Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Colorado Dream Book Blast!



We're happy to host Charlene Whitman's COLORADO DREAM book blast today!  Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!


Title: COLORADO DREAM
Author: Charlene Whitman
Publisher: Ubiquitous Press
Pages: 450
Genre: Sweet Historical Western Romance

Yearning to become a concert musician, a young woman from New York travels to Colorado to purchase a violin, but when she meets a wild, untamable cowboy, her dream is threatened and her heart torn ...
In New York in 1877, Angela Bellini longs to become a concert violinist and get away from her abusive father. When her dream takes her to Greeley, Colorado, to purchase a violin from a master instrument maker, she learns she must wait three weeks until her violin is ready before she can head home.
Angela is determined not to let anything or anyone waylay her dream, but when she meets rough-and-tumble cowboy Brett Hendricks, her heart is torn. He is her opposite in every way—uncouth, cocky, and reckless. But she is hopelessly drawn to him, like a moth to flame.
Brett Hendricks is on the run—not just from an angry rancher who is tracking him down for shooting his son but from a dark and troubled past plaguing him with guilt and shame. A wild, untamable cowboy, Brett can break any horse with a soft touch and soothing word, but nothing in the world can bring him peace. He fears he will never stop running, never see his dreams of ranching realized.
But then, one evening, he hears sweet violin music that seeps deep into his soul--music that floods him with peace. He falls hard for Angela but knows she plans to leave Colorado. All his attempts to win her heart fail disastrously, and though he buries himself in the cattle roundup, when he helps thwart a rustling outfit, his enemies multiply.
Somehow he must find a way to gain Angela's heart and trust. And somehow Angela must break past her distrust of men to discover the love awaiting her with open arms.
Pick up your copy at:

Amazon



Book Excerpt:
Chapter 1

September 9, 1877
New York City, New York

The slap on Angela Bellini’s cheek burned, but not as fiercely as the hurt in her heart. The pain and disappointment smoldering there sizzled like hot embers, threatening to reduce her to a pile of ash. She glared at her father’s back as he stomped out of the room.
Why couldn’t her papá understand? She would not marry Pietro, no matter how wealthy his family was, no matter how many years her papá and his had planned such an arrangement. “It is our way, Angela,” he had told her again, his face hard and eyes dark and menacing, leaving no room for debate. “And you will marry him. You are twenty years of age—you are lucky he is still willing. You’ve made him wait long enough.”
When she forced her objections past the rock lodged in her aching throat, she knew what would follow. What always followed. Her papá’s rage erupted in a torrent of Italian curses that ended with a slap that knocked her nearly senseless against the foyer wall before he stormed out the apartment.
As she slid down in a heap by the front door, she had caught a glimpse of her mamá in the kitchen, her back turned to her in unspoken submission. Angela huffed. I will never marry and become like you, Mamá—squashed under the thumb of some man who wants only subservience and a crowded apartment full of squalling babies.
 She swallowed back tears. She would not cry—not today. Today she would take the first steps—real steps—toward her dream. And no one, not even the powerful and prominent Giusepe Bellini could stop her.
Their tiny stuffy apartment rumbled—as it always did six times a day and twice each night—from the Third Avenue El Train fifty feet away. The noise of the wheels clacking and the platform rattling mingled with the loud voices of her downstairs neighbors arguing—Mr. Paolino’s tenor to his wife’s shrill soprano. Outside her window, carriages clattered on cobblestones in sharp staccato, and shoppers and merchants carried on in boisterous conversation, sounding no more pacifying than an orchestra tuning their instruments.
On most days Angela could drown out the suffocating symphony of Mulberry Bend by rehearsing violin caprices in her head, imagining her fingers flying over the fingerboard, her right hand bowing the strings, eliciting the sweet and sonorous timbre of her instrument.
But on this stifling, humid September afternoon, the many pieces she’d memorized—no, absorbed into her very soul, as if food that nourished her—flitted away, out of reach, as she pulled down the heavy carpetbag from the hall closet—a bag that she’d found months ago stuffed behind a stack of wool blankets.
She stopped and listened. Her mama was humming in the back room as she folded laundry. Her two younger siblings were off playing with neighborhood children—in the street, no doubt, as the sweltering heat was worse indoors.
Angela’s hands shook as she dabbed her perspiring forehead and neck with a handkerchief and went through her mental list of all she would need on her trip. Not much—she’d only be gone ten, perhaps, twelve days, if all went as planned. She pushed from her thoughts her papá’s impending fury at her insolence and the resulting punishments that would await her upon her return. But she had made her decision, and there was no turning back.
Hurry, she told herself. Her papá had gone downstairs to the corner market, and while he often spent an hour or more on Sunday afternoons smoking cigars with the men of the neighborhood, discussing the politics of her close-knit Italian community and their various business ventures—and arranging their daughters’ marriages, she thought bitterly—he could return at any time.
In her bedroom, she gathered the neat stack of clothes she had put in her bottom dresser drawer, then stuffed them into the traveling bag along with her few womanly items, her prayer book, some sheets of music, and a spare pair of shoes. She checked her reticule and found the roll of bills—the money she’d earned over the last two years from babysitting and teaching music lessons through Signore Bianchi’s instrument shop on Second Avenue. She hoped it would be enough for the quality of violin she planned to buy.
Mr. Fisk hadn’t answered her inquiry regarding pricing in his letter. He merely assured her he would provide her with an exceptional instrument and that they would work out the financial details once she arrived in Greeley, Colorado.
Would her meager savings be enough? It had to be, for she couldn’t return to New York and face the audition committee without a proper instrument.
The director’s words still stung. “You’re a talented musician, Miss Bellini. But you bring shame to your craft by playing on such an inferior violin. Come back when you have an appropriate instrument.” The three committee members had politely frowned when she flustered an apology and hurried to the exit of the symphony hall, pressing down her humiliation and frustration as tears welled in her eyes.
Her papá could well afford to buy her a violin of exceptional quality, and every year at Christmas she begged him to indulge her love of playing with the purchase of a new one, but he only laughed in cool disdain and waved her away. “Give up your foolish dreams, Angela. Your place is in the home, with a husband and children. Not on the stage.” Her papá regarded music appropriate only at holidays and festivals and family gatherings, and only traditional song and instrumentation. He didn’t—couldn’t—understand this dream she nursed. The dream to play in the New York Philharmonic, to play on stage before an audience, to be a part of the creation of ethereal music that filled a great performance hall and moved listeners to tears.
To make matters worse, her older brother, Bartolomeo, sided with their papá, constantly nagging her to “get married already and stop being a burden on the family.” Although he was but two years older, he and Dora had three children. And Dora—and most of Angela’s other girlfriends from her school days, who were also married—gave her constant looks of pity, as if Angela was missing out on life’s greatest joy. But they just didn’t understand.
She had to fan the tiny spark of her dream to keep it alive, to prevent it from being snuffed out by her papá’s stern expectations and society’s demands. And it had nearly been extinguished a month ago, upon her papá’s brash public announcement of her engagement to Pietro—an arrogant youngest son of a successful wine merchant who had no love for music—none whatsoever. She harbored no hope that he would ever understand her passionate need to play the violin, and no doubt he’d forbid her pursuit of her dream.
And then she’d read an article in the Times about one George Fisk, a master violin maker in a newly founded town in the West—a place called Greeley. On a whim she’d written him. Why? She didn’t know. She could purchase a violin in Manhattan—one of sufficient quality. But there was something about the description of this man, Fisk. The way he spoke about the instruments he made. The care and time and love he put into each one. He built his instruments with a passion and love for beauty and music that resonated with her. For, she wanted more than a good violin. She wanted one that spoke to her soul, one made just for her. George Fisk promised he could provide just that. But she had to travel halfway across the continent. Was she willing? he’d asked her.
Yes, she wrote him. Yes, more than willing. Although, she’d never traveled outside of the city, and the thought of venturing into wild country, alone, made her stomach twist. But Fisk had told her not to worry. He would see to her accommodations and show her around his “wonderful little Western town.” And she had to admit—she was ready for an adventure.
She looked around her cramped tiny bedroom situated in a crowded apartment in a busy, noisy city. I’m more than ready for peace and quiet, and to get away from Papá’s mean spirit and violent temper.
What must it be like to stand under a wide-open sky spattered with stars, with no neighbors quarreling or trains rattling or horses’ hooves clacking on stones? Her heart yearned for such open space, for such silence. Silence that longed to be filled with beautiful music. She imagined nature itself performing a symphony of birdsong and coyote howls and water cascading over rocks. Those were some of the images her mind drifted to as she played, and she longed to merge her own musical voice to that of creation, if even just for a day or two.




About the Author


The author of "heart-thumping" Western romance, Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado's Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George "Dix" Whitman, her love of thirty years. 

The Front Range series of sweet historical Western romance novels (set in 1876) includes Colorado Promise, set in Greeley, Colorado; Colorado Hope, set in Fort Collins; Wild Secret, Wild Longing, which takes readers up into the Rockies, and Colorado Dream (release date 11/15/16) and Wild Horses, Wild Hearts (release date 1/1/17).

Join Charlene's mailing list to get free books, news, and sneak previews of upcoming books and covers:
https://cslakin.leadpages.co/charlene-whitman-list-opt-in/.

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Cover Reveal: Diving In by Kristina Matthews


Inside the Book:




Title: Tracking You
Author: Kelly Moran
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Women's Fiction
Format: Ecopy 

The sweetest revenge . . .
He’s the Swift brother who got left behind, the son abandoned by his father. Now Kyle Swift is a man determined to destroy the whitewater rafting empire built by the half-brothers he never knew, the Swift sons who got the life—and the love—he was denied. Seducing Fisher Jones isn’t part of his revenge, but sharing a bed with the beautiful whitewater instructor is the one bright spot in his otherwise dark plan. That is, if he manages not to fall for the sad-eyed beauty . . .

Fearless when it comes to facing even the most daunting river rapids, Fisher never takes chances with her love life—until the night she gets swept away by a sexy stranger. But when her one-night stand unexpectedly shows up in her whitewater class, Fisher faces her greatest challenge yet: keeping her heart safe from a man determined to put an end to the family business—and the life—she holds dear. . .

PURCHASE HERE: AMAZON|B&N|GOOGLE PLAY|KOBO

MEET THE AUTHOR

Kristina Mathews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing.

While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member, or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books. She proudly tells her students she writes romance novels that they can read when they’re older.

Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. As a veteran road tripper, amateur renovator, and sports fanatic, she hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors, and someday throw out the first pitch for the San Francisco Giants.

Connect with Kristina: Website|Facebook|Twitter

A Conversation with Suzanne Eglington, author of 'Beckham 101'



Suzanne Eglington is the author of the Kate and Robert Chronicles series. The three-book series follows the unfolding romance of top cop Robert Beckham and the ravishing Kate Quinn. The titles in the series are Inceptions, You and I, and the recently released Beckham 101. A fourth book in the Kate and Robert Chronicles series is forthcoming.

Suzanne currently resides in Central Massachusetts with her family.

WEBSITE | TWITTER


About the Book:

BECKHAM 101 is the third installment in the Kate and Robert Chronicles by author Suzanne Eglington. Eglington invites readers into the intimate inner world of the newly wedded duo as they learn to navigate life as a committed couple. Settling down brings new perspectives and people into Kate’s and Robert’s lives, along with the exposure of more of Robert’s mysterious past. For Kate, being married to a top cop means managing both desire and reality.
Following a one-week courtship, Kate submits to her love for Robert, an intense super cop who has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to seize the one women he truly desires. Their quick marriage means frequent amorous entanglements, but it also means that Kate’s knowledge of her new husband’s personal history is limited. Kate must steady herself to cope with the slow unveiling of her husband’s past.
Being the wife of an influential and respected police officer means a change in lifestyle for Kate. Robert is fiercely protective of his wife and enjoys spending as much of his free time with her as possible. Marriage to Robert means Kate has inherited a family of high-performing cops who not only open their hearts for her but also provide protection when ghosts from Robert’s past threaten to harm her.         
In BECKHAM 101, the author introduces new characters into the series, including Robert’s best friend, Jimmy and Kate’s wise and skilled Uncle Jack. As with the two previous books in the Kate and Robert Chronicles, Eglington’s mission is to offer readers a respite from their daily lives. “First and foremost,” Eglington says she wants her readers to feel “I have entertained you with my characters and possibly left a lasting enjoyable impression that fed the passion and intensity of the love between Kate and Robert. Second, that I was able to take you away from your everyday routine to enjoy some downtime with a story you are falling in love with.” Beyond the steamy intimacy and the thread of danger embedded in her stories, Eglington’s books also highlight the lives of cops. “My stories are about the lives cops lead away from the police department. I want readers to think of the men behind the badge and the people who could be in their lives.”
By gradually revealing some elements of Robert’s past in BECKHAM 101, Eglington is priming readers for the fourth book in this sexy and suspense-filled series.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



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?  

 Beckham 101 is the third installment from my six book series of the Kate and Robert Chronicles. This installment serves as a gap filler from the first book Inceptions and the second book titled You and I.. I start it off by resolving the cliff hanger ending from the second book in my series You and I.. then entice you into more of the history of the main characters. This third installment sets my readers up for what I hope hit them from all the subtle clues I have been dropping in the first two books to take on the jaw dropping revelations being reveled in the 4th  installment, She’s got the Jack .
Where did you come up with the idea to write your book? In my living room, with the announcement, that my real life marriage could not be saved. My two main characters hit me square on and I could not stop writing.

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? 

For me, my story could not stop playing in my head. I have all 6 installments written within 1 year time frame. This industry is one of the  most interesting to learn and conquer. It feels like when you finish writing that should be it and everything should just happen and come to you.. This industry is like every other successful career available.. You have to earn your success, you have to prove yourself and be ready for the positive and  negative because everyone has an opinion and they are equally free to express it… believe in yourself.. bottom line.

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

My publisher is Xlibris.. I own all my rights.. Don’t make the same mistake I did. I am moving all my books.. Indie I believe is the best avenue as long as you can manage and lead your own destiny. .. so basically as an author’s point… You are going to make your most profit as long as you do your homework 

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

Yes, everything surprised me. Especially all the mistakes I made on the way.. I am mostly a person who learns by my mistakes and to me those mistakes are what made me stronger and more aware of what I needed to branch off and take more control of what I was learning then all these aka, packages, being presented to me… Do your homework..

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

The last three books in the Kate and Robert Chronicle will be out with in the year.. Book 4 She’s got the Jack will be out early December, book 5 by April and the finally will be the best hot summer read 2017.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people? 

The title.. It’s not about David Beckham… but believe me Robert is a close candidate

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

Being the third installment in the Kate and Robert Chronicles I want to make sure the character that are being introduced are mainly to give more insight to who Kate and Robert are in preparation for the shoe dropping 4th installment She’s got the Jack.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?   

Yes and thank you.. I just want to thank my fans who constantly find me through my website, social media, google me and however else you find me.. and comment how much you love my characters and this story as it unfolds… I love your fan mail and all your request for the next book… you really make my day knowing I have entertained you..

Book Feature: Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving by Cheryl C. Malandrinos


We're happy to host Cheryl Malandrinos' MACARONI AND CHEESE blog tour!  Please leave a comment to let Cheryl know you stopped by!



