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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Caris Roane Interview + International Give Away (Ding Dong, beep, beep!)


Katie and I had the pleasure of meeting with Caris Roane to talk about the latest release in her World of Ascension series, Wings of Fire. This is a repeat visit for Caris, so I hope this means the smell of sheep agrees with her. We ask all the questions that other blogs are afraid to ask, like if Caris is willing to lend out her warriors. Notice I said “lend” not “pimp” because that would be illegal ;) Stay tuned because there will be a give away at the end and this one is international too!
Second Earth. 2 Sheep and 1 Guardian meet. again.
Katie: Welcome back Caris, how have things been since we last spoke?
Caris: AWESOME! Both ASCENSION and BURNING SKIES, the first two books of the series, have gone into second printings so I’m out of my mind excited! *air boxing* Oh, yeah! Go fans!!! And today…TODAY…August 30th, is the official release of the third book, WINGS OF FIRE!
Sharon: (whoa, did you see her right hook?)
Katie: We know! And hoe freaking exciting! We have Kool-Aid and cookies in the back so let's have at it after.
Katie: For those that don't know about your series can you give them a little crash course?
Sharon: That would be me! I am new to I Smell Sheep and new to you, but not for long. I just went through your website and “damn!” I think I need a winged vampire warrior…

Caris: Hi, Sharon! Great to have you on board.
And hey, we’re women, we should each have a winged vampire warrior. *groowwwwlll*
Sharon: I like her, she shares ;)
Caris:As for the series, I’ve called it Guardians of Ascension because each of these warriors is also a guardian, a protector. The word ‘ascension’ refers specifically to the passage of a human from Mortal Earth into vampire status on Second Earth. The really exciting part is that there are six dimensions in all, which means that vampires can then ascend to Third Earth, Fourth Earth, etc., as their powers grow and as they are ‘called’ to ascension. For now, through the first 10 books of the series, the action takes place primarily on Second Earth, with a really bad vampire intent on taking over both Second Earth and Mortal Earth.
Are you with me? Or is this clear as mud!!!
It makes more sense in the reading, as scene folds upon scene. And for those of you who are familiar with the series, you’ll know I just ‘punned’! *loud groan*
Katie: Someone insert a rim shot sound here please...

Sharon: You said you were a big fan of JR Ward. Which Brother floats your boat ;)? I kind of like Rhage.

Caris: Oh, I hate to admit this because it says waaayyyy to much about me, but I’m very fond of Vishous. No, don’t ask! I won’t answer any of those questions! LOL!
Sharon: *looks around innocently* I have no idea what you are talking about, unless you are talking about that whole bondage/pain thing ;)
Katie: *puts away ropes, straps, leathers, whips and chains* yup, no idea whatsoever.

Caris: *blushing* would you guys please stay out of my closet!
Katie: Wings of Fire unveils so many new plot twists and turns, without giving too much away how did you come up with the stories for Parisa and Antony?

Caris: I have the most amazing editor at St. Martin’s Press and she chose the title for the third book, WINGS OF FIRE, because it just sounded so great. The thing is—without giving away too much—I ended up being totally inspired by this title and I actually created the central struggle and resolution of the story from this title—so yes, I’m talking about ‘wings-of-fire’! How’s that for a teaser?!?
Sharon: Sounds “hot” (snicker, okay that was a bad pun)

Sharon: The women in your books have very unusual names. Do they have special meanings or were you just looking for something unique?

Caris: For the first five heroines, I wanted names that flowed with three syllables, but that was just an instinct and had nothing to do with ‘meaning’. So, I hunted around through the ‘baby-name’ websites and found ‘Havily’, the heroine of BURNING SKIES and ‘Parisa’, which in my head is pronounced: Pah-reez-ah. Don’t these names look pretty on the page? Don’t they have a flowing sound? These are the things that impact me when I write: how does it look, how does it feel, how does it sound? Sorry…no special meaning…just ‘feel’…
Sharon: I think the fact that they ‘feel’ right is the special meaning for you.
Katie: And I might just add that Katie or Katherine has a great ring to it AND looks good on page. Just saying….

Caris: Oh, I think Sharon has a much better sound…HEY! Stop hitting her! Okay, Katie, I’ll use them both! Geez! What an author has to do to keep the peace around here!
Sharon: *looks at Katie*, does she really want to know?

Katie: We talked last time about Endelle, the leader of the vamps, and all her outrageous outfits. Did you get any new fashion ideas from all the comments on the last interview?
Caris: I did, I did, I DID!!! That was the most fun exchange, so starting with book #5, Thorne’s book called OBSIDIAN FLAME, I’ve branched out into the sea. In one scene, Endelle has starfish strategically placed on her bustier. She just cracks me up and no, I don’t wear clothes like her. I admire her soooo much probably because my wardrobe is basically black pants and black shirts with a little bling here and there! She’s…outrageous!!!
Katie: Oh geez, I think that idea might have started with one of our commenters,
Nathan. hahaha Or was it jelly fish?
Caris: Wasn’t it octopus tentacles?
Sharon: where the heck did he come from!?

Sharon: How many books do you have planned for this series?

Caris: Great question…at least a hundred! *laughs*
The truth is before I wrote paranormal, I wrote Regency romance and LOVED living and writing inside that world. What I’ve transferred from that experience is how much I absolutely adore living within the structure of a specific world, only my world of ascension is better in that we get to know specific series characters, we get to meet them and be with them over and over. So, honestly, I’m not kidding when I say I could write a hundred.

BUT, let’s talk more realistic numbers. The first part of this series is set on Second Earth, involves 9 specific Warriors of the Blood (and a number of Militia Warriors depending on how many novellas I get to write), plus Endelle. That number of full-length novels for this first part of the series comes to 10. But from the first, I set up a huge world so that I could keep writing in it for a long time, which means that should we develop a wonderful following---fans who love the world, love the characters, and enjoy how I write---then, oh, yeah, we’re going to Third Earth for another 10. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because this series has my heart 100%. But after this proposed 20, I honestly don’t know. We’ll take this one book at a time and see how things develop.
Sharon: Wow, your enthusiasm is infectious
(guess what? I just felt my first earthquake! Right now during this interview! Or maybe it was just your winged Vampire warriors rocking my world ;) but seriously, the house just shook)
Katie: Brown chicken brown cow! We're having too much fun, the earth is quaking baby!

Caris: I have one for you! At the exact moment that my agent was talking to my editor about beefing up Thorne’s guns on the cover of his book, oh, yeah, the earth shook!!! And I’m not kidding!

Sharon: Winged Vamp Warriors are certainly smexy, but have you thought about any other supernatural creature you might want to write about? Some secret new series you have been thinking about?

Caris: Actually, I’ve had an ongoing dialogue with my fans, sometimes on other blogs, sometimes on Facebook, about other supernatural creatures. To date, I’m pretty sure there are shifters on Third Earth! What’s so much fun about creating a series with multiple dimensions is that I can do anything I want to do…so there ya go! If we go through all 6 dimensions in the course of the series, my guess is you’d probably see about every paranormal creature that exists…is that an oxymoron? “Paranormal creature that exists”? Well, they certainly exist in my imagination…
Sharon: Yay! Katie is the vampire lover, but I am a shifter lover, of course I can be won over by an exceptionally smoking vampire occasionally ;)
Katie: For me, daily. *winks*

Caris: I’m a sucker for the paranormal warrior, period. Any vein will do. I mean, wow, I guess I really am into vampires!

Katie: If you could go out to dinner with anyone from the past or present who would it be and why?
Caris: I can’t answer that question! I’ve tried a dozen times. I feel weirdly embarrassed by it. Since it would be with someone I totally admire, I’d be super-shy and couldn’t say a word, so what good would that be! I can’t believe this question stumped me! Score 1, Katie!
Sharon: Don’t worry, I can’t think of anyone either.
Katie: Hands down it would be Dracula. Love that guy.
Caris: Yeah, but you could never trust him in bed afterwards. So, again, what would the point be? Oh, I can’t believe I just said that. Something’s wrong with me today. Sharon, what did you put in those cookies or was it the Kool-aid…
Sharon: *whistles and does not make eye contact*
Sharon: Can you tell me about your writing space/environment? (where you like to write, stuff you like around you, ect..)

Caris: I have a separate computer in a darkened corner of my bedroom where I write. I keep the lights low, the drapes pulled and I kind of sink into my writer’s coma. I fall deep into my world, and into my characters and stay there, watching the brightly lit monitor until the next scene emerges and I am once again exhausted but sooooo happy. Side note: my screen is permanently dark olive green and each page is a lighter version of that shade of olive because green is easy on the eyes.
Katie: What's the funniest thing you have done so far this summer?

Caris: I was trying to find a way to coax a scorpion out of my house. I’d been moving some travel books around and had one in my right hand. My two hopeless cats were crouched staring at the scorpion on the floor hoping it would move so they could play with it, but I could see they would let it get away, so I was really frustrated. BTW, these scorpions are kinda big and they’re really fast. I didn’t know what to do so when the scorpion made a dash in the direction of my couch, I reacted badly and in great fear that the d**n thing would then sting me while I was watching Dexter, or something, so I dropped that travel book on him and, ick, squished him. I still feel guilty, but why, why, did he have to come into my house? Sometimes tragedies happen when you least expect it and sometimes a book can be a serious weapon!
Sharon: *note to self, don’t go visit Caris at home. Scorpions, shudder*
Katie: Yeah I'm with Sharon on this one and PS you did the right thing squishing him.

Caris: You don’t know the half of it. I just found a baby scorpion in my entry, which means, ugh, I probably have more in the house. *races around, tearing her hair out*

Sharon: I get in your car and turn on the radio. What will I hear before the cops take me away?

Caris: I’m a musical dolt. You would hear nothing! Just SILENCE screaming at you! You would wonder about my soul. You would question everything about me! I have such a ridiculous relationship with music even though the rest of my family purchases music by the ton, and I do mean by the ton. Me? I have to find some kind of inspiration, like a fan recommending a song to me, before I’ll take the trouble. AND YET, the whole time I wrote WINGS OF FIRE I played the sound track to “Inception”! Go figure…aaaargh!
Sharon: I have a teenage daughter and music is her life! So I get to hear all kinds of cool stuff.
Katie: Hans Zimmer did the score for Inception btw. Amazing talent.
Caris: Yes, he’s freaking amazing so when you read WOF, put on the soundtrack…

Katie: This is a very important question Caris, which one of the Warriors can I have dibs on?

Caris: Katie, I’m only doing this for you…no one else…you get to take turns with each one! Oh…wait…the thought of doing that…I think I just passed out then woke up. *staggers around for awhile*
Sharon:*gumbles*
Katie: I LOVE YOU SOOOOOO MUCH CARIS!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!! *passes out*

Caris: Tell you what, Sharon, with fingers-crossed that the gods of bestsellers smile on my series and allow us the privilege of going to Third Earth, where there will be hunky warrior shifters, they’re all yours, baby, one-at-a-time! KATIE, catch her! Oh, too late…! Hey, she looks exceptionally pretty when she’s unconscious.
*elevator music playing in background* Sorry for the interruption. If you’ll give us a minute, we will return to our regularly scheduled program as soon as Sharon rejoins the world of the living….
Sharon: NOOOO! Don’t make me come back! There is no place like Third Earth, there is no place like Third Earth,…*Katie smacks Sharon with stuffed sheep*

Sharon: Let’s say the cops let me off with just a warning. I am now checking out your DVD collection. Which one will I most likely find in your player?

Caris: I’m a sucker for the latest version of Pride and Prejudice, with Keira Knightley. (Remember, my first love was Jane Austen…) See, movies are much easier for me than music…again…go figure!
Katie: Where can fans find you in the coming months?

Caris: I’m doing several blogs for the next couple of months in celebration of WINGS OF FIRE. You can check out my website at carisroane.com for info on where I’ll be and when. I’ll also be the keynote speaker at the Desert Rose Fall Workshop event, free to the public, on November 19th, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Put that date on your calendar, then come talk to me! For information go to the Desert Rose website at desertroserwa.org/.

Katie: And now it's time to ask you once again some rapid fire questions. You know the drill. Ready…….set…….go!
Katie: Oven baked or Pan fried
Caris: Pan-fried...uh, hello!

Sharon: Roadrunner or Wile E. Coyote
Caris: Roadrunner
Katie: *gives Caris the sexy eyes* meep meep baby.

Katie: Axe or Hammer
Caris: Axe…I write vampires…there has to be blood somewhere really fast.
Sharon: Twinkies or Ding Dongs
Caris: DingDongs…again…hello, chocolate!
Sharon: *ding* score one for the chocolate lover what about Susie Q’s?
Caris: Actually, my favorite is the never-goes-out-of-style chocolate cupcake, the one with the little wavy white line across the top.

Katie: Taco or Burritos
Caris: Tacos, I like the crunch.
Sharon: Solitaire or Marquise
Caris: I use the quick version of basic Solitaire when I write. Anytime I get stuck in a scene, I play a quick game, you know, 1 card at a time, and voila, my brain starts moving again.
Sharon: I was referring to the shape of a diamond
Katie: psst Sharon. Don't piss her off she knows warrior vamps…just saying.
Caris: Ohhhhhh, diamonds. Isn’t ‘Marquise’ a kind of card game? *wrinkles brow*. Ya know, I don’t get out enough and I really don’t own enough jewelry!!! But now that I know the direction, ‘marquise’. So, pretty.
Sharon: see, she didn’t get mad *slips Caris a Ding Dong* (wow, taken out of context that probably wasn’t the best thing to say )
Katie: Sweet Tea or Lemonade
Caris: Sweet Tea…I’m into ‘bitter’ big time.

Sharon: Prince Charming or Prince of Darkness
Caris: If you would just put the two together, I wouldn’t get out of bed…ever.
Sharon: 10 coolness points for you! Good answer ;)

Katie: Scottish Vamp or Irish
Caris: Scottish…in a kilt…with that accent. *sigh*

Sharon: Hovercraft or Jetpack
Caris: Hovercraft

Katie: Late night or Early morning
Caris: The dawn is for me.

Sharon: Hanna Barbara or Warner Brothers
Caris: Warner Brothers

Katie: dog ear or bookmark
Caris: I used to use bookmarks then got so sick of the d**n things falling out. One day I woke up and said, ‘This is my book. I’ll never sell it or give it away. I’m going to dog-ear from now on.’ It was soooo liberating. I haven’t looked back since. The bad news? I have some of the most beautiful bookmarks! Maybe I’ll make a collage or something…
Sharon: Do you have one of our most awesome I Smell Sheep bookmarks? After the interview send me a mailing addy for you and I will send you one along with some cool sheep swag!
Caris: Sheep swag! Yippppeeee! (See your Inbox!)
Sharon: mountains or beach
Caris: beach, beach, beach, beach, beach, beach. Did I make that clear enough?
Katie: Maybe say it one more time just in case. hahaha

Katie: Thank you so much for hanging out with us again Caris, would you like to add anything before we wrap up?
Caris: Yes. This is one of my favorite blogs because you guys make it sooo much fun! Also, I want to thank Katie for sending me the pair of wing earrings (which is really hard to say, BTW)! She inspired me to finally pierce my ears, which I should have done a long time ago but was too chicken! So, thanks, Katie! Because of you I was brave. I love my new earrings and I love my pierced ears and I was really ridiculous not to have done it sooner…but there’s always time to grow and to keep growing!

Sharon: You are a fun person to play with Caris! I sure hope you come back again to talk about your books!!
Katie: WOW! I'm so flattered right now Caris. Thank you for the kind words and lets keep growing together!
Caris: Just like last time, this was a blast. BTW, where’s Ben? I miss his jokes! Didn’t he want to talk hunky warriors with us again, LOL! Blessings, everyone!
Sharon: *sheepish grin* someone might have locked the dungeon door so someone else could do the interview. Now someone might feel really ashamed.





Prize giveaway: This is international
One lucky commenter gets a signed copy of one of the following Guardians of Ascension novels: ASCENSION, BURNING SKIES, or WINGS OF FIRE! Yay!
Plus the Sheep will be adding to this:
1 iron on silver wings for a t-shirt
1 vamp lips with the teeth showing tote bag
1 "same as above" notebook
1 Sheep member magnet
1 Sheep Book mark
1 Sheep Pencil
1 Sheep post card

Question for commenters: My series is building to a battle that may or may not include a mano-a-mano scene between Endelle and the evil Commander Greaves. If you could have Endelle annihilate Greaves—and they are the same height by the way, and both extremely powerful—what would you have her do to him? I know I have a dark side…what’s yours!
Katie: (drag him to a cellar and peel his skin off bit by bit. then light him on fire and cackle while he burns. then take whatever is left of his corpse and fill him with liquid lead and let him sink into the ocean so the sharks can feast on his brain! lol sorry was that too much? ps that was me, Katie, who wrote that.)
Caris: *shuddering* Good God! What have I wrought?!? (Actually, it was kind of awesome…)
Sharon: *backs slowly away from Katie*
To win: answer Caris' question along with a way to contact you in the comments. Double entry for followers! The contest will run till Monday Sept. 5th at midnight

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dark Urban Fantasy Rollercoaster Ride

The Renfield Syndrome by J.A. Saare

How do I know a book deserves a 5 Sheep rating from me? I start writing my review before I am done with the book. So here I am about 60% done (reading on a kindle) and I feel the need to write some stuff down. So I have, now I will go back and finish the book, then bask in its afterglow and come back to finish what I have started :)

Vampires, and werewolves, and demons, oh my.

Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she's about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse. Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover, Disco, the better.

Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things, including those most trusted around her. When she's faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she has ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. By reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she'll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried.

After all, when it's all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul
.

See? I’m back! This is the second book in the Rhiannon’s Law series and it did not disappoint. The first book Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between was a kick-ass Urban Fantasy where we meet Rhiannon and her f***ed up life (her words). Her tragic childhood has left her angry and mistrustful and her sister heavily medicated in a psychiatric ward. On top of all this she is a necromancer and can see ghosts.

Rhiannon is my kind of UF heroine. She is emotionally damaged, but her ass can cash the checks her mouth writes. She reminds me of Joanna Archer from Vicki Pettersson’s Signs of the Zodiac series. One of the elements of a dark UF is there is no long lasting happiness for the heroine. The author might throw her a bone occasionally, but only so they can take it away later on.

The Renfield Syndrome picks up right where the first book left off, with Rhiannon sent 101 years in to the future, and things are very wrong there. I can’t talk about any of the plot because so many things have changed for Rhiannon, her friends and the world as she knows it. I will say that the existence of Vampires, Lycans and Demons is no longer a secret and humans are now an endangered species.

This story takes Rhiannon and the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions. I cried, laughed and cussed right along with Rhiannon. It is just as action-packed as the first book, but where the first one was about Rhiannon learning to trust others, this one is about betrayal of that fragile trust. But no matter what crap the author throws at her she doesn’t break. She has vulnerabilities, but unlike most heroines, she doesn’t soften throughout the series, and if you try to poke her soft spot…she will still f*** your s*** up (her words!).

What all fans of this series are probably most happy about is Saare didn’t leave us hanging from that damn cliff again . She included an excerpt from the next book The Ripple Effect. A big thank you Jamie!! It will make the wait for the next one not as torturous as the last one.

You really need to read the first book Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between before reading this one. If you love dark UF like I do, you will not be sorry.


You can buy The Renfield Syndrome here right now for only $3.89

You can buy Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between here


Some of my favorite lines, and I apologize for Rhiannon’s language ahead of time ;)

“Stay in a big a** bus full of scary ass men from the future? Thanks for the offer, but I had to f***ing pass.”

“Holy f***ing God. The New York of the future was not a New York of which I approved.”

“Here’s the deal, Lucille. My ass is grass regardless. I owe a debt to a demon. I have less than forty-eight hours to end it. Right now, the odds of doing that are pretty slim. I’m doomed no matter what happens. If I’m going to go, I’m going to do what the f*** I want in the time I have left.”

“That was a fully loaded statement, complete with sour cream and bacon bits”

“Do or die. Life or death. I’d been there before, and I wasn’t afraid.”

5 foul mouthed Sheep!





SS

Pariah Issue #2

Pariah by Aron Warner

illustrations: Brett Weldele

writer: Philip Gelatt

Why are the most elite black-op forces chasing a 16 year old girl across the country? Why can’t they find her? And why do they want to kill her? Because they think Lila Ellerman is a terrorist who released a deadly virus into the wild. But really, she’s just a girl with a crush on a guy named Brandon. Yes, she’s figured out the science of controlling anit-matter, but that doesn’t make her a criminal. Will she be able to protect her friends and keep them from being taken prisoner, or worse?


Recently I reviewed issue #1 of Aron Warner’s newest comic
Pariah. I liked the concept of a group of genius teens called “Vitros” who are on the run from the government after being framed for creating and releasing a deadly virus into the world. Issue #1 introduced us to Brent and his capture by government forces. I enjoyed the minimalist art work and the muted colors, but the story hadn’t grabbed me. I felt it wouldn’t have been fair to make a judgment about the series as a whole based on this one issue. I am glad I didn’t!

Issue #2 introduces us to Lila. She is a Vitro that works for Marinus Labs, a corporation that hired as many Vitros as it could and created a kind of boarding school atmosphere for them to work in. We aren’t given much more information about this organization in this issue, but it is clear they might not have the world’s best interests in mind.

Lila and her friends end up barely escaping with their lives when the lab blows up, but they quickly discover they have been blamed. Now, not only are they fugitives, Lila has been pegged as the mastermind behind the lab explosion.

I love Lila’s character. She is Buffy-esque, and has become the reluctant leader of the genius fugitives while trying to get some quality making-out time with her (maybe) boyfriend Brandon. Things were going pretty well when a stranger shows up and tells her to go quietly when “they” come. Then all hell breaks loose.

I am definitely intrigued by this series and look forward to the next issue when we I think we meet the person behind the Virto’s betrayal.

Here is a little snippet from Lila:

“I never thought I could be intimidating. Turns out all it takes is the properly applied use of pyrotechnics. A dash of physical force, and a flair for the dramatic. A week ago, I’d never given a single thought on how to I might be able to make a grown man shit himself.”

Visit the Pariah website for more information about upcoming issues and news.

4 freakingly smart Sheep!



























SS (edited by BAK)


Sea Lion Books LLC is a newly established publishing house which specializes in all formats-hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market in urban fantasy, paranormal, and young adult genres.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dead Men Walking: An Imperial Guard Novel


Okay, so as my two readers know I am a major fan of Warhammer 40,000. I play the tabletop, I am looking forward to the upcoming Space Marine video game, and I love reading the fluff books. (For those of you that don't know, fluff is a term for all the stuff that isn't game rules but provides context and stories.) A lot of Warhammer 40k books focus on the Imperial Guard, the army of ordinary guys who have to face down aliens, giant robots, and demons from alternate dimensions. As such the men and women of the Imperial Guard make really great protagonists because it's easy to relate to them.

Dead Men Walking is kind of different from other Imperial Guard novels because it focuses on the Death Korps of Krieg. This is worth mentioning because the Death Korps is hands down the scariest Imperial Guard regiment out there. They always wear gas masks, refer to themselves by numbers, and are willing to take massive casualties to achieve objectives. This provides an interesting contrast in the novel because the enemy the Death Korps is fighting is the Necrons. Basically these guys are killer zombie robots that stop at nothing to kill everything. Everything. Anyway, so we have two very single-minded armies and an entire city of people caught between them. It makes for a very interesting story.

Honestly, if you're already a Warhammer 40k fan and want to read a book about the Death Korps and Necrons, you'll like reading this. If you're not a fan and want a book to introduce you to the universe, I'd suggest reading something else. Necropolis by Dan Abnett or Rebel Winter by Steve Parker are great books to get you introduced.

Otherwise the book's okay but only stands out because it focuses on the Death Korps. I don't know of many other books that do. It's okay, but not mind-blowing. I give it three sheep.

BAK