Sunday, December 28, 2014

BOOKS: Goodreads 2014 List


In 2011 I read 34 books--you can see them all here.

In 2012 I read 40 books--you can see them all here.

In 2013 I read 20 books--you can see them all here.

In 2014 I managed to surpass my goal, just barely, and read 33 books. They are below.

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Heidi has
completed her goal of reading 30 books in 2014!

(NOTE: The Goodreads widget shows 34 books because for some irritating reason it counts Corpus Chrome twice. I didn't, as I just thought that was cheating.)

23 - print books (5 signed)
16 - books from Big 5 publishers
12 - books by authors I have read previously
10 - female authors
10 - science fiction books
9 - books from 8 different series
7 - books by Seton Hill Writers
7 - holiday books
6 - books by ITW Members
6 - fantasy books
5 - children's books
4 - books by Pennwriters
4 - non-fiction books
3 - books by SFR Brigaders
3 - anthologies
2 - audiobooks
2 - horror books
2 - romance books
1 - thriller
1 - book with which I am associated

Quincy J. Allen
Michael A. Arnzen
A. R. Aston
Aaron Becker
Meg Bellamy
Ludwig Bemelmans
Tony Bertauski
Grant Blackwood
Berkeley Breathed
Cary Caffrey
Katie Campbell
Scott Christian Carr
Andrew Conry-Murray
Greg Cox
Clive Cussler
James Fadeley
T. W. Fendley
Neil Gaiman
J. L. Gribble
O. Henry
Joe Hill
Kate Martin
Dana Marton
Jason Jack Miller (2)
Christopher Moore
Goldeen Ogawa
Sean Platt
Paul Reps
Mike Resnick
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Lemony Snicket (2)
Bruce Talkington
T. K. Toppin
Johnny B. Truant
Peggy Van Pelt
Jeff VanderMeer
Albert Wendland
David Wright
K. Ceres Wright
S. Craig Zahler

How many books did you read this year, and what were your favorites?

Did we read any of the same ones?

What do you suggest I put on my TBR list for 2015? Include your own books if you're an author!

Friday, December 12, 2014

BOOK: Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler


Jinn and Juice is the first in a new series by fantasy writer, Nicole Peeler, set in a world of immortal curses, powerful jinni and belly dancing.

Cursed to be a jinni for a thousand years, Leila nears the end of her servitude — only to be bound once again against her will. Will she risk all to be human? Born in ancient Persia, Leila turned to her house Jinni, Kouros, for help escaping an arranged marriage. Kouros did make it impossible for her to marry — by cursing Leila to live a thousand years as a Jinni herself.

If she can remain unBound, Leila’s curse will soon be over. But Ozan Sawyer, a Magi with the ability to See, Call, and Bind jinn has other plans.

Oz needs Leila to help him penetrate Pittsburgh’s steel-soaked magic, a juice potent but poisonous to supernatural creatures, in order to find a missing girl with her own mysterious connection to Kouros. Unfortunately for Leila, becoming Bound to Oz may risk more than just her chance to be human once more — it could risk her very soul.

Nicole D. Peeler writes urban fantasy for Orbit Books and, in her spare time, is an associate professor at Seton Hill University, where she co-directs their MFA in Writing Popular Fiction. Having recently finished the final book of her award-winning Jane True series, she is looking forward to the upcoming publication of Jinn and Juice, the first book in a series about a cursed jinni living in Pittsburgh. Nicole also lives in Pittsburgh, although she’s neither cursed nor a jinni.

She’s also a proud member of the League of Reluctant Adults and an alumna of both Boston University and The University of Edinburgh.

Please like her Facebook fan page for up to date information on Nicole’s writing. If you want to chat with her or see pictures of her sammiches, feel free to “friend” her on Facebook (Nicole Peeler) or follow her on Twitter (NicolePeeler). She’s also got a Pinterest for her new book, where you can get a sneak peek at her worldbuilding process. If you’d like to send Nicole a message, the best way to do so is through email, at IHeartSelkies(at)gmail(dot)com. The worst way is through Facebook Messages, as they tend to get eaten, and Nicole loves hearing from all of you.

For an autographed bookplate, send a SASE to Nicole Peeler, Box 421 F, Seton Hill University, Seton Hill Drive, Greensburg, PA, 15601. Please specify any personalization you’d like.

Jinn and Juice is now available as an ebook from Orbit and will be released in paperback April 2015.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

BOOK: Life in the No-Dating Zone by Patricia B. Tighe

Life in the No-Dating Zone

After surviving her parents' relationship drama when her older sister elopes, Claire Gardner vows not to date during high school. Now, three years later, Claire is thrown into new relationship drama—her two best friends have boyfriends. Which means Claire is spending more and more time alone. And she's more than a little peeved.

Enter Gray Langley. His year-long crush on Claire's friend Lindsey has made him desperate enough to ask Claire for help with pursuing Lindsey. Hesitant at first, Claire finally agrees—anything to get rid of Lindsey's current evil boyfriend. But as Claire and Gray plot together, Claire has to fight the sparks of attraction flying everywhere.

Because she can't be with Gray unless she gives up her vow. And how can she handle the pain that'll come from confronting her parents with the reasons for that vow? Claire has to decide . . . unless, of course, Gray decides first.

Patricia B. Tighe is not the writer who's been writing for as long as she can remember. In fact, she didn't start writing fiction until she was almost thirty. But, she's always been a reader. Which, of course, is one of the basic requirements for being a writer. She's read everything from horse novels and spy thrillers to historical romance and fantasy sagas—and lots in between. There's something wondrous about picking up a book and entering a new world with new adventures. And she doesn't plan on stopping any time soon.

When she's not reading, she hangs out with her husband and two old dogs, plus her grown sons whenever she gets the chance. In the fall she spends way too much time yelling at her TV while watching football. She's also addicted to British TV shows. Top Gear, anyone?

Oh, yeah. And she writes. Kissing books. Or at least books that include kissing.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

BOOK: Lionel's Christmas Adventure by Paul R. Hewlett


Lionel's Christmas Adventure

Have you ever wanted something you couldn’t have? Lionel desperately wants a new sled and he will do almost anything to get it. This fun Christmas story follows Lionel from Larrystown to the North Pole. Filled with great Christmas imagery, this book is perfect for young readers and school or family story time. This holiday season, be careful what you wish for, you never know what might happen!

Paul R. Hewlett writes books for children. His first book is Lionel's Grand Adventure: Lionel and the Golden Rule. It is an early chapter book for ages 7-10. It is the first book in the Lionel's Grand Adventure series. Paul is a US Air Force vet who is married and has a "senior" dog named Joe that he and his wife adopted from the local rescue facility. His aim is to increase and foster children's interest in reading by combining entertainment and values.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

BOOK BUNDLE: Preston Black Mix Tape by Jason Jack Miller


The PRESTON BLACK MIX TAPE bundle is a literary box set! (Almost 220,000 words of Preston Black goodness.) You get both Preston Black novels—THE DEVIL & PRESTON BLACK and THE REVELATIONS OF PRESTON BLACK, plus two short stories that were only available in other anthologies. ALMOST A NEW YEAR is a vignette that shows how family and friends deal with the loss of a deployed soldier, in this case Stu Croe. RHYTHM OF WAR is Ben Collins’ first person account of his role in the Battle of Fallujah.

In addition to the stories above, you get the following essays, articles, and non-fiction bits Jason published in various places over the course of writing the first two Preston Black novels:

THE DEVIL & PRESTON BLACK Reading & Resource Guide
Because You CAN’T, You WON’T, You DON’T Stop: ADAM YAUCH
Murder Ballads and Old Magic

Jason Jack Miller knows it’s silly to hold onto the Bohemian ideals of literature, music, and love above all else. But he doesn’t care.

