even my six year old son was doing some of these.
I now have a new hobby!
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Fire Up Your Fiction by Jodie Renner

Fire up Your Fiction: An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling StoriesFire up Your Fiction: An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Stories by Jodie Renner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sure, most of what is in here has been said before, but hey, there's not much new under the sun, and, the author brings her own expertise and style to the mix; so I think it's a book writers should have on their desk, especially when they are going through the revision process.
Time richly spent.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Strong is the New Skinny: By Jennifer Cohen and Stacey Colino

Strong Is the New Skinny: How to Eat, Live, and Move to Maximize Your PowerStrong Is the New Skinny: How to Eat, Live, and Move to Maximize Your Power by Jennifer Cohen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great workouts, lots of solid information, and a nice attitude that focuses more on overall strength and health than on losing weight. A nice switch from the usual weight loss book.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Saturday

Book Review: Inside the Test Kitchen: 120 New Recipes, Perfected by Tyler Florence

Inside the Test Kitchen: 120 New Recipes, PerfectedInside the Test Kitchen: 120 New Recipes, Perfected by Tyler Florence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Awesome job on this one!
Tons of helpful tips and fabulous, easy to follow recipes. And I adore the format of this, like a journal. Makes you feel like you're taking a peek inside Tyler's own personal notebook.
Time yummily spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Tuesday

Book Review: Make Money, Think Rich by Dale Buckner

Make Money, Think RichMake Money, Think Rich by Dale Buckner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well written, easy to understand, encouraging and empowering. Let go of ancient survival mentalities and learn to think rich. Read the book and save yourself some costly mistakes in your financial planning.
Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Sunday

Draw-A-Saurus: Everything You Need to Know to Draw Your Favorite Dinosaurs by James Silvani

Draw-A-Saurus: Everything You Need to Know to Draw Your Favorite DinosaursDraw-A-Saurus: Everything You Need to Know to Draw Your Favorite Dinosaurs by James Silvani
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is such a cute book! As an artist myself, I can tell you that the instructions are really good, but they're easy enough that even my little boy was able to do some pretty accurate drawings using the book. And there's lot of interesting information about dinosaurs waved throughout the book, as well.
Time well spent in this book.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

The Valley by Will Thwaite

The ValleyThe Valley by Will Thwaite
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Really well plotted, engaging right from the start. Compelling main character. A pleasure to read. Time well spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this free from NetGalley in exchange for my review and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey

The Devil Walks in MattinglyThe Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really got into this story. There's a dark mood that sets the stage nicely for this story of mystery, secrets, and forgiveness. Hugely engaging, will keep you flipping those pages. And satisfied at the end. Time richly spent.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for my review and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

The River is Dark by Joe Hart

The River Is DarkThe River Is Dark by Joe Hart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Joe Hart! His books never disappoint.
The River is Dark took me in on the first page, and kept me hooked throughout. Compelling, dark and spooky. Good stuff. Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my review and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly

The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker, #12)The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say? His books are always good and this one is no exception. Engaging, scary story with characters that are anything but predictable.
Time well spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for my review, and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Friday

Book Review: Freeze Frame Fiction Volume i


The first ever volume of Freeze FrameFiction is a knockout!
If you enjoy flash fiction, you don't want to miss this collection. The selection is excellent. From amusing to poignant to downright scary, the reader is treated to a wide range of engaging stories from both established and new authors.
The gorgeous illustrations are the icing on the cake and add such a pleasing element to this collection. 
Eagerly awaiting the next volume.
Time richly spent for this reader. 
Get your copy of Volume i here.
You can find out more about Freeze Frame Fiction here.

*I received this free in exchange for my honest review, and the opinions in this review are my own.

Wednesday

The Balld of a Small Player by Lawrence Osborne

The Ballad of a Small PlayerThe Ballad of a Small Player by Lawrence Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The main character was a little dry, but I suspect this is not bad writing, it's a part of who the character is. Come on people, it's a ballad, not a thriller. The settings were really well done and worth reading the book for.
I think gamblers and those who enjoy the casino life would especially enjoy this book.
* I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review.


