Friday, February 27, 2015

An Interview with LAYERS OF THOUGHT at SCY-FY

SC Flynn header

We have an interview live at Scy-Fy, a blog created by writer S.C. Flynn where – among other things – he is collecting lists of and interviews with Science Fiction and Fantasy bloggers.

In the interview he asks us a few questions about how we operate Layers of Thought. Head on over if you’re curious to know a bit more about us and perhaps take a look at some of the other blogs he has interviewed and listed. I believe we are currently number thirty on his list of already interviewed bloggers.

You can find our interview at:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: SHAKE by Eric Prum and Josh Williams

Shake - Eric Prum & Josh Williams

Review by Shellie for Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails by Eric Prum and Josh Williams.

Perfect for the recent cocktail renaissance, within this book you will find a fun and easy way of making 32 different seasonal cocktails. And best yet it has lots of pictures!

Eric Prum and Josh Williams are best friends and have a design company called W & P Design in Brooklyn NY. And since they love cocktails and have created a cocktail shaker called the Mason Shaker (pictured on the book’s cover), it stands to reason that they would write a book on how to make cocktails too. But don’t worry, you don’t need to purchase one of their nice $30 shakers to make yourself cocktails - you can use a clean mayonnaise jar instead!

The duo has a premise on which they base their cocktail making - it should be “fun, simple, and social”. And the book is social since all the recipes are based on making a two-drink batch so that you can share. There are 8 cocktails for each of the four seasons, many using fresh local ingredients, so there are a lot of tasty ways that you can have fun. The book is also simple, broken down into the basics of cocktail crafting with fundamentals such as stocking your bar (where they suggest 12 different types of moderately priced booze); what types of glassware to choose; what types of ice and sugar to use; how to muddle; and, of course, techniques on how to “shake”. And since the book is mostly pictures it adds even more to the simple and fun feel.

Another thing I liked about the book is that it is a paperback with those nice cover flaps which makes it easy to save your place when browsing or making several cocktails at once. The index is also accessible and broken down by cocktail name, spirits, and key ingredient. Out of the thirty-two cocktails (several non-alcoholic) some examples are the Rosemary Bourbon Sour, Spiced Rum Old Fashioned, Pickleback Me (two shots – one pickle juice and one tequila), and the Flat Ditch. The Flat Ditch is my favorite so far out of the 10 or so that we have tried – it combines dark rum, lemon juice, fresh ginger, and strong ginger beer. Another plus is that most of the ingredients (or reasonable substitutions) can be found in your local grocery store and won’t tax your wallet too much.

It’s a book that I would consider for the newbie-cocktail-drinker, or for those looking to expand their drinking repertoire from the standard wine, beer, and basic store bought cocktail mixers. It’s an entertaining guide that I’d rate 4 out of 5 stars. I am looking forward to trying more of its cocktails and recreating favorites once again.

July 08, 2014 | Pages: 168 | Trade Paperback | Random House

A complimentary book was received in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books. If you are a blogger you can get copies of books in exchange for reviews too. Just visit

Monday, February 23, 2015

Giveaway: SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman


Giveaway for SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman. We have one copy for a US or Canadian address.

It’s a young adult fantasy with dragons and the first in a series with the second book SHADOW SCALE being published March 10th. We will be also hosting a giveaway for this second book on that date. So stay tuned!

Here’s what the publisher says about the book:

In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer.

The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.

When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life.

Random House | Trade Paperback | December 23, 2014 | Pages: 528 | Young Adult

To enter this contest please fill out the Google form.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Legal Thriller: Courtroom Experience Is Key! by Nancy Allen

Nancy Allen

Let’s welcome Nancy Allen whose recent novel A Killing at the Creek is about to be published. It’s the second book in her Ozarks Mysteries series released today.

In this guest post she talks about the significance of her legal background in writing her two books.

The Legal Thriller: Courtroom Experience Is Key!

I’m a lawyer, and I write legal thrillers, novels of mystery and suspense that involve a courtroom setting.

For my money, the best legal thrillers are written by attorneys: actual courtroom veterans. Think Scott Turow and John Grisham. They can create an organic courtroom scene, because they know whereof they speak.

Granted, many police procedurals are penned by authors without a law enforcement background; and authors write medical thrillers without going to medical school. So why do I maintain that you must be a lawyer to write a legal thriller? Because courtroom experience is crucial.

The first time I read Grisham, I was a young lawyer. In A Time to Kill, he depicted a courtroom scene where things went awry. I marveled at the accuracy of his prose, the description of the tension and the inner thought processes of a trial lawyer when a case falls apart. He nailed it.

I try to bring that genuine and tangible character to my books. Prior to writing my Ozarks Mysteries series, I spent fifteen years in the courtroom, representing the State of Missouri and the Greene County Prosecutors Office. During those years, I tried over thirty jury trials: murder cases, sex crimes, major felonies, gaining intimate knowledge of the trial process, from an insider’s perspective.

A Killing at the Creek Cover

In my first Ozarks Mystery, The Code of the Hills, my protagonist Elsie Arnold, a county prosecutor, is assigned a difficult incest case involving child victims. Heaven knows I had a wealth of experience to bring to that novel: when I started as assistant prosecutor, I was the only woman on staff. They handed me all the sex cases.

In my new book, A Killing at the Creek, Elsie prosecutes her first murder case, against a fifteen-year-old defendant. As an attorney, I carried a similar burden, prosecuting a sixteen year old juvenile for murder in the first degree.

The law is a complex body of rules, and knowledge of the legal profession is gained slowly, through the practice of law. But the events that unfold in our courtroom, the justice and injustices that are dealt create a natural environment for drama, and for storytelling. Just ask Grisham. Or Turow. Or me.

About A Killing at the Creek (#2 of Ozarks Mysteries): Prosecutor Elsie Arnold loves her small-town home in the Ozark hills, but she’s been waiting for a murder to come along and make her career. So when a body is found under a bridge, throat cut, Elsie jumps at the chance to work on the case, even if it’s alongside the brash new chief assistant, Chuck Harris—and her latest flame, Detective Bob Ashlock.

But when the investigation reveals that the deceased woman was driving a school bus, and the police locate the vehicle, its interior covered in blood, the occupant and only suspect is a fifteen-year-old boy. Elsie’s in for more than she bargained for.

Win or lose, this case will haunt her. No one has successfully prosecuted a juvenile for first-degree murder in McCown County. If she loses, it’s her career on the line and a chilling homicide unresolved; if she wins, a boy’s liberty will be taken from him before he reaches his sixteenth birthday.

Harper Collins-Witness Impulse | 02/17/2015 | ebook

Nancy Allen practiced law for fifteen years as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks. She’s tried over thirty jury cases, including murder and sexual offenses, and is now a law instructor at Missouri State University. A Killing at the Creek is her second novel.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Giveaway: Deadeye by William C. Dietz

Deadeye - William C. Dietz

Giveaway for Deadeye by William C. Dietz. We have one copy for a US address.

It’s the first in a new series published by Penguin.

Here’s what the publisher has to say about the book:

The national bestselling author of the Legion of the Damned novels, “a must-read for any fan of Mil Fic,” (Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy) begins a brand new science fiction police procedural series…

In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by “norms” and lands run by “mutants”…

Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker—who murdered Lee’s father—is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth.

In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner—mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo—to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…

Mass Market Paperback | 304  Pages | 27 Jan 2015 | Ace

To enter fill out the Google form:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Giveaway: THE GLITTERING WORLD by Robert Levy

The Glittering World - Robert Levy

Giveaway for THE GLITTERING WORLD by Robert Levy. We have one copy for a US resident. It’s a dark paranormal tale published by Simon and Schuster.

Here’s what the publisher says about the novel:

In the tradition of Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott Smith (The Ruins), and Jason Mott (The Returned), award-winning playwright Robert Levy spins a dark tale of alienation and belonging, the familiar and the surreal, family secrets and the search for truth in his debut supernatural thriller.

When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy, Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.
But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jason; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring coworker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind...

Gallery Books |  352 pages |  February 2015

Robert Levy is a Harvard graduate subsequently trained as a forensic psychologist. He is also an award-winning playwright, having multiple shows developed Off Broadway. His work has been called “frank and funny” (Time), “idiosyncratic and disarming” (The New York Times), “ambitious and clever” (Variety), “smart” (Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine), and “bloody brave” (SFX magazine, UK). &

To enter please fill out the Google form below:


Friday, February 6, 2015

Giveaway: COOKIE’S CASE by Andy Siegel

Cookie's Case - Andy Siegel

Giveaway for COOKIE’S CASE - A Tug Wyler Mystery by Andy Siegel. It’s going to be released in a few days and we have one copy for a US address.

Tug Wyler is embroiled in the mysterious medical malady of a sexy stripper who slipped on a banana peel during her signature act.

Cookie, an angel in stiletto heels, is by far the most popular performer at Jingles Dance Bonanza. To her devoted audience, she's a friend, therapist, and shoulder to cry on, all rolled into one. While meeting an old pal at the club, Tug doesn't expect to pick up a new client but quickly realizes the gallant Cookie -- dancing in a neck brace, each leg kick potentially her last -- is in need of a committed champion.

Righting wrongs is never a simple task for Tug, a sharp-witted and unorthodox trial lawyer who repeatedly finds himself in the middle of unusual cases and causes. But that doesn't stop him from trying. Believing that Cookie is the victim of a spine surgeon with a sloppy touch, Tug takes her case. But as he seeks both medical remedy and a fair shake for Cookie, he realizes -- a tad too late -- that sinister sights are now trained on him. In Cookie's Case, this offbeat attorney will go farther than he ever has for justice.

Open Road Media | Paperback | 281 pages | February 10, 2015

Andy Siegel is a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in New York City. A graduate of Tulane University and Brooklyn Law, he grew up on Long Island and now lives in Westchester County. In 2008 he was elected to the board of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Cookie's Case (2015) is the second novel in the Tug Wyler series. The first, Suzy's Case, was published in 2012 and selected as a Poisoned Pen Bookstore 2012 Best Debut Novel and a Suspense Magazine Best Book of 2012. In 2013 it was named a Best Beach Read.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Interview: Jennifer Brozek author of APOCALYPSE GIRL DREAMING

Jennifer Brozek

We have an in-depth interview with Jennifer Brozek, whose recent short story collection APOCALYPSE GIRL DREAMING has just been releases.

Let’s welcome Jennifer!

Do you have a favorite character in your recent books and if so why?

My current favorite character is Melissa Allen, the teenage protagonist of my forthcoming modern day YA SF-Thriller series. The first book, NEVER LET ME SLEEP, is due out in early June 2015. I really like her because she has so much going wrong for her but she still toughs it out. Far from perfect, when the reader meets Melissa, she’s a troubled teen under house arrest who isn’t allowed to do anything on her own. However, when there’s no one there to help her, she helps herself and ends up saving the day.

Teaser: What would you do if you woke up one day and everyone in your house, on your street, and in your town was dead? Then you discovered you weren’t alone and what was out there was hunting you?

Who is your favorite author and why?

Such a tough question. I am a voracious reader. I can think of twelve authors I can’t do without right off the top of my head. Instead, I’ll settle on the first author who opened my eyes to the magic of reading: Susan Cooper and her Dark is Rising series. I was about ten years old and until I read this series, I didn’t get what the big deal was about reading. Then, suddenly, I did. I would not be an author today if I had not discovered her.

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming - Jennifer Brozek

Why write SFF? Why read SSF?

I love science fiction and fantasy because it opens the world to what could be. Near future SF and urban fantasy explore what is happening right now while far future SF and space fantasy often extrapolates what we have now down logical lines of what the future could be like. Frequently, SFF informs the mainstream what is coming down the line. It inspires creators and innovators to dream, explore, and invent.

How would you define modern day YA SF-Thriller for an uninitiated reader?

The Melissa Allen series is set in present day, middle America. I’m playing around with real world locations and technology. None of the YA characters have super powers, but all of them have something to them that makes them unique. The science and technology in the series is either real or plausible and it, in and of itself, is almost a character (as in all good SF stories). I call the series a “thriller” rather than horror because there isn’t a supernatural aspect to the series. It takes science to kill the monster and the monster and its obstacles are based in science and technology.

What advice would you give for the aspiring writer?

There are a lot of “Don’t” rules in writing: Don’t use adverbs. Don’t use clich├ęs. Don’t start your story waking up. The list is huge. What I think the aspiring writer should do is learn why those rules are there and, if they are going to break them, break them with a purpose to support the story. Make sure you understand the foundations of writing before you color outside the lines.

The other thing I want to say, as an editor, is that it is not the writer’s job to tell me “No.” The writer’s job is to write the story to the best of their ability and to submit it to the editor. It is the editor’s job to determine whether or not the story suits the venue. Too many writers tell me, “I had a story for you but I didn’t think it was good enough.” Writers can be their own worst critic. Let the editor decide if the story is appropriate.

What book do you go back to re-read over and over?

I have a number of comfort reading books and series. The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. The Matadora series by Steve Perry. Dune by Frank Herbert. All of these books (and more) are old friends and are appreciated.

If you could attempt anything and know you wouldn’t fail, what would you do?

I would become an astronaut. I want to experience space so much. If I had the money, I would become a space tourist and live on the ISS for a few days. It’s something I’ve dreamed about for ages. I want to be able to look down on earth someday.

In your next life what/who do you want to come back as?

I think I’d like to come back as a cat. Proper pettage. Sleeping half the day away. Killing fabric toys. If I were to come back as a person, I think I’d like to be a scientific explorer of some kind—deep sea exploration or space exploration.

What is your next/current project? Just a little tease would be wonderful.

I’ve just turned in NEVER LET ME LEAVE, book two of the Melissa Allen series (due out in December 2015). It’s my take on the haunted barn story. 6 adults and 5 teenagers trapped in an underground lab with a monster and a human helping the monster. They are being picked off one by one. It’s Melissa’s job to keep the teens together and working towards escape.

I’m outlining Melissa Allen 3, NEVER LET ME DIE. I can’t tell you much about it except it is set in Richland, Missouri and involves spies, genetic manipulation, and a castle ruins. In the meantime, I’m writing a futuristic Mech short story called “Vulture Patrol” and a piece of SFF flash fiction called “Better Pet Care Through Love and Trauma.”

Jennifer Brozek is an award-winning editor, game designer, and author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fourteen anthologies with more on the way, including Chicks Dig Gaming and Shattered Shields. Author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Industry Talk, In a Gilded Light, and the Karen Wilson Chronicles, she has more than sixty published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

About Apocalypse Girl Dreaming: Peek into the mind and dreams of award winning editor and author Jennifer Brozek. Travel from the weird west to the hidden worlds of Kendrick all the way to the far reaches of space. This collection contains twenty previously published short stories and includes the brand new Kember Empire story “Found on the Body of a Solider.” Enjoy your journey and don’t forget your survival gear. Apocalypse Girl is waiting.

274 pages | Evil Girlfriend Media, LLC | January 16, 2015 | ebook

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