Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Interview with Amy Lyle (The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures)

What inspired you to write The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures?

A failure! I was marketing a screenplay (#fakemom, out in theaters as soon as Judd Apatow returns my calls) to an entertainment attorney and he said that I couldn’t work with me until I had a platform. He advised me to start a blog or write a book. I asked what I should write about, as I had just finished the screenplay, and he said “Write what you f****** know,” and hung up.  “I have had a lot of failures,” immediately popped into my mind.

How long did it take you to write your book?

The entire process took about a year. At the six month point I had 50,000 words and hired a content editor to help edit and organize it.  During the editing process I worked on the covers (shot by Andrea Ferenchick) and started reading and watching  everything I could about book promotion. 

How long have you been publishing your work?

I’m a playwright by profession for a non-profit, so the plays do not get published. The book is my first published work besides industry articles from my talent aquisition days. I have recently starting writing for a large digital magazine www.littlepinkbook .com and My Forsyth Magazine, that serves the community I live in. The Book Of Failures was released in May and hovers in the top ten of ebooks for humorous essays alongside my idols, David Sedaris, Tina Fey and Trevor Noah. It’s a surreal feeling.

What does your writing environment look like?

A pantry. To the right is a door to our street and to the left are lots of snacks. I’m within arm's length of all things Little Debbie. I like to write with the doors open, dogs by my feet, and the occasional “Hello!” from a passing neighbor.

Do you have any routines to help you write?
Yes. I start writing everyday around eight am, after taking my two dogs for a walk. Since I work in the pantry,  I grab a snack at noon and continue working until around 4:00, when my four kids get off the school bus. 

The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures
By Amy Lyle
Genre: Funny Memoir

THE AMY BINEGAR-KIMMES-LYLE BOOK OF FAILURES is a humor memoir. If you have ever failed at love, finances, been fired, not fit in, self-diagnosed yourself with disorders and conditions and/or said, "I really need to get my s*** together," this is the book for you.

You may appreciate your own dysfunction a little more as you take a journey through Amy’s debacles including: “I Was Not Talking to You,” where Amy mistakes a handsome man waving at her as a potential suitor but in reality, he was only trying to inform her that her belt was dragging on the freeway and “In the Neighborhood,” where members of a cult moving in concurred with a suspicious decline in the cat population. You will relish the chapters entitled “Calls from Sharon,” where Amy’s best friend rants about her kids not getting a fair shot because public schools are ‘so political,’ as her OB/GYN reported her vagina was ‘too clean’ and how the most eligible bachelor from 1982 married a whore. Enjoy “I’m Going to Kill You,” where Amy compares her lack of sleep from her husband’s snoring to CIA agents extracting secrets from a POW. Feel 20-32% better about your own life after reading “Getting Divorced Sucks,” where 911 was called after Amy had an adverse reaction from taking Xanax.

The book has been featured in Scoop OTP, Georgia Followers, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Points North Atlanta Magazine, Just4Fun Radio and the WXIA-TV morning show, "Atlanta & Company.”

Ten percent of book proceeds are donated to The Place of Forsyth County, a non-profit helping people to become self-sufficient.

About the Author

Amy Lyle is an author, comedienne, actor and screenwriter who works as a playwright for a large nonprofit in Alpharetta, Ga. Obsessed with fellow female comedians, Amy developed a writing style that is self-deprecating, hilarious and slightly neurotic.

Although she describes her book, The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures, as a “how not to” book, her message of “You are not a failure, you’re just having a little bit of trouble right now” is prompting people to share how the book made them feel (#bookoffailures), including the relief of knowing they are not alone in the world of missteps. Fan posts of people reading the book have been popping up from all over the world, including Lake Como, Italy, Amsterdam and The Great Wall of China.

The funny memoir, dealing with everything from getting fired to trying to blend a family, has been described as relatable and authentic, while sparking conversations about how we all handle failure.
The author has been featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Points North magazine and the WXIA-TV morning show, "Atlanta & Company,” in addition to writing a monthly column for My Forsyth magazine.

Amy grew up in Marietta, Ohio, in the heart of Appalachia, a place known for a population that is partial to moonshine and prone to acts of violence. She currently lives in Cumming, Ga., with her second husband, Peter, lots of teenagers and a large dog. Ten percent of book proceeds are donated to The Place of Forsyth County, a non-profit helping people to become self-sufficient.

To learn more, visit www.amylyle.me/.
Twitter: @amylyle
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/amylyle.me/

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2woXefR

Book Blitz: The Star Dragon by Dante Doom

The Star Dragon
By Dante Doom
Genre: LitRPG

When the real world is threatened, it’s up to the players in a virtual one to save it.

Van Vanyushin doesn’t see the point in ever leaving the beautiful digital world of the game he loves—and for good reason. In the industrial wasteland he calls home, it is often the only way people can experience life’s simplest pleasures. But his allegiance to the game is tested when an ambitious CIA agent named Sang Ngo calls upon him to help as she goes undercover in the game to investigate Draco—the corporation responsible for creating the massively popular role-playing game Dragon Kings of the New World.

Sang is a gifted hacker who feels nothing but contempt for those who waste their lives in what she sees as a false reality…but when people start dying in the game, she must find out why. Van, a talented gamer, is her guide to navigate the world, level up their newbie characters fast and get into some of the most dangerous areas of the game. He dreams of becoming a pro gamer sponsored by Draco one day, but his partnership with Sang threatens to expose secrets from his past that could jeopardize those plans.
Now, they will have to put aside their differences to discover whatever—or whoever—is killing players, but the truth they find is darker than either of them imagined….

About the Author

Dante Doom didn’t touch a videogame or fantasy book until his 23rd year on Earth. He started working at an old-school arcade—hired primarily, he was told, because of his “badass ridiculous name”—and from then his education began.

They started him on the classics, a strict diet of Pac-Man, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, Dig Dug, Street Fighter, and Rampage.

Freakish proficiency. Beginners luck, they said.

He was given dog-eared copies of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and Anne McCaffrey’sDragon Riders of Pern.

Devoured in days.

Finally, he was invited up to the arcade owner’s private gaming room: Battletoads, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES), and Ghosts 'n Goblins followed.

Defeated, at last—maybe he wasn’t such a wunderkid, after all. But he didn’t give up. And that earned him a seat at the group’s D&D table. Many a happy day has passed since—he even beat TMNT’s Dam level and its health-draining pink seaweed.

Then a year ago, that same group introduced him to the new Fantasy-LitRPG genre—what Dante saw as the final stage in his education. Because, for him, it doesn’t get any better than LitRPG. The combination of an immersive fantasy world, gaming objectives and levelled progression makes for a fascinating storytelling experience.

Inspired, he took two weeks holiday from the arcade, sat down and wrote the Dragon Kings of the New World series. 



The author is giving away a $5 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky reader!

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Spotlight: Luna Rising by Selene Castrovilla (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Luna Rising
By Selene Castrovilla
Genre: Women's Fiction

About the Book

Life begins at thirty-eight for Long Island mom and writer Luna Lampanelli, when she kicks her secretly gay husband to the curb. She's got her freedom, but what she wants is love. Luna knows she doesn't need a man to exist, but try telling that to her heart. Against the advice of Sunny, her snarky best friend, and Jiminy, the cautioning voice in Luna's head who just won't shut up, Luna sets course to find a mate. Luna speed and on-line dates her way into several short-lived, surreal relationships. There's Ari, the humorless Israeli who refuses to assimilate – to America, and to humanity. There's Alex, the young and handsome ex-crackhead who informs Luna he doesn't want to be monogamous—while they're in bed. There's Memphis, the wild-eyed sadomasochist. There's Red, angry and crippled, who becomes the catalyst for Luna to join Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. But before Luna can proceed to recovery, she meets the elusive but oh so appealing Trip. He's emotionally unavailable and has the Madonna-Whore Complex, but how can Luna (aka "whore") let him go when she enjoys his dry wit so much, and his body even more? Humorously haunting and packed with unspeakable truths, Luna Rising follows a woman's funny and heart-breaking struggle to relate with un-relatable men and an un-relatable world, and to figure out something even more un-relatable: herself.

About the Author 

Selene Castrovilla debuts in women’s fiction with Luna Rising, but she’s no stranger to publishing. An award-winning teen and children's author, Selene believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. Her novel Melt, Book One of the Rough Romance Trilogy, received six honors including the IndieReader Discovery Award Grand Prize for Fiction. Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, her third nonfiction picture book about the American Revolution, was the recipient of four awards including Booklist Top Ten Biography for Youth, International School Librarians’ Honor Book and Eureka! California Reading Association Honor Book. A companion book, Revolutionary Rogues: John André and Benedict Arnold, is hot off the presses. Selene holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The New School and a B.A. in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons and too many cats, where she sits on her deck in the summer, fall and spring (and at her picture window in the winter) and writes. She loves the color purple and coffee. Selene plays well with others, but with words even better. She is so grateful to do what she loves. National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson calls Selene “a writer worth watching.” Visit www.SeleneCastrovilla.com.

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SCastrovilla/
On Twitter: @SCastrovilla

On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Luna-Rising-Selene-Castrovilla/dp/0991626192 On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32963894-luna-rising
On B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/luna-rising-selene-castrovilla/1125286165

AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY: $50 Amazon card plus signed copies of Luna Rising and Melt by Selene Castrovilla!

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An Excerpt

I’m gonna try dating again,” Luna told Joe, her boxing coach. They were doing pad work— jabbing, hooking, ducking, slipping and talking about love.
“Don’t do it. You ain’t ready,” he said. “Uppercuts!”
“Gee, thanks.” She drove her fists up into the pads until the bell rang.
“Rest. Hey, you want me to lie, or what?”
“What makes you all gung-ho to do this? You need to get laid?”
“No . . . well, I guess maybe yes . . . But that’s not it. I just feel good. I’ve been living alone for nine months. I’ve been okay.”
Not exactly true . . . she’d nearly fallen apart every time something in the house broke down. But she wanted to concentrate on the positive. She’d survived. That was positive.
“What’s your game plan?”
“I thought I’d try CraigsList.”
            “CraigsList? Are you shitting me? That’s where you buy a table, not get a date.”
            “Yesterday, I heard a guy on Howard Stern say he met someone on CraigsList. It was love at first sight.”
            “That’s ridiculous. That ain’t love.” The bell rang again. He held up his right pad. “Double hook. Twist on your heel!”
            Luna complied, or at least she thought she did.
            “TWIST!” he hollered. “Holy shit, for months I been telling you to twist. What does it take?”
            She tried again. She responded to being yelled at. “Better,” he said. “Twenty. Go!”
            Luna twisted and thudded, twisted and thudded. In the background Cher crooned “If I Could Turn Back Time.”
Joe said, “It took me six or seven years to fall in love with my wife.”
            Luna almost fell over mid-twist. “Really?”
            “Yeah. In the beginning I would’ve told you it could never happen. But people can grow on you.”
Twist, thud, twist, thud.
Over and over, catching Joe’s steady blue eyes in-between each move.
Then he said, “Love is a consequence.”
             Twist, thud¸ twist, thud. “That’s an unusual concept,” she said.
            “It’s true,” he said. Then he said, “Jab, jab, double left uppercut.”
            She struck the pads silently for a few moments. Consequence seemed almost a dirty word, although she didn’t know why. Maybe it was too grown up.
            Luna liked the immediate.
            She asked, “What about the Zen saying, ‘leap and the net will appear?’”
            Joe said, “You’re mixing metaphors. Jab, jab, right, right uppercut.”
            Thud, thud. “Am I?” Thud, Thud.
            He laughed. “What the hell do I know about metaphors? Sounded good, though.”
            The bell rang. Joe yanked off Luna’s gloves, tossed them to the corner under the mirror, ripped the Velcro seal on her wraps and unraveled her. The wraps landed in a heap at her feet. “Let’s go,” he said.
            He put a thirty-pound weight on what Luna called “the butt machine” and motioned her on. She stepped onto the platform, bent under the shoulder lift, spread her feet so they were centered, pulled the safety bar out and pushed up, lifting the weight on her shoulders.
            Lift, squat. Lift, squat. The first couple were never bad. She said, “Don’t you at least believe in unconditional love?”
            “The only unconditional love we have is for our kids.”
            Up, down. Up, down.
            By the fourth she was feeling the strain in her thighs and her rear. She felt it in her chest too, which stopped her from responding.
            Up, down. Up, down.
            Up, down. Up, down.
            Her legs were trembling. “Jesus, Joe…” she managed.
            He said, “Jesus wasn’t really sacrificing anything to die for our sins. He knew he was going to heaven. I don’t have that kind of faith.”
            Up, down. Up, down.
            Up, down. Up, down.
            Was he even keeping count here?  “I have to stop,” she told him.
            “Two more.”
            Up. “Uhhhh!” Down. “Uhhhh!”
            Up. “Uhhhh!” Down. “Uhhhh!”
            “And rest,” Joe said.
            Luna slid the locking bar forward and moved out from under the shoulder rest. She wobbled down.
            That’s why she paid him – she’d never push herself this far.
            She leaned against the machine for support. In between recuperating huffs she said, “So you’re saying even Jesus didn’t offer unconditional love?”
            “I’m saying he had nothing to lose. It was a no-brainer for him.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Book Review: Curva Peligrosa by Lily Iona MacKenzie

Curva Peligrosa
By Lily Iona MacKenzie
Genre: Literary magical realism

When Curva Peligrosa arrives in Weed, Alberta, after a twenty-year trek on the Old North Trail from southern Mexico, she stops its residents in their tracks. With a parrot on each shoulder, a glittering gold tooth, and a wicked trigger finger, she is unlike anything they have ever seen before. Curva is ready to settle down, but are the inhabitants of Weed ready for her? Possessed of an insatiable appetite for life and love, Curva’s infectious energy galvanizes the townspeople, turning their staid world upside down with her exotic elixirs and unbridled ways. Toss in an unscrupulous americano developer and a one-eyed Blackfoot chief, stir them all together in the tumult of a tempestuous tornado, and the town of Weed will never be the same again. A lyrical account of one woman’s journey and the unexpected effects it has on the people around her, Curva Peligrosa pulses with the magic at the heart and soul of life.


I had to read this book after seeing the breathtaking cover. In my opinion, it captures the vibe of this story: wild and bold. My favorite character in Curva Peligrosa was Sabina. She was curious and thoughtful. I think she shined in this book. I was a little confused about the relationship between Curva and her brother, but it didn't take away from following along. Overall, I would give this book 5 stars. 

About the Author

A Canadian by birth, a high school dropout, and a mother at 17, in my early years, I supported myself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long-distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored me into the States). I also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (I was the first woman to work on the SF docks and almost got my legs broken), founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County, co-created The Story Shoppe, a weekly radio program for children that aired on KTIM in Marin County, CA, and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in creative writing and one in the humanities). I have published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 150 American and Canadian venues. My novel Fling! was published in 2015. Curva Peligrosa, another novel, will be published in September 2017. Freefall: A Divine Comedy will be released in 2018. My poetry collection All This was published in 2011. I have taught at the University of San Francisco for over 30 years, and I blog at http://lilyionamackenzie.wordpress.com.

On Twitter: @lilyionamac
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lily.iona.mackenzie/

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tQb5eS

Monday, September 11, 2017

Interview with Christian A. Brown

Feast of Fates
By Christian A. Brown
Genre: Dark Fantasy

Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her—visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land. With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.

Author Interview

In your books, you’ve created an incredibly detailed, immense world -- how did you keep all of it straight when you first started writing?

At first, and when starting any story, I feel it’s important to simply write. Make that messy first chapter and see how, what and who you want to portray; get a feeling for where the Muse is leading you. If you’re writing a “show” and not “tell” tale, the mechanics and laws of the (fantastical) world will fall into place as your characters and narrative voice move through the story. Once the details of the world start fleshing themselves out, I start writing down everything pertinent to the tale, even if it’s just as margin notes that are later compiled into a “World Bible” if you will. Geadhain (my world) now has both a bible and a style guide for reference for my work.

Why was it important to you to have so many strong female characters in your series, good and evil?

Historically, women (and minorities, of which I am one—well, two, actually) have been grossly under represented in fantasy; typified into the maiden, witch, whore, mother stereotypes. I grew up in a house of dominant successful women, and those influences and personalities found their way into my work. My mom, for example, was once a roller-skate waitress (just to make ends meet), then later a real estate broker, a bank teller, and finally a lawyer—after putting herself back into university as a mature student at the age of 50. And of course, during all these vocations, she juggled the needs of her children, her partner, and herself. She built a business with my father. She helped to elevate us from poverty to working middle class—she, herself, once in foster care and utterly destitute after her parents’ marriage collapsed. Despite all of the negative forces conspiring against her, she was a woman of hope, strength and character. I couldn’t not have written strong women, given her role model behavior. My mom, my sister, my aunts, my teachers, my primary editor…I’m blessed to have known so many accomplished, inspirational women.

From their physical descriptions to their personalities, your characters are so vivid -- where does the inspiration for them come from?

I read a lot of comics as a child; watched plenty of anime and horror; played video games till my eyes shriveled. Before that darned Nintendo ruined my eyesight, and when I was younger, my parents also used to take my sister and I on walks through the woods, and the richness of a woodland stirs even the most stagnant imagination. In our adolescence we played outdoors and read, extensively, since we couldn’t afford luxury items (like NESes) at the time. I’m much more into physical disciplines now, though my mind still works in a sensory format.

How do you think your approach to the fantasy genre differs from other writers?

Well, there’s the portrayal of women, first and foremost. Although, these characters stand toe-to-toe with men and other forces who are equally as formidable. I’ve lived through the reality of oppression, intolerance and poverty, and likewise many of my characters deal with the same issues. While the series is definitely dark fantasy, and not for the faint-of-heart or those shy to reading about violence and oppression, there is a definite undercurrent of hope: this sense that even though the odds are impossible, the movements of many, disparate brave souls can make a difference. Structurally, the world is an interesting blend of science fiction, mythic and high fantasy elements, too, where some advancements dwarf what we here on Earth have accomplished, while other advancements are stymied by natural (mystical) forces that inhabit prosperity. So there’s this really cool play of old vs. new, Tecnhnomagik vs. Nature. Which leads into a subtle environmental dialog on man’s use and participation in a planet’s sustainability or destruction. “Four Feasts till Darkness” are dense books that deal with topical and sensitive subject matter, which certainly helps them to stand apart from lighter or more traditional fantasy stories.

If you were able to sit down and discuss writing with three authors, who would you choose, and what would you talk to them about?

Ursula K. LeGuin. Clive Barker. Stephen King. Ursula and I would chat about her Earthsea trilogy, which is one of the greatest fantasy series I’ve ever read. Clive Barker and I would talk about how he’s fared as an openly gay author, and what that process of being public and gay has been like. Whereas Stephen and I would write something horrible together, a ghastly masterpiece with his wit and my penchant for visceral verbosity.

Do you think the diversity in your own life reflects in your writing and the characters you’ve created?

Definitely! I’m a biracial gay man married to a Métis amputee. Just so we’re clear, I’m not a “diversity fetishist,” it just so happened that a.) I fell in love with a man and b.) he happened to have one leg. But whatever weight he’d lost in flesh, he’d gained in heart, and he’s an absolute gem. Between the two of us, and as men of color (I, more than he), we’ve experienced the full onslaught of intolerance and slurs—N-word, jigaboo, faggot, you name it. Now the funny thing about hate is that it either makes the victim hateful, or ideally, it makes the victim sympathetic, a warrior, one passionate about dismantling bigotry. My partner and I are of the latter camp, as was my mother, who married a black man in an era when that wasn’t too popular. Therefore, in Feasts you’ll see a real menagerie of characters, and none so bizarre as to simply tick a “diversity checklist” (blind, transgender, PoC in a wheelchair—cause reasons), just real people, with real issues that come in a variety of shades, sexualities and makeups. Every hero has their flaws—flaws that others see and to which they react—just as none of us are perfect. Without my negative experiences and positive enforcements and reactions, I could never have written a cast so patently human.

Why was it important to you to include a message of hope despite the dark nature of the books?

The story starts, actually, with a romance, and while it’s steamy and seems as if it might lead to bodice-ripped escapades, it never does. The romance between Morigan and the Wolf is merely the hook and foundation for a story that’s built on love: romantic, fraternal, love for power, love when corrupted into hate. If you look at the history of human success and folly it is predicated by passion, by love or hate. In the grand sweeping plot arcs of epic fantasy, the drive that has begun a campaign of war or terror is often overlooked. “Feasts” has a gargantuan plot, and many moving parts, and to tell a more personal, more involving story, each of those most necessary parts needs to have their desires and wants explored. It makes for an immersive and heavy read, but I feel (and readers seem to agree) that the focus on characterization pays dividends. Besides, too much darkness and blood, and not a moment of levity or love in-between, and the story will crush the reader. In the words of Josh Whedon, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”

What’s next for you after the completion of “Four Feasts till Darkness” series?

I’m working on a super secret project (standalone from Geadhain’s novels), which requires me to plan a second trip to England. I had the idea for the manuscript when last I was there and it’s a thought-bug that’s finally gnawed it’s way into my brain, and into a grand idea!

About the Author 

Bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Feast of Fates, Christian A. Brown received a Kirkus star in 2014 for the first novel in his genre-changing Four Feasts Till Darkness series. He has appeared on Newstalk 1010, AM640, Daytime Rogers, and Get Bold Today with LeGrande Green. He actively writes a blog about his mother’s journey with cancer and on gender issues in the media. A lover of the weird and wonderful, Brown considers himself an eccentric with a talent for cat-whispering.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Interview with Author Julie Christine Johnson

The Crows of Beara
By Julie Christine Johnson
Genre: Fiction, Climate Fiction, Eco-Lit, Women's Fiction
Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of her own heart
When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life.
Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine.
Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice--a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind.
Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.
Beautifully crafted with environmental themes, a lyrical Irish setting, and a touch of magical realism, The Crows of Beara is a breathtaking novel of how the nature of place encompasses everything that we are.

Author Interview

What inspired you to write The Crows of Beara?

THE CROWS OF BEARA is a work of contemporary fiction with a touch of magical realism, set on the Beara peninsula, southwest Ireland.

I first traveled to Ireland in 2002 to hike the Beara Way. The peninsula, and the experience, turned my soul inside out. Never have I been more homesick for a place I couldn’t actually call home. Many hikes in Ireland later and I knew I’d be writing about it someday.

When I began sketching out characters and ideas for a novel in January 2014, I knew it would be set in Ireland and have an Irish legend or some element of magical realism woven through it. I just didn’t know where in Ireland or which legend.

I happened upon the poetry of Leanne O’Sullivan, who was raised on the Beara Peninsula and teaches poetry at University College Cork. Her collections, An Chailleach Bheara, which tells the story of the legend of the Hag of Beara, and The Mining Road, which was inspired by the late 18th century copper mining industry and the miners who toiled there, brought me, almost overnight, to my novel.

I knew before I began that my central character, Annie, would be an addict trying to put her life back together. Once I had my themes of environment vs. economic growth, an Irish legend based on the strength and resiliency of women, and of the Irish culture, and the healing power of art, the words poured out of me. I wrote the first draft in ten weeks.

How long did it take you to write your book?

I wrote the first draft of The Crows of Beara in ten weeks from January to March, 2014. I set it aside for several months, then revised it in in the fall. After I signed with an agent and a publisher for my first novel, In Another Life, in November 2014, I didn’t pick up Crows again until late spring 2015, making some agent-advised changes just before it went on submission. I revised the beginning again during summer 2015 before Ashland Creek Press picked it up in September.

Summer 2016-Spring 2017 were spent on story and copy edits and proofreading with my publisher. From first draft to the copy you have now, Crows shed about 30,000 words, several POVs, and had a few minor plot changes, but the story is essentially same one I first penned back in 2014. Whew. When I look at it this way, it takes such a very long time to bring a book to life!

How long have you been publishing your work?

I wrote my first short story in January 2011 and it was published in an anthology in June 2011. I’ve been writing and publishing steadily since. My first novel, In Another Life, was published by Sourcebooks in February 2016. I have a third novel currently on submission, and a fourth project underway. In between I’ve published short stories, essays, poems, blog posts, book reviews.

What does your writing environment look like?

I write on the sofa, at the dining room table, in bed, in favorite cafes, on the beach, in the library… wherever, whenever I can.

Do you have any routines to help you write?

Early morning is the best time for me- my head and heart are clearest- but when I’m in the groove with a project, setting word count goals and writing during scheduled times are my best tools. I need a bit of noise- ambient music, café chatter. I also do a lot of problem-solving and planning while hiking, swimming, riding my bike. Moving my body in active meditation helps me fill in plot holes and find inspiration. Journaling helps me get out the personal gunk so I’m free to pay attention to my characters. 

About the Author 

Julie's short stories and essays have appeared in several journals, including Emerge Literary Journal; Mud Season Review; Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim; Cobalt; River Poets Journal, in the print anthologies Stories for Sendai; Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers; and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss; and featured on the flash fiction podcast No Extra Words. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and Psychology and a Master’s in International Affairs. Julie leads writing workshops and seminars and offers story/developmental editing and writer coaching services. 

Named a "standout debut" by the Library Journal, "Very highly recommended" by Historical Novels Review and declared "Delicate and haunting, romantic and mystical" by bestselling author Greer Macallister, Julie's debut novel In Another Life went into a second printing three days after its February 2, 2016 release. 

A finalist for The Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, judged by PEN/Faulkner author and Man Booker Award nominee Karen Joy Fowler, Julie's second novel The Crows of Beara was acquired by Ashland Creek Press and will take flight on September 15, 2017.

A hiker, yogi, and wine geek, Julie makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington state. 

Website: juliechristinejohnson.com

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2o4RnJs

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book Blitz: Blood Vector by Robert Kiesling

Blood Vector
By Robert Kiesling
Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller/Horror

What if you were given the darkest secret of the world and it turned out to be you? 

Three People. One Chance. On the verge of losing her sanity from visions of otherworldly creatures destroying mankind, journalist Khloe Marks discovers that those who share her rare blood type also have the nightmares.

Her search for the connection between them leads to a disgraced lawyer, locked away in a mental institution for his belief that a young girl is the key to stopping the imminent destruction of mankind. Together, they must solve an ancient mystery to save humanity—even if it costs them their own lives. If they fail: In Memory of Man

About the Author

Science Fiction Author, Trial Lawyer
Books published to date:
• 3
First Original:
• Blood Vector (2017)
• In Memory of Man: Dawn of AI (2017)
• In Memory of Man (2007)
• Criminal/Family Law
Trial Lawyer – 13 years
•  Smith & Carlson – 1 year
•  Law Offices of RRK – 12 years
• Michigan State University, J.D.
• Northern Michigan University, B.A. in Political Science
• State Bar of Texas – 2004-Present
• Detroit, MI

• Father was a high school football coach and school teacher, mother was an HR manager. Robert is the second of two children.

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bloodvector.imm/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/inmemoryofman

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2uQdJSt                            

AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY {Blood Vector} Structured Twill Cap - $30 Value
a Rafflecopter giveaway