Saturday, June 28, 2008

Owen Fiddler is here!

Mr. Fiddler, thank you for stopping by my humble blog today.
(Owen – nods acknowledgement, puts out his cigarette, takes a seat) – Pleasure Ma’am, Lisa.

How’s everything going for you lately?
How’s it all going? Oh, ‘bout the same as usual, I guess. Nothin’ ever goes too well for me, and even though I complain a lot about it, it don’t seem to help none.

How are you enjoying all these VBT visits?
VBT? What the h- … oh, that’s one o’ them ackernims, right? Lemme guess, ah – Virtual. Blog … Tour? He he, see, I ain’t stupid. Well, I’d haveta say it’s been JFD!

JFD? I’m sorry?
Just (bleep)in’ Ducky!

(wide-eyed, swallow a gasp and cover my mouth with my hand)Mr. Fiddler, I have to remind you this is a family friendly …
(Owen’s cell phone rings. He flips it open, listens for a second, then hangs up with a crimson-faced chagrin) – Sorry, Ma’am, that was Marvin, the author of my biography. He was royally PO’d, told me to mind my language or else. Sorry, didn’t realize we had kids an’ folks with virgin ears ‘n all that listenin’ in. My bad.

Well, okay, no harm, really – thanks for your consideration. Was it your idea to do a VBT in order to save gas and trees? No sarcasm meant, that’s a sincere question. I think it’s a great way to meet folks.
Nah, that’s all Marvin Wilson’s idea. He’s got all these marketing ideas, and he’s one o’ them ecological-minded kinda guys, y’know. OWEN FIDDLER is out now in trade paperback, but before that he put out our book in Ebook format for people who like to think they can save the world by singin’ Kumbaya ‘n all that new age warm ‘n fuzzy (bleep) – ACH! Darn – sorry, Ma’am. Anyways, the No Dead Trees Cyber Tour, it’s just a long drawn out cutsie way of sayin’ we’re doin’ this internet marketing thing right now, you know.

How are things with you and Kris?
Huh? Kris? Oh, oh, oh … yeah, Marvin tells me there’s some spooky crap gonna happen to me – gonna have some out-of-body spiritual experience, meet some deity called Kris or some crap – all that kind of talk gives me the creepy-crawlies. Me, I wish he’d just wrote the ending with me winning the Super Lotto. That’d be my idea of a happy ending.

Marvin has been darn good to you with introducing you to folks and getting you all sorts of publicity. Have you ever let him know you appreciate him? How?
Well, I’m sittin’ here not smoking, no drink in my hand, talking myself blue in the face, mindin’ my P’s & Q’s, ‘n been doin’ this for weeks now, just so’s he can sell him a bunch o’ books, so that’s my way of sayin’ thanks. Not like I owe him or nobody nothing. This thing takes off, I want my share of the profits, too.

What’s your take on the recent nationwide salmonella scare with tomatoes? Did it affect your eating habits at all?
Salma-who? Ah, I don’t read the news, much – it’s always bad stuff, anyways. I don’t get sick much – except for in the head (laughs) – but, no, I ain’t changed my eatin’ habits none at all. Salmonella, huh? Watch – betcha they find some way to raise the gas prices over that stupid (bleep). Dang! (slaps his cheek) Sorry again, Lisa.

No problem, we’ve got a 5 second tape delay for quick zap-edits. You’re doing fine. So -what’s a typical day in the life of Owen?
Get up, throw up, shake off a hangover, take a cold shower, eat somethin’ easy to fix, drag my a-, I mean, my butt off to work, suffer through another meaningless day, try an’ not commit murder dealing with my boss ‘n the idiots I work with, then head to the bar so’s I can tie one on and see if I can’t score me some – ah, well … you know. Then get up the next day and start the same old crap over again. Repeat this cycle ad infinitum, ad nauseum. That’s pretty much my life.

How’d Father’s Day go for you? I’m guessing you might have felt a little down. Maybe you sat and reflected on your past and made some great plans for the future? I’m just guessing.
Great plans? Yeah, right – that’s a good one. Nah, Father’s Day is just another lonely day. Did get to at least talk to my daughter, Frenda, though. She’s been tryin’ to get to know me better here lately, now that she’s grown an’ out on her own. That’s the one and only bright spot in my life, my baby girl Frenda. She’s really somethin’ special. Total opposite of me, a real angel. I lost out on raisin’ her for most of her life, my ex took her away from me in the divorce. Took her and everything else I had, that (bleep) – oops.

So you’re 45 and feeling old, I hear. How do you feel about the idea that maybe you’re only half-way through life?
The glass is half empty, an’ I don’t see no refills coming.

Got any big plans for the next 40 years? Well, other than sleeping with every woman on the planet, that is. But I must say that’s quite a goal – does that include married women? Or just the single ones 18 and over?
Oh, you read that in one of my earlier interviews, eh? I was just kidding, kind of - but not really … well, maybe. I like sex. Can’t seem to keep a wife, so I takes it when I can get it, y’know? I like catchin’ panties off-guard, makes me feel good for a little bit. And, yeah, if a woman’s married an’ still lookin’ – who’m I to tell her no? (laughs).

Mr. Fiddler, hypothetically, if I told you I saw a man drop his wallet the other day and that I picked it up and was going to return it, but then noticed how full of cash it was and so I kept the wallet and the cash…what’s your advice? Should I turn it in to the police?
Hell, no! If you’re gonna turn it in anyway, give it to me! Here’s my number – call me! What’re ya, nuts?

If humans start populating another planet, would you want to go into outer space and settle a new colony?
Jeez, now there’s a scary idea – Owen Fiddler in outer space! I dunno, maybe it’d be a good idea. Maybe there’s another world where Murphy’s Laws don’t apply – where God takes care of poor schmucks like me – where a guy can get a decent break without havin’ to bust his (bleep) for it all the time and then STILL not get a fair shake. Find me a planet or some world like that? I’m THERE, baby!

Do you like chocolate, Mr. Fiddler? How about jelly beans?
Huh? Weird. Ahm, okay, I like chocolate, and I don’t like jelly beans. Ya wanna know my favorite color, too? (shakes his head and snickers)

Thank you for your time, today, I’m sure you’ve made a lasting impression on any visitors to my blog. I wish you well in your travels!
Been my pleasure, Lisa. ‘N thanks for havin’ me on. Hey, if your readers wanna visit with me and communicate, I got a myspace at: If they want to get a copy of my book, it’s available at: and and also at your favorite bookstore. The book info site is at:
(Phone rings) Opps, excuse me (Owen answers, listens, hangs up) Sorry, that was Marvin Wilson – he wants me to let everyone know that he LOVES getting emails from his readers, you can reach him at: – and his myspace is: Oh, and yeah – make sure and leave a comment on today’s blog. He’s giving away a free first chapter sample of OWEN FIDDLER to anyone who leaves a comment, and that also makes you eligible for a drawing – one person will get a free paperback copy of the book at the end of the tour – just after the 4th of July.
(Owen gets up, pulls out his smokes) Well, I guess that’s about it. It’s been real - thanks again, Lisa!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Review - Soul by Tobsha Learner

Two women, one living in the mid-1800's, the other in early 2000, have a lot in common, including their husbands' betrayals and perhaps a killer DNA gene.

Lavinia was intrigued with James Huntington's scientific research. The fact that he was more than twice her age didn't stop her from falling in love and winning him over with her insatiable intellectual curiosity. Their marriage fulfilled her dreams and bearing him a male heir made them the perfect family. In the present day, Professor Julia Huntington, a direct descendent of Lavinia and James, has just landed a dream DNA sponsorship with the Department of Defense. She discovers she's pregnant with her first child and is still madly in love with her husband of over a decade. The events in the women's lives parallel each other in an unsettling way and Julia is hoping to find resolution through her science.

Soul is a relaxing read. The author aptly separated the novel into three parts of the Garden of Eden tale: The Apple, The Serpent, and The Fall. The short chapters alternate between the women's points of view, which keeps the reader focused on the women and their lives. The book's many layers all relate to its overall theme of 'nature vs. nurtur.'

Tobsha Learner, born and raised in England, has lived in Australia and the U.S. Her third book, the bestselling The Witch of Cologne, was her first work of historical fiction. She has had a collection of short stories published before each of her novels.

I recommend Soul to anyone interested in a good story with intriguing female characters. Soul grasps right to the unpredictable end.

Title: Soul
Author: Tobsha Learner
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2010-0
Pages: 424
Price: $14.95

Reviewed for Allbooks Review

6/28/08 - Owen Fiddler is stopping by on his VBT!


Join me here on Saturday, 6/28 as Owen Fiddler, lead character in the novel Owen Fiddler by Marvin Wilson, stops by to visit.

