Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Diane Stringham Tolley - Kris Kringle's Magic - Guest Post

Guest Post
Kris Kringle’s Magic: Before the Snow

Many of us go to the same job, day in and day out, for thirty years or more.

We give each other awards and kudos for doing so.

But what would it be like to have the same job for hundreds of years?

A person who did that would have to really, really . . . not like being at home.


Or to love his job.

Either way, it would say something about that person.

Speak to his character.

Now Kris Kringle, for example, has been doing the same job for many, many, many years.

What a treadmill that must be.

Make toys.

Keep a record of letters and requests and good/bad children.

Load said toys.

Deliver to said children.

It could become monotonous.

For a normal person.

But Kris loves his job.

Lives for his job.

And does it well.

But what of the boy inside the man? What life experiences forged such a steady, caring, selfless individual? An individual who will spend his life thinking totally of others. With no thought of personal gain or reward.

What would it take to create such a person?

And there must be a reason he started his whole ‘gift-giving’ enterprise. There must have been a first day.

Just as there must have been a first time he saw the future Mrs. Kringle.

And there also would have to be a pretty strong motive for them to decide to move, bag, baggage and Elves, to the North Pole of all places. One of the most inhospitable areas of the earth.

Were they simply explorers, looking for the most rugged spot they could find? And realized upon seeing the great expanse of ice and snow that is the North Pole, that their search was over? Or could they have been fleeing something so horrible that any land, even one that was frozen solid, would look more welcoming.

These are the ideas behind Kris Kringle’s Magic.

At least that is my story.

About the Book

Prejudice is responsible for many horrible things. But Kris: The Legend of Santa Claus, proves that on one very rare occasion, glorious, worldwide good came of it.

Santa Claus lives at the North Pole.

With Elves.

This is accepted.

But have you ever wondered who he was and how he got there?

Through the eyes of Santa's wife, Rebecca, Kris: The Legend of Santa Claus, tells the story of the boy who becomes the legend.

Of the fatherless young man who, with his mother, is forced from their family holdings, and finally from their country.

Of the grown man who, with courage and faith and at great personal risk, fights prejudice, defends the helpless and meets the needs of the poor and destitute. A man who spends his life in giving and in loving. Unselfishly and without reservation.

His actions provide one of the greatest examples of altruistic service in our world today.

And prove that, with courage and conviction; prejudice, hate and ignorance can be overcome.

Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (October 9, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 146211105X
ISBN-13: 978-1462111053
Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
Genre: Christmas
Availability: at any LDS Bookstore
Buy Link: Amazon

About the Author

Diane Stringam Tolley was born and raised on the great Alberta prairies. Daughter of a ranching family of writers, she inherited her love of writing at a very early age. Trained in Journalism, she has penned countless articles and short stories. She is the author of four e-books and the recent Christmas story, Carving Angels, also by Cedar Fort. She and her husband, Grant, live in Beaumont, Alberta, and are the parents of six children and grandparents of twelve.

Links to connect with Diane:
Web Site

Friday, October 26, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - Spectral by Shannon Duffy

Buy link: Amazon

Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe — the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along.

As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Christy Monson - Texting Through Time - Book Blast

Here is a brief description of the book:

Micah and Alicia are excited to meet John Taylor as a child in England. But when their phone won’t let them return to their own time, they’ll follow the prophet around the world, learning some important lessons along the way. Humorous, entertaining, and informative, this book is a wonderful introduction to church history that’s bound to be a family favorite!

Meet the Author:

My grandmother lived with us when I was young. She loved to read me stories. I would curl up in her lap or sit on the bed next to her and listen to the tales spin out before me. We cried together over Lassie Come Home and loved Madeline and her adventures. That was a magical time for me in my life. When my children were little, I loved reading to them because it kept the magic alive. Now my children are grown, I can keep the magic by writing stories for others to read.

I love to read and write stories about the pioneer prophets.

Pioneers live all over the world. I still have family in Switzerland and Poland. Where do you and your ancestors come from? Write and tell me.

I am like the pioneers because I love:
Old fashioned cooking—making butter
Pioneer games—button, button, who’s got the button?
Crafts the pioneers enjoyed—drying wild flowers

To learn more about the author and her books, you can visit her website at: www.christymonson.com

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blaize Nolynne - Firefighter Down, District One - Author Interview

Author Interview

1) Who is your favorite character?
Catisha Spadoni

2) Why is he/she your favorite?
I took a lot of time creating a powerful young woman who is determined as she is.

3) How did you come to create him/her?
After I got what she looked like down, I just began with the personality. I think to get her the way she is now it took me two months.

4) When did he/she first enter your mind?
Three years ago in the draft of the character.

5) Where was he/she given life in the creative process?
Almost immediately I changed the whole book to be based around her.

6) What do like the most about him/her and what do you dislike the most about him/her?
I like how she is very determined to follow her dreams and to search for answers. The thing I dislike about her would be the fact that she looses touch with people and she is a workaholic.

Book summary

Life isn't promised. When the tones go off you never know who needs you the most or even worst, who will you set your own life down for. My father was a captain who set his life down for me in a fire. Now it is my duty to find out how that fire started and who started it.

The guy that killed my father didn't just kill him in a normal way, he him with his worst nightmare. My father wasn't killed by a gang shooting or an accident, he was killed in the most painful way this person knew how to kill my father. He unleashed the animal on him and myself. I am not talking about an animal like a wild or domestic animal, I am talking about the elemental animal, the one known as fire. Fire is a living breathing thing that destroys and hates.

By day and trade my father was a mechanic, but by blood he was a firefighter. He may not have been the president, but he was my hero. I was proud to say my hero wore bunker pants. I always wanted to catch the guy that killed my father...

330 pages
April 26, 2012
Adult mystery/fiction/ firefighter
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BooksAMillion

Author bio

I am a 24 year old Maine author of a book called 'Firefighter Down, District One' the beginning of a firefighter series. (the sequel will be out in 3 months.)

I always loved writing. Right out of High School I majored in becoming a children’s author at the Institute of Children’s Literature. I graduated with high honors and wonderful knowledge of writing in June 2009, and then I decided to further my studies and write for the adult age group. In December 2009 I had a picture book out under a different penname.

I began self publishing my first adult aged book called ‘District One Stand By: The Captain’s Case’ which was the beginning of a firefighter series. It had sold over 250 copies, but I wanted my readers to be able to have more access to these books so I found a publishing company. In April of 2012 the title and cover picture had changed to ‘Firefighter Down, District One’ a story about a girl whose childhood house caught on fire due to an arson. Her father, a firefighter, died in the process of saving her. Everyone seemed to have forgotten about this case and the fire marshal never pursued it. Catisha Spadoni, the main character was fresh out of high school and getting ready for business college, but instead changed gears and went to a fire academy to become a firefighter and fire investigator to begin the search of who killed her father. In the mist of all of this she is getting death threats constantly and the worst part she has no clue who is sending them.

I decided in the beginning that part of the proceeds would go to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation and the 9-11 Fund. I may not be able to bring the loved ones people lost back, but I wanted to help in some way, so a portion of this book and I plan to do the whole series a portion will go to these foundations.

Inspiration? Well the inspiration come from the fact that my father was a volunteer firefighter for 15 years. ( No, he really didn’t die. That is a fictional part of the book. He is alive and doing well.) I had so many extended family members that were not even blood related that I was privileged enough to call my family. I learned a lot from my childhood days of growing up in the barn and that is where the love of ‘Firefighting’ began. In my mind super heroes may not have been real, but firefighters were and they had some kind of super power to me since they save lives. As I grew up I realized that they did in a sense have super powers, they had huge hearts, courage and strength to save someone they didn’t even know.

Links to connect with Blaize

http://www.facebook.com/blaizenolynnefan The Fan Page

Friday, October 19, 2012

Claude Dancourt - Return to Caer Lon - Author Interview

Author Interview:

1. Who is your favorite character?
I like all my characters in RETURN TO CAER LON. I can’t point out only one as a favorite. However, I can tell you which one really gets on my nerves: Fillin. She’s such a b*** I hope you don’t mind, but I will twist your questions a bit, as I cannot say : I like this one best.

2. Why is he/she your favorite?
As I can’t point out only one, let’s talk about my villain. Wolfryth is just great. He is evil, without redemption possible. He is driven by his thirst for power, doesn’t give a damn about people, he was really fun to write because he is so 1D dimensional bad.

