Debbie Manber Kupfer announced the release of the latest episode of her P.A.W.S books on June 15th. I was delighted to receive a preview copy of this book, and am now posting a review here and on Goodreads.This, along with her other books, is a good read and will appeal both to teen and young adults, and adults who like the escapism of fantasy set in our real world.
This is a continuation of Ms Kuyper’s P.A.W.S. saga. It is, in fact, the 6th book. She has moved away from concentrating on Miri and the St Louis P.A.W.S., and this book is mainly set in New York, although it does have a substantial part in St Louis where Sandy, a weather mage, is situated. I would class it as a Teen and Young Adult book, although many adults would enjoy reading it if they enjoy fantasy. It is a fantasy world that runs in our own, but that normal mortals know little or nothing about. Fairies abound, as do shapeshifters, werecreatures and animagi. And magic is real.
Jenny has been painting fairies her whole life, but now a new fairy has emerged, one with wings of pure silver. She wishes she could share this new fairy with Jamie, but Jamie has disappeared and Jenny is worried. Sandy is also worried. Her weather magic is out of control and she is taunted by a storm that whispers its name to her – Jhara. Deep inside the bottle, the spirit of Jhara waits. She hates this form and detests her creator who has trapped her in there. It was not fair. You cannot create a storm and then trap it in a teacup. That worked only in idioms. And this was Jhara’s life. The P.A.W.S. Saga continues with Jhara.
The characters are well developed, with flaws and good points. Most want to do good, but their flaws let them down on occasion. Some are tied to the evil werewolf, Frederick, and in spite of their better efforts, end up doing bad things.
There are a few typos that have got through the editing process, but that can happen to the best of writers and editors. The rest of the writing is good. The descriptions of the places and the people bring them to life. Ms Kuyper has a large cast of characters in this book that she handles well. Each has their own voice and are sufficiently different that we always know who is speaking. It must have been difficult dealing with so many.
A thoroughly enjoyable read. It adds to the on-going story of P.A.W.S., but it could be read on its own if you haven’t read the others.
Today I welcome one of my favourite poets to my blog.
Kevin Morris is a poet who writes both humorous and serious poetry. I will hand over to Kevin now, and he can explain about his poetry much better than I can.
Welcome, Kevin. Please tell us about your poetry.
I have, for as long as I can remember, been a lover of poetry. The first poem I recollect having read is Alfred Noyes’s “The Highwayman”, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43187/the-highwayman. I was (and remain)entranced by the rhythm of the poem and how it matches the beat of the horse’s feet, as the Highwayman approaches the inn:
“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees. The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas. The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, And the highwayman came riding— Riding—riding— The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door”.
I find good rhyming poetry profoundly beautiful, and much of my own work is written in rhyme. Take, for example my poem “Autumn Fly”, which appears in my forthcoming collection, “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) poems”.
“An autumn fly Buzzes around my head. Summer is dead Yet will not die. Seasons pass. We are brittle as glass, This fly And I”.
Whilst sitting in my study, in late autumn, a fly began buzzing around my head. This brought to mind the mortality of this tiny insect and also that of man. Hence the above poem was born.
I have many happy memories of strolling through the woods with my grandfather and it was from him that I gained my love of nature. This affection for nature was, I believe encouraged further by my reading of poems such as Keats “Autumn”. Much of my own poetry touches on the theme of nature. Take, for example my poem “Rain”.
“The rain Patters amongst these leaves. I listen again And ascertain That it’s the breeze Midst these trees. Yet it sounds the same As rain”.
As with “Autumn Fly”, “Rain” came to me naturally as a rhyming poem. I could not have expressed what I wished to convey had I utilised free verse, as rhyme comes naturally to me, whilst other forms of poetic expression do not.
Whilst there exists some wonderful poetry composed in free verse, to me much free verse is poetic prose rather than true poetry. Many poems written in free verse are beautiful. However, for me their beauty resides in their poetic prose, they are not, in my opinion poetry as I understand it (I.E. with real rhyme and metre).
One can not always be serious, and section 2 of “Light and Shade” is devoted to my humorous verses. Take, for example my poem “Jane’s Sad Refrain”:
“A young lady named Jane Sang a most mournful refrain. I could repeat her song, As it wouldn’t take long, But it’s copyright of Jane!”
To conclude. Poetry is, for me about rhyme and its rhyme with which I feel most comfortable. There is, as I said, some wonderful free verse poetry out there. However, for me at least much of this (but by no means all) is poetic prose rather than poetry proper.
(“Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems”, by Kevin Morris will be available in the Amazon Kindle store, and as a paperback in July 2020).
Thank you, Kevin, for telling us more about your poetry. I agree with you about free verse. It’s something I’ve thought for a long time. I have written poetry that doesn’t rhyme, but it always has rhythm. And I love the poem about Jane!
I would encourage everyone to search out your poetry books and to visit your blog.
Good luck with this latest one. I look forward to its publication.
If you have any comments to either myself, or Kevin, please enter them in the comments box. Feel free to reblog this.
I would like to welcome A.J.Alexander to my blog today. She is about to launch the next book, Demon Tracker, book 3 in her Council of Twelve books, with a blog tour. I am delighted that she has agreed to come here and talk to us about it.
Hello, AJ. It’s good to have you here. Perhaps you can help us to get to know you a bit better by answering a few questions.
What is your e-reading device of choice? I’m reading on a Kindle Paperwhite
Describe your desk I have a computer desk with a laptop and an extra monitor, a multifunctional printer device and books, papers, paper sketchbooks and pens, pens, pens.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing? My upbringing does not have any influence on my writing. I’m writing fantasy and paranormal romance.
When did you first start writing? I’m not sure there ever was “a start”. I learned to write at the age of four and I remember developing little stories since I’m a Kindergarten kid. In school, when others complained about essays, mine were easily 6 – 10 pages long, I enjoyed it so much.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you? Writing is my passion. Writing is a way to focus my creativity on building a (hopefully) good story. Writing relaxes me, calms me, challenges me, and it makes me happy. It is a part of my life.
What are you working on next? I’m working on ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series and ‘Soul Taker’ is the first book of the series. Different books of the series are in different states of completed. Right now I’m writing the seventh and eighth book in the series while several are being edited or waiting with my editor.
Who are your favorite authors? I love reading Eric van Lustbader, James Clavell, Clive Cussler, and many other famous writers. But: I read books by L.W. Smith, Merlin Fraser, Micki Peluso, Taylor Fulks, Jim Spencer, Allan Krummenacker, and many others who held me intrigued and entertained. There are so many fantastic new authors out there. I’m adding their books to my “to-read” pile. Every single one of their books can teach me a lot about writing.
What is your writing process? The first draft is written by hand. By typing it into the computer I am able to catch the major flaws and can correct them. After that, the manuscript goes to editing, from there to filing for copyright. Then I send it out to Beta readers. That’s how I did it with the first book in the Series, ‘Soul Taker’. Let’s see how it works out and if the process will slightly change with the next books. Of course, there are more things in between, marketing, book cover, writing blurbs, getting a trailer done, and so on.
How do you approach cover design? I have KJ Magical Designs, Kathryn Jenkins, who does the covers for me. She is educated in graphic design and did a wonderful job with the first book of the series. I saw her work on other books and I’m happy I decided to pick her as my cover designer for that book series.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? The answer is no. If I wasn’t happy with the book the way it is I wouldn’t call it ‘completed’. My work is completed when I’m satisfied with the book, the characters, the plot and the entire story. How can I expect readers to like it if I don’t fully stand behind my work?
Can you tell us a bit about the book?
Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the Good side. With her unusual looks, her phenomenal sense of smell, and her bravery, she quickly draws ‘The Big 7’s attention to her talent. They hire her to find one of them. Leaving her familiar surroundings and regular work environment unsettles Zepheira at first. But the challenge to prove herself and to increase the reputation of her infallibility tempts her. She is convinced she will be a great asset to ‘The Big 7’. Little does she know she will be a much greater asset in Heaven’s fight against Evil. Zepheira suddenly becomes more than a hired tracker. She finds herself an important pawn in the game of love, heat, and fire. Will her courage and sacrifice be sufficient to dance with the flames?
And to whet your appetite, here’s an extract from the book.
Less than twenty minutes later, I received a message from Michael. I was strictly ordered not to do anything but stay where I was. Andreas would pick me up a little later. In the meantime, I could work out in the gardens with some of the angels if I wanted to. “I’m sorry, Zye. I must leave at once,” Uriel whispered. He kissed my cheek and was gone. I worked out with Robbie and Daniel while Maria watched us carefully. All three of them were excellent sword fighters and we had a good time. After the workout, I rinsed the sweat off my body, dressed in black pants and a white t-shirt and went outside again to sit down and just enjoy nature for a while. I watched frogs climbing out the pond, sparrows and hummingbirds flying and hopping all over the place and butterflies filling the air with breathtaking colors. After a while, Andreas sat down next to me on the white bench. “Hello, Zye.” “Hi, Andreas. I was told you were supposed to take me somewhere?” He smiled. “Not just somewhere, Zye. You will be meeting the ‘Council of Twelve’.” I froze. “Are you joking?” He shook his head. “No.” I felt my blood drain from my face. Andreas jumped up. “Holy Mary! You’re not going to pass out on me, are you?” I carefully stood up, testing whether my feet would still carry me. My body trembled. Andreas laughed. “Listen, Zye, there is no reason at all to freak out. Yes, they’re Archangels, but they won’t eat you. Don’t forget, Uriel will be there as well and he’s likely to protect you!” I took a couple deep breaths. “Yes, he will. But what can he do when eleven others are voting against me?” Andreas laughed. “What do you think they’d vote for? Killing you? Zye, they’re angels, standing on our side, fighting against evil. Just like what you do!” His words made me think for a few moments before I finally replied, “I can’t help myself, Andreas. I’m still scared to death.” He smiled mildly. “There is no reason to fear them. Of course, respect them. After all, they’re probably the most powerful individuals on Earth besides our one and only Creator. They’re not going to do anything bad or evil to you.” I slowly tried to slow my heart rate and bring my trembles under control. “See? You’re getting better.” Andreas grinned. Then he opened his arms and offered to carry me to the assembly hall. The so-called “assembly hall” was an enormous room, beautifully built, with polished marble of purest silver-gray, inlaid by some marble that looked like the veins of fire. The ground was covered with anthracite colored stone and harmonized beautifully with the light gray walls and the beautifully painted fiery ceiling. The ceiling was so high, even the Archangels could fly within the hall. The room was equipped with a small waiting area with black leather seats and a small glass table. It was quite modern, but comfortable. Andreas gave me a brief description before we started to prepare me for the impressive and pompous sight. After our arrival, I stepped away from Andreas and in my head heard Uriel’s voice: “If you’re going to do this more often, girl, I will have problems with that.” I grinned. “There is only one solution to this problem,” I replied. “And this is?” Uriel’s buoyant voice asked back. “Next time pick me up yourself, Mr. Taxi,” I snarled. I enjoyed the mental clash and the growing closeness it showed between Uriel and me. Andreas curiously examined my face. “You were just somewhere else with your thoughts,” he commented with amusement. I blushed furiously which made him chuckle. “I’ll wait here for you.” I swallowed. “I… okay.” Then I turned to the huge ornate white door