Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Book Feature: Sugar and Spice And All Those Lies by Evy Journey

SUGAR AND SPICE AND ALL THOSE LIES by Evy Journey, Women’s Fiction/Crime, 200 pp., $9.00 (Paperback) $2.99 (Kindle edition)

Author: Evy Journey
Publisher: Sojourney Books
Pages: 200
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Crime
Cooking a wonderful meal is an art. An act of love. An act of grace. A gift that affirms and gives life—not only does it nurture those who partake of the meal; it also feeds the soul of the creator. These are lessons Gina learns from her mother, daughter of an unfortunate French chef.
Gina is a young woman born to poor parents, a nobody keen to taste life outside the world she was born into. A world that exposes her to fascinating people gripped by dark motives. Her passion for cooking is all she has to help her navigate it.

She gets lucky when she’s chosen to cook at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area where customers belong to a privileged class with money to spare for a dinner of inventive dishes costing hundreds of dollars. In this heady, scintillating atmosphere, she meets new friends and new challenges—pastry chef Marcia, filthy rich client Leon, and Brent, a brooding homicide detective. This new world, it turns out, is also one of unexpected danger.

Can the lessons Gina learned from her mother about cooking and life help her survive and thrive in this other world of privilege, pleasure, and menace?

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I’m alive. I’m dead. I’m in-between. In that limbo where my vital signs hover just above death. I rise above my body and look down on it, lying on a gurney. Hospital staff are rushing me along the brightly-lit hallway to the operating room. One of them holds an oxygen mask on my face. Another, a bag of intravenous fluid connected to my veins by a tube.
I’m not ready to die yet. These good people anxious to rescue me don’t know that my resolve is the only thing that is keeping me alive. No, I’m not ready to die—I’ve only just begun to live. I have yet to prove to myself, to the world, that I have what it takes to prevail.
My family—now on their way to the hospital—doesn’t know yet exactly what happened to me. And except for one detective, neither do the police. I see him now by the foot of the gurney, keeping pace with the nurses. He’s scowling, his lips pressed into a grim line.
A tall, taut, and solitary man, he has deep-set gray eyes clouded by too many images of violent death and a lower lip that hangs perpetually open in disgust or despair. So much darkness he has already seen in his thirty odd years in this world. He needs to piece together the facts that constitute the attempt on my life, events that may have led to it, and various fragments of my past to understand what brought me to this point.
The first time I met him, I fell in love with him. There was something primal about him, some paternal, animalistic instinct to save hurt or fallen victims. Like me, maybe. It gave him power and it made him irresistible to me.
But fate is fickle. It teases. It entices. One day, something quite ordinary happens to you. Yet, you sense that that ordinary something can change your life. Not necessarily for something better, but for something new. Fate is dangling before you the promise of a world that, before then, was totally out of your reach. How can you not seize it?
Now, of course, I see the end of that promise. And it’s not where I want to be.
It’s tragic, don’t you think, that the end of that promise should be right here on a gurney, with me fighting for my life? It certainly is not what I hoped for.
How could it end this way? I embraced life, took chances, but half-dead on this gurney, I wonder: Am I paying with my life? But, like I said. I’m not ready to die yet.

Evy Journey, SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse who, wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. Armed with a Ph.D., she used to research and help develop mental health programs.
She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her despite such preoccupations having gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen to spin tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue.

Her latest book is Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

Guest Post from M.J. Abrams, author of Chubby Wubbles

Title: Chubby Wubbles: A Ferret’s Tale
Author: M.J. Abrams
Publisher: Trafford
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Format: Ebook
A delightful story about the adventures of a young man and a mischievous ferret awaits in Chubby Wubbles!
This vibrant picture book tells a compelling story about the bond that develops between them. As the story unfolds, their loneliness leads to a fateful meeting and a growing friendship. Together they embark on an exciting journey that progresses with lots of humor, fun, and unexpected drama along the way. Chubby Wubbles will warm the hearts of children everywhere!
Guest Article
     I authored a children’s photo picture story book titled “Chubby Wubbles: A Ferret’s Tale”   It wasn’t easy writing a book about ferrets, but very satisfying. The storyline along with the corresponding photos makes my book more realistic than a fantasy novel that has animated illustrations. It’s a story that shows the different emotions of Chubby as the story progresses. 
     Most children are unfamiliar with ferrets, and don’t know much about them. They may think of ferrets as an unusual pet that resembles a squirrel. Actually ferrets have personality traits which are similar to cats and dogs. My book relates to how a ferret behaves and interacts with other animals and humans in different situations. It also gives an idea of how to take care of a ferret’s physical and personal needs. 
     Ferrets are naturally quiet and curious. They also have a short attention span, and tend to sleep a lot. Ferrets need plenty of attention and playtime, but can get stressed out if neglected or left alone too long. Once you get to know them you’ll see that they can seem stubborn and aloof, yet playful and funny. Ferrets are furry little bundles of joy that are easy to care for, and best of all make wonderful pets!
     Some things to take into consideration if you plan to get a pet ferret include making time to play with your ferret and do things together. My book gives readers an idea of their playfulness and curious nature. Ferrets have a tendency to sometimes get into trouble, because of their personality. They are elusive, and can squeeze into tight spots. They are also little thieves. They will pick up anything they can, and carry it off to their special hiding places. Sometimes it’s better for them to leave well enough alone than to venture out of their comfort zone. Things are not always as they may seem to them. It may not be easy for them to find their way back without help.
     Lifestyle changes like moving into a new home or environment can put stress on pets as well as humans. Pets need time to adjust and become familiar with their new surroundings as well as any new owner whom they may not be accustom to. Also, having the means to be able to support pets in the right way and taking care of them properly by not neglecting or abandoning them is important. My book will teach many valuable lessons about taking care of pets that depend on their human companions for wellbeing and love. Chubby Wubbles is a great story as well!
After being an observer and non-pet owner, I was thrown into the mix because my son was leaving and I couldn’t bear the thought of him having to give up his pet ferret to someone else. Since I’ve grown so attached to this lovable critter, I agreed to take care of him while he was away. Because of the many experiences my son has had with this adorably sweet animal, I decided to write a children’s book based on a true story about their adventures and misadventures.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Interview with V.P. Hughes, author of A Thousand Points of Truth

Title: A Thousand Points of Truth
Author: V.P. Hughes
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: History
Format: Ebook

My interest in Colonel John Singleton Mosby began in 1950 However it wasn t until 2002 that it led to extensive research on the subject centered upon newspaper reports on the man begun during the Civil War and continued throughout and even after his life And while I rejected Virgil Carrington Jones s observation on Mosby contained in the preface of this work I did not contemplate writing this book until an even more disparaging observation came to my attention during my research The comment was contained in an article in the Ponchatoula Times of May 26 1963 as part of a six article series written by Bernard Vincent McMahon entitled The Gray Ghost of the Confederacy Mr McMahon in turn based his comment upon General Omar Bradley s judgment of what might have been the postwar life of General George Patton Now substitute Mosby for General Patton in the book A General s Life by Omar Bradley I believe it was better for General Patton Mosby and his professional reputation that he died when he did He would have gone into retirement hungering for the old limelight beyond doubt indiscreetly sounding off on any subject anytime any place In time he would have become a boring parody of himself a decrepit bitter pitiful figure unwittingly debasing the legend emphasis mine McMahon however only proffered in his writings the widely accepted view of John Mosby held by many if not most However like General Ulysses S Grant I have come to know Colonel Mosby rather more intimately through the testimony of countless witnesses over a span of 150 years and I believe that it is time for those who deeply respect John Mosby the soldier to now also respect John Mosby the man A century ago the book of John Singleton Mosby s life closed It is my hope that this book will validate the claim he made during that life that he would be vindicated by time V P Hughes,

Describe your book in 140 characters.

This book uses 54 years of press reports to repudiate claims against Col. John Mosby that have constantly appeared in biographies and other works on the man.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

From childhood, my life has been centered on both history and books, especially books on history
Did you always want to be a writer? Or did you have another career path? I did not intend to write a book, but as I gathered the information used in the book, I realized that so much “known” about the man was untrue and determined to do my best to set the record straight.
Share some fun facts about yourself?

I will be 77 years old and this is the first time I have done something that has produced repercussions beyond my immediate family. I enjoy public speaking and do well in it, having given a number of lectures in the past on this and other subjects.

For many years, V. P. Hughes has been drawn to certain historical figures whom she researched at great length and in considerable depth regarding not only the person of interest but the period in which that individual lived and his influence upon it. Over the years, she has studied such heroes as Sir William Marshal (1147-1219), Sir Harry (Hotspur) Percy (1364-1403), Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), Sir William Wallace (1270-1305), Francis Marion (1732-1795) and the legendary figures William Tell and Robin Hood. The last three were of especial interest because they, with their few followers, engaged the most powerful armies of the time-and prevailed. Of course, John Singleton Mosby was another such champion-a man who defeated his adversaries with cunning and courage rather than brute military force. Yet Mosby became an even greater curiosity when during her research the author discovered that he had died twenty-five years to the day and hour of her own birth-May 30th, 9 a.m, 1916 and 1941 respectively. Although acknowledged as a mere coincidence, however curious, Mosby’s unique style of warfare and his astonishing success under the circumstances extant, made him of especial interest. Early on, her knowledge of the man centered around the Civil War, but then, copious written works as well as the opinions of past and present day Mosby sages brought to light his post-war life in a manner that seemingly disparaged and negated all the glories that had gone before. Finding this both troubling and unacceptable, when the opportunity arose to refute these calumnies and slanders, the author felt obligated to undertake what is, in essence, a posthumous defense of the man. It is hoped that this unique work will achieve the goal of undoing a great injustice and restoring to a noble American hero the respect and admiration he so richly deserves.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Press release: Manhattan Novelist Awarded The Garcia Memorial Prize for Best Fiction

Contact: Maryglenn McCombs, (615) 297-9875 
Manhattan Novelist Awarded The Garcia Memorial Prize for Best Fiction Book of the Year: Diana Forbes wins prestigious honor for her debut novel, Mistress Suffragette 
Mistress-Suffragette-IMAGE-e1512431996188AUSTIN, TEXAS – Manhattan novelist Diana Forbes has been awarded The Garcia Memorial Prize for her debut novel, Mistress Suffragette.  An annual award presented in conjunction with the national Reader Views Book Awards, The Garcia Memorial Prize is awarded to the best fiction book of the year. 
Sex and the Suffrage movement collide in Diana Forbes’s debut novel, Mistress Suffragette.  A brilliantly crafted work of historical fiction that unfolds against the backdrop of Manhattan’s Gilded Age, Mistress Suffragette has earned high critical praise. In a Starred review, Kirkus calls Mistress Suffragette “a sprightly, winning historical novel.” San Francisco Review of Books reports “writing of this quality is rare…a very welcome debut.”  New Theory Magazine notes:  “the plight of the clever main character, Penelope, has a timelessness that every 21st century woman will recognize.” 
About Mistress Suffragette:  Sheltered but feisty Penelope Stanton, growing up in Gilded Age, Newport, Rhode Island is tarnished by her father’s bankruptcy during the Panic of 1893.Penelope quickly attracts the unwanted advances of a villainous millionaire banker who preys on distressed women. After she flees him to nearby Boston, Penelope, by necessity, becomes a paid public speaker in the early women’s suffrage movement. Now she’s speaking out on women’s issues from Boston to New York. But will her disastrous choices in love unravel everything she’s fighting for?  In the glittering age where a woman’s reputation is her most valuable possession, Penelope will be forced to discover her hidden reserves of courage and tenacity—and she’ll have to decide whether to compromise her principles for love.
A mesmerizing tale that blends elements of history, romance, and women’s fiction, Mistress Suffragette is a beautifully-written novel that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned.  Meticulously plotted and brimming with multi-dimensional characters that spring to life within the novel’s pages, Mistress Suffragette leads readers on a rich, rewarding journey to a time long past.  An extraordinary novel by an extraordinary writer, Mistress Suffragette is a timeless, unforgettable tale. 
According to Susan Violante, editor of Reader Views, “We were overwhelmed by both the quantity and quality of entries in this year’s Reader Views Literary Awards. This year’s awards program featured numerous outstanding works of fiction.  Mistress Suffragette by Diana Forbes was a true standout. This incredible novel has it all:  excellent writing, a mesmerizing storyline, and memorable, realistic characters. Mistress Suffragette is an exemplary work of fiction and it is our honor to recognize this title as recipient of the Garcia Memorial Prize for Fiction.” 
Diana Forbes is a 9th generation American, with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Diana Forbes lives and writes in Manhattan. When she is not cribbing chapters, Diana Forbes loves to explore the buildings where her 19th century American ancestors lived, loved, survived and thrived.  Visit Diana Forbes online at: 
Published by Penmore Press, Mistress Suffragette is available in trade paper and eBook editions. Mistress Suffragette is available where fine books are sold. The Reader Views Awards is an annual literary awards program that recognizes excellence in independent publishing. Founded in 2005, Reader Views( ) is based in Austin, Texas. The Garcia Memorial Prize honors the life and memory of Garcia, one of the finest Old English Sheepdogs to have ever roamed the earth. Members of the news media wishing to request additional information about the Garcia Memorial Prize or author Diana Forbes are kindly asked to contact Maryglenn McCombs by phone – (615) 297-9875, or by email –  

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Authors To Watch: Interview with Lara Reznik, Author of Bagels & Salsa @eipress #suspense #romance

Lara Reznik is a native New Yorker who studied at the University of New Mexico and the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. Bagels & Salsa is her third novel.
Writing books since she was six years old, Reznik retired from an executive position in information technology after the success of her first novel, The Girl From Long Guyland, published in 2012. In 2015, Reznik published her second book, The M&M Boys.
Reznik currently lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two miniature Aussies.



Author: Lara REznik
Publisher: Enchanted Indie Press
Pages: 296
Genre: Suspense/Romance/Humor

Author Lara Reznik blends suspense, romance, and humor in her latest novel, BAGELS & SALSA ( Loosely based on Reznik’s life, the story of Laila and Eduardo highlights the turmoil that surfaces when a Jewish sociologist from New York and a Hispanic doctor from rural New Mexico fall hard and fast for each other. Their blossoming relationship develops against the backdrop of terror the Son of Sam created in New York City during the summer of 1977.
Early reviews of BAGELS & SALSA praise the story’s dynamic plot and colorful characters:
“The author tells a simple love story, but she structures the novel to provide a panoramic view of her characters” (Kirkus Reviews).
“Another lovely read from Lara Reznik! . . . As with all her novels there are also plenty of fun subplot twists and turns. I wanted more.”  (Barbara Gaines, Former Executive Producer of The Late Show with David Letterman).
BAGELS & SALSA opens at a high school assembly hall in a rough part of the Bronx where Laila Levin is giving her first postdoctorate presentation on the US teen pregnancy epidemic. Her fear of public speaking and a chance encounter with the Son of Sam unravel her as several loud bangs crack through the air. Laila falls on the stage and injures her right shoulder. Fortunately, Dr. Eduardo Quintana jumps into action.
What begins as a playful flirtation while Laila recovers in the hospital propels into a more serious relationship with the handsome doctor. Their mutual passion is so intense that it stuns them both. The unlikely pair share strong family values and an interest in teen pregnancy prevention. After a brief courtship, Eduardo persuades Laila to accompany him to his family’s ranch near Española, New Mexico, where he plans to open a family practice. The rural town has one of the highest pregnancy rates in North America: the perfect place for Laila’s research.          
Once in New Mexico, Laila is blatantly rejected by Sylvia, Eduardo’s controlling mother. Sylvia wants Eduardo to marry Violet, his high school sweetheart, who has recently returned to New Mexico after a failed flight attendant career and a walk on the dark side of Hollywood. Violet’s mother and Sylvia cook up a plan to send Laila packing and reunite their children. The Quintanas hold a large pig roast and invite a menagerie of tattooed cousins, rodeo stars, and mariachis. And the drop-dead gorgeous Violet makes a grand entrance.
In the midst of the pandemonium that results, a shocking family secret is revealed, and Laila and Eduardo’s love for each other is severely tested. Can their relationship survive the fierce clash of cultures, the murderous intentions of a Son of Sam copycat who has stalked Laila from New York City, and their own uncertainties about the upheavals that their union will cause in their lives?
Reznik’s first goal in writing BAGELS & SALSA is to entertain readers. However, she says, “On a more thematic level, I’d like readers to think about the importance of embracing religious, ethnic, and cultural differences, which have been at the core of so much conflict in the world.”


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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

For years I’ve been both a participant and facilitator of numerous author groups, writing classes, conferences and social gatherings of writers. The topic of how much time and energy is spent plotting out a book versus writing “by the seat of your pants” inevitably becomes a lively debate and even a polarizing discussion.

On one side, there are authors that come from former careers as engineers, scientists, programmers or accountants. Generally, they write pages of outlines, detailed character sketches, and complex structure synopses utilizing techniques of writing gurus such as Dwight Swain (Technique of the Selling Writer), Christopher Vogler (The Hero’s Journey), and/or John Truby (The Anatomy of a Story). These are just a few popular methods used to help authors plan their novels.

While there’s much to be said about spending days, weeks, and months developing detailed plot outlines and analysis of each character’s journey, this method doesn’t work for everyone. One down side is if the author changes the course of the plot while implementing the notes into prose, everything following is then rendered useless. Also, taking months to develop detailed outlines can take away from the passion and momentum an author feels when they first have an idea for a book. One author friend of mine became so sympathetic with his antagonist, that she ended up morphing into a co-protagonist forcing the author to scrap pages and pages of analysis and begin the whole process all over again.

On the other side of the spectrum, many writers, (often from literary, artistic or entrepreneurial backgrounds) prefer to skip all the above and take a more simplified approach. Generally, this includes brainstorming an idea and writing a rough draft as a stream of consciousness. Many famous authors such as Khalad Hoessini and the late Tony Hillerman claim to write their novels without much planning or outline at all.

Like most novices, when I wrote my first novel I used the “seat of my pants” method without planning much in advance. Later, after studying the craft of writing, participating in critique groups and working with professional editors, I ended up throwing out more than half of the first draft because it didn’t have a coherent plot let alone a story structure. Also, many of the subplots took the reader down rabbit trails that led nowhere.

After four decades as an author, I’ve discovered the method that works best for me is somewhere in between writing by the seat of my pants and creating complex outlines and deep analysis. It works something like this:

·        Novel idea:  generally comes from current news, or a historical event, an incident from my own life, or someone else’s life.
·        Research: I gather all types of research on the time period, the setting, and develop sketches for each character including many details of their lives that may or may not be in the story. For instance, it helps to know where a character grew up, what type of childhood they had, level of education, marital status, etc.
·        Outline: I develop a series of scenes and or chapters with very short synopses of the plot in each one. You can have multiple scenes in a chapter or each scene can be a chapter.
·        Technique: I utilize Dwight Swain’s Technique of the Selling Writer which breaks each chapter into “scenes” and “sequels.” Each scene consists of real time action including action and dialog, the POV character’s goal and conflict. I try to end with some type of disaster or call it a “hook” to keep readers engaged. The scene is followed by a “sequel” that includes the character’s reaction, dilemma and decision to the action.
·        When I’ve completed the first draft, I submit it to my critique group for peer review. Inevitably, this results in revising ideas, developmental editing, and rewriting. Once I’ve implemented all of the changes and edit the manuscript to a point that is as good as I can get it, I submit it to my “editing team,” a group of fellow authors and retired English teachers to copy edit the manuscript. Last but not least, I hire a professional proof reader for the final polish.

If you’re serious about becoming an author, it behooves you to study the craft of writing. Read books on writing, attend a course at a local college or online, and join a critique group. Know the rules before you try and break them. Although writing is not a paint-by-number endeavor, the more you understand about structure ahead of time the better your first draft will be, and the less work you’ll need to do in subsequent revisions. Bottom line, do it your way because guess what?  There is no right way, just the way things work best for you.

One last piece of advice that was passed on to me by my professor, Rudolfo Anaya (My Blessed Ultima). He said, “A writer writes.” Every weekday morning following breakfast and an hour of exercise, I sit down at the computer in my office and write until about 4pm.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Bagels & Salsa is a multicultural suspense novel about two cultures colliding when a Jewish woman from New York falls in love with a Latino doctor from rural New Mexico.
Set in the summer of 1977 as the Son of Sam terrorizes New York City, Laila Levin, meets the dashing Dr. Eduardo Quintana while presenting post doctorate research on the epidemic problem of U.S. teenage pregnancies. What begins as a playful flirtation propels into a more serious relationship. Their mutual passion is so intense, that after a brief courtship, Eduardo invites her to accompany him to his family ranch in New Mexico where their relationship is tested by Eduardo’s controlling mother who blatantly rejects Laila, his drop dead gorgeous ex-girlfriend who recently returned after a walk on the dark side of Hollywood, and a Son of Sam copycat who has stalked Laila cross-country. 
In the midst of the pandemonium that results, a shocking family secret is revealed and the question becomes can their relationship survive the fierce clash of cultures, the murderous intentions of a Son of Sam copycat, Eduardo’s mother’s rejection, and their own uncertainties about the upheaval that their union will have on their lives.
How did you get the idea for the book?
Bagels &Salsa evolved from a screenplay I wrote in 2001 that was a finalist in a Writer’s Digest contest. Since numerous fans of my bestselling suspense novel, The Girl From Long Guyland, wanted to learn more about the relationship of Laila, the Jewish protagonist, and Eduardo, her Hispanic husband, I adapted the semi-autobiographical screenplay into Laila and Eduardo’s love story. 
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
My favorite character is almost always my antagonist. It’s fascinating for me to explore the mind of a narcissistic, egotistical and/or pathological individual. In Bagels & Salsa the antagonist, is Violet, Eduardo’s ex-girlfriend who left Espanola after high school for the bright lights of Hollywood. Violet returns to New Mexico after failing as both a flight attendant and an actress and is hooked on cocaine and prescription drugs. She joins her mother and Eduardo’s in a plan to rid themselves of Laila and win him back for herself.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?  

This is the first novel I’ve ever written that contains a lot of humor. It’s a daunting task to write humor as I had no idea if people would get my jokes. I’ve gained a new respect for stand-up comedians who put themselves out there every night and often get heckled if members of the audience don’t find the material funny.
What projects are you currently working on? 

 I’m currently writing another psychological thriller based on a real-life murder mystery. Truth is stranger than fiction and I couldn’t make up a more spellbinding plot or create more devious characters than the true story of a Manson-like con man; his jealous mistress, a professed alien queen; and a salt-of the-earth soccer dad, surrounding the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful Japanese bank teller.