The narrator of much of this book is a self-committed patient in a state psychiatric hospital. One of the themes of the book is his observations of and reactions to that world. Much of his decision to avoid dealing with the outside world is the result of his cousin’s, Stan’s, suicidal death; the cousin had pulled his motorcycle out of a rest stop into the path of a semi.
The second point of view is focused on Marilyn, a catatonic woman whose “hallucinatory” world exists within a crack in her bedroom wall. That world reflects both the abusive horror of her childhood and underlying issues of the meaning of life.
A third stream of the book has to do with a young resident, Buford Abrose, whose father had been at the wheel of a semi that had killed a motorcyclist in the hills of California. It is never clear if the motorcyclist was Stan. Buford’s experience helps us to explore the bizarre pseudo rationality of the institution.
Finally, mention must be made of Jamul, an adolescent black whose life revolves around his air guitar and Jimi Hendricks.
These four streams come into focus when some of the asylum patients are taken to the circus and an elephant goes berserk. The unexpected results bring this sadly funny tale into closure.
Strangely, much of this bizarre sounding tale is based on actual events.
"All About the Keys" by Kenneth Weene
“It’s all about the keys.” I was told that when I first went to work in a state hospital. I soon learned what she meant.
First, what she didn’t mean was that the patients, without keys, were locked in. Perhaps on some of the more secure wards, but in the buildings where I worked they were free to come and go. A metal coat hanger skillfully twisted – well really not that skillfully – would open many of the doors and almost all the window gratings.
Even those most hapless of inmates, the non-verbal autistic children who were housed in a separate ward, occasionally got free and roamed their little world. One day I happened into the building director’s office to find that doctor effectively treed on his desk while his secretary screamed helplessly and dirty, screaming children appeared to be doing a primitive dance everywhere. I called for backup, and two-by-two we escorted the children back to their dayroom. When we had finished, those of us who had done the escorting sat in an office and laughed. I have no idea what the rescued psychiatrist did, but the secretary asked to be transferred to another office.
No, the keys didn't mean that the inmates were locked up while we were not. Nor were they of great use to us in getting about the hospital – although they were easier to carry than an untwisted coat hanger. Obviously, we could use all the same routes as the people under our charge. On a couple of nice days, when I was going to take kids for a walk on the grounds, I asked the inmates to open window grates so we could go down the fire escape and avoid walking through the smell and closeness of the dayroom, to say nothing of avoiding the intrusive and unnecessary questions of bored aides and the instructions of nurses needing to confirm their authority.
The keys were not for locks as much as they were for show. Perhaps that was why many of the staff managed to amass large rings of keys, many of which were for doors through which they would never pass. Keys were the badge of authority. It almost seemed that the more keys you had the more right you had to tell others what to do. More importantly, carrying a ring of keys meant that nobody would haphazardly tell you what to do. In a world based on power over another person’s body and mind, in a world in which sedatives could be arbitrarily administered, in which seclusion in rubber-padded rooms with ones arms securely wrapped around could be imposed at a whim, in which money – and cigarettes, which were another currency – could be given or taken by decree: in such a world the symbol that one is not subject to such capricious decisions must be carefully carried at all times.
It was certainly not that the staff were saner than the patients. Indeed, there were some staff who routinely became patients – not necessarily in our hospital. It was often a short step between carrying the keys and having none, between being the authority and being the subject.
The hospital, the asylum is not a sanctuary, for there can be no sanctuary where power is so easily wielded, where control can be so easily symbolized. My first day’s guide was correct. It was all about the keys.
Kenneth Weene is a New Englander by birth and disposition. He grew up outside of Boston and spent his summers in Maine. Although he lived for many years in New York and now resides in Arizona, Ken has never lost his accent nor his love of the northeast.
Having gone to Princeton, where he studied economics, Ken went on to train as a psychologist and to become an ordained minister. Over the years he has worked as an educator, pastoral counselor, and psychotherapist.
Married to Roz Weene, artist and jewelry creator, for over forty years, Ken is a strong believer in the joy of love.
Ken’s writing started with poetry, and his poetic work has appeared in numerous publications – most recently featured in Sol and publication in Spirits, and Vox Poetica.
An anthology of Ken’s writings, Songs for my Father, was published by Inkwell Productions in 2002. His short stories have appeared in Legendary, Sex and Murder Magazine, The New Flesh Magazine, and The Santa Fe Literary Review.
In 2009 a novel, Widow’s Walk, was published by All Things That Matter Press. All Things, has also just published Ken’s second novel, Memoirs From the Asylum.
Find out more at the publisher's website. Both of Ken's books are available in a Kindle edition.
The Oak King's Daughter is a romance fantasy. Dara the Oak King's daughter, is in love with someone who her father deems unsuitable for her. Tinne, the court mage, is not worthy of his daughter in the Oak King's eyes. And, Tinne, well he seems to have an agenda all his own, or is he merely a pawn in a larger plan?
Dara decides to risk everything, including her father’s wrath, to run away with her lover, they succeed and Dara surrenders herself to Tinne, only to discover that the mage is more than what he seems.
Read an Excerpt!
“Soon, Oak King’s daughter, soon,” Tinne promised her.
Before Dara had time to think or change her mind, she was astride her fastest horse and racing through the forest with Tinne hot on her heels. Her father wouldn’t discover her missing until late tomorrow morning or early afternoon if she was lucky, they must be on the ship and away by then. Despite the urgency of their flight, Dara smiled as the heat in her belly rekindled and her breasts tingled at the memory of Tinne’s touch. Yes, the sooner we reach the ship the better.
Behind her Tinne grinned and pushed the horses faster. This was even better than kidnapping the Oak King’s daughter. Making her an accomplice in her own disappearance was a stroke of genius on his part and if it included pleasuring her young body, well that was a bonus too, wasn’t it? His master would be very pleased with him when he delivered the Oak King’s daughter. The only hitch in the plan was that Tinne had grown very fond of Dara for her own sake, not just a prize to be ransomed.
The dark ribbon of road cut across the rolling hills that shone palely in the fading moonlight. Dara smothered a yawn and concentrated on staying upright in the saddle of the racing horse beneath her. I think we should have made Oak Landing by now. Dara tried to force her brain to make some sense of her surroundings and then gave up. Let Tinne worry about where we are. I just want to get there and get him in bed.
Tinne allowed his stallion to come abreast of Dara’s gelding as they crested the top of the last row of hills. The lamps of Oak Landing shimmered in the hollow below them and the last light of the moon silvered the waters of the high tide. The vessel Tinne had arranged for bobbed gently at anchor on the gently rolling swells. He reached over and took Dara’s reins, drawing her horse to halt beside his. Tinne leaned toward Dara and ran his cold hand gently down her cheek and into the hollow of her throat. Dara’s breath caught in her throat and she swallowed thickly.
“Are you sure you wish to do this?” Tinne’s voice hung in the darkness between them. It was better to find out here, away from anyone who might feel obligated to help her, if Dara should decide to make a scene about getting on the ship.
“Yes, I want to go away with you, where my father can’t interfere in my life.” Dara smiled against the hand that now cupped her cheek. “I want to make love to you,” Dara rubbed her face into his hand and purred like a kitten.
“Very well, then Dara, the Oak King’s daughter. Let us go.” Tinne released the gelding’s reins but stayed close by Dara’s side as they rode into town and made their way to the docks.
Emily Pikkasso is a proud Albertan, and horsewoman. She lives on a farm near Balzac, Alberta with two horses, two ponies, various dogs, cats and whatever else happens to wander into the yard. Emily had her first poems and short stories published while still in grade school. She enjoys writing poetry and stories, both long and short. Emily welcomes feedback from her readers and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a Guardian it is Cole Douglas’s job to protect all living beings, mortal and immortal alike. When Cole is attacked by a female werewolf, he is shocked to find that his attacker is none other than his intended mate. Refusing to acknowledge that he has found his mate, Cole continues on with his job of hunting rogues, only to find that the beautiful creature he was attacked by is not only his intended mate but his ticket to finding the rogue werewolf he has been assigned to kill.
Unable to resist, Cole finds himself drawn to the woman unlike any before. From her golden brown hair to her amber gold eyes, Cole realizes that just because he doesn’t think he is ready for a mate, doesn’t matter when just a look from her can set his blood on fire.
Chloe Dunn is just learning to live life as a werewolf when the scent of a stranger sends her into a frenzy and leads her to attack him. Cole is dangerous and wild, something she needs no part of but the overwhelming pull he has on her is more than she can bear. The more time she spends with him, the more she wants him, needs him and will do whatever it takes to have him, even if it means placing herself in the hands of the very rouge that turned her.
Read an Excerpt!
“Are you all right?”
Sitting up slowly, she reached to feel the tender spot on the back of her head.
“Just a little sore, I think I’m fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’m more worried about you,” she said quickly, reaching out to pull what was left of his T-shirt away from the deep lacerations marring his chest.
“What the…?” The wounds she had seen him sustain were life threatening; she had been able to see his ribs through the deep gashes as he fought but now....
“They are almost gone?” she wondered aloud. “What in the hell are you?” She rubbed the tips of her fingers across what looked like four fading scars.
Cole shivered under her tender touch. Her fingertips gently brushed over the wounds to his chest. The heat of her touch burned through him, pleasure weaving its way throughout his body. He had never experienced this kind of raw need for a woman, never felt such powerful desire for someone as he did for Chloe.
“Well?” she asked with exasperation as she stood, placing her hands on her hips.
“Well what?” His mind was still lost in the pleasure of her touch.
“What-are-you?” she enunciated slowly.
Struggling to hide a smile, Cole stood, pulling what was left of his shirt over his head before tossing it into the trash can.
Grinning, Cole watched quietly as the irritation displayed so clearly across Chloe’s face faded as her eyes roamed the length of his body.
“Do I meet your approval?” Cole teased.
It was as if he could feel her eyes roaming his bare flesh, burning a trail over every inch they covered. He could smell her need for him; he could see it in the expressions flickering across her face. For a moment he was severely tempted to throw her to the ground and take her, to claim her but his good sense prevailed. This was not the time and definitely not the place. Instead, the need to tease her had won out.
Cole watched as she schooled her features. The flicker of embarrassment fading only to be replaced by irritation.
“You’re a kind of an ass you know that?” she stated bluntly, her golden eyes glittering in the bright lights. She had just saved his life and he would not even tell her what the hell he was? Irritation slithered within her.
She was serious, he noted and he fought to hide the smile that tugged at the corners of his mouth.
“So, I have been told.”
“I take it that you are not going to answer my question?”
“Well, seeing as I need some answers as to what just happened here,” she said, waving her hands at the mess surrounding them, “where will you tell me what I need to know?”
He had intended on telling her about his assignment and what part she played in it. He had even intended to tell her what he was and answer whatever it was that she needed to know about her own kind. That had been his reason for coming to the hospital to begin with. He had first thought to catch her at her home but, after watching her apartment for nearly a week, it seemed that she was at work more than she was at home.
Nodding her head, she agreed.
“There is only one problem.”
“What is that?” he asked.
“How are we both going to get out of here? I’m covered with blood and you are half naked. Don’t you think that that might draw some attention?”
Looking around the room, he spotted a door along the farthest wall with a large exit sign hanging above it.
“Where does this lead?” he asked, looking back over his shoulder at her.
“It’s a fire exit; my guess would be that it leads out onto…a fire escape.” she finished sarcastically.
“You are a bit of a smartass, you know that?”
“So, I have been told.” She repeated his earlier words.
He nodded. “Well then,” he said, striding back to stand in front of her. His chest was only inches from hers. “Let’s go.”
He reached down and hooked his arm around her waist, lifting her over his shoulder. “What in the hell are you doing?” she squealed.
“We need to move fast.” he answered lightly, as if that explained why she was currently slung over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
“I can walk, she complained, wriggling about.
The feel of her thighs beneath his palms sent heat straight to his groin.
The sight of her firm ass next to his face, wriggling as he carried her to the exit, tortured him, begged him to reach up and squeeze the firm globes in his hands.
Shaking his head, he fought the urge.
“I know that,” he began, “but we will have to jump down at least one story. Can you jump that far without hurting yourself yet?”
She shook her head. “I haven’t tried,” she admitted reluctantly.
Cole was not surprised that Chloe did not know the extent of her new abilities.
She had not had a teacher to teach her what she could and could not do now that she was a werewolf. That was something that he would have to remedy.
“Can you?” she asked quietly. “Jump that far, I mean.”
Stepping out onto the fire escape, Cole tightened his grip.
Chastity Bush is the author of four published romance novels. She is the married mother of two great girls and currently resides in the small town of Whitefield, Oklahoma with her wonderful husband and children.
As a young boy, running through the mountain valleys of Italy, Mark Gentile dreams of success—the kind of success that happens in a boardroom, far away from the country life. So after graduating from a prestigious Canadian law school, Mark quickly climbs the corporate and legal ladder, eventually becoming CEO of a leading North American auto manufacturer.
But after butting heads with company leaders, Mark fears he has compromised his ethics and decides to resign to determine the next phase in his life. With his wife’s blessing, Mark returns to Acerenza, his birthplace in southern Italy. In the small village, he seeks out his childhood friends, spends time among the grapevines at his family’s vineyard, and recalls his mischievous adventures as a young boy named “Marco.”
While enjoying the leisurely pace of the new life he’s found in his old home, however, Mark must make a decision: Should he abandon his roots for a second time and satisfy his innate hunger for the struggles and rewards of corporate life? Or should he embrace his native land and create a more balanced life for himself and his family?
MEET KENNETH CANCELLARA, AUTHOR OF FINDING MARCO AT BOOKEXPO AMERICA ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 26TH. VISIT THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE FOR TIME AND LOCATION.
Kenneth C. Cancellara, Q.C., is a legal counsel with Ricketts, Harris LLP in Toronto, Ontario. He holds an LLM from York University and a JD from the University of Toronto Law School. He was born in Acerenza, Italy, and currently lives in Toronto with his wife, Anita.
You can find Kenneth online at www.findingmarco.com, where you can read an excerpt from Finding Marco.
Murder is a Family Business, the first in a series, is being epublished by MuseItUp Publishing in January, 2011. Set in the present, the reader meets a family of detectives living in the Bay Area, The Alvarez Family. The series centers around the quirky thirty-four-year old daughter, Lee Alvarez, a combination of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum. Completing the family is her Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day aristocratic mother, Lila; computer genius brother, Richard; beloved uncle “Tio;” and her energetic orange and white cat, Tugger.
When this group is not solving murders, they run Discretionary Inquiries, a successful Silicon Valley agency that normally deals with the theft of computer software.
Heather Haven likes to say she was born on a trunk in Ringling Brothers Circus, as her father was an elephant trainer and her mother was an aerialist. She has been in one form or another of show business most of her life but has always included writing in the mix. In her career, she has written short stories, novels, comedy acts, plays, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and even ghost-wrote a book. One of her very first jobs as a writer was a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week and promptly came down with the flu. She wrote "The Sands of Time" with a temperature of 102 and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Since that time, she’s had several short stories published and two one-act plays, The Closet Corpse and Baltimore, farcical comedies both, performed repeatedly in Manhattan and San Jose.
Hector Rodriguez is the pastor of Casa de Dios, a church located on the outskirts of Tijuana. The situation in Mexico is tense, as those with Mayan beliefs grow more violent as 2012 approaches. Hector's mother, Virginia, lives in San Juan Chamula, the heart of the Mayan hostilities. When she disappears--not unlike other Christian witnesses--Hector finds it difficult to continue his work.
Marty, Hector's protege, arrives right out of Bible college hoping to help Hector expand his ministry, but Marty is still unsure of what God is calling him to do. It doesn't help that Marty's mother won't support his decision to follow his calling or even believe in the faith Marty holds so dear.
A woman, known as la Abuela, struggles with the knowledge that her grandson has sworn off the faith she shared with him and has turned to the gangs responsible for so much of the violence in Tijuana.
When tragedy strikes, these families are drawn together. While someone's faith wavers, the love and support of friends and family, along with the grace of a loving God, leads to the revelation of His plans for all and gives hope for the future.
In this explosive second installment of Macias's Extreme Devotion series, readers follow the journeys of three families whose lives intersect. With this book, Macias has created a beautiful, heartrending story which you'll want to read again the moment you're finished.
Proving what a masterful storyteller she is, Macias weaves the stories of her characters' lives in such a way that you can't help but care for them--even those who aren't always likable. You sympathize with these people, you understand their conflicts, and you want to see God's plan revealed in all its glory as much as these characters need to see it.
Having now read both books in the Extreme Devotion series--No Greater Love, More Than Conquerors--I eagerly anticipate the release of the next book in this series, Red Ink, this fall.
A contemporary thriller that will remain on your mind long after you've turned the last page, More Than Conquerors is one of the best books I've read this year.
Title: More Than Conquerors
Author: Kathi Macias
Publisher: New Hope Publishers
Linda Weaver Clarke recently interviewed Michele Ashman Bell, author of Summer in Paris.
Kenzie Williams feels like she has it all: wealth, friends, popularity. But when her father tells her that he has declared bankruptcy, her whole world in New York City turns upside down. Her parents' solution while they sort out their problems is to send Kenzie to live with her relatives in Paris . . . Idaho!
Feeling like she's been sentenced to three months in Hickville Prison, Kenzie arrives in Idaho feeling like a square peg in a round, horribly podunk, hole.
Leaving everything she loves behind, Kenzie is forced to get up at the crack of dawn, do chores, etc. She feels like she's about to die until she meets handsome Adam White whose got a deep secret. He’s been accused of killing his best friend. She is determined to get to know him and find out his secret.
Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah. After marrying, she moved away from the warm winters of southern Utah to all that snow in northern Utah. As a young girl she was a devoted journal keeper. She said, “I would express my most personal thoughts and feelings in my journal in a way I could never express them verbally.” Michele is the mother of four children and the author of 20 novels.
* hand crocheted book tote and cell phone case * a book/jewelry combo * Mary Kay cosmetic assortment * The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe DVD * a free edit/critique for the first 50 pages of an unpublished novel
Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop”, encouraging others to write their family history and autobiography. Clarke is the author of the historical fiction series, A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho, and the new mystery series, Anasazi Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.
Out of work paranormal investigator Ken Parker arrives in Groverton, and meets and falls in love with cute red-headed Jinny Talbot. He gradually realizes that there is magic going on, and a battle looming, a continuation of a war that took place seventy or eighty years earlier. He discovers that Jinny is a witch, and that those who fired him from his job are the opposing warlocks. And then he finds out that he is also a witch, and he joins with Jinny and the witch covens to fight the warlocks and the Ghost of Mordecai Grover.
Read an Excerpt!
Ken walked into the restaurant, his head still spinning from absorbing the events told by Volume 2 of “The History of Groverton.” Jinny was sitting at a table talking with another girl about her age. Although the second girl had her back to him, she looked familiar. Jinny looked up, saw Ken, and said, “Oh, hi. I want you to meet my best friend from school. She just came back to town for a vacation.”
The second girl turned her head and Ken realized it was Violet Orlando, the department secretary at Montcalm. She looked startled to see him, and said, “Dr. Parker! Ken! What in the world are you doing in Groverton? When the SOBs threw you out, this is the last place I would have expected you to end up.” Then she looked back and forth from Ken to Jinny several times and her face lit up. “I see. You two are an item, right?”
Jinny smiled and said, “Yeah, Violet, I guess that says it. Ken, come sit with us.” He walked to the table, paused to kiss Jinny and then sat, not saying anything.
Violet broke the silence. “Well, Ken, what do you think of Groverton and the great events taking place here? Don't you wish you had come here while you were still doing research ...” As Jinny began making shushing motions, she stopped abruptly. Then, looking at the strange expression on Ken's face, she said, “My God, Jinny, you haven't told him?”
Ken said in a dull voice, “No, she hasn't told me, but I know. I got hold of Volume 2 of the History, and I read it. I know.” He paused for a moment, then turned and said, “Jinny, you're a witch, aren't you?”
Jinny just nodded, a blank look on her face.
“You've been lying to me. About the town, about everything. Why, Jinny, why?”
“Please forgive me, Ken,” she said, the ceiling lights sparkling in the tears forming in her eyes. “I wanted to protect you. We're expecting bad things to happen, terrible things. I thought if you knew nothing of it you would be safe. I could sense that if you knew of the upcoming battle you would want to join in with me…my friends…my fellow witches.”
Ken grabbed her and kissed her. “Jinny, Jinny! Of course I would want to join in with, with, who are these other witches?” He turned to look at Violet, stared a minute, then said, “You're a witch too?”
“Well, duh!” she replied. She seemed much less upset about Ken finding out than Jinny had been.
Ken continued, “I imagine a lot of the people in town are witches too, aren't they. Your grandmother, Mr. Brentwood—”
Jinny interrupted him. “My grandmother, yes, but not Mr. Brentwood. Most witches are female, male witches are very rare. Right now there is only one male witch in all of Groverton.”
“One?” Ken asked. “Who is it? Anyone I've met?”
Violet broke in, saying, “Is he always this dense, Jinny?” She turned to Ken and continued, “It's you, dummy! You're a witch, and if you'll stop denying your abilities, a very powerful witch at that!”
Nobody had noticed Mamie approaching the group, but now her voice came from behind Ken. “Very powerful, yes, Violet. But we do not know if he is committed to good, to the Goddess. Is he truly a witch, or,” her voice dropped, “is he a warlock?”
“Priestess,” said Violet, “I have worked with this man for several years, and I am certain he is good. He is in his current situation because Dr. Farley Josephson, a warlock if ever there was one, felt he was getting too close to the truth and conspired with Dr. Oscar Wilton, another warlock, to get rid of him.”
“Grandma, I too am convinced that Ken is good,” said Jinny. “I love him, and he loves me, and I am going to marry him! I could tell if there was evil and there is not.”
Ken was so astonished at her avowed marriage plans that he almost missed what Mamie was saying. “Ken, we must be sure. You must be examined by a group of the strongest witches in town. If you are good, as Jinny and Violet say, it will be proved. But I warn you, if you are evil, it may be very dangerous, perhaps fatal. Will you take the chance?”
Ken thought about what she had said. “If I am good, there is no danger?” Mamie nodded. Ken continued, “I am convinced that you are good, Jinny is good, Violet is good…if I am indeed a witch, I want to be good. I'll take your examination.”
James Hartley is a former computer programmer. Originally from northern New Jersey, he now lives in sunny central Florida. He has published a fantasy novel, "Teen Angel," and has two new fantasy novels, "The Ghost of Grover's Ridge" and "Magic Is Faster Than Light," due out soon. He has had short stories published in Illusion's Transmitter, Written Word Online, Clonepod, Every Day Fiction, Lorelei Signal, Beyond Centauri, Raygun Revival, and the "Desolate Places", "Strange Mysteries 1 & 2", "Book of Exodi" and "Christmas in Outer Space" anthologies. He is currently working on a new novel, "Cop With a Wand." He is a member of IWOFA and the Dark Fiction Guild.
Raised in the Church, the real Jane Austen drew inspiration for her life, as well as her writing, from her strong Christian faith. In his new book, Christian Encounters: Jane Austen, author, pastor and theologian Dr. Peter Leithart details the spiritual life of beloved author Jane Austen.
Focusing on the faith that guided her life and work, Dr. Leithart, an Austen aficionado and author of Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen, showcases a side of Austen most readers have not seen. From her childhood as a pastor’s daughter to her adulthood penning some of the most famous novels of all time, every stage of Austen’s life was influenced by her faith.
“I was riveted by Leithart's excellent biography of Austen, the woman who profoundly influenced me to search for the universal truth in my novels,” says Colleen Coble, best-selling author of The Lightkeeer's Daughter. “I was able to see the flesh-and-blood woman I've admired since my teens.”
Christian Encounters: Jane Austen is the first in a new series of biographies from Thomas Nelson exploring the faiths of 10 historical figures. From Isaac Newton to Johann Sebastian Bach, these short, casual biographies highlight important lives from all ages and areas of the Church and encourage readers in their challenges and lessons of faith. In addition to Jane Austen, the first five books in the series include John Bunyan, Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton and Saint Patrick. The remaining books in the series, set to release in August, are: Johann Sebastian Bach, William F. Buckley, St. Francis, Anne Bradstreet and J.R.R. Tolkien.
From Solomon to Shakespeare, there aren’t many topics Dr. Peter Leithart hasn’t written about. The author of 19 books, Dr. Leithart applies his background in literature, history, religion and theology to exploring some of history’s most important figures.
Dr. Leithart received a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Hillsdale College, a Master of Arts in religion and a Master of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He also holds a doctorate from the University of Cambridge in England. Dr. Leithart has taught theology and literature at New Saint Andrews College since 1998, where he currently serves as dean of graduate studies and senior fellow of theology.
Dr. Leithart previously served as a pastor of Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He currently serves as pastor at Trinity Church in Moscow, Idaho.
A prolific writer, Dr. Leithart’s previous works include Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture (Baylor University Press, 2009) and Against Christianity (Canon Press, 2003). He has also written numerous articles on topics ranging from biblical analysis to commentary on literary masters such as Shakespeare, Dante and Austen. His work has appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Birmingham News, The Dallas Morning News, First Things, Modern Theology, The International Journal of Systematic Theology, The Tyndale Bulletin, and other publications. He served as editor and writer for American Vision and currently works as a contributing editor for Touchstone magazine, an interdenominational Christian journal.
Dr. Leithart currently lives in Moscow, Idaho, with his wife, Noel. They have 10 children and three grandchildren. To learn more about Dr. Leithart and Christian Encounters: Jane Austen, please visit www.leithart.com.
Adapted from journals Woodridge wrote as part of her healing process and several years of therapy with Roegner, Eight Days of Darkness recounts in graphic detail the summer day that Woodridge was abducted from her parents’ home and the eight days that her abductor held her captive in a metal box, beat and raped her.
A native of Indiana, Angela Roegner received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Purdue University in 1997, and a master’s in social work from Indiana University in 1999. Roegner works as a licensed clinical social worker at Family Psychiatric Center and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.
Roegner has served as a CASA and Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer and currently lives in Kokomo, Indiana with her husband and their three children.
Anita Wooldridge serves as a victim’s advocate on the Howard County Community Corrections Advisory Board in Kokomo, Indiana. She is an active member in her local church where she leads the youth group and runs the church food pantry.
Wooldridge’s story has been featured on “FBI Files.” First airing in 1999, “FBI Files: Evil Intent” is still available for viewing today. She travels to conferences across the country to tell her story and to educate law enforcement agencies on the elements of her own successful rescue case. Wooldridge currently lives in Kokomo, Indiana, where she is a full-time nursing student at Ivy Tech.
Every Boat Turns South mixes memoir-like adventure with a moving coming-home tale. The book opens and closes in Florida, but its sultry and terror-filled center is set in the Turks & Caicos Islands and in the Dominican Republic. By interweaving the Florida bedside scenes with Matt’s confessional account of his wild life in the Caribbean, White subtly builds sympathy for his ne'er-do-well drifter, as Matt slowly reveals the truth about Hale by coming to understand his own impulses and needs and by cherishing, through memory, all that his father had taught him. The writing in both sections forcefully lyrical and full of maritime detail (sailors will love this book) suggests an autobiographical prompt, but clearly the author is in command of a style that effectively serves his complex plot. The flashbacks pulse with sensuality, the take on island natives and tourists is nothing less than superb: The hotel swarms with interracial couples strung together like rosary beads . . . white women, pale as chalk, lean into black men like they ve found the Rosetta stone. White men pull at strings of mulatto women like taffy. Meringue and rum, greed and sex rule. Everything. Everyone. As one of the novel s shrewd and exotic characters says, we all have our weaknesses once we get to the islands.
"Every Boat Turns South: a cross between Ordinary People and Body Heat" by J.P. White
One reader has remarked that EVERY BOAT TURNS SOUTH is a cross between Ordinary People and Body Heat and I think that description works as a starting point. I wanted my hero, Matt Younger, to return after a 13-year absence and tell a story to his dying father. The framework of my story is more typical of literary fiction. What I play with is that the story Matt wants to tell his father is about a crime or rather a series of crimes. On the other hand, the only story the father wants to hear is about Matt's role in the death of the favorite son, Hale.
In order to reveal that piece of the crime, Matt must travel back over his years in the Caribbean; he must recount how he met a Dominican woman whom he fell in love with, before he can come to terms with his brother Hale, the family god. This element of my novel emerges out of my own extended family. I had a cousin who was a blue angel pilot and his plane crashed. He was a family god: handsome, dashing, funny, reckless. He was intended to live forever but he died young and that one death broke my uncle's family apart. The grief that won't quit is also at the center of my story.
Every Boat Turns South is very much a coming-home tale, a sailing adventure, a father-son drama, a crime story as well as a story of one man's guilt and redemption. Many of the elements of the story emerge from my experiences delivering boats in the Bahamas and Caribbean. The waypoints of the boat delivery in the novel from West Palm Beach to St. Thomas in the B.V.I. are ones I'm very familiar with. I include a much abbreviated chart at the front of the book to show the reader the actual route of Stardust, Matt Younger's delivery boat.
Because Every Boat Turns South is part family drama and part Caribbean noir it has struck a chord with men and women readers who find parts of their own family saga played out on the high seas and islands far away.
In the last 35 years, J.P. White has published essays, articles, fiction, reviews, interviews and poetry in over a hundred publications including The Nation, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Gettysburg Review, American Poetry Review, and Poetry (Chicago). He is a graduate of New College in Sarasota, Florida, Colorado State University and Vermont College in Fine Arts. He is the author of five books of poems and a novel, Every Boat Turns South. You can visit him online at www.jpwhite.net
My good friend, Linda Weaver Clarke asked me to let you know about the latest great giveaway she is running at her blog. Today, Linda interviewed Anne Bradshaw about her latest book, Famous Family Nights.
Here is the description from Amazon:
"Touching, inspiring, and often hilarious, the personal experiences in Famous Family Nights highlight family home evening as a priceless tool for building strong, faith-centered families, despite the many obstacles of modern life. Contributors sharing their stories are LDS entertainers, writers, radio and TV personalities, as well as LDS leaders in sports, business, and the community."
"Anne Bradshaw has collected a smorgasbord of FHE ideas to delight any and every family. From foil dinners to teaching scriptures and songs -- this book is full of ideas to make family time the best it can be. Ideas come from families worldwide, a sampling of ways to love those that love you the very most!"- Amy Freeze, Fox News Chicago
I know I want to get my hands on a copy of this book, so you better not enter so that I can increase my chances of winning.
Just kidding, go to Linda's blog where you can read her interview with Anne Bradshaw. Then leave a comment and your email address for your chance to win. This giveaway runs from today until May 24th and is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.
Stop by Linda's blog right now and enter for your chance to win a copy of Famous Family Nights by Anne Bradshaw!
While it won't sound like I got a lot done since May 4th, the TBR pile will continue to dwindle as long as I don't take on too many new books. I feel confident, though, because even with a huge TBR pile, the majority of the books on it are books I want to read, not ones I have promised to review. The new ones I take on are for virtual book tours, either for my clients or for other publicists and authors, or standard review requests.
I've also made an executive decision to cut one book from my list: Reunion: A Novel by Therese Fowler. I received this book as a thank you for hosting the author last year. It still sounds like an interesting premise for a book, but we've been asked for donations to a Summer Fun basket to be raffled off at the school's Open House. I'll add some other things, but the beautiful cover with a woman walking along the beach will be a great addition. If I get to the point where my TBR pile dwindles low enough, I'll pick this book up for my Kindle.
Since last post, I've reviewed 7 books, some of which were already listed as read. I just finished and reviewed Downsized to Death by Patricia Gulley. I am currently reading More Than Conquerors by Kathi Macias, who is on tour with this second book of her Extreme Devotion series during the month of May, and America's Black Founders by Nancy Sanders. I'm also listening to Wishing for Tomorrow by Hilary McKay in the car. Next up is Chris Hoare's, The Wildcat's Burden.
MY TBR PILE:
Cabal of the Westford Knight by David S. Brody Rose of the Adriatic by K.M. Daughters The Last Child by John Hart American Lion by Jon Meacham Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay Undone by Karin Slaughter Shadow of Betrayal by Brett Battles The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Faust
The Target by J.P. Hauptman Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert The Case of the Mystified M.D. by A. K. Arenz Daughter of Liberty by J.M. Hochstetler Native Son by J.M. Hochstetler Exiles on Main Street by Lisa Kleinholz Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib DeadMistress by Carole Shmurak Mother's Day Murder by Leslie Meier
Write from the Heart by Leslea Newman Copper and Candles by Amber Miller Escape in Passion by Shiela Stewart Mercy in Passion by Shiela Stewart The Strand Prophecy by J.B.B. Winner The Judge Who Stole Christmas by Randy Singer Forever Christmas by Christine Lynxwiler
Deputy Tempe Crabtree series by Marilyn Meredith: Deadly Trail, Deadly Omen, Intervention, Unequally Yoked, Wing Beat, Calling the Dead Murder on the Low Down by Pamela Samuels Young Preaching to the Corpse by Roberta Isleib Silenced Cry: A Sam Harper Mystery by Marta Stephens Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb Set Apart: A 6-week Study of the Beatitudes by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
...And Night Falls by Tommie Lyn Main Street: Tis' the Season by Ann M. Martin (TC&TBC) Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig A Very Dangerous Woman: Martha Wright and Women's Rights by Sherry H. Penny & James D. Livingston Capturing Karma by K.M. Daughters Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James Swanson
The Lightkeeper's Daughter: A Mercy Falls Novel by Colleen Coble (Amazon Vine) The Three Dimensions of Character by Larry Brooks The Wildcat's Burden: Iskander Book Four by Chris Hoare My Dog Tim and Other Stories by Garasamo Maccagnone (**) **** Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea by Chris Wardle (TC&TBC) America's Black Founders by Nancy I. Sanders (TC&TBC)* Wishing for Tomorrow by Hilary McKay (audio book) (Amazon Vine) * At Home With Laurie Ann: A Decorator's Guide: Turn the Place You Live into A Home You Love by Laurie Ann McMillian Ray - unrequested title sent by the author's publicist More Than Conquerors by Kathi Macias * (**)
Blissfully Yours by Diann Walker--won in a giveaway Downsized to Death by Patricia Gulley The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner ** Confessions of a Rebel Debutante by Anna Fields--won in a giveaway Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James ** Conflicts with Interest by Michael Ruddy (**) ****
Newly added titles:
The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel Miller When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty by Jackie Johnson ** Three Weeks Last Spring by Victoria Howard--free eBook from PROMO DAY The House on the Shore by Victoria Howard--free eBook from PROMO DAY The Cowboy's Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne--bought for my Kindle Never Without Hope by Michelle Sutton--bought for my Kindle Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten
Coming in the mail:
Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life by Karina Fabian ** Plan B by Steven Verrier (TC&TBC) ** The Chill of the Night by James Hayman **
A cozy mystery in a unique setting is what you'll find in Downsized to Death by Patricia Gulley.
When branch manager, Prudence Peters learns the national travel agency where she works is downsizing and she is demoted, you would think that's all the bad news she has to contend with. Put in the position of watching helplessly while news of closing branches circulates, and desperately trying to make sure her branch isn't one of them, Pru also has to worry about vying for her former job against a slew of others. As if matters couldn't get any worse, her former boss, Claudia, turns up dead, and one of Pru's employees, who is now missing, is the prime suspect. Can Pru save her job, the branch, and find a killer?
I enjoyed reading Downsized to Death by Patricia Gulley. It has the classic elements of a cozy mystery: an amateur sleuth caught up in events beyond her control and now put on track to solve the crime, an interesting setting, and lots of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing who the culprit is.
I have to admit, though, I felt a tiny bit was missing from this one. While typically amateur sleuths are not gung ho about getting involved in solving a crime, Pru makes it her job to try to avoid getting caught up in solving the murder. Actually, the only thing she really wants to do is find her missing employee, which will hopefully clear that person's name. It's an honorable goal, but when amateur sleuths decide to get involved, they usually do it; they don't spend most of their time trying to avoid it. In addition, while Pru's desire is to find the missing employee, she doesn't do a lot of things one would expect if you're trying to locate someone. Yes, she contacts the suspect's mother, but other than that, she doesn't spend a lot of time canvassing the neighborhood or the employee's favorite haunts, trying to figure out where this person went. Her investigation mostly focuses around the people this person worked with and the argument that ensued between this person and Claudia.
There's also a hint of a potential romance between Pru and the lead detective on the case, but then something is revealed about Jake LaFoure that makes you wonder if he's available. I'm not sure why this would be developed if Jake is not on the list of future hot dates.
Despite these areas, I read through Downsized to Death quickly and wouldn't mind reading it again. It had enough of what a cozy mystery should be to keep me turning the pages, and I polished the book off in less than three days.
It looks like the author might be developing a series with Pru as the lead character. If Gulley decides to write another Travel Agent Mystery--which I hope she does--I'm sure the books will only improve.
If you enjoy cozies, this one would be a fun vacation time read.
Title: Downsized to Death Author: Patricia Gulley Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc. ISBN-10: 1-59705-757-6 ISBN-13: 978-1-59705-757-8 SRP: $16.95
Thank you to Nicole at Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways for giving The Book Connection the Bodacious Blogging Book Reviewers Award. And we are passing it on. The rules are:
If you are given this award you must first accept it by leaving a comment on the post you were nominated on. Then copy and paste the post and add it to your own blog. Make a list of the last 5 books you read and pass the award on to 5 other bloggers (no backsies!). Please also identify the blog from which you got the award and don't forget to tell them they have a blog award!
Given to each of you for all your "bodacious" posts and the frequency with which you update your site. Never a dull moment on any of these great blogs, be sure to check them out!
This award is presented to the following who are tasked with passing it forward:
With contributions from Christy award-winning writer Ann Tatlock, best-selling authors Loree Lough, Yvonne Lehman, Virginia Smith, Irene Brand, DiAnn Mills, Miraleee Ferrell, Shelby Rawson and more, Faith & FINANCES is a tool that will start you on your way toward financial dependence on God.
More than just a daily devotional, this book offers readers the story of Rich, a man focused on earthly wealth. An investment broker, Rich is offended by his pastor's sermon, which he feels is saying he should give all of his money to the church. Having lost his wife, Peg, Rich has a hard time putting his faith in a God he can't prove exists. The reader follows Rich on his journey, and eagerly watches as he learns his own lesson in faith and finances.
Found in between the chapters of this moving story, are devotionals that include a Bible verse, a story, a prayer and "Building Blocks of Faith" that summarize the lesson, followed by a journal space to write notes.
Jesus spoke of money and material possessions in the Bible often. In this modern-day retelling of the Rich Young Ruler from the Gospel of Mark, readers can find peace in the knowledge that the promises of God outweigh their fear of the future, and that Kingdom work is the most rewarding work of all.
In a time when the economy seems to be on everyone's mind, Faith & FINANCES will show you that God is the same yesterday, today, and always. That we can believe in what is told to us in Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
I don't read a lot of writing craft books. Shame on me, I know; but when I received an email about The Three Dimensions of Character: Going Deep and Wide to Create Compelling Heroes and Villians by Larry Brooks of storyfix.com, I was intrigued enough to ask the author if I could review a copy.
Falling somewhere in between a panster and an outliner--I write character sketches, interview my characters, and let a story idea stew (sometimes for a year) so that I have a general idea of the direction to go--I want to make my characters real to my readers. No one wants to read about flat, one dimensional characters.
In this 85-page eBook on the three dimensions of character, Brooks shares the "essence of story" versus the "essence of character", discusses in great depth the three dimensions of character, explains what he means with real world examples, and provides the reader with an excellent checklist to help create great characters.
Brooks does all this with a conversational style that informs, but does not talk down to, the reader. Brooks is direct, yet funny, knowledgable and pleasant, as he shares his wealth of experience. From "True Character vs. Quirks" to "The Healing Power--and Driving Force--of Revenge", from "Crafting Backstory" to "Interior vs. Exterior Conflict", and from "The Six Core Competencies of Successful Storytelling" to "The Seven Variables that Communicate Characters", this book will provide you with the tools you need to understand characterization.
The Three Dimensions of Character by Larry Brooks is a must read for anyone seeking to demystify characterization and improve their writing.
Title: The Three Dimensions of Character: Going Deep and Wide to Create Compelling Heroes and Villians Author: Larry Brooks Publisher: storyfix.com SRP: $14.95
Breakaway is the breathtaking and courageous story of one woman's survival of molestation, rape, repeated beatings, domestic violence, and other attempts on her life.
• Nadia reveals hope, courage and inspiration! • A true story of personal freedom • Highly revealing memoir - dramatic details of more than 18 years of abuse.
In Breakaway: How I Survived Abuse the author Nadia Sahari tells us the story of her life. Unfortunately, many of the events that she experienced in her early years were heartwrenching because they involved sexual and physical abuse. She bares her soul to us as she describes horrific events that she experienced.
"Nadia's touching story is one of admirable courage in the face of adversity. From a very young age, Nadia has had to endure brutal abuse, but she has emerged as a winner that really inspires. Indeed, success is the best revenge." --Sam, Sam in the Morning, LA Talk Radio.com
"The hope that it filled me with was not only knowing I had the choice to leave the abuser, but that wanting to heal was also my choice." --Christa Jan Ryan, author of Silent Screams from the Hamptons
"Nadia teaches us how to forgive and move forward with your life." --Ebony Black, Producer and Director
"Hearing your story and the fact that you managed to survive and thrive later in life will hopefully be a beacon of hope for others who are living in similar hardships." --Peter Anthony Holder, Host, Holder Tonight, CJAD Canada
"It restores the soul." --Connie Curry, author of Give Me Back My Glory
Breakaway is an inspiration for any woman who dared to dream. Nadia bears her soul in this book, her raw emotions of overcoming domestic violence, family violence and incest I found very touching. Nadia gives of herself to her community, her sincerity radiates forgiveness. Breakaway is a must have for all people as this book transcends, gender and race. We have adopted this as one of or classroom's Text at Women Are Dreamers Too and the First class commencing August 8th will have a chance to read this so they may learn that in order to be free one must learn to forgive. The Story also has to be told in order to overcome and release one's soul from the bondage of domestic violence. All the above Nadia has done with this awesome classic. Proud to know this awesome, classy generous lady, a hard working woman with the heart of gold. Break Away is an awesome read with life lessons enshrined within the pages of this awesome book! Grab a copy folks you'll be glad you did. --Cindy Williams, Ph.D. Women Are dreamers Too
Nadia Sahari was born in Beirut, Lebanon. She came to America at the age of two. She speaks fluent Lebanese. Now, for the first time in years, she is living her dream of acting which she has had since the age of ten.
Nadia Sahari performed as a headliner belly dancer and choreographer. She was a featured guest on various television shows in Detroit, Michigan. The newspapers frequently featured her story and pictures in their publications. Nadia Sahari drew crowds from many states and received standing ovations wherever she headlined. Her dancing was professional, exotic, and true to her culture. She also taught more than two thousand women the art of belly dancing. She alone produced and directed live dance shows for the public as well as families and friends of her students.
In her late twenties, she ventured out to Las Vegas where she attended the Las Vegas School of Acting. Later she registered and trained at various universities and private schools to refine her craft. She was an entrepreneur for many years and was very creative in business in order to support herself and her family.
Nadia now resides in Austin, Texas. She has enrolled in filmmaking classes at the Austin Film School and is a member of SAG. She plans to film documentaries and short films in the future. She continues to train in acting, improv, film, and comedy classes.
Ms. Sahari has also been a guest panelist on the Oprah show. Oprah has requested a copy of Ms. Sahari's memoir. Currently, she is auditioning for commercials and film. Recently she has been cast as an Aunt for the movie Bandslam, and as a Reporter for the movie Conflict of Interest, both of which showed in the theaters in 2009.
In 2008, she was the cover girl in the FEB/MAR issue of The County Woman Magazine.
In addition to her busy schedule, she is an activist for women's rights, animal rights and the rights of children. She is active in trying to change the laws to give tougher sentencing to convicted criminals who abuse animals and children. In her words, she says: "I love all people and all animals. I believe that anything or anyone who has breath deserves life and freedom from abuse or control and should not be killed by anyone. God created us and only God can take us. No one has the right to end someone else's life."
Most of all, Nadia is thankful for the support and love of her husband of twenty-four years and her two sons.
This is the year for all things beautiful. Nadia loves this quote from Longfellow, "Ah, nothing is too late, till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate."