Thursday, March 26, 2015
I started editing Part 1 of my novel, Subtraction. I knew Part 2 was missing (did that mean it was subtracted?) and hoped I might soon figure out where it belonged. So Part 1 grew, and grew longer, and I liked it very much. Then I got stuck. Which is what I meant about flaming fields and forest.
Part 1 is my forest with branches interwined - Andrew is teaching math to a special needs class (yes, he's teaching them subtraction) and a ghost/stranger/predator/murderer/or prowler hides under the trees of Paradise Park. Part 1 ends when... well, I think it ends when the reader works out who the stranger is. And the missing Part 2 will explain who he was, so Part 3 can follow on with how he changes into who he will be. Which makes part 2 the field of past dreams I suppose, and I'm ready, inspired by lightning, to start writing it. The problem is, I keep shifting where it begins. Where do I split the tale half-told, leaving the rest to Part 3 (and 4 I suppose...).
Once upon a time, Part 3 was a post-graduate Cambridge math exam. Okay, now I'm really digressing (and yes. I passed). It must be time to drink coffee and post book reviews.
I'll start with two novels from Aaron Paul Lazar's Gus LeGarde series. Double Forte and Upstaged are reissued versions of the first two books in the series. At least I think they are. Which makes them especially satisfying for me, as I'd never read them before, and they introduce me to different aspects of characters I've grown to love, fill in gaps in their stories, and remind me just how enjoyably different this cozy, familial, natural, scenic and musical mystery series is. Pour yourselves some well-balanced, smooth, full-flavored coffee, and enjoy an almost perfect blend of sweet family life, scary danger, gorgeous scenery, and wonderfully seasoned food.
Double Forte is actually one of a great collection of books found in an e-boxed set called At Odds With Destiny, so if you're not sure if you'd like the author, there's a perfect way to try his writing and that of other authors. You'll find part 1 of Uvi Poznansky's David Chronicles there, plus part 1 of J.J. DiBenedetto's Dream series too - both complete novels in their own right, together with many many others. I'm not sure how to recommend coffee for so many novels in one set, but make sure you have plenty brewing and you can't go wrong.
Outview, by Brandt Legg, is another book from this collection. Told in a nicely believable teen voice, it starts with a fascinating premise of reincarnation, then runs from place to place throughout Oregon and beyond as the protagonist strives to save his brother, change the world, and learn how his father died. Long and complex, this is one to enjoy with lots of bold, dark, intense five-star coffee.
The protagonist of Dan Berne's beautiful novel, The Gods of Second Chances, might be said to be at odds with his destiny too, as he plies Alaskan waters while caring for a granddaughter who maybe needs a mother. But her mother left long ago, and rubbing a native god's belly may or may not bring the right sort of luck. Sue-happy modernity meets tradition, legalism meets faith and hope, and the ocean gives and takes as the gods might choose. Enjoy this richly complex tale with a rich, elegant four-star coffee.
Blackmail at Wrigley Field, by Christopher Geoffrey McPherson, offers another interesting character struggling with his destiny. Young James Murray has had some impressive success writing mysteries in previous novels, but now he's suffering writer's block, mourning the loss of the girl he planned to marry, and turning to drink. How will all this lead to another cool mystery? You'll have to read it and see. Depression era Los Angeles comes to vivid life, and the blend of James' recovery with the fiction he writes is as intriguing and enthralling as ever. Plus, James is a really great character. Enjoy with with some rich, elegant, complex four-star coffee.
In Ryder on the Storm, by Violet Patterson, protagonist Storm struggles against her fate as a seer and more, while strange Ryder struggles against a command to murder her. The fact that they're falling in love with other might be part of the struggle, but there are Seraphs and more to contend with in this fast fun tale. Enjoy with a bright, lively, easy-drinking two-star coffee.
