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Archive for December, 2016

jane-jordanJane was born in England, and grew up exploring the history and culture of London and surrounding counties.  After some time spent in Germany in the 1990’s she immigrated to Detroit, USA, eventually settling in South West Florida. She returned to England after a fifteen-year absence, to spend six years in the South West of England living on Exmoor.  Here, inspired by the atmosphere, beautiful scenery and the ancient history of the place, she began writing.

Jane is a trained horticulturist, and also spent time working and volunteering for Britain’s National Trust at Exmoor’s 1000-year-old Dunster Castle.  Gaining more insight into the history and mysteries surrounding these ancient places, and having always been intrigued by the supernatural, inspiration came for her fourth novel, The Beekeeper’s Daughter, a supernatural thriller.

Jane Returned to Florida in 2013, and lives in Sarasota.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Beekeeper’s Daughter. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

 

A: The Beekeeper’s Daughter is a historical dark romance primarily set in the Victorian Era.  It combines the lives of the cottagers, blacksmiths and wealthy landowners in a story that is full of intrigue.

 

Annabel Taylor is The Beekeeper’s Daughter, she also has the ability to charm bees.  She has grown up on wild Exmoor, which lies in the South West of England.  When she meets Jevan, the blacksmith son, her life dramatically changes, they form an unbreakable bond, until they are forced apart when Jevan leaves for London.  Annabel is heartbroken, and believes her life is over.  By chance she meets Alex, the heir to vast estate lands and the foreboding Gothelstone manor house.

 

Socially they are worlds apart, even though Annabel is inexplicably drawn to him, she feels that Alex’s attention is merely a distraction from her true love.  Alex has other ideas.  When Jevan eventually returns, Annabel realizes just how precarious her situation has become.  When Jevan’s life is threatened, she has to make a heartbreaking choice that could mean Jevan will hate her forever.

 

But darker forces are at play. Alex and Annabel are merely pawns in someone else’s sinister plan.  Annabel must use her inherent ability to stop a diabolical plan coming to fruition, and destroy a powerful witch.

 

Q: What do you think makes a good Dark Romance? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

 

A: I would say three is a limited number, Dark Romance can have so many components to it.

 

cover-artAn important element is the central characters that have a love interest, which is often conflicted, a story that can enter the realm of horror, but still engage the reader.

 

Attention to detail, and dialogue is important.  Characters have to been portrayed as believable, if my characters are in love I want readers to feel that, if they hate each other, then, I want readers to feel the animosity and the conflict.

 

Dark Romance should be about anticipation, longing and hope. Questions should be raised. Are these people good and bad in equal measures?  Are they corrupt?  I like to explore these ideas, and this genre explores a world that is dark and mysterious, but it still has to have an attainable light in that darkness.

 

Dark romance is frequently linked to gothic fiction, and I do enjoy the gothic element.  For me, it’s as much about the mood of a place as the setting, which brings the whole story to life. The atmosphere sets the mood and gives an anchor to the story.  The mood can be anything that inspires your imagination from mist covered moors, a foreboding old house with secret rooms, to the presence of a raven suggesting an omen of bad luck.

 

The supernatural is often associated with dark romance and the classic gothic tale, and by weaving this through a story it gives the writer the potential to send a shiver up their reader’s spine.

 

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

 

A: I had the basic idea.  I wanted to write something of the Victorian period, and I completed a lot of research so that all the historical elements could be accurately portrayed.

 

I had the beginning for a long time, but Jevan’s character would not come until I had the right name for him.  As strange as that sounds, not only do I have to visualize the details, but the name has to be right or I can’t imagine that person, in turn the character then has to live up to the name.

 

There are so many different factors to this book, the love triangle, the bees and Annabel’s supernatural power over them, witchcraft, a Victorian asylum, the moors, and the city of Bath as well as society life, which made it a complex undertaking.

 

I found it useful to write and work to a timeline.  It changed several times, but it helped me tell the story and know how everything would happen, which was especially important, since the story started centuries before the Victorian times.  Ultimately, knowing the order of things and how they progress helped me see the bigger picture, and where to conclude the book.

