Fiction

DAVID CLIVE PRICE “LEADING YOU INTO UNEXPLORED TERRITORY.”

DAVID CLIVE PRICE

“LEADING YOU INTO UNEXPLORED TERRITORY.”

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David Clive Price has been at various times a wine and olive farmer in Italy, a Renaissance scholar, speechwriter for one of the world’s leading banks, a strategic adviser to Asian multinationals, and an explorer of the unknown corners of South Korea, Japan, China, the Philippines, Taiwan and Myanmar (Burma), to name just a few of his ‘unexplored territories’.

He has written books on the ‘lost civilization’ of rural Italy, music and Catholic conspiracies in Elizabeth I’s England, Buddhism in the daily life of Asia, the secret world of China’s Forbidden City, the darker corners of corporate life in pre-recession London and Hong Kong, off-the-beaten track Seoul and South Korea, the ethnic sub-culture and risky underworld of 1980s New York.

3c1f60fe493b0aa39ba1d7.L._V342770694_SX200_INTERVIEW WITH DAVID CLIVE PRICE BY ERIC WENG FROM WWW.UNEXPLOREDTERRITORY.NET

Q. What really floats your boat? Why did you go to the Far East and why now publish all these books about Asia business cultures, along with novels and travelogues set in Asia?

A. ‘I have always been attracted by other cultures and what lies beyond. It’s like an instinctive reaction to any new place. I get a sort of obsession with the idea a new and strange experience – a world I have never set foot in before, an adventure, something with risk involved, something that may or may not make me money but that promises to be in some way spiritual.

Q: What do you mean by that?

I don’t mean holy and going to church (eve if I have become a Buddhist on my travels). It means discovering something about the world that suggest other dimensions, like all those spirits and demons and Taoist or Shinto gods of nature in Asia cultures.

Of course, it can be something quite banal like lighting incense for the God of Prosperity or choosing the lucky number 8 for your mobile phone and house numbers, as almost all Chinese do. But it can also be the discovery of religious rituals or simple domestic and family beliefs that make life seem so much richer and full of wonder.

Q: When did you first discover this about yourself?

It’s hard to say exactly when. I was a precocious schoolboy with a penchant for entertaining my classmates with ironic pop songs (Tom Jones, for example) and little skits that made the class laugh before the teacher arrived. I played Hamlet at school, fell of the stage at a school play competition and discovered my ability to be resilient by just carrying on. I recited Keats and Wordsworth to myself in my bedroom mirror or in the local woods. I loed to go out on ventures.

Later I won a choral scholarship to Cambridge after the tutor got me completely drunk on sherry because of my nerves. The common thread in all this was a belief in my guardian spirit, and in my resilience, and a readiness to take on the new in order to learn. I was always in the library and I date my passion for the German, Italian and French languages from my time at school.

Q: You seem to have had everything necessary to pursue a successful career. What happened? Your career is not exactly a straight line from the look of these books.

‘Every time I have been set up with what seems a conventional career, I have taken a calculated risk and broken free to pursue something entirely different, something that is often diametrically opposed to the world in which I have been trained to excel.’

‘When I finished my Ph.D. on ‘Music and Patrons of the English Renaissance’ (the History Faculty at first refused the subject) I didn’t wait to receive my doctorate. I headed straight for Switzerland and my first big love affair, living in a tiny rooftop atelier in the old town of Zurich.’

‘However, the British Academy had given me a fellowship to do postgraduate research at Bologna University for a book on the Italian Renaissance. I therefore continued on to Italy (my second great love) and pursued this research diligently in the archives of various north Italian cities. But after a year of being a professor type, I jacked it in and went over the Apennines to search for a cheap place to live and perhaps write a completely kind of book and lead a more satisfying life.’

Q: Where did you end up?

My partner and I found an old farmhouse in an Etruscan hilltop town, dirt cheap, perched on the side of a valley with a lovely tower for my study. To the accompaniment of sparrows in the roof eaves building their nests, I first of all translated into English the Italian poet and filmmaker Pie Paolo Pasolini on his travels in India and then considered what kind of book I might write myself.

I was farming wine and olives and vegetables quite intensively by then, and had entered full scale into the local country life, making friends with all the neighbouring farmers. My own “mezzadro” (share cropper) was teaching me all about binding vines and pruning olive trees so I ended up writing a book about Italian rural life called The Other Italy. It’s still in print on Amazon. And I began a novel.

Q. Why did you decided on a novel? What was the inspiration?

A journey I took to shake up my comfortable rural existence. I went to New York for a year in 1979 and decided to live in the most “edgy” neighbourhood possible: Alphabet City, or Avenues A to Z. Nowadays it’s been gentrified but back in the early 1980s it was a hotbed of creativity, drugs, prostitution, the gay and lesbian underworld, and a fascinating mix of blacks, whites, Puerto Ricans, Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, every race under the sun.

So I began the novel from a ringside seat in my Lower East Side apartment on a very edgy street, and finished it in total calm in the Tuscan countryside.

Q. Do you like extremes? Is that what makes you a writer?

No, I’m not an extreme person in that sense. But I love a challenge and adventure, and almost instinctively I try to get right under the surface of the prevailing culture. In this sense, all the books that have followed including my novel Chinese Walls, just published and set in London and Hong Kong, and Phoenix Rising; A Journey Through South Korea, are attempts to get beneath the surface of other worlds (corporate London, East Asian, imperial Beijing, post-colonial Hong Kong, and so on).

Q. Is that what your business books are also about? I see they are called the Master Key Series

Yes, in a way the business books and the Asia fiction/travel are inspired by the same passion: deep diving, learning from the clash of cultures, trying everything, listening rather than always talking, being patient, observing, learning a “new language”. The Master Key to Asia and The Master Key to Asia offer a system for getting into other worlds – in this case Asian business worlds – by learning the cultures and assimilating, not sticking out, imitating.

Q.  Is that your technique as a writer?

Yes, you could say that. I was entranced when researching my CUP book on Elizabethan musicians and courtiers how much they had to dissemble and hide up their Catholic sympathies. Many of them led double lives, any yet they merged into the status quo of court life.

They were successful because they learned how to act. In terms of daily habits, this often meant that they had to lurk in strange places to meet fellow Catholic sympathisers. Chroniclers of the time described them as being “seen in lurcking sorte” in out of the way places like Esher or Dover.

Q. Is this something important to you? Being a kind of spy?

Yes, I rather see myself as a “lurker”. My novelistic technique is to hang around at street corners, go to places in a town where no one else goes, sit at the wheel of my car in a supermarket car park and watch what the people are doing. Novelists are always doing that, looking over the shoulder or from a distance, merging into the background. It’s a great metaphor for the way I work and research.

In the same way, I advise my business clients to become “Chinese” or “Korean” or “Indonesian” as much as they can, to try everything local and not be put off, to get out of the expat ghetto in the cities of Asia and discover the real world beyond. The best way to do that is to plunge in and be a spy from the inside, not from the outside.

Q. Finally, what came first for Chinese Walls or Phoenix Rising – the plot or the main character or the main idea or none of the above?

I usually start with a feeling inside, which evolves eventually into a starting point for a plot. The main character slips onto the stage at the same time. Then as I develop the plot and structure, I slowly start to get a feeling for what the book is about – its main idea. And after a few attempts at an opening chapter or two, it starts to flow. If it doesn’t start to flow, I put it away (perhaps only for a while or perhaps for years) and work on something else.

Q. Do you any other books in your Unexplored Territory trilogies that are waiting for the light of day in a bottom drawer or are ‘evolving’ into a plot?

The next novel in the Unexplored Territory series is called Last Train to Mandalay and is entering the final edit stage for publication by Christmas 2014. The next travel book in the series, Glimpses of Snow Country: Travels in Japan, is largely written but awaits 2-3 extra chapters on areas of Japan’s Snow Country, such as Hokkaido, which I am visiting in the near future for both a business conference and researching the book. A book on Japan will complement my book on South Korea and provide I hope an interesting comparison.

Q. What is the message you’d like to share with the world?

“To cultivate a sense of wonder”

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All David Clive Price’s books are available as Amazon paperbacks and Kindles.

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Author website: http://www.davidcliveprice.com/books

Author blog: http://unexploredterritory.net

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/davidcliveprice

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Author Interview with Sheena Binkley

 

Wedding blog

Sheena Binkley is an author specializing in African-American and Multicultural Romance. She is the author of two great series: In Love With My Best Friend and Love, Life, & Happiness. Each book from both series has been on the Amazon Best-Seller’s list.  Her latest project, The Way We Were, which is the fourth book in the Love, Life, & Happiness series, will be available on September 26th.

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1. What career did you plan during your education days?

When I was in high school and college, my dream was to be a reporter. I wanted to either do newspaper or television. I even majored in Broadcast Journalism in college, but I realized that’s not want I wanted to do, so I switched majors (to Corporate Communication to graduate) and started to pursue my career in writing.

2. What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

My biggest inspiration would have to be my faith in God and my family. Being able to go through this journey is a blessing, so I’m fortunate to have such a great support system with my family and for them being there for me.

3. What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I faced was criticism. When I first started writing, I was not used to the negative comments from people with my stories. Whether it was the storyline or the characters, I couldn’t take the criticism well and it almost made me not write again.  I overcame it by having a tougher skin. In this industry, people are going to voice their opinions, so that’s something that I would have to live with. I’m not going to make everyone happy, but I will do what I can to produce great writing to readers and hopefully they will enjoy it.

4. When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I started writing at 9 for a project for school.  After I wrote the assignment, I realized how much I enjoyed creating a story that I continued to write more. Later, I began to write short stories before expanding into full length novels. My purpose for writing is being able to produce quality work for people to enjoy. I love to create new stories and characters that I hope readers can relate to, which I hope I can continue doing for years to come.

5. Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

My latest novel, The Way We Were, is the fourth book in the Love, Life, & Happiness series, and this is Monica and Donnell’s story. With Monica, she has done a lot of crazy things in previous books, so hopefully readers will be able to relate with her and sort of root for her once the story is over.

Here is the synopsis:

Monica:

I’d always been unlucky with love. No matter how much I’ve tried to experience it, something always happens to make me turn away. When I was with Donnell Patterson, I believed I finally had a chance at it, but I ended up destroying it by being selfish. Now, I have a second chance with Zack Hall. He’s a woman’s dream – smart, generous, and sexy as hell. But now that I’m with someone else, why does Donnell keep coming back into my thoughts? Should I let go of the past, and start with someone new, or go back to the person that I’ve always considered my one true love?

 

Donnell:

Monica Taylor and I have had our shares of ups and downs. Honestly, we had more downs than ups. But no matter what we did to each other, we always found our way back to each other; but she did the unthinkable when she tried to hook up with Marcus Walker. Now, I’m with someone new, who makes me really happy. Dominique Sawyer is amazing; not only is she smart and beautiful, but she’s also drama-free. But if she’s so perfect, why do I keep thinking about the person who has continuously broke my heart?

6. What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on the fifth book of the LLH series, Love Always. This is another story about Riana and Shawn, which they are going through a lot of situations throughout their relationship. They will have to realize is their love strong enough to make things work in their relationship.

7. What are your future plans?

I have three new series coming soon. Two are spin-offs from my current series,In Love With My Best Friend and Love, Life, & Happiness, while the other is a brand new series titled Resisting Temptation.  The spin-offs will be available next year, while the first book in the Resisting Temptation series will be available in December.

8. How much real life goes into fiction writing?

For me, there may be some scenes in a story that I will depict my real life into. With Love Unbroken, although majority of the story was fiction, there were scenes that described my relationship with my husband. In the new story Love Always, there will also be scenes that will explain a little to how my husband and I dealt with the birth of our son. In other words, for me, it’s okay to put a little of your life into a story, that way it can be more believable to your readers.

9. What is the last book you finished reading?

The last book I read was Reality Check by Camisha Almonor. The story is about best friends whose lives changed after an unexpected night together. I really loved the story. It kept me interested throughout the entire story.

10. What is the current book you are reading?

Currently, I have A Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Christina Jones next on my Kindle. I really want to read this book, but since I’m writing, I haven’t had a chance to yet.

11. Your Favorite book and why?

Anything by Carl Weber. I just love him as an author because he knows how to deliver the drama! I especially love The Choir Director. I haven’t started on the sequel yet, but I know it will be just as good as the first book.

12. Are any of the characters like you? In what ways?

I think there’s a little in me in all of my characters, especially with Camille (In Love With My Best Friend) and Riana (Love Unbroken). With Camille, I tend to be shy and reserved sometimes like her, but can also be a bit bold when I need to. With Riana, she has a spunky personality, in which I can relate to. She is also the peacemaker of the group, which she does a lot of between Cheryl and Monica.

13. If you were a celebrity, who would you be? Why?

I haven’t really thought about being someone else, but if I had to choose, it would probably be Kerry Washington. She has a grace about her and seemed pretty down to earth. Also, I love her as Olivia Pope on Scandal!

 

Twitter: @ChevonBink

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sheenabinkleyauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7092860.Sheena_Binkley

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sheena-Binkley/e/B00CSTNTIG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Book Tour: http://butterflypromotion.blogspot.com

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Fiction

Getting to Know Author J.C. Wing

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I had the idea to write Alabama Skye about five years ago. The main premise of the story has always been the same, although many of the details changed between when I first started writing it and when it was completed. I was writing another novel, my first, when the story for Alabama Skye came to me. I had to put the book on hold for a bit, and many things happened in my personal life that shaped Alabama Skye and made it what it eventually became.


Every single one of the characters in Alabama Skye is special to me in one way or another. The most special, however, is Sarah Guthrie Gannon, the matriarch and heart of the story. She is based on my own grandmother, a wonderful, loving and amazing woman whom I always called Mimi. Like Sarah, Mimi had Alzheimer’s and eventually passed away in May of 2013. Alabama Skye was published just a little over a year later. The book is dedicated to her.

Mimi and Sarah are not really that much alike in character. Sarah is feisty, the belle of the ball, and in her younger years I imagine her to be larger than life. Mimi was not that way, although she was, perhaps, the largest thing in my young life. Mimi was also the reason Cheney, another main character, turned out to be the way she is. Mimi had a fascination with all things Scottish, and traveled to the UK sometime in the ‘80’s. After her return, she had a poster of Eilean Donan castle on Loch Duich framed. It hung in her home for many years, and now it hangs in my office next to a poster for Alabama Skye. I think that Mimi and Cheney would have been very good friends. Mimi probably would have picked up some Gaelic from the Scotswoman while the two of them sat and shared a drink in a pair of Cheney’s beautiful white mugs; Mimi’s cup full of hot black coffee and Cheney’s with fragrant tea. I loved learning about the Isle of Skye and getting to know Cheney as I wrote. She is a complex character and one I feel quite fond of.

Alabama Skye is not autobiographical as some readers believe. There is not much of me in any of the characters, and I don’t have a whole lot in common with any of them save the relationship I shared with Mimi. That is definitely reflected in the relationship between Greer and Sarah. I am also a mother and know how it feels to be committed to your children just as Meara and Greer are committed to theirs. While I love to cook, I am not a successful chef, nor do I drive a sporty little Beetle by the name of Penelope. However, Meara’s book shop, The Cheshire Cat, was based on a store I frequented a lot as a child, and The Alice and Wonderland theme was taken from some favorite childhood memories.

I grew enormously attached to this group of characters. Much to my delight, many of my readers did as well. I have been asked many times if there will be a sequel to Alabama Skye. I thought their stories had been told, but I have, since then, been hearing them whispering quite loudly in my ears. It didn’t take much persuasion to get me to head back to Kelby, Alabama and pick up where I’d left off. In this second book, which is yet untitled, readers will follow Noah as she continues to build her business and finds out that she isn’t exactly who she always thought herself to be. Readers will also travel across the Atlantic and unearth some more secrets that Cheney and Meara’s father, Finlay, left for them to find in a small town in the lowlands of Scotland.

I always welcome feedback and would love to hear from you.

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Book Description

“When tragedy befalls Cheney McGillvray, she decides to pack up and leave her beloved home on Scotland’s Isle of Skye. She travels to the beachfront town of Kelby on Alabama’s gulf coast and appears unannounced on her sister Meara’s doorstep with a plan not only for her own future but also for that of her niece. 
Greer, fresh out of culinary school and two months pregnant, takes the advice of her headstrong grandmother Sarah, and agrees to a partnership with her aunt. Together they transform Sarah’s beautiful old home into a proper Scottish B & B right in the heart of America’s southland. 
Both women realize the time to face their pasts has arrived in the weeks before they are to open Gannon’s Glen. Cheney finds it difficult to hide the darkness of her past when she begins suffering from debilitating nightmares that bring Greer to her bedside at night and a hurricane sweeps in more than stormy weather. News of the destruction of his childhood home brings Greer’s high school sweetheart and their unresolved relationship back into town. Although they are nearly strangers separated by a forty year age gap, Cheney and Greer lean on one another as they come to terms with their lives and realize the possibilities of their futures. 
Sprinkled with humor and colorful descriptions of both the Gulf Coast and that of Scotland’s Inner Hebridean Islands, Alabama Skye is a story about the strength of four generations of women who discover that when things go wrong the ones who stand by you and the ones who carry you are the ones you call family.” 

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Nonfiction

Get to Know Author Carlton Brown

Sun God Sacred Secrets:

The Archaeology, Art & Science of

Altered States of Consciousness

 

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About The Author

I pulled the pin! A person can only take so much crap; time to implement my hedging plan and become an author!

I was formerly the founding CEO of Immune Targeting Systems (ITS) Ltd (UK) and a driving innovator behind the company`s vaccine technology platform; enabling vaccine solutions for mutating viruses (Pandemic flu, Hepatitis-B, C & HIV/AIDS); having built the company from nothing to clinical proof of concept in five years and secured its investment/investors. At the beginning of 2012 I took a personal decision to put an end to the abusive relationship I had endured for five years. It was time to implement my exit & hedge plan; which best suited me and my contractual context. I recruited my replacement in early 2012 and at the end of March that year had a very frank discussion with someone in a position of power who frankly made me very unhappy, and I got things off my chest. This was done in the full knowledge that I would resign at the next Board meeting. That outcome of that last Board meeting permitted me to watch the summer solstice sunset the next night at the Isle of White Music festival watching the sun go down, knowing a new life chapter was about to begin. In the apparent self-destruct I implemented my risk-mitigation / hedge plan and became an author! :)

One week later I turned 47 (V47 degree solstice symbolism was an important sacred ritual secret discovery in my book), and knew I was going to live in Guatemala at Lake Atitlan, an important home to the ancient Mayan shamans and priesthoods, and start writing my book; Sun God Sacred Secrets! I was exalted with that decision; like at no other time in my life! If it was going to be the end of the world then I had a front row seat in good time; sitting right in front of one of the world’s largest volcano caldera lakes across from 4 huge volcano peaks! What I hadn`t counted on was going through a drowning process on the lake due to a diving accident down at 23 meters, on the very day of the autumn equinox! That drowning process took me to the beginning stage of a near-death experience; and fortunately they got me to the surface with a chest full of water, and my diaphragm nearly ripped off my rib cage! That opened a door to my inner world and kick-started this journey of spiritual and self-discovery, learning and growth which I am on right now. I started writing my book the very next day :)! The Mayan end of calendar on 21st December 2012, three months later, was my first time for accessing transcendental states of consciousness using the Ritual Meditation™ process, which I discovered from these ancient Sun god religions. In my core I know my life is being guided, and the roller coaster rides just bring me back to my life purpose! What a life so far – WOW!!! – Carlton Brown

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Would you like to know humankind’s best-kept and most profound secret? 

This secret provides a set of access codes to humankind´s fourth state of consciousness. Consummated through sacred ritual processes, you are able to access transcendental states of consciousness, commune directly with the immanent and transcendental source of life (your god), and transform your life. 

This thought-provoking book, with an investigative pulse, reveals unique archaeological discoveries shared by four different Sun god religions spanning five millennia of human history. Your curiosity will be piqued and you will assuredly learn much about pyramid archaeology, and the sciences and esoteric subjects involved in humans attaining altered states of consciousness. 

If you meditate, pursue a spiritual path, or suffer death anxiety, and wish to experience transcendental states of consciousness to help eliminate your suffering, then you need to read this book. For those seeking objective answers to pyramid archaeology´s enigmas and their shared archaeological fingerprint, I hope you enjoy reading about it here. 

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Amazon

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

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“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems….

About the Author

Mary Kubica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter. THE GOOD GIRL is her first novel.

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Best Book Promotion Sites, Best Book Tours

4 Benefits of Book Tours

What is a Virtual Book Tour and How Does it Work? More Importantly, What is a Virtual Book Tour Going to Do For You?

A Virtual Book Tour is a tour online. You don’t even have to leave your home. It is made up of blog stops. This is other people’s blogs. They agree on a certain date and post about you or your book. Then, their readers, subscribers, and fans get to know you. Who doesn’t like a new personal endorsement anyway?  The posts are made up of book reviews, interviews, guest post articles, or original articles that link to your book. It is fun and has proven to be highly beneficial. Not only do your fans get to play, but all of the blog hosts combine their audience to visit the other sites. It has been known to start the most interesting conversations. The best part? You are the center of all the attention.

There are many ways that a blog tour will benefit you, but I am going to give you the top 4.

1. You will sell more books during and after the tour. You can reach 1000’s of readers in a day. Can you imagine doing a traditional book tour as a new author and walking into a room full of this many people?

2.. People Talk. Tours build buzz and talk about your book which equals word of mouth advertising and it normally doesn’t stop after the tour.

3.. You will have quality and lasting links to your website as a result of the tour. These links will keep working for you, getting regular organic traffic to your site.

4. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews! Need I say more?

 

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Amazon, Fiction, Goodreads, Kindle

Author Cody Schlegel

Odyssey Tale by Cody Schlegel is the Book of the Day for August 13, 2014!

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This reimagining of Homer’s ancient epic, Odyssey, revisits the story of a son seeking his missing father who is being held captive on a far away island. Join MAC as he sets sail with GENIE of the lamp, PETER PAN, and the LOST BOYS. Both Mac and his father, Otis, encounter many treacherous obstacles, from an evil SEA WITCH who must be appeased with wine, to a group of evil PIRATES (led by CAPTAIN JAMES). However, Mac and Otis also come across wonderful friends, all selflessly dedicated to helping father and son throughout their respective journeys.

Have you ever wondered how Peter Pan met Tinker Bell? Did you ever think about how Pinocchio handled becoming a real boy? Were you ever curious as to what happened to Beauty’s Beast after the spell was broken? Hang on tight and expect a wild ride. “Oh muse, sweet muse, please sing to me. Tell me the tale of an odyssey.”

Get to Know the Author

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I started screenwriting when I was eighteen years old. Right around the time I turned twenty-five, I hit the skids. I couldn’t come up with anything new, and I certainly couldn’t force it. Just to spark some juice in my brain, I decided to enroll in a couple courses in a small community college, one being a Greek Mythology course. When we got about halfway through the semester and started on Homer’s Odyssey, I fell in love. There is so much happening, and so many solid life lessons within the text. It is the ultimate story of brains over brawn, and doing the right thing, and never giving up regardless of the circumstances.

The most I had ever learned about The Odyssey, prior to that, was in middle school. I can still hear Mr. Kramer. “There was a guy named Homer. He wrote The Illiad and The Odyssey. They were epic poems.” That was the extent of Mr. Kramer’s lecture on the subject.

The professor, however, was phenomenal. The story of The Odyssey is not an easy one to follow because there are a countless amount of characters. The professor explained to us that every character in The Odyssey has his or her own story. It was a lot easier for the ancient Greeks to follow because they were already familiar with most of the characters and respective stories – then it just hit me. What if I took the story of The Odyssey and replaced the existing characters with ones that a present day audience already knows? I immediately made a list of all the classic folk/fairy tale characters I could think of: Peter Pan, Mowgli, Baloo, Pinocchio, Aladdin, Genie, Beauty and the Beast, etc. It just poured into my brain like an open faucet. Before we took the final test for the course, I already had the screenplay completely finished. It took only four days to complete. From wake to sleep, writing was all I did – only occasional breaks for shrimp fried rice. After about a week of editing and re-writes, it was ninety- six pages and just littered with plot holes. Every supernatural occurrence in my version was the work of Genie of the lamp, and most of the time his motives didn’t make any sense.

It was very childish, very cartoonish, and generally not good. It just didn’t work, and on top of that, I had no one to show it to who could actually turn it into a movie, so what was the point? My best bet was winning a contest and getting exposure that way, but winning a writing contest is no easy feat. So, I just sort of shelved the project all together.

I moved on and began working on a TV series with three friends. We had a lot of fun in the writers’ room together, and they were all fans of my Odyssey idea (even though they didn’t like the screenplay). One day, one of them suggested turning it into a book and releasing it on Amazon Kindle. I had never even thought about writing a book, but I certainly liked the idea. There’s obviously a huge difference between having a screenplay buried in your closet and a book that anyone in the world can buy at the click of a mouse.

So, I dug up the screen version and started operating. The first two things I did were attack the plot holes and give it a more mature feel. Initially, I pictured my audience being kids, ages three to six, and laughing hysterically at a screen. Once I started the transition to book, I wanted a project that wouldn’t let ridiculous laughs distract from the story.

It took a couple weeks to mold it into something I was willing to share with the world, and another month to actually write it. Once it was finished, my first thought was, “This isn’t any good.” But once I read it for the first time, it was exactly how I wanted. The story’s flow is seamless, the attention to detail is right there too. Readers who are familiar with the classic folk and fairy tales can look forward to an endless array of Easter Eggs and other little tid-bits all throughout.

For me, it was all about paying tribute. Homer’s Odyssey is a classic for a reason, but not a lot of people really know the story. That was my number one goal from the start; get people to know the story. Once they do, they might relate to it more than they realized. Too often, I hear people writing off difficult subjects as “stupid,” because they don’t quite understand what it is they’re learning. This adaptation of Homer’s classic intertwined with countless legends will help its audience better grasp a truly amazing story. I think people will be pleasantly surprised at the twists, turns, and new characters along the way. It’s the perfect beach book but it also has the body of a solid campfire story. From the very start to the absolute finish, I expect the readers to have a wild ride.

My writing process is one that’s constantly changing. And I’m always seeking any advice I can from the true greats. They have done it right, so when I’m around them I keep my mouth shut and listen. Writers write and thinkers think – so write. If a story stays in your head it will remain perfect. You can’t make the proper corrections until it’s on paper.

I live in Nashville, Tennessee and the aura here is something else. I strongly believe that if you surround yourself with talent, some will rub off on you. You can just feel the talent in the air here. I’m surrounded by some of the best musicians, singers, and songwriters on this planet, and they’re playing all my favorite classic country songs (not the stuff on today’s radio).

On the right night, I can be found at Legend’s Corner, The Stage, or several other honky-tonks, listening to the opry ghosts and scribbling notes on stacks of napkins.

I released Odyssey Tale on June 13 (Friday), 2014, the day before my twenty- seventh birthday, on Amazon Kindle. It was a birthday present to myself and I’m very proud of the finished product. My next book will be a full-length novel called, Junction. It will be the first of three books that center on the everyday lives of a small time crime family in rural Ohio. It will be released November 24, 2014. – Author Cody Schlegel

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We look forward to hearing a lot more from Author Cody Schlegel in the future!

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Domestic Violence Awareness

My Suffering, My Story

My name is Jenna Kramer and I feel I need to tell my story to help other women who have been in similar situations as I. I met my husband Benjamin Kramer when I was only 17 years old and he was 36. He was handsome, rich and powerful. He literally swept me off my feet and two months before my 18th birthday we married.

It was within months after we married, that the abuse started. We had been at a political function and I had been drinking and a little too flirty with one of the men there. Ben grabbed me and dragged me out of the function and shoved me into the limo. I didn’t know what ensued in his mind, I didn’t know that he had an anger problem, so when he smacked me across the face, I naturally smacked him back and that would prove to be the worst mistake I ever made. He began hitting me in the face over and over with his fist until I didn’t move anymore and to make it worst, when we got home, he left me to wallow in my misery alone. This was his dysfunctional way of teaching me a lesson, because the whole time he was gone, I only wished for him to be there.

I, of course, wasn’t able to leave the house, until the wounds healed, I had to hide his secret, he was a very powerful Senator, no one could know what he had done.

The first year I spent with Ben was not learning his bad habits, like leaving the toothbrush in the sink, or clothes on the floor. It was learning Ben’s unsaid rules and pet peeves, like wearing blue jeans, or wearing my hair down.

Ben’s demented mind and psychotic ways led to many long nights in agony and pain. His beatings were light at first, but as I continued to break the rules his anger quickened and his beatings became more vicious.

To conceal the beatings from others, Ben only used his gold-buckle, dark brown leather belt, and was sure to only hit me in places that were covered by clothing. I did have an escape, I could separate my mind from my body, so when the beatings would happen, mentally I wasn’t there. I called the place my mind would wander to the dark place, it was the place only I could go.

I had convinced myself this was what love was. This was all I had. Even when my body would throb so bad from the bloody marks that encrusted it, I still thought there was no escape. The reality of my existence enveloped me into a solitary hopelessness of agony and pain.

It was not until I met Andrew, a handsome young attorney that I realized what love was. Our relationship started as an affair, but soon I found myself hopelessly in love with him, as he did with me. He was caring, gentle and protective and he wanted to desperately to rid me of Ben and his sadistic ways.

But, Ben wouldn’t simply go away. I was his and he made sure I knew that. I remember when I had enough and had finally fled to my sisters. He came after me. With his thug bodyguards he forced me out of her house and into the god forsaken limo of hell. It was there, when I finally fought back. I hit him the whole ride home and it wasn’t until one of his bodyguards pulled me out of the limo that it stopped.

The bodyguard forcibly took me to the bedroom. Ben came shortly after and I heard the door locked and I knew what he was up to, but at that point I didn’t care anymore. I wasn’t going to let him trap me. He threw pages of texts between Andrew and I and I fully admitted to him that I had been romantically involved with Andrew and that I loved him. Ben was so enraged more than I ever saw him before, he grabbed me and we ended up in a wrestling match. I fell to the ground and I heard him unbuckle his belt. I tried to crawl to the door because I knew if I didn’t he was going to massacre me.

As I crawled on the ground I heard him screaming and then I felt his foot slam down on my arm, over and over again until it was numb. I laid there in pain and I really thought he was going to kill me. He ordered me to the bed, and I crawled dragging my shattered arm onto the bed. I could feel the wind as he raised the belt and I felt the slam of the buckle as it hit my back. He didn’t even realize he had it backwards and each time he slammed it down it was the buckle not the leather hitting my back. I attempted to go to the dark place, but the pain in my arm and the bloody belt marks was so severe my mind couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

When he stopped, I thought that he was grabbing the cream he would put on the marks to help heal them. So I laid there thanking god it was over—but it wasn’t. I felt my skin scald and the pain was so agonizing, I couldn’t even scream. I could smell the burning of skin. He had branded me. And then he screamed. “You are mine—forever—forever. Then he simply left.

Andrew called and texted me the next day and I couldn’t answer, because I couldn’t move. He knew there was something wrong so he rushed over to my house with two roommates, forcing there we through the door. I couldn’t even lift my head when he walked in. I felt the sheet cover up my shattered naked body and then he lay next to me and probably the worst feeling was seeing that helpless look in his eyes. Tears fell down his face and all he kept saying is, I’m here baby. I won’t leave you. And he never did.

After I got out of the hospital I went with Andrew. We tried fight Ben in court but no one would listen and he would get out and still come after me. I even took a bullet in the back and they still nothing. Andrew and I decided the only way to solve this problem was to change my identity and that is what I did.

I married Andrew and I have three beautiful children with him. He is the most amazing man and I am such a lucky woman to have had the second chance to a wonderful life with Andrew.

It was twenty years before I laid eyes on Ben again. He never stopped looking and he never stopped wanting me. It was not love, I was a possession to him. After all the beatings, I, of course always carried a weapon and when Ben came after me again, I shot him. I never wanted to hurt him and I live with the guilt every day of taking his life. But it was to the point, where it was him or me. I had children, a loving husband, I couldn’t let him take that away, he had already taken so much.

 

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Awsome, Fiction, Goodreads, Kindle

Upcoming Book Tour May 26th – May 30th

 

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Jenna Kramer married the man of her dreams but never expected it to be the worst nightmare of her life.  As the wife of Senator Ben Kramer, her life should have been charmed, but no one knows the horrors she faces behind closed doors…until she meets Ben’s attorney, Andrew Carington and falls in love for the first time in her life. Jenna won’t leave Ben, and, Andrew won’t allow her to be hurt anymore, but their love may not be enough to thwart the danger and survive the hell that Ben would wreak on them.  MINE is the story of a woman who refuses to have her spirit broken or lose the love her life to the maniac that masquerades as her husband.  This time, she will do what she’s never done before—fight.  And win.  She and Andrew’s survival depends on it!

Get The Book Here

If you would like to participate in this book tour please visit our book tour page

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