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Monday, April 28, 2008

Some recent reviews...

It has been a crazy week... signings... writing... etc. and etc. I had some wonderful reviews and they keep me going. My thanks to these very kind three ladies... :)
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Starsight, by Minnette Meador
by
Sheila Deeth
April 23, 2008

Here's a confession. I didn't like fairy tales as a child. I wasn't scared of them - they just annoyed me. Life wasn't meant to be so unpredictable and so unfair, or if was I didn't want to read about it.

I wanted to read my big brother's books - real books the same shape and size as grown-up ones, with lots of words and no pictures. But my brother said I had to prove I was serious first. He told me to read the Snow Queen, but I loathed it so much I volunteered to clean his room instead. That way, I could read chapters from his bookshelf once a week without anyone knowing.
They read Alice in Wonderland to me in grade school. I tried to cover my ears. And in junior high I had to listen to the Hobbit. I couldn't understand the attraction at all, and deduced that fantasy really wasn't my thing.
At college, the young man, who later became my husband, had a novel way of making sure I stayed in touch. He loaned me his copy of Frank Herbert's Dune. It was a thick book that took a long time to read, and when I was finished I had to give it back. My husband likes Dune because he's always loved science fiction (so have I), but it was the first book verging on fantasy that I really enjoyed. Then I bought the Narnia books, Lord of the Rings (and the Hobbit and the Silmarillion of course), the complete works of Lewis Carroll, Earthsea (back when it was only a trilogy)... I was hooked. I even started meeting with friends once a week to play a variant on Dungeons and Dragons.

Then we married and had kids.

It wasn't till I picked up my copy of Minnette Meador's Starsight, mailed freshly minted, signed and personalized by the author (a gather friend), that I realized how long it was since I'd enjoyed a long fantasy (unless Harry Potter counts). I tried George R.R. Martin's books recently, but couldn't get into them - the short reading sessions of a busy life meant the story became too disjointed for me to follow. I was actually nervous as I started Starsight, wanting so much to enjoy it, but beginning to wonder if my reading had come full circle.

I guess Minnette allayed my fears fairly quickly. Eechas instead of hairy horses disturbed me - maybe that's one of my problems, keeping the language of a fantasy world in mind. Guiders. Power (always in italics). I wasn't sure, but I kept reading; persevered into the second chapter. Then suddenly the whole of Minnette's strange world came into focus in my imagination. I was there, transported for a chapter at a time, and the names and images were ready and waiting to return as soon as I came back. With so many names - such strange names - I'm not sure how she did it. But I'd have to say, Minnette has a very deft hand at weaving enough detail into her tale to keep it all flowing smoothly in and out of memory.

Two things attracted me to the book before I read it: Piers Anthony's endorsement on the front cover, and Spider Robinson's on the back. The pictures on the cover made me think I might be in for a Lord of the Rings look-alike, but I was pleased to be wrong. Starsight is set in world of its own, with human characters, flawed and believable, stories and histories interwoven and slowly revealed, and an enjoyable premise of good misused and evil strangely attractive.

Somewhere along the way, I realized I was reading book one of a set. Now I've finished, and the world's still waiting, it's peoples poised for disaster and war, its problems and deceits only partially resolved. Please get the next one published soon Minnette.

Meanwhile, maybe it's time I tried a Song of Ice and Fire again, my fantasy taste-buds now revitalized and hungry for more. Thanks Minnette.
©Sheila Deeth, April 2008
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A Fantasy Novel Worth Reading- A Review of Starsight
by
A. F. Stewart
April 14, 2008

I just finished my copy of Starsight by Minnette Meador, and I absolutely loved it. I highly recommend it.

Here's my review:
Starsight is a superior, old-fashioned, epic tale of wizardry, evil and empires.
The book tells the tale of Trenara, Joshan and their allies, as they battle the Machiavellian schemes of Sirdar, and it weaves an intriguing, complex journey for the reader.
The world inside the pages comes alive fully, unfolding with a vibrant energy, and wholly realized characters. From the first page to the last word, I was captivated and entertained. The author creates an inventive outlook on the world of wizards, kings, and magic, giving us characters to care about as they slowly deal with the expanding threat, amidst their secrets, flaws and decency.

Starsight is the first volume in a series, and I can't wait until the next book. It is a remarkable fantasy novel.

Starsight is available through online retailers and Stonegarden.net
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Five Stars Is Not Enough! This Book Deserves More!!!, April 26, 2008
By
Tia Fanning "Fanning the Flames of Romance" (Fantasy, Illinois) - See all my reviews

Five stars does not even come close to how much I love this book. It deserves ten, perhaps twenty stars! Author Minnette Meador takes you on a thrilling journey to a turbulent time in history and spins you a romantic tale that will have you emotionally engaged until the very last page. As you read, you'll be laughing with the characters, crying with the characters, screaming at the characters one moment (yes, as if they could actually hear you), then cheering them on the next (and making all the people around you think you're utterly crazy for talking to a book!) However, more importantly, you will fall in love with the characters, the story, and the author's eloquent writing style. Anyone is who is a fan of history, legend and/or mythology-- and of course, romance-- should read this book. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Artist to Artist - Heart to Heart - #3 Derrick Freeland

Derrick Freeland
myspace.com/overcast_productions
Derrick is the talented artist who did the Starsight bookcover for me. He is a gifted illustrator with a style all his own and I have been very pleased. What I love about Derrick's work is that he produces images that are similar to the older styles of book cover art done in the forties, fifties, and sixties. It's not just a collection of geometric designs or computer generated composites, but real hand-drawn art. His colors are vivid, his subject matter intense, and it definitely catches the eyes.









He is currently working on his own graphic novel. "I Dream A Far Country" is unique, highly charged, and goreously illustrated. Derrick's style is truly one of a kind.







He has also done cover art and book illustrations for several other authors as well.





















It is heart warming to see younger people revitalizing the old master styles again. It is nice to know it is not dying out. Starsight II promises to be astonishing...the sketches have just taken my breath away.
Please visit Derrick and say hi to an artist whose work is truly inspirational.




Minnette Meador

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Artist to Artist - Heart to (Celtic) Heart - Feature #2

Here is an inspiration from author Cynthia Owens - Thanks, Cynthia!

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My inspiration came from a CD entitled “Celtic Hearts,” a collection of beautiful Irish music. Played mostly on traditional Irish instruments, such as the fiddle, the tin whistle, the harp, and the bodhran, it’s performed by Will Millar, of the Irish Rovers.

Two pieces of music inspired me most. The first was a medley called “Haunted Kenbane.” Haunting and soul-wrenching, every time I listened to it I could picture a devastated Irish village, a valiant band of survivors of famine and tyranny, and a bold hero arriving to bring that village back to life. Those pictures became my first novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow, released by Highland Press in December of 2006.

The second piece, “The Irish Brigade,” was equally inspirational for the sequel to In Sunshine or in Shadow, in which the hero is a veteran of Thomas Francis Meagher’s Irish Brigade, which fought so bravely during the American Civil War. This particular medley ends with a rousing version of Ashokan Farewell, the theme music for Ken Burns’ wonderful series of the Civil War, played mostly on the fiddle and tin whistle.

There’s nothing like Irish music to inspire tales of glory and great love.

Actually, I was lucky enough to be able to contact Mr. Miller, who kindly granted me permission to use part of “Haunted Kenbane” for the video trailer of In Sunshine or in Shadow. You can listen to the wonderful music and view the trailer at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybBhGrSGHo4

Thanks for the opportunity to share my muse.

Cynthia Owens
Historical Romances with passion, history and soul
In Sunshine or in Shadow
Available Now From Highland Press
http://pages.videotron.com/cowens/index.html
http://cynthiaowensromancewriting.blogspot.com/
http://www.myspace.com/cynthiaowens
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CynthiaOwens
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybBhGrSGHo4

Monday, April 14, 2008

Creative Challenge - Artist to Artist -Heart to Heart

On Wings of Song
Featured Artist #1: Composer Stephan Carroll

It was, in fact, an act of fate, that brought me to this young man's music. Through the miracle that is the internet* and a certain type of electronic magic*, I heard haunting stanzas that drifted unencumbered into my soul, enchanting me, and forcing the Muse to dance, again, for my pleasure. She was stiff, but the whip put bounce back into her step. It had been a very long time.

To catch the genie in the bottle, I created another piece of mambo magic...a video.

It is a frail vessle for this splendor and will not hold the music long, I fear, but perhaps long enough for friends, and famlies, and strangers, to glimpse a piece, however small, of magnificence.

Please join me in celebrating a series of article that I hope will feature an Artist bringing the gift of another Artist for the rest of us to see. If you know of a human beings whose work cannot be witheld from us any longer, then please bring them forward and tell us their tale as only the voice of art can do. I challenge my fellow authors to find me those souls who scream to inspire. You may introduce them here.

Below is the recent Centurion video with a scrap of music (it was all I had the heart for in one sitting). Perhaps it will inspire you to bring the igniter of your own Muse along and introduce them to us all. Please enjoy our first concert0 by my dear friend Stephan Carroll...and please also visit his home. It is only now growing.
www.stephancarroll.com

The internet is a miracle by pure interpretation since very few of us who use it know how it works or why;
that is the definition of magic, is it not?

THE CENTURION & THE QUEEN by Minnette Meador
THE ARMAGEDDON OVERTURES
The Final Day on Earth
Movement #1 - Dawn/Sunrise - (hope)
by Stephan Carroll






Monday, April 7, 2008

Interview in Chicks of Characterization

I had the best time yesterday with Chicks of Characterization (otherwise known as Andrea and Corrina) when they asked me a whole bunch of questions about writing, books, and everyday stuff...it was such fun! Take a look....kudos to this wonderful blog site!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

2nd Book Signing - Beautiful Bandon By The Sea


Ok, a week late, but here it is...

Bandon, Oregon is one of the coolest towns in the world and I should know; I lived there for twelve years long ago. It is where a lot of very artistic people moved when they wanted to leave the social termoil behind. The resulting population is a combination of cranberry farmers, artists, muscians, writers...and now, golfers. It is home to the Bandon Dunes Golf Course (if you are a golfer, you would know what that means)and one of the most beautiful spots you'll find anywhere.

A wonderful lady name Johnna invited me to do a signing at her beautiful book store Winter River Books and it went very well. Most of the people who came in were from out of town (this is a resort town on the southern coat of Oregon). They were very friendly and I had some stimulating conversations. Some of my old friends stopped by as well, so that was fun, too!

Anyway, I'm going back in June with my romance and looking forward to it. Thanks go to Mark and Victoria Tierney for putting up with me for the weekend and allowing me to disrupt their lives and to all the fabulous people from Winter River Books!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Nightowl Romance - Review of The Centurion & The Queen



Just received a wonderful review from Nightowl Romance (one of my favorite sites for reviews & book talk) for The Centurion & The Queen - they gave me four hearts! I am absolutely thrilled. Check it out...and check out their great website. This really is a great site! M:)

Centurion Review by Nightowl