I had a chance to interview Sandra Moore Bernsen in Quartzsite, Arizona, where she was hosting an author signing event at Readers Oasis Books. Sandra wrote Free My Heart of Grief to Love-A Journey from Loss to Joy, a memoir of devastating loss and recovery.
Born in Minnesota, the financially stressed family moved to Montana where she later found the “bad boy” to whom she gave her heart. The antithesis of Sandra, she and Rich married and eventually moved to Idaho where they established a life of their own after welcoming their two sons. Ray was their first born son. Patrick followed, but at 8 days old went from being a happy, healthy boy to one of multiple and massive health issues–forcing the family for an extended period of time to concentrate on acquiring his care where they could and eventually losing him to the devastating illness that ravaged his little body.
Ray had his own issues, but borne of the eventual loss of his younger brother and that of his beloved German Shepherds, Sam and Alf, he turned inward for solace and took it upon himself to garner the protection he felt he needed. The protection accidentally turned deadly one evening in the kitchen as he fixed himself a late-night snack. Roused by the sharp report in the kitchen, both mother and father discovered their son had suffered a fatal head wound. Within 10 short weeks of the loss of Ray, Sandra’s mother succumbed to her own health issues.
Devastated, both parents grieved in their own way until Rich was discovered to have contracted acute leukemia–one so rare his doctors were at a loss to create an appropriate treatment regime. Sandra took her husband home and once again faced the emotional turmoil of laying to rest another loved one. Continue reading “What Makes a Survivor?”
The latest in a Hetta Coffey series, Jinx Schwartz has done it again with “Just the Pits“. Hetta is a single female engineer who tends to get in over her head after being hired to investigate what appears to be over-whelming expenditures on an already expensive mining operation. That she quickly begins confronting problems is apparently not wholly unusual, but she has a super network of friends who are ready and willing to come to her aid including a long-distance boyfriend somewhere mysteriously off on his own classified missions. Among the comical sub-plots is her struggle to come to terms with turning the big 4-0 and granting her BFF Jan the lavish male attention her stunning long-legged, blonde good looks garners without rancor. Endearing is her plot to rescue (and keep grounded?) a dog she names Po Thang whose major force in life is to find and devour his next meal. Her general obvious love and appreciation of the local Baja location and population stems from her extensive real life experiences while piloting a 45′ yacht she calls home. The mine that is the subject of the plot is but one of many in the area and her failure to see any masculine dominated industry or activity as being a challenge includes a hilarious description of her maneuvering a monster dirt hauler in the middle of some serious seismic activity. She wraps it all up in snappy, witty and downright laugh-out-loud dialogue and concludes with a satisfying ending. I figured if I enjoyed reading it that much, so would my hubby and got him to read it as well. He loved it! Now, how can we score another of her “Just” Hetta books? They are too much fun!
You gotta check out this book–either in print or digital download!
Kim is not a stupid woman. She is not the product of a severely abusive childhood. Kim is the girl next door or your daughter’s BFF. It’s impossible to discern, looking at this unpresupposing person, that she is a hard-core meth addict and a drug dealer of some stature, smoothly negotiating meth buys. She is a respected and financial force to be reckoned with in the under-world and can hold her own dealing with small or large time drug operators.
Kimberly Wollenburg unfolds the story of her growing addiction in her biographical memoir, “Crystal Clean,” laying bare her motivation as she gradually escalates into the active and upper echelon drug under-world of Idaho, introducing us to each successively flawed character in her drug oriented world with unerring descriptions of dealers and users in graphic detail.
Kim is a single mother of a special needs son who becomes the driving force that helps her fight demons most of us cannot fathom. Separate from her beloved son, is it possible to hold a love interest based on the love of drugs rather than each other?
Can you actually survive a highly elevated tolerance for such a devastatingly pervasive drug as meth and still triumph in a new life? “Crystal Clean” will have you on the edge; you must know if she can pull it off–one more time–and survive.
I’m onto the next phase in the science of marketing, promoting, and publishing industry and that appears to be reading and reviewing books either in your own genre or that of the others in your group. As I’ve mentioned before, I joined the Idaho Author Community (IAC) this year as I’d hit the wall in my limited ability to find avenues to market and promote the sea-adventures I’d published posthumously for my grandfather.
Apparently not the only one lacking years of publishing industry and marketing knowledge, the exchange of thoughts and suggestions at our bi-monthly meetings have been an invaluable source of ideas. It’s okay that I’d exhausted my source; everyone there has another.
