Monday, December 27, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
The wait is finally over! Our highly anticipated FIRST MALE INTERVIEW is moments away. The dynamic duo nabbed author Mike Duran (poor soul) to discuss his debut novel The Resurrection and discover if good can conquer evil. Sit back, relax and enjoy as Amber and I unravel the mysteries of the opposite sex.
California. Old Church. 2 Sheep and 1 Reverend meet.
Katie: Thanks Mike for sitting down with us today. What does it feel like to be the first male ever to interview with us?
MIKE: Pure exhilaration! I feel like Columbus discovering the New World, Armstrong setting foot on the moon, Edmund Hillary scaling Mt. Everest. Someone pinch me to make sure I’m not dreaming!
Katie: LOL Right off the bat I can tell this is going to be fun. And yes we are that awesome sometimes it feels like a dream. Lol
Amber: Now that’s the kind of enthusiasm I like to hear! Lol
Amber: Now in your book, Ruby is your average wife and mother. But she has a few tricks up her sleeve, tell us a little about her and how you came up with her character.
MIKE: Unless you girls possess superpowers like telekinesis or invisibility, I think most of us can relate to “average.” And “average” is the operative word for Ruby. She’s a rather simple woman, with simple faith, who gets stuck in the middle of some very complicated things. Anyway, I’ve often pondered how God puts average people in crazy situations. Ruby is kind of like a case study in what might happen if an average woman was temporarily given miraculous power.
Katie: There is a ton of intriguing information that fills your story's pages, how much research did you have to do in preparation for this book?
MIKE: As you mentioned, the story revolves around an old church, a conflicted minister, and the nefarious doings of some townsfolk. Most of the research for the book actually came from my own experiences (not that I know anything about “nefarious doings”). For instance, when I was in high school, I knew a warlock who spent lots of time dabbling with incantations and esoterica. And like most kids, I experimented with Ouija boards and mysticism. Well, when I became a minister, I learned that those things did not go away. There’s all kinds of crazy beliefs and wild experiences out there. One time I visited a woman who claimed to have multiple demons that she wanted exorcised. Another time, a couple approached me about evicting a ghost from their house. So all that to say, most of the “research” for the book was “hands on.”
Katie: Well now you've opened a can of worms Mike. Lol. Did you get the ghost out of the house? And did you exorcize the demon?
Amber: So did you ever get any mystical answers with your Ouija board?
MIKE: The Ouija board was a dead end. There’s a lot better ways to acquire info than consulting deceased relatives (and some living ones for that matter). As far as the other two incidents, the demonized woman had an extensive occult background and did not want to relinquish all her ‘spirit” friends. Regarding the ghost: I did my best Father Merrin impersonation, walked through the house praying, and they had no problem after that. Go figger.
Amber: In The Resurrection, you write from both the male and female perspective. Was that a challenge for you?
MIKE: Half of it was. Really, my critique group at the time was mostly girls and they would always say things like, “A woman wouldn’t say that, Mike” and “A woman wouldn’t do that.” It was very helpful, and actually scored me some points with my wife!
Katie: Ruby's husband, Jack, is her rock throughout the story. Was he based on anyone from your own life or an actor perhaps? And if you do know this man, where is he and is he single? lol
MIKE: Jack was one of my favorite characters in the story because he exemplified the average guy. Pragmatic. Skeptical. Foul. I work in construction and Jack was a composite of a lot of my buddies – calloused, crude, hard-working, and very down-to-earth. My only beef with Jack was that he rooted for NoCal sports teams. Boo!
Katie: I thought his absolute support of Ruby was great, he was there for her even if he did not agree. And on the sports note all I can say is….Norcal! Woot woot! Jack knows what’s up! Hahaha
Amber: This is one of my favorite questions to ask, I am always curious to know the answer. lol What was your favorite series to read as a kid?
MIKE: Marvel Comics. Elastic women, tentacled beasties, guys in tights, and psycho scientists – it’s a young boy’s dream!
Amber: Excellent answer! Katie is more into the comics than I am, but I definitely enjoy the movies that have been made about these Marvel characters. I mean, who doesn’t love Wolverine??
Katie: That's what I'm talkin about..mmmm…Wolverine….*sigh*
Katie: What can we look forward to in your next novel?
MIKE: The tagline goes like this: A disfigured modern-day prophet must overcome his own despair in time to seal one of the nine mythical gates of hell. And, no, it’s not about our government’s lame attempts to close our massive federal deficit.
Katie: Should we insert a rim shot here? Lol. But really it sounds like another winner coming down the pipes. Do you know a release date?
MIKE: No release date available yet, Katie.
Amber: What are the three things you need before you can sit down to write/type?
MIKE: (1) I need to know my destination. It’s that map fetish that most guys have. I cannot sit down and just start writing without having an idea where I want to go. (2) I need to have a conducive setting for writing: peace, quiet, and coffee. (3) I need to have a deadline. Man, I hate to say it, but if I don’t have a timeline, I will edit ad nauseam.
Katie: Where can fans find you in the near future? Any book tours or signings coming up?
MIKE: I’ll be doing a lot of online promotions and giveaways, interviews like this, and guest blogs. As far as local book signings, I’ll probably do one near my hometown and play the rest by ear.
Katie: And for those who don’t know, that will be in and around the southern California area correct?
Amber: What was your favorite food growing up? What was your least favorite?
MIKE: Favorite: Mike Duds. Least Favorite: Tomatoes (especially the mushy kind that ooze juice. Blech!).
Katie: Alright Mike answer me this, in the nursery rhyme knick knack paddy whack give a dog a bone, why did the old man ALWAYS come rolling home? [slight scuffling sounds erupt] Amber! Please stop trying to cover my mouth, I want to know what he has to say! lol
Amber: You don't have to answer this one Mike if you don't want to. Katie is a little off her rocker you could say. lol [pats Katie on the head]
MIKE: Tell you the truth, I don’t care why the old man came rolling home. I wanna know what a “paddy whack” is so I can start giving them out!
Katie: I suggest we research the paddy whack Mike, some people just wont understand. Lol [looks at Amber]
Amber: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? Or have you always wanted to be an author?
MIKE: I once told a high school teacher I wanted to be a con man when I grew up. I suppose becoming a fiction author is the next best thing. Really, I was pretty lost as a kid so just growing up was an accomplishment.
Amber: Lol. A con man is a good choice. I’m sure your teacher watched you diligently after that! Lol.
Katie: And now good sir we move on to the ever popular *in game show host voice* Rapid Fire Round! Clear your mind and give us the first answer that pops up. Ready?……..annnnnnd……..Go!
Katie: Beer or Wine
MIKE: Beer! Preferably the dark stuff.
Amber: Hardcover or Paperback
Katie: Goblin or Leprechaun
MIKE: Goblin. Leprechauns seem strangely androgynous.
Amber: Swimming pool or Ocean
MIKE: Ocean. Preferably calm, with a secluded white sandy beach, a palm thatched cabana containing chilled adult beverages, and my “therapist.”
Katie: Unicorn or Dragon
MIKE: Dragon! Any guy who chooses a unicorn over a dragon should have his man-card revoked.
Katie: [was taking a drink of Coke as Mike gave his answer, liquid cola shot across the room!]
Amber: Coke or Pepsi
MIKE: Sorry, Katie. Pepsi!
Katie: NOOOOOOOO!!!!! [Falls to knees dramatically. Raises hands to the sky] Why!!!!!!!!
Amber: YESSSSS!!!! Mike you have made my day! [Doing a happy dance, arms raising the roof style. Lol] Katie did you hear that or should I repeat it for you?? PEPSI!!
Katie: Enjoy these SMALL victories Amber, in the long run Coke WILL be the winner.
Katie: Jog or Speed walk
MIKE: Speed walking is for leprechauns.
Amber: Space Travel or Time Travel
Katie: The final frontier these are the voyages of the Star-- *clears throat* sorry. haha
Katie: Chips or Fries
MIKE: Fries, the chili-cheese variety
Amber: Colour or Color
MIKE: Colour is for unicorns.
Katie: Forward or Back
Katie: *jeopardy theme music plays from Katie's phone*
Amber: Star Wars or Star Trek
MIKE: Star Trek.
Katie: To boldly go where no one has gone before! haha Oh sorry, I will try to control the Trekie in me.
Katie: Xfiles or Ghost Hunters
MIKE: X Files.
Katie: Same here. Great show.
Amber: Law and Order or CSI
MIKE: Fringe (it’s sci-fi CSI).
Amber: I love that show! Good choice
Katie: Jabba the Hut or The Rancor
MIKE: Who would ever chose a big slug over a lean, drooling, carnivorous dinosaur? The Rancor!
Amber: Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with us Mike, you have won over the ladies of I Smell Sheep. We look forward to reading more of your stories and wish you all the best! Any closing thoughts?
MIKE: Thanks so much for inviting me! It was lots of fun. And in honor of I Smell Sheep, I’m celebrating with brazed lamb chops for dinner. Bon Appetite!
Katie: I just wanted to add that aside from choosing my mortal enemy. Pepsi. *gag* I think you’re awesome and I really appreciate you stepping up to this interview. I hope this will open the door for other male authors.
Enjoy the lamb Mike! The Resurrection will be in stores and online February 1st 2011. Make sure to pre-order your copy today!
Let the prize giveaway begin! In the comments below please make sure to enter two things to qualify for the Mike Duran Prize pack including a signed copy of his book!
1. Your Email address
2. If you saw a ghost floating around would you run screaming your head off or befriend it?
Contest ends January 5th, 2011.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
We're running down to the wire on days before Christmas, so the voting committee has already gone on vacation and were not available to participate in this contest.
I had a very elaborate setup for the Marutanchi to go apple bobbing for the winner, but Chuck, the woodchuck totally chewed holes in all of the barrels. This resulted in us having a LOT of apples, and no way to bob for them.. therefore, I had to improvise.
Murasaki found an old Christmas stocking and suggested that we simply pull names from it. That seemed like a reasonable idea to me until I realized that it wasn't just pulling a name out, Murasaki wanted to practice with her fishing rod; fishing for names.
It took a little while to finally hook one, but finally we had a winner!
Congratulations Kaia! You now have one week to contact Katie at k28dalton at yahoo dot com.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I don't remember what movie it was that I saw the very first Tron: Legacy teaser trailer... but I do remember being so excited that I nearly soiled my undies. Seriously.
Before I get into the review, I should warn you... If you have never actually seen the original movie, I would actually recommend that you see the original first... Tron: Legacy, while I guess it might be understandable on its own, apologetically builds on ideas set forth from the first movie without real explanation. This was clearly a movie FOR existing Tron fans.
I had very high expectations going into this film... and it turned out to be exactly the movie I wanted it to be. Now, before you write me off as simply a computer nerd Tron fanboy (guilty as charged, btw), let me qualify that statement. I wanted over-the-top action, mind blowing special effects, and a reasonable continuation of the time line that were set forth in the original movie.
Without spoilers, I will now dig in and talk about how this movie satisfied all three of my expectations...
1) Over-the-top action. Disc battles, Light Cycle duels, Cyber-jet fighter dogfights, and down and dirty fist-a-cuffs. It was a little like watching The Matrix, except with all of the awesome Tron elements that I know and love. The outcome of each of the fights were very predictable, but the action itself was pretty amazing.
2) Mind blowing special effects. In the day and age of modern CG, Tron: Legacy HAD to deliver on special effects. I very much enjoyed the set design and general modern reinterpretation of the entire "Game Grid" environment. A decent chunk of the movie deals with a completely CG younger Jeff Bridges. The computer model was awesome, but I was a little disappointed with the way the mouth was animated when he spoke... He looked like he had one botox injection too many...
3) Time line continuity and story. I'm not going to lie and say that Tron: Legacy is a Best Picture Oscar candidate. The story follows a pretty typical "Robot creation turns on its master" plot. To me, the story seemed like a pretty natural extension of the original movie.... You can get a feeling for what's gone on over the last 30 years from the trailer:
I feel like I need to hit the movie with one final bit of criticism... I felt like significant chunks of plot were cut from the film during editing. This is purely speculation, but I'll bet when the director's cut comes out, we'll get another 15-20 minutes of footage that will fill in a few awkward transitions and some emphasis on plot devices that turned out to be irrelevant.
Finally... pay attention to how the film ends... I smell sequel.
I'm going to go ahead and give this move 4 out of 5 sheep.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Dark Slayer, written by NYTBS author Christine Feehan, is the latest book in her Carpathian Novel Series. Oh my my, magic is abundant in this book; I think I became a witch while reading this book. As the sunny weather in California was eclipsed (Twilight Eclipse out on dvd now, just saying) with mysterious dark clouds containing a damp liquid substance. What do you call this? Rain? This must be the work of witchcraft! ;)
Dark Slayer follows the story of Ivory Malinov, the hot and sexy wolf girl who hangs out in the ice cold wilds with her pack of savage wolves. Betrayed by her own family, Ivory hides out in the woods with the only things she loves: her wolves. Driven by revenge, Ivory has one mission: to destroy her greatest enemy. As a Carpathian woman, Ivory is strong, confident, an awesome fighter and spell-caster; but in walks a man that throws a wrench in the whole deal. Her life-mate.
Razvan is a Dragonseeker (which I still have no idea what exactly that is), and is one smoking hot male who was held prisoner for centuries. He finally escapes, and flees into the ice cold icy mountain lands. Now starved and exhausted, Razvan lay on his deathbed, but he was found and saved just in the nick of time by a very reluctant Ivory. It's not everyday you meet your life-mate, and Ivory is in no way happy about meeting hers. The once recluse is now forced to interact with a male and bring him back to her super secret lair.
If you like spells and magic, this book will be a great fit for you. Tons of exciting action to compliment the magical spells that run a steady beat throughout the story line. The down side was NO romance of any kind until about page 250. No build up, no kiss kiss action. Nada! At the very minimum I like a constant flirtation in myromance novels. While this one lacked in that department for a while, it did make up in the action and suspense areas.
This was my first read from this author and while it was not my usually cup of tea, I would recommend it to others. Bloodsucking sexy Carpathian males fighting dark forces is always a point winner in my book. Glad I found this author and looking forward to upcoming books. :)
3 and 1/2 spell casting sheep
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Joining I Smell Sheep today for our latest interview is author Alexandra Ivy! New York Times Bestselling author of the Guardians of Eternity series. We know you're excited to start this one so lets get to all the details from the mind behind the books. Grab a snack, sit back and enjoy!
Chicago. Vampire Nightclub. 2 Sheep and 1 Guardian meet.
Katie: Alexandra welcome and thank you for taking the time to sit down with us today. First question that I am dying to know is this: where can I find Styx? I love that sexy vampire and I must find him! lol
Styx is absolutely one of my favs And oddly he almost remained just a shadow in the background. When I was writing Embrace the Darkness, Viper’s story, I hadn’t really planned to write about Styx, but by the time I finished the book I knew that the vampire king had to find his mate!
Katie: I am so glad you did, I love that Styx is silent but strong. What’s the phrase…walks softly but carries a big stick? Hahaha that’s him!
Amber: What was the craziest thing you ever did as a kid?
I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but when I was very young my next door neighbors moved and left their house empty. One day I found a stack of paint in their back yard and I decided it shouldn’t go to waste, so I played Picasso on the house, the bbq, the lawn furniture…oh, I was in sooooo much trouble
Amber: I love that! Hahahaha. I’m sure your parents were laughing in secret about it. Lol
I think so too They were always great.
Katie: How much fun is it writing about Vampires, Witches, Werewolf's and Fey?
Insane amount of fun!!!!! I love the world building and the fact that they’re smart asses and dangerous and oh so sexy!
Katie: Yes, it’s the perfect mix for me as well. When I start these books I literally can’t stop until it’s finished. Just THAT good!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!
Amber: Were your characters inspired by anyone in your life? Or were they all created in your imagination?
Usually they’re a combination of different people I know as well as a large dose of imagination. I’m at an age that I love writing about delicious alpha males, but if I actually had to live with one day in and day out I would probably put a stake through him I love the fact that my husband is kind and gentle and always thinks about what will make me happy.
Katie: Levit is the cutest little gargoyle, how could you not love that little guy. I wonder will he ever find someone to love?
Absolutely…you’ll get a hint in Tane’s story and more in Bound by Darkness!
Katie: I caught the hint, that’s what had me asking this question. I can’t wait!
Amber: I ask this of every author but I’m always curious to know what books got you excited about writing? Was there a particular author who inspired you?
I’ve loved books all my life and I’ve been an avid reader since I was five!! But oddly my desire to write came from playwrights, maybe because I was a theatre major. Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward and Neil Simon have all been huge influences on my career.
Katie: In the latest book Devoured by Darkness, [in stores now] Tane takes front and center. How much fun was this story to write? Because I have to say, it was a blast to read.
I really loved Tane’s story. Not only because he truly came alive while I was writing his book, but the unfolding threat from the impending return of the Dark Lord has really given an extra edge to the storyline.
Katie: Oh I can’t wait. How many new characters will we be meeting in upcoming books? Any idea?
Ariyal and Jaelyn will be in the next book Bound by Darkness as well as Uriel and Kata who will be in an upcoming anthology. I hope to make a story for Santiago and of course, Caine and Cassie will be having their story…after that…hmmm…I hope for more, but we’ll have to see what my editor has to say
Amber: What was the very first book you remember owning? Mine was Amelia Bedelia. She made me laugh every time! Lol.
I actually remember back to my Dr. Seuss books But the books that first swept me away from the world was Nancy Drew mysteries. I would disappear into my room for hours and my mother was terrified I might become a complete hermit.
