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Archive for October, 2013

ABOUT TRUDY

This is a story of a washed – up detective who can’t resist trying to solve a mystery. In spite of trying to stay out of other people’s business, this character always manages to get tangled up anyway. Without trying the detective gets involved in the life of a little girl who just happens to be the sole hair to her family fortune. And, where there’s a lot of money involved, there’s always some sleazy characters trying to get their hands on it. The story takes some unexpected twists and turns as our hero tries to remain unnoticed by the press and his former associates. Follow our hero through unexpected events and unwanted danger. Sometimes you’ll laugh, sometimes you’ll cry but you won’t have time to get bored. In this story, each day’s a chapter and each chapter’s another mess out hero manages to fall into.

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ABOUT C.S. ROSS

The author was born and raised in the hills of Pennsylvania. Graduated High School and moved to Ohio. Married, two children. Taught Ballroom dance and gymnastics. Moved to Michigan, graduated from Eastern Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications. Worked for a cable television station before turning to writing novels.

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  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins October 21 – November 1.
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  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
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PhoenixTitle: Phoenix: The Beauty in Between
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Author: Lilliana Anderson
Publisher: Lilliana Anderson
Pages: 208
Language: English

After being unceremoniously kicked out of home at a young age, Paige was forced to fend for herself.
In a bid to survive, she did things that most people would never dream of, and stopped caring about herself as a result.

When the fastest way to get food and shelter was to sell her body, and the fastest way to forget was to take drugs, Paige embarked and a steady downward spiral. Until, finally she hit rock bottom…

In A Beautiful Forever we got to know Paige as she battled the demons of her past to move forward with her future and find her happy ever after. Now, in Phoenix, we get to see the moments those demons were created and how she managed to get her life back on track.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

About the Author

 Bestselling author of the A Beautiful series, Alter and the Confidante Trilogy, Lilliana has always loved to read and write, considering it the best form of escapism that the world has to offer. 

Australian born and bred, she writes New Adult Romance revolving around her authentically Aussie characters as well as a biographical trilogy based on an ex-Sydney sex worker, named Angelien.
 
Lilliana feels that the world should see Australia for more than just its outback and tries to show characters in more of a city setting.
 
When she isn’t writing, she wears the hat of ‘wife and mother’ to her husband and four children.
 
Before Lilliana turned to writing, she worked in a variety of industries and studied humanities and communications before transferring to commerce/law at university.
 
Originally from Sydney’s Western suburbs, she currently lives a fairly quiet life in suburban Melbourne.
 
Her latest book is the new adult contemporary romance, Phoenix: The Beauty in Between.
 
You can visit her website at www.lillianaanderson.com.

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ABOUT POLYXENA: A STORY OF TROY

After Polyxena, daughter of King Priam of Troy, is chosen as Neoptolemus’s love interest, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery that leads to a surprising conclusion about her destiny.

Troy has just fallen, leaving the city in ruins and at the mercy of the Greeks. Neoptolemus has claimed the daughter of the now-deceased King Priam of Troy as his love prize. After she rejects his advances, he angrily contrives a story that dooms the ill-fated Polyxena. She knows what she must do to survive, but unfortunately, she cannot change her destiny.

Polyxena is mortified that Neoptolemus has fallen in love with her, for this means she must die at the commemoration rites for his father. As Polyxena prepares for the inevitable, she reflects over the past year, relating her thoughts to Aphrodite, the goddess she believes is responsible for orchestrating the events that have beleaguered her. As she tries to make sense of it all, Polyxena converses with all the well-known personages associated with the Trojan myth—Achilles, Agamemnon, Cassandra, Helen, and many others—while seeking solace in the hope that her existence has not been futile.

In this moving story of forbidden love, a young woman unwittingly becomes intertwined in the romantic legacy surrounding Troy, embarking on a journey of self-discovery that leads her to a surprising conclusion about the life she has lived.

Purchase your copy:

iuniverse

 

ABOUT H. ALLENGER

H. Allenger earned a BA in public administration and an MA in international relations. After thirty-one years with the Seattle School District, he is now retired and pursuing his true passions, which include mythology, archaeology, and writing. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington, and enjoys traveling the world.