3. How did you come to create him/her?
When I write, I don’t plan. I have a general idea of the plot. Even the main characters are not completely defined at the beginning. For an example, Derek’s despise of porridge was a last minute thing. Gisela wasn’t supposed to appear more than once. And Fillin… No, I don’t want to talk about Fillin.

4. When did he/she first enter your mind?
RETURN TO CAER LON was born with the image of Derek storming into his mother’s laboratory and grouching about being stuck in the castle while his friends are going on a mission. Actually, the first sentence I wrote for this novel is the third line of Chapter 1: “This is intolerable!”

5. Where was he/she given life in the creative process?
As I said, I don’t plan. We (the story, the characters and me) are all growing together.

6. What do like the most about him/her and what do you dislike the most about him/her?
I like Derek and Wolfryth’s dedication to their cause. I also like how Sebastian keeps a clear head, and analyses things, despite his injuries. What I dislike the most is probably Fillin’s selfishness. She’s also rather shallow. I don’t like that. Anyway, I really don’t want to talk about her, she is way too annoying.

Book Description:

Thirty hundred years ago, Arthur Pendragon, High King of the United Kingdoms, was betrayed and the royal city of Caer Lon became a myth.

Fifteen years ago, the sorcerer Wolfryth killed King William Pendragon in his quest for power and usurped the throne of Camelot. Queen Ylianor and her five year old son fled the kingdom to take refuge in Haven at Duke Geraint's court.

Today, Prince Derek follows Geraint's beautiful daughter into a reckless mission to save her brother from Wolfryth. He will need to embrace his heritage and to trust magic if he wants to find his way back to Caer Lon and unlock its secrets before the sorcerer kills them all.

Author links:

About the author:

Claude Dancourt lives in Montreal, and wherever her job as an engineer takes her. She is fascinated by books and museums. To discover more about RETURN TO CAER LON, Claude Dancourt's work or simply drop a word, visit her website:www.claudedancourt.webs.com

Tour Schedule:


14th Ann @ Raven's Art Shack
15th Nora @ Nora Weston
16th Elizabeth @ Stuffed Shelves
17th Louisa @ Words I Write Crazy
19th Alyson @ SnifferWalk
19th Connie @ Character  Connection (interview only)
20th Virginia @ Virginia Chandler

Friday, October 12, 2012

Suzanne Stroh - Tabou - Author Interview & Giveaway (explicit content warning)

Due to lack of entries, there is no giveaway winner.

About the Book

Teenage brewing heiress Jocelyn Russet begins her Odyssey as erotic love and adventure collide with hidden desires, forgotten memories and secret histories in Book One of the five-part TABOU saga.

When disaster strikes after pursuing her heart's desire in a Swiss ski chalet, Joss locks horns in a London ballroom with another fiery, powerful heiress from a different generation: Patience Herrick, daughter of the three-time American ambassador to Britain. Their fireworks launch a double coming-of-age story that jets from Madeira to Capri, from Paris to Boston, with its unexpected climax in New York's '21' Club.

Why can't they remember their first meeting in the Virginia countryside when Joss had been a girl of six and Patience had been a raging addict? What key does this forgotten memory hold, ten years later, as revenge strikes and terror looms in Los Angeles?

Meanwhile, Joss fights dynastic pressures. "Show me the legacy of a lesbian couple," challenges her English mother.

“A girl could be born rich, but nobody was born a hero," as Joss soon discovers on the eve of a first date that will rock her world and change her life forever.

Author Interview

1. Please tell us about your current release.
Patience launches my sexy quintet of novels, TABOU, a saga that spans 100 years on four continents and recounts the erotic Odyssey of Jocelyn Russet, the 27-year old brewing heiress born in London and raised in the Virginia countryside.

In each book, Jocelyn meets her destiny on one big night, when her fate turns on secret histories and forbidden encounters with a different woman every time. The novels interlock, as in The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell, and they can be read in any order, thanks to the Prologues that open each novel and the indexes that help readers keep track of the cast of characters. The whole project hearkens to the heyday of the 19th century novel, where readers could immerse themselves in detailed worlds peopled by dozens of characters. Edgy, modern action and full-spectrum erotic writing updates the series to give it a “classic modern” feel.

Book One is a double love story that is part rollicking adventure, part sexy romp through the glittering 1980s and 1990s, set in London and Los Angeles. It’s the tale of two British-born heiresses of different generations, Jocelyn Russet and Patience Herrick, both coming of age at the same time. Are they made in heaven, or star-crossed? What forgotten memories do they share, what secret legacies must they uncover and take charge of, and why are their families being targeted for terror?

2. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?
TABOU began as an unproduced Hollywood screenplay that focused on Jocelyn and Sylvie Russet and Jocelyn’s climbing partner, Zander Duffield. It fulfilled the basic requirements of good drama: three act structure and a compelling narrative with a love interest and an antagonist. I dreamed of Catherine Deneuve in the role of the 45-year-old Cognac heiress, Sylvie Russet, in the vein of INDOCHINE, the blockbuster epic Deneuve had just starred in so magnificently, but the movie project fell through.

My characters had really come to life, and now they wouldn’t let me go. Early on, I realized that there were deeper stories I wanted to tell about how love and Eros, business and spy craft, run in families just like other heritable traits. Telling stories that spanned four generations or more required a format more ambitious than film, or even a single novel. It took years for me to find the right “glue” that would bind nine families together on four continents over four generations. The day I realized Patience Herrick was an epic heroine strong enough to parry Jocelyn and Sylvie, with her own family business story that could carry a quintet, I knew I had a series on my hands. Aurore de Fillery and Valerie Drummond, Countess of Tiffin and Ross, sprung out of that seed. And soon I could see the organic whole taking shape.

So Book One of TABOU is a love letter to the real Patience. She is one of only two characters in TABOU modeled closely after a single person; the rest are truly composites.

TABOU is not autobiographical fiction, but it does draw deeply from my experience, and it is fair to say that as a mountaineer, motorcyclist, screenwriter, field medic and family business specialist based in the Virginia countryside, I truly live what I write about in TABOU.

I worked feverishly on the first draft of TABOU six days a week while still nursing my baby daughter, completing it in about seven months. Then I took a break and re-read a lot of period biographies, along with two great novel cycles from the late 1950s that compliment one another and balance the stylistic influences of TABOU.

First I re-read The Alexandria Quartet, a literary masterpiece by Lawrence Durrell, whose artistic aim was to explore the four dimensions of love in an era when Einstein had just discovered time as the fourth dimension of space. I followed that with another run-through of the Peter and Charlie Trilogy by Gordon Merrick, published after Merrick’s death from 1959-1961. This was a serious work of literary erotica by a successful author of gay “potboilers,” his explicit, homoerotic romances that critics had ghettoized. Merrick was a major talent. But as E.M. Forster had done with Maurice, he refused to publish the Peter and Charlie books during his lifetime. The subject matter was too taboo.

No longer! What really gripped me about the Peter and Charlie books, besides the first class erotic writing, was the family saga. What other gay epic gave the heroic lovers children—and the struggles of parenthood pitted against Eros? Merrick was taking Durrell’s “fourth dimension” (the enduring powers—both creative and destructive--of love over time) to the next level. Literary giants like Forster, Lawrence, Woolf, Sackville-West and others had dreamed about it—but never accomplished it. I wanted all that sexy continuity for TABOU…and more.

For readers around the world, generations of their own family histories have been lost because of taboos that forbid truth telling about the wide range and variety of sexual desire and experience, not to mention its power to transform history. Helen’s face launched 1,000 ships, remember? Bosie’s charms landed Oscar Wilde in prison. Who paid the price? Who inherited the spoils?

Historians and biographers have become franker in writing colorful and meaningful gay, lesbian and bisexual lives. Recent biographies of Alan Turing and Walt Whitman vie with my personal favorite by Victoria Glendinning, Vita, in the pantheon. But the living legacies of these lives remain unclaimed by their heirs, or else squandered. Who knows the adventures of her great-great gay uncle, or the heroic deeds of his three-greats lesbian aunt? Greta Garbo’s niece threatens legal action against those who pry too deeply into Garbo’s life story, as if their consanguinity is still a threat. For those of us who crave connection and continuity across generations, James Joyce made much of the difference between spiritual paternity and actual paternity in Ulysses, but does anybody remember? Dolly Wilde told anyone who would listen, in Paris between the wars, that she was more like her uncle Oscar Wilde than he was like himself. But when she died, that continuity appeared to have vanished…until, out of the blue, Jamie O’Neill wrote a brilliant novel called At Swim, Two Boys, which revealed him as the spawn of the gay Wilde and the hetero Joyce. Why have so few talented writers addressed this huge gap in consanguinity and continuity between us and our queer forebears?

This is the great question that spurred me on through many drafts to finish and publish TABOU now. My mission: to mind the gap. Then to bridge it, one erotic fiction at a time, since we have lost the links in the real human daisy chain over the last century.

I bring an unusual perspective to TABOU. As a descendant of John Hart, who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and as a fifth-generation owner of the international Stroh’s brewing business that had been in my family since 1848 in America, then back to 1509 in the Palatinate (Germany), it seemed like nowhere was this yawning gap more visible than in my own milieu. So I built the mythology of TABOU around the world I was born into and raised in and now pass down to my daughter: the world of political dynasties and business families that bears some resemblance to the Olympian heights. Here on Earth, with the help of the “chattering classes,” it’s a world that has taken such painstaking care to trace its own history from generation to generation for centuries. But it’s a history that has left out the biggest change agent of all: the wide variety of sexual experience that perennially inspires us, nourishes our souls, enlivens our art, and strengthens our connections between love and Eros in every generation.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but one of my beta readers summarized what I’d accomplished like this: “At first I was like, ‘who are these people?’ And then I got it! They’re dripping rich and saving the world!”

3. What book on the market does yours compare to? How is your book different?
TABOU is a literary reader’s Fifty Shades of Grey, without the BDSM. It has great sex writing, like Fifty Shades of Grey, but it is neither mommy porn nor genre fiction built on the formula for stock erotica. The gaps between the sex scenes are much longer, and those gaps are filled with more intriguing plots that involve many more characters. It also presents all kinds of couples in love: gay, straight, bisexual, single and partnered, young and old, able-bodied and disabled, faithful and unfaithful to their spouses.

Like the novel series by Edward St. Aubyn, TABOU is set in a glittering world of bluebloods and elites. But these elites are not your typical “1%.” Unlike St. Aubyn’s abusive elites, TABOU’s international elites are productive, not destructive. They are on a mission led by a moral code, a reason for being—a higher purpose that is revealed progressively as characters accept hidden legacies and face life-threatening challenges after discovering secret histories.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’d start with the sex writing. Very little literary fiction published today has truly great sex writing in it that explores the full range of sexual experience. And almost no erotica delivers the deep satisfaction of a good literary novel. My work bridges this gap. You won’t find hot sex every 30 pages, as in genre fiction. But you’ll keep every volume of TABOU by your bedside, no matter whom you share your bed with!

My writing is a personal blend of deep artistic influences in several genres, including biography, giving rise to some unconventional quirks. One of my goals has been to counteract the predictability of so much contemporary fiction, in part by re-inventing the experience of really getting lost in a juicy 19th century saga peopled with dozens of fascinating characters, each with his or her own vivid storyline. To make it easier for readers to follow all the characters, I’ve provided character indexes, the way a biographer would index a biography.

Technically, TABOU requires commitment from the reader, in the way that the music of Kanye West is challenging—but worth it. It’s not a breezy read; nor is it a slim volume. It takes at least 100 pages to “get into” a novel cycle this big, but then you’re hooked, if you’re like 50% of my beta readers who became addicted! TABOU’s pleasures are deeper. They grow on you.

For instance, TABOU is ambitious in throwing out the conventional linear narrative in favor of the pleasures of being able to peek into the future and to jump back into the past instantaneously. A benefit of blending the past, the present and the future together in every book is that you can read the books in any order. It’s kind of like enjoying the possibility of multiple endings in a computer game. You will have a unique experience of TABOU, depending on how you choose to read it. The dual narratives begin, in Book One, on the same March day in 1993 and 2003, each progressing from there. You know you’re in a flashback, recalling past events, when you see dialog ‘in single quotes like this.’ Dialog in the main story “looks like this.” And future events are written in bold italics. You won’t get confused because all this is explained in the Author’s Note that appears in the end matter of every TABOU eBook.

Readers will also notice lots of interior dialog, reflecting multiple points of view, along with lots of verb phrases in my books. Screenwriting has taught me to craft edgy sentences that begin with verb phrases. It’s a screenwriters’ convention that energizes the pace and adds immediacy to the narrative.

