Thoughts On: Virgins by Diana Gabaldon

Minor spoilers ahead.


As is my habit, I went in search of the Outlander books after the first series started on TV a few weeks ago. It was only out of curiosity that I watched it, but I’m six episodes in and actually quite like it, so I joined the waiting list at my local library to get my hands on the first book in the series.

I’m finally, finally about to start reading it, but while I was waiting, I gave one of the novellas a go, so here’s my review of Virgins.



Title: Virgins

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Published: 2016

Genres: Scottish, General, Adventure stories & action

Buy From: Amazon


Blurb1740: Young Jamie Fraser has left Scotland and, with his best friend Ian Murray, is running with a band of mercenaries in France.

Both men have good reason not to go back to their homeland: both are nursing wounds, and despite their best efforts to remedy the situation, both are still virgins.

So when a Jewish doctor hires them to escort his granddaughter to Paris, they readily agree. Both men are instantly drawn to the beautiful young lady.

What neither know is that their lives and their friendships are about to become infinitely more complicated – and a lot more dangerous …


Thoughts On:

Premise: ***

An interesting look at what Jamie was getting up to before Claire came along, but I know I would have struggled to keep up with this if I hadn’t seen the show or read spoilers online.

Storytelling: ***

Alternates between Jamie and Ian’s POV, and kept the tone of the show. There was plenty of Scottish slang, which made me quite happy, and the occasional helping of Gaelic, but again, I’d imagine it would have been hard to follow if you don’t have a Scots dictionary lying around or haven’t heard the word ‘oaksters’ used in everyday conversation.

Characters: ****

There were plenty of characters in this novella, but it didn’t feel crammed or overloaded. Jamie and Ian were fun to read, and I liked that they tried to do the right thing by fixing the mess they’d made instead of trying to cover it up or make Rebekah go back with them.

Plot: ***

Interesting enough. It felt like a deleted scene or something from the main books, but it was a great way to get introduced to the Outlander world before starting the first book.

Ending: ****

Jamie and Ian make things right, and set off in search of more work.

Recommend: If you’re needing an Outlander fix while waiting for series three.


The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine only. I have not been paid for this review

 

 

 

Thoughts On: 11.22.63 by Stephen King

Minor spoilers ahead.


There are plenty of books on my shelves I’m yet to start reading, but as is my habit, I went in search of more reading material at my local library. After reading On Writing, I decided I’d give some of Stephen King’s other novels a try, and in the K section, there were the usual suspects- Carrie, It, etc- but 11.22.63 caught my attention because it took up so much space and I knew if I finished that in the borrow period, I’d be pleased with myself, so I decided it would be my next pick.


11.22.63 by [King, Stephen]


Title: 11.22.63

Author: Stephen King

Published: 2012

Genres: Alternative history. Time travel. Fiction.

Buy From: Amazon. Book Depository.


Blurb:  WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot – unless . . .


Thoughts On:

Premise: ****

Intriguing, I’ll give it that. I’ve never actually read a book which features time travel before, but it’s incredibly popular in films and fanfiction, so I was interested as to what Stephen King’s take on it was going to be.

Storytelling:***

The main character, Jake, was writing a book on his adventures, and that’s what form 11.22.63 takes. It was a bit odd at times, but it wasn’t off-putting.

Characters: ***

Not the most obnoxious characters I’ve ever come across, and they were realistic enough for when the story’s set, but Jake’s constant ignoring of ‘the universe harmonising’ annoyed me after a while; he knew something was going to happen because it had happened before, but when it mattered he ignored it, and near the end, his predictions worked too well in his favour.

That being said, I was rooting for him and Sadie to save the day as soon as they met.

Plot: ****

Not too meandering, but not too fast-paced either. There’s enough world-building for it to make sense to those of us who don’t know everything that’s ever happened in American history, but not too much that it makes the book a history textbook.

Plus, Jake was just the right amount of sceptical and curious when he’s first told that there’s a wormhole in his friend’s cafe that will allow him to travel back to 1958, and his initial concern when he decides that he wants to go back in time isn’t to save JFK but to prevent one of his students from becoming a victim of a horrifying attack, which greatly improved my outlook on where the story was heading.

