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About the Book
On the fringes of a civil war
arise a kaleidoscope of stories of abuse, power, betrayal, sex, love, and
absolution, all united by the failings of a dying government. Set in the
backdrop during the last years of South Africa’s apartheid, How the Water Falls
is a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the
system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes.
The two
main characters, one white, Joanne– a reporter, the other black, Lena– a banned
activist, have their lives continuously overlap through the people they know during
a thirteen-year period and eventually become friends as a result of their
interviews together. Joanne personifies the need to question and investigate
apartheid’s corruption from a white person’s perspective. Although her
intentions begin with idealism, no matter how naïve, as the years pass while
the system is failing, she crosses the threshold of what it means to be caught
up inside the belly of the beast, especially after crossing paths with the
Borghost brothers. Lena, who is inspired by her predecessors, such as Steve
Biko and Nelson Mandela, is among the minority of black women to peacefully
battle for equality, even if her struggle is indicative of sacrificing her
health and safety. Hans Borghost is Johannesburg’s commissioner of police who,
like all those before, had a military background before pursuing a law
enforcement career. Violent, manipulative, and controlling, he incarnates the
image of South Africa’s perpetrators. Jared Borghost is the younger brother of
Hans and, like his brother, has a military background, but unlike Hans, he
internally combats between his sense of duty and morality. His inconsistency
indicates a conscience that leaves one to ponder whether Jared is either a
perpetrator, victim, or both. As his surname suggests, Bor-GHOST represents the
“ghosts” that haunt the family’s past. Many other characters play the roles of
spies, freedom fighters, lovers, adversaries, and supporters.
This novel
is as complex as apartheid was itself, unlacing fabrics of each character’s
life to merge into a catalyst downfall. The question of who will survive this
downfall will suffice in the courts of truth and reconciliation and whether
love is strong enough to preserve peace.
Where to purchase How the Water Falls
 

 

The Author
K.P.’s Website / Twitter / Facebook / GoodreadsAlthough I’ve been writing since childhood, I have a BA in history. I love
studying

history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that
after decades worth of introspection we have learned to value our lessons, and
the best way to recite our lessons are through storytelling. That’s why I love
history: To learn. To question. To redeem our humanity. Submitting to a moment
in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, our society’s past. Although
writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly
amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion
into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps
all of us striving for an improved future.

I am fortunate to have been trained by one the top ten writing teachers in the
US, the late Leonard Bishop, and author of ‘Dare to be a Great Writer.’ I owe
my love of writing to him. In addition to writing, I draw, paint, create
graphic design, and am an amateur photographer.

 

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Galanti, Donna 2 (1)Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.

Website: www.ElementTrilogy.com
Blog: http://www.elementtrilogy.com/blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767306.Donna_Galanti

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, A Hidden Element. What was your inspiration for it?

A: A Hidden Element is book two in the Element Trilogy. The novel that I was stumped on…and a dream. My readers asked for a sequel and I said, never! Then one day I woke up with a vision of that second book. I dropped the psychological suspense novel I had over-plotted and was stuck on, and got to work right away on the sequel. There’s a third and final one planned out, A Healing Element.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Caleb lives an oppressed life. He has sons he can’t be a father to, he can’t choose who he loves, and he must carry out despicable acts just to survive. Yet Caleb finds he is pushed to the wall even further and must risk the very things he desires to save those he loves. Caleb is also a Watcher in a way, and Watchers are some of my favorite characters to write. Read an article I wrote about this theme.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I wrote this novel in a Write a Novel in 9 Months Class. We met once a week and it kept me accountable to get the story down in a certain time frame. One challenge was completely re-working some of the chapters to be in different voices from the original draft. I had to critically review each scene and really decide which character’s point of view was best to tell that scene.

?????????????????????????????????????????????Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I look at each chapter as a short story in itself. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end – and I love ending my chapters on cliffhangers that raise a question and (hopefully) beg the reader to keep turning the pages.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: Each day I sit down is like starting with a blank page all over again, so yes, there is some anxiety. The day before I try to finish writing in the middle of a scene or paragraph, and not end a chapter. This way I can easily re-read the scene’s intro and jump back into finishing it.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: There are many days each week that my alarm is set for 4:30am. Early morning hours are my best writing time when the skies are dark and the world is asleep – and my mind is not yet filled with the details of daily life. During the school year my day ends at 3:30pm when I pick my son up from school but I have a very understanding husband! I often spend a weekend day writing all day at my favorite spot in my local Wegman’s Café.

Q: How do you define success?

A: To me, success in writing is continuing to learn the writing craft, add it to my expanding toolbox, and apply all I learn along the way and see the fruits of that labor. Success in writing can also only truly come when you let go – let go of your ego that is. I believe that this is the biggest reason why I am published, have a wonderful agent as my champion, and have four books coming out in the next year. And this is the biggest reason I see writer’s fail because they do not accept criticism and are not willing to do the hard work to make their writing better. To succeed you cannot think your writing is perfect or that your story can’t change. You cannot take it personal when a developmental editor tears apart your manuscript for you to re-work. I love it! I am like – bring it on! Help me be a better writer. Why? Because I want to write a good book and then a better one and a better one. This writing business is hard. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. This writing business is not going to be easy – it’s going to be worth it!

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: Every writer has times when they hit lows in their writing and think, I can’t do this! Every time I debate whether I should be a writer and tell myself that I should just update my resume and get a real full time job with an actual weekly paycheck so I can support my family better – I remember how I sat down and wrote my debut novel A Human Element without knowing anything about writing a book. And I remember how it came from my heart and came from the deep places inside me where I most love, where I most hurt.

And I know that no matter how much I think I suck at times – I KNOW THAT I AM A TRUE STORYTELLER. And this is what I was born to do. And if you think that, then that’s what you need to follow. No matter how much you suck at times. No matter if others tell you that your writing sucks. Don’t let the negative thoughts – or negative people – stop you from telling your stories. We need your stories. We need to tell our stories. Be the true storyteller you are. Visit my Writers Corner for inspiration and resources to help you keep writing.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Yes! If we didn’t have demons chasing us to write, why would we? Knowing what I know now about being an author I have to wonder if I would have gotten in this business at all. If someone told me all I would have to go through to get here I would have said “I can’t do that! It’s too hard and too long!” I’m grateful I was ignorant about it all when I started.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: I truly believe that something wonderful can come of something that threatens to break your spirit. I started writing books to survive the grief of my mother’s death. She died from cancer five years ago. But here’s the thing. If she were alive I would not have finished writing my first book – or any book. I would not be getting published. I took care of her in the final moments and when she passed away I knew I had to make my dream come true. For in passing away my mom gave me her own gift – the gift to follow my dream of becoming an author.

So every once in a while I say these words out loud. “Thank you, Mom.” I let them hang in the air like a gift to her. She defined who I am and who I hope to be. And she was always my #1 champion and now I have be my own champion – like all of us writer so. So, I may have started writing books from grief but eventually my grief turned to peace and then joy at discovering what I love to do. Be a storyteller.

ABOUT A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

Evil lurks within…

When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so?

PRAISE FOR A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall 

“Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath 

“Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector

BUY THE ELEMENT TRILOGY BOOKS:

Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element: http://amzn.to/1p1YD1o

Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element: http://amzn.to/1mNcyCO
ON SALE NOW FOR JUST $.99cents!

ENTER HER GIVEAWAY HERE: 

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Who and what inspired “Serial Vengeance” – Guest Post by author Melissa Wren

Living in Washington, D.C. and reading James Patterson’s Alex Cross series stirred the idea of a serial killer in the nation’s capital. I liked the fast pace of his short chapters so I could read it quickly on the Metro traveling to and from work. I modeled my chapters after his to create suspense and keep the pages turning.

