Friday, June 30, 2006

Free Chapter and Other Bits

I've posted the first chapter of my second novel online! Go to my in-progress website and click on "Evergreen Secrets." Be sure to leave a comment and browse around the rest of the site!

Sometime this weekend, Keepin' On will be putting up the July issue, with my review of River Rising by Athol Dickson. Yes, I've finally read the book! And while it didn't make my top favorite books of the year, I still enjoyed the read.

The blog tour for Waking Lazarus is still in progress. Visit T. L. Hines' blog for links to other reviews and interviews.

Brandilyn Collins provided a quick look at the makings of an ISBN number on her blog today:

Starting January 1, 2007, each ISBN (International Standard Book Number) will expand to 13 digits in order to get in step with worldwide publishing. The three extra digits will signify the country in which the book is published.

All the numbers in a bar code mean something, by the way. Example: bar code for Violet Dawn: 0-310-25223-7. 0=English language. 310=Publisher. 25223=Title. 7=Check digit. The new bar codes will place the three country digits at the very beginning, before the language digit. 978=USA.

And now if you’re wondering what the check digit’s all about—it’s a mathematically obtained number to check if the bar code was keyed in or scanned correctly. For ISBNs the check digit is computed by multiplying each digit by its place in the line. (For Violet Dawn, 0x1, 3x2, 1x3, 0x4, etc.), then adding these answers (=173), then dividing that sum by 11 (=15, remainder 7). The remainder is the check digit. If the remainder happens to be 10, an X is used instead.

I'd always wondered about the "X." Am I the only person who thinks this is totally cool?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Waking Lazarus

No, it's not Walking Lazarus. Or even Raising Lazarus. But whatever you call it, T. L. Hines' debut novel Waking Lazarus is a can't-put-down mind-twisting thriller from start to finish.

My review:

Jude Allman has died three times. Each time he returns to life, his fame grows, along with questions. Tired of being a freak, Jude changes his name and retreats to Red Lodge, Montana. As school janitor Ron Gress, all he wants to do is blend in and block all memories of his past, often repeating the Tolkien-ish mantra, “Keep it secret, keep it safe.”

But secrets of the past are about to be blown wide open. A young woman named Kristina has discovered Jude’s whereabouts, and she insists there’s a purpose behind Jude’s journeys to the Other Side. Amid his skepticism, strange things start happening. Visions. Blackouts. An odd coppery taste in his mouth. Rescues.

Meanwhile, children are disappearing in the towns surrounding Red Lodge, and the police have no decent leads. As Jude begins to shed his reclusiveness, rumors of his psychic encounters pique the interest of the authorities. It’s only a matter of time before they learn his true identity, and that will signal the beginning of the end - unless he can find the real kidnapper.

With an intriguing premise, a likeable hero, and a villain worthy of Ted Dekker, Hines has created a glued-to-your-seat read with themes to ponder long after the book is closed. Suspense is kept throughout Waking Lazarus, and each of the characters perfect the delicate balance of withholding and giving information. The plot dips, curves, and loops until the final twist at the end. Recommended for suspense fans and anyone who wants the ride of his life. -- Katie Hart, Christian Book Previews.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

DragonKnight

Yesterday the third tale in Donita K. Paul's DragonKeeper Chronicles released - DragonKnight. If you haven't come across the DragonKeeper books yet, you're in for a real treat.

DragonSpell starts off the series as Kale, a village slave, finds a dragon egg and is thrust into adventure. Here's a quick description:

One Dragon Egg Holds the Key to the Future.
Once a slave, Kale is given the unexpected opportunity to become a servant to Paladin. Yet this young girl has much to learn about the difference between slavery and service.

A Desperate Search Begins...
A small band of Paladin's servants rescue Kale from danger but turn her from her destination: The Hall, where she was to be trained. Feeling afraid and unprepared, Kale embarks on a perilous quest to find the meech dragon egg stolen by the foul wizard Risto. First, she and her comrades must find Wizard Fenworth. But their journey is threatened when a key member of the party is captured, leaving the remaining companions to find Fenworth, attempt an impossible rescue, and recover the egg whose true value they have not begun to suspect...

Weaving together memorable characters, daring adventure, and a core of eternal truth, Dragonspell is a finely crafted and welcome addition to the corpus of fantasy fiction.

Next in the series is DragonQuest. Here's my review of the book for Christian Book Previews (and I just found out it's the spotlight review for the book on Amazon!):

"Kale and her friends return in this mesmerizing sequel to DragonSpell. Two weeks into her training at the Hall, Kale, a dragonkeeper for Paladin, is summoned to help the aging Wizard Fenworth with the meech dragon she quickened. Two minor dragons and a furry young street urchin are already under her care, but there's also an irksome someone to report on her and train her to defend herself - Bardon, a structured older boy called the Snitch behind his back.

Facing danger even to get to Fenworth's, the group soon finds that their journey is only beginning. The evil Wizard Risto has seized another meech to further his plans of taking over Amara. As they travel to free dragons already enslaved by Risto's influence, the mystery surrounding the mother Kale never knew begins to be hampered by more questions.

Rich in adventure, deep in insight, and filled with the intriguing creative touches that fantasy readers love, this book is a must-read for all ages. Seven high races and seven evil races people Amara, portrayed in detail and kept distinct. Multi-dimensional characters become friends you wish you could meet. Dragons permeate the story like a flock of tropical birds, with vivid coloring and varied personalities. The author also adds mind-speaking abilities, wizardry, gateways to travel long distances instantly, and a cloak with pockets that don't bulge, but these elements are only frosting to deeper issues like trust and discipline. A twisting and suspenseful plot finishes the novel on a high note but leaves room for sequels to come. The Dragonkeeper Chronicles are books sure to captivate every lover of fantasy."

And then there's the latest addition to this fascinating saga: DragonKnight. Here's a bit of my review, soon to be published on Christian Book Previews:

"Bardon heads to the mountains to spend a long-anticipated sabbatical in solitude before taking his vow as Paladin’s knight . . . a young emerlindian named N’Rae and her grandmother need Bardon to help them find Granny Kye’s son, imprisoned with other knights following Paladin. Bardon suspects one is his friend Kale’s father, and reluctantly agrees to lead the quest.

The wonderful land of Amara returns in this delightful sequel to DragonQuest. A troupe of varied characters fills the pages – members of the seven high races; the seven low races; major, minor, and meech dragons; and the legendary minneken. Combine this with a twisting plot, beautiful description, and depth of characterization, and you have a novel that’s almost too rich to devour in one reading."

Coming in 2007, the last book of the DragonKeeper Chronicles, DragonFire, will be released. But that won't be the last we'll see of Amara - Donita K. Paul is under contract for three more fantasy novels with WaterBrook!

And if you're ever confused about what order the DragonKeeper books come in, just remember they're in reverse alphabetical order - Spell, Quest, Knight, and Fire.

For more about DragonKnight, Donita K. Paul, and all the DragonKeeper Chronicles, be sure to visit the other blogs participating in the Christian SF/Fantasy Blog Tour this week!

Sally Apokedak
Valerie Comer
Johne Cook
Janey DeMeo
Mary E. DeMuth
Beth Goddard
Rebecca Grabill
Leathel Grody
Sherrie Hibbs
Marcia Laycock
Shannon McNear
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika Schultz
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower

Monday, June 05, 2006

Something Beyond the Sky

My review of Siri Mitchell's wonderful novel, Something Beyond the Sky, is up at Keepin' On. Click on over and check it out (free registration required). Then come back here and let me know what you thought of it! For more about Siri's books, visit her website.

On a bit more personal note, I was initially interested in this book (beyond the fact that I love Siri's writing!) because several of my friends are pilots or in the military. I also really liked the cover (not that I won't read a book if I don't like the cover - I do plan to read Dee Henderson's upcoming novel despite its cover - but a beautiful cover brings an urge to own the book, not merely read it or have a galley or ARC). Another neat thing was that my church was doing a study on religions, and the sermon on Mormonism took place right as I was reading the book. I enjoyed getting the perspectives almost simultaneously.

Friday, June 02, 2006

First Fridays: Deliver Us From Evelyn

Deliver Us From Evelyn

(Harvest House Publishers)

Chris Well

Everyone from the Feds to the mob is scrambling to find the husband of heartless media mogul Evelyn Blake. But no one can decide which is worse—that he is missing, or that she is not ...

Buy now at Amazon.com