Archive for April 2016

Author Feature: Andrew Joyce

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My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Ethan has been kind enough to allow me a little space on his blog to promote my new novel novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think its a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I'm kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I'll turn things over to my dog Danny---Danny the Dog. He always has a bad attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United states once co-existed. We tolerate each other. Without further ado, here's Danny. 

Andrew dragged me through the pouring rain so that I could be here to help him out. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don't think I will. I'm in a foul mood today, so this communiqué will be short. It's been raining for three days and three nights. One more day of this miserable weather and I'm going to have Andrew build us an ark. Well, maybe not, seeing as how we already live on a boat. We being myself, Danny the Dog and my human, Andrew. 

The Things about rain I don't like is that it's wet. It soaks your fur; it keeps you inside when you could be out chasing cats of running down a tantalizing scent. And to top it off, it brings thunder with it. Ant I don't like thunder! Another thing I don't like about rain is that one has to has to go outside to do one's "business." Hey . . . I can hold it. I'll wait until it's dry outside, but Andrew insists that I go out at least twice a day. Rain or shine. 

When It's raining, Andrew puts on some sort of yellow getup that keeps him dry, but does he have one of those things for me? Nope!

For three days now, he's taken me---against my will---outside with him in the rain. If I knew how to use a phone, I'd report him to the Humane Society. But I show him. When we come back, I jump up on the bed and roll around until I'm dry. I don't mind wet sheets, but for some reason Andrew does. 

So here I am trying to sell his book for him. And I know with a certainty that the big lummox is going to come to me when I'm done shilling for him and say, "Okay boy. Let's go for a walk." And I'll be thinking, "Okay, human; how about I just bite you instead?"

Here he comes. The next time we talk, I'll let you know if we went out in the rain or if I bit him. 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot---go out and buy Andrew's book and make him happy. 

This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Ethan for having us over. It's been a real pleasure. 

Alice in Bed by Judith Hooper

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Although her brothers Henry and William are better known, Alice James was a fascinating person in her own right. In Alice in Bed author Judith Hooper makes her first foray into fiction by drawing extensively on her experience writing non-fiction. The result is a hybrid work that uses historical fact to inform the fictional accounts of the less covered sister of the James family. Hooper mixes actual correspondence between the family members and snippets of Alice's diary with her own speculations to form a fairly cohesive portrait of the intelligent and elusive Alice.

The Alice who narrates this book is a woman who is bound to her current situation because of her physical and mental ailments and 19th century societal conventions. It is obvious that Alice's intellect is easily on par with that of her brothers, but as the youngest child, a woman, and a person who suffers from debilitating illness the cards are really stacked against her. Alice is frustrated that modern medicine cannot find a cause or cure to her sickness. Worse, the stigma that surrounds a person with any kind of mental disorder makes it nearly impossible to provide any proper treatment. Despite being bedridden, Alice is still mentally sharp and able to hold her own against her brothers and anyone else she comes in contact with. This makes for a fascinating juxtaposition of physical and mental health.

Alice in Bed is first and foremost a character study. Hooper goes into great detail to provide context and understanding to the James family, treatment of mental health, and a woman's place in society of the time. Because the novel is more character driven that plot driven, the deliberate pace can sometimes become a bit tedious. Fortunately the characters are so deeply imagined that their development becomes the motivation to keep turning the pages. I was reminded of another book with an Alice as a main character, After Alice by Gregory Maguire, in which the main female character struggles to fit into the role that society tells her she should be in. Both novels serve as a reminder of how far women's rights have come in the last couple hundred years and how far we still have to go.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.
This review is part of TLC Book Tours.

(2016, 14)

Author Feature: Erin Rhew


Thank you to Ethan for hosting me, and thank you to Ethan's readers for joining us! <waves at everyone>

I'm here as part of the Rhew 2 Rhew tour! My husband, Deek Rhew, wrote an amazing thriller called 122 Rules, published by Pandamoon on April 5! In addition, my publisher chose the month of April to feature my trilogy, so Deek and I decided to make a thing of it. And the Rhew 2 Rhew Tour was born! ;) Stay tuned because there's an opportunity for you to enter a Rafflecopter drawing for a chance at a $50 Amazon gift card!

Today, I'd like to talk about inspiration. I believe it can be found anywhere.  All aspects of life—the good, the bad, and the ugly—can be a springboard for creativity.  I challenge you all to look at the world, the people, and the art around you.  Let your mind wander. Let your imagination soar.
I can’t exactly trace the origins of The Fulfillment Series to any one thing or person.  The inspiration for it came more from a collection of ideas. One night, as I watched a movie based on Arthurian legend, the words Ethereal and Vanguard popped into my mind, and I just knew they were two warring nations. Over the next few days, character names joined the two kingdoms: Layla, Wil, Nash, Samson.  A story took root.  At the time, I’d been reading the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin.  I liked the idea of combining olden times (castles, kings, queens, etc.) with fantastical elements, so I think reading that series definitely influenced my story.  When I sent out my query letters, I labeled The Prophecy “Game of Thrones meets Arthurian legend.”

After the idea sprung to life, I wrote a brief three-paragraph synopsis and sent it to my friends.  These four ladies eventually became my Dream Team and a source of great inspiration and accountability for me.  I asked them if the little blurb I wrote became a story, would they be interested in reading it?  All four gave an enthusiastic “yes,” so I started writing.  Whenever I found myself stuck in the story or on a logical hang-up, I called one (or sometimes all four) of my Dream Team members to ask for help. 

The Dream Team 
(From left to right: Danielle Craver, Dawn Ward, Ginny Hunsberger, and Kim Sharp--I'm kneeling.)

Sometimes when I'm creatively stumped, I seek inspiration from artistic sources that spark my imagination—book, arts, television, movies, etc.  I love that moment when I’m watching or reading a really great story, and I feel my own creative juices start to flow.  Ideas form—sometimes in a trickle, sometimes in a torrent—and before I know it, I’m back on track. Lately, my husband and I have been watching Vikings, and it's sparking all sorts of creativity and questions for both of us.

My husband inspires me in a thousand different ways. First of all, he's the culmination of all the best characteristics of men in books, movies, and TV. The man is a complete and total dream come true! His writing also inspires me. The way he constructs a story, and the eloquence and humor with which he tells it, challenges me to be better. I love to read his work because I come away renewed. Moreover, our constant conversations (we joke that we talk all the time about everything and nothing) stimulates my mind to create new worlds and new characters. I've never met anyone so inspirational in all my life. He's truly my muse--both in life and writing--and my Ideal Reader for my stories.

I encourage you to go out and experience the world: fall in love, get your heart broken, make mistakes, take risks, go on adventures, talk to fascinating people, sit in silence and ponder, pursue a seemingly impossible dream.  Let all those moments, all the people you meet, all the beauty you encounter serve as muses for your own art.

Thanks for hosting me, Ethan! Now, for a little about me, Deek, and our books...

For those that don't know, Erin is a young adult fantasy author who is married to adult thriller author, Deek Rhew. Together, they are "the Rhews," and their street team is the Rhewination!

Deek and Erin-- Join the Rhewination! ;) 

The Prophecy (Fulfillment Series Book 1)

Title: The Prophecy
Author: Erin Rhew
Publisher: BookFish Books
Cover Design: Anita at Race-Point
Available Now! Amazon Buy Link 


Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she's abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He's grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear...not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war? 

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he's no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction--for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms. 

When Nash's secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.

The Outlanders (Fulfillment Series Book 2) 

Title: The Outlanders
Author: Erin Rhew
Publisher: BookFish Books
Cover Design: Anita at Race-Point
Available Now! Amazon Buy Link 

The Fulfillment (Fulfillment Series Book 3)

Title: The Fulfillment
Author: Erin Rhew
Publisher: BookFish Books
Cover Design: Anita at Race-Point
Available Now! Amazon Buy Link 

About Erin Rhew

Erin Rhew

Erin Rhew is an editor, a running coach, and the author of The Fulfillment Series. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written
word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the "Grammar Police."

A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin now lives in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest with the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) writer Deek Rhew and their “overly fluffy,” patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. She and Deek enjoy reading aloud to one another, running, lifting, boxing, eating chocolate, and writing side-by- side.

Connect with Erin Online!

For the latest and greatest, visit her web page:

About Deek Rhew

Deek Rhew
Deek lives in a rainy pocket in the Pacific Northwest with the stunning YA author bride, Erin Rhew, and their writing assistant, a fat tabby named Trinity. They enjoy lingering in the mornings, and often late into the night, caught up Erin’s fantastic fantasy worlds of noble princes and knights and entwined in Deek’s dark underworld of the FBI and drug lords.

He and Erin love to share books by reading aloud to one another. In addition, they enjoy spending time with friends, running, boxing, lifting weights, and exploring the little town--with antique shops and bakeries--they call home.

Connect with Deek Online!

For the latest and greatest, visit his web page:

Find Deek's Novels Online!

Random Fun With Deek and Erin

Always laughing together

Celebrating their anniversary in style! ;) 

Enjoying every moment!

Their cat and literary assistant, Trinity--leader of Rhewination!

Sharing every secret and every facet of life with each other! 

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Want a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card?

It's A Long Story: My Life by Willie Nelson


“Memories remind us that every moment of our lives, even the most tragic, have contributed to our strength. We’ve gotten through. We’re still here.” 

Despite living in Texas for my entire life, I can't claim to be a country music aficionado. I've heard my fair share of the genre, but I've never really taken much interest in its history. Still, there's no denying the appeal of some of the music. When I was in high school, I was fortunate to sit front row for a Willie Nelson concert. I never expected to connect with his music the way I did! There was honesty in every note he played and every word he sang. In his book It's A Long Story: My Life, Willie provides some insights and anecdotes of his storied career. 

Willie is the first to admit that he is difficult to place in a box. In fact, his vocal quirks and varying stylistic influences made him nearly impossible to sell during the first part of his career. He writes about the ways that his early record companies tried to produce him the same way they did other top selling country stars. The sweet strings and background vocals simply did not gel with Willie's singing. It wasn't until a producer allowed him to record the way he played his live shows that Willie found true commercial success. 

Willie's writing comes off as if he were right there with you telling a story. The book takes on a kind of folksy quality that reads more like a conversation than a history lesson. The timeline is framed by Willie's unfortunate run in with the IRS during the 90's. As he narrates through his childhood in Abbot, Texas all the way through to present day, this tax incident continues to interrupt the story and remind us that all that we are reading is leading to this event. I found this to be rather out of place. It seemed more like the publisher or editor was trying to give some kind of structure to the story that didn't need to be there. 

As I read through the book, I realized that Willie Nelson is a man of contradictions. He loved his family but cheated on his wives. He has a deep devotion to the methodist church, but played in sinful beer joints and swears by the healing qualities of marijuana. The list goes on and on. Whatever your opinion of the man, there is no denying that these inconsistencies make Willie a fascinating character. He is an imperfect man in an imperfect world who is driven to make his mark on the world through his music. 

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads

(2016, 13)

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