Sep 022014
 


WELCOME Lorraine Ash

Lorraine Ash

Lorraine Ash, MA, is an author, journalist, and essayist as well as a writing teacher. Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life is her second book. Her first memoir, Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing, was published by NewSage Press and has circulated throughout the United States as well as in the Middle East, Australia, Europe, China, Canada, and Mexico. Lorraine also is a veteran journalist whose feature articles and series have won seventeen national, state, and regional awards and have appeared in daily newspapers across the country. Lorraine belongs to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Bill.

Connect with Lorraine at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER   

Q&A with Lorraine Ash

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

As a memoir writer, I draw from personal experience. Like all our lives, though, mine is touched by issues and trends of the day.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

A memoirist has lived her story line. Though the story may have ended, in terms of what happened, it probably is still alive and kicking in the psyche of the writer. Indeed many people turn to memoir not only to witness and chronicle some important corner of life but to come to peace with what happened.

A well-constructed memoir poses a master question. It’s fair to say the writer does not, at the outset, fully know where that question may bring her. She usually knows, though, that it’s imperative for her to take the journey.
In a memoir, the journey follows the writer through what she experienced but also traces the shifts in her consciousness until she comes upon some master insight—a holy grail, if you will—that allows her to answer the question the best she can. Tracing those consciousness shifts while inching toward the insight makes for good storytelling, but it also can be therapeutic for the writer.

Everyone’s life, no matter how ordinary, can open into life’s big questions and grand themes. That statement is a revelation to some people. By virtue of having a mind and a heart, though, we’re hardwired to engage the big questions. Every life is important.

In my latest book, Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life, a spiritual memoir, I ask a question from deep in midlife, after I’ve had many disparate experiences, including the stillbirth of my only child and, less than a decade later, the parallel declines of my father, my industry, and the American economy. It seemed a good time to ask: What does it all add up to?

The question echoes one my father used to ask in his prime. He’d come home from his office, put down his two hefty legal briefcases, rifle through the mail, and mutter, “Where does it all take us in the end?” It’s a fair question.
Self and Soul takes readers to some interesting places in the world, including the hospital room where I lost my daughter, a caving expedition, an ashram, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, and Sedona, Arizona. Yet it’s very much about interior landscapes. The book shows that some of the experiences that happen to a person—a “self,” if you will— can seem futile or hollow or random and become meaningful only when we take them inside us to the “soul” level. That’s where the magic happens.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

When a project, whether it be an article, series, or book, starts to build in my mind, I’m always writing it, whether my hands are on the keyboard or not. I’m forever jotting down ideas, assimilating information, and turning over scenes in my mind. Also, my ear is always to the ground for any news or ambient story regarding the issue or theme.

As a full-time journalist, I write in the newsroom whenever I’m on duty. As a part-time author, I write on weekends and, better yet, on vacation days. Both of the latter instances have the advantage of offering a run of days in which to keep a flow going.

I don’t find it useful to write in small snatches of time and my most productive hours are definitely in the afternoon and night—sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?

I write full time as a journalist and part time as an author, which is a wonderful balance. I’m enchanted by long-form journalism and narrative writing.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

In the world of memoir, I find myself resonating with the voices and writing styles of Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail), Caroline Knapp (Drinking: A Love Story), and May Sarton, whose journals are sublime.

What are you reading now?

In the moment, I’m re-reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by the great Maya Angelou. I’m wistful, I suppose, about her recent passing.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

In my case, it would be the next memoir. I have conceptualized and mulled it, having resolved to start next year. I can say that it centers around my late father’s dementia. I can say with certainty that dementia is a huge issue in the United States.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

If the memoir Self and Soul were a movie, the dream lead would be Michelle Pfeiffer, hands down. Maybe we could get Kevin Bacon to lead the caving expedition, Ben Kingsley to play the swami, and Sela Ward to play the therapist. Perfection!

Manuscript/Notes: handwritten or keyboard?

I take notes many ways, depending on where I am when my mind illuminates with an idea—on my smart phone, PC, or a paper pad. From time to time, I’ll reach for my digital sound recorder, too.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Spending time with my husband and friends, cooking, getting a massage, exploring the state of Maine.

Favorite meal?

There are so many and so much from which to choose, even for a gluten-free person like me—cavatelli and broccoli (with bacon and in a butter sauce), pineapple chicken, orange barbecue chicken over rice, filet mignon, saffron risotto with butternut squash, Cornish game hen, and a good old-fashioned meatloaf.
On my mother’s side of the family, there are a lot of great cooks. Indeed, my Great Uncle Primo was a chef at Asti’s, an Italian restaurant in New York City where the waiters were also professional singers who’d break into song for the patrons.

I consider the legacy of beautiful, healthful food to be one of my most joyful family legacies.

ABOUT Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life

Are you living a life of quiet desperation? Questioning what it means to succeed? Wondering if your efforts matter? In this uplifting memoir, Lorraine Ash uses her own life experiences to explore inner landscapes where the seeds of divine healing and insight reside. These are the landscapes on which we create our own meaning and find the resiliency to thrive in a changing and challenging world.

Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life is available as a digital audiobook. Find it at Audible.com and Amazon.com as well as in the iTunes store.

BOOK DETAILS:

Number of Pages: 176 pages
Publisher: Cape House Books
Publication Date: October 1st 2012
ISBN-10: 1939129001
ISBN-13: 9781939129000

PURCHASE LINKS:

       

THANKS TO Renee AT WOW! Women on Writing, I HAVE ONE (1) PRINT COPY TO GIVE AWAY.
OPEN TO U.S. and U.K. RESIDENTS
FILL OUT RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY FORM BELOW
GIVEAWAY ENDS AUGUST 31st AT 6PM EST

WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN BY RAFFLECOPTER AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL AND WILL HAVE 48 HOURS TO RESPOND OR ANOTHER NAME WILL BE CHOSEN

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IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTY
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DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

 

Aug 292014
 

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf
Published by Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
ISBN-10: 0778316335
ISBN-13: 978-0778316336
Pages: 320
Review copy from: Harlequin
Edition: TPB
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via GR):
Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity; the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.

 

My Thoughts and Opinion:

 

This was an emotional page turner!!!  And I couldn’t have read it at the most perfect time of the year.  I may have to include a hint of a spoiler so you may not want to read the entire review except to know it is a poignant story.

 

The four children in this book stole my heart from the first page to the last.  And I felt compassion and empathy for the adults that cared and loved them to the best of their ability (vague to avoid spoilers)

 

(spoiler) I now have a whole new perspective of reality.  We have all heard on the news of a child , or even an animal, left in a car, during the summer months and I’m sure, and I will admit I’m guilty of it, said or thought, how or what was the adult thinking?  But after reading this book, I’m not so sure that I will be so quick to judge.  Yes, it is wrong, it is a crime, we all need to be vigilant,and should wait for all details before making comments and/or judgments.

 

I have had Ms. Gudenkauf’s books on my wishlist for a while but after reading Little Mercies, she was just moved to my “authors to read” list.  Excellent Ms. Gudenkauf, Excellent!!

 

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
Aug 282014
 


WELCOME William Leibowitz

William Leibowitz

William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment law in New York City for a number of years. He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses. At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group). William has a Bachelor of Science Degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University. He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George.

Miracle Man was named the winner of “Best Thriller – 2014” at the National Pacific Book Awards. William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times– when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero—and that, of course, is Robert James Austin.

