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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Authors To Watch: Maureen Brady Author of Getaway





Though Maureen Brady wrote the humor column of her junior high school newspaper, she didn't actually comprehend that she was a writer until after she had moved to New York City in her twenties, where she began taking writing workshops at The New School and then fell headlong into the consciousness raising groups of the early 1970's.

She published her first novel, Give Me Your Good Ear, in 1979, and it was published by The Women's Press in England in 1981. Her novel, Folly, was excerpted in Southern Exposure, received wide critical acclaim, was nominated by Adrienne Rich for an ALA Gay Book Award and was reprinted as a classic by The Feminist Press. She published a collection of short stories, The Question She Put to Herself, in 1987, then turned to writing nonfiction in the '90's, publishing Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Midlife: Meditations for Women. She returned to fiction with the novel, Ginger's Fire, and her most recent novel, Getaway.

Her recent work has appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Bellevue Literary Review; Just Like A Girl; Cabbage and Bones: Irish American Women's Fiction, Mom, In the Family, and Intersections: An Anthology of Banff Writers. Brady's essays and stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and were finalists for the Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize and the Nelsen Algren Short Story contest.

An Adjunct Assistant Professor, she teaches creative writing at New York University and New York Writers Workshop @ the Jewish Community Center, and works as a free-lance editor and tutor, helping writers across the spectrum take their writing to the next stage.

A co-founder of Spinsters Ink, Brady edited such books as The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde and The Woman Who Breathes Fire by Kitty Tsui. She also served as a panelist for The New York State Council on the Arts Literature Program and as a fiction judge for Oregon Literary Arts. She is a founding member of The New York Writers Workshop and has long served as Board President of Money for Women Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.

She has received grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts Writer-in-Residence; New York State Council on the Arts CAPS grant; Holding Our Own; Briarcombe Foundation; and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship to The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland. She was the winner of the Saints and Sinners short story contest for 2015 and is also a Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame winner.

She lives in New York City and Woodstock with her long term partner, Martha, and their joy dog, Bessie.

 Visit Maureen’s website at www.maureenbradyny.com.



Title: GETAWAY
Author: Maureen Brady
Publisher: Bacon Press Books
Pages: 230
Genre: Women’s Fiction

BOOK BLURB:
After stabbing her abusive husband and leaving him dying on the kitchen floor, Cookie Wagner flees to remote Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. For a moment, she seems to have gotten away with murder. But, consigned to a secretive life with a new name and the need to be on constant alert, she faces all she has not gotten away with. She is helped by the recently widowed Mrs. Biddle, who offers her a place to stay, and the lobster fisherman Butch, who gives her a job and later falls in love with her. Walking the cliffs and beaches, taking in the scruffy windblown plants that survive the buffeting wind by growing at an angle, she begins to heal.

Yet, there is no leaving behind the notion that Warren is dead as the result of her action.
Or is he? And if not, will he one day come to find her?

Sexual harassment and abuse are all over the news these days, often involving celebrites and other well-known figures, but Cookie, the protagonist of Getaway, is no celebrity. She’s an ordinary woman married to a working class guy who drinks too much and resorts to violence. Their story reveals how endemic the phenomenon of abuse is, and the quandary Cookie lands in when she fights back.

Praise for Getaway:

“Sensitive, sensual, and stirring. "Getaway" is a true page-turner, but one with heart and with context. I couldn’t put it down until I got to the end, not just to find out what happened, but also to discover who these intriguing and complex characters would develop into. An extremely satisfying read!”

Danielle Ofri, author of What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear, Editor-in-Chief, Bellevue Literary Review.

Getaway is available at Amazon.



We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?

I started by reading. When I was a child, I thought I would try to read right down the shelf from A to B to C, in the kid’s section of my local library where I often went after school, to wait for my mother to finish working at a hospital across the street. As I grew older, I often had the thought when I finished a book (and I didn’t think it fair not to read them all the way through) that I could have written it better. Still, I had little confidence about my ability and even in college was afraid to take a writing class because I feared I would be too devastated if what I wrote turned out to be no good. But after college, when I was hungry for more release for my imagination, I took the big step of signing up for a class at The New School called First Fiction. There were about 20 or more students and only 2 or 3 of us really wrote, but I was like a ripe fig about to drop off a tree, and when the teacher said write, I went for it and wrote 3 or 4 very short stories during that semester. 

Then I completed my first novel, Give Me Your Good Ear, and published it, and the passion for writing never left me.

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

 I might have a few plot ideas, but mostly I subscribe to the idea that I have entered a dark tunnel and can only see as far ahead of me as the car lights shine. So the only way to go forward is to write down what I can see and then I will be able to see the next part. So the story develops for me as I go along. I have a small writing studio across a stream from my house. It is a little red out building I renovated to give myself quiet space. It looks upon the stream and then a meadow where the deer come to feast at sunset and sunrise. When possible I try to write in the morning before other life challenges start demanding attention. 
 
What do you find most rewarding about writing? 

It provides a constant challenge to stretch yourself when you don’t feel you can go any further, and a chance to spend time in the imagination. Also, when a story comes together in a way that moves me, then I feel there is a good chance it will move others and that is a good feeling. I also realize that I enjoy the privilege of having this way to express myself, and it’s hard to imagine living without such a resource. 

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Sexual abuse and harassment are all over the news these days, often involving celebrities and well-known sports figures, but Cookie, the protagonist of Getaway, is no celebrity. She’s an ordinary woman married to a working class guy who drinks too much and turns to violence. Their story reveals how endemic the phenomenon of abuse is, and the quandary Cookie lands in when she fights back.

After stabbing her husband and leaving him dying on the kitchen floor, she flees to remote Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. For a moment, she seems to have gotten away with murder. But, consigned to a secretive life with a new name and the need to be on constant alert, she faces all she has not gotten away with. She is helped by the recently widowed Mrs. Biddle, who offers her a place to stay, and the lobster fisherman Butch, who gives her a job and later falls in love with her. Walking the cliffs and beaches, taking in the scruffy windblown plants that survive the buffeting wind by growing at an angle, she too begins to grow at an angle. 

Yet, there is no leaving behind the notion that Warren is dead as the result of her action. Or  if he is not, will he one day come to find her? 

How did you get the idea for the book? 

I started with an exercise I use in fiction writing classes, taken from John Gardner, in which I instruct them to write a scene in which a person who has just committed a murder comes upon a body of water. So after a 20 minute free write, I had Cookie bushwhacking around Cooper Lake, a reservoir in the Catskills I frequent for walks, having just stabbed her abusive husband. And then it took off from there. 

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

 Cookie is my favorite in Getaway, because it is really her survival and then the development of self that she gains when getting out from under Warren that captivated me. But I am also partial to Chrissie, an adolescent girl who befriends Cookie, because Chrissie is so vulnerable and yet so full of the potential to spring into life. 

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book? 

Bringing Warren to life and cracking his character so that he would be three-dimensional and not just “the bad guy”.

What projects are you currently working on?

 I am working on a collection of short stories, as yet untitled. Several of them have been published in journals such as Bellevue Literary Journal and Sinister Wisdom, or anthologies such as Just Like A Girl, Cabbage and Bones: Irish American Women’s Fiction, and Saints and Sinners New Fiction from the Festival (winner of the fiction contest for 2015). 

After that I would like to write an historical novel about the immigration of my Irish ancestors during the potato famine.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?

Stick to writing the book you want to write. Enjoy the process, both for how it will stretch you further than you thought possible, and for the privilege of having an endeavor that you can give your all to.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Book Feature: My Pet Peeve by Renee Rodgers Barstack








Title: My Pet Peeve
Author: Renee Rodgers Barstack
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Format: Ebook

Molly is a lonely little girl who is looking for a friend. She lives on a farm with her mom and dad. Molly has always loved cats and wants to get a cat, but her father sneezes when he gets around cats, so he tells her she cannot have one. Molly asks, and asks, and asks again, but the answer is always “No.” Then one day, Molly finds a little kitten hiding in the barn and wants to keep her, of course. What will she do? Should she hide the kitten from her dad? Will dad see the kitten and think it is so adorable he will change his mind about letting Molly keep the cat? What would you do if you found the cutest kitten ever? How will Molly solve this problem?






Renee Barstack, the author, is an English teacher who has taught 7th grade and is now a professor at a community college where she teaches Children's Literature. Her inspiration for this book was her students and her adorable Scottish Fold Munchkin cat. She already has a sequel in the process called "Pet Peeve Jumps the Wall." The artist, Bonnie Loss, is an art professor at the same community college.

GIVEAWAY

Renee IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
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 $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins May 21 and ends on June 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Book Feature: I Don't Have Time by I.M. Free








Title: I Don't Have Time
Author: I.M. Free
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

When she was in her early thirties, the author realized something was guiding her. Suddenly, a whole new world opened up.

She had never considered herself an atheist, but she had always questioned the stories in the Bible as she thought it was impossible for anyone or anything to have so much power.

But through her own experiences, she learned something really does have that much power. She became one of the few people throughout time who began communicating directly with God.
Sometimes when the author awakens, she knows something she didn’t know before she fell asleep. She feels things she wasn’t aware of before. This is how God protects her and prepares her for life.

I Don’t Have Time is the story of how God found the author and how she realized that while some people live as though they won’t face consequences for their actions, they could not be more wrong. Even if they don’t pay the price in this lifetime, they will in the next.






I.M. Free nearly gave up on life as a teen living with an alcoholic parent, but at just the right time, a voice saved her life. That voice led her to a close relationship with God,who she now thinks of as her friend and confidant. She wrote this book so that others will find Him.

GIVEAWAY

I.M. IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
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 $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins May 21 and ends on June 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, May 21
Book featured at A Title Wave

Tuesday, May 22
Book featured at The Hype and the Hoopla
Book featured at The Review From Here

Wednesday, May 23
Book featured at Harmonious Publicity
Book featured at Write and Take Flight

Thursday, May 24
Book featured at Carpe Librum
Book featured at Read Between the Ink

Friday, May 25
Book featured at Fiction to Fruition

Monday, May 28
Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures
Book featured at The Literary Nook

Tuesday, May 29
Book featured at Voodoo Princess
Book featured at The Revolving Bookshelf

Wednesday, May 30
Book featured at The Book Refuge
Book featured at The Book Czar

Thursday, May 31
Book featured at Lover of Literature
Book featured at Zensanity

Friday, June 1
Book featured at Personovelty

Book featured at A Taste of My Mind

Strayed Pre-Publication Blitz & $25 Amazon Gift Card #Giveaway! @authorkristalyn



STRAYED by KristaLyn A. Vetovich,YA/NA Fantasy


Title: STRAYED
Author: KristaLyn Vetovich
Publisher: Glass House Press
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

In the struggle between good and evil, humans don’t stand a chance—not on their own.
Which is why, for every living soul, there is a Firn: a spirit assigned to guide and defend humans from demonic spirits like the Aropfain. But earning a place in the fight is a process that requires several lifetimes—of service, experience, and sacrifice.

Having just returned from her most recent life as an Ancient Roman martyr, Anaya is only one step away from achieving that goal. And if she succeeds, she might become the Firn with the most important mission: guiding the human that will either save—or end—the world.

But when she’s paired with the notoriously difficult Jordin, her chances of success suddenly start to slip. Because Jordin isn’t like other souls. He’s strong, volatile—and a prime target for the Aropfain. And he almost immediately falls for an Aropfain ploy that could not only jeopardize his chances of becoming a Firn, but also endanger the entire world.

As his partner, Anaya is the only one who can save him. But will she succeed? Or will she fail—and take the world down with her?

ADD TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF




CHAPTER ONE

Well, it happened again. I died.
The bloodied sand of the colosseum shivers out of focus as my soul shakes off its physical limitations in favor of a higher vibration. Instead of centurions and weeping family, I’m now surrounded by snowy white noise and quiet.
They came for me at dawn. I can still hear my mother’s sobs. I was only twelve.
I blink the memories away just as a man bends and pulls into view before me, then straightens with a blithe sort of smile. “Welcome back,” he says in an excessively soothing tone. He wears glasses I know he doesn’t need, and behind them, his unearthly blue eyes trace my face, looking for signs of stress.
And it comes back to me like the snap of fingers. An Advokat. Here to help me adjust to the trauma of crossing over from life to death.
Suddenly I wonder how he sees me. Do I have blue eyes now? In life, they were brown, but here in death I’ve always imagined others see me with crystal blue. I guess it would depend on how much they like me. Appearance is entirely based on impression here. We see what we feel. Feelings are real, vision an illusion.
And this Advokat must be new, I realize a moment later. If he’d been here for any length of time, he wouldn’t be using the sappy voice they put on for the newer souls. The ones who don’t understand how it works. He’d know that I’m something of a regular in the transition between life and death—that I’ve lost count of how many of these interviews I’ve had to sit through. I’m sure I know the process better than he does.
Because I’ve had his job before, mastered it long ago.
I skim him, searching the endless trove of memories trying to break through the fog of earthly business still clouding my mind. I don’t remember him. And I can see that he doesn’t know me.
Definitely new. Which means he’ll play the interview by the book. I groan.
The Advokat reaches out as if to comfort me, like my groan was one of anxiety and not disdain. “Try not to panic.”
I resist the urge to roll my eyes and flatten my gaze at him instead. I understand it’s his job to help me recover from the shock of death, but honestly, I’m fine. So I died—so what? There are many things worse than death, and one of them, if anyone ever bothered to ask me, is living. I’m actually thrilled to be back here—and I don’t need an Advokat to counsel me through the transition.
Also, I’m in a bit of a hurry. I have important business to attend to, even higher vibrations to achieve. I’m so close now, and he’s the only thing standing in my way.
I tap my foot and glance around for someone—anyone who might recognize me and give me an opportunity to walk away from this unnecessary formality.
“Everything will make sense soon.” The Advokat’s voice echoes through the white expanse around us. Clearly, all other souls are keeping their distance to allow me to transition without any added shock. Or—I narrow my eyes at the Advokat—he’s followed protocol by requesting they give us space.
And do we ever have it. As far as the eye can see, there’s nothing but static white. But I smile, and my shoulders relax—because this is my true home.
Just the way I remember it.
The Advokat leans into my line of sight. “Do you know your name?”
My smile drops.
In life, my name was Agnes. In this life, anyway.
There have been so many lives, so many names, but between them all, just one feels like home.
When it comes, my voice sounds like a lost, cherished memory. “Anaya.” My first word after death. The truest word I know.
The Advokat smiles and nods. He doesn’t take any notes or write anything down, and I know about that, too. The answers are in his mind, ready when he needs them, downloaded into his head from the source of all truth on the highest plane of vibration there is: El Olam, our master and creator. He sits so high none of us can reach him, above laws and structure. The world is as he makes it, and we are simply stewards of his creation, here to serve.
And today I’ll go one step further in the process of becoming a defender of creation. I’ll become a Firn.
The Advocat, who is becoming more annoying by the moment, interrupts my thoughts with yet another question. “Good. And do you know where you are?”
Where I am? Well it’s a much better place than where I was…
I was in Rome, in the fourth century. I rejected a boy, and he sold me out as a Christian. It took them forever to kill me—first with shame, then with flames. But all I gave them was a blank stare through the numbness. They couldn’t shame me. I wouldn’t burn when they strung me to the stake and lit the fire—even the flames knew not to touch me. But the Roman officer’s sword through my throat did the trick in the end. I was gone before I felt anything. So I guess the joke’s on them. There was darkness, then a burst of light—
And now I’m home, where none of that matters anymore. I’m free here. Because no one can shame or kill the dead. I’ll be safe as long as I stay.
“This is Lemayle,” I say quietly. “The afterlife. The real world.” And I have no intention of ever living again.
He rocks back and grins. “Wonderful!” Then his face stiffens. He swallows and his eyes shake as he looks me over for a second time, now scanning for any truths beneath the surface, anything I’m hiding from him. If souls could sweat, he’d be a mess as he prepares for the most important question of the interview.
I used to have his job, so I know what comes next. My answers from here on out will decide my final destination.
“All right.” He clears his throat. He doesn’t have to. It’s the nerves. I will be his enemy if I answer poorly, but he has to remain objective. He’s a professional, after all, and he doesn’t know whose side I’m on yet—what changes this most recent lifetime might have made in me.
I was martyred, and not all martyrs come back home the way they should. Martyrs go into life as warriors for El Olam’s cause … but don’t always return feeling their suffering was justified. Some turn against him and defect to the one who seeks to depose him.
And me? How do I feel about the suffering I was put through? Have I changed my mind about who to serve? And how dangerous does that make me to the fragile balance of the world? That’s what the Advokat needs to find out.
“Do the names El Olam and Narn mean anything to you?”
Good and evil. That’s what they mean. Free will and slavery. But which is which? Is El Olam good … or is he evil? Are Narn’s plans for less service to living souls and more dominion over them more appealing? Are they justified? No soul chooses evil.
They simply choose what they believe is right.
I hide my laugh with a cough at the tension in the Advokat’s hunched shoulders. If he’s new—and he wants to stay—he’ll need a stiffer a spine than he’s got now. I might as well be the one to give it to him.
I level my gaze at him, eyes wide open to appear just a little less threatening. “Yes. I know them.”
He nods, more rigidly this time, and rubs the back of his neck as he braces for my response to his final question.
“And … your allegiance?”
I stare at him for a long moment, watching the anxiety build behind his bright blue eyes. He doesn’t want any trouble, but his other hand twitches at his side, ready to summon the support of a slightly higher power—just in case I came back tainted.
Just in case I’ve decided I hate the way the world works … and want to serve the one trying to turn it upside down.
“Oh calm down,” I finally chide him. This has gone on long enough to bore me. I have business to attend to, and honestly, after fifty lifetimes, a soul should be able to just skip this process. “I chose El Olam lifetimes ago. I’m bound to be a Firn. This was my last run.”
His whole body wilts as the tension releases. Had I said Narn, the Advokat and I would have had a few issues. Because it would have meant I was a soul with eyes toward flipping the script, turning the world upside down—force living souls to do as we say, and ruling over them as gods.
He’d have had to immediately summon one of Lemayle’s second-highest authorities—a Malekh, El Olam’s archangels—to deal with me. And it wouldn’t have been pleasant. The Malekh don’t like jokes. Most of them, anyway.
“Well that is a relief.” The Advokat’s hand slides from the back of his neck to clutch his chest, steadying the phantom sensation of a palpitating heart.
And I grin, even though I shouldn’t. But what’s the fun in seniority if you can’t mess with the rookies?
“We need as many Firns as we can get,” he admits, “events accelerating as they are.” I perk up at that. Accelerating events is much more my speed—though it gives me less time to meet the final criteria for joining the Firns’ ranks. “The living souls need all the protection we can give them,” he finishes.
I couldn’t agree more. And that’s where I come in—where all the Firns stand and serve El Olam. Without Firns to guide living souls and protect them from temptation and harm, Narn would flip the script. And humans would walk right into their own slavery.
But El Olam won’t allow it.
So neither will I. I’m so close now. Just one step left, and if I impress the Malekh and El Olam enough in my next job as a soul collector, then I’ll become a Firn, and one day I’ll be even more than that. If I perform well enough, I’ll be chosen as the Firn who oversees El Olam’s plan to defeat Narn once and for all. It has to be one of us, so it might as well be me. And I won’t stop until I see it happen.
Meanwhile, the Advokat extends his hand to me. “Best of luck to you. I hope you make the cut.”
I glance at his hand and back up to him. So he really hasn’t heard of me, then. I may not be a Firn yet, but I have made a name for myself as the one to watch for earning the coveted position in El Olam’s plan.
Well, if he hasn’t heard of me yet, he will soon enough.
“Thanks.” With a smirk, I grip his hand and shake it firmly enough to knock him off balance. “But I really don’t need luck.”






KristaLyn A. Vetovich is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight May 31
  • Winner will be contacted via email on May 31
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!



KristaLyn is the internationally published author of seven books and one short story, including the upcoming Prelude of the Reyn Gayst series releasing in 2018 from Glass House Press. She graduated in 2011 from Susquehanna University with a degree in English Literature and began traditionally publishing her novels the next year. KristaLyn is also a certified health and life coach and enjoys infusing her stories with motivational themes and characters from all walks of life.
KristaLyn lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their corgi, Jack.

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