Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Author Spotlight: R.J. Craddock


Please welcome R.J. Craddock. 

“What’s in a name?”

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ruth Craddock a.k.a R.J. Craddock the author of the urban fantasy: The Children of Cain series. The story is about Gwenevere; an orphan girl found wandering in the woods in the dead of winter speaking an unknown language, who finds out she is a Witch and a descendent of Lilith and Cain. My first book The Forsaken came out last year and book two The Offspring just came out on April 11th.

I just recently went to comic con in Salt Lake City Utah to sell my books. It was a riot! I met a lot of interesting people: comic book fans, fantasy lovers, fellow authors, avid readers, and aspiring writers. As a published author I got asked a lot of questions from readers and aspiring writers. The most common ones were:
 “How do you actually finish a book?”

 “Where do you get your ideas come from?”

 “How do you come up with names for your characters and places?”

My answers were:
 “Write straight through! Don’t revise at all until you’ve written one complete draft of the book. Even if some parts are just so-so or just plain awful; keep going until you’ve completed the story.”

I used to be a mad reviser. All I ever did was rewrite the first couple chapters over and over again until they were flawless. However, I never got any further in the story because I couldn’t leave it alone and move on. It was my husband who finally convinced me to write straight through. To just let things be terrible for a while and only revise when the story was done. Only when I started doing this was I finally able to finish writing a book.

“I get inspiration for my stories from reading good and bad books, from watching movies and more often than not from my own crazy dreams.”

 I find that when I can’t stand a book or movie that I start asking myself why and how I might change it to make it better. This spawns a lot of my plot concepts. My subconscious apparently is a complete nut and likes creating strange worlds and bizarre scenarios to entertain me whilst I sleep. Adding all these things together gives me plenty to draw from when I start compiling my stories.

“Names are easy to come by, but the right name says a lot about a person or place. I used baby name books, movie credits, and the names on tombstones to find new names, but I research the meanings behind them to decide if a name is right for my purposes.”

For instance I named by lead character Gwenevere because of the historical connotations associated with it and the mythical sound of it. Gwenevere just sounds dark and magical, doesn’t it? Legion, the head Vampire in book two, was a name that came to me without any help. The moment I thought him up it was obvious there could be no other name for him but that one. Legion means army or a multitude of people/things or "Legion" is a group of demons referred to in the Christian Bible. On the other hand I created my own language for my series and used a made up name for the mountain fortress in book two naming it Bec LaNuff. I like the sound of it because it sounds foreign, ancient, mysterious and a little scary. However, I took it a step further and gave it my own meaning. In the true tongue or language of the Children of Cain it means Mountain of blood or Blood Mount. Creepy, huh?

Anyway, I hope my answers help some of you aspiring writers out there with your own work. As for the avid readers I hope my explanations give insight into the inner workings of an author’s mind as you read from here on out. I want to thank Livia for letting my stop by her blog and share this with you all. 

Thank you, Ruth!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Top Ten Films of 2013

The best film of 2013. 

I am finally posting my Top Ten Films of 2013! It took forever to catch up on some films and reflect on what affected me the most. Film is an experience of emotions.  

2013 was a bold year for film. Hollywood released very significant, relevant, and emotionally endearing films. With that said, it was difficult to narrow down the films. 

1. "Gravity" -- I watched this film three times in cinemas. It was an immersive cinematic experience. You feel like you are in space with Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). The script is weak, but the performances, visual effects, and the escape from reality made up for it. "Gravity" is more than two people stranded in space;  it is a fight for survival and wanting to live your life to the fullest. (Note: Some of you may think this film is boring as heck, but I guarantee you, it is not.) 

2. "12 Years a Slave" -- A film that will make you look at slavery in a way you never have before. Very difficult to watch, but something you should NOT ignore because of the subject. It is a raw insight into what America had to endure in the 1800's. I was on the verge of tears during the whole film and sobbed at the end. 

3. "Her" -- A touching and moving film about Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) falling in love with his operating system Samantha. It reflects our society in many ways. 

4. "The Wolf of Wall Street" -- A cautionary tale about using your money wisely and the consequences of betraying your co-workers. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill deliver helluva performances. Can't stop thinking about the Quaalude scene. Martin Scorsese doesn't disappoint. 

5. "Philomena" -- An emotional roller-coaster about Philomena (Judi Dench) trying to find her long, lost son Anthony with journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan). Delightfully charming and hilarious. I laughed, cried, laughed, cried, etc.  

6. "Dallas Buyers Club" -- A film about Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and smuggling in drugs to survive. McConaughey transforms himself into an actor showing great range in this film. Jared Leto steals most of the scenes from him. 

7. "August: Osage County" -- A film that shows every family is dysfunctional in their own way -- small or big. Meryl Streep is excellent as always. 

8. "American Hustle" -- The most unpredictable film of 2013. Sexy and raunchy, thanks to the first-rate performances by Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams. A little step down from "Silver Linings Playbook".

9. "Blue Jasmine" -- An insightful look into how relationships affect us. Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins deliver stellar performances. 

10. "Nebraska" -- An intense character study about loving and appreciating your family. Bruce Dern is  divine in this film. June Squibb is delightfully hilarious, stealing most of the scenes from Dern. 

Honorable Mentions: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire", "Star Trek Into Darkness", "The Way, Way Back", "Captain Phillips", "Prisoners", "Stories We Tell", "Mud", "The Spectacular Now", "Fruitvale Station", "Rush", "Saving Mr. Banks", "Frozen", and "The Wind Rises".

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Author Spotlight: Jaclyn Weist


Every day a different blog will post a question. When you know the answer, you will send an email to Jaclyn at: jaclynweist@gmail.com

Jaclyn will draw a winner each day from those that got a correct answer. Prizes will be books, jewelry and St Patrick's day items. Want to know where to find the answers? Most of the questions will come from her first book, Stolen Luck. The great news for you is that it is $.99 right now! That link is here

The answers will be posted the next day on the next post, along with the next trivia question. Some of the questions deal with colors of the rainbow. Other questions deal with leprechauns. 

And, of course, at the end of the rainbow, there's a pot of gold. In that pot of gold will be an Amazon gift card! Those that answer questions by sending me an email will be entered to win the gift card on the last day.

Yesterday's Answer:
Megan wanted light blue paint for her room. Louie had other things in mind.

Today's Question:
Where is Stolen Luck set in the beginning?

Find the answer and tomorrow's question at

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Killing Ruby Rose Cover Reveal


Synopsis
In sunny southern California, Ruby Rose is known for her killer looks and her killer SAT scores. But ever since her dad, an LAPD SWAT sergeant, died six months ago, she’s also got a few killer secrets.

To cope with her father’s death, Ruby has been trying to stay focused on school (the top spot in her class is on the line) and spending time with friends (her Jimmy Choos and Mahnolo Blahniks are nothing if not loyal), but after months of therapy and more than a few months of pathetic parenting by her mom, District Attorney Jane Rose, Ruby decides to pick up where her dad left off and starts going after the bad guys herself.

But when Ruby ends up killing a murderer in defense of another, she discovers that she’s gone from being the huntress to the hunted. There’s a sick mastermind at play, and he has Ruby in his sights. Ruby must discover who’s using her to implement twisted justice before she ends up changing Valentino red for prison orange.

With a gun named Smith, a talent for martial arts, and a boyfriend with eyes to die for, Ruby is ready to face the worst. And if a girl’s forced to kill, won’t the guilt sit more easily in a pair of Prada peep-toe pumps?

Congratulations, Jessie!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cover Reveals: Fractured, Sidelined, and Breathless


Synopsis
There was absolutely no way a black dragon hovered outside of Newtimber. Sianna rubbed her eyes, but the dragon was still there, clutching a round object that looked like a spotted egg. And then the egg fell, hitting the ground like an atomic bomb, sending out waves of a slow-moving fog that distorted everything it touched.

The citizens of Newtimber change. The old man down the street stretches into a screaming tree. Sianna’s skateboarding friend, Matt, transforms into a giant green dragon. Pegasus. Sirens. Griffins. Vampires. Zombies. Creatures from the myths of every culture come to life through the people.

Even Sianna changes, her skin becoming stone hard, and she gains the ability to travel from the human realm into the dimension of the fae, using it to free her father from prison and enlist his aid in battling the evil bent on taking over the world.

One person to heal a family, a town, and save the world. It seems an impossible task, but with the help of her new friends, it could happen.

Right?


Synopsis
At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

Sidelined is the third book in Kyra Lennon’s Game On series. Game On (Book 1) and Blindsided (Book 2) are available on Amazon and Smashwords.


Synopsis
Eighteen-year-old Lainey is the only witness to her best friend losing her life to the depths of the ocean. She stays close to the water, a small part of her hoping to surrender to the same fate. On her birthday the waters almost overtake her, but a mysterious young man rescues her and disappears.

Lainey can't stop thinking about the stranger from the beach, and one night she finds her rescuer naked and bleeding on the shore. Jon doesn’t know what pancakes taste like, how microwave popcorn cooks, or own shoes, but he seems to be just what Lainey needs. As the anniversary of her friend’s death looms, Lainey opens herself in ways she never thought possible. But when Jon’s identity comes to light, Lainey has to save him before she loses another love to the sea.

Congratulations, Karen, Kyra, and Krista!