Move Over, Vamps and Shapeshifters! Get Ready for Elementals! by Elaine Calloway

Water's Blood by Elaine Calloway

BOOK PREVIEW

Move Over, Vamps and Shapeshifters! Get Ready for Elementals!

By Elaine Calloway

The supernatural has long been a fascination of humankind. Spooky things, creatures that go bump in the night, spells that turn evil people into toads, etc. These tales have been the delicious material of campfires and slumber parties.

Even as a child, my favorite cartoon was Scooby-Doo, which always had some form of ghost story at its center. It seemed only fitting that I would grow up, longing to tell similar anecdotes. And while I do have a few ghost stories in the works, I decided to take the plunge into Indie Publishing with my 4-book Elemental Clan Series. (The jury is still out on whether this decision was blind ambition or temporary insanity, though the experience has been incredible!)

Water’s Blood, available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, is the first book in the series and features Brooke, a Water Elemental stationed in New Orleans. The Crescent City was an ideal setting for a book featuring a Water-related character, since New Orleans is surrounded by water on all sides! I grew up there and enjoyed using my favorite areas as backdrops to the plot. The city has many tourist places, and I liked adding in a few secret spots that don’t make the top of the tourism circuit. To read more about this particular book, including the music soundtrack which I created to help inspire the characters, go to the Water’s Blood page on Elaine’s Web site.

Book Blurb:

After breaking the rules to mate with a human, Water Elemental Brooke is forbidden to share a life with Alex and their half-breed daughter, Ella. Yet local Fallen Angel clans are determined to snare Ella for themselves. Brooke broke the rules once by allowing love to interfere with her Elemental duties. Now she and Alex must put consequences aside again—if they wish to save their daughter’s soul.

Leaping into Indie Publishing has been quite a learning experience, but I’ve loved having control over my cover art, my publishing schedule, and more. Very worthwhile decision! Another writer once said, “It’s a learning process.” She couldn’t have said it better. That is exactly what it is, but very worthwhile.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today! Any questions or comments are welcome!

Questions from Christine Bode of Scully Love Promo:

Hi Elaine! I just ordered this book from Amazon.com and can’t wait to read it! My first question is when you wrote your main characters Brooke & Alex, did you write them with famous actors in mind and if so, who were those actors?

Elaine: As far as actors/people in mind for Brooke and Alex, yes, absolutely. If I don’t have some kind of visual in my head when I write (be it Hollywood star, old acquaintance, etc.) then the writing doesn’t go as well.

Alex was Kevin McKidd, who has been in a few films but was probably most well known for Grey’s Anatomy in the later seasons. Brooke was Rosario Dawson. Ella was Melonie Diaz.

Bad guys – Soren = Sam Elliott; Cristos = Paul Bettany

There is a Pinterest board I have for WATER’S BLOOD if you want to see pics of all my visual inspiration  And I have one for Book Two as well.

http://pinterest.com/elainecalloway/water-s-blood-book-one-elemental-clan-series-by-el/

Christine: Have you written the second installment of The Elemental Clan series yet?

Elaine: Yes, Book Two of the Elemental Series, RAGING FIRE, is scheduled to be released on 8/1. Am just going through and inputting final beta reader comments now. You can see the cover on its page on my site here:

http://www.thewriterscanvas.com/raging-fire-book-two

My goal is to do the EARTH one by Christmas, the WIND one by spring.

Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of gothic architecture and Author Elaine Callowayall things paranormal. Despite no longer living there, she can still do a decent Cajun accent upon request! She is currently writing The Elemental Clan Series and plotting some ghost stories. To connect with Elaine online, visit her website at http://www.elainecalloway.com.

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

Book Review
Title: The Map Of Time
Author:  Felix J. Palma
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Released: June 27, 2011
Pages: 624
ISBN-10: 1439167397
ISBN-13: 978-1439167397
Stars:  4.0

I recall that The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma was a very fun Sci-Fi/Adventure read, filled with fascinating concepts, but to be honest I’m so behind in my book reviews that I have read six other books since this one, so I will do my best to reiterate my opinion of Palma’s now.

Originally, Felix J. Palma’s novel was printed in Spanish as he is a celebrated and critically acclaimed author in Spain.  Simon & Schuster Canada graciously provided me with an advanced reading copy of the translated edition and I must apologize to them for not writing a review of it in a timely fashion.  Life and work do often get in the way of hobbies.

Felix J. Palma was inspired to write this novel when he re-read The Time Machine by one of his favourite writers, H.G. Wells, and so great was his inspiration that he made Wells a character in The Map of Time, along with authors Bram Stoker and Henry James.  He set the story in 19th century Victorian London (at the time the largest city on earth) beginning with the horrific reign of Jack the Ripper who is also a character, and also included an interlude with Joseph (a.k.a. John) Merrick, the Elephant Man.  This is one of the main reasons why I found the book so intriguing.  It is set during a time in history that I find very interesting as so much new technology was being born during the Industrial Revolution and some of the greatest scientific thinkers of all time were inventing their greatest and most life-changing inventions.

Palma managed to get into the head of H.G. Wells and wrote a multi-dimensional character in him that rings entirely true within the context of a fictional story that deals with love, predestination, greed, jealousy and revenge, and also speaks to the very nature of time.

The Map of Time is presented by a narrator (who I envision as a man not unlike the narrator in The Rocky Horror Picture Show) who speaks directly to the reader and makes an appearance from time to time, including at the beginning of each part of the novel (of which there are three), to do a little narrative juggling and make sure that we understand the author’s intentions for his storyline.

The story begins with the introduction of young noble Andrew Harrington who is still reeling, eight years later, from the murder of his beloved prostitute girlfriend Marie Kelly, at the hands of Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel.  Andrew wants to die but his cousin Charles decides he must intervene and give Andrew a reason to keep living.  Charles gives Andrew a copy of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells which he doesn’t read and then later introduces him to the sinister Gilliam Murray, the creator of Murray’s Time Travel, a business that has become a hit with London’s upper class as it professes to transport its patrons to the year 2000 where they can watch a re-enactment of the cataclysmic battle between the brave Captain Derek Shackleton and the evil automaton Solomon that has taken over the world.  Charles is convinced that if he can get Murray to send Andrew back in time to the exact night of his beloved’s murder that he will be able to prevent Jack the Ripper from killing her.

Murray deflates the Harringtons’ balloons by explaining that his time machine can only travel to the year 2000 and he cannot help them.  So Charles decides to seek out H.G. Wells, who must have invented a time machine that could travel to any year, to see if he can.

Part Two introduces Claire Haggerty, a young woman of means who yearns for love and adventure and who is not content with her lot in life, but rather wishes that she was born in another era.  Claire and her friend Lucy have decided to take Murray’s Time Travel trip and while Claire is in the year 2000, she accidentally meets the forbidden Captain Derek Shackleton who she falls in love with at first sight.  This, of course, causes serious problems for both of them.

In Part Three, Inspector Colin Garrett of Scotland Yard (imagine Johnny Depp’s character in Sleepy Hollow) battles with his weak stomach to try to find the killer of a corpse found in Marylebone – a corpse which just happens to sport a ghastly wound that could have only been inflicted by the weapon he had seen Captain Derek Shackleton wielding in the year 2000 during his visit there.

The “Map of Time” ponders the ways our minds can create our own truths, denying what we don’t want to know or see, believing what we most wish to be true. And by making Wells the fulcrum, the book also becomes a wonderful meta-fiction, commenting on the act of writing itself, and how fiction can shape and alter our lives. ~ Sarah Willis

This is extremely satisfying storytelling even though it does go on a bit in places (the novel is over 600 pages).  Palma deftly weaves the tales of all of his remarkable characters in a seamless plot line that will keep you turning page after page long into the night when you should have turned out the lights.  Palma’s writing is so good that H.G. Wells, himself, would have been proud.

The Chemical Garden Trilogy: Wither by Lauren DeStefano is a Winner!

Book Review
Title: The Chemical Garden Trilogy: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released: March 2011
Pages: 368
ISBN-10: 1442409053
ISBN-13: 978-1-4424-0905-7
Stars: 4.0

I am a fortunate recipient of an advance reader’s copy of debut novelist Lauren DeStefano’s The Chemical Garden Trilogy: Wither, published by Simon & Schuster. Wither is the first piece of this dystopian puzzle and although it is recommended for ages 14+, I was charmed by it and could not put it down. Wither is a refreshing, unique and dazzling story (despite comparisons made to The Handmaid’s Tale), filled with compelling characters that leap off the page. While it does raise a few questions, I chose not to analyze the life out of it and just enjoyed it for the pleasurable fantasy read that it is. I can already completely envision the movie version and don’t think I’m remiss in saying that fans of the Twilight series will undoubtedly enjoy this too.

In the not-too-distant future, Earth has almost been entirely obliterated by a viral plague created through genetic engineering that has wiped out every continent except for North America. In this nightmare, males only live to be 25-years-old and females only live to age 20, raising the questions, “What if you knew when you were going to die?” How would you choose to live your life?

Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is a beautiful, intelligent orphan with hemochromatic eyes (one brown, one blue) who has been kidnapped by “Gatherers” and sold at auction as a bride to a rich governor. She is torn away from the only life she knows in an almost unrecognizable Manhattan where her twin brother Rowan works in a factory to support them while it’s her job to keep their ramshackle home safe from looters.

Rhine isn’t a special victim, but rather the norm, as there are few things left for young women in this new world to do but be sold into slavery to propagate the species. Only the beautiful are chosen as brides while the others become prostitutes or are murdered.

Rhine finds herself living in a picturesque but sinister Florida mansion – decorated with holograms and steeped in illusion – and wedded to a naïve, young Governor Linden Ashby. Linden, a would-be architect, is mourning the impending death of his true love and first wife, Rose, while being completely controlled by his creepy, geneticist father, Housemaster Vaughn (a first generation who didn’t succumb to the plague), who lets everyone think he’s working on an antidote for the fatal disease.

Rhine has two sister wives: (polygamy is also not unusual in this new world) 13-year-old Cecilia, a bratty redhead who was born in an orphanage and never knew her parents – so has little problem adjusting to life as a rich man’s child bride – and 18-year-old Jenna, a sad, introverted brunette whose sisters are murdered in the same van she was taken away in when she was captured.

Rhine befriends Rose, who soon dies, and whose body is mysteriously transported to the basement, never to be given a proper funeral. Cecilia takes her place as Linden’s new lover, and before long becomes pregnant with his child. Jenna’s relationship with her husband is only sexual as she refuses to give him her heart, while Rhine rejects the consummation of her marriage and instead befriends a kind and empathetic servant named Gabriel whom she comes to trust. (It was a little hard to believe that she would have been able to continuously deny her husband who clearly had his way with the others.)

On the outside, Rhine’s world is one of glamour, parties, growing friendships with her sister wives and an orange grove utopia, while the reality is one of ugly secrets, danger and the dance of the Grim Reaper.

This first person narrative is thoughtfully conveyed in Rhine’s voice, with moral dilemmas always close to the surface, and her relationships with the other characters are as well developed and realistic as they can be in a science fiction setting. We know Rhine is biding her time by pretending to want to be Linden’s first wife until she can figure out a way to escape. We also know that there’s something inherently evil going on in the basement of the mansion and that although Vaughn is supposedly carrying out DNA experiments to find a cure, nothing is what it appears to be. We also know by the end of this page turner that we’re not going to get to know what happens to Rhine and Gabriel until the next edition of the trilogy. By then, you will be completely sucked into the story and will have to read the next book! And believe me, I will.

Bravo Lauren DeStefano! You’re going to have a very successful writing career.