Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Blast: Mystery at Manatee Key by Nancy Stewart #bookblast #children


We welcome Nancy Stewart's MYSTERY AT MANATEE KEY Book Blast today!




Title: MYSTERY AT MANATEE KEY
Author: Nancy Stewart
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 36
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Bella and Britt love to explore along the beach and at more remote places like Manatee Key as well.  It is there that they discover a manatee smuggling ring. 

The manatees have already been netted, so the girls must act fast!  But a kidnapper snatches Bella, hustling her into their hideout.  When Britt sneaks a look in the window, she discovers that the ranger is being held, too.  Now it’s up to Britt.  But what can a single girl do?

Mystery at Manatee Key is available at Amazon

 


Book Excerpt:
 
A dark animal circled slowly in the shallow water of Manatee Key. Walking closer, Bella whispered. “A baby manatee. And it has a patch of white near its snout.” Britt frowned. “But where’s the mother? It must be hungry. We should tell the ranger.”
“Yeah,” Bella said. “This one’s too young to be without her mom. Let’s go.”
The friends worked their way through the jungle-like brush back to their bicycles. Britt took the lead. “It’s really hot, but we gotta make time.” 
After a twenty minute ride down dusty paths leading to the main road in their coastal town, they reached the ranger station. “It’s quiet in here today,” Bella said.
 The ranger’s assistant glanced up from his reading. “Hi, girls. Can I help you?”
“We need to see the ranger and report an orphaned manatee,” Bella said.
He frowned. “She hasn’t come in today, and that’s not like her. I’ve called her phones. Nobody answered. And no one’s seen her. Have you by any chance?”
“No,” they answered at the same time.
 “Well, it’s a mystery,” he said. “I won’t call the police yet. But I’m getting worried. Now, about that manatee. Can you take me to it?”
 “Sure,” Britt said. “If you can bring us back to town. We rode our bikes here.” He nodded. “Of course.”


Nancy Stewart has been an elementary school teacher and a professor of education.  Having lived in London for ten years, she was a consultant to the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the Bella and Britt series picture books and the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins, a young girl whose life was forever changed by Winter, the dolphin (Guardian Angel Publishing.)  Her writing of One Pelican at a Time was featured on the PBS special, GulfWatch in 2011.  Nancy’s YA-LGBT novel will be published by Interlude Press autumn of 2017.  She is a member of the Rate Your Story organization as a critique judge.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Author


Nancy Stewart has been an elementary school teacher and a professor of education.  Having lived in London for ten years, she was a consultant to the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the Bella and Britt series picture books and the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins, a young girl whose life was forever changed by Winter, the dolphin (Guardian Angel Publishing.)  Her writing of One Pelican at a Time was featured on the PBS special, GulfWatch in 2011.  Nancy’s YA-LGBT novel will be published by Interlude Press autumn of 2017.  She is a member of the Rate Your Story organization as a critique judge.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK



http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Blog Tour: Interview with Romance Author Amber Leigh Williams


Amber Leigh Williams is a Harlequin romance writer who lives on the US Gulf Coast. She lives for beach days, the smell of real books, and spending time with her husband and their two young children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones (and two large dogs), she can usually be found reading a good book or indulging her inner foodie. Amber is represented by the D4EO Literary Agency.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS


About the Book:


Wedding planner Roxie Honeycutt can make happy-ever-after come true for anyone except herself. Freshly divorced and done with love, she's okay with watching clients walk down the aisle. What's not okay? Sharing a charming Victorian house with accountant Byron Strong. He's frustratingly sexy and determined to keep her confused. 

Roxie thought Byron's expertise was numbers, yet somehow he sees her for who she really is. Somehow he understands the hurt she hides behind a trademark smile. Suddenly romance is tempting again, even if it means risking another heartbreak.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon

 

Thanks for this interview, Amber.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

I’m a Harlequin romance writer. Currently, I write small town Superromance. WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER is my fourth book for Harlequin Superromance. As a writer and a reader, I love libraries and the smell of real books and am a fan of all genres. Readers can find out more at www.amberleighwilliams.com!

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

I love spending as much time as possible with my partner in crime of ten years and our two young children. With our large dogs, we live close to the white sand beaches of the US Gulf Coast, which offers us a rich backdrop. I love hunting for seashells and walking on the beach. I love watching my children discover sea life and learning how it impacts us and how we as humans impact it in return. There’s a lovely park nearby where we ride bikes. When we’re not outdoors, I enjoy experimenting with new recipes in my kitchen.

Congratulations on your new book! Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?

Thank you! Here’s the first snippet to help you dive into WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER….

Mondays sucked enough without the grim implications of Valentine’s Day.

Byron Strong thought seriously about calling in sick. Then he remembered what had happened the last time he’d done just that. Not a half hour after he’d vetoed the workday, he found his father, mother and two sisters on the threshold offering him a bevy of pity food and head patting.

Byron cringed. No. Not the head patting. The idea chased him from the seductive warmth of flannel sheets and into the shower, where he confronted the scalding spray, head up and shoulders back.

His ritual morning routine helped dull his unmotivated subconscious. 

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

For the first time since I began writing for Harlequin’s Superromance line, I wasn’t contracted to write WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER. When it was contracted after I submitted the first proposal, it had to go through a revamping process so I’d say this book was more difficult to complete than its publication process. I was happy when it was done because it was an emotional ride. Later, I realized that this stemmed mostly from the fact that I hadn’t finished a novel since the birth of my daughter. Balancing two children, my son’s homeschool schedule and writing took some getting used to.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

In this friends-to-lovers romance, a divorced wedding planner questions what she wants and who she is while her handsome, impromptu housemate is ready to accept whoever that is!

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER highlights everything I love writing – its emotions range wide and dig deep yet there are many lighthearted moments. The main characters and secondary characters took my breath so I can’t wait to see how readers react to them and the internal and external predicament between Byron and Roxie.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

The book begins on Valentine’s Day yet neither of my characters are excited about it. For them, it’s more Single’s Awareness Day.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

Though WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER stands alone as its own romance, it is the fourth book in my small town series for Superromance. Both Byron and Roxie appeared in previous books in the series. In fact, emails from readers prompted me to give them a story of their own.

What’s next for you?

I just completed work on my fifth Superromance novel, which crosses over into the second generational part of the series. It will be published later this year. I’m researching the sixth book now.
 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Don Sloan's The Sisters Book Trailer Blast - $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


About the Book:

Title: THE SISTERS: A MYSTERY OF GOOD AND EVIL, HORROR AND SUSPENSE
Author: Don Sloan
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 239
Genre: Supernatural/Mystery/Horror/Thriller

In this book, written in the style of Stephen King, two young people on vacation in a small New England seacoast town battle unspeakable horror and solve a hundred-year-old mystery. Fourteen Victorian mansions whisper dark secrets among themselves, and a dangerous shadow roams up and down the wide, wintry boulevard in search of new prey.

The Sisters: A Mystery of Good and Evil, Horror and Suspense is available at Amazon


Book Excerpt:

Snow pellets blow white across the boulevard and up onto the wide, night-shadowed porch of the house just in the center of the block. Inside, past leaded glass doors and heavy oak furnishings, something moves.
Up the polished mahogany staircase, and up yet another flight to the third story something moves that has no breath, no warmth, no life.
There is a narrow passageway to the attic, locked behind a heavy door with steel bands. The shadow pauses at the door only long enough to pass cold fingers over the padlock. It falls heavily to the floor and the door opens. The shadow passes through, as quietly as a midnight breeze in an icy cold forest. Here, no light at all warms the creaking steps. It is darker than the inside of death.
In the attic, the bitter, knifing cold whirls and eddies around shapeless mounds of old memorabilia and the shadow moves silently to a dormer window. Cobwebs—spun by industrious spiders long dead—are brushed aside and a single candle is placed on the sill. And in the darkness a flame is struck.
Outside, the wind falls off to nothing, and snow drifts listlessly to the ground. The candle flickers briefly and catches, burning a pinprick hole in the vastness of the night.
Far out to sea, a single cry begins and then falls silent.
And in the dormer window, where the shadow has settled down to wait, the candle flares brightly and then goes out.

About the Author




Don Sloan is a former journalist for a large metropolitan daily newspaper and also an avid book reviewer, with more than 200 reviews posted on Amazon. His goal with the Dark Forces Series is to present readers with a new and exciting horror and suspense thriller experience. He currently lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with his wife of 39 years, and, when not writing, enjoys a cold glass of Chardonnay in the evenings, sitting on his back deck.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to a $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • This giveaway ends midnight April 24.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on April 25.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Are You There Krishna? Book Trailer Reveal!


We're happy to host Rachel Khona's ARE YOU THERE, KRISHNA? IT'S ME, RESHMA, OR RACHEL. OR WHATEVER Book Trailer Reveal today! Enjoy the trailer!




About the Book:

Title: ARE YOU THERE KRISHNA? IT'S ME, RESHMA. OR RACHEL. OR WHATEVER.: ESSAYS ON TALKING TO GHOSTS, ACCOSTING CELEBRITIES, GETTING HIGH, SEXISM, RACE AND FIRST-GENERATION WOES
Author: Rachel Khona
Publisher: Thought Catalog
Pages: 257
Genre: Humor/Memoir

Rachel knew even as a young child that she wasn’t like the rest of her Indian family. While her parents were plotting how she could make it into med school with her mediocre grades in chemistry and biology, she had other things on her mind, including such gems as:

• Why can’t she go to the temple on her period?
• Why don’t her Indian cousins like her?
• Why was it OK to be sexualized at a beauty pageant but not for herself?
• How can she straddle two cultures while retaining her sense of self?
• Why are women considered sluts and men considered studs?
• Why do people keep asking her if she was born in
India?
• Should she wax down there?
• Why does she have crazy eyes?

After leaving home, Rachel got high in
Amsterdam, met her pop singer idol in a bathroom, argued with a ghost, and got lost in the Pyrenees. But that didn’t stop her from questioning while men still tell her to smile. 'Are You There Krishna? It’s Me, Reshma. Or Rachel. Or Whatever.' weaves stories of Rachel’s life with observations on race, class, sex, feminism, and culture with humor and candor.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon




About the Author


Once upon a time in an exotic land called New Jersey, Rachel Khona used to dream of one day playing tambourine in an all-girl rock band. That never happened.
Instead she became a writer. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Playboy, Penthouse, Maxim, and Cosmopolitan among others.
When she’s not writing or designing, she is busy drinking wine and singing off key, bike riding, pretending she’s friends with Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler, eating absurd amounts of cheese, or listening to rock music at an appallingly loud volume. Sometimes all at once.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Storm Winds: An Outer Banks Mystery Book Blast!


We welcome K.S. David and her STORM WINDS Book Blast today! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!


Title: STORM WINDS: AN OUTER BANKS MYSTERY
Author: K.S. David
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 180
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Moving to the North Carolina Outer Banks was a chance for Leah Kymes to put her life back together, after her marriage went sour. But peace and quiet evade her, when her father is discovered murdered in his fish and tackle shop. Not willing to wait for authorities to solve the crime, she begins to delve into recent events involving her Dad. What she uncovers shatters her understanding of the man she thought she knew so well. 

At Leah's side is her old flame, Officer Aden Parker, who runs interference between Leah and the salty detective who sees her as a hindrance. Ignoring Aden's warnings, she deepens her probe, but soon draws the attention of a handsome stranger. Is this new man just competing for her affection - or a vicious killer intent on making Leah his next victim? 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:


