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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Berni Dodd Talks About Forever Young Veterans Book

 Berni Dodd



Berni Dodd is one of the authors who volunteered to interview a veteran and write his story for the Forever Young Veterans book. 

She is sharing that day with us.


"I believe we all have perspectives about war, death and dying. Some are obtained from books, movies and often first hand experience which sticks with you for life. I never saw the ‘levels of war-made death or destruction’ from anything but one perspective…until interviewing Luke Layton McLaurine, Jr. (Lieutenant)

"I found it especially interesting, and a blessing, that as a Bombardier, Luke’s experience with death during the war was totally from air battles or mishaps. Even as a POW, he never witnessed death, only the process of slowly dying from starvation and the elements. So many veterans I’ve known speak of the horror of war and no doubt were scarred for life. I didn’t quite know what to expect from our first meeting and I was in awe of Luke’s infectious smile and robust joy for life. He expressed so much pleasure regarding his time in the Army and the people he met along the way. It was incredible how he could recollect the tiniest of details about the plane, his training and POW time. Seemingly, he has such a positive outlook on any and everything he would encounter, serving as a role model for those he served and fought beside."



Berni Dodd is a retired Navy Commander/05 after twenty years of service. Semi-retired from a second career of managing government contracts and expanding business opportunities in Memphis, Berni focused on her writing. Her first book, Nine Days to Glory, was published in 2018. She is a member of Collierville Christian Writers Group. Berni resides in Memphis, Tennessee, with her spouse Peggy Lau and golden fur babies Bailey and Shugg.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Why Is It Important For Me to Read Poetry?

 Sara M. Robinson


In an earlier essay, I discussed the importance of reading poetry in order to be a better poet. But let’s take another view. Why is it important for me to read poetry, even if I don’t write poetry?


For starters, reading poetry is about taking a short journey in a very small boat across a very small lake all by yourself. You can easily accomplish the reading of several poems in a small amount of time. Contrast this to a novel. To start and continue a novel requires a commitment of time that may not be easy to give. Novels are long (200-1000 pages); while poetry books are typically less than a hundred.

 

And there are the lines. In novels they can be long and winding. In poems lines are short and direct. Both have heroes and heroines. Both can have plots. A poem can tell you about the death of a soldier in an airplane in five lines. Whereas a novel may take three hundred pages to get you to the same thing. Another big difference is that poems use metaphors to grab your attention. Can you envision a combat gunner inside a fighter plane’s rear glass turret fending off the enemy only to be killed by a rocket? What if he, as part of the metaphor, is telling the story of his impending death in the same context as being shocked out of his mother’s womb. All in five lines.

 

There is another truth of why to read poetry. The striking language in a small space lets you do all the expansive thinking. Poetry in a few lines with creative words has to do a lot of “showing.” A novel gets the excuse of doing most of the “telling.”

 

In Maxine Kumin’s poem, “Woodchucks,” (which I have written about before), we learn about The Holocaust in thirty lines. How many books have been written about this history? By using amazing metaphors, we get the real meaning of her poem. That is why it is important to read poetry. No wasted words. In poetry every word has a purpose. As a poet, I can tell you that I can spend an afternoon struggling on whether or not to use a particular word in a draft.

 

A poet can write about selfishness, lament and regret, using plums in a refrigerator that were intended for someone else, but were eaten instead by another. And the poem was only twelve lines long. Yet it spoke volumes about the person speaking, and the human experience.

 

I tell you this: I read poetry to gain appreciation for brevity with meaning. I read to learn the specialness of words and how so often less is more.

 

Keep reading!  


Until next time…



Sara M. Robinson, founder of the Lonesome Mountain Pro(s)e Writers’ Workshop, and former Instructor of a course on Contemporary American Poets at UVA-OLLI, was poetry columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and inagural poetry editor for Virginia Literary Journal. She has served as guest lecturer at UVA’s College at Wise, Wise, VA. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies, including We Grew Wings and Flew (2014), Scratching Against the Fabric (2015), Virginia Writer’s Club Centennial Anthology (2017), Blue Ridge Anthologies and Mizmor Anthology (2018). Journals include: Loch Raven Review, The Virginia Literary Journal, vox poetica, Jimson Weed, Whisky Advocate, and Poetica. She is poet and author of Love Always, Hobby and Jessie (2009), Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool (2012), A Cruise in Rare Waters (2013 Stones for Words (2014), Sometimes the Little Town (2016), a finalist for the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2017 Book Award. In 2019, Needville, her poetry about effects of coal mining on SW Virginia was released and in 2020 debuted as play in Charlottesville. Her most recent publication is Simple River (2020, Cyberwit).

https://saramrobinson.com/

Friday, November 25, 2022

Faith Still Moves Mouontains!

