About Me

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I love being a mom and a wife. I've married to a man I would do anything for, and we have three beautiful children. I see so much of myself in both of them that it sometimes brings me to tears (happy ones).

I also love writing. Romance to be specific. I love the happily ever after that I believe everyone deserves. My stories aren't 'stop and smell the roses' type romances. While I believe everyone deserves happiness and true love, I know that sometimes you have to walk a hard road to find it. Those are the types of stories I like to write. The happily ever after that wasn't found, but earned. I work to earn mine on a daily basis and so do my characters. 

I am also working on a children's picture book series. Inspired (of course) by my kiddos. :)

On the non-writing front, I play acoustic guitar, sing, read like I get paid for it, ride horses, hike, paint rocks, and support a rather obsessive addiction to Pinterest.

I love to cook, which combined with my pinning addiction, leads to many experiments foisted on my unsuspecting husband and kids, mostly with good results. But sometimes, the dogs gets what the family refuses to eat. And they never complain. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Weekend Review - Heart of Steel - Elizabeth Einspanier

About the Author

Elizabeth Einspanier is the self-published author of the weird western novella Sheep's Clothing and the science fiction romance novel Heart of Steel. She is a prolific writer, and her short stories have been seen in Dark Fire Fiction and Down in the Dirt. She is an active member of the St. Louis Writers Guild and an associate member of the HWA. When she is not writing, she likes to read, watch strange movies, and play Dungeons and Dragons. She lives in St. Louis, MO, but frequently spends time in worlds of her own creation.

Digging Deeper

What inspired you to write your first book?
My inspiration for my first book, Sheep's Clothing, was simple: I had read Twilight and after seeing what Stephenie Meyer had done with vampires in order to make them the "ideal" paranormal boyfriend, I instinctively wanted to get back to what vampires originally were: undead, soulless predators that fed on the living. I also didn't want to rewrite Dracula, so on a whim I decided to set it in the old west. The rest wrote itself, really.

What do you think is more important: Characters or Plot?
Characters, but only by a narrow margin. You could have the best plot on the planet, but if your characters don't engage the reader, nobody's going to care how the plot turns out. Characters need to be interesting and engaging if the reader is going to care about the plot.

What is one 'day job' you've had that's affected your writing? How?
I've been working at the St. Louis County Library for pretty much my entire working life, and it's been a great ready source of genre research materials (books) while also teaching me to make the most of limited writing time. I wrote Heart of Steel in an hour a day.

If you could cast your main character(s) in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would land the roles?
Alistair Mechanus has two main casting candidates: Tom Hiddleston (looks, intensity) and Benedict Cumberbatch (baritone, quirkiness). Julia Parker is a bit more difficult to pin down, but maybe Julie Benz or Amanda Seyfried. She needs to be someone strong with some vulnerability, but still have a great smile.

What famous literary character is most like you?
Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I confess that I sometimes have my head in the clouds, and when I'm brainstorming I often have the most fascinating conversations with some of the weirdest people.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing? 
I like to read (a lot), play Pathfinder-edition Dungeons and Dragons, and watch movies. I also enjoy cosplay, and frequently dress up for conventions or even just because. I dressed as Twilight Sparkle for last year's Archon and met a lot of bronies.

What is a talent you have that no one knows?
I can do a passable impression of Pinky from Pinky and the Brain.

What is one tip you'd give to up & coming authors?
Writing is hard. There will be days when your brain will not cooperate and you cannot get that idea to work out no matter how hard you try. Don't give up! After fighting and clawing your way through writing and rewriting, the sight of something you wrote finally getting published (by whatever means) will make everything worth it.

If you could spend the day with one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
That's a really hard question. I guess if I have to pick one, I would spend the day with Weird Al Yankovic. I've been a big fan of his music for most of my life, and from everything I've heard he's awesome to his fans and an overall fun guy to be around. My second candidate would be Tom Hiddleston, because he's a great actor and he's adorable besides.

What's next for you?
I'm currently polishing Hungry as a Wolf, the sequel to Sheep's Clothing, and rewriting my NanoWriMo novel from last year, Necromancy Will Kill Your Dating Life. I hope to have Hungry as a Wolf out early next year if everything goes well.

Review Time!

Heart of Steel by Elizabeth Einspanier

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

I give Heart of Steel a 3.5 out of 5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars for Amazon.

Heart of Steel is a sci-fi romance, set in modern day, on a seemingly uninhabited island near Hawaii. Julia Parker, the novel's heroine, is trying to enjoy a tropical vacation with her long-time boyfriend Jim. He's taking her diving, though she isn't enjoying his dive-spot pick, partly because she's preoccupied with thoughts of ending their relationship (a sentiment that's been nagging her for a while).

They begin their dive near the mysterious Shark-Reef Isle. Julia is just starting to relax and enjoy her dive when they are attacked by what appears to be a shark. Julia wakes up in what she assumes is a hospital. She thought she had lost her leg but finds it intact. It doesn't take her long to realize that she is not in a hospital, but in a mad scientist's lab underneath the volcano on Shark Reef Isle with the monsters he has created, including the shark-man that attacked her. 

Enter the novel's hero, Dr. Alistair Mechanus, a half human, half cyborg scientist that gave Julia a new leg and is keeping Jim alive, though by all rights he should be dead. Julia is desperately trying to absorb her current and very strange circumstances. Dr. Mechanus instantly takes a liking to her and agrees to fix Jim, though any thoughts of escaping the island are quickly put to rest. Mechanus does fix Jim, but to Julia's horror, he is now a horrific mix of robotic parts, with a mostly catatonic brain. 

Mechanus, not used to human company or even acting human, can't understand Julia's horrified reaction. He's set on keeping the new, though not-necessarily-improved Jim, away from her, while creating a more gentle and easier-to-look-at companion for her, in hopes that she'll eventually come to love him as he loves her. Julia's presence has sparked repressed memories of Alistair's former life, before he was part cyborg ten years prior, and he hopes to enlist her help in unlocking his subconscious. 

While Julia plans an attempted escape from Shark Reef Isle, cyborg Jim is going rampant, his seemingly catatonic brain zeroing in on one thought: Keeping Julia away from Mechanus, even if it means ending her life. Mechanus must fight to keep not only he and Julia safe, but the creations he has made on Shark Reef Isle. Jim's rampancy becomes full-blown, concluding in an epic hide-and-seek with Julia and Mechanus, during which he finally unlocks his hidden memories, culminating in a final battle, which ends with Jim's destruction and Julia finally realizing her feelings for her mad scientist.

I read through Heart of Steel in one day. It isn't necessarily short, but the story kept me engaged enough to not want to put it down. Though Dr. Mechanus annoyed me with his strange behavior and dialogue half the time, I found both he and Julia to be well-rounded and likable characters. Jim was an arrogant jerk, and I knew from the get-go he would be the story's grade-A a$$hole. The story is a clean romance, mixed with sci-fi. Dr. Mechanus' Victorian-era leanings towards fashion and speaking give it a bit of a steam-punk edge as well.

A few things that annoyed me:
- Events seemed to move ridiculously fast. I feel like this story could've have been nearly twice as long had characters, descriptions, events, etc. been more explained. 
- Julia's quick forgiveness of Alistair and hurried acceptance of a pretty bizarre set of circumstances seemed way too rushed. 
- I couldn't stand the main character's name: Dr. Alistair Mechanus. The first was too dated and the 2nd too metaphorical and cliched sounding for a 'mad scientist' character. When Alistair remembers his past life and his actual name: Michael James Conroy, I found myself wishing the author had started using that name for the remainder of the novel.
- The ending: Is he still planning on taking over the world? Or has his relationship with Julia changed those plans? Is there supposed to be a second book? If not, I would've liked those questions wrapped up better. 
-  Alistair's back story. Just a little snippet of a flashback seemed too little to explain such a complex character and his motivations. I would've loved to read more about his past.

Even with those negatives, I was still very much entertained by Heart of Steel. It was well written for the most-part, the dialogue helped me imagine the actual conversations, and a great job with editing. I usually find at least one grammar/spelling/punctuation mistake but I found none. I will definitely read more of Elizabeth's work. I recommend Heart of Steel to ages 17 and older for any romance and sci-fi genre readers.

Contact the Author  

Find Elizabeth's Books

Sheep's Clothing

Heart of Steel

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