Finally, for a serious change of pace, here are two children's picture books, with no scares, no agonized fighting against fate, and no Parts 1, 2 and 3 either. A Day With Jack, by Steven Lioy, reminds me of books shared with my sons when they were small; nice pictures of a lovely jack russel enjoying an ordinary day; sweet and fun to share. Springtime, by the same author, is nicely illustrated with bright computer-style images, and might even introduce small children to the idea that studying science could be fun. After all, even bees are good for you. Enjoy these two with some mild, light, crisp-flavored one-star coffee.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Thank you for visiting my blog Robert, and I wish you every success with your book, as you offer opportunities to reach for success to other readers.
Posted with thanks to http://www.thecadencegrp.com/
Monday, March 23, 2015
Today I'm delighted to spotlight Jennifer Peel's House Divided on my blog. As part of her I-Am-A-Reader blog tour, I'm hosting an intriguing sweet romantic excerpt from her novel. Plus there's a great giveaway, so don't forget to read the whole post!
There is a law irrevocably decreed in the state of Alabama that you must choose a team. You're either an Auburn fan or an Alabama Fan. There is no fence sitting or waffling. It’s one or the other. However, it doesn't mean that you can’t fall in love with someone from the opposing side. They even have a name for it ... House Divided.
Ellie Eaton and Brady Jackson were just such a couple, but unfortunately they were separated by more than just their loyalty to a university. Against the odds and against the rules, Ellie and Brady dove right into the forbidden current of friendship and then love. Their sweet, innocent romance was one for the storybooks, but old rules and family prejudices ultimately tore them apart, just as they were each ready to depart to their beloved universities, Ellie to Auburn and Brady to Alabama. But years later, when near tragedy strikes, they're brought together again and given a second chance at love, this time with help from some very unlikely sources.
House Divided is a sweet romance filled with southern charm, a dash of humor and, for good measure, a pinch of lies and intrigue.
So... Let me ask the author to introduce herself...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I'm a Colorado native who currently calls Alabama home. I'm the mother of three amazing children who have grown up way too fast. I enjoy the mountains, vacations at the beach, date night with my husband, late night talks with my kiddos, touring model homes, and pink bubblegum ice cream.
I grew up on the Western Slope in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I learned to love the beauty of the outdoors, but not camping--unless staying overnight at the Marriott counts. I met my husband while living in Denver and then several years later we traded the beauty and majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains for the art and culture of Chicago, Illinois. My family and I enjoyed living near this world class city, despite the crazy cold winters, but new adventures awaited in Northern Alabama--just six hours away from Orange Beach, Alabama. These three magical places (the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Chicago, and Orange Beach) are the inspired locations used in several of my books.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"House Divided was one of those books that made me want to ignore my children, my to-do list, my need for food, and pretty much anything else that would keep me from reading. Jennifer Peel has a real gift for depicting first love, heartbreak, and hope."
"A tender, soft, story that truly is a gem to read."
"Ms. Peel has created a story that stands as a tribute to true southern gentility, it's foibles and strengths. Truly a beautiful read that gives heart and meaning to true devotion. She truly knows how to weave a story that has beauty and true southern charm."
And now for the excerpt, but don't forget to read on for the giveaway too!
He kept pace with me nicely and reached for my hand. There were too many people around for me to pull away from him. I wouldn’t embarrass him like that. He grinned at me. He knew me too well. On the elevator, I refused to look at him, but I knew he was looking at me. I could feel it. Before we reached the ground floor, he leaned over. "Ellie, you’re so pretty when you try to ignore me."
As soon as we made it to the parking lot and were alone, I tried to let go, but he anticipated. He pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me.
"Let go of me, Brady Jackson."
"Ellie Eaton, I have no intention of ever letting you go again, and I’ll pick you up and throw you over my shoulder if I have to."
"You would do no such thing."
"That sounds like a challenge, darlin’."
"Don’t you dare, Brady! I’ll scream."
"Even better," he said as he scooped me up without any effort and threw me over his shoulder. He apparently still worked out like an athlete. I could feel his muscles, which kind of made me forget that I was completely furious with him for taking such liberties with me.
"Brady Jackson, put me down! I’m not seventeen anymore and I’m not your girlfriend!"
"No, you’re definitely not seventeen anymore," he responded salaciously. "The last ten years have done your body good. You filled out quite nicely. And as far as you being my girlfriend, that’s just a technicality I plan on fixing.
"I can’t believe you just said that. Does your momma know you talk like that?"
AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY...
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash - Ends 4/12/15
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BR grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among writers, artists and weird Hispanic and Native American myths and folklore. BR has lived all over the U.S. and earned a living doing everything from making silver and turquoise jewelry, to construction to computers. BR currently splits time between Baltimore and Albuquerque.
BR made silver and turquoise jewelry for almost a decade, ended up in nursing school, then took a master’s in business. Along the way BR worked in construction, as a newspaper editor, and somehow found a career working with computers.
When Cecily Buchanan walks into the Roadhouse Bar and Grill and offers to sing for a meal, ex Marine Jake McGarrity can’t say no. Some say Jake is too soft hearted for his own good. But letting the waif with the cover girl face and the voice of an angel walk away would be more than he could stand.
Cecily’s sweet nature, bubbly personality and obvious talent endear her to everyone she meets, and Jake soon knows his heart is lost.
Cecily has secrets and won’t talk about her past, one so dark that she has nightmares and clutches a knife while she sleeps.
When those who are chasing her close in, she faces the decision of whether to run again or to trust her life to the cowboy angel who has taught her the meaning of love.
A pickup truck pulled up in front of the bar and stopped. It looked like Luke Sowers in the driver’s seat. The door on the other side opened, but I couldn’t see who got out. Then the truck pulled out again, the tires throwing gravel, and sped off.
What was left, standing in the parking lot, looked like a hippie. A girl, with a backpack and something else. She shouldered the pack and picked up what I now could see was a guitar case, and headed for the door. Apparently, she was a hitchhiker and he dropped her off at my place. Thanks, Luke.
Making her way through the door, she came straight toward me instead of taking a seat at one of the tables. The sign by the door said ‘Seat yourself.’ I wondered what in the hell this was all about.
Stopping in front of me, she looked up into my face and asked in one of the most beautiful voices I’d ever heard, “May I speak to the owner, or the manager?”
The voice was a surprise, like a flower blooming in the desert. Her face was a shock. For all the grime, she was beautiful. Not pretty, but the kind of beauty you see on the covers of magazines. Long, stringy, greasy hair fell past her small breasts. She was thin, too thin, with a look in her gray eyes I hadn’t seen since coming back to the States, a combination of shell shock and hunger. The overall impression she projected was fragility. She came up to about my shoulder and I wasn’t sure she was old enough to be in a bar. What in the hell was she doing hitchhiking alone?
“I’m the owner, and the manager,” I replied. “I’m Jake McGarrity.”
“I’m Cecily,” she said. Turning, she looked around the room. The Roadhouse is a pretty typical bar with a bandstand at the end opposite the door and an area cleared for dancing. It was six-thirty in the evening, and we had two families with kids, about half a dozen couples, and two groups of four cowboys, all eating dinner. On a Wednesday night, that was pretty good. On a weekend, we did a lot better, and lunch was usually packed.
Turning back to me, she licked her lips and then said, “You have live music in here.” It was a statement, not a question. I nodded. The bandstand with the microphones and amplifiers made that pretty obvious.
“We have a band start at nine on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights,” I said.
“Do you ever have live music for your dinner guests?”
I gestured to one of the speakers on the wall. “We use canned music.”
“Mr. McGarrity, I don’t have a red cent to my name, and I haven’t eaten in two days,” she said. “I’ll play for your guests in exchange for a meal.”
My God. The raw, naked hope in her face was almost too much for me. My eyes blurred a little bit. People tell me sometimes that I’m a soft touch. I figure that charity never hurts the giver. I was going to feed her. There was no way I was going to turn someone away after they approached me like that.
“What kind of music do you play?” I asked.
She shrugged. “I can play anything. For dinner music,” she gestured toward the customers sitting at the tables, “something soft and relaxing, loud enough to be noticed, but not so loud that people can’t carry on a conversation. People’s behavior is different with live music, you know. They stay longer after they finish their meals, and order more drinks.”
