Reviews, Interviews, New Releases
Vol 5 Issue 10
Sweet, Fun-Loving Romance by
turn the page c
in this issue Articles
Characters are the Beating Heart of a Good Story by Barefoot Writing Academy ... Page 18 Author Interviews Sci-Fi Author Alan Joshua . . . Page 16
On The Cover ...
Darlene Panzera author of HER WEEKEND WRANGLER Interview on Page 3
Young Adult Shannon’s Space . . . Page 4 Romance Jackie’s Jargon . . . Page 13
Variety The Eclectic Express . . . page 20
YA Horror Author Michael J. Bowler . . . Page 11
Mystery Barefoot Reviews . . . Page 6
GLBT Ace Katzenbooks . . . Page 14
Mystery, Historical Author Reavis Z. Wortham . . . Page 8
New Releases Page 10, 15, 19
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 2
An interview with DARLENE PANZERA
Darlene Panzera is a multi-published author of sweet, fun-loving romance. Her career launched with THE BET, included in bestselling author Debbie Macomber's FAMILY AFFAIR. Her newest 3-book series, MONTANA HEARTS, debuts October 2015 from Avon Impulse, a division of HarperCollins. Darlene lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three kids and says, "I love writing stories that inspire people to laugh, value relationships, and pursue their dreams."
Tell us about your new release. I write sweet, fun-loving romance. In MONTANA HEARTS: Her Weekend Wrangler, three adult siblings are drawn back to their family's guest ranch after their father is injured. Out of loyalty to their mother and beloved grandma, and also because their time away hasn't been as rewarding as they'd hoped, Bree, Luke, and Delaney Collins must put aside past grievances and work together to salvage the home they had once been so eager to leave behind. Bree finds she must also set aside her differences with the handsome cowboy, Ryan Tanner, and convince him to lead the guests on mini roundups. But can she trust him with her heart? What led you to write this book? Before writing THE CUPCAKE DIARIES series, I had written a book about a horse ranch titled, BET YOU'LL MARRY ME. I really wanted to get back to writing about a ranch with horses because I love the rustic atmosphere and love horses. (I have a black and white paint named J-R.) So I sat down and sketched out a three book proposal for the Montana Hearts series with each title focusing on one of the three siblings.
Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book? I do! My husband and daughter accompanied me on a road trip to Bozeman, Montana where I attended a writer's conference that took us on different field trips around the area. We visited the historic Sacajawea Hotel, the local air and rescue helicopter team, and a cowboy rodeo where they shot salt pellets from their guns to pop balloons on poles. We also hiked up to the big white 'M' on the hillside at the crack of dawn and visited the nearby Three Forks Saddlery where I bought a new saddle pad. In fact, I base my fictional two block town of Fox Creek in Montana Hearts on the town of Three Forks because I fell in love with the area. Which is more important characters or setting? Definitely the characters. My stories focus on relationships, not only between the hero and heroine, but between all of the other people they come into contact as well.
Do you people watch for character inspiration? Yes, guilty! I was in a restaurant the other day and couldn't help but overhear a guy telling a girl at the table next to me,
, "You're making a bigger deal out of this than it is." I saw her hurt expression and my heart went out to her as I realized what was really going on. The guy was being insensitive and wasn't recognizing her emotions and the fact it was a big deal to her. He proceeded to ignore her and they ate the rest of the meal in silence.
What do you do when you are not writing? I love spending time with my family, hanging out at the barn with my horse J-R, rooting for the Seattle Seahawks, crafts, photography, camping, hiking, skiing, and swimming at the lake. I'm also a big fan of taking off on spontaneous day trips to the beach or up into the mountains. I gain some of my most creative ideas while on these trips. Do you have a reoccurring theme to your books? I love underdogs who find the resolve they need to persevere. I also write about families and mending relationships. I tell people, "I love writing stories that inspire people to laugh, value relationships, and pursue their dreams." Whatâ€™s next for you? MONTANA HEARTS: Sweet Talkin' Cowboy releases December 15th 2015, and Book 3 in the series releases May of 2016.
Would you share an excerpt from your book? Bree stayed a few more minutes to watch the couples sway in time to the music, then spun around to search for the three CEO's and collided straight into a hard, chiseled chest. A soothing warmth spread over her entire body as she glanced up into Ryan's handsome face and gasped. "You're here." "I wouldn't miss it." She leaned to the side and glanced at the three men behind him. "And you brought your brothers!" "Yeah, they're the reason I'm late. They didn't want to come but I knew how much it meant to you, and why," he said, giving her a mischievous grin. "So I had to negotiate a deal to get them here." Bree smiled because of the way his mouth twitched when he grinned, because of the excitement in his eyes when he looked at her, and because of the way his dark navy blue dress shirt and jeans clung to his splendid physique. Whoa, girl! Remember to keep it casual. Recollecting her thoughts, she met his gaze and asked, Continued on next page
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Darlene Panzera (Continued)
"What kind of deal?" Ryan placed a hand on either side of her waist, his touch firm and...pleasantly possessive. "I had to trade them my earnings from working your ranch so they can buy a set of new tires for their quad." He did that for her? "Which means," he continued, flashing her another pulse-kicking grin, "I'm a little short on money and I'd be willing to be your weekend wrangler for the rest of the summer, if you'll have me." Stunned, Bree sucked in her breath and stared at him, unable to speak, unable to process exactly what this would mean for her family, unable to think of anything except that Ryan Tanner was absolutely, undeniably, the very, very best! With a little hop, she squealed, unable to hold back her delight, and with her heart taking the lead, she impulsively flung her arms around his neck and...kissed him.
MONTANA HEARTS: HER WEEKEND WRANGLER
Darlene Panzera Sweet Contemporary Romance
Released October 6th 2015 in ebook
YA Reviews by Shannon Kennedy As fall approaches the days grow shorter and sometimes rainy which makes it a perfect time to settle down with a cup of coffee and a new book to read. Of course, then there is the age old question – so little time and so many novels – how can I choose? I always say that I’ll opt for authors I know first, but then I frequently find a new writer to add to my list of authors I love. That means I will definitely be looking up the next book these folks write or in some cases, all the ones they’ve already written. Enjoy and Happy Halloween! Ooh, now I get to eat the candy – I’m settled in for a reading good time! PRETENDING TO DANCE by Diane Chamberlain St. Martins’ Press - October 2015 5 Stars
Blurb: Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family--the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim
the life she really wants?
Review: Normally I review Young Adult and New Adult novels, so this book came as a bit of a surprise. It probably won’t interest many young tweens or teens, but older ones should enjoy this story of Molly Arnette, a woman in the midst of an adoption crisis. Successful lawyers, she and her husband really want a baby of their own and because of health reasons, adoption is their only option. However, Molly has secrets – ones that she’s hidden from everyone for more than twenty years and as everyone knows, eventually the ‘truth will out!’ even if Molly prefers to keep her past hidden. Much of the story is told from the viewpoint of 14-year-old Molly which may make it seem as if it belongs in the young adult genre. Yet, there are just as many adult themes and a mystery that only the adult Molly can solve. The chapters flip back and forth between these two aspects of the same character, but the transitions are flawless. Some writers would have trouble detailing the concerns of a teen, then doing the switch to adulthood, but Ms. Chamberlain pulls this off beautifully. As a teen, Molly faces problems with her parents – all three of them. Nora, the adoptive mother who raises her, Amalia, the bio-mom who lives close by and Graham, the handicapped father who not only loves all the women in his life, but also manages to sustain fairly positive relationships with them. Suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, Graham has been forced by the limitations of his disease to shut down most of his therapy practice where he uses what he calls ‘Pretend Continued on next page
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 4
Shannon’s Space (Continued)
Therapy’ or Cognitive Behavioral Self-Intervention to help kids and adults. He says, “If you pretend you’re the sort of person you want to be, you will eventually become that person.” During this last summer that Molly recalls as the ‘worst of her life’ – gotta love that teen drama – he dictates his third book so she can scribe it for him. He also wants her to come with him on the book tour for his second book, the one about ‘Pretend Therapy’ for kids. Graham’s theory that ‘pretense’ can help solve problems strongly influences Molly’s life. She wants desperately to believe his health can improve, although he tells her that isn’t possible.
The characters are extremely well-drawn to the point that it became difficult to remember they were fictional. It seemed as if it would be perfectly natural to meet them in a restaurant or on the street. The setting, whether it’s San Diego, California or Morrison Ridge, North Carolina evokes strong emotions from Molly and she shares those with the reader. Molly provides wonderful descriptions and realistic dialogue as a teen and an adult add to the story. Her husband, Aidan provides amazing support as well as love, empathy and understanding for the grown Molly. He seems a bit too idealistic at times, yet this is a minor flaw in such a wonderful book. Most readers would have accepted it if he occasionally lost patience, yet women tend to fall in love with men like their fathers and Molly chose the perfect mate for herself. Her relationship with Aidan is never in jeopardy, but she needs to face the mysteries of the past in order to have a secure, loving future and that’s what I wanted for her.
The strong writing in the story kept me enthralled and I ended up rooting for Molly throughout the entire book, even if there were times when I also wanted to shake her out of a ‘dream’ state. While PRETENDING TO DANCE may not appeal to a younger audience, older readers should love it. Do keep the tissues handy – at times, the powerful writing and heartbreaking themes in this ‘coming of age’ tale may also bring other readers to tears. SHADOWS AT SUNSET by Tonya Royston Black Opal Books August 2015 4 Stars
Blurb: She never thought her ability to communicate with wild animals was anything more than a unique gift. But this gift is tied to a long history of secrets that threaten to shatter her one chance at true love…
Laken Sumner isn’t your average teenager. Ever since she realized that wild animals could hear her thoughts, she’s spent more time in the woods with them than with other children. Even her wolf is a better friend to her than most people. She trusts him—so much so that she follows him out into the wilderness in the middle of the night to find a lost little boy. But the boy’s disappearance is only the beginning. The one bright spot in her life is Noah Lawson, the handsome new town deputy. Charming and mature, he almost seems too good to be true. Then she meets Xander
Payne, the new boy at school, who seems to know something about her. But how could that be possible? As strange things begin to happen in her sleepy New England town, Laken wonders if Xander has something to do with it. Or is it just a coincidence that danger targets her soon after he arrives? Review: This was a fun read. What’s not to like about 17-year-old Laken Sumner who can literally talk to animals? Granted, it’s only the wild ones but since she lives close to the woods near her New England town, that works for her especially when she and her pet wolf save a missing little boy. This is only the start of an ongoing mystery since her father, the town sheriff soon discovers a murder victim in the forest. Is he the one who abducted the child? If so, why?
This isn’t the only mystery needing to be solved. Noah Lawson is the new deputy in town and Laken finds herself attracted to him, but her pet wolf, Dakota has his suspicions. Since this is the start of a trilogy, readers will have to wait to learn whether Dakota is right or Laken may be in more jeopardy than she thinks. Personally, I’m opting for the wolf’s opinion. Something about this guy just makes me suspicious, but that’s okay since I also have doubts about the other new boy, Xander Payne. Both these fellows pursue Laken pretty much as soon as they meet her and while she’s too young as a high school senior to worry about their motives, I worry enough for both of us. Laken is a very likeable character and as a twist in the plot, she has two best friends, Ethan, the boy next door and Brooke, a bubbly extrovert who knows how to find the best parties around and insists Laken and Ethan join her at these extravaganzas. The three stand by each other, seeming more like siblings than buddies. They are the only ones outside of the family who know the truth about Dakota which seems a bit of a stretch. Since Laken’s uncle brought the wolf pup to his niece, wouldn’t the neighbors have seen it back then? What about the cops who worked with him? Wouldn’t they wonder what happened to the animal or even ask? These questions haven’t been answered yet, but maybe later since this is the first book in a trilogy. Still the characters are always consistent, not an easy skill for a debut writer, but Ms. Royston shines here. In addition, she provides hints that the ensemble cast will also grow and change, something that is especially welcome since much of the story revolves around activities at the high school.
In addition, she effectively builds a beautiful world with an assortment of wild animals that Laken befriends. Descriptions of the setting don’t overshadow the story and while the pacing falters at times, for the most part it will keep readers engaged. For the most part, although this is a paranormal story, it felt realistic with authentic issues, but more eerie events would have added to the tension. Still, it will be hard to wait until 2016 for the next installment.
Shannon lives on the family farm, a riding stable in the Cascade foothills, where she organizes most of the riding programs and teaches horsemanship around her day-job as a substitute teacher. She writes books in her spare time, mainstream western romance as Josie Malone for SirenBookStrand and young adult novels for Black Opal Books and Fire & Ice YA. She’s a member of RWA, YARWA, the Greater Seattle RWA and Evergreen RWA chapters.
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 5
Barefoot Book Reviews UNLEASHED Eileen Brady Poisoned Pen Press Mystery (cozy)
An ideal mystery for animal lovers and mystery devotees. Brady does an excellent job of explaining veterinary terminology in a seamless way and taking readers into the field with her protagonist, Dr. Kate Turner. Dr. Kate is a woman on a mission, a woman who is usually immune to gossip, but not other tongue wagging like her patients share. However, once she discovers that the gossip trail is where the information she needs to solve the crime lurks, she deftly inserts herself into situations that yield the leads she needs. When a young man critically injured in an accident, which left him mentally challenged is accused of a murder, Dr. Kate is determined to prove that her young veterinary worker, Eugene, is innocent. First, she has to prove to the local police that the dead woman was not a suicide, but murder. A discreet intermingling of clues takes some serious thought to unveil. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN Paula Hawkins Thorndike Press Mystery/Thriller
Hawkins has twisted a story scrupulously complex and emotionally intricate. Her protagonist, Rachel, is absorbed with the people she watches from the train as she rides the same commuter train to and from work every day. Similar to Agatha Christie’s foreshadowing devices, Hawkins deftly reveals on the first page a clue of immense proportion. Rachel’s ordinary treks into the city take on a life of their own while Hawkins jars the reader’s sensibilities and ramps the tension. In this taut tale, a world is exposed that is anything but what it seems to Rachel. As with Alice who rambles in Wonderland, readers are drawn into the story with carefully crafted prose that demands they help Rachel to unravel what is happening to her. Rachel’s voyeurism borders on stalking as the book unfolds, but she is convinced she has sensitive information the police need. They are convinced she needs to be put in a psych unit. With this heartrending tale, Hawkins proves that the world is indeed a very small place. THE NATURE OF THE BEAST (Chief Inspector Gamache series) Louise Penny Minotaur Books Mystery
Louise Penny has another winner with a
by Mahala Church
new adventure in Three Pines exposing the secrets the peculiar collection of people who live there have carefully tucked away. Penny’s hidden village seems the idyllic solution for disappearing and enjoying a peaceful existence, but murder explodes their pristine world. The death of a child is always a tragedy, but the death of this child resurrects the horrors of World War II seductively hidden for seventy years and uncovers the devious plans of terrorists. With her consistent aplomb, Penny blends the intimate lives of her characters and the influence of the mysteries surrounding them with historical information, a look at global issues, and the universal human condition. The irascible, Ruth, has a few new tricks up her sleeve, while Gamache struggles with his own demons and decisions about his future. Does he want to return to police work? Is it worth the risks to his family and his own life? Does his country need him? Perhaps, he should look into teaching at university? We will have to wait for the next book to find out. I’ve no doubt those questions will be debated and decisions made with input from his friends and family while solving a new crime. And, of course, this will be done over delicious meals eaten together at the bistro, in the Gamache home with Reine-Maria as chef, and in Clara’s comfortable kitchen. If ever a series of books needed a companion cookbook, it’s Penny’s delicious Gamache series. FALSE TONGUES series) Kate Charles Poisoned Pen Press Mystery
Filled with thrills and chills and things that go bump in the night, Charles brings Callie Anson back to the stage with this smart mystery of lost loves, family sagas, friendships, secrets, and enough mistruths to blur the edges and thwart finding whodunit. While most of Callie’s friends live and breathe Facebook, she chooses to live the quiet life as a deacon in the clergy, ignoring social media. But the frenzy of life has a way of finding her. Running parallel to Callie’s foray into the past at a conference at Archbishop Temple House in Cambridge is the discovery of a murdered boy and the investigation by Detective Inspector Neville Stewart. Cyber-bullying, a horrendous trend, is growing is exposed by Charles, revealing its sad outcomes in this well-written book. She is an expert at traversing multiple storylines, moving gracefully from one to another and back again quickly, keeping the reader on point and not thumbing ahead to see what happens next in one of the storylines. What happens next is only a few pages away, a style I particularly like. Continued on next page
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Barefoot Book Reviews (continued)
OBSESSION FALLS (Virtue Falls series) Christina Dodd St. Martin’s Press Adventure/Mystery/Thriller
Christina Dodd’s heroine, Taylor Summers, is a tough-as-nails assertive woman who kicks butts and takes names, a new persona she is forced to develop after accidently witnessing a murder. She disappears into the deep wilderness and, thanks to visits from her ethereal, survivalist father to remind her of the training he gave her before died, coupled with the tricks she learned on her own, she manages to stay alive, barely. Hunted by a demon mastermind and his minions, Taylor moves from hunted to hunter, but it takes two-thirds of the book to get there. Her life seems to be kissed by an angel one minute and thrashed by the devil in the next. To Dodd’s credit, she is not diffident when it comes to delivering one of the most unexpected and horrific scenes with a protagonist that I’ve ever read and an unrelenting tension from beginning to end. Mahala Church is a freelance editor and writer and teaches creative writing for teens and adults through her Barefoot Writing Academy. An accomplished workshop leader and award winning author, Pushcart Prize nominee, and published editor, she enjoys all aspects of writing. An avid reader of both literary and commercial fiction as well as biographies and memoirs, she particularly likes books set in Britain, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the Deep South of the United States. You can follow her at www.lyricalpens.com.
works with an international group of clients, providing writing and editing services. Specialties: • Editing manuscripts (line, copy, substantive) • Ghostwriting • Developmental coaching for fiction and non-fiction • Business writing and editing, blogging, and web articles • Press releases and marketing tools For more information on specific services, see Written Word pages at www.lyricalpens.com. www.lyricalpens.com www.twitter.com/mahalachurch www.facebook.com/mahalachurch
Unleashed Love by Jackie Marilla
Glenda Weber is tired of roaming around her big empty house alone. Her volunteer work at the local animal shelter in Cedar Grove, Iowa is satisfying, but she’d give anything to have a companion and a few pets. Too bad her loyalty to her deceased husband prohibits bringing pets into the house and her insecurities about finding new love complicates matters. When Glenda meets Loman Cejka at the animal shelter and he invites her for supper two times in one week, she starts to gain confidence that she can build a relationship and maybe even fall in love.
Loman is sure his grown kids will love Glenda. She’s friendly and smart and loves animals, including Bert, the family parrot. When his daughter hatches a plan to reunite her divorced parents, Loman has to make a difficult choice—alienate his daughter or give up on his relationship with Glenda.
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© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 7
Red River Mystery Author Reavis Z. Wortham
As a boy, award-winning writer, Reavis Z. Wortham hunted and fished the river bottoms near Chicota, Texas, the inspiration for the fictional setting for The Red River Mystery Series. He was born in Paris, Texas, but lived in Dallas. “We grew up in the city and went to school there, but every Friday evening my parents put us in the car and made the 120-mile drive to Chicota, where we truly lived at my grandparents’ farm until Sunday evening, when we came back to the city. Our true home was that little plot of land in Lamar County.” Reavis has written a self-syndicated weekly outdoor column since 1988, newspapers across Texas. Hundreds of articles have appeared in magazines ranging from Texas Fish and Game, Texas Sportsman, and Texas Outdoor Journal to American Cowboy. A retired educator of 35 years, he and wife Shana live in Frisco, Texas. They have two daughters, Chelsea and Megan.
An award-winning writer and photographer, Reavis has been recognized for his unique style of outdoor journalism. In 2002, he received First Place in the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) in the Magazine Humor category for “Shooting Squirrels in a Barrel.” He also took second place in that same competition for a magazine article entitled, “Totally Retro: Hunting with the Longbow.” Additionally Reavis is a past president of the Texas Outdoor Writer's Association (TOWA), and has been recognized numerous times by TOWA for his work in both magazines and newspapers. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers' League of Texas.
Tell us about your new release. DARK PLACES is the 5th book in the Red River mystery series set in rural northeast Texas during the turbulent 1960s. As the Summer of Love draws to a close in 1967, the Parker family deals with the changes wrought by outside events. Constable Ned Parker and his nephew Sheriff Cody Parker work a hit and run murder on a country road, and at the same time look into the disappearance of two Dallas businessmen in nearby Chisum. Fourteen-year-old near twin cousins Pepper and Top are impacted in different ways for the counterculture movement. Pepper runs away to join the river of hippies flowing down Route 66 to California, but she finds that the Mother Road and the free love experience isn’t what she expected. While Ned abandons his job as constable to find his granddaughter, a mysterious man named Crow joins the search and may not be what he seems.
Route 66, from Texas to California. Both are integral to the plot. I’ve always felt that weather is a character also, and the incessant rain in this novel adds another dimension, dictating the actions of those within the story.
Are any of your characters loosely based on people you know in real life? Constable Ned Parker and his wife Miss Becky were originally based on my maternal grandparents in the first book. My granddad, Joe Armstrong, was constable of a tiny farming community when I was a kid and he’s the spark of this series. Of course other characters come from people I know or have met. Several are somewhat recognizable in the books, while most are complete fiction. It’s funny though, because I often hear from people who grew up in the area and insist some of the fictional characters are real. For example, in THE RIGHT SIDE OF WRONG, a couple leaves their spouses and to run off together. An old aunt called me right after the book came out and gave me a chewing out because I was “telling family tales that shouldn’t be told.” Shocked, I asked what she was talking about and she named an aunt and uncle who married after the same set of circumstances. I was completely surprised, and explained that I’d made my characters up, not knowing the history of those relatives. When I pressed her for details, she snapped, “I’m not going to talk about that,” and hung up on me. You never know what skeletons are in those dusty old closets.
What led you to write this book? Following THE ROCK HOLE, the first book in the series, the lives of the Parker family have been an adventure for me as well as my readers. Events from that book have sparked psychological issues for the community of Center Springs, and especially the kids who took the brunt of the terror in that story. DARK PLACES explores those months following 1967’s Summer of Love, and shows us what this family experiences in the midst of cultural change, the civil rights movement, and the connected events they can’t control. In addition, my family traveled Route 66 several times in that decade and the history of that kitschy What do you hope readers take away from highway is fascinating to me, and I hope, to my your work? readers. The Red River books were originally intended to preserve a way of life and the particular speech of How important is setting to your story? those who lived in northeast Texas back in the I’d say the setting is a character, and there are two 1960s. That decade was a period of cultural settings in DARK PLACES, so there are two very important characters. One is the rural farming Continued on Page community of Center Springs, and the other is old
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Reavis Z. Wortham (Continued)
change for the entire country, and those times manifested themselves in this microcosm that became Center Springs in the series. Before WWII, this country was 80% rural and 20% urban. Today that percentage has reversed, and much of that change came during the 1950s and 60s. The people of this region struggled to preserve their way of life in light of these changes. They still grew and raised their own food and processed all of it on their farms. The women wore virtually the same style clothes through those decades, and clung to the traditions of their ancestors. What I can offer to my readers are the real old sayings and speech patterns, in addition to my fiction. I used them in daily conversation when my daughters were small, and had to explain the meaning of those phrases. That’s when I knew they were fading into history, because as the older folks pass away, their rich heritage of speech goes with them. Many reviewers have noted how accurate the dialogue is to the people and period, and that’s what I wanted to preserve for my own descendants.
What do you do when you are not writing? I’m a serious outdoorsman who loves to hunt, fish, and camp. I’m drawn to moving water, beaches, and the mountains. My biggest vices are travel and books. I’ve visited every state in this great country, plus Mexico and Canada. Now we’re revisiting every state, seeking adventures that include hiking, skiing, camping, and canoeing. We have an extensive library, and books are in every room in the house. When my bride and I aren’t in the outdoors, I’m a serial house renovator. We built our home in 1998, and since then I’ve remodeled every room in the house. Now I’m back to the master bathroom…if my Bride will agree to a complete gut job. Finally, when I’m not writing and doing all those other things, I’m reading, and I somehow read to excess.
Which book impacted you as a teenager? I have to point at two books which influenced my life almost at the same time. The first was RECOLLECTION CREEK by Texas author Fred Gipson. He wrote about a way of life in the late 1800s that was very similar to the way I grew up with in the 1960s. In it, I recognized the people and their environment, and it made me want to write my own stories about that wonderful time in my life. The second book reached my hands not long after I finished RECOLLECTION CREEK. THE OLD MAN AND THE BOY, by Robert Ruark, literally defined my life and in many ways made me the man I am today. I still give it as Christmas presents as much as possible, in the hope that Ruark’s work will have the same effect on others.
Do you read the same genre you write? I write what I call historical mystery thrillers, and read what I find in that genre. I’m a voracious reader as my home library will show. The shelves are loaded with Donald E. Westlake (still another influence), Joe Lansdale, and a Texan named William Humphrey. But there are others as well. I’m a big fan of thriller writers such as John Gilstrap, Lee Child, David Morrell, C.J. Box, Craig Johnson, Sandra
Brannan, Jamie Freveletti, and Jeffery Deaver, to name only a few.
Have you ever written a scene that ‘creeped’ you out? Yep, that was the opening chapter in Burrows, which was originally written as a short story. Many reviewers have called it the creepiest chapter they’ve ever read. There’s a twist at the end of that left me sitting there with my fingers on the keys, wondering if I needed to be committed. For years I had disturbing dreams about tunnels and openings under the foundations of houses that led to a warren of other tunnels under buildings. I had these dreams so often the tunnels were familiar, and I knew each twist and turn. My wife suggested that I use those dreams in a novel, and the short story became Burrows, a novel about an abandoned cotton exchange building packed full of refuse by hoarders and booby trapped throughout by still another lunatic with a dark background. Those dreams haven’t returned in the three years since the book was finished. Hummmmm.
Do you have a favorite writing place or writing rituals Nothing about my writing is conventional. I’ve reached my word limit in moving cars, in the coffee shop of gun ranges, while camping out, on the patio at my home, on a Hawaiian lanai, under a tiki hut shaded by palm trees in Key West (you can see that one on my website), and propped up in bed at home like Mark Twain, using a laptop instead of a typewriter. I don’t have a set time to write, but always strive for five pages, or 1,000 words a day, no matter where I am. I edit hard copy in my easy chair or on the couch. What are you reading now? I never have only one book open. There are different reading spots throughout the house and a book in progress is waiting there. Right now I’m reading MAKE ME by Lee Child, HOSTS by F. Paul Wilson, and SIGNAL by Patrick Lee. Craig Johnson’s DRY BONES and Reed Farrel Coleman’s BLIND SPOT (the new Robert B. Parker) are stacked and waiting to go.
What’s next for you? I’m on the downhill side of book 6 in the Red River series, titled UNRAVELED. Poisoned Pen Press is my publisher and have been very supportive, stating they’d publish this series as long as I want to write it. You can’t get better than that. I’m also in final edits for a different kind of novel. Shell Game is my first thriller and a new style of writing that’s dramatically different from the RR books. Website: http://www.reaviszwortham.com Facebook: Reavis Wortham and Reavis Z. Wortham author page Twitter: @reaviszwortham
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ACES DOWN By Denise Golinowski
WHISPERED ECHOES By Anne Michaud
Spicy Paranormal Released July 8 by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook
Mild Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Released Sept 22 by Sad Ghost Press in ebook
IMMORTAL KISS By Laura Daleo
Paranormal romance Released Feb 2015 by World Castle Publishing in print and ebook
YOUNG ADULT teen New Adult SPINNER Michael J. Bowler
Released August 5th, 2015 by YoungDudes Publishing in print and ebook See our interview with the author on page 11
THE TRAVELERS AND THE FOUR DOORS OF ARTEW By Dennis Garber YA Fantasy Released Sept 2015 by author
WARRIOR KIDS By Michael J. Bowler
YA Fantasy Released October by YoungDudes Publishing in print and ebook
LAST LIGHT FALLING: INTO THE DARKNESS By J.E. Plemons
YA Dystopian/Apocalyptic Thriller Released July 2015 by Dog Ear Publishing
NINE LIVES By Stephanie Barr
Fantasy Adventure Released Sept 2014 by author
ÂŠ 2015 The Book Breeze Page 10
Michael Bowler, YA author
*What led you to write this book? As a high school teacher for twenty-five years, I primarily taught kids of color. And yet, in the books and stories we read, almost all of the characters were Caucasian, and most with reasonably stable home lives. I decided as an author to write about the kids I knew best – kids of color, gay kids, marginalized kids, poor kids, foster kids, kids with disabilities – because I want all youth to see themselves represented in a positive light within the pages of teen literature.
*Which is more important characters or setting? Characters are, for me, much more important than setting. I’ve read books where the author went into minute detail about every piece of furniture in every single room, but my mind conjured the room the way I wanted it to look so all that detail was wasted on me. Same with overly describing character’s clothing – it’s not necessary and slows down the story, in my view. I want to know what makes characters tick and how they deal with moral dilemmas. If I don’t feel attached to a character, no matter how well a book is written I can’t get into it and might not even finish it. I’ve been very gratified that focusing on characters in my books has paid off. Readers seem connect with one or more of them in a meaningful way. *Are any of your characters loosely based on people you know in real life? Most of my teen or child characters are based on kids I’ve known or taught. They are composites, yes, but by me grounding them in real people and real events that actually happened, I can more effectively make my fictional characters live and breathe for the reader.
*What do you hope readers take away from your work? I hope they come to the understanding that no matter what we look like or how much money we have or how smart we are, no matter our race, ethnicity, gender, or orientation, no matter our abilities or disabilities – at the end of every day we’re all the same. We’re all human. We’re human first, and everything else second. We spend way too much time in this country focusing on what we perceive to be the weaknesses or differences in others. The teen characters in my books prove that our strengths always outweigh our weaknesses, and our diversity, i.e. our differentness, is to be celebrated, not hidden away. If more adults would focus on the natural talents and gifts of kids instead of always trying to make everyone “fit in,” then all children would have a real chance to soar. As a writer of teen lit, my goal is to empower every kid, not just the ones most Americans “look like” or even “act like.” *What do you do when you are not writing? I work out daily and supervise teens in their gym workouts. I tutor. And I do volunteer work with kids. I’m still active with with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program with my eighth “Little Brother” (he’s ten years old.) I also continue my work
with incarcerated kids and use social media, my blog, and my books to advocate for better treatment of children and teens in all venues of our society.
*Which book impacted you as a teenager? As an 8th grader, Thomas Tryon’s The Other blew me away and really cemented my desire to be a writer. I was so stunned by the ending that I immediately read the book through a second rime to figure out how the author had so cleverly tricked me. It was a masterpiece of writing and a very moving story in its own right.
*Do you have a reoccurring theme to your books? My main theme is that life works best when we strive to do what’s right, rather than what’s easy. My characters are always confronted with real-life moral dilemmas that require them to choose between the easy path or sacrificing something to do what’s right. Children and teens need to receive this message because the world is already filled with far too many self-absorbed people. Kids need to know they really can be the change they want to see in the world, but that means doing what’s right, not what’s easy.
*What’s next for you? I have written a middle grade+ book called Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot. It’s a standalone sequel to my Children of the Knight series. This one deals with the environmental crisis and climate change. It will release in October and I’m making the eBook free to all educators to share with their students. Teachers can purchase the paperbacks from me at my cost or from the publisher through their schools. The themes and messages in this book are important and very timely – the finale takes place at the 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties in Paris this December. As a teacher, I seldom found supplemental books that would entertain my students and also educate them about important issues, so I decided to write one. LOL Would you share an excerpt from your book?
They were in. Now to find the grave. They had a map, of sorts. With the graveyard paperwork Alex’s mother had sent was a map that had numbers on it. Roy knew from his own mother’s funeral that those numbers meant the different graves. One area was circled on the map, and Roy had told them that must be where Alex’s folks were buried. All they had to do was follow the map. Yeah, he thought, as they stood in a darkened graveyard looking at a paper map with a tiny flashlight beam, trying to figure out just where in the hell on that map they were, sounded easy at the time. Since he was the only one who drove, the others let him plot their way. But shit, he hadn’t been here since last year on his mom’s anniversary to put flowers and, well, that had been during the day! Israel stood quietly keening with fear, his eyes darting everywhere at once, while Java and Alex waited patiently for Roy to figure things out. Their best landmark was a lake Continued on next page
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 11
Michael Bowler interview continued
near to where Alex’s parents were buried. They’d have to wander around till they found it. “They’re near some lake, and there’s a fountain, I think, so we should, like hear water splashing, right?” Java shrugged, but Alex nodded excitedly. “Yeah, we will. Let’s look around till we hear it.” They moved out into the tree scattered, grave-filled cemetery with nervous anticipation. Java carried the shovels because he didn’t trust Israel not to drop them if a gopher ran past in the dark. The grass slowed Alex’s wheels so he let Roy push the chair from behind to conserve his arm strength. Most of the graves were the small ones like his mom had, just a flat metal plate with names and dates on them. The wind gusted and blew leaves from the fading trees onto the grass, swirling them around their feet as they walked. No one spoke. The silence crushed them. Dark, ominous clouds only added to the horror-film atmosphere, and Roy wished he hadn’t watched so many of those movies at Izzy’s house. The grass rose up into hills and mounds, all scattered with graves that they passed nervously between. Roy felt weird, walking on top of dead people like this, and he could hear Israel panting with fear. He was about to approach and calm the boy when Java stepped up and flanked Izzy, offering his own muscular body as protection. The gesture surprised Roy, just like the one atop his truck, given Java’s daily frustration with Izzy’s ADHD. But the move clearly helped Izzy, who looked at Java and smiled with gratitude. The flat graves gave way to the kind with tall headstones by the time the splashing of water came from ahead in the darkness. Roy increased his speed. The tall headstones looked really old, and for some reason they creeped him out more than the newer ones, like somehow older dead bodies would be more likely to haunt them or something. The splashing grew louder, and the wind stronger. It also got colder, and Roy shivered. Must be the lake water making him cold, he told himself, hoping that was the only reason. The image of that huge, evil cat crept ceaselessly into his mind as he pushed Alex toward his parents’ graves. To find out what? That Alex was a bigger freak than he thought? That he might destroy the world some day? Roy knew these things could never happen, not from Alex. But Alex feared himself even more than he feared the cat. And that broke Roy’s heart every time he thought about it. The lake loomed ahead, not too big, but bigger than Roy could calculate using his body-height method. A jet of water shot into the air at its center and fell back, hitting the surface with the kind of splashing sounds he used to make in the bathtub as a child. Java and Israel stopped by the shore of the lake and turned to face him. Roy let go of Alex’s chair and slipped out the map. He squatted down so Alex could see and turned on the tiny penlight. Together, they squinted at the circled spot and tried to figure out which direction it was from the fountain of water. After a few moments of bobbing his head up and down from the map to their surroundings, Roy thought he’d figured it out. He pointed to their right, to an older part of the graveyard that was a mix of flat plates and stone markers. “Over there.”
The others nodded and they set off. They passed nervously through the rows of graves. Even though Alex hadn’t said anything, Roy felt eyes on them. Lots of eyes. But every time he looked around there was nothing but the wind and rustling leaves and their own cushioned footfalls against the grass. I’m crazy, he thought, imagining dead people watching. Or maybe it was those creepy-ass stone angels bending toward a grave, hands clasped before them in prayer. Maybe they were watching. Whatever it was, Roy’s skin crawled. This was the section. He stopped pushing Alex, and the others stopped, too. Now was the part they all hated – reading. They had to look at each grave and try to figure out which one belonged to Alex’s parents. Alex looked at him and Roy whispered, “The last name starts with “O,” right?” Alex nodded. Roy squinted at the paper and found the name. He could tell because there were two names in front of it and that meant the “O” word was the last name. He pointed to it for Java and Israel. “That’s the name we gotta find.” “Are dead people, like, you know, laid out by ABCs?” Israel asked. Java looked at him in annoyance. “Fool, do you even know your ABCs?” Israel shrugged. “Some of ’em. I always get stuck around, like, ‘G’ or ‘P’ or something like that. I never could–” Before Israel could start rambling, Roy whispered, “Just look for a last name starting with ‘O.’ Then we’ll check it with the paper.” Java nodded, but Israel’s mouth fell open. “You mean we gotta split up?” “Just around here, fool,” Java snapped, keeping his deep voice low and controlled. “But there’s dead people here!” Israel hissed, his eyes wide with fear. “That’s why it be called a graveyard,” Java spat, his temper obviously rising. “Look guys,” Alex said, “you two stick together and me and Roy’ll stick together. ’Kay?” Java grunted, but Israel nodded rapidly. “Yeah, that’s better.” The two groups wandered off in opposite directions, each with a penlight. Roy aimed his light while Alex slowly pushed himself between the graves. The beam struck each headstone or metal plaque long enough for both of them to squint at the last name, and then Roy moved it along to the next. He still felt that sensation of being watched, and it sent chills up and down his spine. The cold, biting wind didn’t help, and he kept his hood up and over his head to keep his hair from blowing into his eyes. He spotted the other flashlight beam a short distance away, but there seemed to be no one else anywhere around. So who was watching them? Finally, he stepped closer to Alex and leaned down to his face. “Someone’s watching us.” Alex peered out from his hood, brushed hair from in front of his eyes, and looked at him soberly. “Not someone. Some thing.” Roy froze. “What thing?” Alex shrugged.
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 12
ROMANCE REVIEWS BY JACKIE MCMURRAY
Into the Sunrise by Carolyn Haley Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (Vintage Rose), May 8, 2015 Genre: Cowboy Romance
There’s No Place Like Home by Peggy Jaeger Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (Champagne Rose) - April 24, 2015 Genre: Contemporary Romance
Con is on his own emotional roller coaster. He stands to inherit a fortune if he does what his father demands. In the meantime, he’s earning a living by working as a trail leader on a horse ranch and isolating himself in his room to paint. He’s just trying to make it to his twenty-fifth birthday so he can settle down on a Montana ranch and paint for one of the local galleries.
Quentin knows one thing—he’d give anything to have Moira stay home. He’s waited a very long time for her return and wants to help her feel healthy again. After Moira sees a doctor for her stomach pains, Quentin suspects there is an emotional reason behind some of her symptoms. When Moira finally decides to confide in him he must help her deal with the backlash.
Carolyn Haley brings the reader a realistic story of Linny Eagan’s recovery from both physical and emotional trauma. After Linny finds her fiancé with another woman, she loses her concentration while competing in an equestrian event and is thrown from her horse. Her family decides she should spend the summer recovering. She and her sister, Jona, are invited to stay in a house on Cape Cod with Jona’s fiancé and the host and owner of the house, Con Winston.
Linny and Con live in the same house and they’re just friends—at least that’s what they tell everyone. They both fight the urge to be more than that. Linny wants to get back to a place where she can fulfill her dream of being an equestrian champion and Con has his own plan to work on if he intends to receive his inheritance. Neither one wants the complication of a partner, so they go their separate ways for a while.
After touring as a symphony pianist for four long years, Moira Cleary returns home with a secret so disturbing she feels taxed both physically and emotionally. Moira’s family and closest friend are concerned about her weight loss, lack of appetite and stomach pains. As she settles into a routine of assisting her best friend, Quentin Stapleton, at the veterinarian clinic she begins to feel more comfortable and secure but still is haunted by the abuse she experienced.
Ms. Jaeger tells this story from the point of view of both heroine and hero which helps the reader to better understand the conflicts both experience. The minor characters help balance the story and help the reader envision the reason Moira felt compelled to come home in the first place. I can easily see another book about her twin brother and the woman he admires from afar.
There’s No Place Like Home is a thoughtfully constructed Into the Sunrise deals with some real life issues—learning story of one woman’s journey to come to terms with her to trust and making some tough life choices. Haley past and finally discover where she can find happiness and developed characters who are thoughtful, believable and the man who patiently waits for her. likeable.
For me, the only downfall of the book was the setting of 1975. This book reads like a contemporary except for a few references to appliances (typewriter and landline phones). Although the year was stated at the beginning of the first chapter and the book was published in the Vintage Rose collection from The Wild Rose Press, I found each time a typewriter or landline phone was mentioned, it took me out of the story. Perhaps if more references to the year were employed, it would have felt more like a 1970s story. Overall, Haley delivered a story I can recommend to readers who enjoy a good romance.
Jackie McMurray and her husband live on a macadamia nut farm on the island of Hawai'i where they feed a clowder of cats and a flock of hodgepodge chickens. In a past life, she was an elementary school teacher; currently, she writes contemporary romance from the Hawaiian Islands and beyond under her pen name, Jackie Marilla.
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 13
Ace Katzenbooks Reviews THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, Catherine R Hyde Lake Union Publishing GLBT
SUTPHIN BOULEVARD Santino Hassell Dreamspinner Press GLBT
This month brought me a couple of books I would probably not have chosen to read for recreation. Both deal with some difficult situations in problematic environments that are polar opposites.
"Hoofbeats" is set in rural California. The main POV narrator, Jackie Archer-Cummings, is moving with her wife Paula and their adopted son Quinn to a small town of Easly. Also with them are two foster teens, a troubled teenage girl named Star and a young man of Guatemalan descent, Mando, whose mother is in prison on a falsified charge. The reason for the move is Paula's career – she's a veterinarian who had been unable to set up her own practice in Napa Valley due to an overabundance of vets. In Easly, she will be the one-and-only vet around. Though this was a plan Jackie agreed to, she finds herself isolated and lonely as a stay-at-home mom to the kids.
The prospect of making new friends seems dim when her first contact with the neighbor across the road is a shrill complaint from an angry middle-aged woman who objects to Star trespassing to visit her horse. Clementine D’Antonio is nobody's friendly neighbor; she seems to exist to attack anyone and everyone who comes near her, and upon finding the new arrivals to be a same-sex couple, she immediately runs back home and starts complaining to her husband. And for her husband Vernon, that is the last straw; after many years of enduring her displeasure with the world, he packs up and walks out.
This could so easily have been a dance of cardboard characters, but over the course of the story the reader gradually comes to know and understand even the least likeable of them. This is a terrific story because it allows the characters – even the youngest, Quinn – to grow and change. I hadn't expected to like this novel very much, but it drew me in and even though I really could not identify much with any of the characters (for instance, I would not want to take responsibility for a teenage girl with the habit of running away), I'm glad to have met these folks and wish them well. Five hoofprints!
Very much an adult story – not just due to the sex, but because of the situations and themes. This is no sweet romance – Michael and Nunzio have been best buddies for most of their lives, , but an unexpected sexual encounter changes the dynamic of their friendship just as Michael's family is falling apart under the burden of his alcoholic father who has come home after abandoning the family years before. The pressure creates problems for Michael at work – he teaches in an inner-city high school - and exacerbates his own issues. When his father dies of the illness created by the alcoholism, Michael goes into a death spiral that lands him in a rehab center, where he finally confronts his own alcoholism, and his own emotions.
I am not a big-city person, but this novel would have to be set in a big city and Hassell wears New York like it was tailored for him. Even the minor characters are unique individuals, and besides heaving a sigh of relief when Michael finally gets his act together, I found myself with a strong admiration for anybody teaching in the NYC school system. Not a light read, but one I couldn't put down.
Got to give this one an A … that is, 5 paws up.
CHAINED MELODIES By Debrah Martin Transgender fiction Released Oct 2015 by Pink Press
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 14
SECRET PROMISE By Marin McGinnis
Mild Historical Romance Released October 30 by The Wild Rose Press in print and
A WOMAN OF COURAGE By Marlow Kelly
Spicy Historical Romance Released Nov 13th by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook
OF LOVE AND BETRAYAL By Louise Lyndon
Spicy Historical romance Released Oct 23 by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook
IMPENDING LOVE AND DEATH By Laura Freeman Sensual Historidal Romance thriller Released Nov 18 by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook
WHEN HIGHLAND LILGHTNING STRIKES A Highland Talents Novella By Willa Blair
Spicy Historical Paranormal Romance Released October 21 by The Wild Rose Press in ebook
LOVER’S LEAP By Kimberly Keyes
SONATA BY MOONLIGHT By A.E. Easterlin
Spicy Contemporary Romance Released Oct 2 by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook
Spicy Contemporary Romance Released Sept 9 by The Wild Rose Press
SEASON OF SURPRISES A Holiday Anthology By Vicki Batman and Friends
BLACK INKED PEARL By Dr. Ruth Finnegan
Romance Released Aug 2015 by Garn Press
THE CAPTAIN’S STORY By Marie Cheryl Eddings
Erotic Romance M/FFF Released Feb 2015, Amazon Kindle Ebook
Spicy Contemporary & Historical Released Oct 27 in print and ebook
GUARDIAN By A.L. Wiley
Erotic Adult Romance Released Oct 7 by Ellora’s Cave
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 15
an interview with
Alan Joshua is a Clinical Psychologist who has published many nonfiction articles. Fascinated by creativity and paranormal abilities, this led to his involvement with Psychology and research into Parapsychology. Joshua has explored alleged reincarnation and paranormal abilities using hypnosis and in-depth interviewing of a wide range of practitioners. In addition to classical readings, he is a science fiction fan and has been influenced by such writers as Asimov, Bradbury, Crichton, Heinlein, and Phillip Dick among others. An avid Star Trek fan, he is fond of contradicting Gene Roddenberry, believing that the study of human parapsychological potentials, not space, is “the final frontier.”
Tell us about your new release. My novel, The SHIVA Syndrome, is a multi-genre thriller that includes science fiction and the paranormal. You might think of it as Altered States on meth and LSD. I’ve been surprised and pleased by how reviewers like the Midwest Book Review and Portland Book Review spoke so highly about it.
creative process even more than I had.
Do you have a favorite fictional character by another author you’d like to meet? I have quite a few, ranging from Frankenstein’s creature to Valentine Michael Smith of Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land to Dr. Edward "Eddie" Jessup of Chayefsky’s Altered States.
The Portland Book Review acclaims The SHIVA Syndrome as a "fascinating book! It’ll magnetize you just like the penetrating gaze of Hindu’s god Shiva and his animal companion on the book’s cover, although the relation of this god of destruction and creation to the book’s topic is symbolic. The SHIVA Syndrome is a sci-fi thriller, a mystery that unfolds on a background of myths and religions, biotechnology, military power, politics, and paranormal human abilities...The descriptions of events and characters are very vivid and engaging. Having the right amount of adventure and romance this crisscrossing genre tale isn’t just a good read, but may also look great on a big screen."
What led you to write this book? I did some parapsychological research when I was working on my doctorate. The findings surprised even me. I’ve been exposed to the so-called paranormal in many ways, including paranormal experiences as my own. I use the word “so-called” because I’ve come to realize that what we consider paranormal is based on our point of view. My own feeling is that the paranormal represents extensions of what is normal human potential. So, The SHIVA Syndrome grew out of my research and personal experiences. One of the strong motivations I felt was to take actual parapsychological and consciousness research and blend it into a fictional scenario. I’m hoping readers will be engrossed in the story yet aware that many aspects of the story are real paranormal abilities.
Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book? As a matter of fact, it did. As a psychologist and parapsychologist, there were many real, widely accepted concepts. As I inserted these elements into the story line. I was surprised to find that my earlier understanding of them reached a deeper level, because I was looking at them through the eyes of the characters. Some of the revelations were startling and made me respect the power of the
Shelley’s “monster” would be fascinating as he is totally unlike the film’s creature. Most people are more familiar with the 1931 film version, and not the man in Shelley’s book. If they took the time, however, they would be surprised at the gentle, caring, and intelligent being Frankenstein created. Javier, the policeman from Les Miserables, and Dr. Jekyll would be other interesting characters to interview.
Too many of us—including me—are easily satisfied with sensationalized, oversimplified, unidimensional characters fed to us by the film industry. Which book impacted you as a teenager? Moby Dick leads the pack. The mysterious white whale being tracked by the obsessive Ahab was fascinating, even before I became involved in psychology. After I was in the field and more familiar with symbols, Ahab’s spiritual transgressions and madness became more understandable. I still find them occasionally among my psychotherapy clients.
Do you read the same genre you write? Not necessarily. I’m more of an omni – reader. I recently reread The Great Gatsby, Shelley’s Frankenstein, and am now reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Ray Bradbury will follow that. I guess this is due to my broad interests. It’s also helpful because it acquaints me with a variety of styles of writing that go beyond being locked into a genre. Have you ever written a scene that ‘creeped’ you out? For sure. Writing involves identification with your characters. In my novel, Beau Walker is exposed to some horrific ordeals, both internal and external. I have to be careful about avoiding spoilers, so let’s say that one of the characters undergoes a “death” experience which was very chilling and reached into dark places within me that were frightening. Continued on next page
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 16
ALAN JOSHUA INTERVIEW (CONTINUED)
Would you share an excerpt from your book?
Walker turned in a circle. The walls had no doors. When he returned to his starting point, the wall at the opposite end of the room had disappeared. Stark sunlight flooded in. His arm shading his eyes, he approached the opening. An immense, rolling landscape spread before him. His jaw dropped as he stood at the threshold and gaped at the lush foliage and rocky prominences. Smoke spewed from a distant volcano. Perhaps eight hundred yards away, concealed in part by tall grasses and tree groves, a group of large, furry animals browsed the vegetation. Walker stepped out onto the grassland. Then, clutched by anxiety, he looked back toward the specimen room. It was gone. He was alone in a wilderness smelling of sweet grasses and flowers. He climbed a rocky hill, hoping he could see the lumbering animals more clearly. The pain in his injured leg slowed him, and the baking sun dragged perspiration out of him. At the top, he watched the herd feeding leisurely. “Mastodons!” I’ve got to get closer.
He moved down the rough walls of the hillock and worked his way along a game trail. A sudden, resounding roar from a ledge above made him freeze in place. Holding his breath, he raised his head slowly. Overhead, a huge,
THE SHIVA SYNDROME
by Alan Joshua
Science fiction, paranormal, thriller
Released 4/6/2015 by BURST/Champagne Books in print and ebook
slavering cat’s head peered down, its lips drawn back, revealing four-inch long, scimitar-shaped teeth. He pressed into a niche in the rock wall, screwed his eyes shut, and tried to deny the reality of his situation. Another thunderous roar confirmed its reality. His eyes darted about, searching wildly for an escape route.
The sinister, striped beige-and-white beast appeared at the bend in the path. It sniffed the air as if relishing his scent, then moved closer. Slowly, gracefully, its sinewy body wound around the curved path. Its green eyes fixed on him, it dipped, coiling into a crouch, readying to spring.
A dark object shot out of a recess in the wall. The thick spear plunged into the cat’s side with such force, it was almost tipped off its feet. With a piercing screech, the cat writhed to free itself. Thick, steely arms forced it towards the edge, pushing it over the side, into rocks below before it crashed to the ground.
Walker released the breath he held, but his relief was shortlived. A barrel-chested figure draped in animal skins stepped into view, holding the blood-slicked, stone-tipped spear. The hulking man watched him expressionlessly. Thick, protruding brow ridges sloped back to reddish-brown hair, merging into a scraggly beard that framed his crude features. Was that a glint of intelligence in the man’s deepset eyes? He seemed as baffled by Walker’s appearance as Walker was by his. Could he be…A Neanderthal?
ATHENA’S SECRETS by Donna Del Oro Spicy Romantic Suspense with ESP elements
Released October 16 by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook
What if you could read minds with just a touch? Would you be able to trust anyone?
Although warned to keep her powers a secret, she's recruited by law enforcement to help search for a serial killer and to uncover a terrorist cell.
She bonds with an intriguing, handsome man, Kas Skoros, who knows her secret and accepts it. Of the same bloodline, his mother is precognitive and predicts they are meant to be together…some day. Kas, a military veteran and Search and Rescue deputy, is skeptical and cynical. Life is too uncertain. Yet, he can't resist exploring his passion for Athena.
Still, they face obstacles beyond their control. Can Kas overcome the obstacles? And will Athena stay alive long enough to fulfill her dream of a normal life?
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 17
Barefoot Writing Academy Presents: Characters: The Beating Heart of the Story
Characters are the beating heart of a good story. It is precisely their actions and reactions that drive the plot, yet constructing characters that readers will identify as real perplexes some authors. I LOVE creating characters, because I can draw on my creativity, experience, old jobs, family, friends, annoyances in others to use as quirks. One of my twelve-year-old characters is Alvin, and like Alvin the Chipmunk, he is always shooting off his mouth. Characters in different genres have different characteristic requirements, and it is incumbent upon authors to be aware of those character conventions, which enable them to reach their target audience. In general, the differences between commercial fiction characters and literary characters are about depth. Characters in literary fiction are: • described in more detail • developed with layers • dissected with internal emotions and conflicts • changed by the end of the story: better or worse • change readers in some way • developed with more complexity.
One of the reasons that series books are so popular is that readers want to know about the characters, but they prefer to know it in small bites rather than a banquet as Charles Dickens’s books were. There are commercial fiction authors like Louise Penny, Anne Perry, Richard Russo and Stephen L. Carter who give readers a more indepth view of their characters, exploroing their internal and external personalities and motivations. These authors write in a blended commercial and literary style.
Characters in different genres have different needs, wants, and desires. They also have different names, clothing, and habits that mimic the time period in which the books live. Think about the the difference in the names and clothing of the characters in Oliver Twist and Hunger Games.Yet, the human condition is very similar, proving there are universal human truths across time and settings. In general,
· YA readers want to know everything about what characters look like · YA readers want angst-ridden characters · YA readers who are female like strong, assertive, female protagonists · Mature YA readers like similarities to YA with more graphic language, settings, and actions Western characters dress and speak quite · differently than Brooklyn characters (in older period pieces) and are macho in different ways. Think John Wayne in The Quiet Man and Brando in On the Waterfront. Annie Proulx’s short story, Brokeback Mountain, is a new look at the western as is the movie Django. James Lee Burke creates detailed characters and settings in his popular mysteries set in the modern day West · Romance characters use more sensory language and emote - a lot · Action/thriller characters talk in staccato, are decisive, healthy/exercise or alcohol soaked · Cozy mystery characters are smart, lovable, quirky, usually women · Sci-fi and fantasy use new languages, new breeds for characters, weirder in dress and persona Naming characters is truly one of my passions. I jot down names I hear in restaurants, stores, etc. Recently, I went to get my new driver’s license. The name badge the clerk was wearing caught my fancy, and I asked her about the derivation of her name. Not only did she tell me, she gave me several other fun names to use in my books, and permission to use hers. This is not the first time that I’ve experienced this phenomenon. People enjoy participating vicariously in the writing process.
My class on creating characters will be online in January 2016. Please visit http://editwriteteach.com to sign up for the newsletter and blog to receive registration information before the end of the year.
© 2015 The Book Breeze Page 18
OCEAN PARK By Michael Walsh Mystery
Released Oct 9 by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook
IN THE DARK By Chris Patchell
Crime Thriller Released Sept 2015 by CreateSpace
DREAMLAND CITY By Larina Lavergne
Mystery Released Sept 15 in ebook ANGEL LOST, ANGEL FOUND By Annalisa Russo Spicy Romantic Suspense Released Nov 6 by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook
SPINNER by Michael J. Bowler Teen Horror/ Paranormal
Released August 5th, 2015 by YoungDudes Publishing in print and ebook Don’t miss our interview with the author on page 11
w e N
e l e
s e as
THE BYZANTIUM By Aswin G
Mystery/Thriller Released Sept 2015 in ebook
LIVE TO AIR By Jeffrey L. Diamond
Thriller Released by River Grove Books in print
THE THUNDERING By Megan Davidson
Psychological Mystery Released Sept 2015 by Champlain Avenue Books, Inc in print and ebook
DARK PLACES by Reavis Z. Wortham
Mystery, Historical Thriller
Released Sept 1, by Poisoned Pen Press in all formats Don’t miss our interview with the author on page 8
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Eclectic Express Reviews
THE KILL BOX: A Jamie Sinclair Novel by Nichole Christoff Mystery/Thriller Released Oct 20th by Alibi
“What kind of a private investigator wears silk to a sting operation?” Marc Sandoval grumbled. Marc is a special agent with the DEA who has a special interest in Jamie, his partner in the opening investigation. But Jamie’s interest, Adam Barrett, lies back at her apartment recovering from a broken leg.
With plans to get away with Adam, Jamie raps up the investigation and rushes home only to be accosted by a strung-out soldier who holds a gun on Jamie and Adam. And with one word motivates Adam to grab a bag and leave Jamie with nothing but questions.
Torn between anger and concern, Jamie struggles with the “what now?” question when a phone call in the middle of the night from Adam’s grandmother sends her to his hometown to investigate why the straight arrow man she loves has landed himself in jail. So begins the third installment of the series featuring security specialist PI and daughter of a general, Jamie Sinclair. Pitched as perfect for fans of Lee Child or Lisa Gardner this series is one of my favorites.
Teacher, writer, broadcaster, military spouse and world traveler, Ms. Christoff’s life experiences enrich each page. Her characters have depth and action scenes are realistic. As good as her debut novel, The Kill List, was she is definitely growing as an author. Though the third in the series, this book can easily be read alone. Although I loved the first two books so much I recommend you read them all.
BUTTERFLY WALTZ Jane Tesh Fantasy Released June 2015 by Silver Leaf Books
Desmond Fairweather, a young musician whose creative efforts are hampered by fears he may possess destructive magical powers, is swept up in a world of mystery and intrigue as he helps his tabloid writer friend Jake Brenner, who is on the hunt for a big supernatural story. Skeptical of the validity of the stories Jake hunts, Des reluctantly accompanies his friend on his latest adventure with the promise that Jake can help him secure an audition with the city symphony, a break Des desperately needs. This latest story brings the two out to the country to investigate some talking flowers at the Snowden estate. While investigating the flowers of Christine Snowden, a startlingly beautiful young woman appears to Des who claims to be magical. She is Kalida, a mysterious creature who has escaped from the people of the Caverns and renounced their evil ways. However, her people have found her and are pressuring her to return to their world. The way this is written I would call this a cozy fantasy with beautifully written scenes such as:
Her long black hair glittered as she ran her comb down its length. Faint sunlight picked its way delicately through the forest and bathed the small room in pearly light. This is a great book to snuggle up with on a chilly winter’s day. Jane Tesh is the author of a couple of cozy series: Grace Street Mysteries and Madeline Maclin Series.
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