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Archive for November 3rd, 2016

On October 24, 2016, I reviewed the book Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton. You can find my review here. In the mean time, I spoke with Robert about some updates that he has on this book. First of all, look at this beautiful cover…

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If you would like to order a paperback copy of this book, check out the link to Lulu.com here. Robert said that all formats of the book will be released to various book seller (including Amazon) shortly. Here is an updated excerpt for the book:

Blurb

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. The second edition is scheduled for release in October 2016.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

—Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

 

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip. — Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

 

. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

 

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

 

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

 

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review

Book

Update to My Review

Update 11/3/16: A revised copy of Rarity from the Hollow was provided by the author. I will admit that the revisions have changed my opinion of the book.

The story has been clarified more on how it relates to today’s issues with the election, immigrants and other events. I will admit that I liked this ending better than the previous one, it has a more realistic feel to it.

Also, in my original review I find that I started referring to Lacy as Lucy. I wanted to make a note of this.

Overall I would be willing to add a star to my review of Rarity from the Hollow.

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Worth the Risk

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Worth the Risk (St. James – 3) by Jamie Beck

When Jackson St. James decided that six weeks in Vermont’s Green Mountains would help him get his life together, he didn’t anticipate replacing his craving for whiskey with a craving for his alluring new landlord, Gabby. Now, instead of prioritizing his sobriety and the resolution of the lawsuit threatening his business, he’s making excuses to spend time with the spunky young landscaper whose candor is more than a little addictive.

Gabby Bouchard refuses to let her pill-popping mother and unreliable baby daddy turn her into a cynic, so she doesn’t fight her attraction to her enigmatic new tenant. Although Jackson’s smile rarely reaches his eyes, his generosity and dependability make her willing to overlook his demons. But once she convinces him to give in to temptation, Gabby’s jealous ex threatens to disrupt the life she has built for herself and her son.

With so much at stake, Gabby and Jackson must decide if love is worth the risk.

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unspecifiedJamie Beck

Jamie Beck is a former attorney with a passion for writing stories about love and redemption. In addition to authoring novels, she also pens articles on behalf of a local nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth and strengthening families. A wife and mother, she enjoys spending time with her very patient and supportive family when she isn’t tapping away at the keyboard.

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Interview with Jamie Beck

  1. What inspired you to create Worth the Risk, book 3 of the St. James Series?

Worth the Risk is the third and final book of my St. James series. Its hero, Jackson St. James, is introduced in book one. His story actually begins there and continues to unravel through book two, so that Worth the Risk is his redemption story. The idea for the series grew out of my interest in family dynamics—how we sometimes hurt those closest to us, and more importantly, how the role of forgiveness (or not) plays into our happiness. In terms of the specific elements of this series (infidelity, alcoholism, infertility), those were inspired by real-life experiences of people close to me. I haven’t wholly replicated any person’s story, but I have borrowed bits and pieces in order to craft this family and its responses to those issues.

  1. How would you describe the characters Jackson and Gabby?

Jackson St. James is a loyal, honorable guy who has lost his way due to some fairly major losses. At heart, he’s warm, affectionate, deeply caring, and responsible. But he turned to drinking to cope with pain, and now he’s alienated his family, put his business at risk, and become rather cynical. A family intervention forced him to get help, which is what takes him to Vermont. Gabby, on the other hand, is resilient and hopeful. She’s also suffered some major blows, but unlike Jackson, she’s still optimistic. She relies on her father’s love to keep her safe and grounded, and she’s determined to be a better mother to her son than her mother was to her.

  1. How would you explain the relationship between Gabby and her ex/baby daddy Noah?

Noah hurt her badly when he left her high and dry during her pregnancy. But she loves her son and, for that reason (gift) alone, she tolerates Noah. Also, having been abandoned by her mother, she is aware of how important parental love is to a child, so she welcomes whatever scraps of affection Noah is willing to give their son Luc. She does not, however, harbor any wishes or fantasies of reuniting with Noah. She doesn’t trust him. She doesn’t actually like him all that much anymore, either.

  1. Addiction seems to be a major theme in this book. What made you decide to touch upon this topic?

I think a lot of people face this challenge in their lives (whether on their own, or via a close friend or family member). I have some personal experience with it (in my extended family), and one of my mother’s closest friends has a very tragic experience with drug addiction. Seeing how different people handle these situations (anger, compassion, blame, tough love) gave me a lot of ideas to play with in terms of how my characters might respond under similar circumstances. I like the idea of exploring any issue that doesn’t have clear-cut answers.

  1. Were the characters in the book inspired by people you’ve met, from your imagination, or a mixture of both?

I think every writer will admit that at least some character traits come from real life (themselves, those close to them, and so on). None of my characters is exactly like anyone I know, but I borrow the most interesting traits and/or perspectives from people I meet, and combine them with “wish list” traits that I think make for a strong protagonist. The ability to blend those components gives me an infinite number of possibilities!

  1. How does the setting of Vermont’s Green Mountains contribute to the story?

This was largely a personal choice on my part. I’ve always felt a sense of peace when I travel to the mountains: a physiological response, not just a mental one. So when I wanted Jackson to get out of the pressure-cooker of Fairfield County, Connecticut, Vermont made sense. Also, we have a second home near Stratton, Vermont, so I am familiar with the location, which always makes it easier to write about. The pace there is significantly slower than in the Greater New York City area. Jackson could also work off his aggression through physical activity (he’s athletic) on the trails and lakes in the Green Mountains. But he’d still be close enough to home to run back if there were to be an emergency with his family or business.

  1. Jackson is a recovering alcoholic and Gabby has grown up with a mother addicted to pills. Do you think Gabby is initially drawn to Jackson, because she feels she can help him due to their similar life experiences dealing with addiction or is it something more?

No. She’s drawn to his kindness and generosity before she even knows about his struggle. They meet when he stops to help her with her flat tire. Then she finds out he’s the new short-term tenant of her father’s garage apartment. Within a couple of days, Jackson (a homebuilder) does a bunch of things to help around the house (on his part, out of boredom). That’s what draws her in, so she’s shocked when she learns about his problem. Her first instinct at that point is to run, but she doesn’t because she realizes he is not like her mother even if they share a similar problem.

  1. How do you go about writing the perfect romantic scene?

That presumes I’ve written a perfect romantic scene! As much as I’d like to take credit for that, I’m not sure I can. However, to me, romance is not about the sexual chemistry (although that’s important). The basis of romance should be the emotional connection. When I try to write “romantic” scenes, I think about the characters and how their traits (complimentary and opposing) help bind them together mentally/emotionally, and then I come up with a scene to highlight that connection.

  1. What was the most rewarding moment you experienced in writing Worth the Risk?

I confess—I had many with this book. It is my favorite of all of my work so far. I loved the first page, for example. I felt I nailed Jackson’s voice and the tone of the story. I also loved a few of the quiet moments I was able to create for him and Gabby in the book. Mostly I loved bringing Jackson back to life. In the first book (his brother’s story), we meet him on his way down the slippery slope. You can see that he’s a good guy, but you can also see that he’s on a path of self-destruction. In his sister’s book, he hits bottom, and is angry and resistant to that fact. So in his book, being able to redeem him and give him a vibrant, loving woman and “son” to love (and be loved by) was extremely satisfying.

  1. What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing this book?

Deadlines. This book wasn’t hard to write because I’d been plotting it for a long time (through the series). But writing a book while editing two others, all of which are on deadlines, is a serious challenge. I’m not a naturally organized or disciplined person, so time management is tough.

  1. How do you hope your book impacts its readers?

I hope this book makes people think seriously about the importance of forgiveness—of family, friends, and one’s self. To me, it’s really the best way to deal with disappointment and pain. It isn’t weak to forgive, and by letting go of anger and resentment, you set yourself free to be open to love and happiness again. That’s really a theme of the entire series, not just this book. And if reading it makes you want to take a road trip to Vermont in the fall, well, that’s not a bad idea either!

  1. Out of all of your books, which of the characters do you most relate to?

I honestly don’t know that I can answer this with just one character. There is a little bit of me in every character, but then they are also each different from me. Lindsey (In the Cards) struggled with becoming her own woman (like I did in my twenties). David (Worth the Wait) adhered to a promise (duty, in his mind) even when it cost him much. He has a sense of honor that I relate to. Avery (Accidentally Hers) is very responsible and a little unemotional like me. Hank (Worth the Trouble) values his commitment to his family above all else (which I do as well). Kelsey (Secretly Hers) yearns for love, which is something I struggled with decades ago. And now we have Jackson, who feels a bit like a fool for being a good guy and getting the short end of the stick. I’ve felt that way at times, too, so I can relate to that indignation.

  1. What drew you to the romance genre?

I’ve always loved a love story. When I was a teen, I wanted to write for Soap Operas. I loved the melodrama and had convinced myself I could write much better stories and dialogue. I’ve also always been drawn to melancholy love songs, movies, and books. I can’t explain it, but I respond to that sad tug at the heart, so those are the stories I like to explore (although mine do have happy endings).

  1. Who was your favorite author growing up? Has it changed?

To be honest, I wasn’t an avid reader as a child. I know a lot of people just hissed when they read that, but it’s true. I didn’t start reading for pleasure until after law school. John Irving is a writer I really liked at that time, but it’s been a while since I’ve read his books. Now I mostly read a mix of “book club” picks and romance novels. Kristin Hannah, Sherry Thomas, and Julie Anne Long are all authors whose work I admire for different reasons.

  1. Can we expect a book 4 in the St. James Series?

No. Worth the Risk is the final book in the series. It’s bittersweet for me to say good-bye, but I do enjoy the way I wrapped up all the siblings’ lives in Jackson’s epilogue. I’ve started a new family saga series (tentatively, The Cabot Novels), which will debut in summer 2017. If readers liked the blend of familial relationships and love in the St. James series, they should also enjoy the new series.

PR By The Book

I’m glad to be part of the Tour for Worth the Risk hosted by PR by the Book.

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Will O’ the Wisp by CS Boyack

Paranormal/Young Adult

Date Published: March 13, 2015

There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty is going to have to come to grips with her own physical handicap, survive the wilderness, and face an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves strong elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

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Author Bio

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

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My Review

5 stars

Patty is a fifteen year old girl in 1975. Her mother forces her to wear leg braces which makes Patty a target for bullying. Because of this, Patty has learned to trust few and block everything else out. One night while stargazing with some friends, she sees a strange light that almost kills a man. Patty decides to investigate but doesn’t really get too far. Then when her mother and she inherit her uncle’s estate she finds his journal and learns of the curse on the Hall family from a witch during the Revolutionary War. Patty is going to break this curse before it takes both her and her brother’s lives.

I love how easy it is to fall into this story. Patty is a regular teenager during 1975 and does the same thing all teens do. But she finds herself the outsider so she has filled her time with science, science fiction and anything relating to outer space. But when she sees a man almost die from this strange blue light, Patty thinks it can only be aliens. But when she finds her uncles journal she learns the truth.

This is my first book from C.S. Boyack but it will not be my last. This is a great story that anyone of any age will enjoy.

Reading Addiction

I received Will O’ the Wisp from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Excerpt

Will O’ the Wisp is a paranormal tale from C. S. Boyack. It involves a mildly handicapped girl facing a mysterious threat. The wisp has been killing off Patty Hall’s family for generations, and she’s next on the list. It is suitable for young adult readers. It’s a perfect Halloween read.

Patty is into all things space. She drinks Tang, eats Space Food Sicks, and keeps her eyes on the heavens. In this excerpt, she met her friend Pete up on a ridge for some stargazing. They’re about to find something very different from a passing satellite.

*****

Headlights made their way towards us along the Bergamot Creek trail. “Damn it. I wish people would just stay away.”

Pete looked at them and said, “They’re far enough away we can still watch. Besides, they might not stay once the road ends. Maybe it’s Mrs. Matthews with another one of her boyfriends.”

“That’s gross. I don’t care to see that again.”

“Satellite,” Pete said.

It was no Comet Kahoutek, but we watched it pass overhead and waited for the next one. The car turned out to be a van full of older kids. Three guys and two girls. They built a fire and took out a styrofoam cooler. They looked like students on their way to college somewhere.

I turned my radio off and pushed my lower lip into my upper. “I suppose they’re spending the night.” The sound of their car radio reached our ears.

“So what? We might catch another satellite or a shooting star before we have to go home.”

“Meteor. They aren’t really stars. And now we have light pollution.” I looked up once more and tried to have a good time.

“Holy crap. What’s that?”

I snapped to attention and looked at Pete. He was fixated down toward the campers. A ball of green light, about the size of a softball, drifted along the stream bank. It was darker than the fireflies, more the color of moss, but it glowed in the dark. It lit up the gravel alongside the creek.

