Saturday, March 31, 2012

Awesome Bookswap!

Hello, everyone!

Since Wednesday, I've been participating in a truly awesome bookswap over at Katy's blog, Legacy of a Writer. She had a great bookswap back in December, I think, and now she's having another! Some of you are already over there, but surely some of you aren't...and want to be. :) There are dozens of books up for grabs, and it's a great chance to get rid of books you don't want any more! So click HERE and go to see if you can find something awesome. I've found numerous books already! Oh, and do comment and let me know if you post any books...I might want some. :)

See you there!

Birthday: Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle
 

Birth: March 31, 1961
It’s her 51st birthday!
You know her because – about two years ago, I believe, she premiered on “Britain’s Got Talent.” Everyone was amazed at her stirring rendition of I Dreamed a Dream. (See below -- one of my favorite videos!) She’s come out with three CD’s now.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cover Focus: Summer of Promise

Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot





Book blurb from goodreads.com : “Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont with her sweetheart, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte's letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads West to Wyoming. The endless prairie seems monotonous, but when her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.

When circumstances—and perhaps a bit of matchmaking—put Abigail and Ethan together, there's certainly attraction. But Abigail is planning to marry another man and return to life in Vermont as soon as she is finished attending to her sister. And Ethan loves his life in the Army and the wilds of Wyoming. When summer ends, will Abigail go back East? Or will she fall in love with this rugged land herself?

Book 1 of the new Westward Winds series, Summer of Promise is a tale of following your heart to unexpected places. Readers will enjoy Amanda Cabot's passionate characters and vibrant setting in the beautiful high prairie.”

Why I like this cover: Admit it. It’s really pretty. That girl (I guess her name is Abigail) has such an interesting expression! I think she knows something humorous. Or at the very least, happy. And her hair… *happy sigh*So dark, and all swept up, yet still with some curls left down. It’s a beautiful style, and I’d love to see it from other angles. J Those dark brown eyes are beautiful too. Gold earrings, with big pearls in them go perfectly with that pearl necklace. I was so lucky as to get a high-quality picture that I can zoom in quite close on, so I’m noticing these details! For example: it’s not just a pretty red dress she’s wearing. It’s got little rosettes all over the bodice and down the back of the skirt. The rosettes (which are maybe made of tulle?) are all connected by ribbons. There are also little red buttons going down the front. Her gloves are soooo elegant! All the lace up by the wrists is very pretty. I’m glad they left the front of the dress just plain red, no rosettes. That’s just perfect. Wow, that’s quite the house in the background, don’t you think? It’s not really a very pretty house, but it looks large and comfortable. And that man. He’s just standing there, with his back to us. I don’t think he’s wearing gloves, but he’s got a white stripe down the side of his blue pants. Maybe he’s military? Going by the summary, I’d guess he’s Ethan, and then, yes, he’d be military.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spotlight: Thor

Thor (Thor)



Played by Chris Hemsworth.



Colors in that picture are nice. :)









Birthday: Vangelis

Vangelis


Birth: March 29, 1943
It’s his 69th birthday!
You know him because – he wrote the soundtrack for the famous film, Chariots of Fire. It’s an amazing soundtrack.

Introducing the 30-Day Challenge!

Yes, you read that title right! All through April, I’m doing the 30-Day Challenge. It’s sorta like a long tag. Each day, there’ll be a post relating to the challenge. The posts will span a variety of subjects, from books and movies to my likes and dislikes. Throughout this time, there will (for obvious reasons) be fewer reviews than usual. Every day, there will be at least two posts – the 30-Day Challenge one, and a review, birthday, Spotlight, or Cover Focus post. (However, while I usually have a review on any birthday day, now when there’s a birthday post, it’ll be the only extra post on that day…make sense?)
I have tweaked these to questions and things I want to answer. If some are a little weird…it’s probably because I added them. If you, perchance, want to do this, feel free to do the same. Replace any question you don’t feel like answering with your own! That’s exactly what I did.
Now, here are the challenges I’ll be posting. Enjoy!
Day 01- 15 interesting facts about myself
Day 02- The meaning behind my blog name
Day 03- Links to the blogs of my best blogging friends
Day 04- A habit that I wish I didn’t have
Day 05- A picture of somewhere I've visited
Day 06- A favorite actor and why
Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has a big impact on me
Day 08- My goal for this year
Day 09- Something I'm proud of that was accomplished recently
Day 10- Songs I listen to when I'm happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad
Day 11- Favorite restaurant and foods there
Day 12- How I found out about Blogger and why I made a blog
Day 13- A favorite picture (or five) (or nine)
Day 14- A picture of my bookshelf
Day 15- Put my Mp3 player on shuffle: first 15 songs that play
Day 16- A short wishlist with pictures
Day 17- My favorite books – not including classics
Day 18- Long-term plans/dreams/goals I have
Day 19- Nicknames I have and why I have them
Day 20- List five awesome non-fiction books
Day 21- A picture of something that makes me happy
Day 22- A few websites I frequent
Day 23- Something I crave a lot at the moment
Day 24- List of five favorite classic authors
Day 25- A creative book picture that I took
Day 26- What I think about my friends
Day 27- Why I am doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28- A holiday I dislike
Day 29- A book I’m proud I read
Day 30- Favorite posts from this challenge
There you go! I do hope some of those sound interesting to you. I have written all the posts (back in January and February, actually) and look forward to hearing what you think.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Against All Odds


Author: Irene Hannon
Genre: Suspense
Series: Heroes of Quantico
Number in series: 1st
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 332
Time period: Present
My overall opinion: Very exciting! I really enjoyed this suspense, and the dose of romance in the story was just right. I loved it! Reminded me quite strongly of Fatal Judgement, the first book in Irene’s newest series, Guardians of Justice.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fatal Judgment



Author: Irene Hannon
Genre: Suspense, romance
Series: Guardians of Justice
Number in series: 1st
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 330
Time period: Present
Passage from book: At the vibrating summons from his BlackBerry, Deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor clenched his hands on the steering wheel and stifled a groan. Except for two hours of semi-restful downtime he’d enjoyed during the flight back to St. Louis from Denver, he’d been operating for almost twenty-four adrenaline-packed hours on high-alert status. His plan had been to head straight home for his rented condo, ignore the boxes waiting to be unpacked, and crash. But a quick glance at caller ID told him that plan was probably toast.
My overall opinion: It was very good. Super exciting, and a sweet romance on the side. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

Tyndale Blog Tour: The Last Plea Bargain -- GIVEAWAY!



Author: Randy Singer
Genre: Legal suspense (adventure)
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: The ARC has 372
Time period: Present
Passage from book: Plea bargains may grease the rails of justice, but for Jamie Brock, prosecuting criminals is not about cutting deals. In her three years as assistant DA, she's never plea-bargained a case and vows she never will. But when a powerful defense attorney is indicted for murder and devises a way to bring the entire justice system to a screeching halt, Jamie finds herself at a crossroads. One by one, prisoners begin rejecting deals. Prosecutors are overwhelmed, and felons start walking free on technicalities. To break the logjam and convict her nemesis, Jamie must violate every principle that has guided her young career. But she has little choice. To convict the devil, sometimes you have to cut a deal with one of his demons.
My overall opinion: It was a good legal suspense! The last few chapters are especially exciting. I loved the character of Jamie Brock, the main character. The book explained plea bargaining well – when I started, I had absolutely no idea what a plea bargain was, but now, I think I could explain it. J This book is one that will keep you interested, and you won’t guess the ending. I saw it compared with John Grisham; I’ve read several by him, and was disappointed by them. This one was definitely better, I think. Another draw? It’s loosely based on a real life case! If you like legal suspense, some action, excitement, and a riveting story all in one, this is a good book for you.

This book came out on March 1, 2012. You can buy it new for $13.99. ISBN: 978-1-4143-3321-2

***Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a review. I was not compensated for this review in any other way. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. ***

Giveaway! I am giving away a gift certificate (supplied by Tyndale) that is redeemable for The Last Plea Bargain at your local book store! If no store is available, you could also redeem it through Tyndale. All the redemption directions will be on the certificate. You also get a bookplate signed by Randy Singer to put in your book! This giveaway is US only (sorry to international readers!) and ends on April 5 at midnight. The winner will receive a bookplate and certificate straight from Tyndale. If you would like to win this book, just leave a comment! No extra entries today. Leave a comment and you'll be entered!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tips for New and Book Bloggers

Tips for New Bloggers (and Book Bloggers)

I do believe that Miss Elizabeth’s Period Drama Advice Column Event is influencing my advice section of mind…because I have begun coming up with all kinds of tips etc for new bloggers, and for book bloggers. (Incidentally, the other day, I wrote a 10-point post of tips for authors…can’t decide if I should publish it or not though.) Whether I’m a good one to do this particular post, I don’t know. But if you’re a new blogger, especially a new book blogger, you may find this to be helpful. First, tips for making a blog about almost any topic more successful! (Note that some of these are more my preferences than absolute musts – I’ll leave it to you to decide what, for the most part.)

LAYOUT:

·         Choose a background (or get one made for you – see last point in this section). There are lots of free blog background websites out there! My personal favorite is “I Love It!” Blog Design. Check it out!

·         When you choose your background, choose one that’s easy on the eyes. If you have a background that makes my eyes hurt every time I’m on your blog, trust me, I won’t be there very often. Try to make your header go as well. Please make sure the colors go together!

·         Have an easy to read font. A real loopy one is fun to look at, but a real pain to attempt to read. Also, make sure it’s a readable size – a while back, I read a blog (for a very short time) that had a tiny font. It was terribly annoying.

·         Get input from your readers. Polls are a great way to do that!

·         If you want a custom background and header, Dream Design Studio is a good place to get that! She will work with you to design your own personal header, blog button, background, etc – all for free.

POSTING:

·         Use good English, please! An occasional mistake is to be expected, but try to be clear. This includes your word order, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc.

·         Include pictures. Pictures make a blog SO much more interesting. A blog without pictures is like a book without a cover.

·         Whatever you choose to blog about, make sure it’s something you’re interested in. Be passionate (and interesting) about your topic. If you love your topic, others will find it more interesting when you write about it.

·         Post often – when a blog is silent for a while, followers start leaving. And ary your post length – some long, some shorter.

PUBLICITY:

·         As soon as you start your blog, get a blog button made for you (unless, of course, you can make your own). Make sure the button reflects what your blog is about. Make it appealing, not over-crowded, but nicely filled out. Put the button on your blog, with the HTML code, and blog about it, so others find it!

·         Become known in the blogger world. The best way (IMHO) to do this is to comment on other people’s blogs. Often, the people you comment to will check you out by viewing your profile, where your blog should show up. Comment, and often. When you start your blog, leave a link. If you post about something you know the other blogger would enjoy, leave a link. Make yourself their friend. J

·         Put a link to your blog in your email signature. Include a line or two about what people will find on your blog. Try not to make it a blatant advertisement. J You could also create a Facebook for your blog. Mention your blog on your Facebook and Twitter (if you have one). That’s something that I view as completely dispensible, and not needed, especially if you don’t have Facebook or Twitter – which I don’t.

·         If you really want to attract followers, host giveaways. Make them giveaways related to whatever you blog about. Give extra entries (preferably two or three) to people who blog about the giveaway and leave you a link! Great publicity.

To book bloggers…do all of the above. Here are a few other random tips that will (I think) make your blog more appealing.

·         Make the title of your blog something bookish or related to books. Mine is Austenitis. Everyone associates it (as they should) with Jane Austen. Other book related blog titles (and blogs I read): Legacy of a Writer, Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Just Another Book Lovin' Girl, Relz Reviewz, Best Reads, etc. :)

·         Get onto some book websites. I’m specifically thinking of goodreads.com, my personal favorite book website. You’ll meet people, keep track of what you’re reading, find giveaways…and people will find your blog through your profile there. J You could also do Shelfari, but I prefer Goodreads.

·         When you post a book review, put the book title into the blog post title. You could do “Title” or “Book Review: Title” or “Title by Author” or something like that. This makes it much easier when someone’s searching through your archives for a specific book.

·         Another thing making searching for old reviews easier…the tags section. I recommend that from the beginning, you separate your tags by author, genre, rating, and whatever else you think is important. J This takes a little work, but when you or another reader is searching for a specific book, it’s much easier this way.

·         Be honest. Obviously, you should always be honest…and not least of all, here. Do your best to mention everything objectionable in the book. Give your true opinion of the book…even if it’s for a blog tour, and you know that the author or publisher will read your review. If you didn’t like it, or found it really objectionable, say so. The trust you gain from your followers (and potentially the authors and publishers as well) will be worth it.  

·         Like I said earlier, giveaways are a huge draw! Hold book giveaways whenever possible. Authors are often willing to give away one of their books if you interview them. Speaking of which…

·         Authors. This is another set of people to try to make your friends. If you want an interview from an author, read as many of their books ahead of time as possible. Come up with questions to ask (also ahead of time, as you read the books) and post your honest reviews of their books. If you really like the books, say so in your review…then do some extras. I do Cover Focuses. Not only to ingratiate myself especially to authors, but because I love the covers! What you’re doing here is making the author your friend. Once you’ve contacted the author, be friendly and flexible and polite. All important. Remember that authors are busy, and that they’re potentially arranging multiple other interviews at the time (especially right after their book releases).

Ta-da! I apologize for the extraordinarily long post. However, I hope that as a new blogger (especially a book blogger) you picked up some useful ideas, websites, information, or whatever you need. J If so…I’d love to hear from you!

Birthday: Robert Frost

Robert Frost


Birth: March 26, 1874
Death: January 29, 1963
It’s his 138th birthday!
You know him because – he’s a rather famous poet. I’m including one of his poems below.

The Pasture by Robert Frost

“I’m going out to lean the pasture spring;

I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away

(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):

I sha’n’t be long. – You come too.



I’m going out to fetch the little calf

That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young

It totters when she licks it with her tongue.

I sha’n’t be gone long. – You come too.”

Movie: Friendly Persuasion



My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Genre: Life, war, just a touch of romance
Primary actors: Gary Cooper, Anthony Perkins
Length: 2 ¼ hours
Time period: Civil War, 1800’s
Year it came out: 1956
My overall opinion: It was good. We got it from Netflix, and the story detailed on the envelope didn’t even begin until about an hour in! It was a little pointless – not a lot of…storyline, purpose, something like that. But the dresses were fun, some parts were laugh-out-loud funny, some were sweet. Ugh, the DVD had a scratch, so we missed some… :P Very sad. So, there’s not anything “wrong” with the movie, but it wasn’t unbelievably awesome either.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business



Author: Dick Van Dyke
Genre: Life
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Biography (auto-biography)
Number of pages: 287
My overall opinion: Most actors are better at acting than writing, and this book isn’t an exception. However, it was interesting, and I enjoyed it. There wasn’t as much about his acting in Mary Poppins as I would have liked, but there was some. J It was interesting and I learned about him a lot! And it was pretty clean as celebrity biographies go.

To My Friend with a Birthday...



Happy birthday, awesome friend! You don’t read this blog so often as I would like you to (though it’s not your fault) but I have high hopes that you’ll see this post. J I have enjoyed every time that we’ve gotten together in the past seven years (and yes, it’s been seven this month!), and I love being with you! Your photography is awesome, and though we argue a lot – hey, that’s what makes it fun. You are one of my best friends, not to mention that you came up with my totally awesome blog name. I can’t wait to have more photo shoots, more in-depth discussions about our favorite books and movies, and more get-togethers in the coming year! Love you tons, and can’t wait to see you again. Happy birthday!
P.S. 1995 Pride and Prejudice is definitely the best…I’m determined to convince you someday. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Battle of the Labyrinth



Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Number in series: 4th
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 361
Time period: Fantasy/present day
My overall opinion: Again, see my reviews of the earlier books in this series. I liked this one a tad more than some of them – labyrinths have always intrigued me. Though I’d really hate to be in one, stories set in one are most interesting.

Jewelry Giveaway!

I usually restrict my posts about giveaways to books, but this little necklace was so pretty that I had to post! Look:


Isn't it an awesome necklace? Just go HERE to enter the giveaway, and see more wonderful jewelry by the same creator! Giveaway ends April 7.

I was Tagged!

I was tagged by Melanie, from Christian Bookshelf Reviews! Thank you, Melanie. J
All you have to do for this tag is tell eleven random things about yourself, and then answer the eleven questions you were asked by whoever tagged you, and finally ask eleven questions for the people you tag to answer! Got it?
Now, I’m not going to do the eleven random things about me part…awful, I know. But let me explain myself by telling you that on April 1, as I begin a special 30 Day Challenge, you’ll get a list of 15 random things about me! So that’s why I’m not doing it here.
Next, the 11 questions I was tagged to answer. They’re pretty fun!
1. Are you a night-owl or an early-bird? Night owl, mostly. I love staying up late, hate getting up early.
2. If you were going to go on vacation and could only travel via airplane or ship, which would you choose? That’s hard. I suppose it would depend where I was going… Airplane would be fun because I haven’t been on one for many years, but then, I’ve never been on a ship, so that would be amazing!
3. Name your favorite holiday. Christmas. I love the foods, the gifts, the family time, the colors…and most importantly, the real reason for the season, Jesus!
4. Do you watch any reality shows? If so, which ones? Nope. Well, occasionally, on Netflix. But always cooking shows then. J
5. What is your favorite genre to read, and what is the last book you read in that genre? Historical fiction. At the moment, I’m almost ready to start Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey. I can’t wait!

6. Which do you prefer, a thunderstorm or a snowstorm? I love thunderstorms, as long as I’m inside, have a flashlight, and have a book stack. J
7. If you could travel to any country, which would it be? Probably New Zealand. They filmed Narnia there, and it’s SO pretty! Or maybe England…or Germany…or France…or Spain…just about anywhere in Europe.
8. What are the five songs you listen to most? Oh dear. Ummm… Can’t Help Falling in Love by Michael Buble, Backwoods Boy by Josh Turner, You Raise Me Up by Celtic Woman, the soundtrack for Emma 2009, and I Dreamed a Dream by Susan Boyle. Yes, I cheated by listing a whole soundtrack. ;)
9. Do you have any phobias? Not really. I don’t think so…maybe a phobia of sick people. Hmmm.
10. Who are your top three favorite authors? Only THREE? How anyone can get all their favorite authors into three is beyond me. I’ll go with classic, that’s a little easier…Jane Austen (shocked?), C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien. And L. M. M. Montgomery.
11. If you were stuck on an abandoned island for a year, and could take five fiction books with you, what would they be? Tough. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I think it’s inexhaustible…?), Lord of the Rings by Tolkien (I’d have to find a copy with all the books in one…)… oh dear, this is frightfully hard. A collection of Agatha Christie’s (several books in one…do hope that’s not cheating), Atlas of Middle Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad (also inexhaustible) and The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth by Robert Foster – those last two to assist me in reading LotR. ;)
There! That’s done. Now eleven questions for the people I’ll tag…
1. What’s your favorite breakfast food?
2. What’s your favorite book by Jane Austen?
3. What’s your favorite period drama?
4. What’s your favorite book by a more modern author?
5. What’s your favorite kind of chip?
6. What’s your favorite fast food restaurant?
7. What’s your favorite classic book not by Jane Austen?
8. What’s your favorite Jane Austen film adaption?
9. What’s your favorite movie soundtrack?
10. What’s your favorite place to read?
11. What’s your favorite thing to blog about?
There you go, world! I didn’t mean to make them all favorites, but…well, not at the beginning.
Now to tag some people. I’m going to tag nine people – feel free to tag as many or as few as you like. J
1.       Miss Elizabeth (Elegance of Fashion)

2.       Miss Laurie (Old-Fashioned Charm)

3.       Miss Dashwood (Yet Another Period Drama Blog)

4.       Melody (Regency Delight – Jane Austen, Etc)

5.       Alyianna (Alyianna’s Reviews)

6.       Katy (Legacy of a Writer)

7.       Crystal (Just Another Book Lovin’ Girl)

8.       Larkin (Libri)

9.       Anyone else who thought this tag and all would be fun to do themselves!
Have fun! I’ll look forward to seeing you answer these. J

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cover Focus: Pearl in the Sand

Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
 

Book blurb from goodreads.com : “Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes. At the age of fifteen Rahab is forced into prostitution by her beloved father. In her years as a courtesan, she learns to mistrust men and hate herself. Into the emotional turmoil of her world walks Salmone, a respected leader of Judah. Through the tribulations of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth in God and find healing from fear and rejection.”

Read my review: I liked this book! Incidentally, I also interviewed the author. Read my review here: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2011/05/pearl-in-sand.html And read the author interview here: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2011/08/interview-and-giveaway-with-tessa.html

Why I like this cover: It’s a very interesting cover. Naturally, the woman is what catches your eye first. Those brown eyes… I’m not sure what her expression. Determination, maybe? What do you think? Those creases across her forehead are a bit weird, but they definitely make for an interesting part of the cover. Her cheeks are just a little flushed. And then that whole blue veil that she’s wearing! I’m so glad they chose the color blue for that. It’s perfect. Then there’s the man. Obviously, he’s looking back over his shoulder. He’s intriguing, and I don’t quite know what to say! One thing that I just noticed (despite reading the book and looking at the cover dozens of times) is the sunrise/set behind him. And then the red rope…if you’ve read about Rahab before, you get all the symbolism that comes with that. The perfect touch. Altogether a wonderful cover!

Interview and Giveaway with T. L. Higley!

Hello, everyone! As you know, I read Pompeii: City on Fire a couple of months ago, and reviewed it...read my review here. I thought it was a great book, and so I contacted T. L. Higley for an interview! It made my day when she agreed, and here she is with a wonderful interview! And read the whole thing...a giveaway for another of her books follows. :)

Welcome, Tracy! I’m so glad to be talking with you about your book, Pompeii: City of Fire. Could you please give us a little auto-biography?



I started my first novel at the age of eight and have been hooked on writing ever since. From my earliest childhood, there was nothing I loved better than stepping into another world between the pages of a book. From dragons and knights, to the wonders of Narnia, that passion has never abated, and to me, opening any novel is like stepping again through the wardrobe, into the thrilling unknown. With every book I write, I want to open a door like that, and invite readers to be transported with me into a place that captivates.
A lifelong interest in history and mythology has led me to extensive research into ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, and shaped my desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past.
I’ve traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy, researching my novels and falling into adventures!

And thought I haven't read most of your books, I'm sure that Pompeii required a lot of research! Please tell us a little bit about the plot of Pompeii


Sure! Here’s the info from the back cover:
Pleasure-seeking Romans find the seaside town of Pompeii the perfect getaway, and when the rich patrician Cato escapes Rome, intent on a life of leisure, he is unprepared for the hostility he encounters. For Ariella, disguised as a young boy and sold into a gladiator troupe, survival is her only ambition.
But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii and neither Ariella’s secret nor Cato’s evasion are safe. Political corruption, religious persecution and family peril threaten to destroy them, even before the mountain spews its fire.
As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, and leaves the city lost to the world.

What was your favorite part of Pompeii to write?

I loved the arena scenes, where Ariella gets to flex her muscles! It was also fun to chart out the actual eruption of Vesuvius and the effects of it, and to incorporate that real history into the story.

What gave you the idea, or inspired you to write Pompeii?

I think we’re all intrigued with the idea of “lost cities” – a civilization that disappeared overnight. I thought it would be great fun to speculate about the final days of that amazing city.

I know I think lost cities are very interesting! Is there any special story about the cover?

When I first saw the cover, I had to do a bit of research, to make sure that chain mail was actually in existence in ancient Rome. It was, though probably not widely used.  But I loved the way Ariella still looks like a woman on the cover, even though her hair is cut short under that chain mail!



If Pompeii was being made into a movie, which actors would you like to take the main characters?


I’d make Nathan Fillion play Cato!  And perhaps Stana Katic, who plays opposite Fillion on Castle, could play Ariella.


Wow, yeah, that Nathan Fillion guy looks perfect for the part! You have another book coming out this May, correct? Called Garden of Madness? Would you like to tell us a bit about it?



Garden of Madness is set in ancient Babylon, at the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s seven years of madness, and stars Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter. There are plots to take over the throne, dark family secrets, sinister magi and a romance. Lots of fun!

I must admit, that sounds riveting! Can't wait to read it. :) Your biggest fan and supporter is…

I have lots of support, but probably my biggest fan/supporter is my mom. She even reads my books twice!

What is your favorite time period to read about? How about to write about?

I love ancient history, especially Persia and Arabian countries.

If you could visit any country, continent, or place, where would you go and why?

I’ve done a good bit of traveling for research, including Greece, Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Israel and Turkey. I’m hoping to get back to many of those places, to explore the ruins all over again.

What’s a book you recently enjoyed reading?

I just finished Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. It was quite
inspiring.

What’s your favorite classic book?


Jane Eyre. No question. I’ve read it about a dozen times!

Jane Eyre is a pretty cool book. :) Thanks so much for coming, Tracy! How can our readers learn more about you, or contact you?

Thanks for the interview, Charity!  I’d love to meet up with your readers on my website: www.tracyhigley.com, or on www.facebook.com/tlhigley

Awesome! Thanks again! And we're back to just me.

Tracy has kindly offered to giveaway a copy of one of her books! The book we decided on is the book that kind of (I think) goes with this one, Petra: City in Stone. I haven't gotten to read it yet, but it's on my list!


Thanks so much for this giveaway, Tracy! Readers, all you have to do to enter is comment and say you'd like to be entered. For extra entries...

+1 -- Tell me if you've read any of Tracy's books before, and if so, which ones.

+3 -- Blog about this giveaway. (not twitter, not facebook)

+2 -- Follow this blog, Austenitis.

+1 -- Have my blog button on your blog. It's on the right sidebar.

+1 -- I'm your friend (or you've invited me to be your friend) on goodreads.com .

That's it, folks! Lots of entries you can earn. :) You don't have to leave an email address, but you can if you want. I'll contact you sooner that way if you win. The giveaway closes on March 30, at midnight.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Birthday: Louis L'Amour

Louis L’Amour

 

Birth: March 22, 1908
Death: June 10, 1988
I’ve posted about him: Lots of book reviews! http://austenitis.blogspot.com/search/label/Louis%20L%27Amour
It’s his 104th birthday!
You know him because – he wrote over 100 westerns. They’re quite clean, usually a little swearing. I use them as my measure for any western I read. J