Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great Gods! Review: Stealing Fate by Berinn Rae.

I met Berinn, under her real name, in a writers' group and discovered we had many things in common.  First and most important, was a love of well-written fantasy. We also. at the time, worked day jobs with the same company only half a continent away.  I am pleased  to present my review of Stealing Fate, her piece of what looks to be an amazing trilogy by three different authors (details below).

She stole his fate…
Lachesis is a Fate, an ancient goddess in whose hands our destinies are unraveled. When she’s not weaving fortune, she does what she wants when she wants. That all changes when she runs into the man she craves but prayed to never see again. And she'll soon discover the god of terror can really hold a grudge.

Now it’s his turn…
The most frightening of gods, Phobos is a predator who takes pleasure in terrorizing the world. After millennia of relentless searching, he finds the Fate who caused him to be cast down from Olympus. Now he plans to use every bit of his talents on the goddess to regain his lost heritage without losing his heart in the process.

Stealing Fate, a novella, by Berinn Rae, is a thrilling and steamy telling of part of the story of Phobos and Lachesis in the modern world.  In the midst of the modern club scene a god and goddess dance to the anger and attraction as they have for millennia. WOW! Ancient gods and goddesses can hold grudges.  And then there are the parents who just happen to live on Mount Olympus and the twin brother who takes sibling rivalry to Olympic heights.  Yes, I know I use similar words in the same sentence but I couldn’t resist anymore than than….sorry, no spoilers…you’ll have to read for yourself.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was tightly written with a good dose of steam and kick-ass fights. It is just the right length, omitting nothing with no scenes I would consider wasted pages.  It was well-edited, any minor typos were just that MINOR.
While I have not read the other two books in the trilogy: Creating Fate by Rachel Firasek and Chasing Fate by Elle J Rossi (release date August 7). If they rise to the quality and fun of Stealing Fate---I’m in.
I want to more about what came before for Lacey and Phobos!

I give Stealing Fate 5 triskeles!


Read an excerpt or the entire first chapter: http://www.berinnrae.com/other-books.html

You can find Stealing Fate here:

Berinn Rae writes spicy science fiction/fantasy starring women with kickassitude. She is the author of the Guardians of the Seven Seals fantasy romance series and Colliding Worlds trilogy (alien romance). When not writing, she can be found flying old airplanes, watching SciFi movies, and pampering an incredibly spoiled sixty-pound lap dog.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sample Sunday: Fixing Collateral Damage

I recently joined to a local writing group. About half are non-fiction, technical writers wanting to branch out into fiction.  So when the group leader suggested everyone try their at a short story, it was intriguing. When the word count max was set at about 1000, I bit my tongue.  They really wanted a short short.  Okay I was game. At the same time, I was experimenting with formatting checks and balances. So I could kill two birds with one stone.  A short piece for the assignment that also lent itself formatting experimentation. So here is the rough draft of my modern horror take on an old fairy tale.

It's pretty much a first draft, but was fun to write. I may expand it out into a longer short-

What do you think?

DON'T FORGET, DARK DEALINGS, is on SALE for Kindle until 7/31 with 50% of royalties going to Kick Cancer Overboard--links to the right >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Once upon a time there were three pigs.  One lived in a house of straw, the other lived in a house of sticks and the third lived in a house made of brick just outside Branson, Missouri.  Well, they weren’t real pigs, just very sloppy. And the first house wasn’t straw but it was a double-wide with a straw tiki bar out back.  They had each been featured on the reality show “Hoarders”. That is where he found them.
Brad was the star of The Fixers. He and his crew would swoop in and do an intervention.  It might be a bad relationship, or a home in disrepair.  Brad had met the Poricy brothers when a neighbor had emailed his producer, Mike, about the state of their three adjoining properties.
The producer, Brad and the station hired psychologist, Lila Hood had met all three siblings separately and together. The vote was two out of three, Lila was her usual soft-hearted self.  Brad thought maybe if he could get the hot Caribbean redhead in sack, she would come around. He and Mike agreed that the brothers had no idea they needed help. They were a wash out, lazy shuffling brain dead wastes. Lila insisted that their apathy was part of the disease.  Majority ruled, ratings ruled.
But Brad and Mike had other plans. While the reality of human networks were ratings.  Brad’s pack wanted order.  Packs thrived on order from their members and those in their territory.   And the Poricy brothers lived in their territory.  As alpha wolf of his pack, Brad had to set the tone.  Mike was his second, his sergeant-at-arms.  The neighbor who had called the station was Luke Farkas, a beta looking to advance.  Brad had to admire his initiative, as long as he didn’t over-reach, then Brad would have to take him out.
Brad and Mike decided they would smoke out, George, the youngest Poricy. He lived in the tiki-bar trailer and his brothers didn’t appear to be home. If he stumbled into the woods, they would be waiting under the light of the full moon for him. The pack would eat well this night.
But George didn’t behave as expected. He dragged his slow sorry ass over to his brother, Sean’s clapboard house. No problem.  As Alpha, Brad was patient. So the next month passed.
One Friday after a staff meeting, he stopped Lila in the hall and suggested dinner.  He was not surprised when she said yes. They always did, eventually. What was a surprise was when this flame-haired bombshell suggested they go to the rib place south of town on Route 65. Even better was the way she chowed down. He half expected her to suck the marrow out of the bones. The downside was when she left him at the curb. “You know,” she said, “I don’t shit where I eat.”  He would get her past the work arrangement. In fact, after he was done with the Poricy Brothers, he would consider turning her. Her argumentative spirit was a pain in a human but would be an asset in a mate.
During the day of the next full moon, Brad had Mike and a few betas adjust the electrical system at Sean Poricy’s house and disconnect the ground wires.  The weather forecast was for a line of violent thunderstorms to move through that night. It would be blamed on lightning. A loud boom and the pounding of rain on the roof of his F350 pick-up set the stage for what was to come.  Brad checked his watch and counted down the seconds.  As if planned a bolt split a tree halfway down the street. Within moments, the dance of flames could be seen in the windows of the wooden clapboard house.
“Two down, one to go.”
“Sir.” Mike had dropped his head into a submissive position even as he gestured toward the house. “You might want to look at this.”
“Shit. They are too brain-dead to die.”  Brad watched as George and Sean Poricy stumbled across the side yard to big brother, Seabrook’s house. They swatted at each other trying to smother the flames that ate away at their limbs.  A silhouette, Seabrook, appeared just off the porch. He doused his brothers down with a hose like he was watering the lawn. The three vanished inside Seabrook’s brick walls.
“Sir, what shall we do now?”
He thought about Lila and his plan to turn her.  “We will not wait until the next full moon. You and I will handle this tomorrow.”
Mike nodded. “This is a tougher hunt than we thought it would be.”
“And all the sweeter for it.”  Maybe he should turn Lila now, he thought, so they could share this kill together.
Lila was “on location” for a special report when Brad looked for her the next day. He shrugged as he headed for his office. There would be other meals they could share, other full moons.
Just after moonrise, Brad, Mike and Luke Farkas, the beta and neighbor, crept across the lawn of Seabrook’s house.  The soft glow of table lamps created shadows of figures behind the curtains. Brad counted three, then a fourth figure moving around. The fourth was clearly not a Poricy; it did not shuffle or slouch.
Luke must have spotted the figure. “There’s someone else in there. Shouldn’t we wait.”
“Collateral damage is to be expected.” Mike answered.
Brad saw Luke’s nearly imperceptible flinch. “Luke, if you are ever going to more than a beta lackey you must commit to the cause. Packs survive on order and authority. Humans must learn that as well.”
“It’s time.”  Mike opened his door.  Brad as Alpha took the lead. Lessons would be learned tonight by the humans and by Luke. The men carried no human weapons. Once inside the house, the plan was to shift and finish this business in their wolf form.  If Luke was unable to shift outside of a true full moon, as a powerful Alpha Brad could force the change on him.
As they climbed the porch, the door swung open and Lila faced them.  Her eyes glowed with dancing flames. She had shed her corporate garb for a flowing robe of Caribbean hues and patterns.
“I’ve been expecting you, gentleman. Please come in.” She extended her hand to Brad and Mike as they entered. Clearly, she understood Luke’s status in the pack.
Brad looked at Lila and then at the brothers. They stared back at him with dead-eyes. Saliva dripped from their snapping jaws. Zombies.
A fog began to settle over his brain. He turned in time to see Mike slide to the floor.  Brad tried to shift to counteract whatever Lila had done to them, but couldn’t.
“Don’t bother, Alpha. Lila’s magic is too strong. All it took was a touch of her hand.”  Luke laughed and then raised his voice in a howl of triumph.
Lila leaned over Brad. Behind her, Luke stood only his hands had shifted. Brad couldn’t remember how had he gotten to the floor. He heard Mike scream in pain and looked to see Seabrook rip flesh from Mike’s abdomen.
“Why?” Brad asked. He struggled to stay conscious as her lips moved. But he caught only pieces.
“… power of groups… control.. humans.”
Luke caressed Lila’s hair with his claws as he leaned in close.
The last voice Brad heard before Sean and George tore into his flesh was Luke’s
“Collateral damage.”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

