Tuesday, July 31, 2012

AUTHOR NEWS: Last day to enter for your chance to win!


Wendy Wax is celebrating the release of her new novel OCEAN BEACH by sharing the fun of summer reading in any weather. Win a retro beach bag, autographed copies of OCEAN BEACH, TEN BEACH ROAD, MAGNOLIA WEDNESDAYS and THE ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER, plus a flip flop bottle opener. Open to US residents only.                                                                                                                                  
Enter the contest at http://www.authorwendywax.com

Learn more about Ocean Beach, the latest novel by Wendy Wax

Friday, July 27, 2012

GUEST POST: Allen Wyler, author of Dead End Deal

I've invited author Allen Wyler to stop by today to do a guest post, in effort to help promote his new book, Dead End Deal, which deals with the subject of Alzheimers. And without further delay, I give you Allen Wyler...


Chances are you know someone among who either has Alzheimer’s Disease or is directly connected—by relation or care—to someone who has it.  As of this year an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with AD. That translates to roughly one in eight older Americans.  That’s a staggering number, but yet in the public consciousness, AD isn’t as widely considered (“top of mind”) as the dangerous killer that it is; not like say, cancer or heart failure.  (AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the US).

The fact is, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease are becoming more prevalent as the average life span of individuals increase and the more common health care problems ARE better treated. It’s predicted that by 2020, thanks to drugs like Lipitor, mortality from heart disease and stroke will be way down, making Alzheimer’s the leading cause of death in our time.  The personal consequences to individuals or families is devastating, but the general consequence to society as a whole is great as well.  That’s because AD patients often live a long time, their care is very expensive and will become a major health issue (both in cost and quality of life) that our society will have to bear.

There is hope in some novel drugs to treat AD. Because the disease results from the build up of Amyloid in nerve cells, a promising approach is to block the production of this protein. In addition, there is intriguing research into the concept of surgically implanting stem cells into especially damaged brain areas.  This possible cure is a central element that I used in the plot for my new novel, Dead End Deal.

Cures and treatments for diseases like AD are very expensive to develop, (millions upon tens of millions of dollars of R&D) with the resulting payoff even greater (billions of dollars of revenue for the “drug” or the “procedure”) often creating entire new branches of medicine, with thousands upon thousands of new jobs.  This high risk / high reward fact of life for medical researchers and practitioners like me is a natural stage for heroes, villains and high-stakes drama.  I try to capture that in my Thrillers, but the true high-stakes drama on the medical treatment/development stage is much more exciting than any fiction; the heroes are by far much more worthy of praise (though they often go unnoticed).  I like to see my books as homage to them, at least in some small way.


People who read medical thrillers are usually interested in medical details, just as readers of legal thrillers find law interesting. What is difficult is adding sufficient medical detail to satisfy a reader without making descriptions or facts boring. This is one reason I try to move my stories along at a fast clip. Thrillers are intended to thrill, not lecture. Fast pace, good plot, interesting characters are the elements that should be in a medical thriller.


This is a blitz-pace thriller about a Seattle neurosurgeon who, while in Korea, is framed for a murder. Now hunted by police he must evade a professional hit man while trying to find a way back to the United States. I figure it’s Three Days of The Condor meets Michael Crichton.

I got the idea for the story when I was a guest lecturer at a medical school in Seoul, South Korea. I was staying at the Walker Hill Sheraton hotel across the Han river from the hospital. So all the scenes (hotel, downtown Seoul, and the Korean hospital) were from notes and snapshots I took while there. (I always travel with a small point and shoot camera in my pocket). The brief description of the surgical procedure comes from my own experience.

My neurosurgeon protagonist, Jon Ritter, escapes via a route I personally took when figuring out how he might return to the United States without a passport. Again, the scenes were written with the help of snapshots. So, the short answer to the question is that all the research for the story came from personal experience. By the way, I find digital photography a great help when writing. I view a relevant snapshot on the screen as I write. This help me accurately describe what I’m seeing.


