Tuesday, October 28, 2014


L.Z. Marie has taken Blogging Under the Shade Tree hostage today!  She has free license with my site to visit with my friends, talk books (and turkey) with my fellow bloggers), and post away here as well as on Shade Tree Book Reviews  today.  Have fun Ms. Marie.

L.Z. Marie is a historical fiction writer, mom, and educator. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and teaches literary analysis in the International Baccalaureate program. After earning her M.A. Ed in Curriculum, she plunged headfirst into her true passion—writing fiction. Her popular weekly blog attracts both avid readers and aspiring writers. She lives in Southern California with her husband where she tries to keep pace with her four grown children and rescue pooch.

Posted on April 27, 2014
readeralityWe all have our own reading styles and preferences. Some read many types of books, while others stick to a favorite genre. You can read a book fast, skimming over the paragraphs or take it slow, savoring the words in a well-crafted sentence.
What kind of reader are YOU?
GenreWhore: Mystery, Action, SciFi, Romance, Historical, Paranormal, non-fiction—these folks don’t care what genre they read, they just need a book—NOW! Any book will do! They’re easy with formatting too. Ebook or hard copy, it matters not, both will satisfy.
E-sexual: Hard copies? Puleeeze! So old school! This reader craves instant gratification and that can only be accomplished by downloading a book whenever and wherever the mood strikes. Downloading two or more is even better—throw in a promoted freebie and it’s oh baby, yeah! Ebooks provide clandestine reading, they’re cheap ( or free ), and don’t take up room on your nightstand. Readers on the go don’t have time for lugging books around. Another bonus, people can’t see that you’re a GenreWhore.
LiteratureDom: These folks scoff at fun “beach reads.”  They demand agonizing symbols, tormenting themes, stinging allusions, and a well-bound plot. An unreliable narrator and taboo subject matter will have them begging for more. They’re not truly satisfied until they have wrestled every nuance from the tale and recruited a literature virgin into their literati lair.
NovelMadonna: Faithful to their genre, these readers know a good thing when they see it and get maximum pleasure from being true to their genre companion. Should one of their novels veer from the expected story arc they show compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. These readers often pray for the release of new titles from their favorite authors.
AuthorSlut: These folks latch onto one author and devour every book they’ve written in record time. “I love this author!” they coo to friends and family. They read the author’s blog, Amazon author page, FaceBook Fan page, follow them on Twitter, and seek them out at book signings. But when they’ve exhausted the author’s novels and are only left with “Coming Soon” promises  they move onto the next author to repeat the cycle.
Bestseller-ophile: If the book is not on the New York Times or USA Today’s best seller list, they ain’t reading it. Period. End of story. They only buy books from the high visibility ( and most expensive to place) bookstore locations—the end caps of bookshelves, promotional tables, the best seller section, high stacks, and/or if the cover is facing out.They wholeheartedly agree with the buzz generated by guerrilla marketing techniques and can talk intelligently about the hot new titles at any social gathering. They do not often bother with reading the author’s older titles and tend to be GenreWhores.
PaperPredator: The feel of the paper caressing their fingers, the sweet swoosh as they turn the page, the first crease in the binding, the delirious whiff of paper and ink. Ah! These readers will spend money for a real book! They lust for substance, heft, paper thickness, artful layout, and font styles. Real books are works of art to be enjoyed multiple times and multiple ways. Fold their pages, annotate them, use them—they plead for the pleasure of your hands. Ebooks are nothing more than technological imposters. Bah!
Did you choose one? Or are you a bit of several? 