View all my reviews

Saturday

Book Review: The Demon's Call by Kim Gravell

The Demon's CallThe Demon's Call by Kim Gravell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Super creepy.
Right from the start, the author sets the mood and doesn't let up.
This is for sure one of those stories that you don't want to put down, especially at night when you're bundled up in the bed, and the lights are out, and you are afraid to go to sleep because you might see it. Now go get the book to find out what it is.
Time tensely spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Sunday

Book Review: Lust by Diana Raab

LustLust by Diana Raab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful. Provocative, dramatic, passionate words. I keep this by my bed and read a selection every night.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the GoodReads Giveaways. The opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Friday

Book Review: Rough Waters by Maggie Toussaint

Rough WatersRough Waters by Maggie Toussaint
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hot off the press!
The third in Maggie Toussaint's Mossy Bog Series, this one tells the story of Jeanie Munro, a single mother with a thing for bad boys. Enter: Former Navy SEAL, Rock Mackenzie, looking for Jeanie's ex, who he suspects stole his gold coins. He befriends Jeanie, who falls for him, only to discover his hidden agenda.
The story hooks the reader right from the start and doesn't let go. Mystery, suspense, betrayal, danger, and romance all make for rough waters, and a satisfying read.
Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Saturday

Book Review: Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker

Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror (New Series Adventures, #55)Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Before reading this, I had never read or watched Dr. Who (I know, I'm probably the only person in the world who hasn't), so I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. It was really a fun read and has definitely made a fan out of me.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Wednesday

Book Review: Fire and Smoke by Chris Lilly

Fire and Smoke: A Pitmaster's SecretsFire and Smoke: A Pitmaster's Secrets by Chris Lilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I normally read and review mostly fiction, but I thought I would peek at a few cookbooks this year, too, and I'm glad I chose this one.
What I like about this book is that it is thorough. The recipes are great, but there's also a section on the different types of grills, and there's all kinds of tips throughout the book. And when it comes to the actual recipes, it's not just your typical meats. There's also cocktails (yes, on the grill!), appetizers, side dishes, rubs and sauces, and there's even a section of recipes for what to do with all those leftovers.
Beautiful photos and easy to understand instructions.
This one has it all.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review, and the opinions in this review are my own.


View all my reviews

Saturday

Book Review: Swann's Lake of Despair by Charles Salzberg

Swann's Lake of DespairSwann's Lake of Despair by Charles Salzberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A really, really engaging story that reads like a hard-boiled mystery. Only there's lots of mysteries in this one, including shocking photos, a secret diary, and a missing woman. High stakes, lots of twists and turns, and a climax you won't soon forget.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review, and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Friday

Book Review: The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, 2014 Edition

The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2014 EditionThe Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2014 Edition by Paula Guran
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Warning: Do not read these in the dark. Especially, do not read these at bedtime. Seriously, a creepy collection of some of the year's best dark fantasy and horror. What I really liked about it was the variety in the stories. Sometimes the things that scare us are not those big, spooky monsters, but those freaky things are just a little off. This collection has some of both.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Wednesday

Book Review: Serpent Priestess of the Annunaki by Katrina Sisowath

Serpent Priestess of the AnnunakiSerpent Priestess of the Annunaki by Katrina Sisowath
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Lovers of fantasy will want to put this one on their list of books to read.
The author's passion for mythology saturates this work and delivers a story that is rich in gorgeous settings, intriguing magic and myth, and strong, memorable characters.
I will be watching for more from this author.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my review, and the opinions in this review are my own.


