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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Author Interview: Roberta Hoffer

Interview with 
Roberta Hoffer, 
author of 
The Silent Vampire Trilogy

Welcome, Roberta Hoffer, to the Happy Book Reviewer! I'm excited to talk to you today about your Abbott saga, The Silent Vampire Trilogy!

In the first book, Silent Heart, mortal Sarah Abbott finds herself in a forbidden relationship with immortal Carter, her person Guardian vampire. Carter's creator, Victor, is not pleased with their new-found love and makes it his mission to destroy them.

Now, this book has an interesting back story! While doing some research on your ancestors, you found for really intriguing information that inspired you to use them as your characters. What has your family thought of seeing old family stories turned into fresh new fiction?

Hoffer: My family was thrilled that I was able to use information about deceased members and bring some life into personalities we never knew.

Did you start out with Silent Heart as a stand-alone book and then the characters wouldn't leave you alone, or did you always plan for it to be a series?

Hoffer: I always had a three book set in mind.  I knew once I began that the story wouldn't be played out in one book.  It would be over 600 pages!

Silent Madness is the second book in the trilogy, and Carter is given an unexpected gift of a brief return to life. During this time, he and Sarah conceive a child. However, Carter soon finds out that, as a mortal, he is incapable of protecting his pregnant wife from immortal evil that is bent against them. I love this dark, sinister cover (complete with gorgeous guy)! Did you have an idea of this cover, or did the artist (Dawné Dominique) pitch this idea to you?

Hoffer: I wanted to make the cover intriguing as well as a bit sexy.  Vampires are usually portrayed as sensual.  Dawne asked what I wanted to see and she delivered perfectly.  Pant, pant!!

Sexy is right! (I had to use this cover for the top of the post.) 

Silent Blood, the final book in the trilogy, centers around the kidnapping of Parker, Sarah and Carter's baby son. Writing about the quest for a missing child must have been emotional, especially as a mother yourself. Did you have to put yourself in Sarah's shoes to write her in a realistic frame-of-mind?

Hoffer: It was difficult to write about having a child lost and still trying to maintain life in a near-normal capacity.  The hardest part to write, though, was the loss of the baby born to Patricia.  I had to take a few breaks during those chapters.  Her loss and the kidnapping of Parker was simultaneous so it did take a lot to create the scene.

Without giving too much away, I know the final chapters of Silent Blood take a dramatic turn! Did you know from the beginning that you wanted the books to all lead the characters to this kind of finale? Or did this idea sort of surprise you along the way?

Hoffer: The ending of Silent Blood was always in my head.  I needed to add the fast forward of five years and catch my readers up to their lives before ending it.  Then when I did, I felt I owed my readers more to the story; hence a sequel.

A sequel to the series, eh? You'll revisit Sarah, Carter, Parker and the rest of your cast? Have you already started it? 

Hoffer: Yes, There is already a sequel in the works.  I was sad to say goodbye to such a romantic couple just when their existence had taken a turn.  Now it's up to you who have read the trilogy to be left in question as to which direction Sarah and Carter will go.  The sequel will probably be out in late 2014 with Eternal Press.

How exciting! Do you work on a couple things at once, or are you fully engrossed in one book at a time?

HofferAlong with the sequel, I am currently in the rewrite process of a children's chapter book series.  I have written a book each year for my grandson on his birthday for the past eleven years.  I felt this new chapter book would be a good start into another area of writing.  It's still fiction but on a different level.  I enjoy my vampires but I wanted to give back to children the joy that they gave me over my twenty-nine years of teaching.  I hope I can do just that.

Those books will be such a treasure for your grandson (now and such a keep-sake when he's an adult and has kids of his own).  What would you say is the most difficult part of being an author?

Hoffer: The most difficult part of being an author is... all of the aspects!  

Ha ha! Elaborate!

Hoffer: Ideas, writing them down in story form that will capture a reader, creating characters and their unique personalities, and putting it all into a package that will bring entertainment to a reader.  The submission process can be as easy or difficult as you want.  If you are comfortable with a small press then it will be easier.  If you are determined to start at the top; you have your work cut out for you.  I chose to go with a small publisher but one that is established and well known in my type of writing.  I just happened to be fortunate enough that they took a chance on me and we worked well together.  Publication is really up to the time line of the publisher and the marketing is mostly up to the author.  With that said, it is all very worth it if it is your dream to be published.  Whether you are a New York Times best seller or sell a few books a month, if it's what makes you happy, then keep writing!

