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Friday, June 23, 2017

AUTHORS TO WATCH: DIANA SIMS AUTHOR OF FOREVER KING: SURVIVING THE LOSS OF MY UNBORN CHILD





As a self-publishing author, Diana Sims has felt compelled to share her journey regarding the loss of her son, and the miracle that took place after his passing. She simply wants to let other women, who have lost children, know that there is still light at the end of the tunnel.

Aimed primarily at all mothers ranging from teenagers to the older women, Forever King: Surviving the Loss of My Unborn Child particularly addresses those who have lost a child, no matter the circumstance.

Diana is committed to humanitarian services whether in her field or position. She worked for many years helping customers keep their homes from foreclosure during the economic fall in 2008. Currently, she is assisting physicians and patients as a Patient Liaison. Diana is a California native and resides in Southern California with her loving husband Cory Sims, and three handsome Kings in training: Isaiah, Solomon, and Anthony Sims.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK




Title: FOREVER KING: SURVIVING THE LOSS OF MY UNBORN CHILD
Author: Diana Sims
Publisher: Forever King Publishing
Pages: 78
Genre: Inspirational/Self-Help

Sims life has been one of a survivor… a survivor of grief and distraught after having lost a child. Today, she is using the journey, to help other women, who have had similar experience of losing a child, whether through early pregnancy, miscarriage or stillbirth, to have hope.

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble




Tell us a little about yourself. When did you begin writing?
 
I wrote poetry all the time as a child. For this project, I begin writing almost three years ago, journeying the events after the loss of my son.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write? 

I am a Pantster. I love to write as I go, I believe it is more organic and authentic.

Can you tell us about your most recent release? 

This is my first book. It is about the loss of my unborn son King Josiah Sims. How I handled the loss, what took place in my life after the loss, and getting through pregnancy after the loss of my son.

How did you get the idea for the book? 

Someone dear to me that helped me through my loss of King, lost their son full time and delivered him stillborn. This gave me the courage to share my story so others would know they are not alone and this happens more often than we speak about.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book? 

Having to re-live that whole experience over again to ensure the transparency was emotions were fresh and the readers can see into my life during that time.

Which authors have inspired your writing? 

Cindy Trimm and her devotionals. One of my favorite books from her is commanding your morning. It was a pivotal read during the recovery of losing my son.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors? 

I would say, stay true to yourself. You are trying to convey your heart and life journey to the world. Let them see you through your eyes… Do not try to copy anyone else.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

AUTHORS TO WATCH: SPECULATIVE FICTION / HORROR / MAGICAL REALISM AUTHOR U.L. HARPER & GIVEAWAY!





U.L. Harper is a speculative fiction/horror author, influenced by magical realism. A former journalist from Long Beach, California, he now resides in the evergreen state of Washington with his wife. He is a soon-to-be father, and an avid Dodgers fan.
 
His latest book is the speculative fiction/horror/magical realism novel, THE SECRET DEATHS OF ARTHUR LOWE.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK





Title: THE SECRET DEATHS OF ARTHUR LOWE
Author: U.L. Harper
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 235
Genre: Speculative Fiction/Horror/Magical Realism

While in the process of bringing his wife, Sandra, back to the living, Arthur journals about moments from his past that changed him.

During the journal writing, he rediscovers how, as an orphan, his ability to animate objects and people to life may have ultimately destroyed the lives of the few who grew close to him. The old stuffed teddy bear that helped him assemble puzzles when he was a child might have been too much of a secret for his adoptive mother to keep. His friend Quincy, who had abilities similar to his, might have been scared away by Arthur’s abilities. And his grade school teacher is still harboring a secret about his biological father that she can only hope to be true.

Once Sandra is alive again, things become more complicated. She claims Arthur is not who or what he thinks he is. Her ire shines a spotlight on the insidious but most likely true, unspoken nature of their relationship.

In the meantime, a mysterious smell envelopes the community—a stench so heinous it can be fatal. As the number of deaths from the stench mounts, Arthur must decide who to animate back to life and who remains dead.
The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe is available at AMAZON.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? 

I plot and write by the seat of my pants. Here is what I mean. I’ve had one writing class in my life. In that class, the teacher said something about my writing that changed everything for me. She said that not only was the reader and characters surprised, but it seemed as if the author was surprised as well. I loved it, even if she didn’t mean it as a compliment. And I knew exactly how to achieve that effect. By the way, I love the idea that people don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve never had someone read my work and say, oh, yeah, it’s a this type of story or a that type of novel. Doesn’t happen. They usually read it and say what the ___k. It make sense but oh my god. I’m telling you, I get it all the time. So I outline the beginning, know what happens in the middle, and then I know basically the last moment of the story, if not the last line. Everything else is on the fly. For my latest novel, The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe, I had two endings in mind. I wasn’t sure until I wrote it. Half way through I wasn’t sure if I was doing a tragedy or not. I had all kinds of ideas that could happen or not but I’d find out when I got there. 

For instance, there is scene with babies that is just bonkers to think about. No, there’s no violence to babies. No, there are no bloody babies. And, no, there’s no sexual content with babies. These babies help everything, actually. It’s just something you don’t see coming, even if you see it coming.

How did you get the idea for the book?

The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe started off as a comic book story about a dude who could do anything, but he could only do each thing once. He could fly but only that one time. He could defy gravity but only the one time. He could make any woman fall in love with him but only use the power once. Lift a thousand pounds once. The comic book story never worked out. I couldn’t figure out his weaknesses and characters in his life never materialized. It never made sense. So I focused on a character who would make a great impact on his life—the main character’s wife. So it was a love story where he learned to use his powers as a process to learning the one true power he had which was giving life. The real problem with that was that women give life every day, so I killed his wife and made him make a decision—bring his wife back to life or himself when it was time for him to die. Sounds dark and crazy but I thought it could be fun. Anyway, that story didn’t work either. It was a great situation but not a great story to tell. 

But The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe puts it all together. Don’t worry, no spoilers. In it, Arthur Lowe truly loves his wife, but there is an issue with their relationship that doesn’t seem to have an answer. So she’s left to solve it on her own. The deeper part of the story is about Arthur figuring out what the problem is. 

So it’s a relationship story. 

We go back in time and see when they met, when things started going wrong for them, and then we kind of see Arthur’s origin story. Here’s the thing: it’s not told like it’s a fantasy or comic book story or horror or love story or any of that stuff. It has the tone of a literary novel. It comes off as foreboding. Not even a spoiler, I think in the second paragraph his wife kills herself. The reason I did that was because, it’s not about the tragedy of her death. That’s just what gets the story going. 

Honestly, I’ve never told a story like it or read anything like it. Half way through, I was like, this is flat-out nuts. How is this going to end?

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

I don’t know about favorite characters, but I have favorite moments from characters. The moment when Arthur is risking it all by showing his soon-to-be girlfriend that he’s special, it’s gorgeous, as far as an idea for a scene, for a moment. I reread it and think, if I were her, I’d run and keep running, but she stayed because she knew and already accepted how special he was. I thought that was pretty cool.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Here’s some writer talk for you. By far the most challenging was creating the mechanism for flashback. At first, to tell backstory, we are privy to a journal Arthur is writing, in real time, to his deceased wife. He’s doing for therapy. The problem is he is writing it after she died, so there aren’t dates to move time forward. Then there are other characters who tell huge chunks of flashback but I needed it to have the same visual as the journal writing, but with different cadence because it would be a different character, obviously. Absolutely brutal. So, the whole story basically takes place in real time, and the journal or journal-like entries fill it out. I want you all to imagine how hard the timing is for that sort of thing. Just that in itself was nuts to figure out. My writers group hated me, I’m sure. They were like, so is it past tense or present or who are these people, and when is all this happening?
By the way, the paper version is only about 200 pages. This is no epic. Just a hard story to tell.

Which authors have inspired your writing?

Clive Barker, Chuck Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut. How did they inspire me? Well, Imajica, The Great and Secret Show, Fight Club, Choke, Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle. 

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Always be you. You might not become Hemingway. That’s perfect because not everybody likes Hemingway. Personally, I can’t finish Old Man and the Sea. Eventually someone is going to say your style is too____ or too____, but they’re comparing you to someone else. The goal is for them to compare someone else to you. That will never happen if you’re busy trying to be someone else.
Don’t be the dude/woman who is beside themselves wondering who is next to them. Be the best you, not the best impression of somebody else.

 

 

U.L. Harper is giving away a free e-copy of his book!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one free e-copy of THE SECRET DEATHS OF ARTHUR LOWE.
  • This giveaway ends midnight June 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on June 31.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 19, 2017

On the Spotlight: Changing Places, by Anne K. Edwards

Changing Places, by Anne K. Edwards
Age level: 4-8
Price: $1.99
Pages: 14
Find on Amazon

Changing Places. A black cat named Whiskers encounters a snake that has lost his home when he goes outside to see the world.



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About the Author:  Anne K. Edwards enjoys writing tales for children when she’s not focusing on a mystery. Some stories are ideas taken from little misadventures of her cat who actually did fall off the porch and land on a large blacksnake as it was sunning itself. Both were more than a little surprised.

Open Letter - How We Got Into This Mess and Can We Recover by Burt Hall, author of The Right-Wing Threat to Democracy







For over thirty years, World War II veteran and author Burt Hall assessed accountability in government and national security. Now, this seasoned, professional analyst delivers a tough account of what went wrong in our politics and system of government over the past two decades and what we can do about it. 

The right wing (not to be confused with Conservatism) has hijacked the Republican Party and wrecked havoc on our nation. It exploited basic flaws in our system to gain power and a series of major setbacks and a weakened democracy have followed. 

The Right-Wing Threat to Democracy lays out clearly what the basic flaws in our system are and how they can be fixed. The danger is that an ongoing shift of political power to the very wealthy and suppression of voting rights is silencing the voice of the average citizen. 

If elected officials do not fix the basic flaws, the American people have alternatives in our democracy and must take matters into their own hands.

OPEN LETTER – HOW WE GOT INTO THIS MESS AND CAN WE RECOVER

         May 17, 2017
Dear Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama,

As Woodward and Bernstein would say, “the best obtainable version of the truth” is in the enclosed article now on a virtual book tour.  It concerns me how we lost part of our democracy, public accountability and America’s exceptionalism. There is increasing concern about external Russian interference with our democracy but not with internal Republican interference that has compromised the integrity and results of our elections for nearly three decades with devastating results.
Historically, the Democratic Party has not stood its ground against Republican assaults on our democracy to achieve a one-party system.  After owning the White House for 12 years, Republicans outraged at the loss of the presidency, began to delegitimize and obstruct performance of Democratic presidents and sought to remove one from office and force another to fail. They declared war on the Democratic Party and their win-at-any-cost strategies are detailed in the enclosure. Nevertheless, the two Democratic presidencies managed to survive the onslaught and are ranked by historians at near the top ten of U.S. presidents.
However, the damage was done – Republicans created a divided country and a dysfunctional government and by rigging our electoral system remained in control of an obstructionist House. If Republicans had accepted the people’s choice of president, the two Democratic presidents certainly would have achieved a lot more and today might be ranked near the top five of U.S. presidents.
A Republican president, sandwiched between the two Democrats, got involved in 9/11, two wars and a great depression. He and his vice-president mistakenly reversed the previous president’s priorities on balanced budgets with surpluses and on combating international terrorism. Unfortunately, both 9/11 and the two wars were avoidable based on information readily available and known to the White House at the time. In other words, a trained ape would have known what to do. Cover-ups followed the breach of national security and reckless war decisions. Neither the Democratic Party, the 9/11 Commission nor the media held Republicans accountable.
The failed Republican presidency was awarded a second term which also failed. The Republican strategy boomeranged. Instead of Republicans causing Democratic presidents to fail, their own president failed twice. As Tom Friedman of the New York Times recently said, the Republican Party “has lost its moral compass”
Republicans also employed a strategy to suppress participation of groups likely to vote Democratic and, for those who did vote, dilute their value or make them worthless. Diminishing the value of the vote was achieved by using a high-tech computer-aided method to draw distorted and partisan voting districts to elect only members of one party. Also, Republican-controlled legislatures are trying to rig future presidential electoral vote contests by using voting districts won rather than popular votes won, as we do today.
 It was these kinds of abuses of our voting rights plus low Democratic midterm turnouts that contributed to the large Republican majority in the House.  Republicans would have you believe that its majority resulted from the public’s desire to repeal Obamacare. Actually, it was derived from rigging our electoral system which the Supreme Court has yet to rule unconstitutional.
Democrats are no match for Republicans who do not play by the rules and use win-at-any- cost strategies. Republicans held Democrats accountable for things they essentially did not do and Democrats did not hold Republicans accountable for things they actually did do. The public was both misinformed and uninformed and vulnerable to choosing a president they did not deserve. By 2016, a grossly uninformed electorate frustrated with a Washington not working for them chose an outsider president. Now, the Republican Party that failed two terms is back in office and headed by someone without governmental experience.
The public must be informed on our deteriorating democracy and what can be done about it. How else can the public hold the people they elect accountable and make well-informed decisions at the ballot box? The bottom line is both parties must assume some responsibility for the current state of affairs and go above and beyond to work together and unify the nation. Should the current administration get out of control, the two parties together must take extraordinary measures to protect our nation and the American people from further devastating results.
If the two parties continue to refuse to work together in the public interest, dramatic action will be necessary. In that event, the enclosed article suggests two options to restore our democracy and deter further interference, whether by a political party or by a foreign power. One involves shutting down Senate business on Republican priorities until they agree to return powers stolen from Democrats over recent decades. This would include enacting major legislation that has been languishing for years in Congress to strengthen and protect our democracy.
The second option involves open public hearings conducted by distinguished statesmen and backed by previous presidents. You three, the media and the private sector would combine to support these public hearings. There are many moderates of both parties and independents who would be willing to participate. The public must be informed on how we got into this mess so it can assess accountability and take ownership of efforts to restore our democracy. History will have a way of repeating itself if the public is left out in the cold on how well the people they elect serve.
A third option is to combine the first two. It might be the most effective one should the current administration oppose democracy reforms. Please give it some thought. You may be our last hope.

Burt Hall
CC:  Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Tom Perez, Keith Ellison


AUTHORS TO WATCH: LOUIS KRAFT CO-AUTHOR THE DISCOVERY







Author/historian Louis Kraft has focused his energy on producing work that highlights racism and the human experience of people who have put their lives on the line to prevent war. He has written articles for magazines, including Research Review and Wild West, as well as fiction (The Final Showdown) and nonfiction (Gatewood & Geronimo) books. Kraft returned to fiction writing when he collaborated with Robert S. Goodman on The Discovery.
Visit his website at www.readthediscovery.com.




Title: THE DISCOVERY
Author: Louis Kraft & Robert S. Goodman MD
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 311
Genre: Legal Thriller

In THE DISCOVERY by Robert S. Goodman and Louis Kraft, a young obstetrician/gynecologist delivers a premature baby after attending a dinner party. The child survives the delivery, but complications lead to a malpractice lawsuit two decades later.
In 1952, a pregnant seventeen-year-old gives birth in a Los Angeles hospital. Two nurses attend to the young woman while they wait for the doctor on call to arrive for the delivery. Dr. Harry Chapman arrives at the hospital clearheaded but with alcohol on his breath. The premature baby is born blue and placed in an incubator. The nurses turn the oxygen to the level recommended to pediatricians for preemies the year before to prevent blindness. When the baby’s color doesn’t change, Harry instructs the nurses to turn the oxygen up to maximum. They protest, but Harry insists that the nurses comply to save the baby from brain damage or death.
In 1972, Greg Weston, a twenty-year-old paralegal meets a young woman who works with a renowned pediatrician. When she questions the attractive young man about his blindness, Greg reveals that his adoptive parents told him he was born blind. After agreeing to see the doctor Gail works for, Greg becomes aware that his blindness may have occurred as a result of physician error. Greg requests his medical records from the hospital and the adoption agency, and he finds that the hospital records tell a different story about what took place after his birth. In both records, Dr. Harry Chapman is indicated as the doctor who delivered him. Greg shares his findings with a partner in his law firm, and they build a case against Dr. Chapman based on fraudulent changes in the hospital records, which allows the statute of limitations to be thrown out.
After Harry receives word that he is being sued, his attorney advises him that the malpractice insurance he carried in 1952 will not cover even a fraction of the multimillion-dollar lawsuit. The stress and uncertainty of the case, along with the accusation of fraud, breaks Harry, leading him down a road of depression and alcohol dependence. As Harry’s wife, Helen, watches her husband deteriorate, she makes an unthinkable choice to put an end to the plaintiff’s case.
In THE DISCOVERY, the authors connect the lives of two individuals across two decades, exposing vulnerabilities, bitterness, and frailties. As the case moves forward, a key witness’s testimony alters the lives of both men.
In writing THE DISCOVERY, Goodman and Kraft’s intentions were to offer readers multidimensional characters with real-world problems and to bring awareness to the severe affect malpractice lawsuits can have on physicians’ professional and personal lives.
The Discovery is available at Amazon.



Tell us a little about yourself.

I began as an actor but the mid-1970s set me on the path to becoming a writer when I for the second time encountered extreme racial prejudice. This was the beginning of the end of my acting career (although it was resurrected in the 21st century). By the mid-1980s I had begun selling magazine articles and receiving pay to deliver talks. In 1990 I was hired as a technical writer based completely upon my freelance writing and artistic design capabilities. On the first day of the job I asked the manager if I could get some technical training. He laughed and said: “You’re on your own pal.” Not a problem for asked for and received the software that I would write about on my computer. I also buddied up with the engineers and product and program managers. This world was a mix of all races and bright people. I loved it. Better, it allowed me to research my non-fiction projects in the United States and abroad without worrying about money. This software-freelance goldmine lasted until 2012. At the moment I’m simply a freelance historian.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I always plot my stories. In my last published nonfiction book (Ned Wynkoop and the Tragic End of a Lifeway, OU Press, 2011) the proposal was large with a detailed chapter outline. The proposal for my next nonfiction book, Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway, had a proposal that was 37 pages and the chapter outline was again detailed. This said everything is always open to change depending upon where the research leads. This is also true for fiction.

How did you get the idea for the book?

The book idea for The Discovery wasn’t mine. Dr. Robert S. Goodman came up with a fantastic premise of how a physician’s life can turn into a nightmare when he is sued twenty years after a child is born blind. Bob is a great physician but he is not a writer. I’ve been one of his patients for over twenty-five years. If it wasn’t for his medical advise well over a decade ago I would already be dancing with angels. He approached me to review 100 pages of his draft. I gave it an in-depth marked-up copyedit along with a detailed review of what he needed to do to complete his manuscript. Time passed and in fall 2013 he asked me to partner with him to flesh out and complete writing his manuscript. I didn’t jump as the story was spread over two decades and a lot of characters. At the same time I really liked his idea and thought it should come to life, but to make this work the characters needed be unique and not cliché. The other major question was how do I pull a plot together with huge gaps in time. I had ideas including separating book into sections but this was still an unknown, as I hadn’t seen the updated manuscript yet. It was a challenge, but one worth taking—I agreed to write the book.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Actually there are two of the characters that are my favorites. One was a leading player and the other was a major supporting player.

Helen Chapman is vivacious, alive, and although married to a successful physician, Harry Chapman, she is not just a beautiful prize that he displays to the world. She is her own person, and when Chapman is sued for malpractice 20 years after the incident she doesn’t quietly stand in the shadows. No, absolutely not. She does what she can to support her husband, and continues to do so while the pending court case threatens to end both of their lives—that is, take away everything they own from their bank accounts to their home, and ultimately their marriage and worse. As Harry’s and her marriage spirals toward total disaster, her entire life also nosedives into her own private hell. She refuses to accept this and makes decisions that when she made them she thought she was doing the right thing. No matter how bad her situation became and no matter how angry she became with Harry for his weakness and frailties she loved him. She loved him, and her love would lead her down a dark road without a glimpse of redemption. Still she chased it even though her anger at Harry signaled the end of their marriage. As her actions and reactions continued to head toward disaster an event showed the desperateness of Harry’s condition. More important it made her realize what she had done and what she really wanted regardless of the consequences. … Helen is based upon several women (plural) that I have known.

The supporting player is Tom Loman, an overweight lawyer with hair that needed to be clipped. He is good at what he does and he is Harry Chapman’s only chance to survive a lawsuit that is poised to ruin his entire life. Loman, and he was based upon two people that I know and one is me, is someone who while having succeeded beyond all expectations is still a normal guy. He cares for Harry Chapman and fights to save his future while at the same time he hides truths from his client that could possibly send him into the dark deep blue. He’s charming and bright, and even though he’s married (we never meet his wife) he refuses to be lured into a relationship. He’s a man of conscience, and certainly when he, the prosecuting attorney, and the judge on the case travel to Palm Springs, California, to depose a key witness. His sympathy and kindness are key to the Palm Springs chapter, which is my favorite in the book.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Getting the facts straight regardless what they were while creating believable characters that were interconnected through time and place that created a devastating environment once a malpractice suit is set in motion. Also making all the plot twists plausible while dealing with violence, sexuality, and the growing threat of disaster.

Which authors have inspired your writing?

Not many. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s My Life on the Plains (1874); Errol Flynn’s magnificent memoir, My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1959); novelist Frank Yerby’s stories of reconstruction after the American Civil War and white-African race relations in the United States and elsewhere; and Robin Cook’s medical thrillers.

What projects are you currently working on?

There are two:
Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway, which is contracted with the University of Oklahoma Press (OU Press). The deadline has been extended but is now firm. OU Press is the leading publisher of American Indian ethnology and Indian wars history in the world. The nonfiction manuscript deals with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians and their emergence onto the central plains to the east of the Rocky Mountains, the white man’s invasion of their land and the corrupt way in which they stole it. The manuscript focuses upon the Cheyennes (and to a lesser degree the Arapahos) as they deal with the invasion of their land, the destruction of their lifeway, language, culture, religion, and freedom from five different sides of the events that led up to an attack on a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village on Sand Creek; the massacre and mutilation of people (on November 29, 1864) who thought they were at peace and under the protection of the U.S. military; and the aftermath of the tragedy.
The other manuscript is Errol & Olivia, which deals with the life and times screen legends Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland during the golden age of cinema when they made eight films together (1935-1941).

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Use any opportunity presented to you to meet and know writers, agents, and editors that are involved in the same subject matter that you write about (fiction such as a medical thriller or mystery; or nonfiction such as Indian wars history). Interact with them to the point that you not only become friends but if asked you can help them or they you. If there are conventions for what you write about, such as Western Writers of America (nonfiction and fiction) or Mystery Writers of America and so on, get involved for you never know when you’ll meet someone who can open a door that had been previously closed to you.