Friday, March 29, 2013

Joanne Bischof - Though My Heart Is Torn - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
With the title, Though My Heart is Torn I really wanted to encompass the idea that “Although, my heart is torn…or although I have this hurt, fear, burden, God is still here with me. With us. He is still good and sovereign and still has our best interest in mind. That even though we may hurt, it won’t last forever. God will always see us through (1 Peter 5: 1).


2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
What I really want readers to take away from this story is that though it may tug your heart, it doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it. I think often times the happily-ever-after is all the more richer—purer, sweeter—if we had found ourselves looking out from the darkness and wondering how sweet the light might taste and if one day we might see it again. Though all hope may seem lost and though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning.

The idea behind this story, is that nothing is for naught. As Be Still My Soul carried into Though My Heart is Torn, perhaps it wasn’t time for Lonnie and Gideon’s happily-ever-after to come. Not just yet. I think the hero of the story, Gideon, still has some lessons to learn. He still has some growing up to do. I think that trials come into our lives, so that we might come out on the other end a little bit stronger and a little bit wiser. Not because God is unkind, but because He is gracious to give us that time of growth—when we need it the most.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
The story and the characters are all fictitious, but the regions of Fancy Gap and Rocky Knob in the Blue Ridge Mountains are real places. The heroine and hero will be separated for most of the story, so their love story will sort of bridge the gap from one place to the other. A yearning that will unite the two places.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I don’t think I would. But that doesn’t mean it’s not tempting! I think it’s always hard as a writer, to let go of a manuscript and watch it go to print, all the while hoping that readers will enjoy it and that it would bless them. 


5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part about writing this book was telling the story of two soul mates, who fell deeply in love in Be Still My Soul, yet in Though My Heart is Torn…are separated by the law. It was so hard to pull Lonnie and Gideon apart as their love has grown so deeply rooted, yet knowing that hope is on the horizon for these two, and that all hope isn’t lost, made this story truly a joy to write.


6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
In the early 1900’s divorces were uncommon, which made it difficult to research, especially in the region of the Blue Ridge Mountains where my stories take place. There were a lot of gray areas—many pertaining to how rural the environment was. It wasn’t easy for people to simply pack up, leave the hills, and journey to a courthouse. It was often times challenging. Working with several sources, including some personal accounts was really fascinating as I put as many of the missing puzzle pieces together.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Growing up, I always had my nose in a book and my head in the clouds. I was always making up stories and writing them down. It was always sort of a hobby, but as I got older, those stories got longer until I had written my first manuscript in High School. I love working with kids and encouraging them in their writing and put together a page on my website for creative writing kids.


8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
One of my favorite authors is Laura Frantz. I admire how she writes outside of the box for the Christian fiction market. Her stories are passionate and heart wrenching in a way that stays with you for a long time. She is a dear woman and it was such an honor to have her endorsement for Though My Heart is Torn.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Right now, I am working on the early stages of edits for the third book in the series, My Hope is Found. This story will pick up only days after Though My Heart is Torn leaves off and will be the next and final story in Lonnie and Gideon’s journey. I am so excited about this book. It was so much fun to write and was truly a joy to bring this story to a victorious end.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for having me today! I’d love to connect with you! Right now on my website, I’m having a giveaway inspired by Lonnie and Gideon of the Cadence of Grace series, you can sign up for it here or visit me at my Facebook page!


About the Book

Gideon O’Riley has two wives—but he doesn’t know it.

Settling into a simple life in the majestic Blue Ridge mountains, Lonnie and Gideon O’Riley have finally found happiness after the rocky start to their marriage. The roguish bluegrass musician has fallen in love with his gentle wife and the God she serves, and Lonnie rests secure in his tenderness for her and their young son. A heartless ruse interupts their peace, bringing them back to Rocky Knob—and forces them to face the claims of Cassie Allan, a woman who says she is Gideon’s rightful wife.

As Gideon wades into the depths of his past choices, Lonnie is stunned by the revelations. She has no choice but to navigate this new path, knowing that surviving the devastating blow will take every ounce of strength she has.

While Gideon’s guilt and his bitterness towards Cassie threatens to burn up his fledgling faith, Lonnie wrestles to find the courage to trust the God who brought them together in the first place. Will their hard-earned love be able to conquer all?

Lonnie only wanted her husband’s love. Now that he belongs to another, can she surrender Gideon to a God with a bigger plan?

Prices/Formats: $9.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction/Christian/Romance
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Multnomah Books


About the Author

Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne Bischof lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home-schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. Though My Heart is Torn is the second novel in her Cadence of Grace series.


Links to Connect with Joanne:
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Anne Patrick - Fire and Ash - Book Blast & Giveaway


Fire and Ash by Anne Patrick

Fire and Ash is the story of female fire investigator Sadie McGregor.  When she was a child, Sadie lost her family in a horrific fire that still haunts her.  She's now been called in to investigate a fatality fire in her hometown of Emerald Point, Missouri. What Sadie and the handsome new police chief discover will not only affect those close to them, but will rock the entire community.








Reviews and Awards
"This is a beautiful, yet hard-hitting story, fluently written, presenting characters you fall in love with." 
~ Reviewed by Fennel at LASR

"A Top Pick! Another Fantastic Novel!!!! Anne Patrick's novel, "Fire and Ash" is a well-written novel that flows wonderfully. A fantastic read!" 
~ Night Owl Reviews

"A wonderful read, this book had me laughing and crying. True to life characters and vivid descriptions, along with comedy and heart stopping moments, make this a page turner you'll want to read again." 
~ Happily Ever After Reviews

"As a forensics show enthusiast, I found that Anne Patrick, in her book, Fire and Ash, goes into great, minute detail of the fire investigation, that puts you on the scent of a perpetrator.  Her unique ability to incorporate multiple plots to throw you off course makes the pages fly by to connect the dots."  
~ Onedesertrose's Christian Book Reviews Blog

"As a retired fire investigator I have to say kudos to Ms Patrick on her research. I normally don’t read romantic suspense, but this book sounded intriguing so I couldn't resist. I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED
~Review from 'Fireboy' at Christianbook.com

Received Four Stars from Romantic Times Book Reviews!

LASR BEST BOOK of 2010 Nominee!

