Thursday, December 2, 2010

Horror Fiction

Horror Fiction: What’s It Really About?

by Jacqueline Seewald

L&L Dreamspell publishes many genre anthologies which include horror thrillers.
One of my best short stories “Wormwood” was included in L&L’s Thriller anthology published in 2009. Another, “Morgan’s Mountain,” now appears in the new L&L Dreamspell anthology Nightmares in which twenty unique stories are featured:
http://www.lldreamspell.com/DreamspellNightmares.htm

When people talk about horror fiction, they might let out an involuntary shudder.
However, horror fiction isn’t just about the gruesome. It’s not just about the supernatural, ghosts, goblins, ghouls, gremlins, etc. No, it’s really about what we fear, what we dread most. These things may be ordinary, like a pit bull off the leash running toward us, or extraordinary, like meeting a vampire in a neighborhood bar at midnight. We have fears that are both usual and the unusual.

Horror fiction will not be going away any time soon because it is human nature to feel fear as an emotion. Horror fiction helps us handle these feelings, helps us cope with and confront our terrors, those within us and those in the environment around us.

Comments welcome!

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Are Teens Reading Today?


Blog What Are Teens Reading Today?
by Jacqueline Seewald

As an English teacher, an educational media specialist/school librarian, and as a parent
(besides being a writer), this is a question that has always interested me: What are teens reading?

To be as current as possible I did some googling on the net and discovered some helpful
websites such as: http://www.teenreads.com/, http://teenfictioncafe.blogspot.com/
and http://www.ala.org/. There are of course many others.

The good news is teens ARE reading! They have to read the classics for school. But many are reading for pleasure as well. (Of course, they might not always be reading what their parents think they should be reading.)

Will the trend toward horror fiction continue? Probably. Teens have enjoyed horror fiction for many years now. It didn’t just begin with Stephen King’s Carrie.


There’s a wide interest in a variety of speculative fiction--science fiction which many boys enjoy, as well as fantasy fiction. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are widely read across the spectrum of teens, children and adults. Maybe speculative fiction has wide appeal because young readers want to escape from the real world into another simpler realm where good triumphs over evil in the end.

As for romance fiction, girls are still reading in that genre. Paranormal dark romance for teens is particularly hot. Readers are enthralled with Stephenie Meyer, but there are many other writers emulating her success. Publishers are eager to seize and ride on the coattails of whatever is trendy.

My latest book for teens, STACY’S SONG, is a coming of age novel/romance published by L&L Dreamspell. I didn’t try to be trendy, just tried to write something that teenagers could enjoy and connect with. It is now published both in paperback and electronic media.

http://www.amazon.com/Stacys-Song-ebook/dp/B0049P1N44/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1289823047&sr=8-2



Here is what reviewers have said so far:


—"This is a wonderful young adult novel! Full of honest emotion, problems, conflict and a cast of fascinating characters, STACY'S SONG is a heartwarming story of a girl growing up and learning how to make thoughtful decisions that will affect her life today and in the future." —Alice Duncan, award-winning author


—"Young readers will embrace Stacy. Not only must she deal with her father, who does not like the changes in her life, especially Michael and the band, but the peer pressure from her friends. STACY'S SONG is a well written story about those awkward teen years, when the ugly duckling turns into a swan, and the rocky roads that teenagers traverse. This is an enjoyable, fun read, and I recommend it for young adults." —Deborah C Jackson – Romance Reviews Today


—"This is an entertaining young adult tale starring a likable high school age girl who goes from being the outside freak to the in-crowd. Stacy is stupendous lead as she struggles with two boys; one is charming while the other is demanding. Who will she choose particularly since her dad has already selected who he wants kicked to the curb." —Harriet Klausner—Genre Go Round


Will teens want to read this novel? I certainly hope so!


What do you see teens reading? Who do you think they should be reading?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Special Thanksgiving Event!

The Holidays are a wonderful time of year, where we thank those in our lives that have done so much for us throughout the year.  Romance in the Backseat is also taking part in saying thanks.  We have authors giving away books as well as some truly generous giveaways.  Those of food for families in need this Holiday.  Come and Visit Romance in the Backseat.  Nominate those who need some cheer for the book giveaways and those you know who are in need to win the Food Gift Cards from Silver Publishing and author Kylie Brandt. 

Romance in the Backseat



Join us and enter to Win a $100 Food Gift Card from Silver Publishing




Silver Publishing Giveaway





Author Kylie Brandt is doing a special $50 Holiday Food Giveaway on RITBS




Kylie Brandt Holiday Giveaway

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NEW NOVEL-QUEST FOR THE CRYSTAL SKULL is now out

The new Virginia Davies mystery novel Quest for the Crystal Skull is now out and available at bookstores everywhere. If you can't find it have them order it!


                                      Quest for the Crystal Skull
                                                        A Virginia Davies Mystery
                                                                          by

                                                            David Ciambrone


Texas. It’s the biggest state in the continental United States. Sun worshipers, college students at Spring Break, smugglers and hurricanes visit its coastline. This hurricane found Virginia Davies at a beachfront resort on St. John’s Island securing archaeological artifacts and treasures worth millions that had been hijacked.  With the hurricane raging around her, she and a long time friend, Donna Boletti, encounter Virginia’s murdered partner, and some killers trying to steal an old crystal skull. 
After she and Donna eliminate the threat of the killers and the hurricane ebbs, they heads for New Orleans to trace down the people behind the murders. Virginia and Donna are pulled into the world of Voodoo and find other groups wanting the crystal skull and her dead. She and Donna keep searching for clues while the body count keeps going up around them. She learns the people behind the murders are headquartered in Rome. In Rome she manages to get inside the world of a dangerous art and fake antiques business and an unusual laboratory for the manufacture of undetectable fake art and antiques that could mean her death.
Virginia entangles the reader in a rapid-fire adventure involving the worlds of murder, voodoo, and antique fraud and the sights and sounds of Texas, New Orleans and Rome up to the high stakes end on the Mediterranean Sea. 



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cats in a Dreamspell: The Cat’s Meow

Cats in a Dreamspell: The Cat’s Meow

By Jacqueline Seewald


The first thing I noticed about CATS IN A DREAMSPELL is the exceptional artwork. I’m not talking just about the clever cover art both front and back but also the fact that each of the twelve short stories in this anthology has its own unique cat photos. This is appropriate because each story is different and makes its own individual impact.

The first story in this anthology is by Mark Rosendorf, who has written several well-reviewed novels in The Rasner Effect Trilogy. “Cat in the Cockpit” is clever magic realism. The story has shadings of Twilight Zone but still manages to be fresh and original—okay maybe kind of weird. Mike and Joe want to be pilots and are in the cockpit of a 747 plane with the pilot and co-pilot, who one after the other leave and don’t return. There is also a cat in the cockpit. Mike is unsettled by this and goes in search of the pilots. Everyone else appears mesmerized by a movie, including the flight attendant who soon also disappears. Joe sees no problem in flying the plane, after all, he’s got a copy of the manual. Theatre of the absurd? Perhaps. Yet it works because the reader is inclined to suspend disbelief, completely sucked into the story and wondering what will happen next.

“Dog Matters” by D. Nathan Hilliard is another unique and original story. Minke the cat tells this story in first person point of view in a lively manner with a distinct personality and voice. He has lived in harmony with Chipper the dog since they were kitten and pup. But something evil has flown into the birdhouse. Chipper warns Minke and then tries to protect his human family from harm but he fails tragically. After that, although Minke is warned that this is a matter for dogs, not cats, he decides to fight the monster. A story worth reading.

“Chronicles of a Cat Woman” by Cathy Noonan is a psychological horror story. It begins with Bethany Stevens, a young reporter assigned to interview Muriel Whethorford, “the cat lady.” As they talk, Bethany discovers a disturbing coincidence. Both she and Muriel suffered great tragedies in their lives. Bethany had repressed hers. The story becomes eerie and frightening with a shocker of an ending.

“A Cat Named Ginger” by Laurel Lamperd is the story of Gordon Smith whose wife had died. Gordon missed her cooking most especially and was delighted when he met Gladys Dobson who loved to cook and bake. Her Rose Cottage seemed like paradise. But Ginger, Gladys’s cat, had other ideas. Thus begins an interesting tale with subtle humor, dark insights into human nature, and interesting twists.

“Investigator Incarnate” by Christy Tillery French is a mystery told from the cat’s point of view. However, this is no ordinary cat but a police detective who has been reincarnated as a cat. He returns to his old police station and decides to help two rookies solve two murders while encouraging a romance between them as well. This story keeps the reader engrossed from beginning to end. It has wit and charm.

“Mystery, Mischief and Mayhem” by Teresa Leigh Judd is the story of Janet Spaulding, a computer software analyst who has two cats, Mischief and Mayhem. Mischief drags in a soiled garden glove. Next, the cats uncover a human hand in the pile of dirt behind Janet’s house. The mystery of the body buried in her backyard gives Janet a chance to meet a very attractive police detective. This is a well-written, engrossing and enjoyable story.

The next story is one that I have written, “Just the Three of Us.” I won’t comment since that might be self-serving.

“The Purrsistant Cat” by Teresa Leigh Judd (yes, you saw her name before) wrote a story about Shannon whose cat Smoky has a sixth sense and knows the house Shannon has rented is dangerous. This is a horror story, a tour de force, and I doubt you will guess the ending.

“Mal’s Bounty” by Neal Levin and Darren W. Pearce is something of a fantasy, mystery, horror story combined. It’s unique, different. Carravale is a city in which a thief named Weaver Finch steals at night. She is aided by a telepathic cat named Mal. Weaver intends to rob Old Man Crowshaw’s Manor. Entering it, she discovers much more than she ever bargained for.

“Amelia and the Better Path” by Tony Williams is a quaint mystery story set in England. Amelia’s cat Ivan is missing. Stephen, her grandnephew, offers to help the wizened spinster in her search. Amelia knows her village and is soon able to find Ivan and fix some other problems as well.

“Chester’s Treasure” by Linda Houle is the story of how Chester the cat locates an amazing treasure in a house with a history. Chester’s owner is Valerie who has married a vampire named Andrew. It is Andrew’s house that Chester explores. An enjoyable story well worth reading.

“Smokey and Bandit” by Randy Rawls is a clever cat story. The tale is told by Smokey, a cat, one of two who allow Josh, a South Florida PI, to share their home. They even help him in his work and protect him from harm. A very entertaining mystery story.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Research into Norse Mythology

Finding sources for research into historical topics takes more than just reading novels set in that era. For my next novel, a historical fantasy set in Norway in the 1400s, I'm not only involved in the clothing worn in that era, but also in the weather patterns, geography and topography, historical events and the old Norse religion. On my personal blog http://dianadriver.blogspot.com/   I write about one of my favorite books on runes.

Come on over and see the picture of Lokken and then check out the runic symbols and the book on Northern Magick by Freya Aswynn.

Diana

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Radine Nehring

Radine Nehring visits my blog today and talks about how she makes her plot fit her place. Come over and read how she does it!

wwww.sylviadickeysmithbooks.wordpress.com

Syl

Friday, April 30, 2010

weigh in on Arizona illegal immigration law

The Federal government is the one who SHOULD be enforcing our immigration laws. BUT they are not doing it. The illegal (CRIMINALS) immigrants, while doing work here are not paying income tax, are a burden on our hospitals and schools and guess who gets to pay for it? YOU DO! Then there is crime. A large number of the CRIMINALS in our jails in the boarder states are illegal immigrants. This mess is costing the immigrants who are here legally (welcome) and the citizens of this country a lot of money. It comes in the form of higher hospital bills, higher insurance (auto and medical), welfare, etc al. See the following:
 IF YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY (you are a (CRIMINAL), YOU CAN GET:

 1 - A JOB,
 2 - A DRIVERS LICENSE,
 3 - SOCIAL SECURITY CARD,
 4 - WELFARE,
 5 - FOOD STAMPS,
 6 - CREDIT CARDS,
 7 - SUBSIDIZED RENT OR A LOAN TO BUY A HOUSE,
8 - FREE EDUCATION,
9 - FREE HEALTH CARE,
10 - A LOBBYIST IN WASHINGTON
11 - BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR
LANGUAGE
12 - AND THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY'S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DON'T GET ENOUGH RESPECT

 I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE I HAD A FIRM GRASP ON THE SITUATION. 

This is a slap in the face of all the immigrants who come here legally and to Americans. Mexico is against this law and why? Because the illegals send back to Mexico billions of dollars. 

Do we need to stop this? YES. Do we need tighter control of our boarder with Mexico-YES and I think we should use the army and Marines to help do it. Should we give amnesty to the illegals here? NO. They are criminals and should be caught and punished. If we grant amnesty that will send a message to others to come over and ignore our laws. It happened the last time we did it and it will happen again. 


NOW, how about Arizona? I think what they did is within the law. The feds haven't done a good enough job and the citizens of AZ are upset and have taken matters into their own hands. Good for them. I'm also tired of the hispanic community trying to play the race card when something they don't like happens. Arizona should question suspected people and ask for ID. If you are here illegally, you are a criminal and should be arrested. Arizona can enforce the immigration laws in parallel with the FEDS and more of the boarder states, including Texas and California should do it too. IAM IN FULL SUPPORT OF THE NEW ARIZONA LAW. OTHER STATES SHOULD DO IT QUICKLY. MAYBE SOMEBODY IN WASHINGTON WILL GET THE MESSAGE. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

THE POD STIGMA

There have been times in the past when I’ve been in conversation with an author published by a large, traditional (read New York) publisher – some being well-known, others not — and when I would mention my books are POD, their expression made me wonder if they were about to cross their fingers in front of their face and fling holy water on me while backing away. Their subsequent comments conveyed bias against POD and I’m not sure if this is as a result of na├»vete or lack of knowledge.

Due to misconceptions and misstatements, POD has become a tainted term, so let’s set the record straight about what it really means. I’ll use my own book as an example, published by an independent publisher. Bear in mind, not all small and independent publishers will have in place the same policies as my own and I would caution authors to research extensively before signing with a publisher.

Print on Demand, or POD, is a publishing technology which simply means my paperback book is printed as it is ordered utilizing digital equipment.

POD does not mean my book is self- or subsidy published, although it is utilized in these venues. Small and independent publishers, as well as those who offer subsidy publishing and authors who choose to self publish, rely on this technology.

POD does not mean my books are of a poorer quality or are not professionally edited. Many small and independent publishers produce professional, viable books on par with those offered by the big-six NY traditional publishing houses.

POD books are pragmatic and cost feasible. No warehousing is required, thus, no overhead for rental space or warehouse employees, and no trucking or logistics costs.

POD is environmentally friendly: According to Linda Houle, publisher and author of The Naked Truth about Publishing (http://tinyurl.com/2dzb6jr) estimates show that approximately thirty million trees, or ten billion dollars, are wasted on print-run books subsequently remaindered (returned as unsold).

POD books, like print-run books published by large, traditional publishers, are returnable.

POD books are distributed by the two largest book wholesale distributors: Ingram and Baker and Taylor.

POD publishers, like large traditional publishers, send out ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) to professional reviewers and promote the book upfront. As with all publishers, even the big-six as pertains to their authors who don’t receive the mega-bucks promotional team, the vast majority of promoting lies with the author.

POD publishers offer the same standard discount to bookstores as do the larger traditional publishing houses.

POD publishers continually expand their lines as opposed to the large traditional publishers who replace titles. In other words, books aren’t pulled from shelves or discontinued, offering authors time to build readers.

POD publishers usually offer both print books and Ebooks (electronic books).

POD books are larger than paperbacks and smaller than hardbacks. They are generally 5.5”x8.5” or 6”x9”, and are called soft-cover trade paperbacks. Many readers find this size preferable.

POD books are virtually available forever. Unlike print-run books, with a limited shelf life, a POD book allows the author time to build a readership base.

POD books are now available instantly. The Espresso Book Machine is currently in use in selected bookstores across America. Readers can choose the book they wish to purchase and within minutes it is printed and bound and ready to take home.

POD is now being used by large, traditional publishers. Although, on the surface, they seem to shun POD technology, they have begun utilizing it for select books.

The onset of POD and Ebooks has brought about a major flux in the publishing industry. Although the large, traditional publishers have been slow to acknowledge and utilize these changes, they are beginning to come on board. In a perfect world, all modalities of publishing would be considered on equal terms. We haven’t gotten there yet, but I believe it’s not too far in the future. Authors now have the option of choosing how their book is published, and it is hoped they will be treated with respect and not be subject to derision or an elitist attitude concerning their choice if it falls outside of what was once considered the publishing standard.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

THE MYSTERY OF THE GREEN MIST

I just completed reading the rest of the short stories in THE MYSTERY OF THE GREEN MIST, an L&L Dreamspell anthology, and want to offer some brief comments and thumbnail reviews.

“Between Friends” by D. Nathan Hillard is a unique story. It’s as much quality literary fiction as mystery genre. From the descriptive language and natural dialogue in this story, you feel as though you really are in a small Texas town in the 1940’s. Cotton Turner’s death isn’t a simple who-done-it. Did one of his friends kill him? If so, why? The why of Turner’s death is significant. This story has a spare, understated writing style that packs real power.

In “The Scent of Blood” by Cherri Galbiati,” Lisa Linder visits her best friend Bella who has moved from Houston to Vermont to run a bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, there’s a serial killer lurking about committing bizarre murders. Lisa is not alone; she has her German shepherd, Norggin, certified Search and Rescue worker in finding cadavers, to discover the murderer. This is a well-written story with interesting characters and an original plot.

“Reservoir of Death” by Sylvia Nickels is set in Central Georgia. Madeira Hart had every reason to hate Theo Wellington. But she didn’t discourage her daughter Sissy’s friendship with his daughter. After Maddy discovers that Sissy has witnessed Theo’s murder, their lives are put in jeopardy. This is a well-paced, suspenseful story, a real page-turner.

“The Mystery of Moonstone Manor,” by Randy Rohn, is the last story in the anthology.
Like the first story, “Mystery of the Green Mist,” it’s particularly well-suited to young adult readers. Sixteen-year-olds Kristen and Kurt decide to sell candy to whoever might be living at creepy Moonstone Manor. Kurt isn’t eager because the house is reputed to be haunted. Kristen, however, forges right ahead. She meets three strange elderly people: Pamela, her weird brother William, and Mabel, the spooky housekeeper. Kristen realizes there is a mystery that needs solving here. Are there actual ghosts? Worth reading to find out. New spin on a traditional story.

I believe you'll enjoy this anthology if you decide to read it. There’s certainly an interesting variety of mystery stories awaiting your reading pleasure.

Comments anyone??

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Mystery of the Green Mist: Great Reading Enjoyment!

The Mystery of the Green Mist is an L&L Dreamspell Anthology

Altogether, there are ten mystery stories in this anthology by ten different authors.
I started reading the anthology in the middle of the night when I couldn’t get back to sleep. I was hoping it would relax me so that I would get the extra rest I needed. But
the stories proved too interesting and I found myself finishing half of the book before
dawn.
I’ll comment on the first five stories that I’ve read so far. “Mystery of the Green Mist” by Linda Houle gives the book its title and is the lead story in the anthology. Amateur paranormal investigators, Jo and Tracey, are intent on solving the mystery of the ghostly green lights that appear in local cemeteries at night. They find out more then they bargained for in this entertaining mystery story which is appropriate for old and young alike.

“Deleting Dennis” engaged this reader from the first sentence because of the author’s witty style of writing. Pauline Baird Jones provides a well-written mystery that is pure enjoyment.

“The House on Grays Prairie Road” by Sally Love is a splendid mystery ghost story that haunts the reader long after it ends because of the enthralling sense of atmosphere and use of description.

Unlike the last two stories which are set in Texas, Jo A. Hiestand’s “The Clue in the Crumbling Cottage” takes place in England. Sixteen-year-old Brenna Taylor finds the body of Fiona Hall, co-leader of a Girl Guide patrol, in an old cottage while they are on a camping trip in the Derbyshire Dales. Brenna acts as amateur sleuth, finding an important clue in the cottage and deducting the identity of the murderer. The story develops character quite effectively.

“Trust No One” by Morgan St. James is a complex noire mystery. Once I started it, I had to read it through. You won’t want to put this one down.

Each writer offered a unique voice and the stories are varied. I'll be back when I finish the second half of the book and the last five stories. Comments anyone?