Category Archives: Fiction

Author Spotlight Bill Hiatt

 

 

Living With Your Past Selves (Spell Weaver Book 1)
Living With Your Past Selves (Spell Weaver Book 1)

Character Interview with Taliesin Weaver

 

How do you get along with your parents?

I’d like to say well, but the truth is they don’t really know who I am anymore, and I can’t risk telling them.

My mom treats me more or less like I might break at any moment. That’s understandable, since four years ago my parents thought I had a breakdown. I can’t tell them that what really happened was that I started to remember all of my past lives, and it took me awhile regain control over that flood of hundreds of years’ worth of memories. She thinks I’m more fragile than I am, that I might flip out again at any moment. Unfortunately, if I told her the truth, she’d be sure I’d already flipped out.

As for my dad, he can’t figure out why I’m different now. He noticed that my interests had changed after I came back from the hospital, but he wants things to go back to the way they were before. That isn’t going to happen, of course, but I can’t explain why. We’re just stuck in a perpetual state of uneasy denial, and there is no obvious way to get out of it.

 

With all of those problems with your parents, is there anyone you can rely on for support?

Stan is the only friend who didn’t more or less abandon me after the “breakdown.” Actually, he stayed at the hospital all the time, except when his mother ordered him home. Otherwise, nobody could have pried him out with a crowbar. He would support me if I needed it…well, except for the fact that I can’t tell him who I really am, either. Maybe someday. I’d like to; I just can’t figure out how to break that kind of news, and I have the instinctive feeling that telling anyone would seal my doom. Why I think that I couldn’t tell you, though.

 

Who do you most want to emulate?

I wish there were someone else in my situation that I could model myself on, but I’m not aware of anyone else in all of human history who has been in the same situation. Sure, every so often someone will claim to remember past lives, but not all of them, and not every detail. Frankly, as far as I can tell, most of the people who make that claim are just looking for attention, anyway. I doubt most of them really remember.

I suppose the only person who comes close in any of my lives is Merlin. He didn’t have past life personalities floating around in his head, but he did have to deal with being half-demon, which couldn’t have been easy. As I recall, the situation made him kind of a loner, a little bit like me now. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarity between us ends. Over the course of hundreds of lives, I’ve known many people with big problems—King David and Alexander the Great come immediately to mind—but again, they didn’t have to deal with the same situation I’m in, so I’m still stuck.

What do you want from life?

Right now, I’m ready to settle for staying alive until tomorrow. Knowing that someone is trying to kill me but not knowing who it is or how to stop that person—or thing—pretty much dominates my waking life and quite a few of my nightmares.

What do I want if I manage to survive? I don’t know anymore. The magic I have makes me very good with people and with music. I could become a rock star if I wanted to, I guess, but that feels kind of like a kids’ dream now. Of necessity I’ve had to utilize my past life skills to become good with weapons, but I don’t want to make a career out of being a mercenary. I’ve been told I have the potential to become a wizard greater than even Merlin, but to do that, I would have to give up the life I know, and I don’t want to do that. So where does that leave me in terms of future goals? Exactly nowhere.

 

If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?

Eva, Eva, and Eva. She was my girlfriend when I had my “breakdown,” but she drifted away while I was in the hospital. I think the whole experience was too intense for her to handle at that age, but by the time I got out and worked up the courage to talk to her, she was already with someone else and still is. Come to think of it, if I used two of those wishes, one to turn back time four years and the other to keep me from remembering my past lives, I wouldn’t need the third wish because Eva and I would still be together.

The way my life has been working, getting three wishes might actually be a possibility, but there would still be two problems. First, I don’t have any idea why my past life memories came back in the first place. Nothing would prevent the same thing from happening later on in life if I didn’t know how to prevent it.  Second, I have no idea who is trying to kill me or why. It could be my secret enemy would have had no interest in me if I had stayed ordinary, or it could be that he or she would have come after me anyway, only as an ordinary guy I would have had no way to defend myself.

In a weird kind of way, maybe my past life memories will be what saves me in the end.

 

What three things would you take to a desert island?

I suppose if I said Eva, that would make me sound “stalkerish.” Since I can’t guarantee my enemy wouldn’t come after me on the island, I’d have to say White Hilt, my sword, and a couple of musical instruments. My magic is stronger with a little music to help it along.

 

How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?

I’ve really only fallen in love once, as you probably have guessed. Eva and I have known each other as long as I can remember. I’m sure exactly when friendship transitioned to love. I think it was in middle school, at least for me. I can’t speak for her.

 

What parts of loving come easy for you? Hard?

It’s been four years since Eva…well, “broke up,” doesn’t exactly capture the experience, since there was no neat, clean break-up. “Drifted apart” sounds too peaceful. “Ripped apart” might be more accurate. Anyway, loving someone from afar isn’t the same thing as having a relationship, so I can’t really comment—unless you want to talk about past life experiences, and then we would be here all day.

 

When you walk into a room, what do you notice first? Second?

Since I knew someone wanted to kill me, I make sure I know where all the exits are. Then I scan the room for any unusual things, supernatural or otherwise. Particularly with shape shifters in play, a guy can’t be too careful. Anyone could turn out to be an enemy.

 

When you walk into a room, what do you expect people to notice about you?

Unless we’re talking about Eva, hopefully as little as possible. Keeping in mind that I need to keep secret who I really am, I try to be as inconspicuous as possible. In fact, I often use a spell that causes people not to notice me. Gliding around town under everybody’s radar may be lonely, but it’s also safer than the alternatives.

 

Describe yourself to me.

Where do I even start? The physical part is easy. I’m pretty ordinary, actually. I’ve been told girls find me attractive, but given the way I feel about Eva, I haven’t encouraged any other interest, so it’s hard to tell how much there might have been. I’m brown haired, medium height, slender but pretty muscular. (I was always athletic, but the weapons training necessitated my buffing up a little).

A personality description is much harder. There is who I was four years ago: the happy, social, soccer playing, bad musician. Then there is who I am now: the brooding, isolated, secretly sword-swinging, concert quality musician. I guess I liked music either way, but almost everything else is different. Sometimes I think that earlier me is still alive in me somewhere. Other times I fear I am just a compromise among my past life personalities and that who I was supposed to be in this life is pretty much dead. I think I am that person, but I’ve long since lost track.

 

Did you turn out the way you expected? The way your parents predicted?

Isn’t that kind of obvious? I’m not who anyone expected me to be, myself included. I’m…out of place, sort of like an intruder in my own life. I’d like to say I’m a work in progress. Now, if I just knew what I was progressing toward, that would really be something.

 

What do you consider are your strengths?

As I’ve said, I’m a pretty awesome musician these days, thanks to the original Taliesin. I’m a better swordsman than he was. I sort of have to be if I want to survive. I’m easily the top of my class in magic…which is my subtle way of reminding you that no one else in my class can do magic. I’m best at manipulating people’s minds, though I only do that when I absolutely have to in order to keep my secret or to protect somebody. No, really! If I ever gave into the temptation to do what I really wanted, I might just enchant Eva into loving me again, and that would be bad…really bad.

 

What do you consider are your weaknesses?

I feel helpless most of the time. I don’t know who is trying to kill me or how to stop that person—if it even is a person. (There are several other possibilities, some of them pretty nasty.) I don’t really know what to do about most of my problems. I know there must be solutions, but if so, I can’t see them.

I guess part of the problem is that I can’t find a way of moving on, as you must have guessed from the Eva situation. In more than one way, I’m a prisoner of the past.

 

What is one physical attribute you are proud of? I don’t really know. I’d say ask Eva, but I bet she wouldn’t know what to say either at this point.

 

What one physical attribute would you change?

I’d like to be even stronger, mostly for survival reasons. I work out as often as I can. I could probably speed up the process with magic, but I’m a little afraid to do that since the original Taliesin left me no experience in that area to guide me. Magic can be powerful, but precisely because of that, it can be dangerous if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.

 

If you could be an animal, what would it be?

The funny thing about that question is that I actually could be an animal. Celtic spell casters can typically shape shift, and the original Taliesin was certainly no exception, though he didn’t use that ability frequently. Frankly, the whole idea scares me. I’d rather stay in human form. Fewer things can go wrong then.

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About the Author

Bill Hiatt has been teaching English at Beverly Hills High School since 1981. Although teaching has been and remains his first love, he has also been drawn to creative writing of various sorts. From high school on, he wrote short stories, a little poetry, and an earlier novel, finished in 1982. Then the demands of teaching kept Bill away from writing for many years, but the stories within him eventually could not be denied any longer, and Living with Your Past Selves, is his first published novel.

Bill’s ancestors came from a wide variety of European backgrounds, with Celtic groups (Irish, Scottish, Breton, and, as you might guess from this novel, Welsh) being the most well represented. His ancestors settled in America long ago, though, some of them as early as the colonial period. He is a third generation Californian who grew up and still lives in the state.

 

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Author Spotlight Seth Mullins

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Book Description

“The echoes of those scars can clearly be heard in Edge of the Known’s music. But one can also discern, quite distinctly, that other inexplicable thing that is within us all, the undying flame that transcends our wounds and sufferings…”

Brandon Chane had always seen life through the eyes of an outcast, a misfit, a young man at odds with the world and with himself. Now they’re calling him a wounded healer; a shamanic Pied Piper for the throngs of alienated youth; a thief of fire.

He wonders if he and his band can escape the claims that the world has suddenly laid upon them. But what about the cherished dream that he’s struggled so desperately to fulfill, the dream that finally seems to be coming to fruition?

Triplets on a Blanket

Book Excerpt

Knowing that I’d be much more capable of getting in touch with my real feelings without a crowd around me, without the tug of their thoughts, expectations and invested conceptions of me, I returned to the grave site later that night. The rain had stopped by then, but there were no stars and the ground was soaked. Janie let me go on ahead at first, so I could be alone with the memory of my father.

Turns out it’s not so difficult for me to speak to a stone plaque, especially when I’m addressing a guy who’d scarcely given me space to finish my sentences during life. “It seems to me now that probably the thing you wanted most towards the end of your life was just forgiveness,” I said. “And I can really relate to that, now that my band’s on the cusp of actually ‘making it’ – whatever that really means. I can see how I’d long carried around this fantasy in my head, that if we were a success then I’d find forgiveness for myself too. If you can just get big enough, this world will forgive you for damn near anything.”

 

About the Author

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Seth Mullins has been writing since his teens, inspired initially by Stephen R. Donaldson’s eloquent fantasies and later by the jagged poetical reflections of the Beats and the Surrealists and the metaphysical works of Jane Roberts. He studied creative writing at Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico and Lane Community College in Oregon. Seth has lived in Maine, Connecticut, New Mexico and Oregon, and currently resides in Vermont.

 

Website: http://www.humanityswayforward.com/ 

Blog: http://frontiersofconsciousness.blogspot.com 

Twitter: @SethMullins1

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

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Author Spotlight Becca Mann

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About the Author

Becca Mann is a 17-year-old fantasy writer who likes chocolate milk, Broadway Musicals, and reciting digits of Pi. Becca has traveled and written in six of the seven continents. She now lives in Baltimore and is a member of the USA Swimming National Team. Becca started writing The Stolen Dragon of Quanx on her smartphone when she was eleven years old. Becca heard that her bio will change dramatically as her career advances, but for now she’s stuck staring at a black line at the bottom of the pool, creating ideas for her next book while simultaneously wondering what life will bring. She’s often accused by parents, teachers, and coaches as “living in Quanx.”

 

 

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Book Description

Kale had no idea how Paka knew that there was something about the sword that she didn’t want him to know, but she had reached her decision. Paka obviously wasn’t going to let her leave until he had gotten a look at the sword. She was just thankful that Winikona hadn’t decided to come along. “I’ve decided to name my horse ‘Seeker,’” she randomly told her friend. Then she passed her friend the sword and Paka took it with a smile. Then he inspected the pommel, the hilt, the side, the other side….

The light-blue eye and the dark-blue eye both landed on the engraving. He stared at it for a few moments and slowly his gaze began to rise up until he was looking Kale straight in the eye. Then he recited, “Elise Translunski was a peasant, born on the Islands of the Peasants. She was a descendent of a man known as Brogan, who was driven from Xangterro many years ago when he failed to pay his taxes. So Brogan retreated to the Island of the Peasants where he eventually started plotting revenge.

Brogan wanted to get his home back and wanted Xangterro to pay for what they had done. He rounded up the peasants of the Island he was on, and sent some former Persquunians to swim to the others islands to gather more people. Then he held a meeting on the largest island, where he told the peasants that they would get their revenge for everything that Quanx and their leaders had taken away from them, no matter how long it was to take. All the peasants agreed much too happily. They all started training their youth and preparing their weapons.

They knew that the battle might not take place for many generations, which they were correct in guessing, since this battle hasn’t happened,but that did not hold them back. They wanted their children and their grandchildren to live in royal palaces on Quanx, something they had dreamed of themselves, but had never achieved.

 Website & Blog  www.theeyestrilogy.com

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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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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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.”

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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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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!

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Author N. E. Brown

 

 

 

 

 

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I knew I was going to call it Galveston, 1900 because the name would be good for internet search engines.  I was over half way through the book when I decided I would have to have a sequel and only intended to write two books as I had others I had started and wanted to finish.  I changed the name of book one several times because I wanted something unique and no more than one or two words.  It hit me in the middle of the night when I was almost finished writing book one.  Indignities was the perfect word and I searched to see it there were any other books with that name.  I found nothing.  I was already into the second book when I decided each book needed it’s own identity.  Book One, The Arrival was their first arrival and experiences in Galveston,  Book Two, of course was the aftermath of the storm and Book Three, The Atonement, was Catherine trying to atone for the sins she had committed according to the Catholic Church.  I grew up Catholic and spent my early years with the nuns in Catholicism.  I had a strong attachment to one of the nuns and a priest.  For my heroin, I used my own mother who married at the age of fourteen and was a widow at the age of twenty with three small children. My mother remarried when I was only five and my two brothers seven and nine.  My step-father was a drunkard and often took his frustrations out on my mother.She divorced him two years later.  While he was not a David Brooks by any means, for fiction to sell you need to paint an ugly picture of your villain so everyone hates him. My mother finally found her one true love and in Book Four, The Affirmation Catherine finds her.  I had not intended to write another sequel but all of my fans want to know what happens when the children grow up so I’m working on a fifth book which may or may not be the last in the sequel.   I think six books would probably be enough.

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