“That has to be the king of all fireflies,” Pete said.

“Maybe it’s a cluster.”

It turned and headed our way. Pete crab-crawled away from the light.

The glow got softer. It headed back toward the campfire. It was like it couldn’t make up its mind.

A blond boy with surfer good looks walked away from the fire toward the glowing sphere. He said something to his friends, but I couldn’t hear it over their radio. They all stood and looked. He spread his arms wide then waved the thing toward the campfire like he was calling his dog.

The glowing ball started flickering and moved toward him. It hit his chest and pushed him back. Then it went — it went inside him. He arched rearward, then forward, hit the ground and convulsed.

The girls screamed and ran.

“What the hell was that?” Pete said. “Oh my God! What was it?”

“I don’t know, but one of them’s running this way. Let’s get out of here.”

“See you tomorrow.”

“You’re just going to leave me?”

“This is Burkeford. White girl, black boy, after dark. I don’t want to decorate a tree somewhere by morning. I can’t get caught out here.”

I swooped up Rick’s binoculars and headed for home. The screaming girl was almost to the clearing when I made it into the deep woods. Briars tangled my braces and I fell into the thorns. Someone yelled from the campfire for her to come back. He said something about a hospital.

I lay still in the briars and sucked blood from the back of my hand. The girl fumbled to light a cigarette and took a step toward the van. When she left the clearing, I untangled my braces and found the trail.

I suppose I ought to get a flashlight, but I’ve walked this trail so many times I could do it blindfolded. Stupid Pete. What if there are more of those things?

The forest threatened, menaced even. This was my special place, and all I could think of was getting away. Every trunk became a good place for something to lie in wait. Every rock pile, a den for some monster. I tried to hurry as I picked my way through the rocks and roots along the trail.

What the hell was that thing? The John Glenn book said he saw green stuff swirling around his ship. I’ve never seen anything like it. Never even heard of anything like it. What the hell was that thing?

I picked up my pace once I got to the fence along the field. I needed a bath, and wanted to get indoors. I really wanted to get inside. The fox yapped off to the west, and I thought about my parents.

I slipped in through the back door and headed for the stairs.

“You didn’t stay out long,” Mom said, “and you’re bleeding.”

I shrugged. “Briars. I fell.” I tried to blow it off and keep cool. Rick talked her into letting me go up the ridge. If she thought it was dangerous, she’d never let me go back.

She stood up and picked a twig out of my hair. “I hope you took care of Rick’s binoculars. Those were expensive you know.”

I lifted them over my head. God, she could be annoying. “Right here, Mom. Good as new.” I headed upstairs for my room.

Crap. I’d left my backpack and radio behind. Mom didn’t notice. If I can slip out next time, I’ll just bring it all back then.

Rick was in the bathtub, so I had to wait. I went to my room, took off my braces and picked thorns out of my elbows.

Fireflies don’t attack people. That guy seemed like he invited it to camp and now they’re taking him to the hospital. Maybe he’s dead.

Mom yelled up the stairs. “Patty. Telephone. It’s your friend Petey.”

I headed down. Thank God he got home. There could be dozens of those things out there.

“It’s just Pete now, Mom.” She handed me the phone.

“I just wanted to make sure you got home,” Pete said.

“I’m fine, how are you?” I said it for Mom’s sake, then turned away. “No thanks to you,” I whispered.

“Look, you don’t understand. Your parents are cool and all, but not everyone is. There are people around who’d lynch a black boy for even talking to a white girl. Laura gets it. Why don’t you?”

“I get it, but this is different. Something bad happened out there. I was scared and you left me all alone.”

“I was scared and alone too. I saw monsters behind every tree.”

I smiled. “Me too. Guess we’ll have something to talk about on the bus.”

He chuckled and said, “Yeah, so what was that thing?”

“I have no idea, but I think it’s alien.”

“See you on the bus.”

*****

Patty Hall is perfectly prepared for the wrong problem. She is enamored with the space race, and knows the history of NASA by heart. She is faced with an ancient threat that has been targeting the Hall family for generations.  Hampered by an overprotective mother, if Patty can’t figure it all out in time, she may be the next member in the Hall family cemetery plot.

It’s not hard enough to be a fifteen year old girl, and a social outcast. As she watches her friends mature and grow, she has to face the idea of never turning sixteen. Please consider joining Patty on her incredible adventure.

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