Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, Place of Reads Interviews Alexis Mills

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, Place of Reads Interviews Alexis Mills, Author of  Mica Elizabeth, Military Brat: Desert Secrets

PoR:  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?  

AM: I've always been a little different than most people and a bit of a loner. I'm very passionate about trying to eat healthier and eating locally. Most of the food I buy is from local farmers use natural practices. Every day I really try to be a better and more patient person. I don't always get it right but I keep trying! 

PoR:  What do you do when you are not writing? 

AM: Besides chasing little ones around, I love canning and baking. In the spring I hope to start a nice organic vegetable garden, even though I am horrible with plants! I also am raising chickens and a Great Pyrenees puppy that is now six months old and over fifty pounds! 

PoR:  When you were a kid, did you want to grow up and be a writer?  Or was there something else you wanted to do? 

AM: I've loved to read and write as long as I could remember. Sometimes I would dream that I was a writer but mainly I wanted to be an archaeologist. I really just wanted to see parts of the world outside my little Midwestern town and thought that becoming an archaeologist would send me to exotic places. 

PoR:  In your book, the main character is an army brat, were you one? 

AM: No, I actually grew up in the suburbs and my mom still lives in the same little house her and my dad bought when I was two! 

In your book, you write about Area 51.  What interests you about it? 

AM: Area 51 has always been surrounded with mystery. It's fascinating for me to think about top secret military bases that are out of the public eye. We have no idea what is going on in these bases. I'd like to believe that things are being created for the greater good but I do worry, too that sometimes we create things that we don't fully understand what the repercussions will be.

PoR:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?  

AM: I feel that Mica is a combination of the teen I was, along with the woman I am and so much more. As a young adult I finally got the chance to move around some and see parts of this country that I dreamed about as a teen. Many of the places that I write about are places I've been or would like to go.

PoR.:  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

AM: I really liked developing the relationship between Mica and her dad. My birth dad died when I was ten and though I was a daddy's girl, I never fully got to develop that relationship. The relationship created between Mica and her dad is a tribute to my own dad. 

 PoR: How did you come up with the title? 

AM: Honestly, it really isn't very exciting. The name just seemed to fit. I knew I was writing a mystery and it takes place in the desert. Hence, Desert Secrets. I wanted people to know that it was a series about a female military brat and decided to use the Mica Elizabeth, Military Brat as the series name. 

PoR: Random Question Time!  What is the one thing you can’t live without at Christmas time? 

AM: Besides family, I love the lights! It's so fun to bundle up the family and drive around looking at Christmas lights while listening to holiday music and drinking hot chocolate!

PoR: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?  

AM: Words mean so much and the words you publish can often define you. Think carefully about how you want to portray yourself and never be ashamed to be a kinder and wiser force. 
Also don't be afraid to take a chance. I don't have a degree and have no formal writing training. One day I woke up with an idea for a book and a book series. Now here I am :o)

Friday, December 30, 2011

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, Place of Reads Interviews Heather Jensen

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, Place of Reads Interviews
Heather Jensen, Author of Blood and Guitars

PoR: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

H.J.: I grew up in a small town in Southeastern Utah. I'm the oldest of three girls. My family did a structured foster care program when I was growing up and before I moved out we had had more than thirty at-risk teenage girls in our home from the time I was twelve to the time I moved out. I married my high-school sweetheart and we live in sunny St. George, Utah now. I’m a stay-at-home mom so I do most of my writing while my son is at school. Aside from spending time with my family and friends, when I’m not writing I like to decorate cakes, play my guitar, watch movies and play board games.        

PoR: When you were a kid, did you want to grow up and be a writer?  Or was there something else you wanted to do?

H.J.: I was constantly writing stories from the time I could read and write, although I’m not sure I was aware that people could do that for a living. Maybe that’s why I never really found any other career path that fit. I’ve only had a couple of jobs that I actually enjoyed doing. One of those was working as a relay for the deaf. That’s probably because I got paid for my mad typing skills, and I was allowed to write during my downtime between calls. The other was when I worked in a recording studio. I’ve always been a big music fan and I’m obsessed with all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating music. Writing Blood And Guitars has been very rewarding in the sense that it has allowed me to mesh together two of my biggest loves: music and writing.

PoR: In Blood and Guitars, your vampires are a bit different than your standard vampire or even the other vampires you might read about today.  What inspired your version of the vampire myth? 

H.J.: I was in high school when the idea for Blood And Guitars came to me. At that time, I was only aware of a select few vampire books. To this day I’m grateful that I created my vampire world six or seven years before Twilight came along, or vampires became the mainstream. I think it helped me to stay original and let my vampires be who they wanted to be without getting caught up in all the vampire hype that has been around for the last few years.

I don’t have any one thing I can name that inspired my vampires, but when I was creating them, I knew that several things had to be true in their world in order for the story to be what I wanted. First, they would injest human blood to sustain themselves, but they wouldn’t necessarily be blood-thirsty killers because of it. Secondly, although my vampires can function during the daylight hours, there is a pricetag to deviating from their naturally nocturnal schedule. During the day, my vampires only have access to the most basic physical gifts necessary to their survival (speed, strength, ect....) At night they can take full advantage of their mental abilities, such as reading or shielding minds, mentally tracking others and more.

PoR: In Blood and Guitars, you have an artist and several musicians.  Are you an artist or musician or have you always wanted to be one?

H.J.: Music has always been a big part of my life. I played piano when I was younger and I’ve been playing drums for more than half of my life. I didn’t get serious about playing guitar until high school but I own three now and play as often as I can. I dabble in songwriting, and it’s weird, but I do my best work when I’m inside of Trey’s head, writing songs from his point of view and experiences. I’ve always been fascinated with painting, especially oil painting. I’ve done a few paintings here and there but I don’t have the time to paint as often as I’d like to.

PoR: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

H.J.: More than specific experiences, I draw mostly from emotions that I think everyone has felt at one time or another. Aurora is a fiercely independent and capable young woman, but those qualities actually make her feel isolated from the rest of her kind. Trey, despite having success, money, fame, a career he loves, and everything else a man could possibly dream of, yearns for someone to love him for who he is and not what he is. Both characters have feelings that most of us can identify with at some point in our lives.

PoR: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

H.J.: It’s really hard to pick a favorite scene or chapter, but I particularly enjoyed writing about Aurora, Trey, and the rest of Catalyst going to the MTV Video Music Awards. I think I enjoyed it so much because it’s really the first time Aurora gets to see Trey in his element as the lead singer in a majorly famous band. She’s been with him in the studio a bunch but this is the first time she sees him and the rest of the guys in the band interact with their fans on that level. Aurora really gets to see another side of Trey and his life that she’s really only glimpsed so far, and it’s just the beginning.

PoR: If you suddenly found out that your vampires were real, what would you mostly likely do?

H.J.: I’m intrigued and terrified by that idea all at once. What a great question! If my vampires were real, and in turn, the characters from the story were real, I’d head to Clearwater and beg Aurora for a painting lesson, hoping she’d already had her fill of fresh blood for the week. My vampires are immortal, not invincible, so I like to think the pistol I pack would be a good insurance policy against any vengeful vamps looking for Most vampires aren’t looking to harm humans, so I imagine I’d feel just as safe as I do now, considering there are more humans out there creating violence than there ever would be vampires. Also, I’d join Catalyst’s fan club and buy their new album when it hits stores. ;)

PoR: Random question time!  What Christmas Traditions do you and your family have that you can’t live without?

H.J.: My grandma’s hungarian cookies. My sisters and I always help my grandma make a giant batch of her famous cookies. They are seriously the best cookies on the planet. They take forever to make since you have to hand shape them so we only do it once a year. Also, we always take inner tubes and sleds out in the mountains and slide down the snow with them. If the hills are too crowded with other people, my dad will tie a rope to the back of his pickup truck and pull everyone around on the icy roads instead. It doesn’t get better than that.

PoR: What was the last book that you read?

H.J.: I’m currently reading Blood Promise by Richelle Mead and listening to the fourth Maximum Ride book by James Patterson on my iPod.

PoR: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

H.J.: Thank you for your support! There’s nothing better than getting feedback from readers who enjoy what you write, whether it’s by way of a review or a tweet or a note on my site. Also, I’m aiming for a summer of 2012 release for the second book in the Blood And Guitars installment, tentatively titled Immortals And Melodies. Stay on top of the news at my site/blog .

Books by Heather Jensen

Follow Friday (21)

Welcome to Follow Friday Hosted 

By and

Question of the Week: The New Year is here -- and everyone wants to know your New Years Blogging Resolution! What are you going to try to revise, revamp and redo for 2012 on your blog?

I really only have one real resolution/goal for my blog.  My goal is to be better about visiting my favorite blogs.  I'm so busy sometimes, that I forget to take the time and just blog hop and visit those blogs I love to read.  I think it would definitely help me find newer, better, and just plain enjoyable books!

Some other goals are:

I want to get better at scheduling my posts, especially the memes and such. It would definitely help me on that.  

I'm going to try and keep my thumbdrive with me always.  Sometimes I leave it with my laptop, which makes it hard when I want to write up a review, but don't have internet.  

I hope to revamp how I review books and revamp the blog layout, though just the thought of doing it gives me a blog brain freeze! This might be a half year resolution, come the 1 year anniversary kind of revamp.  But we'll just have to wait and see. 

I do want to try and do more blog events, giveaways and guest posts (Hint, hint, there is one going on right now!!!!)

What are your resolutions?

Happy Reading!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, Author Frank Acland Talks About His First Book

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, 
Author Frank Acland Talks About His First Book

It was at about this time last year when I got the idea for my book, The Secret Power Beneath. I was walking in the snowy woods with my daughter and suddenly had the thought that I might write a book. I'm not sure what it was about that time and place that gave me the urge, but it was a resolve that I decided to stick to. I only had the vaguest notion about what the subject should be -- it would feature an underground world, and an advanced civilization based on a new form of energy technology. But at the outset I really didn't have a clear picture of what I wanted to do.

The next few weeks and months found me trying to piece together the book scene by scene, chapter by chapter. It was exhausting and exhilaration and the same time, taking much time and energy -- but gradually it fell into place. Plot ideas developed -- characters were added and subtracted, and after about eight months the work was finished. It seemed like the last few chapters were the hardest -- tying up loose ends and coming to a satisfactory conclusion were not easy. The re-reading, proofreading and editing was laborious and tedious -- but it was necessary to get rid of errors and clutter.

Suddenly I found I had finished the book. It was at once a relief and an anticlimax. For a long time I had been thinking, "I will feel so good when this is all finished." But when it was over, I felt somewhat of a loss. I found I had put so much myself into the book that it was strange not to be involved any more. However there was, and still is, the sense of having achieved something that I was satisfied with. 

I also hope that the story might introduce readers to new ideas and think of new possibilities. The energy technology described in the book -- "The Secret Power" -- is fictional, but I believe we are ready to see breakthroughs in energy technology unlike anything seen before in the world. In another role as an author I write a blog about a new form of energy technology that appears to have the potential to radically change our world. Go to for more on this.      .

As far as my fiction work goes, I think there is more to write. The story has places it can go -- but right now I can't quite summon up the resolve yet that I had last year -- I know what is involved! This time last year I was unaware of everything that would be required to complete the job, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that I set a goal for myself and achieved it -- and in the process did work that I am satisfied with. 

I don't consider myself a successful author in terms of sales or critical acclaim. But I do feel a certain sense of success in simply having set a goal and worked until I completed it. I could have easily given up and left another half written manuscript to be forgotten or discarded. 

It is gratifying when people say they enjoyed the book. That has always been my hope -- that people will become absorbed with the story, and find something that sparks their interest in there. It's funny how a writer can become attached to characters they create -- these were people I invented, and yet I somehow felt they had a separate identity from my own. I wonder about their futures and what they might do with their lives. Maybe one day I will find out!

Frank Acland

For more information about Frank Acland and his books, check out his website at .

Featured Book 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the Third Day of Christmas, Rebecca @ Bending the Spine Reviews The Christmas Gift

On the Third Day of Christmas, Rebecca @ Bending the Spine Reviews The Christmas Gift by Damein Kelly

I am very excited to be part of this event!!! I recently reviewed an awesome Christmas book that was extremely different from any other Christmas book I have read before. Hope you enjoy.


The season of giving is a season of darkness; a season of extended nights and twilight days. And the gifts of the season aren’t always the kind you’d hope to receive.

The Christmas Gifts: a collection of twelve tales of the uncanny, where unusual gifts - be they rare, unexpected, inappropriate or even unwanted - come wrapped in a piece of that seasonal darkness.

When loving your friend means denying your hunger. When the luster of gold doesn't stop it being a chain. When giving is another word for sacrifice. This is the Christmas Macabre. Little children walk with monsters—Saints with Devils. Everyone wears red.

Give the gift of the macabre this holiday. Suggested for mature readers. (Goodreads)

Book Details
Title: The Christmas Gifts
Author: Damien Kelly
Release Date: September 20, 2011 
ISBN-10: 1447830628
ISBN-13: 978-1447830627
Source: Author


Generally Christmas stories are sweet and all about spreading a little holiday cheer. The Christmas Gifts is twelve short stories that go a bit of a different route. 

This is my first experience reading any Christmas horror stories. When I agreed to review The Christmas Gifts I had no idea I would like it so much, but the description and cover is right on, so I had nothing to worry about. I love a good short story and these are little horror gems that where very satisfying to devour. 

I loved these dark tales each one different from the next. There where twist and turns, paranormal, and humor that was nicely unexpected. One of my favorite stories was actually a non-paranormal about a woman getting her last vengeful present from her late husband.

Damien Kelly is an author I will be putting on my “watch for next project list!” I loved his sense of dark comedy and the steady voice he placed throughout The Christmas Gifts.

Happy Reading,


Awesome! Reread worthy.
4 out of 5 stars 

Recommended For

Adults: For language, violence      

Want to get to know Damien Kelly better? Then be sure to check out the Nineth Day of Christmas, as Damien will be guest posting.

* There are freebies to check out on Damien’s website!*

Waiting on Wednesday: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is: 

Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear


Wish. Love. Desire. Live. 

Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.


  1. Oooh, faerie land!  Mysterious man!  Sacrificing a woman to save all the Otherworld!  Who wouldn't want to read this book?
  2. I love anything where a girl tries to escape her bad home/school life, but it back fires in some way. Will she live to learn a lesson?  Who knows
  3. The title is kind of a play on words, I'm sure.  We normally don't think of darkness as "innocent", so it makes me wonder what it might mean.
  4. The cover is kind of cool.  Looking both magical (the sparkles) and steampunk at the same time.  
What are you waiting on?
Happy Reading!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On the Second Day of Christmas, Place of Reads Reviews The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

On the Second Day of Christmas, Place of Reads Reviews 
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

We all have those books that we were read as children that we love.  Some we end up re-reading as adults, and others we just fondly remember.  Today, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite books that I remember my mother reading to me.  


When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realise what adventures are about to unfold. And as the story of Narnia begins to unfold, so to does a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over half a century.

My Review:

If you have never read this book, you are missing out on a classic.  Narnia is a beautiful, fantastical land that is trapped in perpetual winter, with NO CHRISTMAS!  But there is a prophecy about 2 sons of Adam and 2 daughters of Eve coming and breaking the curse laid on Narnia by the White Witch.  When little Lucy accidentally finds the way into Narnia, she kick starts the prophecy towards completion.  

I have always loved this book.  Personally, I've always loved Lucy's character. She is sweet and gentle, but has the heart of a lion.  She is the one that leads her older brothers and sister into Narnia, and even saves Edward.  

In this story, you will meet every fantastical beast and mythological character that you could possibly expect to meet.  This does include meeting Father Christmas (the children save Christmas by allowing Father Christmas back into Narnia).  Another plus to this story is the loving Aslan, the King of Narnia. He is a great Lion who is absolutely fierce and wild, but is willing to sacrifice himself to his betrayer.  

Even though you might like the movies, whether the American version or the BBC version, I highly recommend that you actually read the book!  

Happy Reading,


Monday, December 26, 2011

What Are You Reading Monday

It's Monday! What are you reading is hosted by Book Journey . Each week we spotlight the books we are reading, planning on reading or just finished reading.

So I've got to admit, I haven't really been reading as much as I normally would. It has just been one of those months where I don't.  

What I read the past week

What I'm reading

What Will I be Reading? (Well, at least this is the goal :P)

And probably some more... If I can get these all read, I'll have read over 100 books for the year!!!!!

So what are you reading?

Happy Reading!


On the First Day of Christmas, Place of Reads Tells Its Favorite Christmas Stories (And A Giveaway Extravaganza!)

Welcome to Place of Reads 12 Days of Christmas!  
I hope you are prepared for unwrapping some delicious interviews, guest posts, reviews, and trying to win some of the wonderful prizes that we will have!

So to kick it all of, I want to introduce you to some of my favorite Christmas books:
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
The classic Christmas story tells of an adorable little angel who just cannot stay out of trouble in the celestial city. When the Christ child is born, the mischievous angel learns the timeless lesson of giving, a lesson that has long endured as the true spirit of Christmas.

First, I'm biased.  I played the Angel Love in this play, but the whole story is a beautiful story.  The lessons that are learned through this book are told in a cute way that, even after we grow up, we still remember. 

There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve by Pam Munoz Ryan


There was no snow on Christmas Eve. Instead, a desert zephyr blew And palm fronds sang a rustling tune To welcome the awaited birth. There was no snow, no fireplace, no need for woolen caps and gloves on that very first Christmas. Instead there was a humble stable, and weary travelers with light robes and sandals on a desert night. This luminous picture book manages to take the familiar story of the Nativity and make it fresh and immediate, reminding young children of the miracle of Christmas and the true nature of the spirit of the season, no matter what the weather.


Everyone has a picture of what they think the first Christmas was like.  We see movies and story books all give different ideas.  I love Ms. Ryan's take on the First Christmas. It is the perfect book for any Christmas (white, green, brown, desert or tropical island), and with the beautiful pictures in it, you can't help but wish to be there.  

The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall


This gentle Christmas book introduces the original St. Nicholas and tells why we give gifts in remembrance of the greatest gift of all. Nick is much more interested in contemplating his presents under the tree than he is in being dragged along for last-minute shopping with his dad. But while his father’s off shopping, Nick hears someone say his name—it’s a mall Santa, telling a group of children a story about the original St. Nick. In the long-ago story, a wealthy boy named Nicholas is moved by the sight of poor children and decides to use his family’s wealth to help the needy, starting anonymously with his less-fortunate friends. Young Nick is inspired as at last he—and young readers—understand the joy of giving. A note at the end explains how the story of this early Nicholas might have grown into the Santa Claus of legend.


And for those of us who love the story of St. Nicholas, and want our children to know the true story of "Santa Claus", I think this is a great book to use.  I have always loved the story of St. Nicholas (the man, not the fat jolly man that can scare younger kids!), and this beautifully illustrated story just reminds us of what Christmas is really about. 

Happy Reading!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas Starts Tomorrow!

Tomorrow starts the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Event!  
Follow every day in a chance to get a prize! 

1st Day of Christmas, December 26 –   Cana @ Place of Reads 
2nd Day of ChristmasDecember 27 –  Cana @ Place of Reads 
3rd Day of ChristmasDecember 28 –   Becca @ Bending the Spine 
4th Day of ChristmasDecember 29 –   Frank Acland, Author 
5th Day of ChristmasDecember 30 –   Heather Jensen, Author 
6th Day of ChristmasDecember 31 –   Alexis Miller, Author 
7th Day of ChristmasJanuary 1 –        Jason Halstead, Author 
8th Day of ChristmasJanuary 2 –        Richie @ Bound and Determined 
9th Day of ChristmasJanuary 3 –        Damien Kelly, Author
10th Day of ChristmasJanuary 4 –      Katie @ Magic Is In Words
11th Day of ChristmasJanuary 5 –      C. D. Hussey, Author 
12th Day of ChristmasJanuary 6 –      Stephany Simmons, Author  

January 7, The Giveaway Winners Will Be Announced         

Some of the great prizes are:


Happy Reading!