BOOK REVIEW: Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler


Review by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I love Anne Tyler’s writing so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this book. It’s the story of Rebecca, a fifty-something year old woman who has three grown step-daughters, one daughter and in-laws as her family after her husband passed away six years before. Rebecca runs the business her husband ran before he died. She hosts parties and events at The Open Arms, an old Victorian home where she lives upstairs with her uncle by marriage, a man who will soon be a hundred years old.

I read the first line and knew I would really enjoy the story. Here, you give it a try:

Once upon a time there was s woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.

Isn’t that a great first line? For anyone out there who wants to know what a contemporary literary novel looks like, check out Back When We Were Grownups. The characterization is great. The story is compelling. The writing? Wonderful.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes literary works.

 

The Common Cold And The Creative Brain.


Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

Maybe the title should be more specific–based on This Creative Brain. I hate getting a cold, and in fact don’t think I’ve had even a sniffle in the last ten years. Until last week.

At the most inconvenient time, when I’m in the beginning stages of revision with my wonderful, and patient, editor, I was knocked for a loop by a virus that had me sneezing and hacking, unable to sleep, with a fever, a sore throat, and a bad attitude.

The first couple of days I couldn’t concentrate on anything. My brain was just too busy sending out warriors to fight the virus. It didn’t have time for creativity. In fact, it didn’t have time for understanding simple English. I said, “Huh?” to anyone who spoke.

By day three the fever was lower, and I was able to function on a simple level, but trying to revise the story and get it back to the editor just couldn’t happen. By Sunday, the fever and headache were gone, and my throat was only sore from a raspy cough. I began with page one of the revision, reading the editor’s comments, trying to make sense of what she wanted. The easiest fixes were manageable, but I still couldn’t create new content.

It’s Monday night. My sinuses are still not up to par, and I cough so hard on occasion that I think my lungs are coming up, but my brain is at least able to create. Now, if I could just understand what  it is the editor wants me to create!

We all know that even a simple virus affects many of our abilities. We know the body and brain will ignore things that aren’t vital to survival while fighting off invaders. But I never realized how profoundly my thinking is altered by a simple cold.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to send an email to the editor and see if she can explain her comments to me, like I was a two year old.

BOOK COVER LAUNCH: The Bridges of Death by M.C.V. Egan


TBOD-frontcover

“M.C.V. Egan twists truth and fiction until you question your perceptions…it is a story of real love, triumph and search for self.” - Beckah Boyd @ The Truthful Tarot

On August 15th, 1939, an English passenger plane from British Airways Ltd. crashed in Danish waters between the towns of Nykøbing Falster and Vordingborg. There were five casualties reported and one survivor. Just two weeks before, Hitler invaded Poland. With the world at the brink of war, the manner in which this incident was investigated left much open to doubt. The jurisdiction battle between the two towns and the newly formed Danish secret police created an atmosphere of intrigue and distrust.

The Bridge of Deaths is a love story and a mystery. Fictional characters travel through the world of past life regressions and information acquired from psychics as well as archives and historical sources to solve “one of those mysteries that never get solved.”

Based on true events and real people, The Bridge of Deaths is the culmination of 18 years of sifting through conventional and unconventional sources in Denmark, England, Mexico and the United States. The story finds a way to help the reader feel that s/he is also sifting through data and forming their own conclusions.

Cross The Bridge of Deaths into 1939, and dive into cold Danish waters to uncover the secrets of the G-AESY.

Learn more about this book and the special 75th anniversary re-release at www.thebridgeofdeaths.com.

TBOD-comingsoon

Join us as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the crash of the G-AESY and the start of World War II with a month-long history-laden event that will entertain, educate, and enlighten you! As part of this event, a revised version of The Bridge of Deaths, this award-winning and highly-acclaimed account of the events of that fateful day in 1939, will be re-released.

If you would like to be a part of the month-long anniversary event from September 1 to September 30, please go here: http://bit.ly/TBOD75Event.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MCVEganM.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan. Catalina was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1959, the sixth of eight children, in a traditional Catholic family. From a very young age, she became obsessed with the story of her maternal grandfather, Cesar Agustin Castillo–mostly the story of how he died. She spent her childhood in Mexico. When her father became an employee of The World Bank in Washington D.C. in the early 1970s, she moved with her entire family to the United States.

Catalina was already fluent in English, as she had spent one school year in the town of Pineville, Louisiana with her grandparents. There she won the English award, despite being the only one who had English as a second language in her class. In the D.C. suburbs she attended various private Catholic schools and graduated from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland in 1977.

She attended Montgomery Community College, where she changed majors every semester. She also studied in Lyons, France, at the Catholic University for two years. In 1981, due to an impulsive young marriage to a Viking (the Swedish kind, not the football player kind), Catalina moved to Sweden where she resided for five years and taught at a language school for Swedish, Danish, and Finnish businesspeople. She then returned to the USA, where she has lived ever since. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish.

Maria Catalina Vergara Egan is married and has one son who, together with their five-pound Chihuahua, makes her feel like a full-time mother. Although she would not call herself an astrologer she has taken many classes and taught a few beginner classes in the subject.

She celebrated her 52nd birthday on July 2nd, 2011, and gave herself self-publishing The Bridge of Deaths as a gift.

Find M.C.V. Egan and The Bridge of Deaths at www.thebridgeofdeaths.com.

Book Trailer


Originally posted on Poetry by Pamela:

I am pretty proud of this. I used Adobe Voice on my iPad and created a kind of book trailer. I’m pleased with how it turned out for a zero budget/cost video. It was super easy to create – I actually was going to use this for a project at work but decided to try it out by doing the book trailer.

Pros – easy to create, you can use your own pictures or choose from hundreds of icons and pictures, music clips are easy to add (again, your own or theirs). Adobe Voice is a FREE app.

Cons – you can’t save it as a video file so I can’t upload it to my YouTube account. It resides in Adobe’s cloud so the only way to access it is with a link. Right now, Adobe Voice is only available for iPad.

All in all, I think the pros outweigh…

View original 46 more words

GUEST POST: The 7 Ways to Become a Better Writer by Valerie Thomas


I met a charming up-and-comer last week and wanted to allow her the floor for a guest post. Enjoy the thoughts of Valerie Thomas.

The 7 Ways to Become a Better Writer

Please note, the ordering of this list is not random. There is a definite progression from the activities I find help me most with my writing, to the ones that help the least. With that in mind—and the caveat that this is only the opinion of one starving author (okay, well maybe not starving)—please enjoy.

  1. This is the most obvious one, so don’t neglect it. There isn’t any wax-on, wax-off for writing; you just do it (kudos if you recognize the reference).
  2. Read books in your genre. This is almost as important as writing. As Orson Scott Card argues in his book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, the only way to gain familiarity with the clichés and nuances of your genre is to read as many related novels as you can get your hands on.
  3. Get critiques, whenever and wherever you can. Critiques from peers, not friends or family, are key. It’s easy to think a work is good when no one else has read it, or to think a piece is so perfect it wouldn’t bear any more editing—but trust me, critiquers will find problems and places to edit for you. Please note that you shouldn’t simply accept critiques as fact, however; consider the advice for yourself, decide whether it makes sense to you.
  4. Read nonfiction, and books outside your genre. My favorite nonfiction books are those on the topic of becoming a better writer, but at the very least a writer should be familiar with the names Strunk and White, and read a few books outside their comfort zone every year. The reason being, romance novels occasionally need an action scene, mysteries sometimes require romance, and science fiction often pulls from every other genre. Instead of emulating scenes written by authors whose skill lies elsewhere, the best answer is to go straight to the source.
  5. Go on an adventure.Writing becomes much easier if you base things, as much as you can, on your own life and experiences (this is why Ender’s Game is set in North Carolina and Pretty Little Liars is set in Pennsylvania). If you have some interesting memories to put down on paper, your novel ideas will be interesting as well. So go out and get some.
  6. Develop your empathy. Believable characters come from authors who understand people, and empathy is our way to reach an understanding. If you want somewhere to start, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the best books I’ve read.
  7. Work on your spatial awareness. There are some successful authors who can’t picture their own scenes, but to my knowledge they are very few. In order to recreate a scene in the reader’s head, an author must first be able to picture it themselves, which is why a developed spatial mind is important.

Please note that television and movie-watching are nowhere on this list. I suppose, if they were, I might place them at a very distant eight. I personally enjoy both forms of media, but have yet to notice any credible improvement in my writing from watching The Big Bang Theory.

Do you think this list is incomplete, or that I got the ordering wrong? Do you have a good book or relevant source to recommend? Please let me know in the comments below.

 

Valerie Thomas is a twenty year old college student in Colorado and author of The Clique. Her blog can be found at valeriethomasblog.wordpress.com” Something like that should be perfect.

A Little Promotion for Drue A. Hoffman


Just thought I’d Let Drue have the floor for a minute.
START THE SERIES FOR $0.99!!!
THE GROUNDBREAKING AND LAYING A FOUNDATION COMBO
They’ve finally found the passion they’ve deserved, but will they live long enough to enjoy it? Tony and Nikki fought their way up from the bottom of despair to each other’s arms, but can an ecoterrorism group bent on destroying their world separate them forever? Book 1, now in a combo volume including the series prequel, The Groundbreaking, that introduces readers to the nine main characters in the four full-length novels of the series. Get started today – Book 4, Planning an Addition, comes out November 1st!!!
Readers agree – Laying a Foundation is the one and only romance read of its kind, full of white-hot sex and characters over 50 so real that you’ll forget you’re just reading. Get started with the combo volume before the last book in the series is released in November!
All Romance eBooks – http://tinyurl.com/mvjdzs7
 
 
 
 

Drue A. Hoffman

Drue’s Random Chatter
 
 
Website:                  http://www.druesrandomchatter.com
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Twitter:             @Drueann
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