Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Heroines With Heart Blog Tour: This Time You Lose by Chris Stralyn

Interview with the author
Meet Chris Stralyn, author of
 This Time You Lose

1.What (or who) motivated you to start writing?

My writing career started completely by accident…literally. My family was on vacation in Florida when a wheel jumped off our van as we drove down the road. The accident and chain of events that followed made for a terribly unforgettable vacation.

A year later someone pointed out an essay contest for “The Worst Vacation Ever”. I figured our vacation definitely qualified, so I entered -- and won! That got me started writing other short stories and articles, and before I knew it I was writing a novel!  

2.How many book have you written so far?

This Time You Lose is my first novel, although I’ve had numerous short stories and articles published over the years.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Heroines With Heart Blog Tour: Payne and Misery by Catherine Leggitt

Interview with the author
Meet Catherine Leggit, author of
 Payne and Misery

1.What (or who) inspired you to start writing? 

I come from a family of readers. Mother was a schoolteacher and Dad grew up in a wonderful old house with a real library—a little square room with bookshelves on all sides and a carpet in the center. On the carpet sat two comfortable leather chairs with a table between them. It was a perfect place to sit and read. From that library, we chose the classics as well as popular books of the day. My parents encouraged me to write my feelings down and I began writing stories very early in life. To my parents, my writing was always incredible. At least that’s the kind of cheerleaders they were.

My first book was inspired by the dramatic breakup of my first romance when I was twelve. I barricaded myself in my room with my notebook and poured out four chapters of heart-wrenching prose, complete with tear-stained pages. If I read it today, it's pretty awful and makes me laugh. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Orangeberry Book Tour:Book Review:Shades of Gray by Andy Holloman

Title: Shades of Gray
Author: Andy Holloman
Genre: Thriller, suspense
Format: Kindle

When I started reading this book, at first I thought that was just one of those “Fifty Shades of Gray” books. The ones very similar to the very famous trilogy. Nothing prepared me for the emotional and thrilling story that followed. I can’t believe that it’s a debut novel.

It all started in March, 2002. A father and a daughter. A man who loves his daughter more than anything in the world. The girl’s mother has abandoned them, and the little one is in the search of Mom. Six-years-old Lucy is so lovely little girl, you must love her. The father has a friend, a woman, Wanda, with a daughter same age as his Lucy. One day they switched the cars, he took hers. John and Lucy had a car accident. 

The whole story started years earlier. When his precious one was discovered terrible disease. And he couldn’t afford the therapy. His traveling business suffered because of 9/11. John was desperate. 

Wanda earned her money smuggling drugs. Together with her boyfriend and her daughter, they traveled across the country hiding the drugs in her fake pregnant stomach. 

Wanda owned John money. A lot of money. She was smuggling drugs on her trips. John discovered. So he made a plan. To save Lucy. 

What would you do to save your child’s life? Would you break all your principles to save the one person that is most important to you?

Reading and reading I was hooked on the story. On one side, there is the love for the child, on the other, there is morality and there are principles. What comes first? There is no good or bad person in this story. John is a father who has principles, but when it comes to his daughter, smuggling drugs is not a problem at all. Wanda is smuggling drugs all her life, but when it comes to her daughter, she would confront the devil himself. Travis , John’s brother, is a dirty cop raised by a father racist. But, he loves his brother and niece more than anything in the world. There is no black and white world, there are many shades of gray between.

I really enjoyed reading this story, full of twists and turnovers. And nothing prepared me for the remarkable ending. Excellent story for a debut author. 

My opinion: 4 / 5

Buy Now @ Amazon
Connect with Andy Holloman on Facebook Twitter

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Feature and Guest Post-Nobody has To Know by Frank Nappi

Buy now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG13
Connect with Frank Nappi on Facebook & Twitter
Website http://www.franknappi.com/

Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi’s dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him. Nobody Has To Know is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.
“A haunting, briskly-paced page turner that explores the darkest recesses of the human psyche while propelling the reader through an intricate series of hair-raising twists and turns. Nobody Has to Know is a masterfully written tale that is expertly told. Frank Nappi knows how to
entertain the reader from start to finish.”
– #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Nelson DeMille

Teaching on a Tight-Rope
by Frank Nappi
Teaching my novel to my own students is an experience I shall never forget – thrilling yes, but only in a manner tantamount to a dream where I am walking a tight-rope stretched precariously across a ravine filled with rapacious creatures, all without the comfort of a safety net. Or perhaps clothing. Or both.
Not too long ago, both the English Director and the Superintendent of the school district where I teach English and Creative Writing recognized the value of my students reading my novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, in class. All of us acknowledged the unique nature of such an endeavor and proceeded with alacrity. “Your students will benefit from ‘asking the author’ about the creation of plot, characters, writer’s craft, etc.” my supervisor said. “And be given immediate, first-hand feedback. It is priceless.” The superintendent was equally ebullient. “Frank, this is a wonderful opportunity for both you and your students,” he gushed. “They get the privilege of hearing you speak about the creation of the story they are reading and analyzing it and you will be able to ascertain valuable insights into my own story as seen through the eyes of some hesitant yet inquisitive minds in return.” Hearing their spirited sentiments buoyed my own zeal. Yes, this would be a blast – an extreme alteration of the traditional classroom milieu – the pinnacle of an English teacher’s customary practice. What could possibly be more fulfilling?
Cue the tight-rope.
The first wave of trepidation came by way of a diffident, slight girl who occupied the very first seat in front of me.
“But what if we don’t like the book,” she asked in tremulous tones. “We don’t want to insult you Mr. Nappi with what we say?” I was able to ameliorate her concerns easily enough. I simply explained that we would spend some time analyzing my book in class, similar to the way we had done Huckleberry Finn, Ethan Frome, and The Great Gatsby. In an attempt to further assuage her angst, I shared that I had spoken to students from other school districts who read the book and although much of what we talked about was of the critical variety, I was still emotionally in tact and no students who voiced displeasure of any kind suffered any form of malediction. She was satisfied, but I was unmoored; the report of the shot she had fired resonated in my ears like the clashing of cymbals. What if they really don’t like it? I thought. Then what? My apprehension burgeoned exponentially and I felt the need to flee but alas, it was too late; I was in too far.
The rope was already stretched, and I had taken those first few steps. I could not bear to look down.
So I inched along warily with both arms stretched out and discovered, much to my delight, that the experience was indeed everything that those who had conceived the idea said it would be. There were some dissenters of course, those who invoked the teenage mantra of “why do we have to read anyway?” and a handful of others politely suggested that I failed to capture their interest. Truth be told, it hurt a little. Most of my students, however, were thoroughly engaged and genuinely intrigued by the process by which an idea becomes a novel. They asked provocative questions and offered insightful comments about the characters and the thematic issues explored in the novel. It was beautiful; these young readers were provided with a window into the world of the creative arts and they peered in, learning many of the intricacies germane to creative writing. And if that were not enough, teaching what I had written years before made me fall in love all over again with my characters and the circumstances in which I placed them.
I was halfway across the ravine with nary a wiggle….but then the rope began to sway.
One of my students suggested that they write reviews of the book for me as a culminating activity. These reviews ranged from high praise to tepid interest to outright disdain. Again, the more pejorative ones stung a bit, but I was grateful nevertheless for their candor, insight and observations.
I was struggling a bit now but still had my footing.
It was only after some of my students had posted their reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads, that I felt my knees begin to slacken and my feet give way. The less favorable assessments stung more in print and I learned that someone with ill intent suggested that I was “compensating” students for positive reviews, even though those posted represented a fairly mixed lot. I found myself under siege, my character and integrity impugned unjustifiably. I also found myself questioning my decision making abilities; why did I agree to let my students read my book in class? It exposed me in ways that no teacher should ever be.
I made it to the other side of the ravine, but I was hanging by my hands.
Some weeks later, I received several emails from both students and parents, thanking me for being “brave” enough to teach my novel. Suddenly I felt better. Maybe I could do it again, I mused, with another one of my novels. Not a bad idea I suppose, except for the nature of my latest – a mystery/thriller called Nobody Has To Know, the dark and somewhat daring story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path.
Hmmm. I may have to pass this time. That’s one tight-rope that could easily become a noose.