His own adventures paddling wild mountain rivers and playing Nirvana covers for less-than-enthusiastic crowds inspired his Murder Ballads and Whiskey series. The first three books are currently available: The Devil and Preston Black, Hellbender, and The Revelations of Preston Black. The next installment, All Saints, is due out soon.

Hellbender was Jason's thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program, where he is now adjunct faculty. The novel won the Arthur J. Rooney Award for Fiction and is a finalist for the Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award.

His career got its start when he co-authored an outdoor travel guide with his wife in 2006. Since then his work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, online, as part of a travel guide app for mobile phones, and in the award-winning writing guide Many Genres, One Craft.

When Jason isn't writing he's on his mountain bike or looking for his next favorite guitar.

He is a member of The Authors Guild, Pennwriters, and International Thriller Writers. He lives just outside of Pittsburgh with his wife, Heidi, and a cat. Visit him at Tweet him @jasonjackmiller. Email him at jasonjackmiller at

Thursday, November 20, 2014

GIVEAWAY: International Thriller Writers 1000 Thrillers


International Thriller Writers is holding the biggest book giveaway ever! You could win a brand new thriller every week for a whole year. Just sign up to receive The Big Thrill, and get thriller news, reviews, and interviews in your inbox once a month. You might even hit the 1000 thriller jackpot!

Here's a link to enter:

Tweet them: @thrillerwriters

Friday, November 14, 2014

BOOK: Want You Dead by Peter James


The 10th book in James' series, Want You Dead (November 18, 2014) is a gripping thriller featuring the definitive Brighton detective, Roy Grace. In this novel, a virtual romance blossoms into a terrifying obsession when the smoldering Red Westwood meets the handsome Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency. As their instant attraction solidifies, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge.

For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has ever known and loved – and then her too.

Peter James is an established film producer and scriptwriter, James (@peterjamesuk) lived in the U.S. for a number of years and produced films, including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Joseph Fiennes. A TV adaptation of the Roy Grace series is currently in development, with James overseeing all aspects, including scriptwriting, In 2009, James was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Brighton in recognition of his services to literature and the community. He is Patron of Crimestoppers in Sussex alongside Vera Lynn and in 2012 was made Patron of The Whitehawk Inn. In 2011, James became Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. He has won many literary awards, including the publicly voted ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards People’s Bestseller Dagger in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize for Perfect People in 2012.

James’ novels have been translated into thirty-six languages and three have been turned into films. All of his novels reflect a deep interest in the world of the police, with whom he does in-depth research and has unprecedented access, as well as science, medicine, and the paranormal. James divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill in London and near Brighton in Sussex.

Visit Peter James' Website:
Vist Peter James on Facebook:
Visit Peter James on Twitter:

What they're saying about Peter James, #1 international bestsellingaAuthor with 11 million copies sold:

“James really knows how to plot a procedural thriller, and he enjoys a sly joke.”
The New York Times Book Review

“James writes his books in crisp, short chapters that hop in and out of myriad characters’ minds… Convoluted plots and wildly inventive homicidal setups in rich supply.”

Houston Chronicle

“...With over 14 million book sales, there’s no arguing with James’ lethal talent but even by his stellar standards this terrifying, excruciatingly tense tale of twisted obsession is outstanding.”
The Daily Record

“James continues to impress with his great imagination, conjuring up grisly murders and improbable crime scenes.”
RT Book Reviews

Other novels in the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series:

Also by Peter James


Wunderkind PR

EVENT: RDSP Writing Retreat



December 5-7 • Bourbon Ridge Retreat in Hocking Hills, Ohio

Join RDSP editors and authors Friday, December 5th – Sunday, December 7th for a weekend of writing! The primary focus will be on writing but you’ll have the chance to talk with other editors and authors over meals. Accommodations are in a luxurious lodge in scenic Hocking Hills, OH. Get away from distractions and make time for your writing! Come for just one day or the whole weekend. We’ve tried to offer many options to fit people’s schedules. For questions and a line up of participating authors and editors, email

Each overnight guest will have a private room, some rooms have attached bathrooms but others will have shared bathrooms. Rooms either have King or Queen beds, if you want to share with several people there are rooms with bunk beds available.
Activities, weather/time permitting: campfire with smores, hiking, hot tub, movie viewing in the home theater.

Friday night stay includes smores/snacks & breakfast the next morning
Saturday night stay includes lunch & dinner on Saturday & breakfast on Sunday
Saturday (day only) includes lunch & dinner
The earliest you can come on Friday is 6pm and latest you can stay on Sunday is 10am.


The Bourbon Ridge Retreat is about 30 minutes from any restaurants or stores. There will be wifi access but cell service is not dependable. However a land line is provided that includes free long distance.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

AWARD: John Fortunato Wins 2014 Tony Hillerman Prize


Congratulations to fellow Seton Hill alum John Fortunato on winning the 2014 Tony Hillerman Prize for his thesis novel Dark Reservations.

The Hillerman Prize, which began in 2006 in recognition of Tony Hillerman, is awarded annually to the best debut crime fiction set in the Southwest. John will receive a contract with St. Martin's Press for publication of the novel and $10,000.

John Fortunato was a Captain in the U.S. Army, Military Intelligence, who served at the Pentagon during the early part of the global war on terrorism. He is now a Special Agent with the FBI and has earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. A native of Philadelphia, he currently lives in Michigan with his wife and three daughters.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

READING: Nalo Hopkinson at CMU


PARSEC, the premiere science fiction organization of Pittsburgh, is excited to announce that award-winning YA author Nalo Hopkinson will speak about "Keeping it Un)Real" at the PARSEC YA Lecture Series on Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

11 am – 1 pm - Caroline Carlson, Writing Workshop: "Blueprints for Enchantment: Constructing a magical world for your fantasy novel"
Danforth Lounge in the University Center
[advance registration required; $10 suggested donation to Parsec, Inc.]

2 pm – 3 pm - Nalo Hopkinson, YA Author Lecture: "Keeping it Un)Real"
McConomy Auditorium in the Jared L. Cohon University Center.
[Lecture is free and open to the public, no registration required.]

3 pm - 5 pm - Book Signing
Conan Room of the University Center
[Books for the signing can be purchased in the CMU bookstore in the University Center or brought from home.]

Nalo Hopkinson received Honourable Mention in Cuba's "Casa de las Americas" literary prize. She is a recipient of the Warner Aspect First Novel Award, the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award for emerging writers, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Locus Award for Best New Writer, the World Fantasy Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic (twice), the Aurora Award, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and the 2014 Andre Norton Award for Best YA Fiction of the Year. Nalo is a graduate of Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, where she was also adjunct faculty.

Friday, November 07, 2014

READING: Atomic Zion and Starrie by Heidi Ruby Miller at #WFC40


I will be narrating as an ensemble of writers and fans acts out scenes from STARRIE and ATOMIC ZION at World Fantasy 2014 (#WFC40) on Sunday, November 9 from 10:30 - 11:00 AM in Fairfax, right after Courtney Schafer's reading, so settle in for the hour and enjoy. We'll have treats!!

Thanks to Jason Jack Miller for the awesome fliers!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

EVENT: Pennwriters Conference 2015


The 2015 Pennwriters conference "Building Bridges" will be held at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott on Friday, May 15, through Sunday, May 17, with Thursday pre-conference intensives on May 14.

The Friday keynote is Ridley Pearson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 48 novels, divided almost equally between adult suspense and young adult adventure. Over the years, his work has been published in two dozen languages and has been adapted by network television and for the Broadway stage. Right now he is set to tour for his latest YA final Kingdom Keepers novel – The Insider. He also has a Risk Agent Novel coming out in June called the Red Room. His website is

The Saturday luncheon speaker is Don Helin, a Pennwriter for ten years and the author of Thy Kingdom Come, Devil’s Den, and Secret Assault.

Thursday intensive speakers include Jessica Morrell, Hank Phillipi Ryan, and Pennwriters Bobbi Carducci and Susan Meier.