Connect with William at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER   

Q&A with William Leibowitz

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
While “miracle man” is fictional, the conflict between the protagonist, Robert James Austin, and ‘big pharma’ was inspired by the continual bad behavior of the large pharmaceutical companies that is constantly in the news. Similarly, the political intrigue and shenanigans in the book are based on current events.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Before I start writing, I do extensive outlining of the plot—starting from the beginning and moving forward chronologically. Once I have the story line I then give thought to how I might create flash-backs and flash-forwards to keep the story moving and to create/maintain reader interest.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
Much of my first draft is done in long-hand, pen on paper. There’s something about that which makes me feel like I’m following an ageless tradition.

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
I wish writing was my full time job, but it’s not. My ‘day gig’ is being a lawyer in the entertainment business.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
James Hilton, Oscar wilder, Daniel da Silva, Toni Morrison

What are you reading now?
Goodbye Mr. Chips by James Hilton, and the collected quotations of Albert Einstein.

Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?
Many readers have emailed me asking for a sequel to “miracle man.” In fact, the ending of “miracle man” hints at more to come. I’m currently sketching out the plot lines—and all I can say is that readers have some very big surprises in store.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
That’s a tough question because I’m not familiar enough with the current crop of actors/actresses to answer that. I think that’s a great question for me to pose to readers of “miracle man” –who would they cast for each of the key roles?

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Once my first draft is done I move to the keyboard. I find that’s the easiest way to not only ‘fine-tune’ the writing, but also to move passages from one place to another to see if restructuring would be helpful.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Gardening and watching my koi swim around in their small pond.

Favorite meal?
TA charcuterie platter—selection of cheeses, Italian meats, olives, crackers, pate and condiments. That coupled with a very dry Bombay gin martini.

ABOUT Miracle Man

If you had encountered the most intelligent individual in human history, how would you want them to use their gift? The possibilities would be endless, and the reach of this power could potentially save millions of human lives. In Miracle Man, William R. Leibowitz presents the story of Dr. Robert James Austin, an anti-hero genius with an IQ higher than Einstein and a tragic background, who has the mental capacity to find cures for diseases – making him the perfect enemy for big pharma.

Leibowitz recounts Big Pharma’s efforts to sabotage and destroy Dr. Austin, who has devoted his extraordinary intellect to finding cures for human ailments, which is costing the pharmaceutical companies a fortune as his discoveries eliminate the need for “cash-cow” drugs that treat, rather than cure.

Although the story could have become an obvious morality tale, it instead explores the depths of darkness that can accompany the gift of genius, and readers will enjoy the philosophical debate about what the true nature of disease truly is: disease itself, or the men who look to benefit from it. Leibowitz does this within the context of fast-paced action involving world-altering scientific breakthroughs, industrial espionage and political intrigue, mixed in with an extraordinary romance.

In the book, Leibowitz gives insight into:
• The depths of darkness that can accompany the gift of genius
• What cures for diseases means for the pharmaceutical industry
• How scientific breakthroughs are affected by political influence
• The corruption behind un-regulated industries that profit from man’s destruction

As Dr. Austin says, “No major disease has been cured in decades. The thrust is not to find a cure, but to create a treatment – a product that can be sold, again and again; ongoing treatments with drugs rather than cures. Keep selling those pills day after day rather than eradicate the need for them.”

BOOK DETAILS:

Number of Pages: 430 pages
Publisher: manifesto media group
Publication Date: January 24th 2014
ISBN-10: 0989866211
ISBN-13: 9780989866217

PURCHASE LINKS:

       

THANKS TO ANNA AT MEDIA CONNECT // A Division of Finn Partners, I HAVE ONE (1) COPY TO GIVE AWAY.
OPEN TO U.S. and U.K. RESIDENTS
FILL OUT RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY FORM BELOW
GIVEAWAY ENDS AUGUST 31st AT 6PM EST

WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN BY RAFFLECOPTER AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL AND WILL HAVE 48 HOURS TO RESPOND OR ANOTHER NAME WILL BE CHOSEN

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

 

Aug 262014
 

 

WELCOME Cate Beauman

 

Cate Beauman

Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, four years later, I’m currently working on my eighth novel, Reagan’s Redemption, which I plan to release in early spring of 2015. I’m very grateful for the support and success I’ve had.” – Cate

Interview:

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

I don’t typically write from by own experiences. I’m just not as exciting as the men and women of Ethan Cooke Security. I usually get ideas from crime documentaries or articles I read. Whenever I watch television or read magazines, I keep a pen and pad of paper handy. Inspiration comes in the strangest forms. Once I saw a femur bone on a TV show and it sparked an idea for a novel I want to write in the future.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I typically have a general idea of where I want to take each story. I use a very vague outline that I build on as I get to know my characters better and come across plot holes.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

My workday starts after the hubster and kiddos head off to work and school. I write until they come home then usually some more after everyone goes to bed.

I guess one might say I have a few idiosyncrasies. I’m kind of a neat freak, so I can’t write until my house is clean! And I always have to have a glass of water close by. It’s a little weird but that’s me!

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?

I’m lucky to say writing is my full-time job! I stay home and play in my imagination all day, so most of the time it doesn’t feel like a job at all.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My all-time favorite is Nora Roberts. I love her work and her work ethic.

What are you reading now?

I would have to say I’ve mostly been reading over my youngest son’s homework! Life is pretty busy. I haven’t had the opportunity to read for fun since last winter!

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

Absolutely! By the time I’m ready to release a novel, I’m typically preparing to start the second draft on the next manuscript! Reagan’s Redemption, book eight in The Bodyguards of L.A. County Series, will chronicle Shane Harper and Doctor Reagan Rosner while they travel deep into the hills of Western Kentucky. Shane and Reagan encounter more than they expect while they both serve on The Appalachia Project, a humanitarian effort that will bring medical aide to a reluctant community.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

I’ll never tell (Cue creepy music!). I must admit I never ever share whom I see in the staring roles of my stories. One of my pet peeves is reading stories where I fall in love with the characters then look on the cover of the book and realize the people portrayed are not the ones I’ve imagined in my head. On more than one occasion I’ve frowned and said, “That’s not what they look like.” I want my readers to conjure up their own visions of the men and women of Ethan Cooke Security.

Manuscript/Notes: handwritten or keyboard?

Both! I have notebooks chalked full of notes, but I write each story on my laptop. Before I start a second draft, I add helpful hints for each scene in dark red font.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Kayaking is my favorite outdoor activity. My family and I get out on the water whenever we can! I also like to make jewelry and cook and bake.

Favorite meal?

I LOVE eggplant parmesan. Toss in a piece of garlic bread and a salad and I’m in heaven!

Connect with Cate at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER   

 

ABOUT SAVING SOPHIE

WHEN THE ONLY CHOICE IS TO RUN…

Jewelry designer Sophie Burke has fled Maine for the anonymity of the big city. She’s starting over with a job she tolerates and a grungy motel room she calls home on the wrong side of town, but anything is better than the nightmare she left behind.

Stone McCabe is Ethan Cooke Security’s brooding bad boy more interested in keeping to himself than anything else—until the gorgeous blond with haunted violet eyes catches his attention late one rainy night.

Stone reluctantly gives Sophie a hand only to quickly realize that the shy beauty with the soft voice and pretty smile has something to hide. Tangled up in her secrets, Stone offers Sophie a solution that has the potential to free her from her problems once and for all—or jeopardize both of their lives.

PURCHASE LINKS:

       

Giveaway

FILL OUT RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY FORM BELOW

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YOUR JAVA SCRIPT MAY NEED TO BE UPDATED
IF YOU AR EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTY
USING THE RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY FORM

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

 

Aug 252014
 

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia of A girl and her books and is  now hosted on its own blog.         

According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.
Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads
    
Monday:  The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain (personal purchase)
Monday:  Defending Jacob by William Landay (personal purchase at recommendation of my daughter-in-law)