historical fiction

The Missing Baby Star: A Review

Hollywood Hearsay 1: The Missing Baby Star

By Barbara Morgenroth

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It’s 1933. America is in the Great Depression. Prohibition is still the law of the land.
When hard news reporter, Caro James, reveals the secret life of a politician in New York City, much to her dismay, The New York Sentinel newspaper sets out to teach her a lesson about the rules of journalism. They send her to Los Angles to write fluff pieces on the film industry.

The contact in Hollywood who is supposed to guide her for the week of punishment, is the handsome and unpredictable movie director, Sugar McLaughlin. Now, with a young, beautiful starlet missing for two weeks and in great danger, Caro and Sugar must find June Fowler before she is lost forever. When the one person who knows what happened to June is murdered, Caro and Sugar can’t help but think they’ve reached a dead end. As Sugar knows, every story has an Act III and Caro is in for the ride of her life as they race to find the starlet.

Available on Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Hearsay-Missing-Baby-Star-ebook/dp/B074D3FJG6/

My Review: When New York City reporter Caro James is sent to Los Angeles to cover the glitz and glam of Hollywood, she braces herself for an unpleasant week. As a reporter of serious news, she doesn’t relish the idea of writing articles about starlets and hairstyle tips. When she comes upon a story involving a possible missing actress, she suddenly finds that a week in Hollywood isn’t quite long enough – not if she’s going to get to the bottom of a mystery and help uncover the truth about the missing Baby Star. With Sugar McLaughlin by her side, she bravely navigates the glamorous world of Hollywood (and the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles) while maintaining her sense of humor and passion for finding the truth.

The Missing Baby Star is a historical mystery set in Great Depression-era Hollywood. With a fast-paced plot, atmospheric setting, and clever dialogue, this story is a page-turner. Caro is a witty, quick-thinking reporter who makes smart, logical decisions. Her Hollywood contact, Sugar McLaughlin, a highly respected director, has great chemistry with Caro. Their clever banter is one of the great highlights of this book. It’s rare to find a book that makes you laugh and grip the edge of your seat, all in the same chapter.

Overall, this story is a fine gem. It’s well-written with brilliantly-crafted characters. I certainly hope the author plans to write additional books featuring Caro and Sugar. The Missing Baby Star is a winner!

My Rating:

5 star

 

Categories: authors to watch, book review, historical fiction, murder mystery, mystery | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Wanted Lawman: Book Review

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The Wanted Lawman by A.C. Smith

Deputy Jesse Morgan has a dark past and will do almost anything to keep his secrets safe—especially from his fellow lawmen. After all, he’s a wanted man.

But when he’s tasked with helping the sheriff’s sister in law, Cecilia Drake, move to town, the simple task becomes more than he bargained for. The feisty reporter captivates his attention but leaves him feeling betrayed when he discovers his picture published in the local paper—with his name.

Jesse fears it will bring the wrath of the law, or worse, his old gang upon his head. For the last ten years, they have been looking for him and want to settle their score in blood. The safest bet is to get out of town and keep running, just like he’s always done. But he loves St. Elmo, and more than that, he’s fallen for Cecilia. Hard. When a bounty hunter comes sniffing around town, it kicks off a chain of events that could jeopardize the lives of everyone he loves.

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MU1SUQP/

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My Review:  Jesse is lawman with a secret in his past. It’s a secret that has shaped his present and prevents him from planning his future. He never knows when everything might come crashing down around him, so he lives his life always wondering when his good luck might run out. When he meets Cecilia, the feisty sister-in-law of his sheriff, it sets off a series of events that make it impossible for him to continue on the path he’s on. For the first time, he is thinking in terms of the future and the kind of life he could have if he were able to settle down. Unfortunately, his past is dangerously close, putting him and those he cares about in danger.

The Wanted Lawman is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a historical romance, but so much more. Romance is at the heart of the story, but it’s also a novel about friendship, loyalty, and facing your inner demons. Because of Jesse’s past and the trauma that has shaped who he has become, there are times when he can be ruthless and even dishonest. Though he comes across as cocky to some, there is an underlying insecurity that comes from more than just his fear of being caught. He’s an extremely complex and endearing character who evolves tremendously throughout the story.

Cecilia is a determined, independent heroine who is strong-willed but still vulnerable. She isn’t afraid to show her emotions, nor is she afraid to fight for the people she loves. She drives Jesse crazy – in more ways than one. He finds her infuriating, but infatuating at the same time.

In addition to the two amazing main characters in this book, there are also many secondary characters I absolutely fell in love with, particularly Tracker. He provides much needed comic relief throughout the story, but he also gives us a unique glimpse into Jesse’s character that we otherwise would not see. Tracker and Jesse have a friendship that endures despite challenges that would normally destroy a relationship.

This is the type of story romance lovers will swoon over, but history buffs will love this book too. The story is very well-researched and full of rich descriptions that bring the past and the Colorado landscape to life. Filled with action, adventure, and passion, The Wanted Lawman is a book I can wholeheartedly recommend to book lovers of all kinds.

My Rating:

5 star

Categories: authors to watch, book feature, book review, books, historical fiction, historical romance, new release | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Author of the Week: Dave Riese

Cover for 'Echo from Mount Royal'

‘Echo from Mount Royal’

Our Author of the Week is Dave Riese. He’s here to speak with us about his novel, Echo from Mount Royal. Welcome, Dave. When did you begin writing?

I began writing at Bates College in Maine. While studying abroad at Oxford University in England during my junior year, I travelled throughout Europe during term breaks. For my B.A. thesis, I wrote stories, essays and poems based on my travel journals. Like many young writers, I was ‘bitten’ by the poetry bug in my twenties. I was cured, mercifully, within two years. Three poems were good enough to escape the shredder.

In my mid-twenties, I began writing short stories. An early story, submitted to the University of Massachusetts literary magazine, was not accepted, but the editor wrote a personal note praising the story and encouraging me to continue writing. I have always treasured that ‘rejection.’

While studying for my MBA at Suffolk University in Boston, I entered stories in the university’s annual short story contests and won a couple of cash prizes. Despite that success, I knew I had to keep my day job.

In my thirties, I began writing a novel off-and-on over several years. I finally finished the 400-page novel. It hides in a cardboard box under my desk.

What is your chosen genre?

I fell into the genre of my book. Before going to work, I’d often meet an elderly Jewish woman in the coffee shop downstairs from my office. We talked ‘books,’ sharing a similar taste in fiction. When she learned that I was a writer, she told me many stories about her experiences growing up in Montreal before and after WWII. Her story about her engagement as an 18-year-old girl astounded me. She invited me to ‘write it up,’ thinking it would make an interesting short story. Over the next ten months, I gave her chapters ‘Hot off the press” to read. When the 300-page manuscript was finished, she hefted the pages laughing, “This weighs more than a short story!” After a year and a half editing the book, it was finally finished In October 2014.

Montréal 1952  Rue Sainte-Catherine

Can you please tell us about your most recent release?

The novel takes place in the Montreal of 1951. Rebecca Wiseman, 18 years old, from a Catholic-Jewish family, briefly meets a handsome young man at a local dance. She has little hope of seeing him again. When Sol Gottesman tracks her down and asks her on a date, her joy mingles with disbelief: he is the son of a wealthy Westmount businessman.

Sol takes her in a chauffeured Rolls-Royce to the most expensive restaurant in the city and Rebecca enters a world of upper-class wealth and privilege. She believes her life is perfect.

She soon learns that despite Sol’s outward charm, he lacks self-confidence. On a visit to Mount Royal overlooking the city, Sol reveals the simmering conflicts in his family. When Rebecca tries to help him stand up to his family, she puts herself squarely in the midst of it all.

Class, religion, family conflict and sexual secrets test their love. And then, a late night telephone call changes her life forever.

In their reviews, readers respond to the independent and outspoken character of Rebecca who struggles to reach out for love and to support the man she loves; to the vivid descriptions of Montreal and its social norms in 1951; to the realistic depiction of family love and conflict; and to the unusual twists of the plot and the surprising revelation at the end of the novel.

Rebecca #1

What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?

The most difficult challenge was capturing the attitudes, prejudices and social conventions of that era. Knowing someone who lived during those years was a precious advantage. Also, the Internet is an amazing resource. Here are some issues I encountered while writing the novel:

When Sol and Rebecca go to the cabin in the Laurentians, I originally had them driving on a highway that did not exist in 1952.

In early drafts, I wrote scenes in which people watch television. Canadian television did not exist until the first TV stations were built in Toronto and Montreal toward the end of 1952.

Using a specific consumer product usually required an Internet search. For example, I remembered the commercial for Ipana toothpaste from my childhood – a cartoon beaver singing “Brusha, brusha, brusha, get the new Ipana.” I confirmed on the web that Ipana toothpaste was sold in Canada in the early fifties.

Researching radio shows that Rebecca might have heard while looking at her bouquet of roses, I discovered that Princess Elizabeth came to Canada in October, 1951.

Contemporary newspaper descriptions supplied details about Ben’s Deluxe Deli – the décor, waiters’ uniforms, and the Wall of Fame.

The hardest work was striking the right tone regarding the attitudes of people in 1951 in areas of pre-marital sex, public displays of affection, parental control of daughters, and the revelations of child abuse. I hope I’ve resolved these complaints satisfactorily.

Burnt photograph

What projects are you currently working on?

My next project?

Authors are superstitious about discussing their next project. They may discover after six months of writing that the novel or memoir isn’t working and abandon it. Inevitably, when people learn you’re a writer, they’ll ask, “Who’s your agent?” and “When will it be published?” and “Is it about anyone I know?” Inevitably there’s a reference to Stephen King. The writer often underestimates the time required to finish the work (I needed an extra year), then feels compelled to justify why the book is taking so long to complete. These discussions can be depressing.

Nevertheless, I often ignore my own advice. My next book is about the last years in the lives of the main character’s parents when he faces the fact that they will not be with him much longer. Watching them fail both physically and mentally caused him to confront his own mortality. The novel will explore how memories change over time to reveal one’s parents in a different light. Of course, there will be juicy family secrets. I hope to show how memories both deceive us and encourage us to reexamine our lives.

And, no, I do not know when it will be finished.

What is your primary goal as an author?

My goal as an author is to write honestly about the themes in my next book. To keep learning how to write better. To encourage other writers. To get my writing out to as many people as possible and not worry about how much money I make. (Which is very little. Luckily I am retired and not trying to support myself writing.)

Which authors and/or books have inspired you as a writer?

The smart-aleck answer is “The book I’m reading now.”

My favorite Irish and English authors are Sebastian Barry, William Trevor, Colm Toibin, Frank O’Connor, Jaime O’Neill, Edna O’Brien, Jane Gardam, Brian Moore, Peter Ackroyd, John LeCarre, Patrick McGrath, Ian McEwan, Magnus Mills, John Mortimer, Roddy Doyle, Virginia Woolf, Michael Frayn, Graham Swift, Graham Greene, Elizabeth Taylor, Hilary Mantel, Charles Dickens, and Evelyn Waugh.

My favorite American and Canadian writers are Edith Wharton, Pat Barker, William Maxwell, James Cain, Jim Thompson, Willa Cather, Stewart O’Nan, Bernice Rubens, Mordecai Richler, Alan Furst, Muriel Spark, Patricia Highsmith, Ernest Hemingway (short stories), Scott Turow, Henry James, Eudora Welty, and Tobias Wolff

What advice would you like to share with new or aspiring authors?

When asked how she wrote so many books, Nora Roberts answered ‘Ass in chair.’ That’s the best advice for aspiring writers. Spend time each week and write. Not ‘thinking’ about writing. WRITE! (Note: I don’t always follow my own advice,)

  • Keep a journal to record thoughts and impressions. It’s amazing how those notes can inspire you years later.
  • Write a first draft without stopping to think too much. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, using the right word. Then let it simmer. Finally edit, edit, edit. Sculpt the work with revision after revision. Editing is when the book is created.
  • Don’t show anyone your work until you’ve gone over it carefully 5 times.
  • Develop a thick skin. Don’t argue when someone offers criticism. Some of ‘my’ best ideas have been suggested by other writers.
  • Join a writer’s critique group. You’ll learn as much critiquing others’ work as you will from their reviews of your work.
  • Send out your work to websites that publish new authors — not to make money, but to get your work out there and gain self-confidence.
  • Never give up. Don’t panic if you think that you’ve got ‘writers block.’ Sit down and write whatever comes into your head. You are a writer as long as you write. Publishing doesn’t make you a writer.
  • Take time to live your life. You don’t know everything when you’re 25 or even 40. I’m still learning at 69.
  • Read, read, read. Everything. Never be without a book. Take two with you in case you finish one while you’re away from home.
  • Observe, listen, and daydream.
Dave Riese

Dave Riese

About the Author:

Born in 1946, I grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts. I attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, majoring in English literature. During my junior year, I studied English Literature at Oxford University and travelled in Europe. I wrote a travel journal as my senior thesis.

After graduating in 1968, I enlisted in the Air Force one step ahead of my draft board’s kind invitation to join the army and travel to Vietnam. I married Susan, my high school girlfriend, during leave between tech school and my posting to the Philippines at Clark Air Base. During this period, I wrote poetry.

Discharged from the military in 1972 and despite my lack of computer experience, I was hired by Liberty Mutual Insurance to attend their three-month computer training course. I learned later that the major reason I was hired was my writing and communications background. An English degree can be a valuable asset!

I began writing short stories, a novel and a screenplay, but wasn’t disciplined enough to produce much over the next 25 years. A job, a house, and raising two children took all my energy.

After 35 years in information technology, I retired from Massachusetts Financial Services in the spring of 2012. I sat down and had a long talk with myself. “If you want to publish a book, you’d better take writing seriously.” (i.e., AIC — ass in chair)

My wife and I moved north of Boston in 1974. Our daughter lives in Ireland with her husband. Our son and his wife are pediatricians in Rhode Island. We have four grandchildren.

Echo from Mount Royal is my first novel, published in 2015.

Connect with Dave Riese:

Buy a copy of Echo from Mount Royal:

Mount Royal McCord Museum - cropped

 

Categories: author interview, author of the week, authors to watch, books, historical fiction | Tags: , , , , ,

Little Sacrifices by Jamie Scott

Little Sacrifices 2015

How much would you risk to stand up for your beliefs?

When Duncan and Sarah Powell move with their daughter, May, to Savannah Georgia in 1947, they hope against hope that they’ll be welcomed. But they’re Yankees and worse, they’re civil rights advocates almost a decade too early.

At first May can pretend they’re the same as everyone else. It means keeping quiet when she knows she should speak up, but it’s worth the sacrifice to win friends. Unfortunately her parents are soon putting their beliefs into action. And when they wake to find that they’re the only family on the block with a Ku Klux Klan cross blazing on their front lawn, the time comes for them to finally decide between what’s easy and what’s right.

Kindly Note: This is not a Rom Com like Michele Gorman’s books under her own name. It’s an atmospheric coming-of-age novel set in the 1940s segregated American South and contains adult themes that some readers may find uncomfortable.

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1J1qLg3

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1CaUn2T

Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1FlWBMK

Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/1R7QaDU

Free book: At the front of Little Sacrifices there’s a link to get a free copy of Michele Gorman’s first rom com novel, Single in the City. If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can also read Little Sacrifices for FREE on Amazon!

Categories: book feature, historical fiction | Tags: , ,

New Release: Troubled Souls

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Troubled Souls
By: Genevieve Scholl
Genre: Romantic Mystery
Release Day Blitz: April 15th (103rd Anniversary of the sinking)

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The sinking of the Titanic was one of the most shocking tragedies in history. Rosalee has always had a strange fascination with the whole thing. She never understood why she was so curious about the ship, the passengers, and the sinking… Until she visited an artifact exhibit in Las Vegas, and started having dreams of being a passenger on the ship in 1912.

Once she finds out which passenger she is portraying in these visions, she does some research and finds out that not only is the woman buried nearby, but she also has a striking resemblance to her.

Now she has a million questions, and the only thing that can help her get the answers is the spirit of the passenger… And possibly the handsome Historian in a suit.

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Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Troubled-Souls-Genevieve-Scholl-ebook/dp/B00VZ2LFZG
Amazon UK:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Troubled-Souls-Genevieve-Scholl-ebook/dp/B00VZ2LFZG

TS Teaser 1 (1)

Excerpt:

Bradley snapped his head back at Rosalee’s question. The doctor hadn’t said there was any possibility of amnesia, but he guessed that was why they kept people for observation. Bradley could only hope it was temporary. After pressing the nurse’s button, he gently sat on the edge of the bed and carefully grabbed Rosalee’s hand in his, making lazy circles on the top with his thumb. He didn’t want to say anything for fear of jarring her memory and causing some kind of damage.

A nurse walked in to the room and smiled when she saw that Rosalee was awake. “How are you feeling, Rosalee?” she asked sweetly.

Bradley winced at the mention of her name, and looking down at Rosalee’s creased brow.

“Who’s Rosalee?” she questioned. “My name is Emily,” she added.

The nurse—whose name was Daphne, according to her badge—looked between Rosalee and Bradley in confusion. “She seems to be suffering a little amnesia,” he told her. “Is it a cause for concern?”

Daphne’s smile reappeared, though it wasn’t as cheerful as the last time. “It’s possible with any head injury, of course; though we weren’t expecting it with such a minor bump. But that’s why we keep people in for 24-hour observation.” She moved a chair close to the bed and took a seat. “After I gather a bit of information and check her vitals, I’ll have the doctor stop by to talk to you.” Bradley nodded, and Daphne turned to Rosalee. “Are you up for a few questions?” She nodded, and Daphne pat her hand before continuing. “Now, Emily,” she paused as she smiled at Rosalee. The use of the name made Rosalee visibly relax, and Brad sighed … she really did believe her name was Emily, “do you know your last name?”

“Lancaster,” she answered immediately.

Daphne nodded, and wrote on the paper she held. “Do you know why you’re in the hospital?”

Rosalee shook her head. “The last thing I remember is standing on the ship.”

“What ship?” Bradley asked gently.

“The Titanic, of course.”

Author Photo (1)

About the Author:

I’m just a small town girl with a heart for the country life. I’m very shy and pretty much a loner, but my writing helps me be more outgoing and talk to various people that I would otherwise have a hard time approaching. I don’t write for the money or the fame, but rather to tell a story that needs to be told; whether that is my story or a character’s story. As a lot of people know, from my various interviews, I started writing to express my anger and hurt over the bullying that I experienced in High School, but eventually I just realized that I loved to tell stories. I was born in Texas, grew up and still live in Upstate New York, and want to retire in Ireland.

For updates on the story, the release, or to chat with Genevieve …

To sign up for Genevieve’s newsletter and receive a Save the Date card like the one pictured above, feel free to fill out the form: http://eepurl.com/9jzV1 (to ensure a Save the Date card is sent to you, physical address is required—if no physical address is given, you will still receive the newsletter in your email, but will be opted out of receiving any physical mail/swag).

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Categories: book excerpt, book feature, book launch, historical fiction | Tags: , , ,

Interview with Shannon Muir

Today’s guest is blogger and author, Shannon Muir. Welcome, Shannon! Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

I’m a writer who has worked in a variety of mediums, from prose to poetry to animation scriptwriting. My favorite genres are science fiction, fantasy, and mystery – both to read and write – though I have written about some other subject matters. Also, I’m known for running two blogs that focus on writers, INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS at http://www.house-of-books.com that features author interviews and guest posts, while DISCOVER WORDS at http://www.discoverwords.com leans more toward excerpts and cover reveals. INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS has been around for about three years now, and DISCOVER WORDS for around two, though after a rather catastrophic incident with my provider both blogs have to be rebuilt, so I appreciate patience with any readers who come to visit. I’ve also held production positions on animated series that continue to remain fan favorites such as INVADER ZIM and EXTREME GHOSTBUSTERS., as well as worked as part of the team that launched the now-closed NEOPETS spinoff virtual world PETPET PARK.

I grew up with my father reading my sister and I THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS as bedtime stories; Bilbo Baggins is absolutely still my favorite literary character of all time. Favorite books also included all of L. Frank Baum’s OZ novels and C.S. Lewis’ NARNIA books. I also grew up reading Encyclopedia Brown and every single Nancy Drew story I could get my hands on. Those early loves I believe still reflect in all I do.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first novel at the age of 10, though the quality might be dubious. Around the same time period in school, the class was writing poems and the best of the class would be chosen to be displayed in the mall; I wrote a couplet about a journey through a toy store. My poem turned out to be one of the ones selected, but that didn’t really make an impact at the time. It would be my sixth grade teacher, Naomi Yap, who would make the most difference. Every week we had twenty spelling words, and she would challenge us to write stories in class that had to use all twenty words, and the next week the best ones would be read to the class. Mine would repeatedly end up being read to the class, and this really made an impact; she also chose one of those stories to display at the mall that year. An interesting aside, I did a set of stories about a boy and a girl and their cat who regularly went to a magic fantasy land called Zim where they assumed alternate identities and had fantastic adventures; little did I know that many years later I would be a Production Coordinator on a cult favorite called INVADER ZIM that – other than the name -bears absolutely no relation!

During my teen years, I turned my attention to learning about animated scriptwriting, but didn’t completely give up on prose writing. I wrote another novel at seventeen, a book on teenage pregnancy in a small town, which I even attempted to send to New York agents. I did go on to get a degree in English-Creative-Writing as well as Radio-TV, but found out after I entered that genre fiction such as I preferred to write was frowned upon, so I actually did all my writing workshops in poetry. This experience dissuaded me from continuing to write prose for a while. For years I focused solely on writing for the animation medium and didn’t pick up the prose bug again around 2004, when I stumbled on a call for submissions to an anthology called ARIA KALSAN; someone had already developed a world and wanted people to write stories based on the “bible”; since that is similar to how live-action and animation television series are done it felt a natural segue to try my hand after such a long time. I began writing regularly again after taking the National Novel Writing Month challenge in 2005 (see http://www.nanowrimo.org for more on this), which I have completed successfully for ten years as of 2014. I’ve made a lot of those manuscripts available via self-publishing, because while they are personal passion products for me with interesting characters and settings, they don’t reflect my primary love of genre fiction which is what I am starting to pursue in earnest. With Pro Se Press, and other outlets, that is finally coming to fruition all these years later.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

“Ghost of the Airwaves” focuses on a radio actress who starred alongside her husband on a popular radio drama. He’s killed and the police are sure the case is closed. However, a mysterious letter that comes through her mail slot from the “Ghost of the Airwaves” lets her know that the police missed some crucial information. When the police don’t seem to take things seriously enough, the radio actress decides she’s going to take things into her own hands  and be sure that everyone involved with her husband’s death is found.

How did you get the idea for the book?

Book is really becoming more of a generic term, it seems. “Ghost of the Airwaves” is what is known as a digital single, which in other words is a short story packaged on its own with a cover. Pro Se Press does a lot of this, but I’ve come to realize other publishers are seeing as a reasonable market as well.

I decided I wanted to tell this story after the fun I had doing another story for Pro Se Press in an anthology called NEWSHOUNDS. That story, “Pretty as a Picture,” involved a group of people working for a newspaper who use the press in 1950s America to fight injustice in their city; those characters had all been pre-developed by Pro Se Press and documented in a “bible” and we wrote stories about them. As much as I loved doing that story, I also wanted to show what I could do on my own.

At the time, Pro Se Press also put out a magazine and “Ghost of the Airwaves” was originally written and submitted to the magazine to get more exposure for myself as a writer as well as within the genre. As it turned out, they discontinued the magazine soon after submission but everyone who had submitted would be considered for the digital single line called Single Shots. It’s taken a year for this manuscript to come to the top of that pile.

So that’s why the story happened to begin with, but there’s also the part of the question as to why I chose the golden age of radio specifically. Basically, the core of this story starts with a television script that I wrote in college called FROM THE FATAL HEART. In college, I received a double major in Radio-TV and English-Creative Writing, and also worked as a DJ on the college stations, so I drew in part from experience. In that script, a modern day request-and-dedication DJ thinks his wife committed suicide but comes to learn it was a carefully orchestrated murder; the script ended up getting national recognition as a finalist for a competition run by a national radio-television honor society. Years later, I still love that story, but in hindsight found the male lead to be very passive in deciding the course of his fate. I wondered what would happen if I made the lead a woman, made her a more active participant in finding the solution, changed the time period, but kept the same basic premise. By choosing an earlier time period, radio dramas were ruling the airwaves and the DJ as we know that role today didn’t even exist. I didn’t have any idea how the story would turn out when I started, but am very pleased with the result.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why? 

Since the NEWSHOUNDS characters were created by Pro Se Press, I’m going to focus this answer on GHOST OF THE AIRWAVES. Actually, my favorite character is the person who turns out to be the “Ghost of the Airwaves,” but fully as to why would be giving away too much. Let’s just say I like the challenges that come with writing this character and I’d love to do so again. However, sales and word of mouth will be what it takes to see if further adventures come out. The story is written in such a way that while it does resolve, further tales could be told if the demand existed.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Because it is set in a historical time period, I needed to be sure I had all my facts straight. I looked up the history of radio dramas for the time period I wanted, to see what kind of shows were popular that my lead character might be involved in. Also, the radio drama was a “story within a story,” so I needed to know all the characters being played in the radio drama and how they related to one another both in front of the microphones and away from them.

What is your primary goal as an author?

My primary goal would be to tell stories with believable character regardless of the time, place, or situation. If a reader can’t get into the story and care about the characters propelling it, the rest doesn’t carry much weight at all. Some stories I do might strive to make people think, but generally the primary intent is to entertain.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m waiting for final editing stages on several more stories with Pro Se Press that are slated for other anthologies, so there is definitely more to come in this vein of storytelling. I also have a story pending with Emby Press, whose tales lean more toward the paranormal and horror, that I hope will come out this year; it is part of an anthology regarding superheroes, so that’s closer to the tales I write than most of what they publish.

However, I also have some self-published titles that are of a different genre. Most of them came about over the last ten years of doing National Novel Writing Month and succeeding every year. For any readers not familiar with this challenge at http://nanowrimo.org, people challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word (or more) first draft of a novel in November. I’ve done this over and over successfully for a decade, though my two attempts at the more flexible Camp version actually didn’t work out. Basically, over the years, I created many books in several series that while I find myself passionate about them, I know they are just too niche for publishers. Over the next two years, I plan to return to the remaining first drafts that need a fresh eye and editing and complete both these series. After that, other than a one-off project I’m planning called DYING WITH HER NAME IN LIGHTS – featuring murder mysteries in the entertainment field, but not necessarily as intense in action as stories like those for Pro Se need to be – I’m not planning to do much more on the self-publishing side of things unless a story comes along that I absolutely feels must be told but that it isn’t worth the effort of burdening down publishers over.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Be open to trying new things; you may find in time that there are things you can do that previously seemed out of range. I certainly never saw myself writing the kinds of stories I’ve been doing such as “Ghost of the Airwaves” and “Pretty as a Picture,” though I enjoy reading and watching entertainment in the same vein. Kevin Paul Shaw Broden – who at times is my writing partner and who I will be married to – is even more into it than I am, and in fact is how I discovered Pro Se Press. He was reading a book called YESTERYEAR by Tommy Hancock (who also happens to be Editor in Chief of Pro Se Press, but I didn’t know it then), and I asked to take a look at it; it intrigued me but I still didn’t think I could do it. Then I found out that every so often, Pro Se Press put out open calls for submissions and Kevin showed me a list. A couple things were on that list, but the one that really stood out to me was NEWSHOUNDS. Suddenly, seeing that anthology idea about ordinary people using the power of the pen to write wrongs as something I could relate to, my repetitive “I can’t” turned into “I can”. I tried but was unsure if I’d be accepted, and as it turned out so did Kevin, not to mention the cover is also his art. The advice I’d give out of that that story is this: don’t ever close your mind to possibility and invest in your passion for the long haul.

Bio_Photo

About the Author:

SHANNON MUIR’s most recent genre fiction release is the Single Shot “Ghost of the Airwaves,” a New Pulp digital single tale, preceded by her debut genre fiction story “Pretty as a Picture” in the anthology NEWSHOUNDS from Pro Se Productions. Prior to venturing into the world of New Pulp, Muir is best known to genre readers as co-writer of the long-running webcomic FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY with her partner, Kevin Paul Shaw Broden (featured in Pro Se’s anthology THE BLACK FEDORA, his own story in NEWSHOUNDS, and the self-published REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST). She tends to gravitate towards writing stories with females in leading or influential roles, which can prove a challenge in the time periods that pulp stories are set in. Muir aspires to bring different perspective to a classic time period by taking on this viewpoint. Muir also has credits in new adult contemporary fiction, as well as published textbooks on the animation industry, a field in which she’s held writing and production positions as part of her nearly twenty year career focused in family entertainment. She currently resides in Glendale, California.

Connect with Shannon Muir:

Blog: http://www.muirwords.com

Website: http://www.shannon-muir.com

Twitter: @Shannon_Muir

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Shannon-Muir/e/B004G28H0I/

Smashwords Author Page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/shannonmuir

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1154259.Shannon_Muir

ghostairwaves

“Ghost of the Airwaves”:  From Pro Se Productions’ Single Shot line comes a tale of mystery and murder set against the backdrop of the Golden Age of Radio! Through this stand alone digital single, Author Shannon Muir introduces the world to Ghost of the Airwaves!

Ghost of the Airwaves is the suspenseful tale of radio actress Abigail Hanson, whose husband died under mysterious circumstances. Everyone believes the culprit is caught until a mysterious typed letter from “Ghost of the Airwaves” comes through her mail slot. Abigail becomes determined to find out who killed her husband and uses her own observant eye to help coax the police along. But, as she delves deeper into the mystery, Abigail may learn she should have stayed behind the microphone…to stay alive!

Ghost of the Airwaves by Shannon Muir, featuring fantastic cover art and logo design by Jeff Hayes and digital formatting by Russ Anderson. A Pro Se Single Shot digital single from Pro Se Productions!

“Ghost of the Airwaves” is available on Kindle and Smashwords 


newshoundscover

NEWSHOUNDS: News For All, Justice for the Innocent and Weak! That is the Masthead of The Partisan and the mission of its keepers in Pro Se Productions’ action packed tribute to the printed press- NEWSHOUNDS! Dogged reporters, crusty editors, copyboys and cub photographers with dreams of grandeur. Pressmen who know the city lives and breathes by what they print. Characters like Editor ‘Red Dillinger, reporters Viv Bailey and Ted Boland, photographer Margie Haviland, and more all work for The Partisan, a 1950s paper partial to the common man, to righting the wrongs done against the housewives and the blue collars! And this gaggle of hard bitten, hard fighting men and women are known near and far to those who love them and those who wish to see them dead! Do No Wrong in Their City unless you want it covered by the Newshounds! Started in 1930 to stand up for the little person and to protect the rights of the rightless. The Partisan has always been the paper that focused on both accurate news reporting and standing up for the common citizen against crime and corruption of all types. This led to a style of writing both factual and fiery that the paper is known for. Authors Kevin Paul Shaw Broden, Shannon Muir, and J. Walt Layne bring life to the chaotic adventures of a larger than life newspaper staff in this three story collection. Only two types of people work at The Partisan- Those truly interested in standing up for truth and justice and what’s right…and those with a death wish or nowhere else to go. Either way, they make great stories for Pro Se Productions’ NEWSHOUNDS!

Buy NEWSHOUNDS in Print at Amazon

Buy NEWSHOUNDS on Kindle and Smashwords

Categories: anthology, author feature, author interview, digital singles, historical fiction, new pulp, short story | Tags: , , , , , ,

Wildewood Revenge: Book Review

Wildewood Revenge

The Wildewood Chronicles, Book One

By B.A. Morton

A knight. A witch. A Secret.

When Grace, a twenty first century heroine, is accidently transported through a time portal into the clutches of an impoverished medieval knight with one eye on her ransom, we are treated to a brilliant evocation of medieval England which heaves with corruption and intrigue.

The remote and beautiful wilderness of ancient Northumberland rings out with the sound of clashing swords, the hiss of arrows, thundering hooves and the chink of coin bags changing hands in shady deals.

It is all there: a spirited and sensual romance, an action-packed adventure story, hidden treasure, revengeful and devious barons and corpulent and corrupt clergy.

Beset on all sides by danger and deception, with only their wits and a small band of loyal followers to assist them, Grace and Miles of Wildewood find their lives inexplicably entwined as they battle for justice, honour and love.

My Review: Grace is taking a lonely walk in the woods, when suddenly she finds herself injured, hundreds of years in the past, and being held for ransom. She’s taken to Wildewood against her will, and it isn’t long before Grace realizes exactly how much danger she’s in. In a world where women are in need of protection, where the smallest accusation can result in cries of witchcraft, where modern conveniences are hundreds of years in the future, Grace must tread very carefully. The struggle to survive soon replaces her thoughts of escape, and in the midst of all the intrigue, danger, and betrayal, Grace begins to discover a feeling of belonging she never felt at home.

Wildewood Revenge is a beautifully written historical novel with strong elements of romance, adventure, mystery, and fantasy. I was immediately captivated by the setting–the thick wilderness, the smell of damp earth and  wood smoke, the sounds of Wildewood coming alive again after Miles’ long absence. I love the author’s ability to flesh out believable, flawed, multifaceted characters. Grace is headstrong and brave, but hurt and vulnerable underneath her forthright veneer. She’s her own worst enemy and often finds herself trusting the wrong people. Miles is hardworking, kind, and commands respect, but too caught up in revenge. The chemistry between Miles and Grace is explosive in more ways than one, and their relationship develops gradually as they learn to trust one another. The secondary characters in this novel are a delight–adorable Linus, loyal John, outspoken Martha, and even scheming Belle. Edmund is an enigma. There’s definitely more to him than meets the eye. And Hugh–I’m not sure if I trust him, and neither is Grace. As for the more obvious villains, Morton has crafted two antagonists who torment Grace and Miles throughout the book. One is truly evil; the other is as obsessed with vengeance as Miles.

I enjoyed this well-researched book and can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. I’m usually not a fan of cliff-hanger endings, but for this book, I’ll make an exception. It truly is an exceptional story, one which has all the makings of an epic series.

My Rating:5 out of 5 stars

Available on Amazon

Categories: authors to watch, book review, historical fiction | Tags:

The Thackery Journal: Book Review

The Thackery Journal
By John Holt
Phoenix Publishing

On the night of April 14th 1865 President Abraham Lincoln attended a performance at The Ford Theatre, in Washington. A single shot fired by John Wilkes Booth hit the President in the back of the head. He slumped to the floor, and died a few hours later without regaining consciousness. Was Booth a lone assassin? Or was he part of a wider conspiracy? A plot hatched by his own generals to replace Lincoln with General Ulysses S. Grant.

My Review: When Jacob Thackery enlists to serve in the Confederate army, he decides to keep a journal of his experiences. His role in the Civil War is part of a shocking conspiracy. Does Jacob realize the part he is about to play? Or, is he an innocent victim of power-hungry leaders intent on bringing down the President of the United States.

Before I began reading The Thackery Journal, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the book. Though I’ve enjoyed some Civil War fiction in the past, I’m not usually a fan of conspiracy theories. This story gripped me early on, probably because of the author’s skill in crafting sympathetic, likable characters. I enjoyed the human element in this story and the author’s ability to show the toll the war took on the country. As the country begins to take sides in the war, states battle neighboring states, brothers war against brothers, and families are ripped apart. The story focuses on certain characters (Aaron Thackery, Jacob Thackery, Miles, and others), but also explores the war as a whole and is interspersed with historical facts that bring the time period to life.
This story is very well-written. It was a captivating read that kept me turning the pages late into the evening and past my bedtime. The author definitely had me wondering, “What if?” as I read this book. I’d recommend The Thackery Journal to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or alternate history.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Available on Amazon

Categories: authors to watch, book review, historical fiction | Tags: , ,

Interview with Christine Elaine Black

I’m proud to introduce Christine Elaine Black. She’s here to talk to us about her new historical novel, A Rose for Lancaster. Let’s have a peek at the book…

A Rose for Lancaster 
by Christine Elaine Black

A York woman and a Lancaster man are forced into a marriage contract to please King Henry VII.

Blanche Langley is swept into King Henry VII’s ambitious maneuvers to secure the throne. Tensions flare as a plot to overthrow the king is discovered.
York forces gather to make one last effort to win the throne. Will Blanche betray her king, and her husband, Giles Beaufort?


Now available on Amazon





Tricia: Welcome, Christine. Please tell us about your new release.

Chrisine: Hello and thanks for having me on Authors to Watch. My newest release is a Tudor historical romance set in the first few years of Henry VII’s reign. A York woman and a Lancaster man are forced into a marriage contract to please Henry. As a plot to overthrow the king is uncovered, will Blanche betray her king, and her husband, Giles Beaufort?

Tricia: How did you get the idea for the book?

Christine: I’ve always loved Tudor times and books featuring royals. My daughter is studying Shakespeare and the play Richard III recently interested me enough to brew a story. It’s the first novella in a planned Tudor Rose series.

Tricia: What made you decide to write historical fiction?

Christine: Historical fiction is my ‘go to’ genre, though I don’t always read books featuring romance but I enjoy romantic fiction and I’m drawn to writing lots of romance into mine.

Tricia: How much research goes into your novels?

Christine: Most of my research is done through reading many books on the subjects of ancient Rome, Egypt, Greece, medieval times, and royal households. I’m driven to write a good plot with interesting characters, and then pepper in the historical details to add richness.

Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?

Christine: Glad you asked. I’m currently working on book III of my Roman Imperial Desire series, book II of my Tudor Rose series and I have an almost-ready-to-publish contemporary story featuring an undercover agent. Also, I have a Roman saga waiting in the wings for a thorough edit before setting a date for that one.

Tricia: What historical periods would you like to explore?

Christine: I love Egypt, Troy, Rome, viking/medieval, British kings and queens and Regency. Also, I’m planning to write a mid-West American cowboy tale. It’s rolling around my head. Crazy, I know.

Tricia: Have you, or do you have plans to travel to any of the places you’ve written about?

Christine: I need a time machine to visit most of the places I want to write about. They’ve changed so much in modern times. I’m heading to New York soon (the scene of my contemporary novel) to check out some Broadway shows and do some sightseeing with the family for a much needed break. 🙂

Thanks for having me as a guest. It’s been a pleasure to be here.

Tricia: Always happy to visit with you, Christine. Please come back and talk to us again.

For those readers who are interested in learning more about Christine Elaine Black, please visit the following links:

ChristineElaineBlack-Website
ChristineElaineBlack-Blog
ChristineElaineBlack-AmazonBuyBooks
ChristineElaineBlack-Twitter

Excerpt from A Rose for Lancaster:


I heard a commotion at the far end of the hall as my household men jostled a group of strangers dressed in traveling clothes stained with mud. My immediate thought was to rush out of the hall to my rooms but as head of the house at Langley Manor I must deal with the arrival of newcomers. The steward talked with hasty gestures designed to delay the men, but they pushed past him and strode to the front of the hall.

I rose off my chair, regretting my choice of attire. The men looked roughened by hard riding and I had no wish to attract attention. They paused in a semi circle and shuffled their feet.

“What’s the meaning of this intrusion?”

A young man broke through the line of ruffians, boldly staring at my person. The sight of his proud stance, even though his dress left much to be desired, irritated me.

“We seek the mistress of the house.”

I flinched. He wore the livery of Lancaster and carried a missive bearing an official seal sending a shudder through my bones.

“You carry a message for Lady Langley?”

The young man held the parchment tightly. “It must be delivered in person.”

I dreaded the content of the letter. King Henry may use his power to remove me from my home and pass ownership to another noble, driving me into destitution.

“Follow me, if you will.” We moved through the passageway leading to my father’s private room, used for dealing in estate matters. My steward discouraged the others from following and I faced my unwelcome guest with impatience.

“I am Lady Langley.”

My hand reached for the letter but he eyed me dubiously and refused to hand over the message.

“I seek the mistress of Langley. The elder woman betrothed to Baron Somerset.” The strength and timbre of the voice belied his years, and cloaked in confidence his bearing held effortless grace. Steel gray eyes met mine without a shred of humility.

“Give me the message.” His hesitation irritated me into sharp speech, a thing I did when vexed by servants. “Now, damn you!” I tore open the missive and read it twice before laughing in contempt.

“Somerset is reported dead. I can no more marry him than I can marry Richard of England.”

“You are Lady Langley?” The cheeky lout stared at me with a curious quirk on his lips.

“I am Blanche Langley, mistress of this house.”

“Indeed,” he mused.

“The king orders me to marry Somerset within the month. Does he not know the man died?” I shrugged in confusion.

“I am Giles Beaufort, heir to Somerset.”


*Look inside A Rose for Lancaster on the Amazon website for a complete look at chapter one.




Categories: authors to watch, historical fiction, interview

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