Thursday, April 16, 2015
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Today I'm pleased to welcome James Anderson to the blog to talk about his new release, "The Never-Open Desert Diner"
But first, a little about the book...
1. What inspired you to begin writing?
I have always liked my friend Luis Alberto Urrea’s response to that question: “I came from a family of unreliable narrators.” True for both of us.
2. Would you classify your writing more as plot driven or character driven? Character driven. Absolutely. My opinion is that readers, at least myself and the people I know, don’t care about the plot until they care about the characters. For me, a plot-driven story, and there are some damn good ones, don’t have the depth I like.
3. Can you tell us a little about your main character? Ben Jones is a truck driver in his late 30s whose route takes him on a daily back and forth along a desolate highway in southern Utah. He was an orphan who was adopted by an older couple when he was six. As far as he knows, he was the abandoned child of a female Jewish social worker and a native American.
4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book.
There are three primary conflicts, internal and external. Ben loves his job delivering necessary items to desert rats who have exiled themselves in the desert, but he is fast going bankrupt. Ben wants to be married and have a family, but that just hasn’t happened for him, until he discovers a woman playing a cello in the model home of an abandoned and unfinished housing development in the high desert. She means him no harm, yet their relationship reignites a tragedy that occurred at a nearby diner forty years earlier.
5. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
All I can do is repeat what I’ve heard from reviewers and the kind people who have read it. They fall in love with the character of Ben Joes, who is complicated, laconic and sometimes amusing in his observations about himself and the eccentric characters he serves. Readers also love the natural world of the Utah desert in which Ben lives and how that environment intersects and influences the characters. In brief, a strong sense of place.
6. Now for a few fun questions! What song best describes your writing style? That is a good question! Jazz-blues fusion spiced with grunge. How’s that? I was listening to a lot of Yo Yo Ma and Nirvana, particularly Heart-Shaped Box. My tastes are eclectic in art, literature and music, which partly explains the strangeness, which is why in one hour I can listen to Sage Francis and Miles Davis and Black Flag!
7. Night Owl or Early Bird? I am usually up between four and five every morning and I write until about nine. It’s as much about time management as anything else. It’s quiet and beautiful in the early morning and it’s best to have that time before the fires of the day begin to scorch my butt.
8. Skittle or M&Ms? Both. Often together. With popcorn.
9. Who are your favorite authors? So many! Here’s a sample. Thomas Merton, Colum McCann, Bruce Berger, Terry Tempest Williams, Katherine Dunn, Luis Alberto Urrea. I read everything, from memoir, creative nonfiction, novels and poetry, neuro-physiology, biography.
Presently I am reading The Collected Later Poems of Paul Celan and Luis Urrea’s Tijuana Book of the Dead. Formative and influential books include Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Marguerita and the seminal Pedro Paramo by Juan Rufalo.
10. Can you tell us about your future projects? Gee, I hesitate to do that. What I can say is that I am always surprised at what I write, the stories and characters and settings. It is highly unlikely that anyone will ever accuse me of writing the same thing over and over.
Meet the Author
Author Links: www.jamesandersonauthor.com
FB Page: The Never-Open Desert Diner
Buy your copy today:
Praise for "The Never-Open Desert Diner"“High, dry and severely beautiful…a wondrously strange novel…Anderson is one fine storyteller.” — Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Anderson's first novel…is a great one…(with) genius in creating characters that stay with you…They creep into your brain and settle in for a lengthy visit. You have not read a book like The Never-Open Desert Diner in a long time, if ever. Once you open its pages you will know you are in for something surprisingly enjoyable.”
— Jackie K. Cooper, The Huffington Post
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Only a few days left to enter this fabulous giveaway!
Lots of awesome authors have teamed up to offer one lucky winner a $500 Amazon Gift Card just for signing up to meet new authors and find out about their books!
Click on the link below and sign up for any or all the newsletters to be entered to win this awesome prize!
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Introducing MJ Austin and her debut novel, BRIGHT FIRE!
Delfia thought she was a normal girl about to turn sixteen until her adoptive parents are murdered by creatures from the underworld. Her life gets thrown into chaos as she teams up with her best friend, a strange guy, and a prophetess.
She soon discovers her biological father, Hades, ordered the attack on her and her family because a prophecy names her as the one to take him down. She must first complete a set of tasks to free Persephone, her mother, from the underworld and defeat Hades.
Will she be reunited with her mother or will she get sucked into the underworld?
*Book is geared towards readers that liked Percy Jackson Series, Need Series, etc.*
About the Author:
Stalk The Author
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
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Something fell on my shoulder, jarring me from my relaxed state. I shrugged off the weight and then a painful groan fell on my ears. I turned to find Marren picking himself up off the floor in front of the cracked door that hung half off its hinges.
“Oh no, Marren! Are you—how did I do that?” I was caught off guard as soon as the realization I was responsible dawned on me.
“The change has been coursing through your body before you actually turn. Your strength has already evolved.” He stood, stretched his shoulders and neck then took a fighting stance.
“Seriously, you want to spar? Now?”
His lips pulled taut, revealing bright white teeth, the thrill of his intentions gleaming in his eyes.
“Marren,” I said, pleading to no avail.
He lunged at me. I jumped out of the way before he reached me, sending him sliding into the fireplace, chipping a piece of the marble off.
He picked himself up. “Come on, Relena. Don’t you want to play?”
“Any other day maybe, but I’m in pain, I’m scared, and the last thing on my mind is trying to break every bone in my body before I change.”
“You won’t break anything.” He ran at me, this time much faster, tackling me to the floor. A loud crack and a sharp pain entered my ribs, and I hit my head hard against the floor, leaving a spot filling with blood, despite a lack of pain. I kicked him off me and tried rolling to my side to get up. He overpowered me, pinning my legs in between his and my arms above my shoulders. “See?”
I panted, trying to push the wave of desire back, not wanting to change in the middle of that above all. I tried to struggle from under him. He held me in place, chuckling under his breath at my feeble attempts to break free. A light shone in his onyx eyes that I didn’t catch before. His smile faded as his gaze softened, and he gently touched his lips to mine. Slowly, his kiss deepened, becoming harder, more feverish. He released my hands, sliding his down the length torso to my waist. In one thrilling swoop, he lifted me to my feet.
“Something has you in a lighter mood tonight,” I said.
“I’m simply experiencing the euphoric effect you have on me.”
“I hate you,” I teased.
“Why?” It came out in his chuckle.
“You have a beautiful world, a beautiful language, such amazing, beautiful things to say to me, and that makes me feel inadequate. I don’t have a beautiful world to give you or a beautiful language, and my words are plain compared to yours.”
“Relena, you gave more than you can ever possibly understand. You don’t need fancy words, a different language, or a different world to be adequate for me. I’m the one who should feel that way. I’m the inadequate one. I say those things not just because I mean them but also because anything less would not be worthy of you. What you gave me is beyond what words can say. Your gift is the rarest beauty, the most sacred of all . . . You gave me yourself.”
As he spoke, his words touched me. My heart fluttered. I focused through the tears filling my eyes as I reached eager fingertips to his lips. I slid my hand along his face to the back of his head, closing the space between us. I paused before my lips connected to his and whispered, “I love you.”
He squeezed me, bringing my lips to his. Our emotions, for the first time, were aligned. With the way it seemed, I was sure a light shone between us, like a sun, that filled the room and flowed down the hall, over the balcony, and into the world, spreading the light of our love.
But the dark side of our love shadowed our moment in the form of a painful cramp, like a dozen blades slicing across my torso, coursed throughout my body. My skin seared red hot as though layers were peeled off. I couldn’t move. The hurt was too much. I was forced under the weight of the pain and held under as the change ripped through me.
When my skin seemed to no longer cover my bones, the sensation of acid poured on me took over. The fire coursed through my veins until nothing remained but ash and bone. Even then, the pain didn’t stop as every section of bone was shattered by boulders. Once I had no more to be consumed, the pain ripped through me again, starting over from the beginning, with the sensation of peeling muscle and skin, taking the layers one at a time, and as slowly as possible, so that the pain turned bittersweet.
Marren said I wouldn’t die, but I wished I would. The pain was incomparable to anything I had ever experienced before. I wanted it to end, to never experience pain again. Yet, it kept coming. I endured the continuous sensation of being consumed, piece by piece, for what I thought lasted like hours. Then an ease in the intensity. Until the pain ebbed, leaving me afraid to move for fear it would rush back through me again.
About the Author
A Kansas native, Samantha LaFantasie spends her free time with her spouse and three kids. Writing has always been a passion of hers, forgoing all other desires to devote to this one obsession, even though she often finds herself arguing with her characters through much of the process. She’s primarily a fantasy writer but often feels pulled to genres such as sci-fi, romance, and others. Samantha became a bestselling author with the Pandora Boxed Set (which includes Made to Forget: Nepherium Novella series--Part One) on both Amazon and USA Today. Samantha loves to take time to enjoy other activities such as photography and playing her favorite game of all time, Guild Wars 2.
Stalk the Author
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open position of morning radio show host at the radio station where she works. When her co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of “the Bachelor,” Renee goes along with it in order to raise her public profile. Ben McConnell, the most eligible bachelor in town, insists that Renee be placed on the show, despite her bumbling audition. Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee. He gets a girl who doesn’t bow to his every whim…and a girl who opens his eyes to true, unexpected love. When nothing goes right on the local program called "Accept this Dandelion"...hilarity ensues. Imagine your worst possible dates happening...on TV!
Add “Accept this Dandelion” to your Goodreads list HERE
Guest Post Topic: The impact of radio on fiction writing
I write romantic comedy. In my books, like “Accept this Dandelion” I put two unlikely characters together. While they are falling for one another, things happen all around them and none of it ever goes right. I enjoy giggling while I write and I hope my readers say the same thing about what they read.
While I love what I do, fiction writing is not my first career. With any luck it will be my last and it will most likely always be my favorite. But I began my career in radio, of all places. I started in college on the campus radio station. I continued on to get jobs at other stations around town and an internship in another city, which then turned into a full time job when I graduated. I spent ten years writing scripts, producing shows and spots, organizing promotions, and being on the air in various time slots.
There are many things that I enjoyed about radio, but as an introvert, people had a hard time believing that’s what I actually did for a living. What they did not think about was the fact that when I was on the radio, I was in a room by myself…talking TO myself. Or so it felt. In that way, writing is the same. I only write when I am alone. Things are quiet and still. I know that people might read my words someday, but that’s beside the point. I am alone when I write them.
Radio has had quite an impact on my most recent fiction writing, as has my other very brief career in TV news. I have been to a number of writing conferences and I have heard over and over again “write what you know.” I gave this a try in a number of my books. For example, “Wrong Place, Right Time,” is a romantic comedy centered on a woman who works as a bumbling traffic reporter. That is the very job that I did in TV news for a whole 5 months. So her experiences at the TV station are things I experienced or saw.
In “Accept this Dandelion,” I decided to go even closer to home. The main character in this novel is an on air announcer and scriptwriter at a radio station, much like I was. Everything you read in the book surrounding radio is authentic and I know that because I’ve been there. I was there for a full decade, in fact!
My background in radio also helped feed my current creativity. When I wrote scripts for radio, I sometimes wrote standard stuff. Here’s the client name, here’s the product, here’s the phone number blah blah blah. But when given the chance, I would write some pretty out there things and producing commercials with sound effects is a real blast. In “Accept this Dandelion” someone brings up a vet commercial and asks my main character if she made it. She did. And it’s one that I actually remember making myself several years back.
My career and life in radio seeps through many places in my work. Radio is a fascinating world and not that many people get a chance to work behind the microphone like that. I found bringing it to life in book form easy since I was in it for so long and also a lot of fun.
While I enjoyed scriptwriting and still occasionally dabble in that work, scripts were generally 60 seconds in length at the longest. And as a writer, it’s hard for me to stop once I’m on a roll! I’ve found that fiction writing is much more suited to my lengthiness. I’m not sure that’s a word. And while I enjoyed many aspects of radio, my only regret is that I didn’t jump into the fiction world sooner.
About the Author
Brooke Williams writes in a sleep-deprived state while her daughters nap. Her romantic comedy is best read in the same state. Brooke has twelve years of radio in her background, both behind the scenes and on the air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a short time despite the fact that she could care less about hair and make-up. Today, Brooke stays at home with her daughters and works as a freelance writer for a variety of companies. When she isn’t working for paying clients, she makes things up, which results in books like “Accept this Dandelion.” Brooke is also the author of “Wrong Place, Right Time,” “Someone Always Loved You,” and “Beyond the Bars.” And she looks forward to the upcoming released of “Mamarazzi” and “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut.” Brooke and her husband Sean have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn (5) and Sadie (nearly 2).
Connect with Brooke:
Praise for Accept this Dandelion"This book is adorable. I had to sneak away from my desk to read the rest of it once I started. It had my smiling and laughing the whole way through."
-Sarah, Advanced Reader Copy Review
What could possibly evolve from such a strange attraction? That's the meat of Accept this Dandelion, purportedly a romance, but in essence so much more. Acceptance is, indeed, at the heart of Accept this Dandelion: acceptance of self, others, and the paths life offers up, whether for good or bad.
-D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Now Available, Pucked, a novel that takes you back to your first love in high school, while gaining an education of what it's like for people who suffer from Parental Alienation. During the first week of release, February 10-17, all sales will be donated to paawarness.org, so please be sure to spread the word around and help out!
Does life get in the way of love or does love get in the way of life?Riley Silk, captain of the Warrior’s Ice Hockey team at Dalesburg High, doesn’t think life can be lived if love is present. If there’s two things in life he knows to be true, it’s that love causes pain and hockey is his ticket to a better life. He’s worked hard to maintain his Frozen Silk reputation in order to stay focused on his duties and goals.Audrey Jacobs, the Warrior’s number one fan, believes life can’t be lived without love. She can find love and beauty in the muddiest of situations. Her best friend, Riley, is under a lot of stress at home, so she does her best to brighten his mood whenever she can.When lines cross and blur, they struggle to keep control of the simplicity their friendship once held. With Audrey’s outlook on life usually surrounded by light, the growing darkness of her doubts and insecurities threaten to deflect her toward the wrong path.Can she find her true self before her world burns around her? When truths become lies, can Riley find the strength to fight his way through his own personal darkness that clings to his mind and soul? Can he win this face-off that life has dropped in his zone, or will fate take him out of the game completely?Who keeps the puck?
**Warning- Several abuse topics are discussed in this story, which includes parental alienation, physical abuse, alcohol abuse, and mild drug abuse.**