Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: Jamie Wasserman's BLOOD AND SUNLIGHT

APEX REVIEWS recently completed a great review for Jamie Wasserman's romantic vampire tale, BLOOD AND SUNLIGHT: A Maryland Vampire Story...

Blood And Sunlight: A Maryland Vampire Story
Jamie Wasserman
ISBN: 9781935563327
Penumbra Publishing

Reviewed By Chelsea Perry
Official Apex Reviews Rating: 4 stars

A twenty-three-year old college dropout, Melanie craves excitement in her life...stuck in a dead-end job in the small town of Ellicott City, Maryland, she’s always been fascinated by fairy tales – but little does she know, she’ll soon be caught up in the midst of a living, breathing one...when she crosses paths with a real life vampire, Melanie is forced to realize that fairytales actually can come true, and the concept of “evil” as we know it isn’t always what you expect it to be...

With its own unique, salient appeal, Blood And Sunlight is an interesting addition to the rapidly-growing vampire genre. In his creatively crafted tale, author Jamie Wasserman introduces the reader to quite the flawed protagonist in Melanie, an adventure-craving malcontent stricken with imaginative wanderlust. As the circumstances of her humdrum life dramatically change, though, Melanie eventually realizes the wisdom of the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it.” In vicarious fashion, readers are sure to find themselves equally engrossed in the ongoing evolution of her exploits, as fantasy ultimately becomes reality, and her taste for the life she used to live is forever changed. An intriguing read.

BLOOD AND SUNLIGHT is available from Amazon in print and Kindle...

Apex Review: Sandy Hyatt-James' PARALLEL REVIEW

Recently APEX REVIEWS reviewed Sandy Hyatt-James' science-fiction romance, PARALLEL TRIANGLE...

Parallel Triangle
Sandy Hyatt-James
ISBN: 9781935563303
Penumbra Publishing

Reviewed By Chelsea Perry
Official Apex Reviews Rating: 5 stars

Bestowed with the gift of “The Sight,” young Englishwoman Elizabeth is subsequently charged with completing a crucial task by the leaders of Earthzad, an advanced civilization in a dimension hidden from the people of Earth; however, she soon finds herself falling head over heels for Orion, her handsome taskmaster, which has the potential to complicate her mission...meanwhile, Orion is motivated solely by his overpowering affection for Jocasta, the beautiful, intelligent ruler of his home region on Earthzad; unbeknownst to Orion, even though Jacosta feels just as strongly for him, she harbors a deep secret that prevents her from returning his affections...caught up in a monumental struggle for the peace and stability of the galaxy, Elizabeth, Orion, and Jacosta ultimately find themselves trapped not only within the throes of battle – but also of unrequited passion...

Parallel Triangle is nothing if not imaginative. In gripping fashion, author Sandy Hyatt-James has crafted a winding tale of action, drama, and suspense, featuring vivid, unique characters and cleverly intersecting plotlines. More than just a tale of brooding romantic tension, Parallel Triangle invites readers to travel to the nether regions of their imagination, incorporating impressive elements of fantasy and Sci-Fi while simultaneously exploring the visceral depths of emotional turmoil. Equally riveting and eye-opening, Hyatt-James’ debut offering is the strong introduction of a promising new literary voice. A thoroughly entertaining read.

PARALLEL TRIANGLE is available at Amazon in print and at special limited-time pricing in Kindle...

Apex Review: Robert J. Wetherall, LAST FLIGHT HOME

Recently APEX REVIEWS completed an excellent review for Robert J. Wetherall's LAST FLIGHT HOME...

Last Flight Home
Robert Wetherall
ISBN: 9781935563280
Penumbra Publishing
Reviewed By Karynda Lewis
Official Apex Reviews Rating: 5 stars

Ever since she was a young teenager in Nebraska, Kelly Cavanaugh has known that she was destined for greatness; however, she likely didn’t realize the immensely difficult challenges she’d be forced to overcome in order to achieve it. As she rises to the top of the airline industry, she endures everything from heartbreak to tragedy to the throes of emotional trauma, but through the love of family and friends – as well as the unquenchable passion burning deep within her – she literally and figuratively flies over the worst that life has to offer on her way to fulfilling her destiny...

Last Flight Home is quite the emotionally satisfying read. In his stirring tale of personal triumph, author Robert Wetherall presents the reader with an encouraging reminder of the difficulties we all must face on the road to embracing our fate. Through the ups and downs of his courageous protagonist, Wetherall highlights the importance of remembering that life is a journey, not a destination, and that no matter how challenging our sojourns may be – the only way we ever lose is by failing to try. Highly recommended.

LAST FLIGHT HOME is available from Amazon in print, and at special limited-time sale pricing in Kindle...

Apex Review for Andrew Arrowsmith's REALMS OF BELIAR

Recently APEX REVIEWS reviewed Andrew Arrowsmith's high-fantasy adventure, The Realms of Beliar: The Sword Myndarit...