View all my reviews

Book Review: The Room by Jonas Karlsson

The RoomThe Room by Jonas Karlsson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one got my five stars, but it deserves a million!
Seriously, as a reader I'm always looking for a story that I can relax into, a story that I can fall into and lose myself for a little while. This is that story. I literally opened it and didn't put it down till I had finished. And even then I wanted more. This story fed my soul.
If you like your characters quirky and intriguing, you want to read this. If you enjoy Kafka, you want to read this. If you want something out of the ordinary, you want to read this.
Time luxuriously spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Deadeye by Michael Smart

Deadeye (Bequia Mysteries, #2)Deadeye by Michael W. Smart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's time to go back to the islands with your favorite author Michael Smart!
Michael's second book in the Bequia Mysteries Series has just been released. Deadeye is the super sizzling followup to Michael's debut novel, Dead Reckoning.
If you liked Dead Reckoning, you are in for a treat with Deadeye. And even if you haven't read Dead Reckoning, one of the coolest things about Michael's new novel is that it could also be read as a stand alone.
In Deadeye, Michael brings back the magic of the Grenadines, the compelling characters that we met in Dead Reckoning, and some brand new mysteries that threaten it all. There are also some pleasant narrative choices by the author, which I will not reveal for the sake of spoilers.
For this reader, Deadeye was time richly spent.
And for all my writer friends out there, if you want to know how to do a series successfully, I encourage you to study Michael's work.
Anxiously awaiting the next installment.
Heads up, Deadeye is free for a limited time only.

*FTC Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the author in exchange for my honest review, and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Monday

Book Review: Words in Time and Place by David Crystal

Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English DictionaryWords in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary by David Crystal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fascinating read. Anyone who is a lover of words will enjoy this work. As a writer, I found this book to be not only informative, but inspiring and beautiful, as well. If words and their origins interest you, this book will knock your socks off.
*FTC Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Saturday

Mateguas Island by Linda Watkins

Mateguas Island (Mateguas Island #2)Mateguas Island by Linda Watkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Oh my gosh, I am still holding my breath! An amazing read in every way. When a family that is falling apart at the seams inherits a home on Mateguas Island, it seems like they may be getting a second chance. At least that's what they hope for. But they have no idea what awaits them on the island. Lies and betrayal give way to revelation and sacrifice, and one huge terrifying climax, and I promise you will not be able to put this book down.
One of the most intense stories I've read in a long time.
I will be watching for more from this author.
Truly time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Thursday

The Boy Problem: Notes and Observations of Tabitha Reddy by Kami Kinard

The Boy Problem: Notes and Observations of Tabitha ReddyThe Boy Problem: Notes and Observations of Tabitha Reddy by Kami Kinard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was so cute! I loved it. Not only is the story told in the voice of a tween girl, but the book is full of cute, tween drawings that give this the feel of a young girls journal. I wish I'd had something like this when I was growing up. I passed this on to a teen girl in my family, and she loves it. I think any teenaged girl would enjoy this.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I won this book through the GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Book Review: The Miner's Cap by Ann N. Black

The Miner's CapThe Miner's Cap by Ann N. Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Easy to give this one five stars.
Based on the true events of the Ludlow Massacre, the author has told this tragic and yet inspiring story through the eyes of a young boy. The Miner's Cap is historical fiction and is aimed at middle grade children, but I think anyone who reads this will enjoy it, no matter how old they are. Highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Tuesday

Interview with Michael Smart, Author of The Bequia Mysteries




I'm excited to have back with us today Michael Smart, author of The Bequia Mysteries. If you're a fan, than you know the first book in the series, Dead Reckoning, was published earlier this year and
did fantastic, and you will be thrilled to know that the second book in the series, Deadeye, will be released on August 5th. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading Michael's work yet, the Bequai novels are mysteries set in tropical St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands, with plenty of danger and romance.

R.L.: So, welcome Michel, thanks for stopping by LockEight to have a chat with us.

Michael: It’s so great to be here again. Thanks so much hosting me on your blog again.

R.L. :  Michael, tell us how it feels now that you have a second novel about to be published?

Michael: Really great. Not as euphoric as when the first novel was released, but a close second. And after the positive feedback I  received from the first, it’s a gratifying feeling to know there are readers looking forward to the second.

R.L.: Yeah, I can imagine how rewarding that must be to know you have fans out there who enjoyed your first novel and anxiously await the next one. Was the process for writing and publishing the second in the series different? Easier? More difficult?

