#BookTour, #BookReview & #Giveaway – Wildland by Rebecca Hodge

E495379A-6C23-43A4-A836-EAD0D2C84F49I’m so honored to be part of Kate Rock Book Tours for “Wildland” by Rebecca Hodge! Such a pleasure and amazing opportunity! Thank you Kate Rock and Rebecca Hodge!

Date of Release: February 11, 2020

75019EE2-2254-4E9E-ADEE-6F9E30445867Rebecca Hodge is giving away an awesome Prize Package (see graphic):  

Here is the link to share:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/52592b2c7/?

Order link: https://amzn.to/34DLPq6

Website: https://www.rebeccahodgefiction.com/

Instagram: @rhodge.fiction

Review:

Everything in “Wildland” by Rebecca Hodge screams “Fervent”!

From the wild fires that began raging in the mountains to the deep, hot, and burning desire for Kat Jamison to determine her life’s next chapter; every moment was so deeply experienced.

As I joined Kat on her path and those of the other characters, I was so immersed I could not let go! I turned the pages with the same sense of urgency I’m sure each character was either trying to escape the Blue Ridge Mountains or rescue them!

Intense, powerful, inspirational!

Wildland left me breathless. Holding my dogs tighter! Appreciating my life!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Summary:

For fans of Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve comes an exhilarating debut novel of one woman’s courage in the face of catastrophe.

She’ll do anything to save them.

But what will she do to save herself?

When Kat Jamison retreats to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she’s counting on peace and solitude to help her make a difficult decision. Her breast cancer has returned, but after the death of her husband, her will to fight is dampened. Now she has a choice to make: face yet another round of chemotherapy or surrender gracefully.

Self-reflection quickly proves impossible as her getaway is complicated by a pair of abandoned dogs and two friendly children staying nearby, Lily and Nirav. In no time at all, Kat’s quiet seclusion is invaded by the happy confusion of children and pets.

But when lightning ignites a deadly wildfire, Kat’s cabin is cut off from the rest of the camp, separating Lily and Nirav from their parents. Left with no choice, Kat, the children, and the dogs must flee on foot through the drought-stricken forest, away from the ravenous flames. As a frantic rescue mission is launched below the fire line, Kat drives the party deeper into the mountains, determined to save four innocent lives. But when the moment comes to save her own, Kat will have to decide just how hard she’s willing to fight to survive–and what’s worth living for.

A heart-pounding novel of bravery, sacrifice, and self-discovery, Wildland will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very last page.

Praise for Wildland:

“Heart-stopping…Hodge shows great skill in writing a story that’s both touching and exhilarating.”

—Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author of The Dream Daughter

#AuthorInterview #HolidayReads & #GiveAway: Meet Janice Lynn, author of Hallmark’s “Wrapped Up in Christmas”

F5C3A079-D3D0-4C59-B0AF-01020ABA75B6
What first sparked your interest in writing Wrapped Up in Christmas?

For some time I have been wanting to spread my wings as a writer and push myself outside my comfort zone, to write a story that moved people, and brought my writing to another level. My agent suggested I write a proposal for Hallmark. When I sat down to write the proposal, I asked myself what Hallmark meant to me, and I started writing the proposal for Wrapped Up in Love–which was the original title, as the original version centered around July 4th rather than Christmas. I was asked to revise to a Christmas story and make a few tweaks to the proposal, and Hallmark Publishing bought it. Now, I can’t imagine the book as anything other than a Christmas story.

How long did it take you to write the story?  

I’m honestly not sure of the exact timeframe for the first draft. I’d guess around 3 months. I was on deadline with another publisher, so I had to write.

Who is your favorite character & why?  

There are a lot of characters in the book I love for various reasons. The answer that popped into my head is Harry, who is my hero’s dog. But I adore Bodie and Sarah, and I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention the Butterflies. Writing Harry and letting his personality come through without dialogue stretched me as a writer. Stretching outside one’s comfort zone makes one grow and that’s a good thing. I adore Bodie because he is a wounded warrior with a big heart, a real life hero who loves his country and fellowman. He’s the kind of hero you know would come to your rescue no matter what. Sarah is sweet and loves her hometown and community. I love that about her, probably because I feel the same way about the small town in Tennessee where I live. And, those pesky Butterflies….those ladies were so much fun to write because I had to ask myself, now what would they do next that borders on outrageous without going too far over the top. I’d catch myself giggling at times writing the scenes with them on the page because I could so vividly see them in my mind. Hmmm, that was more than a single character, but I honestly love them all equally.

Annie: I am totally excited that you said the hero’s dog first. Each character sounds amazingly special, but I have a special place in my heart for dogs.

0B618662-BB41-4637-B465-CE0105BFD580When did you realize you were a novelist?

When I was in the first grade. No kidding. On my tablet paper, I wrote a story about a witch and was hooked. I’d write every chance I got up until I went away to college. Somehow, I quit writing for pleasure during that time, got my degree, a husband, some beautiful children, and it wasn’t until 9/11 happened that, same as many others, I found myself looking at life differently. For me that meant asking myself why I wasn’t pursuing my dream of writing. It was my dream and yet I was putting zero effort into making it a reality. I started writing again. Writing is such a wonderful outlet for me that, looking back, I can’t believe I allowed myself to stop for so long. Whether or not I ever sold another book, I’d still write. Writing soothes a need in me that nothing else touches. My hope is that my writing soothes a need in my readers that only a good book can accomplish.

F75BB206-AAE1-4175-AE27-F6FD90304221
What’s been the most exciting part of Wrapped Up in Christmas’s release?

Everything about writing for Hallmark has been exciting. How my hometown has shared in my joy of this book warms my heart in so many ways. Friends and family have just embraced me with their joy. It’s been amazing, but my answer as to what’s been the most exciting has to be having been a guest on the Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family talk show on November 8th and making a snowflake ornament with Cameron Mathison. He was so unbelievably kind. I’d love to write a book that he someday starred in the movie. Did I mention that I’m a dreamer? LOL. Still, this entire experience has been dreamy, so I know dreams come true. I’m just going to keep dreaming.

Annie: WOW! I love that show, and Cameron Mathison! That is so amazing!

What’s your favorite part of being an author?

Getting to write stories that raise awareness of causes I believe in such as the Quilts of Valor Foundation. In Wrapped Up in Christmas, Sarah has donated a quilt to the Quilts of Valor Foundation. That quilt made its way to a wounded warrior named Bodie Lewis.  Quilts of Valor is a real organization that really does wrap up veterans and active servicemen and women in quilts. That my book has brought attention to their mission makes my heart happy because I 100% believe in what they are doing.

Annie: This is an amazing organization! Here is the link for everyone to check out! https://www.qovf.org

6C64D46C-0D2E-4DA2-9D69-861ECC8BEEF4What are your hobbies?

I love to sew and quilt. I won’t say that I have a whole lot of perfectly straight quarter inch seams, but I try. 🙂  I am in the process of making a quilt for each of my children, make quilts for baby shower gifts, and have recently finished my second Quilts of Valor quilt to be donated. I hope to make many more to be donated in the future as well as continuing to write stories that draw attention to the wonderful work this organization does.  


Annie: Thank you so much for this outstanding interview behind the scenes of both you and your book! It’s so wonderful to get to know you better!

 

GIVEAWAY:  eBook COPY OF BOOK.

TO ENTER PLEASE LEAVE COMMENT BY 9PM WEDNESDAY.  THANK YOU.

#NewRelease, #AuthorInterview & #Giveaway: Meet Eileen Sanchez and learn more about “Freedom Lessons: A Novel”

1CFD5BB2-3D9E-4704-BC53-B87AABEAD12EQ: What first sparked your interest in writing “Freedom Lessons”? 


Ten years ago, I was at a professional educational conference in New Orleans, LA. After a long day of presentations, we went out to Pat O’Brien’s, a great bar in the French Quarter. If you ever visit NOLA be sure to go there to have a
Hurricane and request your favorite song to be played by the dueling pianos. In between the drinks and entertainment, I surprised the people I was with when I told them I had taught in a small rural town in Louisiana. It was during the mandated integration that followed the October 29, 1969 Alexander v Holmes Supreme Court decision which ordered schools across the county to desegregate. I had rarely shared that experience. I explained how a 22-year-old young woman from NJ wound up in the middle of the poorly planned mandated integration of the public schools. My husband was in the Army and we lived there for the last year of his service.

I always knew the impact it had on my personal history, but that revelation made me realize how significant the event was in the history of our country. I was a witness and felt a responsibility to share it. At the time, my first grandchild was two years old and a friend challenged me to write about my life during that year so that my granddaughter would learn about it.

When I started to write, I realized that I only knew my story. I had returned to NJ at the end of that school year when my husband was discharged. What happened to my second grade students after that traumatic year? I uncovered numerous personal stories through reading and research.


7BED2A3C-FA26-449A-81ED-9547C394CBC6
Q: Is there any truth to your story that is personal to you?


The story is told from three points of view. Colleen represents my own experience and I created two characters, Evelyn and Frank, to tell the point of view of a black teacher and a black high school student. My November 12, 2019 publishing date commemorates the 50th anniversary of southern states meeting the mandate of the Brown v BOE decision, followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and finally on October 29, 1969 the US Supreme Court ordered schools across the country to desegregate in the little-known but milestone case,
Alexander v. Holmes. It was 15 years after Brown v Board and most black students in the South still attended segregated black schools.  If they had not integrated public schools, they would have forfeited federal funds on Dec. 31, 1969. Stubborn resistance to move beyond “Freedom of Choice” plans created numerous last minute decisions to meet the mandate.

My book is based on my personal experience that I more fully understood by studying the impact on the black families and teachers forty years later through research and interviews about that school year of 1969-1970.

I fictionalized my experience to create the characters of Frank and Evelyn after reading first hand accounts of the impact of the mandated integration on families of the children I taught and the black teachers and administrators who were moved from respected positions to secondary support staff. Having two POV characters who are black and one white misplaced “Yankee” I have tried to give a more accurate expression of the small stories and the wide impact of this event.


Q: Do you have a favorite character? Why?