Reading voraciously has always come easy, so it was the suggestion of exchanging, reading, and evaluating each others books that came as a welcome solution to the one common problem many of us share–lack of reviews for our own works. The authors in the Community each have a genre of their own from (my own) historical fiction to fantasy to children’s books. Fiction and non-fiction, memoirs, and science fiction all take center stage from time to time depending on the IAC venue.
How can you have a downside to an unlimited free supply of books readily available on most any subject? Uh Oh…..now comes the hard part–the review! Yes, I know most of these authors. We’ve all struggled mightily bringing our books to the market. They are our babies. We powdered, fed, and carried our babies close to our hearts until they were delivered into the hands of the unbiased reading public.
So, to conscientiously deliver a dispassionate, neutral review of another’s book may not be all that simple. I’ve had to employ “tough love” with a consistent, impartial criteria.
What do I specifically look for when analyzing a book? Continue reading “Book Review – What Is So Hard About That?”
Garth is serious. No, I mean REALLY serious! The young writer living in the Magic Valley of Idaho quit his day job and jumped with both feet up to his neck in writing. A wife and 3 young sons of his own mandates his successful transition from the 9-5 work-a-day world to compelling artist. G. S. Wright creates a chilling new concept in “Broken Things”, a tale of children that never grow older and are more android than human. His suspenseful science fiction debut novel is getting a lot of media attention on Amazon and many popular book blogs, including Book Hoarder and Goodreads.com.
What if the child was fully aware he was not human, but possessed all the love and loyalty of an offspring. What if your son, Josh, was an android that got broken? Where would the replacement parts come from? Would the cost be prohibitive? If the cost is prohibitive, would you rather just abandon the boy and buy new? What if he was dispensable? Could you separate from that which you bought as a perfect, but fragile child, guided, protected, and loved? How can Josh survive in a world that simply replaces older and broken children prototypes with newer designs, versions, and releases? Read the reviews his Amazon entry has garnered with 5 star ratings:
“It’s intense, surprising and keeps you on the edge of your seat.” 5 stars
“This is a story that will pull you in and won’t let go. You will *need* to finish it.” 5 stars
Will Josh survive to find a new, loving family?
Login to http://gswright.com and discover for yourself the excitement and energy his work is producing and then support his efforts and buy his novel. You won’t be disappointed!
Writer’s Block or Lack of Goal Setting?
Is lack of goal setting setting you up to satisfy the self-fulfilling prophesy of failure? I need to finish my work by [supply date], but just can’t finish/edit the manuscript because:
- I’m a daughter/mother/wife/grandmother with lots of household duties and they always seem to take precedent to the real work at hand.
- I’ve hit a major snag and can’t seem to get past it–now I just don’t want to work on it at all.
- I know it takes two hours to really get my head into the project, but I’m just not in the mood or right frame of mind right now and know there is not sufficient time today.
It was mentioned some time ago that I joined the Idaho Authors Community in the hope of finding new avenues to help with the promotion and marketing of my grandfather’s manuscripts written some 80+ years ago; most regarding the years he spent sailing the North Atlantic. You could say that’s a specific niche market and it doesn’t help that I’m crippled by working with another’s manuscript, not my own. That’s favorite excuse #1, made even more difficult by being unable to work in the head no longer available to me who actually experienced the infamous nor’easter of 1900; bow dipping well below the horizon and rolling to starboard before pointing three masts skyward again.
The last meeting dealt with goal setting and I realized that the goal I’d set for completing the project had already passed me by. But why? How? Continue reading “I’VE SEEN THE COMPETITION–AND IT’D BE ME!”
Once again, venturing out into the community to put a spin on the marketing of my grandfather’s books, I’ve discovered a local author support group they call the Idaho Author Community.
It amazes me how apparently mystical guidance has led me from publishing several of his manuscripts to marketing and promotion in the public sector when the initial purpose of the first publication was merely to distribute the work to his heirs. That proverbial snowball has led to even more open portals which were there all along and available by simple participation. I think at one point the gentle nudge on my back was felt–propelling me through the first door, into the second, and now the third–an author community–which may be the most enlightening of all.
Comprised of all ages, both sexes (not unsurprisingly, women pen prose just as well as men), and across all genres, this support group is a happy, homogenous surprise to a life long realist–this [←..→] shy of being a pessimist. Does participation in an author community spark competition conflict? Or does the participation force an increase in those most needed exposures where a normally reticent introvert would never tread? Keep Reading!