Archive for June, 2012

Katie MacAlister Talks on Her Light Dragons

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Interviewing Katie MacAlister, a Seattle-area author of fiction and non-fiction, had been as interesting experience  for us as  exciting her works are for her readers. We had Katie on a conversation on her well-received Light Dragon Series and her ideas as a writer.

Her most popular titles are historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance, which frequently features strong and anglophilic heroines. She also writes young-adult books under the pseudonym Katie Maxwell and mysteries under the pseudonym Kate Marsh.

Everyone is eager to learn about the new installment, Sparks Fly, of your Light Dragon Series. Can you give us a hint as to what it’s about?

It’s the story of Ysolde de Bouchier and her Light Dragon mate Baltic, who is still at odds with just about everyone, starting with his former guard Thala and her outlaw posse, right down to his dragon god father. Ysolde herself fairs no better, since the First Dragon has her in his sights as well, demanding that she right past wrongs…and her time to do that is quickly running out.

Can you give us a brief of the previous books — Love in the Time of Dragons and The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons — of the Light Dragon Series.

Love in the Time of Dragons starts out with Tully Sullivan. She’s just like any other suburban mom—unless you count the days every year that she zones out and turns base metals in to gold. Those are weird.

And now she’s woken up in a strange place surrounded by strange people who keep insisting they’re dragons—and that she’s one too. But not just any dragon. She’s Ysolde de Bouchier, a famed figure from dragon history.

Tully can’t shape-shift or breathe fire, and she’s definitely not happy being sentenced to death for the misdeeds of a dragon mate she can’t remember. All Tully knows is that she wants her son back. So she’ll have to find a way to solve the crimes of a past she has no memory of living…

The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons picks up about two months after the first book. In it, Ysolde de Bouchier is a woman beset with trials. The dragon part of her buried deep for centuries is still making itself known, but in ways that just don’t make sense. She’s continuing to have visions, but now they involve events she wasn’t present to witness.

As if that isn’t enough, she’s caught up in a tangled web of plans that seem to grow more complex each day. Not only does she have to work out peace between her Light Dragon mate Baltic and the weyr, she also has to free his friend, convince an archimage to lift the spell controlling her magic, figure out what it is that the First Dragon expects her to do, rescue a half-dragon damsel in over her head, and once and for all clear Baltic’s name of murder charges that continue to plague him.

Is Sparks Fly a penultimate of The Unbearable Lightness of Dragon? How far the former complement the latter?

Yes, it is the last book in the Light Dragons series. Although Ysolde and Baltic will appear in subsequent dragon books, they will do so as secondary characters. I love Baltic too much to ever leave him out of a book. :)

Tell us something about the upcoming books of this series.

I’m not sure what book I’ll be writing next for the dragons. I suspect it will be Kostya’s story with the Black Dragons, but I haven’t made a final decision yet. There’s still Bastian to take care of, and the mysterious Jian of the Red Dragons, so…it just depends on what my muse wants me to do.

What made you to come up with this series? How did you get the idea for this?

I started You Slay Me with Drake Vireo and Aisling Grey because I wanted to write a series where the love story was NOT resolved in one book. I knew that I wanted an antihero as the main male protagonist, and somehow, the idea of a thief came to mind. From that it was a short hop to having the gold-loving thief be a dragon in human form.

Once I settled on the idea of dragons, I started exploring the politics of all the dragon sects, and how they worked (or fought) together. I was smitten from the start, and after ten dragon books, still love writing about them. They have such a complex world!

You are a New York Times bestselling author and have written books/novels on multiple genre. Which genre you love the most to write on?

Pretty much whatever book I’m writing now is what I love the most. Paranormals give me the ability to do some major world-building, which is great fun. But I do dearly love historical, and love the free and breezy tone of the contemporaries, so it’s really not an easy decision. Right now I’m writing a paranormal, so that’s my favorite genre at the moment. I’m sure it’ll change with the next book.

Who were and are your major influences as a writer?

I read a lot as a child, and I am positive that I would never have been a writer if I hadn’t been such a voracious reader. Since I’m a die-hard mystery reader, I’d say that all those years of reading Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers and Rex Stout instilled in me a love of fiction, and are responsible for me writing today.

Being a bestselling author, what would you like to say to the aspiring authors?

Don’t obsess about the minutiae, and focus on writing (and then polishing) the best story you can. I see so many new authors worrying about things like manuscript borders and font, etc. and not paying nearly as much attention to making sure the story is brilliant. It’s the story that should always be the primary focus!

Any message for your readers!!

I’d like to thank my readers for all their support, and for going along with me when I have a story to tell them. I love it when they take the time to let me know when a book has touched their lives, and I love it when they tell me about all the odd looks they get when they laugh out loud while reading in public. My readers are the very best readers, and I love them all. Especially the ones who send me dashy guy pictures. :)

Click Here to access all the other books by Katie MacAlister

HarperCollins Publishers: Serving to literary world since 200 years

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

Some businesses need no introduction but are consistently pressed for the wonderful contribution they make to their trade. “HarperCollins Publishers” is one of such names being applauded, respected and awarded for their consistent input to the literary world since nearly 200 years.