Owen is out and about with his No Dead Trees Cyber tour and if you haven't met him already, you really should stop by and ask him a few questions.

All commenters will receive the first chapter of his book (remember to leave your email addy), as well as receive a dose of Owen's view on the world. One lucky commenter will win a copy of the entire book at the end of the tour. What have you got to lose?
You can view his book trailer here.
The book review I wrote for Owen can be found here.


Visit other stops on his tour to really get a feel for him - he's a memorable character!

6/16 Joyce Anthony's blog
6/18 Peggy Bell's blog
6/19 Janet Elaine Smith's radio show
6/20 Phil Harris's blog
6/21 Bradley Simpson (aka Veldane Darkhosis) blog
6/22 Beckie Joki's blog
6/24 Kwame's blog
6/28 HERE!! Lisa Haselton's blog
7/1 Billie Williams' blog

Friday, June 20, 2008

Interview with Kim Richards

Hi Kim,

Welcome to my Reviews and Interviews blog. I enjoyed reading “Death Masks” – well, except for the not-sleeping-well effect it had on me. I found it quite horrifying.

What first inspired you to write this novel?
I wrote the first draft while living in Ohio, across the street from a metro park. Having come from the wide open spaces of New Mexico, the dense trees of Ohio and steep areas struck me as places to dump a body. Often in the news, people were found days after driving off into one of these areas. I did talk with the park rangers near me and found out they try to keep any assaults or other problems occurring in the parks under wraps so that people will feel safe in coming there.

What is a death mask?
Throughout the ages, man often made masks of the deceased faces. It is a way of honoring the dead and, before photographs became available, to preserve the visage of the deceased person for the living to view. There are many in museums around the world including some famous people such as Agamemnon, Cromwell, Edison, Newton and Volaire.

I made a plaster cast of my own face to use for promoting Death Masks and the detail of the features surprised me. The death masks I had the opportunity to see also had great detail. FYI: the one I did of myself is technically called a Life Mask since I am still living.

How did you choose your protagonist?
I decided early on I wanted my protagonist to be someone different than those you find in a lot of thrillers. Bill is an IT computer support tech instead of a detective or someone with law enforcement experience. His curiosity keeps him on the trail but his lack of experience causes him to make mistakes.

Why did you decide to publish Death Masks with Eternal Press, an e-book publisher?
I find every path to publishing valid in one form or another. My first book came out as a print on demand format because I had the opportunity to do it free. I do editing for Eternal Press and so took the opportunity to try my hand at an e-book when it was offered. It may not be the best choice for every book, but I believe a good one for this story. I prefer to form my own opinions about such things with a little of my own experience.

Tell us about the book trailer.
My fiancé, William Gilchrist filmed it for me using ideas we brainstormed together. The music is from a death metal band from my hometown of Roswell, New Mexico. I wanted a rougher sound since this is not a happy, fluffy story. The neat thing is the band, Children of a Lesser God, and I are working together to promote ourselves. It’s opened up some interesting opportunities. They will be taking touring all summer and Death Masks goes with them. The trailer can be found here:

What are you working on now?
I have a horror novel tentatively titled, Holy Blessed Homicide, which I am revising. It is also out in submission.

I am also in the first rewrites of a story about the Amazon warrior women from the region of Turkey. It was my 2007 nanowrimo project but I have two more in the series planned. The first of which is brainstormed and the first few chapters written.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
Perseverance: wrap it around your shoulders and tie it tight.

Do you belong to a critique group? Do you believe they are beneficial to writers?
I strongly believe in critique groups. The trick is to find the one for you. I’ve learned so much from the groups I’ve belonged to both in-person and online. Currently I belong to one which meets online weekly.

Critique groups are vital to any writer. They often see things you overlook in your manuscript. You know what you want to say; only another person can tell you if you said it clearly. They also give you a sense of accountability. For me, I am embarrassed when I don’t have my submission ready or my critiques done. Many times, once I sit down to do them, a lot more comes out of the time at the keyboard.

You do have to take the critiques themselves with a grain of salt. Remember, these are one person’s perspective and opinion. You are not obligated to make the changes they suggest but if several people tell you the same thing, that’s a sign it needs to be fixed.

You learn your critique partners strengths and weaknesses over time and then have a better idea of which areas of their advice to heed or ignore. Don’t take any of it personally. It’s the STORY they are critiquing, not you and it is okay to tell someone getting personal that they’ve hurt your feelings.

Do you outline before you write, or do you dive in and see where the characters take you?
I outline in a weird way. I call it brainstorming but I make a ton of notes and arrange them in an order once I’m done. I usually start out with a “What if?” and go from there. I’ve found that the research stage shapes the characters and the world so that they fit one another and the situation. Many plots have arisen from elements uncovered in research.

It’s true that you do need to know how you want the story to end and it helps to know a few important crossroads in the plot but don’t be rigid because the story will turn out feeling unnatural or forced.

What do you love most about being a writer?
That it’s okay to be creative and enjoy what you do. I’ve done the get up and go to a job that I hate thing and it’s not good for your mental health, which then affects your physical health and relationships. Life is too precious to waste it that way.

You write mainly horror and fantasy, but you’ve also written sci-fi, children’s and non-fiction. Are there any others? Do you have a favorite?
I love reading fantasy most, though horror is gaining. I just find writing horror a little easier and science fiction the hardest. My children’s story started out as a fantasy for an adult fantasy magazine. It was a writer in my local critique group who recognized it as a children’s story. I also write erotica, though have not yet published any.

I’ve had people in my life ask me to “write something nice” and so I tried my hand at inspirational stories. They royally sucked and so I returned to where my creativity thrives. Non-fiction is a lot more work for me as well and I struggle with my own fears that I’m not enough of an expert so I don’t write much of it. Most of the non-fiction I have written involves writing, book and tv reviews, scifi/fantasy/horror. I’d love to write magazine articles but so far nothing I’ve written along those lines is interesting enough.

Can you share the links to all your networking sites, please?
Writers Chatroom (Chats, newsletter, forum)
Pretty Scary (online community for women in horror)
Broad Universe (women writers in sf/f/h)
Good Reads
Live Journal
My Space
Eternal Press (my publisher and where I work as a marketing manager). Here’s the blog link:

The Muse Online Writing Conference (in October each year)

I also belong to a ton of email lists for fantasy writers, horror writers, book promotions, book news, and more. I don’t believe in joining a group just to promote my work but do feel free to promote in the places I hang out. I’ve found mentors here and a lot of great friends.

The best way for fans to connect with you would be…?
Please feel free to email me at

Kim, thank you again for stopping by today. I’d like to remind everyone who visits to leave a comment to be entered into drawings for a copy of Death Masks, cds, and tshirts.

Review - Death Masks by Kim Richards

Death Masks
Written by: Kim Richards
Rated: Very Good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Bill Cristo finally heeds his doctor’s advice to lose a little weight. Okay, so it’s really about 100 pounds, and it isn’t the doctor’s gloomy outlook that persuades Bill to lace up the sneakers, but he does start a fitness routine in a nearby park.

While out on his first day of physical fitness, Bill comes across what appears to be a mugging. He doesn’t consider himself brave, but he knows his size generally intimidates, so he moves forward to assist. Next thing he knows he’s waking up in a hospital with terrifying images of the guy he tried to save.

Bill keeps an eye on the news for muggings, attacks, and missing persons, all with no results. He knows he saw a terrified man in trouble, but there’s no evidence in the park to support his knowledge. Something isn’t right, though. He feels someone is watching him, and when his girlfriend calls to tell him she’s been getting voiceless phone calls all day at home, his fears spiral into overdrive.

Kim Richards’ unique protagonist is well-crafted as an average person. She’s written her characters so their actions are relatable and understandable. The writing of the characters’ emotions is seamless. She pulls the reader in and allows them to follow the action as if part of the scene. The tight writing puts the chill up one’s spine as the tale unfolds.

Kim Richards was born and raised in Roswell, NM. She currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA and will be getting married in May 2009. She loves all things in the fantastical genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction. Her hobbies include live action role play, Amtgard, belly dancing and costuming. She has one children’s story published and Death Masks is her first thriller. For more information on all of her published works, check out her website

Death Masks is a chilling read. If you enjoy thrillers, this book does not disappoint. Follow along as an average guy in an average job with an average life reluctantly follows his instincts to catch a ghost. Try not to read it close to bedtime, however, because some images may haunt you.

Available at:,,

Title: Death Masks
Author: Kim Richards
Publisher: Eternal Press
ISBN: 978-0-9804739-4-0
Pages: 111
Price: $5.95

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why I use a pseudonym

Reason for my pseudonym

Check it out! Sandy Lender asked me why I use a pseudonym and how I came up with the name.