UPDATE: What Has REALLY Been Going On! and SALE


Have been MIA for two weeks.  My apologies.  But it has been a crazy time, mostly good. I have been on interviewed on the radio and in the newspaper, scheduled another radio interview, held one major and two minor book signings.  On July 17th I was interviewed by Bert Baron of WCTC.AM radio 1450 which covers central New Jersey. It was a lot of fun and Bert was terrific.  What was even more exciting was when I found out that my interview followed Bert’s interview with Joe Piscopo, of SNL and other fame.

The following day was my first major book signing courtesy of the Draft House in Long Branch New Jersey. If you have never done or attended a book signing in a pub, you are missing out.  It is fun to have readers and supporters stay and hang out to talk to you and each other.  In the case of this event, I was hosting it as a benefit for Kick Cancer Overboard (KCO), a local charity that sends cancer survivors and their families on cruise to help restore the soul and celebrate life.
During the month of July, I am donating 50% of my royalties from ALL sales, print or eBook, to KCO.  

SO THERE IS STILL TIME TO HELP KICK CANCER OVERBOARD. On the 18th, I also had a wonderful array of donated gifts and gift baskets to raffle off for KCO. And it was a great success despite the thunderstorms that blew through just as we were getting started.  Some thought that the storms were appropriate for a Dark Dealings event.  Many of those who did not come because of power failures or downed trees have reached out to me since to purchase signed books.

I now have at least two other book signings in the works, not including the local Barnes and Noble that has asked me to get the book warehoused by B&N, so he can have a signing for me.  For the writers among my readers, I publish my print edition through Createspace, a division of Amazon.  As a result, Dark Dealings is listed in the Ingram catalog. But because the initial listing shows it as POD (Print On Demand) the store manager cannot stock it or sponsor a signing.  He pointed me to place on the B&N website where I could find the paperwork to get the book warehoused.  It is a 2-4 month process. I hope to have it ready for Halloween (crosses fingers).  I have also been asked to appear closer to Halloween on another radio program that covers the western New Jersey area.

Then there is the deferred graduation party I am having this coming Saturday for my son.  His godfather is an attorney in California and could not make the actual ceremony because of his trial schedule. So we pushed the party put so he could make it. Will be prepping for 50+ people. Hope it doesn’t rain.

On the less than fun side, I have been running back and forth to doctors with my father. In less than two months he developed an egg sized growth on the outside of his ear.  The biopsy did come back for cancer.  Complicating the removal is that he has emphysema (oxygen tanks and all).  So he needed clearance from four different doctors to even have a combination of local and twilight anesthesia.  But it is localized and external, so we are optimistic.

So I move forward on all fronts. I am trying to catch up on reviews that I have promised. Sitting in doctor waiting rooms gives you more time to read.  I also have asked my good friend and guest blogger, John Bermingham to prepare an overview of the fair use/copyright issues of using Pinterest.
Edits are under way of Ogham Court, a novel that takes a closer look at Nora of the Singing Stone and Devlin of the Salmon Run Inn from Dark Dealings and the unusual events on a cobble-stoned street in the Tribeca section of New York City. Expect this before year end.
I also have an outline ready for a prequel that covers some of the events in Micaela’s life around the time of her parents’ deaths.
Just some things to keep you entertained while I work on the next Micaela book. Who shall be by her side? Liam? Ethan? Maybe Parker?
A time to buckle down and get to work.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vampires and Shapeshifters to Help Kick Cancer Overboard

Self-publishing my first, but not last, novel, Dark Dealings has been a dream come true. It has open the door to so many new experiences and brought some many wonderful new people into my life.  Yesterday was a great day. I did my first radio interview with Krista-Lynn on her blogtalk program. We had a terrific chat and I look forward to doing others in the future.  You can listen to the recorded show here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/tickleyoursoultalk/2012/06/27/dlight-nj-w-author-karen-victoria-smith#.T-sZxwyJkXc.facebook   At the end of this show, I made some big announcements that I will share with you today.

One of the things I have looked forward to being able to do was to use my work to support causes near and dear to my heart. Now I can!

