Friday, July 28, 2017

Meet the Author: Historical Romance Author Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy






Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy worked as an actress and writer in film and television in the United States and Israel. Night in Jerusalem is her debut novel, which she has adapted to film. She lives in Ojai California with her husband and daughter.

She writes, “I lived in Israel in the 1960s, a naive twenty-year-old, hoping to find myself and my place in the world. The possibility of war was remote to me. I imagined the tensions in the region would somehow be resolved peacefully. Then, the Six Day War erupted and I experienced it firsthand in Jerusalem.

I have drawn Night in Jerusalem from my experiences during that time. The historical events portrayed in the novel are accurate. The characters are based on people I knew in the city. Like me, they were struggling to make sense of their lives, responding to inherited challenges they could not escape that shaped their destiny in ways they and the entire Middle East could not have imagined.

I have always been intrigued by the miraculous. How and where the soul’s journey leads and how it reveals its destiny. How two people who are destined, even under the threat of war and extinction, can find one another.

Israel’s Six Day War is not a fiction; neither was the miracle of its victory. What better time to discover love through intrigue, passion, and the miraculous.

Writing this story was in part reliving my history in Israel, in part a mystical adventure. I am grateful that so many who have read Night In Jerusalem have experienced this as well.”

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At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing at about 30, pretty much as soon as I got a sense of who I was. I had been working as an actress and knew the arts were for me. The thing that drew me to writing was that I could do it all myself without anyone telling me what my part was or where I had to fit in. I’ve always responded best to the beat of my own drum, which I can hear loud and clear most days! Night In Jerusalem is my first novel. Previously, I have written screenplays. They are, of course, visually-oriented and provide limited opportunity for the writer to describe the characters’ states of mind - everything has to be revealed on the screen. I was drawn to writing a novel because the canvas is so much larger –as big as you like -  and the story does not have to fit a budget. However, the relationship with the reader is more intimate and complete, and there’s a challenge to meet there. It took me a while before I was ready to take it on.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

“Notes” are what Hollywood calls the comments shared with writers during script meetings. A friend of mine was hired to write a movie about Peter the Great. At a script meeting, he was told the studio thought he had made Peter “kind of unsympathetic.” “Too autocratic, is that what you’re saying?” “Exactly!”  “And you want more of a czar-next-door feeling?” “Right.”
I am always aware of the writing when I watch a movie. When I am reading, I love it when the writer disappears. I make lots of notes about books and movies, all of them mental. They often surface years later. It’s a filing system that works for me.


Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

I love novels that are told simply, where the writer is unobtrusive and the characters and plot say it all. Einstein said it is easy to make things complicated, but it takes genius to make them simple. I’m for simple! That’s what I go for in my writing. I studied creative writing at Columbia and appreciate the virtuosity of many of our writers, but the first tip I would offer is to not get too hung up on style and technique – go for what you enjoy.
The next tip is to be open to surprises. Once your characters come to life, they will have their own ideas about where they are going. Let them lead the way. You may find they have better ideas than you.
And this leads to the third tip, which is - get started as soon as you have a sense of who your characters are and what they are likely to confront in their world. You don’t need to work out every plot detail before you start. It may even turn out to be better if you do not.


How often do you write?

I develop intimate relationships with my characters and spend time writing for a couple of hours every morning so as not to lose contact with them. They are with me the rest of the day, but more in the background, where they evolve and explore alternative futures. Writing every day keeps the story moving forward, which is the main thing for the first draft.  After that, I am more relaxed about re-writing and editing. The characters are already there, on the page.


Are you an avid reader?