Michael: Writing it was the fun part. The publishing process was easier the second time around. I had a better idea of the process and didn’t make the rookie mistakes as the first time. The promotional process is always a chore I’m not particularly fond of.

R.L.: Well, I'm happy to help you all I can with the promotion part of it. I'm curious, did you feel you knew your characters better in Deadeye?

Michael: Yes. By the time I started and finished Deadeye I knew my characters intimately, and I interacted with them constantly. They even provided direction from time to time on how certain scenes should play out.

R.L.: That's cool when that happens. There were some interesting choices for Deadeye, which I won't mention due to spoilers. Was there anything that surprised you as the writer?

Michael: A couple of surprises. My interaction with my characters as I mentioned before. I’d heard other authors comment on it, but experiencing it personally was enlightening. The other was how much fun I had writing it, and the third novel in the series. That sense of joy didn’t diminish with the subsequent novels. Perhaps because it’s a series and I enjoy the characters so much.

R.L:  Did you have your whole series planned out in your head before you started, or did you take it one book at a time?

Michael: The first three titles in the series actually comprise a trilogy introducing the characters and the series. So I had a general idea of the plot and the big bad spanning the three novels, even though I didn’t have all the details of the plot in each novel.

R.L.: Ah, I like the idea of that, creating the trilogy to introduce the main players in the series. I know that you lived and sailed in the area that the Bequia series is set in. Obviously, that helps your story come to life. Are there any other areas you've traveled that might end up in a story someday?

Michael: I set parts of the story in each novel in cities I’ve actually lived in. There are other parts of the world I’ve travelled to I will incorporate into my novels, not just in the Bequia Mysteries, but other mysteries and series I might write. I have settings and locations I want to use but it’s been
so long since I’ve been there, in my research I plan to return to some of those places and wander around a bit.

R.L.: Most of my readers are writers, so what can you tell us about your writing process?

Michael: I’m a plotter. I usually construct the story around the plot, but I’m not always certain of the twists and turns the plot may take when I begin writing. I outline to a certain extent, but I’m not a dedicated outliner where I need a completed outline to begin writing. My outlines are more like short storyboards setting up scenes for how and where the story will progress. Then I’ll expend these scene notes into chapter notes, and I’ll create a day to day calendar of the story’s timeline. Sometimes the story idea will come to me first, at other times the character will come first and I think of the circumstances such a character might find themselves in. That’s how the Bequia Mysteries began.
For my characters I create a character profile before I begin writing, including an actual image resembling the character I have in my mind. I use the image as a reference for the character’s physical features. I call this my casting notes. I also sketch out their personality and history which may change or get tweaked as I write. I’m usually familiar with my characters, particularly the protagonist, before I begin writing.

R.L.: Awesome. I really like idea of a day calendar. I can see how that would be help, especially with a series. What about music?  Do you have any favorite music you like to listen to while you write?

Michael: Sometimes I do write listening to music, usually a classical piece or movie soundtracks. Debussy’s La Mer and soundtrack composers like Lisa Gerrard, Hans Zimmer and Trevor Jones would definitely be on that playlist.

R.L.:  One thing that struck me about Deadeye is that it seemed like it could be read quite easily as a stand alone, too. Any tips for writers about how to do a successful series, how to bridge that gap between the stories?

Michael: I did that deliberately. One, as a fan of series novels I paid attention to how the authors I love reading did it, and I discovered the successful series, at least for me as a reader, was due to the characters. It’s the characters I follow from one novel to the next, and anticipate meeting again, regardless of the story. I want to see how they’re coping with the lives I’ve been given a peek into, what’s new and what’s going on with them. And of course how they’re going to manage the dangers, pitfalls, and challenges they’ll encounter in the new story. So the characters and the lives you build around them are key. Second, and this is also from my perspective reading series, but marketers will tell you this also, you write a series so each novel helps to sell the others. It can’t happen if enjoying one novel in a series is dependent on reading the ones before. Again, the characters are key. It’s not about writing a story having those characters in it, but about those characters and the story happening in their lives. And you construct the narrative so you’re still able to introduce the characters to a new reader in a fresh way. Hopefully the reader becomes so attached to the characters they’ll want to meet them again and again in other novels. I also did something a bit surprising in the Bequia Mysteries, which you’re aware of since you’ve read the first two novels in the series. But I don’t want to get into it since the surprise is part of the stand-alone novelty of the series.  