'Best Inspirational' 2010 at The Romance Reviews!

#1 Bestselling Suspense eBook, and #1 Bestselling Romance eBook at Christianbook.com!

Amazon Top 100 Bestseller in Christian Fiction!


Author Anne Patrick

Anne Patrick is the author of more than a dozen novels of Romance, Mayhem & Faith, including the award winning and bestselling WOUNDED HEROES SERIES, FIRE AND ASH, and TIES THAT BIND. When she isn't working on her next novel she enjoys spending time with family and friends, and traveling to foreign countries to experience new cultures and adventures. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she now makes her home in Kansas. 





She loves to hear from her readers!



Book Blast Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/10/13

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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Khanh Ha - Flesh - Author Interview



Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
It began with an image after I read a book called Black Opium by Claude Farrère. In one scene he depicted a man going through at least 30 pipes to transcend his own afflictions. In the end, still a soul in pain, he was no longer a man, no longer a man at all. But he had not yet become anything else. As we all know―and this is the undercurrent in Flesh―God created man with flesh imbued with weaknesses they must overcome. Perhaps when we are no longer flesh, bound by nothing material, we are free.



2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I write dark fiction because of the dystopian world around us. But I want to come out of it alive and atoned for. My main character is like that. He is impetuous, single-minded and yet tender-hearted and loyal. He is flawed in this coming-of-age story. But he redeems himself with his charismatic and magnanimous personality in action. I hope that’s how he is seen by readers. One reviewer puts it succinctly, ‘the perpetual clash of good and evil and what comes out of it, the human ignorance and redemption.’ However, I never intend to send readers any message in any novel I write. I don’t believe in it. But I like novels that give you fruit for thought. I like novels that offer a redemptive value. I hope Flesh does.



3. How much of the book is realistic?
There was an image formed in my mind after I read a book called War and Peace in Hanoi and Tonkin, which was written by a French military doctor. In one chapter he depicted an execution. The scene took place on a wasteland outside Hanoi. This bandit was beheaded for his crime while the onlookers, some being his relatives with children, watched in muted fascination and horror. While reading it, I imagined a boy—his son—was witnessing the decapitation of his father by the hand of the executioner. I pictured him and his mother as they collected the body without the head which the government would display at the entrance of the village his father had looted. I thought what if the boy later set out to steal the head so he could give his father an honorable burial? What if he got his hand on the executioner’s sabre and used it to kill the man who betrayed his father for a large bounty? However, it really started with a story within my family. My mom told me that my grandfather was one of the last mandarins of the Hue Imperial Court, circa 1930. At that time the Vietnamese communists were coming into power. They condemned any person a traitor who worked either for the French or the Hue Court. So my grandpa was a traitor in their eyes. One day news came to him that a communist gathering was to be held in one of the remote villages from Hue. He set out to that village with some of his bodyguards to punish the communists. Unfortunately, news leaked out about his trip. He was ambushed on the road—his bodyguards were killed—and he was beheaded. The communists threw his body into a river. My grandma hired a witch doctor to look for his headless body. Eventually the witch doctor found it. They were able to identify his body based on the ivory name tablet in his tunic. My grandma hired someone to make a fake head out of a coconut shell wrapped in gilded paper and buried my grandpa on the Ngu Binh Mountain. The beheading of grandpa surfaced again while I was reading the decapitation scene in War and Peace in Hanoi and Tonkin.



4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Publishers tend to publish books that have been published before in the same vein. Flesh isn’t in any such vein. It’s a special novel to me and I would not change a single thing in it.



5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the voice—the author’s true voice. Writers have influences on one another. Faulkner, Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy have influences on me. But when you have found your own voice, then nothing can take it away from you. When you have your own voice, you are indestructible. You are now a mature writer. Somewhere in the early going with Flesh, I found my own voice—the author’s voice. I never looked back after that.



6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
If I learned anything while writing Flesh, it must be finding my own voice—the author’s voice. Somewhere in the early going with Flesh, I found my own. I never looked back after that. On the other hand, writing a book taught me endurance, humility, and no success is guaranteed even when you have tried your hardest. But in spite of that, you will never consider yourself a failure.



7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I write because I was born with a desire to work with words. That desire had matured in me and become an extension of myself in the form of words. There was no plan and there was no ‘why.’ You write because the urge to write has always been within you since you were a young boy. Then when you had enough vocabulary and your thoughts have become more refined, you were then driven to put them down in words. I wrote my first short story when I was a young teen. I won a magazine’s short-story contest and was the youngest among the guests to accept the prize. Between seventh and tenth grades, I wrote a lot of short stories, each of them paying good money. I also translated stories in English into Vietnamese and sold them to newspapers and periodicals.



8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have three favourite authors: Faulkner, Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy. Their writing craft varies from one to another. Faulkner with his lilt in the prose which brings its beauty home in The Sound and The Fury. Hemingway with his precision masked by simplicity in the words, sentences put together – hardest art to achieve. McCarthy with his unparalleled use of the regional dialog and how he paints the landscape that sets the mood. As a teen I read The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Hemingway. They haunt like a good long book. I read The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner and found myself envying him. All these have influenced me.



9. Tell us your latest news.
I’m done with one and working on another. The breaks between novels are for replenishing myself and then getting back to work, i.e., revising the finished manuscript, researching for the next novel. I’ve also written several short stories after that new novel. They have appeared in 2013 February Outside in Literary & Travel Magazine, and Red Savina Review (RSR) in its 2013 Spring inaugural edition (This short story was also nominated for the Winter Literary Award in the Tethered by Letters Journal but was withdrawn because of conflict of interest with RSR.), and Cigale Literary Magazine in its 2013 March issue.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you are an aspiring writer, find your own writerly voice! When you do, write as the only writer that exists, none before you, none after you. No writer or author can inspire you to write. The writing desire must exist in you even before you are aware of it. It might demand to be heard before your maturity has arrived. Call it premature birth. But I believe that writers have influence on one another. Influence, not inspiration. Maybe someday what I wrote might bear some influence on some aspiring writers. If you are a reader, what you read at the early age―and if you always trust your childhood memory―will become the undertone of what you want to read as an adult.