Amber: My sister and I got a set of Nancy Drew for Christmas when we were probably ten. I ended up stealing hers because she wasn't reading them! I loved George.
Katie: What helps you get into that creative mood? Any things that help you find that inspiration to write?
I’m fairly flexible. I think it comes from the fact that I started writing when my sons were very young and I learned how to write while keeping one eye on them playing and even being able to write in five or ten minute chunks when necessary! Later I would take a notebook to football games, golf matches…wherever I could catch a few minutes to write
Katie: Has there been a favorite character for you so far? One that has just stood out from the rest? Or can you not pick favorites. lol
I think my favorite will always be Dante since he was my first! He spent a long time lurking in the back of my head before I ever sat down to write his story and he was the one who was the role model for all the other vampires.
Amber: If you could relive, or do over, one moment in your life what would it be?
Probably that whole painting the neighbors house thing Seriously I’ve been so blessed in my life. I certainly haven’t succeeded at everything I’ve tried (it took me ten years before I became published and I received over fifty rejections), but I’ve learned as much from my failures as I have at my successes and I don’t think I would change a thing!
Katie: Now you also write under the pen name Deborah Raleigh, can you tell us a little about those books?
My Deborah Raleigh books are regency historicals and while they’re obviously different from my Alexandra Ivy books they do have the same alpha heroes with a large dose of humor and some adventure At the moment I’ve put them on the back burner, but I’m excited to announce that three of my really, really early books under the name Debbie Raleigh are going to be reprinted. My Lord Vampire, My Lord Eternity and My Lord Immortality were traditional regencies that had vampire heroes long before they were popular!! They will be repackaged under the name Alexandra Ivy!
Katie: Excellent! I can’t wait to dig into those! Do you know any release dates so far?
The first one, My Lord Vampire which will be March 2012 and My Lord Eternity August 2012 and My Lord Immortality TBA 2012!
Amber: Where would you go if you went on your dream vacation? It can be any country, at any point in the past or present.
I’ve been very lucky to be able to travel throughout Europe, but I haven’t made it to Russia yet and I would love, love, love to visit St. Petersburg!! I would enjoy visiting today, but it would also be fun to be able to travel back when the Czars were at full power (always assuming I’m an aristocrat and not a serf).
Amber: Who is the person who has encouraged and inspired you the most in your life?
Soooooo many!! But absolutely my parents. I grew up in a small town in Missouri to very traditional parents, but they offered me unconditional support through my early phase of wanting to become a famous actor and then when I decided I was going to be an author. Never once did they make me feel that my dreams were silly or out of reach. And of course, my husband was always encouraging me to keep going, even on my darkest days. I’ll always be grateful for their belief in me.
Katie: Where can fans find you in the coming months? Will you be at any book signings or conventions?
I very rarely attend conventions or signing…sigh. I will be sure to announce any appearances on my website!
Katie: My last question before we do a little rapid fire is this. [gives Amber a pointed look] In hickory, dickory, dock why did the mouse run down the clock at the stroke of 1? Any guesses? lol *Amber shakes her head and looks away*
Hmmm…that one I’ll have to give some thought He was the designated driver??
Katie: LOL Okay I love that answer.
Katie: And now to the ever popular and widely loved Rapid Fire Round! Clear your mind madam and answer with the first thing that comes to mind.
Katie: Audio or Visual
Amber: Checkers or Chess
Katie: Rock or Country
Amber: Sword or Bow
Katie: Cookies or Cupcakes
Amber: Coke or Pepsi
Amber: YEEESSS!! Take that Ms. Katie! HAHAHA! Another win for Team Pepsi!
Katie: [sticks out tongue at Amber] Coke rocks. All I have to say. hahaha
Katie: Boobs or Bum
Amber: Kittens or Puppies
Katie: Night or Day
Amber: OJ or Apple Juice
Katie: Full Moon or New Moon
Amber: Harry Potter or Twilight
Katie: Speakers or Headphones
Amber: Known or Unknown
Katie: Letterman or Leno
Amber: Sunflowers or Daises
Amber: Thank you so much Alexandra! We have loved chatting with you. Your answers were awesome! You have so much personality and spirit and you're a pepsi lover to boot! This has been an amazing opportunity. Good luck with all the future writing!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I had a great time
Now for the prize giveaway, In the comments below please list two things to be automatically entered to win the Ivy prize pack.
1. Your email address
2. Are you a vampire fan or werewolf fan?
Contest ends December 19th at midnight.