The Realms Of Beliar: The Sword Myndarit
Andrew Arrowsmith
ISBN: 9781935563105
Penumbra Publishing
Reviewed By Chelsea Perry
Official Apex Reviews Rating: 4 stars

When the peace and stability of the longstanding Empire is threatened by the malevolent Alliance, an upstart group of bloodthirsty tyrants, the secure, prosperous life of old faces a tragic, abrupt end; however, four young, courageous heroes may just hold the key to preserving the Empire’s fate – but, in a world ruled by magic, only if they get a little help from a “higher” source...

Profoundly imaginative, The Realms Of Beliar: The Sword Myndarit is an enjoyable read. In the tradition of Tolkien, Herbert, and other Fantasy/Sci-Fi scribes, author Andrew Arrowsmith has crafted a compelling morality tale featuring unique characters and skillfully interwoven plotlines, all designed to captivate the readers’ interest as the all-engrossing suspense of the saga unfolds. By the end, you can’t help finding yourself inexorably drawn to the outcome of the heroes’ fate, as Arrowsmith proves quite adept at prolonging the much-anticipated climax of his winding tale. A recommended fantasy thriller.

Buy on Amazon today in print, or on sale in Kindle at special limited-time pricing

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Best of the West meets Beast of the East

Authors Walter Knight (America's Galactic Foreign Legion) and Jamie Wasserman (Blood and Sunlight) got to meet in person recently. Jamie, from Ellicott City, Maryland, took a business trip to Seattle, Washington. Both authors were happy to give a brief description of the meeting.

Here's Walt's version...

I recently got to meet fellow Penumbra author Jamie Wasserman (Blood and Sunlight: A Maryland Vampire Story), while he was in Washington state on business. Jamie and a business associate flew to Seattle, staying at the downtown Marriott Hotel. Our meeting was billed as "The Best of the West" meets the "Beast of the East."

I found Jamie not to be a blood-sucking beast after all, but rather a very pleasant and personable fellow. We ate an excellent dinner at the Marriott (on the 26th floor), and Jamie even put the tab on his credit card. We discussed our writing plans and sequels, and exchanged our autographed novels. I gave Jamie my "America's Galactic Foreign Legion (Book 1) Feeling Lucky." Then we posed for photos, holding each other's books. I hope to have the photos on my website soon.

Jamie retired early, but not before sneaking me into the guests only pool area. I live in a very remote part of rural Washington state, so hot-tubbing and a swim in a real pool was quite a treat for me. I don't get to the big city all that often. My how Seattle as grown!

Walter Knight
America's Galactic Foreign Legion

And here's Jamie's version...

It was a dark and stormy night. That is to say, it would have been stormy, had it not been for the persistent warmth and clear skies. But it was night. That was evidenced by the presence of both the moon and the amount of drivers on the road who insisted on driving with their brights on.

I was suffering a horrific case of jetlag, daylight savings time-itis, and a strange rash that resembled former heavyweight boxer David Tua. But I was in good spirits, as I was finally getting a chance to meet fellow Penumbra Publishing author Walter Knight.

Walter is a tremendously generous person, and he had been providing me with a steady stream of marketing advice to help get my book out there. His success is a testament to just how good his techniques (and books) are. He was making an 80-mile drive from a small town in Washington, just to meet me in Seattle, so I figured I owed it to him not to scratch myself at the dinner table.

My first impression of Walt was that he was tall (or that I was short). I worried I might be shrinking, but in hindsight, this might have had something to do with the three complimentary Bailey's I had on the plane.

He was soft-spoken but very confident - a man who would probably be equally comfortable rocking his grandson to sleep as he would leading an assault over Pork Chop Hill.

We had a wonderful meal at the restaurant at the Seattle Rennaisance Hotel. (Mention my name and get half off the flan.) I learned that Walter is every bit as interesting as the characters in his books. He's a veteran, father, grandfather, gambler, history buff, and of course a writer. He owns horses and is married to a wonderful woman who works very hard to keep him in line. There's an autobiography begging to be written - and I wonder if he hasn't put some of it in his science-fiction military series!

We talked extensively about his book. I was genuinely impressed with the amount of details Walt pulled into his narrative - from sources as diverse as Woody Allen and war crime trial transcripts. And he makes it work. I still don't understand how the man finds the time to write so much and so well.

After dinner, I dragged my reluctant co-worker to another room in the hotel to take pictures - East meets West, West is moderately irritated with East, but figures he's here and may as well make the best of it, etc. We exchanged books, a firm handshake, a slightly uncomfortable hug, and then I snuck Walt into the hotel pool to get in a few laps. I was most likely asleep before he changed into his bathing suit.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening talking books, the industry, writing, and, oddly enough, architecture. Walt's a great guy, and I came away with a deeper appreciation for his books.

Jamie Wasserman
Blood and Sunlight: A Maryland Vampire Story

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Werewolves with a passion

Author and guest blogger C. Fern Cook (The 'Wild' werewolf series) has this to say:

I know some of you readers are thinking, all right erotica. I know this genre is huge, but this is not my genre. What passion I am talking about is Dan's and Lizzy's passion for all living creatures. This is my passion too, so why wouldn't it show up in my writing?