I read a lot, but slowly. It can take me two weeks to finish a book. They take seed in my mind and can live with me for years. I love stories that are so clear and transparent you can see right into the souls of the characters. That’s what works for me. I don’t care what the genre is. Isaac Bashevis Singer was a master of that kind of writing. Presently, I am reading Nathan Englander, a modern writer with the same light touch. John O’Donohue’s books are on my night-table. He talks about “landscape as presence” and celebrates the spiritual connection of Celtic culture with the natural world, where every brook and feature of the land has a name, a history and a divinity. He’s my soul food.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Feature: Mary Lives A story of Anorexia Nervosa and Bipolar Disorder by Mary Brooks








Publication Date: March 5, 2014
Publisher: XlibrisAU
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 396
Genre: Mental Health
Tour Dates: July 24th-August 4th

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In this chaotic, desperate storm the brain tries hard to gather its fragmented parts, and anchor down the guy lines. To weather out this hopelessness, this turmoil and this pain, -prevent disintegration until the calm returns and clear skies come again.In this chaotic, desperate storm the brain tries hard to gather its fragmented parts, and anchor down the guy lines. To weather out this hopelessness, this turmoil and this pain, -prevent disintegration until the calm returns and clear skies come again.






Mary is a General Practitioner, a Family Doctor, and became anorexic and depressed at age 12. She writes of the chaos and pain of her life, through her abnormal adolescence and adult years, to the equilibrium of the current day. It is an enlightening and inspiring story of Anorexia Nervosa and Bipolar Affective Disorder or Manic Depression.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Meet the Author: 'When the Sky Falls' Joseph Bendoski



Joe Bendoski studied psychology in college and was fascinated by all the insights it provided into human behavior, only to realize most the information never reach people, and when it did, rarely was it in a form that allowed for practical application. He started writing non-fiction, but soon came to understand how few people read that genre and began the difficult transition into fiction writing. His non-fiction works include; the Chemistry of Attraction and the Language of Emotion. 
He worked as the head writer for the television show ‘Saved by Grace.’ After being frustrated with comments like "make this scene cheaper," "What's my motivation?", and "Do we need this scene?" he decided to go in to literature.
His latest book is the thriller/espionage/conspiracy/historical novel, When the Sky Falls.

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Title: WHEN THE SKY FALLS
Author: Joseph Bendoski
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 408
Genre: Thriller/Espionage/Conspiracy/Historical

“What makes you believe a lie? I’m not asking how you know someone is lying. What makes you believe? Because if you don’t understand how that works, then you won’t know when you’re being manipulated.”

In 1938 the War of the Worlds hoax panicked millions of Americans, then in 1988 another fictional media broadcast convinced nearly half of Portugal that sea monsters had risen from the ocean to destroy their cities. A team of CIA agents was sent to study the aftermath of this 6th Skyfall Event in the hope that they could turn it into a weapon of war. When the team consultant turns up dead, everyone scrambles to be the last man standing: the one who will decide if or when the sky falls.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon




What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

I read a book called Influencer. It was about a group of social scientists that used to story to create social change and address global problems. One of the most famous studies was how they told a story to slow the spread of the Guinea parasite in Africa and the Middle East. As soon as I read that first story, I knew what I wanted to do. Write a story that changes the way people think about the world and how they interact with it.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think I won my first writing award in the second grade, and almost annually after that, but I never considered it seriously as a career until my life plans fell apart when I was 25.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

Yes. Less so now, but when I was first studying the craft, I took a lot of notes.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

It’s something I’ve always done, but initially, my big driving passion was my running. Ever since I was a kid, I’d planned to run in the Olympic games, but when I tore my Achilles tendon my senior year of college that dream died and I had to find something new.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

I kind of do. It’s a night job. I work graveyard shifts at a mental health facility. I heard Brandon Sanderson talk about working night shifts at a hotel so he could work on his books. So, I tried to find a job with similar opportunities. I mostly there in case there is an emergency, but if not, I get to write and edit.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

Study the craft. I meet a lot of authors who spend hours marketing and studying marketing but know little about the actual process of writing. They aren’t actively studying how to tell stories better. Learn that first. The critiques from the target audience and non-target audience are very different, and you have to weigh them differently. All critiques must be weighed carefully. Only the writer can see the big picture. Whenever I get a critique, the thing I’m really looking for is what I agree with. The moment when someone says something about my chapter and I realize immediately they are right. That’s the exact thing that’s not working. Outside of that, I let most critiques wash over me. That’s an important skill for any writer getting feedback.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

No. I’m a very goal-driven person. At the end of each day when things didn’t go as planned, I review the day and look what distractions happened, plan for them again tomorrow and a way to deal with them, so less time is lost.

What hours do you write best?

Anytime. There isn’t a time that works best for me. I use a variety of habit and pair tools to get me in the mindset, a certain music, a place, even a certain smell; all designed to tell my brain it’s time to write. Actually did a whole episode for Start Writing about looking ways to create the optimal writing environment, and learning to write anywhere and under any circumstances.

How often do you write?

Every day but not always on my novel. Sometimes it’s writing for the podcast, sometimes writing copy for marketing materials, sometimes journaling.

Are you an avid reader?

Yes. I think whisper sink is one of the greatest inventions of the modern age. I love both text and audio books, but on occasion, if the narrator of an audiobook is too different than what I imagined in my head I can’t listen to it. That happened with The Name of the Wind. I heard the narrator was great, but when I went to listen to it, it was not the voice of Kvothe that I had imagined when I read the books the first time.

What are you reading now?

I’m always reading something on craft (currently focusing on setting). Just finished Scars of the Broken, and am starting Career of Evil.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a prequel for my novel that will be a perma-free and reader magnet. I also hope that as part of the series it will reach my target audience better. I still pick a lot of people thinking my book is post-apocalyptic despite the blurb being very clearly espionage thriller.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Meet the Author: 'A Wanted Man' Robert Parker






Robert Parker is a new exciting voice, a married father of two, who lives in a village close to ManchesterUK. He has both a law degree and a degree in film and media production, and has worked in numerous employment positions, ranging from solicitor’s agent (essentially a courtroom gun for hire), to a van driver, to a warehouse order picker, to a commercial video director. He currently writes full time, while also making time to encourage new young readers and authors through readings and workshops at local schools and bookstores. In his spare time he adores pretty much all sport, boxing regularly for charity, loves fiction across all mediums, and his glass is always half full.

His latest book is the crime/thriller, A WANTED MAN.

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Title: A WANTED MAN
Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 307
Genre: Crime Thriller

It’s down to fathers and fatherhood.

Ben Bracken, ex-soldier, has just got out of Strangeways.

Not by the front door.

With him, he has his ‘insurance policy’ – a bag of evidence that will guarantee his freedom, provided he can keep it safe – and he has money, carefully looked after by a friend, Jack Brooker.

Rejected by the army, disowned by his father, and any hopes of parenthood long since shattered, Ben has no anchors in his life.

No one to keep him steady. 

No one to stop his cause…

The plan: to wreak justice on the man who had put him in prison in the first place. 

Terry ‘The Turn-Up’ Masters, a nasty piece of work, whose crime organisation is based in
London.

But before Ben can get started on his mission, another matter is brought to his attention: Jack’s father has been murdered and he will not rest until the killers are found.

Suddenly, Ben finds himself drawn in to helping Jack in his quest for revenge.

In the process, he descends into the fold of
Manchester’s most notorious crime organisation – the Berg – the very people he wants to bring down…

This action-packed and fast-paced story will keep you turning the pages.
Manchester is vividly portrayed as Ben races around the city seeking vengeance.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon





What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

Sunday afternoons watching cartoons and matinee movies with my Grandad, before I realized he had a pretty wonderful set of bookshelves hidden in the front bedroom. They were full of crime, adventures, thrillers, mysteries, you name it. Cups of tea and stories with Grandad – that’ll be where it all came from.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Age 6, although it could possibly be earlier. I knew very definitely at that point that telling stories was what I wanted to do, and that’s just what I did, working predominantly in the ‘preposterous dinosaur fiction’ genre as I recall.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

I used to, but then I realized I was just being a bit over-zealous and wasn’t really enjoying what I was reading or watching anymore! I love books and movies so much that I didn’t want anything to get in the way of that.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

Always, without doubt. I’d make my own books as a kid, and was never ever far from a pen and a scrap of paper – something which is still the case now. I have so many notebooks, all filled with all manner of gold and garbage (mostly garbage).

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

Write from your gut, enjoy yourself, and don’t you dare give up.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

Sometimes I can procrastinate as though my life depended on it, other times the words overflow. I tend to hold onto some control though, but there is one thing that I can’t dictate – the behavior of my kids! Sometimes they pick the worst moments to redecorate the living room in Sharpie – that said, I would never class my kids as unimportant. They always come first.

What hours do you write best?

Entirely depends! Sometimes in the dead of night, but I’ve noticed that early to mid afternoon is sort of my prime time.

How often do you write?

As close to everyday as I can, but I’m realistic enough to know that some days it just doesn’t work out. When there’s a deadline, or I set myself a target, I don’t let anything derail that.

Are you an avid reader?

Yes, I sure am.

What are you reading now?

The Forsaken by Ace Atkins, which is the fourth Quinn Colson book. The attitude and elegance of this series mesmerizes me every time, and the characters feel like family.

What are you currently working on?

Well, I’ve completed the next two books in the Ben Bracken series, and ruminating on direction of the fourth while I’m halfway through a standalone novel (as yet untitled). The standalone represents a bit of a departure for me I think, as it focusses on more of a pure mystery. Kind of letting my imagination wander with this one, and it feels good!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Interview with George A. Bernstein, Author of 'The Prom Dress Killer'

George A. Bernstein is the retired President of a Chicago appliance manufacturing company, now living in south Florida. He spent years attending writing seminars and conferences, learning to polish his work and developing a strong “voice.” Bernstein is acclaimed by his peers as a superb wordsmith. He works with professional editors to ensure his novels meet his own rigorous standards, and all of his books are currently published by small indie press, GnD Publishing LLC, in which he has an interest.
Bernstein’s first novel, Trapped, was a winner in a small Indie publisher’s “Next Great American Novel” contest, and received high praise, gaining many mostly 5-star reviews at Amazon (reaching their “Top 100”) and Goodreads. His 2nd novel, A 3rd Time to Die (A paranormal Romantic Suspense) has also garnered mostly 5-Star & 4-Star reviews, with one reader likening him to the best, less “spooky” works of Dean Koontz & Stephen King.
The Prom Dress Killer is the third of his Detective Al Warner Suspense series, with the first, Death’s Angel, and the second, Born to Die, already garnering rave reviews. Bernstein has the fourth Warner novel already in the works, to be published in late 2017. Readers have likened Bernstein’s Detective Al Warner to Patterson’s Alex Cross.
Bernstein is also a “World-class” fly-fisherman, setting a baker’s dozen IGFA World Records, mostly on fly-rods, and has published Toothy Critters Love Flies, the complete book on fly-fishing for pike & musky.
All of Bernstein’s books can be found at: http://suspenseguy.com and http://amazon.com/author/georgeabernstein

INTERVIEW:
Mayra Calvani: Please tell us about The Prom Dress Killer and what compelled you to write it.
Author: The Prom Dress Killer is the third of my Detective Al Warner suspense novels. It was just a natural progression for the series, and I had this concept of a woman trying to stay alive by telling stories, much like Shahrazad, in The Thousand and One Nights. I wanted to continue the Warner series, and this was the next story.
M.C.: What is your book about?
Author: A psychopathic killer lurks in Miami’s shadows, snatching and murdering young auburn-haired women. Strangely, they are killed without trauma and left clad in frilly prom-style dresses.
Miami’s crack homicide detective, Al Warner, is on the case, but the killer has left few clues. Why were these girls taken and then executed? Was he intent on killing redheads, or was there some other connection? And why were their bodies so carefully arranged in peaceful repose, wearing prom dresses?
Warner’s hunt for this clever psycho is stymied by a lack of clues as he desperately searches for the latest victim. The suspense ramps up when the murderer finally makes one tiny error.

As Warner and the FBI doggedly zero in on their fleeing prey and his newest captive, the action escalates. Unlikely players are drawn into a tense, deadly game. As the stunning climax plays out, Warner is trapped in a classic Catch-22. In order to snare this lethal psycho, he must make a decision that may haunt him forever.
M.C.:  What themes do you explore in The Prom Dress Killer?
Author: The protagonist, Detective Al Warner, hunts a clever psychopath that leaves no clues as to who he is or why his is abducting and then killing young auburn-haired women. Warner’s personal and interpersonal relationships are woven into the story as he tries to balance his hunt for this elusive madman with his developing and very surprising love affair.
M.C.:  Why do you write?
Author: It was originally suggested by my wife, Dolores, when I was able to retire relatively early. I’d written several articles for fishing magazines, and a few short stories, so novels seemed a logical step. I love telling a good story, using elegant words, and finding an ending that shocks my readers. I have to admit that every time I reread the end of Trapped, I still manage to get choked up. I seem to have an endless imagination ... something that often got me into hot water as a kid.
M.C.:  When do you feel the most creative?
Author: At two different times. I do most of my writing in the morning, often finding I missed lunch by an hour or two. And I get many ideas on how to deepen the plot and intensify the tension at night, while awaiting sleep ... and sometime in the middle on the night, after I’ve awakened for a “call of nature.”

M.C.:  How picky are you with language?
Author: Very. I try to use more colourful and descriptive words, rather than just tear through a scene. I’m careful not to repeat words, and can spend many minutes on finding the best way to describe a scene. It’s a trait I find many authors don’t do enough of. My unknowing guru for this is Dean Koontz, whom I rate as one of fictions’ top wordsmiths.
M.C.:  When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?
Author: Not from afar, but by the characters. I outline where I envision my story going, writing a few sentences for each chapter, but find, once I begin, the characters seem to take over. They often talk to me at night while I’m awaiting sleep, telling me surprising things about themselves, and taking me in unexpected directions, doing things I never imagined and changing in ways I never planned. The villain in The Prom Dress Killer became far more sinister than I originally conceived that way.
M.C.:  What is your worst time as a writer?
Author: Trying to turn from an author to a publicist. Authors write, but few of us are skilled at getting the attention our work may deserve.
M.C.:  Your best?
Author: Getting a call from the editor of TAG Publishers, telling me that my novel, Trapped, was selected as the winner of their “Next Great American Novel” contest. Also, when I get rave reviews from professional reviewers
M.C.:  Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
Author: Only if I became too ill. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of unique story ideas.
M.C.: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
Author: Winning TAG’s award, and meeting people who tell me they read my novel because they know me and they were “shocked” at how great it was. They often go on and on about how engrossed they were in the story and how surprised ... and please... they were by the ending.
M.C.:  Is writing an obsession to you?
Author: Pretty much. Dolores sometimes gets upset at how many hours I spend at the computer, writing. I’ve got to make time to balance family life.
M.C.:  Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?
Author: Only in a sense that I often create characters from people I’ve known, and I use locals where I’ve lived and am familiar with the surroundings. Knowledge for the equestrian and Grand Prix jumping scenes from A 3rd Time to Die came from Dolores’ experience as a champion rider in Open Jumper classes in suburban Chicago.
M.C.:  Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Thoughts?
Author: I guess. Suspense writers tend to live in another world while writing. Nothing else impinges on that
M.C.:  Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
Author: My personal web site is: http://suspenseguy.com
and all my work can also be found at: http://amazon.com/author/georgeabernstein