Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: Katie MacAlister/Kate Marsh’s "Ghost Of A Chance"

Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Signet (February 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 451223241
ISBN-13: 978-0451223241
Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 5 x 0.8 inches
Review copy courtesy of: My bookshelf.

Synopsis from back cover:

There are other worlds with mysteries to solve—worlds where not all the suspects are technically alive.  That’s where Karma kicks in.

For all those transmortis anomalies that need to be exterminated, there’s Karma Marx—a woman who exorcises haunted houses, sending troublesome spirits and entities to the ever after.  Spider, her cheating, sleazy real estate agent husband, is proving more difficult to banish.  So she makes him a deal:  She’ll clean one last home for him if he grants her a divorce. 

The only problem is that Adam Dirgesinger, the home’s former owner, isn’t happy with Karma’s plan.  Using his poltergeist powers he seals the place, trapping Karma, Spider, and a motley assortment of other characters (some living, some not so much) together for a hair-raising twelve hours.  But when Spider turns up dead in the basement, it’s a locked-house mystery, and Karma’s determined to reveal the truth, even if it means tackling all of the house’s inhabitants—mortal and otherwise.

Saph’s Review

This is a cute who-dun-it story with quirky characters that are both living and dead.  Karma is a half-human/half-polter that helps homeowners rid their homes of spirits, ghosts, or other problem non-living inhabitants.  Her slimeball husband uses her “talent” to his advantage but she decides that enough is enough.  She’ll clean one last house for him; one that he is particularly fascinated by, in exchange for an end to their marriage.  The polter still occupying the home, however, had different ideas; ideas that involve sealing up the house with Karma, Spider, and various others inside.

It is typical Katie MacAlister style in regards to humor and wit.  The plot is tad disjointed in spots though.  I enjoyed the book and bought it before reading it but had I borrowed it from somewhere first, I probably wouldn’t have it on my bookshelf. 



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Best Seller For A Day: "Nearly Departed In Deadwood" by Ann Charles + 99¢ eBooks + A CHANCE TO WIN A KINDLE

It's That Time Again!!!!
Best Seller For A Day!!!  Today I'm featuring Ann Charles, author of "Nearly Departed In Deadwood."  She has graciously accepted the invitation for an interview so, before I get to the details of Best Seller For A Day, here we go:.

Saph:   Ann, welcome to my blog today!!!  I'm very excited to be able to promote you on Best Seller For A Day!!

Saph:  What made you decide to set your novels in Deadwood?

Ann:    I had spent my summers in Deadwood during my teen years, after my mom moved there from Ohio. My family and I explored back roads, ghost towns, old abandoned mines, and stream-lined gulches every chance we could. The history of the place entranced us, and there was always a road we hadn’t traveled that needed to be checked out.
A few years ago, while pregnant with our second (and last!) child, my husband and I were in Deadwood visiting my mom and stepdad. On the way into town, a story idea hit me about a single mom with two kids—twins—who was trying to make ends meet while trying out a new career in a new town. That’s when Violet was born.
From the start, I had a gut feeling that this story was meant to be. Nearly Departed in Deadwood just poured out of me. The years of exploring the town and surrounding hills paid off, I was able to slip in and out of the setting by just closing my eyes. I could feel the summer sun, smell the pine trees, hear the sounds of Main Street. It was a match made in fictional heaven.

Saph:  Do you feel like you have anything in common with Violet, and if so, what?

Ann:   We both have two kids, rely on a sarcasm-laced inner monologue as a source of humor, and love men who are tall, dark, and handsome. We also both screw up a lot in life and have learned to laugh at ourselves whenever possible.

Saph:  What is your ideal romantic hero like?

Ann:   He loves to cook and he’s great at it. He also is willing to clean the toilet and shower/tub, do the laundry, and go grocery shopping. Oh, and he likes his women short, curvy, and full of spunk. Handsome with sexy forearms is a definite plus! He’s nice to kids and pets, he’s intelligent but doesn’t show off, and he is willing to give a woman the space she needs to grow and thrive.

Saph:  Speaking of romantic heroes, what can you tell us about Doc, Deadwood’s newest arrival?

Ann:   Well, I’d love to tell you all kinds of fun details about Doc, but he refuses to spill—even to me. Seriously. When I write scenes with him in them, I have to work at getting him to share much. He’s extremely closed mouth about his history and his feelings. I curse him often. Not even hard liquor pries open his lips—and believe me, I’ve tried to use it many times and wound up passed out on the floor of my office.

Saph:  Are there other books in the Deadwood series you’d like to tell us about?

Ann:   The second book in the series is called Optical Delusions in Deadwood. It is available as an ebook and in print. I’m currently writing the third book in the series, called Dead Case in Deadwood. At the moment, I have twelve books roughly planned out for this series. I figure I’ll take readers’ temperatures at six and go from there.

Saph:  Can you tell us what your writing process is like?

Ann:   Overall, I’m what many writers call a “pantser” in the author world, which means I write by the seat of my pants. I get a couple of plot ideas in mind, put together a high-level plot paradigm with all of my subplots listed, work up a few necessary character goal details, wait for that opening line to hit me right between the eyes, and then explore the story as I go. Every time I finish a chapter, I pause to daydream and brainstorm what comes next. I have a general idea of the beginning, middle, and end, but I allow myself the liberty to change things along the way.
If we’re talking about my daily process for getting words on a page, my typical day is pretty normal. I work a full-time day job as a technical writer, so the morning starts out with dragging my butt out of bed around 6:00 a.m., checking email and Facebook/Twitter, and then getting the kids up and moving. My husband gets breakfast going while I get the munchkins dressed and ready for school/preschool. Then I head to work and play technical writer for eight hours, but my brain is constantly dabbling in fiction during long meetings and on “slow” days. I go home in the evening, hang out with the family until the kids go to bed around nine, and THEN I get to start working on writing. I usually stay up until around 1:00 a.m., then crash and start over again when the alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. By Friday, I’m existing solely on caffeine and sugar and I look like an extra from a zombie flick, minus the craving for brains. Saturday morning, my husband keeps the kids busy so I can sleep in and return to looking somewhat human. The weekend nights are major writing time, too. Then Monday roles around and I’m back to the weekday grind. Someday I hope I can drop the day job, but that’s far into the future at this point.

Saph:  What one thing is vital to your survival (or sanity!) when writing?

Ann:   Caffeine. Lots of it. Injected intravenously.

Saph:  I completely understand the caffeine thing…I need it just to survive some days.
Thank you so much, Ann for joining me today!  Good Luck in the BSFAD ranks!!

By helping to drive"Nearly Departed In Deadwood" to the top of the Kindle Lists on September 28, YOU can win!

Ann and her publisher, Corvallis Press, are giving away a brand new Kindle!

Purchase Nearly Departed in Deadwood on September 28th, then go to Best Seller For A Day, fill out the form on the website, your email address and the first five numbers from your Amazon purchase confirmation code, and sign up for the newsletter, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a Kindle!  


That's Right---You will only need to enter your email address and the first five numbers from your Amazon purchase confirmation code.  This will get you 5, yes 5, entries to win the Kindle.
BUT WAIT--There's more!!  (I sound like an infomerical now).

You can get 3 additional titles for 99¢ each!