Category: Good vs. Evil

+Character Post+ [from] the Leland Dragon series by Jackie Gamber

Posted Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Guest Post by Parajunkee

Character Post from the Leland Dragon series:

Leland Dragon series by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

{a special stop on the “Reclamation” blog tour!}

{ converse via: #LelandDragons & #7thStar }

Book Synopsis of ‘Reclamation’:

The exciting conclusion of the Leland Dragon Series!

Leland Province remains in danger. The sinister Fordon Blackclaw has returned from the shadows to strike at the heart of neighboring Esra, killing its Venur and making clear his intentions to retake what was once his: Mount Gore, seat of the Leland Dragon Council.

All around, the land grows weaker and weaker. Leland, once thought saved by Kallon Redheart, is without purpose, and within its borders, Murk Forest, a place of mystery and danger, has driven its inhabitants to seek aid. Esra is in flames, and the Rage Desert grows. Dragon and human alike struggle to find their way, and the wizard Orman can sense that there may be more at stake than the affairs of dragons.

Hope remains, yet it is not without obstacles. In Esra, Sela, the daughter of Kallon and Riza, found the well, a source of life, and made herself whole again. But her homecoming is not what she had imagined.

Old wounds buried deep must reopen if life is to continue. Dragons, humans, wizards, and shape shifters are all at risk as the peace between dragon and human has finally been broken.

War is here.

The stakes?

Perhaps the whole world.


I am thrilled to peaches to welcome, Ms. Gamber back to Jorie Loves A Story! She will be sharing a special piece for this stop on the blog tour, which features a portion of a character’s journal from the Leland Dragon series! I am always seeking out ways to bring extra content to my dedicated readers and visitors, whilst participating on blog book tours! In this way, I felt having a guest post from the perspective of a character might be quite enjoyable for all who stop by! If you dropped by during my Seventh Star Press Focus Week &/or whilst I reviewed ‘Redheart‘ previously, you are familiar with my passion for this particular fantasy series steeped in lore and built strongly in a world whose heart endears you to return! I hope this glimpse at Ms. Gamber’s writing will prompt you to read the series that has enchanted me for all these moons since I last visited within the realm of ‘Redheart’!!

{ Character Blog: Gladdis by Jackie Gamber }

Dear Journal:

I considered trying to write this journal entry the way Drell has been teaching me to write in his dragon language, but I don’t know enough words yet to be able to say a whole sentence, let alone spell them all correctly. It’s enough of a challenge just to speak it.

Dragonspeak is full of throat growls and front-of-the-mouth consonants that feel like a waterfall through my teeth, and I wish I was better at it because it’s already so close to singing that I want to add melodies and see what happens then. I heard Drell sing once, or rather hum under his breath. When he noticed me looking at him, though, he stopped and pretended it never happened.

I think there is much more to Drell than he lets on.

Drell is very patient with me, which is a good thing. A kind thing. Because Sela is so very busy with all her dragon council business I hardly see her, and without someone to talk to, I would feel swallowed up by this mountain. By the dragons.

Drell helped me root out some dandelions for Orman this morning. At first, I thought Orman was needing them for potions, or magical ingredients of some sort. But Drell thinks the wizard is just trying to make wine.

I think there is more to Orman Thistleby than he lets on, too, but I don’t dare ask. The man can whither a grape to a raisin with one glare of those gray eyes. I’m always trapped between wanting to get his attention, and hoping he’ll never notice me. He keeps talking about how old he is, how tired and frail he is, but I’ve never seen a star burn so bright. Right inside those gray eyes of his.

I held a stone in my palm last night. One of the little nubs Orman is trying to drench in magic. He’s been stripped of all his crystals and things; we all lost everything when we fled Esra to come to Leland. Orman feels the loss more than the rest of us, I think. He thinks he’s powerless without his stones, but I don’t believe he is. Not really. Because when I held the pebble of amber glass (it had fallen from his desk, I was putting it back), I felt it alive. It pulsed through my hand, into my wrist.

He must be doing something right, to make that stone respond to my touch the way it did. As though it knew I was there, in the room, keeping it company. When I laid it back on Orman’s desk, it stopped shivering, and went to sleep.

I almost spoke, to reassure it I would be back, before I realized what I was doing. Strange though. I could swear that crystal already knew what I was about to say.

One of these days, I would like to ask Orman about it. If I can just face those eyes. Maybe today, since Layce has asked me to ask him if he will meet her under the giant fir.

More tomorrow.