Headquartered in New York City, the company is a subsidiary of News Corporation, and has a broad-base with publishing groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and India. The company publishes fiction, non-fiction, academic, and reference titles.


HarperCollins was founded in New York City in 1817 as J. and J. Harper, later Harper & Brothers, by James and John Harper. The name HarperCollins is a combination of Harper & Row, an American publishing company acquired by News Corporation in 1987, itself the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers and Row, Peterson & Company; and British publisher William Collins, Sons (founded 1819), acquired in 1990 by the News Corporation.

Did You Know

In a span of 200 years of its existence, HarperCollins has earned the pride of publishing some of the world’s foremost writers from classic era, with authors published originally by Harper are Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters and William Makepeace Thackeray, and that by Collins include H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie and J. R. R. Tolkienviz.

Also, this globally recognized publishing house has won numerous awards including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott.


HarperCollins has over 30 book imprints, most of them are based in the United States. Collins still exists as an imprint, chiefly for wildlife and natural history books, field guides, as well as English and bilingual dictionaries based on the Bank of English, a large corpus of contemporary English texts.

Some of the popular HarperCollins imprints are:

Avon, Broadside Books, Ecco, Harper paperbacks, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, HarperBibles, HarperCollins e-Books, Rayo, William Morrow, Balzer + Bray. Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Children’s Audio, HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperCollins e-books, HarperTeen, Katherine Tegen Books, Rayo, Walden Pond Press

Highlights from the Last Year

HarperCollins had been continued with its outstanding publishing services throughout the 2011, which brought to us a number of notable bestsellers, including Pinheads and Patriots by Bill O’Reilly, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? by Steven Tyler, and Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever by Justin Bieber, Pulitzer Prize winner The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, etc.

Popular Books by HarperCollins Publishers of The Last Decade

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan (2002)

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson (2003)

Where’s the Poop? by Julie Markes and Susan Kathleen Hartung (2004)

The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (2005)

Next, Michael Crichton (2006)

The Children of Húrin, J.R.R. Tolkien (posthumous, compiled by Christopher Tolkien) (2007)

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet (2008)

Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin (2009)

Just Kids by Patti Smith (2010)

Click here to explore more books from HarperCollins Publishers

Top 5 Musical Sagas

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

Since June is remarked as an African-American Music Appreciation Month, our editorial team has fished out from the vast ocean of well-composed novels those volumes that have story based on music. Out of such musical fictions, we then have shortlisted top five well-received titles for our those readers who are as much interested in music as they love reading. Let’s take a look on the list:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. During this hostage foir weeks, Roxanne keeps singing for everyone’s moral support. As she practices day after day, her gorgeous singing shakes up everyone from captives to captors, this in turn has formulated an unexpected bonds between them. Under the spell of beautiful music, everyone becomes equal. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason – An extraordinary first novel that tells the story of a British piano tuner sent deep into Burma in the nineteenth century. In October 1886, Edgar Drake receives a strange request from the British War Office: he must leave his wife and his quiet life in London to travel to the jungles of Burma, where a rare Erard grand piano is in need of repair. The piano belongs to an army surgeon-major whose unorthodox peacemaking methods – poetry, medicine, and now music – have brought a tentative quiet to the southern Shan States but have elicited questions from his superiors. This novel can be precisely described as a novel that is sensuous, lyrical and rich with passion and adventure.

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather – This coming-of-age classic by Willa Cather has the story of a young artist who, when realizes her talents as an opera singer, leaves the mediocrity of her home town to seek fame and success in the big city . A bittersweet reflection on severing oneself from one’s past relationships and surroundings, The Song of the Lark explores the loss that ultimately accompanies an artist’s highest achievements.

The Loser by Thomas Bernhard – This is a brilliant fictional account of an imaginary relationship among three men – the late piano virtuoso Glenn Gould, the unnamed narrator, and a fictional pianist, Wertheimer – who meet in 1953 to study with Vladimir Horowitz. In the face of Gould’s incomparable genius, Wertheimer and the narrator renounce their musical ambition, but in very different ways. While the narrator sets out to write a book about Gould, Wertheimer sinks deep into despair and self-destruction.

Music of a Life by Andrei Makine – His father is a well-known dramatist, his mother an opera singer. But during Stalin’s reign of terror in the late 1930s, both parents are harassed, proscribed. Young Alexei Berg’s musical talent, however, is such that he is allowed to continue his studies. His first concert is scheduled for May 24, 1940. Two days before the concert, on his way from the dress rehearsal, Alexei arrives to find his parents being arrested. He flees, and thus begins his endless journey, through war and peace, until he lands, two decades later, in a snowbound train station in the Urals, where he relates his harrowing saga to the novel’s narrator.