R.L.: What can your fans expect from you in the future?

Michael: More Bequia Mysteries of course, and I’m in the initial stages of notes and mapping out the research for a non-Bequia mystery. For fans who also enjoy science fiction, and for sci-fi fans I don’t have yet, my first science fiction novel is very close to publication. I still have to figure out and focus on the marketing for it before I release it.

R.L.: That sounds exciting. As a fan of your work, I'll be watching, and of course I will let everyone know here at LockEight whenever Michael has something new coming out. Michael, my friend, I wish you lots of luck and continued success in your writing. Keep us posted!

Again, Michael's newest book, Deadeye, the second installment in the Bequia Series is due to be released August 5th. If you haven't read the first novel, Dead Reckoning, you can get it here. You can connect with the author on the awesome website he has put together here and also on GoodReads. If you enjoyed this interview, stop by and let Michael know.
Please check back in guys. I'll be posting my review of Deadeye on launch day!



Thursday

Book Review: The System by Teshelle Combs

The SystemThe System by Teshelle Combs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Be careful, or you might end up in The System!
This is one of those stories that hook you right from the start and keep you hooked. Exciting, intriguing plot and awesome characters, with lots of fun twists and surprises. The System would make an awesome TV series. Hope someone is listening.
Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Son of the Exorcist: A Roddy Sanchez Crime Thriller by Angel Zapata

Son of the Exorcist: A Roddy Sanchez Crime ThrillerSon of the Exorcist: A Roddy Sanchez Crime Thriller by Angel Zapata
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


If you want a quick but terrifying read, this is it!
It's not novel length, not even a novella, but in fifty pages this story packs a punch. The MC is a tough guy, straight out of prison, and he's trying to find his mom. With a first person narrator and a strong voice and style, the author really puts the reader into this guy's head right from the start and keeps you there till the end.
Sure, you can get in and out of this one real quick, but you won't be able to forget this dark and creepy story quite so easily.
Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I won this book through the GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Sunday

Book Review: Stay Another Night by P.S. Meronek

Stay Another NightStay Another Night by P.S. Meronek
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


An engaging read, a mystery with some nice romance sprinkled in, and the author really knows how to do settings! Couldn't ask for more. This story delivered. Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Saturday

Book Review: Entwined (Dark Souls Series, Volume Two) by Ketley Allison

Entwined (Dark Souls, #2)Entwined by Ketley Allison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I didn't read Dark Souls, so I can't make any comments about that, but I can say that I had no problem getting into the story, even without having read the first one. So, yeah, it's number two in a series, but I think you could also read it as a stand alone. Which, in my opinion, means the author has done a really good job.

This was super engaging, a story with complex characters and tons of secrets to unravel. A fun ride with lots of twists and turns. And an ending that felt complete, but with plenty to play with should there be another in the series, and I am hoping there will be. I will definitely read it.

Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the GoodReads Giveaways. The opinions in the review are my own.

View all my reviews

Friday

Book Review: Out There: A Novel by Sarah Stark

Out There: a novelOut There: a novel by Sarah Stark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won't talk about the plot or the theme of this novel. What I want to say is that this is one of those rare stories that mean something. It's a story that takes the reader on a beautiful journey, one that when they reach the end they are different than when they started, changed somehow.
If you want to read a story that is just a story, go find something else. But if you want to read something that matters, this is your book.
Really an honor to read this and time so richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the Goodreads Giveaways. The opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Dome City Blues by Jeff Edwards

Dome City BluesDome City Blues by Jeff Edwards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can't say much that hasn't already been said in the other reviews. If you enjoy the cyberpunk, futuristic type of story, you'll definitely want to read this one. Giving it my five stars!
Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the Goodreads Giveaways. The opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Sunday

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked it. Let me clarify– I liked the story and I enjoyed the writing style. The flaw with this book is not the book itself, it's the marketing of the book. Whoever decided to compare it to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones did the book a huge disservice. Fans of those types of novels are going into this with preconceived ideas based on the blurbs, and they are being let down. If you're going to make promises like that, you're going to have to live up to it.
This novel could have done well on its own without those blurbs and had they not been there, I think the ratings would have been much higher.
Still, time well spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the Goodreads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Thursday

Ways of Leaving by Grant Jarrett

Ways of LeavingWays of Leaving by Grant Jarrett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this story. It was really well done. You start with a guy whose life is literally coming apart at the seams, if there ever really were any seams. Add beautiful narrative and an engaging voice and style, and you've got a story that you can't put down. And one that leaves you thinking about it well after the story is over. Time richly spent in this one.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

The Scent of Lemon Leaves by Clara Sanchez

The Scent of Lemon LeavesThe Scent of Lemon Leaves by Clara Sánchez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I noticed that this novel hasn't gotten very favorable reviews. While I tend to agree that the story is not a page turner, it is written in a literary style, which I am a fan of, and so I gave it four stars for the writing alone. If you require a story that keeps you glued to the pages, this is not the book for you.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Sunday

Book Review: City of the Sun by Juliana Maio

City of the SunCity of the Sun by Juliana Maio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Riveting!

As a huge historical fiction fan, I really enjoyed my time caught up in this story.
1941, Cairo, Egypt, World War II, Jewish refugees - a story setup that almost guarantees a sensational and unforgettable read.

City of the Sun is a vivid saga, rich in character, setting, time and place, with a gorgeous literary style. Highly recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction.

Truly time richly spent in this story.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the Goodreads Giveaways, and the opinions in this review are my own.


View all my reviews

Thursday

Book Review: The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Spymistress: A NovelThe Spymistress: A Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The reviews seem to be mixed on this one, but I really enjoyed my time in this story.
I am a huge historical fiction fan, and I also love a literary style, both of which are present in this novel. Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think if you like historical fiction and literary fiction, you should enjoy this. It was a good read for me, time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book through the GoodReads FirstReads giveaway. The opinions in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Wednesday

Book Review: Veronica Mars and the Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars, #1)The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, well, first I have to admit I am probably one of the only people alive who didn't see the TV series or the movie. I know, I know, terrible, huh? But I absolutely loved the book, and now it's time for me to go find the series and the movie! Can't wait! Time well spent!

*FTC Disclosure: I won this book in the GoodReads FirstReads, and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

View all my reviews

Monday

Book Review: An Unlikely Truth by John Rachel

An Unlikely TruthAn Unlikely Truth by John Rachel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will admit that I don't usually pick up books with political themes, but this one called to me, and I'm so happy I answered the call.

With the shape of American politics these days, and with countless Americans giving up on the idea of the land of the free and the home of the brave, this book could not have come at a better time.
Offered within the pages of this fictional story is a solution, with hope and renewal weaved into the narrative.

The author's obvious passion for the subject spills into the prose and ignites this story, making it easy to get into and hard to put down. A pleasant and positive experience awaits the reader.

Time richly spent on this one.

*FTC Disclosure: I won this book through GoodReads Giveaways, but the honest opinions in this review are my own.


View all my reviews

Sunday

Book Review: Where Fault Lies: A Survivor's Story of Game, Shame & Blame by Carrie May Lucas

Where Fault Lies: A Survivor's Story of Game, Shame & BlameWhere Fault Lies: A Survivor's Story of Game, Shame & Blame by Carrie May Lucas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where Fault Lies is an absolutely unforgettable true story, a memoir written by Carrie May Lucas. The author shares the horrendous and heartbreaking details of what happened when she fell for Sayid, a charming man who turns out to be a real monster.

An emotional read, a painful one at times, but one that makes the reader feel honored that Carrie May bravely opened up her heart and told her story, and grateful and humble to have read it. Time richly spent for this reader.

*FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of this story from the author in exchange for my review, but I have expressed my own heartfelt opinions.



View all my reviews

Wednesday