Title: MACARONI AND CHEESE FOR THANKSGIVING
Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 16
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Ten-year-old Macy is waiting for her grandparents to arrive on Thanksgiving. When the front door swings open, Grandma and Grandpa are covered with hugs and kisses. Crash! Everyone rushes in to find the dog gnawing a meaty turkey leg. Can Macy’s quick thinking save dinner?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Book Excerpt:

Moments later, the front door swung open. In walked Macy’s dad and grandparents. The family raced to the door to hug them.

Crash!

“Oh no!” cried Mom. “What was that?”




About the Author


Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.

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Sight Unseen Book Blast!


We're happy to host Erin Leigh Crisp's SIGHT UNSEEN Book Blast today! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!


Title: Sight Unseen
Author: Erin Leigh Crisp
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 198
Genre: Christian Romance

Emilia Phillips is looking for a career and a way out of her day job. She is not looking for a man to rescue her heart.

Asher Mason wants his life back. He lost his sight and the hero-life he loved in a millisecond. He no longer trusts his instincts, especially about women. But the sweet-smelling waitress in his favorite café tempts him to trust. As Emilia helps Asher relearn everyday activities, the two find themselves falling faster than either expected.

Can a woman love a blind soldier? Will she want a man who doesn’t recognize himself anymore? As Asher’s shortcomings become more apparent to him, the wedge forced between he and Emilia widens. Can Asher trust the same God that took his sight to direct his future?

Purchase:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:
“How long has it been?” Emilia could have bitten off her own tongue. 
His eyes glanced over again, but they didn’t see her. He gave one huge breath and shrugged, like it wasn’t important. “Three months.”
Only three months? And he was walking around town and ordering coffee? No seeing-eye dog, no dark glasses? She wanted to compliment him, but she figured he wasn’t the type of man to take it for what it was. Instead, she eased her hand onto his shoulder for a split second and went for humor instead.
“I should have noticed when you didn’t wink back at me earlier.”
His head shot up, and his cheeks tinged the darkest pink.
Emilia covered her giggle and shook her head. “I swear I’m kidding. I wasn’t flirting with you, but I really should have noticed earlier. My brother was born blind. He’s seventeen.”
The man looked curious, but he was still blushing and she decided not to press him. “Anyway, if you need anything, my name is Emilia. I’ll be here all week.”
His lips turned up in the smallest smile. She reminded herself that she wasn’t looking for a man. She took three steps away before he called her name.
Her feet stopped. “Yeah?”
He swallowed hard, his fingers linking on the tabletop. His eyes searched for her face. “I’m Asher Mason. Thank you, again.”
“It was my pleasure.” She turned and walked away, but the damage was already done. Her heart thumped crazily. Her cheeks heated. Her teeth bit down to stop the smile that threatened. And I’m in a load of trouble, she thought.




About the Author

Erin was born and raised on the Florida/Alabama state line in a small farming community which has served as inspiration for her novels. She believes the heart of a happy ending is God and His plan for the lives of His people.

In 2014, Erin published her first novels for sale.  She currently has eight full-length novels and one novella for sale on Amazon. Erin makes her home in Northeast Georgia with her husband, four children and two fish. Erin has a bachelor degree in Christian Counseling and enjoys photography in her spare time.
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Interview with John Arnold, author of 'Duck Squad'



John Arnold has had his work presented in either a reading or production at American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco) playreading series; California Playwrights Festival, Sacramento; Out and About Theater, Minneapolis; Playwrights Center, San Francisco; Sacramento Theater Company; West Coat Ensemble, Hollywood; Aloha Theater, Kainaliu, Hawaii; Moving Arts, Los Angeles; Mercury Cafe, Denver; First Stage, Los Angeles; The Theater-Studio, New York, Prince William Sound Community College, Valdez, Alaska; Theater of Western Springs, Illinois; and others. His monologue “Bit” is featured on Fourth Wall Review.com. His screenplays have been finalists in the Art Color Digital Cinema International Film Festival, Montreal, the San Francisco Global Movie Fest, Indie Film Fest, Switzerland and the Swedish International Film Festival.

His play “Saint George” was winner of the 2016 Play Competition – Thistle Dew Theater, Sacramento. His monologue “Aunt Velma Considers Changing Religion” was part of the 2016 One Act Play Festival, Phoenix Stage Company, Connecticut.
 He is author of “Duck Squad,” “Autobiography of a Duck” and “Going Home” - available via Amazon.com. 

You can visit John’s blog at http://johnharnold.wordpress.com.

About the Book:


Three ducks escape from a university lab experiment and find sanctuary in a fraternity house. They discover human beings can be their friends – and enemies. Their adventures begin righting wrongs – and getting even.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



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?

There was a group of ducks – one Pekin duck and the rest wild ducks – that I used to encounter downtown. They usually were asleep in the shade or hunting for bugs. They were tough. They were not impressed with the humans who walked by. It gave me the idea to write about a Duck Squad who would right wrongs. Sounds crazy, but that’s what I did!

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 wasn’t difficult because once I had the idea everything else seemed to fall into place. I think it’s important to listen to your inner voice. What it tells you is your best bet. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for the book.

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

I self-published through Amazon’s Create Space.

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

No real surprises – but I was really happy with the cover design. They really nailed it.

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

I am working on a play about my Mom’s Irish American family.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

Readers might be surprised that I’ve had pet ducks for over 20 years of my life, so I feel like I know ducks pretty well.

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

Even though the book is a fantasy, I would like to think it shows that working together we can accomplish almost anything. Also, a gentle reminder that human beings are not the only creatures on the planet.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Ducks make great – although messy – pets. They have individual personalities and I often wonder what they think of us! (And what they might think of my book!)



Just the Facts: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mark Connelly’s Wanna-be’s



Just the Facts:  10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mark Connelly’s
Wanna-be’s

1.     The lead figure Winfield Payton is a mashup of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Pat Hobby, Saul Bellow’s Augie March, and Curb Your Enthusiasm’s
Larry David.  He is the ultimate wanna-be and fall guy – both social seer and a stooge.

2.     Wanna-be’s got a 5-star review its first week on Amazon: 

This book right here! What can I say about Winfield Payton...is he the most unlucky pasty or most unlikely fall guy...what a schmuck...I laughed so hard at this, for this guy....with this guy....every character described in this book will immediately remind you of a real life joker in the in the 24 hour news cycle on all of the Major networks and cable television channels regurgitating skewed facts benefiting them and lining their pockets....it's hip and fresh writing which could easily become a HBO series....

3.     The exponent of Liberation Capitalism Dr. Versawami is named after a character in George Orwell’s first novel Burmese Days. 

4.     The most over-the-top character Father Moses is actually a toned-down version of Alderman Mike McGee who urged blacks to engage in “urban guerilla warfare” to “fight our way to the promised land.” 

5.     The black Republicans in the novel speak their own jargon – calling liberals  whi’s whi’s for “white whiners” and token whites chiclets.

6.     The restored B-25 is named “The Ruptured Duck” after Ted Lawson’s plane featured in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.  The perfect prop for an embarrassing confrontation with Japanese businessmen.

7.     At a Halloween party in a black gay bar a Good Witch Glenda sprinkles glitter over a sweatered Bill Cosby leering, “Hey, hey, hey.”  There are several references to Halloween in the book because all the characters are wearing masks whether they know it or not.

8.     The bondage scenes were written years before Fifty Shades of Grey.

9.      Sadly, the bar called The Black Shamrock no longer exists.

10.  Wanna-be’s is set in Milwaukee because the bar is so low.  To call yourself an intellectual in New York you have to write a book – in Milwaukee you just have to read one. Or say you have.

About the Author


Mark Connelly was born in Philadelphia and grew up in New Jersey.  He received a BA in English from Carroll College in Wisconsin and an MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  His books include The Diminished Self: Orwell and the Loss of Freedom, Orwell and Gissing, Deadly Closets:  The Fiction of Charles Jackson, and The IRA on Film and Television.  His fiction has appeared in The Ledge, Indiana Review, Cream City Review, Milwaukee Magazine, and Home Planet News.  In 2014 he received an Editor’s Choice Award in The Carve’s Raymond Carver Short Story Contest; in 2015 he received Third Place in Red Savina Review’s Albert Camus Prize for Short Fiction. His novella Fifteen Minutes received the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in 2005. 

Mark’s latest book is the literary fiction/humor/satire, Wanna-be’s.

Connect with Mark on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Book:

Title: WANNA-BE’S
Author: Mark Connelly
Publisher: Mark Connelly Productions
Pages: 188
Genre: Literary Fiction/Humor/Satire

With his new girlfriend – a soccer mom with a taste for bondage – urging him to “go condo,” failed screenwriter Winfield Payton needs cash. Accepting a job offer from a college friend, he becomes the lone white employee of a black S&L. As the firm’s token white, he poses as a Mafioso to intimidate skittish investors and woos a wealthy cougar to keep the firm afloat. Figure-skating between the worlds of white and black, gay and straight, male and female, Jew and Gentile, Yuppie and militant, Payton flies higher and higher until the inevitable crash. . .

Praise for Wanna-be’s:

This book right here! What can I say about Winfield Payton...is he the most unlucky pasty or most unlikely fall guy...what a schmuck...I laughed so hard at this,for this guy....with this guy....every character described in this book will immediately remind you of a real life joker in the in the 24 hour news cycle on all of the Major networks and cable television channels regurgitating skewed facts benefiting them and lining their pockets....it's hip and fresh writing which could easily become a HBO series....or Starz..maybe..anyway get this book....I laughed so hard...almost popping my recent stitches from surgery...Mr. Connelly...thanks for making my recuperation fun...this book is not for the faint of heart..or PC sensitive readers...

-- Lynda Garcia Review

For More Information

  • Wanna-be’s is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

A Conversation with 'Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun' Kali Kucera



Kali Kucera is an American lorist and short story writer living in Quito, Ecuador, where he also rides and writes about bus and train travel. Since he was 9 years old he has been composing plays, operas, short stories, and multi-disciplinary experiences. He has been both a teacher and performer as well as an arts mobilizer, and founded the Tacoma Poet Laureate competition in 2008.

His latest book is the mythical realism novel, Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun.

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About the Book:

Title: Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun
Author: Kali Kucera
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 218
Genre: Mythical Realism

In a time when supernatural and industrial worlds are staged to collide, an Andean boy finds himself in the center of an epic struggle between the cosmos and the earth. Unawqi is born with both insurmountable power and a fate of certain death, both of which are challenged by his hunt of the emperor, Aakti, the Sun: the very force that desires to abandon the earth unless Unawqi can overcome him.

Premise: How easily we take the Sun for granted. We are conditioned to its rising and setting on time, and assume it enjoys doing so, or more likely is indifferent. Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun reveals a more perilous tale: the Sun, Aakti, is a being who is a reluctant player in providing light and warmth to our world, and even more has always desired to leave us to die if he didn’t have certain personal complications standing in his way. Aakti will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if that involves murder of his own kin or annihilation of an entire living planet. Ironically, what holds him back is the very life he is creating; the family from which he tries to but cannot wrest control, and among them a young intrepid boy emerges, a hunter who sets out on a journey, not to stop the Sun, but to overcome him with a force we also take for granted: our humanity.

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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?

Unawqi had two beginnings, like trails in two separate forests that merged together in an open plain, and there where they merged was more or less the a-ha moment.

The first inspiration came while sitting on the front porch of my good friend Thomas Merton Brightman at his retreat center near Hampstead, Maryland. It was a beautiful morning looking out over the rolling hills, but there was something odd standing right in front of me that I couldn’t look past: a dead tree in whose limbs were resting a bunch of freshly picked sunflowers.  It was such a striking thing, I couldn’t help bring it up to Thomas.  He responded in his usual philosophical manner. “Oh yes, old man with sunflowers in his arms.”  That phrase was so beautifully packed with symbolic meaning, it unleashed a trove of instant and profound creativity deep within me that would stay with me (and with my pen) for a very long time. Out of that pen came the questions about why an old man would have sunflowers in his arms, like what melancholy was his backstory (dead tree) and why did he cling to the contrast of something so bold and beautiful (sunflowers)?

The second strand of inspiration answered my first set of questions in an existential way. In 2011 my fiancé from Colombia, Julio Garcia, rather suddenly took his own life. Like everyone else, I was at first stunned and looked for empirical answers as to what was ‘the news’ that brought this about.  I was looking for the forensic answers that would leave no doubt so we could all bury him in our minds and move on with life.  That was until the very character of that search bothered me, and I realized any answers found would not be adequate, nor do any justice to his life.  I came to believe that he took his own life because its beauty so clashed with the suffering he lived with from his birth, and from which he could not separate himself. If a diamond could feel, how long could it suffer the blemish of a coal mine around it?  I believed his story is what made him beautiful, and it was richly complex, adventurous, magical, and needed to be told in a way that suited the largeness of who he was. Julio was a different prism of both the dead tree and the living sunflowers, but he had the trajectory of life events that filled in the backstory. 

So the two inspirations merged over time, but as I base my writing in the recovery of ancient folklore and mythical realism, the way the story unfolded took a distinctive mythological form and drew upon equally magical places I have lived, in Tacoma, Washington, and in the Andes of South America.

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?

Yes, parts of it just came out like an Amazonian waterfall, they just gushed; while others dripped out over several weeks.  But that’s okay; you just have to let the words come when they want to. I knew the plot from the beginning, I had the major themes or philosophical points jotted down.  It’s the sub-plots that had me staring at the clouds the longest; they are what tie things together and raise the eyebrow. Those are what you really have to wrestle with for the longest time, and to be honest, sometimes you have to scrap them and wait for another day.

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

I learned along the way of pursuing publishers how far they have gone into the gutter, in my opinion, and it’s basically impossible to get considered by anyone serious. In direct contrast, the self-publishing option has increased the quality and respectability of its own game over the past five years, so that’s the trail I followed.


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

No, I knew it would be a huge effort to get through, and you have to just take it one step at a time.  But like I said to the previous question, I guess I was a little taken aback by how hollowed out I feel the publishing industry has become, and I guess that’s to be expected in the context of how technology has so radically changed the ability for people to express themselves. A book used to be a steak that could last you a long while; now books are like potato chips, you just go through them by the bag, and that has both good and bad implications.

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

I have a couple going on, but the most important is Witch Pricker, which is historical fiction based on the life (and afterlife) of Matthew Hopkins, the 17th century Puritan who, with local public support, took the lives of over three-hundred women in the course of three years he condemned as witches. But that’s just the backstory. The larger tale is where is where my imagination begins in what became of Hopkins; how his rage continued to manifest itself over the centuries in the form of human beings and institutions that lust for control over others, and the psychological trauma he (and we) cause in the guise of making evil look benign.  That should be out in full in another year, but I release chapters on my blog along the way.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

The character Ernest Heatheridge; that was not his original name. It was Charles Darwin. Knowing that, you will quickly pick up on the strands of Darwin’s history that I weave into the book, but I changed his name because I fiercely did not want to fix this to any historical time frame – I purposely wanted to leave that a bit blurry.

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

Life is too big to be given up on. There are forces around us we have to take the time to get our arms around, and we may find in doing that the family we embrace are monsters, and the monsters we embrace are family.