Two very Different #FamilySaga #BookReview @jamescudney4 @PintipDunn


Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

Two Fabulous Reads from James J. Cudney and Pintip Dunn

For the first time ever, I went past a writing deadline and had to ask for an extension from the members of the upcoming boxset, Cute But Crazy 2 : Ditzy Dudes. Talk about stressing out! On top of that, my eyes have been incredibly sore, and yes, before you ask; I’ve been using medicated eye drops and allergy tablets, but the long hours on the computer really did them in. I even turned the light down to low (can’t handle night mode on the big screen, though I love it on my phone). But, as of today, it’s done- so, yay!

These books were finished a while ago, but I couldn’t manage the time to get the reviews done, so I’m making it up now 🙂

First up:

Watching Glass Shatter

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia’s husband unexpectedly passes away. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father. But will the secrets destroy their family, or bring them closer together?

My Review

A letter from the grave will rip everything a family believes apart

The Glass family are rich, well-liked, family-orientated. But all of that disintegrates under the burden of a secret so devastating it’s hard to comprehend.

A child lost.

A lie kept.

Will the family be able to overcome their patriarch’s betrayal, or will it destroy them all?

Told from the perspective of each of the Glass family members, the reader gets to experience their pain, anger, cyniscim, and doubt.

The author weaves lives together finesse, and an eye to detail that makes this story a joy to read. This isn’t my first James Cudney book, and it won’t be the last!


Dating Makes Perfect

The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.

Until now.

In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.

In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.

The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.

If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.

My Review

Dating her enemy shouldn’t be this much fun

Winnie loves her crazy Thai family, even if her parents have some archaic ideas. Her twin sisters weren’t allowed to date in high school, but now that they’re in college, the parents suddenly want to know when to expect grandbabies- oiy!

In retaliation, the girls say they’re having too much fun and don’t plan to marry for a loooong time. Driven to change their ideals, the parents decide Winnie should ‘practice’ date, but that’s not the worst part- they choose the one boy she swore to hate forever, Matt Songsomboon.

The one upmanship begins almost immediately. Mat is just as irritating as Winnie remembers, and disturbingly handsome. Hard to imagine they were once best of friends, and now, without her sisters’ sage advice, she’d give up and stay single for life.

If Winnie can just get through the next three months, Mat will get what he wants, and she… well, we’ll see.

This story is filled with humor, familial love, emotional moments, and cultural heritage. While this is a friends-to-lovers romance, it’s also the journey of a young woman as she learns a valuable life lesson and gains the respect of those who love her.

I especially enjoyed learning about a new culture in a fun and informative way- a great read!

Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 
good day!

#NewRelease Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray #Prehistoric #Fiction @worddreams


I’m thrilled to share Jacqui Murray’s New Release- Against All Odds

Tagline

Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family. 

Summary

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before. 

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:

Title: Against All Odds

Series: Book 3 in the Crossroads series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Available digitally (print soon) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

The foothills of the Pyrenees

They came out of the mountains, hair frozen in sparkling strands, hands and feet wrapped in shredded pelts, ribs etched against their skin under ragged hides white with snow, faces haggard with fatigue. Blood crusted scrapes and gashes, many recent, others almost healed, reminders of the violent struggles endured on their journey.

Though their steps flagged, not one of these upright creatures exhibited a hint of defeat. All males and a few females carried at least one spear, some two, many with warclubs strapped to their backs. Despite the anxiety and fear of entering this foreign land, hope energized them today, that their migration might be at an end.

All of them—Xhosa and her tribe, Pan-do and his, Wind, Zvi, and Seeker—had been chased from their homes by enemies. In their flight, they found each other. It took time to work through their differences but now they traveled side by side, respected ideas not theirs, and called themselves the People.

Their charismatic Leaders—Xhosa, Wind, and Pan-do—were known as reliable friends to those who earned their trust and dangerous enemies to those who opposed them. Two wolves—Spirit and Black Wolf—journeyed with them. Though the People lacked the animals’ sharp claws, dense fur, and piercing teeth, each considered the other “pack” and would defend them to death.

The exhausted group straggled down the gently sloping flank, feet shuffling carefully over the slippery scree. The ground changed from talus to stunted tufts of grass, sparse and brown which made walking easier. Optimism shone from their faces even as their tired eyes flicked side to side in search of unexpected movement, ears strained for out-of-place noises, and noses sniffed.

Rather than continue across the meadow, Xhosa led the People into the shade of the edging forest.

“Do you smell it, Wind?” Anticipation filled her gestures.

She and Wind, pairmates as well as Co-Leaders, stood quietly, absorbing their surroundings. Light filtered lazily through the canopy, the shadowed ground dappled with patches of warmth. She sniffed in the essence of wet earth and rotting leaves, the mustiness of moss, and something else much more enticing. 

“It’s there.” She pointed and strode forward, lengthening her stride.

An icy gust whipped down the hillside through the shadows and raised bumps on her arms but she ignored it. The forest gave way to open sky and searing heat. It was too hot for her thin pelt but she didn’t stop to remove it. Green stalks swayed as far as she could see, edged on one side by more mountains and the other by some sort of leaves and branches. Sunlight glinted off the rippled surface of a distant river as it curled over the terrain.

“Dung!” The scent overpowered every other odor.

Wind huffed to her side. “It’s been a long time since we smelled dung that wasn’t frozen.”

“We did it, Wind.” Her eyes glistened with relief.

For most of a Moon, dread gnawed at her courage and left her wondering if following the guidance of Seeker—a boy barely a man—was a mistake. But Seeker assured her in his ebullient way that once out of the hills, their new homebase would welcome them. Xhosa wanted to believe him because she wasn’t sure what else to do. Nor did she know what to do if it didn’t work.

Wind motioned, arms inclusive, “It’s beautiful, Xhosa.”

Siri, Pan-do, Ngili, the wolves Spirit and Black Wolf, and the rest of the People gathered around Xhosa and Wind, eyes locked on what lay in front of them.

Pan-do whispered, “We made it.” His eyes were moist, mouth open.

Ngili, the People’s Lead Hunter, motioned, hands close to his body. “With all this grass, Gazelle or Mammoth must be nearby.”

Dust, the Lead Scout, trotted up, coming from a tall cliff far ahead on their forward path. “I think there are caves there.”

The People hadn’t slept in a cave since leaving Viper and the Mountain Dwellers. It would be a treat if true.

Xhosa looked behind. Shadows already stretched as far from the bottom of the rocky slopes as sunlight to the top. Daylight would soon end.

“We don’t have much time. Let’s rest and then see if those are caves.”

Ngili, the People’s Lead Hunter, motioned, fingers spaced out, palms up, “I’ll go with Dust to check.” He added a swift spread-fingered swipe with first one hand and then the other, followed by a quick bob of his head and a puff.

Xhosa brushed both hands down her sides. Go.

The People spoke with a complex combination of hand motions, facial expressions, body movements, and sounds augmented with chirrups, snaps, hisses, and whistles. By the time Ngili finished talking, Xhosa knew how many would join him, where they would go, and how long they’d be away. The People’s communication was sophisticated but quiet, a precaution especially in unfamiliar areas. Unusual sounds—voices, for example—stood out. All animals made noises but few as varied as the People’s. Why alert Others who lived here to their presence? Xhosa would do that in her own time, in her own way.

Dust, Ngili, and two scouts soon receded into the landscape, the only evidence of their passage a slight disturbance in the slender waving stalks. Despite the dung scents, the abundant plant food, and the glisten of a faraway river, Xhosa crossed her arms over her chest and paced.

Something is wrong. 

She searched the forests and the rippling field that had swallowed up Dust and Ngili . Xhosa possessed the ability to see great distances in sufficient detail to find trails, footprints, movement, or the glitter of sun off eyes.

She saw none of those and that made her more uncomfortable.

With this wealth of food and water, Others should be here.

Wind motioned, palms flattened against his chest, “The mountains we crossed touched Sun. They’re cold and barren. Few can do what we did to get here, Xhosa. We are safe.”

Xhosa could hear in his voice, see in his gestures, that despite his bravado, Wind too felt uneasy about what they didn’t see and hear.

But she grinned. “I don’t know how I survived without someone being able to read my thoughts.”

She trotted over to a stream that fed into the river she had noticed. She stretched out on her belly, flat on the soft grass at the water’s edge, and took a long, satisfying drink of the sweet liquid. Thirst quenched, she collected handfuls of the tender shoots of new plants growing along the shore, ate what she wanted and tossed the rest into a communal food pile that would be shared with all the People. It was already filling up with fat fish speared from the slow-moving pools beside the river, tasty reeds and cattails, and even a handful of eggs plucked from nests not hidden well enough along the shore and in the roots of trees. The wolves snapped birds from the air and swallowed them almost whole, coughing up feathers.

Xhosa leaned back on her hands, sniffing the unique fragrance of each groupmember. Zvi was sweaty from wrestling with Spirit. Siri smelled sourly of hunger but she wouldn’t eat until Honey’s bleeding foot was wrapped in mulch and leaves. The females with new babies exuded the pleasant aroma of milk. Some scents jumbled together making them impossible to identify. When Xhosa became Leader of the People, before it merged with Pan-do’s and Hawk’s, the People had been small enough that she could recognize everyone by their odor. Now, she kept track of her tribe while Pan-do did the same with his. Wind helped everyone.

Done eating, the People sprawled on the warm ground, soaking up Sun’s remaining rays, chatting contentedly with gestures and the occasional sigh. Water dripped from their thawing bodies, soaking into the thirsty ground, as the remaining ice and snow on their pelts and in their hair melted away.

Xhosa and Wind sat apart from the others, on a log long ago softened by rot. She uprooted handfuls of grass and wiped the sweat from Wind’s body, as he did hers. The soft scratch felt good and the earthy fragrance reminded her of times long gone. When he finished, she harvested chunks of green moss from the log’s decaying bark and stuffed them into her neck sack. All the People wore one of these around their necks. Even the wolves did when they were migrating.

Finished, she leaned against Wind and closed her eyes. In a group of Others, her pairmate stood out. A Big Head, the People’s traditional enemy, the ones who drove Xhosa and her tribe from their long-established home, Wind had earned Xhosa’s trust by saving her life more than once and then, as a member of her People, sharing Big Head spear tricks and warrior skills with her Leads. Before long, each of them individually told her that thanks to Wind they could now defeat an attack which they couldn’t have done in the past. Whatever distrust her People harbored toward him faded away.

“Xhosa!” Dust panted up to her. “I found a cave. And we found trace of a herd. Ngili is tracking it.”

By the time Sun settled into its night nest, the People were ensconced in the cave Dust found. They had to squeeze together to fit but all were thrilled to sleep without waking to frozen toes and numb fingers. Stone and Zvi—the burliest of the People—lugged rocks in and Siri built a fire that quickly warmed the interior. The subadults gathered kindling to feed it and arranged who would be responsible throughout the night for keeping it lit.

Usually, the wolves slept scattered among the People but with Black Wolf close to delivering her pups, she dug out an opening in the back and claimed it as her den. Then she settled to her belly, one leg forward, the other bent back, eyebrows twitching.

Xhosa strode toward the nest she would share with Wind but stopped at the sight of Seeker, weight on his bottom, legs crossed in front of his body in the uncomfortable position he preferred. His pairmate Lyta curled next to him with their best friend, Zvi.

Xhosa approached Seeker. “You are not outside.”

Every night as long as Xhosa could remember, the enigmatic male lay on his back, gaze fixed steadily on the star-dotted sky, spouting what to Xhosa sounded like gibberish to whoever listened. Intermittently, he leapt to his feet and spun dizzying circles or bounced from one foot to the other, huffing and chirping. Lyta and Zvi would either join him or watch. He once explained to Xhosa that this was how he studied the changes in the night sky—the appearance and disappearance of particular stars or their movement in relation to each other—so he could guide the People accurately. This nightly process was how they had moved from the distant start of Endless Pond to this cave where Endless Pond seemed to end.

He didn’t respond to her statement, didn’t even acknowledge her. That worried Xhosa. She hadn’t been able to shake the feeling that danger lurked around them, somewhere. Seeker’s anxious look didn’t help.

She squatted at his side and added a question to her declaration. “The stars aren’t talking to you?”

To the side, Lyta wriggled, not comfortable in the seated position Seeker preferred but determined to try because Seeker liked it so much. Zvi crouched on the balls of her feet, the more traditional pose. She’d tried to sit on her bottom, legs crossed in front, but kept falling backward. Besides, it took her too long to rise from that position which meant if Lyta needed help, she couldn’t respond quickly. Squatting, for her, made more sense. Seeker didn’t care. He expected all to do what worked for them. Both his best friend and his future pairmate were long accustomed to his eccentricities.

Finally, Seeker offered Xhosa only a confused frown.

That’s not a “Yes they are,” and that raised the hair on her neck. Before she could ask more, Ngili scrambled through the thistle barrier the youngsters had placed around the cave’s mouth to prevent the entrance of intruders and hurried toward Xhosa.

He motioned, “I lost the herd’s trace in the dark. I’ll try again tomorrow,” and then raced toward where the hunters had gathered. They were all tired. Some would mate before sleeping but not Ngili. He hadn’t given up hope that his pairmate, Hecate, would come back.

After a final glance at Seeker, Xhosa joined Wind in their nest. She squatted behind him and teased the dirt and debris from his long head hair, occasionally focusing on a difficult tangle until her fingers could move easily through his hair. When she finished, he did the same for her.

As he groomed, he said, “I’ll join Ngili tomorrow. If there are herds, we will find them.”

“Pan-do and I will continue with the People.”

They said nothing more, both enjoying the calming feel of nails scratching on their skin and the intimacy of someone they trusted implicitly. Done, both fell asleep.

The first rays of daylight filtered into the cave. Black Wolf was already outside, padding back and forth restlessly, huffing uncomfortably. Wind left with Ngili and a handful of scouts, knowing Xhosa would leave a trail to wherever they settled when Sun’s light ran out. Though Spirit usually went with the hunters, today he stayed with Black Wolf.

Xhosa and Pan-do led. Dust copied their pace and direction but a distance away. With Ngili and Wind searching for meat, Xhosa focused on finding a cave large enough for the People. They strode onward, gaze sweeping the landscape, everyone grazing on berries, roots, and worms as they walked. Sporadically, Xhosa heard a faraway squawk or glimpsed a covey of birds as they exploded into flight, fleeing an unknown threat. It was the direction Ngili and Wind had gone, and told her how far they’d gotten.

The People rested by a waterhole. They searched its shoreline for prints but found none. Wherever the herds lived, they didn’t drink here so the People moved on, through copses of young saplings and around a bed of haphazardly-strewn boulders. The air tasted of flowers, warm earth, and the mild tang of salt, but the dung they found was hard and old.

Xhosa touched Pan-do’s hand and both stopped, eyes forward. “Do you smell that? It reminds me of Endless Pond.”

He pointed to his strong side and the direction they were walking. “From there and there. How can it be on two sides?”

Xhosa tingled. One of her People—Rainbow—had abandoned them long ago, taking many males and females with him. Others she and her People ran into while migrating here told her Rainbow traveled the same route she did but along the opposite shore of Endless Pond. For him, as for her, this was as far as he could go without folding back on himself.

If they got this far. If any survived.

She pushed aside those thoughts. Before searching for whatever remnants remained of Rainbow’s group, the People must find a homebase. All they suffered to get here—the interminable walking, the loss of Hawk, the death of groupmembers, Nightshade’s treachery—was for naught if they didn’t establish a home.

Spirit bumped her leg. Black Wolf panted at her mate’s side, her belly almost touching the ground.

Xhosa motioned, “Your mate’s pups won’t wait much longer. We will find a den for her.”

Spirit took off, his movements graceful and fluid with Black Wolf lumbering after him.

Not much later, Pan-do squinted ahead. “I think Spirit found a cave.”

Xhosa leaned forward, narrowing her gaze, and finally saw where Spirit stopped. He sat on his haunches at the base of a cliff, facing her, nose twitching, tail swishing the dirt behind him.

It took the rest of the day to cross over the craggy scrubland, up and down the deep ravines, and around the occasional spot of slippery ice. The cave proved too small for the People but not for Black Wolf’s needs. With much scuffling and panting, she created a nest for her pups and disappeared into the cool dark hole. The People settled outside, under an overhang that would protect them from rain and predators, and far enough away to not bother the new mother. As soon as Ngili and Wind arrived, shaking their heads that they hadn’t found a herd, they left again to search for signs of a trail left by former inhabitants of this cave.

Xhosa’s chest squeezed and her stomach knotted. Spirit padded up to her side, hackles puffed, nostrils flaring. He agreed. Something about this area made her tingle but for now, until Black Wolf finished, they must stay.

Questions:        

Why are these characters so violent?

The answer to this question is simple: They had to be. If Homo erectus hadn’t been violent 850,000 years ago, he—and our genus—wouldn’t have survived. With skin too thin, claws too short, and teeth useless for defense, man wasn’t the era’s apex predator. His only advantage over those who preyed on him was a thoughtful brain.

It’s hard to believe Xhosa walked from Africa to the Middle East to Spain.

Wilford Wolpoff of the University of Michigan says that Homo erectus left Africa “because they wanted to, because they had to, and especially because they could.” Homo erectus (Xhosa’s species) is the first of our genus to inhabit Eurasia. Dozens of sites exist from Indonesia to Spain to Britain. We know—because of his tool-creation sophistication—that Homo erectus was smart enough to survive in varied environs. But why leave his homeland and go elsewhere? It could be to follow the herds or a reaction to changes in climate. They might have fled or chased enemies, or it could simply be our forebears suffered what many today do—wanderlust.

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021. 

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog: https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter: http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website: https://jacquimurray.net

#TuesdayBookReview- The Quest For Home by Jacqui Murray #PrehistoricSuspense @WordDreams


Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

“Bravo Jacqui! A fine read and meticulous research.” — Sue Harrison, author of the acclaimed Ivory Carver Trilogy,

Xhosa flees what she had hoped would be her new home after being attacked by invaders from the North. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands of what we now call Europe. As she struggles to overcome strangers around her and disruptions within her People, Xhosa faces the reality that her most dangerous enemy may not be the one she expected. It may be one she has trusted with her life.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man spreads across Eurasia. Xhosa must regularly does the impossible which is good because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

Biography

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, and a contributor to NEA Today. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days here on Amazon Kindle. Also, read her new series, Man vs. Nature, starting with Born in a Treacherous Time–also on Kindle.

Photo by Harry Cunningham @harry.digital on Pexels.com

My Review

Xhosa continues her journey leading The People to a new homeland against impossible odds. She must survive cold, heat, lack of water and food, as well as those who wish to destroy her People. Other tribes try to stop them, but they aren’t the only danger- someone in her tribe has become the enemy, and it is up to Xhosa to stop him before another member dies.

This is a fast-paced novel filled with interesting characters and descriptions that place the reader smack in the paleolithic time period where the basic fight for survival supersedes almost everything else.

I was especially drawn to the relationships such an existence forged between Xhosa, her People, and the strays she gathers along the way. One of the standouts is leader Pan-do and his love for daughter Lyta. His is the voice of calm and reason while Lyta- the dreamer- is adored by the tribe even though she has a deformity that normally means death for children who must contribute to the tribe or be left behind.

Another favorite is Zvi, a female Other who towers over most males, is strong as a mammoth, and has a heart of gold.

This story may be set in prehistoric times, but it touches on subjects that are just as relevant today; sexual abuse, family values, love and betrayal.

This series is well worth the read!

keeping calm during armageddon

#BookReview- Survival of The Fittest by Jacqui Murray Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle #amreading @WordDreams @MHurdle112


Photo by Alena Koval on Pexels.com

Prehistoric fiction and poetry to start out the week

I’m a big fan of Jacqui Murray’s prehistoric fiction series and couldn’t wait to dive into Survival of The Fittest!

Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home. Written in the spirit of Jean Auel, Survival of the Fittest is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion.

Chased by a ruthless enemy, Xhosa leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands following a path laid out decades before by her father, to be followed only as a last resort. She is joined by other fleeing tribes from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant, all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, tragedy, secrets, and Nature itself, Xhosa is forced to face the reality that her enemy doesn’t want to ruin her People. It wants to ruin her.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia, where ‘survival of the fittest’ was not a slogan. It was a destiny. Xhosa’s People were from a violent species, one fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened their lives except for one: future man, a smarter version of themselves, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

Biography

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, and a contributor to NEA Today. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days here on Amazon Kindle. Also, read her new series, Man vs. Nature, starting with Born in a Treacherous Time–also on Kindle.

My Review

After Xhosa’s father dies, she must prove her value as leader of The People. Chased from their homeland, they must undertake a perilous journey through treacherous lands and savage tribes.

“Does anyone challenge this warrior?”

Her hands were neutral, giving nothing away about her feelings. When Xhosa rose, like mist from wet hot-season grass, everyone snickered except the Primary Female. A wisp of a smile touched her lips.

“I too am prepared. Nightshade, I challenge you.”

Murray, Jacqui. Survival of the Fittest (the Crossroads Trilogy Book 1)

Along the way, they befriend Others making the same journey, each with unique talents that benefit the tribe and more than once saves them from certain death.

This book was so well-written I was sorry to turn the last page (cliffhanger alert!) and had to buy the next story in the series, The Quest for Home, to find out what happens to Xhosa, Nightshade, Pan-do, Zvi and all the rest of the characters I’ve become invested in- well done!


Next is a wonderful book of poetry from Miriam Hurdle

Human being has the will power to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

Songs of Heartstrings plays the melancholy tune of the suffering and transcending to the melody of serenity and peace. It is a road traveled with optimism, hope and appreciation amid heartache circumstances and an unpredictable cancer. It also celebrates true love and fulfilling relationships.

Hurdle in her poetry collection includes nine themes: Songs of Nature, Songs of Dissonance, Songs of Physical Healing, Songs of Marriage, Songs of Parenthood, Songs of Tribute, Songs of Reflections, Songs of Challenge, and Songs of Inspiration. Each of these themes covers various aspects of her life experience. Many poems are illustrated with her photos and watercolor paintings.

The poems in this collection are inspiring to the mind, heart and spirit. The readers will echo with these experiences.

Biography

Miriam Hurdle is multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories and memoir. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

She is passionate about poetry and her favorite poets are Robert Frost with his poems “The Road Not Taken,” and Linda Pastan with her poem “To a Daughter Leaving Home.”

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

She took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California. She makes frequent visits to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in Oregon.

For more information about Miriam, please visit http://www.theshowersofblessings.com

My Review

This is an intimate portrayal of first love, betrayal, a health crisis, and second chances all couched in beautiful, inspiring words from the heart.

A couple of my favorites

Dawn

Bright sun

Fresh air

Soft breeze

Sweet rose

Close my eyes

Feel the warmth

Breathe the mist

Sense the brush

Smell the scent

Close my eyes

Think on Thee

Hurdle, Miriam. Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

From Healing

The healing of the wound didn’t come from

the source of the anguish, but came from letting go of

the act and the actor.

Hurdle, Miriam. Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

While vastly different, both of these books have one thing in common- Survival.

I urge you to give them a try, you won’t regret it!

The Quest for Home by Jacqui Murray #Historical #Fiction @WordDreams


Picture1

Virtual Book Launch for The Quest for Home

 

Thank you, Jacquie, so much for offering to help me with my book launch.

 

Book information:

 

Title and author: The Quest for Home

Series: Book 2 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Available at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

 

Picture1.png-1

 

Short Summary:

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind her African homeland, leading her People on a grueling journey through unknown and perilous lands. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her most dangerous enemy isn’t the one she expected. It may be one she trusts with her life. 

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, the one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is the unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man makes his way across Eurasia, fleeing those who would kill him. He must be bigger-than-life, prepared time and again to do the impossible because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

 

Jacqui answers an interesting question (especially since I’m a lefty :))

What does ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ side mean?

 

Based on artifacts from 850,000 years ago (or longer), paleoscientists speculate that early man had a preference for right-handedness. That would make their right hand stronger than the left (though they didn’t identify ‘right’ and ‘left’ at that time). Because of this, my characters call their right the ‘strong side’ and left the ‘weak side’.

 

Picture1.png-2

 

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

 

Northern shore of what we now call the Mediterranean Sea

 

Pain came first, pulsing through her body like cactus spines. When she moved her head, it exploded. Flat on her back and lying as still as possible, Xhosa blindly clawed for her neck sack with the healing plants. Her shoulder screamed and she froze, gasping.

How can anything hurt that much?

She cracked one eye, slowly. The bright sun filled the sky, almost straight over her head.

And how did I sleep so long?

Fractured memories hit her—the raging storm, death, and helplessness, unconnected pieces that made no sense. Overshadowing it was a visceral sense of tragedy that made her shake so violently she hugged her chest despite the searing pain. After it passed, she pushed up on her arms and shook her head to shed the twigs and grit that clung to her long hair. Fire burned through her shoulders, up her neck and down her arms, but less than before. She ignored it.

A shadow blocked Sun’s glare replaced by dark worried eyes that relaxed when hers caught his.

“Nightshade.” Relief washed over her and she tried to smile. Somehow, with him here, everything would work out.

Her Lead Warrior leaned forward. Dripping water pooled at her side, smelling of salt, rotten vegetation, mud, and blood.

“You are alright, Leader Xhosa,” he motioned, hands erratic. Her People communicated with a rich collection of grunts, sounds, gestures, facial expressions, and arm movements, all augmented with whistles, hoots, howls, and chirps.

“Yes,” but her answer came out low and scratchy, the beat inside her chest noisy as it tried to burst through her skin. Tears filled her eyes, not from pain but happiness that Nightshade was here, exactly where she needed him. His face, the one that brought fear to those who might attack the People and devastation to those who did, projected fear.

She cocked her head and motioned, “You?”

Deep bruises marred swaths of Nightshade’s handsome physique, as though he had been pummeled by rocks.  An angry gash pulsed at the top of his leg. His strong upper arm wept from a fresh wound, its raw redness extending up his stout neck, over his stubbled cheek, and into his thick hair. Cuts and tears shredded his hands.

“I am fine,” and he fell silent. Why would he say more? He protected the People, not whined about injuries.

When she fumbled again for her neck sack, he reached in and handed her the plant she needed, a root tipped with white bulbs. She chewed as Nightshade scanned the surroundings, never pausing anywhere long, always coming back to her.

The sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky. Sweltering heat hammered down, sucking up the last of the rain that had collected in puddles on the shore. Xhosa’s protective animal skin was torn into shreds but what bothered her was she couldn’t remember how she got here.

“Nightshade, what happened?”

Her memories were a blur—terrified screams and flashes of people flying through the air, some drowning, others clinging desperately to bits of wood.

Nightshade motioned, slowly, “The storm—it hit us with a fury, the rain as heavy and fierce as a waterfall.”

A memory surfaced. Hawk, the powerful leader of the Hawk People, one arm clutching someone as the other clawed at the wet sand, dragging himself up the beach.

He was alive!

It was Hawk who offered her People a home when they had none, after more than a Moon of fleeing for their lives through lands so desolate, she didn’t know how anyone survived. Finding Hawk and his People, she thought she’d found a new homeland.

Her last hunt with Hawk flashed through her mind—the stone tip they created like the Big Head’s weapon, how she had hung by her ankles from a tree trunk to cross a deep ravine. How he grinned when she reached the other side, chest heaving but radiant with satisfaction. He told her many of his warriors shook with fear as they crossed. His pride in her that day glowed like flames at night.

For the first time in her life, she felt Sun’s warmth inside of her.

She looked around, saw quiet groups huddled together, males talking and females grooming children. Pan-do bent over a child, whispering something in her ear but no Hawk.

Where is he? But she didn’t ask Nightshade. The last time she’d seen the two together, they had fought.

She couldn’t imagine a world without Hawk. They had planned to pairmate, combine their groups into one so strong no one could ever again drive her away. She hadn’t known there were enemies worse than Big Heads until Hawk told her about the Ice Mountain invaders. They attacked Hawk’s People long before Xhosa arrived. Hawk had killed most and chased the rest back to their home, icy white cliffs that extended from Sun’s waking place to its sleeping nest, bereft of plants and animals. When he saw where they lived, he understood why they wanted his land.

The children of those dead invaders grew up and wanted revenge.

Someone moaned. She jerked to find who needed help and realized it was her. She hoped Nightshade didn’t hear.

He glanced at her and then away. “All the rafts were destroyed.”

She shook, trying to dislodge the spider webs in her brain. Hawk’s homebase was squashed between a vast stretch of open land and an uncrossable pond. They should have been safe but the Ice Mountain invaders attacked in a massive horde. Her People—and Hawk’s—were driven into the water. The rafts became their only escape. Floating on a log platform to the middle of a pond too deep to walk across was something no one had ever done but they must or die. The plan was the rafts would carry the People to safety, away from the Invaders.

That hadn’t worked.

“There were too many enemy warriors, Xhosa,” and Nightshade opened and closed his hands over and over to show her. “More than I have ever seen in one place.”

Images of warclubs slashed through her thoughts, flying spears, the howls of warriors in battle. Many died, beaten until they stopped moving, children dragged screaming from mothers. The giant female—Zvi—sprinting faster than Xhosa thought someone her size could, the children El-ga and Gadi in her arms, a spear bouncing off her back. Her size stunned the enemy, immobilized them for a breath which gave Zvi the time she needed to reach safety.

Almost to himself, Nightshade motioned, “I’ve never seen him this brave.”

Xhosa didn’t understand. “Him?” Did he mean Zvi?

“Pan-do. His warriors attacked. They saved us.” Nightshade locked onto the figure of Pan-do as he wandered among the bedraggled groups, settling by an elder with a gash across his chest and began to minister to the wound.

“I remember,” Xhosa murmured. When the People were trapped between the trees and the water, prey waiting to be picked off, Pan-do’s warriors pounced. That gave Xhosa precious time to push the rafts out onto the water. It seemed none of the enemy knew how to swim. Pan-do sliced through the Ice Mountain invaders without fear, never giving ground.

Nightshade motioned, “He isn’t the same Leader who arrived at our homebase, desperate for protection, his People defeated.”

Xhosa’s hands suddenly felt clammy. “Is Lyta alive?”

Since the death of his pairmate, before Xhosa met him, Pan-do’s world revolved around his daughter, Lyta. He became Leader of his People to protect her. When he arrived at the People’s homebase, Lyta stood out, unusual in an otherwise homogenous group. First, it was her haunting beauty, as though she shined from within, her hair as radiant as Sun. Awe turned to shock when she walked, her gait awkward on malformed feet. She should have been destroyed as a child but Pan-do said he had never considered it. He explained that in Moons of migration, before joining Xhosa’s People, Lyta had never slowed them down. He didn’t expect that to change if the two groups traveled together.

And then she spoke. Her voice was like bird’s song and a gift to People exhausted from the day’s work. It cheered up worried adults and put smiles on the faces of children, its melodic beauty convincing them that everything would work out.

It was more than a Moon after his arrival before Pan-do told Xhosa what he valued most about his daughter. Lyta could see truth simply by watching. No one could hide a lie from her, and she never hid it from her father. Pan-do kept it secret because the people it threatened might try to silence her. He only told Xhosa because Lyta had witnessed a conversation about a plan to kill Xhosa.

One of the people Lyta didn’t recognize but the other, he was someone Xhosa trusted.

 

When Nightshade nodded, Yes, Lyta lives, Xhosa relaxed but only for a moment.

“Sa-mo-ke?”

Nightshade nodded toward a group of warriors. In the middle, eyes alert and hands energetic, stood Sa-mo-ke.

She sighed with relief. Pan-do’s Lead Warrior was also Nightshade’s greatest supporter outside of the People. When he first arrived, Sa-mo-ke spent Moons mimicking her Lead Warrior’s fighting techniques until his skill became almost as formidable as Nightshade’s with one critical difference. While Nightshade liked killing, Sa-mo-ke did so only when necessary.

Nightshade motioned, “Escape came at a tremendous cost, Xhosa. Many died, the rafts were destroyed, and we are now stranded in an unfamiliar land filled with nameless threats.”

 It doesn’t matter, she whispered to herself. We are good at migrating.

She jerked her head around, and then motioned, “Where’s Spirit?”

The loyal wolf had lived with people his entire life. He proved himself often while hunting, defending his packmates, and being a good friend. An image flitted across her mind, Spirit streaking toward the rafts, thrusting his formidable body like a spear through the shocked hordes. The enemy had never seen an animal treat People as pack. Then, the wolf swimming, paws churning the water into whitecaps, gaze locked onto Seeker. Endless Pond was too deep for him to touch the bottom so his head bobbed up and down, feet paddling like a duck’s as he fought to stay above the surface.

Nightshade gestured, “The attackers almost killed Spirit.”

She bit her lip, concentrating. “I remember Mammoth’s trumpets.”

The rare hint of a smile creased his mouth. “Another of Pan-do’s tricks. It saved Spirit and probably all of us. He brayed like a herd of Mammoth thundering toward the shoreline. The invaders fled for their lives.”

Pan-do is clever.

Nightshade grimaced. “But the storm worsened and the rafts foundered. Many of the People managed to cling to logs long enough to crash onto this shore. Then, they saved others. But many died.”

He opened and closed his hands to show how many.

A stillness descended as Nightshade’s gaze filled with a raw emotion he never showed. It shook Xhosa. Nothing frightened her Lead Warrior.

She gulped which hurt her insides. Shallow breaths worked better. Rolling to her hands and knees, she stood which made her head swim and she threw up.

Finally, the dizziness subsided and Xhosa asked, “Hawk?”

Nightshade peered around, hands fidgeting. He examined something on the ground, toed it with his foot. “When the tempest destroyed the rafts, he dragged many to shore, to safety. The last time, he did not return. I tried to find him.”

Soundless tears dampened her face. Nightshade touched her but Xhosa focused on a trail of ants and a worm burrowing into the soft earth. Her vision dimmed and she stumbled, fell, and then crawled, happy for the pain that took her mind off Hawk. When she forced herself up, everything blurred but she inhaled, slowly, and again, until she could finally see clearly.

How dare Hawk die! We had plans. Xhosa shoved those thoughts away. Later was soon enough to deal with them.

“His People—do they know?”

 

jacqui

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, In the Footsteps of Giants, Winter 2020, the final chapter in the Crossroads Trilogy.

 

Social Media contacts:

 

Amazon Author Page:         https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                                 http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                    http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper #Historical #mgtab @GoddessfishPromos


MBB_TourBanner_TheRoyalNanny

 

THE ROYAL NANNY

by Karen Harper

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE: historical fiction

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

BLURB:

 

In 1897, a young cockney nursemaid takes her first train ride, leaving London for the lush and sprawling Sandringham Estate, private home to Britain’s royal family. Hired by the Duke and Duchess of York to help rear their royal children, Charlotte Bill is about to become privy to all the secrets families hide, and caught between the upstairs and downstairs worlds.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MediaKit_BookCover_TheRoyalNanny

Buy Link: Amazon

 

Excerpt:

 

Truth was, I used to wish the widowed Dr. Edwin Lockwood, my former employer,  would marry me, though I knew that was quite out of the question.  But when I first went to work at his house as nursemaid, I was only thirteen and such a dreamer.  People think I’m a no-nonsense person, but I still harbor flights of fancy in my head and heart, and to mean something to someone else is one of them.

 

But in the nearly ten years I worked in London, I knew it was not that I loved the doctor, but that I did love his two little daughters and hated to leave them, especially after I’d been promoted to nurse after five years there.  Now his new wife didn’t want me about because her stepchildren doted on me.  But the doctor gave me a good character, which the Duchess of York’s friend, Lady Eva Dugdale, had somehow seen.  So here I was, headed to the Duke and Duchess of York’s country house to help the head nurse of two royal lads, one called David, nearly four years of age, the other, Bertie, a year-and-a-half; and a new baby to be born soon.

 

Beat down the butterflies in my belly and practiced saying, “Your Grace, milord, milady, sir, ma’am,” and all that.  What if Queen Victoria herself ever popped in for a visit, for the duke was her grandson—well, there were many of her offspring scattered across Europe in ruling houses, but he was in direct line to the British throne after his father, the Prince of Wales.  And since the Prince and Princess of Wales often lived on the same Sandringham Estate, so Lady Dugdale said, I wager I’d see them, right regular too, that is if the head nurse, name of Mary Peters, let me help her with the royal children when their kin came calling.

 

“Ticket, please, miss,” the conductor said as he came through the carriage.  I had a moment’s scramble but handed it to him and had it marked.  When he passed on, I put it as a keepsake in my wooden box of worldly goods, which sat on the floor next to my seat.  The carriage wasn’t too full, not to Norfolk with its marshy fens and the windy Wash my papa had described to me.  Oh, I was so excited I could barely sit still.  I was to disembark at a place called Wolferton Station where someone was to meet me.  I was just so certain everything would be lovely, and fine and grandly, royally perfect.

 

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheRoyalNanny

 

NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author Karen Harper is a former university (Ohio State) and high school English teacher. Published since 1982, she writes contemporary suspense and historical novels about real British women. Two of her recent Tudor era books were bestsellers in the UK and Russia. A rabid Anglophile, she likes nothing more than to research her novels on site in the British Isles. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for DARK ANGEL, and her novel SHATTERED SECRETS was judged one of the Best Books of 2014 by Suspense Magazine. The author and her husband divide their time between Ohio and Florida.  For more information please visit: www.karenharperauthor.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION 

 

A randomly drawn commenter will receive a digital copy of the book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS BY SCOTT D. SOUTHARD


VBT_TourBanner_PermanentSpringShowers

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

***SALE***

May 18-30 2015

$1.99

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

AuthorPhoto_PermanentSpringFlowers

Scott D. Southard is the author of A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem With Doors, Megan, 3 Days in Rome and Me Stuff in addition to his latest release, Permanent Spring Showers. His eclectic writing has also found its way into radio, as Scott was the creator of the radio comedy series The Dante Experience. The production was honored with the Golden Headset Award for Best MultiCast Audio and the Silver Ogle Award for Best Fantasy Audio Production. Scott received his Master’s in writing from the University of Southern California. Scott can be found on the internet via his writing blog “The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard” where he writes on topics ranging from writing, art, books, TV, writing, parenting, life, movies, and writing. He even shares original fiction on the site. His blog can be found at http://sdsouthard.com. Scott is also the fiction book reviewer for WKAR’s daily radio show Current State.

Meet the author banner

What do you write?

My big thing is writing books that surprise me.

I’ve always enjoyed a new twist or something that is unexpected. It is usually that hook that gets me when an idea hits. So if someone was to grab one of my books that is something I can promise. Something truly new.

For example, my new novel Permanent Spring Showers could almost be considered humorously an anti-romance, filled bad relationship decisions. The story actually begins with an affair. Professor Rebecca Stanley-Wilson’s husband has just admitted to having an affair… and to make it worse it was with one of her college students.

Blame it on a desire for revenge (or way too much alcohol), she then has had one of her own. Unfortunately for her, her affair was with one of the great upcoming painters of his generation. That evening of passion will inspire a groundbreaking work of art. Showers is the story of all of the unique characters associated with that painting.
What genre do you favor?

If I had to find a genre for my writing overall, it would be literary fiction. Permanent Spring Showers is very literary fiction.

The funny thing is when I do write in a genre, per se, it is almost to see what new ground I can break within it. For example, my last novel A Jane Austen Daydream could be considered historical romance or regency, but it would not explain the post-modern twist in it. I’m really proud of that novel. Definitely for Austen fans but also those looking for something different.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always had a passion for writing and books. It’s just been a thing for me. I wrote my first book as a teenager and have been fighting the good fight for my stories ever since. Now I am definitely not a teenager, but I am still writing and dreaming. Heck, I do the book reviews for my local NPR station. Books are just part of my DNA.
What do you think is the best way to publish these days?

Self-publishing may be the way of the future, but I still think the market is too congested to easily find a market that way (unless you are super lucky). Usually, I tell the writers I work with to think of it as a last resort, try some other safer routes first. The dream approach is still agents and bigger publishers, and I don’t think that is going to change in the next decade.

Personally, I have had a lot of luck with independent publishers. There is a lot of passion there and I think it is because each publisher is putting their own money behind your project. It’s that personal touch. If a writer can’t find that dream agent or publisher, I would recommend talking to indie presses before self-publishing. There is still a possibility for success via that route.
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?

One of the big pieces of advice I give to writers I work with is to read everything, no matter the genre, no matter the author. You never know what will inspire you.

Being a book reviewer, I read a little of everything each month. For example, I’m reading the new book by Lori Nelson Spielman called Sweet Forgiveness. It’s really good and it could be considered women’s fiction. I just completed reading a great collection of short stories by Monica McFawn (Bright Shards of Someplace Else). That would be considered literary fiction. And in my spare time over the last three months I’ve been devouring Neil Gaiman’s classic Sandman series.

So, yeah, I read everything.
Do your characters talk to you?
Good, It’s not just me that has that problem!  LOL.

Totally, I hear them in my head when I do dialogue. Part of the reason for me is I have a background in radio. I created a radio comedy series a long time ago called The Dante Experience. I think being able to hear voices was necessary for that, and it just hasn’t stopped.

I’m sure I’m not crazy…. At least I like to believe that.

How do you approach starting a new book?

I wish this was an easy question to answer. If it was, I could plan my books accordingly. But the fact is each book is different. Some ideas come to me in a dream, some as an afterthought. My last book idea came to me simply when I was on a walk. From there they grow. Some take years until they are ready, others are almost immediate.
What is your writing process?

Key for me is music. I have a background in playing jazz and my writing almost demands the right sound behind it. For example, Permanent Spring Showers was all about Fiona Apple. Her last CD really spoke to the work for me.

Once I find the right music, usually everything else falls into place. Usually, I am very scattered in my writing, but Permanent Spring Showers was different. It is the only book I have ever written that was in chronological order. Mainly, this is because was I gave myself a challenge to create this new book via my writing blog (“The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard at sdsouthard.com). I guess I wanted to see if I could do what Charles Dickens used to do with his work. It was a fun challenge, but I would never do it again. Yet, I think the final book really rocks. I can’t wait to hear what people think of it.
What was your best date ever?

One of my first dates with my wife was to Disneyland. This may sound silly to some, but I have always loved the sheer creativity around that park. Consider, there were no other theme parks like it when Disney came up with the concept. We forget how imaginative the enterprise was (and how lucky he was that it was successful). I am always in awe of new ideas like that. I mean, seriously, how often does someone find a new way to tell a story? But he did it.
If you could have a superpower what would it be? Why?

My son is obsessed with superheroes, and he probably could answer this in a second. For me it is a little difficult. I can always see the bad side that could come with each. I think immortality, and maybe the power to grant it in others. There we go! I want to decide who lives and who dies! LOL.
Beer or wine?

Actually, my think is cocktails. Have you heard of Tequila Mockingbird. It is a cocktail recipe book by Tim Federle. It is brilliant. It is filled with recipes inspired by classic works of literature. My wife and I have been experimenting with it for a while now. My current favorite in the book is Romeo & Julep. Highly recommend it.
Favorite author?

 

I have a lot of authors I am a fan of. Kurt Vonnegut always jumps to mind quickly, as well as Ray Bradbury. Yet, Mark Twain is so amazing; we forget how creative he was. The man could write anything. George Elliott inspired aspects of Permanent Spring Showers. And, of course, I wrote a book starring Jane Austen, so I have to include her.

Seriously, I could go on and on and on…

Cheers!

Permanent Spring Showers

by Scott D. Southard

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

BookCover_PermanentSpringFlowers

Professor Rebecca Stanley-Wilson is having a very bad season.  The ramifications of one torrid evening with one of the great upcoming painters of his generation, will not only be felt across her life but over the entire art world. Sexy, funny, and very surprising, Permanent Spring Showers is the tale of one very memorable springtime and how it impacts a group of unique artists and dreamers. From the the hopeful Olympian with the failing marriage to the writer who is creating a new literary movement (through outright manipulation) to the romantic wondering what he did wrong to drive away the love of his life, each tale walks the line between reality and fantasy. And waiting at the end of the line is a very important painting… and possibly the revolver used in the Lincoln Assassination.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt Banner

Yes, for the first time Marty was embarrassed that she was his sibling; a weird change he had to take note of. “But we all agreed with the story, Mary. You were the only one, the only one. The Benedict Arnold.”

Mary shrugged her shoulders, not hurt at all by the pronouncement. “You know I was right to do it.”

“No, you weren’t right.” Marty quickly walked over to stand in front of her, the size of Gordon almost blocking Marty’s view now of the cottage. “We all agreed. You nodded your head too.”

“It was a fake nod,” she said defiantly, as they began to once again argue like children.

“You can’t fake a nod.”

“I did.” Mary said, letting go of Gordon and walking towards Marty, not giving an inch.

“Look, I can do it now.” She nodded. “And here’s another.” She did it again. “I could go all day.”

“How can any of our friends trust you, trust me anymore?”

“Because of my nod?”

“Your nod of lies, yes. I’m guilty by association with your nod.”

She pointed at herself. “I own my nod.”

“If that was only true. Your nod affects all of us. It is the plague of nods.”

“Marty,” a voice said simply to their left, interrupting their argument. They both turned together, perfectly in unison to face Jenn. She did not look at all happy to be seeing them, and in her black with the rain and the clouds of smoke in the distance, she almost looked like a specter of death.

http://www.amazon.com/Permanent-Spring-Showers-Scott-Southard-ebook/dp/B00T74HH0Q

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/permanent-spring-showers/id964243135?mt=11

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/512831

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/permanent-spring-showers-scott-d-southard/1121151697?

ean=2940149923335

Scott D. Southard will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a signed copy of his previous title: A Jane Austen Daydream (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Scott encourages his readers to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2015/04/vbt-permanent-spring-showers-by-scott-d.html

WHAT DOES READING MEAN TO YOU?


Today is a solemn day for our country, Remembrance Day.

trench-lg

The first world war began in 1914 and continued for four interminable years. Canada lost 66,000 people and more than 172,000 were wounded. Their incredible sacrifice secured Canada as a nation before the world.

In light of recent events, it has been brought home to many of us this year how vulnerable we truly are.

tomb-1

Until now terrorism is something we’ve only seen from afar, such as the day the sky fell in 2001, 9/11.

I know exactly what I was doing when that horrifying newscast began, as can many other Canadians. Our big sister, the United States of America, under attack. How could this be?

twin-towers

Events like this brought home to me the importance of being an author. It’s our job to keep history relevant. To never forget, and hopefully to learn, from our history.

Non-fiction writers tell of actual events in history such as biographies, memoirs, essays, text books, or scientific manuals to name a few.

Works of fiction can take one of two main roads. Realistic fiction, in which some events, places or people may be true. but the story surrounding them is untrue. These books leave the reader wondering if the premise could possibly occur, such as The DaVinci Code.

Unrealistic fiction on the other hand, could never happen, such as Alice in Wonderland or Hunger Games. Fantasy novels.

No matter what your taste in reading material is, I believe the written word is crucial and maybe even part of the reason we fight for democracy. Our world is not the safe, secure place we grew up in.

On this day I appreciate more than ever the sacrifices made so that I can enjoy the freedom of a good book in the warmth of my home surrounded by my family.

How about you?