Monday, October 27, 2014



Take a Native American Indian, a retired Navy Commander, a Hispanic Catholic woman, an American-Iraqi artist who still holds her Islamic roots dear, and an Indian herbalist healer.  Throw this unlikely group together in an all-out bid to prevent the final holocaust, what do you have?  Kiva and the Mosque was one of the most unusual Apocalyptic novels that I have come across.
Drawing from Kayt Peck’s extensive travels during her life and career.  She has a wealth of life experience to draw from to develop the material for the writing of this intriguing book.  Living high in the mountains of Northern New Mexico, she found the perfect setting for the story, drawing from the scraggly characters that have inhabited this sparsely settled region for over 400 years to the Native American Pueblos people that dot the north and central portion of the high mountains and mesas in the state.
You felt like her characters were life like and had the tanginess of having breathed the air of life as you followed through the pages of the book up and over the high mountain terrain of Northern New Mexico where the setting for most of the story took place. 
The ancient(s) of ancients within several of the group’s faiths sent recognizable spokesmen to speak to each of the chosen representatives.  They were given directives and told to “go forth”.  Unlike most apocalyptical novels, Ms. Peck’s focus was not about the “shoot’em up, bang, bang!” it was about what it will really take to prevent the final cataclysmic event foretold in the Bible and Koran.
One aside in the telling of the story is that two of the main characters are same sex partners, this may be found offensive by some of faith.  The relationship was never flaunted nor were there any scenes of content included in the novel.  It was just a matter of fact, of who the character was.  
Sometimes the message of the story is of such importance that differences of opinion, faith, and/or belief systems need to be covered in love and kindness, so that the story may be read and weighed.
An interview with the author with be forthcoming after the first of the year .  I look forward to asking her several questions about the writing of this book at that time, as well at the new book she is currently working on.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Meet D.S. Schmeckpeper Author of Destiny's Wings

Today we want are featuring D.S. Schmeckpeper and their wonderful first novel of the epic series. Not only is it their first novel in a series, it is their debut novel. 


Celeste is tired. She just wants to be left alone.                          .   

For centuries, the half-blooded elf has hidden herself away from the world and lived in isolation. Things have been peaceful, quiet. But some have a greater calling, a destiny. When the humans unwittingly set about a plan to release the source of all evil back into the world, Celeste is called upon by an old ally to stop them, and to keep all of Altierra safe. 

Now she must face her past as she and her allies travel across the continent to save a world she has been apart from for eons. Will even her angelic birthright and druidic powers be enough to stop the rise of the last god?

                                                                                                        She never asked to be a hero.        

                                                                                                        Destiny can be funny that way.


Next, Dottie and Steve and shared a short excerpt from the novel that we can read.  

Arcus glared down at her. “Too easy.” Then he turned and started back for the bar. Before he could reach it, however, the door flew open and in walked three of the strongest looking men Arcus had ever seen. They shoved roughly past Arcus and marched straight for the table with the two girls and Joseph. Arcus stepped out of the way and waited.

“Hey, you!” The man in front had brown hair and a full beard, and a ship tattoo on his upper arm. He pointed angrily at Joseph. “Yeah, I know it’s you. Joshua or Joseph or something like that. I know what you did – Sam told me! Now you’re gonna die!”

“Excuse me, gentlemen.” Arcus had snuck up behind them and was standing with his hands behind his back. “What seems to be the trouble here?”

“This doesn’t concern you, boy,” one of the other two men snarled.

“Oh, but it does,” answered Arcus. “You see, this man may be an idiot, but he’s my friend, and I’m not going to stand idly by while you kill him. If anyone will kill him one of these days, it will be me.”

“Thanks, Arc.”

“No problem, idiot. Now, what did you do this time? Shall I guess that Sam is a girl?”

“Umm…that would probably be a safe bet. Though, honestly, I don’t remember anyone named Sam,” said Joseph.

“Why does that not surprise me?” quipped Arcus.

“What do you mean, you don’t know who Sam is?” shouted the leader. “Sam is my girl, and you... you...”

“Rocked her world?” Joseph grinned mischievously, and winked at the blonde and redhead, who had already backed away to another table, and were observing the proceedings with curiosity.

“Was that really necessary, Joseph?” Arcus questioned, as the leader roared in fury.

