Saturday, April 27, 2019

Gunsmoke and Dragonfire


This book had me riveted.  I’m a huge fan of anthologies, because you can read a little at a time.  The stories have a beginning, middle, and an end.  These stories all packed quite an unusual punch.

Not one story in here reminded me of anything else I’ve ever read.  They were all so unique, tying fantasy in with gunslingers and magic, and some outer space, and legends…I could keep going. 

The artwork on the cover is gorgeous and pulls the collection together.

Friday, March 15, 2019

When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams


I received a copy of WHEN LIFE DOESN’T MATCH YOUR DREAMS: HOPE FOR TODAY FROM 12 WOMEN OF THE BIBLE by Jill Eileen Smith from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  I really liked this book, in particular the women that it touched upon.  Over the last few years, my mother and I have been studying women of the Bible, so it was great to see these women talked about. 

Each part starts with “If I were…”  You jump right into the woman’s head.  I LOVED it.  What a great storytelling tool.  These openings really put you into her mind.  You feel what she felt.  You see what she saw.  Excellent writing.

This read more like historical fiction, another aspect I loved.  It was easy to get through and the parts are short.  They’re perfect for reading on your lunch break or right before bed.  This book comes highly recommended!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Psychonaut Release Day Blog Buzz




Psychonaut is the second book in Carmilla Voiez’s Starblood series. It’s a relaunch of the novel by American indie Vamptasy Publishing. The series contains four books and follows the lives of a group of friends: Star, Satori, Freya. Donna, Raven and Ivan, who are young Goths living in Bristol, England.

In the first book, Starblood, Star breaks up with her lover, Satori, but he is unwilling to let her go. Satori is an adept Chaos magician and decides to cast a spell to keep Star by his side, but because of competing forces Lilith, mother of demons, uses this moment to come to Earth and enter their lives. The result is a tangled web of murder, madness and betrayal.

The first book can be found at Amazon and other retailers – http://smarturl.it/Starblood

Psychonaut takes us beyond the urban lives of these ill-fated Goths and into other worlds full of demons, gods, magic and monsters.




Psychonaut is available from March 12 and can be found at – http://smarturl.it/PsychonautVoiez

Satori is caught between two worlds. There is something he needs in one, but the other keeps drawing him back. However, he is in love and he isn’t going to let a little thing like death get in his way. To reach his goal, he must face unimaginable horrors, not least of which is his true self.
Star’s tortured and broken body awaits Satori, but does she really need him to save her? His rival, a rage-filled young woman, grows more powerful and becomes as twisted as the ribbons in her hair while the demon, Lilith, draws each of them inexorably towards her. Who will survive the coming battle?

Full of sex and magic, “Psychonaut” is an exploration into the human psyche and the second book in Voiez’s “Starblood” trilogy.

"Carmilla Voiez is more of a singer than a writer. She tells her compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie world vividly to life." Graham Masterton

“Psychonaut is a book of mad impulses, inner vision, sadism, escape and belief. You feel uncomfortable reading it, like Alex strapped to the chair in Clockwork Orange being taught to feel sick at atrocity. Rather than leave us crippled by response, though, Psychonaut bears you through the hurt towards the only paradise we can be assured of...a love past fault.” Jef Withonef, Houston Press.



Excerpt -

What do you need me to do?’ Freya asks.
I need someone to guide me through the planes. I thought Ivan would help me, but I think you probably know more about it than he does,’ Satori answers.
I doubt it.’
You’ve been up there though.’
Freya nods. ‘Yes.’
Satori blushes. ‘It was my first trip today. That’s where I was when you rang the doorbell. I’ve found where to start. But I have no clue where to go from here.’
What’s it like?’ she asks.
Huh?’
Your sacred space, at least that’s what Ivan calls it. What’s yours like?’
Oh, um …’
Haha, you’re embarrassed. What, does it have some huge tower like you’re compensating for something … oh shit, it does doesn’t it?’
Satori shuffles in his seat. ‘No. What have you got in yours then?’
A tree,’ Freya says.
And …’
Just a tree.’
What kind of tree?’ Satori asks.
A weeping willow,’ she answers.
How Gothic.’
Indeed, tower boy.’
I … okay yes I have a tower.’ He laughs. ‘But I’m not compensating. I like … towers. So your willow tree …’
Yes.’
Is it as beautiful as your hair?’
What the fuck, Satori? Where did that come from?’
Sorry. I’m just saying …’
And I’m just saying, forget it. There’s no way that’s ever gonna happen. The people you seduce have a habit of ending up dead.’
Satori looks away. His mouth moves as if he’s about to speak, but thinks better of it.
Freya watches the colour rise in his cheeks and feels embarrassed for him, embarrassed and awkward because she rejected him. Maybe he was simply being friendly, paying me a compliment? Did I misunderstand? Something clicks inside her and the awkwardness grows into nervousness, which morphs into anger. Why would he say that? Is sex all he wants from women? Perhaps he looks at me and all he can see is a pretty thing for him to pet? Am I not his equal? Of course I am. What then? Confused, she shakes her head and decides to change the subject. ‘So are we going to try to find your way tonight?’
Have you got somewhere else to be?’ he asks.
No, I’m good.’
All right then,’ Satori says, refilling the glasses. ‘But I haven’t left my … tower yet. Where should we meet?’
I haven’t left my Gothic tree. Shall we follow our paths and think of each other? Maybe our feet will lead us there.’
It’s a better plan than any I’ve come up with,’ Satori says.
Where?’
Mum will be home soon. Is … my bedroom okay?’
Well, I don’t actually need to be here, do I?’ Freya asks.
I thought it might help,’ he says.
It probably won’t. Not with the mood you’re in tonight,’ she answers.
Satori sighs. ‘I guess so. Ten o’clock then. That gives you an hour to get home and get ready. Will Ivan pick you up or shall I walk you home?’
How many fucking times? I don’t need your protection.’




Psychonaut is a story of redemption. In it the main characters learn their flaws and find ways to rise above them. Star, Satori, Lilith and Donna are all changed in profound and positive ways during the narrative. In this way Psychonaut is an uplifting book, especially after the desperate pain and suffering of Starblood.

Starblood was written during a difficult period of my life. I had given birth to my second daughter and was struggling to bond with her while keeping some sense of my own identity at the same time. In addition the business I had been running (with my then husband) for over a decade was failing, and my marriage was on the rocks.

Star’s struggle to discover who she is, when all the layers of what others want her to be are stripped away, was very much my struggle. I was in a state of depression and suicidal. I honestly believe that writing the Starblood Trilogy helped me answer the questions that haunted me at the time and saved my life (although not my marriage).

I was shocked and surprised by the overwhelming positive reception the first three Starblood books received. It is a frequently painful read and more than a little “out there”, that it resonated with others amazes me. What I have realised over the years is that my story is far more common than people would like to admit.

Since writing Starblood I have read work by people like Thomas Ligotti, which has taught me that part of the appeal of Starblood is that many of us never feel as though we fit comfortably in this world. We all flounder about at times trying to find a way to fit in without compromising what makes us who we are. I realise that my instinctive feeling that the world is both cruel and insane is far from uniquely mine.

On the flip side the message, I hope, that people get from the stories is one of self acceptance. So what if we don’t fit in? We are still important. We have value. Our dreams mean something, and as Lilith says in the first book, “There is no shame in love, only completion.” I hope people can see that Lilith is not only talking about romantic love at this point, but also love and acceptance of self and the multi-faceted, unique and marvellous people we have in our lives.


The Starblood Series books 1 and 2 are also available as graphic novels with art by Anna Prashkovich.
Graphic Novel 1 – Starblood – http://smarturl.it/sgnebook
Graphic Novel 2 – Psychonaut – http://smarturl.it/Psychonaut



Sunday, February 24, 2019

MADE FOR THE JOURNEY



I received a copy of MADE FOR THE JOURNEY: ONE MISSIONARY’S FIRST YEAR IN THE JUNGLES OF ECUADOR by Elisabeth Elliot.  The foreword is by Kay Warren.  The copy is from Revell in exchange for an honest review.

I found this book fascinating.  Missionaries have always interested me.  I’m awed by their character, their strengths, how they open their hearts to the world.  This autobiography is told with knowledge, wit, and heart.  The world she describes is brought to life.  I loved all of the descriptions.  You really felt like you were there.  The descriptions were my favorite part of the book.

I imagined myself walking into a coffee shop and seeing the author sitting alone at a table, smiling out the window.  I sit beside her and we strike up a conversation.  I imagined this book to be that conversation.  Her tone in the chapters is always light, never preachy or dry. 

She has earned my respect by her deeds and her writing. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

THE SPIRITS OF SIX MINSTREL RUN by Matthew S. Cox


I love ghost stories and this one left me wishing I had more minutes in my lunch break so I could read just one more chapter.  It has everything a good ghost story needs: creepy new house, suspicious neighbors, quiet town, and a ghost that might be more than she seems.  The murder itself is brutal and left me cringing.  I found myself constantly rooting for the main character.  Even the ghost is at times endearing.  The scientific facts behind the ghost hunting instances are spot-on and help to enhance the story.

The only thing that really bothered me was the husband.  I know why he acted the way he did, but he still rubbed me the wrong way, and by the end, I wanted to tell the main character that she deserved better.  Others will probably feel differently about him. 

Overall, a must read for ghost story fans.  I also thought it was cool that this took place close to my hometown. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Eldritch Heart


I loved the slow build-up of romance.  The author didn’t throw it in your face.  Rather, you realized it and watched it bloom along with the characters.

This isn’t just an LGBTQ romance.  There is suspense, drama, and amazing world-building.  It is more a fantasy adventure than a romance.

This author has done it again with another amazing story.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Love Where You Live

I received a copy of LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE: HOW TO LIVE SENT IN THE PLACE YOU CALL HOME by Shauna Pilgreen from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  It includes a foreword by Randy Frazee.

In many ways, this is a traditional religious self-help book.  It includes quotations from the Bible and explains relations between real life and Jesus.  In other ways, it isn’t.  This book isn’t dry or tedious.  I found myself looking forward to reading another chapter and discussing what I read with my family.

This book came to me at a time when I needed to hear its message.  We’re a three-person family struggling to make due with one pay check thanks to uncontrollable circumstances.  We’re all questioning if this is where we want to be.


The book helped open my eyes.  Being where I am now is okay.  There’s a reason for it.  I find myself going about my day with fresh energy.  

Monday, January 21, 2019

Many Genres One Craft


I’ve read quite a few “how to write” books, especially in my earlier days as a novice writer.  This one is, by far, one of the best.  I enjoyed how it is laid out more as “lessons” than a rambling “how to.”  I read one “lesson” per day, and it felt like I was back in college. (I loved creative writing classes, by the way.  This wasn’t a chore at all!)

The lessons are written by well-known authors.  In particular, Maria V. Snyder jumped out at me.  Each lesson is well-written and thought-rpoviking.  It feels as if the writers are talking to you personally. 

My favorite section involved characters and dialogue.  It worked out well for an area I was struggling with while writing my current manuscript.