If you have read any of my reviews or comments from readers, you will find statements like this: Her love of animals comes through in her writing. In the back-story of all my stories, you'll find animals. The horrors in Wild series are not for the squeamish.

The first of the Wild series, Wild Evolution, involves illegal trapping and loss of habitat for a local wolf pack. The second in the series, Wild Justice, deals with canned hunting facilities. The third in the series, Wild Legacy, encompasses the issue of unnecessary animal testing for medical labs.

Some of the bears in Wild Justice are described as having their teeth pulled and being declawed. This comes from the barbaric practice called 'bear baiting'. This is where they take domestic bears, declaw them, pull their teeth, and chain them up. Then they let the dogs loose. People have the audacity to call this training their dog to tree bears for hunting purposes. They do this in front of cheering crowds. I can't believe people could be so heartless. You'd think this happens in third world countries, but it happens right here in the US. The Humane Society of the United States just ran an article about this in their All Animals magazine September issue called 'Torment in the Arena'. This gives me nightmares. You can't get much more horror than that.

The canned hunting facility is where they fence off an area so the animal cannot escape. The hunter pays big dollars to hunt bears, wild African goats, boar, elk, or whatever they can get ahold of to make good trophies for the mighty hunters to hang in their dens. They hunt these animals down using four-wheelers and dogs. The animal has nowhere to hide. Packs of dogs tear the poor animal's flesh right off their bones before they are called off so the mighty hunter can get a good shot. The hunter's bullet is a release from the terror and pain the animal goes through for the all-mighty dollar.

In the US we still test to see if soap in the eyes will sting. Is that stupid or what? Everyone who's ever had soap in their eyes already knows it stings. Many rabbits snap their necks trying to wiggle out of the straps that hold them down so they can free themselves from the caustic solution dropped in their eyes. This is done to see if the solution will cause redness or swelling when the researchers already know it does. Again, you can't get much more horror than this, and that is why I choose to use real-life horrors in the Wild series. I have to admit I get some pleasure in letting the bad guys get what they deserve in the Wild series.

C. Fern Cook
Wild Evolution
Wild Justice
Wild Legacy

(books available in print through and ebook and print from online retailers including

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tidbits About Werewolf Folklore

Author and guest blogger C. Fern Cook (The 'Wild' werewolf series) has this to say:

When I first developed the story for the first novel in the Wild series, Wild Evolution, I wanted a rancher that shared his land with all creatures including the dreaded wolf pack. I wanted the rancher to interact with the wolf pack. Naturally, this fell into the werewolf genre.

In researching werewolf lore for the novel "Wild Evolution”, I came across some interesting tidbits of information:

* Lycanthrope is derived from the Greek language meaning wolf and man.
* It seems that there is werewolf folklore in all cultures.
* Only in the American movie culture does the werewolf curse cause an involuntarily transform to the werewolf state because of a full moon.
* The Norseman believed that a man would possess the characteristics of the animal if they wore the hide of that animal, such as a bear or a wolf.
* In American Indian culture, it is called the skin walker. The belief is similar to the Norseman; if you wore the skin of the animal, you would possess their attributes. In many Native American tribes, it is considered taboo to don the pelt of a wolf.

To spot a werewolf, look for these characteristics:
* born on December 24th
* has red hair
* the index and middle finger are the same length
* and has a craving of raw meat

I had an uncle that possessed many of these characteristics but I personally don't believe he was a werewolf. The most unusual tidbit of information about werewolf myths from around the world came from Argentina. They believed that the seventh son would become a werewolf. Many parents killed the seventh son or gave them up for adoption.

In order to stop the practice they finally made it a law in the 1920's that the seventh son would become the president's godson at baptism and receive a gold medal. This law is still enforced today. This just scratches the surface of werewolf folklore from around the world, but many of the myths have similar characteristics, I found that to be very interesting. I also found it very interesting that almost every culture has legends or myths about the werewolf.

I picked the skin walker folklore because of the Native American connection. My grandfather came from the Blackfeet tribe but would have nothing to do with the reservation or the U.S. government's Indian government programs. He said they were disgraceful. In his time they were.

I had an uncle who was from the Kickapoo tribe; between him and my grandfather, we spent a lot time out in nature. I have had an attraction to the Native American folklore because of my grandfather and uncle; so, the Native American skin walker legend is the one I chose to go with.

In Wild Legacy, I have chosen to continue on with this and expand the story to include the skin walker legend from the Norseman region. The continuation of the series will expand on this aspect of the legend, reaching back to the old country folklore in the next book.

C. Fern Cook
Wild Evolution
Wild Justice
Wild Legacy

(books available in print through and ebook and print from online retailers including

Vampires Bite - see guest blog at Vamp Chix by Jamie Wasserman

Jamie Wasserman, author of BLOOD AND SUNLIGHT: A Maryland Vampire Story, has guest blogged about vampires at VampChix - go check it out!