A downside, however, is the lack of concern for the so-called butterfly effect every time-traveller in every book ever is always so worried about, although that does make this book a little bit different from the others. It’s mentioned at the beginning, but only given the occasional reference after that, and I know everything Jake did made me wonder about what was going to happen to the future he’d left behind.

Ending: ****

I can’t give the ending 5 stars because it kind of made the whole story moot, but the last scene was cute so it still gets 4 stars.

Recommend: If you want to read a time-travel novel with high stakes, luurrvvee and a hell of a lot of swing dancing.

(Also if you’ve read the popular Stephen King novels and want to try something a bit different.)


The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine only. I have not been paid for this review.

 

 

 

Indie Interview

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Rebecca forgot to include the name of today’s Indie interviewee in the title of this post. Rebecca’s finally lost it after trying to organise so many of these interviews over the last few months.

But I haven’t (yet) and I didn’t forget to tell you who today’s interview is with.

There was a reason for that and the reason is I’ve been trying to keep today’s guest a secret, because she’s one of my favourite authors and I’m so, so happy that she’s here and I wanted to keep this a surprise for you.

And now the wait’s over, so today’s guest is…



Jean Ure

Jean is the author of a plethora of pre-teen novels including Strawberry Crush, the Frank Foster trilogy, and Boys Beware, and very generously agreed to be today’s author guest.

 books_starcrazyme (1)books_FrankieFosterFreaksOutjean1

Hi, Jean. Welcome to Read A Lot.

You’ve published over 100 books since you were 16 and published Dance For Two. Was writing something you always wanted to do, or was it something you fell into because it seemed like fun?

Yes, definitely something I always wanted to do. I have been scribbling ever since I can remember. I have a distinct memory of boasting to a school friend, when I was about 9 or 10 years old, that I’d had a short story published in Enid Blyton’s magazine.

Absolutely not true! The friend wanted to know what it was called, and I promptly replied, “Jam Pot Jane.” No idea why this has stuck with me – a sense of shame, perhaps.   I was brought up to be a truthful child …

Has your opinion on writing changed since you first started?

I don’t think so, though I’m not really sure that I had any opinion in those early years – or that I have now, if it comes to that. Writing was just something I did, almost as naturally as I ate or breathed.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced over your career and how did you overcome them?

I suppose the greatest challenges were having to switch genres. For a time in my early twenties, being determined to earn some kind of living by writing, I knocked out romantic novels for Corgi Books, supplemented by translating French books into English – which was far more lucrative but not very satisfying.   

When the market dried up for my brand of not-very-romantic romantic novels I first turned my hand to Regency romances a la Georgette Heyer and then to teenage novels.  I grew to thoroughly enjoy the teen scene, only to have that dry up on me about a decade later, necessitating yet another change of genre.  This time I moved a few rungs down the age ladder and tried writing books for pre-teens.   

Each time I had to bid farewell to a previous genre I felt a definite sense of bereavement, because it’s impossible – for me, at any rate – to write books if I don’t actively get a sense of satisfaction from it.   

Fortunately the pre-teen market has so far held up and I’m still having fun, though I am at the moment engaged on yet another new enterprise, attempting an adult novel set to the background of the typhoid epidemic in Croydon back in 1937.   I say attempting as this is something quite new for me and I am currently still feeling my way.  Almost like being back at the beginning again!           

Have you ever considered giving up writing?

No. Never. Can’t imagine a life without writing.

What’s the most constructive piece of criticism you’ve ever received?

Cut, cut, and cut again! Although having said that, it is always satisfying to go back to your first draft and invent new scenes or flesh out others.

How much of your stories do you plan before you start to write them?

Oh, I plan. How I plan! I not only have the basic story line fixed but I actually decide on the content of every chapter throughout the book, deciding what the point of every chapter is and how it carries the story forward.    

It’s a task I dread as it takes a lot of hard work and creativity, imagining scenes, hearing conversations, ironing out problems, with very little reward. But for me it definitely pays off as it means I have a pathway through the book – a series of stepping stones, if you like, which keep me on course, stopping me floundering or veering off in the wrong direction.

Can you choose a favourite character from your books?

No! Absolutely impossible, I’m afraid.

How easy do you find creating titles? Do you know the book’s title before you write it?

I really like to have a title before I start writing the book;  guess it gives me a sense of safety. Titles can be difficult, especially when there’s a difference of opinion between author and editor.   

For instance, I wanted my first published book to be called Castanets and Ballet Shoes but my editor insisted on the rather dreary Dance for two.    

Editors can be very helpful, though. The title of Lemonade Sky was dreamt up by one of my editors. It had absolutely no relevance to the book whatsoever but I liked it so much that I felt inspired to go back to the book and put in a key scene which actually made it relevant.

What is your favourite part of the writing process?

Going back over my first draft and making it as good as I possibly can.

Least favourite?

The planning process.

What’s your favourite place to write?

In a room at the back of the house, by hand, surrounded by all our cats and dogs.    

What are your top 5 favourite books?

Little Women

Mansfield Park

Emma

Wolf Hall

Middlemarch

 

Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write, write, write!    

Practice may not make perfect but you rarely get anywhere without it.  Never EVER submit a manuscript without having read it through several times and got it into as good a shape as you possibly can.

Study other people’s books, especially in your chosen genre, to see how they get their effects. Try always to have an arresting first line, or first paragraph, to grab the reader’s attention.  Accept that unless you’re a genius or you just strike lucky you’re going to face rejection to begin with.    

Almost all of us have been there. Nothing to be done save stick a few pins into wax effigies, weep a few tears, swear a few oaths, then pick yourself up and carry on.    


You can visit Jean’s website here.

 

Thoughts On: Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

Minor spoilers ahead.


I’ve posted book reviews before, but I’ve never been quite happy with the layout or how I’ve approached them. That’s why there haven’t been many reviews recently, but I worked out this technique, and it’s going well so far, so hopefully this blog being called ‘Read A Lot’ won’t be ironic any longer.

Some of my older reviews have been rescheduled, but I have a few newer ones for you coming soon, and the first of these is Silence is Goldfish.



Title: Silence is Goldfish

Author: Annabel Pitcher

Published: 2015

Genres: Young Adult, Being a Teen, Coming of Age

Buy From: Amazon


Blurb: I have a voice but it isn’t mine. It used to say things so I’d fit in- to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn’t. It lied.

Fifteen-year-old Tess doesn’t mean to become mute. At first, she’s just too shocked to speak. And who wouldn’t be? Discovering your whole life has been a lie because your dad isn’t your real father is a pretty big deal.

When Tess sets out to find the truth of her identity, she uncovers a secret that could ruin multiple lives- but how can she ask for help when she’s forgotten how to use her voice?


Thoughts On:

Premise: ***

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this at first. It seemed like a heavy subject and I couldn’t imagine the book being anything but serious.

Storytelling: ****

Annabel Pitcher tells Tess’s story from Tess’ POV, and I think that was what made it less serious than it would have been if it had been told from someone else’s.

There were no huge, in-depth analyses, and Tess’ reaction and her recovery felt completely natural and not rushed or forced in the slightest.

Characters: ****

Tess’ reaction was completely realistic when she reads something she isn’t supposed to at the start of the book, and I felt sorry for her as she struggled to try and come to terms with what she learned; Mr Richardson was a douche, and I’d happily read more of Tess and Mr Goldfish’s adventures together.

Plot: ****

The book didn’t revolve around how upsetting Tess’ news was, although that was what I was expecting after I read the blurb. Her being mute didn’t feel like a plot device, either, and she didn’t choose to stop talking for the attention or because she just felt like it, and that definitely improved my opinion on the story.

Ending: ****

Tess breaks her silence to tell the truth, and finally hears the whole story.

Recommend: If you’re looking for a YA novel with a twist.


The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine only. I have not been paid for this review.

Indie Interview: Connie Chappell

Welcome back to another Indie Interview. Today, Connie Chappell stopped by to talk about her new book, Wild Raspberries. 

Hi Connie. Welcome to Read A Lot.

Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?

I love the writing process, but the funny thing is, I never wanted to publish my books. Everything I learned about the publishing world was fraught with change from one moment to the next.

I was a newbie to that world and I honestly couldn’t keep up. I didn’t know who or what to believe or even how to get started. I decided early on that I did not want to be self-published. Other than that, I didn’t know what to do first.

So…it was easier just to sit back down at my laptop and write another book. I wrote four novels before I seriously attempted to find a publisher.

Q: What inspired you to write Wild Raspberries?

A close friend suggested I attend Antioch Writers Workshop, an annual week long conference just a few miles from my home. I attended four summers straight. One of the writing principles I learned at Antioch was, as a writer, I was required to write a story that had never been told before.

At the time, I was reading a series of books and realised the author used the same premise in each: A wife, always new to the concept of empty-nester, realises her husband is having an affair.

My job was to tell a different story. Soon, the idea came to tell a story from the other woman’s point-of-view. I wanted readers to like my lead character, so I made her a quilter of memory quilts. The quilts are given anonymously to those who grieve the loss of a loved one. Based on reviews, my character was well received.

Q: What made you choose this genre?

Wild Raspberries is literary fiction and told from five points-of-view. The first three books I wrote were mysteries in first-person, told from a single point-of-view. Wild Raspberries was a drastic deviation. I began studying other novels I picked up and noticed that many authors were writing in more than one point-of-view. Whether the trend was changing or whether I was just paying closer attention, I couldn’t say.

I pride myself on character-creation and the five lead characters in Wild Raspberries have received many, many compliments. They feel real to the reader. Readers can picture them and connect quickly with them. My characters are far from perfect. The readers’ allegiance for my Wild Raspberries characters switches many times throughout the story. They didn’t expect that would happen.

Q: What is the book about?

Here’s a quick summary of Wild Raspberries:

When Callie MacCallum sews her first quilt after the death of her lover, Jack Sebring, she doesn’t realize she’ll be drawn into a Sebring family battle between his wife and daughter-in-law. Callie only wants to fulfill her promise to Jack that she return to their weekend cabin in the West Virginia mountains, the place where their twenty-year love affair was safely hidden. Instead, her emotional and reminiscent trip becomes crowded with the two Sebring women, a grief counselor, and the massive role Callie assumes. She obligates herself to speak for Jack, on behalf of his young grandson.

Q: Do you find it easier to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?

I have thrived on a structure for my writing for over a decade. My schedule affords me a minimum of two hours for writing each morning. Many days that time limit is stretched. I love the days when I can cobble together even twenty or thirty minutes more.

Q: Can you choose a favourite character from your book?

Lucius Dameron is my favorite character from Wild Raspberries. He was such fun to write. Lucius and the lead character, Callie MacCallum, were “best buds” in high school.

Lucius describes himself as a “gay carpenter and meddler extraordinaire.” He draws each of the four women into his confidence. The reader gains another level of understanding through conversations they have with Lucius. He sincerely wants to help resolve the situation. Best of all, Lucius is a bit of comic relief for the tension created by the topics of infidelity and grief.

Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing the book when you wanted to give up?

It took a year to write Wild Raspberries, including several sessions for major editing. As the process moved forward, I saw the story improve and become better. I never considered giving up. I wanted to tell this story the best way possible and poured my heart into the process, characters, descriptions, and settings.

Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?

The worst part of writing is when other responsibilities push their way in and I must set aside my writing at a critical time or when I am so enjoying building a particular segment of the story line.

Now that I’m a published author of three novels, those ‘other responsibilities’ can be the duties of the author with a publisher making certain requests that infringe on time valued by the writer. I would welcome a few more hours each week to devote to my craft.

Q: How much of your stories do you plan, or do you make them up as you go along?

Before I sit down to begin a new story, I give it considerable thought. I spin the characters and the story line around in my head. I think—when I place my hands on my laptop—that the majority of the story is organised. As the writing begins, the characters and their lives give me added insight.

Sometimes, the most wonderful realisations come out about halfway through the story. Those realisations add depth and meaning. Writing is an amazing process.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?

The piece of writing advice I repeat to myself most often is: write the story in a straight line. I struggle with the writing when the scenes are out of chronological order.

Whenever the writing becomes a struggle, I step back and usually find that reordering the scenes streamlines the telling. That makes reading and understanding better for the readers.

Q: Where can people learn more about your books?

I maintain an author website, and my publisher, of course, is an excellent source: www.BlackRoseWriting.com.

Amazon is the clear choice for a purchase location. Wild Raspberries is available in paperback, hard cover, eBook, and by July, 2017, in audio book.

Q: What have you learned since you started writing?

I describe myself as ‘self-taught.’ Very early in the process, I decided I could teach myself how to write a book by deconstructing books I read to see how the story was built. I studied books I read from a writer’s point-of-view. That felt right to me.

At the first writing workshop I attended, the first words of instruction I heard were, Writing is auto-didactic.

Luckily, the instructor gave me the meaning of that word.

That means, she said, one can teach oneself.

At that point, my confidence soared. I would trust my instincts and set a clear course. Have I said, writing is an amazing process?

Q: What’s next for you?

My writing pursues two genres: literary fiction and a cosy mystery series. I will continue down these two avenues. The second book in my Wrenn Grayson Mysteries series has been accepted by my publisher, Black Rose Writing. My writing coach and I are reviewing the third instalment for this series. I am diligently working on a new piece of literary fiction.

An Interview With Indie Author Rebecca Howie

Another interview, another awesome author helping out. Thanks, Ian.

lonelyboy1977

Graphic

Greetings folks, today it’s time for something a little different. No veiled attempts to get you to buy my book; no complaints about how much my life sucks; no insights into the craft of writing. Instead, having recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview with fellow indie author, Rebecca Howie, who is a mystery writer from Scotland, I am posting that interview below for your reading pleasure.

Rebecca self-published her debut novel, The Game Begins, last year, which made enough of a splash to make it up to 16th place on Amazon’s Teen and Young Adult Detective category within three months. She is currently preparing her second book, A Woman Scorned, for publication in the not too distant future.

View original post 1,704 more words

Indie Interview: Irene Olson

This week, Irene Olson took time out of her preparations for the release of her new novel, Requiem For The Status Quo, to talk to me about her inspiration and how she keeps herself from giving up.

Version 5

Hi, Irene, Welcome to Read A Lot. 

Q. Had you always planned on becoming a published author?

A. Not at all. I was my father’s primary caregiver when he had Alzheimer’s disease. It wasn’t until five years after his death from that same disease that I decided to honour him by writing a novel capturing my experiences loving him through that time. I started writing Requiem For The Status Quo on December 29, 2012 and knew absolutely NOTHING about the writing craft. Fortunately, I’ve learned quite a bit since then.

Q. What inspired you to write Requiem?

A. My first answer provides my primary inspiration but added to that was my time as my sister-in-law’s secondary caregiver when she battled the same disease as my father’s when she was diagnosed just one month after his death from Alzheimer’s.

My brother was a stellar caregiver for his wife and I volunteered as his go-to person where her care was concerned.

Additionally, as an Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support group facilitator, I heard many stories that provided peripheral story lines for Requiem. I wanted their voices to be heard.

Q. What made you choose the genre?

A. I had a difficult time selecting the genre because although Requiem certainly qualifies as Women’s Fiction, it has far reaching implications as a family drama. My characters are female and male; Alzheimer’s is no respecter of genders.

With over 44 million cases recorded in the world as of this writing, the disease is bound to have an impact on every person’s life. My author website characterises my work as Mainstream Contemporary Fiction.

Q. What is the book about?

A. The title reflects how a person’s life is irrevocably changed once dementia invades a family’s peace. The caregiver and the person being cared for crave normalcy, status quo, and that easy going status flies out the window soon after diagnosis.

Family caregivers are oftentimes ruthlessly challenged by uninvolved family members who are quick to condemn, but reticent to offer assistance. Although that was not the case for me, such is the case for Colleen Strand, a widow who recently found her own footing who takes on the task of caring for her father, Patrick Quinn, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Her older brother, Jonathan, criticizes Colleen at every turn and verbally abuses the father when he has the gall to exhibit symptoms of his disease. In short, Jonathan travels down the road of denial, leaving Colleen to deal with all matters regarding their father’s care.

 Connected tenuously to a father who barely remembers her and a brother who has become an enigma, Colleen faces the moving target that is Alzheimer’s disease, determined to clothe her father with the dignity he deserves, while struggling to squeeze every minute of time she can from him.

Q. Do you find it easier to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?

A. I’ve participated in two NaNoWriMo events (National Novel Writing Month) that take place each year during the month of November. I didn’t write Requiem in a month’s time, but my other two novels were written during November of 2015 and 2016. 

Requiem, however, took a couple years to write. I wrote out a list of episodes – from personal experience – that I wanted to somehow include in my novel. I then created characters that might participate in those episodes.

The protagonist, Colleen Strand, is certainly based after me, but I took great liberty in changing many aspects of her character.

For my subsequent novels, I used a program called Snowflake, an extraordinarily efficient program that helps writers flesh out their characters and story lines.

The writer answers numerous questions about their characters, e.g., their physical appearance, their worst and best life experiences, their interests, etc. and by the time the author fills out their profiles, he or she has a pretty darn good idea of how the story line will evolve. I highly recommend the program.

Q. Can you choose a favourite character from Requiem?

A. Boy, that’s difficult, but if I had to pick one, I’d pick Pilar Madrigal. Pilar is Colleen’s best friend – a woman who’s not afraid to tell it like it is where Colleen’s welfare is concerned. Her brutal honesty helps, rather than hinders, Colleen’s survival as a lone caregiver.

As a rule, the family caregiver, whether caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or any other number of debilitating or terminal diseases, needs a cheerleader as a friend. That cheerleader, however, must also know when to be painstakingly firm when it comes to insisting on what is in the best interests of the beleaguered caregiver.

Q. Was there ever a point while you were writing when you wanted to give up?

A. Yes, as a matter of fact, I had all but lost hope that Requiem would ever get published. After querying close to a hundred agents and being told time and again that the story-line was one with which they weren’t comfortable – I guess some agents wore the same mantel of denial as does Jonathan, the antagonist in my novel – I concentrated on my other two novels, forgetting that I had also submitted Requiem to a few independent publishers.

When my publisher, Black Rose Writing offered me a contract earlier this year, I was glad I hadn’t closed the book – so to speak – on the project about which I was most impassioned: Requiem For The Status Quo.

Q. What is the worst part of the writing process for you?

A. Quite simply, starting. I enjoy creating and designing characters, but starting Chapter One, Page One, is the most difficult step in the process. I must say, when I started writing my first novel, I thought creating dialogue would be the worst part about writing, but I’ve been told that I do a great job of giving voice to the characters; that their speech patterns are true to life.

And let me tell you, this is not me boasting about that apparent ability of mine, rather, it’s expressing shock that I’ve managed to do that aspect of the craft some justice.

Q. Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?

A. Yes. Doing NaNoWriMo taught me that the first draft is just that, a first draft. Don’t edit as you go or you’ll never complete it. Just start writing and for the most part, don’t go back over what you’ve written until you’re done.

The first draft will never be the final work product. As author, Anne Lamott has said, “It’s just your shitty first draft.” Once you resign yourself to that fact, it’s quite easy to just pound away at the keyboard and put words, paragraphs, and chapters to paper.

Q. Where can people learn more about your books?

A. My author website will provide ongoing updates. If people sign up, they will receive the latest and greatest news about my writing projects. REQUIEM will be released by Black Rose Writing on July 20th. The paperback is currently available on my publisher’s website for preorder, and is also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. A week later, it will be available in ebook format.

Q. What have you learned since you started writing?

A. That’s easy: just because you want something published, just because you love and believe in your story, doesn’t mean the publishing world will. It’s a painful kick in the heart when you learn this fact, but you can’t take it personally.

This industry is a very subjective one so just because you get turned down, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. As a matter of fact, I go by this saying, “A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.” That was the case for me, and even though I don’t consider the term “loser” a user-friendly word, the adage still holds true for me.

Q. What’s next for you?                                                                                                                                 
A. I am currently in the process of presenting my 2nd novel, Backseat Driver, to agents and independent publishing houses. In a nutshell, it captures the dilemma between vulnerability and pride. There is no easy way to say it: when a magnifying glass is held up in front of a person, it is virtually impossible to ignore the imperfections and scars it reveals. It is what one does with those revelations, however, that marks the true essence of a person.

My 3rd novel, Mountain Slide, is in its final first draft stages and just as with my two previous novels, I’m loving the characters and what they manage to accomplish in their lives.