CHANCES ARE, YOU’RE A WRITER…

While searching for something to use in my Wednesday’s Wisdom post, I ran across Just Writer Problems, a diverting site dedicated to pointing out some of the wackier issues we writers have to deal with. They were too much fun to keep to myself so this week’s Wednesday’s Wisdom has been replaced with:

If you can identify with any of these, chances are, you’re a writer…

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ADMIT IT, IF IT WASN’T THIS, IT WAS SOMETHING EQUALLY DISTURBING.

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IF YOU’VE WRITTEN A NOVEL AND DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS, YOU HAVEN’T SUFFERED ENOUGH.

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FACE IT, MOST OF US HAVE THE ATTENTION SPAN OF A GNAT.

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YOU HAVEN’T REALLY LIVED UNTIL THIS HAS HAPPENED TO YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GROCERY STORE.

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A big thank you to Cynthia Robertson and Lorna Lee for posting such great reviews of The Tattooed Angel on their blogs. Nothing beats the warm fuzzy feeling a writer gets when they know someone has enjoyed their book and then taken the time to write a review. Getting two in one day was pretty awesome. If you’d like to take a look, just click on their names and you will be magically transported. Both are gifted writers, always entertaining, but their voices, and their blogs, are as different from each other as night and day.

HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

 

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A BOOK REVIEW OF COACHING DAD, by Fred Phillips

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Fred Phillips’s time-travel, Coaching Dad, takes us from 2010 San Diego, to 1948, Hamptonville, a small town not far from Long Island.
When we first meet the main character, Charles, his life is in shambles. His ex-wife divorces him for a car salesman, he loses his house in the divorce, his teen-aged kids are disrespectful and he’s near-crippled by depression. As he puts it, I, Charles Behrens, possessor of a relatively stable and functional mind for most of my life, had hit the proverbial wall at full throttle, had fallen headfirst into deep dank well, and was primed for a reservation in the windowless, corner-less room at the Rubber Walled Hotel.

Without a word to anyone, he disappears for three days. On his return, his ex-wife suggests that he see a psychiatrist recommended by her Porsche-selling boyfriend. This psychiatrist puts him in a paid experimental trial for a medication for depression and anxiety that has the side-effect of inducing vivid dreams – initially about his childhood, but as time passes, his dreams take him back to a time before he was born.
He tells his psychiatrist, ‘I’ve had the same dream for over a week now. And they are the most intense, the most real. You know the ones where I go back to the 1940’s or somewhere like that. I am a stranger walking the streets of my hometown. I saw my grandfather’s hardware store. I saw my dad, you know, as a kid, messing around with a few of his friends. I think one of them was my Uncle Bernie.’
A train derailment on his way to visit his mom, turns these vivid dreams into reality and the author’s narrative is so well told, I was immediately transported. I looked around and saw both an alien and a familiar world – my dream world… Men with hats, suits and ties. Women with long dresses and buttoned up blouses. Antique emergency vehicles were parked haphazardly at the railroad crossing. I saw two paramedics dressed in white costumes, resembling ice cream truck drivers, loading a stretcher… An old Ford coupe served as a police vehicle…
Charles is faced with the dilemma of navigating this 1948 existence. He finds a job as a painter with relative ease, meets his dad as a teenager and has the opportunity to coach him and the rest of the basketball team at the high school he also attended in the 1970’s. And to make things even more interesting, he falls in love.
I would like to see Charles face a little more conflict when he first reaches Hamptonville. A place to live falls into his lap a little too easily during the housing shortage that followed WWII, but the narrative and time/space continuum are so beautifully written that I could overlook just about anything and there’s plenty of conflict to go around as the story progresses. Charles has difficulty dealing with the racial prejudices of the time and not everyone is happy with his modern, fast-paced style of coaching basketball. And one dark night, he’s faced with the dilemma of doing the right thing and changing history for the worse, or remaining silent and letting life continue as it was. The story flows well and the ending had me searching for a tissue.
I normally don’t care for novels that have a lot of narrative, but I was so grounded in Charles Behrens’s character, and the look and feel of this post-war era that I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Fred Phillips manages to rock the 1940’s like he’s lived it. (He hasn’t.) It’s a remarkable accomplishment for this first-time author. And the good news is… he has another time-travel in the works.

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THOUGHTS FOR YOUR THURSDAY

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ernest hemingway

not being afraid to fail

i write better than i talk

THIS IS SO TRUE FOR ME

HAVE A GREAT WEEK-END!

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A Book Review of BEYOND DEATH by Deb McEwan

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What happens after we die? It’s a question that remains unanswered until we learn first-hand, but in the meantime, the unknown spawns creativity. A multitude of songs and books have been written, movies made, each with their own particular twist on the subject. I prefer the light-hearted versions. Why go the route of Faust when we can listen to Day-o while watching Wynona Ryder, family and dinner guests made to dance by the ghosts that are haunting their house. While author Deb McEwen’s, Beyond Death doesn’t go as far as the zany comedy of Beetlejuice, she does present an interesting, witty look at the afterlife.

I found the beginning a tad slow, (I can be an impatient reader) but the story really picked up when a last minute switch puts main character, Claire, in the wrong cab and she and her cab driver, Ron, are killed in an accident on the night of her engagement. (There’s a lesson to be learned here; don’t hunt for your cell phone and drive a cab at the same time.) Once Claire realizes she’s dead, she’s furious.

Ron heard the panic in Claire’s voice and realized she’d worked it out. Poor girl. She’d had her whole life ahead of her and he’d ruined it…. “I’m so sorry Claire. Really, really sorry.”

“Sorry,” shouted Claire. “Bloody sorry! Sorry doesn’t cut it, buster. Wait ‘til I get my hands on you. I’ll effing kill you!”

“Err, I hate to be the one to point this out, love,” said Ron, “but I think you’ll find you’re a bit late for that.”

Her displeasure doesn’t end there…

Thinking of the whole death experience, it had not been what she’d expected in the least. There hadn’t been a tunnel, a white light or any of her dead relatives beckoning her or steering her in the right direction. The last was a disappointment. If she had to be dead the least that could be done was to reconnect her with her adored grandmother who had died more than two years before.

Their Admin-Angel, Gabriella, six feet tall and black as a moonless sky, guides Claire and Ron through the initial steps of ‘beyond death.’ Their challenge is to help the dysfunctional families they’ve left behind put their lives in order. It’s a common theme in ‘afterlife’ stories for a very good reason. It works.

From the sobering description of a tsunami and the thousands of lives it claims, to the humor of ‘newly dead’ Claire popping in on one of her twin brother while he’s in the bathroom, Beyond Death, touches on a wide range of emotions. The plot lines are cleverly told, and the ending is satisfyingly upbeat with the promise of more adventures to come.

If you’d like to learn more about Deb McEwan, you can find her at: http://www.debbiemcewansbooks.com/

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NAKED TRUTHS ABOUT GETTING BOOK REVIEWS BY GISELA HAUSMANN

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Whether you’re traditionally published, self-published, or small press, reviews are an essential part of an author’s career. They help potential readers decide whether or not they want to read our books and Amazon uses them in deciding how our books rank and where they show up in their bookstores. We depend on them. Take them away and our writing career becomes a hobby. But getting reviews is tricky. Even painful. We ask. People promise. They get busy. Or forget. We really don’t want to be a pest, and maybe they didn’t like the book anyway. Maybe we suck as a writer and people aren’t writing reviews because they don’t want to hurt our feelings. Maybe we’d be better off driving a fork lift. (That’s actually on my bucket list.) Or flipping burgers. (That’s not.) Or selling ice cream. (I’d rather eat it.) But there’s no way around it. If we’ve really made the commitment to be a writer, we need book reviews. How do we get them? Ask someone who knows.

Gisela Hausmann is one of Amazon’s top reviewers as well as the author of seven non-fiction books, including Naked Truths about Getting Book Reviews. It isn’t a big book, but it is packed with great information. She gives advice on how to strategically build up reviews so they boost our sales, why Amazon puts the kibosh on some five-star reviews, and how to avoid irritating their perplexing algorithms. I was surprised to learn that how the review is written – not necessarily the star rating – is more important than the number of reviews that you have. And sometimes a one-star review can be more beneficial than a five-star. It took a couple of re-reads to wrap my mind around that one, but in the end it made sense. She also provides numerous helpful links and has suggestions on how to find book bloggers and reviewers.

Gisela doesn’t waste time with filler comments or self-promotion. Everything is geared toward guiding writers through the process of getting effective reviews that will help their career. If you’re serious about a profession as an author, consider adding Naked Truths about Getting Reviews to your library. It’s a true gem.

If you’d like to learn more about Gisela Hausmann, you can find her at:

http://giselahausmann.com/

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Other books by Gisela Hausmann

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WEDNESDAY’S WISDOM A Quote by Agatha Christie

I read my first Agatha Christie when I was twelve and went on to read every one of them. It’s time to do it all over again.

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Whoa, I Need to Lie Down…

Here I am doing a bit of shameless promotion again, but I was interviewed by the zany blogger and memoirist, Lorna Lee of Lorna’s Voice, and it went live today! The interview was about my newest book The Tattooed Angel, a Time-Travel but it quickly got out of hand and well… You’ll just have to check it out for yourself.

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WEDNESDAY’S WISDOM, A quote by Ray Bradbury

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You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

Ray Bradbury

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THE TATTOOED ANGEL – a Time-travel

Today, I’m going to indulge in a little self/book-promotion for my latest release. Actually, the word indulge isn’t accurate because the land of marketing has always been a very uncomfortable place for me to hang out. I might indulge in a long soak in the tub, or a really good book or movie, but promoting myself or something I’ve accomplished? Nope. That’s way out of my comfort zone. But authors have to wear a lot of hats these days, so I’ve put on my marketing hat in order to announce that…

The Tattooed Angel – a Time-travel is out on Amazon!

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This is the first book in a series that will span three and a half centuries. The premise floated around in my head for about five years, but there were other books in progress and since I always try to finish what I start, (even if it takes years) I waited.  It’s quite a bit different from my other published books – shorter, darker, with super-evil villains, light fantasy and historical elements all rolled into 85,000 words. Rather than ramble on, I’ll post an excerpt, and if you decide you’d like to read more, all you have to do is click on The Tattooed Angel – a Time-travel  and like magic, you’ll be whisked off to Amazon. Pretty cool, the way I snuck that in, isn’t it?

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Angela opened her eyes and saw roses. Red and cream roses scattered among green leafy vines on a rich blue background. She blinked several times before realizing the roses were embroidered on the underside of a canopy bed. Her head felt three times its normal size and she couldn’t make sense of her circumstances.

The last she remembered, she had pulled over to the side of the road in heavy fog. How did she end up here? And where was here? She gingerly lifted her head. Tapestries covered the walls of a spacious room. The large chest next to her bed held two candles, an earthenware pitcher and red goblet. An ornately carved chair sat in the corner. Dust motes danced in the shaft of sunlight that shot through an open window. It was all a bit surreal. Where in the hell was she? And why did she feel as if she’d been hit by a train?

Her arms trembled with weakness as she pushed herself into a sitting position. The covers fell to her waist revealing a thin white shirt with billowing sleeves. What happened to her clothing? She tried to bring her legs over the side of the bed and cried out at the sudden stab of pain. Her right leg wouldn’t bend and it hurt. A lot. So did her hip. So did everything. She peered under the covers and wrinkled her nose at the offensive smell that drifted up. Then her skills as a paramedic set in as she surveyed the damage. Her right leg was wrapped from upper-thigh to mid-calf in strips of cloth. Her right lower quadrant was bandaged as well. Her other leg was a mass of bruises and abrasions. Why hadn’t she been taken to a hospital? She swallowed, fighting the panic that rose in her throat.

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HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

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A BOOK REVIEW: YOU HAD TO BE THERE by Gene Gorman

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Gene Gorman’s memoir, You Had to Be There, is a roller coaster ride that takes the reader from Gorman’s childhood to the horrors of Vietnam, his descent into alcoholism, his fight for sobriety and following success as a salesman, entrepreneur, husband and family man. The one constant thread throughout all of this is his need to excel.

As the son of a father whose career in the Navy keeps him from home, and an alcoholic mother who drinks away most of the family funds, Gorman learns to rely on himself to provide the things he needs. His entrepreneurial spirit emerges at the age of eight when he decides to sell Christmas cards door to door. It never crossed my mind that I should give up just because a few folks slammed doors in my face. I remember that the directions said that it was a numbers game and that success was based on the “law of averages”—whatever that was—so I shouldn’t take it personally. I never did. Quite a concept for an eight-year-old. This perseverance and work ethic serves him well throughout his teen years, in spite of his growing addiction to alcohol and the anger he feel toward his parents.

His time as a Marine in Vietnam and the PTSD he suffers as a result, only fuels his need to drink. And he is a masterful alcoholic, pulling off ways to drink at the most inappropriate times, when almost anyone else would be caught. What I find surprising is his initial degree of success as a salesman while drinking on the job. That success eventually ebbs away, and he is not only estranged from his wife and daughter, but homeless. After multiple, ineffective stays in rehab and psychiatric hospitals, he finally finds his way to sobriety.

Sobriety doesn’t mean the roller coaster ride is over. Gorman is a man driven to succeed and that drive is full of bumps in the road. And once success is reached, he often feels the need to reset his goal and start over again. In someone less successful, this would be financially devastating. In Gorman, it seems to work just fine. At times, he comes across as cocky, but he tempers it by poking fun at himself. You Had to be There is an interesting, inspirational read. You can learn more about Gene Gorman at:

http://www.genegormansbooks.com

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