Novels with Strong & Inspiring Female Protagonists

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

Here, we have compiled a list of the books that portray the female protagonists who are strong, inspiring, and dependable; who can get rid of the predicaments around them by their own. There are innumerable books with moving female heroes. We compiled this precise list by extracting the books that received high number of reviews, and then randomly picked some titles out of them. Here goes a few titles:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – The central character of this novel is Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest of five daughters whom Mrs Bennett is anxious to put into marriage. Her vivacity and wit, her hasty dismissal of superior Mr. Darcy – the most disagreeable man in the world, how he improves his manners and Elizabeth changes her mind, are at the centre of this Jane Austen book. This volume is loved by book-lovers for its depth, humor and playfulness.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – An orphan girl’s progress from the custody of cruel relatives to an oppressive boarding school culminates in a troubled career as a governess. Jane’s first assignment at Thornfield, where the proud and cynical master harbors a scandalous secret, draws readers ever deeper into a compelling exploration of the mysteries of the human heart.

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – This novel offers the reader an impression of a single June day in London in 1923. Clarissa Dalloway, the wife of a Conservative member of parliament, is preparing to give an evening party, when the shell-shocked Septimus Harding, a war veteran, hears the birds in Regent’s Park chattering in Greek. There seems to be nothing, except perhaps London, to link Clarissa and Septimus. She is middle-aged and prosperous, with a sheltered happy life behind her; Smith is young, poor, and driven to hatred of himself and the whole human race. Yet both share a terror of existence, and sense the pull of death.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Set in Scotland in 1743, this is the story of Claire Randall, a former combat nurse in the year of 1945, when she returns from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon. Actually, this is a story in which time travels back to the era of Our Lord, 1743, in Scotland, taking Claire back in time by forces. There she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire, and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford  – This is the story of Emma Harte, a successful entrepreneur, who built her retail empire on her own.  Her journey started as a resourceful servant girl who a shrewd determination to make her mark on the world. She honed her skills, discovered the meaning of treachery and learned to survive. She rose from poverty to magnificent wealth which attracted enemies around her. This is a story that presents a vicious cycle of Emma’s struggle and success.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, is forced to represent her district in an annual deadly event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. She regards it as a death sentence when she proceeds to participate in the game, but she has been close to dead before, and survival, for her, is second nature. If she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

A War Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

“Our efforts to promote development and fight drugs and crime will be more effective if they are rooted in partnerships with the young, civil society, governments and the international community. Working together, we can alleviate the suffering of millions and break the hold of drugs and crime on countries, communities and families.”

                                                          — the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon—

Twenty Four years back the United Nations declared a global war against drug abuse and illegal drug trade by proclaiming June 26 to be the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking for each coming years. This day is solely zeroed in on to generate and strengthen universal action and corporation towards achieving an international society free of drug abuse.

So, being an online retailer of books, decided to support this noble cause by compiling some well-composed and result-oriented Books against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in a single list. These books might be helpful in many ways but will elicit a single greatest result: a global society with no case of Drug Abuse. Here’s the list:

Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You: A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children – This is a self-help recovery guide for parents in the devastating situation of realizing that they are powerless to stop their children from self-destruction through drug and/or alcohol abuse. It is dedicated to letting parents know when it is time to start saving themselves from being dragged along to destruction as well, and to providing skills that prevent it. With the anecdotes and quotes from parents who have had to cope with kids on drugs and/or alcohol, this book urges other parents to attain a healthy balance in their lives through the letting go process.

Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to their History, Chemistry, Use, and Abuse – A comprehensive guide on every drug currently prohibited by law in the United States, this book includes their histories, chemical properties and effects, medical uses and recreational abuses, and associated health problems, as well as addiction and treatment information. Additional survey chapters discuss general and historical information on illegal drug use, the effect of drugs on the brain, the war on drugs, drugs in the workplace, the economy and culture of illegal drugs. Further, it gives information on thirty-three psychoactive drugs that are legal in the United States, from caffeine, alcohol and tobacco to betel nuts and kava.

Addict In The Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery – Witnessing the addiction of a family member or loved one is a heart-rending experience. But hope can be prevailed, says this compelling new book. Here, the gripping stories of fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters of addicts offer important lessons on loving, detachment, intervention, and self care. Based on conversations, this book brings a great hope and help to the families of the newly recovering addict.

The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade – The first book to prove CIA and U.S. government complicity in global drug trafficking, it includes meticulous documentation of dishonesty and dirty dealings at the highest levels from the Cold War till today. Maintaining a global perspective, this groundbreaking study details the mechanics of drug trafficking in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Central America. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs.

The Drug Effect: Health, Crime and Society – Offering new perspectives on critical debates in the field of alcohol and other drug use, this book draws together works by respected scholars in Australia, the US, the UK and Canada in an attempt to explore social and cultural meanings of drug use. In doing so, it addresses key questions of drug use and addiction through interdisciplinary, predominantly sociological and criminological, perspectives, mapping and building on recent conceptual and empirical advances in the field.

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