Archive | December 2011

Creston Mapes – Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol

28. Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol by Creston Mapes (2005)
Rock Star Chronicles Book 1
Length: 403 pages
Genre: Christian Fiction
Started: 19 December 2011
Finished: 20 December 2011
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Cheryl at Media Guests for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 14 December 2011
Why do I have it? I was intrigued by the concept and Creston Mapes is a new author for me.

The heavy metal band DeathStroke had it all: adoring fans, money, fame and a high-selling music career. The four members of the band were life-long friends who had already been through so much together. Their lead singer was the one who led them to stardom and he knew it! Everett Lester was a man who had everything: drugs, women and a true God-given talent which he was currently squandering while on a dangerous and destructive path.

Everett ostensibly had everything he had ever wanted in life; and yet he had nothing that he truly wanted – love, acceptance and contentment within himself. Then a young Christian woman begins to write to him. Her letters are bewildering to Everett – she professes to hate everything he stands for but to love him with Christ’s pure love.

As Everett continues to spiral down into darkness, he clings to the lifeline Karen’s letters to him represent. He is completely unaware of the spiritual battle that is being waged for his very soul. When Everett is charged with the murder of his personal psychic – a murder that he doesn’t remember committing – he is thrown in jail and threatened by the powers of darkness.

Can Everett as a newly-saved Christian survive the trial and successfully turn his life over to God or will Satan entice Everett to fall again?

I have to say that I enjoyed this book very much. I started reading this book honestly believing that the plot of rock and roll, drugs, and loose women might not lend itself very well to Christian fiction. I was wrong. It was tough starting it, true, but once I began reading it, I couldn’t stop! I give this book an A! and look forward to the next book in the series.

A! – (90-95%)

May you read well and often


Connie Corcoran Wilson, Author of Laughing Through Life Chats About Finding Humor in the Midst of Tragedy

Meet Connie Corcoran Wilson

Connie Corcoran Wilson has published 10 books since 2003. “Hellfire & Damnation” ( came out in February, 2010. Her three volumes of true ghost stories of Route 66 (Ghostly Tales of Route 66, are out from Quixote and in E-book format from Quad City Press. Connie has been writing for pay since age 10 and taught writing at 6 IA/IL col.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Laughing Through Life is the book of funny essays and observations that critics have called “Erma-Bombeck-meets-David-Sedaris,” with hilarious results. You’ll find yourself nodding your head in recognition of many of the situations that a young mother, teacher and business-owner encountered while raising 2 children born 19 years apart (PTA membership from 1973 to 2010!). Connie’s adventures while covering the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns with press passes also will amuse—especially if you thought “W” was a bonehead. (If you are not a progressive, you might not laugh quite as heartily. Be warned.) Smile. Enjoy! Laugh through life with Ava & Elise Wilson, the author’s 2-year-old twin granddaughters, who provide a never-ending supply of funny anecdotes, (just when she thought it was safe to go back in the water.)

Coming to Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon!

I would like to welcome Connie Corcoran Wilson, author of Laughing Through Life to Emeraldfire’s Bookmark. Ms. Wilson was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in her own words:
“Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and  you weep alone.” (Solitude, st. I)
In 2003 my mother, then 94, began the long slow fade to black that comes for each of us. She was still of sound mind, but she had a series of small strokes which robbed her of the ability to play bridge (her passion), and it was quite clear to me, her youngest daughter, that she was fading fast. In fact, it had become clear to me that the end was near since Thanksgiving.

Later, nursing home personnel told me it was only my son’s  wedding and the festivities  that surrounded it that kept Mom alive six more months. I was hosting a “welcome to the community” party for the bride and groom. They had married in Matamoros and none of our Midwestern friends would be able to attend the ceremony, so a full-on party was planned, a mini-wedding reception, complete with gowns and cakes and flowers.

I carried in various outfits from the nearby shopping mall for mother to try on (over her strenuous objections that she could simply wear an old velour jogging suit I had once given her for Christmas). The preparations to bring her to the party, 60 miles away, for the evening, even though wheelchair-bound, were many and numerous. I even purchased  a giant 52″ TV screen (the pre-plasma behemoths) that would replay the actual ceremony in a continuous loop. Mom would be able to see her second (of four) grandchildren being married on this large television set, (contingent upon the store being willing to re-deliver the same TV set to my house after the party was over at no additional fee, which they agreed to do.)
I urged my sister to come with me to visit Mom on Mother’s Day in the nursing home where she had resided for 5 years (a necessity imposed by her need for constant medical monitoring for her 4-shots-a-day brittle diabetes.) My 4-years-older sister, who could often be as blank as the proverbial fart,  said, “Let’s wait until her birthday.”
 My mother’s birthday was May 31st.
 I remember saying to my completely oblivious older sister, “Kay, she won’t make it to May 31st.”
And she didn’t.
My mother died  May 2, 2003 and we buried her on May 4, 2003.   I had begun divesting of my businesses, my responsibilities, my very life, in order to be by her side to be able take care of her and, after that, to be able to take care of estate matters when she was gone—something I never really ever believed would actually happen before she hit 100, as my mother was an indomitable force. (My father died in 1986).
 I sold my two businesses (Sylvan Learning Center #3301 and the Prometric Testing Center), businesses I had founded, two months to the day before Mom died, on March 2, 2003.
 I remember asking her, on the final day of her life, as she received oxygen and faded  in and out of consciousness and I held her hand, witnessing her losing the battle that I had always felt  quite sure she would not lose until at least the ripe old age of 100, “What was the favorite city on Earth you ever visited?”
She was very weak, almost to the point of being unable to converse,  but she was lucid. She looked at me and said, “Anywhere your father was. And Iowa City.”
Mom died in Iowa City, where she had moved over some objections from her children at the age of 82, after an entire lifetime spent in the small northeast Iowa town of Independence, a life spent teaching kindergarteners while my father worked in the bank he had founded. She slipped away in the early hours of the morning to join her husband of five decades.
While my father’s death had come at a time when I was expecting a baby and had just launched a new business, my mother’s death came when I had dropped everything else in my life, primarily to care for her. In the process of doing so, I had severed ties with my entire support network of colleagues and co-workers and customers.
My husband, recently retired, was doing taxes for H&R Block. I was at home, alone, for long hours, in what seemed like a very cold house. I later learned that the furnace was broken; it took me the better part of a week wearing a parka and gloves in the house and seeing my own breath in front of me to convince my husband that there really was something wrong with the furnace. (It turned out that it was only blowing out cold air.)
What could I do to cheer myself up? Depression was one silly millimeter away?
I dug out the humor columns I had written for a local paper  in happier times, when I was a young mother, a young teacher, a budding entrepreneur. I added poetry sold, pictures, my lasagna recipe. (Nobody knew what to make of this book, when it was finished, and I imagined it only as a gift for friends and family, like those ubiquitous calendars that you  make as gifts at the holiday season.)  I fashioned anything I had ever sold  into my second book Both Sides Now. (A few of those columns have made their way, again, into Laughing through Life, but much more of the book is new or the product of online blogs for which I have written).
I found that, as I revisited the silly or the ridiculous or the happy times represented in those columns, my mood rose.  Eventually, I sent the columns and pictures off to be published. I did not know this at the time, but this marked the beginning of my “writing long” career. A lifetime hobby had turned into a time-consuming second career as a writer and publisher.
Without humor, for me there is no quality of life. And, in life, even in the grimmest of times, as limned recently in the movie “50/50” about a young man battling a life-threatening form of cancer, there can be humor in hardship.
Humor, to me, is as much what I am all about as weeping and gnashing of teeth.  I hope I can continue to see the humor in life, even when I am at my lowest and things seem most bleak. Humor will sustain me and lift me up, I hope, even on my own deathbed.
Maybe I’ll leave an epitaph that says, “I can’t be done yet. I still have checks left!”
And let us not forget these sentiments from someone far more eloquent than me:
“They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses;
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.”
                                   (Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longani)

– Connie Corcoran Wilson Author of Laughing Through Life
Visit my website:

May you read well and often

Connie Corcoran Wilson – Laughing Through Life

27. Laughing Through Life by Connie Corcoran Wilson (2011)
Length: 115 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started/Finished: 15 December 2011
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Connie and Teddy Rose a tour guide from Premier Virtual Author Tours for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 27 October 2011
Why do I have it? I liked Ms. Wilson’s It Came From the ’70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now and jumped at the chance to read her next book.

This is a collection of humorous essays written by Ms Wilson as part of her newspaper column. I absolutely loved this book and chuckled all the way through it – from start to finish. There have been comparisons made between Ms. Wilson and Erma Bombeck. I have read several of Ms. Bombeck’s books years ago and I have to totally agree with these comparisons. It was also an incredibly fast read for me as well. I give this book an A+! and look forward to Ms. Wilson’s next book with bated breath.

A+! – (96-100%)

May you read well and often

Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Author of Black and Orange Chats about why he writes Dark Fantasy

Meet Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Benjamin Kane Ethridge is the Bram Stoker Award winning author of the novel Black and Orange (Bad Moon Books 2010). Beyond that he’s written several collaborations with Michael Louis Calvillo, one of which is a extreme horror-comedy novella called Ugly Spirit, available soon. He also wrote a master’s thesis entitled, “CAUSES OF UNEASE: The Rhetoric of Horror Fiction and Film.” Available in an ivory tower near you. Benjamin lives in Southern California with his wife and two creatures who possess stunning resemblances to human children. When he isn’t writing, reading, videogaming, Benjamin’s defending California’s waterways and sewers from pollution. Drop by his site at or tweet him at @bkethridge, or Facebook him at
Synopsis from Goodreads: Forget everything you know about Halloween. The stories are distortions. They were created to keep the Church of Midnight hidden from the world. Every October 31st a gateway opens to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to open the gateway and unite with its other half, the Church of Morning. Each year they’ve come closer, waiting for the ideal sacrifice to open the gateway permanently.

This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it. Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on an endless mission to guard the sacrifice. Their only direction is from notes left from a mysterious person called the Messenger. Endowed with a strange telekinetic power, the nomads will use everything at their disposal to make it through the night alive. But matters have become even more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most… because ever on their heels is the insidious physical representation of a united church: Chaplain Cloth.

I would like to welcome Benjamin Kane Ethridge, author of Black and Orange to Emeraldfire’s Bookmark. Mr Ethridge was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in his own words: 
Why I write Fantasy o’ Dark
It happened much like a well-performed magic trick occurs. That is, I never saw it coming, never saw which hand manipulated what and created such a surprising outcome. When I started out to write stories I only desired to write fantasy and science fiction. I enjoyed horror immensely but that wasn’t what I was trying to do with my career. So I started submitting stories and receiving rejections. Submitted more, got rejected more. Submitted more, got an acceptance. Hold up though—this was fantasy, but it was pretty well grim subject material. I noted that and continued on. More submissions, more rejections, and then another acceptance. This one was straight up Horror. Unconsciously I think I wanted to replicate that first sale and it worked.
I got the picture and I’m sure you do now as well. My writing was most successful when I turned up that darkness dial. Thing was, I still wanted to write fantasy and science fiction. But all wasn’t lost because that such a combination is completely viable nowadays. The dark fantasy writer, probably more than the dark science fiction writer, but build a name and you can probably have it anyway you slice it.

So here I was, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, once open to everything speculative, but I’d not been defined. I’d become a Dark Fantasy writer. I have no shame in wearing the Horror badge or the Fantasy badge, but being called one or the other just isn’t at all honest. I write horrific, fantastical things, and that’s what I’ve become. For me this accident was like slipping and springing an oil well because it’s difficult to find your feet as a writer; there is much to read and much to write about and therein lies a decision for every upstart writer. Building a brand means putting your marbles in a particular basket, at least during the audience building stage.

The easiest thing to say was that I didn’t choose Dark Fantasy, it chose me, but that isn’t accurate. I came to a conclusion based on my past successes and my own personal tastes for storytelling, which is how I ended up pulling out free a scale-covered, fang-bearing rabbit from the magician’s hat.

– Benjamin Kane Ethridge Author of Black and Orange
Visit my website:
Coming to Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon!  

The Kickoff of the One Million Bookprints For One Million Books Campaign From Scholastic

So, today I was watching The View and Whoopi Goldberg mentioned the One Million Bookprints For One Million Books Campaign hosted by Scholastic. Then I received an email from Scholastic telling me about it as well.

The One Million Bookprints For One Million Books Campaign is an initiative to donate one million books to kids in need through the literacy nonprofit Reach Out and Read. By joining Scholastic’s online book community, you can make a Bookprint – a list of 5 books that have shaped your life. And for every Bookprint, Scholastic Book Clubs will donate a book. It is that easy to make a difference this holiday season! People who create a bookprint can also enter a giveaway to win the same books given to the audience at The View (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, The Hunger Games, The 39 Clues: Maze of Bones, Captain Underpants, and Clifford the Champion.)

I just had to sign up for myself. Here are my five books for my personal bookprint:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – To my mind, the quintessential Christmas book. Everyone knows the plot, but even though I have read it almost every year since I was about eight, it always gives me a good feeling to read it around December. I have had a copy that I bought through my own Scholastic Book Club when I was in third grade. The book itself is yellowed slightly but still in relatively good condition. 🙂

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien – Alright, so I haven’t read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien but I do have all three books hidden away somewhere and I have to dig them out and read them sometime. I have bought a new copy of The Hobbit through a Library Book Sale recently, but originally read  this in seventh grade as part of my summer reading list. At my school, on the last day of English class we were all given a three page list and told to pick three books to read over the summer. On the first day of the next grade, we were given our ultimate assignment: write up a book report on the books we’d chosen and why we’d chosen them.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – This book I read in the ninth grade again as part of my summer reading list. I have to say that that was the year that I procrastinated on my book choices. I had started out reading the book and wasn’t so sure that I wanted to finish it. It was somewhat “chunky” and because I hadn’t ever read Daphne du Maurier before I was unsure if I would enjoy it. I ended up loving it because it had a “ghost”. 🙂

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas – I seem to have chosen four out of five books that I read as a child, but I wouldn’t call them young adult at all. This book I read in the tenth grade, I think. I would read this aloud in my bedroom and my mother would hear me start to laugh and come in to check on me. 🙂 I would just explain to her that it was a scene in The Three Musketeers. I loved the action and adventure of this book and my favorite character was the young and brash D’Artagnan.

Tender Warrior by Linda Lang Bartell – Okay, I generally read just about anything but I never truly enjoyed historical romances that much until I read Tender Warrior by Linda Lang Bartell. Yes, it probably would be considered a cheesy romance by today’s standards – it was written in 1992 – but I was literally enthralled by the fact that the author actually had the characters speaking some French and chuckled to myself as I successfully translated what the Norman knights said to one another in my mind.

It also really sparked my interest that the lead heroine in the book was a Saxon noblewoman named Merlyn trained in the healing arts (of course) but that the Normans were generally suspicious of her and kept whispering about her being a witch (purely based on her name Merlyn, I’m sure) It took place at the time of William the Conquerer and I thought it was loads of fun to read! 🙂 I was about 18 or so at the time and this was the first adult historical romance that I read.

May you read well and often

Welcome to the Loveswept Holiday Hop

Hello everyone and Happy Holidays to you all! Starting today and lasting through 8 January 2012, Romance at Random is celebrating their ‘Loveswept’ line with the Loveswept Holiday Hop. They will be giving 25 randomly chosen lucky winners a free e-book through Netgalley.

Then all you have to do is stop by Romance at Random and comment in order to be entered in the drawing for one Grand Prize of a Selection of great books! There will of course be only one winner for this prize, but it will certainly make that person’s Christmas merry! 🙂 INCREASE your chances to win by visiting all of the participating ‘Loveswept – Holiday Hop’ sites! Winners will be contacted after 1/10/12. Many thanks for stopping by Emeraldfire’s Bookmark. Have fun hopping and Good luck, everyone!

Loveswept Holiday Hop – 12/12/11 to 1/8/12

Visit all the Participating Blogs!

May you read well and often

A Wonderful Award Given to me by a Wonderful Blogger

Many, many thanks to Grace at Growing Old With Grace for gifting me with the Liebster Blog Award! I  really do enjoy blogging for myself, but to realize that others must enjoy reading what I post about is wonderful to know. Thank you all! 🙂 Please visit Grace’s wonderful blog and the five hardworking bloggers that I post here. They blog for the love of it, I know. 🙂

I would now like to pass on this wonderful award to five bloggers I have had the pleasure to correspond or visit with through the three years that I have been blogging:

Crazy For Books
Fade Into Fantasy
Incandescent Enchantments
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Puss Reboots 

May you read well and often