that opened by itself to let me inside. There I found two huge angel warriors in full armor and a beautiful winged woman gesturing for me to follow her. She led me through a light, nearly empty corridor to a smaller pair of wooden doors. She opened them to let me enter. I hesitantly entered and the door closed behind me. There I stood in front of a simple long table with twelve tall, exceptionally beautiful Archangels, each of them unique Still, I had the impression that these individuals formed an enormously strong singular entity. Of course, I saw their different manifestations , but what caught me off guard was the fact I could perceive them all so clearly. Their smells and aromas were much stronger than the ones of other individuals I had encountered. I already memorized Uriel’s scent. To me he was the purity of flames and heat, fire, and blaze. But to be truthful, he smelled deliciously like cinnamon. I hid a smile. I interrupted my train of thought when Michael stood. “Please, Zye, come closer and meet the ‘Council of Twelve.’ From your left: Uriel, Myself, Anghariel, Zachariel, Centriel, Deonur, Raphael, Gabriel, Benadrel, Santanael, Tsechirel, and Simael.” He threw me a sharp look. “You seem to be totally in shock, Zye. Are you all right?” I almost collapsed; my mouth was as dry as an Arabian desert. I had to swallow before finally I was able to reply. “Forgive me, Mylords. I just discovered that I apparently can catch your natural fragrance in a very strong and unique way. It hit me when I entered the hall.” Gabriel rose, eyeing me curiously. “Wow, really? You’re not kidding?” I only shook my head. “Does that mean, even if you can’t see us, you’re still able to tell we’re here?” “Not only that,” I explained. “Each one of you smells unique.” Gabriel seemed enthusiastic about this information. “You could tell us apart without even seeing us?” “Yes, Sir.” “No ‘Sir’ here, Zye,” he replied with the wink of an eye. “I’m Gabriel.” He turned to the others who had similar expressions on their faces. “Oh, please, can we take the time?” Michael laughed. “We’re not in a hurry.” He scanned me quickly. “Are you up for a test?” I swallowed dryly. “Yes.” Uriel stood. “Fine with me, friends. But seriously: she looks like she’s going to pass out any minute. Would you mind being nice enough to offer her some water and let her relax for a couple of minutes?” He walked around the table and handed me a glass of water. His hand was placed caringly onto my shoulder. Just when I took a sip, Anghariel drawled, “Sheesh, Uriel. You sound as worried as Grandma Walton.” I spit my mouthful of water across the floor, laughing. This unexpected little mishap made the Archangels stare at me in wonder before they smiled as well. I apologized, but it took a couple minutes until we all calmed down. By that time, I was visibly relaxed and Michael called his friends to order. “What do you need for us to do, Zye?” he asked politely. I smiled. “Not too much. I need to separate each one of you. I would say, at about the distance from here to the furthest corner over there. Then your natural perfumes won’t get mixed altogether.” “Who do you want to start with? Uriel?” Michael asked curiously. Anghariel chuckled. “I don’t think so, brother. I’ll bet my socks she knows his stench quite well by now.” I blushed, Uriel grinned and eleven Archangels apparently had tons of fun. I bowed my head politely to Anghariel. “Would you mind if I start with you?” He laughed. “Nope. It would be my pleasure.”
This is my first venture into historical fiction. I really had an amazing time researching it and found out such a lot about the Romans and the way of life of the Celts who lived here when they invaded.
As a special thank you to all my readers, I am publishing an extract from the book on my blog on Thursday to mark the 4 week point.
You can order the book by clicking here, and it will take you to Amazon where you are. Or you can click on the book in the sidebar.
I am excited to welcome Jaye Marie as part of the blog tour for her new book, Silent Payback. I have been reading her blog for quite some time now, and so it is an honour to welcome her to mine.
Good to have you here, Jaye.
I hear your friends have a nickname for you. Would you like to share it with us?
*Laughs* Yes. My friends often call me the Giant Redwood because I am very tall, just like the tree.
That’s not the only reason, though, is it?
No. I am very fond of trees and the outdoors. I have quite a large bonsai collection and like to spend my afternoons repotting and generally tending to them.
But you obviously don’t spend all your time with your trees.You must go in to write sometimes.
Yes. It’s usually my love for detective mysteries that sends me back indoors.
Have you written any other detective novels?
Yes. In fact, Silent Payback is my fourth book.
Would you tell us the titles of the others?
Yes., certainly. My first book is called Nine Lives, then there are Out of Time and Crossfire. They are all in the detective mystery genre.
What do you do when you aren’t tending your bonsai or writing?
Currently I’m learning all I can about self-publishing. There are a lot of obstacles associated with it, but I’m determined not to give up. *laughs* Some people say I’m as stubborn as a mule when I start doing something difficult, and refuse to give up.
At last the wait is over. You can now buy Book 3 of The Wolves of Vimar, Wolf Moon.
The group called Wolf have been enlisted into the Erian Army against their will, and they soon learn that an invasion is planned into their homeland of Grosmer.
As the heroes make their escape, they accidentally stumble upon an old Dwarven city, and become friends with them.
Facing enemies on all sides, the five must find where their loyalties lie, and save their homeland from certain destruction.
This part follows the 5 members of Wolf who were not arrested and taken to Frelli. Their adventures and discoveries are no less astounding than those taken prisoner. Strange people and impossible creatures cross their path, and they need to use their wit and imagination to get home.
You can buy your copy of Wolf Moon by clicking on the picture above, or on this link.
If you haven’t already purchased books 1 and 2, you can get them by clicking on the links below, on the book image here or on My Books page.
If you have read any of The Wolves of Vimar series, please would you leave a review. Reviews are important to authors and readers alike, as they help readers find the kind of books they like, and authors to connect with their readers. Thank you.
Wolf Moon, Book 3 in The Wolves of Vimar series, is ready for publishing. Not sure of the actual date, but I’ve just had the word from the Publisher that they can go ahead just as soon as I approve the copies.
I’m going to do that asap. I need to just check them first. As soon as the book is on sale, I’ll let you know.
This book follows the half of Wolf who were not captured and taken to Frelli, the capitol of Erian. They have some exciting times before they get back to Grosmer to warn of the preparations for war that are happening in Erian.
I am quite excited about this release because I started reading the series recently and am looking forward to reading the rest of it.
Debbie has kindly interviewed Miri for my blog. Here is the interview.
What do you miss most from when you were young?
Oh lots of things: my cats – Kitty and Susie; my best friend – Jenny; New York City and in particular the Lower East Side where I grew up; and most of all my omama. I think about her every day – the things she taught me, the stories she told. And I also wonder about the stories she didn’t tell. About her early life in Vienna and how she escaped from the Nazis. Maybe one day I’ll be able to piece all that together.
What scares you the most?
That I could lose my new friends here at P.A.W.S. I’d like to be able to just enjoy my classes and hang out like a normal teen (or at least as normal as a shapeshifter cat girl can be), but bad stuff seems to follow me around, so I guess I should be prepared.
How did you change as you grew older?
I think I’ve become more confident and a little less likely to trip over my own two feet – I think having four paws helps with that and of course having good teachers – Josh and Danny – also does wonders.
What has been the hardest struggle for you?
Believing that I actually have magic. I know Jessamyn says that my whole family had magic, but it does seem hard to believe.
Who do you hope stays in your life?
Well Danny of course (blushes), but I don’t really see how he likes me. And then I hope I’ll always stay close to my friends at P.A.W.S. – Josh, Sandy, Sean and Joey. Joey’s said that in a few years I should visit him in Australia. That would be a lot of fun.
What do you need to be happy in the future?
Good friends, my books and my writing. I hope someday to write my story and delve into my family’s past so that I can write a history of that too.
What is the most important lesson you have learned?
To trust my friends when they say I’m much stronger and more capable than I think I am.