 

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

 

A: Annabel is the protagonist in The Beekeepers Daughter.  I knew what I needed to accomplish in the story and for that role, she had to be confident, a little hot headed and unafraid as well as beautiful.  There had to be an underlying darkness to her character, because of her own heritage.  Even though, she is a complex character she was easy to write.

 

I like strong women, and their characters to be of substance.  Annabel had to be somewhat fearless given the adversity she has to conquer, but I do show her vulnerable side. Like many women, when it comes to romance, she still has a profound weakness for the man she loves.

 

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

 

A: Cerberus Saltonstall is the antagonist in The Beekeeper’s Daughter.  He was interesting to develop.  Darker and more wicked characters are complex on so many levels.  I portray him as evil, but evil is a point of view.

 

If Cerberus was asked why he behaves in this manner, he would answer: everything he does is borne out of love for a woman that has died.  The darkness manifests in Cerberus because he cannot accept that fact.  It is clear that he is driven by his own demons and dabbling in the dark arts has caused further corruption. His grasp on reality has become obscure, and part of the thriller of this novel is unravelling Cerberus’s evil plan.

 

I drip feed just enough information throughout the book to let readers realize that he has another agenda, but his scheme does not become clear until the appropriate time

 

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

 

A: I keep paragraphs and chapters relatively short. I don’t pad out my story with useless information, if I write it, then, it’s there for a reason.

 

One of the worst things when reading a novel is to become bored and skip pages. Some writers take two or three pages to write what could of actually be said on a single page, so I try to keep my story moving at a good pace.

 

When I worked with my first editor a few years ago, he cut 10,000 words from my manuscript, and I was horrified.  As a writer you invest so much time and energy into each and every word.  To my mind they were all needed and were all significant.  But that editor taught me so much by explaining why he cut the words.  He made me see how to write the same thing with less words and by doing so, have more impact.  So when I read through the story, I could see how much sharper and polished it had become.

 

The lesson learned was if you can say it in six words, don’t use twenty.

 

Although, there is always an exception to the rule, and some scenes just need a long descriptive, especially if you are trying to portray a place or setting you know your reader will have difficulty imagining. Even so, most everyday things can be simplified.  For example, I may want my reader to know that a character ate a sandwich, but I don’t need to describe the contents in detail, tell them if the bread was white or brown, or how big it was–too much information.

 

I try to write dynamic dialogue and have to immerse myself in the character of the people I am writing about.  One of the best ways to check your writing, is to read aloud to yourself.  Hearing what you have written has a way of telling you when something is not right.

 

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

 

A:  As this book is set on Exmoor, and there is a scene in the city of Bath.  I could draw on actual experience of these places.  I have walked around the city of Bath, and taken inspiration from the famous Georgian architecture.  I studied old pictures to see how it would have been without cars and buses in a time when there were only carriage and horses for transport.  I researched Victorian dress and fashionable clothes ladies used to wear when they walked around the Royal Crescent, or what it was like to be invited to balls or go to take the waters at the famous Pump Room.

 

I have lived and worked on Exmoor, so I know the places I write about well.  Exmoor is a land of extremes it has the highest coastline on the British mainland.  It is dramatically barren with heather covered moorland, and breathtakingly beautiful with deep wooded valleys.  It is a place where artists, writers and poets have been inspired to produce a myriad of work.

 

Gothelstone Manor house was an amalgamation of several different stately homes that I have visited, and the Victorian asylum was constructed from researching several of those harrowing establishments.

 

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

 

A: I knew my theme would be a darkly romantic tale with a mysterious gothic element, there would be supernatural and some horror.  My characters would be complex because of their connections to each other.

 

This theme does occur in my other work, primarily because I have used the moors as a setting before, but also London, because any city has a dark and dangerous aspect.  Scotland too is full of mystery and so I like to draw on all those aspects when I write

 

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

 

A:  Not if it is done correctly. Editing strips away the nonsense, and the repetition.  When you have written 120,000 words it’s hard not to say the same thing twice or even more, so editing highlights these repetitions.

