Thursday, September 27, 2012

Amazon's A Book Lust Rediscovery Series presented by Nancy Pearl

Noteworthy News

Amazon.com announced Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust Rediscoveries series, a line of Pearl’s favorite, presently out-of-print books to share with readers hungry for her expert recommendations. Book Lust Rediscoveries will publish approximately six books a year and will be made available for sale in print editions via Amazon.com and as audiobooks via Amazon.com and Audible.com, at bookstores, wholesalers and libraries nationwide and as eBooks in the Kindle Store.

Book Lust Rediscoveries is a series devoted to reprinting some of the best (and now out of print) novels originally published between 1960-2000. Each book is personally selected by Nancy Pearl and includes an introduction by her, as well as discussion questions for book groups and a list of recommended further reading.


About the Books


A Gay and Melancholy Sound by Merle Miller

Confronting personal and professional collapse, Joshua Bland allows himself eight days to get his affairs in order by recording on tape the first honest account of how events in his past brought him to the present day. Witty, smart, and viscerally powerful, A Gay and Melancholy Sound is "one of my all-time favorite novels," says Nancy Pearl.

Price: $14.95 (list price), $8.97 (Amazon Price)
Number of pages: 584 pages (paperback)
Publisher: AmazonEncore
Release date: April 3, 2012
Buy Link: Amazon


After Life by Rhian Ellis

Naomi lives with her mother in Train Line, New York, a community of clairvoyants, aura-readers, and fortune-tellers. There she comes of age, finds work as a medium, and falls in love with a graduate student whose death will change her life forever. Bestselling author Ann Patchett calls After Life, "that rarest of wonders, a book that is both exquisitely written and a thrill to read."

Price: $14.95 (list price), $8.97 (Amazon Price)
Number of pages: 310 pages (paperback)
Publisher: AmazonEncore
Release date: June 5, 2012
Buy Link: Amazon


Fool by Frederick G. Dillen

Barnaby Griswold is doomed by the fact that his father believes that he is a “fluffmeister,” someone who will never accomplish anything. After his wife insists on getting divorced, and he loses his home and his high-powered, well-paying job in the financial industry, Barnaby has to figure out if his father was right or if he can repair his life.

Price: Price: $14.95 (list price), $8.97 (Amazon Price)
Number of pages: 320 pages (paperback)
Publisher: AmazonEncore
Release date: August 14, 2012
Buy Link: Amazon


The Last Night at the Ritz by Elizabeth Savage 

Readers of Joanna Trollope or Anne Tyler may enjoy this intelligent, captivating, and not entirely trustworthy (unnamed) narrator. She invites three close friends to lunch with her at the Ritz Hotel, in Boston, for her birthday. Two of them are a long married couple she has known since college days. The third was once her lover. The lunch quickly takes an unexpected turn.

Price: Price: $14.95 (list price), $8.97 (Amazon Price)
Number of pages: 210 pages (paperback)
Publisher: AmazonEncore
Release date: October 2, 2012
Buy Link: Amazon


About Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl is a librarian and lifelong reader. She regularly comments on books on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Her books include 2003’s Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason, 2005’s More Book Lust: 1,000 New Reading Recommendations for Every Mood, Moment and Reason; Book Crush: For Kids and Teens: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Interest, published in 2007, and 2010’s Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers. Among her many awards and honors are the 2011 Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal; the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association; the 2010 Margaret E. Monroe Award from the Reference and Users Services Association of the American Library Association; and the 2004 Women's National Book Association Award, given to "a living American woman who... has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation."

Links to connect with Nancy:
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - OWLET by Emma Michaels

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Owlet
Society of Feathers #1
by Emma Michaels
Publication Date: October 13, 2012

Somewhere between falling and flying...there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the fa├žade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.

Click here to add Owlet to your Goodreads to-read list.


Starting October 1st, click here to follow the read-along blog tour and delve into a continuing excerpt of Owlet at over 100 blogs, and enter to win a host of spectacular giveaway prizes!


Tuesday, September 25, 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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Friday, September 21, 2012

Naughty or Nice Giveaway Hop

Congratulations to our winner!
davenamy310 [at] comcast [dot] net


Enter to win the young adult ebook release, The Color of Snow from Tribute Books.


1) Click here to like Tribute Books on Facebook.

2) Leave a comment with your email address.
3) Follow @ReadingRomances on Twitter.
***


The Color of Snow
by Brenda Stanley


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.

http://the-color-of-snow.blogspot.com/



R.D. Ronald - The Zombie Room - Guest Post

Guest Post
Cell Motivation and Packaging Personality

Having enough time on your hands to spend day after day engrossed in books may sound like a dream come true for a modern day bookworm, but standing before a judge accused of growing cannabis to pay for my wife’s cancer treatment, I was about to discover that the reality was far from the dream.

Prison life, for the most part, was pretty much what you’d expect from crime novels and TV detective shows. I was there, could do nothing to change the situation, so I quickly befriended the librarian and was prescribed an ongoing, daily course of literary anesthesia.

For a while this helped no end. One book faded into the next and the days sped by. I found myself exhausting the library’s collection of most of my favourite authors, delving into whichever available new realms and rereading past classics. That is, until the magic began to fade.

With such an intensive reading schedule and limited availability to branch out, I began to find that many books, especially from more prolific authors felt very familiar. Sure the character names were different, the locations and situations they found themselves in weren’t exactly the same, but I couldn’t deny the formulaic feel of the cut-and-paste construction. With nobody to vent these frustrations at other than whomever I happened to be sharing a cell with at the time, I began to open a dialogue.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to preach that the people I began to get to know were all good guys (once you got to know them), not at all. Many were despicable individuals that casually told tales that could make your blood run cold, but even they weren’t without their own shred of humanity. One particular sociopath I spent a week locked in a cell with, would switch from bloodcurdling reminiscence to the disposition of a placated child when Loose Women was on television. Others were more regular guys, the type you might have a brief conversation with at a supermarket, or a bookstore. Further investigation often led to discovering of outlandish circumstance, the type we read of in crime novels that led them to react and end up serving out long sentences.

I have to admit that this revelation intrigued me. Nowhere within the pages of my beloved books could I find such honest and forthright representation of these souls whom I now found myself getting to know. I had never written anything more than a shopping list since leaving school, but found myself begin to jot down thoughts and ideas. The conveyor belt of inmates continued. I got to know more of them, with tales as varied and despicable, heartwarming and tragic as those that had gone before. My ideas took root and plot lines began to grow from the pile of notepads I continued to fill.

The characters were already there, the situations they found themselves in were defined. My writing career was about to begin.


About the Book

An unlikely bond is forged between three men from very different backgrounds when they serve time together in prison. A series of wrong turns and disastrous life choices has led to their incarceration. Following their release, Mangle, Decker and Tazeem stick together as they return to a life of crime, embarking on a lucrative scam.

But when they stumble upon a sophisticated sex-trafficking operation, they soon realise that they are in mortal danger. The disappearance of a family member and the murder of a dear friend lead the three to delve deeper into a world of violence and deception. In their quest for justice they put their lives on the line.

Their paths cross with that of Tatiana, who has left her home country for a better life in the West - or so she thinks. She soon realises she is in the hands of ruthless, violent people, who run an operation supplying girls to meet the most deviant desires of rich and powerful men.

Will she survive the horrors of The Zombie Room? Are Mangle, Decker and Tazeem brave enough to follow her there, in an attempt to set her free?

Price: £17.99
Pages: 248
Genre: Psychological mystery/thriller
Publisher: Book Guild
Release Date: July 2012
Buy Links: Amazon UK, Amazon


About the Author

R. D. Ronald confesses to having spent time in various jobs throughtout a career in business and then spent time in prison after turning to crime to pay the medical bills for his sick wife. 'Renee became ill shortly after we were married, the treatment she needed was expensive. An opportunity came up for me to run a cannabis farm - the extra cash would make the difference to Renee's care, so I accepted. Renee was optimistic about her treatment, but sadly she didn't make it. Not long afterwards, I was arrested and sent to prison.' Work on his debut novel, The Elephant Tree was largely undertaken while he was inside. 'Being locked up 23 hours a day focuses the mind. I'd always loved reading and hoped to write a book one day, and you hear some crazy stories while in jail. In the end writing was an outlet, a way for me to keep my mind occupied. My book touches on some of the issues that have affected me, but is not autobiographical. It does challenge readers however. Life is never clear cut, and the line between good and bad, right and wrong is often blurred. Especially in times of crisis, and this is what I wanted The Elephant Tree to say, ultimately.'

Links to connect with R.D.:
Web site
Facebook (author)
Facebook (book)
Twitter
Goodreads
YouTube 1

YouTube 2
Google+



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Thursday, September 20, 2012

David Carthage - The Jericho River - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The story follows an adventure journey through another world, down the Jericho River. The river gives the book its name, of course, but naming the river took some thought. The river is a timeline, flowing through Sumer, ancient Egypt, Babylon, the Roman Empire, etc.--all in chronological order. In other words, the river journey traces the history of both Western and Middle Eastern Civilizations. So I wanted a name that comes down to us from the most ancient headwaters of those two societies. The town of Jericho is home to one of the oldest settlements ever dug up--from around 9600 B.C.E.--so it really can claim to be a great-great-grandmother society. And people know the name "Jericho." It's got an ancient resonance.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
History is an adventure. It's one fantastic story after another--about swords and kings, damsels in distress, barbarians and heroes, slaves and scholars, castles, temples, and myths of gods and monsters. It's not a lot of memorized dates and names. In fact, the dates and names aren't even all that important. It's the stories that matter.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
The hero, Jason, visits historic societies, and they're all realistic. The Jericho River takes him to ancient Egypt, for instance, and the people, buildings, and culture he encounters are all real, based on what we know about the ancients' lives. So is the mythology. As he travels from one society to another, Jason meets centaurs, angels, sphinxes, fairies, genies, and much more, and each springs from the mythology of its home society.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I've been writing, revising, and tweaking this book for ten years (driving my wife crazy). I don't think I've left out a single edit I'd like to make. (But now that it's too late, I'm sure I'll think of one.)

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Tracking down the tiny details that make each society realistic. Lots of the research was easy--the information was readily available--but plenty wasn't. What do you first see when you walk into an ancient Roman city? What do you smell? What did a Sumerian priestess wear? What shape were ancient sails? When did tomatoes become common in Europe? All that stuff took a great deal of research.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
From inventing and writing about the characters, I learned a lot about myself--about the kind of people I like and dislike, and about how I'd want to behave in challenging and dangerous situations--and how I probably would behave. But most of all, I learned a great deal of history.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I've always been a writer, particularly in my job as a lawyer, but it was the idea behind The Jericho River that spurred my interest in writing fiction. My girlfriend (now wife) was studying for her teacher's certification, and she was having trouble with the history exam. I knew a lot of history, so I offered to tutor her. I gave her a 5-hour lesson, almost all from memory--and she passed her test. I was surprised to find all this knowledge packing my brain, and I began to wonder what else I might do with it. The Jericho River was the best idea that came along, so I said, "I'll have to write that book." Just like that, writing became a profession.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
J.R.R. Tolkien inspired me to become a reader and also to read history. And that inspiration really lies at the heart of The Jericho River. In the fourth grade, I started reading Tolkien and then moved on to other fantasy novels. That led me to mythology--particularly Greek and Norse myths--and mythology led me to history. So history never struck me as an academic subject: as something for school, rather than for fun. To me, reading history is a lot like reading fantasy stories. I got that view from reading Tolkien. And he must have seen the same magic in the past because he blended fantasy with real history better than anyone.

