Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2013

ABOUT BOUNDLESS

BoundlessTitle: Boundless
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Author: Brad Cotton
Publisher: Prinia Press
Pages: 458
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0991972406
ISBN-13: 978-0991972401

Best friends Duncan and Ray run a successful bookie business in Phoenix. Outgrowing the life they began in college, the late twenty-something pair set out on the road with a plan to never return. Their trip takes them cross-country with eventful stops in Las Vegas, Omaha, and Niagara Falls. Along their journey they meet several colorful characters and even agree to bring a pretty young girl named Ruby along with them for the ride. Landing in Boston to run an errand for an old friend, the travelers begin to lay roots in an attempt to forge for themselves the life they’d always hoped for. Easier said than done. As romances begin to burgeon, and one of their lives is put in danger, the group quickly discovers that where they are may indeed have little effect on who they are.

Purchase 2

amazon2

The First Three Questions Every Author Gets. (And That I Have Trouble Answering)

If and when during conversation it should come up that I write novels, any one of, and sometimes all of, three fundamental questions invariably follow. They seem like simple questions, and it would therefore be assumed that they should beget simple answers. The answers to these seemingly common requests actually cause more trouble for me than I would otherwise like to let on.

I’m going to now attempt to answer these questions as best I can, just for you. My latest work of fiction is called BOUNDLESS (available on Amazon now), so I’m going to answer them in relation to that book. Hope you enjoy.

Question 1:

How long did it take you to write the book?

One of my favorite books on the craft is On Writing, by Stephen King. I’m not a horror/thriller reader, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better book on the subject of writing than this one. In this book, Mr. King suggests that an author should write a minimum of 1000 a day.

I do not subscribe to this decree.

I wrote BOUNDLESS over the span of about 10 months. I wrote voraciously for two months, but then I took a break. I didn’t sit back down to continue for several weeks. When I did, I wrote for about two months more and then I took another break. The next time I sat down to write, months later, I had the rest of the story mapped out in my mind. I wrote again until the first draft was complete.

After a several read-throughs, tweaks, and moments of self-hatred, I was prepared to have others read my manuscript. First, my wife read it and added her two cents. Then, I searched out and found a local editor and shelled out a few bucks to have it professionally edited. By the time I felt the manuscript was ready, a year and a half had passed by since I wrote the first word.

It takes time to write, of course it does; but it also takes time to polish. If you are a first-timer looking for a book deal, be sure your first 10 pages so polished that you can see your reflection in them. Take all the time you need.

Question 2:

Is it hard to get a book published?

This is an excellent question asked by interesting and curious people. My answer: Very much yes, and just a little bit no. Allow me to explain…

For my first book, A Work in Progress, I selected publishers that best suited my writing, my perspective, and my style. Believe it or not, I actually had a feeling about the publisher that eventually signed me based on their website copy. It was irreverent, playful, and somewhat sarcastic – I loved it. After I found this particular publisher I went out and bought a few of their books and read them. I was sure to mention in my query all the similarities between those books and mine. Unless you’re a millionaire, celebrity, or someone from reality TV (yes, there is a difference), getting published for the first time is a real slog.

For BOUNDLESS I took a different tack. I decided to leave my publisher and self-publish instead. Why, you might ask? Several reasons. I wanted to try it, to learn about it, to understand the industry better. For A Work in Progress, I just handed over my manuscript and waited for ARCs to arrive in the mail. This time around, everything was different. However, my answer to the above question remains the same. Self-publishing, like traditional, is mostly difficult, but sometimes not. If you are willing to listen, learn, put in a ton of time, and yes, make mistakes along the way, then in this era of Internet omnipotence, anyone can self-publish a book. Should they? Lord no. Can they? Yes.

There are so many online resources, forums, communities, and sites dedicated to walking you through each step. I utilized these tools myself. But I will say, with the utmost sincerity, the most helpful resource I found during my publishing journey was other authors. The stigma to self-publishing is gone. Reach out to self published authors and they will respond. Have a question about traditional or self-publishing? I’m all ears: brad@bradcotton.com

Question 3:

What is your book about?

This question makes me want to run and hide in a box. It’s not a bad question, and if I wrote about vampires or Transformers or perverted billionaires it might be one to which I could easily respond. That’s not to say that BOUNDLESS is so much more intricate than the topics mentioned above, but only that it deals instead with the real life situations and trials of characters that (hopefully) feel like real people. I therefore find it overtly difficult to describe the book without being too vague, or alternatively, giving it all away!