You can read what I said at her blog.

Everyone has a story to tell, what's yours?


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kim Richards - Death Masks Book Tour 6/20!

Join me here on Friday, June 20th for Kim Richards as she stops by on her virtual book tour for her thriller novel "Death Masks"!

Check out the book trailer.

Kim will be here to answer any questions you may have for her, and you'll be entered into a drawing for copies of the book, tshirts, band cd's and more!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Review - Choices Meant for Kings by Sandy Lender

Choices Meant for Kings
Written by: Sandy Lender
Rated: Excellent (*****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Twenty-year-old Amanda Chariss has a lot of responsibility weighing on her young shoulders. She has been appointed as The Master’s Protector and must keep the god safe from coming to harm as the prophecies proclaim.

Long-time friend and companion, Hrazon has been on the run with Chariss for years. They find themselves now residing at Hleo-Arcana as guests of the Taiman’s. Chariss has sworn to protect centuries-old Rhone Taiman from all possible enemies. Her vow to Nigel Taiman to be his wife is centermost in her mind, but must not take priority in her life at the moment.

With enemies powerful in casting spells, Chariss longs to have use of her gaesa’n abilities again, but until then she must trust her gut instincts and experience. She also knows she can rely on her wizard, her betrothed, and her dragon to be there when she needs them. Her ability to win over warriors with a smile and light manner is balanced with her spectacular swordsmanship of which no one can best.

Sandy Lender grabs the reader by the hand and pulls him along until the finish with her exception writing style. The quick-witted dialogue keeps the story moving along at such a clip that the reader is grateful for a pause so he can catch his breath. Lender creates a fantasy world with gods and goddesses, dragons and wizards, swords and daggers, love and betrayal, that feels incredibly real. The characters are multi-dimensional and quite interesting. Lender’s style makes it seem like you’re watching a movie rather than reading a book.

Sandy Lender’s second novel and second in the Choices trilogy, Choices Meant for Kings, picks up just after Choices Meant for Gods. She has an English degree from Truman University and has been in the magazine publishing and public relations/marketing field for numerous years. She finds herself needing to stay extremely organized in order to make time for writing. She is hard at work on the final book in this trilogy and plans a prequel. You can read more at Sandy’s writing and marketing blog.

I highly recommend any lovers of fantasy read Choices Meant for Kings. The fantastic world is as real as its characters. The action and dialogue move you along a fantastic thrill ride that is as curvy and treacherous as paths along a steep mountainside. Make sure you have time set aside because once you start reading this book, you won’t be able to put it down. There is never a dull moment.

Title: Choices Meant for Kings
Author: Sandy Lender
Publisher: ArcheBooks Publishing
ISBN: 978-159507-219-1
Pages: approx. 323
Price: $27.99

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

6/20/08 - Book Tour Stop for Kim Richards

Virtual Book Tour for Kim Richards June 9th through June 30th, 2008.

If you've never done a book tour before, this is how it works: on the date listed, visit the corresponding blog where you'll find reviews, interviews, information regarding Kim's thriller, Death Masks. We will also be promoting the anthology containing Kim's story, Dragonfruit, called Firestorm of Dragons.

Whenever you visit a blog, be sure and leave a comment. For each comment, your name is put into a weekly drawing for prizes such as pdf copies of either book, tshirts, music from the band, Children of a Lesser God (who provided the music for the Death Masks video book trailer) and more.

Kim will be visiting the blogs so feel free to ask any questions you may have. It's all about having fun and talking about books. Consider yourself invited!

6/9/08 Sandy Lender
6/10/08 Ginger Simpson
6/13/08 Mike Philbin
6/15/08 Heidi Martinuzzi w/Pretty Scary
6/16/08 Lea Shizas
6/18/08 Billie A. Williams
6/19/08 Eternal Press Blog
6/20/08 Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
6/23/08 Pamela K. Kinney
6/24/08 Diana Castilleja
6/25/08 Val Griswold-Ford
6/26 & 6/27/08 Joyce Anthony
6/28/08 Glenn Walker
6/29/08 Sheri McGathy
6/30/08 Arwen Spencer

Other places promoting the book tour. Please patronize them for their kindness.
Jordan Dane

Kathy Ptacek @ Gila Queen
Karina Fabian
Carolyn Howard-Johnson