Weather Report, May 15

Female Pirate Images Shoots | Last photo shoot on French shores...

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “THE HAPPY SOUL INDUSTRY,” BY STEFFAN POSTAER, “LISBETH,” BY MARINA BROWN AND “DAMAGED GOODS,” BY C.A. HOCKING, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.

———————————————————————————————————————–

This week, Snowflakes in a Blizzard will focus on rebellion.

Pirates, for instance. And Mary Read and Anne Bonny, the focus of William Furney’s historical novel “Black Hearts White Bones,” were rebels within a rebellion, strong women barging into a male-dominated world of cutlasses and cannons.

Bridey McKenna’s rebellion is less violent but no less life-changing. In Marci Diehl’s “What You Don’t Know Now,” she manages to escape from a tour bus journey through Europe (orchestrated by her protective mom) to seek out some experiences of her own.

But rebels can break out at any age. In “Gone to Pot,” Jennifer Craig gives us the story of Jess, who juggles her position as the leader of a senior women’s group in her small British Columbia community with her secret life as a pot-selling entrepreneur.

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, MAY 15-21

“BLACK HEARTS WHITE BONES,” BY WILLIAM FURNEY.

Black Hearts White Bones is a “what if” novel about Anne Bonny and Mary Read, two very real pirates who lived in the early 18th Century.  The story begins where the sketchy historic records leave off.  Instead of being hanged along with Calico Jack Rackham (one of the best names in pirate history) and the rest of his crew, Anne and Mary both “pleaded their bellies,” delaying their executions until their babies were born.  The record shows that Mary died of “the fever” while still in prison but tells us nothing of Anne’s fate.  A prevalent and plausible theory is that her father – a plantation owner in Charles Town – paid a ransom to have her released from prison.

The prologue of the story begins with Mary Read faking her death (reminiscent of The Count of Monte Cristo) and pledging to one day kill Anne Bonny for leaving her in prison.  The story resumes nine years later when Mary stumbles upon Anne who is living a life of obscurity in colonial Bath.  But instead of killing Anne, Mary Read decides to execute a more sinister plan before leaving Bath forever.  The story that follows is one of obsession, vengeance, betrayal, and self-realization.

“WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW NOW,” BY MARCI DIEHL.

Bridey McKenna’s graduation present is meant to be the ultimate mother-daughter vacation, during the one of history’s most important summers — the summer of 1967. Eighteen and in Europe for the first time, nothing is what Bridey expects. Her mother wants to keep her hermetically sealed on the tour bus, safe from all harm. “Harm” in her mother’s terms means having any experiences at all.

Bridey’s chances for adventure, romance and enlightenment look slim-to-none until she arrives in Umbria and meets Alessandro — someone who could change everything about her future. Alessandro is no ordinary singing waiter and he’s the last person on earth her mother wants in her daughter’s life. Bridey’s only hope for things to get better is to connect in Rome with her worldly aunt and uncle — a man who holds a position at the British embassy in Jordan that no one ever quite… defines. When an emergency takes Bridey off the tour, on to Athens and farther into that world than she ever imagined, the complex terrain of family, love and womanhood holds a surprising itinerary. In the summer before college, it’s the education of a lifetime.

“GONE TO POT,” BY JENNIFER CRAIG.

After losing her job and learning she might also lose her house because of a bad investment, Jess, a fiercely independent and hilariously wry BC grandma, resorts to growing pot in her basement to make ends meet. She then has to juggle her public life as a grandmother and member of the town’s senior women’s group – The Company of Crones – with her secret life as a pot grower. The unusual characters she meets along the way include Swan, the enigmatic young woman who introduces her to the grower’s world, and Marcus, the socially awkward “gardener” who shows her the tricks of the trade. Both of her new young friends are more than they appear, and Jess’ adventures in pot growing break down barriers in both her old and new circles. The delightful outcome of an almost legitimate business leaves Jess and her associates flushed with success.

The Happy Soul Industry

The Happy Soul Industry by [Postaer, Steffan]

THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “LISBETH,” BY MARINA BROWN AND “DAMAGED GOODS,” BY C.A. HOCKING, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.

——————————————————————-

THE BOOK: The Happy Soul Industry

PUBLISHED IN: 2009

THE AUTHOR: Steffan Postaer

THE PUBLISHER: Inkwater Press

Steffan PostaerSUMMARY: A modern fable about good and evil – God hires an ad agency to improve Heaven’s “brand” image and all hell breaks loose.

THE BACK STORY: 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.

WHY THIS TITLE? In the book it’s the name of the company God uses to front for Heaven.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: 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.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“So when you read this book, look past the religion and past the advertising on to something far more important, look to the people, look to yourself, your actions and how they’re affecting you and everybody around you. This book might help you find out something new about yourself.” — -Zachary Bonnan, 2009 Amazon Review

“I picked it up and knocked it out in a couple of sittings, unable to put it down. It’s an engrossing, great read. My only qualm is that it ended quickly…leaving me with the question, “What happens next?” — -Jeff Louis, 2010 Amazon Revuew

“I couldn’t help but smile when he cast a woman as God.” — -LAWoman071, 2009 Amazon Review

“Steffan uses his insider access and his insight into humanity to pen an entertaining story with a great message for anyone in the business — or not.” — -LaxDad, 2008 Amazon review.

AUTHOR PROFILE: A copywriter by trade, Steffan is renowned for his provocative work on behalf of Altoids, The Curiously Strong Mints. Other highlights of his career include co-authoring the famous “Not your father’s Oldsmobile” for General Motors. His pop culture blog, Gods of Advertising is on the Business Insider “must list” and a WordPress award winner. Steffan’s other novel, The Last Generation was optioned for a cable series by Disney Touchstone.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Soul-Industry-Steffan-Postaer/dp/1592993524/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, most online booksellers…

PRICE: $5.00-15.00.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Twitter: https://twitter.com/Steffan1.

Email: Steffan1@rcn.com Blog: https://godsofadvertising.wordpress.com/

Lisbeth

THE BOOK: Lisbeth

PUBLISHED: 2017

THE AUTHOR: Marina Brown

THE EDITOR: SYP Publishing

THE PUBLISHER:  SYP Publishing (Southern Yellow Pine Publishing)

SUMMARY: 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 BACK STORY:  I have spent several summers in the area around the small town I’ve described. I live near others like it in Georgia and Tallahassee. Yet it is the people of the South who interest me. In some ways, interacting with people whose ways seem so attached to another time, is like doing a little anthropology. The history of the South, lineage, precedent, secrets…seem not history, but are called upon every day by those who live there. It’s as if even the trees have something to tell.

I spent quite lot of time researching African American historical events and context. I interviewed many elderly black people for their memories of the Jim Crow conditions. I have attended many African American church services. And of course, hours on the internet finding out about German prisoners of war, the weather and flowers of this part of Mississippi, diseases that are peculiar to those of Jewish descent, etc. I’ve actually talked to a number of people upon whose farms German prisoners were housed.

It took me about two years to write this book.

WHY THIS TITLE?  It took me a while, but eventually it became clear that Lisbeth is the character around whom everything else in the book revolves. She may no longer be living, but even after death, it is Lisbeth who drives the entire narrative.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?  In most every review of this and my first novel, Land Without Mirrors, critics have cited the language, calling it lyrical, ‘stunning’, and other kind remarks. For me language, its rhythm, cadence, color, and precision is something of beauty. Gratuitous description that doesn’t move the plot along is maddening… and I try to avoid that. But describing a tree in a unique way that adds to the moment—is necessary for the moment, I try to do.

And also, I think people like a good story…with a point. I wanted to present the arc of growth in a midlife woman… with the insecurities of that time, her hopes, her sexuality, and burden of her past. But I also wanted to create subplots that would tangle and cross, but in the end, reveal a carefully-wrought tapestry that somehow combined past and present, and a vivid cast of interacting actors.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

Judges’ Rubrics from Royal Palm Literary Awards 2016 (silver medal).

1.     “Lovely, lyrical passages evoking the languorous beauty and sensuality of a Southern summer.”

2.     “A compellingly readable supernatural thriller.”

3.     “The author’s use of language is wonderful.”

4.     “The author weaves together a crochet of mystery, sexual tension, racial hatreds, but in a way which is utterly unique… exceptional writing”

5.     “The reader not only sees, but feels part of each scene.”

6.     “There is a character here for any reader to identify with…to love or hate or simply want to know more about. A wonderful book to read.”

“A wonderful book to read. The characters seem to leap off the pages to combine part mystery, part thriller, part poetry, and even humor. A brilliant study of a woman in her transit to ‘becoming.’” — Anne Barrett, PhD, Professor and Director of the Pepper Institute, Florida State University.

“A riveting study of the Jim Crow South. Marina Brown captures a fraught time and does it with a cast of characters and situations that everybody can identify with… either with love or revulsion. This a difficult book to put down… and I didn’t until the last page was turned!” Henry Steele, MD, (son of Civil Right icon C.K. Steele)

AUTHOR PROFILE: 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.

 Land Without Mirrors, won the Gold Medal for Adult Fiction from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association in 2013. I have won two Firsts in the Porter Fleming Competition for Short Stories; First in Poetry from the Red Hills Literary Competition; Honorable Mention in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Contest. Lisbeth, in manuscript form, won the Royal Palm Literary Awards Second Place for Blended Genre in 2016.

Currently, I write Features for the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper; for Tallahassee Magazine; for Florida Design Magazine; Miami Design and Décor. An exhibition, Between Us: Brothers and Sisters, of my paintings of African-American life and portraits is on display through June 30 at the Meek-Eaton Union Bank Museum in Tallahassee, a part of the FAMU Black Archives. I play cello with a community orchestra and dance flamenco and Argentine tango.

I am happy to speak at book clubs, sitting on author’s panels, and interacting with readers. I am always happy to interface with readers in any way I can.

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

Chapter 3

The next morning, a blistering Monday, already had the city’s asphalt-covered brick streets ready to sizzle. In Tupelo, in her own bathroom, putting on her lipstick, Claire had managed to package up and put away the image of Jackson Perkins’ precocious muscles and his seemingly unintended swipe at her… goddamn him… advancing years. Little red-neck. At twenty-something, he probably was a daddy himself by now. Probably swept some overweight clerk at the Buena Vista Family Dollar off her feet and now went home to macaroni and cheese every night. See how long that ripped torso lasted under a nightly cheddar and white bread regimen. She shouldn’t have given him that little peek at her rear end either. Save that for somebody more appreciative.

And who would that be? Claire took a final look at herself in the mirror before heading to the bank. Alright, Cecile had gotten her hair too dark the last time, but it had a cute swing to it, maybe a little young, but Buster Brown bangs never went out of style. Her décolleté was smooth without a trace of crepe, but under the little jackets and gently flaring skirts, the last few years had laid down new topography in places she guessed she’d never again let see the light of day.

Okay, maybe, if the occasion should serendipitously arise, with candles and the discreet drape of rumpled sheets, she might still be able to pull off one of the kind of nights when she’d known the man she was with was out of his mind with passion. She had been a “highly charged” young woman, after all, and some research-based knowledge just didn’t go away. But if such an occasion arose, Claire knew she’d be anything but spontaneous. For her, a love bed would be a stage set with gravity-defying choreography, plenty of mood lighting, and just enough alcohol involved to keep the man from wanting to explore those flaccid nether regions she couldn’t keep tensed forever before he fell asleep.

And then, as it always happened, when it was over, the loneliness would migrate back, like some fragile kitten that crawled along her legs to settle on her chest and steal her breath, leaving her to wonder where along the way the rest of her had been left.

Claire took another look at herself in the mirror, lifting her neck to stretch the skin taut. Was she one of the women Doreen had talked about yesterday? There’d been two fiancés. Three years of bickering with one and six months of money squabbles with the other. This was the decade she would turn fifty, and Claire momentarily wondered if she’d ever be made love to again. Never married and heading for fifty. The odds weren’t good, not out here in rural America. Yet, she thought, watching her shadow move along the wall, was that what she wanted? Wasn’t it she who had broken off every relationship? Wasn’t it she who felt the fear when a man mentioned love?

Still, she’d recognized that special throb when she’d seen the half-naked Jackson. Maybe she wasn’t dead yet, by God. So maybe Doreen had something. Claire guessed she wasn’t the only one who felt the need to be womanly, but she might be the only one who was so frightened by it.

Suddenly, she felt the light brush against her face. And again. Claire closed her eyes. No, not now, she thought. She needed to get to work. “Mama, please…”

Yet Claire waited for these moments. These whispers that came suddenly in the morning or at a stop light at dusk—with instructions that made no sense. She put the heels of her hands against the bathroom counter and closed her eyes anticipating, like a wave of vertigo, images she wouldn’t understand. This was the reason she was rebuilding the old house—a place to let the whispers speak.

What had Momma felt back then? Had she been loved? Her mother hadn’t lived to thirty-five. Before the tornado that tore apart Buena Vista, Claire remembered Lisbeth as soft and full-busted, the kind of woman who appealed to Southern men. But there her memories became unstitched. When she reached for their fabric, they floated away in fragments, leaving Claire wondering about the kind of life she’d led at Buena Vista before she was sent away; wondering at the kind of life her mother and Gertrude, their maid, had continued.

Claire opened her eyes and shook her head back and forth. Then she brushed her teeth for the second time just to get her mind back on track. Hell, it was easier just to concentrate on uprooting trees and hauling bricks out at the homestead.

But it was hard forcing herself away. There had been a time when she’d felt herself the youngest member of a marching line of Elliston women who didn’t seem to need men in their world. What was it Momma had said? “Men are nice when they visit, and even nicer when they pick up their socks and leave.” Claire tried to remember. Momma must have said that after Daddy died, or had he just gone away? There must have been a Daddy. Claire couldn’t actually picture his face, but Momma would make herself laugh and give Claire a little hug of womanly knowing saying, “You’re just a girl, Clairey. Your big eyes don’t need to see everything.” But they had seen—if only she could remember what.

Claire glanced at her watch and quickly stuffed her lipstick and comb into her purse. She counted out some change for the parking meter at Rita’s Diner, picked up the receipt for stockings she planned to return, and gazed at the wrinkled scrap of paper lying before her on the bathroom counter. She caught her breath—even as she knew what it would say. Always the same. The same reminder. Tiny letters she’d come to recognize.

“avenge me” it quietly read. No emotion in the dainty scrawl lightly penciled on a scrap of envelope. No instructions. It sat alone beside a scatter of bobby pins and a single Q-tip. Claire stared at the shred of paper. It could have said, “water the plants” or “do the laundry.” She picked it up, examining the furl of the cursive letters, trembling that she hadn’t remembered writing them. Then, with a final glance at herself in the mirror, a final search to make sure she was there, Claire brushed the note into a drawer with the others and hurried off to a board meeting before she was late.

Local Outlets:

My Favorite Books; Midtown Reader…(starting after 3/20/17)

Amazon; Barnes and Noble

Price:

$17.95

Contact for Author:

Mcdb100@comcast.net, MarinaBrownAuthor on Facebook, or through SYPPublishing.com

Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods by [HOCKING, C. A.]THE BOOK: Damaged Goods.

PUBLISHED IN: English — Ebook format on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Overdrive; Paperback on Createspace; Chinese translation into Mandarin in eBook format on Amazon.cn.

THE AUTHOR: C. A. Hocking.

THE PUBLISHER: C. A. Hocking.

SUMMARYDAMAGED 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.

C. A. HockingTHE BACK STORY: Although I was spared the horror of being abused myself, many around me were not, and over the years I have listened to their stories and observed the effect that such abuse has had on their lives. Most never truly got over it. After meeting a 90 year old woman and hearing the story of her and her five sisters on an isolated farm with her widowed father, and comforting her when she dissolved into tears even though seven decades of relatively happy life separated her from those events, I knew I had to write a book based on all the stories I had been told – and pull no punches. I’d read books about child abuse that took the soft approach and skirted around the actual act of abuse that traumatised so many children. I felt the victims of abuse were not given a voice in those books. I waded in and told it how it had been told to me. If the story is at times brutal, well that’s how it was for those children, and I wanted to give them a voice, to be heard. The book has had a powerful effect on some readers who are victims of child abuse. Some have put up reviews for the book, others have contacted me personally through my website rather than post a public review. I have been deeply touched by their responses. 

WHY THIS TITLE? DAMAGED GOODS is a book with a timeless and universal theme. It is not part of a fashion or fad in literature. It was first published in 2006 and was in the Amazon Top 10 in 2013. It continues to sell and have an impact.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT?: Anyone who loves a gripping family saga with a dark dramatic edge will enjoy DAMAGED GOODS. Plenty of meat on the bones of this book!

REVIEW COMMENTS:    

5.0 out of 5 stars

One of the most profoundly moving books I have read!” 15 January 2013

By Donni Didit – Published on Amazon.com

“I am somewhat at a loss for words just how to write this review as ‘Damaged Goods’ is one of the most profoundly moving books I have read. The author artfully weaves in hooks — what is the secret Sissy holds? What has really brought Helen back? Why is Sweetypie still the twirling child in an aged, sagging body? The subject of child abuse (on all levels) IS dark, and Hocking captures emotions so well – and not just the darkness, there’s a poignant beauty in the words, a message of loyalty and courage and hope; that all is not lost beyond the pain and regret and passage of time. I really cannot do justice in words here – read it. A gripping, emotional journey that will touch your heart, bring some unexpected surprises (and horrors), evoke longing and sorrow and joy… I don’t think I’ll be forgetting this one and that I will surely re-read it down the track… brilliant, polished, masterful and terrible. In a good sense.”

.0 out of 5 stars

Intense.” 2 July 2016

By Patricia Hirayanagi – Published on Amazon.com

I just finished reading Damaged Goods by C. A Hocking. I have to say that this is the best book that I have read this year. The subject matter may not be for everyone but it was well written and done as tastefully as possible but still horrific, yet touching. The characters are extremely complex and there is no way to predict what will happen next in the store as each layer of their lives are peeled back like an onion to expose something as yet unseen. An incredible book.”

5.0 out of 5 stars

 Elegance Tames the Horror 4 March 2015

By Christy – Published on Amazon.com

“The horror of sexual abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to love and protect you is the beating heart of this story. Realistic and painful, the tale unfolds in the midst of the pure and unadulterated love of the sisters. Despite the torment they endure, they somehow manage to not sink into evil themselves. Alone, they would’ve never survived. Together, they could conquer anything.

“Instead of being swallowed by anguish, the author has the reader soar with hope and inspiration. An amazing story. Highly recommended read.”

“What a horrific, terrifying, yet beautiful story about survivors of the most heinous sin and crime known to man. I devoured this book in less than 12 hours, tense with revulsion, sick in the pit of my stomach, tears streaming down my face yet hopeful and overjoyed that such pure love between sisters could survive despite a hell such as theirs.

I loved the author’s ability to transport me to the lush rainforests of Australia with her rich palette of words, the surrounding beauty of the wild land made the story easier to bear, somehow. Amidst such horror and filth, the beauty of love and nature still endures.

This is my second story from C.A. Hocking, and I will be reading more from this wonderfully talented author.”

AUTHOR PROFILE: I am an Amazon Bestselling Australian Independent Author and have been writing since I was six years old. It’s what I do and how I define myself. My works range from powerful family sagas and dark dramatic fiction to light hearted romance, short stories and poetry, with an occasional foray into screenwriting. 

“I was born in South Australia in 1952 and have lived both rural and city lifestyles in many parts of Australia, which is reflected in the various settings of my work. I’ve had some good times, some bad times, made some wrong turns and some right turns, had some awful jobs in order to keep the money coming in whilst writing in my spare time, raised a family and become a grandmother. I am now living the blissful writer’s life (at last) with my husband and laptop in Canberra, the National Capital of Australia.

“I have three published novels at present, with more on the way. 

 A PLACE IN TIME (Amazon Top Ten 2013) is a dark paranormal drama and was shortlisted for a 2007 Australian literary award. Although the heart of the story is about the impact of domestic violence, there is a mystery with a time travel twist to keep the reader guessing.

DAMAGED GOODS (Amazon Top Ten 2013) is gritty, gothic dramatic fiction and has received some very emotive and powerful feedback from readers. Child abuse is not a subject to be received lightly, but my readers have vindicated my efforts with their responses. Some of the reviews I have received have been very personal and moving.

HOME TO ROOST (Amazon Top 100 2013) is another dramatic fiction novel about deceit, betrayal and redemption. One reader described the story as a wild emotional ride. I like that!

I am working on several different projects at present. Which project I choose to work on each day usually depends on which one is in my head when I wake up in the morning. That’s the creative process. I have never been able to approach my work as “work” and do the 3000 words a day thing that some writers advocate. I would find that tedious. 

My next completed novel will be SARAH ANN ELLIOTT: a Victorian Family Saga based on a true story. Works-in-progress are OLD FARTS ON A BUS, a humorous look at, well, Old Farts on a bus touring through the middle east (based somewhat on personal experience); THE AUNT EDNA SERIES, a children’s series of books about a magical, mystical old lady living in the Australian bush; and MAENAD, another dark dramatic fiction novel. 

 SAMPLE CHAPTER: https://tinyurl.com/n7xwrh5

 WHERE TO BUY IT:  Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/n7xwrh5

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/35353

Barnes and Noble: https://tinyurl.com/n3otqfn

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/damaged-goods-26 

PRICE: $2.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Website: http://www.cahocking.com  

Email: cahocking.author@gmail.com


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.

————————————————————————————————————————————-

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.

Dogland

Dogland: A Journey to the Heart of America's Dog Problem by [Skole, Jacki]OUR OTHER CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOK, “FLOAT,” BY JoeANN HART, CAN BE FOUND, ALONG WITH THE “FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY,” BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST. OR, JUST CLICK THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.

——————————————————————–

THE BOOK: Dogland: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Dog Problem

PUBLISHED IN: 2015

THE AUTHOR: Jacki Skole

THE EDITOR: Midge Raymond.

THE PUBLISHER: Ashland Creek Press

SUMMARY: Soon after Jacki Skole brought home an eight-week-old puppy from a New Jersey rescue organization, she wondered how such a young animal could have so many idiosyncrasies—so she set out to find an answer. Dogland, an extraordinary mix of memoir and investigative journalism, follows Skole’s journey to trace the origins of her newest family member.

Jacki SkoleAlong the way, Skole interviewed dozens who work in the world of animal rescue—from shelter managers to animal rights activists—taking readers from dilapidated county-run shelters in the South to strip malls in the Northeast where rescue groups seek homes for homeless pets, and from rural and urban “vet deserts” to the very heart of the South’s complex relationship with companion dogs.

Amid the serious issues facing shelter dogs in America, Skole found tireless animal advocates and humble visionaries who believe their ideas and their passion can save canine lives throughout the South—and the entire United States. This award-winning book offers a thoughtful and inspiring look into America’s dog crisis and how we can come together to resolve it.

THE BACK STORY: Galen is my second rescue dog, and as with my first—Gryffin—I always wondered about her life before me. With Gryffin, I asked questions but never sought answers. With Galen, my life was such that I could endeavor to seek answers. What I quickly discovered was that every answer raised another question, and before long, my journalist’s instincts were telling me that I’d stumbled onto a story that needed to be told, and more importantly, a serious problem that needed to be solved.

WHY THIS TITLE: I love the title Dogland and have to give full credit to my publishing company, Ashland Creek Press for coming up with it. To me, Dogland has dual connotations. It speaks to the United States as a country brimming with dog-lovers, while also recognizing that within the country there are communities, both rural and urban, that are dealing with a crisis:

Healthy, adoptable dogs are being euthanized daily in public animal shelters. The subtitle: A Journey to the heart of America’s Dog Problem clues the reader in to the plot while piquing curiosity—America has a dog problem?

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: This is a book for everyone who loves dogs and cares about their welfare, be they dog owners, shelter workers, or people involved with rescue organizations. Perhaps the greatest feedback I get is from people within animal welfare who tell me that Dogland has opened their eyes to aspects of the problem that they didn’t know or hadn’t considered, and from owners of rescue dogs who tell me that so many of my questions about my dog mimic questions they harbor about theirs.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

2015 Maxwell Award winner — Dog Writers Association of America

2015 Nautilus Silver Award Winner

2016 Next Generation Indie Book Award Winner

2016 Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Winner

“When journalist Skole adopted a ‘quirky’ mixed-breed puppy from a rescue shelter in New Jersey, she hadn’t counted on the journey she’d find herself taking in search of the pup’s origins…Those who have given their hearts and homes to shelter dogs will find much here to validate their love, but ultimately the book is meant as a call to action.” -Publishers Weekly

“Dogland tackles a complex, emotional topic … and opens readers’ eyes to how we can help these faithful companions.” -Animal Sheltering Magazine

“…an absolutely amazing piece of work…I simply could not recommend Dogland any more highly. This is not only an incredibly well-written and engrossing read, but it is an important and thought-provoking work that challenges each of us to evaluate how companion animals are treated and traded in this country…Any reader who loves dogs, loves great investigative work, or loves memoirs should absolutely read this book. It is an A+, five-star read, and a book that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.” -Tracy Slowiak, Readers’ Favorite

“Thank you to Jacki Skole for taking the steps to understand this complex issue and for writing this important book to inform the rest of us…My hope is that Dogland compels us all to truly work together…Animal protection is one of the most pressing social justice issues of our time.” -Kimberly Spanjol, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LMHC, Humane Education Learning Programs (H.E.L.P.)

“Skole uses her journalism background and her love of animals to shed light on a topic that hits home for just about anyone who has ever brought a dog into their lives…Dogland is a truly compelling book that will have you driving to the nearest shelter to offer a hand or a paw in any way you can.” -Glassworks Magazine

AUTHOR PROFILE: Jacki Skole is an award-winning journalist and adjunct professor of communication. She launched her journalism career at CNN, first as a news writer, then as a producer in the network’s documentary unit; she’s also produced programs for Animal Planet and HGTV. Skole has taught at La Salle University, Rider University, and Raritan Valley Community College. She is a book reviewer for EcoLit Books and a reader for Creative Nonfiction.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I donate 100% of the proceeds from the sale of DOGLAND to nonprofit animal welfare groups that are working to increase spay/neuter and decrease shelter euthanasia. Thus, Dogland makes a great gift to dog-loving family and friends: Buy a book, save a life J. SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://www.ashlandcreekpress.com/books/dogland.html

WHERE TO BUY IT: Ashland Creek Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBookstore

PRICE: $17.95.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: jackiskole@yahoo.com Facebook: Jacki Skole

Twitter: @jackiskole

Float

Float: A Novel by [Hart, JoeAnn]THE BOOK: FLOAT,

PUBLISHED IN: 2013

THE AUTHOR: JoeAnn Hart.

THE EDITOR: Midge Raymond.

THE PUBLISHER: Ashland Creek Press. (Ashland, Oregon) An independent publisher of eco-fiction and environmental literature, which includes books in all genres about animals, the environment, and the planet.

SUMMARY:  FLOAT is a wry tale of financial desperation, conceptual art, insanity, infertility, seagulls, marital crisis, jellyfish, organized crime, and the plight of a plastic-filled ocean.

When Duncan Leland looks down at the garbage-strewn beach beneath his office indow, he sees the words God Help Us scrawled in the sand. While it seems a fitting essage—not only is Duncan’s business underwater, but his marriage is drowning as well—he goes down to the beach to erase it. Once there, he helps a seagull being strangled by a plastic six-pack holder—the only creature in worse shape than he is at the moment.

JoeAnn HartDuncan rescues the seagull, not realizing that he’s being filmed by a group of conceptual artists and that the footage will soon go viral, turning both him and the gull into minor celebrities. And when an unsavory yet very convincing local talks him into a not-quite-legitimate loan arrangement, Duncan can’t help but agree in a last ditch attempt to save the jobs of his employees.

For a while, it seems as if things are finally looking up for Duncan—yet between his phone-sex-entrepreneur ex-girlfriend’s very public flirtations and the ever-mysterious terms of his new loan, Duncan realizes that there’s no such thing as strings-free salvation—and that it’s only a matter of time before the tide rises ominously around him again.

THE BACK STORY:  The impetus for the story was when I saw cryptic words written in the sand at a local beach and thought how interesting if those words could change a life. First I created a character to read the words, then I walked the beach with him. What would he find there? Wind, sand, shells, seagulls and, sadly, always, plastic marine debris. To create conflict, I imagined him coming upon a seagull caught in a plastic six-pack holder, a common sight on any shore, and I was ready to write the opening scene. My character freed the seagull, a task not as easy or safe as one might think. then I wandered off for more than a year to research plastics in the ocean. Slowly, the more I learned about the horrors of plastic, the more sea animals were pulled in. Plastic never goes anywhere. It just continues to break down to the size of a single cell, and when that happens, the very smallest of the sea creatures eat this man-made molecule thinking it’s plankton, a single-cell organism that forms the very basis of the ocean’s food chain. My research into the oceans went beyond plastics and reached out like an octopus in all directions. I began looking at ocean warming from carbon that humans release into the atmosphere with our petroleum based fuels, and the news got grimmer. Many scientists predict that the only animal likely to survive warm, acidic oceans that lie ahead are jellyfish, so they got pulled into the plot too. The conflicts grew and grew, not just between humans and animals, but between humans and the entire natural world, something I had no idea was going to happen.

WHY THIS TITLE?: A few years ago a friend was going through a rough patch, and her therapist told her to imagine herself floating with her problems instead of fighting them so hard, or else she would exhaust herself and sink. Every time she got stressed out, she repeated the word “float” to herself and felt better. It seemed like good advice for anyone, so I created a FLOAT document. For two years I added other meanings, such as to float through life without direction, or to float a loan. As a physical object, a float is used in fishing to keep the nets or line buoyant, and a float is part of a pier. I learned about plastics that float along in the oceans from Flotsametrics and the Floating World, by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano, and plastic’s environmental impact on not just sea life, but all life. Then one day I came across the Alan Watts quote — “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float” — and I was ready to start the novel.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Aside from the humor, psychological insight, and driving narrative, it is a fine example of eco-fiction. I believe that climate change is the most pressing issue that humans are facing right now. It powers famines, wars, migrations, and suffering of all living things, including ourselves. As a fiction writer, I believe I have a role in helping people wade through technical information to a deeper, personal understanding of what carbon emissions and other toxins mean for our home, the planet. As Kipling said: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

REVIEW COMMENTS: 

“In Float, art is far more than decoration. It is the power of achievement and change. Out of it, we’re encouraged to believe, may come the transformation of our world.”  – Maine Sunday Telegram

“Could there be a more hilarious sad sack than Duncan Leland, whose trials and tribulations, so wittily conveyed, had me laughing (and wincing) from the first page? Hart’s Maine landscape is rich with eccentric characters, dried fish, and other surprising and original treasures. While Duncan sinks, the reader will float on a cloud nine of classy entertainment.” – Mameve Medwed

“JoeAnn Hart’s newest novel, Float, takes a darkly comedic look at [a] very serious topic…there are weighty and important issues buried in the black humor: the human impact on the world’s oceans; infertility, which might be caused by our careless disposal (and over-reliance on) plastics; and overfishing and the economic impact of this, to name a few…an enjoyable read which shines a light on the possible toll our continued inattentiveness to our environment could exact.” – BookNAround

AUTHOR PROFILE: I grew up in New York, but my home for almost forty years has been Gloucester, Massachusetts, America’s oldest seaport, where fishing regulations, the health of the ocean, and the natural beauty of the world are the daily topics of wonder and concern. My first novel was Addled, (Little, Brown, 2007) a satiric look at an exclusive country club when Canada Geese invade the links. My essays, articles, and short fiction have appeared in a wide variety of literary journals and national publications, including Orion magazine and the fiction anthology Winds of Change: Short Stories for a Changing Climate. My household includes a husband, a donkey, two pigs, a goat, some chickens and, of course, the dogs.

AUTHOR COMMENTS:  When readers identify with characters, and those characters develop accountability to the environment, a novel can be a powerful tool for social change. FLOAT directly takes on the issue of plastics in the ocean, but instead of a mind-numbing presentation of facts as might happen in non-fiction, a novel gets the reader involved by relying on fiction’s strength — the exploration of the human condition. The characters in Float are keenly aware of environmental dangers to the ocean and some act accordingly, not just because it is their workplace, but because they also recognize that keeping the oceans healthy means keeping the human race alive.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Float Excerpt.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Through Ashland Creek Press.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon PRICE: $18.95.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: JoeAnn@joeannhart.com, @JoeAnnH, https://www.facebook.com/JoeAnnHart.author,