Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Release - Michael: Path of Angels

Today is release day for Patrica Josephine's Michael: Path of Angels!


There is only one path.

Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role: hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.

But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny: give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.


Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.

Available for purchase at Amazon for only .99 cents!

What are Nephilims?

I forget how I stumbled upon nephilims for the story. They just seem like something everyone should know what they are. The offspring of “the sons of God” and “the daughters of man” according to Genisis 6:4. (Although in my story, it isn’t just sons of God getting busy with daughters of man.) The name is also used to reference giants who inhabited Canaan. I’ve seen them in other stories. Recently, I read the first book in a series called “The Nephilim Chronicles”. Nephilims seem to fascinate us.

Why is that?

Maybe it’s because they are part human so we relate to them better than angels, fallen or not. Or we like the idea of being human but having amazing powers, and sometimes, wings. I know I wouldn’t complain about wings. Well, maybe a little. Zade did point out in Michael that they were bulky and caused accidents. Flying isn’t as easy as Joe would attest. He broke his leg trying to fly. It could be we all dream of escaping our normal lives. Finding out we are something more is a fantasy that temps us all.

Either way, nephilims are fascinating creatures. They have much potential for adventure that we find them hard to resist. What do you think is the appeal of nephilims?

About the Author:
Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

You can find Patricia on her website, Twitter, Google+, Wattpad, and Goodreads.

Thank you for stopping by Patricia! Good luck with your book release. 

Did you guys already know what a nephilim was? Who's your favorite archangel? What do you think of the cover?

May you find your Muse.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Horror List Book Review: The Bottoms

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends, posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.) To see the books I've reviewed so far, you can view the list at the end of this post where I rank them. I'm far enough in that I figured continuing to add the titles to this first paragraph would take up too much room. 

This week I'm reviewing The Bottoms, by Joe R. Lansdale.


I must say, this was a welcome respite from some of the other books I've reviewed from the list. The first chapter gripped me immediately. It was chilling and tense. 

The Bottoms follows a boy who is coming into his teen years. It's depression era East Texas, and Harry and his family live on the outskirts of an area known as the bottoms. Though the Civil War is long past and slaves have been freed, there is still segregation, with there being a regular part of town and the "colored" part of town. There's a local KKK, but for the most part everyone keeps to their part of town and leaves each other alone. The constable for the town is also a farmer and the owner of the local barber shop, and he still struggles to make ends meet. He's also Harry's father.

Harry and his sister head into the woods, intent on the awful task of shooting their beloved dog, Toby. A branch has fallen on his backside and paralyzed him. Seemingly intent to prove he's still useful, Toby leads the kids through the woods, he being pushed in a wheelbarrow, hunting squirrels for their supper. They find themselves lost deep in the bottoms where someone or something is tracking them. Harry tries to remain calm, assuring his sister he can get her home. But the woods are thick, and whatever's tracking them is getting closer.

Worried about their own lives, the children come across the mutilated body of a woman. Still being tracked, they must leave her behind for now, fleeing something Harry's convinced might be The Goat Man, a legendary figure in the area. 

This is just the first chapter.

This story is the horror version of To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a coming of age story, a mystery involving serial murder, a lesson in race relations in 1930s Texas, a monster tale, and so much more. The dialect is well done, not overwrought as can often be found. The setting is clear and well developed. The tension and pacing are perfect. Harry is engaging, his family likable and believable. His father is fighting an uphill battle against the bigoted longstanding attitudes of the area; he's one of the few who treats colored folks with respect. 

I found Lansdale's handling of race relations to be painfully honest. His black characters range fully between a poor, uneducated man who lives by the river in a one room cabin to a doctor who is brighter and more knowledgeable than the local white doctor, though only able to practice in the colored part of town. He's also the only one who has done any research into the psychology behind serial murder.

The white characters have just as thorough a range. The constable, as mentioned before, feels everyone is equal. However, he also admits to his son that he's not perfect, that he sometimes struggles with stereotypes and thoughts that aren't fair, and that he must constantly work to educate himself and battle these internal thoughts. There are others in town who feel the same as him, though not all are brave enough to show this publicly. Some offer silent support, some outright support, and others hide when bad things are happening. Even the racist characters differ widely, showing the reader the varying ideas people must have had, and the fact that it often takes a lot of hard work to overcome the ideals we're raised with. Some try to come to terms with their idea of humanity and the difference between the races, and others fully embrace their hatred of anyone different. 

I mostly mention male characters above, but there are several well drawn female characters throughout the book, as well. I did notice that they didn't range as widely. As in, I don't recall there being a female character with the depth of flaws found in the male characters. The little sister is a strong little kickass girl, their mother is a good person, the grandmother is feisty, and the one person in town who began in slavery (the others are too young and/or just missed slavery) is a woman of wit and strength. 

Lansdale is unflinching in his narrative. There aren't a lot of happy endings in this book, and he doesn't hide from the painful truths of the time, sometimes leading to devastating consequences.

My only nitpick would be with the occasional overuse of similes and metaphors. At first I enjoyed it, but then there were a few too many. There was one small slip in continuity that wasn't enough to pull me out of the story.  

While I figured out one mystery early and waffled between two choices on another, suspecting that I knew the ending didn't ruin the book for me, either. I really enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to reading more by the author. I was gripped from the beginning. Whereas the last book I reviewed took me three weeks to read, this one took me three days. It was interesting to see a common modern story placed in a different era. The characters and circumstances fleshed it out beautifully, and I could feel the hot, wet air of East Texas in his descriptions. 

One final note: if you enjoy how the story ends before the epilogue, skip the rest. I wish I hadn't read the epilogue. It brought me down. It is as unflinching as the rest of the book, but it takes away that little bit of hope a reader has at the end of a story, where the characters can go any direction in their lives. I guess this would be my other nitpick. I didn't like the epilogue, and I highly recommend skipping it unless you want to feel deflated by the futures the characters face.

My new rankings:

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
3. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
4. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
5. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
6. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
7. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
8. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
9. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
10. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
11. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)

I haven't completely decided what book to read next. Possibly Ramsey Campbell's The Doll Who Ate His Mother


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - A Sun Shrine-y Day & Links

As promised, I actually got out of the house and took some pictures this week. One of our treks was to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. About 1400 feet above the zoo (about 8100 feet elevation) is a shrine dedicated to Will Rogers and bearing the ashes of two of the folks instrumental in developing Colorado Springs with things like the zoo, the Broadmoor, El Pomar Foundation, and the Fine Arts Center: Julie and Spencer Penrose. I'm not sure why the shrine was originally being built, but during the building Will Rogers died in a plane crash in Alaska, and Penrose decided to dedicate it to him, or so the story goes.

The shrine is made of granite, and is said to contain no nails or wood. It was completed in 1937.

A view from the shrine of the road we drove up to get there, as well as Ft. Carson and a portion of Cheyenne Mountain

Front door to the shrine (one of a pair of French doors)

A view of a portion of Colorado Springs. In the center, downtown Colorado Springs. Nearer the bottom center, the Broadmoor.

A peek at Pikes Peak (the snow covered mountain in the center) from a different angle than I usually post.


A bust of Will Rogers rests at the foot of the shrine.





Ah. The eccentricities of the rich, eh? In case you're curious, this is considered to be Romanesque Revival architecture.

Now for some links!

Accepting Submissions:

Ideomancer is accepting speculative fiction and poetry. Up to 7000 words for fiction. Pays $.03/word, flat fee of $6 per poem. Rolling deadlines, with current deadline being April 30.

Story Emporium is seeking steampunk and weird westerns. 2000-6000 words. Accuracy in details will matter with this publication. Pays $20, plus contributor copies. Deadline April 30.

Breaking Fate Publishing takes short stories for themed anthologies. Currently, they're looking for horror stories with the theme of "13." They also accept novellas and novel submissions in dark genres. Short fiction for anthologies should be 1000 to 15,000 words. Deadline for this anthology is April 30.

Crossed Genres is taking submissions for Hidden Youth: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. 2000-8000 words. Must be set before 1935 C.E. The protags must be young people who were marginalized in some way. Pays $.06/word. Deadline April 30.

Meerkat Press is looking for short stories for their anthology Love Hurts. Speculative fiction. 1000-5000 words. Pays $.01-.04/word. Deadline April 30.

TuplipTree Publishing wants stories for My Favorite Apocalypse: A Collection of Stories. How do you think it ends? No word limits. Pays $100 and contributor copies. Deadline April 30.

Crossed Genres Magazine's theme for April is "Portals." Science fiction and/or fantasy. 1000-6000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline April 30. Note: their novelette edition is still open for submissions through March 31.

Suddenly Lost in Words has reopened to submissions. They want short stories, memoirs, and serials for young adults. 3000 words or less. Pays $.05/word. They take submissions from minors with an adult signing the contract with them. No deadline.

Shroud Quarterly is looking for literary dark fiction. Submissions are free, but they do offer a paid submission option that will get you a critique with your rejection. 500-6000 words. Pays $25-65, depending upon length. No deadline.

Grimdark Magazine wants your grimdark stories with medieval fantasy or sci-fi settings. Up to 4000 words. Pays AUD$.07/word. No deadline.

Are any of these of interest to you? Anything to share? Publication news? (Seriously, tell me your publications news--I love good news!) If you were millionaire, what or who would you build a shrine to? Would it be castle-like or something else?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Nick Wilford A Change of Mind Cover Reveal & Christine Rains Of Blood and Sorrow Character Meet & Greet

Today I'm delighted to welcome both Nick Wilford and Christine Rains! First, we'll take a look at Christine's Of Blood and Sorrow, and have a quick meet and greet with one of her characters, Hessa, the villain.

I do love a good villain!

Then...voila...we'll see Nick's cover for A Change of Mind and Other Stories.



OF BLOOD AND SORROW
By Christine Rains

Blurb:
Erin Driscol works the perfect job consoling fellow demons by feeding off their grief at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home.

When fledgling vampire Nicolas Reese comes to Erin for help, she learns the truth behind the legends and hides him from his sire and the vampire hunters who seek him. But when the Putzkammers begin to die one by one, Erin is caught between her act of kindness and the need to save her adopted family. Only by facing her own personal demons can she stop the slaughter and still rescue Nicolas from his dark fate.

Add it to read on Goodreads.

About the author:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She's married to her best friend and fellow geek living in south-central Indiana. They have one son who is too smart for his parents' own good and loves to pretend he's Batman. Christine has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not reading or writing, she's going on adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. (South Central Indiana Fiction Interface). She has several short stories and novellas published. Of Blood and Sorrow series is her first urban fantasy novel.


Available for purchase in the following places:

Please visit her website and blog.

You can also find Christine on
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

HESSA

“When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before.” Mae West



Beautiful, clever, and alluring. Hessa Hadad is sophisticated evil.

Several centuries old, she's a vampire of great strength. Many might pass her off as being just a pretty face. But she is not to be underestimated. All that power she has comes with a lack of morals.

Hessa has sired many fledglings over the years, but never has one slipped through her fingers. Why has her new boy toy Nicolas not come back to her welcoming embrace? It couldn't be because of that pathetic demon girl. Demons are lowly creatures. Certainly not the perfection that is the vampire.

Nicolas will come back to Hessa. It's inevitable. She's his sire after all. And that demon girl, she'll suffer for her interference.

Favorite line from Hessa: Move and I’ll string up your intestines for the world to see.”

Tidbit from the author: I do love a villain who has brains and class. The cherry on the sundae is that Hessa knows she's bad and revels in it. It makes my job as the writer that much more fun!


***
Now for Nick Wilford's A Change of Mind and Other Stories. This is his cover reveal!


Title: A Change of Mind and Other Stories
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: Contemporary speculative fiction
Cover Design: Rebekah Romani
Release Date: May 25th 2015

Preorder Links: Amazon US, Amazon UK

A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine.

In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.

But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone.

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.



Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working, he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. You can find him hanging out on his blog or on Goodreads or Twitter.

Thank you to Nick and Christine for stopping by today! I hope you'll check out Of Blood and Sorrow, by Christine Rains, and A Change of Mind and Other Stories, by Nick Wilford. And don't forget to leave a review once you've read them! Though you'll have to wait until May 25 to grab Nick's book.

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Wild Animal Sanctuary & Links

It's been awhile since I posted a [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday image with the links. I actually lost track of which I had posted and which I hadn't, and I haven't had the time to go through and figure out what treks I made that I didn't post yet. I've got some little treks planned soon, though, and expect to start having brand new photos again! In the meantime, I thought I'd re-post some photos I took at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, as they're in the news. They're going to be taking in 30 lions that have been liberated from circuses in which they were being mistreated, and are looking for financial assistance to get them settled and cared for in the next year. It's a wonderful place that I plan to visit again soon. Here are a couple of its tenants.





The first three photos are of a lioness chasing a bunny that hopped right up to her. The animals had just been fed, so she was just playing, and did not catch the rabbit. The fourth photo is one of her friends passed out cold. It was a hot day.

Posting these, I realize I had other photos from that day I intended to share. Now I at least know one of the places I left off!

Now for links:

Accepting Submissions:

Dead Guns Press is looking for crime fiction for Dead Guns Magazine. 1500-6000 words. Pays in contributor copies. Deadline April 20.

Lady Lit Publishing is seeking stories for their anthology edited by Cheyenne Blue. They want fictional stories of lesbian experiences tied in with various firsts.. 2500-5000 words. Pays $40 plus contributor copies. Deadline April 24.

Verto Publishing is taking submissions for Gothic Tales of Terror. Poetry up to 500 words, short stories between 3000 and 5000. Pays $.005/word. Deadline April 25.

Horrified Press is taking submissions for horror stories related to the theme of Growing Pains. 1000-4000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline April 27. They also have several other anthologies open until full.

Spacesuits and Sixguns wants your contemporary pulp fiction. All genres accepted. About 4000 words. Pays $.04/word. No deadline.

Lakeside Circus is reading for their next issue. Speculative fiction, especially science fiction, urban fantasy, magic realism, mad science, and apocalypse tales. Flash up to 1000 words, short fiction between 1001 and 2500 words, and poetry of any length. They also accept short essays. Pays $.02/word. No deadline.

Novella T is looking for novellas to serialize. 13,000-40,000 words. They publish them 2000-5000 words at a time. Pays subscription royalties. No deadline.

Of Interest:

Freedom With Writing posted an article with 54 Websites That Pay Writers. Written by Kelley Schepper.

Writer's Digest published an article by Brian Klems about How to Write a Query Letter That Lands Freelance Assignments.

To add a little humidity, here's a post by Matthew Schuler on Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense.

Any of these of interest to you? Do you agree with the article on creative people? Know any other websites that pay you to write? Any publication news? Are you submitting?

May you find your Muse.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Good News & Amazon Central Author Account

Hello, and Happy Monday! I promised some news on Friday. Last week, I got an acceptance (or re-homed, as I like to call it) for a short story, Know Thy Neighbor. It will appear in the April issue of Under the Bed Magazine. I believe it will be Vol. 3, No. 7. I'll post the cover and purchase information on Monday, April 6 (release date is April 4.)

By Prawny, clker.com

Sadly, the piece I reported as having been shortlisted was rejected, but I've turned it around and re-submitted elsewhere. Still, the more things get shortlisted or receive personal notes with rejections, the closer I feel to my goals.

Speaking of goals, I hadn't set up an Author Central account with Amazon, because I thought the fact that I wasn't "tagged" or listed as an author on the anthologies I was in meant I couldn't have them credited to my name. (By listed as an author, I mean the top of the Amazon page under the title where authors are listed.)

However, when visiting the page for Of Mist and Magic, I noticed that someone not tagged/listed at the top of the page was showing up under the "More About the Authors" section that appears under the reviews. A short investigation showed me that someone could create their Author Central account and add books they're published in as long as they can prove they're in the book. Happily, most of the books I have pieces in list the contributing authors in the book description, which made it easy. And the one that didn't, had the sample "Look Inside" availability, which included the index.

In one evening, I was able to set up my account. By the next day, the anthologies I was part of had been added to my publications. It was all quite simple! So I thought I would pass it along to those who may be like me, unaware that this is possible.