Harris Faulkner

From FOX News anchor and author Harris Faulkner comes a collection of powerful, true-life stories of resilience, healing, rescue, and protection.



We need reminders of God’s power now more than ever.
We often think about prayer as a wish list, with God as Santa Claus. The reality is that the power of prayer reminds us not only how small we are, but also how big God is. Prayer is hope put into action. And prayer work.         From the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti to the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, believers testify to how God inspired hope even when all seemed lost.





Two teenagers who were saved from treacherous seas by a vessel named Amen now give thanks for the rescue that changed their lives. A woman’s near-death experience with COVID-19 turned out to be the crisis freeing her from despair. Others speak to how prayer helped them navigate family trauma, overcome abuse, and cope with mental illness and depression. Historical accounts of miracles testify to God’s power throughout time, and Faulkner recounts the role of faith and prayer in her own life and the life of her father.

Along with these stories of God’s presence, the book includes an exclusive packet of newly written prayers. Created to reflect the current times, this prayer booklet will provide a road map for putting the lessons of these stories into action.

Faith Still Moves Mountains reminds us that God’s light always shines through the darkness. Through these testimonies, we learn prayer isn’t just a ritual, it’s a vital spiritual strategy in a world that wants us to give up the fight.







Harris Kimberly Faulkner is an American newscaster and television host who joined the Fox News Channel in 2005. She anchors The Faulkner Focus, a daily daytime show, and hosts Outnumbered. Additionally, she hosts her own primetime political franchise called Town Hall America with Harris Faulkner.



 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Writing My Story for the Forever Young Veterans’ Book

Janet Wertz


Janet Wertz is one of the authors who volunteered to interview and write some of the veterans' stories about the war.

Janet is sharing that day with us.





The day I went to meet my assigned veteran, Mr. Irwin Rumler, (1st Lieutenant)
 I had a digital voice recorder, a Flair pen, and two tablets of legal sheet paper, one for my notes, the other for me to write questions for Mr. Rumler, as I’d been warned he was hard of hearing. I’d arranged for us to meet at the Lichterman Nature Center near his home. Covid Rules were in force, closing the Center’s cafĂ©.

A very spry WWII veteran strode in. Within minutes, he began telling me his story in the empty cafe, bringing the days he had flown a B24 out of England, over the Channel and into the Reich to life, as if those days had happened yesterday. What he observed the days he flew over the D-Day Invasion beaches was heart rending. His having seen so many young men trying to land on those beaches, while enduring terrible losses showed on his face.

About a week later, I interviewed Bill McGrath (Colonel) in his home as his wife listened in on the stories. Another B-24 pilot, he had flown out of a base in India, and over the ‘Hump’ of the Himalayan Mountains. Some were light and funny as he told of a crew mascot monkey named George. Others less so, as he told of friends whose aircraft had exploded in fireballs.

Before he died, Dad, Paul L. Wertz (Lieutenant Colonel)
 left plenty of notes behind about WWII and the time he spent working in support of the B-29s, mostly in Karachi, India.

Aside from all being in the Army Air Corps, these veterans had one thing in common. To a man, each said he did not consider himself a hero. He was an American in the military just doing his part to defend the country he loved. Nothing more. May this country never run out of such people willing to defend it.

I would like to thank Forever Young for giving the writers of CCW the opportunity and privilege of contributing to this anthology.

Janet G. Wertz. Published in anthologies for the Museum of the Military Family, a contributor and editor of the cookbook of recipes and memories and published in anthology books with the Collierville Christian Writers Group. She is living her dream of being a writer and a photographer, published in magazines and the newspaper. Growing up an Air Force Brat, she heard many of her father’s stories. She is a member of the Collierville Christian Writers Group.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Thanksgiving !

                                    


The time of year has come.

People are busy preparing

homes and food

for the coming together

with family and friends

to share Thanksgiving.

Some of us will celebrate

Thanksgiving early

so sons and daughters

can share Thanksgiving

with their in-laws.

 

For my family we celebrate tomorrow.

We are grateful for the opportunity

To be with our family.

The Covid pandemic seems to be over

We relish being able to sit at the

table with our loved ones where you

can be sure we will be giving thanks

for each other.

 

We wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

A Story About Family, Identity, and Finding Friends in Unexpected Places.

Tricia Springstubb


When two unlikely friends bond over shared compassion for a bereft but lovable dog, they learn what it truly means to find a sense of belonging and identity.

11-year-olds Gladys and Jude live in the same small, rust belt town, and go to the same school, but they are definitely not friends. Gladys is a tiny, eccentric, walking dictionary who doesn’t hesitate to express herself, while Jude likes to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. But they both agree that a new dog in the neighborhood is being mistreated by its owner.

Gladys would like to do something to help while Jude is more resigned to the situation until the dog (who Gladys has named True Blue) disappears. They hatch a plan to find her and once they do, realize they have a problem: Gladys’s father is allergic and Jude’s mother hates dogs. There is no way they can bring her home. They hide True Blue in an abandoned house on the edge of town, but as their ties to the dog--and to one another--deepen, so does the impossibility of keeping such a big secret. Yet giving True up will break all three of their hearts.

Told in alternating voices set in a small, rust-belt town, True Blue is a story about family, identity, and finding friends in unexpected places.




Tricia is the author of many books for children, including the award winning middle grade novels "What Happened on Fox Street", "Moonpenny Island" and "Every Single Second". She's also written four books in the "Cody" chapter book series, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, as well as the picture book "Phoebe and Digger", illustrated by Jeff Newman. Her newest picture book, "Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures", illustrated by Elaheh Taherian, is an ALA Notable Book. Kirkus called her 2021 middle grade "The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe", a "perfect thing in the universe of juvenile literature. Her next novel, "Looking for True", publishes November 1, 2022. Tricia has worked as a Head Start teacher and a children's library associate. Besides writing and, of course, reading, she loves doing school and library visits. Mother of three grown daughters and four perfect grandbabies, she lives with her husband, garden and cats in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and contact her at www.triciaspringstubb.com

Saturday, November 12, 2022

To Honor Our Veterans See "Forever Young"

Honoring Our Veterans


We are most grateful for all of our veterans, those who served our country in the past and those that are serving our country now. We thank you for your service.

There is a new book that just released, Forever Young Veterans: Stories of Sacrifice, Healing, and Hope, honoring our veterans, by Diane Hight and Michael Ware.


Founder and President of Forever Young Veterans, Diane Hight, said, "This book is a culmination of love. A team effort by a small group of true professionals in the writing game, supplemented by a family of folks who volunteered their developing talents to honor the men and women who went to war protecting our freedoms. All participants spent many hours ensuring the words on these pages honored the heroes whose names appear above the stories—names of the common soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, Coast Guard, and citizen who served and fought but never sought recognition for patriotic duties."


Hight said, "Inside this book is only a few of the stories from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam; stories that are disappearing from the American mind. Join our writers as they detail the personal war stories of the American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who were there - ordinary Americans who were asked to do extraordinary duties. Prepare yourself for a new sense of gratitude and respect for the men and women who fight our wars in the trenches."


You will hit Omaha Beach on D-Day; step out on a suicide mission in the North African desert; fight your way out of Chosin Reservoir at 30 degrees below zero; eject from your F-4 fighter over Hanoi; and fall in love with a young French girl as you leave for the battle front?


You will come to know each veteran as you read their stories and you will meet the writers that interviewed each veteran and wrote their stories.


This was an amazing project for each one of the writers. It was a privilege to meet these veterans and write their stories. One I will never forget. We give honor to every veteran who has served and who is serving now.


The authors on this project were K. Michael Ware, Nick Nixon, Berni Dodd, Wallace M. Graham III, Kay DiBianca, Annette Cole Mastron, Janet G. Wertz, James E. Graham, Barbara Ragsdale, and Susan Reichert, Angela Michelle Brunson, George King, and James Brown. It was wonderful meeting these veterans and telling their stories.


The Forever Young Veterans Organization has honored more than 2500 senior veterans by granting their individual wishes and returning them to the places where they fought 50, 60, and even 75 years ago.


They've been to nine countries, visiting Normandy, Belgium, England, Iwo Jima, Italy, Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, Luxembourg, and Germany. We’ve also traveled many times to Washington, D.C., on Trip of Honor® and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. We are planning trips to Korea and Vietnam. 

To learn more about this organization visit: https://foreveryoungvets.org/

We give honor to every veteran who has served our country and for those who are still serving our country. 







Friday, November 11, 2022

Word Painting: Coaxing Readers into a Story

 Pam Webber


Imagine a story about a young nurse trying to survive the ugly inner workings of a busy Northern Virginia emergency room intertwined with a story about a soldier trying to survive reconnaissance patrols in the jungles of Vietnam. Blending stories with such diverse settings can be challenging; however, a writing technique called word painting can help blend them beautifully.

Word painting is the use of precise words and phrases to evoke a particular emotion. Composers have used this process for centuries to add meaning and emotion to their music. For example, if the lyrics are happy, the music will be light and upbeat. If the lyrics are melancholy, the music will be slow and descending.

The same approach applies to selecting words designed to elicit a particular emotion in a reader. If your characters are sad, you want your readers to cry. If the characters are happy, you want readers laughing out loud, and if the characters are afraid, you want readers’ hearts racing. Word painting is not always easy. It requires you to interview every word on the page. Is it the best word to use? Does it elicit the desired emotion? Will it resonate with readers in my target audience?


In my upcoming book, Life Dust, the first chapter has a young nurse, Nettie, saying goodbye to her soul mate, Andy, as he leaves for Vietnam. I want the reader to feel the sadness and loss.

Andy held her close as if trying to imprint the feel of her deep in his memory.

She held onto his hand as he stood. “Come back to me.”

“Count on it.” He put two fingers to his lips and blew her a kiss as he walked away.

Nettie held the air kiss until she couldn’t see him anymore, her heart breaking. Numb, she laid down on the soft quilt. Since childhood, Andy had been there, her rock, her port in every storm, and she’d been there for him. Now, she couldn’t help him, and he couldn’t help her. Loss, loneliness, and the insanity of war pulled her into an exhausted sleep.

In the following scene, I want the reader to feel pain and angst.

Fuzzy, dust filled light filtering through the slatted ceiling made Andy squint. His right shoulder throbbed as if it were going to explode, and he could barely feel his right hand. His neck and back ached from being propped against what felt like burlap sacks. Grateful not to be dead, he tried to clear his head. Who had captured him? The NVA, the VC? The phrase “KIAs don’t talk, POWs do” floated through his foggy thoughts. He had to protect the mission. Could he do what he had to do?

In the following example, I want the reader to feel empathy for Nettie and her friend who is dying.

“I’ve put you through a lot these last months, Nettie,” Mr. Pepper whispered. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I wanted to be here. I still do.”

“I’m so grateful our paths crossed.” He gave her a weak smile. “This time, I’m ready.” He turned half-mast eyes to the path, still looking for someone who wasn’t coming.

There was nothing to say as his last flicker of hope went out.

He grimaced as another surge of pain coursed through his chest. “Nettie, the ring.”

Look at the examples again and see which words and phrases elicited the most emotion. Try rewriting the dialogue using different word painting.

Hopefully, these examples have increased your awareness of word painting as a strategic technique for engaging readers.

I’d love to talk with you about your approach, so message me at www.pamwebber.com.



Bio:

Pam Webber is the bestselling author of The Wiregrass and Moon Water. These
award-winning novels were selected as an Editor’s Choice by Historical Novel Society
and as a Read of the Month by Southern Literary Review. Pam’s third novel, Life Dust,
was published October 11, 2022, by She Writes Press.
Pam is a nurse practitioner, who was originally published as a nursing textbook
author before she began writing novels. She and her husband live in the Northern
Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Connect with Pam at

https://www.pamwebber.com

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Three Women in WWI ~ Dual Timeline Novel

Alix Rickloff


Alix Rickloff is a critically acclaimed author of historical fiction. Her family tree includes a knight who fought during the War of the Roses (his brass rubbing hangs in her dining room) and a soldier who sided with Charles I during the English Civil War (hence the family's hasty emigration to America). With inspiration like that, what else could she do but start writing her own stories? She lives in Maryland in a house that’s seen its own share of history, so when she’s not writing, we can usually find her trying to keep it from falling down. THE GIRLS IN NAVY BLUE released November 1 2022.


Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author said, "The Girls in Navy Blue had me smiling from first page to last! When the US Navy admits women to the ranks during World War I, three intrepid yeomanettes answer the call: Blanche the dashing suffragette, Marjory the German immigrant, and Vivian the preacher's daughter on the run from the police. Friendship, duty, and the struggle of making their way in a man's world will bind the three together, and their secrets will resound through the next fifty years--until Blanche's great-niece, reeling from losses and desperate for home, will pick up the pieces. Alix Rickloff pens a lovely coming-of-age tale: brave women making waves in a war-torn world." 




This is a gripping and compelling dual timeline novel about three women who joined the Navy during WWI to become yeomanettes and the impact their choices have on one of their descendants in 1968.




1918 - America is at war with Germany, and, for the first time in history, the US Navy has allowed women to join up alongside the men. Ten thousand of them rush to do their part. German-American Marjory Kunwald enlists in the Navy to prove her patriotism. Suffragette Blanche Lawrence to prove that women are the equal of men. And shy preacher’s daughter Viv Weston in a desperate attempt to hide from the police.

Even as the US military pours into France and the war heats up, the three yeomanettes find friendship and sisterhood within the Navy. But all their plans for the future are thrown into chaos when Viv’s dark past finally catches up with her.

1968 - Newly divorced and reeling from a personal tragedy, Peggy Whitby unexpectedly inherits her estranged great-aunt Blanche’s beach cottage outside Norfolk Virginia. But her fragile peace is rattled when she begins to receive mysterious postcards dated from 1918 when Blanche served as a Navy yeomanette.

Curious to learn more about her mysterious aunt and uncover the truth behind the cryptic messages, Peggy is drawn deeper into the lives of the three young Navy girls. But her digging uncovers more than she bargains for, and, as past and present collide, Peggy must decide if finding out about her aunt is worth the risk of losing herself.


I think you will find this book one you can't put down.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Poetry and Assumptions

Sara Robinson



Let’s start with the definition: Per Webster’s New World Dictionary (College Edition, 1964).

Before you go, “how old is that,” let me tell you that this particular dictionary is the best literary

friend I have ever had. Both of us are aging well together. So, the definition as it applies to

secular uses: anything taken for granted; supposition; presumption. One could add that

assumption implies taking into association something, or supposing something could be a fact.

Maybe even taking on a pretense can be an assumption.

What does this have to do with poetry? For starters assumptions are the backbones of most

writing. We let our minds folly off into weird or unusual thoughts and as they congeal into lines

and pictures, we now see a composition start to form. We may pull a line from a magazine or

online and now, we have a trigger. Think of yourself as an “assuming thief poet.” Take this line

from Shelley:

“… Memory gave me all of her / That even fancy dares to claim.— / Her presence had

made weak and tame…” //

What can you do with this line? I, for example, could start something like memory is a fool for

me. I always loved her more than she loved me. But my life dwelled in another place & time in

which she didn’t even know of me. Such are dreams converted to new memory. The lines don’t

have to be good to start; get them down and let your mind wander.

How about a few other assumptions to contemplate: The train is always on time. He always

orders tuna salad. She never thanks me. July is always hot. North is always north.

Underlying every poem ever written is a basic assumption. Sometimes it is a secret only the poet

knows. Sometimes the poet gives us hints as the revelation of some truth. Or supposition.

My favorite poem to illustrate this is Maxine Kumin’s “Woodchucks.” Look this poem up and

you will know why I love it. I’ll just say this about it: Never assume anything!

Look in the mirror and see your reflection. You assume it is you. Write about it.


Until next time…


Sara M. Robinson, founder of the Lonesome Mountain Pro(s)e Writers’ Workshop, and former Instructor of a course on Contemporary American Poets at UVA-OLLI, was poetry columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and inagural poetry editor for Virginia Literary Journal. She has served as guest lecturer at UVA’s College at Wise, Wise, VA. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies, including We Grew Wings and Flew (2014), Scratching Against the Fabric (2015), Virginia Writer’s Club Centennial Anthology (2017), Blue Ridge Anthologies and Mizmor Anthology (2018). Journals include: Loch Raven Review, The Virginia Literary Journal, vox poetica, Jimson Weed, Whisky Advocate, and Poetica. She is poet and author of Love Always, Hobby and Jessie (2009), Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool (2012), A Cruise in Rare Waters (2013 Stones for Words (2014), Sometimes the Little Town (2016), a finalist for the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2017 Book Award. In 2019, Needville, her poetry about effects of coal mining on SW Virginia was released and in 2020 debuted as play in Charlottesville. Her most recent publication is Simple River (2020, Cyberwit).






Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Tessa Afshar and The Hidden Prince




Tessa Afshar
is an award-winning author of biblical and inspirational historical fiction. 

She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale University, where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. 

After working in women's ministry for nearly twenty years, Tessa became a full-time writer and speaker. 

Tessa and her husband live in New England, where they proudly tend their mediocre garden.

She is the bestselling author of Jewel of the Nile. Tessa has written a new and thrilling tale of a woman who feels she has no future but soon discovers the fate of nations may rest in her hands. 

The beloved daughter of Jewish captives in Babylon, Keren is sold into Daniel’s household to help her family survive. She becomes Daniel’s most trusted scribe, while taking lessons and swordsmanship training alongside Daniel’s sons and their best friend, Jared. But after a tragic accident changes the course of her life, Keren finds herself in a foreign country, charged with a mysterious task: teaching a shepherd boy how to become a lord. When she overhears whispers that hint at his true identity, she realizes she must protect him from the schemes of a bloodthirsty king. 

Jared cannot forgive Keren. Still, he finds himself traveling over mountains to fetch her back to the safety of home. When he discovers the secret identity of Keren’s pupil, Jared knows he must help protect him. Love battles bitterness as they flee from the king’s agents, trying to save the boy who could one day deliver their people from captivity.


In her novels, you will find laughter and tears. You may find love stories that capture your imagination. Tessa says, "But my dearest hope is that by the last page, you are closer to God, and closer to your true self."

Monday, November 7, 2022

Fierce Love and Hope

 


Lynn Steger Strong





I think you will find this a 'must read' book by Lynn Steger Strong. Here are two reviews:

"Arresting and powerful, Flight examines the possibility and pain of fierce love and hope in our time of looming existential threats.” — Lily King, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers

"Suspenseful, dazzling and moving.” — Rumaan Alam, New York Times bestselling author of Leave the World Behind

This is Lynn's new book which released November 8.

It's December twenty-second and siblings Henry, Kate, and Martin have converged with their spouses on Henry's house in upstate New York. This is the first Christmas the siblings are without their mother, the first not at their mother's Florida house. Over the course of the next three days, old resentments and instabilities arise as the siblings, with a gaggle of children afoot, attempt to perform familiar rituals, while also trying to decide what to do with their mother's house, their sole inheritance. As tensions rise, the whole group is forced to come together unexpectedly when a local mother and daughter need help.

With the urgency and artfulness that cemented her previous novel Want as "a defining novel of our age" (Vulture), Strong once again turns her attention to the structural and systemic failings that are haunting Americans, but also to the ways in which family, friends, and strangers can support each other through the gaps. Flight is a novel of family, ambition, precarity, art, and desire, one that forms a powerful next step from a brilliant chronicler of our time.




Lynn Steger Strong was born and raised in South Florida and received an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University where she also taught Freshman Writing. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two small girls.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Speaking Out Against Injustice

Kate Manning



Set in early 1900s Colorado, the unforgettable tale of a young woman who bravely faces the consequences of speaking out against injustice.

In a voice spiked with sly humor, Sylvie Pelletier recounts leaving her family’s snowbound mountain cabin to work in a manor house for the Padgetts, owners of the marble-mining company that employs her father and dominates the town. Sharp-eyed Sylvie is awed by the luxury around her; fascinated by her employer, the charming “Countess” Inge, and confused by the erratic affections of Jasper, the bookish heir to the family fortune. Her fairy-tale ideas of romance take a dark turn when she realizes the Padgetts’ lofty philosophical talk is at odds with the unfair labor practices that have enriched them. Their servants, the Gradys, formerly enslaved people, have long known this to be true and are making plans to form a utopian community on the Colorado prairie.

Outside the manor walls, the town of Moonstone is roiling with discontent. A handsome union organizer, along with labor leader Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, is stirring up the quarry workers. The editor of the local newspaper—a bold woman who takes Sylvie on as an apprentice—is publishing unflattering accounts of the Padgett Company. Sylvie navigates vastly different worlds and struggles to find her way amid conflicting loyalties. When the harsh winter brings tragedy, Sylvie must choose between silence and revenge.

Drawn from true stories of Colorado history, Gilded Mountain is a tale of a bygone American West seized by robber barons and settled by immigrants, and is a story infused with longing—for self-expression and equality, freedom and adventure.

Well worth reading. One of the picks of Amazon editor, Kami Tei.




Kate Manning is a former documentary producer for public television, and the winner of two NY Emmy awards. She has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), The Los Angeles Times Book Review, Glamour, and More magazine. She lives in New York City where she has taught creative writing at Bard High School Early College.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

The Gumption of a Young Woman

The Senior Editor at Amazon specializing in Memoirs and Literary fiction said, The Whalebone Theatre is a novel that captures the gusto of childhood, the ineffable bond of siblings, and the gumption of a young woman who joins the front lines of WWII. Audacious and brilliant, Cristabel Seagrave is a character for the ages."


One blustery night in 1928, a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel. By law, it belongs to the King, but twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave has other plans. She and the rest of the household—her sister, Flossie; her brother, Digby, long-awaited heir to Chilcombe manor; Maudie Kitcat, kitchen maid; Taras, visiting artist—build a theatre from the beast’s skeletal rib cage. Within the Whalebone Theatre, Cristabel can escape her feckless stepparents and brisk governesses, and her imagination comes to life.

As Cristabel grows into a headstrong young woman, World War II rears its head. She and Digby become British secret agents on separate missions in Nazi-occupied France—a more dangerous kind of playacting, it turns out, and one that threatens to tear the family apart.

Reviews:

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK • A transporting, irresistible debut novel that takes its heroine, Cristabel Seagrave, from a theatre made of whalebones to covert operations during World War II—a story of love, family, bravery, lost innocence, and self-transformation.

The Whalebone Theatre is absolute aces...Quinn’s imagination and adventuresome spirit are a pleasure to behold.” —The New York Times

“Utterly heartbreaking and joyous...I just disappeared into The Whalebone Theatre and didn’t want to leave.” —Jo Baker, author of Longbourn


Joanna Quinn was born in London and grew up in Dorset, in the South West of England, where her “brilliant, beguiling” debut novel The Whalebone Theatre is set.

Joanna has worked in journalism and the charity sector. She is also a short story writer, published by The White Review and Comma Press among others. She teaches creative writing and lives in a village near the sea in Dorset
.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Any Excitement in Your Subdivision or Homeowners Association?


Some of us live in a subdivision, and it is likely that subdivision has a “Homeowners Association” in which we must join and pay our dues.

In those subdivisions, there are quite a number of people living there. Author Linda Lovely said, “More than 40 million U.S. households sit inside HOAs. That's more than half of owner-occupied homes.”

Most of us loved the Agatha Christie novels, growing up. And if you remember, they were set in English villages. Just like English villages provided perfect settings for Agatha Christie, Linda Lovely, has found a perfect setting for her new series. HOA Mystery series is set in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where Linda made her home for a dozen years.


Linda said, “Today’s HOAs provide ideal backdrops for intrigue and an abundance of suspects in modern mysteries. Community residents tend to know about each other—either through personal contact or gossip. The ability of HOA Boards to make and enforce rules that impact people’s daily lives, and their most important financial asset can generate animosity. And power struggles are inevitable—as they are in any human organization.”


Book One in the series is With Neighbors Like These. HOA CORPSE STAGED TO SHOCK…. An arrow pierces a corpse’s chest. A trophy deer head is dumped in the dead hunter’s lap. Not your typical yard art in a wealthy homeowner’s association.
 
The posed homicide freaks out neighbors, and Ted Welch asks Kylee Kane, a retired Coast Guard investigator, to help his HOA management company address owner fears. The stakes become personal when Kylee’s mother gets death threats over her crusade to stop a horde of hunters from invading the HOA’s nature sanctuary. ANOTHER DEATH SPARKS HOA=DOA PANIC…A second murder in a different HOA and bizarre attacks in other neighborhoods spark panic. The local sheriff’s department blames Ted for letting HOA disputes spiral into homicide. Kylee isn’t convinced, and searches for links between victims to uncover the killer’s motive and identity. The investigation puts Kylee in the executioner’s crosshairs. Kylee learns a controversial general is cast as the next murder victim. Can Kylee foil this newest act in the killer’s death-as-theater game?

Linda's Book Two, Neighbors to Die For releases November 8th.


A CRAFTY KILLER’S BLAME GAME

Refereeing homeowner association spats over acceptable mulch color was never part of Kylee Kane’s post-Coast Guard retirement plans. The irate combatants are trying the security consultant’s patience when gunfire erupts and a SWAT team swarms in. How did they arrive before any possible report of an active shooter?

Two days later, Kylee discovers a ghost boat. Not a soul onboard. Among the missing—presidents of HOAs managed by her employer. Are the incidents linked?

As Kylee chips away at shift-the-blame deceptions, the ruthless killer expands his hit list to include not only Kylee but everyone she loves. Will it be Kylee’s last Thanksgiving?

I am eager to get this new book by Linda Lovely. She writes Women's Sleuths. Whether she’s writing cozy mysteries, historical suspense or contemporary thrillers, her novels share one common element—smart, independent heroines. Humor and romance also sneak into every manuscript.

Drop a note to Linda, she loves to hear from her readers.


Check out her website:

https://www.lindalovely.com/


Catch up on events at https://www.lindalovely.com/news-events and see what is going on with Linda.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Susan May Warren's Interview with Suite T

Susan May Warren



USA Today bestselling author Susan May Warren is a master at blending captivating settings and charismatic personalities with high-action suspense and romance. In Sundown, the epic finale to the Sky King Ranch series, Warren plunges readers back into the heart of the Alaskan wilderness where Colt Kingston and his brothers must band together to save the country they’ve vowed to protect.

Tell us a little about your new novel, Sundown.

Sundown is the epic conclusion to the Sky King Ranch trilogy. Taylor “Tae” Price is hiding something—former Delta Operator Colt Kingston knows it. But she’s not talking . . . at least until she’s targeted by a Russian assassin. Then suddenly she has a story that no one believes, except, maybe Colt. And not just because she helped nurse him back to his feet after his terrible captivity in Nigeria. There’s something about Tae’s story that rings true, even if it feels unbelievable that she alone holds the antidote to a terrible biological threat. Colt and Tae—and
the rest of the Sky King Ranch family—must race against time to stop the attack.


Your female protagonist, Tae, comes to Sky King Ranch with a lot of secrets. Can you offer some hints as to how these secrets could have a huge impact on the world?

Tae works for a private group that researches rogue, virulent strains of already known diseases—Ebola, hantavirus, smallpox, etc. When one of these kinds of diseases is unleashed, it’s up to her to find the cure. Colt Kingston, one of the three triplets featured in the Sky King Ranch series, is a former Delta Operative. 

Can you explain what this profession entails and why it is important in Sundown?

Delta Force is a special ops group within the US Army that operates under special command of the Joint Special Operations Command. They specialize in counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and recon, often with high-value targets. This is especially important because Colt comes to the story with specific skills that allow him to direct action against the group producing the virus. His experience is exactly what they need to find and stop the terrorists.

The Sky King Ranch series is set in Alaska, which is often referred to as the Last Frontier. Why did you choose this setting?

Alaska is its own amazing character! I love the setting because it challenges our characters to go beyond themselves to look within and find courage they didn’t know they had. Setting a book in Alaska allows me to create desperate scenarios that add to both the suspense and character growth. It is just hands-down, mind-
blowingly beautiful.

Sundown is the final book in your Sky King Ranch series. What is the connecting element for all of the books in this series?

All of the brothers have returned home wounded in some way, both physically and mentally, so coming back to the ranch offers them a place to confront those wounds and heal. Also, the appearance of Tae in book 1 is threaded through the series and connects all three books in the epic plot.

Are there any threads that run through the whole series that will be wrapped up in Sundown?

There are many threads!! Some, of course, I can’t give away, but all the characters have ongoing problems, question or issues that in some way get resolved or answered, from family problems to health issues to backstory questions.

What inspired the idea for this series?

The idea began years ago when I penned a different series about Alaskan smokejumpers and readers first met Larke, the brothers’ oldest sister. My fans reached out and asked me for the triplets’ stories, and suddenly all
three brothers walked into my brain with their problems and started talking!

What lessons do you hope readers can gain from reading Sundown?

The series is really about how we need to take a long-range view of our lives, because God is active and working on our story even when we feel alone. I hope readers are encouraged to trust the Lord and see that no situation is out of his control.

What do you love most about writing romance novels packed with both action and adventure?

I love meeting and falling in love with my heroes! They are so fun to write about, and getting them into trouble—and out of it—with the right partner is a blast!



Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 90 novels with more than 1.5 million books sold, including the Global Search and Rescue and the Montana Rescue series, as well as Sunrise and Sunburst. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan makes her home in Minnesota. 

Find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook
@SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @SusanMayWarren.