I also used my journalism background to help me with my main character’s career. A very generous crime reporter for the Washington Post, Carol Leonnig, spent an afternoon giving me the grand tour of the fifth floor where the reporters and editors work. She gave me insights I wouldn’t have known about, which make the details of Olivia’s work authentic in my book.

During the several years I spent writing my book, I lived in several areas in the heart of D.C., including Dupont Circle, Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Friendship Heights, and Alexandria, Virginia, so I spent a lot of time soaking up details of the city.

I worked two blocks from the White House, and there was always something exciting going on, whether my walk got interrupted to watch the motorcade drive by or the Pope or other VIP came to town. I was fortunate to get a tour of the West Wing and sit in the pressroom during a press conference. I also got to walk through the White House one Christmas, took a beautiful tour of the gardens at Easter, and had the privilege to hear the Pope and President Bush speak while I stood on the White House lawn.

At the end of 2004, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was living in California at the time, and I moved home to Texas for three months to be near him before relocating to D.C. I had no control over what was happening to my dad, how sick he got, or how long he’d live.

Looking back, writing this psychological thriller was my way of escaping the reality of losing him and trying to cope, since I got to create the characters and control what happened in their lives. Writing has also always given me a purpose and a voice; it’s in my DNA.

 

 

Serial Vengeance summary

serialIf it were just one or two high-profile adulterers committing suicide in the heart of Washington, D.C., it wouldn’t be much of a story. But it keeps happening. And their suicide notes all say the same thing: “I deserve to die.”

Grieving her stillborn son, and reeling from the mysterious disappearance of her best friend two years prior, Olivia Penn buries herself in her work. She’s a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for the Washington Post, and if there’s one thing she knows, it’s the scent of a front-page story.

Olivia begins connecting the string of supposed celebrity suicides together, obsessed with breaking the story that there’s a serial killer on the loose in D.C. When the FBI takes over, Olivia knows she’s on to something and has trouble staying out of their way.

A sensational double murder ups the ante in the dangerous psychological game. It’s the first time “The Punisher” reveals himself. Thinking she has nothing to lose, Olivia baits the psychopathic killer with her news stories, putting herself in his crosshairs. Now it becomes terrifyingly personal.

Between her stalker, who is breaking into her home and leaving notes that indicate he knows something about the serial killer, and the strange connections to her best friend’s disappearance, Olivia is caught in a complicated web—and the only way out is to discover why she seems to be the common denominator in this nightmare.

The closer she gets to the truth, Olivia discovers that death is closer than she realized.

 

Where to purchase Serial Vengeance


 

 

About the Author

Melissa’s Website / Twitter / Facebook  

After gaining her B.A. in broadcast journalism from Texas Tech University in 1998, Melissa Wren moved abroad to London, England and began her melissacareer in advertising, which eventually took her to Dallas, Texas and then to Monterey, California. She spent more than four years on the West Coast before relocating to Washington, D.C. to work in communications and with the press for a government agency for four more years.

Wren recognized her God-given passion for creating stories at an early age, finishing her first novel when she was 12 years old. During her time in the nation’s capital, she wrote the psychological thriller Serial Vengeance, joining such organizations as Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Washington Independent Writers and Thriller Fest.

She curently lives in her hometown of Granbury, Texas, and works as a freelance writer/editor for hire, penning anything from professional business copy, human-interest stories, magazine articles, poetry, creative fiction to non-fiction.

She’s written for Lake Granbury Living, Erath County Living, and Granbury Showcase magazines, as well as for the Hood County News. Currently she’s a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW).

Wren also compiled and published Cancer Chronicles: One Man’s Journey to Glorify God Through Illness, released in 2013.

 

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This tour is brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

 

 

The Gifted 7Title: The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams
Author: Daphne Michaels
Publisher: Daphne Michaels Books
Pages: 130
Genre: Personal Development/Spirituality
Format: Paperback / Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

In The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist Daphne Michaels celebrates the nine gifts that are our birthright, guiding readers in how to recognize and use them to transform their lives. In her author’s preface, Michaels reveals how her own journey of life transformation began when she was young and realized that human existence wore two conflicting faces–one of love and joy, and one of fear and despair. She decided then to commit her life to reconciling these two visions because she knew that, irreconcilable though they seemed, together these two faces held the secret to living a life of endless possibility and authentic happiness. Her personal journey and formal education in social science, human services and integral psychology led to the founding of the Daphne Michaels Institute, which has helped hundreds of men and women design the lives of their dreams.

In The Gifted Michaels shows us that the first three “gifts” we must recognize and embrace within us if we are to re-design our lives are Awareness, Potential and Stillness. These three allow us to identify and use the remaining six with a life-changing power: Disharmony, Harmony, Ease, Clarity, Freedom and Engagement. Each of these six relies on the “essential three” for its own power to change our lives, and each has its own gifts–its “children.” By approaching the nine gifts with real-world metaphors, Michaels answers in easily understood ways what for many readers have been lingering questions about personal transformation—such as how it works, what kind of commitment it takes, and why, if we’re committed, real transformation becomes inevitable—and addresses obstacles that readers may have encountered in the past in trying to reach in life a happiness every human deserves.

While the human universe’s face of love is celebrated in The Gifted, so is the face of fear that haunted a young girl decades ago. As Michaels shows us in her book, even Disharmony—the “quagmire” of life born of the human ego’s fear, defenses, delusions and despair—is a gift, too, and one as important as the others if we know how to see it clearly and use it. Once we understand Disharmony, we are ready to understand the real purpose of Harmony in our lives. Disharmony does not need to rule us. It is ours to use as we design the lives of our dreams.

The final gift in The Gifted, Michaels tells us, is the gift of Engagement. Engagement—with the universe and with ourselves—allows us to use all of the other gifts with more power and joy than we ever imagined possible.

That mountaintop decision never left me. It drove my life’s work and over the years led me to understand that there are gifts – nine of them, in fact – that we are all born with but rarely experience in their full glory and potential. These gifts – which make each and every one of us “The Gifted” of this book’s title – are the keys to living lives of endless possibilities and, in turn, achieving an authentic happiness that cannot be lost. They are, in other words, the keys to achieving the life of our dreams.

FIRST CHAPTER:

Life’s greatest mystery is inside us. It is inside every living thing. Like the deep secrets of the universe, the mystery inside us will never be fully explained. By exploring it, however, we can discover gifts available to us that can change our lives forever.

Life’s great mystery is awareness. More basic than thoughts and more primal than instincts, awareness does not require a centralized brain, as scientists have proven through studies with invertebrates like starfish. While these beautiful creatures have no centralized brains, they possess awareness. Starfish, like all invertebrates, use awareness to perceive, eat, grow, reproduce, and survive.

Awareness is so intrinsic to life that it defines life: living means being aware. From the beginning of life – before we take an initial breath – humans demonstrate tremendous awareness. Prenatal psychologists have discovered that we experience, while still in our mother’s womb, not only light and sound but, even more astonishingly, emotion. We kick our legs when agitated by loud noises and sway pleasantly to beautiful classical music. Months before birth we grimace at the taste of sour amniotic fluid and drink heartily when it is sweet. Awareness grows as we grow.

As we develop as human beings, our awareness stretches in all directions – from awareness of our five basic senses to awareness of external events around us, from awareness of our emotions to awareness of our thoughts, from limited awareness of a topic that bores us to an expanded awareness of topics we feel passionate about. Of all the many dimensions of awareness, the highest form is self-awareness. With self-awareness we begin to appreciate just how far awareness actually extends. Just as ocean waters are deeper than the surface of the sea, awareness is deeper than the surface of our physical body or our conscious thoughts. The infinite depth and breadth of awareness is filled with gifts that are ours to receive.

Our Most Valuable Resource

At a time when the entire world seems to be spinning out of control, understanding that awareness is our most valuable and practical personal resource is crucial. Rather than having us search high and low for answers to life’s problems in the same old places, awareness takes us beyond what we already know into realms of endless discovery: Realms where rebirth always follows destruction. Realms where new horizons continually appear in sight. Realms where new solutions inevitably come from our sheer willingness to delve deeper into an invisible resource that is always there and can never be depleted.

When we realize that awareness is our most valuable and practical personal resource, we become confident that we can overcome any challenges keeping us from living the life we’ve always wanted. Through awareness, hope is guaranteed us. The secret to living the life of our dreams begins with understanding that awareness plays a central, crucial role in both the life we’re living now and the one we wish to live.

Increasing Our Awareness

Increasing our awareness is not about discovering answers by asking questions in the usual way. Awareness is more organic than thinking. We can only access it through a deeper connection with the self. And we can only achieve that connection through a special kind of relaxation: not the kind of relaxation that puts us to sleep, but the kind that wakes us up.

Like gymnasts on balance beams, we increase our awareness through a relaxation that calls forth alertness and focus. Relaxed, alert and focused, gymnasts connect to deeper parts of themselves where awareness exists. If they think, they will fall. And when they come off the balance beam, they bring back a special quality to their daily lives.

Self-Guiding Our Awareness

Like gymnasts, we need to come off the balance beam to discover that the gifts we receive from awareness extend farther than we can imagine – into every aspect of our lives. When gymnasts carry their physical strength and mental precision into daily life, their confidence and achievements multiply, bringing even greater success.

Like gymnasts dedicated to developing strength and skill for their sport, we must be dedicated to developing strength and skill in self-guiding our awareness. If we are, we will experience deep awareness even when only a moment’s opportunity is available, and then come off the balance beam of that moment with gifts that multiply through the ways we live and love.

Self-guiding our awareness means tuning it – from a lower awareness felt as cloudy or negative to a higher awareness where we live with a constant sense of possibility. We tune our awareness through the state of our very being – in other words, through the state of our spirit, mind, heart, physical body and dreaming capacity. Being relaxed, alert and focused on all levels tunes our being to the most profound awareness possible, one where pure potential exists. In turn, self-guiding our awareness through tuning our being allows us to bring that potential into every aspect of our lives.

Think of the flight control panel in the cockpit of a high performance aircraft like a Learjet. The panel has all sorts of dials and switches that must be perfectly adjusted for flight. The instrument panel has been carefully designed to keep the sophisticated and complex aircraft functioning.

Humans are even more sophisticated and complex. We, too, however, have instrument panels that have been carefully designed, and we must learn to adjust the state of our being through those panels. Our own dials and switches allow us to tune the Learjet of our life to realms of potential impossible to reach through the physical world. Through our instrument panel we can tune ourselves to an awareness that will show us with astonishing clarity how to face the challenges and opportunities of our lives.

Our Inner and Outer Life

Through awareness we discover an amazing truth: that our inner and outer lives are a continuous stream, and so much so that we cannot separate the two. We discover that our life begins in a place deeper than our cells, a place where pure awareness exists. From this place of pure awareness our life streams through countless layers of our inner being, just as an old-fashioned movie projector’s light shines through film. Our story plays out on the screen of our life, but it has already been written and etched into the film’s frames. Some of the frames we inherited. Some we invented. Some we should have discarded, but didn’t. Some we hold for the future. Some we hold for others. Some we enjoy seeing played on the screen of our lives, while others we wish we could have cut out of the production altogether. But by the time we realize that our inner and outer life is one continuous stream, our movie is already playing in theaters. We directed it, and we were, we realize, asleep.

We may try hopelessly to change the movie of our life as it plays on the screen. We may stand up in the theater and stick our hands in the flow of light. We may jump up and down screaming that we hate the movie. We may cause such commotion that the movie no longer makes sense to us or anyone else watching it. We may deny that the movie is our life and swear that someone who didn’t really know us wrote the script. We may storm out of the theater; but as we stomp up the aisle trying to contain our dismay, we see our wiser self in the projector room waving, trying to get our attention. Our wiser self is shouting: “The movie playing is interactive! While you can’t stop it from rolling, you can dramatically change it through awareness!”

Interacting With Our Life’s Movie

When we learn to tune the state of our being so that we are both deeply connected to our inner self and fully engaged in life, we live as though we are the gymnast on the balance beam, but are not limited by its narrow margin of space. We are completely free to move about in our life however we choose as long as we remain aware. We are flexible, relaxed, strong, clear, focused; and we are able to think, feel and engage life at its highest potential. We live and love creatively, and the gifts we receive multiply exponentially. Our awareness makes everything we touch a gift to ourselves and others. Every thought we have is a gift; every word we speak is a gift; every idea we consider is a gift. Through awareness we realize that life itself is a gift and that the movie of our life is indeed interactive. We realize that everything is connected to everything else, and that interacting with life’s movie can bring enormous changes in amazingly brief periods of time.

Through awareness an entire landscape of potential will appear before us. Life will never be the same again. We will realize we have been blessed with an incredible opportunity to live the life of our dreams – and the only question is “Will I answer – with sincerity and commitment – opportunity’s knock?”

Two Empty Thrones banner

C.H. MacLeanTo young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is the YA fantasy, Two Empty Thrones.

For More Information

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes and no. Growing up, books were happiness, motivation and inspiration for me. (They still are, of course.) But I didn’t think I was creative or skilled, so I pushed writing away as anything other than a hobby.

When I finally realized I had a great story, I thought of how many other people would love to read it. If I could give back to the stories what they gave to me, if I could give something to the readers out there, I knew I had to. Finally sitting down to write, I found it easy, diving into a time-warp similar to reading a great book.

Two Empty Thrones 2What was your inspiration for Two Empty Thrones?

It might sound cliché, but it really came to me in a vision.

I finally gave myself permission to sit and write, and the story just exploded in my mind. Plot, scenes, titles, characters, all just rippled out from that explosion. In the center stands a curly-haired girl, thinking she is less than normal when she really is so much more. She showed me how she stood up to her fears and risked everything to save herself and the world, making it a better place.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I just write the stories that leap out at me. I don’t think I try to write for themes. I really just want readers to have a great reading experience. Life is supposed to be fun and interesting, and anything is possible. When I read my books, like reading other authors, I find the themes that I am living at the time.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I don’t know how long in actual time. With all I had going on, and trying to learn a new industry, that time spanned about two years.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I am disciplined, but that doesn’t really matter when it comes to writing since it’s more of a compulsion. For now, I work full time, so I fit writing in anywhere I can. Notes scribbled on scratch paper, bits and pieces jotted down after work, blurts into a voice recorder all get put into a pile. On weekends, I polish and place the gems into their settings.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The hard part was finding the time. I love writing, talking about books, researching and editing — everything about books. But I didn’t start out as a writer. Finding the time required tough prioritizing, where every minute held value. I often feel terribly frustrated because I keep being pulled away.

But then I thought of the readers, and how much they would love the story. Holding onto that inspiration, I re-framed my thoughts and focused on the long-term, giving myself enough room to succeed. At the same time, I only lived in the moment, relishing the process.

What do you love most about being an author?

I think it’s the idea that someone out there will get to enjoy reading the story. I love to read and know how much I enjoy a good book. Thinking someone else is going to have that same feeling from my book is the best.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I self-published. Though I started out thinking the traditional route was the only way to go, researching self-publishing convinced me to re-think my assumptions. With my team of editors, designers, manager, etc., I can put out a work of equal quality but on my own terms. I really like the ability to preserve the vision of the book in self-publishing and being able to allow for an extended print time.

I was flabbergasted at how much work it is! Multiple rounds of editing, cover art design, formatting, marketing, the list goes on and on. It’s pretty inaccurate to call it “self-publishing” when it really takes a great team. Seeing the final product, I am completely happy with the decision.

Where can we find you on the web?

I can be found on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If anyone has any more questions they’d like to ask, I welcome online conversations


Banana Bunch 2Title:
The Banana Bunch
Author: Dawn Carroll
Publisher: Amolibros
Pages: 120
Genre: Children’s Book
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Purchase at AMAZON

The monkeys have a human friend called Sheila.

Sheila is in hospital – and she hates the hospital food.

The monkeys decide that something simply has to be done…

When their first attempt at delivering bananas to Sheila is thwarted the monkeys decide to form The Banana Bunch, a secret society dedicated to the delivery of delicious, health-giving bananas to Sheila and all the other unwell people at the hospital. Banana delivery proves, however, a little trickier than they had expected…

 

Dawn Carroll was born in London, to a family who loved to read – and who also moved house with great regularity. One of the first tasks on arrival at each new home would be to find the nearest lending library, with the result that Dawn grew up with a great love of books. Encouraged by family and teachers, Dawn also started to write short stories.

In adulthood, Dawn’s busy life as a hospital doctor left little time for leisure writing. Indeed, The Banana Bunch stories would probably never have been written had Dawn not, one fateful day, discovered that falling from even a very small tightrope can have devastating consequences… but that’s another story!

Unable to return to her chosen profession, things seemed very black for a while. And then The Banana Bunch monkeys bounced into Dawn’s world….

Since then the monkeys (and Dawn) have been having a great time – telling the stories of their adventures in print and online, and also travelling far and wide to source new story ideas and to meet new friends. Find out more about Dawn and the Banana Bunch at www.thebananabunchbook.com

 

1A fascinating story.

 

When I started reading this book, the first thoughts which came into my mind were that, it’s amazing how ignorant one can be, about events which happened in your own lifetime. Being a British child at the time these events were taking place, somehow they slipped into a hole between the history I was taught at school, from ancient up to and including WWII, and the recent history which I remember as an adult.

 

The main character in the story Florina, is a young colored woman who has married Dr Richmond Austin, and moved to his home town Poinsettia, in the South of America. Her new in-laws are very welcoming and her new home is to be his grandparent’s house. However, she very quickly discovers that her new neighbour Agnes, who is married to the other colored doctor in the town, Macon, used to go out with Richmond, and Florina fears that the attraction is still there. However, she has her own secret, one not even her parents know… A secret which lies buried in her heart and which she can only hint at in her very poignant poetry.

 

This incredibly absorbing story is set at a very turbulent time for the colored people of America. The Civil Rights movement was strong, and was led by the Baptist minister and activist Martin Luther King Jr., a man who worked tirelessly for, and who played such a strong part in the ending of the legal segregation of the African-American people.

 

Also all the time, in the background, and twisted inextricably throughout the plot of this story is the Vietnam War which was taking thousands of lives…

 

However, another element of this story, which was very interesting to me, is that I never realised that there was such color snobbery within the families of colored folk, causing so much tension, prejudices, terrible rifts, and great sadness. This was so evident in this book, where at one end of the spectrum there was immense color pride and at the other the seemingly desperate need to appear white.

This book is amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. For me, it has all the essential ingredients for a good story excitement, intrigue, love triangles, lies, deceit, confessions, betrayal I could go on. However, more importantly for me, it gives a fascinating fly on the wall account of what it was really like as a colored person to live in those times, something I would never be able to experience otherwise.

 

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

 

Available from Amazon in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/When-Drum-Major-Anjuelle-Floyd/dp/1938070011/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1407946089&sr=8-1

 

and Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/When-Drum-Major-Anjuelle-Floyd-ebook/dp/B00I35FT6Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1407946089

 

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