To set up your account, go to www.amazon.com/authorcentral. On the right-hand side, you will find a sign-in section, with a spot underneath that asks if you're new to Author Central. Click on that to create your account.


It appears that using your pre-existing Amazon account (as in, for me, the account I make purchases with) allows them to confirm you more quickly, as you already exist in their database. Because of this, I set it up under my personal email instead of what I consider my business email. That's okay, though. Not a big deal. But it might be for you, so head's up.

If there are names similar to yours, it may pull up accounts and confirm that you are or are not the person that account belongs to. What will happen if you are, I don't know. I wasn't, so I moved on past that point.

Once in, you will have the ability to modify your portfolio and add your books. There is a landing page that gives you tips on setting up your account, and has tabs that lead you where you need to go. You can add several photos (I just have one of my headshots there now) and a bio, plus you can link to your Twitter account and blog.

There is a "Books" tab, which is where you will select "Add Books" and begin that process. There are options that allow for sole authorship, being part of several contributing authors, and various others. The process is fairly smooth and simple. Do each book separately. You'll want to include proof that you are in the book if it isn't solely under your name. For me, that meant directing them to where they could see it on Amazon itself, but if my name hadn't been visible on Amazon, it sounded like they would have allowed for referring them to a website or the publisher for that proof.

When all this information is plugged in, you'll find you have a lovely profile page that shows your bio, photo(s), linked information (like tweets and blog posts), cover images, and links to each of the books. You can view mine HERE.

I'm looking forward to discovering how linking to a magazine I'm published in works. I'll find out in April!

I'm limiting my information about Author Central to the basics, as I'm certainly no expert. Mine was just set up in February, and other than adding in the basic information, I haven't had the opportunity to do much with it yet. Feel free to link to your Author Central account in the comments, and to offer any tips or information you know about using your page.

Do you have your Amazon Author Page set up? Any tips or tricks you want to share? Do you post yours in bios or include in submissions?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Horror List Book Review: Hotel Transylvania

Happy Friday, the 13th! Will anyone else be binge-ing on horror today? Or is that just me?

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends, posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.) So far, I've reviewed Poppy Z. Brite's Drawing Blood, Robert McCammon's The Wolf's HourLaird Barron's The Imago Sequence, Neil Gaiman's CoralineMargaret Atwood's The Handmaid's TaleKathe Koja's The Cipher, Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the NightBest New Horror, Volume 1, edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell, and Tim Lebbon's Berserk. This week I'm reviewing Hotel Transylvania, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.


I was supposed to post this review two weeks ago, but ran into a problem. That problem was that I couldn't get into this book. I kept putting it down and reading other books instead of finishing this one. Admittedly, I was biased against the time period. I tend to be bored by the frou-frou time period represented in this book. It's set among the aristocratic class in the time of Louis the XIV, Paris. For me, anything in this time period makes me snore. I don't care to watch a bunch of rich people with no responsibilities frolicking in silk clothing, gorging themselves on fine foods, and accomplishing absolutely nothing.

When the story opens, we're immediately looking at "court intrigue" (for lack of a better way to describe it with my limited experience with the time period.) The lavish costumes and settings are lovingly described by the author, who has obviously done her homework and has a fondness for the time period. As I don't like the time period, I just didn't care. I didn't know what half the items of clothing even were. I didn't understand why people's homes were called hotels. I'm just plain not familiar with this stuff.

The story is about Le Comte de Saint-Germain. When I reached the end and discovered this guy had really existed, I was suddenly more interested in him. In real life, Saint-Germain was a respected man, and one full of mystery. He told tales of experiences in times well before he should have been alive and never seemed to age. Long after his alleged death, people reporting seeing him and receiving letters from him. Fascinating. Would I have been more interested if this information had been in a foreword? I don't know, but I imagine it would have been a detriment to have it there. ~shrugs~

Unfortunately, this is the most interesting part, and it's in an afterword. The premise is interesting, in that Yarbro has theorized that he was a vampire, pulling details and vampire "rules" somewhat from Bram Stoker's classic version of Dracula. Saint-Germain is a vampire passing as human among the aristocracy. He quietly works to foil a cult that is all about finding a virgin to desecrate and earn their place with Satan. The cult is dastardly, specifically their leader, Saint Sebastian, who is agonizingly horrid and treacherous. 

The two main characters are strong and interesting. It's a romance, with Saint-Germain lusting after a blood exchange with the young woman being targeted by the cult. She's strong, especially for the time, where it is pounded into the reader that women are supposed to be subservient to their husbands, no matter how awful they are, and that they should be doormats. Madeleine isn't, though, despite her aunt and a cousin, an abbe, trying to force her into that square hole. She loves to learn, to ride horses, to carry on real conversations of actual content. She yearns to be something more, to transcend the life she's currently leading.

Saint-Germain is intelligent, conniving, and an excellent sword fighter. He can also turn into a wolf. However, he moves so slowly in this book that he is ineffective in helping anyone until the end. He knows full well about this cult, and we see him putting minor plans into place, yet he does nothing until about 65% into the book (I read it on e-book). Instead, we are subjected to the drudgery of court gatherings and parties, descriptions of food, tiresome conversations full of double speak and "proper" talk. If I'd had to hear what Saint-Germain was wearing yet again, I would have screamed.

The pace picked up at the 65% mark. Once I hit that point, I actually looked forward to reading it, and finished it quickly from there. I wish the entire book had been like that. Maybe the books that follow are like that.

Again, I'm biased against the time period. I knew on the first page that I wasn't going to be sucked into the book. A lot of people really enjoy this time period, and I think those folks would like this book. It was the first of a series that looks to have been quite successful. Yarbro has won multiple awards and honors for her books. It had similar pacing to well liked movies with the same sort of setting. It simply wasn't for me.

I can't personally recommend this book as great horror. Then again, I don't know that Yarbro even classified it as such. It wasn't even clear he was a vampire until most of the way through the book. There are no classic vampire traits shown to us until later, and even then they're so rare that it wasn't worth it. This wasn't a vampire story. Saint-Germain didn't really struggle with this aspect of himself. Instead, he had it almost perfectly handled. He could walk in daylight, travel over water, so on and so forth. The only thing that could kill him was fire. He wasn't tempted to eat people. He was just a regular guy.

Of course, she didn't put herself on the list of best horror--someone else did. Like I said, I'm not sure how she defined the genre. It simply wasn't horror. Even the cult wasn't enough for it to feel like horror. They were freaky, yes, but they were so villainous as to be hard to believe. The leader rules his cult with an iron hand, but we see no glimpse of humanity in him. He isn't a vampire either. So what's his deal? No idea. His cultists are pathetic cultured idiots who follow him blindly, enjoying torturing people as if it's idle play, something they're entitled to in their fabulousness. They weren't even evil. They were bland and obnoxious. Petty. So many of the characters in this were petty, whether they were good guys or bad guys. Then again, that's why I hate the time period. 

Also, there's some weird sub-plot involving Saint-Germain securing alchemists to create diamonds. I have no idea why he wanted this, as it doesn't come to fruition. Why it was even in the story is a mystery to me. In fact, I forgot it until just now. I just...??? 

If you like the time period, I would recommend you check out the other reviews on Amazon and use the "Look Inside" feature to see if her writing appeals to you. Maybe it's just me. I seriously hate giving bad reviews, and I hate doubly that so many of the books by female authors on this list have disappointed me. 

Current ranking of the books I've reviewed for the Horror List Book Review:

1. The Handmaid's Tale
2. Coraline
3. Those Who Hunt the Night
4. The Wolf's Hour
5. Berserk
6. Best New Horror, Volume 1
7. The Imago Sequence
8. The Cipher
9. Drawing Blood
10. Hotel Transylvania

The next book I review will be The Bottoms, by Joe R. Lansdale. This will be the first of these I've reviewed by someone I've met (at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference.) I hope I like it. Gack!

I have exciting news to share on Monday, so I hope to see you then!

Have you read any of the Saint-Germain series? Have you read any books by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro? Ever heard of Saint-Germain in real life? (You have if you've read Outlander) How do you feel about the time period? 

May you find your Muse.