Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Not Quite So Stories: Interview with Absurdist Literary Fiction Author David S. Atkinson



David S. Atkinson is the author of "Not Quite so Stories" ("Literary Wanderlust" 2016), "The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes" (2015 National Indie Excellence Awards finalist in humor), and "Bones Buried in the Dirt" (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist, First Novel <80k a="" and="" appears="" artleby="" his="" href="http://davidsatkinsonwriting.com/" in="" is="" journal="" others.="" review="" rey="" snopes="" sparrow="" tticus="" website="" writing="">http://davidsatkinsonwriting.com/
and he spends his non-literary time working as a patent attorney in Denver.

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About the Book:

The center of Not Quite So Stories is the idea that life is inherently absurd and all people can do is Rudyard Kiping's Just So Stories) is as an attempt by humans to explain and demystify the world. However, that's hollow. We may be able to come to terms with small pieces, but existence as a whole is beyond our grasp. Life simply is absurd, ultimately beyond our comprehension, and the best we can do is to just proceed on with our lives. The stories in this collection proceed from this conception, each focusing on a character encountering an absurdity and focusing on how they manage to live with it.
figure out how they will live in the face of that fact. The traditional explanation for the function of myth (including such works as the relatively modern

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I can't really take credit. The initial ideas for the first few stories popped into my head without any volition on my part, like the idea for my story Context Driven jumping me while my wife was laughing at me for mistakenly trying to open someone else's car with my key (it wasn't even the right model Toyota). The ideas were so fun, I just wrote them even though I didn't know what I was going to do with them. Then I ran into authors like Etgar Keret, Amelia Gray, George Saunders, Aimee Bender, and Haruki Murakami, and I saw that these things could actually work. I started comparing the view of the world I was developing against Rudyard Kipling's Just so Stories and I was off and running.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Some stories came easily, as if handed to me from somewhere else, but some I had to work over and over. I must have rewritten G-Men from the ground up at least three different times before it worked. For stories such as these, I think the best tip to give is to make sure to get the stories out of your head for a little before taking them back in and working more. Read them aloud and try to listen to how they'll sound to another person, have others read them and try to get how they're actually reacting, all that. The way that these kind of stories come across isn't straightforward and you can't really get anywhere with just your reaction. You already know how you're supposed to react, so you will whether the text actually causes that or not. You have to try them outside your head early and often to make sure they're really doing what you think they are.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I'm privileged enough to be working with Literary Wanderlust out of Denver. I'd been simply having a good time going out to hear an author I was a fan of. She started recognizing me and got curious enough to check out my stories. She really liked them and decided to introduce me to her publisher at an event, giving me a recommendation and telling us both we needed to have them check out my work. They hadn't been considering short story collections at the time, particularly stories like The Onion She Carried, but that recommendation was strong enough for them to take a look. They loved them enough that they both decided to publish them and start regularly considering short story collections.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Not Quite so Stories is my third book. My first, Bones Buried in the Dirt, was actually accepted for publication without me really making the first move. I'd had a story from it accepted by a journal (it's a novel in story form) and happened to mention during the process that it was part of a larger work. They were interested enough to ask about seeing the whole manuscript. Then, to my delight, they decided to publish it. I was extremely surprised that I hadn't had to beat down their door to get that to happen.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I'm working on a collection of extremely absurd flash fiction (way more absurd than a bear jumping on a guy's car and then forcing him to gamble like in The Unknowable Agenda of Ursines), but that's definitely still midstream. I may have a novel coming that explores humanity's obsession with the end of times through a character sick of the fact that the apocalypse happens once a week, but I'm going to keep that mostly secret for now…and whether or not it might be coming out next year.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I have a great deal of fun bouncing around between writing circles on Facebook. I love how I can jump between conversations with Enclave/Entropy people one minute, bizarre writers the next, and something completely different a moment later. There are so many different kinds of writers working out there right now. It's invaluable that I can wander back and forth without having to pigeonhole myself. There is so much more to the writing community than just one group of people and I really need that kind of crosspollination to operate. Stories like Up, Up, and No Way wouldn’t' be possible for me otherwise.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

I do all my usual processes: brushing my teeth, checking my alarm, scanning for new emails or social media notifications, making sure clothing is set out for the morning, all that. However, the one constant and unavoidable routing is the treating of the cats. We once received a treat ball that could record a voice message for our cat as a gift and it came with a bag of treats. We didn't know if our cat would go for them, but she became an addict. Now there's no going to bed without dispensing treats…and now we have four cats. It's gotten a bit complicated, me having to provide treats to a number of cats on various levels of a particular cat tree while my wife hands out individual treat to that original cat a distance away (cat riots ensue otherwise). There's no use trying to change it, so my wife and I just do as we're told. It makes the cats so happy, happy enough that they allow us to then sleep.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Before any message, I want people to have fun and enjoy reading. Messages are significant, but they don't get across if the reader doesn't have a good time. Still, I'd like people to regain more of their sense of wonder, to remember just how inexplicably bizarre and fascinating life is (Cents of Wonder Rhymes with Orange goes after this theme perhaps more specifically than the other stories in the book). Keeping our heads above water tends to leave little time for that, but recognizing the wonder that is the world is what really makes us able to cope with what it takes to live.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thanks for talking to me! As for final words, I hope I haven't gotten to that point yet. I've still got a lot of writing to do. If I had to pick some though, I'd probably go with closing, conclusion, ultimate, end, finish, last, crowning, and/or terminal. Again, that's only if I had to.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Interview with MC Domovitch, author of 'Scorpio's Kiss' & Book Giveaway!



Monique Domovitch has had many careers, starting with being one of Canada’s top models. When she retired from modeling she moved on to a career in the financial services as an adviser and planner, specializing in helping women attain financial freedom. During those years, she was also one of the first women in Canada to host her own national financial television show. During all those years, Monique’s dream was always to someday become a writer. Ten years ago, Monique attended a writer’s conference where the first line of one of her novels was read out loud in a workshop, attracting the attention of a publisher and an agent.

Since that life-changing conference, Monique Domovitch has published nine books, four with Penguin using the pen name Carol Ann Martin, two with Harlequin using her own name, and another two with Lansen Publishing. Scorpio’s Kiss was previously published as two novels, Scorpio Rising and The Sting of the Scorpio. Scar Tissue, her latest, is her ninth novel and she is hard at work on her tenth.

A great believer in the energizing power of writers’ conferences, she says that if not for that first conference she attended, she would not be published today.

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About the Book:

Scorpio's Kiss is a spell-binding tale of love, ambition and greed that will keep the reader turning the pages until its surprise ending. Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive
worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio's Kiss takes the reader from the late 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes.

There is Alex Ivanov, the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves.

Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser.

Domovitch’s novel is a compelling tale, filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio's Kiss promises to resonate with all who once had a dream.

For More Information

  • Scorpio’s Kiss is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Giveaway!

Monique Domovitch is giving away 5 paperback and 5 ebook copies of SCORPIO’S KISS!


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Five people will be selected to win one of five paperback copies and five people will be selected to win one of five ebook copies of SCORPIO’S KISS
  • This giveaway begins April 18 and ends on July 18.
  • Winners will be announced on Monique’s tour page on July 19.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!


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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
Back in the eighties, I was friends with Ivana Trump. She and I modeled together for about five years, and remained friends after she married Donald. During their marriage, I often visited, and on a few occasions met Donald. He was always such a magnetic personality, I just knew I would someday base a character on him. Having said that, I want to clarify that the novel is pure fiction.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
I often hear authors talk about the “block.” The block is something I get at the end of each and every scene. When I begin a novel, I know my characters. I know where they start, where they are going and where they will end. But the journey is very fluid. How they get from A to Z can, and often does, change. So every time a scene ends, I face the “now what?” Each scene has to be set, the where, the who, and most important, the mood (Because you want to create conflict in each scene.) and how will this scene move the story forward?