That’s easy, it’s Frank. Five years ago, I was able to visit the town and the school I taught in. The visit filled some of the history of the people and the community. One of the opportunities allowed me to meet the current principal of the school. The school had been reopened and now serves as a middle school. She had been away in college the year of the mandated integration, but she told me some of her own family’s experiences. The stories about her brother who was a high school senior in 1969 helped me to personalize and build a deeper background for Frank. He became the character to tell the story from a student’s point of view.  I created a family for Rachel, one of Colleen’s second graders. Frank became Rachel’s brother, the eldest son who was deeply impacted by his father’s death in a suspicious fire. Frank and his parents had been counting on a football scholarship for him to be able to attend college. But when the schools were integrated the football team spots were already filled by the white students.  He wasn’t able to play and lost his chance for the scholarship. He struggled with the unfairness but maintained the core values from his parents.


Q: How long did it take you to write “Freedom Lessons”?

Five years. Slow and steady. I tend to write in chunks of time. The discipline of writing every day for an hour doesn’t work for me. I get immersed in the research and the “telling”. Some writers can turn out books very quickly but that’s not how mine happened. Once a week for four years I met with my writing group as we wrote our novels under the tutelage of my mentor, Michelle Cameron (The Fruit of Her Hands: the Story of Shira of Ashkenaz, & Beyond the Ghetto Gates). There are other methods to writing a novel, but I wrote 10-20 pages a week for three years. We each read our pages aloud to the group and then received feedback. I had to learn to show not tell. After decades of writing educational reports of all kinds which required concise specific explanations, I had to learn how to let the story roll out through the characters. Creating characters and learning who they were was a huge challenge because two of my main point of view characters are African American. It took a great deal of research to understand Frank and Evelyn. I began a personal black history study and wove what I learned into their background and their lives.

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

“Who me?” It’s still sinking in.

Annie: Today is the day! Congratulations!

Q:  As you geared up for your Book being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

The initial critical reviews from people who I’m not related to! I’m most pleased with my Library Journal (LJ) review and being included in a LJ article titled Fall/Winter Best Debut Novels.


Q:  With this being your first novel, do you think you will always explore historical fiction? Maybe still more to tell about this particular era?

There’s always more to tell about an era. I enjoy writing and the history research that supports the story.


Q: I love the Music that comes with the book. Where can people order this?

I created the playlist mainly for book club swag. It’s from my personal music burned to a CD. So, I can’t sell it, but some lucky readers can win it!

Name

Artist

My Girl

The Temptations

All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)

Charley Pride

A Beautiful Morning

The Rascals

Okie from Muskogee (Rerecorded)

Merle Haggard

Yellow Submarine

The Beatles

Honky Tonk Women

The Rolling Stones

Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The…

The 5th Dimension

Ball of Confusion (That’s What the…

The Temptations

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Simon & Garfunkel

ABC

Jackson 5

Both Sides Now

Judy Collins

Get Together

The Youngbloods

Annie: Thank you for including this CD in your Giveaway!

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?

There are two authors that have influenced my interest in storytelling.

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings follows thirty-five years of a complex relationship between Sarah and her ownership of Handful, as both women strive for lives of their own. I would never compare myself to Sue Monk Kidd, but I love her books and wish that her readers might like mine. She is a prolific writer and develops the rich interior lives of her characters with prose that keeps you turning the page. Her books build from real historic figures to tell the small stories of everyday people that make up our history. My book tells the small stories directly from the everyday people. I can hope for some of her readers, can’t I?

 Amy Hill Hearth’s endorsement, featured on the cover of Freedom Lessons, validated my writing and the telling of the story. She has been generous with her support of a second career debut author. Amy, a New York Times best selling author, has written several books, two fiction and several non-fiction, the most recent is Streetcar to Justice. Her most successful book became the Broadway play “The Delany Sisters – Having Our Say”. I loved these two: Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society: A Novel and Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County: A Novel. The Stories take place in a rural area of Florida that became Disney World and the setting rises to a level of the characters. A transplanted “Yankee” from Boston shakes up the community by starting a literary salon, aka a book club. Both books “will touch the heart of anyone who ever felt like an outsider longing to fit in.”


Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us…

When I started Freedom Lessons I wrote in an upstairs bedroom dedicated to be “A Room of my Own”. It was sacred and when I returned to write more the next day the thoughts and ideas returned as I started to write. Mornings are the most creative times for me to write but I can return to ideas any time of day. I need to be alone to write; I can get distracted easily. I’ve witnessed an author friend writing pages by hand in a notebook in the middle of activity around us as we waited for a conference to begin. I write on my laptop. I type fast and the ease of quick edits releases my worry about getting it right the first time. I’ve learned that I just need to write it and then fix it later. A handwritten manuscript would slow me down. I can type almost as fast as I’m thinking the ideas.

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?

I’ve already mentioned Amy Hill Hearth and Sue Monk Kidd. I would add Camille Di Maio, and Tara Conklin. Kwame Alexander inspires me with his poetry and books for “children of all ages”.  Books? Any book by Sue Kidd Monk but The Secret Life of Bees came to mind first.  I love poetry and have just discovered Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover because of my grandson. Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic is an old favorite to pull out. Judith Viorst keeps me laughing as I age with her poems from How Did I Get to Be Forty, Forever Fifty, Suddenly Sixty and I’m Too Young to Be Seventy. (Yup, 72! How else could I have been there in 1969?)

Annie: I love Sue Monk Kidd!  Must read Kwame Alexander, as I love poetry.


Q:  What books are in your nightstand right now?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is my most recent finished book. Starting in 18th century Ghana to Jazz Age Harlem, the novel illuminates’ slavery’s troubled legacy. I am often reading several books at a time. I’m reading a lovely lyrical memoir by new author Marlena Maduro Baraf’s, At the Narrow Waist of the World, which tells the coming of age story of a young Jewish woman in Panama who is torn by love and worry for her mentally ill mother.  And I’m listening to Camille Di Maio’s The Beautiful Strangers, it’s historical fiction and a cozy mystery. To further support my book talks and events that are coming up I’m reading non-fiction The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.


Q:  What is your favorite part of being a published author?

Holding the book, meeting people who are interested in the story and hearing the connections they have to the themes in Freedom Lessons.


Q:  Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?

Is traveling a hobby? I love to travel and if I had unlimited funds I would do more, I like to explore the history of the places we travel to.

Annie: Traveling, learning the history! Amazing hobby..especially for authors! Often makes for great novels. (Hint, Hint)


Lastly, Do you prefer Print Book or eBook?? Audible?

Each of these have their place for me. I prefer holding a print book and I have stacks of books on shelves and tables to prove it. But eBooks are great, especially for traveling. I used to listen to books only when I would be driving but now I find myself listening when I’m cooking dinner. How else could I be reading three books at the same time?!

0B6BB037-C5CA-4CC3-B39B-1606DE58FE0B
Intro: Colleen and Miguel were married for five days when they moved into the home Miguel had found for them.
Trailer pic: “Oh my God.” Colleen clapped her hand to her mouth. “You’ve got to be kidding. It’s turquoise! It has porthole windows! Does it float too?”

 

 

944FFBC7-D314-442B-8255-19D062848D7A
Intro: Colleen taught in a segregated black school. Each Saturday she took four of her students to the library to get library cards. She had just dropped the children off at their homes and was stopped by a police officer.
Road pic: “Officer, did I do something wrong?”
“Well now, that depends. Why would a white woman be out driving in these parts?”

 

Annie: Congratulations Eileen on your New Release today! I know “Freedom Lessons” is going to be an amazing story for so many to read. Thank you for telling it! I appreciate you taking the time for this interview today. Learning more about you and  your story has been amazing!

GIVEAWAY:  PRINT COPY OF BOOK AND BOOK CLUB SWAG PACK WHICH INCLUDES CD OF MUSIC, BOOKMARKS, AND RECIPES THAT CONNECT TO THE BOOK.

TO ENTER PLEASE LEAVE COMMENT BY 9PM FRIDAY.  THANK YOU.

#AuthorInterview & #Giveaway: Meet Barbara Artson and learn more about “Odessa, Odessa”

2D5EDC90-C06C-464E-B717-4F3077A9BC5F
Q: What first sparked your interest in writing “Odessa, Odessa”?

Oh my! That goes back some 40 years when I was a graduate student in English Literature at San Francisco State University pursuing an academic degree.  My concentration was the 19th century novel, particularly, Charles Dickens.  I was drawn to his compassion for the underdog, the overlooked, the underprivileged. For my final project, I elected to complete Dickens’s last and unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. While writing that paper, I had an experience that felt somewhat akin to magic where I felt I was not the one in charge of the writing — that the characters were dictating their dialogue and advancing the narrative. Now, I’m not a “woo-woo” kind of person and I understand that I had so deeply steeped myself into Dickens’s characters and his style of writing, that my psyche took over the process of writing.

I attained my Master’s degree and was on my way to a doctoral program at U.C. – Berkeley when, because of a divorce, my personal life fell apart.  With two young children to raise, I knew that I couldn’t spend the next seven years (the average time to complete a doctorate in English Lit) without income. Because psychoanalytic theory was the framework in viewing literature, it seemed a natural alternative to apply that theory to real people rather than to characters on the written page; and so, I applied to graduate school in clinical psychology.  It was then that I vowed to write a novel at some future time.  And that opportunity announced itself when I began to plan for my retirement from my clinical practice.  I had no idea of what I would write until I sat down at my computer, placed my fingers on the keyboard, and wrote: “Henya Chanah is a woman who no longer bleeds, so she puzzles over how this could have happened.  Try as she might, she can’t remember the last time she and Mendel were together. We must have been, she thinks, otherwise how could this be?” I knew then that my novel would be a fictional account, very loosely based on my mother’s experience, of immigrating from a shtetl on the outskirts of Odessa to America.

Q: Is there any truth to your story that is personal to you?

As with most immigrants, my mother was loath to recount, or to remember, any aspect of, what I now realize, was the trauma of her life in Russia.  Some of the characters in my novel are based on my mother’s character traits and those of and her brothers and sister, and on what I, as an eight-year old child, recall of my maternal grandparents.  Although the incidents and dialogue of my characters are made-up, it rings true to my memory of their personalities. There are two characters, however, who are completely my invention, as is the final section of the book: Bessie, the young woman who befriends Henya while sailing to America, and Mendel’s rejected brother, Shimshon.  But as with all the characters in Odessa, Odessa, they contain features — both good and bad — of its author: me.

Q: Do you have a favorite character? Why?

This is a challenging question to answer, Annie.  As each character evolved, for example, Henya in the first chapter, I fell madly in love with her.  I treasured her because of her valiant struggle to do what was required, despite realistic fears. She represents the struggle and resilience that many women have had, and still encounter, to take on tasks thrust upon them that had been previously denied. And similarly, when I wrote the chapter about Marya, the product of Henya’s bewilderment in that very first sentence of the novel, I was totally love-struck.  But from my present vantage point, having given birth to Odessa, Odessa well over a year ago, I confess to favoring Shimshon, the character invented wholly from my fancy. You ask why?  Shimshon audaciously stood up for what he believed in spite of its very serious consequences: loss of tradition, of family, of the life and loss of his mother tongue. He wasn’t perfect — far from it — and was plagued with guilt for the remainder of his life. But, significantly, he took responsibility for his wrongdoings.  At this junction in our history, we need a man, such as Shimshon, to stand up to the immoral and corrupt forces we presently encounter.

Q: How long did it take you to write “Odessa, Odessa”?

I began to write Odessa, Odessa about seven years ago. At that time, I was also totally involved in conducting my psychoanalytic clinical practice, which left time for me to write in the evenings and on weekends. At times, it was difficult to pick up where I left off but I made a habit of ending my writing session with the beginning of next sentence so that when I returned I could pick up where I left off.  Sometimes that worked and sometimes not.  When I retired four years ago, I had a complete draft of the novel which then required editing.  I was fortunate to find an awesome editor to help with that process.

EF785E6E-AD69-46A4-8B14-EA6596482D95
Q:  As you geared up for your Book being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

Nothing can compare to my delight when I first opened the cardboard box containing my Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs) of Odessa, Odessa. To hold a real, live book in my hands for the very first time, was a surreal moment.  The flowers from my publisher, She Writes Press, arrived at the same time to make it a celebratory occasion.

Annie: I can only imagine the joy of opening that box and holding your very first book!

Q:  With this being your first novel, do you think you will always explore historical fiction?

I love, love, love reading historical fiction.  Not only do I get to experience good writing, but I also get to learn much of which I wasn’t previously aware. I learn about other civilizations, customs, societies, and events and that is exactly what occurred when writing Odessa, Odessa. In addition to reading authors that wrote about the same period in which I was writing, like Mary Antin (The Promised Land), Michael Gold (Jews Without Money), and Henry Roth (Call It Sleep), to name but a few, I learned of historical events and significant people through my extensive research. For example, “the Khmelnytsky Uprising in 1648, when Jews were murdered and kicked out of the Ukraine…” (p. 25), or the “Edict of Expulsion and the banishment in 1886 of Kiev’s Jews…” or the “1881 pogroms in Elizavetgrad, Kiev and Odessa.” All was new to me.  And disturbing. So, yes, I can’t imagine writing anything other than historical fiction, but then I’ve also learned never to say never.  That is what’s so exciting about being an author.

Annie: Great book recommendations! I’ve added them to my Goodreads TBR List. Thank you.

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?

That’s an almost impossible question to answer, but I’ll give it a shot.  Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities); George Eliot (Middlemarch); Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse).  Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose); Robert Graves (I, Claudius); Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See); Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Ginni); George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo); Toni Morrison (Beloved); Markus Zusak (The Book Thief); Sharon Kay Penman (For all of her historical fiction novels about kings & queens).   Well, I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that.

Oh wait! E. L. Doctorow (The March) and (Ragtime).

Oh wait!  Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.

Well, you get my point.

Annie: haha! Amazing books! I could see how the list could go on and on!

0730E2D7-AF96-4A61-84D7-A35397D46A87
Q:  What is your favorite part of being a published author?

Talking to groups.

D878923A-BC61-4E90-8503-F1714D51A557
….The scariest?
My launch at Books, Inc. in San Francisco.

Q:  Do you have another book on the horizon?

Not exactly, but several of my readers and friends have suggested writing a sequel to Odessa, Odessa beginning with the next generation and tying together, and filling in the strands of the generation that comes after Roberta and Hannah, Dora’s daughters.  At the moment, I’m giving myself some space to recuperate from a year of living on the edge.  But I also look forward to the time when next I put my fingers on the keyboard with the humbling possibility of discovering my next creation.

Q: Lastly, Do you prefer Print Book or eBook?

Both.  In the evening when I read in bed, it’s eBook time for me.  At all other times, the feel of the paper, the image of the written word, the heft of the book, that’s me all over!

Annie: Thank you Barbara for the fun and informative interview! It was great getting to know more about you and your debut novel, “Odessa, Odessa”.

Barbara Artson is offering a Wonderful Giveaway of Two Print Books!!

To be entered leave a comment by Sunday at 9pm. Thank you.

#Giveaway: Arbitrage by Colette Kebell on Audiobook

CB8063D7-01D4-4E7F-8FED-0C875ABFEED5We have been kindly offered an Audiobook copy of Colette Kebell’s novel “Arbitrage” on audiobook.

Please leave a comment below if you are interested and that you will leave a review.

 

Summary:

Ryan Logan thinks he has it all… A young attorney specialising in finance and tax law, Logan has earned an impressive reputation and commands a hefty fee for his services. But when he advises his corporate employers against a merger with a shady financial institution, he soon finds himself caught up in a web of betrayal and deceit. Framed for the murder of his wealthy boss, Logan is forced to accept a plea deal, to keep his own dark secrets from coming to light…

Arbitrage is a fast-paced, stand-alone financial thriller. If you like edge-of-your-seat suspense, sweet revenge, and twists and turns you won’t see coming, you’ll love this eye-opening look into the world of financial crime.

Can a burned out lawyer outwit an army of con artists and killers?

#BookTour, #BookReview, #AuthorSpotlight, & #Giveaway: More Than by Diane Barnes

1798C4E2-9668-4819-B9C2-F2968E715622Reviewer: Serena Soape

Release Date: October 29, 2019

 Summary:

“You are obese, Mrs. Moriarty.”
Peggy Moriarty is stunned. She knows she’s let herself go a bit, but she thinks her young, skinny doctor is exaggerating. Her husband’s death fourteen years ago left her to raise their twins, Grace and Greg, alone. But now that they’re teenagers, doing their own things, her only hobby is watching Messages from Beyond, a show about a medium who connects the grieving with their deceased loved ones.

When the twins leave for college, they give Peggy a gift certificate for an exercise class. At first, Peggy is insulted. But once the sting wears off, she realizes if she gets in shape, she might gain the confidence she needs to go on her favorite TV show and talk to her husband one last time.

With help from her new friends at the gym and Carmen Tavarez, the mother of Grace’s boyfriend, Peggy begins to emerge from her prolonged grief and spread her wings. She may soon discover that her sum is more than a mother,
a widow, and her body.

E81DD5F0-BE71-41C4-AE30-757C884CD07AReview:

Diane Barnes has written “More Than” about Peggy and her life starting when the doctor tells her that she is obese. It’s all the unbelievable result of sadness.

The story definitely kept my interest right from the start and was hard to put down!!! I loved the characters and how they all interacted with Peggy.  Peggy’s various circles were all rather entertaining, whether it was at boot camp with her friends home. I just enjoyed everybody.

Peggy’s story is one that would definitely be relatable to so many people that struggle with the same issues that Peggy has. But it’s “More Than” that!! It’s about resilience and pushing through! Peggy’s perseverance through Boot Camp, which she did more than once; was inspiring.

I found myself wanting to get back into exercising after reading this book. Now that should tell you something!

This was my first book for Diane Barnes, but definitely see more in my future.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

4 Stars.

8D27A1BF-B88F-4111-898B-499110E4672A
Author Spotlight:

Writer, Reader, Ridiculous Amount
of Chocolate Eater. 

How many people get to do what they love? Since I was old enough to hold a pencil, I’ve loved writing. Today, I’m fortunate enough to have two careers that give me the opportunity to write. By day, I write marketing copy and corporate communications for a company in the healthcare market. After hours I pen fiction.  I’m also a voracious reader and can sit for hours, preferably on a beach or by a pool, devouring good books.

I live outside of Boston with my husband. I don’t talk like a Bostonian, but some people still detect Southern California in my accent from the years I lived there. When I’m not writing or reading, I’m at the gym, running, or playing tennis, trying to burn off the ridiculous amounts of chocolate and ice cream I eat.

 

Follow Diane:

Website: https://www.dianembarnes.com/   Instagram:  @DianeBarnes777


GIVEAWAY –    3 eBooks. Just leave a comment that you’d like a copy  and that you’ll post a review. Giveaway Closes on Friday, November 1st, 2019.

#BookReview, #Excerpt, #Giveaway & #HolidayReads: Mistletoe at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

C392CA06-7096-48F4-942E-AE62138637E0Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Release Date: Today. October 25, 2019

Summary:

USA Today Bestselling author Susan Schild writes heartwarming and funny novels about women over 40 having adventures, falling in love and finding their happily ever afters.

The soon to be released MISTLETOE AT THE LAKESIDE RESORT is a Christmas novella and the third book in Susan’s popular Lakeside Resort series. You’ll catch up with Jenny and her gal pals, fiancé Luke, and Levi and the boys as they plan a very special Christmas for guests at her rustic cabinson beautiful Heron Lake.

A few hints: Jenny’s been gifted a new vintage camper and has the jitters about her future with Luke. Charlotte and Ashe are at odds about their upcoming wedding, and Mama and Landis make a startling announcement.

If you’re looking for a feel good read to get into the Christmas spirit, Mistletoe at the Lakeside Resort offers cozy romance, classic Christmas carols, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a happily ever after.

 

Review:

“Christmas at Lakeside Resort” is a feel-good, charming and always engaging story about people you want to know and a place you want to visit! I’d call ahead and reserve my spot if I could right now for this upcoming Christmas Season!

Since we can’t do that…I suggest you get lost in the land that Susan Schild’s created at Lake Heron called Lakeside Resort.

Between the wonderful town, amazing people and absolutely delightful animals I could not put this novella down. I know you will feel the same way!

This is part of a series, but I believe you could read this first and then go back to the others! So….Grab this little piece of the holiday joy now….so you can start your celebrations early!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

22C7CCDA-178E-4105-9266-E450F1E3355F
Excerpt:

“With a businesslike look on her face, novice house stager Charlotte pulled a scribbled list from her purse. “Ladies, I need accent chairs, even if they’re ratty. I need lamps, but only if there are two of them. Vintage water skis are hot. Look for lake-related memorabilia, like books or old pictures of families on the water. Dog prints always come in handy. Cool baskets, macramé, bowls, and rugs are useful though I’d need to sniff the rugs before I buy them. I got a beauty at an estate sale last year. When I got it home, I realized it smelled of dog tee-tee.” She wrinkled her nose. “That smell never comes out. Never.”

The parking lot of the fire hall was already packed, even though the sale didn’t officially start for another ten minutes. Mama expertly swung the big SUV into the last slot in a line of cars parked on a grassy roadside.

“Are we too close to a ditch bank?” Jenny asked nervously.

“I’ve got plenty of room,” Mama said, a confident look in her eye as she switched off the ignition.

The three of them stepped out of the SUV.

When Jenny paused to adjust her wrinkled sock in her boot, she heard a cry, a muffled thud, and then a small moan. Wildly, she glanced over to the driver’s side of the SUV. Mama had disappeared.

Charlotte realized something was wrong at the same moment Jenny did, and they both scrambled around to the other side of the car. Mama was sprawled in the grassy ditch, groaning and touching her right foot.”

….thank you, Susan Schild

#BookReview & #GiveAway: Emily, Gone By Bette Lee Crosby

Emily Gone**Leave a Comment for your chance to win a copy of Emily, Gone** closes 5/1 noon

Pre-Order your copy today.

Release Day: April 30th, 2019

Summary:

A missing child sets the lives of three women on a collision course in this powerful and compelling novel by USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby.
1971.

When a music festival rolls through the sleepy town of Hesterville, Georgia, the Dixon family’s lives are forever changed. On the final night, a storm muffles the sound of the blaring music, and Rachel tucks her baby into bed before falling into a deep sleep. So deep, she doesn’t hear the kitchen door opening. When she and her husband wake up in the morning, the crib is empty. Emily is gone.

Vicki Robart is one of the thousands at the festival, but she’s not feeling the music. She’s feeling the emptiness over the loss of her own baby several months before. When she leaves the festival and is faced with an opportunity to fill that void, she is driven to an act of desperation that will forever bind the lives of three women.

When the truth of what actually happened that fateful night is finally exposed, shattering the lives they’ve built, will they be able to pick up the pieces to put their families back together again?

Review:

This is a Winner!

Emily, Gone’s true essence is that several people love Emily and this is the story of that love.

So, Bette Lee Crosby writes us a tale about how this can transpires in the life of a woman whose daughter is kidnapped one night during a music festival being held in her small town. and, the consequences that unfold.

You will be so moved that you may wonder whose side you are on. Can that even happen? Can you actually have soft feelings towards the kidnappers? Compassion?

The character development is so strong that you feel like you really know each of them. You will fall in love with some and detest others. As always, you feel like you are in Hesterville, Wynn Bluffs and all the towns in between.

I love Bette Lee Crosby’s storytelling, I cannot say that enough!

How this book wraps up is so stunning, it could not have been written any better.

Bette Lee Crosby always delivers exceptional books, but this goes beyond her typical phenomenal scope! This book was Epic!!!

I really think that this book would make a great movie.

5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley

#BookReview & #GiveAway: Liar Liar by Sarah Flint On Tour

 

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Liar LiarFrom the bestselling author of Mummy’s Favourite and The Trophy Taker.

DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford returns with a superb new, brutally gripping serial killer thriller, where the hunter becomes the hunted. Perfect for the fans of Angela Marsons.
A faithful dog lies wounded beside the mutilated body of its owner.

A woman is discovered bound and gagged, dead in her own bed.

Both are police officers.

Both have a red rose at their side… worryingly more will follow…
Lies and accusations abound but who is behind the murders and why are the victims being targeted?
Charlie, Hunter and the team must find the killer targeting their own before another body is found.

Review:

I often enjoy a criminal fiction novel that is written by an author with a background in the field, and Sarah Flint was no exception. She has a career spanning over 35 years serving with the Metropolitan Police in London.
She starts off with the suspense at the very first few pages, and does not let you go until the very end. This is definitely a gripping crime novel that will keep you guessing, and we all know that is what makes these novels so intriguing. It felt as though this story was very personal for Sarah Flint. Maybe it was because the story involved police officers being murdered. I am not quite sure; but, it definitely had a realness to it.
This being the 3rd in the DC Charlotte “Charlie” Stafford Series does not make it any less understandable, so it can definitely stand alone. However, it does make me want to add the other two to my To-Read shelf; which I have done.
I really enjoyed her characters DC Charlie and DI Hunter, which made it all the more exciting. I am hoping there is more for Charlie. We shall see…

5 Stars.

GIVEAWAY: LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED INTO A GIVEAWAY OF EBOOK COPY. WINNER ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 15th.

#LiarLiar #NetGalley @McHorsky @TheWriteReview

 

Interview & Giveaway ~ I had fun with this interview with Jamie Ford, author of two amazing novels!

Jamie Ford with scarf

I just had to interview Jamie Ford because I kept finding him all over the place with his books getting tons of 5 Star reviews and lots of other accolades!  

I was simply drawn to him, so I wanted to have him as a guest on my blog.  I am so grateful that he accepted the offer to let me interview him. I was rather humbled, to be honest.

The next few days, I will be spotlighting his books. So, be sure to check back. 

Comment Below to Enter your chance to *WIN

a signed copy of both of his books!!

(Pictured Below)

*Winner will be announced on Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? 

When I went to Norway for a book tour. That’s when I realized I’d created something that had taken on a life of its own. Basically, it feels like my book has a career now and I’m just along for the ride. (I stole that line from Pamela Anderson who once said, “My boobs have a career, I’m just along for the ride.”)

 Annie ~ You are funny!! I love it..

Songs of Willow FrostHotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

Q:  As you geared up for your Books being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

Writing a novel is a like giving birth to a ten-pound baby, sideways. So after laboring for months and sometimes years—to finally hold that printed book in your hands is an amazing moment. Also, my wife who is a Labor & Delivery nurse just assured me that the sideways baby thing is not possible.

Annie:  I can imagine how wonderful it is to hold the book in your hands for the first time!!  You had me concerned that a baby could be born sideways. Thanks for getting that visual out of my head. 🙂

Q:  You have written two novels so far; what is that your favorite topic to explore?

I love forgotten history. I’m like a little kid, I love turning over rocks and looking at the squishy things underneath—the stuff that we forget as a society.

Annie: Your stories definitely show that this is where you heart is!! 

Q:  Will you always write Historical Fiction? 

I cheated a little bit last year and wrote a trio of steampunk stories. They’re published in the Apocalypse Triptych—three anthologies about the “end of the world as we know it.” But, there was a lot of research involved and they have a historical vibe. And I have a bit of crime noir in the works. Let’s just say that I’m enlarging the canvas of my imagination a bit.

Annie: Make sure I get to read your crime noir book! It sounds very different for you!   

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style? 

This isn’t a comparison as much as it’s pure admiration, but I love Pat Conroy’s writing. He’s a pure storyteller, who also weaves in amazing, lush prose that never obfuscates the story. Some people have lucid dreams where they’re flying. In my dreams I’m writing like Pat.

Annie: That was beautifully said! My friend, Sonya met Pat Conroy. Just recently, I was so sad to hear of his passing.  The best thing though is that his books will live on. Sonya LOVES Pat Conroy….I am going to look for their picture and send it to you. 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us 

I write in the mornings, upstairs in my office, surrounded by books, comics, and research materials, with my three dogs lazing about. Around noon I take the dogs for a walk to the Missouri River, about a mile away, then edit. Life, and writing, is better with dogs.

Annie: Dogs do make life better! That is for sure!! I have one dog, and he is enough to take care of, LOL..I could not imagine having three. Where do you live? Jamie Ford reading

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books? 

Fiction: Pat Conroy – The Great Santini

Non-Fiction: Jon Krakauer – Into Thin Air

Short fiction: Harlan Ellison – Deathbird Stories

Poetry: Buddy Wakefield – He’s a slam poet. Best seen LIVE.

Comics: Marjorie Liu – Monstress  

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author? 

Doing interviews! Kidding. In Italy I once did 11 interviews in one day, with an interpreter. By the end, my brain was tapioca.

Honestly, the best part has been meeting some of my favorite authors. I’m still just a fanboy.

 Annie: I love that you are still a fanboy!!! You are so cool!

Q:  Any hobbies you’d like to share with us? 

I like red shoes. I like Hiking. I especially like hiking in red shoes.

Annie: Love it!!!  This is a great picture! #HAPPYFEETJamie Fords red shoes

Q:  I see that your books have been translated in to 34 languages, and you won an Award. Can you please tell me more about that…? 

Books in translation are amazing; in fact, HOTEL was #1 in Norway for nearly four months. I always credit the translator—they must be doing something right. They could put zombies in my books and I’d never know

As far as awards, they’re a lovely validation, but nothing compared to getting a tweet from a high school student who says “This is the first book I’ve been forced to read that didn’t actually suck.” That kind of stuff makes my year. 

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

As soon as I finish it. I’m close—and this time I meant it! The new book (no title yet) is about a mixed-race boy who was raffled off at the 1909 World’s Fair in Seattle. That part’s true.

Annie: A must read, for sure! 

Lastly, Book or eBook? 

Book. I do read eBooks as well, but prefer comfort over convenience.

Annie: I am an Old-School person too. I have a library in my home, and my husband has a man cave.  I love being surrounded by books…it is rather calming for me.

Jamie Ford Hotel

Annie: Thank you Jamie. I appreciate your time, and patience.

I have enjoyed all of your answers, and getting to know you better!!

Keep me in mind when you release your next book!

I am a fan!!