5. Open your book to a random page and tell us what’s happening.
It’s 4:00 p.m. in Los Angeles in 1993 at the height of the “British invasion” of Hollywood. Patience Herrick, daughter of the three-time American ambassador to Great Britain, pretty much rules the city’s social calendar. Tonight she needs to get out of throwing a dinner party in Bel Air for a French champagne princess, where the Hollywood elite will mingle with the US Vice President—all so she can celebrate her tenth anniversary with Jocelyn Russet, the love of her life, the brewing heiress Patience seduced in a London ballroom. So tonight is a date made in heaven—that Patience completely forgot about.

She calls her best friend Calandra Seacord for help. Calandra can definitely host the party in her place; she’s Greek and gorgeous, an Arianna Huffington double, married to the man running for Governor of California. Calandra and Patience grew up together in London. Patience knows her well and loves her like a sister. But Patience doesn’t know everything. Calandra is a secret agent working for the champagne princess, hunting down unprosecuted Nazi war criminals, kidnapping them, and bringing them to mock trials in order to recover stolen assets. Calandra can’t risk being seen socially with the princess, so she has to make up a plausible reason why she can’t do this important favor tonight for Patience.

There’s another problem: Patience is a world-class judge of character. Nothing slips past her. Calandra can’t let Patience on to her secret. So in order to distract Patience, Calandra reveals the biggest secret of Patience’s life. And when she does, Patience begins a journey of recalling lost memories that will change her life forever….starting with her anniversary date tonight….

6. Do you plan any subsequent books?
Book Two, Jocelyn, is now available. Book Three, Sylvie, will go on sale in time for the 2012 holiday season. The cycle will conclude with Books Four and Five in 2013. Each TABOU book features a sneak preview of the next book.

7. Tell us what you’re reading at the moment and what you think of it.
I’ve always got a few books going at any given time. I love reading in multiple genres. Do you?

In erotic fiction, I’ve started Fifty Shades Darker by EL James, and while it’s a fun, breezy read with the sex writing as good as ever, I’m not surprised to find the thin plot growing even thinner. I love to read great sex writing, but I like it in better taste and more measured doses with deeper character development, more going on with more characters, and exciting story lines. I much preferred The Last Nude by Ellis Avery, which I devoured, almost in one sitting. It’s about the cocaine-fueled obsession of Modernist painter Tamara de Lempicka for her 17-year old model Raphaela, whose portraits secured Lempicka’s rock star status in Paris between the wars. I’m also reading Afterimage by Helen Humphreys, the fictional account of another muse obsession, this time by pioneer English photographer Julia Margaret Cameron for her housemaid.

Two graphic novels have captured my attention. I just finished really Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. It’s the first work by Bechdel I can really connect with. It’s a very compelling, but heavy, memoir by a Midwestern intellectual whose closeted father took his own life when Alison came out as a lesbian. I’ve turned now to Logicomix, the story of Bertrand Russell’s quest to lay a unified foundation for mathematics, set in Edwardian England and beyond. Apart from The Invention of Hugo Cabret, it may be the most beautiful graphic novel I’ve ever read. It took four authors and artists to make it: Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna. What a cool collaboration.

Nonfiction titles are always by the bedside and on my Kindle. By the bedside is Marina Warner’s scholarly book about the Tales of the Arabian Nights, Stranger Magic. It’s well researched and beautifully published. Comprehensive. Kate Summerscale’s biography of Toughie Carstairs, The Queen of Whale Cay, made me laugh out loud. She was the very butch Standard Oil heiress who ran an ambulance unit in World War I and then became “the fastest woman on the water” racing hydroplanes between the wars. My father would have seen her challenge the Harmsworth Cup on the St. Clair River in Detroit in 1929 and 1930. After she lost both races, Toughie retired to the Bahamas, where she became the autocratic ruler of her own island.

I try to read in French as much as I can. Right now I’m gripped by Francesco Rappazzini’s biography of Elizabeth de Gramont, set in Paris during the first half of the 20th century, which has never been translated. The “red duchess” Lily de Gramont, from one of France’s oldest families, was Proust’s fact-checker; she was the best friend of the man Proust pined for; and she was the only woman Natalie Barney could never control: they were lovers for 45 years. If you don’t read French, you can get an idea of “Natly’s” escapades with Lily de Gramont in Diana Souhami’s wonderful and hilarious book, Wild Girls.