Perched on top of a sand dune, Leah looked across the ocean as waves curled and crashed against the shore. Behind her, stalled traffic lined North Carolina's Highway 12, six miles deep. Residents of the Outer Banks fled their homes days earlier as the dark clouds of a Category 3 hurricane raced toward them. Now they were headed back to whatever the storm had left behind.
Leah's father, Rex, had ignored the warnings. "I ain't scared of no damned storm," he'd said. "It's the price we pay for living in paradise, honey."
Rex had been born and bred on the North Carolina coast. He was sun-tough, with seawater for blood. An average-sized man with a shock of white hair, a face lined by hard living, and eyes as blue and alert as a clear summer sky, he feared no man, and believed destiny was his to write. She believed that he was invincible when she was a child. She knew better now. After a week without a word from him, Leah's frustration was speeding toward fear.
She dug her toes beneath the warm sand, ran her hands through her thick auburn hair, and twisted it into a bun. She'd spent nearly four days huddled in a hotel room, watching hours of new reports as the storm tracked toward the Outer Banks. Afterward, she searched photos of the destruction, straining to see if the home she shared with Rex and their businesses had been spared.
Leah picked up her cell phone and tapped the photo of her father. Since the storm hit, communication had been spotty to the Outer Banks. Like all the times before, her call went straight to Rex's voice mail. Instead of leaving another agitated message, she ended the call, picked up a stick, and jammed it into the sand.
She was irritated. If she knew him well, and she did, her father hadn't thought once about the worry he caused. The old cuss was probably fine, but it was strange that he hadn't called to check on her, not even once. When her mind pondered over that loose detail, she pushed it to the furthest spot in her brain.
The blare of horns signaled that it was time to move. She skidded down the dune that hugged the road. Course granules of sand shifted underfoot as she descended. Heat pressed against her bare feet as she fished her keys out of the pocket of her cutoff shorts. Gaps in the line had been created by drivers who'd already moved forward and the woman parked behind Leah laid on her horn and growled, "We're trying to get home today, please!"
Leah sighed, grit her teeth, and gave a quick wave. "Sorry." Beneath her breath, she mumbled, "Go to hell." They were all in the same predicament and moving a few feet forward wasn't going to get either of them on the ferry any faster. She'd been in line for nearly two hours on the southern tip of Ocracoke Island. It would take another hour before she reached the pier for a forty-minute boat ride before landing on Hatteras Island, then another fifteen before she got to her father's house in the town of Frisco.
A hand tapped her on the shoulder. "Excuse me, ma'am. Are you Ms. Leah Kymes?"
A Hyde County police officer stared down at her. Sometimes, cops issued tickets to drivers who walked away from their cars when they were in the line for the ferry, especially at times like this. A ticket was the last thing she needed.
"I'm getting ready to pull up. We've been sitting here--"
The cop threw a hand up to stop her. "It's okay." He stepped closer and asked again, "Are you Leah Kymes?"
She frowned and looked down the line of cars. Eying him, she answered, "Yeah, I'm Leah Kymes."
"I'm Officer Alfred Hawkins. The Dare County Police Department requested that we locate and help you back over to Hatteras."
She stepped back. "Why?"
He shrugged, "Don't know. I was just told to find you."
"Is this about my father?" Her stomach turned at the thought that something bad had happened.
Hawkins held up a hand, "Ma'am, I don't know." He was a tall man, with smooth dark brown skin and an open face. "I was asked to get you back over to the island."
She looked at the backed-up traffic. There were still six miles to go before getting to the landing.
As if reading her mind, Officer Hawkins added, "I can take you back on one of the guard boats. Your car won't fit but another officer will get it on the next ferry."
At first, only a few drivers showed any interest when Hawkins first appeared beside Leah, but radios quieted and chatter ebbed when a second cruiser pulled alongside them and deposited another cop. Hawkins called over his shoulder to a female officer, "Direct the rest of the cars around us."
This officer was young. She'd chopped her brown hair into a pageboy and appeared to be losing the battle against acne. Giving Leah a quick, dismissive glance, she turned and waved the other cars along.
The woman who'd shouted at Leah earlier eased by slowly, but kept her curious gaze locked on the action.
"You sure you don't know anything?" Leah asked, searching Hawken's face.
"No," he said. Dark shades covered his eyes. Leah couldn't read his face but there was something in the brevity of his reply that worried her. Before she could question him any further, he said, "That's Officer Maynard." He pointed to the woman directing traffic. "She'll drive your car to the ferry. Someone on the other side will make sure it gets to Hatteras."
Maynard didn't look old enough to drive, and Leah didn't like the idea of leaving her car in someone else's hands, but what choice did she have. The line wasn't getting any shorter and she needed answers. Eyeing Hawkins again, she worried that he was being evasive. Cops never tell the whole story until they're ready. She opened the car door, pulled out her shoes and handbag, and tossed her keys on the seat. "Okay, I'm ready," she said to Hawkins.
He raced them along the shoulder of the highway, past the line of cars waiting for the next ferry. He parked against the edge of a sand dune and then escorted Leah to a small, white police boat. "We'll ride over together," he said.
He separated from her as soon as they hit the boat's deck and nudged himself into a corner with four other cops. Leah sat alone on a small portside bench and watched them watching her. They kept their voices low and, every so often, shot skimming glances in her direction. Hawkins had been sent to find her--to look specifically for Leah Kymes. There were thousands of people trying to get back on the island and every resource was tied up in the restoration effort, yet some official had seen fit to use Hawkins and a police boat to fetch her. Why?
After a moment, she stood and turned away from the cops. Leaning against the rails, she closed her eyes, pushed her face into the wind, and tried to concentrate on the roar of the boat's engine, the swish of the wake created as they cut through the waves, the call of the seagulls sailing overhead, anything but the sound of doubt coming from deep inside her own chest.
She had tried not to get anxious over the twenty-four-hour media coverage. She left the hotel room as often as she could, sped through several novels, caught up on emails, and even allowed herself the luxury of uninhibited sleep. None of it managed to shake loose a growing sense of foreboding. Something bad must have happened to Rex, a thought that drove her to file a missing person's report. Her father would be furious with her for doubting him. There was, of course, another issue. Rex loathed the police, a fact that made Leah pause each time she started dialing the emergency hotline. There were some cops he'd warmed to over the years but, as far as he was concerned, most could pucker up and kiss his crotchety old ass.
On Hatteras Island, Officer Hawkins walked her to a squat, yellow building known as the Inlet. Hugging the tip of the pier, the Inlet served as a visitor's center. A balmy wind pushed three blue signs that advertised snacks, restrooms, and ferryboat information. Across the lot was Hatteras Landing, where a collection of tourist shops and eateries were housed in a blistering white stucco building. It was usually overrun with tourists this time of year but stood empty because of the storm.
Rex had to be okay, she thought. Then, like an erratic wind, her mind shifted, and the voice in her head would shout, they don't send police escorts for a simple missing person's report, or do they? Maybe it was because Rex was elderly and kind of like a town fixture. If he were the only citizen unaccounted for, the officials wouldn't hesitate to put more effort into finding him.
Perhaps they had located Rex, but he'd been injured. The storm had been a whopper. It had raged against the coast for nearly eight hours. News reports showed cars and debris thrown all over the place, and homes and buildings had been torn apart like toys. A crack had appeared in Highway 12, severing lower Hatteras from the northern shores.
Immersed in her thoughts, she almost plowed into a man standing at the top of the ramp. She started her apology without even bothering to look up then began to move around the figure when a hand closed around the top of her arm.
"Lee?"
She raised her eyes to study the face of the man that had used her name. He was a head taller with soft brown eyes and tanned skin. A faint scar zigzagged from his bottom lip and disappeared beneath his chin. She'd given him that scar, slamming her Hello Kitty lunch box into his face after he'd popped the head off her Cabbage Patch doll.
"Aiden?" she replied. Then, more confident, she gushed, "Aiden Parker!"
She hadn't seen him since she was eighteen. A thousand questions popped into her head, as she considered his ruggedly handsome face. Was he married? Was he back in the Outer Banks? How was his family? Did he have kids?
Her mouth had started to quiver out the first question when Officer Hawkins moved past her, and like a pendulum swinging, her thoughts immediately shifted back to Rex. "I know this sounds rude, but I'll have to catch up with you later. I have an emergency right now. Maybe we can exchange information or something," she mumbled, already heading away.
"I know," he said, taking the crook of her arm again, to stop her.
She cocked her head. "You know what?"
"I'm a cop with the Dare County Police Department, and I know you made a call about Rex."
She narrowed her eyes and stared into his face for a moment. Like Hawkins, his expression was flat. "Where is he?"
"Come inside so we can talk," he said.
"Where's my father?" she insisted, determined not to move from that spot until she got an answer.
"Come on," Aiden said. He placed his hand on her shoulder and urged her up the last few feet of the ramp. They crossed the store and walked down the hallway past a set of restrooms. He opened a thick door with a sign, AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY. The building also housed offices for the Park Service and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which operated the ferry service. Three uniformed officers chatted beside a bank of windows. Their conversation halted then picked up again in hushed tones.
Aiden pointed her to a conference room. "We can talk in here."
A large man with flaccid jowls and a rumpled brown suit stood at a window overlooking the sound.
"This is Detective Eric Lawson," Aiden said.
"Where's my dad?" Leah asked. This time, she didn't try to hide her irritation. Fear crawled up her spine, and she bound her prickly arms around her belly, as the big man turned to greet her.
Lawson pointed Leah to a seat at the table. "Let's talk for a moment."
She pulled back one of the chairs, barely noticing when the leg scraped against her foot. Lawson lowered his considerable frame into a seat opposite her, while Aiden replaced him at the window. Her leg shook and the sound of her flip-flops slapping against the sole of her foot broke the uneasy quiet in the room. Lawson leaned in and smiled but, despite the wide, toothy grin, Leah felt no warmth coming from the man. She recoiled, slight uncomfortable under the unyielding glare of his cold, gray eyes.
"I have a few questions," he said, "if you don't mind." He didn't wait for her to agree. "When was the last time you saw your father?"
She rubbed her hands together. "Um, the day before the storm. Why?"
He scribbled her response on a short, wire-rimmed notepad. "Home, or at his store?"
"At the house. He refused to leave, but wanted me to go."
"Was he planning to ride out the storm at the house?"
"I don't mean to be rude, but you gotta give me something." She tugged her hair out of the bun, twisted it tighter, and reset the scrunchie. "Is my father still missing?" Her head was spinning and all the horrid images of what that could mean rushed through her brain. She pressed the back of her hand to her upper lip, blotting away a light sheen of sweat. Despite the hum of the air conditioner and the bank of windows that stretched the entire length of the room, the space felt small and stifling. She asked again, "Is he still missing?"
Lawson pursed his lips. "No. He's not missing."
She let her head fall back and whispered a quiet prayer. "Thank, God." But her elation turned midstride as another wave of terror struck. "Is he okay?"
Rex wasn't a young man. That had been the point of their argument. Riding out a murderous storm was dangerous, but for a sixty-nine-year-old man, it was akin to lunacy.
Aiden turned from the window and slipped into the chair beside her. He grabbed the seat's edge and scooted closer. His face was hard and serious, but softened when he took her hands. "Leah, there's no easy way to say this." He stopped to swallow, the sound loud enough for her to hear. "Your father is dead."
She tilted her head and stared at him in disbelief. Her mind a blur, Leah struggled to process what he said. The air grew thinner, and she snatched her hands away from Aiden, held them in mid-air, then turned her gaze to Lawson, as if seeking confirmation.
He nodded. "He's dead, Ms. Kymes."
A long, sorrowful moan lifted from her chest, and Leah leaned forward, pressing hands to her eyes, as if trying to hold back the flood of tears. She turned suddenly to Aiden. "How?" she asked. "How?"
He inched closer, his knees pressing into hers. "Lee," which was the name he'd given her when they were children, "I need you to listen to me." The next words sliced into her like a knife. "Lee, your dad was murdered. Somebody shot him."




About the Author

K. S. David lives in the Mid-Atlantic with her husband, their three children and a spoiled sheepadoodle. She’s addicted to true life mysteries and crime shows, both of which marry well with a great romance. Some of her favorite things are long walks, reading in bed, baking and, of course, writing her next novel.

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Brought to you by the fine folks at

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Musings: Author Interview: Daniel A. Blum, author of 'The Feet Say Run'



Daniel A. Blum grew up in New York, attended Brandeis University and currently lives outside of Boston with his family. His first novel Lisa33 was published by Viking in 2003. He has been featured in Poets and Writers magazine, Publisher’s Weekly and most recently, interviewed in Psychology Today.

Daniel writes a humor blog, The Rotting Post, that has developed a loyal following.

His latest release is the literary novel, The Feet Say Run.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK



About the Book:

At the age of eighty-five, Hans Jaeger finds himself a castaway among a group of survivors on a deserted island.  What is my particular crime?  he asks.   Why have I been chosen  for this fate?  And s
o he begins his extraordinary chronicle.

It would be an understatement to say he has lived a full life.  He has grown up in Nazi Germany and falls in love with Jewish girl.  He fights for the Germans on two continents, watches the Reich collapse spectacularly into occupation and starvation, and marries his former governess.  After the war he goes on wildflower expeditions in the Alps, finds solace among prostitutes while his wife lay in a coma, and marries a Brazilian chambermaid in order to receive a kidney from her. 

By turns sardonic and tragic and surreal, Hans’s story is the story of all of the insanity, irony and horror of the modern world itself.  

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Thanks for this interview, Dan.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

Perhaps the most interesting part of my background is that my entire family – both parents and both siblings – are either psychiatrists or psychologists.  My father is a well-known psychoalanalyst.   This affected me in all kinds of ways, although I hope I keep it all well-concealed in my fiction – which I want to be fun and full of life, and free of self-reference, over-analysis, and all the other the sins of contemprary literature. 

I always get a smile when I read Nabokov’s many anti-psychoanalytic comments.  In the preface to “King, Queen, Knave,” he wrote, “As usual…the Viennese has not been invited.”  I read that and think, “I’m quite familiar with that delegation.”   In an interview, Nabokov once said, “I don't want an elderly gentleman from Vienna with an umbrella inflicting his dreams upon me.”   I grew up with that elderly gentleman.  I get it. 

As for my fiction, I took one or two classes in creative writing along the way, but I have to say I found them to be essentially useless.  I am still unsure, after two published novels, what exactly, ‘show it, don’t say it’ even means.  So I suppose I am essentially self-taught.  My interests range from literary fiction to humor and back again.  Art and its inverse, I suppose.   My new novel, The Feet Say Run, is finally a synthesis of the two – existing in some Limbo between comedy and tragedy, veering perilously from one to the other. 


When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

I relax with family and friends.  I play tennis and chess and do crosswords.  I like to travel when possible.   I write a humor blog, “The Rotting Post,” which helps keep my inner artiste in check. 


Congratulations on your new book! Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?

If there is an actual name to this island, it is unknown to us.  We have chosen to call it Illyria.  We’re not exactly sure where the name comes from.  Some book perhaps.  But it no longer matters.  The name has become our own—mythic and melodic-sounding.  As though, if we keep calling this place Illyria, keep pretending it has some magical allure, people will want to come.  Someone will come rescue us.  
I am not complaining, particularly.  Well, maybe I am.  But I probably shouldn’t be.  So far fate has proven a fair enough agent.  The beaches are sandy, the water clear and turquoise, the reefs plentiful.  The island is wreathed in a soothing white foam.  On shore there is the shade of palms and palmettos and eucalyptus.  At least we think it is eucalyptus.  We call it eucalyptus.  Maybe it is just some kind of fancy magnolia though.  Who the hell knows? 
There are fruits in relative abundance—though what they are, we aren’t sure.  Some are purple.  Others are yellow.  Some vaguely sweet, others sharp and abrasive on the roof of the mouth.  There is a variety of coconut that grows in conjoined pairs to look like the buttocks of an African woman.  We call this ass-fruit.  When I offered some to Conrad, he said to me, “I’m not into that shit.”  As though I were suggesting something perverse.  As though fear of this fetish object outweighed the need for sustenance. 
“What shit are you not into?” I asked. 
“Ass fruit,” he said.  “Ass.”
“It’s not real ass, Conrad,” I said.
“Well, it’s not a real fruit either,” he said. 
“What do you think it is then?” I asked.
“A joke,” he said.  “A sick joke.  Like the rest of this place.” 

God is playing a joke on us.  That is a common theme here. It was funny the first time someone said it.  Now it is just annoying, like a child saying, “knock-knock” to you over and over, more and more emphatically, as you refuse, just as emphatically, to ask, “Who’s there?” 
The other common theme here is that none of it is real.  We all died when the boat went down.  And this is all just a dream.  Conrad suggests this a couple of times a day, each time choosing a different angle, a different inflection, in a vain attempt to keep the joke fresh.  If you suggest, gently, that this joke no longer strikes you as uproarious, Conrad will immediately jump into a long denial that he is joking.  “I’m not fucking kidding,” he will tell you.  “I really mean it. I think this is all a dream.” 
Perhaps Conrad is right.  Because honestly, I did not believe, until my current predicament, that deserted islands still existed.  I thought these islands were all owned by former tennis pros and former tyrants, or inhabited by caricatures of primitive tribes who sell carved bamboo flutes to flabby tourists in checkered shorts. 
If it is a dream, if this is my Land of Oz and I am soon to wake up, then it is curious how, from time to time, little bits of Kansas wash up upon our shores.  Whenever we wander further down the beach, away from our settlement, we find Styrofoam packing peanuts, Styrofoam bowls, #3 plastic take-out containers with their familiar, triangular recycle symbols (apparently the previous owners of these containers ignored this particular environmental imperative).
The restaurant take-out containers are the most distressing.  More mockery from The Almighty.  More of his levity.  Ha ha.  We bring them back to our camp and wonder what twenty-first century foods they once held.  Pad Thai or Kung Pao Chicken or Shrimp Korma.  From some restaurant from the other world.  Thank you, God, for delivering us this practical joke.  Ha ha.  You’re fucking hi-lar-ious.


Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

My previous novel, Lisa33 was an avante-garde sex comedy set on the internet.  I had received a large advance for it, but in the end the publishing experience was quite disastrous.  So I wanted to get as far away from it as possible.  A harrowing war story set in Nazi Germany was surely about as far from an internet sex farce as one could get. 

Of course, there is more to it than that.  I had grown increasingly interested in the idea of literary fiction that also made for a gripping page-turner.  And I was drawn to the idea of telling a big, epic tale of human comedy and tragedy, of cruelty and compassion and blindess and brilliance, through a single, long life.  Gradually, from these disparate threads and ideas, the book began to take shape.  I honestly never had a moment where I decided, “I am going to write another novel.”  I just began poking around.  And then I was in too deep, immersed, and – to borrow a war metaphor – there was no retreating.  The only way out was forward. 

As fas as finding a publisher, that is itself rather interesting.  I had lost most of my supposed connections in the publishing world.  And of course, with a book to my name that had received a large advance and few sales, I represented something rather awkward, something not to be mentioned.  I was a mistake, a failed experiment.  Worse than an unknown.  So I had to more or less start over. 

As it turned out, my new publisher found me.  I had posted a few poems on a public website, and the publisher had admired them and commented.  This started an email exchange and my forwarding, The Feet Say Run.  I have to believe I am one of the few writers who was “discovered”, then entirely forgotten, then once again “discovered” for something new, with no awareness that I was already a published novelist.   


If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

All of the greatness and tragedy and comedy and foibles of mankind, in a single, long, war-weary, extraordinary life. 


What makes your book stand out from the rest?

I feel strongly that too much serious fiction is just too slow, too ponderous.  It fails the basic artistic test, “Did this novel draw in the reader at the start, and hold the reader until the end?”  The Feet Say Run is a serious novel that is taut and suspenseful, that is emotionally gripping and difficult to put down.  This was what I wanted to create because it is what I most love to read.  I’m already seeing many readers really excited about it in the way I had most dearly hoped. 


If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Well, at it’s heart is a war story, and a rather harrowing one, so I suppose it would be Memorial Day.  Although…I am not aware of any great book-buying surrounding Memorial Day, so this is not a serious recommendation.


Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

I always want to be experimenting and doing something new.  I never want to write the same sort of book twice.  So I do not see a series here.  What’s more, the story is complete as it is - unless characters miraculously come back from the dead. 

On the other hand, I do have someone looking at film rights for it, and here I could easily see that it could be a mini-series of sorts. 


What’s next for you?

I have a couple of things nearing completion – one serious and one much lighter.  I’m unsure which I will want to publisher first – or which my publisher would prefer.  So we’ll have to see.