Friday, February 18, 2011

Comic Squad, Kindle Edition - Now Available on Amazon!

When twelve-year-old Alice Thorton moves to strange and unusual Stone Gully, the only tie she has to her recently deceased dad is his prized Joe Dakota comic book collection. The only other person in town who seems to show any interest in this treasure trove is Dwight, a forty-year-old kid and sniveling comic book store owner, who has his own purposes for some of her more rare memorabilia.

He snatches a pair of 3-D glasses to go with his own copy of the matching comic book. In a cyclone of color and light that changes him from a flesh and blood man into a two dimensional drawing in the book, he realizes too late that this extremely rare combination actually opens a portal between the comic book world and his own.

When dastardly Dr. Horror escapes into their sleepy little town, he and his henchman Twitch turn the entire burg on its ear by switching the personality of each adult thanks to a strange blue potion. This chaos buys him some time until he can perfect his ultimate weapon - his mind control potion - uninterrupted.

It is a dangerous concoction that the new world and its fascinating elements can finally help him complete, and he has already singled out a target - the owner of the town's nuclear power plant.

The new world also makes Dr. Horror stronger and younger by the day. Not so coincidentally it simultaneously steals the strength of his nemesis, the superhero Joe Dakota, the minute he tries to join the kids and subdue the villain.

That means it is up to the geeks and the outcasts - a band of misfits, thrown together by their common knowledge of all things comic book - to defeat the bad guy and save their families, their town... and possibly the world.

You used to call them geeks.

Prepare to call them heroes.

"Comic Squad" is the fun adventure for kids of all ages that challenges each individual to be their own hero, and to appreciate the unsung heroes we have right in our own family. It's a story about friendship, about family and the inner courage within.

Join Alice and the gang for the first adventure of The Comic Squad.

For a sample chapter, read here.

Read more about the back story of this novel on Ginger Voight's Amazon page.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hollywood Week - American Idol Season Ten

I should preface this by saying that Group Night is my absolute least favorite part of the whole American Idol process. Well that and Sinatra night, but I digress.

Hollywood Week is great TV for Idol. Lots of drama, lots of emotions, lots of opportunity for train wrecks galore. Never is this more rampant than during Group Night, where all these people who are technically competing against each other for these brutal, deep cuts that will end with our quarter-finalists and force them to work together. These people, most of whom are amateurs, are required to work with their competitors by actually coming up with and subsequently performing a choreographed routine.

The potential to fall on their faces is quite high, and the stress always leaves me with a tummy ache by the time it's over.

The only good thing that could be said about Group Night is it really allows the character, or lack thereof, of each contestant to shine through (whether they want it to or not.)

Divas emerge, as do all the underdogs, and people we hadn't even seen before end up in the spotlight to shine with newfound talent.

It is ONLY for this reason I don't skip the entire shebang.

Last night some of the ones I thought would make it through didn't, and some I had hoped would make it got cut. Some I had previously loved I began to love more, and some I kinda discarded completely.

I also began to pray for karma for some of the more annoying ones I truly began to loathe entirely.

One of those: Tiffany Rios.

That she declared last week (in so many words) that she was better than anyone else did not endear her to the group selection process. Her arrogance never wavered, which probably not only had the audience (and her fellow contestants) want to see the train wreck, they likely would have wanted to operate the train.

I'm a big on on respect even for those who technically count as your competition. Early favorite Scotty McCreery immediately hit my shit list when he blew off an earnest group trying to fill the "Day Two member" requirement while he was looking for a group to join.

The rude way he treated Brett Loewenstern, another of my early favorites, put me off instantly.

You can't run on country boy charm and then treat other people with that level of disrespect. Granted he's only 17, but manners are manners are manners. And being from the south myself, I know that's something you can't fake for long without showing your true core disrespect for other people.

Sad to say that's what happened. But even as disappointed as I was, he didn't deserve to be treated even WORSE by the self-important Jordan Murphy.

He put himself in the position of leader who got to decide who got in the group, only to abandon the group at 1am the next morning to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Needless to say I have no love for Jordan, and really can't see him making it very far with the audience.

Scotty finally found a home with a group that had taken in another Day Two contestant with 15-year-old Jacee Badeaux.

I've loved this little cherub with the voice of an angel since I first saw him sing in New Orleans. He was taken in by another one of my early favorites, Clint Jun Gamboa, the Karaoke King from Long Beach.

This new group then decided to add the deep-voiced Scotty to the mix as a fifth person, although Clint "Jun-bug" was decidedly troubled by the decision.

They too would kick poor Jacee to the curb later that night and send this kid in search for a new group - and a new song - after everyone else had already made their choices.

I. Was. Livid.

Me no like Jun-bug anymore.

Sorry, honey but that was just as diva as what Jordan did.

Eventually Brett's group, who still needed a day 2 contestant, would pull Jacee from the murky cold waters of rejection and give him a home. But the drama continued when Jacee was completely unfamiliar with the music.

As the resident Basket Case, Ashley Sullivan was ready to bring her erratic behavior we saw during the initial audition process right to the drama of Group Night.

She went from excited to join a girl group to almost unreasonably overwhelmed by the constant presence of the stress and the cameras. (Has she not SEEN Idol before?) She promptly decided this wasn't her bag and she wanted to go home. This lasted for most of the show, which left her girl group to fend for themselves while she worked out her wayward emotions.

Of course she came back and went on to perform well given the pressure. By the end of the show I was just completely tired.

Ashley, honey... I say with this with complete seriousness and zero malice or snark.... consider medication.

A group of fifteen and sixteen year olds calling themselves "The Minors" began their rehearsal to perform the classic Queen tune, "Somebody to Love." Their mothers apparently took this opportunity to flex their own creative muscle and began to direct this group.

This immediately stirred up the ire of yet another group performing the same song. James Durbin thought it was a bit unfair that their parents had so much influence when everyone else had to choreograph their own.

I have had my problems with James before, and this night did not endear me to him any more. Least of which is that he screeches his way through every. single. song.

The reason Adam Lambert could whip out his vocal muscle was because he understood the art of layering. There were peaks and valleys, soft notes and screechy screams... but it worked because he didn't depend on the power voice to sell the song.

If James doesn't learn this, he won't be long for this competition. I'm really quite surprised he made it past the Group Night performance.

For the record, the Minors kicked their asses.

As for the Rob/Chelsee thing I'm so over it I can't even talk about it. I gave up on him (the only real person I was rooting for to begin with) around the time he did. That he went home was no big surprise.

Chelsee's another one who will likely suffer from audience perception - I don't see her lasting to the top 10.

In the end, I lost a couple of my favorites, including Devyn Rush:

And Emily Ann Reed:

And discovered a few new favorites, such as Deandre Brackensick, who put the finishing touches on the Minors' "Somebody to Love" so sweet it would have made Freddie Mercury proud:

Matthew Nuss, who has a strong, bluesy rocker vibe with no fear of turning out a performance:

Jacob Lusk from Compton, who showed creativity and a wicked range:

And last, but not least... Carson Higgins, who is just plain fun. Anyone who can sing AND make me laugh = tops in my book.

Some of my favorites are hanging in there, some I didn't even see at all even though I know they had made it through to group night.

Tonight we figure out how we whittle down 100 to 50. After this show I definitely know who I want to go through and who I don't want to see. Chief among those I champion right now are Brett and Jacee, who managed to skate by even when he forgot the lyrics simply because of his unusual circumstances.

If y'all thought I loved em before... that doesn't even touch the maternal instinct I have for them now. And I love Steven for making Jun-bug sweat it out thinking he might go home for his being so douchey. Scotty finally apologized and felt like shit for not standing up for Jacee, which means there could be hope for him yet.

I guess only time will tell. As always.

"Taste of Blood" - Now Available on Amazon!

Reese Mackenzie built a life around fantastic fabrication. As a top reporter at an international tabloid magazine, she made headlines with stories that involved mythical creatures in a modern setting. It was a safe haven for this petite blond with ambition to spare. Especially since real life was often quite a scary place for Reese, who had battled her entire life against scary premonitions that always managed to come true, even when she risked everything to prevent just that.

Eventually she was able to suppress these psychic tendencies underneath prescription medications, and if that didn't work she decided she simply run away. After another vivid nightmare with an all-too-real victim, Reese finagled her way to Romania to investigate a vampire killer.

It sounded perfect, even though she had to share the credit and the accommodations with Brody Vaughn, her flirtatious coworker who cared more about his insatiable libido than his job.

Once Reese and Brody hit Bucharest, however, she makes the frightening discovery that her gift – her curse – was kicked into overdrive, especially concerning the victims of a serial killer who fancies himself a vampire. Victims were turning up completely drained of all their blood from puncture holes in the neck, in some gruesome encore performance of the Transylvania of lore.

Instead of limiting themselves strictly to her dreams, Reese's premonitions begin to arrive via physical contact with future victims. While she tries to piece together her erratic psychic evidence, Romanian police desperate to find their killer hone in on her implausible connection to each of the victims.

Brody becomes her unwitting partner as she investigates the underworld of Bucharest, where human blood suckers lurk in seedy secret nightclubs, ready to make all her nightmares come true. It's a pathway of clues that could lead her to the killer, or send her completely over the edge.

"Taste of Blood" is a gruesome vampire "whodunnit" that takes place in the land of Dracula. This story was formerly optioned as a screenplay and created with the help of a director who pitched the simple concept: "Interview With a Vampire" meets "Se7en."

You can read the first chapter here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Dirty Little Secrets" - Paper Back Release

In addition to the Kindle book available through Amazon (via the link above), "Dirty Little Secrets" is now available in paperback form for just $12.99. If you purchase your copy through my Createspace store, you can save 15% with the special code: D3GNHXLB.

Best selling author Marie D. Jones provides the forward for "Dirty Little Secrets," a story that takes an unflinching look at the shame and self-destruction caused by sexual abuse and religious extremism. Though this 19-year old's dramatic coming of age, we are reminded that we are born with a very strong will to survive despite our darkest circumstances.

10% of all sales will be donated to RAINN, The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Love Plus One e-book, Now Available on Amazon!

Shannon McKenna is a shy production assistant with big dreams and even bigger phobias, most of which are not unrelated to her size 12 figure. She coasts along quite comfortably in the “Shadows”, where she lives vicariously from her fingertips as an aspiring writer.

When her similarly sized boss Dixie dangles a carrot in front of her crew to come up with her next TV project, Shannon teasingly concocts a dating reality show with her best friend, the hunky Jake Dalton. Instead of a traditional format, there would be a “mole” at the bachelorette pad, who would provide all the inside scoop of how the girls really behaved to the bachelor in question.

The only wrinkle in her plan is her coworker Rex, or, as Shannon likes to call him, Dogface, Lord of the Reptilian People. Thanks to Dollar Margarita Night she confesses her idea to him. He promptly steals some of her thunder undermining the idea only to pounce on her proposal while she dallies in her insecurity. Thus he virtually robs her from a producing credit.

With a little help from Jake and her fairy godmother Jorge, Shannon decides to sabotage the entire shebang by rigging it from the inside out. She and Jake would star in the show, and the hunky hero would choose the mole - the "Every Woman" - instead of the bevy of beauties that had already been cast.

Problem is, the more they fake it the easier it is for Shannon to feign a budding romance with her best buddy. Before long she has lost her heart, and some of her sanity, as she attempts to navigate the tricky waters of reality TV.

After ten years of friendship she finally realizes she loves Jake, just in time to fight off 20 other women to win his heart.

Love Plus One is a romance that starts from the inside out. Through our plus-size heroine we learn you don't have to be perfect to find our perfect mate... we just have to be brave enough to love ourselves first.

It's a love story for the rest of us, and the debut "Real Woman Romance" by author Ginger Voight.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dirty Little Secrets, Now Available on Amazon!

Some skeletons in the closet are real. Just ask Grace McKinney, who is haunted, quite literally, by the sins of her past. A boy with wavy brown hair and vacant dark eyes would pop up unannounced to frightfully remind her that no matter where she went in this life, her dirty little secrets always rode shotgun.

This ghost bore gleeful witness to her slow suicide. At nineteen, Grace had already succumbed to alcohol and drug addiction, thanks mostly to her other, more human, tormentor, Mike Beyer.

Mike, too, was haunted by the past. Instead of turning his abuse inward, he spread it to his wife, their children and of course, to Grace. He was determined to make everyone pay for the things he lost, starting with a vulnerable teenaged girl who would do anything to keep the past secret from her father.

Ezekiel McKinney ruled his home and his church with an iron fist. Any congregant who dared to step out of line would be outed and humiliated and forced to make a public choice - God, or sin. And Zeke knew that choice all too well because he was doing a lifetime penance for his own crimes of passion.

His wife, Olivia, knew her place, and expected her daughter to also tow the line without complaint. That Grace had strayed so far down the wrong path was a source of continual embarrassment for the church and for Olivia herself. She was ready to do anything to set the course straight again.

These houses of cards began to crumble when the strange, exotic beauty named Lauren Olsen came into Grace's life the minute she needed her most – the day she accidentally killed Mike's pregnant wife, Debbie. It will be the first domino to fall that unearths all the dirty little secrets that had haunted them all.

Dirty Little Secrets takes an unflinching look at the shame and self-destruction caused by sexual abuse and religious oppression. Though this 19-year old's dramatic coming of age, we are reminded that we are born with a very strong will to survive despite our darkest circumstances.

Read the #1 rated first chapter for free on Helium: Dirty Little Secrets, Chapter One.

10% of all sales will be donated to

No Kindle? No problem. Download the free application to either your computer or your phone.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

American Idol - Week Two Auditions Nashville

The second audition show of Week Two went to Nashville, or NashVegas as it's known. Ironically, Music City USA actually was sadly lacking on vocal talent - at least from the contestants who made it to air on this particular episode.

It actually made me wish they had stayed a few more days in Milwaukee.

Normally I don't spend too much time on the also-rans, but in Nashville they made up the majority of the show.

So... let's get started.

The first contestant was the baby-voiced Christine McCaffrey came into the room "singing" (I think.)

And despite the fact that she jumped off my annoyance meter in the first 30 seconds or so of airtime - and couldn't answer the question of whether or not she did cartoon voice-overs, the judges still allowed her to sing anyway.

I really don't know whether to take contestants like this seriously. The speaking voice sounded put on, and she performed her audition with this undercurrent that even SHE didn't think she would get through.

Apparently Randy, or Simon's Mini Me as I very well may peg him for the season, had the same misgivings. And when he called her out on it JLo accused him of being mean. (Oh Simon, where art thou?)

Christine went further off into "this chick can't be serious" territory when she told her mother that she managed to get a yes out of Steven Tyler.

And with this, Nashville was off to a very shaky start.

Next up were Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Oh, I'm sorry... I mean Rob "It Sucks" Bolin and Chelsee Oaks. This couple came to Idol to audition together because they apparently have a great partnership when it comes to singing duets.

Lifetime duets, not so much.

Apparently after a breakup they attempted to live together, and Chelsee continued to date even when it was painfully evident Rob was still (and seems to be still) in love with her. Even though it's turned sour and they aren't really even friends anymore, which immediately put Jennifer in Matchmaker Mode. Chelsee explained while they loved each other "very much," it just wasn't happenin'.

Meanwhile .... fidgeted at her side like a puppy who just wanted a scratch behind the ears.

Finally they treated the judges with a duet, the painfully appropriate tune, "To Love Somebody."


Rob was asked to sing alone and he chose "What's Goin' On" by Marvin Gaye. He had a gravelly, soulful delivery I really wasn't expected from the duet - since she sort of overpowered him when they sang. (If I was a shrink I'd say that probably wasn't limited to just the singing...)

Then Chelsee sang The Story, and without him to sing off of her voice actually thinned out quite a bit in the beginning and she began to fidget as well. (Might have been nerves.) I'm not entirely convinced she possesses the self-confidence yet to take center stage as a solo artist.

