Tag Archives: Contemporary Fiction

Author Interview: ‘South of Main Street’ by Robert Gately

About the Book:

Henry Wolff regularly climbs out of his upstairs bedroom window. The neighbors think it strange that a grown man enjoys a Tarzan like swing from the roof, but then again, they all think Henry is a little strange. Recently widowed, Henry is an emotionally challenged father being sued by his daughter for financial control of the estate. Henry must prove he is normal – not an easy thing to do when you are not. Henry is different, not quite normal, not quite special. Rumors explaining his behavior run from PTSD in Vietnam to losing his son to SIDS. But Henry has a special gift. In a town divided by the have and have-nots, Henry alone can inspire and touch even the most jaded lost soul. But when tragedy strikes, can he unite his own family?

“A dynamic book set in small town Pennsylvania which explores the intangible ties that form a family, a community and the influence that one man can make crossing social and economic lines. Readers will fall in love with Henry.”

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I guess I’d have to journey back to 5th grade to explain to you why writing is such a big part of my life. We had to read a book and write a synopsis if as a task my fifth-grade teacher gave us. These ‘book reports’ would then be graded as if it were a ‘contest’. Winner-take-all. That’s when I discovered the flap — a brief outline from the publisher, those beautifully written words that perfectly captured the emotions and the essence of the story. For a 5th grade boy trying desperately to rise from the sleepy world of his imagination, I did a despicable thing. I used the flap in writing the synopsis, paraphrasing as best as a fifth grader could, and submitted the paper into the contest. As fate would have it, I won the competition. I was embarrassed, humbled at receiving an award I didn’t deserve. That day was the beginning of my writing career where a little flame burned in my soul to be able to express myself with some degree of grace where I would never have to rely on someone else’s words to express how ‘I’ felt. That desire turned into something else. I learned later it was called passion. I was going to be a writer.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Time: the morning is when I did my creative writing, and in the afternoon is when the logical part of my brain kicked in when I do my editing. Place: usually, I do my writing in my computer room, but I really can step out of reality and write anywhere.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Who knows. They could come from a dream, watching a movie, or a sound-bite at a barbeque. I might generate a whole story-line in one sitting. The real issue is when they come they don’t leave until I pay homage to the character or the story. It may take a single day, or a lifetime.

My most recent book came from watching a movie (Being There) where the main character captured my imagination 30 years ago. The hero of my story just wouldn’t leave me along and I wrote a novel and a screenplay to keep my sanity. Another story I ‘saw’ (The Longest Yard’) became an inspiration for writing a similar story, only it was basketball, not football. Other stories came from slug lines, sound-bites and certain experiences I had in life that just sat in my brain and wouldn’t leave me alone until I flushed them out. Actually, one non-fiction book (Fillossofee: Messages from a Grandfather) I wrote came from the desire to inspire my progeny. With social networking, I felt they weren’t getting the mental nourishment I got from history, the sciences, or philosophical thinking, not that I’m anything special, but my grand-daughter being billed for 13,000 text messages was what inspired that book.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I sometimes have a plan. But,  like the story that came from a dream, it was laid out for me and I just followed my intuition. I knew why I was laughing when I woke up, but I just couldn’t explain it in 5 minutes without sounding ridiculous. Interestingly, that writing project was written in a month, which I’m forever editing, and it won 11 writing contests. It became my showcase writing project for everything that was to follow: stage plays, novels or screenplays; even non-fiction works.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

That dream project was my only comedy. And my latest book started out as a comedy when I saw “Being There” with Peter Sellers, the movie, that is. The book was written by Jerzy Kosinski. I never read that. The important point here is that the character in the movie morphed into my character in the book and he took hold of me and wouldn’t let go until I finished the book. That project lasted for over ten years. What a journey that was! I’m forever grateful.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Wow! That’s a loaded question if I ever heard one. Since there are 12 characters that our hero affects in the most wonderful of ways, I’ll just address the main character, our hero, which is a male who is 55ish. Not that all my stories center on male characters. I co-wrote a stage play whose four lead characters are female. For my latest book, however, my favorite actors are a bit older than the hero, so I’m forced to think of thespians today who can fit the role. Maybe a made-up Leonardo DiCaprio. Same holds true for Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I read a lot (online stuff), but not too much for novels. However, I’m forever remembering the classics written by Joseph Heller, Philip Roth, Charles Dickens, and the like.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Just one: Godless, by Ann Coulter.

9: What is your favorite book and why?

Wow! That’s an impossible question, so I’m going to have to go with that book I read in 5th grade, whose name I forget. It put me on a journey that I’m still following.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Make sure you have the passion to write, and that you’re NOT doing it for the money or fame. One will enrich your being and the other two will cause you to lose you hair.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Probably … Goodreads or Facebook.

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1672362.Robert_Gately

Facebook: www.facebook.com/robert.gately.5

 

About the Author:

In 1998 Robert gave up a lucrative career with a large telecommunications company to write full time. Since then, he wrote 8 screenplays, two stage plays, and a novel. He has won grand prize or first place in several competitions, not the least of which are First Place in comedy in FADE IN Magazine, Telluride Indiefest, Woods Hole Festival, Split-Screen, Hollywood Scriptwriting Institute, plus more. In all Robert has placed in over 90 competitions such as Chesterfield, Writer’s Network, Cinestory, Writer’s Digest, New Play Project (Backdoor Theatre), Festival of New Plays (Stage 3 Theatre), plus much more. Robert has also been acting for the past few years. His most notable acting credit was the lead in FRAME which won top drama, short film category, in the 2002 Houston Worldfest – the same award Speilberg won in 1972 for AMBLIN. Robert has settled into a home in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with his wife Lois.

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Author Interview: ‘The Dating Diet’ by Daralyse Lyons

About the Book:

What if you found yourself climbing out of a bedroom window, naked, in the middle of the afternoon, to avoid being caught in bed with your married lover? Would you have second thoughts about dating?

After Shayla Ross discovers that yet another potential “Mr. Right” is, in fact, incredibly wrong for her, she decides to go on a diet. No. She’s not going to forgo her much-loved, sinfully-delicious girl scout cookies or her (admittedly too frequent) trips to McDonalds. Shayla is going on a dating diet.

An incredibly hapless and infinitely loveable heroine, elementary school teacher Shayla Ross decides to take her summer vacation from teaching as a period of self-discovery. Much to the chagrin of her meddling mother, Shayla sets out to find herself and, in the process, bumbles into a series of successive funny and heartwarming interpersonal interactions that will have readers falling in love with her.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

 

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’ve been writing since I was 5 years old.  Actually, I used to get in trouble for staying up late, under the covers, reading and writing well past my bedtime.  If my mom didn’t find me, and make me turn out the light, I’d fall asleep the next morning eating breakfast.  There’s a picture of me somewhere doing a nosedive into my Shredded Wheat.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Not too long ago, I joined a co-working space where I go almost every day to write.  I love it there.  It’s so much easier to focus than at home.  Plus, it’s not so lonely.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

A million places.  On the fiction side, I can be inspired by something I see or hear or a real life situation or emotion.  Sometimes, I’ll wake up from a dream with an idea.  On the nonfiction side, it’s easier to get an initial idea because I’m writing about real events and people.  What’s hard about that though is that, if it’s not all tying, neatly, together, I can’t just make stuff up to fill in the gaps.  So it’s all easy in some ways, challenging in others.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Oh, I’ve learned the hard way to plan.  When I don’t have a loose but flexible idea of where I’m going, I can write myself into dead ends and tangents like no one else.  I think having an outline is priceless.  That said, even now, I occasionally don’t follow my own advice, and I end up paying for it.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I write across the spectrum – everything from adult literary fiction to chick lit, to mystery, to romance, to memoir.  I just love putting pen to paper.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Right now, I’m working on a memoir so that’d be really hard to cast.  Of course, I’d want someone amazing and iconic to play myself, but that’s just ego.  In reality, I think I’d be better off going with an unknown.  That way, she could be the perfect mix of train wreck and endearing with no celebrity gossip carnage trailing behind her.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I’m a voracious reader.  And I’m addicted to Audiobooks.  It’s hard to choose favorites because there are just so many exceptional authors out there, but I’m on a memoir-binge at the moment and have been completely engrossed by Kevin Hart, Dan Harris, and Anna Kendrick.  A book I reread every few years is Summer Sisters by Judy Blume.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Oops. I think I anticipated this question.  I’m still mid memoir-binge.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Summer Sisters because it reveals just how complicated love can be.  I’m working on a sequel to my first memoir right now and it deals with the intricacies of my relationship between me and my sister, Tyla.  I love her so much, and, yet, there’s envy there too at times.  I didn’t understand that it was possible to love someone and have them love you and break each other’s hearts until I read Blume’s book.  In many ways, it opened my eyes and is an inspiration for what I’m writing about now.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Don’t think.  Do.  I know it sounds simplistic, but the only person who can keep you from being a writer is yourself.  And the only thing that distinguishes a writer from a non-writer are words on the page (or screen, or tablet, or whatever).  I’ve learned that so much of writing is just getting my butt in a chair and doing the work.  Don’t worry about being good or who’s going to want to hear what you have to say.  And don’t try to edit and write at the same time.  Just come up with a plan you can stick to for devoting time to the craft and then make your writing time sacred.  It’s like having a date with creativity.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Thanks for asking! I’d love to connect with your readers.

All my books are available on my Amazon page www.amazon.com/Daralyse-Lyons

And my website is www.daralyonsauthor.com.

There are links to my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts there.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Dara-Lyons

Twitter: @daralyonsauthor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/daralyonsauthor

 

About the Author:

Writing isn’t so much what I do.  It’s who I am.  Ever since I was five years old, I knew I wanted to tell stories for a living.  I have a tendency to fall in love with characters and a somewhat (by which I mean extremely) fanatical need to put their lives down on paper.

I write Young Adult fiction because I am still seventeen at heart and because I remember what it felt like to pick up a book and see myself in its characters.  Some of the books which influenced me as a teenager include Summer Sisters by Judy Blume, She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb, and all the Sweet Valley High books by Francine Pascal.  I hope that my readers can see themselves in my characters and get lost in my fictional stories and the very real emotions that drive them.

A few fun facts about me…  I am an adrenaline junkie who loves skydiving, rollercoasters, and parasailing.  As a certified yoga instructor, I try to find peace in movement and I meditate (almost) every day.  I live in the quaint Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.  And at least once a week I do comedy improv (think Who’s Line is it Anyway?) and laugh at the utter ridiculousness of make believe.

Other books by Daralyse:

The Lost Daughter (Nov, 2008)

The Emotional Yoga Experience:Use Your Body to Heal Your Mind (June, 2014)

Confessions of a Straight Gay Woman (Sept, 2014)

Christmas Treasures (Nov, 2014)

Santa’s Answer (Nov, 2014)

Dunkin and Donuts (Feb, 2015)

The Lesbian Love Diaries (June, 2015)

Attorney’s Alibi (Nov, 2015)

Family Ties: Thicker than Water; Does it Hurt?; Like Mother, Like Daughter; My Forever Friend (June, 2016)

Yoga Cocaine (Nov, 2016)

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Book Review: ‘Moon River’ by Amber D. Tran

Title: Moon River

Published: 17th September 2016

Publisher: Little Creek Books

Author: Amber D. Tran

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amberdtran

Twitter: @amberdtran

 

Synopsis:

In this debut novel from author Amber D. Tran, a tale of adolescence and heartbreak unfolds. Nine-year-old Abigail Kavanagh first meets Ryan Mills during the summer of 1999. A shy and awkward boy, Ryan hides behind his wide-framed glasses while Abigail is determined to learn everything there is to know about him. The next few summers are filled with birthday parties, adventures in and around the West Virginian mountainsides, and late night conversations where they share their most secretive and personal thoughts.

Their friendship starts to crumble when Abigail befriends the attractive and musical Lilly Anderson, a girl who is also interested in uncovering the mysterious nature surrounding Ryan. However, everything comes to an end the summer of 2004, and Abigail must decide if her new journey is worth traveling alone.

A novel that takes place in a small town in northern West Virginia, Moon River is a story that exploits the brutal honesty in growing up fast, loving too young, and losing too soon.

 

Review:

A coming of age story filled with some darker traits throughout in regards to what these children go through. From bullying, to sexual references at such a young age (main character is 9 to start with and story follows her for 5 years), depression, suicidal thoughts and selfishness from a few draining so-called friends.

It’s really a downward spiral right from the start with everything Abigail and Ryan go through. Ryan was Abigail’s first real crush. It only took one look and she was infatuated with him. In her mind he became the other half of her but it would take a year or so for him to really notice her. The first time they speak is at a very emotionally damaging event for her. She goes to a sleep over at Kimmie’s but it’s one of her friend’s that takes thing in a strange direction. Creating a right of passage so to speak for her to be included in the group. This was the first part that made it a bit uncomfortable to read and you can see how badly Abigail was affected by it. What almost finished in a horrible night takes a slight happier turn when Ryan, Kimmie’s cousin, turns up, even if it was embarrassing in how he caught her. When Kimmie says he asked about her after she left it only helped fuel her crush more.

Ryan’s birthday party is another key moment in joining them together, along with Kimmie and Scott, Abigail’s cousin, as it’s after this that they have a summer to remember. Involves kids just being kids with hanging out on bike rides or in the pool. Things soon change when school starts though. Its like the minute it did Ryan went back into himself and shut her out. You can already see the cracks start to appear with him and also slowly see how fragile Abigail is as well.

Things take a mark darker turn with the introduction of Lilly. (Sorry but bitch is thy name no matter her age). She starts out wanting to be Abigail’s friend, saying they are the same, connected like no other. When she starts dating someone it gives Abigail ideas about Ryan. Talking all night on MSN is one thing but she wants to feel connected to him when the world can see. She gets what she wishes but he has already started to slip further down the rabbit hole with his behavior and it’s not long before its trouble in paradise. Lilly and Ryan go darker into themselves and its not until the end when you find out Abigail was almost dragged down too. Lilly was an abuser, even at a young age, with how she treated Abigail. Walking all over her, bringing her down and alienating others. She might have been the catalyst but these kids already had a few problems that they were dealing with. Ryan didn’t need someone to follow him down into the darkness that seemed to pull at him from a young age. He needed someone to pull him into the light.

You feel for them all and hope for a different outcome but get the feeling very soon on that this isn’t a happily ever after read. Deals with a lot of issues that don’t get mentioned in books much. It was an interesting, but at times, hard emotional read that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. I feel because I really disliked a certain character, along with the very strong language from the start which was a bit surprising given their ages, it made it harder to enjoy the book more but it was well written and definitely worth a look.

3.5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Uncharted’ by Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey

Title: Uncharted (Countermeasure: Bytes of Life #1)

Published: 24th April 2013

Authors: Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Authors.ChrisAlmeida.CeciliaAubrey

Twitter: @calmeidacaubrey

 

Synopsis:

The suspense driven Countermeasure Series combines full-length novels and Bytes of Life short stories about sexy, technologically inclined men and women. The series is filled with heart-stopping danger and enough twists and turns to make a hair-raising “roller coaster” seem tame. In the series, Trevor Bauer, a tough as nails NSA geek, and his even more tenacious love interest, Cassandra James, are on a quest for clues in the mysterious disappearance of Trevor’s parents. Joined by fate, their search drops them into the mysterious and violent world of data espionage, one that tests their love as they sweep the world with romance, sex, and ingenuity to find answers that will have the power to change their lives forever.

In the short prequel to Countermeasure, love is the utmost cardinal emotion and shines brightly as Conor and Maeve Brennan struggle with a life changing decision. In this glimpse into the hearts of the Brennans, you will see the strength of a love unlike any other–a love that transcends right and wrong. A love that remains unchallenged to this day.

NOTE: Countermeasure: Bytes of Life is a tie-in series to the Countermeasure Series novels. This new series of shorts gives the readers glimpses into the day-to-day life of the Countermeasure characters.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with two authors. A quick read to get you interested in the rest of the series.

An intriguing prequel giving you a glimpse into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Peter’s parents Maeve and Conor Brennan. It doesn’t give too much away about the ‘why’ they are leaving, just that they are. A sailing trip like they do yearly but this one with an ulterior motive. To find out what the true motive is you will have to check out the series.

You can clearly see the love they have for each other, and their son, and willingness to do what they must when times are at there worst. Which seems to be right from the start, though we never find out why. It has the ability to grip you, even with only being short. Leaves you wanting more, which is a good pull towards the series. Are they doing what they are doing to protect their son, themselves or maybe both?

Well-written short read that makes you wonder what, or rather whom, they could be running from and whether they will ever be able to come back.

3 out of 5 stars

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Author Interview: ‘Playing to Win’ by Ashlie Knapp

About the Book:

Spunky, quick-witted twenty-one year old Callie Thompson is a University of Oklahoma journalism student by day and Oklahoma City Thunder dancer by night. Callie hopes her connections with the franchise might get her foot in the door for a sports broadcasting job when she graduates. She just has one rule: never date the players.

Kyle Kelly is the deadly handsome and charmingly Southern Thunder man of the hour. All the twenty-six year old is looking for is an NBA championship to call his own. An unexpected meeting with an opinionated, feisty Callie, however, who is very unimpressed with his celebrity status, sets his sights toward winning two things: her heart AND the championship.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m a mom of two genius, beautiful children of the people variety and four of the four-legged kind – two cats and two dogs. My husband is a coach and his players are basically my children by default, so I usually have a house full of teenage softball girls. I hate mornings, mushrooms and mosquitoes. I was born and raised on a farm and learned how to drive a truck when I was eight years old. I binge watch too many episodes of Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I’m a night owl, so I usually begin writing around ten at night and finish around twelve or twelve-thirty. The house is quiet and the words flow from my brain to my fingers. I write from the comfort of my bed and I may or may not have a cat in my lap trying to help me type and a twelve year old cocker spaniel at my feet.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I was born and raised in Oklahoma, which is where all my books are set. I used to be a teacher, which is the profession of one of my main characters in my first novel. I played basketball and was raised by a coach, hence the creation of my Playing series. Basically, I write what I know.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

If seems that for everyone of my novels, the very first sentence (usually when I’m completely settled and comfy in bed) comes to mind and it flows from there. I don’t know where the story is going. I just have a vague idea of what I want to happen. The longer I write, the more the story builds until I have a complete novel. The characters tell their own story. I just type it for them.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I write contemporary romance with happy endings. I love reading them – why not write them, too?

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

For my recent novel, my dream cast would be Blake Lively as Annie, Zac Efron as Wyatt, Shailene Woodley as Breckin, Emilia Clark as CC, Liam Hemsworth as Griff and Diane Lane as Sadie. Want to see if you agree? Read Unlikely in Love.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I am an avid reader – always have been. Do I have to pick just one favorite??? Right now, I’m big on anything by Marina Adair, Rachel Higginson, Jessica Park and Emma Chase. I’ll also read anything by Suzanne Collins, Lauren Oliver, Dan Wells and Tahereh Mafi.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m currently reading Every Little Kiss by Marina Adair and just devoured The Difference Between Us by Rachel Higginson.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Now, this is one I ABSOLUTELY can’t choose. I’m always up for reading The Hunger Games. I think I’ve read it four times. Does that count?

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

My advice is to write, write, write. Write anything and everything. And read. Read the genre you want to to write, just so you can get the feel of different authors and how you want your book to flow.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

You can follow me on several places:

Website: www.authorashlieknapp.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorashlieknapp

Twitter: @authorashliek

Instagram: @authorashlieknapp

 

 

About the Author:

I am a small town Oklahoma mom with a passion for writing. One who loves happy ever afters. I’d rather buy a book knowing I am going to be smiling at the end, floating on a cotton candy cloud of sunshine and rainbows instead of dreading the never-ending tears, swollen eyes, red nose and soggy pillow that follows a heart-breaking tragedy. Nuh-huh. I want the fairy tale. Forget Romeo and Juliet. I’ll take Snow White and Prince Charming any way. I love binge watching Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and am quickly on my way to becoming the crazy cat lady. I hate mornings, mushrooms and mosquitos. My days are spent with my two witty and intelligent children and love-of-my-life husband on the lake or the golf course. If I’m not there, you can find me napping on the couch with my twelve year old Cocker Spaniel and two cuddly cats.

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