Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pump Up Your Book June Chat/Book Giveaway Tonight!

Pump Up Your Book will be hosting the June 2011 Authors on Tour at a chat/book giveaway party on Thursday June 30, 2011 starting at 8 p.m. eastern (7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain and 5 p.m. Pacific) and ending at 11 p.m. (eastern time) at their new chat room at Pump Up Your Book!

Tell your book friends that not only will this give them an opportunity to chat with their favorite authors there will be a huge giveaway at the end of the chat!

For more details, visit

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Giveaway: Johnny One-Eye by Jerome Charyn

If you've read my review of Johnny One-Eye by Jerome Charyn at then it might have piqued your interest enough to check it out.

Why not try to win a FREE copy for yourself? The author and Tribute Books are graciously offering one free copy to a reader of this blog that resides in the United States.

The cover art you see here is for the hardcover edition, which is what I reviewed. The black cover goes with the paperback version. I like both, but this lighter cover catches my eye more.

Here's a description of the book from Amazon:

Johnny One-Eye is bringing about the rediscovery of one of the most "singular and remarkable [careers] in American literature" (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World). In this picaresque tour de force that reanimates Revolutionary Manhattan through the story of double agent John Stocking, the bastard son of a whorehouse madam and possibly George Washington, Jerome Charyn has given us one of the most memorable historical novels in years. As Johnny seeks to unlock the mystery of his birth and grapples with his allegiances, he falls in love with Clara, a gorgeous, green-eyed octoroon, the most coveted harlot of Gertrude's house. The wild parade of characters he encounters includes Benedict Arnold, the Howe brothers, "Sir Billy" and "Black Dick," and a manipulative Alexander Hamilton.

Not since John Barth's The Sotweed Factor and Gore Vidal's Burr has a novel so dramatically re-created America's historical beginnings.

Here are some additional reviews from Charyn's website:

"A rollicking tale."

—New York Times Book Review *Editors' Choice

"A terrific read, an imaginative evocation of Manhattan in chaos written with great energy and seductive cadence."

—Bloomberg News

"Charyn's command of time and place is masterful: the reader can practically smell the gunpowder that suffuses the war-torn city. As a kaleidoscopic view of a tumultuous era, the book deserves to be spoken about in the same breath as E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime."

—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Here's how you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Johnny One-Eye by Jerome Charyn:
1) You must be a follower or subscriber of The Book Connection to win.

2) For your first entry, leave a comment with a valid email address. You can't win if you don't provide an email address.

3) One additional entry if you friend me on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're friending me.

4) One additional entry if you follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're a follower.

5) Three additional entries if you blog about this contest. Leave a link to your post here.

6) Winner must be 18 years or older and reside in the United States.

Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, July 10, 2011. Winner will be selected out of all entrants who followed the rules governing this contest. The book will be shipped to the winner by the author or his representative. The Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.

Book Review: Johnny One-Eye by Jerome Charyn

A novel of Revolutionary intrigue awaits you in Johnny One-Eye by Jerome Charyn.

In his eloquent style, Charyn turns his attention to the American Revolution in Manhattan. British officers feast like kings while the rest of the population scrounges for food. It is a city that has been abandoned to the generals and whores that rule it, and spies lurk everywhere.

Our narrator is John Stocking, a one-eyed double agent found trying to poison General Washington's soup. Caught between both armies, Johnny navigates the dangers of wartime Manhattan while attempting to elude those who would murder him without losing a wink of sleep.

Driven mad by his love for Clara, a stunning harlot in his mother's brothel, Johnny struggles with his allegiances, not always knowing who is friend or foe. He brings the reader along through the eight years of the Revolution in Manhattan, from 1776 until Washington's moving departure in the autumn of 1783.

You may never look at the American Revolution the same again.

Having fallen in love with Charyn's writing in The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson and Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil, when I heard another of his books was available for review, I jumped at the chance to read it. Though the least favorite of mine out of the three, Johnny One-Eye brought the American Revolution to life for me in a new way.

It is a moving, compelling story of intrigue. Spies, thieves, and generals seek the upper hand as young America fights for its independence. Plots are uncovered, murders are committed, and sexual encounters lead to shared secrets. Johnny One-Eye is both realistic and vulgar. Yet, what war isn't those things?

The author states in his note at the back that though he tried to write a story about Benedict Arnold, it was Washington who he grew to like more and more as he read. It surprised me, then, that he created this fictional family for Washington, which included a lover named Gertrude who was the madame of the Holy Ground, a brothel where Washington would play vingt-et-un, and Gertrude's illegitimate son, Johnny One-Eye.

Charyn blends fact and fiction in such a way that all of what is written is believable--something I admired in The Secret Lives of Emily Dickinson. What I feel the author does best in this novel is depict how the Revolution destroyed Manhattan and the impact the war had on its citizens. Though I didn't find many characters to love or enjoy in this book, I discovered I could better appreciate and understand the founding of our county, the sacrifices that were made, and the high costs that brought forth an infant nation. I will definitely seek out more of Charyn's work in the future.

Blog Tour web site:

Jerome Charyn's web site:

Jerome Charyn's Facebook:!/jerome.charyn

Jerome Charyn's Twitter:

Johnny One-Eye Facebook:

W.W. Norton & Company web site:

Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”
Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Title: Johnny One-Eye
Author: Jerome Charyn
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Price: $24.95
ISBN: 9780393064971
Pages: 448
Release: February 2008

Buy links:
Barnes & Noble

Price: $14.95
ISBN: 9780393333954
Pages: 448
Release: February 2009

Buy links:
Barnes & Noble

eBook buy links:

I received a copy of this book from the author and Tribute Books in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

Mystery/Crime Fiction Month at Books, Products and More! in August!

Books, Products and More! is looking for mystery and crime fiction authors to feature during the month of August. Here is what we need:

  • Synopsis of your latest book (Word.doc or .docx format or pasted into an email)
  • Short excerpt (Word.doc or .docx format or pasted into an email)
  • Cover art in jpg format
  • Author photo in jpg format
  • Author bio written in 3rd person (Word.doc or .docx format or pasted into an email)
  • Links to where book can be purchased
  • Links to author's website and/or blog
  • Link to video trailer if available
Please email all this information to Cheryl at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com by July 31st. Those are zeros in the email address, not Os. Available slots will be alloted first come, first serve. 

Books, Products and More! will be on vacation from July 1st - 10th, so you will not receive a response to your email until after that time.

Thank you for your participation. We look forward to featuring your book during the month of August!

Book Spotlight: Is My Kid Stupid? By Nzingha West

In her new, informative book Is My Kid Stupid?, Special Education expert Nzingha West offers proven methods of approach that will increase the quality of your child’s education whether your child is learning disabled or just really far behind in school. You can finally stop worrying about your child’s education, because now you’ll have all of the most powerful resources available to you; a book written by an expert and the knowledge that comes with it.

Is My Kid Stupid? Avoiding an Educational Disaster teaches you:

How to choose the best practitioner for your child

How to get a free private school education for your child

How to write the letters that get immediate results for your child

How to choose the best advocate for your child and how to advocate for your child yourself

How to significantly lower the cost of college for your child and eliminate college loans from your vocabulary

Is My Kid Stupid? also offers free letter templates and gives you suggestions for helpful websites.

Nzingha West is a special education specialist working in New York City. As an instructor Nzingha’s expertise has been featured onRadio Disney, 106.7 Lite Fm in New York, News 12 Connecticut, NPR Radio and several parenting magazines. Before starting her education career Nzingha worked in several labs as chemist. Nzingha has honed her education expertise over 10 years in New York City schools and private companies. Nzingha has worked with several prestigous schools such as The Harlem Children’s Zone, University Settlement, The New York Foundling, The American Museum of Natural History and The City College of New York among others.

Nzingha is also the owner of Urbane Academics where she provides Special Education Advocacy, Educational Testing and Private and Small group instruction from her office. Because of her vast level of knowledge and expertise, Nzingha has worked with students in some of the most prestigious schools in New York such as the Brearley School, The Dalton School, The United Nations International School, The British International School as well as several public and parochial schools.

Nzingha firmly believes in the fair education of all students and their families no matter their economic status.

You can visit Nzingha West’s website at or

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: The Katyn Order by Douglas W. Jacobson

If you are a reader of World War II fiction, you'll definitely want to pick up a copy of The Katyn Order: A Novel.

The Germans are retreating as the Russians advance in Warsaw. Resistence fighters rise up against their Nazi oppressors, but the Germans retaliate, leveling the city. American Adam Nowak is dropped into Poland by British intelligence as an assassin. He has lost much, and has had to disengage himself from his past and all he's known to concentrate on his mission. But then he meets Natalia, a woman who has also lost much, he yearns to tap into the human part of himself he is sure must be left behind forever. Together they work to find a copy of the 1940 Soviet order that ordered the murders of 20,000 Polish Army officers and civilians.

Fabulous! Superb! Outstanding! These words and more describe this powerful, dramatic historical offering from Douglas W. Jacobson.

The author has put together a perfect blend of fact and fiction, mixed in multi-faceted characters whose lives you become immersed in, and tossed them together with historical characters to create a winning story that pulls you in right from the start. Rich in detail, Jacobson makes you believe you are there in Poland with Adam and Natalia, fighting with them, grieving with them, hoping for them.

If you are interested in WWII or enjoy gripping historical fiction, buy this one up today. I highly recommend it!

Title:  The Katyn Order
Author:  Douglas W. Jacobson
Publisher: McBooks Press
ISBN-10: 1590135725
ISBN-13: 978-1590135723
SRP:  $24.95
Also available in a Kindle edition.

I received a copy of this book from the author who is currently on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opininons, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Interview with Dr, Frederick Lukash, Author of The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery

Joining us today is Dr. Frederick N. Lukash, M.D.,FACS, FAAP, author of The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery. He has consistently been voted one of “America’s Top Doctors,” by the Castle Connolly guide, and by the Consumer Research Council of America ( A board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon in practice in Manhattan and Long Island since 1981, he is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Dr. Lukash received his college and medical degrees from Tulane University. His postgraduate training in surgery and plastic surgery includes Emory University, State University of New York, and Harvard University, where he held the position of Instructor in surgery.

The high standards that Dr. Lukash lives and works by have gained him admittance to all the major plastic surgical societies. He achieved board certification by both the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In addition to serving on many of the societies’ committees, Dr. Lukash has authored questions for the Plastic Surgery In-Service Examination and has recently completed his term as president of the New York Regional Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He founded that organization’s magazine and served for many years as the editor-in-chief.

Dr. Lukash holds staff appointments at Long Island Jewish Medical Center / Schneider Children’s Hospital, North Shore University Hospital, Winthrop University Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital. He has also served as a plastic surgical consultant to the New York Islanders hockey team and the New York Jets football team.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Dr. Lukash. It is an honor to have you with us.

Where did you grow up?

New York.

When did you begin writing?

I have been writing my whole life.

What is this book about?

It is the first book about body image and self-esteem for teenagers. It is a parent's guide to navigate the waters of plastic surgery. It is not a frivolous manual on how to be beautiful. It does not propose to equate beauty with success. It does discuss the value society places on appearance and the impact that societal pressures place upon teens. This book was born of effort in trying to be of service to children with structural appearance issues.

What inspired you to write it?

30 years of collective experience.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My patients.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

Other writers.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

Katharine Sands from Sarah Jane Freyman Agency.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Relatively smooth.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Better marketing.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Do not expect too much.

Is there anything you would like to add?

This is a great book that can be of service to teens, parents and anyone else who deals with teens and their behavioral issues.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Dr. Lukash. We wish you continued success.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What's in Your TBR Pile?

I was just entering new books into my TBR spreadsheet. I currently have 127 titles between printed and electronic copies. Is it any wonder I've stopped taking on new books for review? Now, not all of these books are promised for reviews, but probably about half are.

Some of the ones in my pile I'm really excited about are:

The Brotherhood by Jerry Jenkins

Born Under a Lucky Moon by Dana Precious

Zero Day by Mark Russinovich

Voices from the Land by Jan Marquart

Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven

A Friendly Life by S. Prestley Blake with Alan Farnham (this is the co-founder of Friendly Ice Cream Corp, whose headquarters is about 5 minutes from my house)

ARC of In the St. Nick of Time by K.M. Daughters - final book in their Sullivan Boys series

Mayan Intrigue and Anasazi Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke

What books from your TBR pile are you excited about?

Book Review: The River of Forgetting by Jane Rowan

In this brave and touching memoir, Jane Rowan shares her journey through the healing process of recovering from childhood sexual abuse; a past she knew nothing about until vague, foggy memories began invading her mind.

The River of Forgetting: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse opens with a moving Prologue and Introduction that set the scene for all that is to come. A successful scientist and professor, she was unprepared for the memories to come flooding back, not able to reconcile the past she was discovering to what she had grown up believing about her family. Yes, she knew things were a bit off. She had always called her parents by their first names, she had a sister with Down syndrome that was quietly tucked away in a home and never spoken of to others, and her extended family--grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins--were distant; but she had a normal childhood. Didn't she? 

When the first memory appears during a therapy session, her therapist assures her, "People don’t make up things like that for fun." This first memory puts Rowan on a journey to come to terms with her past, using Inner Child work, journal writing, painting, and dancing.

The River of Forgetting is an intense story. It's not one you read and just move onto the next book in your stack. It's impossible for me, as someone who had a less than ideal childhood, not to compare some of Rowan's experiences with my own. Granted, there wasn't the level of abuse that Rowan endured, but there is an amount of neglect that has followed me to this day; something I unsuccessfully attempted to deal with over 10 years ago in therapy. I had tried Inner Child work, but couldn't reach what I needed to get me through.

The reader spends time with Rowan in the therapist's office, the studio, in group sessions, at home and at family events. This well-written, powerful memoir dives deeply into those years when the past collided with the present. It discusses how during a portion of her journey, problems at work and mysterious threatening postcards and letters pushed her to the edge. At times I was a bit uncomfortable with the intimate relationship between Rowan and her therapist, but then I got to wondering if my own therapy wasn't successful because I couldn't connect with my therapist in such a meaningful way. These women tackled some tough issues together, and it was important for Rowan to feel Sarah's love and support throughout the entire process.

The River of Forgetting inspires with poetry, journal writing, and a poignant narrative. As readers follow Rowan's transformation, they too will be encouraged to find the peace and joy they deserve.

Title: The River of Forgetting
Author: Jane Rowan
Publisher:  Booksmyth Press
ISBN-10: 0981583024
ISBN-13: 978-0981583020
SRP:  $14.95 (Also available in a Kindle edition)

I received a copy of this book from the author and was paid to promote this book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: Sentiments of Blue by Garasamo Maccagnone

An edgy, emotional collection of poetry and short stories awaits you in Sentiments of Blue by Garasamo Maccagnone.

Opening with a series of five poems, Maccagnone drives deeply into the hearts and minds of his characters. From a mother, to a teacher, to memories of an uncle's butcher shop and dear old dad, the author provides a provocative look at life.

"Sentiments of Blue," the title story, gives the reader a glimpse into blue collar America, as the narrator navigates a world dominated by a bully and his cronies, wishing only to break free of the shackles handed down to him by his father.

The other stories in this collection peer into our human existence with a sometimes touching, and other times cynical view. "The Note Giver" takes place over several days, where a mysterious note giver upsets the congregation of St. Isidore's. "The Conversion" finds two minor league hockey players sent up to the majors, followed by chaos and life changing decisions. Also included  are "Holy Thursday" and "Perfect Game."

Sentiments of Blue is a manly collection. The talk is rough and many of the happenings aren't pretty. Maccagnone has mastered the first person narrative with these stories, connecting the reader with his main character and drawing him right in.

Title: Sentiments of Blue
Author:  Garasamo Maccagnone
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN-10: 1456549979
ISBN-13: 978-1456549978
SRP:  $12.45

The author paid me to promote his book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book! This fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Catholic Writers' Conference at Valley Forge in August 2011!

Press Release
June 9, 2011
Contacts: Ann Margaret Lewis, Catholic Writers Guild President

Karina Fabian, Catholic Writers Guild Secretary

Catholic Writers to Convene August Conference in Valley Forge

Valley Forge, PA--The third annual Catholic Writers' Conference LIVE will take place August 3-5, 2011, at the Scanticon Hotel Valley Forge in King of Prussia, PA. Sponsored by the Catholic Writer's Guild (CWG) and the Catholic Marketing Network (CMN), it will be held in conjunction with CMN's annual retailer trade show. The Catholic Writers Conference LIVE provides Catholic authors with a prime opportunity to meet and share their faith with editors, publishers, fellow writers, and bookstore owners from across the globe.

CWG President Ann Margaret Lewis said this year's conference will, "focus on marketing and selling one's written work." Highlights of the conference include:

• Over 30 sessions taught by professionals in writing, marketing, blogging and publishing
• Pitch Sessions where writers may meet privately with representatives from four publishers
• One-on-one coaching sessions. For $35 an author can have a 30 minute private consultation with a specialist who will review their manuscript and guide them toward publication.
• Rapid-fire readings. Published authors will each have five minutes to read a selection from one of their books. A mass book sale and signing will follow.

Lewis says the conference comes at a modest cost. "Registration for the jam packed three days is only $90 for CWG members or $100 for non-members. And we have a special price of $42 for students. Our conference allows you to connect personally with Catholic publishers and retailers, to show your work, learn the craft and network." Priests and religious are invited free of charge, but must register at the email address:

This year's conference speakers include:

• Catholic publishing representatives Claudia Volkman of Servant Books/St.Anthony Messenger Press,
• Regina Doman, author of numerous young adult and children's books and acquisitions editor for Sophia Institute Press,
• Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, EWTN TV host of "Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms" and author of numerous Catholic books including "Mother Teresa and Me,"
• Michelle Buckman, author of the young adult novel "Maggie Come Lately" and the adult drama "Rachel's Contrition,"
• Angela Breidenbach, author of "Gems of Wisdom" and
• Patti Armstrong, co-author of the best-selling Amazing Grace book series and author of "Catholic Truths for Our Children, Stories for the Homeschool Heart."

Past attendees gave glowing accounts of their experiences at the conference:

• Carol Bannon, author of the children's book "Handshake from Heaven," said, "Attending this conference has been the best thing I have done for myself professionally."
• Writer Melanie Cameron concurs, "I recommend this conference as a resource for any author (or wannabe) at any stage. You will walk away empowered!"
• Maureen Martin, a consultant and trainer said she attended to connect with other professional Catholics. "It was such a wonderful, nurturing environment where we could share our faith and our love for literature."

The Catholic Writers Guild, a religious non-profit organization, sponsors both this live conference in August and an online conference in February to further its mission of promoting Catholic literature. "Our conferences are totally focused on encouraging faithful Catholics to share genuine Catholic culture and faith in their writing no matter what genre," says Lewis. "These events are integral to our mission of `creating a rebirth of Catholic arts and letters."

Also at this year's conference, the CWG will be presenting its first ever Catholic Arts and Letters Awards (called the "Lilies") for the best in Catholic fiction. This award will recognize one book in the adult market and one in the children's market for its literary merit.

Information for the Catholic Writer's Conference can be found on the conference web site:

The CWG is a professional group of writers, artists, editors, illustrators, and allies whose mission is to build a vibrant Catholic literary culture. The organization is loyal to the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview: Barbara Conelli, Author of Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita

Joining us today is Barbara Conelli, author of Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita. Barbara is an internationally published author. In her charming, delightful and humorous Chique Books filled with Italian passion, Barb invites women to explore Italy from the comfort of their home with elegance, grace and style, encouraging them to live their own Dolce Vita no matter where they are in the world.

As a naturally curious person who loves traveling, meeting new people and discovering their life stories, Barbara founded Chique Show, an entertaining radio show for women and about women. On Chique Show, Barbara shares her Dolce Vita adventures and interviews inspiring women authors and experts who show listeners how to live their sweet life with gusto.

Barb lives between New York and Milan.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Barbara. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Absolutely, I'd love to! My name is Barbara Conelli, I'm an author and Chiquenist on the mission to bring Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun into women's lives. I write Chique Books filled with Italian passion. I'm a globetrotter, chocoholic, avid linguist, very eager yet very bad golf player and a passionate Dolce Vita lover.

Where did you grow up?

I come from a multicultural family of nomads. I grew up between Milan and London, but thanks to frequent travels I've always had many homes away from home. Today I'm a New Yorker who travels all around the world and never gets to spend more than a couple of days in New York. Talk about an adventurous life!

What is your fondest childhood memory?

There are many, but should I choose one, I'd say my Dad's bedtime stories. He made up exciting, magical worlds and he was the most creative and entertaining storyteller I've ever met.

When did you begin writing?

I learned to read and write at the age of four, and a year later I wrote a bestselling book that became a big hit in local kindergartens. The overnight success lasted for an exciting twenty-four hours, but since then, I have never separated from my writing endeavors. I guess me and my beagle's wonderful vet are the only people in the world who knew with absolutely certainty what they wanted to become when they grew up already as toddlers.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write all the time. I carry my journal everywhere because new ideas tend to come to me unexpected. I have the best writing sessions at 3am when you can see me sitting on the bed with a flashlight frantically processing my somnambulant ideas. Why with a flashlight, you may ask? Well, my beagle gets really grumpy when I wake him up.

What is this book about?

Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita, subtitled "Put on your Borsalino and swing those hips, baby", contains charming, poetic, delightful and humorous travel and life stories about extraordinary Milanese women, men who have succumbed to their temptation, and the art of living your own dolce vita no matter where in the world you are. In this book, I describe my personal, intimate encounters with the city I've always been in love with, with places off the beaten track, women who have changed the face of Milan, and its darkest, most passionate secrets.

What inspired you to write it?

The Milanese women and their stories, the Italian art and tradition of living your own Dolce Vita, the smells, flavors and colors of Italy, and my grandma Lily's scrumptious cannelloni.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My mum. She's more excited about my success than I am. She urges me to write, complaining: "I have nothing to read!"

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I'm not a member of any critique group. My mum is my first reader who provides the toughest and most authentic feedback (yes, I do wish she was a little bit more gentle). I also have two close girlfriends who get to read my galleys, and their feedback is always very helpful and valuable, because they represent my target market.

Who is your favorite author?

I love many authors, but my absolutely favorite ones are Simona Sparaco and Marian Keyes. I admire their writing style, their use of the language, and their humor.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

No, I don't have an agent, and I'm currently not looking for one, although I do not exclude the possibility of going traditional one day, just for the fun and the adventure.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I'm a proud indie author and publisher, and the publication journey of this particular book has been smooth, fun, effortless and fun. I had my fair share of publishing bumpy rides in the past, and I'm grateful for each and every one of them. They helped me become a knowledgeable and smart independent publisher.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I wouldn't, because I love challenges! Challenges are your biggest teachers, and I've learned to embrace challenges and obstacles patiently and with expectation. Challenges always lead to amazing breakthroughs!

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita is available online and in bookstores. I love and recommend especially Amazon because it offers also the Kindle edition of my book.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, my website is, and my blog is hosted right on my website. I'd like to invite you to check out my Chique site and sign up for my free 5-day Myth-Shattering E-Course. It's absolutely hilarious and it will help you uncover and shatter five toxic myths that ruin your mood, your life and your appetite - in a very Italian way.
Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes, I have a fantastic Chique Book Trailer that you can watch right on my website: You can also find it on YouTube:

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

As a passionate indie author and publisher, I'm a big fan of guerilla marketing, and I love thinking of new ways to promote myself and my book with little or no expense. I'd say it works, because Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita has been an Amazon bestseller in two categories for quite a while! The biggest and best investment has been this virtual book tour with It's so much fun, and Dorothy is a real book tour wizard!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write. Writers write. Aspiring authors don't. Do what you love, love what you do. Listen to your heart, follow your passion, pursue your dreams. Never ever give up!

What is up next for you?

I'm working on a new Chique Book that's going to be published in October. I'm very excited about it, I'm totally submerged in the process, and I love the writing flow. Just in case you didn't know, Italians don't do writer's block!

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you very much for interviewing me, I had a blast! And remember, if life gives you twists and turns, Chique Yourself Up in Italy!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book Spotlight: From Mason to Minister by Neil Cullan McKinlay

An adventurous, captivating and poetic memoir of the author’s courageous and spiritual journey—from Scotland to Canada to Australia—in his quest to “find the Truth and know the living God.”

Neither an apologetic nor a polemic, he corrects much misinterpretation and misunderstanding of Freemasonry. We learn how inspiration from Masonic teachings about Solomon’s Temple, the arch, and keystone led him to a deep study of the revelation from the Bible of the “stone the builders rejected” which is Christ.

Readers will be uplifted, inspired, and delighted as they follow along with him in the discovery of his calling to become a minister.

Read an Excerpt!

Armchair Conversion

Not everyone is converted to Christianity the same way as the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. Saul, of course, became Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ. Indeed some children grow up in Christian homes never knowing the moment of their conversion, knowing only that they have always loved Jesus and have always trusted in Him alone for salvation. In some ways I envy those Christians.

My own conversion was climactic. Like a stuck needle on an old broken record, I was trying to come to grips with Jesus saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). I thought this exclusivity was very arrogant. I remember sitting in my armchair contemplating these words, and wondering who this Jesus thought He was! The “stone the builders rejected” of the Bible (and of the Chapter of the Royal Arch teaching) was about to really sink into and permanently lodge in my heart.

My brother Fearghas’ painting of the spaceman lost in space became how I felt. He had become detached from the mother ship – I was lost in space. The millions of stars were twinkling in the black night sky. I was surrounded by people at work and had my family at home. I played soccer. I had a busy social life. I attended Masonic meetings, but like the drifting spaceman, I began to feel so lonely and detached in the universe. Still, in my heart I pondered the things I had learned about God as I sat in my armchair.

I began to call out to God audibly: “I want to know You!” I had come to the stage in my philosophical travels of being unable to prove to myself whether I was awake or dreaming. It’s a terribly terrifying place to be, not knowing if I was dreaming that reality is real, or worse, whether I was part of someone else’s dream! How does anyone know if they really exist? How are we to measure reality? Perhaps I was really in a coma lying on a hospital bed somewhere.

Is truth a subjective thing? If it is, then, am I the measure of reality? Am I the centre of the universe? Does the universe cabalistically emanate from me as its centre? (I had delved into cabalism as I fossicked* around in the dusty tomes of Masonic literature in Masonic libraries.)

For there to be objective truth there would need to be a Supreme Being Who had revealed His will to man. Otherwise one man’s opinion is as valid as any other man’s contradiction.

I believed in a Supreme Being, but who was He? I continued to cry out to Him. And as I did so, I listened in my heart for the answer. But all that I could hear was Jesus saying I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. I would reply to Him, “Get out of my way. I am looking for God!” And again I would cry out to God. And again Jesus would say, No one comes to the Father except through Me. Around and around we would go.

Sitting alone in that armchair I became, in my mind, the spaceman. The severed umbilical cord slowly flapped in the solar wind. The stars in the dark sky continued silently blinking. I began to gasp for air. I felt weak. I gasped for God, for life! “I want to know You, God!” No one comes to the Father except through Me was the singular reply. “But I’m looking for God!”

Then it happened. The lights went out in my mind. Not one twinkling star in the black expanse of the universe – only utter darkness! Horror and great darkness fell upon me! Like a fish in a net, or deep in the dark hold of the icy bowels of a fisherman’s boat, I feebly gasped for air! “I want to know God!” My cry was very feeble now. Again the words of Jesus entered my mind: I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Tears began to stream down my face when at last I realized who Jesus is. He is God! How stupid of me! I had seen it over and over in the Bible, yet it never really dawned on me until I was at the end of my tether. Jesus is my Saviour. He is my Lord and my God. As I sat in my armchair, I began to cling to Him for dear life. And it was only afterward that I recognized that He was the One who held me safely in His grip first. By His Spirit, working with His Word, the Father had revealed the Son to me. The Spirit enabled me to see the Father in the Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way to God. He is the Truth. He is objective truth – truth outside of me, outside of all men. And He is the Life – everlasting life. Jesus is Paradise. He is Noah’s Ark. He is Solomon’s Temple. He is Salvation.

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God [i.e., Jehovah Adonai] is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.” (Hab. 3:17-19).

After my conversion I penned the following:

1) There came a Shepherd long ago,
Searching for His sheep.
He will not rest till all His flock
Is safely in His keep.
With open arms He calls to them.
His voice is soft yet clear.
And they come home to Him again.
The Shepherd loves them dear.
Good Shepherd I will heed Your call,
For this I must confess:
I cannot find my own way out
Of this darkened wilderness.

* Australian: Mining term; to rummage about in search of valuables.

What Reviewers are Saying!

From Mason to Minister – Through the Lattice is a captivating journey of courage through a world of secrets, soul-searching, and ultimate success. An intriguing and inspiring read from shadows to sunlight!

--William J. Federer, Best-selling author, nationally known speaker, and presents American Minute on radio and Internet at President, Amerisearch Inc., St. Louis, Missouri.

By its very nature, Freemasonry is shrouded in mystery and cloaked in secrecy, which has led inevitably to much misunderstanding and misinformation. It is here Brother McKinlay’s book comes to the rescue. Neither an apologetic nor a polemic, it is the memoir of his conversion to Christ after his personal membership in Freemasonry, how he moved From Mason to Minister. His journey, seen Through the Lattice (Song of Solomon 2), is charming, engaging, informative, historical, and, most of all, Biblical. It is unique – as is typical of Nordskog Publishing – and answers some questions about a controversial subject. It is a book to be enjoyed.

--Dr. J. D. Watson, Pastor-Teacher, Grace Bible Church, Meeker, Colorado, Author of A Word for the Day and A Hebrew Word for the Day

"I view the book as a grouping of revelations, recollections, and reflections on the spiritual awakening in the author’s life."

--Martha's Bookshelf

I was born in Ontario, Canada when the leaves turned a beautiful red and gold in the fall. With mum and dad and my two older brothers we sailed across the Atlantic to my parent’s native Scotland when I was two. As my brother Stuart remembers it, “we sailed from the St. Lawrence in November 1958 in the bowels of the Royal Mail ship, Carinthia, taking a week to cross the winter Atlantic … We arrived off Greenock in a dense fog and taken ashore by tender – wow, despite the murky gloom we got a first sighting of a double-decker bus. We entrained for St. Enoch station in Glasgow where we were met by Aunt Pearl and Uncle George who took us to Miller Road in Haldane where we stayed for some months.”

I grew up in the Vale of Leven on the southern end of Loch Lomond. I left school at fifteen to work in a Glasgow shipyard but subsequently became an apprentice plumber in my home town of Alexandria. In 1977, just before my twenty-first birthday, I moved back to Toronto, Canada to work as a journeyman plumber.

On a trip back to Scotland I met Dorothy. We married in 1981 in Winnipeg, Manitoba where I worked as a railway pipefitter for Canadian National Railway. Our marriage produced three beautiful daughters who are now all grown up and married. It was after ten Manitoba winters that we pulled up stakes and moved to sunny Queensland where I studied to be a Presbyterian minister.

Ordained in 1998 I pastored congregations in Springsure and in Brisbane, with a five year stint in beautiful Tasmania. We have now settled back in Brisbane where I work part time as an Army Chaplain. The rest of my time is spent writing mostly theological items but I’m trying my hand at novel writing. I also write for a monthly Australian writer’s magazine called FreeXpresSion. I self-published a collection of these writings in a book titled The Song of Creation & Other Contemplations (ISBN 0-9757588-7-X).

I like strumming my guitar and writing songs, watching movies and reading good books. I openly admit to enjoying contemplating God’s creation, appreciating birds, bees, mountains, trees, good food and the occasional single malt.
You can find my blog at: Snow Off the Ben.

Exposure by Therese Fowler Giveaway Winner!

Our congratulations go out to Tiffany Drew, winner of a copy of Exposure by Therese Fowler. This book received rave reviews during Therese's tour. I hope to read it at some point too.

I found several duplicate comments for this giveaway. Part of that might be because of the ongoing Blogger issues for some users. Only unique comments were used to select a winner.

I will contact Tiffany now. She will have 72 hours to respond with her mailing information. If I don't hear from her within that time frame, I will select a new winner.

Thanks to all who participated. Look for more giveaway opportunities coming soon!

If you still wish to own a copy of this book, please visit Amazon! It is also available in a Kindle edition.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Inch Principle by John T. Condry & Paul E. Carpenter

The Inch Principle: 21 Million Dollar Inches of Management by John T. Condry and Paul E. Carpenter provides a 180-page guide to 21 management principles, or 21 inches, that will increase a manager’s confidence to overcome challenges, reduce drama in the workplace, teach employees that profit is not a four letter word, make decisions and motivate today’s entitled worker to be loyal. The authors strive to motivate managers to be better leaders by focusing on the present, rather than past experiences or hopes for the future. “It’s a message of letting go of the past and letting the future take care of itself. It’s how to make decisions today,” explain the authors.

Join the Online Tour by visiting

John T. Condry and Paul E. Carpenter are principals at CMI, which features the flagship management training program, “Managing in the Zone.” Condry, a management development expert, trainer, consultant, speaker and founder of Career Success Seminars Inc., also published the Cornerstones of Management training series. Carpenter is president of The Non-Traditional Revenue Group, LLC, a consulting firm that develops revenue for companies through training and marketing throughout the United States.

Visit the authors online at


Friday, June 17, 2011

Interview with Annabel Aidan, Author of Assumption of Right

Joining us today is Annabel Aidan, author of Assumption Of Right. Annabel Aidan writes romantic suspense with a hint of magic. She publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and non-fiction. She spent over twenty years working behind the scenes on Broadway, in film and television, mostly working wardrobe. Her plays are produced in New York, London, Edinburgh, and Australia. If you run towards her undoing buttons, she will tear off your clothes and flip you into something else — and then read your tarot cards.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Annabel. It's great to have you here. Let's get right into the meat of things. Why set this piece backstage during rehearsals and performance?

I worked backstage on Broadway for years as a dresser. There’s a peculiar type of intensity intrinsic in the relationships backstage, even when they’re not romantic or sexual. You spend nights, weekends, holidays with these people in a state of high adrenalin. When a show closes, you even miss the people you didn’t like. And the stakes are different on Broadway than they are off-Broadway or off-off Broadway or in a regional theatre or a straw hat theatre or a dinner theatre or a community theatre. Each type of theatre has a unique atmosphere -- and believe me, I’ve worked all of “em! ;) So often, backstage is portrayed in very cliched, bitchy, petty terms. We all have bitchy, petty days backstage, but without rising above it to find a manageable working rhythm, you can’t sustain a successful, long-running show. People outside the business are always fascinated by my backstage stories, so I thought, why not use it to frame the piece? Besides, Broadway theatres, the old ones, all have ghost stories attached.

So the ghost stories are true?

The theatre in the book is an amalgam of several of the theatres in which I’ve worked, all of which have a deep history, and are known for their ghosts. The stories in the book were inspired by some of the ones I’ve heard over the years, in different theatres, that particularly resonated with me. I changed the details to support the story and gave this fictional theatre its own fictional haunted history.

What is it about theatres and ghost stories?

You’ve got a group of highly creative, energetic people in a closed, charged atmosphere filled with history. You’ve got energy and high adrenalin going for every performance. However you look at the phenomenon known as “ghosts” -- whether a ghost is a spirit who hasn’t moved on or residual energy left by someone who’s been there before, or energy created in the time and space that draws like energy to it, you have a highly charged, suggestive environment. Almost everyone who’s worked in one of the theatres has experiences that can’t be explained by normal means, whether they talk about it or not. And every old theatre has its special ghostly history. No one gets too upset about it. It’s just part of working in theatre. And, most of the time, the experience is mischievous, not malicious. The ghosts are happy the theatre is occupied, that a show is running. They’re happy for the company. There are a lot of great theatre ghost stories out there. Some are funny, some are sad, but all of them are specific to the building’s history.

Do the Secret Service actually come backstage?

Absolutely. I’ve been in several situations, both on Broadway and on the road, where mucky-mucks come in with Secret Service protection. They don’t come in early to learn the show, though -- they’re just set up, sweep for bombs, the audience has to go through the whatever search process is deemed necessary on the night of the performance. And I’ve never had one of the VIPS actually come onstage to perform. That’s definitely artistic license! Usually they’ll come backstage right after the show to meet the cast and take photos on stage.

What’s it like, working with the Secret Service?

My experiences were totally positive. Great men and women. Smart, interesTING, intereSTED, and funny. They’re hired because they have heightened powers of observation and listening, and can think well on their feet. And wardrobe just puzzles them! Secret Service personnel are used to people either intimidated by the suit, the sunglasses, the gun, and the earpiece, or contemptuous of them. Wardrobe is the department most used to integrating new people to the show. Instead of being put off or put out, we’re inclusive. We meet them as fellow professionals, with just a different speciality that’s a little more life-and-death than what we do. It surprises them. We’re so used to running around taking care of everyone, it’s always, “Watch out for that pylon, you’ll be crushed if you stand there, take a step over HERE” or “there’s going to be a loud noise from that part of the stage, don’t worry, it’s supposed to happen” or “we’ve got cake in the green room, do you want some?” or “this part is really cool, stand here so you can see” or “if you’re allowed to take off your jacket, I’ll fix that button that’s about to pop off.” We make sure they feel included and part of it, without distracting them from what they need to focus on.

How did you research the book?

A lot of the backstage stuff is inspired by my experiences over the years, although no situation and no character is directly lifted. When you do your job as a writer, the characters evolve to be very distinct individuals and have very little to do with the original inspirations. I created the outline for a big musical to encompass what I wanted to happen both on and offstage -- and, by the end of it, I wished I knew how to write musicals, because it was a fun premise! As far as the Secret Service aspect, whenever I dealt with agents backstage, I talked to them as much as they could talk and asked questions. Some of it, in the moment, was so we could work together smoothly. Some of it was because I’m a writer and everything’s material. Procedures change, and, of course, they can’t go into certain details, and that has to be respected. Once I sat down to revise the book -- and we’ll get back to why I waited until revisions in a minute -- I read as many memoirs from ex-Secret Service people as I could, to get an idea of the dailiness of it. I re-read diary entries from times I interacted with agents backstage, remembered conversations, looked over notes I’d written once I’d come home. Any errors are entirely my own!

Why did you wait until the revision to research?

Do I dare admit it? The very first incarnation of this piece was my second year of Nano, National Novel Writing Month. Nano puts editors and publishers into despair from December until March every year, because people dash off a novel, run it through spell check, and then submit. I kept revising this book for FIVE YEARS until it was in a shape I felt was submission-worthy. I wrote the entire first draft during Nano, but over the coming years, I tore it apart and there’s very little left from the original except the premise. I’ve found anything written during Nano needs years of revisions, rather than the months it usually takes me to revise material written outside of Nano. I did Nano for four consecutive years. I’m glad I did it, but I think, at this point, it’s become counterproductive to my process. It helped build my process, but now I need to be less concerned with quantity, even in the initial draft. I still like to vomit out a first draft, but not necessarily at the rate of 2500 words a day, which is my Nano pace. What I like about Nano is that it’s a playground and I could push myself out of my comfort zone. I might not have attempted romantic suspense if I hadn’t been dared to by a Nano pal.

Do you write every day?

Since this is how I make my living, absolutely! I do my first 1K of the day--well, usually, it’s about 1500 words/day -- first thing in the morning, after yoga and feeding the cats, before anything else. After breakfast, I blog, and then I work on whatever’s on deadline, market, etc. But no matter what goes haywire during the day, I always have that initial 1K. And those words start adding up pretty fast. The longer you don’t write, the harder it is to get back into the rhythm of it, so writing every day is important. When you don’t write, plan not writing. It cuts down on the frustration levels.

You publish under different names. Why?

Different names for different genres. It’s loosening up in the last few years, but there are times when people in the business can’t seem to fathom that one can write well in more than one genre. Readers will follow an author  from genre to genre, or find an author new-to-them in their favorite genre, but some people in the business just can’t wrap their heads around it. I like to write about whatever captures my interest. Therefore, I do. Also, each pseudonym has a slightly different tone. Another reason is that I like to keep my life MINE. I don’t care if someone knows my legal name. I'm not “hiding” anything. But, while I do believe in an integrated life to a certain extent, my public personas are separate from my private one. When I’m working, when I’m “on” doing an event or an appearance, I’m in public and fair game. When I’m on my own time, I’m not, and don’t think you can just interrupt my private time or my dinner or knock on my door without invitation, because I will be rude. My life is my own, my work is out there. Period. It’s not particularly interesting or scandalous, but it’s MINE and no one else’s business. Remember, I worked with actors for years -- I’ve watched the soul-sucking destruction that can occur when there’s no separation and you have to be “on” all the time. This “you always have to be available” and “there’s no such thing as privacy” is B.S. Create it. Set boundaries. Stick to them. Don’t let “Them” dictate what parts of your life belong to you.

What’s next on your agenda?

I’m working on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the next Annabel Aidan romantic suspense novel. It features Bonnie, who’s a peripheral character in ASSUMPTION, and her interactions with ghosts from the days when New York was New Amsterdam. Among the research materials I used for inspiration were Washington Irving’s diaries. Yes, I did it properly this time, researching before and during the first draft! And then, I’ll probably give Amanda her own book. She has an awful lot to say, and my trusted readers loved her. I also started another Annabel Aidan novel, an idea that’s been knocking around for awhile that suddenly came together at the worst possible time in my schedule -- isn’t that always the way? It deals with a married couple, very much in love, the secrets they’ve kept, and how those secrets come back to haunt them. Literally and figuratively. I’d love to do something with the ghost stories I set up in this book. And of course, there’s plenty going on under the other names, so you’ll just have to visit the blog, Ink in My Coffee, to keep up! ;)

Book Spotlight: Huckleberry Milton by Bradley J. Milton

Can a robotic Jerry Garcia revive the Grateful Dead, playing ad-hoc (and continuous) concerts at local shopping malls, schoolyards and Subway restaurants, jump-starting a sinking economy and leading the way to a new, highly profitable American Dream?

This is the question and struggle as businessman and former hippie Huckleberry Milton, his robotic sidekick Jerry Garcia, and a new Jim Morrison look-alike find themselves together on a trip back to the Silicon Valley of the late 1960s in search of a solution to save 21st century America's failing economy.

Huckleberry Milton, the new psychedelic stream-of-consciousness novel by Bradley J. Milton, is available on Amazon Kindle, Nook and all other standard formats.

On the BJM LIVE! Summer Blog Tour, Bradley J. Milton reads excerpts from the book, recorded live and exclusively for blogs on the tour. Commemorative t-shirts are available at the BJM LIVE! virtual merch table for a limited time.

Business executive and former Deadhead Bradley J Milton has spent years attempting to combine the American counter-culture of the 1960s with today's global corporate reality, with a goal of making the world a better place -- and highly profitable, too!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interview: Leonora Pruner, Author of In the Aerie of the Wolf

Joining us today is Leonora Pruner, author of In the Aerie of the Wolf. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Leonora was brought to California by her parents during the Second World War, which has since been her principal residence. She graduated from Westmont College then earned an MBA from Pepperdine University. Having married in 1953, she has seen her family expand from two children to thirteen grandchildren and five great- grandchildren.

In the late ‘60s, an eighteenth-century English character on The Wonderful World of Disney, captivated her interest. The desire to create a variation of him, led to five years of extensive research, followed by the publication of two period novels in 1981 and 1987, Love’s Secret Storm, and Love’s Silent Gift. Feeling that all that research should be reused, eighteenth-century England continues as a setting for her work.

From 1987 to 1997, she lived in the Republic of Maldives collecting folklore and teaching economics and computer science. While there, she wrote the first drafts of Close to His Heart and The Aerie of the Wolf on her computer.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Leonora. It is a pleasure to have you with us. When did you begin writing?

It is hard to say. My mother once showed me some “stories” I had written in first grade or so which my teacher had said had more form and plot than was usual at that stage. I think of the beginnings when I was age 12. My mother and I had moved from Iowa to California to be with her parents. A friend and I corresponded, continuing an interesting story we developed in playing paper dolls. Other stories came to mind which I enjoyed writing by hand or on a very old typewriter -- it had 3 rows of keys instead of the now normal 4 rows. However, I never finished a story until in my mid-twenties. When I sent it off to Eerdmans, Mr. Eerdman wrote back that it was good, but not long enough for a book and too long for a short story.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

At irregular times when I can put together some uninterrupted time free of distractions.
What is this book about?

Basically, it is about relationships and the significance of trust, especially in a marriage. It is about having the courage to take a risk, to venture into the unknown and deal with fear, possible rejection, and uncertainty. It is about a person being freed from the crippling bonds of rejection through another’s acceptance. And, it is about learning to see past a person’s physical appearance to the qualities of character beneath the surface.

What inspired you to write it?

Probably stories of brides being escorted to wed a man they have not yet met (such as the German Charlotte’s arranged marriage to England’s George III) and the old tale of Beauty and the Beast. What if the man sending for his bride took great personal care to bring her safely to him? What if the magical kiss did not transform a person physically? What is the deeper meaning of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”? Having spent 5 years in research for my first novel, in answering these questions, the setting that came naturally to my imagination was mid-18th century England where I am pretty much “at home”.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
I do not have an agent and am sure one would be helpful.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Copies may be purchased through and from the publisher, Click on the cover of In The Aerie of the Wolf to go to a page of book information and the way to order it.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

So far, I am just on Facebook as Leonora Pruner.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I found this was valuable after learning it in a writing class and have passed it on to many others. Find a book by one of the best writers in a genre you like, take out some scratch paper and a pen or pencil and proceed to copy it word for word (no abbreviations allowed), including all punctuation, paragraphing, etc. Concentrate on what you are writing. After 10 minutes, recycle the scratch paper and go about your life. If you do this for at least 30 days, it will impact your writing. I found I was writing my 4th draft as my first. You will not write like the person you are copying, but your own style will firm up and improve and you will understand better how to handle some of the mechanical details of writing.

What is up next for you?
I am currently working on another novel set in mid-18th century England, as are the others. Is a happy, satisfying life possible after being trapped in an abusive situation? How are other people affected? Where is the grace?

Thank you for spending time with us today, Leonora. We wish you continued success.