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
Of the nine books I’ve written and published, this is the first one I self-published. I felt that Scorpio’s Kiss is such a major departure from my other novels that I needed to first prove that I could handle such an ambitious novel.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
The first book I published was a cozy mystery titled Getting Skinny. The big surprise was just how much editing goes into traditional publishing. There is round after round after round of it. But in the end, the amount of learning one gets from the process is immeasurable. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
At the moment I am working on two other novels. One is a sequel to Scar Tissue, titled Seeing Evil. The other one is in the same genre as Scorpio’s Kiss. I absolutely love it. Like Scorpio, it is set in the fifties and sixties, but this time in Key Largo. All I will say is that the night of Hurricane Donna, which destroyed much of the Keys, one single event happens that will change the lives of all the characters. The heroine, Adriana, will spend decades trying to solve the mystery.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?
Oh, definitely Facebook. I have to monitor myself. I can so easily lose an hour, just browsing, keeping up with friends and relatives.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?
My husband and I are guilty of sharing our bed with our two little dogs. We usually all snuggle and watch an hour or so of TV before bedtime, often with a cup of sleepy-time tea. As I drift off to sleep I try to plan the writing for the next day.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
My goal when writing this book, was strictly to entertain. But different readers have pointed out a number of different lessons in the book. Be careful what you wish for, is one. Another might be, a leopard won’t change his spots.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?
Thank you for inviting me. I hope readers will enjoy my novel and then take a moment to leave a review on Amazon. Reviews are like applause, and we, storytellers, live for them.




Friday, April 22, 2016

Interview with Stephen Martino, author of 'The Hidden Reality'



Stephen Martino is neurologist practicing in New Jersey. Though not separating conjoined twins like Dr. Ben Carson, he is part of an active medical practice and is currently participating in concussion research and inventing new medical products. When he is not working, he can be found with his five children doing homework or cheering them on at a soccer field, basketball court, or dance recital. Martino is a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Cub Scout den leader and is an active public speaker, helping to provide stroke education to the local community, EMS squads and healthcare professionals.

His latest book is the science fiction/political thriller, The Hidden Reality.
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About the Book:

Title: The Hidden Reality
Author: Stephen Martino
Publisher: Light Messages
Pages: 318
Genre: Science Fiction/Political Thriller

In the year 2084, the brilliant inventor, Alex Pella, finds himself at a precarious crossroad between the pursuit of justice and preservation of his own sanity. While attempting to undermine an international New World Order government created by the financial juggernaut known as The New Reality, he must also face the hidden truths about his own genetic heritage that are slowly destroying him. After receiving an ambiguous message sent from a former New Reality executive who died 2 years prior, Alex learns that the only possible means to confront this New World Order is to defeat a long-forgotten enemy almost 2500 years old.

THE HIDDEN REALITY is the second stand-alone novel in a trilogy starring Alex Pella, created by New Jersey-based neurologist and entrepreneur Stephen Martino. With his fusion of history, politics, and science fiction, Martino joins such masters of the thriller genre as Dan Brown, James Rollins, and Michael Crichton.

Martino’s villain is a corporation run by a cadre of ruthless international bankers known as The New Reality. Directed by the most corrupt and morally unscrupulous of the bunch, Myra Keres, the company has economically seized control of the world’s governments and the population’s personal freedoms in the process. In order to save humanity from this despot ruler and the unwonted atrocities to which she plans to perpetuate on the world, Alex Pella must infiltrate the company and face an enemy that has unknowingly haunted both him and history for almost 2500 years.

Martino says he wrote THE HIDDEN REALITY more than just to entertain the reader. He wanted to create a modern day Orwellian ANIMAL FARM to allegorically forewarn his readers of a possible dystopia future that awaits all of mankind if humanity continues to proceed down its path of self-destruction.

In THE HIDDEN REALITY, Martino has included such hot-button contemporary topics as genetic cloning, unprecedented economic debt, the rise of big government, and the threat of a New World Order run by the economic elite, while bringing the reader back almost 2500 years into the past when the ancient city state nation known as Greece fought the mighty Persian Empire for world domination.

All of these elements, Martino maintains, separate his book from the pack. He calls THE HIDDEN REALITY “issue-oriented fiction. There are real concerns facing society today that threaten both the sovereignty and prosperity of our future generations. Though fictional, my novel addresses some of these issues and predicts the potential consequences we face as a nation and the world if they are not properly addressed today.”

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I remember daydreaming in college over 20 years ago, thinking of different ideas that I may want to write about one day. In fact, the initial idea for The Hidden Reality came to me while I was in history class learning about ancient Greece. It was not that the lecture was boring or that professor lacked charisma, but the thought of recreating such a world and bringing it back to life mesmerized me. Plus, as the cultures of the Eastern and Western worlds collide once again, these historical topics are as apropos today as they were almost 2500 years in the past. Though the pearls of wisdom conveyed in class that afternoon have been long lost in my memory, the inspiration I garnered from that professor still lives on and motivates me to this day.

What is even more interesting is that when I completed the class at the end of the semester, the professor wrote me a note, wishing me greatness in all my future endeavors. Ironically, this idea of greatness turned out to be a cornerstone of both my first and most recent novel, The Hidden Reality. Retrospectively, I can thank this great teacher for launching my eventual writing career and recognize him for all the inspiration he has given me throughout the years.


Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing The Hidden Reality proved to be an exceptionally exciting endeavor. I had researched information for this novel for years and compiled an enormous file of notes and ideas. After aggregating this colossal amount of information, I sat down and laboriously created a rather lengthy outline. By the time it finally came around to writing the novel, the words flowed rather effortlessly onto the page. However, if I hadn’t put all the hard work into before I began, the job would have turned out to be an immense task.

My suggestion to new writer is first and foremost, write what you love. Follow your passion. The more desire you have for your topic, the easier it is to write and the better the finished product will be. I love history, politics, and science. Reading and writing on these topics is an immense to joy me, and this enthusiasm can be seen in my work.

Secondly, in order to write you must read. The better repertoire of book you’ve read under your belt, the more diversified your writing style will be. I enjoy reading thrillers and have read at least 20 different authors of that genre. After reading such a plethora of works, I have begun to understand certain writing styles and techniques that suit me better than others.


Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I have been blessed that Light Messages Publishing took on my work and brought it into print. As a previous novice to the publishing industry and writing business, finding Light Messages was a completely humbling task. I was rejected by hundreds of agents and publishers before eventually joining Light Messages. Honestly, the only time I was rejected this many times was when I was dating back in high school.

Before ever being published, I was signed by an agent. It was this agent who eventually made contact with Light Messages and brought me into their family of successful writers. Sadly, a week before I closed the contract with Light Messages, my agent suddenly passed. However, I believe that she’s on the other side rooting my novels on for continued success.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I never fathomed how many aspiring writers there are on the planet! It seems like everyone these days has an unpublished book or movie manuscript sitting on their desk. The competition to find a publisher and agent was much more of a daunting task than I ever expected. Writing my first novel was retrospectively the easiest task. The real time consuming job proved to be finding a publisher. It’s a task that required immense time and even more humility. On a daily basis, I sent out query letters, mailed sample copies of my novel to publishers, spoke with agents or potential leads, or even at times went to book expos where people in the publishing industry gathered. Eventually, being persistent and at times a nuisance paid off.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

The Hidden Reality is my current thriller on the market. However, my last stand alone novel in The New Reality trilogy, The Final Reality, will hopefully be completed by the end of this summer.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Though I hit all the major news web pages on a daily basis, I find myself captivated by Reddit. The Funny Subreddit is my page of choice. Laughter is the best medicine. When I wake up in the morning, I hit this Subreddit and scroll through some of the top posts. It’s better than a cup of coffee or going to the gym. The hardy laugh wakes me up and sets the course of my day in the right direction. Also, throughout the morning and afternoon, I’ll click this page on my iPhone for a quick laugh. It’s a definite mental reprieve and helps alleviate the day’s stress.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

I’m not sure if I would call it a ritual as much as I would categorize it organized chaos. With 5 kids at home, attempting to get them to bed is a combination of self-restraint and Stalinesque dictatorship. Plus, putting them to bed only begins after my wife and I have driven them all half way around the country to their different after school activities. Whether it’s basketball, soccer, dance, Scouts, or whatever else they are doing, I feel like an unappreciated cab driver just waiting to clock out at the end of my shift.

