Thursday, December 27, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - Touch of Death by Kelly Hashway

Buy Link: Amazon

Jodi Marshall isn't sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she's in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she's being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns heÆs not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she's part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendants of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.Jodi's deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn't difficult enough, Jodi discovers she's the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can't figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

Q:   What are / were your favorite book (s) of the year?
(bonus points if you know how many books you read.)

I've read over 50 books this year and I've had a lot of favorites.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brady Christianson - The Devil's Garden - Guest Post & Giveaway



About the Book

A Marine’s past is never far behind him, but sometimes it’s a lot closer than he thinks . . .

After years of enjoying the soft, quiet, civilian, family life, former Recon Marine Brandon Colson still has a large price on his head…only his family doesn’t know it. That is, until a heavily armed squad of terrorists breaks into his house and tries to kill him and his family.

After swiftly dispatching the would-be assassins, Colson realizes the ghosts from his past have somehow managed to come back to haunt him. His worst nightmare has come true. His identity—a secret until now—has been mysteriously compromised. Something he did years ago, while on a recon mission during his tour of service, has kept anger burning in the hearts of powerful Arab adversaries. And the men who attacked his house are simply an omen of what is to come.

With his family in hiding, Colson and local detective Sam Collier set out to locate and neutralize the remainder of the terrorist cell. It’s a race against time, and the plot they uncover along the way defies all expectation.

Their fates in the balance until the last second, the two men must fight for their lives as they navigate a trail littered with bloodshed and revenge that leads straight to hell on earth: The Devil’s Garden.


Guest Post

The fog of war is a place where confusion rules, innocence dies and demons are born. Sometimes these demons come back to haunt a man and other times they simply come back to kill him. Few men would welcome the fight, which is to say, a proud and terrible few. The Devil’s Garden twists a Recon Marine’s worst nightmare into a deadly reality.

There is a saying in Recon: There is no life after Force. The lack of adrenaline and ensuing boredom will kill a warrior’s spirit. However, former Recon Marine Brandon Colson has a different kind of death to fear. After years spent in remote deserts and jungles on the other side of the planet dreaming of a quiet, civilian, family life, he finally has it. The problem is he has a large price on his head that even his family doesn’t know about: He is wanted by terrorists he worked to bring down. With revenge in their hearts and murder on their minds, Colson’s enemies plan to revisit his sins upon him, his wife and his children. When a heavily armed squad of assassins arrives at his home in the middle of the night, he quickly dispatches the men, but knows the identity he buried deep in his past is no longer a secret. With his family in hiding, he makes it his personal mission to eliminate the threat to his family and reclaim the life he’s made.

The Devil’s Garden captures the irreconcilable thoughts and trepidation of a military man turned family man who must now fight to protect his family. As Colson’s crucial mission leads him to the Devil’s Garden of Florida, a forgotten wasteland of swamps, collapsed shacks, and lost souls, he finds that the midnight attack on his home was simply an omen of what is to come. With his fate in the balance until the last second, Colson must navigate a trail littered with bloodshed and revenge.

***

The Devil's Garden can be purchased at:
Amazon
MyBookOrders.com

Price: $14.95 paperback
ISBN: 9781938690167
Pages: 391
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Release: November 11, 2012


About the Author

Brady Christianson is a former United States Marine Corps Recon Marine whose military service and Christian faith has shaped his writing.

Connect with Brady:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site


About the Giveaway

Leave a comment with your email address to enter to win a PDF ebook of The Devil's Garden.

Ends 12/31/2012

No comments = no winner.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Charles O'Keefe - The Newfoundland Vampire - Author Interview


Author Interview

1. Why did you choose this setting
I chose Newfoundland because it was where I was born and where I've lived my whole life. Also since my main character, Joseph, is based highly on me it seemed to make the most sense. That's not to say the book doesn't take place in other places but Newfoundland is the primary one.

2. How is it a fundamental part of your overall theme?
Hmm, well I like to think Newfoundland is a very unique place, it's isolated, cold (for a lot of the year) but the people are very friendly and we have beautiful scenery and wildlife. Joseph takes the lessons and moral's he's learned while living in Newfoundland and applies to dangerous/morally questionable situations he's put in as a vampire. Also since there is plenty of wildlife here and Joseph is a vegetarian, it made for a convenient (and sometimes amusing) choice for him to find blood.

3. How challenging was it to write about?
To be honest I didn't find it challenging at all. The scenes in the book which occur in Newfoundland where all set in places I have been and even went back to take pictures for the book. I have a much better memory for places and events that I do people and names.

4. How did you develop your setting as you wrote your book?
I thought of the places I love to go in Newfoundland (and places I thought would be interesting/creepy/beautiful for the reader) and described them as best I could. As I hinted at above, when I was in the later editing stages I spent a couple of hours going back to places I had described and took pictures. They were useful in several ways, they jogged my memory, they helped me add a few more details and I got to use four of the pictures I took on the back cover.

5. How do you transport them there through your writing?
I try to describe everything about the area, the smells, the sounds, little details that I would notice and that I believe Joseph (and the reader's) would notice as well. If I have been to street or area and I have feelings about it I'll put those feelings in as well (though sometimes for places I haven't been they are what I imagine Joseph or Cassandra would feel). I also put in street names in any town/city setting so that if they reader has been there they know exactly where I'm talking about or they can also look it up on the internet if you're curious.

6. How do you introduce them to an area they may not be familiar with?
Since they're vampires they have enhanced senses. So I talk a lot about smell, whether it's an industrial smell, wildlife or just people. They also can sense other vampires so that it something else they do whenever they enter a strange area. Otherwise Joseph is a an observant/geeky guy and I have him do things I would like to do (or have already done) or he points out details he already knew from having been there before or having learned about a place from another source.

7. How do you go about making the setting come alive for the reader?
As my editor told me, it's the details (actually I had two people tell me that, so it must be true :) I try to used all five senses as much as possible. Also as Newfoundland is know for a lot of fog, wind, rain and snow I try to have the weather play a part. The fog can create a sense of mystery, danger and suspense. Why pouring rain can make the characters sad or also create a dangerous scene if they are climbing or fighting with swords.

Excellent questions, thanks so much for having me and I hope you and all they reader's of this blog have a wonderful Christmas season :-)


About the Book

Like every other geek alive, Newfoundland native Joseph O’Reily secretly wants to be a superhero. At thirteen he fantasized about being a vampire, and ten years later he’s still fantasizing – but mostly about a beautiful redheaded woman who has eyes only for him. The one thing different about Joseph’s adult fantasy is that, amazingly, it comes true one night when he goes to a local university pub. Cassandra Snow, literally the woman of his dreams, invites him to her place for an evening of personal pleasure. Of course he’s not going to say no. But when strange things start happening afterward, Joseph quickly learns that not all dreams should come true. 

Prices/Formats: $10.99 paperback, $2.99 ebook
Pages: 224
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Penumbra Publishing
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Buy Link: AmazonKindle 


About the Author

Charles O'Keefe currently lives in the beautiful province of Newfoundland where he work as an Inventory Manager at O’Keefe Agencies. He is happily married and we has two furry children named Jude and Esther. He enjoys many hobbies such as walking, Pilates, writing, reading, movies, gaming, television,acting, poker and of course vampires (not the sparkly kind!). Lately he has been focused on writing and after his first novel, "The Newfoundland Vampire" came out in April of this year was soon hard at work on a sequel. For those interested in his first book please look here. He believes in animal rights and I have been a strict vegetarian for many years. He also believe in helping to save our planet and trying to help people whenever he can. He would also describe myself as Agnostic. He has a BA in English along with Masters in education which provided me with him with a brief teaching career. 

Links to connect with Charles:
Web site
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Friday, December 14, 2012

Feature & Follow

Feature & Follow

Q:  What is the last book that made you cry? Tell us about the scene....

I usually don't get that emotionally involved when reading a book but "Tuesday's With Morrie" had to be the one that made my eyes tear up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - Tangled by Kathleen Gerard


Buy Link: Amazon

After twenty-seven years of marriage - and twenty-seven years spent with an artificial Christmas tree - Edward and Annie finally purchase a fresh pine. When they bring the tree home, however, the presence of the ample Scotch pine suddenly stirs a range of emotions in this long-married couple.

Tangled is a powerfully moving, compact short story from our Nibs line that captures the deeper essence of the Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

Q:  Do you keep a list of the books you've read?

To complete the whole question, I have to say I keep an on-line track and a written list of books I have read, so not to re-read or buy the same book.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

John Catenacci - Dianna's Way - Author Interview & Guest Post



About the Book

Dianna is a young woman in her late 20’s when she meets John, a man in his late 40's. They fall in love and marry. A central feature of their life plan is to have one child to fulfill her fervent lifelong dream of being a mother.

Not to be.

Not long into their marriage, Dianna discovers she has an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Hand in hand, they begin a 17 year spiritual journey into the nature of love and healing. Along the way, she discovers and fulfills her life purpose and, in the process, takes John by the hand, gently helping him to reveal, then fulfill, his own.

In the beginning, John, being much older, thought he would be her teacher but gradually discovers in the most important dimensions of life quite the opposite is true. With Dianna’s guidance, he ultimately discovers we are all teachers, we are all students and we are all one.

Theirs is a story of courage, determination and a lightness of being, as they descend into the deepest valleys of crushing disappointment, pain and suffering only to rise again to ever higher peaks of appreciation, gratitude and love. Throughout it all, their journey is laced with light and laughter.

Even today, after her passing, they continue their relationship, piercing the Illusion that veils this reality, exploring its limits while continuing a spiritual journey without end.


Author Interview

Open your book to a random page and tell us what’s happening.
In my reality, nothing in life is random — or accidental. When I was about to write this response, I happened to look out the window and saw three – three – hummingbirds dancing around a honeysuckle – have never seen this before – like Dianna saying “talk about the hummingbird chapter.”

While I was writing the book, it occurred to me to use a hummingbird as one metaphor for how Dianna lived her life – flitting from person to person, embracing their love whole heartedly while impregnating each one with a simple grace, unflagging humor and ineffable love in return, all in one magical spontaneous exchange.

The look of triumph on her face, her excitement and joy, when the first hummingbird showed up in our yard was unforgettable. She had worked so hard for several years, planting for them, and finally there it was, this little Ruby Throated blur. In that moment I saw, once again, her determination, patience, faith, appreciation and gratitude all in one tiny vignette during one day of our lives.

Do you plan any subsequent books?
An already almost fully formed book is in my mind now. Better writers than I have said don’t talk about a book idea or the energy for writing it will bleed away, leaving it stillborn.


John's wife, Dianna

Tell us what you’re reading at the moment and what you think of it.
The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die by John Izzo and The Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware because I am old enough now where I should pay attention to these things — probably before tomorrow — and A Broken Sausage Grinder by Hank Thomas, a friend of mine and The Almost Archer Sisters by Lisa Gabriele, a relative and friend of mine. I often read several books at a time, switching back and forth depending on my mood. All are interesting in different ways and for different reasons.

There is so very much talent in the world isn’t there?

***

Price: $16.95 paperback
ISBN: 9780985247904
Pages: 365
Release: December 14, 2012


About the Author

After spending his youth doing cement construction work while getting his education, John Catenacci earned a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He went on to work on the Apollo 11 Project as a member of the USAF in California, then as an engineer for the Dow Chemical Company in Midland, MI, doing both process research as well as designing and building chemical plants.

Mid-career he became interested in group dynamics, leading to another 20-year career in team building that took him across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Saudi Arabia.

With a sprinkling of published short stories and articles in small magazines along the way, his abiding passion has always been writing, something now coming to fruition in this, his first book.

Connect with John:
Web Site
Facebook
Blog Tour Site

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - Fever by Mary Beth Keane


Buy Link: Amazon

A bold, mesmerizing novel about the woman known as “Typhoid Mary,” the first known healthy carrier of typhoid fever in the early twentieth century—by an award-winning writer chosen as one of “5 Under 35” by the National Book Foundation.

Mary Mallon was a courageous, headstrong Irish immigrant woman who bravely came to America alone, fought hard to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic service ladder, and discovered in herself an uncanny, and coveted, talent for cooking. Working in the kitchens of the upper class, she left a trail of disease in her wake, until one enterprising and ruthless “medical engineer” proposed the inconceivable notion of the “asymptomatic carrier”—and from then on Mary Mallon was a hunted woman.

In order to keep New York’s citizens safe from Mallon, the Department of Health sent her to North Brother Island where she was kept in isolation from 1907-1910. She was released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary—spoiled by her status and income and genuinely passionate about cooking—most domestic and factory jobs were heinous. She defied the edict.

Bringing early twentieth-century New York alive—the neighborhoods, the bars, the park being carved out of upper Manhattan, the emerging skyscrapers, the boat traffic—Fever is as fiercely compelling as Typhoid Mary herself, an ambitious retelling of a forgotten life. In the hands of Mary Beth Keane, Mary Mallon becomes an extraordinarily dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable character.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - The Newfoundland Vampire by Charles O'Keefe


Buy Link: Amazon

Like every other geek alive, Newfoundland native Joseph O’Reily secretly wants to be a superhero. At thirteen he fantasized about being a vampire, and ten years later he’s still fantasizing – but mostly about a beautiful redheaded woman who has eyes only for him. The one thing different about Joseph’s adult fantasy is that, amazingly, it comes true one night when he goes to a local university pub. Cassandra Snow, literally the woman of his dreams, invites him to her place for an evening of personal pleasure. Of course he’s not going to say no. But when strange things start happening afterward, Joseph quickly learns that not all dreams should come true.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - Truly. Madly. Deeply. You. by Cecilia Robert


Buy Link: Amazon

Four days before Valentine’s Day, Liese Hansfeld is determined to shut the door to her house, as well as her heart, for her annual four days of mourning her one true love. Little does she know her best friend Freytag Meier is just as determined to keep her from her ritual. He’s ready to pick the lock to her apartment door and camp in her living room if that’s what it takes.

What Freytag isn’t prepared for is the surge of deep-rooted emotions he feels for Liese, but two things stand in his way: the grief and guilt she still clutches close to her heart, and a man who threatens to snatch Liese from under Frey’s watchful eye. Frey is determined to distract her into forgetting her pain. But is that enough to ease her grief, or help her see he can be more than her best friend?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - Game On by Kyra Lennon


Buy Link: Amazon

After swapping her small town life to work for one of the top soccer teams in the U.S, Leah Walker thought she could finally leave the ghosts of her past behind. However, when she meets serial womanizer, Radleigh McCoy, the memories of her old life come swarming back, and she is forced to ask herself whether she has really changed at all.

Friday, November 9, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - In Transit: A Novel by Kathleen Gerard


Buy Link: Amazon

Can a rookie cop survive the men who cross her path in the NYPD?

When a psychic in a shopping mall tells Rita Del Vecchio that she is "destined for greatness," and she will "marry a man in uniform," the restless, wet-behind-the-ears, 22 year-old decides to finally take control of her life. Rita sets out on a quest to become a New York City Police Officer. But can a spry, feisty, single woman thrive in the gritty world of New York's Finest?

Leaving behind the suburbs of New Jersey and a job as an under-tipped waitress, Rita Del Vecchio hangs up her apron and ballet slippers for a bullet-proof vest. But will she wear it? And if she does, will it protect her on the mean streets of Manhattan? Can it also protect her from Cupid’s arrows if they should land amiss?

Rita is assigned to the New York City Transit Police Squad and gets more than she bargained for. Riding the Lexington Avenue Subway Line, Rita winds up meeting not one man in uniform, but many. Whom will she love?

In Transit is a woman-in-jeopardy story, a post 9-11 novel, that delves into the ordinary lives of NYPD career cops and how their fates are often determined by people who hold secrets as dark and as labyrinth-like as the New York City Subway System.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - Spectral by Shannon Duffy



Buy Link: Amazon

Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe — the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along.

As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Feature&Follow

Feature&Follow

Q: What is a deal breaker for you in a book? For example, do you abhor love triangles? Or can't deal with bad editing?

I'm not crazy about love triangles unless it is necessary for the plot, and I really do not like bad editing.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - Until Next Time: The Angel Chronicles, Book 1 by Amy Lignor


Buy Link: Amazon

How does a girl choose between the one who steals her heart and the one who owns her soul?

Matt and Emily were created for a specific job. Raised and trained as the ultimate angel/warrior team, they are sent down to save, defend, judge and forgive, depending on the 'life' they've been assigned. What they don't realize is that the power of human emotions, such as love, anger, passion and fear can take over even the best of souls, causing them to make mistakes and follow paths that lead to confusion and heartache.

When the reason for their training is finally revealed, the angel/warrior team find themselves thrust into a world they know nothing about. Matt takes over the life of Daniel, a young man with a great deal of baggage. Emily becomes Liz, a girl living in a remote village who relies on nothing more than her own strength to survive. A violent storm erupts one night, and framed in the window of Liz's establishment is a frightening face. Let in by the soul of a Good Samaritan, the two visitors bring with them a past full of secrets that could literally change an angel's path and a warrior's plans.

From murder to redemption, this angel/warrior team must find a way to keep the faith they have in each other in a world that's ripping them apart.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

Are there any good books that you read in spite of the cover and ended up wondering what on earth the artist and publisher were thinking to pair up a cover that so badly represented a perfectly good book?
and... if you didn't like the cover, what made you pick up the book? the author? assigned reading from school? a recommendation from a friend.

I wasn't too crazy about the Harry Potter covers, but what was inside spoke for itself, great reading.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Suzanne Stroh - Tabou - Author Interview & Giveaway (explicit content warning)



Due to a lack of entries, there is no giveaway winner.

About the Book

Teenage brewing heiress Jocelyn Russet begins her Odyssey as erotic love and adventure collide with hidden desires, forgotten memories and secret histories in Book One of the five-part TABOU saga.

When disaster strikes after pursuing her heart's desire in a Swiss ski chalet, Joss locks horns in a London ballroom with another fiery, powerful heiress from a different generation: Patience Herrick, daughter of the three-time American ambassador to Britain. Their fireworks launch a double coming-of-age story that jets from Madeira to Capri, from Paris to Boston, with its unexpected climax in New York's '21' Club.

Why can't they remember their first meeting in the Virginia countryside when Joss had been a girl of six and Patience had been a raging addict? What key does this forgotten memory hold, ten years later, as revenge strikes and terror looms in Los Angeles?

Meanwhile, Joss fights dynastic pressures. "Show me the legacy of a lesbian couple," challenges her English mother.

“A girl could be born rich, but nobody was born a hero," as Joss soon discovers on the eve of a first date that will rock her world and change her life forever.


Author Interview

1. Please tell us about your current release.
Patience launches my sexy quintet of novels, TABOU, a saga that spans 100 years on four continents and recounts the erotic Odyssey of Jocelyn Russet, the 27-year old brewing heiress born in London and raised in the Virginia countryside.

In each book, Jocelyn meets her destiny on one big night, when her fate turns on secret histories and forbidden encounters with a different woman every time. The novels interlock, as in The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell, and they can be read in any order, thanks to the Prologues that open each novel and the indexes that help readers keep track of the cast of characters. The whole project hearkens to the heyday of the 19th century novel, where readers could immerse themselves in detailed worlds peopled by dozens of characters. Edgy, modern action and full-spectrum erotic writing updates the series to give it a “classic modern” feel.

Book One is a double love story that is part rollicking adventure, part sexy romp through the glittering 1980s and 1990s, set in London and Los Angeles. It’s the tale of two British-born heiresses of different generations, Jocelyn Russet and Patience Herrick, both coming of age at the same time. Are they made in heaven, or star-crossed? What forgotten memories do they share, what secret legacies must they uncover and take charge of, and why are their families being targeted for terror?

2. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?
TABOU began as an unproduced Hollywood screenplay that focused on Jocelyn and Sylvie Russet and Jocelyn’s climbing partner, Zander Duffield. It fulfilled the basic requirements of good drama: three act structure and a compelling narrative with a love interest and an antagonist. I dreamed of Catherine Deneuve in the role of the 45-year-old Cognac heiress, Sylvie Russet, in the vein of INDOCHINE, the blockbuster epic Deneuve had just starred in so magnificently, but the movie project fell through.

My characters had really come to life, and now they wouldn’t let me go. Early on, I realized that there were deeper stories I wanted to tell about how love and Eros, business and spy craft, run in families just like other heritable traits. Telling stories that spanned four generations or more required a format more ambitious than film, or even a single novel. It took years for me to find the right “glue” that would bind nine families together on four continents over four generations. The day I realized Patience Herrick was an epic heroine strong enough to parry Jocelyn and Sylvie, with her own family business story that could carry a quintet, I knew I had a series on my hands. Aurore de Fillery and Valerie Drummond, Countess of Tiffin and Ross, sprung out of that seed. And soon I could see the organic whole taking shape.

So Book One of TABOU is a love letter to the real Patience. She is one of only two characters in TABOU modeled closely after a single person; the rest are truly composites.

TABOU is not autobiographical fiction, but it does draw deeply from my experience, and it is fair to say that as a mountaineer, motorcyclist, screenwriter, field medic and family business specialist based in the Virginia countryside, I truly live what I write about in TABOU.

I worked feverishly on the first draft of TABOU six days a week while still nursing my baby daughter, completing it in about seven months. Then I took a break and re-read a lot of period biographies, along with two great novel cycles from the late 1950s that compliment one another and balance the stylistic influences of TABOU.

First I re-read The Alexandria Quartet, a literary masterpiece by Lawrence Durrell, whose artistic aim was to explore the four dimensions of love in an era when Einstein had just discovered time as the fourth dimension of space. I followed that with another run-through of the Peter and Charlie Trilogy by Gordon Merrick, published after Merrick’s death from 1959-1961. This was a serious work of literary erotica by a successful author of gay “potboilers,” his explicit, homoerotic romances that critics had ghettoized. Merrick was a major talent. But as E.M. Forster had done with Maurice, he refused to publish the Peter and Charlie books during his lifetime. The subject matter was too taboo.

No longer! What really gripped me about the Peter and Charlie books, besides the first class erotic writing, was the family saga. What other gay epic gave the heroic lovers children—and the struggles of parenthood pitted against Eros? Merrick was taking Durrell’s “fourth dimension” (the enduring powers—both creative and destructive--of love over time) to the next level. Literary giants like Forster, Lawrence, Woolf, Sackville-West and others had dreamed about it—but never accomplished it. I wanted all that sexy continuity for TABOU…and more.

For readers around the world, generations of their own family histories have been lost because of taboos that forbid truth telling about the wide range and variety of sexual desire and experience, not to mention its power to transform history. Helen’s face launched 1,000 ships, remember? Bosie’s charms landed Oscar Wilde in prison. Who paid the price? Who inherited the spoils?

Historians and biographers have become franker in writing colorful and meaningful gay, lesbian and bisexual lives. Recent biographies of Alan Turing and Walt Whitman vie with my personal favorite by Victoria Glendinning, Vita, in the pantheon. But the living legacies of these lives remain unclaimed by their heirs, or else squandered. Who knows the adventures of her great-great gay uncle, or the heroic deeds of his three-greats lesbian aunt? Greta Garbo’s niece threatens legal action against those who pry too deeply into Garbo’s life story, as if their consanguinity is still a threat. For those of us who crave connection and continuity across generations, James Joyce made much of the difference between spiritual paternity and actual paternity in Ulysses, but does anybody remember? Dolly Wilde told anyone who would listen, in Paris between the wars, that she was more like her uncle Oscar Wilde than he was like himself. But when she died, that continuity appeared to have vanished…until, out of the blue, Jamie O’Neill wrote a brilliant novel called At Swim, Two Boys, which revealed him as the spawn of the gay Wilde and the hetero Joyce. Why have so few talented writers addressed this huge gap in consanguinity and continuity between us and our queer forebears?

This is the great question that spurred me on through many drafts to finish and publish TABOU now. My mission: to mind the gap. Then to bridge it, one erotic fiction at a time, since we have lost the links in the real human daisy chain over the last century.

I bring an unusual perspective to TABOU. As a descendant of John Hart, who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and as a fifth-generation owner of the international Stroh’s brewing business that had been in my family since 1848 in America, then back to 1509 in the Palatinate (Germany), it seemed like nowhere was this yawning gap more visible than in my own milieu. So I built the mythology of TABOU around the world I was born into and raised in and now pass down to my daughter: the world of political dynasties and business families that bears some resemblance to the Olympian heights. Here on Earth, with the help of the “chattering classes,” it’s a world that has taken such painstaking care to trace its own history from generation to generation for centuries. But it’s a history that has left out the biggest change agent of all: the wide variety of sexual experience that perennially inspires us, nourishes our souls, enlivens our art, and strengthens our connections between love and Eros in every generation.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but one of my beta readers summarized what I’d accomplished like this: “At first I was like, ‘who are these people?’ And then I got it! They’re dripping rich and saving the world!”

3. What book on the market does yours compare to? How is your book different?
TABOU is a literary reader’s Fifty Shades of Grey, without the BDSM. It has great sex writing, like Fifty Shades of Grey, but it is neither mommy porn nor genre fiction built on the formula for stock erotica. The gaps between the sex scenes are much longer, and those gaps are filled with more intriguing plots that involve many more characters. It also presents all kinds of couples in love: gay, straight, bisexual, single and partnered, young and old, able-bodied and disabled, faithful and unfaithful to their spouses.

Like the novel series by Edward St. Aubyn, TABOU is set in a glittering world of bluebloods and elites. But these elites are not your typical “1%.” Unlike St. Aubyn’s abusive elites, TABOU’s international elites are productive, not destructive. They are on a mission led by a moral code, a reason for being—a higher purpose that is revealed progressively as characters accept hidden legacies and face life-threatening challenges after discovering secret histories.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’d start with the sex writing. Very little literary fiction published today has truly great sex writing in it that explores the full range of sexual experience. And almost no erotica delivers the deep satisfaction of a good literary novel. My work bridges this gap. You won’t find hot sex every 30 pages, as in genre fiction. But you’ll keep every volume of TABOU by your bedside, no matter whom you share your bed with!

My writing is a personal blend of deep artistic influences in several genres, including biography, giving rise to some unconventional quirks. One of my goals has been to counteract the predictability of so much contemporary fiction, in part by re-inventing the experience of really getting lost in a juicy 19th century saga peopled with dozens of fascinating characters, each with his or her own vivid storyline. To make it easier for readers to follow all the characters, I’ve provided character indexes, the way a biographer would index a biography.

Technically, TABOU requires commitment from the reader, in the way that the music of Kanye West is challenging—but worth it. It’s not a breezy read; nor is it a slim volume. It takes at least 100 pages to “get into” a novel cycle this big, but then you’re hooked, if you’re like 50% of my beta readers who became addicted! TABOU’s pleasures are deeper. They grow on you.

For instance, TABOU is ambitious in throwing out the conventional linear narrative in favor of the pleasures of being able to peek into the future and to jump back into the past instantaneously. A benefit of blending the past, the present and the future together in every book is that you can read the books in any order. It’s kind of like enjoying the possibility of multiple endings in a computer game. You will have a unique experience of TABOU, depending on how you choose to read it. The dual narratives begin, in Book One, on the same March day in 1993 and 2003, each progressing from there. You know you’re in a flashback, recalling past events, when you see dialog ‘in single quotes like this.’ Dialog in the main story “looks like this.” And future events are written in bold italics. You won’t get confused because all this is explained in the Author’s Note that appears in the end matter of every TABOU eBook.

Readers will also notice lots of interior dialog, reflecting multiple points of view, along with lots of verb phrases in my books. Screenwriting has taught me to craft edgy sentences that begin with verb phrases. It’s a screenwriters’ convention that energizes the pace and adds immediacy to the narrative.

5. Open your book to a random page and tell us what’s happening.
It’s 4:00 p.m. in Los Angeles in 1993 at the height of the “British invasion” of Hollywood. Patience Herrick, daughter of the three-time American ambassador to Great Britain, pretty much rules the city’s social calendar. Tonight she needs to get out of throwing a dinner party in Bel Air for a French champagne princess, where the Hollywood elite will mingle with the US Vice President—all so she can celebrate her tenth anniversary with Jocelyn Russet, the love of her life, the brewing heiress Patience seduced in a London ballroom. So tonight is a date made in heaven—that Patience completely forgot about.

She calls her best friend Calandra Seacord for help. Calandra can definitely host the party in her place; she’s Greek and gorgeous, an Arianna Huffington double, married to the man running for Governor of California. Calandra and Patience grew up together in London. Patience knows her well and loves her like a sister. But Patience doesn’t know everything. Calandra is a secret agent working for the champagne princess, hunting down unprosecuted Nazi war criminals, kidnapping them, and bringing them to mock trials in order to recover stolen assets. Calandra can’t risk being seen socially with the princess, so she has to make up a plausible reason why she can’t do this important favor tonight for Patience.

There’s another problem: Patience is a world-class judge of character. Nothing slips past her. Calandra can’t let Patience on to her secret. So in order to distract Patience, Calandra reveals the biggest secret of Patience’s life. And when she does, Patience begins a journey of recalling lost memories that will change her life forever….starting with her anniversary date tonight….

6. Do you plan any subsequent books?
Book Two, Jocelyn, is now available. Book Three, Sylvie, will go on sale in time for the 2012 holiday season. The cycle will conclude with Books Four and Five in 2013. Each TABOU book features a sneak preview of the next book.

7. Tell us what you’re reading at the moment and what you think of it.
I’ve always got a few books going at any given time. I love reading in multiple genres. Do you?

In erotic fiction, I’ve started Fifty Shades Darker by EL James, and while it’s a fun, breezy read with the sex writing as good as ever, I’m not surprised to find the thin plot growing even thinner. I love to read great sex writing, but I like it in better taste and more measured doses with deeper character development, more going on with more characters, and exciting story lines. I much preferred The Last Nude by Ellis Avery, which I devoured, almost in one sitting. It’s about the cocaine-fueled obsession of Modernist painter Tamara de Lempicka for her 17-year old model Raphaela, whose portraits secured Lempicka’s rock star status in Paris between the wars. I’m also reading Afterimage by Helen Humphreys, the fictional account of another muse obsession, this time by pioneer English photographer Julia Margaret Cameron for her housemaid.

Two graphic novels have captured my attention. I just finished really Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. It’s the first work by Bechdel I can really connect with. It’s a very compelling, but heavy, memoir by a Midwestern intellectual whose closeted father took his own life when Alison came out as a lesbian. I’ve turned now to Logicomix, the story of Bertrand Russell’s quest to lay a unified foundation for mathematics, set in Edwardian England and beyond. Apart from The Invention of Hugo Cabret, it may be the most beautiful graphic novel I’ve ever read. It took four authors and artists to make it: Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna. What a cool collaboration.

Nonfiction titles are always by the bedside and on my Kindle. By the bedside is Marina Warner’s scholarly book about the Tales of the Arabian Nights, Stranger Magic. It’s well researched and beautifully published. Comprehensive. Kate Summerscale’s biography of Toughie Carstairs, The Queen of Whale Cay, made me laugh out loud. She was the very butch Standard Oil heiress who ran an ambulance unit in World War I and then became “the fastest woman on the water” racing hydroplanes between the wars. My father would have seen her challenge the Harmsworth Cup on the St. Clair River in Detroit in 1929 and 1930. After she lost both races, Toughie retired to the Bahamas, where she became the autocratic ruler of her own island.

I try to read in French as much as I can. Right now I’m gripped by Francesco Rappazzini’s biography of Elizabeth de Gramont, set in Paris during the first half of the 20th century, which has never been translated. The “red duchess” Lily de Gramont, from one of France’s oldest families, was Proust’s fact-checker; she was the best friend of the man Proust pined for; and she was the only woman Natalie Barney could never control: they were lovers for 45 years. If you don’t read French, you can get an idea of “Natly’s” escapades with Lily de Gramont in Diana Souhami’s wonderful and hilarious book, Wild Girls.

***

Tabou can be purchased at:
Kindle, Nook, MyBookOrders.com

Price/Format: $2.50 ebook
Pages: 463
Publisher: Publish Green
Release: October 11, 2011


About the Author

Suzanne Stroh is a screenwriter and film producer, author of published case studies on family business. She grew up in Michigan where her family brewed Stroh’s beer for five generations. She studied art history at Wellesley College and Newnham College, Cambridge then worked in the New York art world before turning to writing. A mountaineer and field medic, she lives with her family in the Virginia countryside. TABOU is her first novel.

Connect with Suzanne:
Web Site
Facebook
Blog
YouTube
Blog Tour Site


About the Giveaway

Leave a comment with your email address to win a PDF of Tabou. Ends 10/31/12.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

Q:  If your house was burning down and you could save just one book from your collection... What would it be? (and, for the purposes of this discussion, we'll allow series as "one" long, multi-vol. book.)

There are so many it is hard to choose just one, It would probably be The Hunger Games and I would grab my kindle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Elisabeth Doyle - War Stories: Short Fiction - Author Interview & Giveaway



About the Book

We all carry our own battle scars.

This is the premise of War Stories, a rich collection of short fiction that draws upon both the literal and figurative meaning of its title. Through a diverse array of characters, settings, and circumstances, War Stories delivers a series of powerful tales from the home front of war: the stories of parents, siblings, and spouses of those who have fought, as well as those who have returned from battle.

Set against the backdrop of contemporary conflicts, War Stories’ compelling nine narratives tell of a wounded veteran who seeks renewal through an imagined relationship with a neighborhood girl, a grieving father who finds peace and reconciliation at the site of a disastrous bus crash, a young woman who searches for identity and meaning in the wake of her husband’s injury, and an urban teenager engaged in a fateful standoff with local recruiters. Interspersed with these tales are powerful, non-traditional “war stories” – of youth, unexpected loss, and heartbreaking love.

War Stories’ thoughtful and beautifully crafted tales, which range in style from deceptively simple to rich and complex, tell of people young and old, male and female, who share two things: humanity and resilience. These diverse and deftly written stories are joined through Elisabeth Doyle’s remarkable style and ease in creating a universe full of despair, hope, and dreams. At turns tender and harsh, tragic and yearning, these stories will leave you wanting more.


Author Interview

1. Please tell us about your current release.
War Stories is a lean collection of short fiction – nine stories – many of which are set against the backdrop of contemporary conflicts, including the war in Vietnam and current wars.

2. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?
In January 2002, I traveled for the first time to the country of Vietnam. I went there on a bit of a lark – a childhood friend of my mother’s was working there and had extended a kind of “open invitation” to visit. For some reason, I decided to go. Maybe I shouldn’t say “for some reason” – I was born during the war in Vietnam, and the conflict endured throughout my early childhood. I had vague memories of the images of war that flickered on our small television screen each evening. Usually, these images were mere background to our lives – they played out as my mother cooked dinner. No one seemed to pay great attention. I also had vague recollections of the scenery of Vietnam – some mountains and a village. I’m not sure where or when I saw those early childhood images – perhaps on a news program, or in a later documentary.

In any event, I traveled to Vietnam in 2002, and it’s safe to say that the experience changed my life, and opened for me new doors of interest, of passion, and of compassion. I returned with a deep and abiding interest in the war in Vietnam, its history, and its effect on American soldiers and Vietnamese citizens. I read – and continue to read – anything that I can get my hands on regarding the war. I focused primarily on first-hand autobiographical accounts by soldiers.

I had a background in fiction writing, but hadn’t written a short story in years. When I relocated to Washington in late 2006, I resolved to return to writing, mostly at the urging of my mother and grandparents. Away from the distractions of family and familiarity, in a new city, I was able to find the peace in which to write. It should be noted that I did not set out to write a collection of short stories on the topic of war. In fact, I did not set out to write a collection, at all. I just wrote – one story after another. And what I found, as I wrote, was that the theme of war continued to assert itself in each of these stories, in one way or another. After years of reading and learning, war had apparently become the foremost, organizing principle in my mind; the circumstance around which all other things revolved. It emerged as a theme that linked all of the new stories that I wrote, without conscious or deliberate effort or planning on my part.

It should be noted that these are not combat stories, nor do they attempt or purport to be historically accurate or to give voice to the actual experience of those who have fought. Only those who have had to fight, or who have lived in a war zone, can truly understand that experience. These stories are just that – stories – written with the deepest respect and empathy for those who have found themselves in such extreme circumstances, and who have faced the kind of difficult, unforgiving choices that most of us can only imagine.

3. Can you tell us about the story behind your book cover?
Sure. Well, suffice it to say that the book cover underwent a lot of changes, much to the annoyance of the cover designer, who (nonetheless) was a wonderfully good sport about it. It was important to me to create a cover that was NOT obviously rooted in or reflective of the topic of war. This was so because, first, the title “War Stories” is used both literally and figuratively. That is, while the majority of stories in the collection are set against the backdrop of war, other stories are not. These additional tales reflect “war stories” of another kind – the kind that we might all experience. So I wanted the cover to encompass all the themes in the book.

I chose to use a triptych of photos - a series of photos that could each be traced, if a reader so desired, to one or more of the stories in the collection. The characters in the photos are loosely representative of several of the characters in the book.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I tend to write in a “spare” style, and make a deliberate, conscious effort to avoid sentimentality or over-statement of any kind. That’s just me. I don’t know that I succeed, but I try to convey the characters’ circumstances and states of mind without excess or manipulation of the reader. I also deliberately write without any “message” or agenda in mind. None of these stories, even those that are set against the backdrop of war, are intended to convey any kind of political message, and none of them were written with any kind of agenda or judgment. I wouldn’t even begin to know how to write a story with an agenda or message in mind. In general, I write short stories as a series of vignettes – as moments in time, things that happened - from which the reader can draw his or her own conclusions, messages, etc. I prefer to leave the interpretation of the “meaning” of my stories in the hands of the reader.

5. Open your book to a random page and tell us what’s happening.
I did as you asked and opened the book to a random page. It happens to be the first page of the story “The Deepest, Darkest Part of the Woods,” on page 53. This happens to be one of my favorite stories, and one of the last in the collection that I completed. It’s one of the stories in the collection that takes the most risks, I think, and revolves around a young veteran who returns to his suburban neighborhood and struggles to re-integrate. This first page is also one of my favorites in the book, as it describes the return of this young man – and others like him – into a familiar setting that is now entirely unfamiliar to him.

***

War Stories: Short Fiction can be purchased at:
MyBookOrders.com

Price: $14.95 paperback
ISBN: 9781937928407
Pages: 119
Release: August 7, 2012


About the Author

Elisabeth Doyle is a writer and attorney living in Washington, D.C. She studied fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and the University at Albany, and is completing a Masters of Laws Degree at Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Doyle’s short fiction was published in the literary journal Nadir and was awarded the University at Albany’s Lovenheim Prize for best short fiction. Her first short film, Hard Hearted One, was admitted into the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema and the Street Films Film Festival, and was shown on Public Television and Manhattan Cable. War Stories is her first collection of short fiction.

Connect with Elisabeth:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site


About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dr. Gerry Steiner - Gotta Call BS on That One - Guest Post & Giveaway



About the Book

Was missile defense started to save the free world or start a new empire? Do religions help us understand God or help keep God a mystery? Do schools prepare us for life or delay our lives? Does Congress help protect us or help exploit us? Has there ever been any BS involved in any of the above? Have we embraced or challenged the BS.? Could we make a difference? Would we want to make a difference?

Whether reading a newspaper, watching TV, or listening to a song, we are probably observing and absorbing a certain amount of BS. Do we recognize it, realize it, reject it or absorb it. This book provides a beginning to considering these questions. It can provide a basis for understanding, a basis for action, a cause of laughter, a foundation for tears, or some combination. This book often states the obvious, but it’s the obvious that often we collectively don’t seem to own up to. Much of the strife of life, the inequities of the world, even the causes of wars and disasters of the economy might be rooted in our collective self-deception.

The adventure starts with a reflection on a fairy tale from our childhood and one from Washington. It then joins a pair – a professor and his young assistant on an American adventure. They look at such topics as social interaction, sports professional and local, and our individual fitness. Business and education provide many examples and insights. Next, religion and science provide contrasts and similarities.

Government, politics, the legal system, and military service complete this brief trip. In each area, the presence and effects of BS are noted. The final section is devoted to the three greatest downfalls of society in the last century. They are identified and their drastic effects on our society are briefly examined.


Guest Post

Have you ever wanted to stand up during a speech, lecture, sermon, advertisement and just yell. You weren’t being directly harmed or attacked. Nothing was physically being stolen from you. No one was demanding your mind or your money. Just the same, you felt violated in a very real sense. BS steals from us all. Pretending to accept the false makes it harder to trust the authentic.

It seems very important that we know what is real and what is BS. It is also important that those that generate BS, (we all do some) realize that they’re not fooling anyone. It would really mess things up if all BS were challenged and rejected, but it might be useful if it were identified and acknowledged. As I started to collect my thoughts, I was almost overwhelmed by the examples and challenges that life presents us. Almost every area of our experience is affected. In the book I have not put much emphasis on politics. As we proceed in this election year I am sure that we will have ample opportunity to find “sterling” examples. (Sterling BS is sort of an oxymoron!)

As we proceed we’ll need active participation to make this the best experience. Maybe we can have some awards on the blog for different classes of BS. Your suggestions are encouraged. As with any blog, it is your participation and our interaction that will provide the richness.

I have spent much of my life being frustrated by the BS and by the frequent pretense that the BS is reality. Through the book and this blog I want to challenge this. I believe most of us recognize BS when we stop and think about it. I’ve often felt that putting up with BS is societies definition of maturity and wisdom. I don’t think most of us really feel that way. This is an effort to observe, laugh and possibly change.

Throughout the book you will see a wagging finger beside the text. There was a small group of us at work that would silently use this finger wagging as means to silently, but visibly, point out BS when we see or hear it. It would be great to establish this as a nationally recognized and accepted symbology, It might even become an effective way of communicating our knowledge and feelings to those that provide the BS.

Maybe we can also create a list of BS. Postulates. The first might be: “If you wonder if it’s BS, it almost certainly is!”

Please enjoy. Laugh at the BS, act but don’t get mad!

***

Gotta Call BS on That One can be purchased at:
MyBookOrders.com
Kindle
Nook

Click here to read an excerpt.

Price: $13.99 paperback, $6.99 ebook
ISBN: 9781937928919
Pages: 178
Release: August 5, 2012


About the Author

Gerry Steiner has enjoyed a life that is varied in location, vocation, and activities. He started in the land of tradition and history, Hampton, Va., the oldest continuous English speaking settlement in the United States. After high school and eighteen years surrounded by history. Gerry was ready to venture away from Virginia. After considering Cornell, he caught a train to California and went to Caltech. He left Caltech after a couple years to work in seismic oil exploration. His Uncle invited Mr. Steiner to visit Asia. Gerry picked the Navy as the best way to get there. This kept him busy for ten years. A year of Navy school as an electronics technician started the process. Fortunate circumstances led him to his wife and “stability?” for the next 40 years. Gerry then finished his BS and an MS in oceanography before sailing for Vietnam, There gunfire support and chasing aircraft carriers kept him in touch with the real world. Receiving fuel and supplies at sea gave him an appreciation for close quarters’ steerage. A pleasant break provided a week in Olongapo followed by a week in Hong Kong. His wife, Marilyn joined him.

After the Navy and back in Seattle he continued his work in sonar research at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. He started work on a PhD in electrical engineering. He made sonar measurements from an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean north of Barrow, Alaska. Two visits by polar bears approaching to 20 ft. added to the excitement Dr. Steiner moved to Ridgecrest, CA where he held a position at China Lake Naval Weapons Center. Several years in automatic target recognition included radar field measurements from Pt. Loma, San Diego. Next he started the Airborne RF Targeting Branch. Gerry also completed his doctorate in electrical engineering.

From China Lake Dr. Steiner ventured off to Denver, Colorado to join Martin Marietta. The initial year in Denver was focused on space based radar plans. A movie and a president changed his focus. The movie was Star Wars, the president was Reagan, the focus became the Strategic Defense Initiative. He spent the next decade on issues related to SDI. After the space based interceptor there was a space based laser concept. His efforts contained analysis, management, design, and testing. A couple years were spent developing a new rocket to provide a re-useable single stage to orbit vehicle. Only physics stood in the way.

Gerry’s wife was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer and given six months to live. They had great times that were ended. Dr. Steiner moved to Maui five years ago. He has written this book to share his observations on how the world works and how it could work better.

Connect with Gerry:
Web Site
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Blog Tour Site

Giveaway:

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

Q:  We all had to read things in school that we didn't like...but what about something you read for a class you ended up liking(or loving)?

An author you discovered that you might not have found? A genre you hadn't thought about?

I was always reading even as a small child, so everything interested me. The classics in High School brought me to a new genre.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

Q:
Do you like to talk about what you read?
I like to discuss the books I read, especially if someone also has read the book.

Do you have somebody to talk with?
Yes, I do have a few people I could talk about books to.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Natalie Wexler - The Mother Daughter Show - Guest Post



About the Book

At Barton Friends a D.C. prep school so elite its parent body includes the President and First Lady - three mothers have thrown themselves into organizing the annual musical revue. Will its Machiavellian intrigue somehow enable them to reconnect with their graduating daughters, who are fast spinning out of control? By turns hilarious and poignant, The Mother Daughter Show will appeal to anyone who's ever had a daughter - and anyone who's ever been one.


Guest Post

I’ve written one novel set in the 1790s and another set in 2009—in Washington, D.C., where I’ve lived for the past 25 years. Not surprisingly, the process of creating a setting in each of these instances was quite different.

For A More Obedient Wife—my historical novel—I immersed myself as best I could in the world of the 1790s, always conscious that my grasp of it would be imperfect. I had letters to and from my main characters (who were based on real, though minor, historical figures) to help me imagine myself back in their world, and I immersed myself in primary and secondary sources about the period.

For each of the cities in which the book was set—New York, Philadelphia, Bethlehem, PA, and Edenton, NC—I acquired maps dating from the late 18th century, and as I wrote I would often refer to them, working in the names of actual streets and tracing a character’s path through town. I also went to each city and tried to imagine it as it would have looked 200 years before. This worked particularly well in Bethlehem and Edenton, both of which are highly conscious of their history and have done a great job of preserving their old buildings.

The book is in the form of diary entries, and on the wall above my desk I taped a calendar from the 1790s, so that instead of dating an entry as merely “December 12, 1793,” I could specify that it was “Thursday, December 12, 1793.” This may seem trivial, but every little detail helped me conjure up the world of the past.

When it came to writing The Mother Daughter Show, all I had to do was look around me—to some extent, that is. The story was inspired by real events at a real place—my daughter’s school, Sidwell Friends. But make no mistake: it’s fiction! And it’s satire. I never intended to paint an accurate portrait of either the school or of Washington, but rather a version of both that suited my purposes. Certain things are left out, and others are exaggerated.

I did, however, throw in a few real place names, and there are some asides that may resonate with the experience of those who live here (I’m thinking in particular about one character’s rant about tourists clogging up the subway system!).

So you might conclude that it was easier to write the contemporary novel, given my familiarity with the setting. Well, yes and no. I think that in some ways having to do the work of creating an unfamiliar place in my head, and then capturing it on paper, propelled me into a fictional world and allowed me to invent more freely. With The Mother Daughter Show, I had to work a little harder to achieve the freedom from real life that makes a novel take off.



***

The Mother Daughter Show can be purchased at:
Amazon
Fuze Publishing
Kindle
Nook

Price: $19.95 paperback, $9.99 ebook
ISBN: 9780984141296
Pages: 274
Release: December 2011


About the Author

Natalie Wexler is the author of The Mother Daughter Show (Fuze Publishing 2011) and an award-winning historical novel, A More Obedient Wife. She is a journalist and essayist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post Magazine, the American Scholar, the Gettysburg Review, and other publications, and she is a reviewer for the Washington Independent Review of Books. She has also worked as a temporary secretary, a newspaper reporter, a Supreme Court law clerk, a legal historian, and (briefly) an actual lawyer. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband.

Connect with Natalie:
Web Site
Goodreads
Fuze Publishing Web Site
Fuze Publishing Blog
Fuze Publishing Facebook
Fuze Publishing Twitter
Tribute Books Blog Tour Site

Friday, July 27, 2012

L.M. Preston - Flutter of Luv - Author Interview



Author Interview

1. Why did you choose this setting?
The setting for Flutter Of Luv is urban. It’s a setting I remembered from my childhood and wanted to share a bit of that city scenery with the reader. Also, it provided a great environment for many kids to converge together easily.

2. How is it a fundamental part of your overall theme?
The city setting speaks to Dawn, the main character’s troubled life. She has a city grit that is deeply embedded but softened by her youthful outlook on the life she could never change. Also, she glosses over the dangers of the city around her, like she glosses over the unhealthy friendship she has.

3. How challenging was it to write about?
This Young Adult Romance short story was extremely difficult for me to write. It stretched me. Before this piece I’d never really explored writing in first person. Also, although I love romance novels, writing them never held my attention long enough to consider finishing. But writing Flutter Of Luv was an experiment that grew me as a writer.

4. How did you develop your setting as you wrote your book?
I developed the scenery with the character’s development. The opening starts the reader off on Dawn’s porch. She doesn’t leave it, but observes Tony, her love interest from a safe spot. As she wants to get closer to him she progressively explores more of the neighborhood.

5. How do you transport them there through your writing?
My characters evolve with each Episode. Dawn starts off sounding and appearing rather immature for a 15 year old girl. It’s like she is fighting against becoming like the other teen girls because she doesn’t fit in. As the story progresses, Dawn’s dialogue and outlook on her relationship with Tony evolves and by the end of the story she sounds mature, thinks mature and acts mature.

6. How do you introduce them to an area they may not be familiar with?
Dawn is introduced to a wonderful place outside of the city by the character that’s helping her bloom. He gives her the courage to bloom.

7. How do you go about making the setting come alive for the reader?
To make a setting come alive I share it in pieces through the eyes of the character. Sights, sounds, and smell are the big descriptors.

About the Book
Dawn, the neighborhood tomboy is happy to be her best friend’s shadow. Acceptance comes from playing football after school with the guys on the block while hiding safely behind her glasses, braces and boyish ways. But Tony moves in, becomes the star running back on her school’s team and changes her world and her view of herself forever.

eBook
Price: $0.99
Release: June 1, 2012
Buy Link: Kindle
Other Links: Goodreads

About the Author

L.M. Preston loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl. She worked in the IT field as a Techie and Educator for over sixteen years. Her passion for writing science fiction was born under the encouragement of her husband who was a Sci-Fi buff and her four kids. Her obsessive desire to write and create stories of young people who overcome unbelievable odds feeds her creation of multiple series for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers thirsty for an adventure. She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing.

Links to connect with L.M.:
Web Site
Blog
Facebook #1
Facebook #2
Twitter
Goodreads
 


 





About the Blog Tour

Flutter of Luv blog tour site
and
Tribute Books Blog Tours

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Brenda Stanley - The Color of Snow - Guest Post & Giveaway



About the Book

Can a troubled young girl reenter society after living in isolation?

When a beautiful 16-year-old girl named Sophie is found sequestered in a cage-like room in a rundown house in the desolate hills of Arbon Valley, Idaho, the entire community is shocked to learn she is the legendary Callidora--a baby girl who was kidnapped from her crib almost seventeen years ago and canonized in missing posters with portraits of what the fabled girl might resemble. Authorities soon learn that the cage was there to protect people from Sophie, because her biological father believes she is cursed.

Sophie is discovered after the man she knows as Papa, shoots and injures Damien, a young man who is trying to rescue her. Now, unsocialized and thrust into the world, and into a family she has never met, Sophie must decide whether she should accept her Papa’s claims that she is cursed and he was only trying to protect others, or trust the new people in her life who have their own agendas. Guided by a wise cousin, Sophie realizes that her most heartbreaking challenge is to decide if her love for Damien will destroy him like her Papa claims, or free her from past demons that haunt her mind.


Guest Post

The Color of Snow has been described as dark or mysterious. I feel most of my writing fits this description because I enjoy looking at the strange and unusual things in life. My novel will definitely make some people uncomfortable. I like to look at situations and issues and try to figure out how people will react. For years I was a crime reporter, so I enjoy investigating stories and learning about the parts of life most people try to hide. When I wrote The Color of Snow, I was working on a story about a young girl who went missing years ago and has never been found. I started thinking about what would happen if she were to suddenly show up now. I loved putting myself in Sophie’s shoes and seeing things for the first time.

Sophie’s relationship with Damien is both intense and tempered. Her father has raised her to believe that she will destroy anyone who truly loves her, so she is torn between her love for Damien and her fear of causing him harm.

The story changes between what is going on with Sophie and what happened in her parent’s past that brought her to where she is. I wanted readers to experience the often isolated feeling of living in a vast rural area, but also the mental confinement of a small town.

Mental illness, teen pregnancy, religious intolerance, and racism are all big parts of The Color of Snow. I like my characters to face challenges and see them grow from them. It is not only the conflicts with the other characters that keeps the story going, but also those within the person’s own mind.

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The Color of Snow can be purchased at:
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Price: $2.99-$4.99 ebook
ISBN: 9780983741893, 9781476172309
Pages: 413
Release: June 1, 2012


About the Author

Brenda Stanley is former television news anchor and investigative reporter for the NBC affiliate in Eastern Idaho. She has been recognized for her writing by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Hearst Journalism Awards, The Idaho Press Club and the Society for Professional Journalists. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She is the mother of 5 children, including two sets of twins. Brenda and her husband Dave, a veterinarian, live on a small ranch near the Snake River with their horses and dogs.

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