Fun Stuff for Your Blog via{ About the Author }

Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of many short stories, screenplays, and novels, including “Redheart”, “Sela”, and “Reclamation”, Books one through three of the Leland Dragon Series. For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world-wide web at:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

If this doesn’t prompt one to soak into the Leland Dragon series, I am not sure what would! Laughs. I think when you find yourself over the moon in joy in reading a series, you want to read each new installment as quick as lightning, or at least, this is the place I have reached with Leland Dragons! I am ever so very thankful to Ms. Gamber for creating and sharing this little treasure of a glimpse into Reclamation! I will be posting a review of Reclamation on Friday, 28th of February, so please be sure to drop back to read my observations and thoughts therein! I am delighted beyond joy itself for being able to participate on this blog tour because this is one series that I feel so very strongly attached too! Its one of those series that you discover during your ordinary hours of reading, and become struck by the awe of the world which illuminates into view! You get excited at each turnt of a page and your heart leaps a bit in anxiety to see what is going to occur next! This is what I live for whilst reading one story after another! To discover the stories that never quite leave you, and leave a small impression inside your memory!

Virtual Road Map for “Reclamation” Blog Tour:
Be sure to catch the next installments of this showcase on JLAS:
Jorie reviews “Reclamation” & interviews Ms. Gamber within the week!

Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:
Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Hoston my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “triptych of Leland Dragon series” by Matthew Perry and the tour host badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie submitted a request to host a Character Post as part of the tour and received this special post in response by Ms. Gamber through Stephen Zimmer; for which she is grateful!}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.


Posted Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Character (Guest) Post by Author, Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Supernatural Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, YA Fantasy

+Blog Book Tour+ The Pact by Mitchell S. Karnes

Posted Thursday, 30 January, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Pact by Mitchell S. Karnes

The Pact by Mitchell S. Karnes

Published By:  Black Rose Writing, 22 August 2013

Official Author Website: Site

Converse on Twitter: #iwasbullied, #bullying, #bullied

Available Formats: Softcover Page Count: 232

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on “The Pact” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by TLC Book Tours, in which I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Mitchell S. Karnes in exchange for an honest review . I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired To Read:

As foreshadowed on the companion Author Q&A piece on bullying which coincides with this book review, The Pact is a story which appealed to me very much as I was bullied in school since a very young age. In the 80s/90s bullying wasn’t as widely spoken about nor understood. Generally back then, if you were picked on you were told to ‘buck up and take it’ and not be such a silly emotional girl. I am thankful I had my parents to support me and help me avoid the worst of what could have happened by switching me out of schools. I have always been wanting to advocate for social change and social conscience in regards to being bullied, and by featuring this novel on my blog, I am taking the first step towards this goal!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comMitchell S. KarnesAuthor Biography:

Mitchell S. Karnes was born in Kansas and spent his childhood in Illinois. He lives in Franklin, TN with his wife, Natalie, and five of their seven children, where he serves as the Pastor of Walker Baptist Church. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and three Master’s degrees. Mitchell’s first novel, Crossing the Line, made the Southern Writer’s Guild’s “Must Read” list. His short stories include: “When Nothing Else Matters,” “A Family Portrait,” and “Grampa Charlie’s Ring.” He hopes to entertain, challenge, move and teach through each and every story. The Pact is just the beginning…the first book in a four-part series.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Re-visiting School & the Life therein for teens:

The Pact opens innocently enough as the central character who is being bullied is seen going through the motions of his everyday life at school. Paul is targeted from observation in this early stage of the story for being different from his peers; including his exploits in literature which delve into history as he is an avid researcher for a role-playing game he’s keen on. Karnes deftly brings back the joy and the trauma of life within school walls for those who have had to deal with bullies at some point in their lives. The scene is bittersweet and real, by giving both sides of the action supplemented with short back-stories on each of the characters. I appreciate this discovery of who the bullies are as they are bullying Paul, as it opens the door to understand what makes a bully tick.

At the very same time, I appreciated that the main lead character of Scott enters the scene by deftly using defense skills to deflect and defuse the situation before it could grow worse in proportion. I oft wondered myself if self-defense classes might have helped me handle similar situations where the physicality of being bullied was being tested against the skills I clearly lacked in knowledge. I never wanted to study martial arts to instigate a fight, but rather to defend myself when the bullies turnt uglier in their abuse towards physical threats which could escalate without warning.

The insertion of the role-playing game of Warriors & Thieves is quite bang-on and accurate as eighth grade or ninth grade is generally the years in which role-playing enters into the life of teens eager to break out of the droll of school related angst. I even liked how each of the players would choose different approaches within the gameplay itself to assert their own voice into the realm of the game! I also knew that the author might dig a bit deeper into the presumed reality of the game and the actual reality of each individual group who plays the game. Given the fact that each set of gameplay is based on each individual Game Master’s vision for the game, the game itself can take on different queues for each round of simulated action. The balance between good vs. evil and light vs. dark can vary as much as what the general focus of each game is elected to be featuring. As the story moves forward, the interplay of the characters lays a foundation rooted in inspirational fiction as an essay on how to find balance between faith and life as its lived.

My Review of The Pact:

I had a knowing smile on my lips as I began the first chapter of The Pact, as Karnes had a way of travelling me back through time and re-entering my own life on school grounds. Despite the difference in gender from the lead character, there was enough semblance of recognition of an average day at school for me to re-adjust my mind’s eye to endeavour to go back into that hidden world just out of view. I say ‘hidden world’ because life at school isn’t something that you can prepare for nor is it something that you hope it will be. You have to adjust to what comes across your path as you live through the experience. Heavy leaden backpacks, heavy books, your shoulders off-setting the balance and trying to keep in step with your schedule of the day’s classes is all par for course! Such a great lead-in for the story!

Luke might be a war-monger in Warriors & Thieves, but I was curious to seek out what was motivating him to push Chris and Paul out of their comfort zones of reality into the common bloodshed of warfare. There are many ways to accomplish self-confidence and self-advocacy without pushing the envelopes of violence, especially unrelented violence in a game which is usually grounded in skill, maneuvers, and obstacles. Chris on the other hand has a brilliant way of keeping the rules of the game intact by pushing the action of the game forward within the confines of the realm, but lacks the clarity of knowing how to enliven the story of which the world-building is meant to carve out of its niche. Paul is the innocent of the group, learning as he builds confidence through his friendships. Scott comes from playing the game through his father’s advice. Endeavouring to give a bit more of a back-story to each of the characters which gives you a lifeblood to the game eliminating the one dimensional interface. One of my favourite revelations is when Scott shows Paul his hand-drawn map of Canaanshade which he created with his father. The intricacy of the world arc is exactly what all of us hope for in our fantasy realms of reading adventures! Lit alive with creatures and characters you want to know more about.

As the story eases back into the schoolyard drama of sorting out how to find your way on a wrestling team, we start to see a switch in the path the story is leading the reader. At the conclusion of Chapter Five there is a haunting foreshadow which queues in a larger message of the evolving narrative. Whilst we see Scott become a member of the Junior High Wrestling team, we see the underpinnings of his confliction over finding the balance between strength and humility. To know when to assert one’s knowledge of the fight on the mat and when to be humble and yield to your opponent. The chapters in which we see the interaction of the boys on the team lend a good viewing of the complexities all youth have during their growing years especially as they sort out how to be fueled by self-confidence but not clouded by pride.

Intuitively, Karnes keeps a few antidotes of Scott’s life away from the reader’s eyes, so at first the only way to foresee what could happen next is noticing the slight changes in his behaviour and reactions of speech. Then, in Chapter Twenty-Two the character flaw of Scott is pushed into full view and shocked all who discovered his darkest secret of which even he doesn’t fully understand the severity of.

Although I knew the intensity of the subject at hand, the sequent deaths in the story came at quite a shock as did the level of rage. This is a cautionary tale of how sometimes the lines between fiction and reality can become blurred and the true lesson is knowing the signs of when someone can no longer separate the difference of the two.

Inspirational Murmurings of Advice for teens:

What I was keen to see develop is if Scott’s family would embrace how he played the game with his late father’s advice on how to bring out the light in both the fictional realm of Warriors & Thieves as much as in the living realm of teenage life. There is always going to be ignorance for something people fear outright without merit, but if everyone took the time to actually see from the point of view of the teen who is involved, I think it would break down the barriers of communication. To see where they are approaching what they do in their everyday life and worlds, and understanding what motivates their interest, we are a step closer to understanding what is truly right and what is a caution for being wrong. I am never one to advise going against a child’s interest out of fear of what it might involve, but rather advocate for an open line of conversation to engage in the child’s interest and to root out what they are actually into. You always have to believe in your child (son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter, etc) first and foremost, and then, a measure of goodwill and willing to accept their interests if they have their heart and mind in the right place.

I also think it’s a good example of how one person’s influence can sway your thoughts away from what you internally already know are true. To be given feedback from a youth minister that contradicts how your own father raised you, I would imagine would weigh most heavily on your heart and mind. I had a measure of hope that this is one thread of the story Karnes would lead Scott to realising the difference between a positive influence and one that is not entirely negative but not entirely positive. I had hoped for him to redefine his belief in his father’s guidance and learn whom to trust now that his father has passed and can no longer offer him advice. This is one thread of the story that faded from view as the chapters took a turn in direction I discuss below in Fly in the Ointment.

I believe that no one should eclipse the methodology of parenting of a child when the parent is taking an active role in their child’s life. Parents who understand and know their child inside and out, know where their heart lies, and where their interests truly are leading them. Even grandparents need to become familiar with their grand-children’s interests and activities, because what might be viewed by outsiders as negative influences might actually be a way for their own grandson/daughter to directly impact positivity into the lives of their friends. At least these were my thoughts until the chapters in the book started to reveal how Luke was having trouble separating fiction from reality. In this instance, the greatest threat to the young lives in the story was Luke’s inability to proper distance himself from his role-playing character as he brought the game into real life where it did not belong to be explored.

Fly in the Ointment: (with a few spoilers)

Despite my champion belief that the story would triumph the bullying behaviour in the story, I was quite mystified as to the level of violence which erupted out of the heart of the central character’s wayward actions. I would have much preferred the central focus of the one event that stemmed directly out of the gameplay of Warriors & Thieves which took place at Luke’s grandparent’s house rather than the climax at the railroad bridge. One whole section felt a bit forced to me which is when Scott’s grandmother fervently urges her husband to ‘jump the rails’ ahead of the oncoming train. I didn’t foresee this anywhere in the story as behaviour befit his grandparents and the sequencing of their deaths had heavy emotional impact but could have been avoided completely.

I believe this is an after-school special which went too far to prove the point on behalf of bullying and what leads ordinary events to escalate to violence. If there had been a disclaimer in the beginning stating that this was a story based on living events where the characters names were changed, I might have gone so far as to say this was one isolated incident went horridly wrong. Yet, there are little nudges of discourse in the chapters themselves, where Scott takes on the role of being a bully rather than a bully’s guardian. In real life this can happen, as those who are tormented can oft times think the best course to deal with their attackers is to turn the tables. However, unlike in real life, a reader is privy to the character’s thoughts and thus, their motivations of a change in outward behaviour. This line of personality change in Scott is never actually addressed in a forthright manner but rather eluded too instead.

Also, what surprised me more than anything is the complete lack of common sense on behalf of all the boys involved, to where they would not confide in anyone: not a parent, a teacher, or a peer adviser. In my own life, if I ever saw any measure of extreme bullying coming towards me, I always deferred first to a faculty member but post haste confided in my parents as soon as I was off school grounds. I knew better than to attempt to deflect the worst threats of which are not always idly spewed by those who choose to cause harm to others. If the story is to serve as a lesson and guide to those who are being bullied, wouldn’t it have been better to write the story with a resolving ending of a better way of addressing the core issue!? And, why end the entire book on a loosely conceived cliffhanger, eluding to a larger story than what was presented?!

I am conflicted to say the least after reading this story in full. I only hope that my review of the book and of the posting of the Q&A session with the author will spark a measure of a response in both comment sections to where the dialogue can become open to all who want to weigh in on this topic which affects all of us. (whether indirectly or directly)

Bullying, Harassment, and Hazing:

The Pact remains true to form what teens regularly face in the fear of their next encounters with those who bully them. The incidents revealed inside do not shock me as they might some who read the story for the first time on just how far young boys will go to torment someone they feel they have the right to enforce power over. I am thankful that my own history of bullying was limited more to verbal insults (which carried with it a hearty dose of emotional anguish) and minor physical altercations which are too minor to mention in light of what occurs in the novel. I am not sure what originally instigated the behaviour of adolescents and college-aged co-eds to haze their fellow students and athletes.

As the story reveals, each of the key bullies of the story: Joe, Sammy, and Mark each have troubles in their own life and homes which starts to unravel what motivates them to torment Scott and Paul. Yet none of their actions would circumvent the actions of Luke, who like Scott is the greatest threat in the story. After concluding your reading of my book review of The Pact please take the time to read:

the first half of this showcase,

my Author Q&A on bullying with Mitchell S. Karnes!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

The “The Pact” Virtual Book Tour Roadmap:

  1. 28 January: Review @ Tiffany’s Bookshelf
  2. 30 January: Author Q&A & Review @ Jorie Loves a Story
  3.  3 February: Review @ Patricia’s Wisdom
  4. 5 February:  Review @ You Can Read Me Anything
  5. 10 February: Review @ Suko’s Notebook
  6. 10 February: Author Q&A @ YA Reads
  7. 12 February: Review @ Maureen’s Musings
  8. 17 February: Review @ Seaside Book Nook
  9. 18 February: Review @ The Things You Can Read
  10. 19 February: Review @ Shelf Full of Books
  11. 20 February: ReviewSavings in Seconds

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

This blog tour is courtesy of:

TLC Book Tours | Tour HostThe Pact
by Mitchell S. Karnes
Source: Author via TLC Book Tours

Genres: Young Adult Fiction, YA Fantasy, YA Urban Fantasy

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: The Dragon's Pawn

Published by Black Rose Writing

on 22 August, 2013

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 232

Be sure to scope out my Bookish Upcoming Events to mark your calendars!!

{SOURCES:  Mitchell S. Karnes photograph and biography, The Pact book cover and the logo badge for TLC Book Tours were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.


Posted Thursday, 30 January, 2014 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Bullies and the Bullied, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Novel, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Gaming, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Light vs Dark, Literature for Boys, Middle Grade Novel, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Role Playing Games, School Life & Situations, Sports and Jocks, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, TLC Book Tours, Transfer Student at School, Wrestling, Young Adult Fiction

*Blog Book Tour*: Virtual Blue by R.J. Sullivan

Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by jorielov , , , , 5 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Virtual Blue by R.J. Sullivan

{Book Two: The Adventures of Blue Shaefer series}

Virtual Blue Tour - RJ Sullivan TCM

{Book One: Haunting Blue}

Published By: Seventh Star Press, August 2013
Official Author Websites: Sullivan on Facebook; Sullivan on Twitter;
Personal Site
; Fan Club
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Artist Page: Bonnie Wasson  @ Seventh Star Press
I could not source a personal site!
Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 408

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Virtual Blue” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media. I received “Virtual Blue”  in exchange for an honest review by the publisher Seventh Star Press. The book released in August 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read: I always try to attempt to keep an open mind when it comes to discovering new forms of literature, as much as seeking out authors’ outside my zone of comfort! Whereupon I first learnt of this particular book and author, my initial reaction was simply thus: I would read his books anytime! Love the classic movie star vibe combined with the ghost story and leaping into lives via à la Quantum Leap! It was a precursor look into his collective works thus far along, as I gathered that he has a wicked sense of humour threaded throughout this books and I liked that aspect of his writings! His own website yields in the sub-heading to reflect his writing personality as thus as well!

It’s also a departure again for my preference for reading serial fiction in order of publication and/or in order of the series, as some books are published out of the structure of the world they are written in! Ironically or not! Laughs. There are times where I feel I can break this self-disciplined rule, and I felt I could with Virtual Blue! Let us see if I was right!

Curiously as I read the premise of this particular novel I felt like it was not entirely outside of what I’d expect to find in a story, as I am a long-term appreciator of “Charmed” (ahem! ahead of the writing derailments in latter seasons!), and I am sure this will have a connection in regards to an ill-fated film I watched (ill-fated here refers to the fact I was not meant to appreciate it!) which jumped the rails into pop culture stardom! The film I refer to is “The Matrix”, and yet, another film “Tron: Legacy” is one that I loved! However, having said all of that, I was game for a challenging read, and one that I wanted to test to see if I can carve out a niche in an urban genre mixed with the supernatural! Finding that this falls under ‘horror’ beneath the science-fiction umbrella was a bit daunting at first, as although I avoid modern horror for the most part, there are elements of stories that I enjoy that actually pertain to this branch! IF your familiar with “The Dead Zone” tv series and the “Mummy” films, you’ll know where I find myself in ‘modern’ horror, as my favourite by far are the early 1920’s-1960’s psychological suspense films that are ‘horror’ in scope, but not in grisly, gruesome, or grotesque visceral imagery! I am a quirky reader after all, dear hearts! Are you naught as well!?

Author BiographyRJ Sullivan

R. J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella in 2012 and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale, in 2013. Seventh Star will release a new edition of Haunting Blue in early 2014. R. J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes for readers of all ages. R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. Check in regularly to learn the latest about the projects of R. J. Sullivan.

Synopsis of Virtual Blue:

Did you ever wish you could escape to a virtual world? What if you could…but then couldn’t get out?

Two years after her deadly clash with a vengeful ghost, Fiona “Blue” Shaefer still can’t shake off the trauma of that night. Moving to New York with her father didn’t help. Neither did absorbing herself in her college classes. Not even her poetry provided the solace it once did. She convinces herself that ending her relationship with Eugene “Chip” Farren, her long-distance boyfriend and final tie to the horrors of that night, might bring the closure she needs. Blue travels to Bloomington to break the news to Chip in person, but her timing couldn’t be any worse.

The Sisters of Baalina, vengeful cultists who practice a new form of “techno-magic,” have targeted Chip’s multi-player videogame as the perfect environment to cast a dangerous spell to free a demoness from the very pits of hell. In the process, their plan may trap Blue in a prison of the mind with no locks, no bars, and no escape.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Spotlight on the Illustrative Art by Bonnie Wasson:
Bonnie Wasson - Artwork Credit
Artwork Credit: Bonnie Wasson

Ms. Wasson does not disappoint with her stunning visual accuracy of the images that your own mind’s eye conjures to be representative of the characters in Virtual Blue! As I have come to read two Seventh Star Press releases featuring cover art and illustrated plates by Matthew Perry, I was most delighted to have my ‘introduction’ to the artistry of Wasson! You could nearly pluck “Blue” into a lovely series of stationery sheets to musefully write your friends’ the everyday adventures you seek and enjoy! Although, this is perhaps an observation only a letter-writer would make on behalf of “Blue!”

On the left, is the plate which depicts the final encounter between Marda and Blue, in Chapter Twenty-Eight. Did you notice the reflective menacing arc of the blade!? There is emotional drama in this scene, as captured in this plate, but with the presence of a blade, twinged sharp and lethal, it adds to the emotions that your feeling as you read the scene initially!

Artwork Credit: Bonnie Wasson
Artwork Credit: Bonnie Wasson

On the right, is the plate which depicts Baalina and Blue meeting at the portal at the end of Chapter Nineteen. For every good seed there must be a bad one to off-set the imbalance, which is usually when the forces of evil wage war against the good in stories such as these, as they are forever attempting to assert their ascent over the free and just! This particular scene is exactly as its portrayed as being: a showdown of wills between Baalina and Blue!

The sharpness of her details, allows you to glimpse inside the characters’ world as though they had stepped into our own, which is always something that I look for when I observe an artist’s rendition of a writers’ work! I was full of mirth whilst reading Blue’s reaction to her ‘virtual self’ in the story (Chapter Three), and I wondered what Wasson felt once she had finished rendering Blue as Daria!? As she eclipsed the full essence of finding oneself re-imaged as an improved version by a second party!

Reflections As I Became Entrenched in Virtual Blue:

A daughter’s regret on the events that led to her mother’s death overshadow the confidence that Fiona (Blue) has for moving forward with her life. I think that is a plausible problem for most who lose their loved ones under conditions that are not afforded to being naturally inclined. Your always going to question the moments (even the nanoseconds!) that lead up to their death, and question the very will you had to effectively change the outcome; if at all possible. Unresolved grief and anger can swelter in a person’s spirit, wrecking them to see the clear path towards their future. I can see how transfixed Fiona is on the past, as she experienced an unsettling incident that left her torn away from the one person she leaned on the most: her mother! What anguish she must have endured! I speak of this, retrospectively, as I did not read “Haunting Blue” but am thankful that Sullivan provided glimpses of what occurred ‘previously’ through reflections and interactions in the present. Her relationship with her father is on the rocks as well, and I can see how that could happen due to the proposed separation the two had sustained in their relationship. Sullivan sets the scene nicely for those of us coming into this series second-hand!

I was pleasantly happy to see an exchange of poetry between Blue and Drew in the opening chapter, as I am a poet myself and oft wondered what it would be like to read poems by fellow poets in a reading session! I started young like Blue in this regard, as I was still in high school when the magic of verse and poetry nestled into my heart and etched out through my pen! I wonder if she started in her senior year, or younger, as I was a sophomore!? Perhaps that is revealed in the first book! I too, know what it is like to lose the momentum to create when the absence of words stills to a near deafening silence! Interesting thread of story shaping into the exchange between Blue and Drew! Lovely and real!

I had forgotten a bit how exciting the gaming life can become, as I was a gamer for most of my younger days, and am trying to sort out the games of ‘today’ to keep up with the changing trends! I used to love computer games like: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago?, Loom, Battle Chess, Tetris, as well as a virtual reality environment game (The Journeyman Project) from the 1990’s! It was singularly one of my favourites to play, too! The rich futuristic environment of its setting is what captured me into its world! Then, there is of course the game that was pre-loaded on my iMac which I could not play enough of: Deimos Rising! I’ll bypass the Nintendo, Sega, and PlayStation platform games that interest me. Needless to say, my gaming life is as quirky as my reading life! I was also captured by a hybrid game of Dungeons and Dragons as a teen where I had the unfortunate mishap of ‘solving’ the game-play ahead of actually ‘playing the game’ and became Assistant Dragonmaster instead! All of this is on top of traditional gaming by way of board games and card games, by which I am a dedicated player! Solarquest, Five Crowns, or Hand & Foot anyone!? I suppose you could say, I understood the inertia of building excitement for Chip and Phil whilst they were unearthing their dream game “Fantasy Free-Form”!

As a side note, the “Terror Twins” of Cyn and Van smirked a resemblance of my remembrance of the Klingon Duras sisters! And, a lot of the undercurrent terror building on behalf of Marda’s coven bespoke of episodes I watched on “Charmed”, in which, the setting of the unfolding story was not difficult to understand! I did find it a keen observation, that they would infiltrate through the upstart game in order to conquer their destiny!

Virtual Blue by R.J. Sullivan
Artwork Credit: Bonnie Wasson
Review of Virtual Blue:

Unsurprising to me, Fiona dissolves into Blue at the first meet-up with her soon-to-be-ex Chip, as she has based her self-identity on their relationship and the woman she is whilst she is around him. She has far more to give and to explore on her own path, independent of his interaction in her life, but old habits are hard to shake, when the person your attempting to break up with was there for you at such a pivotal moment in your life. I think its his attachment to her sorrowful loss that tipped the scales of uncertainty against forging a life away from him in the first place. The strength it takes to stand alone, and seek out new individuals who are more aligned with who you are ‘now’ is oft times more daunting of a task than resuming the status quo! Then, again, what if the fragment of who you were could be re-discovered through the eyes of your beloved? In only a way that a true love can bring you back from the depths of despair from whence you disappeared!? Such is the heart-aching choice Blue must decide as she embarks on a trip back to Indiana to face her past and choose her future.

As the story shifts forward, the counter-balance of good vs. evil is revealed due to the back-story of how the followers of Baalina have taken steps to assist her freedom. You start to see how determined Blue must become to shelf her own desires and forge ahead towards redeeming the liberty of everyone else instead.

By the time Blue, Phil, and Chip start to investigate, I had swirling memories of why I missed the detective and mystery series of my younger days! Innocence of youth, gleeful joy in the hunt for uncovering the mystery, and the joy of succeeding in taking down a full-on challenging adversary! I liked the tug-of-war between the threesome, as they do not always get along due to the struggle with the balance of two boys and a girl in tow whose in love with one of them! I love the classic set-up, and the irresistible intrigue that follows suit!

There are elements of fantastical lore and myth etched into the undercurrents to pitch the truth of the Kelranian historic fight against Baalina and her chosen sisters. Sullivan reaches into Arthurian lore to draw out a new seedling of inspiration to stitch the story between the past, present, and future. In this vein, the story settles into a sub-plot I found most entertaining! Sullivan has woven spirituality, religion, and faith into the pacing of the story as much as he has researched how to endeavour the reader with plausible inclusions of lore! An internal and outer struggle known throughout the centuries is at the forefront of what happens when both sides take part in a feud they did not agree to join!

Honestly, I would have loved this story truly if my eyes didn’t have to skip over all the vulgar cursing that the characters were quite attached to spewing whenever their situations turned adverse! I didn’t find it a necessary arc for the story, nor a positive attribute for Blue and Chip! And, although I appreciated the depictions of the Hell that Blue was subjected to being placed inside in order to entrap Baalina, Cyn, Van, and Marda – I think I could have fared better to have that bit shortened and have the ending stand as it is. Especially since their evil hearts were clearly evident from previous chapters! Its the ending resolution of Blue’s future that I appreciated seeing the most, as I was rather angst ridden understanding the full scope of Rebecca Burton’s!

A Most Curious Tie-In:

I was quite enthused to read in Chapter Four how the author’s depiction on the Tour Badge and Author Photograph tie-in to the story! At first, I thought perhaps its his whimsical humour settling into the fray, but no! It actually has a direct connection to the story-line and with Virtual Blue! Rock on, Mr. Sullivan! That’s the equivalent of finding Hitchcock inserted into his own motion picture!

Inasmuch as the curiously able investigator Rebecca Burton being involved in this mystery, who has previously been seen in novellas and shorts! Sullivan has a way of connecting each of his stories in such a charmingly symmetrical synchronical way! Wicked! I wonder if he is going to release the Burton novellas and shorts as a stand-alone collection!?

A Notation on the Horror Aspects of the Plot:

Honestly!? It took me nearly half-way through to realise that I hadn’t surmised when the ‘horror’ of the story had even arrived! I think for the most part, my mind was happily seeing connections between series I had seen on the screen, and therefore, perhaps, my mind and heart overlooked a few things! I know there was a proper fight scene between Blue & Marda, as well as other interactions with blades, but personally I place those instances under ‘fight sequences or stand-offs’ rather than directly linked to horror!? I wonder if this book was misfiled!? Until I reached Chapter Sixteen which has an excellent representation of the differences between Heaven and Hell. Which continues to be explored the further inside the novel you venture towards.

Fly in the Ointment:

The only criticism I can give is the inclusion of vulgar expressions that irk my ire in regards to not having the heat of the moment more creatively expressed! This book did not start out falling under what I’d consider “excessive vulgarity” but it ended with my feelings that it pushed my barometer to the extreme! Mostly due to key words which were used to express or denounce certain climaxical emotions that I would consider better spent if they had been conveyed in a mannerism that befit the story in a creative way other than the method that Sullivan chose to give. This is not necessarily a criticism directed at him entirely, as I oft find myself in this quandary of a position, as my personal leanings are more towards the Shakespearean art of insultive and pernicious declarations! For this reason, I did not choose to include the book trailer for the first half of this series, “Haunting Blue”, as I was quite aghast that the words were left in, by which had to be ‘sound clipped’ out! Oy! Generally, I am always the first to fully support all materials to help a book, but this became a personal deference of choice on my behalf. I think the main reason this struck me rather severely, is after noting that Blue was a poet, I thought she might have articulated her emotions in a more eloquent way rather than in such a common way! And, I’m at a complete loss as to why all characters simply feel the need to express themselves in a manner that is not tactful or fitting to educated society! Sighs. Clearly, not every depiction of a novel in synopsis form gives way to rendering a precise foresight of what the novel will relay. Therefore, I am sure, I am in the minority who would consider this a ‘fly in the ointment’ to even mention! However, it is what it is. Except to say, that my overall enjoyment of the story itself was not darkened by this blight of words that ruffled my feathers and twitched my nose!

“Virtual Blue” Virtual Book Tour Roadmap:

  1. October 28: Contest @ Jess Resides Here
  2. October 28: Review @ Jorie Loves a Story
  3. October 28: Guest Post @ Come Selahway With Me
  4. October 29: Character Interview with Blue @ Sheila Deeth Blog
  5. October 30: Guest Post @ Armand Rosamilia
  6. October 30: Special Post – 20 Questions with R.J. Sullivan @ A Haunted Head
  7. October 30: Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
  8. October 30: Promo Spotlight @ Word to Dreams
  9. Halloween: Author Interview @  John F. Allen Ivory Blaque
  10. Halloween: Character Post of Rebecca Burton @ Spellbindings
  11. Halloween: Character Interview of Rebecca Burton @ Library Girl Reads and Reviews
  12. All Saint’s Day: Review @ Bee’s Knees Reviews
  13. All Saint’s Day: Guest Post @ Beauty in Ruins
  14. November 2: Guest Post @ Azure Dwarf
  15. November 3: Review @ Angela Meadon

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:
Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Hoston my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

{SOURCES: Cover art and inside plate illustrations of “Virtual Blue” by Bonnie Wasson; R.J. Sullivan’s photograph and biography, and the blog tour badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

Related Articles:

Guest Post: How Seventh Star Press Stacks Up in R.J. Sullivan’s Haunting Obsession – (

Interview with R.J. Sullivan, Author of Haunting Obsession – (

My interview with R.J. Sullivan about Virtual Blue – (


Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by jorielov in Arthurian Legend, Board and Card Games, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Gaming, Ghost Story, Good vs. Evil, Horror, Indie Author, PC or Mac Games, Poetry, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Virtual Reality