Friday, March 27, 2020

A Bookish Word or Two: 5 Things You Should Know About Monsterland by Michael Okon

5 Things YouShould Know About Monsterland
By Michael Okon
1.      I came up with the idea of Monsterland – a theme park with real werewolves, vampires and zombies – while watching a\ classic movie marathon one weekend with my kids. I figured if they made a theme park with dinosaurs, why haven’t they done it with zombies. I called my brother and he said is has to be all the monsters. I started writing that night.

2.      Monsterland was originally self-published in 2015. It was later chosen as my first published book with WordFire Press. The self-published version and published version are very different.

3.      Monsterland was optioned by Kerner Entertainment, the same company that produced The Mighty Ducks and Smurfs franchises. They hired two Disney screenwriters who pitched me their take on Monsterland. After 2 years, the option ran out.

4.      Monsterland is the first book in series of 6 books. The sequel Monsterland Reanimated came out in 2018. The third book, Monsterland Beneath is currently at 100k words, the largest of the series. I’m currently working on book 4. 

5.      The Monsterland series has every monster possible. The first book is werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Monsterland Reanimated has The Glob, mummies, and a reanimated monster.  Monsterland Beneath has The Kraken, Killer Clowns, and Giants.

About the Author
Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.


About the Book:
Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.Wyatt Baldwin’s senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance. But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?


“Michael Okon crafts a fabulous novel with unique, unforgettable characters. …The world building was done fabulously. There were believable backgrounds that explain how it could be possible for there to be a world that had not only vampires, but also werewolves and zombies, excuse me, the vitality-challenged. It all comes together seamlessly as the plot lines converge to make for an explosive ending.” – Devouring Books 2017, blogspot

“I can assure you of this: you will not be disappointed. Nor will you sleep well at night for a while, either. But isn’t that the mark of a master storyteller! Hat’s off to Michael Okon” – Theodore Jerome Cohen, Author of “House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Martelli NYPD, #2)”

“As this book deserves not only top of the New York Times bestseller list but on the big screen as well. The moment I began to read my world was transformed and I was living through the novel.” – Carey Hurst, Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom

“First rate YA fiction with a monsterous twist. Highly recommended.” – Richard Schwindt, author of “The Death in Sioux Lookout Trilogy”

“Okon does a fantastic job of creating distinct personalities for the different monsters. The vampires are sly and cunning while the werewolves are weary and brooding. Even the zombies have some personality, albeit it’s only shown through thoughts they struggle to string together.” – Alejandro Ramos,

“I enjoyed the beautiful prose, the great characters, and the exciting plot. It’s hard to read this novel without getting emotionally involved.” – Divine Zape, Readers’ Favortie (Five Star Review)

“I think MONSTERLAND provides something different for the YA category that really isn’t otherwise present, not only in type of story but in teen/adult relationships.” –, Blog Tour

“This book has a charm often lost in supernatural stories. Michael Okon sets a brilliant scene where you can hear and see the world coming to life before your eyes. You don’t read this book, you live it. .. Monsterland makes for a fun yet harrowing horror read, with injections of comedy, and masterful execution.” – K.J. Simmill (5 Star Review)

Monsterland Awards

  • 2017 Readers’ Favorite Five Star Review
  • Feathered Quill Book Awards 2018 – Science Fiction/Fantasy – Second Place
  • Feathered Quill Book Awards 2018 – Teen Fiction, Graphic/Anime (13-18 years) – First Place
  • The Feathered Quill, The Write Companion Award for Best Overall Top Pick
  • 2018 Shelf Unbound – Notable
  • 2018 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Young Adult – Horror genre
  • 2019 International Book Awards – Fiction: Fantasy – Finalist
  • 2020 Feathered Quill Book Awards – Gold/1st Place – Best of Backlist


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Monday, March 23, 2020

Book Blast! THE MOCKING MAN by Leslie Georgeson

We're happy to host the book blast for THE MOCKING MAN by romantic suspense author Leslie Georgeson. Leslie is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Be sure to enter on form below and good luck!

By Leslie Georgeson
Romantic Suspense

THE PACT: Two friends. One pact. A dangerous plan with an elaborate deception. In a world where they must rely on each other to survive, how far will each of them go to honor the pact?

The Mocking Man:


Not a word I would have associated with myself fifteen years ago. Back then I was innocent and carefree, a teenage boy with big dreams.

Then my best friend Rafe was kidnapped, and my world fell apart. I foolishly thought I could save him.

I was wrong.

Now my entire life is a web of deceit. My every breath tainted by lies. I don’t like what I’ve become. But it’s essential for my very survival.

My job now is to stay in the shadows and keep Rafe’s sister Isabella safe. She can’t even know I’m here.

Then danger lurks closer. Somehow, I must protect her while keeping my secret.

But I get so caught up in my own twisted game that I eventually make a terrible mistake.

Now she’s a part of the pact. And I can’t let her go.

But what kind of life can I give her if I can never be anything more than the mocking man?

***This series is a romantic suspense duet. Book 1 is Alex’s story, and Book 2 is Rafe’s story. Each is a separate romance with an HEA (and no cliffhangers). However, events from book 1 lead to events in book 2. Therefore, it is recommended that they be read in order to get the full story. These books contain strong language, adult situations, and dark subject matters. Recommended for readers ages 18 and up.***

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Mr. Wilson could be watching me right now through the video surveillance he’d mentioned.
Be very careful, Izzy. You could go to jail if you get caught. 
My boss’s words about being unethical flashed through my mind. What I was contemplating now wasn’t ethical at all. It was dishonest. Wrong.
But I needed to find out if Alex was alive. I needed to find the mocking man. And I needed to do it today. So while Mr. Wilson slept, I was going to quietly snoop while I cleaned, and see if I could find something that might give me answers.
Video surveillance be dammed. If I moved around just right, carrying my supplies and acting like I was cleaning, then he wouldn’t know I was snooping, right?
A half hour later, I’d searched through this entire side of the villa and found no evidence suggesting Alex Davies might live here. Was I wasting my time here? Was Alex truly dead?
I tiptoed back into the kitchen. Then I went around past the sunroom area and down a separate hallway, checking each room. Nothing.
The last door to my right was closed. The sun wasn’t all the way up yet, so it was still a bit dark in the hallway. As I drew nearer, it became apparent the “closed” door actually stood slightly ajar. Just a crack. As if someone had forgotten to close it all of the way.
For some reason, that small opening called to me, saying, “Come check me out. There are secrets in here.”
And I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker.
I gravitated toward the opening, eager to see beyond, taking no heed to my inner warnings that shrieked, curiosity killed the cat, Izzy. Be careful.
Gently pressing on the door, I pushed it open.
The room was shrouded in darkness, the curtains drawn.
A sense of eeriness crept over me as I tried to make out what I was seeing.
I stumbled back, a scream erupting from my throat.
What the…crap was that?

Leslie Georgeson writes romance and suspense, sometimes with a dash of sci-fi or paranormal tossed in to make things more interesting. She is the author of the military romantic suspense series, THE DREGS, which was nominated for the 2018 TopShelf Indie Book Awards. Her other titles include the UNLIKELY HEROES series, the UNDERNEATH series, the standalone romantic mystery, NO SON OF MINE, and the newly released romantic suspense duet, THE PACT. Book one, The Mocking Man, is now available on Amazon and book two, The Honest Liar, is scheduled for an early June 2020 release. Leslie lives with her husband and daughter on a quiet country acreage in Idaho.



Leslie Georgeson is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Card.
  • This giveaway ends midnight April 10.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on April 11.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Character Guest Post: Penelope (Poppy) Arrington of A.S. Fenichel's THE EARL NOT TAKEN #characterday

Today is character guest post day! We have Penelope (Poppy) Arrington from A.S. Fenichel's THE EARL NOT TAKEN. Enjoy!

Thank you for having me here today. My name is Lady Penelope but my friends all call me Poppy. I thought I might tell you a bit about myself. I’m one and twenty years old. At the age of fifteen, my bad behavior caused my parents to send me away to finishing school. I spent three years at The Wormbattle School for Young Ladies. I thought this would be the end of life as I knew it, but it turned out to be the best thing. I met three other girls who have become my closest friends. Mercy, Aurora and Faith are like sisters to me.

Aurora’s brother, Rhys is helping me with a bit of a problem at the moment. You see, Faith is about to be married off to someone we know little about. He’s a duke, but that doesn’t make him a good man. We learned that after Aurora’s terrible marriage. I’m afraid that’s a story for another time. My issue is that Rhys grates on my nerves. He is arrogant and far too good looking for anyone’s good. I don’t see how we can possibly work together with what I know about him. I’ve seen too much to ever believe Rhys Draper a good man. However, I must find a way, because we must save Faith if she indeed needs saving.

The other issue is that this duke who is arranged to marry Faith is quite elusive. He keeps things very close to the breast, and we can’t seem to find out what he’s been up to these last few years. Rhys asked questions at his men’s club, but no one knew a thing. I plan to interrogate the Duke of Breckenridge and find out all his secrets before I’ll allow my dear friend to marry him.

That might sound a bit forward for a lady, but it’s what must be done and I won’t let anyone stand in my way.

Left standing on the side while their contemporaries marry into society, four young ladies forge a bond to guard each other from a similar fate . . .

Finishing school failed to make a proper lady of Penelope Arrington. But as a Wallflower of West Lane, Poppy has a far more vital role—she and her three best friends have made a pact to protect each other from the clutches of dangerous, disreputable men. So when one of them is about to be married off to a duke sight unseen, Poppy makes it her mission to divine the prospective husband’s true character. If only she didn’t require the aid of London’s most unsuitable rake.

Rhys Draper, Earl of Marsden, has known the headstrong Poppy since she was a young girl, na├»ve to the ways of men. To her eternal chagrin—and to his vague amusement—they have been at odds over the memory of their embarrassing first encounter all these years. Now, with his services in need, Rhys sees a chance to finally clear the air between them. Instead, he is surprised by the heat of their feelings. If the two do not tread carefully, they may end up in a most agreeably compromising position . . .


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A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful IT career in New York City to pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in Missouri with her real-life hero, her wonderful husband and two temperamental cats.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Character Guest Post: JB Straton of Brit Lunden's THE KNOWING #characterday

Today is character guest post day! We have JB Straton from Brit Lunden's THE KNOWING. Enjoy!

Host- Hi JB, how’s it going?

JB- Been hard since my wife passed. I can’t seem to get interested in much right now.

Host- Yes, that’s a common problem when you lose somebody. But there is so much going on in Bulwark right now.

JB- Nothing new there. Bulwark’s been a hotbed of weird activity for as long as I can remember. Strange things going on, but Sheriff Finnes ‘s got a good handle on it. I’m not worried.

Host- What happened?

JB- Crazy couple stalled their car in a puddle of goo. I went to the trouble of hauling their sorry butts out and then…(face gets mad and he’s angry)

Host- Yes?

JB- They had the nerve to call my dear, sweet Ellie a witch!

Host- What? A witch? Care to explain?

JB- L:ook, I’m not saying there’s not something strange happening down Linden Lane way. Always told my kids to stay away from there. But a sweeter woman this side of the Mason-Dixon line you’ll never meet. That was my wife. She was a Northerner, you know. Moved here from Connecticut during high school.

Host- That must have been hard for her, what in the sixties?

JB- You bet. She didn’t mix well, but I gotta tell you, the minute I first saw her, well… I knew we were supposed to be together. I had the Knowing, you see.

Host- Actually, I don’t. Just what is the knowing?
(Wolves begin to howl in the background. The reporter shifts uncomfortably.)

JB- Darn wolves. I don’t know where they came from, but they’ve been popping up all over town recently. Told Sheriff-

Host- JB, the knowing?

JB- Oh, yeah. the knowing. My grandma told me about it when I first met Ellie. It’s this feeling, like you’ve been there before, or you know someone. The minute I saw Ellie, our eyes met, and I knew she had it too.

Host- That’s beautiful.

JB- I’ll tell you what’s beautiful, my friend. Finding your soulmate and beating the odds to be together.

Host- Was it hard for the two of you?

JB- That’s what the story is all about. Everyone objected. I was a dirt-poor peanut farmer, she came from wealth. We were not from the same world, yet, we both had the same dreams, as if we had lived together before.

Host- Can you tell me about them.

JB- It’s a short book! Go read the story and tell me if you’re not moved!
(Knocking at the door.) Look, I gotta go. It’s that nosy reporter Dayna Dalton. I’m not talking anymore to anyone else!

Inside the book

Bulwark- a wall or stockade that protects or sometimes hides the truth from the outside world. Bulwark, Georgia, isolated, hidden. Who knows what strange things can happen when the rest of the world can’t see you? JB Stratton is alone in the world, and all he has left are the memories of his beloved Ellie. Dirt poor JB and wealthy Ellie feel an instant connection that is as intense and primal as the blood red earth of their home. Unseen roots connect them, pulling them into an impossible relationship. Will the memories of past lives help or hinder the path of their love? Based on the original novella Bulwark, by Brit Lunden, The Knowing continues the story of a town isolated from
the rest of the world where the impossible becomes plausible, and logic is determined by reality.
“THE KNOWING is a wonderfully written romance, a time-hopping supernatural mystery, and an all-around good time–a worthy addition to Brit Lunden’s Bulwark anthology.” – Lisa Butts for IndieReader
“Lunden’s characters feel real, and their interactions make the story work quite well. Her plot is engaging and suitably dark, making this an entertaining urban fantasy tale. The Knowing: A Bulwark Anthology is a well written and engrossing read. It’s most highly recommended.” – Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite
“Romance devotees looking for a quick, colorful read should consider The Knowing, which might spark interest in checking out the preceding novella and other installments in the Bulwark Anthology, all of which are currently available in paperback and ebook.” – BlueInk Reviews
An interesting read and wonderful first addition to what seems to be an anthology with much promise. – Insatiable Readers (blog)
The skillful storytelling brings the characters to life and provides a highly immersive reading experience… I strongly urge you to read Brit Lunden’s original novella Bulwark as well, which sets the stage for all the characters in the anthology and offers more excitement for fans of paranormal thrillers. – Ice Fairy’s Treasure Chest (blog)

The Knowing, as its title suggests, makes a compelling pull in such a short space of pages, absolutely filled with emotion and conveying a powerfully romantic story line in sharp contrast to the previous book, but also very fitting of the town and its tone. Readers seeking an immersive new series where they can experience all different story types within the same, dark mysterious world are certain to love The Knowing and the Bulwark Anthology in general.” – K. C. Finn, Readers’ Favorite
“The story is brief yet impactful as the details included and the images they paint are emotionally evocative. The wisdom of characters such as Bear Bryant shines through and adds a beautiful touch to the already delightful love story. The intensity of JB and Ellie’s relationship plus the paranormal aspects of their story makes it even more enthralling. The Knowing by Brit Lunden is a well-told tantalizing read.” – Edith Wairimu, Readers’ Favorite
“It is a beautifully written love story encompassing the present, past, and even past lives. It is a romance with a hint of the supernatural. It is well written with a level of area building and character development often unseen in shorter books. It was easy to read this in one sitting; the story is sweet, intriguing, and sometimes moving. It has certainly piqued my interest in other books by this author, especially the Bulwark, from which this story stems. ” – K.J. Simmill, Readers’ Favorite
“The engaging tale’s centerpiece is the teens’ romance, with a Southern setting the author masterfully captures… The unadorned prose and concise descriptions make for a quick read all the way to the bittersweet ending… A short but undeniably charming love story.” – Kirkus Reviews 
“When two people find each other and then lose each other, it sometimes takes extraordinary happenings to bring them back together. “The Knowing” is a quick little story underwritten with the paranormal, and this keeps readers guessing. What could possibly go wrong in this strange world?” – Long And Short Reviews
“For those readers looking for a fast-paced paranormal mystery novel with excellent, vivid descriptive elements, this is a great choice for you. I believe that Brit Lunden’s works are destined to become a classic in paranormal short story fiction.” – Patricia Lynn Dompieri, Lemon Bee & Other Peculiar Tales


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meet the author

Brit Lunden is a prolific author who’s written over 50 books in assorted genres under different pen names. Bulwark was her first effort in adult fiction and was chosen by several of her fellow authors as the basis for a new series, A Bulwark Anthology.  Using her characters, they are creating new denizens in spin-off stories to this bizarre town. Brit Lunden lives on Long Island in a house full of helpful ghosts.


Monday, March 16, 2020

A Man's Late Night Thoughts by J. Richman

By J. Richman

A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS by J. Richman is a creative and life-affirming collection of ponderings that expose the deep thoughts and feelings of a man who has lived a life full of diverse experiences and challenges. This uniquely constructed compilation of more than 300 reflections focuses on several areas of living, including intimate relationships and acceptance of human frailty, as well as the author’s internal conflicts.

A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS homes in on the complications inherent in intimate relationships from the opening pages of the book: “Problems accrue when we confuse how a woman looks with who she is.” Richman brings the perspective of a mature man to the lessons on love presented in the book, including, “Exploitation of another depreciates both parties,” and “The reason we fall in love with flawed people is that that’s the only kind of people there are.”

In addition to offering a brief study of intimate relationships, A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS probes human frailty and offers readers guidance in accepting this fact. “We must learn to be strong enough to be gentle,” brings into focus the need to deliberately work at treating people well. The author also encourages readers to show self-compassion when dealing with their own baggage: “Sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond the wreckage of our lives, but we must! Take heart! We are more than our mistakes.”

In A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS, Richman further challenges readers to take the reins of their lives when he says, “Name those things that you would do if you had no fear then do something about it.” He offers words of caution regarding political rhetoric: “Beware of politicians who whip up emotions to make us suspicious of others unlike us.” And rounds the book out by sharing his internal conflicts: “The world has bent me more than I have bent it”; “too often my logical mind and my emotional mind are hostile enemies”; “every time I look in the mirror, I expect to see a younger man.”

A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS began as a series of notes that Richman wrote to himself. “I found that if I do not write out my true, and often painful, thoughts and feelings, I do not deal with them.” Richman wishes a book like this one had been available when he was a boy because the knowledge enclosed could have assisted him in navigating his teenage and young adult years. He hopes A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS will assure men that they are not alone in their quiet musings. For women, Richman believes the book will provide a window into men’s unexpressed emotions.

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“introspection requires us to be an interested spectator of our own life.” …can this me be a better me…what happens when unimportant me wants to be important me...can anyone understand us and love us anyway…why must we clutch desperately to or fantasy…what happens when we need for from life than is you frolic  and run with the deer in deer hunting season?...not to worry it’s all in the grand plan that you can change anytime.”

Richman is the author of A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS, a collection of thoughts about life, relationships, and humanity.

Richman’s work history includes his service as an undercover intelligence officer in the US Air Force; later, he established a thriving business in real estate investment. For 16 years, Richman owned and operated Modify My Mortgage, a company that worked with homeowners to prevent foreclosures. His business success allowed Richman the time to pursue his passions, which included serving as the president of Nova, a workshop that provided work and life skills training for clients with disabilities; cofounding A Way Across, a drop-in center for teenagers with emotional and substance abuse problems; and fundraising for several more public service groups.

Richman enjoys writing and editing at night after allowing his ideas to blossom and expand during the day. The author is married with three sons and five grandsons.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Interview with Dr. Anne Watson

Anne Watson is a Canadian author and educator and co-author of So You Have to Go to Court! A Child’s Guide to Testifying as a Witness in Child Abuse Cases with Wendy Harvey. She was raised in England, trained as a teacher, and after starting teaching in Canada at Thistletown Regional Centre School for Emotionally Disturbed Children, she then taught in the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, and in Palm Beach County USA. Just before beginning doctoral studies in Special Education Psychology at U. of T., she travelled right around the world. Once a doctor, she became a Prof at UBC and later at Trent U., then switched to doing psychoeducational assessments (CSI of the brain!). After 30 years of midnight oil reports and early morning parent meetings she retired to concentrate on writing and art. Her calling is to help people contact their Inner Voice – the Universe – by fast tracking open brain states using EEG devices, some of which can be glimpsed in a couple of scenes in her just finished movie, “A Thousand Reasons.” She has two successful adult kids and one almost grown up granddaughter.


Twitter Link: @Post_Hypnotic
About the Book

If we have intuitions (and we do) where do they come from? Where, in us, do they arrive? What, in us, allows us to receive and interpret them? And why? Why do we get them?
Fourteen years of research, often waiting for the science to catch up with a vision sent to me by the Universe, these questions are answered in lay terms for the wonderment and affirmation of those interested in energy from another plane.


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Can you tell us what your book is about?
Holographs in light bring us information, intuitions from the zero point field, to guide us, warn us, inform us, prepare us with pre-knowledge, so that we can be in harmony with our destinies.

Why did you write your book?
A vision, accompanied by a stranger’s voice, instructed me to make people know that their intuitions come from light and that obeying them brings us into harmony with the Universe. 

What kind of message is your book trying to tell your readers?
The message is don’t override your intuitions. They are your FIRST intelligence and no other intelligence is as fast, or as smart, and as benevolent. Get more in the habit of consulting your intuition, then do what it tells you. It loves you. You will feel clear

Is it hard to publish a nonfiction book? 
I don’t think so, because publishers enjoy some nonfiction brain stim. The hard part is getting the rest of the world to want to read nonfiction.

Which author(s) do you admire?
Nonfiction… Bruce Lipton, Walter Freeman, Steven Strogatz, Manjir Smanta-Laughton
Fiction… Michael Ondaatje, Jeanette Winterson, John Irving, Barbara Kingsolver, Zadie Smith

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?
I’m retired. With the exception of sometimes having to deal with banks, credit cards, insurance companies (who pay people to keep you on the phone your whole day, I swear), I only do what I want to do every day.

Which holiday is your favorite and why?
Christmas. Everyone is kind and thoughtful.

If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?
The Library.

What do you like to do for fun?
Dance. Hang out with girlfriends in Caribbean bars and dance my butt off.

What do you like the most about being an author?
It absorbs me, challenging what I know against how best it can be received. It provides the complexity for which my brain hungers.
What kind of advice would you give other non-fiction authors?
If you have something you burn to say, and it will make the world a better place, then say it. The burn is your intuition.
If you have something to say that would be harmful to the world, don’t say it, get some help.. 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Hollywood's Victory Lap by Anthony G. Puzzilla

By Anthony G. Puzzilla

Film historians generally agree that 1939 was a banner year for Hollywood movies during its Golden Era (1915-1963), including such classics as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Gunga Din, Stagecoach, and many more.

Author and film buff Anthony Puzzilla wouldn’t argue that point, but he has published a new book, HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940, which sets out to prove that the following year was just as exemplary. In essence Puzzilla says, Hollywood took a “victory lap” in 1940, a year that produced its share of films that have become iconic classics due to its continuance of the superlative cinematic productions, creative strides, and technical advances realized in 1939.

Puzzilla’s short list of great movies from 1940 includes The Grapes of Wrath, The Philadelphia Story, Rebecca, The Great Dictator, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Knute Rockne: All American, Fantasia, and The Letter. An astute film historian and an unabashed movie fan, Puzzilla also expresses a fondness and deep appreciation for 1940’s serials such as Flash Gordon; the hilarious shorts made by the Three Stooges, including A Plumbing We Will Go; animated cartoons produced by Warner Bros., such as You Ought to Be in Pictures; and the animated, full-length features created by the Disney studio, which released Pinocchio and Fantasia that year.

“Although 1939 was undoubtedly Hollywood’s greatest triumph during its Golden Age, much of the directorial vision and skill, profound and talented acting, superb writing, and technological advances witnessed in the films of 1939 continued unabated in those produced in 1940,” Puzzilla says.
The ideal readership for HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940, Puzzilla notes, would be composed of “people who appreciate the way movies were made before special effects, car chases, and unabated violence became the main reasons the general public attends movies today.”
But Puzzilla’s accessible, non-academic writing style makes the book equally user-friendly to a wide, general readership. To sweeten the pot, Puzzilla has profusely illustrated his history with evocative photos of “old” Hollywood, as well as scenes from classic movies, shorts, and animated features.

Both in subject and style, HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940 would easily lend itself to film adaptation for theatrical or cable/streaming service release.

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It is the general consensus that in the history of motion pictures, the year 1939 was undoubtedly Hollywood’s greatest triumph during its Golden Era. However, much of the same winning confluence of circumstances and events that made 1939 such a monumental and productive year for Hollywood continued into 1940.  Despite this fact, the overwhelming and enduring popularity of the movies of 1939 have often overshadowed the importance of cinema’s superlative productions, creative strides and technical advances realized in 1940. This book talks about the movies, the directors, the actors, and the screenwriters whose talent and creativity so ably continued the excellence in movie making so clearly established in 1939.

Anthony Puzzilla was born and raised in upstate New York. He holds a master’s degree in economics. After retiring from a 43-year career with the federal government, he became a writer, publishing two books about railroading before turning his eye to another lifelong love, the movies. The result became HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940, Puzzilla’s first book in the genre of film history. Puzzilla is a member and supporter of the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study and the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study, both in Los Angeles; a supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures; a member of the American Film Institute; and a supporter of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, in Silver Spring, MD.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Character Guest Post: Anne Pierson of J. Arlene Culiner's THE TURKISH AFFAIR #characterday

Today is character guest post day! We have Anne Pierson from J. Arlene Culiner's THE TURKISH AFFAIR. Enjoy!

 I don’t want you to condemn me, or call me a coward: I pretty certain I’m not that. After all, it did take guts to pull up stakes, come live in Turkey, a country I knew nothing about. It also took determination to learn how to speak Turkish perfectly, and to blend into the local society, one so very different to the one I knew in the USA. So what if I keep my past a secret, if I refuse to get emotionally involved with anyone. I have very good reasons for being the way I am.

Once upon a time, I was a top-notch television journalist working In Washington D.C. My husband, Todd Farrandon and I were a team, and the public loved us. I’ll bet you even saw us in the old days: we were the hosts of, An Axe to Grind. Oh yes… I can see you know who I am now. That means you also remember that I was implicated in an embezzlement scandal, that the paparazzi hounded me, and that my unfaithful husband threw me to the wolves.

Those days are over. The fame and glory are long gone, and I don’t want them back, ever again. I want a calm, eventless life. I don’t want problems, and here in backwoods Turkey, problems are never far away. The police are corrupt, society is very rigid, and everyone is quick to condemn a foreigner who breaks the rules.

Which is why I refuse to get involved with Renaud Townsend, the archaeologist on the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu. Yes, I know he’s interested in me, and even if I don’t want to admit it, the attraction is mutual. No, it’s even more than that. I can’t stop thinking about him. I want to touch him, be with him. But that’s impossible, because if he finds out who I really am, he won’t be interested for very long. Hasn’t he told me that important artifacts have been disappearing from the archaeological site? What if my name is linked to those thefts, too? If that happens, linking his name to mine will put him in danger. And, I’ll have to leave this town that is now my home, go hide somewhere else.

Love and Danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu

Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal. But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.

Author J. Arlene Culiner does not disappoint in this fast-paced novel, The Turkish Affair. Glittering descriptions, magical settings, and enviable characters bring the solemn grounds of Turkey to life as we are planted firmly in an archeological dig in Karakuyu, Turkey. Culiner’s mastery of the English language and sentence combinations form an enchanting read. The Turkish Affair is a must-read for all lovers of romance and adventure.
–Lisa McCombs for Readers’ Favorite


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Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.