In addition to the beauty of her voice, her accent was cultured. This girl was raised with money, or at least well educated. And she hadn’t been on the streets long enough for her vocabulary to degenerate. She didn’t even speak like a normal kid.
I took a deep breath, and then she said in a rush, “Let me just play a couple of songs. Okay? Before you decide. Please? And then, if you don’t think it’s a good idea, I’ll go.”
Go where? Go out and stand beside the highway with her thumb out? Just the thought of her hitchhiking, getting in strangers’ cars and ending the night raped and dead in a ditch, scared the hell out of me. If I read about her in the newspaper tomorrow, I’d never be able to forgive myself.
Nodding, I said, “Let’s hear what you’ve got.” I pulled a menu out from under the bar and pushed it across to her. “Give me your order, and you can play until your food is ready.”
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Since I couldn't give our critique group 45,000 words to critique, I gave them 2,500 from near the end of chapter one. They...
- liked the writing style - I hadn't put my name to it, but several members said they knew it was mine.
- recognized the symbols, but thought something else was a symbol that wasn't meant to be; note to self, if repetition implies symbol, be careful what you repeat.
- disliked a character's name; Becky doesn't work for a hard-smoking film-noir landlady.
- thought I switched pov too much - maybe just two povs in a scene - I was experimenting, and this feedback definitely helps.
- hoped one of the characters was introduced earlier - she was.
- hoped they'd learn more about her later - she kind of disappears, but... that's what was missing! She shouldn't disappear! And now I know exactly what to work on.
Finding His Home, by Adam Walton, starts in junior high school too, with a cruel prank gone wrong. But this one is written for older readers, and the protagonist's life continues to fall apart in dark and frightening ways. Wracked with anger at God and disbelief, the protagonist goes from success to failure to despair, and it's hard to see how any hope can be found. But it's an oddly absorbing, thought-provoking, and even, maybe, inspiring tale, dark and intense, best enjoyed with a dark, intense 5-star coffee.
Grief is important in Forgiving Maximo Rothman, by A. J. Sidransky as well. It's a truly beautiful novel, spanning geography and cultures, as a Jewish detective investigates a brutal crime against an elderly Jewish man. Different shades of faith, different traditions, different wounded pasts, and different memories of fathers all collide in a tale that brings past and present worlds vividly to life, while never losing sight of its characters or its mystery. Enjoy a rich, elegant 4-star with this truly elegant tale.
The Reluctant Midwife, by Patricia Harman, is set in America during the Depression. The displaced here are young men working in camps, a middle-aged woman down on her luck, and a middle-aged doctor who seems to have lost his mind after losing his wife. There's mystery, perhaps; plenty of well-researched history; enjoyable characters and relationships; and hope for the future. It all plays out appealingly and any fans of Call the Midwife will love the medical scenes. Enjoy with some well-balanced, full-flavored three-star coffee.
Anywhere but Here, the Starborn Ascension #1, by Jason D. Morrow, is a tale of the future set in a similarly bleak, unforgiving world. But this time the bleakness is caused by a virus. Some people have turned into flesh-eating monsters. Others rebuilt their societies in walled towns. And still others find they have unexpected powers. The story's told with pleasing immediacy in the voices of teen protagonists. It's filled with twists and turns, build to unexpected revelations, and sets the stage for more while still being a pleasing, satisfying read. Enjoy with some bold, dark, intense 5-star coffee.
Then there's Written in Ruberah, by P. Christina Greenaway, science fiction set in present day Cornwall, with roots in the very distant, very mythical, mystical past. It's a sometimes awkward mix, with past lives, sacred futures, crystals and memories, plus rich Cornish food and some American french fries, and more. Bold, dark and intense in places, enjoy with some dark five-star coffee.
Finally, on a totally different note, here are Maya and Filippo in the very real world of Hawaii, learning the real meaning of Aloha through bright lively pictures, pleasing text, and a neat little story. Maya and Filippo show Aloha is highly recommended for the tinies in your life; enjoy it with some bright, lively, easy-drinking two-star coffee.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
I reviewed Charles Davis' Standing at the Crossroads a couple of years ago, and soon I hope to read and review his upcoming Pilgrim of Love. If it's anything like Crossroads, I know I'll love it.
The author creates incredible characters, sets them in glorious scenery, and weaves a wonderful web from the result. In my humble opinion, he's an excellent writer, and I'm delighted to welcome him to my blog today to discuss where his writing comes from. (To find where he comes from - an he's seriously well-traveled - please visit http://charlesdavis2.wix.com/charlesdavis#!bio/c1ktj and enjoy!)
At which point I stop reading and thank you, Charles, for visiting my blog. I also utter a slightly awe-struck "Oh..." because I'm the one in our family who takes forever to answer a simple question, playing with stories and scenarios before I can say what I think, and frequently getting accused of not thinking in the meantime. So maybe I'm a writer. Light-bulbs flash and I think it's time to get back to that manuscript, freshly inspired by you.
Charles Davis' books can be found on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Davis/e/B001JS2IE8/
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Hi Aberdeen. I read online that you kind of like dragons. Why is that?
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
We decided to drink virtual refreshments and enjoy virtual cookies while catching up on each other. You can find half our very real conversation here, and the other half over on Toi's blog at http://etoithomas.com/long-time-no-talk-with-sheila-deeth/
So, Toi, what's new and special in your life?
Saturday, March 7, 2015
This week's reading included some fascinating strangers, from a teenager backpacking through Asia with her family, to Lincoln riding a river-raft on his way to New Orleans, via a very everyday mother, rebuilding life and relationships after the birth of her child. (To be honest, the mother probably would come through my front door, but the other characters wouldn't). So pour yourself a coffee and make a list of who you'd like to meet from these thoroughly enjoyable books:
First I'll invite that mother through my door. Stephanie Kepke's A New Life starts with childbirth (and oh what memories that brings!) but follows with a sensual, sensitive depiction of the road to losing and recovering romance. It's a lovely novella. Enjoy with some mild crisp one-star coffee (and a dish of ice cream).
Next is the wandering teen. Sihpromatum - Backpacks and Bra Straps, by Savannah Grace, is second in the author's collection detailing (and recreating with honest humor) her family's travels. It's a thoroughly convincing depiction of a young girl coming of age, family relationships, and a real, huge, wonderful, wild world, and it's a really good read. Enjoy with some well-balanced, smooth, full-flavored three-star coffee.
Second Helpings, from Second Wind Publishing, offers a collection of short stories, set in the past and present, all peopled with convincingly real characters. Some are memoirs; some fanciful; some truly hauntingly beautiful. And all have recipes attached. Enjoy some well-balanced 3-star coffee as you read and get ready to bake.
Would you invite President Lincoln into your home? What about William Herndon, who knew Lincoln well and cowrote a famous biography? Lincoln's Billy, by Tom LeClair, is a beautiful literary novel written in the voice of Herndon and spiced with recollections of his famous friend's well-told stories. Enjoy its rich elegant prose with a rich, elegant mug of four-star coffee.
The Debtor Class, by Ivan G. Goldman, is set very much in the present day, and presents unlikely heroes in a band of debt collectors facing a blue survivalist cop. The patience of Job and the serenity of Buddha meet in intriguing ways as a group of misfits prove they can fit together to help and survive. Enjoy with some more rich elegant four-star coffee.
Finally, Fractured Legacy, by Charles B. Neff, invites readers into the lives of Pacific Northwest residents, from shy unmarried woman to overpowering unfaithful wife, to a cop of mixed heritage, to a husband of mixed feelings. Add in some fantastic scenery, convincing politics, and a murder mystery, then all these betrayals and dreams will come together quite convincingly. It's a thoroughly enjoyable, character-based mystery, with the scenery as one of its characters. Enjoy with some well-balanced, smooth-flavored three-star coffee.
Friday, March 6, 2015
About the Authors and Titles:
Book Blast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/15/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway