Reviews Published

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Another year, another decade, is coming to an end. Time for reflection.

I don't like leaving things unfinished. What I didn't manage to complete in 2009:
  • House project "get a spa pool while they're cheap"
  • Terry Pratchett's latest hardcover, even though it's about soccer
  • The first draft of my new murder mystery (though hey, I still have 7 hours to go...)
Things that went right for me in 2009:
  • The children are happy at school
  • PTA fundraisers
  • 6 books published
Overall, that's a very good balance. Over to you, please leave a comment.

Happy New Year!
Szczęśliwego nowego roku
Gelukkige nuwejaar
С Новым Годом
Feliæan novan jaron

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sending the warmest Christmas wishes to you

May joy and happiness snow on you, may the bells jingle for you and may Santa be extra good to you! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My cool new banner

I have it as a proper physical fabric banner, for when I do my book signing of "Murder @ Play". Cool, huh?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Have cover, will travel....

Here's the long-awaited cover for my Echelon Press short e-book, "The Hanukkah Time Capsule". Beautiful, isn't it? And just perfect to convey that holiday-SF feel.

Now, if you're wondering what made a good Catholic girl like me write about Hanukkah, you'll find the answer here.

Click here to buy the book.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Excerpt from "The Hanukkah Time Capsule"

While we're waiting, here is an excerpt from "The Hanukkah Time Capsule" by Yvonne Walus, about to be published by Echelon Press:

“Get on with it,” snarled the Anti-Knowledge Warden. “Open the damned time capsule! Let’s see what precious information your Grandmother has left for you to abuse.”

Esther chewed the end of her dark braid. The fear which she had learnt to accept in the last few years, burnt sour in her stomach. Escape, she needed to escape from it all. Briefly, she wondered which of her so-called friends had reported the legacy her Grandmama had left -

The mind stunner glinted in the Warden’s hand. “Do it now, or -”

“Yes, sir,” muttered Esther. The words scratched her suddenly constricted throat, got muffled by the nibbled braid. She would do anything to avoid being zapped. Mind stunners left permanent marks: gaps in memory, holes in the logical processing. Some people claimed they could even alter the victim’s personality. Judging by Nathaniel’s latest behaviour, she wouldn’t be surprised… after his encounter with a mind stunner, he was simply not the same person she had married.

Esther turned her eyes to the Warden, trying to hold the fear back. “If you allow me, sir, I need to switch on the computer, please.”

Buy link: please purchase here

Counting down to my new release....

"The Hanukkah Time Capsule" will be released today as part of the "12 Days of Christmas" ebook drive at Echelon Press Shorts. I'm blogging and tweeting about it while waiting for the Buy Link and book cover.

I'm so excited! I keep going back to the site and checking for updates, as though this were my first publication, LOL.

Watch this space for details! (update: the book is out!!!)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

True Blood, continued

I really don't get the current vampire craze. Blood is gross, and while "living forever" seems like a plan, vampires are dead, right, so they are more like "being dead forever", which is no big deal when you stop to think about it.

Anne Rice? The witch series yes, the vampire series - eh.

"Twilight?" Can't comment, I'm afraid. Haven't read it, haven't seen it. I mean, just like the Harry Potter argument, it's good to see people on the bus or in a coffee shop with a big fat book, so I guess it's a good thing in the greater scheme of things.

Which brings me to True Blood, the TV series. In May, I was two episodes into it and not sure whether I'd be watching more. The uncertainty continued as I watched episode three, then four... I'm now on Season 2 Episode 3 and I like the series well enough to watch the next instalment, but I'm still not committed one way or the other. :-)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Win great holiday ebooks!

Ready for great holiday ebooks? Join Echelon Shorts between December 1-December 12 as they celebrate 12 Days of Great Reads!

During this celebration, Echelon Shorts will be brining you the best new holiday releases and posts each day from the authors. Find mystery and romance, mainstream and fantasy, thrillers and young adult stories. The release schedule includes short stories from Carl Brookins, Austin Camacho, Mary Cunningham, Lois Carroll, Christine Verstraete, Michelle D. Sonnier, Lance Zarimba, Karen Syed, Yvonne Walus (yes, my own "Hanukkah Time Capsule" is one of the books), Jeffrey Martin, Vonnie Winslow Crist, and Regan Black.