Here are a few of my stock answers:

Answer 1: It’s about a road trip

Answer 2: It’s about starting life from scratch

Answer 3: It’s about money, gambling, travel, lies, secrets, sex, death, God, self-discovery, friendship, love, romance, and whether or not you can escape your true nature.

Answer 4: …It’s hard to describe. (This, you will agree, is the worst response of them all.)

 

A Better Answer: BOUNDLESS is partly a road trip story, but it is also about what happens when the road trip ends. Can you pick up, take off, and start life over again? Can you become someone new or will your true self break through? Best friends Duncan and Ray leave Phoenix and head east. They eventually land in Boston and try to answer these questions. Along their trip they learn about each other and themselves, and about the young girl they agree to bring with them for the ride. When they finally stop and begin to lay roots, they find success, and trouble. Love, money, rivalry, and ego all play a part in what will become their new legacy — if, of course, their past doesn’t come back around and change everything.

 

So there you have it. If you’re a writer, you’ll recognize these three questions. If you’re a reader, I’ve just robbed you of a conversation should we one day meet. No problem, if it ever happens we can talk about you instead.

ABOUT BRAD COTTON

Brad CottonBorn and raised in Toronto, Brad has been writing professionally for over a decade. An average guitarist, a sub-par painter, and a horrible juggler of anything larger than a tangerine, he is currently married to a woman, but does not have a cat, a drum set or any children.

You can visit Brad’s website at bradcotton.com, and also find him on Facebook, and Twitter @bradcott0n.

socialize

Twitter

facebook

Goodreads

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The Seacrest 3D Image Of CoverBook description…

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Finn McGraw disagrees.

He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him, just before being sent to boarding school. Finn may have moved on with his life, but he’s never forgotten her.

Now, ten years later, he’s got more than his lost love to worry about. A horrific accident turns his life upside down, resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family at the same time it takes the lives of the few people he has left.

Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt.

And on top of that, the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own. But the closer he gets, the harder she pushes him away.

The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.

My thoughts…

This book was such a pleasant surprise. I had read some of this author’s well-written mysteries in the past, but I was sceptical about him pulling off a love story. Was I wrong!

The Seacrest is a fabulous read! Lazar’s voice is honest and intimate, emotional without being melodramatic. His style is fresh and engaging. This story is a wonderful portrait of a young man who falls in love and never gives up in spite of all the barriers and tragedies that destiny brings his way. The characters are genuine and excellently drawn; the family dynamics poignant and compelling.

Themes of love, forgiveness, and redemption further add insight to this fabulous tale. If you love the work of Richard Paul Evans and Nicholas Sparks, you’ll love the work of Aaron Lazar. Highly recommended!

PURCHASE ON AMAZON

Read Full Post »

ABOUT THE ADVENTURES OF RUPERT STARBRIGHT BOOK 3: THE GHOST OF WINTER JOY

Title: The Adventures of Rupert Starbright Book 3: The Ghost of Winter Joy
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Author: Michael DiCerto
Publisher: Zumaya Publications
Language: English

Strange creatures begin to appear in the normally dull Graysland after Rupert Starbright digs up a mysterious bell in his backyard. Rupert sets off on his latest adventure to discover the secret of a mysterious haunted mansion and its creepy occupant and the connection to the old holiday called Winter Joy.

 

Smile When You Write That

 

By Mike DiCerto

 

There is an old writers cliché that has always annoyed me. It goes something like this. “I hate to write but I am glad to have written.” This was apparently a quote of Dorothy Parker­–bright and witty woman (and founding member of the famed Algonquin Round Table) but not exactly the poster child for giddy backflips across fields of daisies. She had serious alcohol issues and attempted suicide a couple of times. So whether it was her wise-cracking, cynical self or this was truly how she felt about putting pen to paper we can give her a pass at not enjoying one of life’s greatest pleasures.

 

Another cliché is “I do not write because I want to. I write because I have to.” Once again, whoever is the originator of this quote is employing the great passive aggressive martyred artist tact.

 

Here is my theory: writers write because we are egomaniacs who truly feel our every clever turn of phrase is destined for the permanency of a stone tablet. Every thought we have, every character we develop and every plot twisted has been beamed into our souls directly from the great cosmic linguistic candy factory. We know that we have been chosen by the spirits of our ancient elders who sat around campfires, their fading memories victims of stone age senility, hoping and praying that a writing implement would soon be invented.

 

Ok. Now that is more like it. Honesty at last! I can live with that as long as we all admit one thing: writing is fun. I love to write. I am glad I have written, am writing and will write. I both want to and need to do it. And yes, I think my words should be quoted by presidents, future philosophers of in the very least fortune cookies. It’s not a crime to suffer delusions of grandeur if it keeps the pencil stroking or the keyboard clicking. Why else would I get up early and write for a couple of hours before heading off to my full time day job? Because it is such a miserable experience? Because I am some sick and twisted masochistic wordsmith who secretly desires to be whipped by torn and braided pages of a Webster? No. I love it. I revel in it and I get a sort of high doing it. It is ok to smile when you re-read your own words. It is ok to drop the cynical artist mask and take utter joy from the practice. Joseph Campbell said to “follow your bliss”. When I follow my bliss I often find my self on paths winding through forests of prose. If I wanted to be miserable and bored I would have taken up accounting or producing reality TV.

 

There were times in grade school that I was bored with the subject at hand. I wrote tons of stories in grammar school, my notebook hidden under my math or history book. Why? Because if was fun. (Come on fellow writers say it with me! “WRITING IS FUN!”) My mind would drift from the notes scribbled on the blackboard–the teacher’s voice morphing into nonsensical dribble like an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon. On one mid-winter day, as I sat hunched over my notebook deep in whatever pre-teen fantasy I was creating I looked up to find dozens of eyes on me–two of them my teachers. He lifted the history book I was using to cover my stealthy, literary attempts. What unfolded was right out of a Pink Floyd song.

 

“So, Michael is writing the Great American novel!”

 

The class erupted in laughter. Red faced I glanced around the room. The jerks of the class were laughing. I tried to babble an excuse but really had nothing to say. The genius went on: So Michael will be the next great American novelist! Hey everybody! We have a future celebrity in our class!

 

I could only sit there and take it. For a couple of days I was called “The Great American author” by some of the future brain surgeons of the class. I began to wear it like a badge of honor. Hey–I was having fun while everyone else was battling heavy eyelids from this twit’s dull dissertation on fractions or whatever he was going on about.

 

That incident empowered me. I realized then and there I would always write and one day, perhaps, I would write the great American novel. My first published novel was Milky Way Marmalade (Zumaya Publications). A hilarious space romp where rock & roll saves the Universe. It was an utter joy to write and, people tell me, to read. The folks who reviewed it loved it and it won the Dream Realm Award for Best Science Fiction. (Not the Hugo but hey, it was my first win!)

 

I then decided my next book would be for a younger audience. It had to be fun. It had to be heartfelt and it had to say something non-cynical about existence. I wrote THE DOOR TO FAR-MYST (Zumaya Thresholds) the first of my new series: The Adventures of Rupert Starbright. As I look at its gorgeous cover done by eight-time Hugo winner Brad Foster I am reminded how much fun it was to write. And when flip through it or read excerpts on my Kindle I smile. I am now excited that the third book of the Rupert Starbright series is coming out! It is called THE GHOST OF WINTER JOY and yes, it makes me smile.

 

Why do I smile?

 

Because it is fun reading and I had fun writing it. I enjoyed every moment I sat staring at the screen struggling for the next word. Fun. Writing. Imagine that!

 

So my fellow writers I implore you- do not get caught up in some cynical need to be cool by downplaying joy. Joy is what makes life worth living. And it is contagious. We, as novelists, hold the power to spread joy. If there is one thing the world needs it is a giant, humongous epidemic of happiness.

 

ABOUT MICHAEL DICERTO

SONY DSCA filmmaker and writer since childhood, Mike has directed numerous shorts, music videos, documentaries, promotional videos and two feature films (NO EXIT and TRIPTOSANE). His first novel, Milky Way Marmalade received rave reviews and was the winner of the 2003 Dream Realm Award.

He is very excited about the release of the THIRD book of his exciting new kid-lit series, THE ADVENTURES OF RUPERT STARBRIGHT: THE GHOST OF WINTER JOY.

Mike, a certified Yoga instructor, has many interests including gardening (loves growing chili peppers in his rooftop garden), playing guitar, cats (long-time volunteer at NYC’s Ollie’s Place Adoption Center), really good and really bad movies and 70s TV as well all kinds of geeky stuff. He is a dedicated MST3K fanatic. He thinks of music as his religion—especially Classic Rock.

He lives quite contently in a NYC apartment with his wife and soul mate, Suzy and their rescued kitties, Cosmo and Rupert. You can visit Mike’s website at www.mikedicerto.com

WATCH THIS!

Read Full Post »

The-Kochia-Chronicles-204x300

 

Kochia, a sleepy community on the shores of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya, is caught in the turmoil among traditional ways of life, excitement brought about by development projects and the throes of relentless globalization. Cellphones are spreading HIV and funerals are killing people. Cows are drowning in enormous holes dug by white people. Girls are dropping out of school and children are being rented to orphanages. Crusades and miracle services are blurring the lines between religion and crime. Along with the rapidly declining fish population in the lake, the time to ‘teach people how to fish’ has passed. It is time for direct and decisive action. Obongo, Okello, Sister Phoebe and friends unravel the complexities of community challenges and design practical solutions to address them. From cardboard coffins to toothbrush currencies and professional praising services, the solutions are simple, frugal and ingenious. The Kochia Chronicles take readers headlong into the lives and adventures of people in this quintessential African village as they usher in an era of design, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Kochia Chronicles owe their genesis to the author’s experiences in conducting research and advancing technology-based social ventures in East Africa over the past decade. They draw heavily from the vast literature on development studies and the work of several innovators and entrepreneurs. The stories weave a compelling web of concepts, approaches, facts, statistics, norms, musings, emotions…and full-page illustrations to help readers empathize with the people, their context, and their choices. The Kochia Chronicles are fictitious narratives that bring to life the paradoxical simplicity and complexity of development challenges with the objective of informing and inspiring innovation that leads to the self-determined improvement of lives and livelihoods.

The Story Behind “The Kochia Chronicles”

Over the last decade, I have led poverty alleviation and sustainable development projects in Kenya, Tanzania, India, China and other countries. These projects range from telemedicine systems and ruggedized biomedical devices to low-cost greenhouses, solar food dryers and rainwater harvesting systems. Between the humble successes and the countless failures, I have gained a good understanding of the simplicity and complexity of challenges faced by these resource-constrained communities.

Every time I return home from fieldwork, my family and friends, my students’ parents, other faculty, and community members ask me about the projects. As I start explaining how our rural health or greenhouse businesses work, they quickly jump in, “That’s wonderful! Instead of giving them a fish, you are teaching them how to fish.” While I politely smile and acknowledge their Eureka moment, that proverb never fails to makes me cringe.

How do I tell them that Kenyans are expert fishermen, having honed their skills over millennia. In just a few minutes, they can return with a fresh Tilapia, or even a Nile Perch. The literacy rate in Kenya is 87% and most people speak English. Almost everyone has access to a cellphone and broadband internet is available across the entire country. And yet, Kenya is amongst the poorest countries in the world with access to food, safe water, sanitation, and primary healthcare a distant dream for millions of people.

The popular image of Africa, and one that is reinforced by media outlets, is based on stereotypes of endemic violence, corruption, disease and starvation. I wanted to correct this negative and oversimplified perspective. I wanted to educate readers about “how things work” in one little corner of Africa and showcase the people’s ingenuity, innovation and resilience. So I integrated my personal experiences with scientific research, statistics, norms, approaches and emotions to weave a series of short stories called The Kochia Chronicles. I conducted research specifically for this book over a three-year period and spent a year writing it. Several translators helped me navigate the context and an amazing sketch artist brought the stories to life through a series of 27 sketches.

The Kochia Chronicles offer readers a glimpse of life, problems and innovations in developing communities in the backdrop of the rapidly evolving political, social, economic, technological and global context. The stories delve into a wide range of issues including the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the schooling system, traditional alcohols, gender issues, counterfeit electronics, and the inner workings of the orphanage business. And yes, one story discusses exactly why the “teach a man to fish” adage is actually impractical in many parts of the world where highly-skilled fishermen cannot access the millions of fish in their vicinity due to a variety of cultural, economic or political reasons. So, come and join Obongo, Okello, Sister Phoebe and friends as they unravel the complexities of community challenges and design practical solutions to address them.

ABOUT KHANJAN MEHTA

Khanjan-Mehta-214x300Khanjan Mehta is the Founding Director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Program at Penn State. The HESE program challenges students and faculty from across campus to break down disciplinary barriers and truly collaborate to develop technology-based solutions to address compelling problems facing resource-constrained communities. The objective is to develop transformative social innovations and scalable business models to transform these technology solutions into sustainable and scalable ventures that enable and accelerate positive social change. Mehta has led technology-based social ventures in Kenya, Tanzania, India, China and other countries. These ventures range from telemedicine systems and ruggedized biomedical devices to low-cost greenhouses, solar food dryers, cell phone-based social networking systems, and knowledge sharing platforms for self-employed women.

Mehta’s research interests encompass affordable design; systems thinking; social entrepreneurship pedagogy; agricultural technologies and food value chains (FVCs); global health and telemedicine systems; cellphones, social networks and trust; indigenous knowledge systems; development ethics and grassroots diplomacy; women in engineering and entrepreneurship; and informal lending systems for micro-enterprises. The objective of these research endeavors is to democratize knowledge and mainstream HESE as a valid and rigorous area of learning, research, and engagement. He has published over 50 journal articles and refereed conference proceedings with a similar number in the pipeline.

Mehta has served on several university-wide and international committees and taskforces. He has delivered invited talks and keynote speeches on technology innovation, social entrepreneurship, and global sustainability at several universities and international conferences. The HESE program was the recipient of the 2013 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award (Northeast Region) from APLU, 2011 Outstanding Specialty Entrepreneurship Program Award from the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) and was named by Popular Mechanics as one of thirty “Awesome College Labs” across America. While these are good accolades, Mehta’s primary focus is on the HESE ventures that his students are striving to build up to multi-million smile enterprises.

http://www.personal.psu.edu/krm209/blogs/home/kochia-chronicles.html

amazon gift card

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash!

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 Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins October 15 – November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Saturday November 30, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read Full Post »

 

Crumbs-Arent-Enough-194x300ABOUT CRUMBS AREN’T ENOUGH

With $80,000 in student debt, an alter ego named Crazy Charlie, and more than her fair share of hang-ups, Charlie Bennett is on a mission: a mission to feel better about herself.

By all accounts this shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, Charlie has graduated from the best universities, has good friends to keep her sane, and an impressive resume to boot. But her poor choices in men (and therapists) have left Charlie feeling fat, fretful, and fed up. She knows something has to change–she’s just not sure what.

When the elevator doors open and Jack Hudson appears with his perfect smile and perfect teeth, Charlie thinks she’s found her answer. A Taye Diggs lookalike who sees through Charlie’s imperfections, Jack could be The One–and not just because he can make strawberry shortcake from scratch. But as their relationship develops without any sign of a commitment, Charlie is left grabbing for crumbs yet again.

Raquel-Whiting-Gilmer-201x300ABOUT RAQUEL WHITING GILMER

Hi, my name is Raquel Whiting Gilmer and I am a wife, daughter, aspiring mother (I don’t have any kids yet but I want them.), sister, friend, small group leader, lawyer, entrepreneur, confidant, advisor, blogger, twitter attempter, soon to be published author, and accepter of crumbs. Well, a recovering crumbs accepter. What’s a crumb accepter? Is it as bad as it sounds? It’s bad, but it’s preventable and curable.

Freedictionary.com defines a crumb as a small fragment, scrap, or portion. And it defines accepter as one who accepts. So a crumbs accepter is one who accepts small scraps. No bueno, right? How did I get like this? Well, I think my low self-esteem was the root cause of it. And I’ve learned that when your self-esteem is bad then you will accept anything including crumbs in all areas of your life. BTW, my biggest crumbs area was definitely my relationships with men.

Things are different now and I have committed myself to Live Crumbs Free. Live crumbs free? Yes, I am committed to not accepting crumbs in any area of my life. But to get to this point, I had to do some work. I first had to work on my self-esteem. And after lots of therapy I got to a place where not only did I have high self-esteem but I started a website, http://www.perfectlyme.com, and a girls’ program, Perfectly Me Girls to encourage other women and girls to embrace and love who they are and not judge themselves by the world’s standards. Our motto is I’m not perfect, I’m just Perfectly Me.

Once my self-esteem was on the rise, I could start to look at the crumbs in my life. And I knew I had to deal with my personal crumbs and I’m happy to report that after many failed relationships and mounds of crumbs, I met the love of my life and married him. Yay!!! I have the full meal and then some now and it has changed my life. I want everyone to have that full meal and I know how bad the crumbs are so I’ve written my first novel about a woman struggling with relationships who finally figures out that Crumbs Aren’t Enough. I hope you will read my blog at http://www.raquelwhiting.com, check out my novel, and follow me on twitter, @perfectlyraquel, as I dole out advice and wisdom (my limited wisdom) on keeping your self-esteem high and getting rid of the crumbs.

 

http://www.raquelwhiting.com/

Twitter

facebook

WATCH THE TRAILER!

Pump Up Your Book and Raquel Whiting Gilmer are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries.

This promotion will run from September 2 – November 29. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on November 30, 2013.

Each blogger who participates in the Crumbs Aren’t Enough virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win.

Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour.

If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at)gmail.com.  What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read Full Post »

Christmas is in the Air Anthology 2

This is the second Christmas romance anthology from Books to Go Now that I have read this month. I loved the first one,Christmas Romance, and this the second one didn’t disappoint. Four talented romance authors, four sweet stories that will warm your heart this holiday season. And just like in the first one, there are dogs in this one, too!

In “Red Soles at Night Christmas Delight,” by Cary Morgan Frates, Audrey Wells is out of her wits when a dog jumps on to the deck of her boat and in the process throws her super expensive Louboutin shoes into the lake. The dog’s handsome owner has no choice but to dive into the freezing cold water to rescue them. Of course, Audrey ends up making sure he doesn’t get pneumonia. In a turn of fate, they end up spending Christmas Day together. A humorous and sexy story.

In “Yuletide Bride,” by Danielle Lee Zwissler, reporter Mary Simms is out on a mission. She wants to prove that the town’s Magic of Christmas Festival, where perfect couples are “matched” for life, is a sham. Will she have the courage to uncover the truth and destroy people’s belief in the tradition, even if it means destroying the happiness of some of the old couples involved? And what about James, the handsome lawyer who asks her not to go ahead with her story, and for whom she’s developing some serious feelings? Will Mary learn to have faith? An original, delightful story with a touch of mystery.

In “Christmas Gift that Keeps Wagging,” by Jennifer Conner, we meet Julian Barrows, a single dad with a kindergarten son who suffers from seizures; and Hannah, the beautiful trainer who specializes in seizure-detecting dogs. Their paths touch when Julian tries to get her dog for his son. The problem is, it’s incredibly expensive. Fate has other plans, and the magic of Christmas works its way into their lives…A heart-warming story with an ending that will pull at your heart strings.

The last story is “One Horse Open Sleigh Race,” by Karen Hall, where we’re transported to 1819 London, and where, after a most unexpected encounter, a wealthy earl and the feisty twin of the new clergyman find true love thanks to a Christmas sleigh race and an adorable “match-making” Scottie. Lovers of historical romance will relish this one.

This anthology has a tantalizing, charming cover. That’s the first thing that pulled me to the book, and it adequately illustrates the inside content. The four stories in this anthology are all about strong yet vulnerable heroines and sensitive, yet forceful heroes; about the spirit of the Christmas season and the magical effect it can sometimes have on people; about the hope and faith for true love and the attainment of that love.

Through the authors’ imaginations, I was transported to different places and times, relishing the characters’ fictional worlds and predicaments. I also love how the authors incorporate humor into their stories, and how the dogs play their important roles. Christmas Is in the Air is an upbeat, thoroughly enjoyable read, and one I’m sure readers of sweet romance stories will enjoy.

Find out more on Books to Go Now and  Amazon.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics Magazine. 

Read Full Post »

ImageThis story begins in Arkansas with the nine-year-old Michael, and his younger brother, abandoned by their father, living with their strict grandmother who regularly beats them. The family attend church regularly, he discovers at a young age, he has a gift for playing the organ and it is the beginning of a lifelong love of music.
 
In 1969,after working hard in the cotton fields, at eighteen he finally ‘escapes’ to live with relatives in Kansas City. Moving to the big city has a profound effect on the young man from the Deep South, especially at such a time of change, the age of drugs, sex and rock and roll had definitely arrived.
 
The story, which follows, is of one man’s journey, his marriage, fatherhood, hopes, dreams and foibles’. It is frank and honest, brutally so sometimes. He openly talks about his relationship with his father, the driving forces in his life and the leaps of faith, which have made him into the man he is today. Throughout, this book runs a vein of the author’s deep religious belief and his faith in God, the importance of his church and love of music, which has sustained him through times of deep despair.
 
I have always loved reading memoirs, catching a glimpse into peoples’ lives and discovering the experiences, which have made them the person they are today. This is a very honestly written book, interesting and thought provoking, the journey of a young boy from the Deep South who ends up a father and grandfather living in New York, and all the bits in-between. 
 
Reviewed by Susan Keefe 

Available from: 

Amazon: 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: