Blog Tour: Gus Kenney

You  might remember today’s guest from a post back in March of this year. Gus Kenney is the author of The Changeling and the Cupboard and The Complications of Being Lucy, among other books, and he’s here again to discuss his newest work, Traitor’s Niece, Book Three in The Complications of Being Lucy series.

Tell us about your new book, Gus.  

Traitor’s Niece: The Complications of Being Lucy Book 3 is categorized as Sci Fi/Fantasy / Action & Adventure / Folklore & Legend / Fantasy & Magic. Here’s a blurb:

Sever all ties.

Lucy is a pawn. A dark means to a deadly end.

An enemy, burning with centuries of betrayal, has made the opening move to shatter an already divided empire. His first step, the slaying of one of Lucy’s guardians. Broken with grief and compelled by rage, Lucy embarks on a journey of vengeance to the shadowed and forgotten corners of the five lands. With those she has left by her side, sacrifices will be made to bring her closer to retribution but only if she doesn’t succumb to the manipulations of a ruthless enemy first.

Buy Link: http://smarturl.it/traitorsNieceb3

Author Bio

Gus lives in western New York with his amazing wife and five four legged children. He decided he wanted to be a writer when he realized that he could never be a spy as good as Timothy Dalton’s Bond and that Hired Sword was not part of any growth industry. When he is not semi-busy writing, he spends his time pretending he knows what he is doing at a nine-to-five job and the rest of it complaining that it is taking way too long for them to start showing new episodes of his favorite cartoons. If you’re bored, or just a creeper, you can check out the insanity that doesn’t make it into his books on his social media outlets.

Author Links

https://www.facebook.com/gus.kenney

https://www.facebook.com/Lucybison/

https://www.twitter.com/LucyBison

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/telleroftalesoflucy

https://www.instagram.com/lucybison/

http://linkedin.com/in/gus-kenney-3599a2138

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13628983.Gus_Kenney

https://www.amazon.com/Gus-Kenney/e/B00UPGZ7SY/

http://bit.ly/ComplicationsOfBeingLucySeries

Email: guskenney@yahoo.com

Other Books In the series:

The Changeling and The Cupboard (The Complications of Being Lucy Book 1)

http://smarturl.it/CompOfLucyBk1

The Changeling and the Borrowed Family (The Complications of Being Lucy Book 2)

http://smarturl.it/CompOfLucyBk2

Care to share an excerpt with us?

“I feel bad for them.” I whispered to Frankie.

“Why?” He screwed up his eye as he pushed his glasses up his nose.

“Spending their whole life trapped in a fake world and having to constantly be under harsh scrutiny. Feeling like they have to act a certain way in front of total strangers. Not free to be themselves.” I shrugged. “Not to mention their diet.”

“I guess.” Frankie consented my point. “Sounds like it would be better to be locked up like an animal than be a popular kid.”

We watched as Regina and her clique posed by the fence while a trainer led a zebra over to stand behind them. They took multiple pictures with their phones of the animal they had been allowed to feed the watchful eye of the zoo staff while the rest of us got to hear all the interesting facts about the creature. So far they were leading the class in animal interactions, mostly in regard to things that were either very safe or cute. The teacher, a sucker to their machinations, let it happen as long as the other students turned down the opportunity to do it first. There were none that dared oppose them. It was only because kids from other schools that were touring the zoo today getting to the pens, cages, or habitats first that prevented Regina’s monopoly of feedings and petting.

“Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.” A fun phrase that I didn’t feel I often got to use on Frankie. “Popularity is overrated. Right, Palmer?”

Frankie and I glanced around and found the boy standing by the otter tank where we had been ten minutes ago. With the popular kids demanding the most attention, they congregated at the head of the tour and the rest of the class trailed behind like a comet of social hierarchy. Frankie, Palmer and I were at the back like little pieces of debris that get pulled from the trail when the comet’s flight takes it too close to an object of immense gravity. Right now that object, for Palmer at least, was otters.

“Buddy system.” I reminded Frankie, and he trudged over to get his friend. Uncle Mort turned around from his post amidst a few of the other parents and gave me a concerned look. I didn’t know if it was concern for my well-being or his own dissatisfaction with the situation. Mingling with the other adults he was forced to endure conversations about parenting woes, pro sports stories, job worries, and other problems faced by normal people. I managed a weak smile and this seemed to pacify him slightly. I almost felt bad for getting him involved with the field trip. I thought it might be fun going to the zoo, as I had never done so before, and he had been insistent that I travel nowhere, school function or otherwise, without him. Luckily for me the school was trying to save the money for getting us a bus and had parents volunteer to chaperone and drive. It had all worked out until we actually got here. The whispers and comments started quickly as my guardian, the mortician, joined us and his stern personality sealed my fate as forever a target of ridicule. He had asked me once after one particular comment reached his ears if I wanted him to speak to the teacher, since he was not prepared to assault a child in front of witnesses(his words), and I told him it wasn’t necessary. In truth it would only make things worse.

But worse came when I saw the animals and felt bad for their situation. It seemed that the first ten years of my life had been spent in a cage and some of these majestic creatures had been incarcerated long before I was born. They looked depressed and broken of spirit. Made me wish I could set them free like me. That’s a lie, I reminded myself. I was only living the illusion of freedom. As long as no one found out who I was then I was safe and free to live my life as my family saw fit. Monthly reports from Lord Cid’s adviser so far reported the illusion was holding. Just like the illusion that the animals around me were happy.

“He says he doesn’t agree with you.” Frankie said, walking back with Palmer in tow. It took me a moment to recall what we had just been talking about.

“Is that so?” I looked Palmer up and down, from his buzzed head to his ragged shoes.

“Yes.” He admitted. It was the longest conversation I had ever had with the boy.

“Well, you’re entitled to your opinion.”

“That’s it.” Frankie sounded shocked. “You normally argue with me whenever I say something in opposition to your ideas.”

“That’s because you’re my friend and therefore available to friendly discussions and disagreements about our views. Palmer is your friend and not privy to such treatments from me.” I informed my stunned friend.

“So because he is not your friend you aren’t going to disagree with him?”

“No. I’m not going to argue with him about his opinion because it doesn’t matter to me.” I glanced at Palmer and his face betrayed no sign of caring what I was saying about him. Clearly he shared my opinion on some level.

“But mine does?” Frankie scratched his head of unruly hair. “Because I matter to you?” He left it as a question which meant it was up to me to answer it or not. I decided not to since Frankie tended to draw his own conclusions. “I don’t think it works that way.”

“How about we go into the reptile house and discuss it?” I suggested, veering toward the enclosure in the center of the zoo. The class was being split up as the skittish and not surprisingly popular kids put up a fuss about dealing with the creatures contained within the building. The teacher left a few parents in charge of the group going inside and I whisked in behind them quickly. “Maybe you can find John Smith a girlfriend.”

“I think he would prefer a domesticated partner.” Frankie said, already excitedly running up to the first habitat he saw.

“You should mention that to your mom and dad and see what they say.” I laughed on the inside at the fun Cecilia and Tim would have with their son on the topic. I was unsure if my friend even heard me as his eyes were glazed in wonder at the large creatures piled up within their own coils in multiple enclosures. My fear of snakes had diminished thanks to Frankie’s pet python but being in a room full of them made me squirm as much as they did. I abandoned my friend to look at a few tanks full of turtles. Nice safe turtles. When I got bored watching them just look like parts of the scenery, I turned to find my friend. The room was mostly empty except for a man standing by the exit. I wasn’t sure if he had just arrived or was just leaving, but his presence was alarming to me. Not because of the large nose on his face or the tough look of his skin; it was simply because the Troll was looking at me with what felt like above average interest. I looked away to see if Uncle Mort had noticed him and discovered that he was not in the room.

Trying for calm and orderly, I went to the adjoining room and found the class and some adults, but still no uncle. He must be with the others, I grumbled in my head. How he would let that happen was a mystery, however I it put from my mind when I realized that the troll had followed me. I settled on finding Frankie and hurried to him.

“Do you recognize that guy?” I hissed in his ear and tried to not look obvious as I pointed the man out with a jerk of my head.

“No.” Frankie shook his head. “Do you think I know every Fey?”

“No. Just the famous ones.” And I was relieved that the Troll wasn’t one of them. “How do you approach someone that is probably glamoured?”

“You want to know how to go talk to a total stranger?” Frankie asked, and it made me feel like an idiot for even voicing the question. I had always figured that the Heralds had some kind of protocol, statute, or heck even a hand shake that let each of them know they were dealing with one of their own in the world outside the mounds. But Frankie was right, if you didn’t know them, why approach? And if you needed to you were probably someone of authority.

“Let’s go get my uncle.” I whispered and pulled Frankie from the class.

“Why? He is probably just some guy here to look at the–oh. Nope.” His eyes got huge in the refraction of his thick glasses as he saw, at the same moment I did, the shadow of a blade that appeared in the Troll’s hand. “Should we walk slowly and casually toward the exit?”

“I…” I shot a quick look to the man as Frankie and I angled from the group and around the central display, putting it between us and the Troll for a moment. He carelessly bumped an adult from another group of students and didn’t utter an apology. They say manners cost nothing but in this case it cost the Troll the illusion of being there on friendly terms. “No.” I took a deep breath to ready myself for what was to come next. “Run!”

I needn’t tell Frankie twice. He burst away from me in a blur that took me by surprise; much as seeing the Troll aggressively shoving people out of his path as he took chase. Knowing that looking back only impeded my progress, I focused on the distant exit and Frankie’s back, which I was gaining on. I caught up with him as the floor beneath us buckled and folded. Several people in the reptile house shouted in surprise at the tremors felt. I tripped over a piece of rock that suddenly jutted through the tile, skinning my knee when I hit the floor. I hissed in pain but knew better than to lay there. The Troll had managed to gain ground once the shifting ground settled back down.

“Ow.” Frankie moaned as I yanked him to his feet and we continued racing for the exit. By now several bodies were piled against it, sounding panicked.

“Capricorn.” I discovered the panic was because the frame had been crumpled in the Art induced quake and the heavy wooden doors would not budge.

“This way.” Frankie tugged my hand and I didn’t fight him as I thought he was leading me toward another exit. I didn’t see one beneath the dark shadows that formed when many of the light fixtures shook loose or just blew a bulb. “Sorry.”

“Oh no.” It dawned on me too late where Frankie was dragging me and I would never have been able to slow down anyway. “Nononononono!”

The senses-deadening darkness of the world inside the shadows swept over me as I was unwillingly shifted for the first time in almost a year. I thought my fear had peaked at running from a strange and hostile Troll, but being pulled into the land that Crouchers roamed ramped it up to nauseous levels. In times past I had, under my own volition, used Frankie’s ability to Shadow Shift to get places I needed to in a hurry. It had been uncomfortable and disconcerting every time, but being dragged into the darkness made the old fears of the first time I had shifted swell up in a suffocating wave that turned my insides nearly out. Blissfully, it lasted only a second and we were soon running (mostly Frankie dragging me for the first delirious steps) from the shadows just outside a thick canopy near the reptile house. My eyes screamed a discomfort to match my stomach as they adjusted and I searched for direction in the crowded zoo.

“Where’s your uncle?” Frankie asked the question I had been screaming in my head. I had a vague idea of where the tour was supposed to progress but quickly realized that we were running the wrong way. I jerked Frankie to a stop, needing a moment to catch my breath and explain. Before I could open my mouth to do more than suck air, the doors to the building we just fled exploded outward and the Troll came rushing toward us.

Thanks for stopping by, Gus! Best wishes with your new release.

Until next time,

Amy

 

Advertisements

Author Spotlight: Kristina M. Stanley, Part Two

Today on Reade and Write I welcome Kristina M. Stanley back to the hot seat. You may recall her last visit, during which she discussed her book Avalanche (which I’ve read and can highly recommend). You can read that post here if you’d like. Kristina is here today to talk about her new book, Look the Other Way. Welcome, Kristina!

Tell me about your new book.

LOOK THE OTHER WAY: A year after her Uncle Bobby mysteriously disappears in the turquoise waters surrounding the Bahamas, Shannon Payne joins her grieving aunt to trace his last voyage. Shannon hopes the serenity of the sea might help her recover from a devastating breakup with her fiancé.

Sailing their 38-foot catamaran, A Dog’s Cat, is Captain Jake Hunter, a disillusioned cop who has sworn off women. While Shannon tries to resist her growing attraction to the rugged captain, she uncovers some dark truths about her uncle’s death that might send all three of them to the depths.

Who is the audience for the book?

Look the Other Way is for mystery readers who like to read books with a little adventure and a little romance.

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

I wrote the first draft during the summer of 2012, but long before that my life had already started to influence what I would write. In the fall of 2009, my husband, Mathew, and I started our journey across the Gulf Stream from Florida to the Bahamas. We were aboard our catamaran, Mattina, feeling pretty good about the day…

But no matter how much you plan, the weather can sneak up on you.

We set out from the Florida coast at 11 at night in flat seas, low winds and a perfect weather forecast. Just enough wind to keep our sails up and the boat moving at 6 to 8 knots.

By the next morning, the wind and seas grew. You can see by the foul weather jacket Mathew is wearing that we knew a storm was coming.

Little did I know this day would be research for Look The Other Way.  Bigger seas, stronger winds. Too bad I’d put the camera away.

The bilge pump started – which it shouldn’t if the bilge is dry – and my adrenaline rose. Did we have a leak? Were we taking on water? Now, I can’t ruin the surprise, because I used this adventure in one of the scenes in Look The Other Way

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Keeping track of the wind direction and what tack the boat was on.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

I’d love to see Jennifer Lawrence play the part of Shannon Payne.

Tell us about your other books.

I’ve written the Stone Mountain Series. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCHE are the first three in the series. They take place in the depths of the British Columbian Mountains. All three are mysteries. I guess I love to write about places I’ve lived.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I write best when I’m alone. I have beta readers, but I don’t belong to a critique group. I live in the remote mountains of British Columbia, Canada, so there aren’t many writers around. There are a lot of bears, but they don’t help much…

Do you write every day?

I’ve never been a person who writes every day, except when I’m participating in Nanowrimo (for those of you who aren’t familiar with this reference, it’s National Novel Writing Month–November).

What authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I read almost exclusively mysteries, but I don’t have a favorite author. I like to read as many different authors as I can. I find a lot of them through my Mystery Monday series where other authors give writing tips and talk about their latest book. If anyone is interested in guest blogging, just let me know. I’m now scheduling for 2018.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

I like to be with my husband anywhere we can be active outside.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write a lot. It’s like anything else you do. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

Describe yourself in three words.

I’m going to give you a sentence instead of three words: Do the fun bits first!

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

I’m the co-founder and CEO of Feedback Innovations, a company started to help writers rewrite better fiction. I love the self-editing process and want to help other writers learn how to do a structural edit on their own work.

Where can readers connect with you?

www.KristinaStanley.com

Https://Fictionary.co 

Where can readers find your books?

All of my books are for sale on Amazon.  (http://amzn.to/28Qxdcs)

Thanks for visiting, Kristina! Good luck with your new book–I’m really looking forward to it!

Until next time,

Amy

Sally Cronin is Back!

 

For many of us in the world of authors-marketing-ourselves, we know Sally Cronin as a treasure who selflessly promotes others, spotlighting their new books, re-showcasing their old ones, and offering endless encouragement and support to artists of all stripes.

But Sally is also an author, and a prolific one at that. Not only does she write blog posts that enlighten her readers on everything from the benefits of garlic to heart health to the weather in Ireland, but she also writes short stories and books, both fiction and nonfiction. And she’s here today to tell us about her latest work, What’s In a Name.

Welcome, Sally!

Thank you so much Amy for asking me over for an interview.. It is a real pleasure.

Tell me about your new book, What’s in a Name.

The short stories in this collection are about ordinary people who in some way bring their own unique spin on their names.  Can Alexander, a small boy with a mother who is a fan of Richard Burton, be great?  Can Clive conquer one of the most deadly predators in India?  There is romance, ghostly events, serial killers and those who need revenge and hopefully something for everyone who enjoys an eclectic mix of genres.

What made you decide to write about that particular subject?

Names are fascinating things. They often identify the decade you were born in and in the cases of some celebrities where you were conceived. We might be named after a favourite aunt or uncle in tribute and to keep their memory alive. In my case I was given the second name Georgina after my maternal grandmother. If we are named after someone famous it can also be a huge challenge to live up to their exploits. Imagine being called Napoleon, Caesar or Einstein!  The alphabet provided a great prompt for the stories and as there are stories for both male and females for each letter… There will be 52 tales by the time the second volume is finished.

How long did it take you to write it?

I spent about six months writing the stories and posting them on my blog. I wanted to get initial feedback before publishing and this was very useful. Also it was easier to fit in a story a week rather than sit down and write twenty all at once.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Probably coming up with a different concept for each name. It helped when the name was previously owned by someone with exploits or historical connection as the story could be geared to something similar. Also I wanted to avoid offending anyone on and offline if depicting a less than reputable character!  I still wanted friends at the end of the book.

Do you see aspects of yourself in the stories?

Certainly I have used locations that I know and have visited for example in France, Ireland and Sri Lanka where I spent some of my childhood. From that perspective it uses my experiences but with 52 stories over the two volumes, I am going to have to get creative.

Tell us about some of the other books you’ve written.

My books are a mixed bag. Non-fiction relating to health and media and then fiction in the form of novels and collections of short stories. I love the discipline of non-fiction where things have to be exact if the book is to be taken seriously. This is why I always have a fiction book of some description on the go at the same time for some light relief.

Do you write in a solitary environment or do you like to be around other people, noise, etc. when you write? I suppose what I’m asking is, do you write at home or in a coffee shop or another location?

I share an office with my husband who is a book designer and we tend to get on with our own work and confer from time to time on specific projects. I cannot write if there are distractions or lots of noise. I love music but keep that for the treadmill or when we are out walking.

Do you write every day? What does a typical day look like for you?

I do write every day in one format or another. The blog is important to me and so is maintaining my social media platforms that I use for the promotions that I do for other authors. I spend an hour or so going through the overnight traffic and also boosting the posts that have been scheduled from midnight. I may then do one of the daily blog posts before getting on with a chapter of my latest book or a short story to post during the week. I do take breaks for shopping, cooking and exercise, but it is fair to say that when it comes to writing… I need to get a life!

Do you have a favorite story in What’s in a Name?

I do have a favourite and it is the story of the toddler Clive in Sri Lanka who finds himself in a dangerous place. I was his age when we lived there and my first memories are of my amah pulling me away from danger. Touching any of the wildlife could be lethal as rabies was rampant even in the dogs and of course plenty of poisonous insects and predators. But I also remember the smell of curry, the warmth of the sun and swimming with my sisters.

Did you design the cover? If so, what’s in the background of the picture?

The photograph of the peacock was taken in the royal gardens of the king’s palace in Madrid when we took my mother and sisters there when they visited in 2000.  We took a number of shots and so we can use a slightly different one for the second volume.  My husband designs my covers and in the last few books I have used photographs that mean something to me.

Do you like to do readings, say at a bookstore or a library? Do you get many opportunities to read your work?

I did do some readings in the UK when I was living with my mother from 2008 to 2012 and had the opportunity. I loved it but we returned to Madrid  after my mother died and of course the language was an issue. This is another reason to get some of my books translated into Spanish at some point.  Since coming back to Ireland last year we have been focused on getting our new home finished but I am keeping an eye open for book festivals coming up in the summer.

What’s next on your writing horizon?

I have three books that are on their way to the final process. Two non-fiction, one on surviving modern life and some of my thoughts on why we find ourselves at odds with the world at times. The other is a people management manual for home and work… There are parallels including working with outside contractors, communicating with those in authority, and teenagers! I am nearly finished with volume two of What’s in a Name and then I must make a start with the sequel to Tales from the Garden which will be set in Ireland.

Where can readers find your books?

My books are all on Amazon, most in print and Ebooks.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

My books are also available via my own publishing site, some at a reduced price.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books/

And where can readers find you on social media?

Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

It has been such a treat having you on Reade and Write, Sally. I hope you’ll come back again sometime!

Thank you again Amy for asking me over.

Until next week,

Amy

 

 

 

Meet Phyllis Moore

 

PHMPhoto

My guest this week is Phyllis H. Moore, author of Opal’s Story and the Sabine Trilogy. She’s here to discuss her newest release. Welcome, Phyllis!

Tell me about your new book.

My latest book is Tangled, A Southern Gothic Yarn. It is a saga of the Kirkland family, an east Texas oil tale of new money and bad blood. Nettie Randall, the newest generation and protagonist, is desperate to discover her father and try to redefine the Kirkland legacy. However, she is still tied to her dysfunctional mother, Delores Cecelia Kirkland and the haunted mansion built by Nettie’s great grandmother, Roberta. Nettie is sensitive to spirits, human and animal, and looks to these angels for guidance and information. She has choices to make, but she does not always distinguish between the heroes and the culprits.

Who is the audience for the book?

I think all of my books would appeal to women who enjoy fiction with some mystery, twists and a touch of humor.

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

I live close to the fictional scene of my book. It is a sparsely populated rural area near the Texas coast between Houston and Beaumont. It is a productive oil field in close proximity to east Texas and the Louisiana border. When I worked as a social worker, I frequently rode the ferry from Galveston Island down the Bolivar Peninsula. I liked the birds and landscape of the area and made up stories in my mind about the families that might live in large houses down isolated roads. I am familiar with the beaches, storms and barriers to daily living in the area.

I did some research regarding life in New Orleans in the early 1900’s to formulate Nettie’s great grandparents and how they arrived in the area. The other characters I drew from my years of social work and situations I found families in during my visits.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Originally, I wrote the story from Nettie’s view point as a precocious child. After attending a writer’s conference, I decided to rewrite it from a third person point of view and change Nettie’s coming of age story to more of a reflection of her childhood. It was difficult to reimagine her older. I also added two characters. Weaving these characters into the story took time, but I enjoyed it and love the characters: Pup and Tess.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

I envisioned people when I was writing and I clearly saw Margo Martindale from August Osage County, playing Mrs. Sophie and I saw Woody Harrelson as her husband, Joe. I am so out of touch with the young actresses, but Jennifer Lawrence or Abigail Breslin would be Nettie and DeCe would be Ashley Judd. DeCe is the most colorful character- and the most flawed.

Have you written any other books?

Yes, I have written a novel, Opal’s Story. It is set in west Texas, a place I visited often as a child. A tragic event occurs in the late 1940’s and a family has to deal with that history in preparation for the death of the central character in 2008. I have also written a trilogy, The Sabine Trilogy: Sabine, Josephine’s Journals and Secrets of Dunn House.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

Yes, I am in three Facebook groups and talk with a group of self-published authors in my area.

Do you write every day?

I try to write every day. When I do, I write all day and I do not want to stop.

When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I like Fannie Flagg, Rebecca Wells, Rick Bragg, Jeanette Walls, and Kathryn Stockett. Women’s Fiction in the gothic style is what I enjoy most. Occasionally, I will pick up something my husband is reading in the thriller/suspense genre and I always enjoy it, but it is not what I am drawn to first.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

Scotland. I want to look at castles, men in kilts and sit in a pub.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write and write, then write some more. Read From Where You Dream by Robert Owen Butler and then write again.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I like the old horror movies, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? The movies before gore and blood became popular and Bette Davis wore gauzy gowns and red lips. Anything by Alfred Hitchcock. Those remind me of my childhood.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Enjoy your skin and body because it is going to be downhill . . . and pay attention to what you enjoy and do that. Follow your passion.

Describe yourself in three words.

Gardener, reader and writer.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

I began writing three years ago when I was sixty. I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I do. Then when I started thinking about publishing what I had written, I soon found I may not have time to wait for agents, editors, etc. I made the decision to self-publish. I have learned to format, design covers, and this marketing thing. The things I have learned about social media and algorithms boggle my mind and I still don’t understand it, but there are new things to learn every day. It has been a learning curve of major proportions, but a terrific ride.

Here’s a bio I’d like to share with my readers about you, Phyllis:

Phyllis H. Moore is a retired social worker. She has reinvented herself twice since retirement in 2004. Her first reinvention was to own and operate a bed and breakfast with her husband for seven years. You never know people until you sleep with them. After selling the B & B, they moved to a cabin in the country and she began to write three years ago. Phyllis lives on a small ranch with her husband and their adopted terrier, Ollie Bubba. They also claim a gopher-eating feral cat. Phyllis enjoys travel, reading, gardening, writing, and visiting her adult children on Galveston Island, Texas

Where can readers connect with you?

http://www.phyllishmoore.com

https://www.facebook.com/phyllishmooreAuthor/

http://www.pinterest.com/corazon

https://www.Amazon.com/author/phyllishmoore

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6047212.Phyllis_H_Moore

https://www.twitter.com/phyllishmoore

Where can readers find your books?

http://www.phyllishmoore.com

https://Amazon.com/author/phyllishmoore

Thank you so much, Phyllis, for visiting Reade and Write. Readers, do you have any questions for Phyllis? Please feel free to ask them in the comments below.

And before you leave, please consider lending me your voice for the release next month of my new novel, House of the Hanging Jade. I’ve set up a Thunderclap campaign. It’s like an online flash mob. It’s easy to participate. You just click on this link: http://thndr.me/RgNkzh and sign up to support House of the Hanging Jade through your Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account. It doesn’t cost you a cent and Thunderclap doesn’t share your information or do any other nasty thing. On April 26th, release day, a blurb hits your feed that says you support the House of the Hanging Jade Book Birthday. Thank you!

Until next week,

Amy

 

You Have Homework

20150522_080138

I’ve spent much of the last two weeks researching the history of the county where I live in preparation for a new series I’ll be starting soon. I’m nowhere near done, but I’ve enjoyed the journey and I’ve learned a lot. It struck me while I was working that I always assume the history of the place where I live is boring–it doesn’t matter whether I’m talking about the town where I grew up, the town where I went to college, or any of the other places I’ve lived–but time and again, I’ve been proven wrong.

History takes place everywhere, so it stands to reason that every place has a history.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But it’s easy to forget.

The county where I live now has been plagued by pirates, fires, disease outbreaks, wars and battles, natural disasters, and any number of other horrors. It’s fascinating! And as has been the case with my other books, I’ve enjoyed the research so much that I have been reluctant to put on the brakes and actually start writing.

This misconception of mine, this belief that nothing interesting has ever happened where I live, reminded me of a similar phenomenon that I’ve noticed before. I call it “ignoring my own backyard” and I’ll give you an example. I lived in and near New York City for almost nine years. I never visited the Statue of Liberty. Never saw Ellis Island. Here’s another example: I lived in Louisville, Kentucky, during late spring/summer one year. Never visited Churchill Downs (not that I’m a fan of horse racing, but the racetrack looks pretty interesting).

I could give anecdote after anecdote until I’m blue in the face, but you probably get the picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of your own life and never venture out to see what your community or your environment has to offer. Sometimes those offerings are tourist traps, but often they’re not. I think we get involved in the busyness of every day and when we contemplate visiting some of those places, we tend to think, “I can visit that place anytime. It’s just down the road.” Or “My kids went there on a school trip, but I just haven’t had time. I’ll get there one of these days.” But very often we never get there.

I’m thinking of one place in particular, a place near my home, a place I’ve never been, a place I’m planning to visit soon. It’s been there for three hundred years and it deserves a closer look. It’s on my list of places to see before summer is over. Who knows? It may end up in my next book.

So that leads me to your homework assignment. Try visiting someplace new this week-someplace near your home, someplace you’ve never been. A place you’ve overlooked driving down the road, a place you pass every day on your way to work. If it’s a museum or other facility that helps you learn more about the history of where you live, you get bonus points.

Where are you going to go? I’d love to hear about it.

Until next week,

Amy

A Review: The Impersonator

I am a member of Goodreads, a website I’ve mentioned on this blog before. As a quick review, there are lots of things I like about Goodreads: first, once a reader reviews a certain number of books, the site offers suggestions of books to read that are specific to the reader’s preferred genre(s). Second, the site allows readers to tag books that they want to read, books they’ve read, books they’ve reviewed, and many other categories. Third, readers can make friends on Goodreads that also post their reviews, suggestions, and reading progress. Fourth, a reader can join as many groups as she’d like. These groups have discussions that can be very interesting.

One of the groups I’m part of on Goodreads is called Gothicked. I’m also a member of the group called Ladies & Literature and one called Retro Reads. On the Gothicked feed one day, I came across a woman by the name of Mary Miley. She caught my attention because she asked me a question about one of my books. She indicated that she’s also an author of The Impersonator, a Roaring Twenties mystery. Not long after I heard from Ms. Miley, I went to Virginia to the Suffolk Mystery Writers Festival. While I was there my husband took our three kids to Colonial Williamsburg and explored the sights in the village. One of their stops was a bakery, where they bought me a treat – one of the best muffins I’ve ever tasted. It was a sweet potato muffin, and it’s not something I ever would have ordered. But it was delicious. At that bakery they also bought me a souvenir – a cookbook featuring recipes of some of the goodies at the bakery. Alas, the sweet potato muffin recipe wasn’t in the book, but something else was: the foreward, written years ago by none other than Mary Miley.

I emailed Ms. Miley and asked her if she was the same person who wrote the foreward to the cookbook and she answered that yes, she was the one who wrote it, long ago in a former life when she worked in Colonial Williamsburg.

It seemed like a sign: I was running into Mary Miley everywhere, so I needed to read her book.

I’m so glad I did.

The book follows the story of a young woman who is hired to play the role of Jessamyn Carr, the daughter and heiress of a couple who drowned at sea in the early 1900s. Jessamyn, or Jessie, herself disappeared in 1917 at the age of fourteen. Whether she ran away, fell to her death along the rugged Oregon coast where she lived, or was the victim of some other mishap, no one knows.

Well, almost no one.

Almost seven years after Jessie’s disappearance, her maternal uncle, Oliver Beckett, thinks he recognizes Jessie in a vaudeville performance. When he approaches the actress after the show, he finds out that the actress is not Jessie, but is, in fact, Leah Randall, who has been in vaudeville since early childhood. Oliver, a hard man with a love of money, asks Leah if she would be willing to take on a new role: that of his niece, Jessie. If Leah, a dead ringer for Jessie, can convince the trustees of the Carr estate and more importantly, the rest of the family, that she is really Jessie, then she and Oliver can live out their lives in leisure. There are only a couple problems: the charade has to go smoothly and quickly, before Jessie’s twenty-first birthday (at which time her cousin will inherit the fortune), and there’s a lot to learn. Oh, and there’s at least one person who really knows what happened to Jessie, so that person will know Leah’s an impersonator.

Leah initially refuses Oliver’s suggestion, but after she finds herself out of work and out of money, she agrees to take on the role. As the days and weeks go by, Leah finds that being part of a family, something she’s never experienced, has its highs and lows. She has made a promise to herself that she will find out what really happened to Jessie, and her investigations lead her into speakeasies, the seedier areas of 1920s-Portland, and some very dangerous circumstances.

I loved The Impersonator. Ms. Miley does a beautiful job exploring the worlds of vaudeville and Prohibition-era speakeasies. I love the descriptions of the Oregon coast and the house Leah moves into; it’s fun to read about the lives of the wealthy in the 1920s. Leah and the members of Jessie’s family are a group of well-developed characters; Leah is tough, but spunky and kind; her cousins, twin girls, are naive and fascinated by her; her male cousins are less so-they have a hard time believing that Leah is really Jessie and aren’t afraid to tell her so; Jessie’s aunt is cautious and can be overbearing; Jessie’s grandmother can be distant, but is shrewd and has a soft spot for Jessie.

The book is fast-paced and never feels like a history lecture. It had me guessing up to the very end, and what a satisfying ending it was! I found myself suspicious of almost everyone at one time or another, and it was great to be kept on my toes throughout the novel.

The Impersonator was the bee’s knees!

Until next week,

Amy

New Year’s Resolutions 2.0

Happy 2015!

Last year at about this time, I shared with you the things I wanted to accomplish in 2014. I was successful with some, not so much with others. This year I’ve decided to give resolutions a different name: a wish list. The word “resolutions” has a do-or-die sound to it, and I don’t want to feel bad at the end of the year when, inevitably, I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted to do.

For example, you may remember (I know certain people do and they keep mentioning it to me) that I wanted to clean the garage. Didn’t happen.

I also wanted to clean the attic. Also didn’t happen. I  tried, believe me. But it wasn’t to be (nor was the replacement of my kids’ closet doors).

But I did write more and I hope I improved, I took more pictures, I became more active on social media, and I ran a 5K.

So I know you’re dying to find out what I have planned for this year. Not surprisingly, I’d like to clean the attic and the garage. I’m not going to call these resolutions, but I will simply refer to them as two items on my 2015 wish list. By the way, these will probably be on my wish list every year until I die. Replacing my kids’ closet doors should also go on the list.

Here are some other things I’ve added to my wish list:

1. start another new novel (more on this later in the year) (this is actually more of a resolution than a wish);

2. start writing a series (again, more on this later in the year–hopefully) (ditto about being a resolution);

3. replace the garage doors, one of which is held in place with a broom handle;

4. landscape my yard with something other than dead plants;

5. run another 5K; and

6. help my daughter sew the tote bag I’ve been promising to help her with for two years.

Wait! I’ve already done #6! Cross that right off my wish list!

Want to see pictures? I knew you would (some of you may already have seen these on Facebook).

tote bag 1tote bag 2

As I think of other things I want to add to my list, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, what’s on your wish list for this year? I’d love to know!

Until next week,

Amy