About the Book

The setting is Tonkin (northern Vietnam) at the turn of the 20th century. A boy, Tai, witnesses the beheading of his father, a notorious bandit, and sets out to recover his head and then to find the man who betrayed his father to the authorities. On this quest, Tai's entire world will shift. FLESH takes the reader into dark and delightful places in the human condition, places where allies are not always your friends, true love hurts, and your worst enemy may bring you the most comfort. In that emotionally harrowing world, Tai must learn to deal with new responsibilities in his life while at the same time acknowledging his bond, and his resemblance, to a man he barely knew--his father. Through this story of revenge is woven another story, one of love, but love purchased with the blood of murders Tai commits. A coming-of-age story, but also a love story, the sensuality of the author's writing style belies the sometimes brutal world he depicts.

Click here to read an excerpt.

Prices/Formats: $25.95 hardcover
Pages: 368
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Black Heron Publishing
Release Date: June 15, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon


About the Author

Khanh Ha was born in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam. During his teen years, he began writing short stories, which won him several awards in the Vietnamese adolescent magazines. He studied Journalism at Ohio University and learned the craft of writing under Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon) and Walter Tevis (The Man Who Fell to Earth). FLESH (Black Heron Press, June 2012) is his first novel (literary fiction).

Links to connect with Khanh Ha:
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Blog
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Nicole Grotepas - Blue Hearts of Mars - Book Blast & Giveaway


Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas


Retta Heikkinen knows the unspoken rule of society: love between androids and humans is forbidden. A simple enough edict until Hemingway Koskinen spends an evening charming her with his intense gaze, bewitching smile, and sparkling conversation that hints at so much more than the usual obsessions of high school boys. Rules were meant to be cast aside, especially when love beckons.

If only it were as simple as being in love.

Trouble is brewing, not just for Hemingway--for all androids. Secrets have been kept, lies propagated, and Retta soon discovers that a frightening future awaits thousands of androids if she doesn’t do something to stop it. Worse yet, she will lose the one love she’s ever endangered herself for: Hemingway.



Praise

"Nothing like I've read before. A true original story! Everything is so well described. Now if they could make a follow up book and movie, that would be great!" ~Mrs. Z (Amazon)

"I was addicted to this book from the beginning. Life on Mars was very real and not at all a sci fi world I didn't understand . . . I found myself rooting for Retta and Hemingway from the very beginning. Easy reading, couldn't put it down and had it read in a weekend. Waiting for a sequel!" ~TNielsen (Amazon)

"The ending of this book is exceptional. While it was different from what I imagined, the way the author brought in a shocking revelation was amazing. I probably reread the last chapter 3 times letting it sink in and the meaning behind it. It was truly beautiful . . . I would love to see more of Retta and Hemingway!" ~Kat Meyer, (Goodreads)

"I love how the author populated Mars . . . so descriptive and comprehensive . . . I could clearly picture everything as if I was seeing the movie &/or was along for the ride. . . . Retta, the main character, is strong, opinionated, and a great champion for her cause." ~Megan (Amazon)

"I had been in the worst reading slump ever and came across this on Goodreads and thought I'd give it a try. Well, I was pleasantly surprised on how funny and exciting and mysterious it was . . . Mei, Retta's bff, had me laughing out loud quite a bit as well as Retta herself. I'd definitely hang out with those two." ~Deanneluvbooks (Goodreads)



Blue Hearts of Mars has made it to the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Readers are invited to download the excerpts (here) and rate and comment on the entries. So please, if you want to contribute, download and rate Blue Hearts! Your support is incredibly appreciated!


Or purchase the full version of the book here: Amazon




Author Nicole Grotepas

Nicole wrote her first fantasy novel in 7th grade on her mother's old Brother typewriter. It was never finished but it strongly resembled a Dragonlance plot and she's forever wondered what happened to the manuscript and Tonathan--the handsome elven protagonist. After living in Nashville where she worked as an editor, she returned to the Utah desert where she was raised. Nicole now lives near the Wasatch mountains with her husband. She writes and raises her son and three cats full time.





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Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/14/13

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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Athol Dickson - January Justice - Book Blast & Giveaway


Synopsis:


Reeling from his wife's unsolved murder, Malcolm Cutter is just going through the motions as a chauffeur and bodyguard for Hollywood's rich and famous. Then a pair of Guatemalan tough guys offer him a job. It's an open question whether they're patriotic revolutionaries or vicious terrorists. Either way, Cutter doesn't much care until he gets a bomb through his window, a gangland beating on the streets of L.A., and three bullets in the chest. Now there's another murder on Cutter's Mind. His own.

Excerpt:

ONE OF THE STRANGEST THINGS ABOUT THE CITY was the sudden way it disappeared around the edges. One minute you were down on Sunset Boulevard surrounded by glass and concrete, and the next thing you knew you were up on Mulholland Drive, alone in the rough country. From a high window or a rooftop almost anywhere in Los Angeles you could see the mountains, and there was always something ravenous up there looking down. I was up among the hungry creatures, standing at the edge of a cliff, with Hollywood and Santa Monica far below me in the distance. One step forward and I would be in midair. I was looking down and wondering if Haley had considered how suddenly you could go from city to wilderness. Then I wondered if it was a distinction without a difference, if the city might be the wilderness and the wilderness the city, and maybe Los Angeles’s edges seemed to disappear so suddenly because there really was no separation between sidewalks and mountain paths, buildings and boulders. Up in the mountains or down in the city, either way the carnivores were in control. I imagined Haley, out of her mind, running full speed off the cliff. I wondered what it had been like, that final second or two before she hit. Had she realized what was happening? Did she recognize the city lights below for what they were, or did she really think she was flying toward the stars? And did she think of me? Stepping closer to the edge, I slid the toes of my shoes into the air. I looked down two hundred feet, toward the spot where she had broken on the rocks. I stood one inch from eternity and tried to imagine life without her. I could not summon up a single reason why I shouldn’t take that final step, except for one. I thought about the kind of animal who would drive someone to do what my wife had done. Predators like that were everywhere. I should know. I had trained for half my life to be one of them. I was hungry, looking down on the city. If I was going to live, the hunger would have to be enough, for now. But I would sink my teeth into him, sooner or later. I would do that for Haley, and for myself, and then maybe it would be my turn to see if I could fly. I stepped back from the edge.