 

Writing a substantial novel, takes a long time.  I don’t believe many authors start at the beginning, work through till the end, and finish.  It is more a matter of going back and revisiting chapters.  Writing a book is mostly about editing and re-editing, until you get it as perfect as you can.

 

I have been writing for long enough now that I can edit my own work, but I would always want a professional editor to look it over, no-one is infallible and I often find that I have misspelt something or my spell checker has changed a word.

 

My current editor did not change my story at all, she only corrected spelling mistakes and some grammar issues.  If you work with a good editor, then, you should be able to see that your editor’s suggestions make your work read better.

 

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

 

A:  1.  The ability to tell a story through written words that makes readers engage with the story concept, so that they become engrossed and don’t want to put the book down.

 

  1. The confidence to believe in your story and the idea’s, however obscure that go along with it. The confidence to put different or unusual things together and still come up a believable and interesting story.

 

I always marry different themes or places together. In my first book, I explored the idea of a vampire existing on Exmoor, I took my reader to London and to Stonehenge, I incorporated a love story and a few paragraphs about the Chinese opium wars and smuggling in the 19th century on the southwest coast of England.

 

In my second novel, I began on Exmoor, and then my readers discovered the hidden underground tunnels in London, then, India at the time of the British Raj, while exploring the roots of Italian witchcraft and the very beginnings of vampirism.  As well as writing about a significant train derailment, and the famous Brookwood cemetery in London.

 

In my third novel, I started in Scotland, and explored clairvoyance and tea leaf reading, the famous Green Lady ghost of Stirling Castle, a London opera house, a ballerina and a gothic stately home with its resident vampire and heartbroken ghost.

 

  1. The persistence to see it through, even when you hit a roadblock and cannot figure a way around it, but you have to keep going. Sooner or later you will know how to overcome the obstacle.  Some chapters are harder to write than others, they may take patience and passion in equal measure to make everything come together

 

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

 

A:  Yes that’s probably true.  I am always learning new things. I constantly research ideas or themes, which can be very time consuming, but the upside is that you find out interesting or obscure facts that the majority of people don’t know about, which makes for interesting conversation pieces at the very least.

 

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

 

A: The internet of course is an inexhaustible supply of research of both fact and fiction, as well as myths and legends from around the world.  I have read dozens of books in my pursuit of research, everything from period costumes to bee-keeping.

 

I don’t visit writing sites, as I believe that every writer is different, what works for one will not work for another.  It’s best just to find your own way of doing things. I am more interested in talking to other authors in person when I get the opportunity.

 

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

 

A: No book or website can tell you how to write.  They can improve your grammar and give you a formula to follow, but writing is so much more than that.

 

The driving force behind every good writer is that they have a story that needs to be told, and they have the passion and perseverance to see it through.

 

I believe that most people are capable of writing a story, but a novel is a completely different undertaking.  It requires a lot of emotional input and hard work to craft a story of 80,000 words or more that is capable of captivating an audience.

 

I also think that too many people write in a genre because of a current bestseller, instead of writing in a genre that they have a true understanding or connection with. The trouble with doing this, is by the time the novel is finished, the publishing industry will have moved on.

 

It’s far better to be true to yourself and to where your personal interests lie. Your writing will be so much better because of it.

 

 

 

 

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Today we celebrate the release of SEALs of Honor: Chase!

This is the next installment in the SEALs of the Honor series.

Everyone has something in their history they’d like to keep buried in the past…

Chase has more than most. And his secrets are about to blow wide open as one really bad part of his past has come looking for him.
Vanessa is all about moving forward in her life and not looking back. There are enough painful memories in her history for a lifetime.
But when she gets embroiled in Chase’s problems, they become her problems too.
Both need to deal with their pasts, because if they don’t, they might no longer have a future.

PURCHASE HERE: AMAZON|B&N|KOBO

 

ABOUT DALE:

 

Dale Mayer is a prolific multi-published writer. She’s best known for her Psychic Vision Series. Besides her romantic suspense/thrillers, Dale also writes paranormal romance and crossover young adult books in different genres.
To go with her fiction, she writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system.
She has recently published her Career Essentials Series . All her books are available in print and digital format.

CONNECT WITH DALE: WEBSITE| FACEBOOK | TWITTER

 

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Inside the Book:

Title: A Honeyed Light
Author: Freddie Milano
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal

Kunal, relative newcomer to the strange town of Harmony, has his hands full preparing for Diwali. That should be enough to keep anyone’s mind pre-occupied, but Kunal can’t really ignore that he’s nearly thirty, single, and still buried in the closet.

Out of town at a gay club one night, he bumps into Oscar, proprietor of Harmony’s only sex shop, and figures his secret is now officially out. What he doesn’t expect is a slow seduction, or to have to decide what it is he really wants in life.

Links:

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

freddie-author-photo
Freddie Milano lives with her partner-in-crime, two adorable and devilish cats, and far more ideas than she really has time to set down on (electronic) paper. She’s been writing since she could hold a pen, though most of the embarrassing stories thankfully never made in onto the internet, and can stay safely buried.
She loves wine, Korean pop music, tea, chocolate, coffee, mythology, and both video and tabletop gaming. An ESFJ surrounded by introverts, Freddie has learned the art of socialization in moderation. Besides, staying in just leaves her more time to write. Find more at freddiemilano.com.

 

 

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Join us for H. Peter Alesso’s CAPTAIN HAWKINS Book Blast today! Please leave a comment to let him know you stopped by!
Title:
Captain Hawkins
Author: H. Peter Alesso
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 207
Genre: Science Fiction
Jamie Hawkins was living on an obscure planet in the twenty third-century when on one fateful night—his life changed forever. His heroic effort to save the lives of innocent women and children, caught in the cross-fire of war,
placed him squarely in the crosshairs of avenging soldiers.
A former marine, Hawkins was stunned when his rescue effort was seen as treachery. Unfairly convicted of treason by a corrupt judge, he was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor on an infamous penal colony.
Once in prison, his courage and perseverance won him the admiration and trust of his fellow convicts. While he was plotting his escape, an enemy attacked the planet–giving this daring warrior his chance. Together with his fellow prisoners, he launched a bold assault and high-jacked an enemy warship.
From then on, the rebel ship Indefatigable, engaged in multiple ship-to-ship and fleet actions until the exploits of Captain Jamie Hawkins became legendary.

PURCHASE:

Amazon

Book Excerpt:

The black of night had fallen, but Jamie Hawkins couldn’t sleep. Though the surgeons had patched up his many wounds, the remorseless pain persisted, even now, months after his medical discharge from the Marines.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Despite his desire to ignore the unwelcomed thundering blows, he answered the door to his country home and found his neighbor, tall scrawny seventeen year old Joshua Morgan, gasping for breath.
“Captain Hawkins, come quick! Come quick, or they’ll all be killed!”
“Who? What are you talking about, Joshua?”
“I’ve just come from the city—it’s a war zone. People are dying,” Joshua’s voice broke. “The hospital is taking care of the wounded and sheltering women and children, but its force shield is buckling.” He finished in a breathless rush, “It’s only a matter of minutes before it fails.”
A troubled frown creased Hawkins’s face. Their mothers had been friends and he had known Joshua since he was born.
Has the boy been drawn into the turmoil? He wondered.
Hawkins had listened to the broadcasts throughout the day, absurd in every detail; demonstrators declared that they were only protesting injustice, while the government insisted the violence was a last resort against rebels.
Which is the greater lie?
I told one of the doctors, I knew someone who could help. My flyer’s right outside, sir. You must come,” begged Joshua, his expressive eyes pleading.
A more kindhearted man, who possessed his insight, might have agonized over what was happening in the capital city, but though Hawkins was not unsympathetic, past adversity had left him more hardboiled and cynical than most.
“That’s not my concern anymore,” he said.
Joshua’s desperate voice squealed, “You’re a veteran. You could make a difference, sir.”
Hawkins put his hand on his hips, threw his head back, and barked, “Ha!”
Then, giving vent to a deep inner passion, he demanded, “What difference can one man make?”
As a Marine, Hawkins had been a hot-blooded warrior, always quick to action, so at this moment of great upheaval, while frenzied violence was playing out in the capital, he surprised himself with his reluctance to act. As he ran his hand over the long jagged scar that marred his chest, one thing was certain, the foolish mutinous passions of the people could only lead to ruin.
But the look that spread across the boy’s face was indescribable—it was as if he had just lost his hero.
“Alright, if you won’t come, at least tell me how to maintain the shield,” said Joshua, showing a daring and persistence beyond his years. “I’ll go back alone, but you must tell me what to do.”
“You have no idea what you’d be getting yourself into. All hell has broken loose. Can’t you see, you can’t contribute anything worthwhile, and most likely something terrible will happen?
“I must go back, my mother is a volunteer at the hospital,” said Joshua. Throwing back his shoulders with a determined jerk of his chin, he challenged Hawkins’s jaded gaze, pleading, “Please. Tell me how to fix the shield.”
Hawkins opened his mouth, but the words froze on his lips. The boy’s courage was a splash of cold water in his face, stinging his sense of honor. It wasn’t in his nature to send this boy to certain deathfor Joshua could never accomplish what had to be donenor it was in his makeup to let innocents be condemned to death with the hospital’s destruction.
A gritty resolve washed over Hawkins. He said, “Let’s go.”
***
Wearing a brown pilot jacket, tanned rawhide trousers with knee-high leather boots, calfskin gloves, and goggles, Hawkins skillfully maneuvered the single seat flyer at breakneck speed. Joshua desperately clung to him to stay on the back of the motorcycle-like vehicle–his arms wrapped tightly around Hawkins’s waist.
What they saw was a madhouse–Newport was ablaze with savage fires that lit up the horizon–scores of them. Just hours before it had been a vibrant city, the capital of Jaxon, renowned for its culture and history, thriving with
business and commerce, home to over a million inhabitants going about their ordinary daily lives, now it was a battlefield.
Though his home was a mere two dozen kilometers outside the city, it was impossible for him to fly directly there. There were several sharp mountain peaks in their way, one tremendous one, flanked by two smaller ones, causing
Hawkins to race the engine of single-seat turbojet to gain altitude. The noise and vibration of the straining sputtering engine roared into the dark rainy night until they were able to ascend to three thousand meters.
When they reached the outskirts of the city, they descended to a hundred meters, but skyscrapers rose in their path causing them to fly directly over a paved highway that connected the planet’s capital to the suburbs. It was swollen with traffic–pedestrians, motorcycles, trucks and cars–choking the road. There were people of every description; disheveled housewives and construction workers, unskilled laborers and local tradesmen, reeking hobos and sharply dressed businessmen, young and old, men and women alike, all seeking safety. Some carried cherished possessions while others brandished antiquated bullet guns, since the government had already confiscated most laser and plasma
weapons. This crowded mass of human unhappiness snaked its way along its ill-chosen path intent on escaping the terrifying violence.
Is Joshua’s mom in that mob? Hawkins wondered.
Those remaining in the city suffered under a shower of high explosive aerial bombs intermixed with artillery shells. With sirens wailing, Hawkins saw bombers overhead dropping death from the skies and heard the repeated firing of artillery in the distance. He couldn’t tell who was doing the shooting.
After his initial reluctance to come, he agonized over whether he would arrive in time. A nearly impenetrable wall of smoke, flame, debris, and explosions added extra heart wrenching minutes to the journey.
Every two minutes a new wave of jets would be overhead and a new barrage of artillery shells would join in. The roaring fires pulsed, like the blind fury of an agitated buzzing beehive. Little fires grew into big ones, right before his eyes. Big ones died down under the valor of firemen, only to break out again a few moments later.
Hawkins saw the panic in the street. The city’s civil-defense included shelters that were now overflowing with refugees. Many had left their homes and defied the flames to run to the bomb shelters distributed throughout the city, only to find there was no room for them. In addition to the death and injury, everywhere there was evidence of psychological trauma–children sat in rubble–their dead parent’s bodies nearby. It was impossible to gauge how much more the citizens could take. Panic and raw nerves grew tighter with each passing minute. The people prayed for a respite–but there was little hope for mercy on this night.
Hawkins heard the crackling of the closest flames and the screams of victims and firemen, alike. Smoke blurred his vision and seared his lungs.
Nevertheless, he kept going with Joshua clinging to his waist.
“Arf! Arf!” choked Joshua.
“Here cover your mouth with this handkerchief,” yelled Hawkins over the uproar around them.
EEEEEEERRRR!!!
The sirens wailed.
Hawkins cursed.
“Oh, no,” said Joshua. “Are we too late?”
“We’re almost there,” said Hawkins.
They heard detonations high in the air. The sky was alive with a deadly dance of destruction.
BOOM!
Then another–
BOOM!
Farther down the street, Hawkins could see soldiers breaking through the defensive ring of some diehard demonstrators, sending them fleeing in every direction. He couldn’t quite make out what the people were yelling, but he could see one oversized banner fall to the ground.
It read, “Beware the Wrath to Come!”

 

 

About the Author

 

As ascientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations, and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of ten books.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS

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Inside the Book:

Title: Prophets of Ghost Ants
Author: Clark Thomas Carlton
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse

Pages: 608

Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Ecopy 
 In a savage landscape where humans have evolved to the size of insects, they cannot hope to dominate. Ceaselessly, humans are stalked by night wasps, lair spiders, and marauder fleas. And just as sinister, men are still med. Corrupt elites ruthlessly enforce a rigid caste system. Duplicitous clergymen and power-mongering royalty wage pointless wars for their own glory. Fantasies of a better life and a better world serve only to torment those who dare to dream.
One so tormented is a half bread slave named Anand, a dung-collecter who has known nothing but squalor and abuse. Anand wants to lead his people against a genocidal army who fight atop fearsome, translucent Ghost Ants. But to his harror, Anand learns this merciless enemy is led by someone from his own family: a religious zealot bent on the conversation of all non-believers… or their extermination.
A mix of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadow of the Apt, Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, this is a powerful new addition to the genre.

PURCHASE HERE: AMAZON

MEET THE AUTHOR

Clark T. Carlton is a journalist, screen and television writer and an award winning playwright and novelist. He was born in the South, grew up in the East, went to school in the North, and lives with his family in the West. As a child he spent hours observing ants and their wars and pondered their similarity to human societies.

Tour Schedule

Tuesday, December 13

Book featured at The Dark Phantom



Thursday, December 15

Book featured at The Review From Here



Friday, December 16

Book featured at The Book Refuge



________



Monday, December 19

Book featured at All Inclusive Retort



Tuesday, December 20

Book featured at Literal Exposure



Wednesday, December 21

Book featured at The Revolving Bookshelf



Thursday, December 22

Book featured at A Title Wave________

Monday, December 26

Book featured at I’m Shelf-ish

Wednesday, December 28

Book featured at The Zen Reader

Thursday, December 29

Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords

Friday, December 30

Book featured at From Paperback to Leatherbound

________

Monday, January 2

Book featured at Lover of Literature

Tuesday, January 3

Book featured at She Writes

Wednesday, January 4

Book featured at Aurora Publicity

Thursday, January 5

Book featured at Inkslinger’s Opus

Friday, January 6

Book featured at Harmonious Publicity

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beethoven-in-love

Title: BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139
Author: Howard Jay Smith
Publisher: SYQ
Pages: 385
Genre: Literary Fiction/Biographical Fiction

At the moment of his death, Ludwig van Beethoven pleads with Providence to grant him a final wish—one day, just a single day of pure joy. But first he must confront the many failings in his life, so the great composer and exceedingly complex man begins an odyssey into the netherworld of his past life led by a spirit guide who certainly seems to be Napoleon, who died six years before. This ghost of the former emperor, whom the historical Beethoven both revered and despised, struggles to compel the composer to confront the ugliness as well as the beauty and accomplishments of his past.

As Beethoven ultimately faces the realities of his just-ended life, we encounter the women who loved and inspired him. In their own voices, we discover their Beethoven—a lover with whom they savor the profound beauty and passion of his creations. And it’s in the arms of his beloveds that he comes to terms with the meaning of his life and experiences the moment of true joy he has always sought.

Purchase Information:

Amazon

First Chapter

Prologue:

The Death of Beethoven

Vienna, 5:00 pm, March 26, 1827

Outside Beethoven’s rooms at the Schwarzspanierhaus, a fresh measure of snow from a late season thunderstorm muffles the chimes of St. Stephens Cathedral as they ring out the hours for the old city.

Ein, Zwei, Drei, Vier… Funf Uhr. Five O’clock.

Beethoven, three months past his fifty-sixth birthday, lies in a coma, as he has now for two nights, his body bound by the betrayal of an illness whose only virtue was that it proved incurable and would, thankfully, be his last. Though his chest muscles and his lungs wrestle like giants against the approaching blackness, his breathing is so labored that the death rattle can be heard over the grumblings of the heavens throughout his apartment.

Muss es sein? Must it be? Ja, es muss sein. Beethoven is dying. From on high, the Gods vent their grief at his imminent passing and hurl a spear of lightening at Vienna.

Their jagged bolt of electricity explodes outside the frost covered windows of the Schwarzspanierhaus with a clap of thunder so violent it startles the composer to consciousness.

Beethoven’s eyes open, glassy, unfocused. He looks upward – only the Gods know what he sees, if anything. He raises his right hand, a hand that has graced a thousand sonatas, and clenches his fist for perhaps the last time. His arm trembles as if railing against the heavens. Tears flood his eyes.

His arm falls back to the bed… His eyelids close… And then he is gone…

Chapter One:

Plaudite, Amici, Comoedia Finite Est

Applaud My Friends, the Comedy is Over

By all accounts my funeral was a grand success.

Despite the snow and slush soaking through their shoes, all Vienna turns out. Twenty thousand mourners or more, accompanied by the Imperial Guards, guide the grieving to my grave. Streets crowded, impassable. My coffin, lined with silk, covered in flowers, rolls through the chaos on a horse drawn bier. Paupers and princes; merchants and mendicants; menials and musicians; clerics and commoners; they all come for this, their Beethoven’s final concerto.

As if they ever owned me or my music…

Plaudite, Amici, Comoedia Finite Est. Applaud my friends, the comedy are over. Inscribed herein rests my final opus.

Ja. Yes, they are all patrons and lovers… Lovers of my music, the very music the gods have forbidden me to hear. How cruel. To suffer my last decade without sound – any sound except the incessant surge of blood pounding through my veins – an eternity inscribed on the calendar pages of my life.

And so it is, these celebrants, anxious for one last encore, crowd the alleys and streets of the Hapsburgs capital in throngs not seen since the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Grande Armee oh so many years ago.

The cortege rolls on past the taverns and cafés of this fair city where dark beer, schnitzel and sausages reward the day. Ah, the saints and sinners of Vienna have always loved a good party, never mind the excuse.

Are they singing? Alle Menschen werden Brüder. All men will become brothers. They must be, yet I hear nothing.

I wonder if she is among them. My muse; my love; my passion; my sacred fire; will she be there to safeguard my voyage through Elysium?

Or is she too denied me as was the sweet sighs of love and the embrace of family stolen by gods capricious and uncaring? Are they so vengeful? So embittered by spite? Like Prometheus, have I dared too close to revelations reserved for them alone?

The clouds grow ever darker, ominous.

Must I embrace death silently ere my last symphony suffuses the stage? Is this my end? To be cast out as by our Creator as history’s cruel joke, a deaf musician? A composer unable to know the vibrancy of his own scores?

Tell me why your Beethoven, your servant whose hearing once surpassed all others in sensitivity and degree, must suffer such humiliation and torment?

Are the crowds laughing? Ja oder nein? Yes or no. I know not. Am I such a failure, such a disgrace to be shoved off the stage without your mercy or compassion?

As surely as the warmth of summer vanishes and the leaves of autumn crumble beneath the crush of winter, has all hope been stolen? Can I escape this fate? What path must I travel? What tasks of redemption are to be mine and mine alone?

Come death; am I to meet your shadow with courage? Must I depart in this winter of anguish before the renewal of spring?

Can I not find release from this cycle of sufferings like a saint or a Hindoo holy man following the dance of Shiva or a Bodhisattva, back bent upon the path of the great Buddha?

The last echoes of joy inside my heart are already fading. Will I never hear or feel those vibrations again? Never? Nein. Forever. Lost for eternity in the fog on the road to Elysium; that is too hard, too harsh.

But surely a loving father must dwell in the starry canopy above. Are you there, oh sweet Isis, my goddess of compassion? Help me, help guide me.

Please Providence; grant me this, my final wish… Grant but one day, just one day, one day of pure joy to your poor Beethoven.

Is this too much to ask before I embrace darkness forever? Oh, to be in her arms once again.

About the Author

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Howard Jay Smith is an award-winning writer from Santa Barbara, California. BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139 is his third book. A former Washington, D.C. Commission for the Arts Fellow, & Bread Loaf Writers Conference Scholar, he taught for many years in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and has lectured nationally. His short stories, articles and photographs have appeared in the Washington Post, Horizon Magazine, the Journal of the Writers Guild of America, the Ojai Quarterly, and numerous literary and trade publications. While an executive at ABC Television, Embassy TV, and Academy Home Entertainment, he worked on numerous film, television, radio, and commercial projects. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Symphony – “The Best Small City Symphony in America” – and is a member of the American Beethoven Society.

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Energize Your Life!

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Energize Your Life!
By: Del Millers, PhD

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Are you suffering from a personal energy crisis?Are you constantly running through your day, feeling chronically exhausted? Are you desperately overcommitted? Do you find yourself sacrificing your health, family time and quality of life just to meet the never-ending demands on your time? Are you exhausted when you go to bed at night and still tired when you awake? If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, then you may be suffering from a personal energy crisis.


Unfortunately, this way of living — and working — not only robs us of our health and puts a strain on time and energy resources, it blocks our access to our most essential sources of energy, leaving us feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally drained.

In his new book, Energize Your Life, Dr. Del shows you simple things you can do everyday to fuel your life and work with positive energy. Drawing from his years of experience consulting with executives, entrepreneurs, small business owners, career changers and self re-inventors, as well as the wealth of new research over the past two decades on positive psychology, employee engagement and play, Dr. Del demonstrates how you can program the brain — and the subconscious — for productive, beneficial action.

Energize Your Life is different from other positive energy books and personal energy management programs. Its unique advantage is that it shows you how to fuel your life and work with positive energy from seven distinct sources.

And why is it important to increase your daily dose of positive energy? Well, several studies have clearly demonstrated that chronic stress and negative energy shuts down the creative problem solving brain, slows your productivity and puts you in fight or flight mode where very little gets done.

Energize Your Life will challenge and inspire you to develop a personal action plan to fuel your life and work with positive energy everyday. Thereby, improving your personal well being, enhancing your work engagement, and helping you feel more alive.

PURCHASE

Amazon / Barnes & Noble

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ABOUT THE AUTHORdel

Dr. Del Millers is the founder of TheBestYouAcademy.com, EnergizedLifeAcademy.com, and author of eight books on nutrition, fitness, and personal growth.

A PhD Nutritionist with a Masters degree in psychology, Dr. Del teaches simple mind-body principles to busy entrepreneurs and professionals to help them energize their lifestyle, improve their personal wellbeing, and enhance their work engagement.

Dr. Del has appeared on FOX Television (Good Day LA), E-Entertainment TV (DR 90210), numerous nationally syndicated radio shows, and in magazines, and newspapers throughout the United States and Australia (LA Sports & Fitness, Australian Ironman, Health & Fitness, Stuff, Fighting Fat and others).

Dr. Del’s greatest passion is sharing what inspires him with others. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and three daughters.

Buy any of Dr. Del’s books and forward your receipt to gifts@delmillers.com for Dr. Del’s special bonuses worth hundreds of dollars. Subscribe to Dr. Del’s weekly podcast at http://www.energizeyourlifepodcast.com

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