Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker description:

‘Alone with the dead! I dare not go out, for I can hear the low howl of the wolf through the broken window’

When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.

Dracula   5 STARS

You know that scene in a horror movie when it gets dark and ominous music begins to play and you know that at any moment the killer is going to suddenly appear and murder everyone in a horrible fashion. That intense build up, and the anxiety of wondering exactly when you’re going to be scared, because you already know it’s coming. That’s this entire book. I had to take breaks at times to read some short stories that were a bit lighter, because the unnerving fear for the characters, as we the reader know what’s happening, could be a bit much at times. However, it’s easy to see why this is a classic, and how it has inspired others to delve into the dark world of vampires. Though, considering I’ve mainly read paranormal romance, it’s a bit disconcerting to see how the original was so completely evil. The vampires in this are soulless, not misunderstood, and kill children and anyone that gets in their way without remorse. More so, it’s incredible all the powers they are given, not just immortality and strength, but real mystical sort of powers, that I wish hadn’t been pushed off to the side in the other stories I’ve read. Beyond all of that though, I don’t believe I have ever come across a story written in this style, and it was this style that really made the tale such an intriguing one. Sure there have been plenty who have done rotating first person, but this is told in pieces of people’s diaries, the letters they’ve written to others, and even newspaper clippings. You’re getting the events after the characters have experience them and have pondered over them, as they try to understand what exactly is going on. Because of this you get to see how it all slowly melds together, and what each character really is thinking, and a much more personal aspect of the story that allows you to really feel for each of them as if these were actual historical letters that someone has stitched together. And I do so hope people were ever like this, this goodness and bravery and the way in which they talk so passionately about everything. It’s really a wonderful book. Though I would advise getting a version that has footnotes to explain certain things. Such as words that are no longer used in this way. As well as some of things that are referenced. I’m sure you could easily enjoy this book without such, but it was rather nice to have.

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G.C. Julien has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

I like to go by my pen name—G.C. Julien. I had a blog, but if I gave you the link, you’d be disappointed because I don’t maintain it. I can be found on twitter (@gcjulien), or on facebook (www.facebook.com/gcjulien). The best place to find me, however, would be on my website (www.gcjulien.com).

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

Well, I currently work for the federal government as a Senior Communications Advisor in the world of SAP.

When I’m not at work, and when I’m not in my home office writing, editing, or marketing (attempting to), I can usually be found at the gym, visiting family, watching Netflix, playing PS4 (with the new VR system, which is fantastic by the way), walking my dog, or doing groceries. I have a pretty quiet life at home with my wife and 8 pets; yes, 8. Let me explain before you think we’re nuts…

We have a dog and three cats. Recently, my wife rescued a little field mouse and after reading an article stating that releasing it would only lead to its death, she decided to keep it. As luck would have it, he got out of his little house that looks like an alien station. After living in our closet for a week, my wife became heartbroken as she missed her little mouse. So, we went to the pet store and came out with 3 rats.

Oh, and we caught the mouse a few days after that, so now we have four rodent pets.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I used to love writing in my essay book in elementary school (not sure if that counts). In high school, I would zone out in class and write scripts that I thought would make awesome video games.

Book-wise, however, I wrote my first book in the horror genre around the age of eighteen, or nineteen. It was a story about high school kids playing with the Ouija board, only to get find themselves surrounded by dark forces that refused to leave. It was a terrible book that was rejected time and time again by multiple literary agents, but after seeing a similar story be created into a film, I figured, hey, if they can make a movie about it, I can release a book about it. I haven’t yet announced it publicly, until now, but I’m revising my original book and releasing it end of 2017 / early 2018.

After that, I went on to write a young adult romance novel (Bow To me), and then its sequel (As I Fall), which touches more on domestic violence and substance abuse.

After that, I started The Feral Sentence, which is a young adult dystopian thriller, and I’m having a blast with that one.

I’m working on something else, too, but that’s a secret. Let’s just say it’s also dystopian.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

I think the greatest influence to my writings has been my personal life / experiences. I wasn’t much of a reader growing up, and I still have a hard time finishing books, so I can’t say that I have an author who’s inspired me overall, aside from J.K. Rowling, but that’s only because I loved Harry Potter.

Every book I’ve written, aside from Bow To Me, which was an impulsive decision I made after reading Lauren Weisberger’s Everyone Worth Knowing) has been inspired by a combination of conversations with friends and family, articles, or TV shows / movies.

My most recent work (the secret one), was actually brought to me by my wife. The story’s her idea entirely, and I’m working with her to bring it to life.

I’m working hard at reading as much as possible now that I have a kindle reader, because it does fuel inspiration and it does improve overall writing. Maybe in a few years, after reading many books, I’ll have a better answer to this question.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I’m working on the new dystopian book I mentioned earlier while also working on the Feral Sentence series. To top it off, I’m also in the middle of revising my paranormal thriller about the spirit board.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I tend to jump right in and see where the story takes me. I used to focus on one book at a time, but I’m working on 3 projects simultaneously at the moment.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I suppose my strength would be the weird / crazy ideas that pop into my head, because they can be used to create original works. My weakness would probably be that I tend to rush when I write. I like things to be fast-paced and full of action, rather than descriptive and slow. The goal is to find that perfect balance, because description is so important.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I wouldn’t be the best person to talk to for tips on this one, because I’m still learning the whole marketing game. Mind you, if I had to give one piece of advice to anyone, including myself, it would be to keep researching marketing strategies. You can’t learn unless you research what works, and what doesn’t. I’ve tried and failed many times, but I’m going to keep trying different approaches until I get it right.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Be open minded and receptive of criticism, because you will receive it. I’ve received criticism for certain aspects of my work, and at first, it hurts. You put yourself out there, and you expect everyone to love your work as much as you do. The thing is, you can’t please everyone. There are books that I’ve tried reading and I couldn’t stand them, when other people rated them 5 stars. We’re all different, and we all prefer different styles.

So when someone criticizes your work, don’t be insulted. Be objective and determine how you can use their comments to improve your work. Then, do it.

My wife used to read my drafts and say, “There isn’t enough detail, I just can’t picture it.”

At first, I’d get upset and remind her of all the description I did put in.

After calming myself down, I started writing with more detail, and I came to realize that what I was writing before really wasn’t all that great.

Always aim to better yourself, not prove yourself.

Fire in His Embrace

BOOK 1: Fire in His Blood  by  Ruby Dixon

BOOK 2: Fire in His Kiss

Fire in His Embrace   description:

There’s only one way to tame a dragon.

Emma Arroyo knows this. She also knows that the big golden dragon captured by her brother’s biker gang is in trouble, and it’s all her fault. He followed her scent, and now his life is in danger.

She has to fix this, somehow. If she could talk to the dragon, they could form a plan to escape, both of them. But the dragon’s mind is wild and full of uncontrollable, killing rage. There’s no reasoning with him. There’s certainly no freeing him, not when he’s like this. But Emma can’t leave without him.

There’s only one way to solve this problem – a mating. When Emma approaches Zohr to claim him as hers, she realizes just what it means to be a dragon’s mate, and how much she’s in over her head…
And she learns how fiercely possessive a drakoni male can be.

BOOK 3: Fire in His Embrace  4 STARS

This overlaps with the last book, so we see more of how Emma ended up with that gang, and what all she was going through before and after Sasha was kidnapped. I think what I liked most about this story was that Zohr needed Emma’s help as much as she needed him. No getting kidnapped, and no helpless girl unsure what to do. Although, Claudia and Sasha weren’t exactly wussy, Emma just felt like she was a bit more gung-ho. She’s a real post-apocalyptic girl who’s prepared for everything, and fights back no matter what life throws her way. Through Zohr we do get more of an image and understanding of the world the dragons came from, and what sort of evil Azar is capable of. Because Azar is evil. Dixon definitely doesn’t pull any punches with this series, and I’m loving it. It has a great love story to it, but we also have this intense plot and villain to contend with that really keep you tearing through the book, and wanting the next one as quickly as possible. The only thing to complain about is that it really needed better editing. It had its share of typos, but also things like the mind-link conversations not being italicized when they should be to let you know they’re actually talking to each other. And it switching tenses at the wrong times. I know Dixon gets these books out quick, and I love not having to wait too long, but she might need to slow down and do a few more read throughs before publishing.

Sleuthing with the Enemy

BOOK 1: To Trust a Wolf  by  Danielle Hardgrave

Sleuthing with the Enemy  description:

Somebody just stole a valuable artifact from the Helsen archives, and Annemette Helsen—a very pissed off werewolf—is going to make sure they pay for it.
There’s just one problem: Anna’s only suspect is the arrogant vampire prince, Jonas Weiss. He’s cocky, frustrating, and a little bit sexy. Okay, a lot sexy.
He also claims to be innocent, so the fact that she just broke into his home and attacked him is problematic.
And his price for keeping silent about the whole debacle? Downright devious.

BOOK 2: Sleuthing with the Enemy   4 STARS

This was far more developed than the first book, and you really get a good look into the set up of the supernatural world. We get a lot more of their lore, and how their governing systems work within their hidden community. While Helen and Rune do show up a bit in here, it’s really all about Annemette and Jonas, and I like how this is moving forward from the last book, and showing the significance of the bracelet from the first. Anna and Jonas have some clear chemistry from the beginning, but Hardgrave does a great job of really developing the characters and not just having them jump in together. Anna, especially, goes through a lot of growth in this story, and it really helps you feel for them. That being said, this book has its wonderful moments of hilarity. I found myself giggling and blushing on behalf of Anna with all the awkward situations she gets herself into. Altogether a great balance of action and humor. You should definitely be as happy as I was for Benji to show up again, and that mystery that continues to follow him has me dying to know more. However, there’s 2 big questions I have to ask. First, how is it that there aren’t any cops coming after Rune after that whole thing of Helen reporting him for theft and assault? Second, what the heck is a permie? I mean I get that’s their slang for regular human, but where did that term come from, because it sounds like something you’d call someone with a bad perm job. Would love some explanations. Hopefully it’ll come in the next book, which I will be snatching up as soon as possible.

The Beast of Talesend

The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz  description:

Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  4 STARS

This is like a hard boiled detective got tossed into the darkest and bloodest of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, then made it darker and more horrifying, and then someone decided it should be a comedy. Surprisingly it works. Honestly the twists Shultz has taken on the fairy tales was rather surprising and far different than anything I’ve read before, and I’ve read my fair share of retellings. I would love it if he would go back and write books on the stories they talk about in here as their history. Because while this is obviously a Beauty and the Beast retelling, since it’s a land of fairy tales, they’re all mixed in in varying ways, and the truth about Snow White honestly made a lot more sense than a lot of the other reasons for why the step mom would want her heart. Like I said, it’s dark, but the humor brought to it by the characters going through this, and Nick and Cordelia’s banter help really lighten it over all, even while they’re fighting evil and saving the world from darkness and destruction. Though it did start out a bit overly goofy in the beginning, once you really get into it, the tale does find a good balance and you get taken on quite an adventure. I even rather enjoyed Crispin’s involvement, as Nick’s little brother, there’s a lot going on there that I’d love to see developed and to find out more about their past. But it was the last line of this book that sealed the deal on me snatching up the next as soon as I can. I don’t want to spoil it, but I liked how Shultz got there and then left you hanging with that OMG moment. There’s just so many ways this series can go from here, and I look forward to the journey ahead.

Prison Planet Barbarian

Prison Planet Barbarian   description:

Being kidnapped by aliens is one thing. Being kidnapped by aliens and then sent to a prison planet is something infinitely worse.

Here in Haven’s prison system, I’m stranded among strangers, enemies, and the most ruthless criminals in the galaxy. There’s no safety for a human woman here, especially not one branded as a murderer. I’m doomed to a fate worse than death.

Then…he decides I should be his. His name’s Jutari. He’s seven feet tall, blue, and horned. He’s an assassin and one of the most dangerous prisoners here. He’s like no one I’ve ever met before…and he might be my only chance.

This story stands completely alone and is only marginally connected to the Ice Planet Barbarians series. You do not need to read those books in order to follow this one.

Prison Planet Barbarian  3 STARS

This book is definitely separate from the Ice Planet Barbarians series. However, if you are reading the series I wouldn’t check this out until you’ve read Barbarian’s Lady, because you do get a mention of Chloe and her connection to the women there. This was a fun look into the rest of the galaxy, seeing more species and how things are ran, and their view on humans and knowledge of them. I really enjoyed this book, and having read Dixon’s other series, it was fun seeing the connections of the different aliens and the galaxy out there, and it’d be great to see how far she can take all of this. I just didn’t like that for once we could see a relationship form between a messakh and a human outside of the influence of a khui, or even the tribe that survives off such pairings, and actually see how they might come together, but instead we get Jutari being influenced by a primal urge. There is no real relationship other than Jutari wanting Chloe, and deciding she is his, and Chloe needing him for protection. Even within the Ice Planet series you’d get more development between the couples that show why they’re a good match, and this just felt too rushed through.

Fire in His Kiss

BOOK 1: Fire in His Blood  by  Ruby Dixon

Fire in His Kiss   description:

Bloodlust and insanity rule my existence. As a fierce drakoni warrior, this strange new world I find myself in eats at my mind until there is nothing left. There is no light or clarity…until she arrives. I save her life, plucking her from the sky.

From that point on, she is mine.

But the human I have chosen for my mate – Sasha – is fragile and wounded. She does not trust me and fears my presence. I will not give up, though. I will do anything to give her my fires and bond us both in body and spirit. How can I convince her that I want nothing more than her happiness if she will not let me touch her?

How does a dragon woo a human?

BOOK 2: Fire in His Kiss  5 STARS

Wow. I’m surprised we got to learn so much about the dragons and their home world so early on, but it does open the doors to the potential of this series. I think that’s what so great about it, is that there’s so much Dixon can do with it, so many places it can go. With Dahk we get a better look into what’s going on with the dragons, but I also loved Sasha and how much she struggled with it all. Having been abused in the After, and then being taken away by the humans’ greatest enemy, she definitely isn’t someone ready to jump into a relationship. She’s just trying to survive, and poor Dahk is so confused over how to woo a woman, and why Sasha reacts the way she does. Mostly though, it’s that Dixon doesn’t wash over the bad. Even as Sasha may know Dahk cares for her, he’s still part of the reason her whole life is destroyed, and yet he’s also a victim of his own insanity, and so there’s this constant struggle for both sides to understand the other. Then with the addition of Emma, who gets to be a part of dealing with them and trying to understand, while of course not being one with a dragon, really helped flesh out the story. The last book we didn’t really get much with Amy or Sasha, so I’m glad we had Emma to give another point of view in this. Altogether it was even better than the first, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The Vrai Domicile

BOOK 1: The Sixth Domicile by Courtney Ruggles

The Vrai Domicile  description:

Q437B was ready to die for the Second Revolution. Then she entered the Muertre…
Q and B expected death when the Elders ordered their execution. What they discover instead changes everything they thought they knew about their world. Saved by the mercy of the Elders, they awaken in the Vrai Domicile, a mysterious place hidden below the Sixth Domicile housing hundreds of former rebels.

Except these rebels have been brainwashed, conditioned to be blind followers.

Q quickly learns of the Elders’ new plan for her – she is to become their warrior, to reunite the Vrai and Sixth Domiciles with purity, love, and unwavering faith. But to Q, she’ll be undoing everything she and the rebels fought for.

Now Q and B must fight to survive once more, forced to forge new alliances with strangers who promise nothing is as it seems. But surviving comes with a choice – follow the Elders and quash the Revolution, or defy them and free the people, putting B’s and Grandmother’s lives at risk.

In a place where the fire of rebellion is extinguished at every turn, can Q continue to be the spark that fuels the Revolution?

BOOK 2: The Vrai Domicile  2 STARS

Honestly I think Ruggles should consider just writing erotica. She puts more effort into the love story and sex scenes than any other part of this story. The problem with that is that you’re left with this revolution you came here to read about that’s barely developed, and a “hero” that just comes across as an idiot. I understand wanting your characters to be human. Wanting them to make mistakes and not have all the answers. I don’t understand how Q doesn’t realize that B isn’t  talking master plans or shouting DOWN WITH THE DOMICILE with every breath because they’re in a place where they’re being watched and it’ll just get them killed. You know considering that’s why she’s going along with the Elder’s plan after witnessing them beat her grandmother. She has no clue, no plans, and apparently an inability to pick up on hints, but she’s supposed to be the savior. B could be the hero, but Q just makes me want to punch her in the face for being so dumb. And overall the plot was ludicrous.

The Winner

The Winner  by  David Baldacci  description:

THE DREAM

She is twenty, beautiful, dirt-poor, and hoping for a better life for her infant daughter when LuAnn Tyler is offered the gift of a lifetime, a $100 million lottery jackpot. All she has to do is change her identity and leave the U.S. forever.

THE KILLER

It’s an offer she dares to refuse…until violence forces her hand and thrusts her into a harrowing game of high-stakes, big-money subterfuge. It’s a price she won’t fully pay…until she does the unthinkable and breaks the promise that made her rich.

THE WINNER

For if LuAnn Tyler comes home, she will be pitted against the deadliest contestant of all: the chameleon-like financial mastermind who changed her life. And who can take it away at will…

the-winnerThe Winner   3 STARS

This book took me forever to get through. While it was good, it just wasn’t so to the point I couldn’t wait to know what would happen next. You want to know the answers, but it also feels like it takes a bit too long to get the answers. More so, I really loved the Will Robie books, and Baldacci’s style of writing which feels so factual and to the point worked great with them. With him attempting to put a bit of a love story in here, and dealing with their growing emotions, made it not the best style. It’s like he had all the right parts but just couldn’t get them to flow together in a way that made LuAnn’s and Riggs’ feelings come across as realistic. I think that’s the one thing that should’ve had more of a build and less rushed. Plus the whole psychic bit that got thrown in for no reason, and how Jackson knew everything about LuAnn except the fact that she had no SSN, and so many other things that felt like they were holes in the story that I don’t want to mention for fear of spoiling it if you do wish to read this. There are good things. The plot was definitely different, and LuAnn was someone you could relate to, and her predicament is one that was understandable and tragic. You can’t help but feel sympathy for her throughout all of this. Charlie, Riggs, and even Jackson are well developed characters, but there was just something lacking in the end.

Jack Winnick has been INTERVIEWED!!!

headshots-0051. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Jack Winnick. I can be found on my Facebook page or at jackwinnick.com.

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?I’m an avid reader and probably read four to five hours a day, everything from the news to classics to modern fiction. Actually, everything but “romance” novels. I also watch lots of movies, mostly foreign films. They tend to be more interesting, less predictable, and more insightful than the Hollywood stuff. I like to work out and play tennis (though not well). Fortunately, here in southern California, we can be outside almost every day.
  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.I started writing technical articles and books as an engineer and college professor. I had also been steadily writing Op-eds for magazines and newspapers about important technical matters, like nuclear weapons, energy, and the environment, where I found that the journalists typically had no expertise on technical issues. But then, ten years ago, I decided to try my hand at writing fiction based on the Middle East situation, since this is the topic I most like to read about.
  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…I most enjoyed reading realistic spy stories, like the work of Graham Greene and the early books of John Le Carre’. I decided to write something I thought I would enjoy reading.
  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…I quit writing technical articles and books and now focus almost entirely on fiction. I’m currently working on the next episode of Lara and Uri in their fight against international terror. I do, however, still write the occasional editorial about the Middle East situation.
  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in DIFC-BookCover5.5x8.5_BW_300-f3head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?That’s a tough question. Yes, I focus on one idea for a book at a time. It takes me a very long time to complete a novel, usually three years. I do start with an idea and the characters and flesh it out as I go. I do try to stick with an outline, but I find I often stray off as more interesting situations arise as the characters interact. The book then tends to “write itself.”
  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?My strength lies in my technical and political knowledge. I write what I know about. And if I don’t have complete knowledge of the subject, I do research. This is what happens when you’re a professor, especially in a technical field. You want to be accurate. That’s why it takes me so long to write a novel.
  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?It’s a tough world out there for writers. If you have a friend who works for a publishing house or knows a good agent, you have an enormous head start. My advice is to find an agent before you even think about writing.
  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?Write something small first, something you are really an expert on or comfortable writing about—hopefully both. Then try your hand at selling it yourself. Finally, try a marketing agency.

Jack Winnick received his M.S. and PhD. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and has held several prestigious positions in the field, including working as an expert consultant at the NASA Johnson Space Center and as a Professor of Chemical Engineering at several universities. He has also been a Middle East scholar for over forty years, traveling to the area for the State Department for the purpose of technology transfer to the Arab nations, and cooperation between Israel and Egypt. A strong advocate for the State of Israel, Winnick holds memberships in AIPAC, Zionists of America and American Friends of Magen David Adom.

For more information, please visit http://www.jackwinnick.com and connect with Winnick through Facebook.

Devil in False Colors is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.