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Author Bio:

A master of profound suspense. Athol Dickson's mystery, suspense, and literary novels have won three Christy Awards and an Audie Award. Suspense fans who enjoyed Athol's They Shall See God will love his latest novel, January Justice, the first installment in a new mystery series called The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs. The second and third novels in the series, Free Fall in February, and A March Murder, are coming in 2013. Critics have favorably compared Athol's work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher's Weekly), Hermann Hesse (The New York Journal of Books) and Flannery O'Connor (The New York Times). Athol lives with his wife in southern California. Please visit his website at www.AtholDickson.com, and like his Facebook fan page. Praise for Athol Dickson's novels: "Atmospheric, well-paced and powerfully imagined . . . a highly entertaining nail-biter." (Publishers Weekly) ". . . richly imagined . . . lyrically written . . . artfully constructed." (Bookwire) ". . . well-written . . . intelligent . . . suspenseful . . . engrossing." (Library Journal) ". . . elegant prose . . . very well written." (The New York Review of Books )

Websites and Links:

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Thank you to Athol Dickson and Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for generously offering this book to me for review. If you'd like to join in on an upcoming tour just stop by their sites and sign up today!

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marissa Carmel - Gravitational Pull - Excerpt

Excerpt 

We land right outside the gates of Keelin Castle. Extinguishing ourselves, we descend on the palace.

Walking authoritatively, we make our way down the nave-like hallway of the castle to the huge, golden double doors at the end. The throne room.

“Are you sure that’s where she’ll be?” Derrin asks snidely. “She might be waiting in her chambers for you.”

“Well if she is, she’ll be waiting a while.”

“It could be a good way to get some of your frustrations out,” he says boorishly.

“There’s more than one way to release frustration,” I threaten him.

“Bring it, bitch,” he grabs his crotch, not intimidated at all.

Asshole.

I push open the throne room doors, and as expected, we see the pixie queen perched on her throne waiting for us.

Emery surveys us as we approach. Both Derrin and I give a small nod in due respect as we reach her, but don’t be deceived, we are the supreme strata.

“Your little human has caused quite a stir,” she says evenly, but I can see the danger flashing in her eyes.

“She was the one who was attacked,” I quickly defend Liv.

“Was she? Or did she bring it on herself?”

My look becomes more intense. “What are you talking about?”

“My brother has taken quite a liking to her you know,” Emery says randomly.

Yes, I’ve noticed.

“If your brother knows what’s best for him, he will disappear from her life,” I say through clenched teeth.

Or I’ll remove him myself.

Emery’s eyes become razor sharp at my comment - she’s realized something. She slips off her throne and stalks down the three slate stairs to the floor where Derrin and I are standing. Like Liv, she is tiny, with long hair blacker than night and almond eyes just like Melenia’s.

“What is so special about this human?” she looks up at me, searing the question straight into my soul.

“Nothing,” I snap, but Emery knows me. She sees right through my lies.

“Then it will be nothing if I send the royal guard to take care of her, and rid my land of such contaminants.”

“Do it, and I will burn this entire realm to the ground,” I growl.

Her eyes grow a little wider, but she doesn’t back down from my glare.

“You love her.”

“No.”

“You deny it?”

“Yes.”

No.

“You loved me once,” she says vulnerably.

“What we had was never love,” I bite, “just sex.”

Ouch. That was harsh, even for me.

Emery’s eyebrows crease, and I know I have hurt her deeply.

It’s not a lie, I never loved her. We did have an intense physical relationship that included some emotion, but it’s incomparable to what I have with Liv.

She backs away from me, shifting her eyes between me and Derrin.

Derrin clears his throat. “Not to interrupt this lover’s quarrel,” that I highly enjoy watching, he tells me telepathically, “but what exactly did you mean when you said she brought it on herself?”

Emery’s full attention falls upon Derrin.

“Siberian didn’t give me all the details, but apparently she used her powers on him, and what she did, he described only as provocative.”

I clench my jaw. Provocative?

Images of Liv and Siberian reel through my head. What did she do to him? What did he do to her?

The thought makes me furious.

I’ve damaged us so badly; she turned to a threat more dangerous than the Darklings. And the only thing I can do about it is blame myself.

“So, is she in trouble?” Derrin goes on. “Is there anything we need to be aware of?” he hints. “Besides you sending the royal guard and Siberian?”

Emery contemplates Derrin’s questions for a short second. “Besides Darklings, what else should there be?” She looks over at me as I stand there still-stocked, trying not to give away the anger boiling over in my chest at the thought of Liv and Siberian.

“Who is this girl, exactly?” she pries deeper now, and I know we are heading into hazardous territory.

“She’s no one you have to be concerned about,” I dodge the question. “We just need to know if you’ve caught wind of any unusual uprisings?”

She is simultaneously lost and absolutely intrigued as she stares at me decisively.

“No, nothing.”

I nod, and release an almost nonexistent sigh of relief.

“Do I have your word she won’t be harmed while she’s in Devonshire?” I phrase it as a question, but she understands my query is so much more than that. It’s a threat.

She nods her displeasure with a small, irritated frown.

We’ve collected the information we came for, and I’ve had enough of Emery’s probing stares. Surrendering to the ever-present pull drawing me back to Liv, and preparing for the shit-storm I’m sure awaits me once I see her, I turn to leave.

“What should I tell my brother?” Emery calls, taunting me. “He wants her.”

I turn back and glare at her. “Tell him he couldn’t handle her, even if he got her.” Then I slam the throne room door behind me, the sound echoing throughout the castle.

That pixie prick is dead.


About the Book

Touch me, and bring me to life...

How do you move on when you don’t even know where you were going in the first place?

The Spirit Stalker is dead and I have finally started to erect my life. But I quickly discover, that just because the structure is built doesn’t mean the foundation is sturdy. As much as I try to manage my abilities, I can’t completely control them. The physical impossibility of the relationship I have with Justice has reached a boiling point; our fundamental problem is my inability to control myself from absorbing his power, and his fears of touching me because of it.

As if that wasn’t deal-breaker enough, a new threat looms on my horizon - Darklings.

They are grim reapers of the immortal world who surface every five-hundred-years to feed off the souls of magical beings who are weak, aimless, lost; those who have given up and want to move on.

They also hunt power. Which means, they’re hunting me.

Abandoned by the one person I need the most, I find myself in Melenia’s realm. There, I’m courted by Siberian, a dangerous pixie who covets me, hunted by Death personified; all the while hiding my powers and my ancient bloodline. The pixie prince is alluring, and I feel so broken and vulnerable. I know giving in to him means giving myself over to him. But right now, I don’t care. All I want is to feel anything other than the loss and rejection Justice left me with.

Anything other than pain.

So what do I do when I’m scared to be touched, even though I know it’s the only way to bring my soul back to life?

Formats: paperback, ebook
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: April 4, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon


About the Author

Marissa Carmel has been writing since a young age and although it has always been for personal enjoyment, she finally decided breakout and share her imagination with the world. She hopes that her universe is as fun and intriguing to her readers as it is to her. Marissa Carmel is originally from NJ but moved to Maryland several years ago, she enjoys reading, writing, and catching up on her ever growing DVR library. She is currently working on the sequel to iFeel, Gravitational Pull and the third and final installment of the Vis Vires trilogy, Constellation.


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Monday, March 25, 2013

Cheryl Kaye Tardif - Submerged - Spotlight

About the Book

Two strangers submerged in guilt, brought together by fate…

After a tragic car accident claims the lives of his wife, Jane, and son, Ryan, Marcus Taylor is immersed in grief. But his family isn't the only thing he has lost. An addiction to painkillers has taken away his career as a paramedic. Working as a 911 operator is now the closest he gets to redemption—until he gets a call from a woman trapped in a car.

Rebecca Kingston yearns for a quiet weekend getaway, so she can think about her impending divorce from her abusive husband. When a mysterious truck runs her off the road, she is pinned behind the steering wheel, unable to help her two children in the back seat. Her only lifeline is a cell phone with a quickly depleting battery and a stranger's calm voice on the other end telling her everything will be all right.

Prices/Formats: $12.99 paperback, $4.99 ebook
Pages: 274
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Publisher: Imajin Books
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon


About the Author

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an award-winning, international bestselling Canadian suspense author. Her novels include Submerged, Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, The River, Divine Intervention, and Whale Song, which New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice calls "a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart...a beautiful, haunting novel."

She is now working on her next thriller.

Cheryl also enjoys writing short stories inspired mainly by her author idol Stephen King, and this has resulted in Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories (eBook) and Remote Control (novelette eBook).

In 2010 Cheryl detoured into the romance genre with her contemporary romantic suspense debut, Lancelot's Lady, written under the pen name of Cherish D'Angelo.

Booklist raves, "Tardif, already a big hit in Canada...a name to reckon with south of the border."

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Menna van Praag - The House at the End of Hope Street - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
Like all my favorite titles, this one simply dropped -- fully formed -- into my head. It gave life to the story, a tale about a magical house that would heal women who'd reached the end of hope in their lives.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Peggy, he landlady of Hope Street tells her residents that the house won't necessarily give them what they want, but what they need. I do believe this about life, and it's a comforting thing to know. At the end of the book, I hope readers feel this too.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Only the house is magical, the setting (the city of Cambridge) and the characters are all grounded in reality. Peggy is psychic and Alba, the protagonist, is able to see the secrets people are hiding. I love magical realism because that's the way I like to view the world, as if there might be a little magic hiding around the corner. When I was a child I always looked in the back of closets, just in case I might stumble into Narnia. I still do that.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Hope Street took me over two years to write and went through more than twenty full drafts, so I'm pretty pleased with the way it's turned out. However, the urge to keep editing is always there. When the book finally went to print I decided not to read it again, because I wasn't able to change anything anymore.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
During one draft I had to cut out several of the characters. I was in mourning for weeks. I still miss them.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, a great deal. In the beginning I established the magical house and populated it with women who'd each suffered a tragedy that caused them to lose hope. After that, I had no idea what would happen next, how their lives would transform and how they would find hope again. Whenever I sat down to write I was constantly surprised and delighted by the insights and inspirations offered to each character by the house and its landlady, Peggy.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I wrote diaries and stories as a little girl but the first time I ever imagined that writing could be more than just a hobby was when I was eighteen and my English Literature teacher told me that my poems were publishable.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Alice Hoffman. I love the magic in her tales, along with the acute realism of the worlds she creates. Sometimes her stories are a little too dark for my tastes, but the touches of magic are always a treat. Her writing always appears effortless to me, though I doubt it is.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I've just finished editing my second novel, tentatively titled The Dress Shop of Dreams, which I hope will be out next year. It's the story of a young scientist who falls in love with a bookshop owner, a man with a magical voice. She's mourning the lost of her parents and needs the help of her grandmother, the seamstress who creates enchanted dresses that transform women's lives, to learn how to love. She also needs to solve the mystery of her parent's deaths. Just as I'd love to live in The House at the End of Hope Street, I'd also love to visit the Dress Shop of Dreams.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
You can read The House at the End of Hope Street purely for fun but, if you're currently experiencing a challenging time in your life, then you'll certainly find inspiration in its pages.


About the Book

A magical novel about an enchanted house that offers refuge to women in their time of need

Knocked off-kilter by the Worst Event of Her Life, Alba Ashby finds herself in front of a house in Cambridge, England, that she's never seen before. There, a beautiful older woman invites her to stay on the house's usual conditions -- she'll have ninety-nine nights, and no more, to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in.

She soon discovers that 11 Hope Street is no ordinary house. Past residents have included Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Parker, who have hung around to help newcomers -- literally, in talking portraits on the wall. Here Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds -- and maybe even save her life.

The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of hope and feminine wisdom that is sure to appeal to fans of bestselling authors Jasper Fforde, Lev Grossman, and especially Sarah Addison Allen.

Prices/Formats: $25.95 hardcover
Pages: 304
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: April 4, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


About the Author

Menna van Praag, author of The House at the End of Hope Street, is a freelance writer, journalist and Oxford graduate. She is also the author of Men, Money and Chocolate, an international success, already translated into twenty-six languages. She lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and son.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chad Kultgen - The Average American Marriage: A Novel - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
It's a sequel to the Average American Male. I knew I wanted to keep the "Average American" part and now that the main character is married, it seemed like a logical progression to call it "The Average American Marriage."

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Marriage in the modern world can't exist in the same form it has for the past hundred years. Monogamy and acceptance of a decreased sexual relationship with your spouse over time are things of the past.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
There are no fantasy or science fiction elements of the book so one hundred percent of it is realistic in that sense. If you're asking me subjectively how much of the book is realistic, you'd have to ask every person who reads the book to answer that question for themselves.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Forcing myself to think like a married man with kids.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I don't know if I learned anything, but I did reaffirm my personal decision to never have children.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Growing up I read a lot and came to idolize certain authors. People like Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert were my heroes. I think all little kids want to emulate their heroes. I was no different.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Isaac Asimov. His use of logic to construct plot still blows my mind. There are a lot of great science fiction writers but he'll always stand out to me as the greatest who ever lived. The Three Laws of Robotics were something he wrote as science fiction and they're now used in actual AI development. For me it doesn't get much more impressive.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I'm working on a bunch of different projects currently. I have a new book in the works, a graphic novel, a few TV pilots and a movie. All of these things should be trickling out over the next few years.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for reading my stuff and I'm sorry if any significant others get pissed when they catch you reading it.


About the Book

The Average American Marriage, the long-awaited sequel to Chad Kultgen’s much debated, always controversial The Average American Male, is a matter-of-fact foray into the male mind and sexual fantasy.

Now married with children, Kultgen's lewd and sex-obsessed narrator once again offers up his deep (and not so deep) thoughts on love, marriage, kids, and (naturally) sex: from birthday sex to interns to parenting, The Average American Male looks upon the institution of marriage with the same deadpan smirk he has brought to the rest of his sex-addled, perennially disaffected life.

Prices/Formats: $14.99 paperback and ebook
Pages: 256
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon


About the Author

After two months in his birthplace Spokane, WA Chad Kultgen spent the majority of his life in a suburb of Dallas, TX called Lewisville. After high school, he turned down a full ride baseball scholarship to Trinity University in San Antonio, TX to pursue writing. He moved to Los Angeles, CA where he joined the likes of George Lucas, Robert Zemekis, and Ron Howard as a graduate of the prestigious School Of Cinema/Television at the University of Southern California.

His first job was writing for one of the most widely circulated trade magazines in the music industry, HITS. After two years of being entrenched with rock-stars and their entourages, Chad moved on to become a staff writer for one of American Media's most beloved supermarket tabloids. He created stories about flesh eating zombies, time-traveling stock traders, and sandwich making house cats for the magazine that gave birth to Batboy, THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS.

Chad's next endeavor found him selling his first TV show to VH1. The reality show POSERS featured Chad himself along with two of his real life friends posing as various unrecognizable celebrities to get behind Hollywood's velvet rope. VH1 made a pilot episode in which Chad posed as the bass player from the band Maroon 5 in order to infiltrate one of Hollywood's hottest and most exclusive nightclubs. Once inside he proceeded to drink free champagne and use his fake celebrity to escort five female stars of the adult entertainment industry back to his limo. Despite the success of the pilot internally, a perfectly timed regime change at VH1 left Chad with nothing but DVD of the night's events and the paragraph you just read for his troubles.

In addition to writing the pilot episode of The Average American Male, Chad's feature screenplay BURT DICKENSON: THE MOST POWERFUL MAGICIAN ON PLANET EARTH is currently in the process of being optioned by NEW LINE CINEMA.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jennings Wright - Ixeos - Book Blast & Giveaway


Ixeos

The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose:  to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader. But the aliens aren't the only problem on Ixeos -- the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved. The worst part? There's no way home.





Author Jennings Wright


Born and raised in Florida, Jennings spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn't spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her science fiction stories.

Jennings attended the University of Tampa, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science, and almost enough credits for B.A.s in both English and History. She attended graduate school at the University of West Florida, studying Psychology. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit.

Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn't stopped since. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, also a business owner and writer, and two children, and travels extensively with her family, and her non-profit in Uganda.



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Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/7/13

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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

João Cerqueira - The Tragedy of Fidel Castro - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
In 1917 something extraordinary happened in the village of Fátima, Portugal. Three children claimed that they saw the Virgin Mary and angels descending from the sky and that they had been entrusted with three secrets. They also said that the Virgin would perform a miracle on October 13. On that day, tens of thousands of people came to Fátima and witnessed extraordinary solar activity, although nobody else in the rest of the world witnessed the phenomenon. For believers it was a miracle, for sceptics it was a hoax produced with the aid of mirrors or a collective hallucination, and some even believed that there had been some kind of extraterrestrial intervention. Since my childhood this amazing story has fascinated me. Recently, I spent considerable time in Cuba where I was told stories by those who had experienced Fidel Castro’s regime firsthand. For example, the students who were brought from Havana to the countryside and for a whole month picked tomatoes and other vegetables without any payment. They also told me the story of the execution of one of the nation’s heroes, General Arnaldo Ochoa – who helped the MPLA Marxist guerrillas to win the Angolan civil war (he is the inspiration for the character Camilo Ochoa). The relation between Castro and the miracle of Fátima is that one of the prophecies included the end of Communism.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The book stands for political freedom and for humanitarian, or Christian, values – although miracles are satirised. Religious people shouldn’t be afraid of humour. Surely God can take a joke. Humour is indeed a weapon of massive destruction, but not to kill people. It only destroys stupidity – Monty Python ridiculed Hitler’s image several times. Ridendo castigat mores – as the Romans used to say. So, I tried to show that religious or political dogmas always lead to fanaticism or dictatorship. Human beings are different from other animals because they have the ability to think, to question things and to laugh. That is why we have democracy and freedom - and some cultures do not. Jesus was the first to say that all men are equal and to question the dogmas of the temple rulers. He also saved a woman from being stoned, according to the tradition. So, he was a much greater revolutionary than Castro or Che Guevara – with no need to put people in jail or condemn them to death.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
As I said, both the Cuban experience and Portuguese history form the base of The Tragedy of Fidel Castro. Some critics point out that the book has a magical realism style, but in fact it doesn’t. I would prefer that The Tragedy of Fidel Castro should be considered a political and religious satire or a metaphysical thriller where Jesus comes to Earth to prevent a war.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
In the novel I wrote about Castro making a Marxist interpretation of the Old Testament - the story of David, Uriah and Bathseba: “David is a despotic monarch whose wealth lies in the exploitation of an oppressed people who are deprived of access to education. […] ‘’ Bathsheba represents the housewife looking after the household while her husband is away serving the tyrant, a domestic worker then.’’[…]’’ Uriah is also a member of the people who for the same lack of indoctrination loyally serves the tyrant, convinced that their interests coincide.’’ But I also included Jesus having a dream about Adam and Eve trying to escape from a paradise ruled by El Comandante - this points to the Cuban ''balseros'' who risked their lives to reach Florida. So, if I wrote the book again I would explore this crossing of religion and politics in more detail.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part is always to read the text again and again to check for mistakes. For me, this process can take months. Picasso used to say that a painting was never finished – I think that is also true for a book. There is always a word in the wrong place.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a great deal when the book was translated into English and then published. I think I have improved my skills as a writer very much thanks to my translators and the two editors of my publisher.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was lucky enough to inherit my father’s book collection with hundreds of books including all of the classics. From The Canterbury Tales to Don Quixote, all the major titles were there. At eighteen I read East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Another important book was Pär Lagerkvist’s The Dwarf, the protagonist of which was incapable of feeling anything else for humanity other than hatred and contempt, which also fascinated me. At that time, I also read Cosmos by Carl Sagan, which taught me to understand the universe; I learned that the stars and I were made of the same stuff – this idea is in The Tragedy of Fidel Castro - and that many of them although still visible, may no longer exist. These are the books that initiated me into adulthood. I then read two remarkable works: 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the dystopian prophecies of which are, for some, now coming true. Years later I rediscovered Orwell when I wrote Art and Literature in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell fought against Fascism, but in the end the Communists wanted to kill him too. Homage to Catalonia describes this tragic experience that leads to books such as 1984 and Animal Farm. I have a great admiration for this man.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have just one favourite writer. It was through Portuguese writers that I learned to write. Hence my belief that form – that is, command of language – is as, or more important, than content. I admire Saramago’s sequence of ideas, the multiplicity of perspectives of Lobo Antunes, the perfection of Mário Cláudio, the reflective writing of Virgílio Ferreira and sense of humor of Mário de Carvalho. Going back in time, I use Fialho d'Almeida, Fernando Pessoa and the sermons of Padre António Vieira as a model. Other novelists that I like are Victor Hugo, Kafka, Mikhail Bulgakov, Margarite Yourcenar, Italo Calvino, Amin Malouf, W. G. Sebald, Philip Roth, William Faulkner, Salman Rushdie, Jorge Amado, Paul Auster, and Erasmus (In Praise of Folly) for having taught me that to succeed in life you must be mad. Finally, I believe that Remembrance of Things Past is perhaps the most complex work of writing to date; only Proust was able to transform scenes from Parisian high society in great literature.

9. Tell us your latest news.
LA Splash Magazine posted The Tragedy of Fidel Castro in both their book gift guide and entertainment roundup gift guide.

http://www.lasplash.com/publish/Entertainment_Gift_Guides/book-gift-guide-2013_printer.php

Columnists and book reviewers of important American, English and Australian newspapers and magazines have agreed to receive the novel, so I expect to have their reviews in the next weeks or months. Besides the reviews in Amazon and in several American blogs I have received an enthusiastic critique from Italian magazine Fucinemute 

http://www.fucinemute.it/2013/02/la-tragedia-di-fidel-castro-come-parodiare-la-rivoluzione-insegnando-il-senso-della-vita/ 

I am currently working with literary agencies around the globe, including Nabu (Italy), Kontext (Scandinavia), Ilene Kreshka (Germany), AKF(Poland), Iris Literary (Greece), Nova Litera (Russia), Book Seventeen Agency (South Korea), The Book Publishers Association of Israel, Partha Malik (India) and AnatoliaLit (Turkey) – all of which are looking for a publisher in the local language and market.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would be very much grateful if you would contact me to tell me your opinion about my novel – even if you hate it, please tell me!

joomcerqueira@gmail.com 

I also would like to share the text I wrote as a guest post for a blog:  Books can kill you! (and beware of writers):

http://bagsbooksandbonjovi.blogspot.pt/

and two Cuba chronicles:

http://weblog.liberatormagazine.com/2012/09/cuba-sex-lies-and-tourists.html#more


http://www.allrightmagazine.com/history/my-visit-to-cuba-a-day-at-the-museum-of-the-revolution-17846/


About the Book

Tragedy of Fidel Castro is a political and religious satire where Jesus comes to Earth to prevent a war, JFK goes swimming with a Cuban spy, Fidel Castro writes his memoirs and makes a pact with the Devil, whores refuse Marxism, farmers fight for chocolate, monks start a revolution in a monastery, and, in the end, a true miracle happens.

Prices/Formats: $14.95 paperback
Pages: 188
Genre: Literary Fiction/Historical Fiction
Publisher: Green Leaf Books
Release Date: December 25, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


About the Author

João Cerqueira was born in Portugal in 1964 and lives in Viana do Castelo. He has a PhD in art history from the University of Oporto. He is the author of seven books, including the novels Blame It on Too Much Freedom, Devil's Observations, and The Tragedy of Fidel Castro, and the nonfiction books Art and Literature in the Spanish Civil War (published in Portugal and Brazil), Maria Pia: Queen and Woman, José de Guimarães (published in China by the Today Art Museum), and José de Guimarães: Public Art. His novels satirize modern society and use irony and humor to provoke reflection and controversy.

Links to connect with João:
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paula Hennessy - Harper Lee and Peppermint Candy - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
Harper Lee and Peppermint Candy is the name of the book club Addie and her granddaughter, Megan, started together due to Megan's frequent hospital admissions and Addie's concern over Megan missing so many days of school. It came about quite by accident. Megan was on the psych unit, in restraints, and Addie came in waving a bag of peppermint candy (Megan's favorite) and a copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" which was the novel her class was reading at school. When Megan asked what Addie had for her she replied 'Harper Lee and peppermint candy' and it stuck. The book club is the cornerstone of their relationship and also becomes Megan's salvation when she starts one for the other patients on the psych unit.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are many messages in this book I would love readers to come away with. The first is to always question the situation you find yourself in and most importantly, question those providing the answers. I am a nurse and have constantly found myself frustrated with the hesitancy many people have questioning medical personnel about their condition, options and possible outcomes. These patients vent their concerns all day long on the units and we encourage them to write them down and when the white coats walk into their room, "Poof!" they magically disappear. It is not possible to make informed decisions without all of your options laid out on the table, even if you don't want to hear some of those answers. Second, never give up. Hope is a wonderful thing, and life can be surprising and end up giving you what you need even if it wasn't what you thought you wanted. And last, but not least, reading is such an important part of growing and developing,not just during childhood, throughout our whole lives! In this fast paced world in which we find ourselves, I hope  people take the time for reading. A good book is always entertaining, enlightening and can strengthen the bonds of family and friendship, just by opening a book and consequently, our minds.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Since I've spent over 25 years working in various fields of the nursing profession it is a very realistic account of what patients providers encounter every day. All of the characters and the dilemmas they face are products of my imagination but all of the situations presented are very real.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No. I can honestly say that I am very happy with the result. Even though this was my first novel, I feel I achieved in sending the messages I wanted to be heard. Obviously, since this was my first attempt at writing, I do wish I could have channeled Wally Lamb or Toni Morrison for their sheer power in prose, but after speaking with many people who read Harper Lee and Peppermint Candy, I think I was successful in what I set out to achieve; a glimpse into life on an adolescent psych ward and end of life care and the powerful lessons to be learned at critical junctures in our lives, if we open our minds and allow ourselves to continue to be taught.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was convincing myself  I could actually write a book. I was not lucky enough to have taken courses in college, or later, that would have made the process easier, but with a little help from the book "On Writing" by Stephen King and an online grammar tutorial, I began. And once I got started, it was hard to stop. I found writing as pleasurable an experience as reading and was constantly surprised by what my characters would come up with and how the plot took on a course of its own. The whole experience left my feeling like a scribe, which was really an incredible feeling.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that just because you've never attempted something before doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't try. It is never too late to pursue a dream if you don't let self-doubt rule your life. Just finishing the novel was a huge accomplishment for me and I've found it has renewed my confidence in other areas in my life as well.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have been a reader all of my life and pretty much all of my heroes have been writers. I think it is critical to read, a lot, if you want to write. There is so much to learn when you open a book, it really does give you the world at your fingertips, even if you are not willing or able to leave your backyard (literally and figuratively). I wish I had started writing earlier, but perhaps I wouldn't have been able to start or finish had I begun at another stage of my life, so "what ifs" are now a moot point, and for that I am grateful.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have so many, this really is a tough question for me, but I would have to say Stephen King. He can write anything from horror, to baseball, how to write a book, to gun control and pretty much any other subject that strikes his fancy and conveys his messages both with humor and profound insight.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I am working on the "sequel" to Harper Lee and Peppermint Candy ( I put sequel in quotation marks because it takes place 7 years later and there is a whole new set of characters and issues). I am happy to say that this time around the writing has become an even more enjoyable endeavor, if that is possible!

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
First, I would like to thank everyone who has read "Harper Lee and Peppermint Candy" and for their feedback, especially the book clubs I have been lucky enough to attend and discuss in person. I would also like to encourage anyone to pursue a dream without the fear of failing, because "failing" is a relative term and even the process of embarking upon that dream is a an invaluable experience.


About the Book

When seventeen -year-old Megan Murphy, a diagnosed borderline personality disorder, is admitted to the psych ward once again, she assumed she’d be “home” for the holidays. But her burned-out mother, Laura, and her newly re-married father, Michael, have made it quite clear they’ve had enough. Even Megan’s port-in-the-storm grandparents, Addie and Henry, are tired of the redundant saga of her so-called life. At the same time, Addie wonders when, and if, there is a good time to die. She finds it ironic, when faced with her own grim diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, that society celebrates a “due date” but runs screaming when they see the inevitable “sell by” date. Addie had always vowed to bow out gracefully when her time came, but with Megan a virtual orphan on an adolescent psych ward and her grandmother her only remaining lifeline, will Addie be able to face the end as courageously as she’s lived?

Enlivened by an eclectic group of doctors, nurses, mental health specialists, and fellow patients, both Megan and Addie begin to swim out of the twin tsunamis of mental illness and end -of-life care. And after a final and unexpected twist of fate at the inevitable intersection of living and dying, Megan and Addie finally find their way “home.”

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook
Pages: 219
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Publisher: self-published
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Buy Links: Kindle


About the Author

I have been an RN for over 25 years and have worked both with the terminally ill and on adolescent psychiatric units. I also was a school nurse for many years while raising my own family. I wrote this book after leaving the psychiatric facility as an homage to those staff members and patients with whom I worked and was both humbled and invigorated by what we were able to accomplish and also by what we weren't. I remain an advocate for the importance of reading in the development of children and adolescents.I have seen kids transformed by the power of books and feel their relevance in today's world of instant gratification is vital in nurturing the mental health of our next generations. I am also appalled by the lack of choices given to the terminally ill when making end-of-life decisions. I would like people to be empowered with the knowledge that they do have control over the second most important event in their life: their death. Most importantly, I wrote this book because I have found people are more open to discussing uncomfortable life situations when they are presented in "story" form with a lot of humor thrown in. Stressful situations are easier to ponder and dissect when they are happening to someone else and ultimately the reader can make some of the decisions and outcomes certain characters make their own.

Personal Anecdotes:
I had to leave the psychiatric unit on which I worked because I am unable to get a flu shot. Both of my parents died of ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease, which is unprecedented, and a flu shot could potentially wake up something I wish to keep slumbering. I was devastated on my last day and when I walked in the door after work my husband looked up and said, "Now, are you going to finally write that book?" So I did, and am happy to report that not only did the writing experience exceed my expectations, self-publishing was easy and incredibly gratifying. I am hard at work on the sequel to "Harper Lee" and look forward to my next self-publishing experience.






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