Saturday, January 28, 2012

Guest Post-Featuring Author- Robert Louis Smith

During the month of January I had the oportunity to read Antiquitas Lost by Robert Louis Smith. I'll be posting my review later today. Below is a guest post featuring author Robert Louis Smith- in it he
shares his inspiration for Antiquitas Lost as well as insight into the amazing illustrations
done for the book by Geof Isherwood.
Smackdown: Pangrelor vs. Middle Earth
By Robert Louis Smith,
Author of Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans

In 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien published the first of a breathtaking series of books that would go on to become some of the most influential novels of the 20th century. As anyone who has ever read The Lord of the Rings knows, Tolkien's books are so imaginative and unexpectedly powerful that his fantastic tale still captures our imaginations more than a half century after its original publication. These stories gave birth to the modern fantasy genre, and it is perhaps inevitable that so many contemporary fantasy books replicate aspects of Tolkien's writings. So pervasive is Tolkien's influence that the Oxford English Dictionary offers a word for it: Tolkienesque. Perhaps this is why we see so many fantasy tales that feature elves, dwarves, wizards, magic rings, and magic swords. The presence of these features is, in many ways, what we have come to expect from a modern fantasy novel.

But over the course of 57 years, these constructs of classical Northern European (or Tolkienesque) fantasy fiction have been imitated to the point of monotony. In tome after tome, we see elves and dwarves wielding magical swords or speaking in Northern European conlangs (fictional languages) as they follow some particular heroic quest. And let's be honest. Although there are many wonderful and imaginative novels that feature these elements, no one has done it as well as Mr. Tolkien.

When I sat down to write Antiquitas Lost, I promised myself there would be no magic rings, magic swords, elves or dwarves. A major goal was to create a fantasy novel where the creatures and setting were fresh. Pangrelor, the fantasy world described in Antiquitas Lost, is envisioned as a pre-industrial, medieval society with beautiful artistic accomplishments set in a savage and magical natural environment -- the Renaissance meets the Pleistocene, with magical beings and crypto-zoological creatures. Devoid of elves and dwarves, Pangrelor is inhabited largely by creatures that we are familiar with, but different from the usual fantasy fare -- gargoyles, Bigfoot creatures, Neanderthal types, Atlanteans and dinosaurs, to name a few. These differences give Pangrelor a much different feel from Middle Earth and the countless, adherent worlds that have followed. Hopefully the reader will find this refreshing. Over time, I have come to think of Antiquitas Lost as more of a "North American" tale, with many references to new world mythologies, as well as a hint of Native American influence.

Although Antiquitas Lost is not immune to Mr. Tolkien's sweeping influence, it is unique in many ways. When you take your first journey to Pangrelor, it is my sincere hope that you will experience a hint of the joy that accompanied your maiden voyage to Middle Earth, and that you will connect in a meaningful way with this unprecedented new cast of characters as you explore an altogether unique fantasy destination.

New Orleans Mansion.
This was the second illustration Geof drew, and he really wanted to capture the feel of the New Orleans Garden District, where chapter one takes place. He modeled the Antiquitas Lost mansion after an 1898 photo of an old New Orleans estate, and scouted the appearance of Garden District street corners by using images from Google Earth. As anyone familiar with New Orleans can see, he really captured its essence here. To the left, you can see the street sign for Pleasant Street, which was the New Orleans street where my wife and I were living when I began writing Antiquitas Lost.

                                           Hooks in The Moment Before His Capture
The character, Hooks, depicted here, was one of the earliest Antiquitas Lost characters conceived. He remains one of my favorite characters. This chapter illustration was the first one Geof completed, and was the first time I really got to see what Hooks looked like on paper. Both Geof and I found this to be a powerful illustration, and it really got us excited for the scope of the artistic journey ahead. Geof found inspiration for this drawing in the works of the great Bernie Wrightson.

                                                          The Darfoyle, Ecsar
This is breathtaking. Depicted here is the Darfoyle, Ecsar, commander of the serpan legion that is preparing to storm the gimlet enclave of Scopulus. Darfoyles share remote biological origins with another species in Pangrelor, the grayfarers. Both are loosely based on gargoyles. As you might have gleaned from this illustration, these are some of Antiquitas Lost’s many bad guys. In the novel, the darfoyles are described as larger than grayfarers and darker in color. Unlike the grayfarers, darfoyles have tails. When Geof asked me to give him a feel for how I thought darfoyles might look on paper, I told him I thought they looked something like demons. Geof prepared for this drawing by creating a number of anatomic sketches focused on the musculature that would be needed to power the massive wings.

                                                           Slipher in The Temple
To me, this is one of the more iconic drawings in Antiquitas Lost. The character depicted is a runt serpan warrior named Slipher. While writing scenes with Slipher, I hoped to add dimension to serpan culture through this characters interactions with others and through his own inner dialogue. In this scene, Slipher, has just rifled the body of a dead gimlet priest in search of valuables. In the gimlet’s pocket, he finds a pipe and a mirror. As the story progresses, we learn that these items hold great importance, though Slipher is quite disappointed in them at the time.

                                                           Elliott and The Salax
For a variety of reasons, this is my favorite illustration in Antiquitas Lost. In this scene, Elliott (the protagonist) is awakened to find himself amid a swarm of bizarre, hopping creatures called salax. The location of this scene is the Forest of Golroc, which the reader soon learns is a place to be avoided at all costs. In creating the salax, my goal was to develop a dark, viscerally terrifying monster which we have never seen before, and something completely unique to Antiquitas Lost mythology. Among those who have read advance copies of Antiquitas Lost, the strange scenes that showcase the salax are always a favorite topic. After reading Antiquitas Lost, Geof was also intrigued by the salax, and he recognized they offered an opportunity to create something entirely new. While developing their appearance, he spent several days making sketches, and created several versions before settling on this one. When he sent me the pencil for this illustration, I remember grinning outright. I love that the creatures face is expressionless, and we only get a sense that something is terribly wrong by the look of fear and shock on Elliott’s face.

                                                                   Author Bio
Robert Louis Smith, author of Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans, has numerous degrees, including psychology (B.A.), applied microbiology (B.S.), anaerobic microbiology (M.Sc.), and a Medical Doctorate (M.D.). He serves as an interventional cardiologist at the Oklahoma Heart Institute. He is married and the father of two young children. He began writing Antiquitas Lost in 2003 while studying at Tulane University in New Orleans.
For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Challenge Update

Comment Challenge Stats

So here is another update on the 2012 Challenge Comment so. I started a little bit late so I've been playing catch up. This week I had the opportunity to visit 20 different blogs! Yeah! I think I might be forming a habit here-which of course is the point!
Foodie Bibliophile
Bookworm Lisa
On the Alberta/Montana Border
Minding Spot
Babs Book Bistro
Inside BJ's Head
Books for Company
Page Turner's Blog
Uniquely Moi Books
Stories and Sweeties
Nikki's Starbuck's Reviews
The Wormhole
Tiffany Reads
Babies, Books and Signs
Truly Bookish
Working for the Mandroid
Mama NY
Getting Your Reading On
Stacy S. Jensen
Joanna Marple

Thank you to Mother Reader and Lee Wind for hosting this challenge.
I'll do another update on Wednesday.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Announcing the Dreaming of Books Giveaway winner......
An email has been sent and the winner is confirmed.
I will be mailing Tabathia a hardback copy of:
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day
A giant thank you to all who participated, hopped, joined and followed.
Hugs to I'm a Reader, Not a Writer and Martha's Bookshelf who hosted this super fun event.
Next giveaway will be:
February 7th-14th
Follower Love Giveaway Hop

Friday, January 13, 2012


The two books that I'm giving away for this giveaway is:
My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Both books are brand new beautiful hardback copies.
To enter this giveaway please leave your follower name and contact information in the comment section. A winner will be drawn by on January 19th. This giveaway is open to followers of Mug of Moxie and includes International as well.
A list of the blogs participating in this hop are listed below. Don't forget to visit them also.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


By Moira Young
Book 1 of the Dustland Trilogy
218 Pages
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried up wasteland savaged by constant dust storms. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother, Lugh is around. But when a monster sand storm arrives bearing four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on a quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself. She is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of revolutionaries called the free hawks, Saba enters a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.
My thoughts:
First let me say that I'm so excited that this is the first book of a trilogy. This book blew my mind. I stupidly picked it up the day after Christmas and everything in my house skidded to a halt. I couldn't put it down.
Saba's world is bleak. It's hot, miserable, and filled with dust.  Saba's family has scratched out a living in Silverlake-which dried up long ago.
Saba's whole world is rocked the day four strangers show up and destroy her family and the only life she has ever known. Saba is left to pick up the pieces and find the strength to find the brother they took.
Saba travels down a dark and violent path to find Lugh and bring him home.
Saba is the most kick ass heroine I've met since Katniss of the Hunger Games. If both of them had to compete against each other I'm not sure who the winner would be.
The relationship that I found most interesting and emotionally raw was the often rocky relationship between Saba and her little sister Emmi. I also loved Jack. The inner battle that goes on with Saba concerning him was a roller coaster ride.
I can't wait for the sequel from this brilliant author. The characters grabbed hold of me and I can't wait to catch up with them again.

2012 Comment Challenge Update

Comment Challenge Stats
So here is my update on the 2012 Challenge Comment so far. I started a little bit late so I've been making at least 10 comments a day and gone to 30 different blogs! Yeah! I've made the effort to visit anyone who has made a comment on my blog, people that are participating in the 2012 Comment Challenge and Mug of Moxie's Followers. I'm so glad I joined this Challenge. It's easy to get stuck in a bubble-even in the blogging world. But we all love it when people come to our blogs-comment, leave feed back, and follow. We all work hard on the reviews and topics. It's nice to be recognized.
So thank you to Mother Reader and Lee Wind for hosting this challenge. It's not to late to join!
I'll do another update next Wednesday.
Mother Reader
There's A Book
Proper Noun Blog
So Tomorrow
Reading With Tequila
Down The Rabbit Hole
The Book Vixen
She Is Too Fond Of Books
Redheaded Stepchild
Carol A. Bender
Russ Cox
Badass Bookie
The Broke And The Bookish
Curling Up By The Fire
Coffee And Cliffhangers
Steph Su Reads
I Read Banned Books
Bookie Woogie
Monster Goldfish
Sprout's Book Shelf
A Mother A Daughter And 100 Books
Library Chicken
The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Children's Lit Cross Roads
It's Like A Whirlwind Inside Of My Head
One A Day YA
A Blog About Nothing
A Casual Reader's Blog
A Foodie Bibliophile In Wanderlust

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I don't know about you but I am counting the days down!
Hunger Games Movie Release-
March 23rd!!
Check out the movie trailer below while I go collect myself........

Monday, January 9, 2012


It’s BACK!
Now that it has become a habit, Lee Wind and Mother Reader are bringing The Comment Challenge to your January — the perfect time of year to make a new resolution to connect more with your fellow bloggers.

Since it is said that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, they are going to run The Comment Challenge for the next three weeks — starting Thursday, January 5, and running through Wednesday, January 25, 2012.
The goal is to comment on at least five book blogs a day. Keep track of your numbers, and report in on Wednesdays with Lee. We’ll tell each other how we’re doing and keep each other fired up. On Wednesday, January 25, Mother Reader will post the final check-in post for the Comment Challenge.
A prize package will be involved, drawing from among the bloggers who reach the 100 Comment Mark (five comments a day for twenty-one days with one day free of comment charge).
Go to Mother Reader for Frequently Asked Questions and Sign-Up.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Local Library Challenge 2012
I found  fabulous challenge today!
Thank you to The Eclectic Bookshelf for hosting this challenge!
In an effort to save money for family vacation this year I am determined to get the majority of my reading material from the library. So I plan to save money AND support my local library!!!
And don't forget that most libraries have an ILL(Interlibrary Loaning) system so even if your local library doesn't have the book you want on the shelf they can borrow it from another library. My library doesn't even charge for this service!

I will go for 24 books from my library.
1. Anyone can join.
2. You don't need a blog to participate. If you are a Non-blogger please leave a comment with a link (if you review elsewhere) to your review or with the book(s) you read.
3. Audio, ebooks (some libraries allow ebooks to be checked out), bound books are ok.
4. No re-reads
5. 6. Challenge goes from January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012

Level 1 - Read 12 library books
Level 2 - Read 24 library books
Level 3 - Read 36 library books
Level 4 - Read 37+ library books

Go here to sign up-The Eclectic Bookshelf

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book Review-CESAR'S WAY

By Cesar Millan
272 Pages
Inside Cover:
There are at least 68 million dogs in America, and their owners lavish billions of dollars on them every year. So why do so many pampered pets have problems? In this definitive and accessible guide, Cesar Millan-star of National Geographic Channel's hit show Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan-reveals what dogs truly need to live a happy and fulfilled life.
From appearance's on The Oprah Winfrey Show to his roster of celebrity clients to his reality television series, Cesar Millan is America's most sought-after-dog-behavior expert. But Cesar is not a trainer in the traditional sense-his expertise lies in his unique ability to comprehend dog psychology. Tracing his own amazing journey from a clay-walled farm in Mexico to the celebrity palaces of Los Angeles, Cesar recounts how he learned what makes dogs tick. In Cesar's Way, he shares this wisdom, laying the groundwork for you to have stronger, more satisfying relationships with your canine companions.
My thoughts:
I have never seen Cesar Millan's TV Show but picked up this book on the recommendation of a couple of friends who have two very well behaved dogs-one of them is a pure breed pit bull. They are huge believers in Cesar's training methods and educating dog owners.
I have a two year old Rottweiler and recently added a toy Poodle to our family. It makes for a lot of double takes at the dog park!
Since reading Cesar's Way I have found that I have more control over my dogs and feel like I'm doing a better job of being a "Pack Leader".
I love that he is about positive training. I can apply his methods to my 100 pound Rottweiler as well as my 5 pound Poodle. Although the are very different dogs on the outside-they both are dogs. The same rules and training apply.
The most helpful things I have taken from this book are:
1. Exercise is key for a happy and healthy dog.
2. The language of energy and how it applies to my dogs is invaluable.
3. This book is as much about people psychology as it is about dog psychology.
4. I'm more confident about my ability as a dog owner.
Anyone who is thinking about adding a dog to their family or improving their relationship with their dog should check this book out. I found the information easy to read and apply. I've already checked out another book by him-Leader of the Pack. I look forward to learning more.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Dewey Decimal Challenge

My second challenge for 2012-
Here's a secret.....
I LOVE history. I'm a history nerd! So when I ran across this challenge being hosted by The Introverted Reader- I was so excited! I just checked out a book from the library- Catherine The Great. This will be the first book I read for this challenge. I will be going for "SEEKER" Hopefully I'll read more but I at least want to hit this goal.
More information is available below.Follow the link if you are interested in joining us for 2012.

The Challenge:
Read any non-fiction book(s), adult or young adult. That's it. You can choose anything. Poetry? Yes. Memoirs? Yes. History? Yes. Travel? Yes. You get the idea? Absolutely anything that is classified as non-fiction counts for this challenge.

Dilettante--Read 1-5 non-fiction books
Explorer--Read 6-10
Seeker--Read 11-15
Master--Read 16-20

This challenge will last from January 1 to December 31, 2012. You can sign up anytime throughout the year.

Too Sweet Not To Share

If any of you have dealt with a disabled or handicapped loved one....
This is Adi's and her mom's story and their dance.
I dedicate this song and dance to my daughter Isabelle(CFC Syndrome) and my niece Megan(Rett Syndrome)

Adi's Dance from Limelight Video on Vimeo.

Signing Up For The E-Book Challange!

In celebration of my new Nook I decided this would be a fun challenge to join this year. I'm going to try for DVD Level.
This challenge is hosted by Work A Day Reads. Guidelines are included below. If your interested in joining follow the link.
Challenge Guidelines:
1.This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
2.Anyone can join, you don't need to be a blogger. If you don't have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc).
3.Any genre or length of book counts, as long as it is in ebook format.
4.You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
5.When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the E-Book Reading Challenge.
6.You can move up levels, but no moving down.
7.Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.

1.Floppy disk - 5 ebooks
2.CD - 10 ebooks
3.DVD - 25 ebooks
4.Memory stick - 50 ebooks
5.Hard drive - 75 ebooks
6.Server - 100 ebooks
7.Human brain - 150 ebooks

At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews for that month. If you forget, feel free to add your reviews in the following month. Any reviews submitted will be entered into the draw for that month.

Yes, there will be draws every month for participants. As long as you are signed up below, every review you add to the monthly roundups will get one entry into the giveaway for that month.

There will also be a grand giveaway at the end of the year for eveyone who achieves their goal level (or higher). There may be different prizes for different levels, but that is not decided yet.


Mug of Moxie enters the E-Reader World!

My sweet husband gave me a Nook for Christmas. For the first few days I didn't touch it-I've been a little hesitate to enter the e-reader world. I LOVE books. The feel of them. The smell of them. I find nothing more comforting than holding a hardback in my hands and escaping this world. I just didn't love the idea of reading a book on a machine. But so many people have raved about them and the convenience of having one at their finger tips. Well, who doesn't want convenience?
Two weeks after Christmas I can honestly say-I LOVE MY NOOK!!
As of today I have downloaded the following books:
1. Delirium-Lauren Oliver
2. Blood Red Road-Moira Young
3. Hearts at Stake-Alyxandra Harvey
4. Once A Witch-Carolyn MacCullough
5. The Ask and the Answer-Patrick Ness
6. City of Bones-Cassandra Clare
7. Clockwork Prince-Cassandra Clare
8. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side-Beth Fantaskey
9. Still Missing-Chevy Stevens
10. Beasts and BFF's-Shannon Delany
I also downloaded two magazine subscriptions:
1.Entertainment Weekly
2. Time
Lastly, I'm playing:
Words with Friends (a scrabble game with several people)

I'm having a great time with this new toy. It continues to amaze me with new apps and extras every day.
So those of you that are dragging your feet-check it out. I have a feeling you won't be sorry.