Writing always interested me. Even in grade school I read like a fiend. So it seemed like a good idea to major in English instead of the traditional chemistry or zoology when I was taking my premed courses. This caused me considerable grief because it was difficult to get in all my required credits. But I figured once I got into medical school I’d never have another shot at the literature courses. And that’s exactly what happened —medical school and post graduate training consumed all my time. Then one Saturday, after starting practice, I came home from making rounds at the hospital and decided to start writing. Just like that. I began a novel that ended up to be really awful. Then I wrote another one, which was better but still not ready for prime time. At that point I started trolling for an agent and finally secured one, but could not sell my work. Years later, I got the call I’d been waiting for. It was quite a thrill. I guess, in the end, my biggest challenge was finding enough time to devote to writing. For me the writing process is difficult and requires a ton of work. I now enjoy the luxury of having sufficient time to work on my craft. It’s a dream come true.

Thanks to Allen Wyler for stopping by. You may learn more about his book Dead End Deal from my introduction yesterday, or from the publishers site.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

INTRODUCING: Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler

Pulse Pounding Medical Thriller Based on
Plausible Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease
"A wild Journey…cutting edge science, greed, corruption and political intrigue, you won't be able to put it down."’

--D.P. Lyle, award-winning author of, Hot Lights, Cold Steel.

Dead End Deal is a medical thriller of the highest order, reviving the genre with a splendid mixture of innovation and cutting edge timeliness.  Neurosurgeon Allen Wyler knows of what he speaks, and writes, and the result is a thriller that equals and updates the best of Robin Cook and Michael Crichton.  His latest is terrifyingly on mark, riveting in all ways and a masterpiece of science and suspense.”

--Jon Land, bestselling author of Strong at the Break

“The suspense builds and builds in this riveting page-turner.  It’s a skillful merging of the medical thriller and political thriller…Tom Clancy meets Tess Gerritsen!”

--Kevin O’Brien, NYTimes Bestselling Author of The Last Victim and Killing Spree

World renowned neurosurgeon Jon Ritter is on the verge of a medical breakthrough that will change the world.  His groundbreaking surgical treatment, using transplanted non-human stem cells, is set to eradicate the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease and give hope to millions.  But when the procedure is slated for testing, it all comes to an abrupt and terrifying halt. Ritter’s colleague is gunned down and Ritter himself is threatened by a radical anti-abortion group that not only claims responsibility, but promises more of the same.

Faced with a dangerous reality but determined to succeed, Ritter turns to his long-time colleague, corporate biotech CEO Richard Stillman, for help.  Together, they conspire to conduct a clandestine clinical trial in Seoul, Korea.  But the danger is more determined, and more lethal, than Ritter could have imagined.

After successful surgical trials, Ritter and his allies are thrown into a horrifying nightmare scenario:  The trial patients have been murdered and Ritter is the number one suspect. Aided by his beautiful lab assistant, Yeonhee, Ritter flees the country, now the target of an international manhunt involving Interpol, the FBI, zealous fanatics and a coldly efficient assassin named Fiest.

Dead End Deal is a fast paced, heart-pounding, and sophisticated thriller. Penned by master neurosurgeon, Allen Wyler—who often draws from experience, actual events and hotbutton issues when writing—Dead End Deal is unmatched as a technical procedural. Its medical and scientific details can impress even the most seasoned medical practitioners. And yet, the technical expertise is seamlessly woven into a riveting plot, with enough action and surprises to engross even the most well-read thriller enthusiast.
A smart, unique, page-turner, Dead End Deal delivers.

ebook, 323 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Astor + Blue Editions, LLC
ISBN13   9781993823103

Allen Wyler is a renowned neurosurgeon who earned an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity.  He has served on the faculties of both the University of Washington and the University of Tennessee, and in 1992 was recruited by the prestigious Swedish Medical Center to develop a neuroscience institute.
In 2002, he left active practice to become Medical Director for a startup med-tech company (that went public in 2006) and he now chairs the Institutional Review Board of a major medical center in the Pacific Northwest.
Leveraging a love for thrillers since the early 70’s, Wyler devoted himself to fiction writing in earnest, eventually serving as Vice President of the International Thriller Writers organization for several years. After publishing his first two medical thrillers Deadly Errors (2005) and Dead Head (2007), he officially retired from medicine to devote himself to writing full time.
He and his wife, Lily, divide their time between Seattle and the San Juan Islands.

Advance Praise for Dead End Deal

"A wild Journey…cutting edge science, greed, corruption and political intrigue, you won't be able to put it down."’
--D.P. Lyle, award-winning author of, Hot Lights, Cold Steel.

Dead End Deal is a medical thriller of the highest order, reviving the genre with a splendid mixture of innovation and cutting edge timeliness.  Neurosurgeon Allen Wyler knows of what he speaks, and writes, and the result is a thriller that equals and updates the best of Robin Cook and Michael Crichton.  His latest is terrifyingly on mark, riveting in all ways and a masterpiece of science and suspense.”
--Jon Land, bestselling author of Strong at the Break

“The suspense builds and builds in this riveting page-turner.  It’s a skillful merging of the medical thriller and political thriller…Tom Clancy meets Tess Gerritsen!”
--Kevin O’Brien, NYTimes Bestselling Author of The Last Victim and Killing Spree

“With its lightning-paced excitement and fascinating science, [Wyler’s novels] have everything you could hope for in a medical thriller!”
--Tess Gerritsen, Author of The Mephisto Club

“You’ll be asking the nurse to swab your forehead when you’re admitted into this tense medical thriller… Wyler does for hospitals what Benchley did for the ocean.”
--Joe Moore, Co-author of the International Bestseller, The Grail Conspiracy

“Wyler writes a fast-paced thriller which reawakens your scariest misgivings about the Medical-Industrial Complex and the profit motive corrupting the art of healing.”
--Darryl Ponicsan, Author of The Last Detail

“…a fascinating and frightening premise that gives it the potential to be a best-seller in the Robin Cook mold.”
--William Deitrich, Author of Hadrian’s Wall

“This is an ‘up all night’ pass into troubled places that only hard-working doctors know about, a turbulent world of trusting patients and imperfect humans struggling with the required image of perfection.  Only a gifted surgeon like Allen Wyler could craft such a wild and wonderful best-of-breed medical thriller!”
--John J. Nance, Author of Pandora’s Clock and Fire Flight

“…An engrossing thriller and a cautionary tale of the all-too-frequent intersection of high-technology and higher greed.  It’s a message all of us better pay attention to, or face the consequences.”
--Mark Olshaker, Author of Einstein’s Brain, Unnatural Causes, and The Edge; Co-author of Mindhunter, Journey into Darkness and The Cases that Haunt Us.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TLC BOOK TOUR and REVIEW: Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury


"What do you imagine when you hear the name" . . . Bradbury?

You might see rockets to Mars. Or bizarre circuses where otherworldly acts whirl in the center ring. Perhaps you travel to a dystopian future, where books are set ablaze . . . or to an out-of-the-way sideshow, where animated illustrations crawl across human skin. Or maybe, suddenly, you're returned to a simpler time in small-town America, where summer perfumes the air and life is almost perfect . . . "almost."

Ray Bradbury--peerless storyteller, poet of the impossible, and one of America's most beloved authors--is a literary giant whose remarkable career has spanned seven decades. Now twenty-six of today's most diverse and celebrated authors offer new short works in honor of the master; stories of heart, intelligence, and dark wonder from a remarkable range of creative artists.

Paperback, 464 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN  0062122681 (ISBN13: 9780062122681)

My Thoughts

Normally when I do a "review", one of the first things that I do is to introduce the author and their bio. However this book is a collection of short stories, a book of many authors. But all of those authors are serving tribute to a man they all respect. Ray Bradbury. So I thought this time I would instead talk a little bit about the man that this book honors.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) was a well-respected author in the fantasy, horror and mystery fiction genres. Credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories, Bradbury is most well-known for his novel Fahrenheit 451, and for his story collections in The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. A number of his works were adapted to film, including Fahrenheit 451, and a short story titled I Sing the Body Electric, which was adapted for the 100th episode of The Twilight Zone.

My first thought at looking at the book cover is that it has a very "Ray Bradbury" feel. Cartoonish drawings of spacemen and radios and circus tents and hieroglyphics and bones. It's fun, creepy, quietly alluding to the stories held between the covers.

The book is a collection of 27 short stories by well-known authors like Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Alice Hoffman, Audrey Niffenegger, and one of my favorites, Robert McCammon. They each pay tribute by offering up a short story "inspired" by Ray Bradbury. Each story includes a little postscript explaining the idea behind the story, or to expound on what Bradbury has meant to them and how he has inspired them.

Author Dan Chaon tells of how he wrote as a 12-year-old to Bradbury about his dreams of being a writer, and that this began decade-long relationship during which he would send Bradbury his writings and Bradbury would critique them and encourage him. Their relationship came to an end after Chaon went to college, and upon learning of this Bradbury chastised him in a letter:
"Why are you going to college? If you aren't careful, it will cut across your writing time, stop your writing stories. Is that what you want? Think. Do you want to be a writer for a lifetime? What will you take in college that will help you be a writer?"
Bradbury's attitude regarding college seems well documented. Even Wikipedia states:
He told The Paris Review, "You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don’t." 
Unfortunately I am only about halfway through this collection of short stories, but so far I am really enjoying it! There are some really intriguing ideas hidden in these stories. "The Girl in the Funeral Parlor" begs the question: What if you met the love of your life after they had died, and you missed your chance with them? "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain" is a sweet and sad story of childhood. I loved the innocence of childhood friends Gail and Joel. "Little America" was another favorite, keeping you guessing, trying to sort out just what is going on. I have to agree with what the author Chaon was told by Bradbury though. Bradbury told him that the story was too short.
"It is an idea in search of conflict, but you are close to finding a short story-- some nice ideas there. Develop them!"
I felt the same way about this story. It just left me filled with questions. It opened the door onto a great story without letting me come inside and experience it.

The editors refer in their introduction to a form of storytelling known as "shadow theater", which is as they state:
"...an art from which this anthology derives its name. Utilizing paper cutouts held between a light source and a translucent screen, shadow puppetry dates back more than two thousand years...And like the fantastic modern myths of Bradbury himself, shadow theater also portrayed fantastic stories of fable and folklore. It's moving figures became shadowy metaphors for ancient myths and modern truths..."
What a perfect way to describe these short stories!

Ironically even though Ray Bradbury just passed away June 5, 2012, this collection includes an introduction by him. He was well aware of this tribute collection and refers to himself as the Papa welcoming all of his children home to the reunion.

My final word:  The title of this collection is very apropos. You do have the feeling when you read these stories that you are watching shadows, blurry figures dancing on a paper screen. How funny that illusion and allusion are so close in terms, because within these pages they are lovers, blending and melding and becoming one. I happily recommend this book to all fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything Ray Bradbury!

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be part of this tour:

Check out the master schedule for the book tour:

Thursday, July 19th: A Reader of Fictions
Monday, July 23rd: The Blog of Lit Wits
Tuesday, July 24th: the state that i am in
Wednesday, July 25th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Friday, July 27th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, July 30th: The Road to Here
Tuesday, July 31st: Between the Covers
Thursday, August 2nd: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Monday, August 6th: The Ranting Dragon
Tuesday, August 7th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Wednesday, August 8th: Shall Write
Thursday, August 9th: Book Addict Katie
Monday, August 13th: Cold Read

My Rating: 8.5 out of 10


I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (07-16-12 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:
Amused By Books is giving away The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Deadline is July 20th. US only.

Berkley-Jove gives away a selection of their previously released books every month!

After Midnight Fantasies has regular monthly romance giveaways!

Bookbitch has regular monthly thriller giveaways!

Elizabeth Lowell has a monthly giveaway!

Bookreporter has monthly giveaways!

Author Carla Neggers has a monthly giveaway!

Author James Patterson has regular giveaways!