Peter De Vries said, “There are times when parenthood seems nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you.” It’s this well-bitten hand I then take to put my kids to bed. As an adult, I can’t wait to finally hit the sack. However, asking my kids to go to bed is like ordering them to go climb Mount Everest. And that’s when the self-self-restraint is needed. After a long day, all I want to really do is take off my belt a corral them into their beds like a bunch of wayward cattle. Instead, I have to make sure their homework is finished, showers taken, chores completed, and the TV is turned off. After a few threats and possibly a little yelling, I can finally attempt to lie down and have a modicum of free time to myself. I use this needed quiet time for some reading before I go to bed and start the fun of a new day once again.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I wrote The Hidden Reality more than just to entertain the reader. I really wanted to create a novel with substance like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code or Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. These books not only tell a fantastic story but they also make the reader think. So what I did in The Hidden Reality was incorporate certain pressing topics that effect our word today such the unprecedented world-wide economic debt, globalism, clash of East and West, and the rise of big government while combining it with some interesting subjects such as Ancient Greek military history, the concept of an Open Society, and futuristic scientific concepts.

In the end, my goal was to turn The Hidden Reality into a modern day allegoric Animal Farm to forewarn my readers of the possible future consequences we may face as a result of our current follies of today. As political tensions rise around the globe, the world plunges into economic debt, Europe delves deeper into chaos, and new scientific and medical achievements astound us by the day, I incorporated these high-concept ideas into The Hidden Reality and attempted to make sense out the pandemonium that surround us on a daily basis.

  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank you for having me. The Hidden Reality can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and iBooks. Also, please check out my website at www.martinoauthor.com.

Guest post: "A giant of the writing world has died…Pat Conroy" by Ian A. O’Connor

America lost one of her greatest novelist sons on March 4, 2016. That man was Donald Patrick Conroy, a national treasure, and he was laid to rest five months into his seventieth year. The void now left with his passing in the world of letters is as expansive as the title of his second book, The Water Is Wide.
Why do I mourn for a man I never met but admired from afar for over forty years?  Pat Conroy and Ian O’Connor had little in common other than the fact we both came of age in a turbulent time—the 1960s. And we both loved books. I learned later that he read two hundred pages every day from an early age on, and that his memory was prodigious. It had to have been, for no other author I can think of had the power to produce a string of pearls with every sentence he wrote. We all know that good writing stems from incessant reading, and his writing just begged to be savored like a rare American bourbon whiskey. Sipped slowly, swirled around on the palate for an eternity, and then begrudgingly swallowed. This will be repeated until the book is read or the bourbon finished.
My first Pat Conroy story was The Great Santini, and I almost took a pass on it because the title didn’t grab me and the cover art was terrible. But the friend who lent it to me mentioned the story was about a son growing up in a fighter pilot’s household, and that singular fact sealed the deal. I had just come off of five years active duty as an Air Force officer, was still in the reserves, and loved to fly airplanes.  By the end of the novel I had grown to hate the Great Santini, aka Bull Meecham, the father-figure to the novel’s eldest son, Ben, and stand-in for Conroy’s own mean-spirited, heartless, selfish dad.  I had discovered one of the great writers of our time. 
I read The Boo and The Water is Wide, his only other published works at the time, and then kept a weather-eye peeled for his novels as they were published. The Lords of Discipline, was next, followed by The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, The Pat Conroy Cookbook, My Losing Season, South of Broad, My Reading Life, and lastly, The Death of Santini. Each masterpiece was better than the one before it, (if that’s possible) but I oftentimes felt he wasn’t writing enough stories for me to enjoy. Unbeknownst to him, he had become my literary mentor, harkening from the time I began my writer’s journey in the mid-1970s until today. As we both grew old, my novels improved as I read each new work of his. I earned my Masters, then finally my Ph.D., under his tutelage, and the price of admission into his prestigious writing program was nothing more than the cost of his next book. The entire curriculum took me forty years to complete and, in an unexplainable coincidence, I graduated the same day he died.
Pat Conroy and I differed in one respect. He never gave up using pencils and yellow legal pads in the crafting of his stories, while I, on the other hand, fell in love with my computer’s wordsmithing capabilities in the early eighties. From everything I’ve read, whenever he presented a new manuscript to Nan Talese—an editor with her own prestigious imprint—it would invariably run to as many as two thousand handwritten pages. She edited The Prince of Tides, then other editors followed as the manuscripts were completed. Conroy and his editors would spend weeks paring the work down to a publishable size. I am in awe of how Nan Talese was able to find within herself the mettle to give final approval to delete so many bejeweled pages of his prose…..but she did, book after book, and soon thereafter, another Pat Conroy bestseller was born.

And now the candle has been extinguished. Pat, you made my life immeasurably richer with your stories, so farewell, rest in peace, and forgive me for closing this tribute with a co-opting of your trademark book-signing catchphrase, “For the love of books.”

 Title: The Wrong Road Home – A story of treachery and deceit inspired by true events
Release Date: March 31, 2016 
Publisher: Pegasus Publishing & Entertainment Group 
Pages: 280
Genre: Historical Medical Crime 
Format: Trade paperback and EBook
Purchase on Amazon 

Book Description

“An intimate look at a life lived as a lie.” – Kirkus Reviews

Inspired by a true story, The Wrong Road Home is the story of Desmond Donahue. Born into abject poverty in Ireland, Donahue went on to successfully practice his craft as a surgeon for 20 years—first in Ireland and then the United States.  So isn’t Donahue’s tale a classic rags-to-riches, American dream story?  Hardly.  Donahue was girded with nothing more than a Chicago School System GED and several counterfeit medical diplomas. It seems impossible—and understandably so—but it’s a story based on a Miami Herald Sunday edition front page exposé.  An Oprah producer pursued the imposter for weeks, as did Bill O’Reilly. Simply put, Desmond Donahue’s story is a story that really happened.

A gripping story that is alternately shocking, heartbreaking, and unbelievable, The Wrong Road Home will leave readers spellbound. Ian A. O’Connor, an imaginative and skillful storyteller, paints a vivid portrait of a complicated, complex character who comes alive within the story’s pages.   Reminiscent of Catch Me if You Can, The Wrong Road Homefuses elements of true crime, memoir, and drama.  Groundbreaking, inventive and innovative, The Wrong Road Home is an extraordinary story exceptionally well told. 

Amazon Wins $30 Million Contract to Sell E-Books to New York City Schools

Oh this is so exciting; I just had to share it with our readers.  Amazon has cut a deal with NY schools to provide ebooks for their students.  The schools will pay for the ebook readers (which I think they have already) and buy ebooks from Amazon for the kids to enjoy which means...another venue for ebook authors to sell more books on Amazon.

According to the article, Amazon won a $30 million deal yesterday to provide ebooks to New York City public schools, according to The Wall Street Journal.

New York’s Panel for Education Policy voted in favor of the three-year deal with the Department of Education, which will go into effect in the next school year.

Read the rest of the story at Digital Book World.

Interview with Ashley Terrell, author of The Black Sheep Shadow






Ashley Terrell is the founder of Stella Bistro Foods and Black Sheep Inc. Terrell is the host and co-director of Cooking with Stella (2016) and Unaverage Ash (2016).  She resides on the East Coast where she enjoys blissful sunsets and sounds of ocean waves. 

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About the Book:

Title: The Black Sheep Shadow
Author: Ashley Terrell
Publisher: Ashley Terrell LLC
Pages: 136
Genre: Christian/Religious/Memoir

The city lights blind your amazement. The sound of the traffic challenges you to be alive. Families ask bystanders to make magic and capture the moment with photographs. Newly engaged couples seal their union by kissing under shooting stars while loving by crossing their hearts.
 But what if your heart was under arrest, wouldn't want to embrace something to feel something like others?

Go inside the world of one courageous sheep as she discovers that her heart was under attack by darkness. As she travels on a spiritual journey to understanding her purpose, overcoming the understanding her purpose, self-acceptance, and the importance of inspiration, she rose against the odds with forgiveness and strengthening her faith.

For More Information

  • The Black Sheep Shadow is available to purchase at Amazon.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

The summer [of 2015] , I discovered the inspiration to write The Black Sheep Shadow.  I have always felt my life story helped others. This made it very easy for me to continue with the idea of writing The Black Sheep Shadow.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It was more emotional to write than anything - I was emotionally close to all my memories due to their purpose in my life. When The Black Sheep Shadow was written, I felt an emotional release because I finally gave myself the fresh start [with forgiveness]. I never gave up how much my story can impact others to become aware.

My best advice - if it is part of your truth, stand for it. Use your truth to help others. We all depend on each other to make the world orbit.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Black Sheep Inc., subsidiary company to A Terrell Enterprises, is the publishing agency for The Black Sheep Shadow.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

The Black Sheep Shadow isn't my first publication, however, this is my first time being hands on. Planning and branding a book is definitely work! I am loving every moment of it because I know it is for a great purpose - that excites me.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have a few publications in the works, but stay tuned!

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Wow, nice question! My email inbox - I [modestly] reply and compose at least one hundred emails a day.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

Thanking God for trusting me. Asking Him to restore me to do better tomorrow. I ask He submerges me totally in my purpose. I am hungry for it.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I want people to begin embracing themselves. Scars don't heal if we [as people] don't believe we are wounded. I want to be the advocate for light - you CAN rise above the darkness to prosper! It is time to stop masking the side effects of what media sells to be materialistic things and "false guarantees". Embrace who you are and the journey you endured. Accept your testimony of overcoming. Use it to keep someone else from suicide, self-hatred, loneliness and failure to feel accepted. Everyone suffers from symptoms of black sheep. Whose willing to stand and speak for better and spread awareness?
The Black Sheep Shadow is committed to breaking the cycle of silence and the advocate for better days are coming.
 
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Count your blessings, not your hindrances.



Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Feature: Knit Tight by Annabeth Albert



Inside the Book:


Title: Knit Tight 
Author: Annabeth Albert 
Release Date: April 12, 2016 
Publisher: Lyrical Shine 
Genre: LGBT 
Format: Ebook

It’s no secret that Portland, Oregon, has some of best restaurants, shops, and cafés in the country. But it’s the hard-working men who serve it all up that keep us coming back for more...

One of Portland’s hottest young baristas, Brady is famous for his java-topping flair, turning a regular cup of joe into a work of art. Every Wednesday—aka “Knit Night”—hordes of women and their needles descend on the coffeehouse, and Brady’s feeling the heat. Into the fray walks a tall, dark, and distractingly handsome stranger from New York. His name is Evren, and he’s the sexy nephew of Brady’s sweetest customer, the owner of the yarn shop down the street. He’s also got a killer smile, confident air, and masculine charm that’s tying Brady’s stomach in knots. The smitten barista can’t wait to see him at the next week’s gathering. But when he tries to ask Evren out, his plans unravel faster than an unfinished edge. If Brady hopes to warm up more than Evren’s coffee, he’ll have to find a way to untangle their feelings, get out of the friend zone, and form a close-knit bond that’s bound to last a lifetime…

Knit Tight Portland Heat

Praise for the Portland Heat series
“Tremendously charming and sexy.” —RT Book Reviews on Served Hot, TOP PICK

“A really enjoyable story.” —Joyfully Jay on Baked Fresh

“Sometimes an author just gets everything right…Absolutely perfect.” —Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews on Delivered Fast

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Meet the Author:

Annabeth-Albert    
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.
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Book Review: ‘Ninth-Month Midnight’ by Marie Bacigalupo


Nine Month Midnight by Marie Bacigalupo was a deeply compelling, at times heart-wrenching story, about grief and the desperate need of a mother to reunite with her dead child. Since losing her four-year old precious daughter to cancer a year ago, Dolores Walsh has been living in limbo, like a zombie.
After a suicide attempt, she’s prompted by her husband Joe to seek the help of a psychiatrist to treat her depression. Then at a bereavement group she meets Sal Esperanza, a charismatic psychic who claims he has the power to channel the dead. Though Dolores is sceptical at first, she soon becomes intensely fixated with the idea of speaking with her daughter’s spirit.
Although Joe is against the idea and warns her that Sal is a con man after money, nothing derails Dolores from attending his seances. Is Sal, indeed, a fraud…or is he the real thing and the only person who can make her only desire in life possible?
A novella, I read Ninth-Month Midnight in one sitting and couldn’t put it down. The story moves at a fast pace, with Dolores’ desperation being transmitted to the reader so that we feel all her grief and obsession. What could be worse for a mother than losing her child?
Most women will relate to Dolores’ predicament and sympathize with her actions, even though they might not approve of all of them. Bacigalupo writes with an economy of words that is sometimes gritty, letting the action speak for the characters. Ultimately, this is a story of hope and one I was very glad to have read. Highly recommended!
Find out more on Amazon.