9. Tell us your latest news.
The Jericho River is pulling in an amazing series of reviews and endorsements. They come from historians, academics working in education and other fields, journalists, and authors. They include a former national teacher of the year and a Nebula-nominated fantasy author. We'll keep posting as many of the endorsements and reviews as we can, at http://www.jerichoriver.com/html/endorsements.html.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope my readers find magic in history the way I have. I hope they enjoy The Jericho River and then move on to other tales of the past--historical novels and actual histories--and read purely for pleasure, purely for fun.


About the Book

Imagine you could learn history by reading a magical adventure novel. You can.

The Jericho River flows through a mythic world shaped by history. Young Jason Gallo sails the river on a dangerous quest to rescue his father. He battles minotaurs and pirates, flees barbarians, stumbles into mummies' tombs, and outwits fairies, philosophers, and scientists. Along the way, he discovers friendship, love, and betrayal - and faces a hidden foe who threatens all he holds dear.

The Jericho River flows like a timeline, carrying its hero through historic lands: Sumer, Babylonia, ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, Napoleon's empire, and many others, all in chronological order - tracing the history of Western Civilization, from its Middle Eastern origins to the modern era. Professor Gallo, Jason's father, is a historian, and his notes outline the journey, revealing the truth about Cleopatra, King Arthur, and the fall of the Roman Empire. He explains how Snow White began as a promiscuous goddess and why Eve was created from Adam's rib, as well as the origins of coffee, the cat, chivalry, the Internet, Atlantis - and much more.

Come ride the currents of pageantry, myth, and magic that flow from our past into the future.

Prices: $12.50 paperback, $2.99 ebook
Pages: 335
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Winifred Press
Release Date: September 1, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK


About the Author

David Carthage is a lawyer with degrees from Harvard Law School and Cambridge University (Queens' College), as well as a B.A. in history from U.C. Berkeley. He lives and works in Northern California.

David's first book, "The Jericho River," has received widespread praise--including from historians and academics in education and other fields, thanks to its unique use of fantasy to teach history. David is a dedicated history buff and reads about the past almost constantly. He's also passionate about teaching, and he loves repackaging big, complex topics in a way that's fun, exciting, and easy to understand.

David is the father of two small boys, as well as the husband of one teacher and the son of another.

Links to connect with David:
Web site
Facebook



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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

C.C. Humphreys - A Place Called Armageddon - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I always say: when in doubt for a title, go to REVELATIONS. I wanted something apocalyptic, as this was the end of the world for many. I happened upon this: ‘And he gathered them together in a place called, in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon.’ Too perfect.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I am more a storyteller than a message sender. However the more I researched and visited the great city of Istanbul, the more I realized there were no nasty Muslims and angelic Christians, no true heroes and villains here – though examples of both on both sides. There were just people, fighting for what they believed in.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
It’s fiction, but scrupulously researched. That’s what I love to do: fictionalize real people and realise fictional ones. If I create strong enough characters I hope the reader will want to follow then through all the true, extraordinary events

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Hmm! Hard question. I don’t think any author is 100% satisfied with any book. However this one is as close as I’ve ever got. I even coined a phrase for what it is I do because of it. I write ‘the intimate epic’.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Layering the incredibly complex history of the event and period into an exciting story. I don’t believe in giving history lessons but the reader needs to know the history to understand the characters’ journeys. So I try to make the history something each character needs to think about.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Oh, so much! One of the main things would be the understanding of how important place is. What makes it up, what takes over your soul. I glimpsed it in Constantinople. As someone who has wandered all his life, I can only dream of having such an attachment to one place.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I suppose it began with my love of stories. Especially historical fiction, the fantastic Rosemary Sutcliff and her ilk. Loving their tales, I always dreamed of conjuring such magic myself. Took me a while and a few detours to get here though!


8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Another tricky one! I read in all genres and have been bewitched by authors in each of them. I suppose the lady I mentioned last would have to be number one. The way she creates a place, a time, characters in them, never bringing in the modern yet making you feel like you could have been there. Wonderful. And I cry every time.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Wow, so much has been happening! This tour, this book in the US, is so exciting, especially with my publishers, Sourcebooks, so behind me. I am also finishing a true labor of love: SHAKESPEARE’S REBEL a novel about the Bard’s fight choreographer at the time of Hamlet. But I have also switched publishers in the UK and Canada and am moving to Random House for my next two books: PLAGUE and FIRE, about those events in London in 1665-6.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I write for a single reader – yes, that’s you, right now! It’s no longer my book, it’s ours, we make it together. And if I catch you reading it, prepare to be bugged. I will ask you: where are you now? So I can share in the journey again.


About the Book

To the Greeks who love it, it is Constantinople. To the Turks who covet it, the Red Apple. Safe behind its magnificent walls, the city was once the heart of the vast Byzantine empire. 1453. The empire has shrunk to what lies within those now-crumbling walls. A relic. Yet for one man, Constantinople is the stepping stone to destiny. Mehmet is twenty when he is annointed Sultan. Now, seeking Allah’s will and Man’s glory, he brings an army of one hundred thousand, outnumbering the defenders ten to one. He has also brings something new – the most frightening weapon the world has ever seen… But a city is more than stone, its fate inseparable from that of its people. Men like Gregoras, a mercenary and exile, returning to the hated place he once loved. Like his twin and betrayer, the subtle diplomat, Theon. Like Sofia, loved by two brothers but forced to make a desperate choice between them. And Leilah, a powerful mystic and assassin, seeking her own destiny in the flames. This is the tale of one of history’s greatest battles for one of the world’s most extraordinary places. This is the story of people, from peasant to emperor – with the city’s fate, and theirs, undecided… until the moment the Red Apple falls.

Pages: 352
Publisher: Orion
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Buy Link: Amazon


About the Author

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys was born in Toronto and grew up in the UK. All four grandparents were actors and since his father was an actor as well, it was inevitable he would follow the bloodline. He has acted all over the world and appeared on stages ranging from London’s West End to Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox. Favorite roles have included Hamlet, Caleb the Gladiator in NBC’s Biblical-Roman epic mini-series, ‘AD – Anno Domini’ and Jack Absolute in Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’.

Chris has written eight historical novels. The first, ‘The French Executioner’ told the tale of the man who killed Anne Boleyn and was runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers 2002. Its sequel, ‘Blood Ties’, was a bestseller in Canada. Having played Jack Absolute, he stole the character and has written three books on this ‘007 of the 1770’s’ – ‘Jack Absolute’, ‘The Blooding of Jack Absolute’ and ‘Absolute Honour’- short listed for the 2007 Evergreen Prize by the Ontario Library Association. All have been published in the UK, Canada, the US and been translated into Russian, Italian, German, Greek and Czech. VLAD: THE LAST CONFESSION - the true history of Dracula – was published in 2008, was a bestseller in Canada, and has been translated in Germany, Spain, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Turkey and Brazil. In May 2011 it was published by Sourcebooks in the USA.

His new adult novel ‘A PLACE CALLED ARMAGEDDON’ about the fall of Constantinople 1453, was released in the UK in July 2011 and Canada August 2011. It will be published in the US in September 2012.

He has also written a trilogy for young adults ‘The Runestone Saga’. A heady brew of Norse myth, runic magic, time travel and horror, the first book in the series ‘The Fetch’ was published in North America in July 2006, with the sequel, ‘Vendetta’ in August 2007 and the conclusion, ‘Possession’, August 2008. They are also published in Russia, Greece, Turkey and Indonesia. His latest Young Adult novel ‘THE HUNT OF THE UNICORN’ was released by Knopf in North America and Spain in March 2011.

Chris lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, with his wife and young son.

Links to connect with C.C.:
Web site
Blog
Facebook
Twitter




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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Robin Maxwell - Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
It was a process that I shared with a whole range of people -- from the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate, to my editors and agents, to loved ones and author friends. Quite early most of us agreed that the main title should be JANE, but the subtitle was hotly debated. We also agreed since Tarzan's name didn't appear in the main title, it needed to be in the subtitle. I believe I came up with "The Woman Who Loved Tarzan," but then I began second-guessing myself. Should it be "girl" or "woman?" Should it be "Loved Tarzan" or "Stole Tarzan's Heart?" Many people passionately believed the title should be "ME JANE." I actually sent out a questionnaire with about twenty choices to 85 of my most trusted reading friends. There were some pretty comical write-ins.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
We always think about Tarzan saving Jane, and his being her protector. But as I have a successful thirty year marriage that is based on equality, that's what I wanted to impart in JANE. If Tarzan saves Jane (which does happen on a couple of occasions), then Jane saves Tarzan different, significant ways. He is her teacher. She is his teacher. And of course, at the core of it all, is love.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Quite a lot. I did massive amounts of research into Colonial Africa, Darwin's evolutionary theories about the missing links in human evolution, feral children, the lives of Edwardian women, female explorers and adventurers, the flora and fauna of the African forests, and lost civilizations. While I wanted there to be elements of the mysteries of the jungle, I leaned pretty heavily on science (Jane and her father are paleoanthropologists), and tried to make elements of the original Edgar Rice Burroughs story more realistic than fantastical, as I believe modern readers are a bit more discerning than readers of a hundred years ago, when Tarzan of the Apes was first published.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Short answer - no. I'm really, really happy with every aspect of it.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Smack in the middle of writing it, I had a problem with my eyes, and I couldn't read my research books. If I worked on the computer, I had to limit my time on it and type in giant 24 point font (and zoom in on websites). So I had to depend on my husband, Max, to read to me so I could organize my notes. I'd write the manuscript chapters out in long-hand on yellow pads, then he'd read them to me and I'd touch-type them into my computer in the big font. In fact, he read me the entire manuscript word-for-word out loud several times during the writing and editing process. It was difficult, but because Max really loved this book, he took pleasure in the help he gave me, and it became a lovely bond between us. I feel it is just as much his book as mine - he's my own Tarzan! You can see by the cover of our local arts and entertainment magazine, that we identify pretty strongly with Tarzan and Jane!


About the Book

Cambridge, England, 1905. Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time: the only female student in Cambridge University’s medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat dissecting corpses than she is in a corset and gown sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleoanthropologist, Jane dreams of traveling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scientific hero, Charles Darwin. Little does she know she is about to develop from a well-bred, brilliantly educated Edwardian young woman to a fierce, vine-swinging huntress who meets and falls in love with Tarzan.

And so begins JANE: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan (A Tor trade paperback; September 18, 2012; $14.99), the first retelling of Tarzan written by a woman and authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate. This renowned love story of the ultimate strong female protagonist, by award-winning author and screenwriter Robin Maxwell, deftly entwines real people and events with archaeology and ancient civilizations based on Maxwell’s research into Darwinian evolutionary theory and the historical discoveries of paleoanthropologist Eugene Dubois.

When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father to join an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Africa is every bit as exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined, but Jane quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane finds her hero, the key to humanity’s past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.

Price: $15.99
Pages: 320
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: September 18. 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound


About the Author

ROBIN MAXWELL is the national bestselling author of eight historical fiction novels featuring powerful women, including Signora da Vinci and the award-winning Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, now in its 24th printing. She lives in the high desert of California with her husband, yogi Max Thomas.

Links to connect with Robin:

Web site
Facebook
Twitter


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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Terence Jackson - Blood Underground: Book One - Thavs - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I was in London on my own about this time last year and decided to take the tour of the forgotten underground on a whim. My best friend, Kris Kobus, works for the Tube and suggested the tour. It was fascinating seeing the stations and tunnels that had fallen into disuse and the stories about them. I always have a notebook with me so if inspiration hits I'm prepared. It did. I took notes on everything the tour guide said and the idea grew and grew that it would make a great setting for a vampire novel – thus Blood Underground. The word “Thavs” is a descriptive term I came up with based on the English word “chavs.” It is explained in the introductory chapter.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
First of all, I want my readers to have fun and enjoy the ride. Second, I want them to become emotionally invested in the characters. And last of all, in this particular story, the message I want the readers to get is how much our humanness means to us.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Quite of bit of the book is realistic. As I said, I take a notebook with me everywhere I go and I take extensive notes, even while on vacation. Besides the underground folklore incorporated into my story, there are other locations and situations taken from real life – the pubs, the museums – all are based in reality. A painting in one of the galleries in London inspired one of the main characters in Blood Underground and is featured prominently in the story as an impetus for flashbacks. My characters, or quite a few of them, are based loosely on some of my friends – their moods, their affectations, etc.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I’ve been told that I sometimes tend to give too much background information but I want my readers to be able to know my characters inside and out, and to know why they are the way they are. So to answer your question, no; I wouldn’t change anything about Blood Underground.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I’m a linear thinker; to me everything has a logical beginning, middle, and end. That was how I wrote all of my previous novels – started at the beginning and worked my way to the end. For Blood Underground I decided to try something different and it nearly did me in! After the initial chapter which is a prologue that tells the reader what “thavs” are and the origin of the term, the story goes back and forth from present day to the early 1800s, working its way forward through history with each successive flashback. It was very difficult for me to write in this manner but I think it works for this storyline very well.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that I can think outside of a straight line and actually do it pretty well, or so early reviews have lead me to believe.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I began writing when I was in college back in the 1970s, never anything serious, though. It was just for me that I wrote - mainly short stories and such. I started writing seriously in 2007 as a way to beat the boredom of winter in Fargo, North Dakota, where I currently live and work.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Sadly, I really do not have a favorite author. I know it sounds shallow, but I have read tons of books over the years, all different genres, fiction, non-fiction, etc. but ever since I started writing I just haven’t read very much. And I can’t read the other vampire author’s works until I’m done writing in that genre – I don’t want to subconsciously use any of their ideas in my own writing. I know that there is duplication in the horror novels – it’s bound to happen, but I want to be able to say with certainty that it was accidental if one of my stories seems to be like someone else’s. If I had to pick, it would probably be F. Scott Fitzgerald. That whole era he wrote about has always been a point of fascination for me. His words seem to soar off of the page and he makes it easy for one to envision exactly what it is he’s trying to say.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I am going back to London in late October of this year to do some more research on the other two Blood Underground books. After basing so much of my writing in England, I have begun to feel as if it is my second home. I have met some of my “fans” and have forged some very good friendships over there from my writing. I will also be on the lookout for interesting locations to shoot for the cover of the next two books.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I appreciate every one of my readers, truly I do. And whether you fall in love with my books and the characters or you feel cheated by an ending, please keep reading and commenting on my books. I've been told my writing is everything from "wonderful, inspiring, etc." to "vampire porn" (I get a big chuckle every time I think about that one) and I take it all in stride. All-in-all I enjoy the fans and hearing how much they love my writing and that they can't wait for the next book to come out.


About the Book

The early part of the 19th Century held a lot of promise for a young man born into the upper-crust of London society. Henry Stuart was such a man – educated, handsome, and headstrong - the only son of a prominent financier. The world was poised at Henry’s feet ready to give up its treasures - and pleasures - to one so seemingly deserving of such a gift. On the night of his graduation from university there began a series of events which would alter the course of his life forever, sending him down a dark and treacherous path. Along the journey are characters of all sorts with whom Henry must interact if he is going to find his way. Follow his journey from privileged gent to that of being one of the most feared vampires in all of London – if not the whole of England. Will the beast win out in the end? Or will Henry’s humanity triumph?

Price: $6.99 paperback, $2.99 Kindle
Pages: 208
Publisher: NoDakJak Media
Release date: July 26, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Kindle


About the Author

Terence Jackson was born at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. His father was in the U.S. Air Force and his mother was a nurse prior to having children. Terence's credits his love for the written word to his mother, and avid reader who taught him to read years before he began schooling. He works at North Dakota State University as an administrative secretary - the only male secretary on campus. Terence grew up watching all those great black & white horror movies - Dracula, The Werewolf, etc. - on Saturday mornings and always had a love for the macabre. He also watched a lot of British television, especially Dr. Who and the comedies so he’s been a huge anglophile for some time, as well. His first novel, Thirty Days and Counting, is filled with insights into his own life and his family history. It is a military love story set in the era of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Though fictionalized, there are a lot of truths in this work. The second novel, Von Dred, is a lengthy vampire tale that covers over a century in the life of William Smythe, the main character. Von Dred was inspired by Terence's love of the vampire genre and a student of his at North Dakota State University who in fact designed the cover for the book. His next work is a sequel to Von Dred - The Book of Jacob. Both of these vampire tales give some refreshing insight into the vampire lore. Jacob brings the Von Dred story full circle with twists and turns and a few other surprises.

Terence is now working on a trilogy of books about vampires who inhabit the unused and abandoned tunnels that crisscross underneath the city of London. The first of the series - Thavs – was made available on 26 July of this year - Thom Blood and Tunnel of Blood are to follow. The series is called Blood Underground Books One, Two, and Three.

Other things are in the works, not just vampire stories. Terence is working on a novel about the lives of those in musical theatre entitled The Big Song. Also in the works are novels about the personification of Death called Passing On Death, a story about how we touch the lives of others even after we are gone entitled Persona, and lastly, a book of historical fiction about the first vampire aptly titled The First (sorry, but I love vampires!).

Links to connect with Terence:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads



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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Richard Sharp - The Duke Don't Dance - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title, The Duke Don't Dance, comes from actual graffiti encountered in a Washington DC office building men's room in 1980. Who wrote "The Duke Don't Dance" above the urinal and what it meant were mysteries, but it certainly wasn't the usual graffiti. After much discussion of who the Duke might be, the viewers (or at least this viewer) decided to steal a thought from Paul Simon and accept it as the words of a prophet speaking to their generation that they must "dance for themselves."

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The protagonists' generation, including the author, took its name, "Silent Generation," from an insulting article in Time in 1951 griping about the younger generation, when about half in their age bracket (b. circa 1926-1945) were still teenagers or younger. Partly due to that unfortunate label, the lifestyle of men and women in this transitional age group, if not neglected entirely, tends to be confused either with the boomers or conservative members of the prior "greatest generation." I wrote about the lives of rather typical, ordinary "Silents" in part as a corrective and to help fill a largely empty niche in fiction that could use more attention.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
It is not at all autobiographical, but is realistic both in terms of big events and small details. Yes, the "Silents," not the boomers, largely invented rock and roll, initiated the post war sexual revolution and were the first in Vietnam, the struggle for racial equality, and the culture of the 1960s. Among a wealth of small matters, references to the 1981 Beach Boy concert on the Capitol Mall was accurate to both the playlist and the placement of port-o-potties. And an acquaintance during the Vietnam War did have an uncomfortable body piercing.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
One reviewer called my writing style Pointillist (that is neo-impressionistic) and I think the comparison to that painting genre is apt. I used small bits of history and culture and personal reactions to create impressions of each character's feelings and motives, without constructing a full portrait of each protagonist, rather painting a broader picture of a generation. Some readers prefer Realism to Impressionism and I suspect I might have reached a wider audience with more extensive development each individual character. But, that said, I'm reluctant to do so. I'm an impressionist at heart.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Making sure that my characters did not try to sell themselves to the reader. It’s tempting to try to make the lead protagonists consistently likeable and set up others as villains, but the world isn’t that way.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
A lot of people really are stuck on generational stereotypes. It's a pleasure to shake them up a bit.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I've been a non-fiction writer since high school, when I worked as a reporter for the school and small town newspapers. I was probably trying to impress girls. I went into development and transportation consulting as a career, writing many studies and reports. Then in 2000, I decided I'd lived enough life to write credible fiction about it.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Isabel Allende, particularly her early work. She communicates women's emotional depths to me in a way that enables me to translate my obtuse male understanding of female protagonists into something at least superficially credible.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Two American historical novels actually written before The Duke Don't Dance will be published as Indie releases before the end of the year. They are Jacob's Cellar, a multi-generational tale extending from the pre-Revolution era through the civil war, and Time is the Oven, a late 19th story taking on Western myths with a Shakespearean theme. Another contemporary novel called Crystal Ships, inspired by an Irish legend and a Doors tune, will come out sometime in late 2013. Announcements will be made on my website: http://richardsharpnovels.com/

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Be resilient and unrepentant; it is really annoying to the judgmental.


About the Book

Compressed between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom were those who became known to some by the ill-chosen name of the Silent Generation. They were those born too late to share in the triumph of the great victory, too early to know only the privilege of the American empire and in too few numbers to assure themselves a proper identity and proper legacy. Despite those attributes, they invented rock and roll, filled the streets in the struggle for racial equality, bled in the heated precipitates of the cold war and opened the doors to the sexual revolution and feminism, her serious-minded sister. Their triumph lay not in their completion of these transitions, but in their survival through them. The Duke Don’t Dance follows the adult lives of men and women who made that journey.

Genre: literary fiction
Pages: 262
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date: February 16, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1467949163
Buy Links: Amazon, Kindle, Nook


About the Author

Richard Sharp confesses to being a member of the “Silent Generation,” the subject of his contemporary novel, The Duke Don’t Dance. Born in the early 1940s into a farming family who had migrated to rural Colorado from Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl, he traveled east as a young adult to receive degrees from Harvard and Princeton Universities. His writing is enriched from career experiences across America and in some four dozen countries, spanning the Vietnam War era through the present.

Following years in the Washington, DC area as an international development and transport consultant, with assignments mainly in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the former Soviet Union, Mr Sharp now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. While The Duke Don’t Dance is not autobiographical, Sharp takes advantage of his broad experience to develop the novel’s vivid scenes of Thailand during the Vietnam conflict, post-colonial Africa, the Soviet Union and, of course, Washington, DC.

Sharp was the youngest child in a large family with both parents born in 19th century Missouri, their history forming a starting point for Jacob’s Cellar and Time is the Oven, tales or rural protagonists in the fringes of the South. The great grandson of three Civil War soldiers (two Union, one Confederate) and another grandfather displaced by the great conflict, Sharp explores its impact on ordinary men and women caught up in the war and its aftereffects.

Links to connect with Richard:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter



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Friday, September 7, 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
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Thursday, September 6, 2012

C. Lee McKenzie - Alligators Overhead - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I had a knotty pine ceiling in my bedroom, and whenever I'd lie in bed I'd stare up at what looked exactly like alligators in those brown streaks. They stared down at me with round knotty pine eyes. I always carried those images of Alligators Overhead around in my head I guess, and then a story found me that seemed to fit that title.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I just wanted readers to enter a fantasy world and enjoy the visit. Of course, there's a GREEN message about open space and living in harmony with nature. Pete, my main character, has to learn about responsibility, so there's bit of WITH POWER COMES RESPONSIBILITY in the book, but all of that is more fun and not preachy.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Not much. However, there is Pete's loss that's very realistic. When he loses his parents he must live with his aunt, but when the story starts all of that has already happened, so it comes in as back story.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No. I'm satisfied with how it came to the page. Some readers have asked if there's a sequel, but I didn't plan that into the story, so if I'd thought about writing a second adventure with these two boys I guess I would have laid the groundwork in Alligators. That would be one possible change.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sitting. I hate sitting. Sometimes I walk around with a pad and pencil in my hand, scribbling just so I don't have to be at my desk in a chair.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Don't let your editor leave town. My best reader and "detail-catch-everything-including-extra spaces" editor left for Italy just before this book went to press. I should have hired another editor, but I didn't. I've found a couple of extra words and deleted words and that's driving me nuts. Fortunately, I can change the digital books easily. The paperback will take longer, but I'll do it.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Frankly, I can't. I've always written something: personal journals, non-fiction articles; then suddenly a piece of fiction that started as an article and turned into a novel. I sold that and that's when I became hooked on creating stories for young readers.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
This question always stumps me because I love so many authors. I keep choosing different ones when I respond to this question so that I can write about as many authors as possible. Margaret Atwood charms me with her lyrical style. It reminds me of singing. When I read her prose I almost have to say the words out loud. Here's a line from Robber Bride that I love: "Where to start is the problem, because nothing begins when it begins and nothing's over when it's over, and everything needs a preface: a preface, a postscript, a chart of simultaneous events."

9. Tell us your latest news.
I'll have a short story in the new anthology, Two and Twenty Dark Tales, called "Into the Sea of Dew." All the stories are retellings of nursery rhymes and mine is based on Winkin' Blinkin' and Nod. The launch starts soon and a group of the authors will be doing a presentation at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in Redondo Beach, CA Nov 10 about 2:30. It will be great to meet some of the other contributors.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just that I hope they enjoy what I write and if they want to tell me about their experience, I love to hear from readers. I even take criticism. That's something I've learned to manage pretty well since I started publishing books. :-)


About the Book

Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town's bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he's up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn't the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete's guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find the witches and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then, they may not have what it takes.

Prices: $11.00 paperback, $2.99 Kindle
Pages: 210
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure Fantasy
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Release Date: July 1, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords


About the Author

C. Lee McKenzie is a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family and miscellaneous pets. She writes most of the time, gardens and hikes and does yoga a lot, and then travels whenever she can.

She takes on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Her short stories appear in Stories for Children, The First Time and the soon to be published, Two and Twenty Dark Tales. She just published her first Middle Grade novel, Alligators Overhead, this year.

Links to connect with C. Lee:
Web site
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
Goodreads
YouTube
Podcast



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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Allan Leverone - Revenant - Author Interview



Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
REVENANT represents the first time I’ve written a book as a followup to another. The first book in my series of supernatural suspense novels set in Maine is titled PASKAGANKEE, and that title alludes to the name of the tiny town where the action occurs. There is a significance to that name, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is!

When I set out to write the second book in the series, I had a couple of specific goals in mind: I wanted a one-word title, in keeping with the title of the first book, I wanted it to be hard-hitting, and I wanted to tease potential readers with a little taste of what they might get if they read the book. The dictionary definition of “revenant” is “a person who returns as a spirit after death,” and the novel’s plot centers around a power-hungry con man who steals a sacred Navajo object imbued with a mystical and terrifying power, so you can probably see where we’re going here…

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My number one goal when I sit down to write a book is to entertain. I’m a genre writer through-and-through, I write mostly horror and thriller novels, and if I can transport the reader away from the problems of her world for a little while, and into a world of action or danger or fright or intrigue, I feel like I’ve done my job. That’s not to say you won’t pick up on a theme or two when you read my work—we’re all products of our environments, after all—but my overriding goal when I write is not to push my world view on anyone else, it is to make your pulse pound and to keep you turning the pages.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
That’s a great question, and the answer really comes down to your expectations as a reader. REVENANT is a supernatural suspense novel dealing with an amoral sociopath who finds in his possession a sacred object with the ability to reanimate the recently dead. It’s a situation most people probably would agree could not happen, or at least is not likely to happen, so in that sense, it’s not realistic at all. But the entire horror genre consists of books dealing with events and occurrences most people would agree could not happen or would not be likely to happen.

In that context, REVENANT is as realistic as any other book in the genre. It’s all about suspension of disbelief. And in a broader sense, the book is totally realistic when you consider it deals with a sociopath so power-hungry he is willing to stop at nothing to achieve his goal. You can turn on the television news every night of the week and see similar stories.

4. If you had it to do all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I’m an inveterate tinkerer, and whenever I read one of my novels or novellas I always find sentences, paragraphs and even entire chapters I feel could be changed for the better. But you have to draw the line on rewriting and revising somewhere or else you’ll never produce a product, and eventually you reach a point as a writer where you’re just changing things for the sake of changing them, rather than seeing any improvement in the end product.

But as far as storyline is concerned, I’m very happy with how REVENANT turned out. The characters are believable and sympathetic, and the plot moves along nicely, bringing the reader to (I hope) a satisfying conclusion. I wouldn’t change any of that.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time to work on it every day. Thrillers and horror novels rely heavily on their pacing, even more so than novels in other genres, and I feel like I lose momentum and have trouble maintaining the proper pace to the story if I don’t get between 1500 and 2000 words down on the page every day.

But I work a full-time job as an air traffic controller, forty hours a week, and have a family I would like to make sure remembers what I look like, so it’s really easy to run out of hours in the day. I’m not complaining, though. I love to write and setting aside the time to do it is a sacrifice I’m happy to make.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Another tough question. REVENANT is the sixth full-length novel I’ve written, including a couple which are still unpublished, and every time I start working on a new book I’m absolutely convinced there is no way I will be able to manage 75,000-85,000 words of coherent fiction that anyone will want to read.

I manage my terror by approaching the story one scene at a time. Instead of telling myself “You need to write a book”—which seems damned near impossible—I tell myself, “You have to write a scene,” which feels a lot more manageable. Eventually, after enough scenes, a lot of hard work, the passage of time and maybe some smoke and mirrors, I emerge out the other side with what is (I hope) a quality book.

The biggest thing I learned from REVENANT is that I can actually do that. It still amazes me when I think about it.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of the written word. As a kid I was always reading, Hardy Boys novels, Edgar Allen Poe, Sherlock Holmes stories, you name it and I read it. It was not at all uncommon for me to be in the middle of three or even four books at a time. Yes, I really was that strange.

From the youngest age I loved the way a well-written story could transport you into a totally foreign world filled with danger and intrigue. I can remember thinking as a young boy how cool it would be to write books and be able to do transport other readers into the worlds of my imagination. I wrote my first story when I was probably eight years old or so, about a guy who gets lost in the woods in the winter, and as spring approaches, his body is found huddled against a tree, one tear frozen to his face.

I didn’t get serious about writing fiction, though, until about six years ago, but I still love knowing my work can take people away from their problems, even if only for a little while.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I wish I had only one favorite author; I admire the work of so many different people I must have at least a couple of dozen favorites!

If you held a gun to my head and forced me to pick just one, I would have to say Lawrence Block. The man has been making a living writing genre fiction for longer than a good many of us have been alive, and his work is still as fresh, interesting and exciting today as it was four decades ago. He has created several different series characters which are distinctive and different, and writes dialogue that is crisp and cutting.

There are plenty of other authors I admire, though, including (but not limited to) Lee Child, Tom Piccirilli, Robert Gregory Browne, Sophie Littlefield, Vincent Zandri and many others. Anyone who has managed to carve out a career writing fiction over a long period of time deserves admiration and respect, in my opinion. It’s not an easy thing to do.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Well, my big news would be the release of my fourth novel and second in the PASKAGANKEE series, titled REVENANT. It’s the book I’m currently blog-touring to support and one of which I’m very proud. And if you’re considering giving it a try, be aware it works perfectly fine as a stand-alone; it is absolutely not necessary to have read the first book to read this one.

The publication of REVENANT makes two horror-ish books in a row I’ve written, and I love thrillers as much as horror, if not more. So I’m taking a short break from the supernatural and have finished roughly two-thirds of the first draft of a more traditional thriller which takes place in the mid-1980’s, at the end of the Cold War. The book is titled PARALLAX VIEW and tells the story of a kickass female CIA agent who is tasked with a very simple mission: the delivery of a top-secret communique from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Someone is determined to prevent the communique from reaching its destination, however, and soon our hero finds herself on the run, chased by nameless assassins, with no one to turn to for help but a perfect stranger. It’s filled with action and has been a lot of fun to write.

Additionally, I plan on writing a horror novella to submit to DarkFuse Publications, which has released two of my previous three novellas, and I am scheduled to write a horror short for an upcoming charity anthology being edited by one of my favorite people, Katherine Tomlinson of Dark Valentine Press. It’s not my place to release the details of the anthology, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Whew. I guess that’s it for now!

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I sure do. I would like to thank each and every single person who has spent their hard-earned money on my work, whether it be a full-length novel, novella or short story. There are plenty of options for readers to spend their entertainment dollars on, and plenty of books written by more well-known authors than me. I am humbled and honored when people purchase a book of mine.

Believe me when I say you are never far from my mind when I’m writing, and I welcome the opportunity to hear from you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for checking out my work.


About the Book

A sacred Navajo artifact, imbued with a shocking and dangerous power.

An amoral con man, willing to stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

And a tiny northern Maine town, isolated and vulnerable.

Last November, Paskagankee, Maine was shaken to its core, held hostage by a centuries-old curse, terrorized by a brutal killing spree stopped at the last possible moment by new police chief Mike McMahon and beautiful young patrol officer Sharon Dupont.

Now, just as the pair - and the town - is beginning to recover, a new horror comes calling.

Billionaire Seattle software designer Brett Parker is in Paskagankee to check on the progress of his newly-constructed summer retreat. But he's not the only new resident in town. Max Acton, murderous sociopath and Arizona cult leader, has gained possession of a long-hidden sacred Navajo artifact with the ability to reanimate the dead.

Acton aims to use the stone in a murderous plot to kidnap Parker and steal his revolutionary new software design developed for the U.S. Department of Defense, selling it to the highest bidder and making millions. He doesn't even need to get his hands dirty. All he needs is a victim to kill . . . and reanimate . . . and force to do his bidding.

All he needs is a revenant.

And the revenant is angry. And he's deadly. And he's unstoppable. And the town of Paskagankee will once again become a battleground between the living and the dead...

Genre: Adult, Horror, Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: Rock Bottom Books; First Edition
Publication Date: June 29, 2012
Pages: 224
Purchase: Amazon


About the Author

Allan Leverone is the author of the Amazon bestselling suspense thriller, THE LONELY MILE, as well as a previous thriller, FINAL VECTOR, and a brand-new supernatural suspense novel titled PASKAGANKEE. He is the author of the horror novellas, DARKNESS FALLS and HEARTLESS for Delirium Books, and is a four-time Derringer Award Finalist for excellence in short mystery fiction as well as a 2011 Puschart Prize nominee. Allan lives in New Hampshire with his wife of nearly thirty years, his family and a cat who has used up eight lives.

Links to connect with Allan:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter


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