Cathedral Caverns

Cathedral Caverns
the locale of the book and a magickal place


Enter the fantasy world of Dividing Dark

Friday, November 12, 2010

From Fantasy Book Reviews

love new authors! It is always an interesting experience reading one of the first books from an author, it seems to me that the first book is always amazing… or horrible. Of course the first book for an author is a defining experience and moment for them. I month or so ago I finished Dividing Dark by Melissa Swaim, her first novel, and loved it! The first night I started reading, I emailed Melissa to tell her how excited I was about her book, it was so good. I loved the twists. Dividing Dark is a young adult science fiction novel that was unlike anything I’d read before. The teenage girl in me ate it up, it was extremely unique and enjoyable.


The main character is a girl… not really a surprise. She meets a boy who is automatically attracted to her and driven to protect her… still a common characteristic. But you’ll never guess the twist of the paranormal that exist in the story, it’s pretty cool. The setting of the story is in this stormy, cliff prone, cave riddled, mountainous region that just adds to the ambiance. The girl, Fee, just moved to this town that is holding a pretty big secret, and the prologue is extremely gripping in how it sets the scene for what this secret is. So although there are some rather simple plot details, the characters are great and the story has it’s own uniqueness that drives you to keep reading. I only hope Melissa will keep writing, and forgive me for taking so long to post!



Limited Sexual Content

No Foul Language

No Drinking, Smoking or Drugs

Limited Violence

Age Recommendation 10+

Author comment- the age recommendation from me is over 14, at least. I find some of the subject matter troubling for those younger...or even for my age.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What I Like About Book Reviews

When people read a book, each person connects to the part that speaks to them, and that really touches me. Being introverted, I find it profoundly moving when a stranger can take something away from my a way of indirectly touching a life in a good way.

For instance,Dawn of NOR had been in a cave so she related to the difficulty and to Fee's caution and fears (which are also my fears), and she understood about the darkness and also kind of the deeper spiritual aspects in this book, which I was happy to see.

Another review that stood out to me was Heather's, from Beside the Norm, which I hope you will check out below and at the link provided. Being a diabetic, she can relate to Fee's health problems, which are my health issues (not the anorexic part...just the sometimes going blind and numb part, which can happen to diabetics too if they aren't careful. My issue is undiagnosed...migraines, MS, TIAs? doctors shrug, "Yes, its MS." "Its not MS, its TIAs." "It can't be TIAs." "It might be TIAs." Oh, well.).

I was afraid to give Fee a disability, but I am so tired of reading books about the main players in the book being so beautiful, too perfect, no flaws, no weaknss. I want my readers to know that we all struggle in some way whether physical or spiritual, but its what makes us who we are and its okay.


After her father dies, Fee finds herself relocated to a nowhere Alabama town, riddled with fears and an eating disorder that make it difficult for her to feel at ease, much less at home. When Fee agrees to go spelunking with some classmates to help her fit in, she soon realizes that she is in way over her head, since caving encompasses many of her fears. To help get over those fears, Fee decides to go on a cave tour, where she meets Faron, the tour guide who doubles as a half-Reptilian emissary for humans and Reptilians. In spite of this, Fee does not fear him or his kind, and that bravery will be put to the test the more her relationship with Faron grows….

Dividing Dark by Melissa Swaim is a fast-paced YA fantasy that manages to be both unique and similar to common tropes in the genre. Fee is the new girl in town, and human at that, while the boy she falls for has a secret supernatural side from which he tries to protect her. However, the age gap between her and Faron is only by a couple years, and seeing how that’s often a couple hundred years in fantasy, I found this welcomingly refreshing. Also, Faron doesn’t simply try to protect her from the things she fears--he tries to help her overcome them, allowing her an independence and equality I quite enjoyed seeing develop. Although Fee and Faron’s relationship definitely has its angsty moments, it is sweet as a whole, and I couldn’t help but root for them the more the book progressed.

There were other elements I loved about this book as well. One notable element is Fee’s eating disorder. Not only is it an important part of her character, but something that her mother doesn’t simply ignore--nor does Faron, once he catches whiff of it. I also like how Fee having this disorder didn’t suddenly morph Dividing Dark into an “issue” book. While it is an issue, it is not the only thing that defines Fee or this story, and as a diabetic who gets easily annoyed by certain portrayals of the diseased/disabled, I was ecstatic to see such a character not be reduced to that kind of storytelling.

The mythology of Dividing Dark was another element I enjoyed. Melissa Swaim touches on many types of lore, be it vampires or aliens, and combines them into her own distinct creation. This use of mythology not only makes her book stand out amongst many in the genre, but gives the fantastical aspects a more realistic feel, since much of it is given an underlying heritage in the world of Dividing Dark.

Visit this awesome site for the rest of the review and to read my interview...the only one I will do as I am social phobic.

Top Pick at Night Owl

Score: 4.50 / 5 - Reviewer Top Pick at Night Owl Reviews


Ever since her father was killed in Afghanistan, life has been pretty sucky for 16-year-old Flannery Birch, or "Fee," as everyone calls her. Her mother moved them into her grandmother's house in a whole 'nother state, she struggles to be accepted by the kids at her new school and, what's worse, she refuses to eat. She uses her grief as an excuse to disappear pound by pound. Then she meets Faron and everything changes. Something about him is familiar but she can't remember what it is. After she overhears a suspicious conversation Faron gets into with strange men, red flags go up. Just what is it about Faron that is so different yet so familiar? Why does he act the way he does around the caves? He may claim to be on the cave rescue team, but Fee knows it's something more - and when she finds out, the story takes a huge turn towards danger and suspense.

The novel, Dividing Dark , by Melissa Swaim is for the teen market yet this reviewer, well into her 30s, found this book to be such an engaging and adventurous story. Reading this story proved to be an introduction to caving, something I know nothing about. It was interesting reading not only about geological features of caves but also the equipment required. When Faron warned that a trail would require a lot of concentration, I could only nod my head with certainty, as I have only been through one cave and those trails in and around a cave can be hard to navigate if you're not careful. I had to laugh when Fee asked her adventurous friends, "Wouldn't you rather collect stamps or something?" I admired her bravery to put herself through these experiences just to get over her fears, but at some point she starts to crack and her frustrations are obvious. The fear of the dangerous activities involved in caving just grow larger and larger for her - yet she presses on. As much as she tries to do what her friends do to fit in, she pulls the stops at skydiving: "Fee was so not doing that."

Fee has a rebellious side to her. She takes her cell phone to school even though they're prohibited and she agrees to trespass on private property. Caves and tunnels not open to the public are off limits, but because she wants to be accepted by her friends so badly and wants to know what's in the forbidden tunnels, she goes along with their plans to explore them.

She is attracted to the darkness, probably why she feels such a strong attraction to Faron. "I like the darkness," he tells her. Thus his obsession with caves. His room even has a black light, not regular light. Fee herself feels drawn to the dark: "Darkness called to her, ready to reveal itself." In some way, it seems as though this is the sort of life meant for her. Even as Faron keeps locking her out and insisting she'll hate the part of himself that he keeps secret, she in turn keeps telling him "I am in this" as if she started on a path leading to some mysterious destination and she refuses to turn back no matter what she sees. It's the same thing with her determination to conquer her fears about caving: Once she starts on that part, there's no turning back. At the same time, this strange secret of Faron's is becoming a part of her life more and more, even if she does not yet realize it: "Entities sought her from the darkness as if the door could never fully close once open."

The thing I admired most about Fee is her courage. She stays true and devoted to the one she falls in love with. It's very inspiring and refreshing to see this coming from a young character. Teenagers usually break up over stupid reasons and run away from commitments if things get too scary or uncomfortable. So this kind of determination to stay with the one she chooses was a very pleasant reading experience.

Dividing Dark is a story where two worlds come clashing together, in darkness and light. The story is a fun, interesting read that transcends our wildest imaginations and shows just how balance can be restored amid chaos.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

From Happily Ever After Reviews

Monica’s Review

I love Young Adult books and I was really excited to find this Fantasy Young Adult book by Melissa Swaim, who is an author I’d not read before. Let me start out by saying that Ms. Swaim takes a lot of chances in this book, she seems to dream big, and she gives her young heroine—Fee—a lot to do. I really enjoyed the sheer uniqueness of her story.

The concept is that Farron, a shapeshifter who can be both reptile and human, is responsible for handling negotiations between humans and a reptilian race that most humans know nothing about. Fee gets mixed up in this—and with Farron—and finds herself fighting along side him to save the world.

Fee is, I think, a very relatable character to young women. She suffers from an eating disorder and has endured terrible tragedy in her own life, which makes her sensitive and somewhat lost in the beginning of the book. I think a lot of teenagers will relate to her.

If I have any complaints with the book, it is that the author spends a lot of time telling us what Fee is feeling instead of showing us. Ms. Swaim clearly has a tremendous imagination and I think the more she writes the better the craft will get. I recommend Dividing Dark to anyone who likes Young Adult books that delve into fantasy and the paranormal.

3 Tea Cups!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Join in the full moon web hunt to win great prizes

Entry Form - Available 10/1/2010
Find great new authors and new titles while entering to win prizes. Three winners will be drawn after the close of the contest. USA Shipping only. Click on the contest logo.


Visit each sponsors website and find the special hidden graphic. Graphics will be within 1 click of the sponsor’s homepage. You must find all of the required find graphics to be eligible for entry. Complete the entry form and post each sponsors unique web hunt word next to their name. Once you complete the form you will need to click “Submit” for your entry details to be submitted. You must find at least 30 of the hidden graphics to be entered including all of the required finds...45 to be entered for the grand prize.

Entry opens on 10/1/2010

Hunt Ends 10/31/2010 - Midnight PST

win a free copy of Dividing Dark

find the spookmaster graphic and win a free copy of my book. Follow the link to Night Owl Reviews. 3 copies up for grabs.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Then, she saw him. Collecting money for tickets behind the counter up on the right, a brownish blond-haired boy chatted with mismatched tourists, who loudly gushed about their love of caves and all the ones they had visited. The boy didn’t seem to mind. He patiently answered questions about the history of the cave’s owners and the world records the cave held. Probably of interest to some, she supposed.
Curious, Fee crept closer. While awaiting her turn, she sneaked another peek at the good-looking boy in the light blue shirt. He had such pale skin, as if he spent too much time down below. Such odd eyes, though, she mused. Beautiful, gray, and forceful. A strange recognition haunted her, though they had never met. This intrigued her.
As he put a $20 bill into the drawer, he hesitated as if startled. His chin lifted and his attention froze on her, as if she had been more unendurable than the tourists. What did she do wrong? She sucked in a concerned breath, anxiously awaiting his assessment…outsider? He seemed to curiously tilt his head as their eyes locked. A wave of energy passed through them as if they were connected somehow—an unsettling intimacy among strangers. Her heart fluttered when his attention settled on her chest, where her charm rested. Fee immediately focused on her ugly brown boots.
That appeared to snap him out of it. She heard him resume conversation with the couple. She thought he had a pleasant voice, one that some girl might like to hear while lying under the stars. Friendly and confident, he seemed tough enough to handle the rugged terrain, yet with a tenderness for life.
She stole another peek. His deep-set eyes held a sparkle. Outdoorsy and casual, he completed the transaction, as if at home in his natural element, born and bred in these mountains. He was about her age, though taller and lean, but muscular. He obviously kept fit caving. There was something else about him. Sure, his handsome, symmetrical face could melt any girl’s heart, and those lips weren’t too thin—perfect to sink your lips into. Darn those teenage hormones! Before she could gawk any further, the middle-aged couple in their Hawaiian shirts moved aside to snap more pictures to document their day.
Her turn came. Taking a deep breath, in and out, she stepped up. The wooden counter served as a blockade.
“One ticket, please.”
“For what?”
As if the floor gave way, she felt herself spinning. Her brain wrestled to comprehend what he had asked.
“For the next tour.”
“What tour?”
Her heart skipped a beat. She turned to each side. Was she on one of those prank TV shows? He smirked, probably guessing her paranoia. She grew angry. Why had she found him so appealing?
“To tour the cave.” She enunciated each syllable in case he had trouble with her different accent.
“We don’t have a cave.”
Was she caught in a nightmare? He was calmly inferring she was crazy or something. Confusion set in. Her throat constricted and her palms sweated. She would have run away, but she couldn’t move. Then, he laughed in a soft, musical way, knocking her back from her panic attack.
“I’m teasing. That will be $10.”
Fee felt the blood rise, turning her cheeks and the tips of her ears beet red.
“Are you with a group?”
Flustered, Fee met his gaze, begging him not to torture her anymore.
“No, do I need to be?” She was cautious now, in case he was enjoying the abuse of her ignorance.
“No,” he shrugged. “I was just wondering if you were…alone. If you wait by the entrance, I’m starting a tour in five minutes.”
His annoyed expression declared that she had no sense of humor as he took her money and handed her back a ticket. Her trembling fingers snatched it away. He had the nerve to grin roguishly.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Support Literacy and Get a Free Book

Want a free spine-tingling book? Here's how:

Anyone 21 and older, buy my YA novel, Dividing Dark, for yourself, your teen, relative, or reluctant reader (or donate a copy to a library when print is available), then email me( and tell me the symbol on page 151and I will send you a free ebook of Release Me (a spooky, adult novel about aliens for 21+) for you. Get everyone in the family reading.

Dividing Dark, ages 14+ (no smoking, no drugs and no sex, minimal violence).
Release Me, age 21+ (occult theme, sex, and just scary...perfect for Halloween).

Monday, August 9, 2010

out now...

Dividing Dark will be in print in a week....but is out as ebook now.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Me and caves, not the best of friends. Ask my husband. I'm scared of heights, scared of mountains, etc.

But I felt this inner calling to see these dark, mysterious places. Being in a cave is like being on another planet. It is breathtaking, yet alien and dangerous.

When I read in a local paper that the maps to the local caves were being made classified and removed from puplic record, I wondered why. I like a good conspiracy. What are they hiding? I decided to imagine they were hiding Reptile monsters for my book. Who knows? Maybe they are. Now Tennessee is closing all access to their caves. They say it is a virus. Could be. Could be not. People are afraid of viruses, seems like a good excuse or maybe it is true.

All I know is that if people realize how beautiful these places are, they would work to preserve and care for them. It is my hope that people come to love these places like I do. Yes, I'm still scared of going in them, but I respect nature and tread gently upon it.

Share the adventure in my book if you like and then go to these real places and see if you don't feel what I do, and just maybe they will bring magick to your life.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


There is nothing safe in this world, nothing sure to believe in, so how is a 16-year-old girl with an eating disorder supposed to reconcile the ancient wounds between the Annunaki, the Reptilian Watchers, and the human race, who were abandoned after the fall?

After Flannery “Fee” Birch loses her father in Afghanistan, she ends up in the alien land of Alabama, where she learns the art of spelunking (caving) in order to make friends. To make matters worse, Fee is afraid of caves, heights, and just about everything else…until she meets Faron Rothschild, an outcast from either world, though an emissary for both. Faron’s mixed blood kind took up the role of protecting humans, whom the Anunnaki abandoned and later warred with, while also keeping the Anunnaki secret from the world who forgot them. Not an easy task, but a great burden for a shape shifter who can switch between both sets of his DNA, human and Reptilian. This is a secret that must be maintained at all cost, and Fee, who once tried to disappear from life, pound by pound, must overcome personal demons and issues, to not only rectify her own life, but demand truce between light and darkness.

This is the gist of my book. I would love to share why I wrote it, so hang out with me if you have some time. I've written other books, but this one comes from my soul. I had given up writing after a friend of mine (and her mother) was murdered several years ago. I just didn't have it in me to write anymore. Then bits and pieces of this story started coming to me, and I knew I had to listen, so I wrote it and am dedicating it to my friend who never got her happy ending. She was planning her wedding when she was taken away. Maybe that's why the ending of my book took the unexpected direction it did. You see, I never use an outline so I am just as surprised as the reader as to what happens. So Angelique, this book is for you. And to my future readers, please share in it to. I wrote it to warm the hearts of anyone who needs a little darkness taken away. It is for all ages, young adult to adult.