Authors' Chat

The Thrill of Mountain Climbing and the Delight of Home Cooking!

The Altitude Journals by David Mauro One would never have picked David Mauro, author of The Altitude Journals to climb the major 7 mountain peaks in the world. Not only wasn’t he a climber, he wasn’t even a hiker. He was down on his luck, living in his sister’s spare room while going through a divorce. Then, he received an invitation from his brother-in-law to climb Mount Denali. And that was the turning point. The Altitude Journals are about his journey, through mountain climbing, with its adventures, its difficulties and its redemptions.  I climbed each mountain with David, routed for him and read every word in his retelling of this journey. David’s sense of humor is evident throughout. When I asked him what he had initially thought when Thai asked him to join him climbing Denali, the highest point in North America, he told me, “My initial thought was, ‘Well, I'm not even a mountain climber so that sounds like a bad fit.’  By the end of the journey I had come of age as an altitude climber, so I understood clearly what I was getting myself into with Everest. I liked my chances of success, which I placed at 30%.” Hiking and climbing…

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“Reconstructing Jackson”- Heartbreak, Love and good food for Valentine’s Day!

  Holly Bush’s Reconstructing Jackson. The year is 1867. The Confederates have lost and the South is bitter, much in ruins.  Throughout the US, the former slaves are free yet most remain fearful, unable to exercise the freedoms they have been given. Enter Reed Jackson, lawyer, handsome and defeated Confederate officer. One leg amputated during the war, the other said to be too weak to use, Reed is in a wheel chair, angry, hopeless and uncertain about his future. His plantation and financé have been given to his younger brother and Reed is sent to the Aimes cousins in Missouri. Holly told me, “He knew the South could not support slavery forever, he knew his father was a cruel man, he knew that good people existed (his mother), he fought in a war he did not support but was expected of him, and he knew that the law must be followed blindly to begin our crawl out of our national conflicts.” So begins the historical romance written by Holly Bush. Reed is confronted with the historical reality of his era. His cousins own a boarding house and employ Beulah, a free Black manager, a bright, educated former slave. She is also a teacher, who elevates…

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A Novel Conversation with Callie “A Mistake of Consequence

A Mistake of Consequence by Terri Evert Karsten HELEN: Hello, I’m Helen the host of Novel Conversations, please do make yourself comfortable. Would you like a drink? Tea, coffee, wine – something stronger? You’ll find a box of chocolates and a bowl of fruit on the table next to you. Please do help yourself. I believe you are a character in Terri Karsten’s novel A Mistake of Consequence. Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role? CALLIE:  I am so very pleased to meet you, Madam. ‘Tis a fine day, is it not? I must say I’ve not acquired a taste for that nasty brew, coffee, [shudders] but I could use a refreshing cup of tea, thank you. I’m Callie Beaton, a gentlewoman. Or at least I was when I was home. I’m not sure what you’d call me now. ‘Servant’ is unjust, and ‘fugitive’ is far too harsh. Perhaps just plain Callie Beaton will have to do. Until quite recently, I called Edinburgh home. Now … well suffice it to say I’m no longer in Scotland. In fact, I’ve told how that came to pass through my author’s book.  And yes, I am indeed…

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A Novel Conversation with Dan Foster Principal Officer of Bow Street Magistrates’ Court

The Butchers Block by Lucienne Boyce Q: Hello, I’m Helen the host of Novel Conversations, please do make yourself comfortable. Would you like a drink? Tea, coffee, wine – something stronger? You’ll find a box of chocolates and a bowl of fruit on the table next to you, please do help yourself. I believe you are a character in Lucienne Boyce’s novel The Butcher’s Block. Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role? A: Coffee for me, if you please. I don’t take anything stronger, and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth…I’m Dan Foster, Principal Officer of Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, and The Butcher’s Block is the second Dan Foster Mystery. Read the entire interview @Novel Conversations

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Space in the Heart & Food in the Stomach!

    What is apparent from the start of the well-written Space in the Heart are the wounds of the three vibrant main characters. Author Rodney Walther told me, “I like to write characters who are complex, who have some wound or flaw that shapes who they are and how they see the world. Although the main characters Garrison and Danica take tentative steps toward love, they are each pursuing an individual journey of growth, which is as important as their romantic relationship.” Throw in Zoey, a moody adolescent.  In many ways emotionally, she is completely normal with the roller-coaster feelings of a teenager. Being in a wheel chair sets her apart, yet Rodney’s strong and apt development allows us to sit in her chair as we read.  The authors is successful in his goal of writing “Zoey as a teenage girl who happened to have a disability, not as a disabled girl first and foremost.” The plot reveals the nasty side of adolescents who both mock and ignore Zoey. Having been an educator for many years, I have seen these types of encounters. While all bullying is wrong, this type is extremely infuriating for me. Like many teenagers, Zoey wants to handle this…

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Audio Books?

Audio books are now the rage or are they? You can find a wealth of reasons to do audio books from authors and readers. For those of you who follow author, Joanna Penn (a guru for book marketing!) you will know that she is a great proponent of multiple revenue streams.  She encourages authors to get their books out to as many sales opportunities as possible and that certainly includes audiobooks When researching audio books and their impact we found some interesting observations: Readers like memoirs that are read by the author - Tina Fey reading her books it a great example. Fantasy and thrillers are very popular in audiobook form. Some readers hate how slow it is but now you can speed up the reading on most apps which makes for a more enjoyable experience. Like everything today, the technology is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Audio books are now used where a reader might have watched TV before- Gyms, doing household chores etc.  Again capturing an audience that might have been overlooked.  I appears to me, that everyone has earphones in today- walking, riding, exercising, riding the train or just standing in line to make a purchase!…

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Food Blogger, Wife and Real Life “Nana” in William L. Stuart’s Gemstone Chronicles!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Susan indieBRAG Foodie Lit Blogger                                                            The Gemstone Chronicles William Stuart. Quite frankly, the whole thing didn’t make sense.  “It doesn’t make sense that a fairy tale can be real,” Nana says to their Elvan guide Elf Finecano.  How can elves be real, magic be bestowed on her, her husband and her two grandchildren? How can they be moved through the shimmery veil between parallel worlds? Findecano  explained “Magic leaves a trail for those who know how to follow it,”… I believe our fate is to complete this journey together…So I ask for the four of you to join me in my quest.” While quests for young people abound in fantasy novels, usually without the protection or knowledge of their parents, rarely are grandparents included.  Nana and Beebop, a pet name for “grandpa”, are both brave and cautious and with their grandchildren, Aiden and Maggie,  learn to use the magical tools given to them. Including grandparents in the…

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A Book for Christmas and Pasta for a Healthy New Year!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Susan indieBRAG Foodie Lit Blogger Mothers who disappear. Fathers who die. Mothers who are in jail. Parents with hidden identities. And children who search and yearn for their parents and try to find, if not them, substitutes. The quandaries do not end there. Husbands with other families. Organized crime threatening safety.  Diverse racial and religious identities within families. Florence Osmund is fascinated with identity and family. In The Coach House and Daughters, paired novels, and Nineteen Hundred Days, she disturbs the smooth surface of the life of her characters. She takes away their safety and then allows them to develop the strength to create safety for themselves. She told me, “Characters Marie and Ben are confronted with safety issues, both physical and emotional, beyond what most people face in their daily lives. The level of safety they feel is directly related to the risks they take.” Families ground and direct us, whether we remain or rebel. The complexity of the characters’ emotions reveals choices that were difficult and with relationships that remain complicated. Marie Marchetti, the main character in The Coach House and Daughters, discovers that important people in her life…

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Record Your Own Audiobook for Audible

Should you do an audiobook? This was probably the most often asked question at the Book Baby Independent Author Conference 2018 held in Philadelphia the first weekend in November and the answer is "YES"! Audio books (although not actually new) are the "new" big thing.  Just as, not that many years ago, when ebooks hit the publishing world and exploded, the market for audiobooks is now exploding and it seems it is time to jump in. Two time B.R.A.G.Medallion author, Travis Bow has shared the "how to" of doing an audiobook! "It doesn't take a studio or an audio engineering degree to record your own audiobook and sell it on Audible. With a $130 microphone, some free software, and a little persistence, you can make top-notch audio, and Audible's Audiobook Creation Exchange interface makes it super straightforward to get your book on sale on the largest Audiobook platform in the world. Having gone through this process three times with my books Thane and King's Table and my short story The Three, I've had to glean information from dozens of partial (often conflicting) tutorials, and I've discovered a lot by trial and error. This is my attempt to put it all together in a step-by-step guide that anyone…

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Bookstores are still out there!

  In a world full of Amazons, Kobo, Scribd, (now Wal-Mart joining the bunch), and many more online book selling platforms, it may not be too surprising for you to hear about another major retail chain of bookstores closing. It doesn't mean that my heart doesn't weep each time it happens, though. A bookstore has always been a place I could disappear into for hours at a time - grab a cup of java; enjoy the soft leather of a cozy armchair while I perused the merchandise, deciding on which book I was going to take home. This was how I found most of my reads in a time when we didn't have Goodreads or Bookbub. Today, it reminds me eerily of the Blockbuster days right before they went out of business ... mainly because they refused to change and adapt to the times. But don't fret, there are many more options out there that allow you to check out both traditionally published authors and self-published authors, alike.   I am a self-published young adult author, which means I have to hit the ground running and never stop ... my feet get tired, my figurative boots are muddy and war-torn and worn down to bloody stumps. If you're traditionally published, these days you have to…

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