Weather Report, May 8

Image result for cello + photos

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “DOGLAND,” BY JACKI SKOLE AND “FLOAT,” BY JoeANN HART, CAN BE FOUND, ALONG WITH MAY’S “FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY,” BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST. OR, JUST CLICK THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.

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Some people have this idea that writers are, by definition, boring.

Not boring in print, or in a dinner table conversation, perhaps, but boring in terms of being sedentary creatures who rarely see the sunlight and spend the majority of each door hunched over their computers.

I’m sure such writers do exist — the lineal descendants of Emily Dickinson — but they are definitely in the minority.  I’ve interacted with close to 300 authors since starting Snowflakes two years ago, and I’ve found that most are interesting not just through their work, but in and of themselves.

Among other things, we’ve had doctors, lawyers, drug counselors, political consultants, truck drivers, SWAT team cops, psychiatrists, building contractors, ministers, skydivers and bartenders. We’ve had world travelers. Melissa Rea, author of a fascinating novel about Casanova (“Conjuring Casanova”), is, of all things, a dentist.

Even with all that, though, I have to admit that my jaw dropped upon reading the author profile supplied by Marina Brown, whose novel “Lisbeth” is featured this week. I quote, in part:

“I was born in Indianapolis and left to join Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo when I was 15. I toured and danced with that company and another in Europe until almost 21, when an injury abruptly stopped my career. In a complete “new incarnation”, I became an RN, but returned to NYC to work in psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Hospital, and later at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA in Los Angeles, and Lindeman Mental Health Center in Boston. Later, I became a hospice nurse.

“I married a Geology professor and we adopted three children. I learned to play the cello and became a member of the Tampa Bay Symphony. And I began to show my paintings… watercolors, often figurative and narrative pieces, and frequently of dancers. I polished my French and learned Italian.

“With my second husband, who loved sailboats, we began extended voyages, spending three years sailing the Caribbean (my first novel, Land Without Mirrors, was inspired by the leper island we visited in Trinidad) and on my own in Croatia, Greece, to Bermuda, and Canada. Traveling increased to Ethiopia, India, Tanzania, China, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Peru, Chile, Colombia, most of the Middle East, and all of Europe. My current novel-in-progress takes place in Pitigliano, a small village in Italy where I’ve spent wonderful times.”

Boring? I don’t think so. Another of this week’s featured authors, Steffan Postaer, is an advertising copywriter and blogger (“Gods of Advertising”) who spawned his novel “The Happy Soul Industry” by thinking to himself one day: “What if God decided to start an advertising campaign?”

And to those who preach “stick to writing what you know,” I give them our third author,  C.A. Hocking, an Australian whose riveting tale of childhood sexual abuse came not — fortunately for her — from personal experience, but from listening to horror stories from several acquaintances. She wrote the book to give them a voice.

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, MAY 9-15.

“LISBETH,” BY MARINA BROWN

Can memory be genetically transferred? Can the quest for revenge remain alive after death?  In 1984, on Buena Vista, a small Mississippi property, Claire Elliston finds herself compelled to rebuild the house her mother, Lisbeth, inhabited 40 years before. But the past and its evils come alive as the ruins are disturbed–laying bare the sins of a time when Jim Crow ruled the South, when depravity took place behind lace curtains, and when cross-race love could get you killed.

The unexplained arrival of a German doctor breaks open the past’s labyrinthine secrets. Hoping to answer his own questions about a child fathered by his father, the doctor unwittingly sets in play emotions that will explode into the murder of Claire’s grandfather, Senator Charlie Elliston. With characters, none of whom is what they seem, each is in some way motivated by the powerful presence of the long-dead Lisbeth. Dotted with naughty Southern humor, this strange saga leaps time and place as a black and a white family linked by Lisbeth’s love discover their shared need for retribution and their capacity for fidelity and redemption.

“THE HAPPY SOUL INDUSTRY,” BY STEFFAN POSTAER.

Writes Steffan: “The concept of this book struck me like an epiphany and I knew I had a good story before I wrote the first words. A year later I wrote a screenplay as well.

Advertising is a business predicated on creating false desire, one that makes people covet what they don’t need. In this satirical and provocative story, advertising and religion collide in a perfect storm, making The Happy Soul Industry a perfect concept for these interesting times.

“DAMAGED GOODS,” BY C.A. HOCKING.

DAMAGED GOODS is a powerful, hard-hitting story about three sisters who are subjected to a childhood of unrelenting abuse at the hands of their father. The girls create a strange, unnatural world for themselves in their desperate efforts to survive their violent, isolated prison, but it is human nature to seek escape, and each of them chooses a different path out of their own personal nightmare. The eldest, Sis, chooses biological escape in a world where being a girl is fraught with danger, and becomes a manwoman. The youngest, Sweetypie, loses her mind to flee her own reality, and becomes a childwoman. The middle sister, Helen, first takes the ultimate revenge to save her sisters and then puts the distance of geography between herself and her past, becoming a woman to be envied and admired by all. Fifty years after leaving, Helen returns to her childhood home to find Sis and Sweetypie much as she had left them. Or so it seems at first, until she discovers secrets within secrets and an act of vengeance that still haunts their lives. So begins a journey for each of them that will ultimately end in tragedy, closure and release.

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writersbridgebridgebuilder

Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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