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  • This giveaway begins October 21 – November 1.
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  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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scottdriscoll author photo BW (1)Scott Driscoll is an instructor at the University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education programs where he has taught creative writing for 20 years. He has also taught fiction and creative nonfiction in the Writers in the Schools and Path With Art programs and online through the Seattle-based Writer’s Workshop, as well as at Seattle’s Richard Hugo House literary center. Scott was awarded the “UW Educational Outreach Excellence in Teaching Award” for 2006.

Driscoll has been awarded eight Society of Professional Journalists awards, most recently for social issues reporting. His narrative essay about his daughter’s coming of age was cited in the Best American Essays, 1998. While enrolled in the UW MFA program, he won the Milliman Award for Fiction.

Driscoll continues to write feature stories for Alaska and Horizon Airlines Magazines while starting work on his next novel, which will be set in Latvia at the time of the Song Festival.

“Writing for me is about applying form to the mysteries we suffer.”

Learn more at www.scott-driscoll.com

Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Better You Go Home. When did you start writing and what got you into literary fiction?

What got me into literary fiction. In high school I rarely felt anything like a personal connection to the authors thrown in my path by well meaning teachers (not even, especially not even elitist, whiny Catcher In the Rye). Then one day I read, at a subversive teacher’s suggestion, Norman Mailer’s The Deer Park and The American Dream and it hit me like a punch to the gut. I had never realized that words could have such blunt force. This was a revelation.  A few years later, college on hold while I traveled in Europe (I bought a bike in Amsterdam and rode to Munich for the Oktoberfest, got sidetracked by early snow in Augsburg just north of Munich, and couldn’t sleep outdoors anymore and so looked for a job), I planted myself for one hour each day during my lunch breaks from my American Express Bank job in the local American base library. There I read for the first time Beckett’s trilogy, Molloy, Malone Dies, and the Unnamable. Reading Molloy, I had such a strong reaction (angered that words so detached from conventional story telling, springing so deeply from the inner psyche of a character, could get under my skin as much as they did) I threw the book down, earned a reproof from the librarian—I was her only customer—then picked it up and kept reading. It was through words in novels such as these that I discovered a world the existence of which I had only a vague suspicion, like some forbidden alternate world adults spent your education hiding from you. Being naturally curious, I had to explore that world. I can’t say I turned serious about writing, though, until my daughter was born.  Providence had thrown an opportunity my way: confined indoors holding my child, or sitting near while she napped, I learned to have my typewriter ready and I went to it at every chance. Determined to write stories that could be read, I read literary journals, any that were mailed to me free of charge (surprising how many lit mags were happy to get rid of back stock) and I learned about story structure by deconstructing stories that had succeeded.

Did you have a mentor who encouraged you?

I actually did not have much in the way of mentoring, but I had books, a few key teachers along the way, and a strong desire to figure this thing out. I want to answer this question in order to deter others from seeking the path of going it on your own. Mentors can provide an invaluable service. I would urge anyone who wants to be serious about writing to start by reading books such as James Wood’s How Fiction Works and Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction, and What If, the 3rd edition, and John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction and after you’ve read those, read Robert McKee’s Story. Learn what you can about characters and structure and point of view. When you think you’ve mastered point of view, read Percy Lubbock’s The Craft of Fiction and start thinking about narrative distance. Now you are ready to take a writing class. Take several. Start a critique group with peers who know what they are talking about. None of this is a guarantee of publishing success, but I can guarantee that your writing will improve and you will learn to write like a writer who pulls from a deep well and then pours words into containers that allow readers to slake their thirst. Even if publication is not your goal, this will allow you to dig down into the material that you need to express and that is a milestone of success and should keep you going until you hit your next milestone. 

Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?

When I started this book I took a deliberate approach. I planned. I sketched the story spine and spent countless hours sketching my characters’ situations. I had once devoted four years to writing chapters for a novel without giving much thought to story structure.  After throwing away four years’ worth of work, I vowed to never make that mistake again. I wrote one last short story, got it published in an Better You Go Hom cover (1)anthology in company with some pretty big name authors, then turned to writing magazine articles and the occasional personal narrative essay. For a time, no more fiction.

When you first start, enthusiasm matters.  Write as many words as you can as often as you can. Take notes when you travel.  Think of yourself as a flaneur when you are away from home. Walk into the crowded sensory world that is at your disposal, look left and look right and observe and record. Later, come back to this material and strengthen nouns and verbs and get rid of unnecessary modifiers.  Be suspicious of figurative language. It is your enemy.  First learn to observe.  But when you are ready to get serious, write into the form you have learned. 

How do you keep your narrative exciting?

There are tricks. Keep your main character relentlessly in pursuit of a Goal. Every chapter, every scene in every chapter, should increase risk for your character and push your character incrementally closer to a point of no return. Second, find a way to keep tension on every page. There is a misconception that tension derives only from plot, from causing the reader to keep wondering what in the world will happen next. That is only one form of tension. Tension also should be situational. Boost the sense of urgency.  Shorten the time line. Make trouble imminent. Do more to destabilize the ground situation. Make it as uncomfortable as possible for your character to stand pat. Tension also derives from contrast.  Place cynical cruelty beside innocent virtue. Place age beside youth. One of the masterpieces of 20th century literature, Lolita, is full of this kind of tension. Humbert Humbert cynically seduces the nymphet, to borrow the narrator’s own expression. There is a long tradition of this in English literature, starting with Richardson’s Pamela and Clarissa. Joyce Carol Oates’s story, “Lovely, Dark, Deep,” in Harper’s November 2013 places a young pretty blond seemingly naïve poet beside an aging corpulent smug even cynical Robert Frost. A contemporary, Frost could dismiss. This honesty and sincerity coming from such youthful loveliness creates a disturbance Frost cannot ignore. Tension also derives from the presence of oppositional characters. Place characters together whose values are so diametrically opposed that even when they attempt to cooperate it doesn’t end well. I found this particularly useful in Better You Go Home, Chapter Twelve, when my narrator is taken by his translator, Milada, to see the town historian. The historian is a former security apparatchik, and Milada’s father was unjustly imprisoned and tortured in the same prison where this guy worked. When the historian dismisses her father and his ilk as running dogs of the decadent bourgeoisie, you can imagine how Milada erupts. I had no idea this was going to happen when I set out to write this chapter. But when it happened, the story changed. The oppositional nature of my characters became a defining force.

During the process of writing, your chapters will go flat for you.  When this happens, close the file.  Open it again late at night.  It will seem especially dull now. Go to sleep agitated.  Wake up determined to quit writing. You are a failure.  You are dull. You are not worth the cost of ink in your printer. Now you are in the right frame of mind. Open the flat spot. Rough it up.  Add lots of sensory detail. Lots. Linger. Dwell. Slow down. Later, maybe the next day, open this file. Find the excitement in all this new detail. Throw away the boring crap that led up to it. Now write forward from this rough patch.  Surprise yourself. It’s okay.  You don’t need to quit after all. After all, the best writing happens in the rewrite, when you are convinced you are worthless.

Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to right. Can you relate to this?

A blank screen or blank sheet of paper reminds me of my first failed attempt to write a story. Blankness is intimidating, at least for me. So, I write sketches and early drafts on paper on a clipboard, but I only use scratch paper, that is, already used paper. That way I trick myself into believing that it doesn’t matter.  It was throw-away anyway. Once you have a block of writing, the terror goes away.  Now you have something tangible to work with. Same with the screen. Pull up text that you already have in a file. Have that on your screen when you start. Also, I reread and edit and tinker with material from the day before, then I surge forward.  Maybe I push the story ahead by 800 words or so.  Then I go back, look for missing details, improve a few sentences, strengthen a few verbs, just enough so that it doesn’t sound too awful, then I go forward again. This leap-frog process allows me to overcome my fear of the blank page and to have a trail of sentences behind me that isn’t too embarrassing to look at when I reopen the file the nest day. 

How do you celebrate the completion of a book?

I told my wife that when I had a contract for my novel in hand I would shave my mustache.  She and my son reminded me of that promise. But this happened after I had “finished” my manuscript.  I had written furiously on heavy rewrites right up to the point when I hit send (Coffeetown Press wanted an electronic version of the manuscript).  When I hit send, it was early September.  I suddenly felt empty, despairing.  If I didn’t have this book to devote myself to, what else mattered? Sure, there were magazine assignments to keep me busy and UW classes to start preparing for, but it’s not the same.  For months and months I had glued myself to the chair in front of my PC and screen and obsessively dwelled in the world of my novel. Now what? I felt as if I’d been exiled. No, I did not feel like celebrating. I felt like hiding. When the phone call came (some time in the second week of October) saying Coffeetown Press wanted to offer me a contract to publish my novel, then I felt like celebrating. I waited until Thanksgiving then took a really good bottle of wine (and a cigar, but, shhh, don’t breathe a word of this to my son) to Orcas Island with my wife and son and my adult daughter who was visiting form LA where she is in grad school, and there at one of the most lovely spots on earth (if you like a damp, chilly atmosphere) we officially toasted my book, and there for the first time I allowed myself to think, hey, for five minutes I could admit to being happy (like survivors of Eastern bloc horrors, I am suspicious of “happy”). 

What do you love most about the writer’s life?

The writer’s life is something that required a long apprenticeship. In my twenties I worked odd jobs and managed apartment buildings so that I could free up evenings to write. I had the writing fever, and I had books for mentors, but I also knew that I was woefully ignorant about form and structure. I vividly recall looking out the window toward Puget Sound (for two years I managed a building in Seattle’s Pike Place market that afforded a millionaire’s views, so I’d watch long tankers glide in toward the industrial docks and watch ferries lumber out to the islands and watch violent windstorms kick up waves and lash the waterfront) after a session of typing (when everyone else was asleep, and fortunately my immediate neighbors were hard of hearing), and I even realized that it was just that, a session of typing, and I wondered, how does one bridge the gap from sitting here to the fulfillment of desire if I have no notion of the path to the goal?   But I kept at it. When I had my daughter then I got serious.  I had a few stories published in literary magazines and I discovered my first writer’s critique group, and then, and only then, did I begin to feel like I had the rudiments of a writer’s life, but even that paled to going through the MFA program at the UW and winning an award, and seeing a few more stories published.  By then I was divorced and the writer’s life was squeezed around lots of other stress.  I started writing for magazines because I needed to make some money and I started teaching occasionally and I was into that routine before it occurred to me, hey, wait a minute, is this what you imagined when you were staring out at the windy Puget Sound? (It wasn’t.  I had imagined acclaim, speaking engagements, travel, shaking hands with fawning admirers.) Now that my novel is out, I have had a couple young writers independently (they don’t know each other) say to me: hey, what you have, X number of years from now, that’s what I want. This took me aback.  I hadn’t realized that I could say I have a writer’s life. What I didn’t tell them was that even now I could not continue this writer’s life without the very generous support of my wife. (Or my family would be living much like I did when I was in my 20s, minus the Millionaire’s view). 

Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?

Go to: www.scott-driscoll.com or http://scottdriscollblogs.wordpress.com or look me up at www.coffeetownpress.com. 

Where is your book available?

www.coffeetownpress.com or:
Bookstores/Libraries: Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Partners West, Midwest Library Service, Follett Library Resources; eBooks: Overdrive, Kobo and other major retailers; for more information or to order direct, contact info@coffeetownpress.com 

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

This support has been absolutely critical to me so I’d say negotiate. Often the one who is writing is not the one earning the most money for the household, and that often also means they have more childcare duties and less respect for their time. In order to make time for the writing, I feel it is critical to schedule blocks of time, as if it were a job, and to make sure that the spouse understands that this time is inviolable, no different than time at the office. Whether you produce quantities of pages or not is irrelevant.  Sitting at your desk, or wherever you go with your laptop, musing, tinkering, sketching, observing, daydreaming, this is all part of the process. But take time to learn form. Once you learn to write into form, you will have something eventually to show for your time. Also, remind your spouse that devoting this time to writing creates a flow of empathy that benefits all. 

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.”

I would amend what Orwell said. It should read: “Thinking about writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.” The writing is life itself. Anyone who’s written books will tell you they feel more intensely alive when writing than when not. Living in the world of the imagination can be powerfully addictive. Yes, it’s horrible when it doesn’t go well, and yes rejection is painful, but ah, the writing, the passion it arouses, the feelings it conjures, the insights it reveals. Aside from the love of loved ones, what could be better?

 

 

 

 

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ImageIn this, the second book in the Roma Series, the story opens with Alabaster Black (alias Bianca Nerini) returning from Rome to Boston, Massachusetts, leaving behind her lover, Dante, and friends in Rome, Italy.
 
Rendition, her employer, a covert U.S. agency, has persuaded her to infiltrate Nasonia Pharmaceuticals, a drug manufacturing company owned by Cyril Sargent. Nasonia, is working on a revolutionary new drug using insect-based genetics to develop a new cancer-cure and Rendition want to know more.
 
Then, when Farrugia and Gennaro, her friends from the Rome, arrive in Boston for another reason, she discovers that leaving the past behind is not as simple as just getting on a plane; they bring some disturbing news for her, ghosts from the past have resurfaced…
 
I found Wasp’s Nest a compelling reading, action-packed and with intriguing characters. The plot had plenty of twists and turns, some surprising secrets, and it kept me on the edge of my seat, guessing until the very end.
 
Gabriel Valjan includes a tantalising glimpse into Book 3 of the Roma Series, Threading the Needle which I had read first, but I realized that the author created each volume independent of each other.
 
 
Reviewed by Susan Keefe

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9781481761611_COVER_FQA.inddABOUT GOD’S LITTLE INSTRUMENT

This book is about relationship and the joy of loving our Lord because He loves us for who we are not for who we think we should be. This book is inviting you to set aside your bucket lists. The poetry encourages you to slow down and to view God through the eyes of a child. To remember when your only goal in life was to please Him and not the world. Read the poems and lose yourself in the artwork that will take you to heaven and back. This book is meant to be enjoyed by the whole spectrum of life; from the very young right through to the old, ( I should know I’m 61) as you share it with your loved ones. It’s about embracing the little child in us that God so fearfully and wonderfully made. One look at the dynamic illustrations drawn by my niece Danielle Marie Robinson and you will feel inspired to sing praises to the Lord. The poems were written as celebrations of key moments in the authors life that touched her very soul. God never said keep his blessings to yourself so she shares her vision of being God’s little instrument with you. Enjoy and be blessed.

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authorhouse

ABOUT SANDRA C. HALL

She has been working as a legal assistant the past twenty-three years in an extremely busy law office. She is the mother of three adults and grandmother of six wonderful grandchildren, with numbers seven and eight putting in their appearance this summer. The unexpected loss of a younger sibling eleven years ago opened the floodgates of her heart and the pent up poetry about her life just poured out. The onslaught was so intense that she would wake in the middle of the night and have to scribble the words down on a pad by the bed. Unable to contain it she wrote poems on envelopes, scraps of paper even ran down the street one time after a poem about her mother that the wind blew away. Now at this phase in her life her writing is all about her legacy. She wants to leave behind a body of work that will bless her family as well as others for years to come. Most of her poetry is like small prayers of gratitude to God that she prays will be knocking at God’s pearly gates long after she is gone. Her poetry is about the joy of life and how we will never find peace unless we embrace our inner child and go before God’s throne with a contrite heart. She has previously written and self-published two other poetry books; (The Poetic Offerings of a Creatively Frustrated Christian and God Whispers). Currently she is working on a fantasy love story.

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  • This giveaway begins October 21 – November 1.
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Never Giving Up

Like most, I knew about Alzheimer’s disease. It causes old people to forget. When my relationship with this disease began, it highlighted how little I knew. Following my widowed mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, I researched this disease to gain insight about my new role as her caregiver and decision maker. What I learned and experienced during her affliction still left me somewhat unprepared for what was yet to come. Sixteen months following my mother’s diagnosis, my dear wife and best friend was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Though now I was familiar with this silent killer, my wife’s diagnosis set into motion many changes and challenges in our lives. Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every sixty-eight seconds. Currently, Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the top-ten causes of death that is on the increase and has no means of prevention and no possible cure. Given these facts, support for those afflicted relies on increasing levels of caregiving as the disease progresses. Let me explain something about this “old folk’s disease.” Alzheimer’s affects more than just parents and grandparents. It is also the disease of siblings, spouses, and children. Alzheimer’s forces many families to decide between home versus institutional care. An estimated fifteen million caregivers provide some level of care to the Alzheimer’s victims still living at home. No matter what level of care you are providing, the importance of preparation is paramount. Arming yourself with knowledge begins that preparation process. I was unprepared for the roller-coaster ride my life became as the sole caregiver for two Alzheimer’s victims. To meet their varied challenges, I adapted and developed multiple techniques for targeted personalized care. If only I knew then what I know now. By sharing my knowledge and experience, I hope to better prepare you for your caregiving journey.

Purchase your copy:

Trafford Publishing

ABOUT BARRY TUTOR

As a lifetime problem-solver, I faced the challenges of caring for my two AD victims by researching the disease and developing caregiving skills to assure their comfort and care.

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