So what is the most fun?

Hoffer: The most fun of it all is creating the characters to your specifications.  They can be anything or anyone you choose.  The ultimate happiness is holding the book in your hand for the first time and seeing your name in print.  It's quite a euphoric feeling.

Last question and I'll let you get back to your vampires so you can get another book in hand! All writers are readers first. What book have you read that you wish you'd written?

Hoffer: I love Anne Rice and her vampire series.  Charlene Harris is good but her books do get a little more risqué that I like.  There's many more that have sparked my desire to write my own.  Then, there are some that I think, I can do a better job than that. :)

Thanks again for joining us! Readers can find The Silent Vampire Trilogy at:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Author Interview: Aaron Dennis

Interview with 
Aaron Dennis,
author of 
Cayneian & The Lokian Series

Today we're welcoming author Aaron Dennis to The Happy Book Reviewer!
Your latest book, Cayneian: A Man From Blood, is just out now in paperback and e-book. Dysart is a castrated mute with blood magic power. He sets off on an adventure to kill the daemon that gave him this power, but must not succumb to his own bloodlust.
You've been writing your Sci-Fi series, The Lokians (published by Eternal Press), for several years now. For your latest book, however, you've ventured into the Action/Adventure genre. What inspired you to take this new path?

Dennis: I've always liked fantasy; Lord of the Rings, Narnia, even Crystania, an old Japanese animated mini series, and that's kind of where this whole foray is seated; foreign fantasy adventure. Americans, and even Brits are way too child friendly...at least in fantasy books. Did we not see and love Gladiator? Did we not drool over 300? Even Braveheart made our souls pine and cringe simultaneously for bloody adventure. So this adventure, Cayneian, this journey into the abyss, comes from my love of movies and video games from this genre...but why, you asked. Because it needed to be done. I want to remind everyone of their deeper, darker sides...the brutality of humanity...and yet, there is hope. Well...sort of.

Did you find writing this kind of Fantasy more difficult than your Sci-Fi series, because It was new for you, or was it refreshing?

Dennis: Fantasy might actually be easier to write than sci fi...after all, I didn't have to spend 10 plus hours researching the difference between a photon beam and a laser beam. Apart from a natural flow of storytelling, I actually practiced with a short story entitled Expedition, which is a sort of prequel to Cayneian, but not perfectly so; it's more like Cayneian was loosely based off Expedition. Anyway, I practiced, so it was pretty easy to write the story. 

Correction: it was easy to tell the story. Writing it was a disaster, and so I edited and re wrote it, had it beta read, and re wrote it, and tweaked it, and, and, and then I finally got it perfect.

What was the most difficult thing about writing Cayneian?

Dennis: Admittedly, it was difficult to write for the female characters, and difficult to convey the ultimate and ceaseless sense of dread. Fortunately, the fun part was toying with my own emotions; if I was able to sway my own mood, I figure it'll affect the audience to a surprising extend. Read it without shedding a tear, I dare you.

I understand that-- writing my male characters are always harder than writing my female ones, especially in dialogue. So, the cover is kind of scary but very artistic! Did you commission this, and was it what you had envisioned, or did the designer surprise you?
Dennis: The cover is cool, isn't it? I paid 5 bucks for it. A user named goodfauzon on www.fiverr.com made it for me; I've had him make like 4 or 5. My original idea was a bloodied hand pushing forth from soil, rocks, and skulls. Then I thought, why not a whole dude crawling free from the grave. goodfauzon sent me that instead and at first, I didn't like it. I gave it a moment. I studied it. I read it, and then I thought yes...this is a man from blood. I didn't like it right away because it was not what I envisioned, but this is better. I freaking love it.

You've now published books with an established publisher, and then went on to self-publish a book. What did the experience with the publisher teach you that you will be carrying on in self-publishing (about marketing, cover design, internal design, etc.)?
Dennis: Oh my goodness...I gathered a wealth of knowledge from my indie press. I went in a caterpillar and emerged a tiger. Didn't see that one coming, did you? Anyway, I learned how to write better, technically speaking; how to avoid passive phrasing, how to choose the best adjective to portray a mood, i.e. cadaverous over emaciated, which I don't think I used in Cayneian...at any rate, my choice to go self published came more from a wanting to see what I can do on my own. Truthfully, what I want is an agency to represent me; this is really the only way to make Stephen-Kingian money. Oh? not a word? It is now!

Maybe when you make Stephen-Kingian money, you can pay off the dictionary people and get that word put in. But would the picture be yours or Stephen King's?  Hmmm....

Dennis: Seriously, though, I hope to break out into my own, and not as a scifi writer, or an adventure writer, but as an action writer. I guarantee, no boasting here, you will not find any other novels or stories with the intensity of action as provided by me. Understand, I'm not saying it's a superior style, but a different style; one that I like to read, and maybe one that will entice those who do not yet like to read.

You have got a number of books now under your belt. What advice would you give to someone dreaming of writing their own sci-fi or fantasy series?
Dennis: My advice is to find the trend. For instance, and this is just perfect timing, Almost Human, a scifi show with a robot cop just came out, and a new RoboCop is about to come out, and look at StarTrek, see how different it all is? the level of action? the quick little quips given by the characters? you've got to adapt what you like with what's trending, you just have to. Here's how I describe the Lokians sci fi series; Bad Boyz II meets M.I.B. meets Star Ship Troopers.

Incorporate all of what you like then trim it down to its simplest form (something I did not understand with my first 3 attempts and only got right in Lokians 3...and then Cayneian).


Thanks for coming on today! Readers can find out more about your books at:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book review by Denise Kim Wy

Sharing another review, this one at Denise Kim Wy's site:


Quote from review of Deep Green:
"This book kind of reminded me of Life of Pi... I like the fact that she's not another one of those clichéd damsel in distress..."

Author Interview: Olga Godim

Interview with 
Olga Godim, 
author of 
Lost and Found in Russia

Warm welcome to Russian-born Olga Godim, the author of Lost and Found in Russia, to The Happy Book Reviewer!

This is the story of two mothers, Amanda and Sonya. After the shocking discovery that her daughter was switched at birth thirty-four years ago, Canadian Amanda heads to Russia to find her biological daughter. Thirty-four-year-old Russian dancer Sonya battles her own daughter’s teenage rebellion.

Godim: Thank you, Trisha, for inviting me to your blog.

Happy to have you! So, this is your only non-fantasy book. What inspired you to write contemporary women's fiction instead? Did you set out to try a different genre, or did certain events inspire Lost and Found in Russia?

Godim: I’m predominantly a fantasy writer, that’s true. It’s how my brain works. But several years ago, I started thinking about a story that eventually became Lost and Found in Russia. Snatches of that story just wouldn’t leave me, maybe because it is based partially on my personal experiences.

Really? How so?

Godim: When I was young and poor, I often fantasized: what if someone showed up at my door and said that I had been switched at birth, and my birth family was rich. And they’re looking for me. What would I do? What would my mother do? And – here was the tricky question – what would my other mother do? Would she want and love me as much as the mother who raised me? From that daydream sprouted the idea for one half of the book – the story of Amanda, who discovers after 34 years that her daughter was switched at birth, by mistake.

The second part of the novel unfolded in my mind after I met an amazing woman, Irina, in Montreal. An immigrant from Russia, like my protagonist Sonya, Irina came to Canada with nothing and accomplished much. I was inspired by her optimism and determination. She told me about her life and her struggles to find her place in a new country. Awed by her courage, her indomitable spirit, and her lovely soul, I adopted her as a model for Sonya. After my meeting with Irina, the novel practically wrote itself, although I have to say that both women are absolutely different. Sonya came from my imagination. Unlike Sonya, the real woman Irina had never been a dancer. She was a musician, a violinist, in Russia. She became a surgical nurse in Canada. Could you imagine how much efforts and study hours went into such a drastic professional switch!   

Now, I think I heard about a Russian switched-at-birth story like yours happening in real life recently! Did you see that story?

Godim: Yes, there was a news story recently about two babies switched at birth in a hospital. And what do you know – it happened in Russia too, last year. The hospital switched the babies at birth, by mistake, and the mothers, obviously suspecting that something was wrong, started searching and doing DNA testing. The hospital denied all responsibility. Several months later, the two women found each other and switched the babies back. Their reunion with their own babies was a very poignant moment, as was their parting with the babies they raised and nursed and loved for those months. They both feel as if both baby girls are their daughters. I thought I made it all up, but it seems such things could happen… in Russia. Here is the news reel about the mothers’ reunion: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/53613825/#53613825

You're a mother (and a daughter) yourself. Did that make the story of a mother and child searching for each other more poignant because you know first-hand how deep a mother's love runs?

Godim: Yes, I suppose. Being a mother and a daughter, I know the dynamics of a mother-child relationship from both ends. But every woman is different, unique, so two women wouldn’t react identically to the same situation. When I was doing research for this novel, I asked my own mom: “What would you do if someone comes to you and says that I’m not your daughter? Would you help us meet? Accept the other woman’s claim that I’m her daughter?” She said she would, with no hesitation. Then I asked my sister the same question: “What would you do if someone said your daughter is not really yours, and you have another daughter somewhere else?” She said she wouldn’t allow such a person in the door. She could never accept that the daughter she raised and loved could be someone else’s child. In this story that I made up, there are actually several controversies running around. What about the daughter who suddenly learns that her mother is not her mother, that she has another mother some place else. She loves her mother. Would she love the other woman? Again, everyone reacts differently.    

Reviewers of the book point out how enjoyable your depiction of Russia is to read, and that you clearly love the country and are an expert on it. What are your ties to Russia?

Godim: I grew up in Russia, although it was a long time ago. Russia is a country of contradictions: between poverty and wealth, between the richness of her culture at one end of the spectrum and the majority of poorly educated, rampaging bigots at the other. There is an epidemic of drunkenness and a sweeping corruption there, but at the same time, the amazing feats of courage and self-sacrifice are common among the best of her people. My best friend is a Russian woman. In my novel, I tried to show the best Russia can offer, but some pretty gruesome facts also made their way into the story. I guess the truth often has multiple faces.  

I love books with a message. If a high school class were reading your book some day, what themes or messages would the teacher want the students to pick up on?

Godim: I’d say the most important message of this novel is: “Don’t give up. It’s never too late. Persevere in whatever endeavor is important to you.” 

Amanda learned that her daughter was switched at birth 34 years after the fact. That’s quite a long time. Undaunted by the weight of years, she traveled to Russia. She knew she would have to deal with a host of foreign bureaucrats, the lack of democracy, and the inevitable changes the time brings, but she didn’t despair, because she wanted very much to find her biological daughter. She persevered. 

Sonya was a dancer in Russia. When she immigrated to Canada she was already over 30 and resigned, at least at first, to losing her dancing. She thought it was too late to establish a new dancing career in a new country. But dance beckoned her. She missed it bitterly: the music, the movements, the stage, and the audience.

The turning point in her story was when she danced for Jane. Jane was a quadriplegic, and Sonya worked as her caregiver. At one point, Jane demanded to see Sonya dancing, and Sonya complied. The scene of her dancing is my favorite in the novel. It’s not exotic or sensual, quite the opposite, it’s rather mundane, but it reflects Sonya’s need of dancing, her joy in her body moving with music. After that scene, Sonya became determined to recapture her dancing. If I ever write a sequel, Sonya’s dream of dancing will come true.

You've also done a translation of a Russian classic that hadn't been translated to English yet. Can you tell us about it?

Godim: I'm bilingual, English and Russian, and I wanted to offer my readers one of my favorite stories by the Russian writer Alexander Grin. His novella Scarlet Sails, first published in 1923, is very popular in Russia. I loved it when I was a young girl. Since its first publication, Scarlet Sails has had numerous adaptations in Russia, including a movie, a ballet, and countless print runs. The story is lyrical and romantic, almost magical, and filled with the vague yearning of the unknown. It’s available in English translation, but I’ve heard that the existing English translation is no good. Besides, it was published several decades ago and is out of print now. So I decided to translate it myself and put it on my website – for anyone to enjoy. It was the labor of love and my tribute to the author. You can find it here: http://olgagodim.wordpress.com/translation-scarlet-sails/

How was translation similar to writing a novel? Or was it very different?

Godim: Translating is an art in itself, nothing like writing a novel. When I translated, I wasn’t concerned with the story structure or with developing characters. It was already done by the author. Instead, I wanted to convey to the readers what the author wanted to say and how he wanted to say it.

There are two schools of translation. The proponents of the first one postulate that translating should be done word by word, to get the readers to feel the foreign language, its rhythm and its imagery. I’m not sure this is the right approach. I subscribe to the other ideology of translation: that the readers’ experience in the target tongue should be close to that of the readers in the original tongue.  

When I translated Scarlet Sails, I sometimes skipped adjectives (there are too many in the original, and the English readers are not reacting well to the abundance of adjectives) or changed the sentence order in a paragraph, so it would sound better in English. I even omitted occasional sentences or combined a couple of sentences into one, or used some metaphors the author didn’t use while dropping the ones he did. My main goal was to bring the text closer to the modern English readers, although I tried my best to keep the author’s lyrical tone and his romanticism.

That sounds exhausting, but so rewarding, especially for a work you feel so connected to! Is your next work going to be a translation, a contemporary women's novel, or are you moving back to fantasy? Can you give us a hint about your next book?

Godim: I don’t plan on doing another translation, at least not yet. I have a fantasy novel, Almost Adept, published in January 2014, and my second fantasy novel will be released in May. I’m writing another fantasy novel now. I might return to the story of Amanda and Sonya one day, I have an idea for another story about Sonya, but I don’t know yet.

Thank you for coming on today! Readers can find Lost and Found in Russia in e-book and print at:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Author Interview: KZ Riman

Interview with 
KZ Riman, 
author of 
Kissing Another Grimaldi

Today we're welcoming author KZ Riman, author of the Kissing Bovaghnian Rogues series, to The Happy Book Reviewer!

The first book of the series, Kissing Another Grimaldi, is now out in e-book and print from Eternal Press. When her beloved dies, Kelsey Fontez is left alone, pregnant with his son. Years later she decides to introduce her son to his grandparents (the wealthy Grimaldis) and hopefully give him a chance at a better life. The baby's uncle, Scott Grimaldi, has lusted after Kelsey for many years and must decide if trying for her affections is worth losing his inheritance, having to care for his brother’s son, and throwing away his life-long dreams.

I know there's a place in southern Italy named Grimaldi-- is this where the book Is set? Or is It set elsewhere, and perhaps the family is Italian?

Riman: Actually, the book is set in a made-up country named Khazkathia. The reason I created a completely different world is for the readers to really feel the “escape” from reality, even when Kissing the Bovaghnian Rogues isn’t a fantasy series. I plan to use this country with all my books in the series and any other book I dream to have with Eternal Press.

You have a lot of travel-related photos and dreams on your blog (www.kzriman.wordpress.com) and you're currently living in The Philippines. Is travel a passion of yours, or perhaps a dream?

Riman: I haven’t been to a lot of places, but I definitely want to travel, starting with my own province and country. It is part of my future plans, which I hope will push through in the near future.

The cover of the book, done by the super-talented Amanda Kelsey, is just beautiful! How did you feel first seeing your characters, after just imagining how they looked during the writing process? Do they match what you saw in your mind's eye?

Riman: Most definitely loved it! I gasped seeing it. It was exactly how I described I wanted it to look like. Amanda did a great job putting to arts what I had in mind for the book.

The cover is very steamy, appropriate for a very steamy book! I love Scott Grimaldi's smoky gaze at the viewer. Whew! So, I have to ask, did you tell your parents you were writing a really sexy book? Did you let them read it, or did you have to censor the sexy parts?

Riman: I did tell my family I was writing for a very steamy genre. I received different reactions, especially from my grandparents (and I am talking about ALL grandparents from the whole clan). Some were excited, while others scolded me. My mom, my sister and grandmother (my mom’s mom) were thrilled and they hugged me upon hearing the news of a debut novel. (They haven’t read any part of the book, though.)

What was the most difficult thing about writing this book? What was the most fun part?

Riman: Imagining the love scenes so I could write them in detail was the most difficult part, but the most fun at the same time, in writing Kissing Another Grimaldi. I mean, I had to stop every now and then to drink a glass of water. *wink*

Haha! Now, you're quite the reader too. If you could be in any novel, which would it be? Would you be yourself, living amongst the characters, or would you want to switch places with one of the existing characters?

Riman: I think I would rather be myself and live amongst the characters of all of my favourite novels. I think I would want to see who I would be and what I would become when placed in another world.

You had been working on a Master's Degree, correct? What field are you studying?

Riman: I actually have taken a break from studying for now. I was supposed to be working on my thesis already, but when I left teaching College English and became a supervisor in the retail industry, I didn’t have much time. I am planning to continue studying this year since I recently moved to a different job, which allows me more time. When I finish it, I’ll have my degree of Master of Education in English.

As if that wouldn't keep you busy enough, I'm guessing you're working on the next book in the Kissing Bovaghnian Rogues series. Can you give us a hint on what it is about?

Riman: It’s the prequel. Aunt Kaidence and Uncle Andrew, and their secret island, have been mentioned a few times in my current book. Theirs is a story of steaming romance and suspense. Someone is after Kaidence. As Andrew, her bodyguard then, falls distracted to her charms, they find themselves in the pit of a tragedy with no escape but to decide who takes a bullet for whom.

Exciting! So... everyone should get their hands on Kissing Another Grimaldi so they can be ready for the prequel when It comes out! You get the e-book or print version at:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Author Interview: Laura Dasnoit

Interview with 
Laura Dasnoit, 
author of 
Forgotten Legends

Welcome Laura Dasnoit to The Happy Book Reviewer! Im excited to have you on today to discuss your paranormal urban fantasy book, Forgotten Legends.

Iris Borden is your heroine in Forgotten Legends. Iris private investigator who considers her life normal… aside from the dreams of Norse Gods! Then one day shes tricked by Death into becoming a soul collector and propelled into a world she never imagined possible.

You had me at Norse Gods! Have you had a long-standing interest in Norse mythology, or did you research it for the book? (Or did a certain smokin' hot, blond-haired, hammer-wielding fellow spark the idea?)

Dasnoit: I researched Norse Gods for the book. I absolutely fell in love with the stories and can't imagine Forgotten Legends without the tribute. (Team Loki!)

Some books start as a kernel of an idea, or a character, or a scene, or even the whole plot all at once. What were your very earliest thoughts for this book?

Dasnoit: It all started with a scene. Iris was already a soul collector, dressed in black, and she was this godly image in my mind - the perfect heroine with a smirk to match. I fell in love and had to wrap a book around her.

Iris is a private investigator (before she becomes a soul collector), and word on the street is that youve been one too! Is Irisexperience in this career similar to yours, other than getting tricked by Death, of course?

Dasnoit: There's a lot more trash collection in the real world of being a private investigator. I think Iris has the cooler side of the lifestyle!

What was the most difficult thing about writing Forgotten Legends?

Dasnoit: The one thing that would ruin the entire book if I said it! I know, I know, I'm horrible. I'm just not going to spoil it, just yet.

Haha! Okay, okay! I don't want to be responsible for any spoilers. How about this then... if a high school class were reading your book some day, what themes would you want them to be picking up on?

Dasnoit: Chaos and order. Destinies can change, even when they aren't supposed to.

Speaking of chaos and order, when you finished Forgotten Legends, did you have a long list of ideas for other novels you want to write, or do you start from scratch brainstorming new ideas?

Dasnoit: I started from scratch even though my mind is always buzzing with ideas.

What book have you read that that you wish you had written?

Dasnoit: The Alienist. It's just a perfect book all around.

I haven't read that one! Hey, by the way, you and I share a love of antique books! Do you have a prized piece in your collection?

Dasnoit: I think that's like asking if you have a favorite child! With that said, I'll attempt to pick one or two out of the bunch.

John Dryden - Fables Ancient & Modern - 1700
The Works of Alexander Pope - 1789

Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my mouth, and tell me, are you working on a next book? Can you give us a hint on what it is about?

Dasnoit: I have finished my next project. The book is a young adult filled with pirates, ninjas, steampunk contraptions, and furry little gnomes!

Hopefully that one will be ready for our Kindles and our hands soon. In the meantime, folks can get their Norse mythology fix and find Forgotten Legends at: