Review Spotlight by Twinkles57 Reply

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From Amazon.com

Mesmerizing, Enchanted…., February 24, 2014, By Twinkles57

This review is from: The Witch’s Dream: The Demon in the Details (Knights of Black Swan, Book 2) (Kindle Edition)

Second in the series of Knights Of The Black Swan. Following beautifully with the flow of the story, not a beat has been missed. Storm deals with rejection and a broken heart. Elora and Ram explore the love they have for one another. Kay and Katrina are planning the wedding. There are new players on the scene, bringing lots of twists and turns. You will not want to miss this! I laughed and cried as this motley crew faced danger and suspense on every corner. I’m now headed to book three!! I can’t wait!

Thank you for the review Twinkles57! We appreciate it! – Sarah

Ask Victoria! Reply

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Elizabeth Quincy Nix asks: What are the most important literary influences on your writing?

Dear Elizabeth –

Let me begin with a rant.

In the not too distant past this was THE question to be asked of an author (in my opinion). However, what is forming on the horizon is a tragic need to ask a different question altogether and that is… DO. YOU. READ? I believe that a writer should read at least fifty books for every one we write and we should be careful to insure that we are exercising and maintaining a healthy vocabulary by not making that a diet of contemporary fiction. At least some of those books should be classical or acclaimed literature. 

End of rant.

To answer your question, we are a mass of collective experiences. Perhaps every book I’ve ever read that was memorable has influenced my writing in some way. Some of that influence is no doubt retained on a subconscious level, but there are a few greats whose names come to mind.

If I had to name one work as THE greatest thing ever written, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that would be a play entitled Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (perhaps). I have loved it and every great send off  – like West Side Story – and looked forward to being able to incorporate the idea into my series, which is why the war between the elves and fae was introduced in Book 1, My Familiar Stranger.

As a three-year-old I wanted to hear Snow White every night.

I believe the thing I found most captivating about the story was Snow White’s indomitable optimism.

She was cast out of her home and thrown into a world that was completely unfamiliar, but she quickly found people to love/care for and a way to be happy in her new life. (Come to think of it…. Hmmmm.)

In mid childhood I read all the Bobbsey Twins books by Laura Lee Hope and must give her credit because my first works were Bobbsey Twins novels that would be called fan fiction today.

When I was around ten, my dad bought me the Scribner Classics. It was a beautiful collection  of books illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. I loved the stories, but they were written by men for boys. All except for The Arabian Nights. One of the tales – “The Talking Bird, The Singing Tree, and the Golden Water” – was about a princess who set out on an adventure to save her brothers. Finally. Given the state of modern day Persia, it is so ironic that such a feminist story originated from that ancient culture.

I spent time with science fiction as an adolescent. I learned to appreciate the Ray Bradbury’s short stories and I learned to resent Robert A Heinlein. What I got from science fiction was more the flavor of possibility – the unknown, than a particular author.

In my late twenties I returned to fiction just as Stephen King, who is my age, began to gain popularity. I was captivated by Salem’s Lot and entranced by Christine.

I spent the next several decades with non-fiction, which I highly recommend to young authors. You need something to write about.

When I returned to pleasure reading, I read everything Anne Rice wrote and always wished I had written Memnoch the Devil.

Five years ago, or so, I read A Hunger Like No Other, by Kresley Cole and realized that horror and romance could be successfully married if approached with humor and an understanding of what we really need that’s not possible in reality. I devoured the rest of the Immortals After Dark series and went on to read a lot of other paranormal romance, but nothing else rocked me until the Fever Series (first five books) by Karen Marie Moning. The series was complete when I found it so I was able to read it as one story and loved the concept.

There you have it. Credit where it’s due. Thanks Grimm Bros., Laura, Sheherazade, Ray, Uncle Stevie, Anne, Kresley, Karen, and, sigh, Will.

Ask Victoria! Reply

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Patricia Smith asks: Are any of your characters in your books reminiscent of anybody in your life?

Not really – although who knows what shadows lurk deep in the subconscious mind of woman?

I do sometimes use real life events. As far as I’m concerned, anything friends and family members do is fair game. Here are a couple of examples.

1.) In My Familiar Stranger, when Elora comes back to the table at Serendipity and finds Ram hamming it up for a bunch of little girls with two long French fries hanging from his nostrils? That was my husband and one of those little girls was ours. Only in real life there was nothing funny about it. I was mortified.

2.) In Gathering Storm, when Elora finds out that Rosie regularly disappears (literally) while Glen is babysitting and says, “That is not okay, Glen!” I stole that phrase from one of my daughters who frequently says to one of her youngsters, “That is NOT okay!”

Review Spotlight by M. Bui 1

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From Amazon.co.uk

Couldn’t put it down, 20 Sep 2012, By M. Bui

This review is from: My Familiar Stranger: The Vampire Hunters (Knights of Black Swan, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

Paranormal books aren’t my usual reads. I’ve read them before, but usually stick to chicklit or historical romances. I got this book on a whim because the blurb sounded interesting and I read the rave reviews. I was not disappointed. I started it one evening and had to force myself to stop reading in order to go to bed. I couldn’t wait to get home the next evening to read what had happened next.

I usually skim books. And yes, like Harry, I will quite often read the end when I am halfway through just to make sure the book is worth reading. Not so with this book. I read every minute detail and even re-read. The writing style is so easy to read and descriptive.

Yes, there is a romance element, but the new world that’s been created in this story and the depth of characters draw you in. You become invested in them and want to know how things turn out. The storyline too, is interesting. I’m not big on violence even in books, but they added to the story. I just loved it.

Can’t wait for the next one!

Thank you for the review M. Bui! We appreciate it! – Sarah

 

 

Ask Victoria! 3

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Question from Janine Fromherz Diller: Where do you write? Do you have a spot in your house? Is it anywhere that inspires?

Thank you for asking, Janine.

Right now my space is on the second story where I can look out at the upper branches of trees. I say right now because we are building a house on a small piece of property that is heavily treed and backs up to a lake. In the new house, my room will be on the ground floor where I can see both lake and trees and it will also combine my writing and music rooms. At present my music room is just below the space you see here, where I write.

I can’t say that I get inspiration from my environment, but I can tell you that, as a double Libra, I HAVE to have aesthetics that are pleasing to me and a reasonable amount of order. But more than anything else, I require quiet. I’m hyperaware of my surroundings, which is usually manageable but can be a handicap in certain modern constructs – like school.

Thom Hartmann has a theory regarding ADD, that when we evolved as hunter/gatherer culture, there would be one person in the tribe who would be aware of the tiniest change in atmosphere, the smallest sound, something in peripheral vision, any little thing out of the ordinary that could potentially be a danger to the group. In our distant past these traits were highly valued. Today we’re more likely to be regarded as problems. My parents were told that I should be put in a closet with a flashlight to do homework. That was probably true.

Even taking care to have a quiet place to write, the tiniest stimulus that might go unnoticed by someone else, can break or overwhelm my concentration. That’s why my writing space is not a traditional desk, but an actual reception unit that I bought from a second hand office furniture supply. Being surrounded by my “desk” probably makes me feel protected subconsciously and I’m sure it helps with focus.

We haven’t broken ground yet, but we have the plans. I’ll keep you posted.

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Review Spotlight by Donna z. 2

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From Amazon.com

SONG AND DUFF’S STORY, A WINNER!, by Donna z. on January 11, 2014

This review is from: A Tale of Two Kingdoms (Knights of Black Swan, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)

Yep, still in love with the Order of the Black Swan series! A TALE OF TWO KINGDOMS, sixth in the series, was as engrossing as the previous five stories. Expect the Unexpected should be the theme of this series.
A TALE OF TWO KINGDOMS may be a novella but it is huge in the amount of information it provides the reader. This is a series that must be read in order. This is a series that must be read, period.

Finally we have the story of Aelsong, (Song) and Duff, (future King of the fae). They first meet in THE WITCH’S DREAM, book two of the series. It’s now one year later and Duff has decided enough is enough and the ongoing cold war between the elves and the fae in never going to end. Song is his mate and he can no longer live without her. While Duff is making his plans to be with Song, Glen is off on a secret mission for Elora to find out what started the war between the fae and the elves. Glen takes Rosie with him but a quest for truth on the war turns into more as Glen and Rosie face some truths of their own.

Yes, this is the story of Song and Duff but as always there are many sub-plots involved in the tale. We learn a few important facts about the council that governs the many different dimensions connected to earth. Angel Kellareal is going to play a larger role in this story than in previous ones. Old friends from previous books make their contributions to the storyline and I’m always so happy to see Ms. Danann include them in all the stories. Hate it when I become emotionally invested in the characters of the first few books of a series then, POOF, they disappear never to return in a major way. With this one little novella so many questions answered and so many possibilities for future books are created. LOVE IT!!

HIGHLY RECOMMEND to anyone over the age of 18 due to sexual content and the use language.

Thank you for the review Donna z.! We appreciate it! – Sarah

Review Spotlight by Lady M.C. 4

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From Amazon.com

Best book yet! by Lady M.C. on September 19, 2013

This review is from: Gathering Storm: The Smallest Turn of Fate (Knights of the Black Swan, Book 5) (Kindle Edition)

“Gathering Storm” I was speechless for a long time after I finish reading. I laughed so hard (I almost did not make it to the little girl’s room), I cried, I was shocked and sad, all these emotions left me speechless.

The story picks up where Moonlight left off, and if I start telling you about it, I’ll get excited and ruin the story for you!

I first read “My Familiar Stranger” earlier this year and I was hooked, Ms. Danann has this ability to write a story that when you read her books you are not reading, you are actually living the whole adventure! The way it transports you wherever the characters go is unbelievable, I actually think I get a full workout while reading any of the “Black Swan Series” Books.

When the next book comes out I will have confirm that Ms. Danann is in fact out of this world! As I am sure it will be as good if not better than what I have read!

If you have not read any of the “Black Swan Series” you need to go to the beginning follow the links below:

The First 3 books “My Familiar Stranger” “The Witch’s Dream” and “A Summoner’s Tale” are in a collected pack here!

And “Moonlight” you can get here!

Thank you Ms. Danann! Your books definitely deserve more than 5 stars!

 

Thank you for the review Lady M.C.! We appreciate it! – Sarah

Ask Victoria! 1

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What books or author’s have inspired your writing?

Stephen King, Anne Rice, Terry Pratchett, and Ray Bradbury.

What is your favorite book?

Memnoch the Devil, Anne Rice. Also high up on the list: The Gate To Women’s Country by Sherri S Tepper and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. HOWEVER, I wouldn’t recommend any of these to someone unless I knew that they were students of religious studies or, in case of Gate, feminism.

Victoria’a Postscript…

No idea when I gave that answer. It’s still largely true, but I would like to expound on it.

Stephen King is one of my favorites as much because of style as anything. In my mind, he drew a line between the flowery language of English literature (Diana Gabaldon, Outlander) and straight-forward contemporary Americana. Since he and I are the same age, I saw that as part of the boomer revolution and badly needed reorganization of culture.

Ask Victoria! 1

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YES! Victoria. There IS a quantum universe!

Alenna Meduna-Mahar asks:

I loved Gathering Storm and can’t wait for the next installments. Especially Aelsong and the Prince. I have one burning inquiry though. Which Storm was shot in the face? Was it a third storm? I originally thought it was going to have been Angel. I thought “Storm” ended up in Halcyon Dimension which was Angel’s Dimension, making Angel his placeholder for Halcyon (even though he didn’t need one). I’m a little confused and for some reason I have to understand everything. It is driving my brain crazy….Please Help!

Victoria:

Dear Alenna,

One of my favorite bloggers sent me an email to clarify some of the finer points of this story that involves multiple dimensions. I’m going to simply recreate our exchange here. This was my answer.

I know this is complicated.

Our Storm is in Loti Dimension.

The version of Storm who is mistakenly brought to Loti Dimension is from Halcyon Dimension.

Our Storm ends up in a third (unnamed) dimension, reaping the consequences of a version that took the same path as Angel.

The point was to say that there may be thousands of versions of ourselves experiencing an almost infinite range of results based on turns of fate that are tiny in the big picture. Have you ever had dreams that feel so real, in a situation where you don’t recognize the environment or the players? That is what prompted my desire to write this book – the suspicion that there are these other versions of ourselves, to which we are connected in a psychic way, that overlap the subconscious (and alternate) reality of our dreams.

If this is not a good enough explanation, I will take another run at it.

My blogger friend replied with a lovely summary arranged by bullet points. I replied to each with a bold red YES!

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HI Victoria,  It’s a fine explanation for me.

  • Placeholder Storm who is murdered by the young woman is in Dimension X and that is Where Black Swan Engle Storm ends up. This Dimension is also a location where the Loan Shark is and where the dead guy owes him money. YES
  • In Halcyon Angel Storm goes to his favorite bar which is the same as Hal Cyon’s bar.  He owes another version of the loan shark money but is absconded with to Loti as he is about to be beaten up. YES
  • In Loti they are missing Engle Storm and get Angel in his stead. YES

It is confusing and felt like a continuity error until I had your explanation.

It’s a Quantum Universe!

Thanks!

Review Spotlight by MADAME LOVES TO READ Reply

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From Amazon.com

A FAN TO THIS AMAZING STORY-TELLER…….  By MADAME LOVES TO READ on February 17, 2013

This review is from: A Summoner’s Tale – The Vampire’s Confessor (Black Swan 3) (Kindle Edition)

Once again, I have been captured and intrigued by Ms.Danann’s story-telling.

This particular passage stuck with me and ,I feel, it gives a glimpse of the type of thought process of the character’s you get when reading these books.

‘”THINK ABOUT THE UNIVERSE AS BEING A GIANT TAPESTRY. WHEN YOU’RE IN THE BODY, ON THIS SIDE OF LIFE, ‘TIS LIKE LOOKIN’ AT THE BACK. IT APPEARS A JUMBLED TANGLE OF THREADS AND COLORS AND MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL. BUT, WHEN VIEWED FROM THE OTHER SIDE, ‘TIS A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE.”‘

One of the most wonderful things about Ms. Danann’s books ,at least for me, is the fact that even though you are getting a new love story with each book, you are also getting more details of the previous characters. In other words, this is done in an on-going saga. Usually in a series you get one story about one specific couple and sneak-peaks of the previous characters… Not So with Ms. Danann’s books. It is like watching your favorite prime-time shows……. I Love This! For me, it is a refreshing way to read a series.

In my humble opinion, A Summoner’s Tale is a fantastic continuation. One of my favorite moments ,through out this series, are the interactions between Elora and her dog Blackie. I find myself laughing out-loud when reading Blackie’s thoughts. I can almost ‘see’ Blackie looking at his Mistress and thinking “HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND WOMAN!”. Another favorite for me is watching the ‘growth’ of Glenn’s character, who was introduced in The Witches Dream. This is another passage I am about to share….

GLEN’S THOUGHTS: ‘”There was just something about the fact that Sir Simon had quietly gone about doing what needed doing while trying to shield a young trainee from the harsh reality of The Order’s mission and protect his innocence as long as possible. Glen knew he had the ability to do anything he wanted. And what he wanted was to be that kind of man.”‘ This is the type of characters that Ms. Danann provides in her books. They are Intelligent, Strong in Character, Humorous, and Thoughtful in mind and deeds. Even with all their normal and not so normal ‘Life’s Hang-Up’s’!

I honestly can not express how much I enjoy this Author’s writing and these beautiful characters of hers. They are truly wonderful and interesting stories that I believe should not be missed.
Thank-you again Ms. Danann for sharing another Intriguing story with us……… All I ask, IS THAT YOU KEEP THEM COMING! 🙂


Thank you for the review MADAME LOVES TO READ! We appreciate it! – Sarah