The leader lunged for Joseph, who ducked under the man’s arms, laughing. Arcus whipped his hands out from behind his back, and fire blazed up and down his forearms. He reached for the other two goons and slammed their heads together, scorching their hair. They bellowed in pain. The two girls and most of the other patrons all got up and rushed to the opposite side of the room, to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. The bartender cursed and demanded they break it up. The bystanders shouted taunts and cheers at the group, though to Arcus, the sounds all merged and then vanished altogether as he focused his magic. The man on the left pulled out a dagger, while the one on the right swung at Arcus. He absorbed the hit with his burning hands, which then flickered out. Then, he glared at the one with the knife. “Stop moving,” Arcus hissed in a hypnotic voice, and the spell immediately took effect as the man froze in place, still holding his knife awkwardly. He then turned to the other goon.

Joseph ducked another swing, and then another. He dodged a vicious kick by hopping toward the table. The leader was clearly becoming more and more enraged. Finally, he found purchase and punched Joseph square in the nose, which shattered. Blood sprayed everywhere. Joseph lost his rhythm, and fell hard onto the table. He raised his arms to block the assault, curling in on himself. The man hit him hard in the ribs with his elbow. Joseph held up a shaky hand to cast a small, glowing bolt of energy at his attacker, which struck him in the face, just under his left eye. The man grunted in pain, but didn’t pause in his assault.

Arcus shoved both of his hands flat against his remaining attacker’s chest. Lightning flashed from his palms and the man fell onto a chair without a sound. The chair crumbled to pieces under the onslaught as the smell of ozone filled the bar. Arcus turned to the leader. “Are you sure you don’t want to rethink this plan while you still have a chance? Take a look at your men; you are clearly outmatched.”

Copyright © 2014 by D.S. Schmeckpeper

  An Interview With the Authors

About this author
D.S. Schmeckpeper (a.k.a. Dottie and Steve Schmeckpeper) live in Florida, USA. They are a husband and wife team who work together to create the Land of Destiny series. Both have loved the Fantasy genre for many years and have wasted way too much time playing fantasy-based games. Dottie was a vocal performance major in college, before she decided a liberal arts major was not for her. Ironic, huh? They have two wonderful twin boys, who are three at the time of this publication. They are the light or their parents’ lives. Steve does the artwork and comes up with many of the story concepts. Dottie brings the ideas to life. When not working, writing or drawing, the pair love to take their children to Florida’s many amusement parks, and can often be found 
 Hello   Dottie and Steve Schmeckpeper, can you tell us a little about yourself? Were you a reader when you were growing up?  What kind of books did you read then?  Do you still read those types of books or has your taste in reading changed over the years?
As a child, I was always into reading. I wasn’t exactly a popular kid, but I was definitely one of the nerdier ones. Teachers occasionally tried to take my books away from me, only to discover me reading from my desk with my book on the floor, holding it open with my foot. Eventually they all gave up. At ten years old, I would read anything from “Sweet Valley Twins” to “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton to the “Dragon Knight” series by Gordon R. Dickson. I’m happy to say that as an adult, I’ve moved on from SVT, but the others I would still read today.

·       Can you tell us a little about Destiny’s Wings?
It is book 1 in the Land of Destiny series. It is an epic fantasy, featuring elves, angels, dragons, cat-people, and many other fascinating races and creatures on an epic battle of good versus evil.
·       Who was your favorite character in the book?  Why?
As for which character is my favorite, you do realize that is like asking me which of my children I love the most, right?
“Celeste” is my main character, she is everything I wish I was. She may not be perfect, but she tries her best and makes decisions that she feels are best for everyone, even when it hurts her. I love her heart and her strength.
“Arcus” is my redemptive character.  Though he had a traumatic start to life, he tries to adapt to whatever life throws his way. He is the ultimate contradiction, pairing the destructive power of an elemental mage with the calm peace of a nature-wielding druid. He has darkness, so much darkness inside, but attempts to rise above his setbacks. I love his potential and his drive.
“Theri” (Therinsalla) is just fun. She is the heart and soul of the group. The only one there without an agenda of some sort. She’s just happy to be along for the ride. I love her spirit.
I love the rest too, for various reasons, but this answer is getting kind of long…

·       Could you share your favorite scene with us?  What made this scene really click for you? 
·       Sort of early on, there is a chapter that has Celeste and Tarnelius discussing their past and the mistakes they have made. At the exact same moment, Arcus is torturing and interrogating an orc.  I love the contrast between the two scenes happening simultaneously.

·       If you are like most of the world, English Literature was not your major in college, and writing has not been your career since you graduated from college.  So, what did you study in school and what interesting careers have you worked in?  Did these jobs influence your writing?
·       I was a vocal performance major. In layman’s terms, I was a singer. I also dropped out because I decided Liberal Arts was not for me. Ironic, right? Singing has been a constant in my life, but never really a career. Among other things, I’ve worked as a waitress, a game store clerk, a retail customer service rep, and currently work as a pharmacy technician. None of those influenced my writing... Well, maybe a game store clerk. A little. For the last year or so, I have been a beta reader for several authors and occasionally a proofreader. Those definitely influenced my writing.

·       Finally, if you could sit down for a private dinner with any great writer that has ever lived, who would it be?  What would you most want to talk about?
·       There are a couple of writers I would LOVE to sit down for dinner with… but I speak to them regularly anyway, so we could talk about anything. I love both K.S. Haigwood and Ella Medler, and would give anything to meet them. One day we will, I’m sure. If you were referring to a writer I do NOT have regular access to, then I’d have to say either Margaret Weis or Tracy Hickman. They were the co-authors to the Dragonlance series; my favorite fantasy series ever. I’d love to ask them, well, most of the questions you just asked me. What inspired them? I know that, like me, they got most of their characters from playing Dungeons and Dragons… but what kept them going for so many years and so many books?

Dottie, Steve, thank you for joining us to visit and to share a little bit about yourself and about Destiny’ Wings.  It is a joy to get to know a little about the author behind the pages.  We look forward to seeing you again.  You can find my review at  (Goodreads)

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Spark of Light

 ***Mature YA - This book contains mild adult language and sexual content.***

Nearly a century ago the world was decimated by a magical war. In their defeat, elves were captured by humans, cut off from their magic, and broken down into lifeless, drone-like slaves.

Avery is different. Somehow, her magic has always simmered beneath the surface. Never completely broken, she must pretend in order to survive. When Zander, her master’s nephew, brings her magic out in full force, she finds out what it’s like to truly be alive.

Ripped from Zander’s side and sent to The Farm, Avery doesn’t know if she’ll be able to hide her light and make it out alive. But there, she’ll meet someone who knows her true purpose. 

The war isn’t over, and if Avery can survive, she could be the one to set her people free. All it takes is a little hope and a Spark of Light.

Elizabeth was gracious enough to take the time to answer some questions about her first novel, SPARK OF LIGHT, and her favorite characters.

       Before we get started, Elizabeth Tuttle provided a brief bio so we could learn a little about her.
Elizabeth’s first writing award was in the 2nd grade with a story about a cat and a dog that overcame their differences and became friends. Satisfied with that success, she put her writing career on hold until the winter of 2012. Now, she spends most days in her pajamas making things up and writing them down. Her other interests include board games, being in nature, and binge watching shows on Netflix.

2.     Now that you have shared a little bit about how you came into writing, Elizabeth, we were wondering, were you a reader when you were growing up?  If so, what kind of books did you read then?  Do you still read those types of books or has your taste in reading changed over the years?
Hi.  I was, but not as avid as I wish I would have been. Once I hit middle school and high school it was sparingly. I read anything and I still do. Just about every genre has something for me. I guess I’m easily entertained.

  3.    Can you tell us about  Spark of Light
“Spark of Light” is my first and only book on the market right now (aside from a short story in the Stalker Anthology). 
  4.     Who was your favorite character in the book?  Why?
Favorite character... gosh, that’s hard. I really love them all.  *Thinking*  At the moment I have to say Maverick. He was a surprise; one of those characters that wasn’t supposed to be. I didn’t even know he was the pilot, his background, or who he was until I was actually writing the scene. He just kindda popped up and said, “here I am”, and “I’m important!”  He’s hilarious and an all around amazing guy. Sometimes I even like him more than Zander, and if you know how much I LOVE my Zander (it’s A LOT!!!), then that’s saying something. He’s a big part of book two and I can’t wait for you all to really get to know him.

5.     Could you share your favorite moment from Spark of Light with us?

This moment cracks me up every time (Yes, I laugh at my own jokes).

  6.     If you are like most of the world, English Literature was not your major in college, and writing has not been your career since you graduated from college.  So, what did you study in school and what interesting careers have you worked in?  Did these jobs influence your writing?
I didn’t do college right away, but when I did go I decided to get an associates in applied science (Pharmacy Technician). I’ve never used it. Once I finished I realized I definitely did not want that job. Most of my jobs have been in retail with a few years of dispatch/customer service at a couple trucking companies. I can’t say anything from that time directly influences my writing, but I’m sure characteristics of the many interesting people I’ve come across have slipped in, in one way or another.

   7.     Finally, if you could sit down for a private dinner with any great writer that has ever lived, who would it be?  What would you most want to talk about?
I’m pretty simple. Probably Jane Austen and we’d talk about book boyfriends...specifically Mr. Darcy.
  8.     Why Darcy?
(He’s) THE original book boyfriend. He's that guy that's nowhere near perfect, but we all want him anyway. He's just..... Darcy.  
  9.     Is there much of Darcy in Zander?
Ummm, I don't think Zander has much Darcy in him. His hotness, that's about it.

Elizabeth, thank you for joining us to visit and to share a little bit about yourself and about SPARK OF LIGHT.  It is a joy to get to know a little about the author behind the pages.  We look forward to seeing you again.  We are excited to see a talented new author on the scene with fresh new visions of stories for us to enjoy.

You can contact Elizabeth directly through the links provided below.  

Elizabeth has provided a copy of her book
to be awarded at the end of the Book Tour.
You can enter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 18, 2014


A Box of Books

I sat on the floor and taped the lid on my 200 and something’d box of books as we packed to move. Stopping for a moment, I looked around me at the bookcases still stacked full of books and thought of the bookcases in the other rooms of our home that I had not even gone through to thin out.  How on earth had we ever amassed such a collection of reading?  What was interesting was the fact that it was not just a stack of books in basically one category or genre, but was spread across the wide range of interests that my husband and I shared.  Well, I would have to admit that I had hoarded every book I had obtained since my youth, even my high school text books and binders of notes from my favorite subjects.  It was almost embarrassing.
We had books that had been passed down through our family from the late 1800’s that had come out west on a train or in a buckboard wagon, packed lovingly in a box for the trip.
There was the theological collection that my father passed on to me when he retired that had been passed down to him by a retiring minister fifty years earlier. 

I could walk through the rooms and run my hands over the spines of the books and as I read the titles on the spines, the stories held within those mostly hard-backed covers would roll through my mind like a silent movie.  Many of those books had been read more than once by myself, and read by more than one member of our household.  Each book had a story of why it was added to our collection, with many of the reference books coming in because of the need of supplemental material for our children’s education. 

One of the unique things about our library was the fact that we had so many complete works of authors.  Once we found an author that we enjoyed, we would shop for their back works at used bookshops, online shops, and yard sales till we found all of the novels that he/she had written and then made a concerted effort to purchase the hard back copy of the newest work as they became available.  On occasion, we had the opportunity to become acquainted with a writer and then made doubly sure to have all their signed works in our stacks.  But then we also loved to study, so we would search out books on the topic that we were working on and add them to the shelf… This went on for thirty five years.  And this is where I was when I found myself sitting in the middle of the floor taping boxes.  We had selectively gifted over half of our library to home schooling friends and other friends, and still had a tremendous number of boxes of books that we just couldn’t part with.  

Looking around, I thought back to my great-great-great aunt that came out on the train to teach school.  She brought her precious stack of books with her in a case, and all her worldly belongings in her steamer trunk or suitcase.  How could she have survived on just 15  books,  but to only have the same 15 books to pour over and read for a long period of time, with a rare opportunity for a new book?

It gave me something to ponder on.  My husband and I talked about it on our trip east, as we drove for five days.  We were stymied and stumped.  It wasn’t until a couple of years later, when I was involved in a book club, I thought to raise the question again:
     “What if you were moving to a remote area where you would have very limited access to services to the outside world, and could not bring along a lot of non-essentials, such as books?  You had to decide before you left which books to take with you.  Due to space and weight constraints, you could only take 15 books.  It is totally your choice what kind of books, how many of any one type, or author, whatever… but only a total of 15 books.”
This discussion took on a world of its’ own, with everyone talking about why they would choose they books they would take, then after discussion, make changes and refine their choices.  It was wonderful. 
The exercise made us all realize just how much we all take the printed word that we have available to us for granted and don’t think twice about the wonderful gift and privilege we have of the free access to such a wealth of knowledge and enjoyment.  Then we discussed the fact that it isn’t just the people and children in the third world countries that don’t have ready access to books and reading material and/or uncensored reading material.  There are many, many pockets of people in our own country that do not have ready access to libraries, or books, especially children.
Now, the question is put to you.  If you could only have 15 books, what 15 would you choose?  Why?  We would love to have you share your list.  Even more so, your whys. 
It has been a while, so I, like you, will have to put my list back together.  I will post them, with my whys in another blog in the next day or two.
Finally, while out Christmas shopping, grab a book or two (Kohls has great ones for $5.00) and drop them off at your local Marine Recruiter’s.  They have a wonderful Toys for Tots campaign every Christmas.  Share a book with a child.  It will make them smile.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


The Merkabah Recruit
L.Z. Marie
Remember Clark Kent?  You know the mild mannered, boring reporter?  Well meet his counterpart Miss Daphne the meek, mild mannered Assistant Professor, who is deeply immersed in her world of academia.  Even Daphne is bored of herself and her life, but she is safe in her shell and plods on through life.  Until—tall dark, handsome, and hot walks in and turns it upside down.  Suddenly our meek mousey Assistant Professor by day is discovering another side of herself at night.  A side that would make Superman proud.
All the way back to Homer’s telling of the story of Atlantis, myth and legend tells of gods and creatures.  Every culture in the world has tales that tell of these creatures.  They all have different names, but what if they were all talking about the same beings?  What if they were still here?  What if some of us still had that gene that carried all the way down from Adam that allowed us to sense this dimension beyond the veil that was drawn closed, before history began?  What if the beings that lived on earth with man, and had faded to the lands of legend and myth, were still here?  What if the war between good and evil was still raging behind the veil and about to spill over into our dimension? The use of the various spirits and demons and other entities in the novel was well researched, and created an eerie realism to what was happening. 
L.Z. Marie scripted a narrative of two worlds colliding that was hair raising and terrifying and had me dreaming of monsters under my bed.  But at the same time, over the nightmare that was happening behind the curtain, she wrote a beautiful comedy of three sisters that had me rolling with laughter.  A tale of three ordinary sisters living in an ordinary everyday world, dealing with life in their own unique way.
This novel is one that will take a place on my “to be read again” shelf, for there are sections that force the thoughtful reader to go back and look to see how you missed that.  At times you want to leisurely read through some sections for the pure poetry of discovery and wonder, just before you turn the page to find our mousey professor in a nightmarish quandary…again.

I recommend Merkabah as a must read, especially for the para-normal, ancient history, thriller seeker, audience, and anyone who wants a novel that seems to turn the pages for you as you dive between the covers and into the thick of the story with Daphne and S.J.