Throughout the month of July, 50% of my royalties from Dark Dealings, from any platform (eBook or print) will be donated to:

Kick Cancer Overboard is a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a very simple mission: To give away FREE cruises, to people whose lives have been affected by cancer. During this annual cruise, their main concern is NOT how to pay for their next medical bill, but whether to play bingo, get a massage or sing karaoke all night long.
Because of the overwhelming support from many local businesses, Kick Cancer Overboard has been able to sponsor 57 people to date, and offer them a well-deserved break on a beautiful cruise ship. You can view their stories at www.kickcanceroverboard.org.
Anybody affected by cancer can submit their request for a free cruise (on the KCO website). A committee will review the entries on a regular basis and choose the most deserving cancer fighters.
The actual second annual cruise was on 5/19/2012 and KCO was able to sponsor 45 people to sail for free, along with 53 that paid their own way, to support this worthy cause (and take advantage of a great vacation at the same time. Next year’s cruise will be on 5/25/2013. “Our goal is simple”, Friedli says, “to fill the ship with cancer fighter and survivors, their friends, family and supporters – and celebrate life! 
We have all been touched by cancer in one way or another and have seen not just the physical toll it takes of the fighters and their family but the emotional, psychological, and spiritual toll it also takes.  To replenish the spirit help, I believe in the mind-body connection important to winning the battle.
As part of that, I will also be doing my first book signing on July 18th from 6-9 PM at the Draft House at 100 Brighton Ave, Long Branch NJ. If you are in the area or have friends or family in the area who would like to attend, please contact me at threeworldsproductions@gmail.com for additional details. 

Even if you cannot attend, but have been considering purchasing Dark Dealings, check out the links to the right of this post to read the first three chapters and purchase options for a great read (4.3/5.0 stars) and to help Kick Cancer Overboard. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Deadly Pleasures by Mary Firmin

I am not by nature a romance reader; my tastes go to much edgier material.  Deadly Pleasures, by Mary Firmin has enough thriller and romance to engage any reader from start to finish. It is Sex in the City meets Stephanie Plum, who Janet Evanovich described as incredibly average but heroic, if necessary, a phrase that echoes in Megan Riley, the man character in Ms. Firmin’s novel.  I love and write female protagonists who are capable of saving themselves.  Megan sometimes gets herself into wrong situations, but always for the right reasons.  This saves some scenes from testing the reader’s credibility.  The best part of her is that she does this while confronting her own failings.

Megan Riley has bigger things to worry about than the fact that her neighbor has just been found dead. 
Her engagement has just ended and her real estate career is floundering with the California market.  Tired of emotional ties, ready for a new adventure and battling her own demons, Megan and her three best friends make a fateful decision. They hire hunky stripper Michael Harrington as their timeshare boy-toy—unaware he is a suspect in a series of gruesome murders.  Other suspects include Megan’s ex-fiancĂ©, and the husbands and exes of her wealthy friends. The complicated murder investigation is led by a handsome widower detective whose focus on finding the twisted serial killer before he strikes again is distracted by his attraction to Megan, the first since his wife’s death .

But who will be the next to die? Following her own investigation, Megan takes a wild ride through L.A.’s bondage parlors, hidden sex clubs, and the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous; soon she discovers that her quest for adventure has abruptly transformed into a dangerous game of life and death.

My only suggestion would be that if these characters reappear in future books that the other ladies need more page time and more depth. Each seems to be there to represent a “type” instead of a person.  They deserve fleshing out.

I really liked Deadly Pleasures, would recommend it and read more of Ms. Firmin’s work.  She is a credit to the indie market, publishing through iUniverse. We need to promote and support those writers of quality who, like their characters, choose their own path, as steep and rocky as it may be at times.

As of the day I am writing this, Deadly Pleasures is available on Amazon for $0.99.

I give it 4.5  triskeles


Mary Firmin was born in England, raised in Canada then moved to the USA. She lived in Santa Monica California, for many years and raised three children. After selling real estate on the fashionable West Side of Los Angeles she became Vice President of a large firm. She and her husband Bill owned a boat and belonged to a Southern California yacht club and spent lots of weekends visiting Catalina Island and traveling up and down the Coastline. She now lives in Rancho Mirage, where she has written a Society Column and plays golf. Mary is an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Palm Springs Writers Guild and Women in Film. 

To find a list of other reviews that are part of the INDIEpendence Day Blog Fest click Here