Stop by to find these posts and stories and for your chance to win free ebooks!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Building Believable Book People

On one of my loops, I found a link to an interesting article about letting past experiences shape your book people. It looks a bit long-winded, but it's written well, so take a look.

What experiences have shaped your personality? What are you afraid of and why? Why do you dream the ambitions you do?

Tell me. (WARNING: I'm not promising not to use it in a book....)

Here are some random musings about some of my quirks:
  • My parents moved house, city and even country on a regular basis. Is it a coincidence that I get stressed by change in my surroundings?
  • Here is a factor that shaped me in its contrast: my father led a nomadic life style and was a more of a guest in our household than a family member. I expect the father of my children to participate 50-50 in the nitty-gritty of child-raising.
  • Food for thought: I come from a culture which shows friendliness through gifts and hospitality. My husband comes from a culture of saving every penny. Hands up who can see a potential for conflict?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

From BBC Archives: Enid Blyton

Excuse this long quote, but it really shook me. Before you dig into it, ask yourselves:
  • When you were a child, did you enjoy Enid Blyton's books?
  • Do you know a child today who likes The Secret Seven and The Famous Five? (I own one, LOL, who wants the entire Secret Seven series for her 7th birthday!)
  • Do you think Enid Blyton's work lacks "literary value"? Compared to, say, the works of J.K. Rowling?

Now read the excerpt:

*** Popular children's author Enid Blyton was banned from the BBC for nearly 30 years because officials thought her work "lacked literary value", letters from the broadcaster's archives showed.

BBC executives turned down the chance to broadcast the plays and books of the creator of Noddy, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven because they were "such small beer" and had been produced by a "second rater".

In an internal memo dated 1938, Jean Sutcliffe, head of the BBC Schools department, dismissed the work of the woman who went on to become one of the best-selling authors of her era.

"My impression of her stories is that they might do for Children's Hour but certainly not for Schools Dept. They haven't much literary value," she wrote but conceded they were "competently written".

Two years later, the daily radio programme "Children's Hour" rejected Blyton's play "The Monkey and the Barrel Organ" because producers found its dialogue "both stilted and long winded".

One team member wrote: "It really is odd to think that this woman is a best-seller."

The released letters show Blyton realised she had been blacklisted.

After being invited to speak on a children's programme in May 1949, Blyton replied to the producer: "I and my stories are completely banned by the BBC as far as children are concerned -- not one story has ever been broadcast, and, so it is said, not one ever will be."

In 1954, Sutcliffe explained that Blyton should not appear on the popular "Woman's Hour" programme because the BBC risked becoming "just another victim of the amazing advertising campaign which has raised this competent and tenacious second-rater to such astronomical heights of success."

Blyton finally appeared on "Woman's Hour" in 1963, almost three decades after she first pitched ideas to the BBC.

She died in 1968 at the age of 71, but her books remain best-sellers today.***

Yvonne again: I wonder whether Ms Blyton ever felt like a success, despite all the books he'd written and sold....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Publishing Adventure

This week, I'm blogging Behind the Scenes about how I got published. It's a one-long-post-a-day-for-5-days kind of blog, so please come and read the first 3 installments!

Hi there, my name is Yvonne Walus (pen name for erotic romances: Eve Summers) and I’m a Polish South African New Zealander, which at least gives me something to talk about at parties (when I'm not talking about erotic romances).

My love affair with language began when I was four and composed my first poem. I didn’t understand why my parents made such a fuss: it was just some rhyming words about “the flower of white dew”, and I was willing to create many more, if it made my mom happy. Over the years, I must have made my mom very happy indeed, with self-made poems for every birthday and Christmas.

My road to publication was somewhat trickier, though. For a very, very long time, publishers did not make a fuss over my manuscripts, and I didn’t make them happy at all when I sent anything more. I suppose my heart wasn’t really in it, anyway, because at the time I was a shy person who valued her privacy and would suffer embarrassment to see her name in print. I kid you not!

I will never forget my first publication....

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Another week has flown by...

I can't believe another week has gone by... and the only thing I've read are research-related books. TV-wise I'm no better: one Big Bang Theory and about 100 Flintstones/Jetsons episodes. Ho hum. Am I turning into an all-work-and-no-play Jill?

A poem I wrote a few weeks ago aptly reflects my current mood:

insignia of a modern mother

the focus - always outwards

lingerie - prim, black or beige or white

perfume - pumpkin soup

ambitions - forgotten

therapy - needed

time for therapy - null

Friday, October 30, 2009

Books I would like to read....

I try not to have a to-read pile on my bedside table. The minute I think of it in those terms, reading becomes yet another task on my to-be-crossed-off-as-soon-as-possible list, and that's not the point of having a to-read pile, is it?

So, sitting next to my computer is a book I'd like to read out loud with my husband: Pratchett's "Unseen Academicals". The way our couple-time is going at the moment, we might manage to read page 10 next year sometime.

Then there is the latest non-fiction about Agatha Christie (I'm dying to find out what her original ending for Death Comes As An End was). This one arrived from Amazon today and was promptly put in the Christmas gift sack (a present to me from the family).

Add a few latest releases from Poland (thanks, Mom!) and I'm all set. The list is not too long, and it actually sounds exciting. Now, the kids need to get over their flu so that I can find some time for reading....

PS: My alter-ego, Eve Summers, has a new book out with Red Rose Publishing: Wild Thing. Check it out!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Defying Gravity

"Defying Gravity" is a fairly new TV SF series. Described to me as "Grey's Anatomy in Space", it lived up to its tag. Not that there is a lot of medical stuff going on (surprisingly, there is SOME), but the way we are drawn into the characters and their lives (both Before Space and While In Space) is absolutely addictive. All the important topics are covered, like love, religion, abortion, pride, guilt, regret, friendship. The pilot was ok, the first episode very good, the second episode brilliant - and by then I was hooked.

So it's not really surprising, is it, that the show got canned? While ABC denies having cancelled the screening ("we're just taking a break"), they do mention the declining popularity ("only 2 million viewers") apropos nothing in particular, so I'm reading between the lines.

Let me add my moan to the eloquent voices already posted. Grrrrr! Whenever somebody comes up with an intelligent series, the powers that be cut it. I think we're all supposed to learn to enjoy reality shows....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Princess Bride - the book, not the movie

I love "The Princess Bride", both the movie and the book. The movie is more fairytale-like, more romantic (compare the movie version and the book version of the quote about the five greatest kisses to see what I mean), and with a definite happy ending. The book reads more like a satire of the movie (even though the book came first)... and yet there is one thing that adds dimension to the book.

Now, if you haven't read the book, don't go any further before you get hold of the copy and read the introduction.

Spoilers ahead.

I mean it.

For those of you who've read the book (including at least one introduction), hands up those who also had tears in their eyes when they read the lines:
  • "This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it."
  • and "Picture this now: an all-but-illiterate old man struggling with an enemy tongue, an all-but-exhausted young boy fighting against sleep. And nothing between them but the words of another alien, painfully translated from native sounds to foreign. Who could suspect that in the morning a different child would wake?"
  • and "Even today, that's how I summon back my father when the need arises. Slumped and squinting and halting over words, giving me Morgenstern's masterpiece as best he could. The Princess Bride belonged to my father."
Knowing how much the book meant to the author, that bond between father and son, made it all the more special. And for one crazy moment I imagined visiting the museum of "The Princess Bride" in Florin with my children when they turn ten.... OK, what can I say? I'm a sucker for words, they can fool me every time.

It was not until I read about the geographic location of Florin: "The land of Florin was set between where Sweden and Germany would eventually settle. (This was before Europe.)" that I began to suspect foul play....

Friday, October 09, 2009

"Between the lines" has reviewed my book!

" It is a new time, a new world, and the clone is a part of it all now. A bureau has been set up to regulate clones, their originals, and to facilitate their assimilation into society. ‘The Bureau’, as it is known, controls the experiments, the lives, and the existence of its employees, their clones, and their living and housing arrangements. They have gone as far as installing Monitors with the employees and clones, situations which have brought about some resentment..."

Read the rest of the review here:

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"The Dark Room" by Minette Walters

Minette Walters is not a "cozy" mystery writer by any means, and some of her scenes remind the reader that murder is not a puzzle for armchair detectives: it is a cold, cruel, violent act with sad consequences.

Nevertheless, her murder mysteries can rival Agatha Christie's. They are plausable, beautifully written and often difficult to predict.

I'm currently listening to "The Dark Room" on CD (it's amazing how much I look forward to emptying the dishwasher and peeling potatoes when I have a good book in my CD player). I've read the book twice before, and I'm really enjoying hearing it again.

The story's premise may sound cliched (woman with amnesia suspected of killing her wayward boyfriend and the best friend who stole him), but it's executed with such quirkiness that it will have you guessing till the last page.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Speed Interview with the author of "THE SARI SHOP WIDOW"

In the cyber studio today, we're hosting an award-winning writer, Shobhan Bantwal, whose book "THE SARI SHOP WIDOW" is #2 on the best seller list (Kindle version).

  1. Shobhan, you have an unusual name - if you Google it, your author page comes up as number 1. What does your name mean and how to you pronounce it?

My name is unusual not just for Americans but even in India, where I was born and raised, Shobhan is not a very common name. It is a variation on the word “Shobha,” which means beauty. It is pronounced Show-bun like the movie Shogun.

  1. If you had to sell "THE SARI SHOP WIDOW" to a Hollywood producer, what one sentence would you use?

THE SARI SHOP WIDOW offers all the thrills, colors, tastes, and textures of India - “Bollywood in a Book.”

  1. Why the title?

Set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey’s Little India, this is the story of a young businesswoman who rediscovers the magic of love, family, and her roots as she fights to save her failing sari boutique, hence the title “THE SARI SHOP WIDOW.”

  1. What is your favourite spice?

I don’t have one particular favorite, but I like cumin and coriander.

  1. Did you use it in the book?

I have not used it in this book when I describe cooking, at least not specifically by their name.

  1. Chicken Korma or Chicken Biryani for you?

I love biryani, so I would go with the chicken biryani.

  1. Give us a buy-now link for "THE SARI SHOP WIDOW".


View the book trailer on

For more information on Shobhan Bantwal’s new and other books and to enter a drawing to win a number of prizes, please go to her website’s “Contests” page and sign up between Sept 1 and Sept 30, 2009 at

Full September Virtual Tour Details -


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Visiting Bookland Heights

Yvonne Walus together with her "Murder @ Play" is visiting Bookland Heights today. Check out what she has to say about her book.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

4-book review for "The Seventh Taboo"

This is a great review for my Wild Rose Press book, "The Seventh Taboo". The review is by The Long and The Short of It. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Does Writing Make You Feel Guilty?

Does writing make you feel guilty? That's the question I posed to my fellow published authors at the recent Writers' Conference (RWNZ).

It's an issue that's been bothering me for a few years. Is it because I'm a woman? a mother? a lapsed Roman Catholic? Whatever the reason, my conscience nags at me every time I enjoy plotting a scene too much and, as the result:
  • I serve the family a take-away meal full of trans-fats
  • somebody steps on a toy, breaking it to bits, because it was lying in the corridor and not in the toy box
  • my husband has to watch evening TV all by himself
  • I forget to pack the kids' swimming gear
  • my book is more interesting than the kid's piano lesson
  • ....
Honestly, what right do I have to enjoy my work so much when my husband doesn't? What right do I have to waste family weekend time going t writing conferences? What right do I have being late for the school pickup because I'm writing this blog????

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You know you're a parent when...

You know you're a parent when...

  • The last ten books you've read are "The Gruffalo", "The Secret Seven", "The Famous Five", "The Gruffalo", "The Gruffalo", "The Secret Seven's Adventure", "The Cat in A Hat", "The Gruffalo", "The Secret Seven Do It Again" and "The Gruffalo".
  • You enter a library to give a talk to a group of adults, only to be sidetracked by a room full of toddlers singing "The wheels on the bus go round and round".
  • (You hum "The wheels on the bus go round and round" for the rest of the day.)
  • Your dinner repertoir consists of sausages, fish fingers and chicken nuggets.
  • You refuse to read any books in which bad things happen to children.
  • (You don't have time to read any adult books anyway.)
  • As an author, you start censoring your writing in case your children get into the computer.
  • You think it's more important for your children to be happy than for you to win the Orange Fiction Prize.
  • You finish your blog post mid-sentence because your children call you down to -

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Book trailers, anyone?

You know what my ideal book trailer would be? Computer-graphic characters playing out scenes from the book, complete with actions and dialogue. Cool, huh?

Failing that, photographs of scenes from the book (as close as you can get), together with a book excerpt read out by an actor. You can see an example of that here.

This book trailer, for "Murder @ Play", doesn't have a voice-over, but I like it anyway. What do you think?

Do you like book trailers, period?

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Blurb for "Murder @ Play":

In the new free South Africa of 1994, men are still boss, women carry handguns for self-protection, and some mistakes can change your life forever.

When a body is found during their weekend away with friends, Christine Chamberlain must use her brilliant mathematical mind to prove her husband's innocence...

... whether he's innocent or not.

When it comes to your loved ones, is it possible to know too much?

Excerpt from "Murder @ Play":

Prelude–Pretoria, October 1994

Chapter 1

Anonymous letters are always a cliché. In South Africa, they can also be deadly.

This one would contain no explosives or wires. Just a plain envelope and a photocopy of words cut out from newspapers.

How many copies?

Five. One for every guy at the Election Day after-party.

Or perhaps only four?

Yes, that would be truly brilliant. Only four.

Quick Facts

Release: August 2009
Title: Murder @ Play
Author: Yvonne Walus

Link: Buy it here

ISBN: 978-1-59080-637-1
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 268
Price: $13.49 US

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island

What is it about Greece that makes it so exotic, so romantic, so tantalizing that it’s right at the top of everybody’s bucket list – the one foreign land they’re longing to visit? Our dreams are made on Never on Sunday, Zorba the Greek, and more recently My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mama Mia.

Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island is a witty, evocative, beautifully written novel that puts you right in the heart of Greek island life. It’s so alive with the sights and smells and tastes and characters of Greece that you can pick it up and start your Mediterranean vacation on page one. On a deeper level, the book is filled with the kinds of observations, reflections, and arc of self-discovery that make Eat, Pray, Love so compelling.

“Welcome to Pharos. Laugh and dance in the hammock—not the cradle—of Western civilization,” says author, lyricist, and theatrical producer Barbara Bonfigli. “I’ve been falling in love with Greece since I was old enough to drink retsina. But if Sarah hadn’t captured my imagination you’d never know how I feel about friendship, feta, and the abundance of grace that turns friends into lovers and fishermen into kings.”


When Sarah, a thirty-something American theatrical producer, is asked to direct the locals in their summer show, she picks Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. What follows is a hilarious adventure in casting, rehearsing, and consuming. Her neighbors are excited about acting but delirious about eating. Their rehearsals in a deconsecrated church become a feast in four acts.

Armed with a sizzling wit, a dangerously limited Greek vocabulary, and a pitch-perfect ear for drama, Sarah navigates the major egos and minor storms of a cab driver Caliban, a postmaster Prospero, and a host of fishermen dukes and knaves.

When she falls in love, there are even trickier seas to navigate. Her own offstage romance provides an exhilarating, unpredictable counterpoint to Shakespeare’s story of magic, intrigue, and the power of love.


[from Chapter 23, edited for length. Sarah, the novel’s main character, is an American theater producer spending several weeks on Pharos, a rustic idyllic Greek island. This evening, she’s at a taverna –owned by Dmitri --with her friends Alexandra (Alex) and Petros, and Petros’ new Swedish girlfriend Monika]

“I love these fish places,” says Monika. She’s wearing a halo, the sun having bleached her blond hair river gold. Below that is a black-and-white Joffrey Ballet T-shirt tucked into black hipsters; the dancers are pas-de-deuxing over Monika’s small unsupported breasts.

“But you must have the same thing in Sweden,” says Alex, who’s chosen the poor-fisherman-dangling-threads look tonight.

“Lots of places that serve fish, but they don’t have this atmosphere. Even the outside cafés there are all . . .” Monika makes a sour face that does nothing to dim the voltage. “. . . modern.”

“Dmitri thinks this is modern,” says Petros, raising his arm off the back of her chair, “covering the lights with fishnets.”

“Mykonos fifteen years ago,” I recall.

“Do you think Pharos will be spoiled?” Monika addresses this directly to me. “No,” Petros answers for me, “no airport, no discos.”

“No movie theaters,” says Alex.

“No music,” I say.

“Music? You like music? We have.” Dmitri has appeared with his order pad. “Tomas has coffee, then he plays.”

“Great!” we all say.

We’re in luck. Tomas the shipwright is a terrific fiddler, and his younger brother Takis plays wizard bouzouki.

“You eat something?” asks Dmitri.

“Oh yes,” says Petros. He spreads his arms. “Octopodhi [octopus] everyone?”

“Not for me, thanks,” I say. “I’ll have tsipoura [grey sole].

“And I’d like kalamari,” says Alex.

“Me too,” says Monika in English.

Petros contracts slightly. “But the specialty is octopodhi . . .” He looks from face to determined face. “Well, I’ll have it. And a pitcher of your house white.”

Except Dmitri’s house white will take baked-on bugs off your windshield.

“Dmitri,” I say, arresting him, “let’s have a bottle of retsina too.”

Dmitri brings a collection of mezedes [appetizers] with the retsina and we dig in.

Yasoo, Sarah!” Iannis the postman slaps a letter on the table, “I lose a few days,” and departs.

I inspect the envelope closely: “God, it’s more than a week old.”

“A week old? Isn’t he the postman?” Monika asks. She’s new here, and from the north.

“You’ve heard of the Peter Principle?” says Alex.

Monika shakes her head.

“The what principle?” Petros says.

“It’s a theory that describes why nothing works very well,” she says. “The idea is that when people are good at their jobs, they get promoted. Till they finally rise to their level of incompetence. And that’s where they stay. So no one’s really good at what they do.”

“The author’s name was Peter something,” I add, turning to Petros, “so think of it as the Petros Principle.” Petros looks pretty miserable. Sometimes irony doesn’t leap the cultural divide.

“It’s just an amusing idea,” I say. “If it were always true we’d never have walked on the moon.”

“Right,” says Petros.

“Why are we walking on the moon?” says Alex.

Tino’s wife has made fresh tarama,[fish roe salad] and the feta is soft and sweet.

“Let’s get some more tarama and pita,” I say.

“Even the retsina’s good,” says Alex, dropping the moon. “Can’t we give up and come here every night?”

To learn about Barbara Bonfigli and Café Tempest, feel free to visit any of these sites.

Barbara Bonfigli’s website –

Order Café Tempest directly from the publisher - or from Amazoné-Tempest-Adventures-Small-Island/dp/0981645313

To see the complete tour schedule visit

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Seventh Taboo - a sweet SF romance with a rave review!

"The Seventh Taboo", a sweet SF romance with a rave review!


You know he is somewhere out there. Your soul mate. Your other self. All you need to do is find him and you'll feel complete the way you've never felt complete before.

Except that finding him is strictly forbidden.

Finding him would break the Seventh Taboo.

And then, one night, you meet him. Every hormone and every cell in your body shouts that he's the lost half of yourself you've been searching for. Your logic disagrees. Which are you going to believe? The primeval instinct or your training? Your heart or your mind?

To what lengths will you go, what risks will you take, to prove to yourself that he is the one?


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thriller... no, not the Michael Jackson song!

I never used to read thrillers. They used to be thick books written by men who liked ticking bombs, political plots and weapons of destruction (mass or otherwise). They used to be thick books written by men who thought saving a nation was more important than saving a five year old girl the readers have come to know and love. They used to be BORING.

Thriller authors must have realised that they were writing for a very narrow market (after all, there are a lot more female than male readers out there), and subsequently they adapted.

Regular readers of this blog will already know about my love for Harlan Coben books (not to mention his Win creation), so today I'm going to talk about somebody not quite so famous, but equally good: a contemporary South African thriller writer, Deon Meyer.

Meyer writes in Afrikaans, and even though my command of the language is not perfect, I love the books so much I refuse to wait for the translations, so I read the originals. But translations exist and sell well. Have a look on amazon for... hand on, let me check what the English title is... something about the hunter... ah, yes, Heart of the Hunter.

Buy it.

Read it.

Go back for the other titles. They are worth it.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Kona coffee

Curses on the person who introduced me to Kona coffee! It really is quite superior coffee, particularly the rounder peaberry variety (which roasts more evenly). If I had to choose between Blue Mountain and Kona... hmm... I'd take both.

The trouble is, not only is it more expensive than my local brand, the cost of shipping it halfway around the globe surpasses the cost of the beans themselves!

Anyway, here is a competition to win a bag of Kona beans: simply click on this link: and scroll down to Eve Summers.

It's worth it!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

STOP PRESS: A Special on "Ghost Light"

Echelon Press is running a special on "Ghost Light" (see the post below for more info on the book itself):
Buy "Ghost Light," by award-winning 'tween author, Mary Cunningham (Cynthia's Attic Series), and receive a free PDF (download) copy of "Cynthia's Attic: The Missing Locket."
Click on the link to take advantage of the offer: The books are fabulous and you won't regret it!

Mary Cunningham’s Ghost Light

The Blurb

11-year-old Jake McMillen wants, more than anything in the world, to play varsity basketball for the Corydon Panthers, just like his late, Grandpa Max. One big problem. While Jake inherits his grandfather’s love for the game, the McMillen height passed him by.

Not only that, being dragged along to his grandmother's steamy apartment cuts into the afternoon pick-up game at the Island basketball court.

After getting totally humiliated during the game by star player, Quinn Parker, Jake gets a ghostly message that changes his outlook toward his grandmother, and inspires him to pursue his dreams.

The Buy Links

Amazon (Kindle):

Echelon Press:

About the Author

Having grown up in Indiana, author, Mary Cunningham’s love of basketball inspired her to write “Ghost Light”

In addition, she is the author of the award-winning 'tween fantasy/mystery series, Cynthia’s Attic. She is proud to announce book four, Cynthia’s Attic: The Magician’s Castle, is due for release in December of 2009. Her children’s mystery series was inspired by a recurring dream about a mysterious attic. After realizing that the dream took place in the attic of her childhood friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began.

She is also co-writer of the humor-filled lifestyle book titled, "Women Only Over Fifty (WOOF)."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Blue Nowhere

(actually, I was going to do a philosophical post today, about all the things that irk me and soothe me, but this book just couldn't wait)

"The Blue Nowhere" by Jeffery Deaver is as close as you can get to a masterpiece when writing a thriller.

I confess that I'm biased: my background is in IT and I have a geek fetish (anybody who can dictate a piece of UNIX code from memory using the slash-bang jargon immediately scores 50% higher on his sexy-o-meter), so clearly the topic is close to my heart.

Nevertheless, I found the plotting very good (no quibbles this time about far-fetched twists) and the amount of research humbling (I only found 1 mistake and 1 oversimplification, though I daresay my geek husband will find more when he reads it next week). I loved the major characters, heroes and villains alike - now what could be higher praise than that?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Kiss For Luck

A dear friend of mine, Melody Knight, has just returned home after a week-long absence.
"You won't believe it," she said, "but a person CAN not-see-the-Internet for 6 days and survive. When you get back, it's all still there."

Well said, Melody. And this one's for you.

Blurb for Melody's new book, A Kiss For Luck (check out the gorgeous cover):

Sybil's fate has been cast in glass for hundreds of years. For centuries, her world has been defined within the contours of an antique mirror. Even so, her dreams haven't changed. She longs for a chance to break free, to live her girlish fantasy of sweet future and warm caresses.

Jamie Perriford is a self-made man, acquiescing to family tradition. He visits Perriford Castle with a rolling of eyes and a satirical twist of his lips. Never was a man so put upon by family, by irrelevant traditions, by pursuit from determined heiresses. Jamie has need of neither a wife, nor interference from the past.

When Jamie encounters Sybil, he is as warmed by her form and unique perspective, as he is by her rather dusty and naive charms. When he takes her in his arms, he realizes that although Destiny may have brought them here, it was A Kiss for Luck that has wooed and won her. If he can only hold fast, he may be lucky enough never to let her go.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Sleeping Doll

Jeffery Deaver certainly knows how to spin a tale. "The Sleeping Doll" is a page turner, and I know there's a lot I can learn from him about pacing and body language.

I did think, however, that one of the twists was a bit too convoluted for its own good. It felt a bit slapped-on at the end, and it failed my sanity check of "would a person really go to all this trouble to..."

Still, it's a fun book to read, and it certainly kept me off my computer for two nights in a row.