Friday, April 25, 2014

Playing Book Trivia with A.K. Turner, author of 'Hair of the Corn Dog'




It’s time to play... 


Periodically, we scour the Internet for interesting authors who would like to play Book Trivia with us.  By answering our book trivia questions, we get to learn things about the author no one else knows!  So, let’s get ready…let’s play…Book Trivia!


Today our guest author is A.K. Turner, author of the humor book, Hair of the Corn Dog.



In the movie Castaway, if Tom Hanks unearthed a copy of Hair of the Corn Dog, how would that help Tom find a way off the island? 


He’d read the chapter on what a wimp I am when floating a measly little river while safely tucked into an inflatable raft and harnessed in a life jacket. He’d be so disgusted with me that his motivation to find me and slap me for being such a coward would propel him from the island. 




Everyone knows Miley Cyrus is now the wild child in the music business.  But she read your book and wants to let you know that it changed her life for the better.  Why did your book give Miley a new lease on life?

Because it taught her that she’s not alone in suffering from uncontrollable nighttime flatulence, the shame of which has been the root of all her bad behavior.


Superman has decided to pull out one of your characters to be his sidekick.  Who is it and why? 

It’s my brother-in-law Virgil, who has long been one of the heroes of my work. Everything that Virgil does and says is ridiculous, which could be used to distract the villain while Superman saves the day. 



You are being pulled over for speeding.  When the officer asks you for your license and you discover you left it at home, you decide to pull out your book instead.  What do you tell the officer?

That while every single book I’ve written may have alcohol featured both on the cover and in the title, I never drink and drive and would be happy to take the field sobriety test.

A homeless man was caught stealing your book out of a bookstore.  When asked why he did it, he opened the book and pointed a passage out.  What was that passage? 

He’d point to this passage because he wanted to learn about his body’s storage capabilities:
 
I asked the audience if anyone knew what a prison wallet was, and they said no, so I tried to give them a few hints. “If you are in prison, and you don’t have any pockets, and you don’t have a wallet, but you want to keep something safe somewhere, what are you going to use?” The crowd met me with nothing but silence and unamused, blank faces. “Okay,” I said, “I’ll just tell you. It’s your rectum.” Perhaps my folly was in saying your rectum. Maybe they would have found it just as fascinating as I did if I had said the rectum or the prisoner’s rectum. More than a few butts shifted on their chairs. I think they just didn’t want to imagine the contents of their respective wallets and purses inside their own rectums.

If you think about putting the contents of your wallet or purse inside your body, as surely this is something you want to consider, at first it seems like the women are screwed, because we lug around so much more in our purses than men do in their wallets. But on the other hand, women have a lot more interior storage space available to us. Having a vagina in addition to a rectum is like having a whole extra shopping cart. I wonder if male inmates experience vagina envy, because just think of the expanded smuggling capabilities that a vagina affords us. Then I thought about how some women keep small dogs in their purses. And that made me not want to think about the internal storage capabilities of the human body anymore. 

You have been told your book has won one free year on a billboard in any state.  What state do you feel could be best for your book and why?

Not New Jersey, because they might resent the Jersey Shore chapters. Maybe Alaska, because the book has an Alaska connection, Alaskans like to drink, and one can only ice fish for so long before needing to retreat inside to warmth and a book. 

Finally, you just got word that your book has received the 2013 NY Times Bestselling Book Award and you have to attend the ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan.  Anyone who's anyone will be there and it's your shot for stardom.  On stage, you must give an acceptance speech.  What would you say and who would you thank?




I would have to thank my family, for both their tolerance of me and the fact that I continually make fun of them. Especially my in-laws. And I’d have to thank my children in advance for not hating me when they one day read all of the very personal things I’ve written about them. But they will probably still hate me.
 








In the latest laugh-out-loud confessional from A.K. Turner's "Tales of Imperfection" series, the author of This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store and Mommy Had a Little Flask relates her adventures on the Jersey Shore, at an Idaho drag show with her in-laws, and surviving the perils of an elementary school ice-cream social with equal parts wit and heart. The laughter pairs well with two parts cocktail.
 
Buy the Book at Amazon


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guest post: "The Story Behind A VERY GOOD LIFE," by Lynn Steward


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00031]About five years ago, I labeled a personal file as “Act Three,” and filled it with creative ideas for a new work-interest. I first enjoyed an exciting career in New York’s fashion industry, then later, via a circuitous route on the way to opening my own boutique Shop for Pappagallo, I established a successful real estate business in Chicago. But I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, was something to explore during this next phase.
But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York in the seventies because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, I  created a TV series designed to run for five seasons. Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingled fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business.
After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to write a novel, incorporating the TV stories.  While I still hope to see the characters alive on the big screen, I tremendously enjoy daily researching and writing historical fiction. My favorite time to write is early in the morning, preferably around 5:30 a.m., when my mind is clear, it is peaceful, and there are no interruptions. For at least three hours a day, I am again at home in New York City in the 1970s, creating a life for thirty-year-old Dana, her family and friends: attending parties at Café des Artistes with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, a business meeting with Estée Lauder, an art lectures at the Met.. At the same time, raising important questions that are relevant at every age, then and now: how does one find balance and meaning in the daily routines of life? How does one stop counting the candles, a single year or event, and instead, value the tapestry of life? This quest for self-fulfillment is a universal theme everyone can identify.
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AVGL LS in library
Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. A Very Good Life is the first in the series featuring Dana McGarry.  
About the Book
Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City. it has a timelessness to it. Dana McGarry is an “it” girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?
A Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment.
Purchase on Amazon.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope by Katherine Perreth Book Feature - Win a Kindle Paperwhite!

Making Lemonade with BenWith deftly wielded humor and heart-wrenching candor, Katherine Perreth vividly recounts the myriad physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repercussions stemming from her son’s massive brain hemorrhage. Seven-year-old Ben suffers numerous disabilities and, later, mental health challenges. Yet, love wins. Making Lemonade With Ben is a compelling Cinderella story tracing sixteen years of Ben’s life. It begins with the night a University of Wisconsin Hospital neurosurgeon saved Ben, and follows Ben through young adulthood. Although he encounters years of substantial obstacles, in 2011 his never-say-die cheery attitude and uber-outgoing ways ultimately carry him to Washington D.C. There he represents the Madison Children’s Museum, his employer, at a national award ceremony. Wearing his ankle-foot-orthosis with a smiley face on the back, Ben juggles one-handed everywhere he goes, accomplishing his life goal: “Make humanity smile.” Universal themes of perseverance and compassion encourage readers to contemplate contemporary issues: mental illness treatment, recovery and stigma, the role of intentional employers in the lives of those with disabilities, and the success that can occur when a community values all of her citizens.

Purchase your copy:

amazon

Discuss all these books in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Katherine holds UW-Madison Social Work and Sociology degrees, is a reporter for her hometown newspaper, the Middleton Times Tribune, and conducts a class on reminiscence writing. In addition, in her role as administrative staff with WESLI (an ESL school on Madison’s capitol square), she deals in chalk. And paper. Oodles of paper. She recently took an EmptyNester Victory Tour with her husband of 28 years, but hasn’t yet changed the locks on their home. Their three kids can still get in. Her latest books is Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope Drop by to pay her visit at: www.katherineperreth.com.

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Katherine is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • This giveaway begins April 21  and ends on June 27, 2014.
  • Winners will be contacted via email by July 2, 2014.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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A Conversation with Meryl Ain, co-author of 'The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last'



Meryl Ain wrote her first poem in the third grade and has been writing ever since. She is a blogger for Huffington Post and often writes about families, parenting, children, and education. After she lost both her father and mother within a year-and-a-half, she decided to research how others keep alive the memories of their loved ones. She enlisted her husband, Stewart, and her brother, Arthur Fischman, to join her in researching and writing The Living Memories Project, http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/. Meryl earned a BA from Queens College, a MA from Columbia University Teachers College, and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University. She began her career in education as a social studies teacher before she became an administrator. She and her husband Stewart live on Long Island and have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

Their latest book she co-authored with Steward Ain and Arthur M. Fischman is the nonfiction, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last.

Visit their website at www.thelivingmemoriesproject.com

About the Book:


Three years after the death of her mother, Meryl Ain was still unable to fill the hole that the loss had left in her life.  In talking to friends, Meryl discovered an insight shared by
those who had successfully overcome grief; there simply is no closure.  It was a breakthrough for her. She writes, "Our loved ones will always be with us if they are not forgotten. It is up to us to integrate them into our lives in a positive way that reflects their unique personality, values and spirituality. In that way we keep them alive in our hearts and minds always."

Meryl enlisted the help of her brother, Arthur Fischman, and her husband, Stewart Ain, and began a quest to interview people who had moved beyond mourning through meaningful action. The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last by Meryl Ain, Ed.D., Arthur M. Fischman, & Stewart Ain (March 2014, Little Miami Publishing Company, Trade Paperback, 196 pages, $18.95, ISBN:978-0-9882553-7-1) is a result of that research.
  
The Living Memories Project presents more than 30 interviews with both celebrities and others who share their experiences and the projects they undertook to memorialize their loved ones. The authors have sought to demonstrate that any tribute, big or small, can be a meaningful way to preserve memories of loved ones. Establishing a foundation or scholarship, using a recipe on a particular holiday or family occasion, creating artwork, embarking on a project or even an entire career – all could be traced to a specific talent, interest or value of the deceased.  Each chapter offers a rich first-person history that will engage and inspire readers of all faiths.

Among them are:
·        Linda Ruth Tosetti, who made a documentary film about her grandfather, Babe Ruth, to highlight his humanitarian side – a value she cherished and believed was often overlooked in Babe’s biography. Ruth was a German-American, who publicly denounced the Nazi persecution of the Jews in 1942.
·        Liz and Steve Alderman, who established the Peter C. Alderman Foundation to honor the memory of their 25-year-old son, who was killed on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. The foundation trains doctors and establishes mental health clinics on four continents to treat PTSD.
·        Eileen Belmont, a quilt designer who helps others preserve their memories of deceased loved ones through the creation of memory quilts. 
·        Singer/songwriter Jen Chapin (daughter of the late folk rock icon Harry Chapin), who carries on her father’s legacy of music and feeding the hungry.
·        Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma (sister of Yo-Yo Ma), who keeps the memory of her father and music teacher /mentor alive through the Children's Orchestra Society and her poetry.
·        Robert Meeropol (son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed as spies by the US Government in 1953), who established the Rosenberg Fund for Children to help children whose parents are imprisoned.
·        Author, actor and raconteur Malachy McCourt, who presents his unique take on how he keeps alive the memory of his brother Frank (Angela's Ashes) through the Irish tradition of song and story.

Not everyone can create a foundation, fund an orchestra or make a documentary film, but the authors' hope is that readers will find inspiration from the wide range of actions they read about. The authors are currently compiling narratives for the second volume of The Living Memories Project and welcome input from readers.




Can you tell us what your book, The Living Memories Project, is about?

The Living Memories Project is about harnessing the power of grief into meaningful action and living legacies. It describes through interviews, anecdotes, essays, poems and photographs, the many ways that 32 individuals – celebrities and others -- incorporate the presence of their loved ones in their lives. Some who have shared their stories describe encounters or occurrences in which they strongly felt the loved one’s presence, while others have drawn upon rituals or recipes or created a tangible memorial. For example, Nick Clooney tells how he keeps his sisters’ (singers Rosemary and Betty) memory alive through a museum, foundation and special events. In addition, he talks about how he carries on his grandfather’s values of social responsibility through his work on behalf of Darfur with his son, actor George Clooney.

Another example is of Liz and Steve Alderman, who established the Peter C. Alderman Foundation to honor the memory of their 25-year-old son, who was killed on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. The foundation trains doctors and establishes mental health clinics on four continents to treat victims of PTSD. Additionally, singer/songwriter Jen Chapin (daughter of the late folk rock icon Harry Chapin) talks about how she carries on her father’s legacy of music and feeding the hungry. And author, actor and raconteur Malachy McCourt presents his unique take on how he keeps alive the memory of his brother Frank (Angela's Ashes) through the Irish tradition of song and story.

Why did you write your book?

My mother was my best friend and confidante. When she died after a brief illness, I was bereft and wondered how I could go on living without the everyday presence of my mom in my life. I looked for an optimistic book about going beyond mourning but couldn’t find one. I discussed this subject with friends and acquaintances who had also had losses, and found that there were a myriad of proactive ways others had embraced to keep the memories of their loved ones alive after they were gone. My mother was a big proponent of always having a project, so I decided to make this my project – discovering how to go beyond that wrenching, painful heartache to a happy and productive life. I convinced my brother (Arthur Fischman) and my husband (Stewart Ain) to join me in exploring this phenomenon in a book project. Thus, The Living Memories Project was conceived.

What kind of message is your book trying to tell your readers?

The message is that even though our loved ones have passed, we can keep them alive by honoring their memory. We do not believe that there is such a thing as closure.  In fact, Dr. Dan Gottlieb, a family therapist who hosts a radio show on NPR, dismissed the notion of closure when we interviewed him for the book. He says it is a “misinterpretation of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross,” the famed psychiatrist who wrote the classic book, Death and Dying, in which she identified the five stages of grief. Gottlieb said: “It’s not what she meant. You have issues in your life. You have memories. You have longings and aches. Nothing goes away.”  We believe that since our loved ones will always be with us, why not incorporate that person’s values, spirit and personality in a positive way?


Is it hard to publish a nonfiction book?

It is extremely difficult if you are not a celebrity or have not been previously published. We were told that our book was a great idea,  that it was well-written, and inspirational, but we just weren’t famous enough to get a book deal.  We tried for two years with two different agents who strongly believed in the book --  with no success.  Finally, through our own connections, we found an independent publisher, Little Miami, in Milford, Ohio, who got the idea of the book immediately. Call it fate or coincidence, the publisher read our proposal while she was sitting at her mother’s deathbed. – and decided to publish immediately!

Can you tell us about your family?

My husband, Stewart, and I have three sons, three daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren – two granddaughters and a grandson. My brother, Arthur, who is a coauthor of The Living Memories Project, has quipped that in our family, “Writing is a competitive sport.” In addition to the three of us, our daughter-in-law, Beth Ain is a children’s book author of the Scholastic series, Starring Jules. Our son, Michael “Morty” Ain is a writer for ESPN The Magazine. Our daughter-in-law, Alana Joblin Ain, is a poet. Our son, Rabbi Dan Ain, writes on spiritual matters, particularly the intersection of technology and religion.  Our son, Jonathan Ain and our daughter-in-law Halie Geller, are lawyers.


What do you like the most about being an author?

I love the feedback I get from people. Many have shared their own stories of how they remember their loved ones, and we encourage them to post these on our website: http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/your-story/ Both the stories in our book and the new stories people are sharing with us, are so inspirational. We hope to write a sequel based on the new stories. What’s most meaningful about being an author is that The Living Memories Project has been healing and cathartic for me; and it has enabled me to honor my mom’s memory in a way that is very appropriate, During World War II she was a WAC and was a writer on the staff of The Belvoir Castle, the newspaper of Fort Belvoir in Virginia. She also wrote two manuscripts that were never published, and I know she would be so thrilled that our book – dedicated to her -- `is now a reality. Most of all, I hope that it will help others by showing readers how to find comfort and meaning through honoring the memory, values, and legacy of their loved ones.

What kind of advice would you give other non-fiction authors? 

Choose a topic that you are passionate about. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Keep on researching, writing, and revising, until you are sure it reflects your voice and your mission, and you are proud of what you have written. Don’t be discouraged if you keep on getting rejections. All you need is one acceptance!


Twitter: @LivMemoriesProj

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest post: Ellen Kosco, Principal, Talks about Children's Author Barry Rudner

My 21-year old autistic daughter is a writer.  She writes in the morning, she writes at lunch time, and writes when she gets home from school until she goes to bed.  Her ideas for stories consume and excite her and she can’t wait to write them, re-write them and then write them again. She often felt more of a failure than a success because it wasn’t right the first, second or third time.  However, her complete immersion in her thoughts had always fascinated me, and I would sneak to read her stories so I could get a glimpse into her mind and imagination.  I wondered if I could somehow help her complete the process more efficiently.  I wondered if I could help her or guide her, and often offered to edit or review her stories.  But to her, they were unfinished and not ready for anyone or me to see. 

And then, a very special person walked into our lives.  His name is Barry Rudner.  Barry was a guest teacher at our school, Christi/STEPSS Academy, to teach Creative Writing.  Christi/STEPSS Academy is a small private school for learning disabled and typical children, but also has a program for children with autism.  My daughter, Briana, was one of the fortunate students to be in one of Barry’s classes.  I remember the day she came home, barely able to contain this amazing fact Barry had shared with the class:  there is no creativity in Creative writing.  Wait a minute!  What!  There is no creativity in Creative Writing?  No, Barry said, there is not, but there is a lot of hard work! 

A lightning bolt had hit her, the angels sang and she saw her writing differently.  She saw that the ideas and experiences can come to the mind and then flow to paper.  But then, the editing and re-editing was work and a process.  She realized that it was okay that it wasn’t right by the third time, but maybe by the 50th time or the 100th time, it was nearly perfect.  I was so touched by the transformation I witnessed before me.
I was so grateful to this writer, this author named Barry Rudner.   I needed to get to know this person a little bit better.   And I can say that my life, and the lives of our students, were enriched because of him.  I do not believe that there is a topic on which Barry cannot speak.  He is incredibly educated, highly intelligent and is able to see the world in a way that most of us will never see.  And he was able to reach students that society may have thought were unreachable. 


To Barry, the children were children, the students were students, and their disabilities were just a part of who they were.  The students admired him and he admired them.   And after reading his books, it is easy to see that he can see the beautiful differences in all children, and especially children with disabilities.  It doesn’t matter which book you read, You're the Apple of My Face, The Littlest Tall Fellow, The Handstand, Special Ed, Silent Voice or any other of his books, Barry is able to show us the challenge, but also show us the beauty and give us the hope for these children and their futures.  He has been given the gift of being able to take a person, place or thing and, through words and illustrations, give us the ability to touch, see and feel through our hearts and souls. I am sure Barry Rudner has much more beauty to share with us and I, for one, can’t wait to see where he will take us next.

-------------------------------------

Title: Silent Voice
Genre: Children's fiction, Family
Author: Barry Rudner
Publisher: Nick of Time Media, Inc.

SILENT VOICE: A modern day allegory about autism awareness: that the only ought in autism is that we ought not ever give up. Ever.

Playing Book Trivia with L.H. Cosway, author of 'Still Life With Strings'


It’s time to play... 


Periodically, we scour the Internet for interesting authors who would like to play Book Trivia with us.  By answering our book trivia questions, we get to learn things about the author no one else knows!  So, let’s get ready…let’s play…Book Trivia!


Today our guest author is L.H. Cosway, author of the contemporary romance, Still Life With Strings.

In the movie Castaway, if Tom Hanks unearthed a copy of Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie's Story, how would that help Tom find a way off the island? 



Well, they say listening to classical music makes you more intelligent, and there’s a lot of it in my book. So perhaps Tom Hanks would imagine the music and it would help him open his brain enough to think of a clever way to get back home.


You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, and the mighty judges will determine whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay.  What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your best review – and why?  



If we’re talking about quick first impressions I would say the cover, because who can resist a handsome guy with a violin?


A man was caught stealing your book out of a bookstore.  When asked why he did it, he opened the book and pointed a passage out.  What was that passage? 



“Well, the straight answer is that it’s an artist’s club. It’s open to all, and you can use the rooms for practice space. On the weekends they throw big shindigs like this one. The urban legend says that the house was bought by a homeless street performer in the late eighties. A guy named Bob Farrell who used to sit on O’Connell Street with his dog and play guitar for passers-by. One day after finishing up, he looked in his hat to find the usual bits of change, but there was also a crumpled piece of paper that turned out to be a lottery ticket. Can you see where I’m going with this?”

Shane’s golden-brown eyes dance in the darkening light. “Sort of.”
“So Bob goes to check the numbers, and lo and behold, he’s won the jackpot. Keep in mind this was the late eighties and the jackpot was probably only a couple hundred thousand at the time. Still, he managed to afford to buy this house smack dab in the middle of the city and opened it up to his fellow struggling artists. When he came to view it for the first time, he found two little ladybirds on the windowsill in a room on the second floor. From there on out he christened the place ‘Ladybirds,’ and it’s been a haven for art ever since.”

You have been told your book has won one free year on a billboard in any one state.  What state do you feel would be best for your book and why? 



Well, I live in Ireland so I’m not so clued in on the different states. I suppose Massachusetts would be a good one because all the Irish people in Boston could support my book, lol.




 


L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books. 

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Still Life with Strings.

Visit her website at www.lhcosway.com.

Connect & Socialize!






My name is Jade Lennon and I stand still for money.

The night I saw Shane Arthur watching me everything changed. A man in a suit always catches my eye, but it was the way he looked at me that was different. Like he knew me or something. He didn’t know me, especially not in my costume. My sobriety rests on staying away from men, but there was something about him that made me throw caution to the wind.

After all, I was never going to see him again, right?

Wrong.

Standing still isn’t the only way I make my money. I also bartend at a concert hall. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Shane was going to show up there. Not only that, but he’s the most recent addition to the orchestra. So now on a daily basis I have to resist one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever met and he plays the violin. For me that’s one hell of a deadly cocktail.

He wants me to teach him how to live. I’m not sure how much a twenty-six year old recovering alcoholic who works in a bar and moonlights as a living statue can teach a world class concert violinist, but I’m sure going to try.

Still Life with Strings is a story of music, art, sex, magical realism, and romance that you will never forget.

Purchase your copy:

AMAZON




Interview with Sheila L. Jackson, author of 'Where Was God?'



Sheila L. Jackson lives with her family in Shreveport, Louisiana. She is an anointed speaker, teacher, and writer that utilize her gifts to carry the Word of God to those in need of spiritual soul food. Sheila has penned two, inspirational non-fiction books, The Enemy Within and Through the Eyes of God. She has also written several inspirational and social articles for a local newspaper and magazine. 

Her latest book is the Christian fiction romance suspense, Where Was God? (Their Hearts Burned to be Together).

For more information about this author and books, visit her website at www.sheilaljackson2.com.

Can you tell us what your book, Where is God?, is about?

Where Was God is a book that deals with many of the issues we are faced with today. Fayth Angelica Hope is a young woman who, her mother despised since birth. She is physically, mentally, and emotionally abused, which carries over into her adult life. She turns her back on the church and her family who she thought was supposed to protect her, her faith, and love. In a nut-shell, it’s about redemption, with the help of a young man, by the name of Jasion McCoy who teaches her how to love again.

Why did you write your book?

I wanted to bring many of the issues most families sweep underneath the rug to light. Parents don’t realize how they scar their children for life. Some are able to rise above the abuse, while others succumb to it, never able let go and live a normal life.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Fayth Angelica Hope (Heroin) wants to live a normal life, but she is crippled by her past abuse and failed relationships. Jasion McCoy (Hero) falls for all the wrong women in his search for Mrs. Right. Unfortunately, for him, he may be serving prison time for embezzlement. Nicole Swaggart (Antagonist) is   self-centered. She plays by nobody rules, except her own. There are more shady, hilarious, and dramatic characters inside the pages of, Where Was God.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

I discover the plot as I go. Just like the readers, I want to be surprise of how the story will turn out. Knowing the plot beforehand, bores me, I love the not knowing until the juices of creativity starts flowing.

Your book is set in Port City, Louisiana. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

Port City is the name, native Louisianans use to refer to Shreveport. I choose this name, because I wanted a little bit of home in my book.

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

I’d go hide somewhere and sleep. With two teenage, active daughters, one who plays high school varsity basketball, juggling a husband, and a career, leaves little time for me.

Can you tell us about your family?

I have the best family in the world. I am extremely close to my daughters, they love handing out with me. My husband supports my dreams. No matter what I want to do in life, he’s onboard with it.

What do you like the most about being an author?

I love touching people lives with the words God breathe into my spirit. Knowing that lives are changed and life lessons are learned through the stories I tell, is a blessing as well as rewarding.

What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?

Knowing a publishing company believes in my story and me as an author enough to sign me to a contract. To me, its validation for all the doors that were closed in my face and that one person believed in my work to get behind my project to bring it to the public.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

If writing is your passion, never let anyone stop you from doing just that. Know that it takes only one yes to fulfill your dreams. Rejection will come but use it as a teaching tool to better your craft. Don’t wallow in it; keep moving and one day someone will see your hard.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: ‘Mind Games,’ by Christine Amsden


MindGames_medMind Games is the much awaited third installment in the new adult mystery series, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Talented author Christine Amsden keeps delivering a great story filled with interesting characters, romance, mystery, and the paranormal, lots of it.
In this episode, Cassie still doesn’t know why Evan broke her heart two months ago, and the mystery gnaws at her big time. She decides to keep busy and make herself useful at the sheriff’s department. She also meets charismatic mind mage Matthew Blair…much to Evan’s distaste. At the same time, Eagle Rock is teeming with hate from the religious community, a reaction to the recent murder of a much-esteemed pastor’s wife by what the people believe was a sorcerer. The town is about to snap, with tensions between the magical and non-magical communities.
And in the center of all this, is Matthew, whom Cassie finds irresistible. But can she trust him? According to Evan, no way. But then, Evan isn’t the most objective person when it comes to Cassie. Evan and Cassie have a history, as well as a secret connection, that keeps them bound in spite of themselves.
Will Cassie discover the real culprit or culprits behind the pastor’s wife’s murder, as well as the real face behind the anti-magical propaganda and demonstrations? Most importantly, will she wake up and see Matthew for who he really is…and find the courage to face Evan for what he did to her—when she finds out?
I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed this instalment! There’s something about Cassie’s voice that makes her really likable. She has a good heart and is witty, too. But best of all, she is just an ordinary girl next door trying to do her best in spite of everything that happens around her—which is usually pretty remarkable, as is often the case in paranormal stories.
Her relationship with Evan keeps evolving organically and there’s a major revelation in this book about their connection and the secret behind their rival families. Matthew is a great addition to this episode, adding tension with his charismatic personality and inciting sparks of jealousy from Evan. The conflict between the religious and the magical communities is also well done.
Mind Games kept me reading late into the night, wondering what would happen next. If you haven’t read any books in this series before, I urge you to pick up book one first, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. The books are best read in order. You won’t be disappointed.
Purchase links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
Connect with the author on the web: 
My review was originally published on Blogcritics
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!!
*The giveaway begins on April 15, 2014 at midnight and ends on July 16, 2014 at midnight.