Ultimately they both got a golden ticket, which would have likely happened had they not auditioned together but I think it's a misguided idea that this experience will bring them closer together. Far more likely it will wrench them both apart, because I can totally see only one of the two making it past Hollywood week.

My money's on Rob. Just on Karma alone.

(I personally thought that was the saddest thing ever when they came out of the room and she had a virtual posse to congratulate her - including a new boyfriend - and poor Rob wandered out like a poor little lost puppy dog.

I can totally see this as a recurring them.

Tattoo artist Allen Lewis was up next, and wins the award for possibly the nicest and most fun contestant of the season, especially for one who didn't have a chance to make it onto the show beyond an audition.

But he was a big ol' teddy bear who went on his way philosophizin' and still made me smile. (N' I predict we'll see him again when the finale rolls around.)

May we all take criticism so well.

Beauty pageant Stormi Henley was next.

Steven commented on her tiny little squeaky voice and wondered if she had ever just cut loose with her voice. Jennifer didn't feel the voice was strong enough, but Steven felt there was enough there to build upon and encouraged Randy to vote yes.

JLo raised an immediate objection that Stormi's voice was easily the smallest one they had heard thus far, and stated the guys voted more based on her looks than her talent.

For which I kinda just fell in love with her a little bit for saying so.

Adrienne Beasley attempted to sing her way from the farm to Hollywood, to pay her adopted parents back for how they took her in and gave her a home.

The country influence was quite strong, which gave her an exotic flavor. Steven told her that she had something special in her voice and that she almost made her cry, and their positive responses brought her to tears.

It never ceases to amaze me how the ones who just "know" they are God's give to music are usually the most tone deaf. I can almost predict from the get-go who is actually land right on their smug faces.

I could almost turn it into a drinking game.

Which, when the auditions didn't pick up, I was sorely tempted to.

I did love how Steven reached around and scolded Randy. "Don't tell people they're not good."

Honey, ya know I love ya... but sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind.

Twenty-eight year old Jackie Wilson brought a little Janice to the stage and let her rip, ensuring her way to Hollywood.

I liked her so much I'll leave out any snarky comment on the whole boyfriend situation.

Paul McDonald tackled a Rod Stewart tune, and definitely had a lil somethin' somethin' in his voice. (Could definitely benefit from a stylist though. And stage coaching.)

Jimmie Allen continued the streak for the guys with a lil R&B flava.

Danny Pate sang one of my favorite Temptations tunes EVER with a little blue-eyed soul.

Speaking of style, Matt Dillard showed up in his overalls which I immediately wanted to gleefully mock, but then he goes and throws a wrench in the works by being so flipping NICE. His family takes in special-needs children and he belted out a Groban tune despite his overalls an straw hat.

The votes were split, Jennifer didn't think the audition was strong enough. He made it to Hollywood but whether or not he can survive the shark tank being so dang NICE remains to be seen.

So apparently we're going to be Carrie Underwooded again. Ryan threw to commercial with a tease that we didn't want to miss the "first step in her Idol career," which pretty much takes any and all suspense out of whether or not Lauren Alaina.

This 15 year old has the personality of Kelly Pickler and the voice of Carrie, and she possesses quite a bit of confidence to make the stage her own when she takes it. She also has a sparkling personality that unlike some other younguns who made it through, I don't think it'll be grating.

Somehow though, being told that this is *the one* turns me off a lil bit. It may be true but I have yet to see a winner in this bunch, really. And that's possibly because I never really know who is going to make it until they hit the semi-finals. Being in front of an audience with the band is really where I see those stars emerge.

But I have no doubt - at all - that she's going to SAIL through Hollywood week and end up easily in the top 10.

This was a hard bunch to really handicap aside from Lauren. I really liked Jackie, Adrienne and Rob and would like to see more of them... but right now the jury is pretty much out on those who are coming from Nashville.

On to tomorrow... when Idol comes to my home state's capital city of Austin, whose motto is "Keep it Weird."

Oh yeah. It's gonna be fun.