Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wings


SNIPPET #6

Wings is a stirring, cross-generational account of the love of flying inspired by the true story of Walt, a WWII RAF pilot, and his grandson Scott who has his sights set on becoming a modern day airline pilot. Wings weaves together two tales: one set in war-torn northern England, and the other set in the modern-day Illawarra region of New South Wales. As Scott learns about the sacrifices and difficulties Walt overcame to take to the sky, he battles his own challenges in order to follow his dream. As Scott progresses, his grandfather declines – Walt loses his wife, his sight and his hearing – but throughout these difficulties is still there to offer support and encouragement. In following Scott's progress towards his dream, Walt also keeps alive the wonder of his own youth. With insights into the modern day aviation scene and life in the Royal Air Force of World War II, this is a must for anyone who has an interest in history, aviation or simply an old fashioned love story.

He finished just before darkness set in, and with his younger brother Edward tagging eagerly along, he took the bike to the top of a nearby hill. He pushed off, and gathered speed rapidly. Before long he was flying down the hill in the near darkness, bumping and lurching crazily from side to side. Walt let out an involuntary scream of delight, exhilarated by the feel of the rushing air in his face. He took a hand off the handlebars, punching the air in triumph.
As he reached the flat, a figure suddenly materialised in front of him. With a muttered oath, the shadow leapt off the road. Walt turned his wooden handle bars sharply in the other direction. The sudden change in direction proved too much for him to manage with one hand, and he flew off the bike.
“I see you got your bike working,” was Ted’s icy observation as he picked himself up from the side of the road.
Walt dusted himself off. His knee was stinging, but he knew he’d get no sympathy so didn’t mention it. “Yes, isn’t it great? That was my first ride,” he exclaimed excitedly.
“Well since it’s now dark I think it’s also your last ride of the day.”
“What do you think of the bike?” asked Walt.
Ted inspected it critically. “It looks like you’ve done a good job, son.”
Walt grinned. The adrenalin generated by the rapid descent was still coursing through his veins; the praise from his father only served to add to his sense of accomplishment and excitement.
As they picked up the bike, Edward came running down the hill. “You flew like a bird, Wally! Can I have a turn now?”
Ted smiled. “Not tonight, Edward. It’s too dark. But tomorrow is Saturday, so I’m sure there’ll be plenty of time then.”

COLLECT ALL THE SNIPPETS ON THE TOUR
AND YOU CAN READ THE FIRST CHAPTER. :-)


MY THOUGHTS:

Two men, two times and two love stories. War and generations of determination after the war. Except for the planes, this is the story of my childhood. Pete Abela is a unique author that sticks to the point and doesn't try to be a war historian or relive "Top Gun." 

The Johnsons are a very admirable family and some might say that Walt and his grandson Scott sound too good to be true...but there were families like this on all sides of the war that went on to become generations of strength...both the men and the women. This book gives many glimpses of the long haul that took place in the UK and I would like to learn more about this side of history (not something we talk about much here in The States).

This is the story of a grandfather and his grandson and there determination to fly planes though all the odds say it can't be allowed.

“I have to be able to follow my dreams though, Dad,” argued Scott.
“I’m eighteen years old. If I have to give up my dreams at this stage of life, what is there to look forward to?
---Valuable advice to parents. Let your children do their own soaring.




This is my Father during World War II and that is his wife's name on his helmet...in case his body needed to be identified. And later in life, he looked like he had big, tough tattoos...but they were in case his body needed to be identified. His family was depending on him to get home and he couldn't get drafted and frontlined, so he enlisted. My Father made it back and taught several more generations the meaning of Strength....
so, read "Wings" for a true picture of how a family ought to be!



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AUTHOR BIO:
Pete heralds from the city of Wollongong, just south of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia, where he lives with his wife and four kids. His love of reading eventually led him to take up writing, a difficult task which presents rewards and challenges in equal measure. A Painted Room is Pete’s second book, and follows his debut novel, Wings (2012).

When he’s not working, reading, writing or enjoying the company of his family, Pete likes to sneak away for a bit of exercise – either tennis, golf or a refreshing swim.

You can find more about Pete at his website and blog (http://peteabela.com). The blog contains a number of bad jokes and puns. You have been warned.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine



Publisher: Dune Buggy Press
Published:  June 1, 2012

EXCERPT:
Okay, since you’re here I guess you’re all hot to hear about it, right? About the next big adventure Crosley and me got into. This makes two now, two Programs. That’s what we call them in the Night Buddies and please don’t ask me why that is. They start at bedtime and go all night, but you already know about that if you checked out the first one. And you know why I don’t much go for pineapple cheesecakes anymore, either. Not that there’s anything wrong with pineapple cheesecakes, okay? It’s just that I’ve seen way more of the things than I want to for the next twenty-five years. I’ll be real old then. Me, John (no-middle-initial) Degraffenreidt, your faithful correspondent.
The Program I’m talking about right now started out just like the first one did. That part’s pretty much up to the crocodile on assignment. All I do is go to bed on a night when I really, really don’t want to, and then I just lay there and wait, and Crosley comes crawling out of someplace with his flashlight lit. That’s how he likes to do it, and that’s fine with me.
But hey, let me get going here! So I’m laying there in bed on this night we’re talking about, okay? Wide awake and waiting and waiting for something to happen but nothing ever does.
So I’m starting to worry, right?
"Hey listen, Cros, it’s safe. Mom an’ Dad are both downstairs.”
I waited a pretty long time again.
"Cros —— Are ya there? Crosley —— ?”
Nothing. Dark.
I got up and went over and looked inside the closet and then I looked under the bed.
“Crosley, are ya down there? I really don’t feel like sleepin’ an’ you said —— ”
It was way too dark to see anything, specially under the bed.
"Hey, you promised, Crosley!”
"SNERK! SNK-SNORK!” Rustle!
I grinned really big but you couldn’t see it in the dark.
"Hey Crosley, turn your flashlight on. What’s the matter, you asleep under there? I thought ya said you’d be in the closet.”
"SNERK! WUFF! Say what? FUP! —— Uh, well HELLO there, ol’ Night Buddy o’ mine! How on earth ya been keepin’ yourself? I didn’t think ya was ever gonna come t’ bed!”
It was that voice like a chain saw with the volume knob turned down. Turned down most of the time, I mean.
"Not so loud, Cros. Switch on your flashlight. I can’t see nothin’.”
"Ain’t got no flashlight,” said the chain saw.
"Why not? I thought it was a major part o’ your equipment.”
"Forgot t’ go get a new one. Wait, hang on, lemme crawl out from under here —— ”
I giggled: “You were sleepin’, weren’t ya? That’s why ya didn’t get in the closet —— Oop!




MY THOUGHTS:
A great chapter book and the second book in a series. I plan to slowly read about Crowley and John's adventures with Preschooler and then have him read on his own as he gets older.I would recommend saving this book for when you have time to concentrate...to truly enjoy deciphering the made up language that is explained at the beginning and appears throughout the book.

The book easily stands alone from the previous book in the series and the running jokes are easily understood by new readers. Amazingly, someone is going around the burough impersonating the red crocodile that lives under John's bed. The evening's "Program" for the ever-battling-sleep John is to catch the imposter. Colorful characters and high adventure in a flying machine equipped with all the best treats and humorous weaponry.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars, if you are of the right age. :-) 5 stars for me when reading it with children and 3.75 stars on a day when I can't concentrate on the language.



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AUTHOR BIO:


Sands Hetherington credits his son John for being his principal motivator. Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time John was six. He read to him every night during those formative years. He and young John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the series during months of bedtime story give-and-take. Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. He lives in Greensboro
-----I am following Sands on Twitter. :-)

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Sands Hetherington reads from both books in the series.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Read-A-Thon Goals!

Seasons of Reading
I read about a book a day during downtimes (I am a really fast reader). 
I will likely have more goals before the end of the Read-A-Thon. :-)


I have 107 pages left to read for a review. A really good book but I am having a hard time concentrating to read. I love books with made-up languages and such. A chapter book that our children will enjoy for fun/homeschooling.
FINISHED!


Reading and reviewing this week. A world in catastrophe and Tess's father must leave her while he goes to search for her missing brother. Tess is not to open the door for ANYONE and her father is taking a long time to come back.
Approximately 263 pages (the rest after that is MANY promos of other books)
Progress: 106 pages read and I now there are vague clues about what happened.
Progress: 190 pages
FINISHED!



I am reviewing this at the end of January.
Progress: I am on page 35 of approximately 209 pages
FINISHED!



I am on page 400 and will read as much of this as I can during the Read-a-Thon. This was my Mother's book. Somewhere, probably in my hope chest, I should have the copy of "Scarlett" my Mother gave me several years ago. I inherited "From Fields of Gold" and "Rhett's People" (which I had bought my Mother). I am thoroughly mystified as to how this book will end for Chess and Nate.




I get to interview John Sadler (a very knowledgeable battleground historian)! Currently, I am on page 52 of 344 pages. The book is about the Battle of Flodden-a massive battle fought between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland in the year 1513.
Progress: I am on page 57 and seeing more of how determined people were to have this war. I am amazed at how few innocent parties I have found among the aristocracy so far. John Heron, Bastard of Ford seems to be aiming to have "bastard" be not only a descriptor of his parentage but also an adjective for his personality.
Progress: Page 70. Consciences can be buried deep.
Progess: Page 78


This comes highly recommended by several famous chefs and restaurateurs.
I will finish as much of this as I can during the Read-A-Thon. This book is 990 pages.
Progress: I have skimmed 181 pages. I inspired by the Irish section to find a few recipes that use Irish Whiskey.
---Irish Cream Cheesecake with Whiskey Caramel
---Irish Whiskey Apple Cake with Irish Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Monday, January 26, 2015

Adventures with Ragweed


Publisher:   Neon Lines

Published: Feb 10, 2014


Ragweed is a tribute to the whimsical part of each of us. Follow this young teen and her best friend, Marney as they travel to Mexico for a fishing trip, where the family is to shoot a pilot for a television show, instead, find themselves in an unexpected sea storm.

Laugh out loud as Ragweed takes on the tennis elite at the country club or attempts to rearrange their perfectly cut lawns.

Always one to learn new things, this young freckled face gal with the unruly blonde hair, builds a float, rides a horse and grows a garden - always getting into unintentional trouble and conning her friends to partake. Each task done with her own unique views of the world.



EXCERPT:
Ragweed Grows a Garden -

It was a lovely spring day. Clouds circled slowly over the San Fernando Valley. The blue sky was really blue. And although Ragweed was a mere five years old, she was old enough to recognize that her parents perfectly manicured lawn and garden was boring. It lacked luster. It lacked…well, plants.
Ragweed loved Lupines. They popped up unannounced in the spring, all purple and fun. You never knew where they might be, but you knew they were coming any day. Why people mowed down perfectly good flowers that smelled delicious, and put in camellia bushes, that were dull and didn’t smell at all, and a lawn, was an astonishing thing to Ragweed. And the gardener that came weekly to mow grass, pull weeds, and generally flatten the landscape was completely convinced that anything uninvited was “outta there.”
The gardener, Carl, was a nice enough guy, but he lacked vision. He apparently thought that life consisted of mowing anything uninvited down. In his serious minded fashion, his job was to mow things. Once Ragweed had “dropped” a stuffed bear underneath the kitchen window, just to see what would happen. Sure enough, it got mowed. Unfortunately for Carl, it was a windy day, and the stuffing flew everywhere. Although that was fairly satisfying to Ragweed, something else needed to be done. Ragweed’s manicured parents would never understand. They thought lawns were great. They never walked on them, or had picnics on them, or even noticed them really…unless there was an issue of some sort, like a brown spot, which Carl would never allow.
Ragweed hated lawns. They were ridiculous in her eyes. Once they were grown, and mowed, then you couldn’t weren’t allowed to run and play on them anymore. So what was the point? Of course, back East you have to mow the grass, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to find your home in about a month. But that was different. That was about survival. This was Southern California. Grass just wasn’t a normal thing. Yet people thought nothing about how much watering it took to keep the grass green and growing, only to turn around and mow it down.
One day, for no apparent reason that Ragweed could fathom, Moms and Pops told Ragweed she could have a little part of the yard for her very own first ever garden.
“I would like to plant a garden,” Ragweed told her parents, who lent their support to the idea even providing seeds and tools. Ragweed planted a few things, and ran out everyday to see how the seeds were doing.
Relatives and friends of the family were surprised with Ragweed’s interest in the garden, as many believed her to be allergic to plants and flowers. After all, Ragweed got her nickname because she sneezed so often. Her parents thought it was allergies. Little did anyone know it was foolishness that spurred the symptoms – for instance when asked to wash dishes, Ragweed had a sneezing fit. And after Ragweed had sneezed all over the dishes, no one wanted her help anyhow. Being given orders of any kind also seemed to bring about a sneezing attack, like “It’s bedtime.” Ragweed’s sneezing would clear out the den, then she had the TV to herself for the night.
Truth be told, Ragweed loved the outdoors, the smell of the earth, the way each wildflower perfumed the air. As long as things were going her way, Ragweed never really needed to sneeze.
Taking the seeds Mom and Pops gave her, Ragweed planted little onions, carrots and tomatoes. She delighted in watching the little seeds sprout. Every day she would run out to see if her garden had flourished. And Carl could barely keep himself contained as he would leer over at Ragweed’s little garden, with his mower at full throttle, and scowl. “Too bad”, thought Ragweed. “Scowl away.”
Once Ragweed’s ”garden plot” began to take shape, the grass surrounding it looked even more disgusting, and another “plot” began to form. Strolling along the edge of the lawn, Ragweed contemplated on just how to change a bigger part of the landscape, without anyone knowing how it happened. But how? She thought about an overnight planting of Elephant Ear with its giant leaves. “It might be a little hard to sneak those past Carl,” chuckled Ragweed. Plus it would be a huge amount of work, which Ragweed was really allergic to. Then, all of a sudden, she remembered her beanbag toys, and a smile began to lighten up her face.
The ever-resourceful Ragweed would plant her own beans. She would miss her two beanbag toys, but those beans would do the trick. They would get watered; they would grow; they would annoy. With her “plot” hatched, Ragweed crept inside, and grabbed the beanbag toys. She then meticulously cut a hole in each bag, just big enough to let a few beans out at a time, and then snuck back outside, strolling casually across the grass; going about the entire yard, planting “bean” seeds everywhere. To tell the truth, Ragweed was more than a little amazed at how many beans it took to put a toy together. Then Ragweed sat back and waited.
With all the water and fertilizer, it didn’t take long for little bean plants to sprout; all over the place; in no certain order. Up they came. Much to Ragweed’s delight, Carl, the gardener, was mystified on a weekly basis with the sprouting of these little plants. Every week he would come, more would be sprouting up out of that highly manicured grass, in different spots than the week before. He mumbled things like. “What on earth are these? I don’t understand what is going on. I used the same grass seed. Where did these things come from? And why are they ruining my lawn?” Just when Carl thought he had gotten them all, more would pop up in defiance. He apologized many times over to Moms and Pops, who thought Carl had probably been tipping a bit of the “sauce”, and should spend more time paying attention to their lawn.
Ragweed just watched and smiled as a symphony of Mother Nature’s making was played out on the lawn. For a short period of time, the lawn had become a wild place where anything could happen and it was fun to watch. Finally the seeds quit sprouting up, but Ragweed didn’t care. And even when there were no more sprouts, Carl continued to come out each week with a giant vat of poison, just in case a sprout would rear its ugly head. He was crazed over his lack of lawn control. It was great. He would never be the same.
Ragweed never told anyone what she had done, and never would. It was a delicious memory; a mystery that only she would know about. And whenever Moms would bring up the odd little plants that sprung up from nowhere, Ragweed would smile. And Carl would get a crazed look on his face, and go home early.
And, best of all, Ragweed had learned a lesson. She realized she could now look at any lawn and even grass could always be just one step away from a garden.


MY THOUGHTS:
The adventures really made me smile. Many of the stories had great punchlines and the dialogue really sounds like an excited, young teen talking. There is one story, when Ragweed is 5 and makes a garden, where the thought processes are little bit too advanced, even for someone in today's society and with test results in the 99th percentile, but I found that just added to the continuity of how this story was told...everything is a whopper of a tale...every day of life is a grand adventure.

I would say this is a perfect read for junior high children who are studying tall tales. I like how, with each retelling, the reason for Ragweed's sneezes changes a little.
We are homeschooling and I am sure my children will enjoy discussing these stories when they get older. There are times when I disagree with Ragweed's behavior (i.e. the school uniform incident) and it is this kind of situation in literature that gets young minds thinking.

Kudos to Andy Atkins for the pretty illustrations. :-)

My rating: 4.75 stars

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AUTHOR BIO:
Linda Lou Crosby is a video producer, storyteller and former professional athlete. Like Ragweed, she has a unique approach to life. Ragweed is a part of herself she wanted to share with others. Linda Lou has a great sense of humor and likes to laugh and make others laugh too.
She currently lives with her husband in Montana and California where on clear days you can find her fishing, hunting or hiking.
She and Ragweed hope you will enjoy each tale in this book as much as Ragweed enjoyed living the adventures.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Z-Radio




My life will never be the same again!

My entire existence changed when the Zombie Apocalypse
started. I was bitten and thought my life was going
to end at the radio station. My name is Cherise, and there
are people out there that want me dead!




MY THOUGHTS:
This was a quick read of about an hour. I was entertained but I am reserving judgement on the storyline until I read the rest of the books. There are several cliffhanger characters that I would hope reappear in the next book...Cherise's compadres were growing on me. I was expecting the radio station to be more of an emphasized, memorable place (and maybe that will happen in further installments).

At times, I found the dialogue when characters were making emotional judgments of the situation to be a bit artificial. As the story went on, this adjective tendency disappeared and I found myself thinking that maybe I will toy around with writing a fan fic story at some point...that would be fun and I am curiously waiting for the next installment.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars for now. I am waiting to see what the government is up to and whether they are the bad guys. Cherise has the potential to be a hero and/or pawn.

Candy O'Donnell is also the author of "First Encounter" and "Nightcrawler."
AUTHOR BIO:
Candy O’Donnell lives in California.
At the age of twelve, she wrote her first mini book, filled mostly with what took place with her mother and her long tedious bout with leukemia. It was a short story told as extra credit when she suffered a sprained ankle and had to be out of school for over two months. School officials refused to believe a word of what she had written until her grandmother, her guardian back then, entered the school with the truth. Everything she had written down was exactly what took place. Unfortunately, her mother succumbed to the disease.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and culture. After living with her aunt and uncle for over five years, she wished to explore her uncle’s native heritage, and did so with vigor. She also has grad units in criminal justice.




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A few years back, Husband worked on Toby Sells' Special FX Makeup crew for the zombie movie "Collapse."
This is what a few of the cast members put together during doing time. :-)

In My Life.....

White Wine French Dressing
The salad went retro last night. I did a combination of my mother's old Church cookbook, ingredients on hand and childhood memories. Husband said it was very good. I used red wine vinegar, freshly squeeze lemon juice, a bit of canola, olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, sugar, a bit of water to shake the last of the prepared mustard out, and a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic. Artisanal lettuce (3 kinds), raisins and apples cut thin (my Mother used to make apples with french dressing taste and smell awesome in salads). I made the dressing on top of the greens and just an amount for me and Husband as the kids will not eat salad. Mixing was easy and I got the exact right amount of dressing. Anyway, the dressing was perfect....clear, lighter and not as sweet as what we usually have in the U.S.
A couple I want to try:
---UK. French dressing is off-white and a bit thick. Includes oil, vinegar, Dijon, and garlic. There are often herbs.
---Switzerland. French dressing is white with mayo or cream.





Yahoo! My book for a review/interview arrived. I am excited to ask questions of an amazing battlefield historian. The book is about what is now commonly called the Battle of Flodden...a 1513 battle with many casualties between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland.



First nursery/orchard catalog of the year.
I hoped there were Japanese cherry trees (nope).
We settled on a pie/jam cherry that will be my Mother's Day present. Excited!
We will start netting my tree when it fruits (in a couple years).
The other day, Paragon Pens sent me a very nice, engraved sample pen.



Friday Daughter went on an early trip to the doctor. The doctor is giving the flu shot out on a demand basis and not setting aside vaccinations for those that already have appointments. The office was loaded with sick children when went for Daughter's booster appointment...at least people were actually staying appropriately in the "well" and "sick" sections (for once). They did not have vaccinations left for our last scheduled appointment. This time, the receptionist told us they would "try" to set aside a vaccination in Daughter's age group (they only had 6). I called bright and early and her dose was reserved with a sticky note. An ER doctor I know said there are a LOT of flu cases in their department lately!



"I'm at the armory. Can you copy?"
"Do you copy?! Are you at the other armory?"
(Preschooler's necklace is a raptor claw that he made with Daddy.)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

McCall & Company: Workman's Complication




Genre: FUNNY MYSTERY // FUNNY FICTION
Publisher: LAUGH RIOT PRESS
Release Date: AUGUST 2014

Off-off-off-off Broadway actress Kate McCall inherits her father’s New York private investigation business after he’s a whole lot of murdered in a life insurance company elevator. 

A concrete-carrying, ballroom-dancing construction mule says he fell off the scaffolding and can never work—or dance—again, and then sues the contractor for a whole lot of money. 

Kate assembles the eccentric tenants of her brownstone and her histrionic acting troupe to help her crack the cases, and they stir up a whole lot of trouble. 

But not as much trouble as Kate, who sticks her nose in the middle of the multi-million-dollar life-insurance scam her father was investigating and gets a whole lot of arrested for murdering a medical examiner. 

Will Kate bust the insurance scam, prove who really killed the examiner—and her father—and get out of jail in time to pull off the ballroom sting of the decade? She might, but it's going to be a whole lot of hilarious. 




EXCERPT:
“Your father’s dead, Miss McCall. Got himself murdered.”
I thought I might hear that sentence one day, but I was even less ready for it than I imagined I would be. I blinked a few times, then walked to one of the toilets, sat down, and gestured at his cigarettes. “I’ll take one of those now.” Some bad news is simply too big to process right away.
He gave me a Camel, lit it, and moved back to the sink. “I work for Mel Shavelson, your father’s attorney. I’m the bearer of bad news. That’s my job.”
He talked about how my father got himself murdered—something about sticking his nose someplace it had no business being, something else about the police finding him late last night (actually, at three o’clock on Friday morning) tied to a chair in an elevator in an office building, two big fat bullet holes where his eyes used to be—but I wasn’t listening.
Instead, I was thinking about the final curtain of the last performance of Bye Bye Birdie. My father had given me flowers, handing them to me on the stage while the audience applauded. They were roses from a Korean market and smelled like ginger.
“Shavelson’s going to read the will, and you’re supposed to be there,” Barnes said. He put his cigarette out in the sink, tossed the butt in the trash, and crossed to the toilet, where I sat watching the Camel burn down to my fingers. (I don’t smoke). He handed me Mel Shavelson’s business card and said, “Date and time’s on the back. Monday morning, ten thirty.”
I took the card, still smelling the ginger roses, grief growing inside me, building, building, getting ready to bust through the wall of shock that had been constructed in the same second the fire hydrant had delivered the bad news, which, as he said, was his job.
“I knew your old man,” Barnes said. “He was a hell of a PI.” And then he left.
There had been a voicemail for me from a Detective Harriman earlier in the day, but it was just a general “Please call me as soon as possible” sort of message. I had been busy, and usually the police only contacted me to verify something or other about Jimmy getting into trouble on the job. Jimmy always worked that kind of thing out for himself and had told me, “Never cozy up to the cops unless you’re impersonating one.” I deleted Harriman’s message and didn’t call him back. Maybe that’s what he was going to tell me, that Jimmy had been murdered. Anyway, now Barnes had told me.
I dropped the Camel in the toilet, looked at the card, and wept like a seventh-grade girl.



MY THOUGHTS:
A humorous book with a bevy of complex characters.  The gut reaction is to alternate between incredulity and being mesmerized. One can't help but want to hug and advise Kate as we follow her through her many situations. Though Kate has (so much) support, acting skills, bravery and a great disguise wardrobe...it is a ROUGH road to finding the killer. The true mark of a good thriller is that the bad guy is a shocking surprise.
---The author is said to write much like Janet Evanovich! I am reviewing her new book, "The Job," soon. :-)
---I am so going to use the initial Fu seen for practicing monologues. Hilarious!
---The only thing that I really wasn't sure if I liked was the extensive wardrobe descriptions every day for every character. Hmmm. I suppose a dedicated actress would notice that as well as internally explain her motivation for everything in a most dramatic manner.
My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars. Thanks for the laughs. I hope Rich Leder writes some funny children's stories someday.





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AUTHOR BIO:
Rich Leder has been a working writer for more than two decades. His screen credits include 18 produced television films for CBS, NBC, Lifetime, and Hallmark and feature films for Paramount Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, and Left Bank Films.

He has written four funny novels to be released in 2014: McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication, McCall & Company: Swollen Identity, Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench, and Let There Be Linda.

He has been the lead singer in a Detroit rock band, a restaurateur, a Little League coach, a literacy tutor, a magazine editor, a screenwriting coach, a commercial real estate agent, an indie film director, and a visiting artist for the University of North Carolina Wilmington Film Studies Department, among other things, all of which, it turns out, were grist for the mill. He resides on the North Carolina coast with his awesome wife, Lulu, and is sustained by the visits home of their three college kids.

Rich loves to hear from readers and writers. Please don’t be shy.

You can write him directly at rich@laughriotpress.com

Or you can visit him at www.laughriotpress.com/richleder

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

A very helpful Shirley McClain guest post about writing!
(The author of "Dobyns Chronicles.")


Short and Flashy
Short and Flashy may be the new in thing with writing and I am so glad to hear that because I love writing short stories and flash fiction. I found that fact out about myself when I was writing my first book, The Tower. When I needed to have a brain change because I couldn’t find the words I needed to say for the book, I would write a piece of flash fiction or a short story so I would think about something else besides that book and reset my brain. It made it easier for me than to come up with what I needed for the book.
Over the past couple of years I have noticed that people have read more of my short stories and my flash fiction. Do you know what flash fiction is? In case you don’t I will try to explain. Flash fiction is a complete story (has all components of a story) in a limited number of words. They can be very challenging to do.
Think how our reading world has changed since the computer came along. The time was that we had no choice but to go to the book store or the library to get our reading material. Now we have small portable screens that let us have a book zipped to us over the airwaves. We can get anything we want to read from Amazon including short stories that we might read while we’re sitting under the hair dryer or waiting in a doctor’s office.
According to Anne R. Allen, one of the authors of "How to be a Writer in the E-Age: A Self-Help Guide" short stories make money and hold their value. Kindle Singles often sell for the same as a novel length book. Ellery Queen and Woman’s World still pay top dollar for genre stories.
Short stories are great for practice. Learning to write short can keep your writing from getting flappy and having short stories in your portfolio might give you another book to publish or an opportunity to publish in a magazine.
I put the majority of my short stories in an ebook called Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes and published on Amazon. Publishing my work of short stories was something I didn’t want to pass up. You may also have an opportunity so see what you can do. It may be worth your while.

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How's Your Title Coming Along?
If you are like me, it may take some time to come up for the appropriate title for your work. It goes for anything that you want to place before the public.  I find I can think of titles, but something inside of me knows it doesn’t quite fit (I wonder if that’s my muse talking).
Sometimes the titles are correct from the start for me.  My book that was originally published in November of 2010, had the title of “The Tower”.  When I did a revision of the book, I felt the title needed expanding.  I actually gave it a subtitle.  It is now “The Tower, A Jensen Mystery.”  The book I’ve published this year is called “Dobyns Chronicles”.  I wasn’t able to come up with a new title, so it is the one that stuck.
If you have problems with coming up with your titles, I have found an article from Daily Writing Tips which gives seven ways to help you find the correct title for your work.

1.  Think of adjectives, nouns and verbs which describe your work.  Write them down and then try pulling your title from them.  You can mix them around to see what works best.
2. Look for an important turning point in your novel or focus on the climax.  Describe the event on paper.  Pick out the words or phrases which stand out to you.  See if something works for you for a title.
3.  Pick out novels or short stories that run in the same genre as your work.  Study the titles and how they relate to the story.  Then, look at your project as a whole.  Think of the theme or overall message of your book.  Write down some words that go along with your theme and work them to see if you can find your title.
4.  Avoid the obvious “The” titles like “The Pink Slipper” or The Brown Dog“.  Look for a slight recurring theme or undercurrents in your novel and try naming your novel after those subtle nuances.
5.  Poets have a way of weaving words into a beautiful picture.  Read some famous poetry and write down words and phrases that stick out to you.  Song lyrics can have the same effect. You can find some powerful titles by mixing, matching and combining words from lyrics.
6.  Consult your thesaurus and look up synonyms for commonly occurring words in your novel.  Look up this synonyms in the dictionary to get a better understanding of their meaning.  Use different words in context to find a combination that you like.
7. Type title generator into your search engine and see what pops up.  There are several websites that will either random titles.
I have also included a video on picking your title.  Enjoy……..



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AUTHOR BIO:
I was born in the bay area of California but my family moved my sister and I back to Oklahoma, where they were both from. I’ve lived many different places but I always come back home.

I started the sixth grade in the Oklahoma school system and graduated in 1967. I started to college for a nursing degree but decided that “my man” was much more important. I became an RN with an Associate degree in 1971. Then many years later I went back to school with my sister who was also an RN and we obtained our Bachelor’s degree in nursing.

I am married to a man who spoils me rotten, and I love it. I have two grown children, six grandchildren and twin Great-grandsons. My family has grown by leaps and bounds. My husband and I now have a fur family at home. We have five dogs and three cats and they are all spoiled rotten. It’s like living in a house full of three year olds. When one is not into something another one is.

Author Links:
Facebook              Twitter              Pinterest    
LinkedIn              Google+            
YouTube    


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Shirley's latest book is "Dobyns Chronicles."

Dobyns Chronicles is about a young boy whose father was a cowboy and whose mother was Cherokee Indian. His parents worked very hard on their ranch to raise their children and survive, but tragedy ends Charlie’s way of life. He finds that it is up to him to raise his siblings, David and Viola. His passion for dignity and life is what helps him to survive.

This book allows you to follow his life and live the adventures, ups and downs that shaped him into the man that he became and that of his family for generations. It’s a book of twists and turns, and a rollercoaster of emotions that will make it hard for you to put the book down.

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I posted an excerpt  and review of this book which I found to be educational and a look at what a true family legacy is. I am glad to have read Dobyns Chronicles.

All the Gravies Worth Mentioning 2015.....

So, by the time next Thanksgiving comes around, I should have quiet a list of all the gravy recipes I find interesting. :-) Mmm...gravy.

-----Bacon-Shallot Gravy



Great turkey resting tip and great ingredients. So looking forward to seeing if we like this one.
I bet it smells awesome.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dobyns Chronicles



Book Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Xlibris
Release Date: May 2014

Dobyns Chronicles is about a young boy whose father was a cowboy and whose mother was Cherokee Indian. His parents worked very hard on their ranch to raise their children and
survive, but tragedy ends Charlie’s way of life. He finds that it is up to him to raise his siblings, David and Viola. His passion for dignity and life is what helps him to survive.

This book allows you to follow his life and live the adventures, ups and downs that shaped him into the man that he became and that of his family for generations. It’s a book of twists and turns, and a rollercoaster of emotions that will make it hard for you to put the book down.



EXCERPT:
Ma was Cherokee Indian. She had some different ways about her, but she was a Christian. I think Pa said she was Church of Christ, so I think that made us Church of Christ also.

Ma was strict on us boys. I can't tell you the number of times she warmed our backside with Pa's belt or washed our mouths out with soap for saying a curse word. Pa could get away with it, but my brother and me sure couldn't.

Since Viola was too small to be of help to Ma. Until Viola was old enough, David and me helped with house chores. We also helped Pa out in the field. Most of the time, I was the one in the field and David took care of the chores around the house. He may have been small, but he sure was strong. I guess we were all strong, from cutting wood, pulling water from the well and general hard work.

It seemed like Ma was always making clothes, and cooking even though I knew she did other chores. She taught Viola how to make butter at an early age. Ma let her move the dasher up and down in the churn for as long as she could. I think Ma was helping Viola develop muscles like us boys. Sometimes Ma would have Viola go out to the woodshed and pick up small pieces of wood
for kindling. That sturdy old wood cook stove used lots of wood. That stove would use a couple ricks of wood a year.

In the summertime, Ma got up early and got the rest of us up, and built a fire outside to cook, so we
wouldn't have such a hot house. She’d usually cook enough at one time to keep us fed all-day I can still taste those biscuits made in the Dutch oven. We always had fresh honey or molasses to eat with our biscuits. Times were good then. It’s strange what kids think they know, but really don't.

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MY THOUGHTS: 
Charley Dobyns was a man who was blessed with a long life. There was much good and much sadness in Charley's life. Orphaned and working hard to take care of his siblings, Charley displayed a great deal of strength and courage. There are several mentors that come along and, as the story goes on, Charley seems to gain more and more Faith.

This story covered many stages and changes...as a long life often does. I particularly enjoyed the parts that told of coping while traveling in wagons or starting out in a new place. These Pioneer-ish parts of the books read much like Laura Ingalls Wilder's recollections and I will be able to have my children read "The Dobyns Chronicles" in addition to the Little House books. A gentle recollection of a family that never gives up.

My rating: 4.5 stars


Amazon Print Purchase Link:

Amazon Kindle Purchase Link:


Other Purchase Links:


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AUTHOR BIO:
I was born in the bay area of California but my family moved my sister and I back to Oklahoma,
where they were both from. I’ve lived many different places but I always come back home.

I started the sixth grade in the Oklahoma school system and graduated in 1967. I started to college
for a nursing degree but decided that “my man” was much more important. I became an RN with an Associate degree in 1971. Then many years later I went back to school with my sister who was also an RN and we obtained our Bachelor’s degree in nursing.

I am married to a man who spoils me rotten, and I love it. I have two grown children, six grandchildren and twin Great-grandsons. My family has grown by leaps and bounds. My husband and I now have a fur family at home. We have five dogs and three cats and they are all spoiled rotten. It’s like living in a house full of three year olds. When one is not into something another one is.

Author Links:
Facebook              Twitter              Pinterest    
LinkedIn              Google+            
YouTube    

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The Dobyns Chronicles certainly reminded me of this song.
It was a healing thing singing along with this video today.
I used to sing along with this a LOT.....
 but I had an angry sadness to the acknowledgement  that time marches on without some.
Now there is just a bit of the old feelings (just with the end line).
I am thankful discovering the bit more peace.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Henge (Le Fay Series, Book 1)

Excerpt, Review and Giveaway!




Inspired by one of the greatest legends of all time…

Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.

Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.

Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.

But Morgan has a secret—years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic? Only time—and Morgan’s powerful fire—will tell.

Realm Lovejoy’s modern Arthurian series features one of literature’s most complicated and powerful female figures. Henge is the first book in the LE FAY series, and—like Morgan le Fay’s magic—it is sure to dazzle and amaze. 



EXCERPT
Amid the people who’ve now gathered, I spot Merlin engaged in conversation with some cabinet members, including Pellinore, the head of the cabinet, a chubby, balding man who is chomping on an unlit cigar and actually seems to be listening to Merlin with interest. Merlin looks very earnest about whatever he is saying. I wish I had been born with social skills. Being sheltered, however, I can’t expect myself to suddenly become a social butterfly. I look around to see if there is someone I can talk to. For a second, Merlin catches my gaze before I avert my eyes.
A girl gasps. “Morgan!”
Guinevere plants herself next to me. She is in a dress that’s between a shade of gold and taupe—a mix of glam and humbleness. Strings of champagne pearls are whirled around her neck.
She smiles at me impishly. “Are you checking him out?”
“Him? You mean…”
I look back at Merlin, then at her. “No way!”
“He’s cute, isn’t he?”
“I guess he is, but he’s…”
Guinevere cranes closer. “What?”
“Nothing.”
“You can tell me,” she says.
“My father told me never to judge someone I don’t know.”
“Judging and gossiping are part of proper conversation.”
I lift a brow. “He’s too, uh… too pompous,” I say. “Pretentious.”
“I guess so,” Guinevere says. “Nobody is genuinely that perfect.”
“Exactly,” I exclaim.
Guinevere laughs a soft laugh, not harsh-sounding like mine. I remember people used to say my mother’s laugh could break glass and kill a murder of crows flying midair. I try to avoid laughing.
“Hey,” she says. “Didn’t Merlin spell your name in the competition? I saw it on the telly. Why did he do that?”
I have wondered that. Since he just met me, it could have been subconscious—something that just popped into his head and manifested—or he could have tried to make an impression on me. If so, it was unnecessary; his magic alone got my attention plenty.
“He said he was nervous,” I reply. “I bet he was trying to spell his own name.”
“Uh-huh, sure,” she says coyly. “I sense there is romance between you two. I am an expert in romance.”
I can’t help but laugh. “What makes you an expert?”
“Well, I’ve never experienced romance myself,” Guinevere admits. “But I have watched every romance movie under the sun. And I know that every romance begins with staring, and you two stare at each other a lot.”



MY THOUGHTS
A fresh and imaginative retelling! One I plan to have my children read as soon as they are at that reading level (and I did not even have to include any of my Prudish Parent Verdicts in this review). Most contestants are determined to become the Maven who is Arthur's right hand and leads him to Excalibur. Every character has a strong opinion about this "Round" of choosing a Maven.

The story went through so many immense landscapes and flashbacks that I will need to reread to get an adequate mental picture of some parts. For me, the most easily imaginable scene was when Merlin took Morgan to a cave and what she saw there. I could also easily picture some of the scenes where Morgan is proving control of her magic...with such great strength and determination.
---Beautiful and fierce imagery that would make for a spectacular movie or challenge a comic book illustrator.

The characters are complex and there is much of Morgan's family relationship to be sorted out in the next book. Clearly Morgan has good intentions but will Morgan always use her magic for good once she finds the truth behind all the secrets that have so obviously been kept from her?
(I wonder if Morgan's childhood vision has to do with the Arthurian legends where Morgan takes a mortally wounded Arthur to Avalon.)

Merlin, like Morgan, is an enigma. I actually found him to be so much of an enigma as far as motives that he was annoying and I am not sure that I feel sorry for him and whatever past he is struggling with. He was, however, a very believable character and I am sure I would despise interactions with him in a real life Camelot as much as I did in my readings. Yeah, I don't trust Merlin.

We see a docile Genevieve who tends to stay in the background but has a great magical gift. Arthur is likewise in the background as he is just figuring out life and who he trusts in it. Arthur has a tremendous burden ahead of him (I felt sympathy for the young lad).

The bad guys in this novel were truly bad and unreadable unless they were starting to be revealed. I like Ms. Lovejoy's style in making the true weight of character's choices and actions stick in one's mind. I can't help but wonder, if I were gifted with magical powers, would I survive Arthur's Round?

I enjoyed this book and would like to thank Realm Lovejoy for writing it!
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars. I am very eager to reread and I look forward to the rest of the series.



AUTHOR BIO

Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN was her first book. You can find out more about her and her book at realmlovejoy.com



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Tintagel and the legend that usually goes with it.
I am wondering if this series will follow that legend...hmmm. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tranquility


Tranquility belies its name. Behind the nursing home's serene exterior hides a sinister secret. Soon after transferring to Tranquility's dementia unit, support worker Sarah Scott suspects a co-worker of abuse. Doing the right thing could mean losing her job, and unemployment is not an option for the young, single mom.Meanwhile, Sarah questions whether her newest resident, Edie, belongs in the locked unit. The feisty, Scottish woman certainly doesn't act as though she has dementia. Sarah is determined to have Edie released, but her plans are thwarted when Edie risks her own freedom to help find the proof needed to stop the abuse.


MY THOUGHTS:
Like many nursing homes, Tranquility has employees who are sadly not how they present themselves. Suspected elder abuse has become a thing that no one on the staff talks about in the Dementia Unit at Tranquility. When Sarah Scott transfers into the ward, residents start occasionally trying to say something about the verbal, mental and psychological abuse that they experience. Sarah does not discount what they say as being merely whining or a staff member coming from the old school way of doing things...but taking action could cost her the job she needs to support her young child.

While she is trying to figure out how to help rid the ward of abuse, Sarah meets some colorful people and we get a glimpse of what each was like before and after illness. There are moments of tenderness between families and moments of cruelty. Illnesses sweep through the facility. There is much laughter and much discontent. There are pillars of strength like Georgia and Edie who are determined to stand up for what is right and see residents treated with kindness.

On the homefront, so many issues are going wrong or lacking closure for Sarah.

Family, friends and residents all teach Sarah about strength, sacrifice, healing and LIFE.
My rating: 4.65 of 5 stars






AUTHOR BIO:
Laurie grew up on a farm in a small Northern Ontario community in Canada. She left home at seventeen to experience life in the city and now lives in Cambridge, Ontario with her husband of twenty-seven years.

Raising three kids, teaching fitness and operating a home daycare left little time for writing, but she did have some poetry published in various anthologies over the years. In 1997, her short story “Til Death Do Us Part” placed first in the Cambridge Writers Collective anthology.

At the age of forty, Laurie went back to school and began a new career as a personal support worker. Though she ended up working in homecare, it was a placement in the dementia unit of a long-term care facility that inspired her to write her first novel, Tranquility.

Laurie is currently enrolled in the Creative Writing Program through the local community college and is working on her second novel.



Monday, January 12, 2015

On the Wish List


Toddler and Preschooler both think this is awesome.
I wonder how easy it is to find in the States.

One Shrek-ly Dragon

Husband's papier-mâché mask and wings for a production of "Shrek" are finished!



















Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Schwarzschild Radius
Here is my review and enter the giveaway!



Rachel, an 18-year-old Columbia University student descends into the netherworld of runaways and predators to find her sister, Olivia, who has suddenly disappeared. After getting a job in a strip joint where Olivia worked, then doing private shows in the homes of rich clients, Rachel discovers that Olivia has been abducted by a killer who auctions the deaths of young girls in an eBay of agony. As she closes in on the killer who has taken Olivia, Rachel becomes his next target.


EXCERPT
  Ancient Greek philosophers used a face-slapping technique to engrain a point in the student’s mind; here, it conveyed the truth that the girl was going to die.
 The Webmaster activated the camera, and Olivia Wallen’s image traveled across four continents. Her jet-black hair was cut in bangs across the forehead in the classic China-doll style. Her voluptuous American figure was incongruent with her Thai features and was accented by the red Brazilian bikini which offered a triangle of coverage in the crotch.
  “Turn around,” said the voice. She did so, revealing the flawlessness of her back and legs.
  “The skin is like pearl,” said the Webmaster, now addressing the others via web cam. “As you like it in the East. She is five-feet six inches tall. Her measurements are 32-24-33.”
  The clients on the other side of the world were impressed. Men like Masutatsu Nakayama, Vladimir Zeitkin, and Mohammad Qasim.
  Vladimir Zeitkin’s loyalty to Putin had won him his own oil company and now he spent his time competing with Paul Allen of Microsoft fame by building the biggest yacht in the world. He collected Greek and Roman statuary and Nazi art looted during World War II. But it took time to build mega-yachts, and while the static images of paintings were sublime, the living, breathing art of torture, suffering, and death redefined beauty.
  And there was Mohammad Qasim. There was little entertainment in Saudi Arabia despite his oil billions. He had taken pleasure for a while in abusing the Filipina housemaids he brought in for his entertainment and that of his friends, but that grew dull. He sponsored a small jihad organization and followed their exploits as he followed Manchester United, but blowing up anonymous infidels got repetitive.
  Now, without leaving his office, he could witness what surpassed even the public beheadings and honor killings he’d seen.
  Masutatsu Nakayama was a man for whom all things had become tiresome. Now retired from industry with an estimated fortune of two billion dollars, he was on a quest for the few experiences he had left unvisited. And this site gave it to him.
  While other sex sites featured photos and videos, the Webmaster’s had live captives. He performed whatever the clients requested. And in the end, they always requested death. This left no doubt that the girls weren’t actors. The manner of death came from the depths of the subconscious. He had performed hangings, beheadings, electrocutions, tooth extractions, dismemberments. Occasionally they requested a boy, but usually it was a young girl. The clients voted on the type of victim, the race, age, even social standing. For some of these men, it was their first experience in democracy. Payment consisted of a wire transfer to a Cayman Islands bank account. Half due on winning the auction; half after delivery of the product. The clients paid an initial membership fee, then bid on what they wanted done to the victim. The abuse lasted until the clients agreed it was time for execution. This, too, was put up for auction and only the winner received the final product. The winning bidder received the exclusive live stream and download of his request. It was the eBay of agony.
  Each girl could produce bids in excess of two-hundred thousand dollars. The longer the pain was drawn out, the more profit was made. The key was to keep replenishing the supply of victims. And the Webmaster had an endless supply.
  “Take off your clothes and turn around. Again. Stand against the wall,” he instructed. The terrified girl complied and the contrast of her body against the gray of the concrete produced gasps of pleasure from the audience.
  “What is your name?”
  “Olivia. Olivia Wallen.”
  “Age?”
  “Sixteen.”
  “Nationality.”
  “Please let me go.”
  “Nationality?”
  “American.”
  She was hyperventilating, and this made her lovely chest heave up and down.
  “Where are you from originally?”
  “Thailand.”
 “How did you come here?”
  Olivia went into her past as far as she could remember.
  “Your grades are exceptional. What university did you plan to attend? I said what university?”
  “Harvard.”
  “A Harvard girl, gentlemen. This should appeal to you. What were you going to study at Harvard?”
  The tears streamed down her cheeks as the interrogation had its intended effect.
  “Medicine.”
  “You planned to help humanity?”
  “Please let―”
  “You must answer the questions. I explained that to you. You planned to help humanity?”
  “Yes.”
  “And what do you do in your spare time? Answer the question. Answer the question.”
  “Reading.”
  “Reading. What do you read? Who are you favorite authors?”
  “Herman Hesse.”
  “Who else?”
  “Hemingway.”
  “Good, good. So you’re well-read. But let’s be honest with these gentlemen, there’s also another side to you isn’t there?”
  She said nothing.
  “Answer.”
  “Yes,” she said, finally.
  “We’ll explore that in due course. Well, there you have it, gentlemen.
  This concludes the introduction. A mysterious and beautiful girl. And we’ll find out more about her in each encounter. Bidding for the first torment starts at fifty thousand dollars with increments of five thousand. Gentlemen, what is your pleasure?”

MY THOUGHTS:
When I was in high school, a classmate went on vacation to Mexico and came back talking of all the attention she got for being blonde-haired and blue-eyed...she was so flattered by all the attention but, even though I was incredibly naive, I sensed something creepy in what she was describing.

"The Schwarzschild Radius" is a story of the extremes that come out of an obsession with beauty and innocence.

Rachel Wallen is determined not to let her sister be another sex trafficking victim...untraceable or dead. Rachel and Detective McKenna seem to have an endless reserve of bravery and determination when it comes to fighting the evils of this world. Olivia, Rachel's sister, has become a quasi-willing part of the porn/child porn/strip industry for her own desperate region. Rachel gets a job in a strip joint and even goes as far as to visit rich clients(all suspects). While there was no gore or graphic sexual descriptions, I was shocked at some of the aspects of perversions that the characters showed! Rachel eventually succeeds in catching the attention of the man who runs "the Ebay of agony" and becomes one of his newest targets.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Eye-opening.





 Gustavo Florentin was born in Queens, New York and received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic University of New York. He spent a decade in the defense industry working on the F-14 fighter jet and classified electronics projects. After the fall of the Soviet Union, many thought America wouldn't need weapons anymore, so while others waited for the peace dividend, he moved on to the financial sector in New York where he is currently a network engineer. His passions include violin, travel to exotic places and exploring worldwide conspiracies. He lives in New Jersey where he is working on his third novel.


AND HERE IS A RE-RUN OF THE INTERVIEW I POSTED YESTERDAY:
Q:Describe your research process for this book.

GF:I had to research computer hacking and sex workers in Chiang Mai as these were essential to the plot of the book. I’m an electrical engineer but I didn’t know anything about hacking into anyone’s PC, much less about brothels in Thailand. All this was done by Googling, not field research.


Q: “The Schwarzschild Radius” has some intense content. What did you do to keep yourself emotionally healthy during writing?

GF: For one thing, I believe less is more, so I was not graphic or gory. I don’t care for horror movies or zombie books. So 95% of the violence was implied or related second-hand or took place off-stage. This is far more effective than putting a camera in front of a serial killer and watching him work. I think it’s always uncomfortable to put yourself in the skin of a murderer and listen to how he reasons and it came as a relief to write from the point of view of the more noble characters such as Rachel or Detective McKenna.

Q: What do you like about the indie book industry and what is difficult?

GF: What is good is that anyone can self-publish. The bad is the intense competition. The difficult part of publishing used to be getting a publisher. Now, a book release is just the beginning. Then you have to market your work among tens of thousands of others.


Q: Besides being an author, you have worked in the defense industry and the financial sector. Quite a contrast. If you were to pick an entirely new career what would it be?
GF: If what I picked also came with talent, I would love to be a theoretical physicist, like Einstein or Schrödinger. They deal with the fundamentals of existence.

Q: I see that you enjoy violin. This can be a very difficult instrument. What are your favorite pieces of violin music? What advice would you give young violin students?
GF: Ah, the violin, Yes, is difficult and unforgiving. I love Bach, in particular, his unaccompanied suites for violin. A great Belgian violinist, Arthur Grumiaux, set the gold standard with his recordings of the unaccompanied suites. I would advise young violin students to stick with it. I started at the age of six, quit, then took it up again at 13, quit again at twenty and took it up again as an adult. It gets harder, the older you are, so stay with it and by the time you’re twelve or thirteen, you will have a companion for life.

Q: Please tell us about your last book “In the Talons of the Condor.”
GF: This book deals with the so called “dirty war” in Argentina in the 1970’s and eighties. Over 30,000 citizens disappeared, mostly at the hands of a fascist military government. My hero was arrested with his family at the age of fourteen. He alone survives and vows revenge. He joins the military and becomes a brutal special forces commando, always training for one mission—to bring justice to three men who were responsible for wiping out his family.

Q: What will your next novel be about?
GF: My next book is a political thriller which starts out as a murder mystery then expands from there to expose larger and larger conspiracies. My protagonist is John McKenna, the detective in The Schwarzschild Radius. He’s now retired from the New York Police Department and trying to get married again. But trouble finds him and sweeps him into an international manhunt full of betrayal, sex and corruption at the highest levels of government.

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Goodreads page. 

:-)



http://www.coffeehobby.com/ 2009-06-11 daily 0.5 http://www.coffeehobby.com/st.aspx 2009-06-11 daily 0.5