Tabou can be purchased at:
Kindle, Nook, MyBookOrders.com

Price/Format: $2.50 ebook
Pages: 463
Publisher: Publish Green
Release: October 11, 2011

About the Author

Suzanne Stroh is a screenwriter and film producer, author of published case studies on family business. She grew up in Michigan where her family brewed Stroh’s beer for five generations. She studied art history at Wellesley College and Newnham College, Cambridge then worked in the New York art world before turning to writing. A mountaineer and field medic, she lives with her family in the Virginia countryside. TABOU is her first novel.

Connect with Suzanne:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

Leave a comment with your email address to win a PDF of Tabou. Ends 10/31/12.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Leigh Michaels - Annabelle's Story - Guest Post

Guest Post
Inside Annabelle

I’d like to start off by saying, “Poor Annabelle.” In my series, Annabelle’s Story, the girl has multiple personalities. Actually, what I meant to say is that I used multiple persona to help build her character.

Annabelle’s sarcasm is pulled from one friend; her tenacious spirit from another. 
Her aspiration to become a doctor mimics the ambition of my cousin. When she became upset or mad, I channeled the emotions from a good friend. There was even some of my own personality in there (we happen to share the same zodiac sign).

Research was another outlet that helped to develop Annabelle’s character. Multiple sources all agreed on the same personification. An older sibling, like Annabelle, is typically reliable, conscientious, and a perfectionist. A big sister may also be structured, cautious, and act as a natural leader.

To further bring Annabelle’s character to life, I turned to her zodiac sign. Oddly enough, the element associated with a Capricorn is water. Seems fitting for someone who is half-human, half-sprite, don’t you think? But that’s not all, various other thoughts associated with this sign were sprinkled throughout her behaviors as well, such as:

·      Practice makes perfect

·      Hard work and determination

·      Slow to accept change

·      Loyal to a fault

·      Responsible and dogmatic

·      Selfless

Do you see any of Annabelle’s traits popping out yet? Like how she was hesitant to accept her new role? But afterwards felt bound by her duty to help the sprites?

Oh, and based on the name “Capricorn”, the trait of being capricious doesn’t come as a surprise. Especially after all the changes and emotional heartache Annabelle faced. Sudden changes in her mood and behavior can be seen as the story unfolds.

Let’s take a look at some of the secondary characters as well. Many aren’t as complex. I wrote Annabelle’s parents as replicas of my own. Her sister, a combination of my own brother and another friend. The other secondary characters, like Adrian, Blake, and Natasha, weren’t necessarily inspired by people in my life, but I tried to give each a distinct voice and persona.

For example, you’ll notice that YaYa was the only character in which I didn’t use contractions. By spelling out phrases like “have not” and “they are” it was more fitting to her stoic personality.

I hope this gives you a more in-depth look inside Annabelle. I’d love to hear your thoughts on her character and also her story. 

Also, be sure to stop by Leigh Michael Books on October 31st for a special Trick or Trick surprise!

Series summary:

Annabelle Walsh thought she had it all. She was the star of her swim team, had a loving family, a great boyfriend, and to top it off, she’d be starting at UCLA in the fall. One day, she’d be referred to as Dr. Annabelle Walsh.

She was living every girl’s dream – until her life was turned upside down. All starting with finding out that she's not just a human, but also a water spirit. Half-human, half-sprite to be exact. Although not just any sprite, Annabelle is prophesied to be the only one who can save both the sprites and mankind.

With a mix of current events, anecdotes from Greek mythology, tidbits of folklore, and Leigh’s own imagination, we join Annabelle in her journey to restore order beneath the sea. Each step of the way her mind, body, and soul are pushed to the limit begging the question, how much can one half-human, half-sprite take?

Purchase information:

Sprite (Annabelle’s Story Part One) can be purchased at:
Barnes & Noble

Price: $7.99 paperback, $0.99 ebook

Pages: 150
Release: April 2012

Genre: YA paranormal adventure

Kin (Annabelle’s Story Part Two) can be purchased at:
Barnes & Noble

Price: $7.99 paperback, $2.99 ebook

Pages: 170
Release: September 2012
Genre: YA paranormal adventure

Author Bio:

Leigh Michael is an author of YA fiction. She's worked within the advertising world for nearly a decade before writing her debut series, Annabelle's Story. Leigh lives in Washington, DC with her husband and goldendoodle. Please learn more about Leigh and her works at www.LeighMichaelBooks.com.

Contact info: