Monday, July 6, 2015

Recently at The IndieView



The most recent interviews at The IndieView starting with a refresher on the different kinds of interviews. 

The IndieView

This is an interview with a standard set of open ended questions. While they focus on a specific book, they also delve into the author's history as a writer and the path they took in becoming an indie author.

The BookView

This is a shorter interview format for authors who have already done an IndieView which focuses just on their most recent book.

Reviewer IndieView

These are interviews with reviewers who have their own review blog that delve into their approach to reviewing. A great way to find other book blogs you might like to follow. (For authors, there is also an extensive database of indie friendly review sites you might like to check out.)

Allirea's Realm

By invitation only, these are quirky, often irreverent interviews done by longtime Books and Pals follower, Allirea.

(Authors and reviewers interested in doing an IndieView should visit this page for details.)


IndieView with Katie St. Claire, author of Second Hand Stops

It’s incredibly important for authors to read. Not only does reading nourish the imagination and creativity, but also we get to see the writing styles of different authors. I watch how they develop their own plots and characters.


Reviewer IndieView with Heena Rathore P. of The Reading Bud

Reading enables a person to visit a thousand places without leaving the comfort of home, live a thousand lives without missing out on the real one and relieves and relaxes one’s mind and soul completely.


IndieView with Smoky Zeidel, author of The Storyteller’s Bracelet

My book deals with a horrifying time in American history, a time most people know little about because they don’t teach it in history classes in school. Yet, it is a story of hope in the face of adversity. My target audience is readers who don’t mind squirming a bit while they read, who want to learn about the injustices our government forced on native peoples.


IndieView with P. Wish, author of My Life in 3 Colours

Though it is a picture book, I wrote it with young adults in mind. Since the book focuses on appreciating your unique personality, I think it would make a good read for anyone.


BookView with Marie Lavender, author of Second Nature

I always wanted to write about vampires, and fate kind of handed it to me when I resurrected a story scene from one of my writing archives.


IndieView with Bruce Fottler, author of The Initiative: In Harm’s Way

The book was started in the mid-1990’s, well before I had aspirations of being published. I wrote the first few chapters and soon stopped. My marriage, career, children, and life in general drove this (and other stories) into hard-drive limbo.


IndieView with William V.M. McAllister III, author of Malee: A Tear in the Ocean

To make a scene, description, emotion came alive in a sentence, or even just a phrase, is writing in its highest art form. I also love to read writers who delve deeply into the human condition that is part of all of us.


IndieView with John L. DeBoer, author of Skeleton Run

I’m a political junkie, and the recent Supreme Court decisions allowing almost unlimited money to finance campaigns got the idea going for me.


IndieView with Margarita Felices, author of Ordinary Wins

Ordinary Wins is a story about us.  The normal, ordinary woman in the street with wishes and dreams who is now slightly older and perhaps a little heavier. 


Indieview with Pam Ferderbar, author of Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale

I just love Charlotte. Even when she’s not feeling good about herself, there is something charming and strong under the surface. She’s the kind of person I’d have as a friend.


IndieView with Justin Sloan, author of Back by Sunrise

The idea came to me when my friend was deploying with the Marines to Iraq, and I couldn’t imagine the pain his daughter would feel if he never returned.


IndieView with M. Maitland Deland, M.D., author of Nashville Mercy

As a doctor, I have seen a lot of good in the medical world, but I have also seen my fair share of the “bad.” There are doctors out there (not many, thank goodness!), that do have corrupt practices, or that cheat their patients. It’s really sad, and even though it doesn’t happen everyday, it happens more than it should.







Sunday, July 5, 2015

Into Trouble: World of Change Book 2 / Gordon A. Long


Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure/ Young Adult

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words

Availability
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

Brought up in a logging camp with no electricity, Gordon A. Long learned his storytelling in the traditional way: at his father’s knee. He spends his time editing, publishing, travelling, sailboat racing and writing fantasy and social commentary, although sometimes the boundaries blur.

He also adjudicates Speech Arts Festivals, writes and directs plays and competes in agility with his Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Josh. (Actually, Josh competes. Gordon runs around and looks like he's contributing).”

Mr. Long is also a contributing author at Indies Unlimited, a resource guide for Indie authors.

Description:

Just as Mito seems to be solving her problems, Aleria’s hopes for a solution to her own difficulties fade as the dreams increase and her dissatisfaction with her life deepens.

A mission to obtain information leads her to a more subtle danger; is Lord Fauvé a clever rebel, or is he a very tempting solution to her search for a place in life?

But again the world she has been so sheltered from reaches out and slaps her in the face. Suffused with rage at her ultimate degradation, Aleria goes about taking her revenge with methodical skill.

Returning home, she discovers that she is even farther from the old traditional life she had always avoided. She still feels the same, but the attitudes of everyone else towards her have changed. No one knows quite how to treat her. And when social conventions threaten her friendship with Mito, Aleria decides it’s time to straighten out the whole lot of them.”

Appraisal:

As Aleria immerses herself into advanced battle arts lessons with Master Ogima as a way to deal with her nightmares stemming from the rebellion in Out of Mischief, another situation arises. Bandits are stealing merchandise, which is traveling by cart, in Lord Fauvé’s land around Taine. Aleria seems to think she can handle going undercover for a fact finding mission by going to visit Shen Waring and his family near Taine with the hope of getting invited to stay at Lord Fauve’s castle, with her being a Lady and all. The ploy works and Aleria insinuates herself by helping Lord Fauve’ planning parties and making rounds with the Lord to visit his holdings and meet the farmers.

It’s all very interesting seeing how Lord Fauvé runs his domain and meeting the farmers who work the land. When the bandits strike again Aleria watches Fauvé closely, but things go as she imagines it should. She finds no connection between Fauvé’s behavior and the bandits. She also has been keeping Lord Raif Canah updated through coded love letters which are delivered to Mito and then she delivers them to Raif. I found the story had an even pace until a tragic turn of events, which happens at the end of chapter eighteen, spins everything upside down. At that point, two-thirds into the story, I couldn’t put the book down until the last page. It is engaging, terrifying, suspenseful, and surprising. I think the political intrigue was expertly handled and executed as was the dialogue. At this point towards the end the castle staff has a larger presence which I enjoyed immensely.

I was a little disappointed that the romance I thought would develop in this book didn’t, however I am still pleased with how things worked out. Aleria is continuing to grow and I hope she finds her place in the world. Mr. Long seems to have her figured out, she is a wonderful character.

FYI:

This story contains rape, it is not depicted as graphic, but it tis here nonetheless.

The author uses Canadian spellings.

Into Trouble is book 2 of the World of Change series. Book 1, Out of Mischief, should be read first to properly enjoy the subtleties between Aleria, her parents, Mito, and Lord Raif Canah.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of proofing errors.

Rating: ***** Five stars

Saturday, July 4, 2015

All Summer on a Date / Geralyn Corcillo


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Romantic Comedy/Short Story

Approximate word count: 9-10,000 words

Availability
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: NO Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

When she was a kid growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo dreamed of one day becoming the superhero Dyna Girl. So, she did her best and grew up to constantly pick up litter and rescue animals. At home, she loves watching old movies, British mysteries, and the NY Giants. Corcillo lives in a drafty old house in Hollywood with her husband Ron, a guy who's even cooler than Kip Dynamite.”

For more, visit Corcino's website.

Description:

It's New Year's Eve...and reformed iconoclast Summer Hodiak has landed an absolute dream date. The gorgeous Kyle Hunter has it all: impressive career, much-used gym membership, and most of all, class. But when an unexpected dilemma slams into their exquisite evening, not even the perfect guy can keep Summer from following her nature. What she decides to do and how her date turns out, not to mention how she handles the dog and the IT guy, well...it's all Summer.”

Appraisal:

A short, fun read with plenty of humor, not only from the lead character Summer Hodiak (who is plenty amusing by herself), but from the situation she finds herself in. There's even a lesson here. (Think Rolling Stones – you don't always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need.)

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Friday, July 3, 2015

Reprise Review: The Earthquake Doll / Candace Williams


Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Coming of Age

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

Availability    
Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

“Candace Williams lives with her husband and beloved rescued Iggys (Italian Greyhounds)in Texas. Her first novel, The Earthquake Doll, was inspired by her early experiences in post-war Japan while her father was serving in the Korean Conflict.”

Description:

“The gap between the old Japan and the new is never so wide as when it tears open a young girl’s heart… It's 1952 Japan, seven years since the war was lost to the Americans, seven years since Miyoko lost her father and the home of her birth. Now she must earn a living caring for the children of an American family at the nearby air base.

When tragedy strikes, sixteen-year-old Miyoko is ordered to obey her family's wishes or disgrace the memory of her father and bring hardship upon her family. Tradition says she must obey, but her secret heart whispers that the new laws can free her.

As the earth trembles and splits beneath her, Miyoko must jump forward—or back.”

Appraisal:

This story is told through Miyoko's eyes as she struggles with profound cultural changes that no doubt swept through Japanese society after World War II. The philosophical and physiological affect on Japanese women struggling between traditional values and the modern freedoms brought in from the west was exemplified through Miyoko's story.

The characters were well defined and the situations were believable. It was educational to see Japanese culture through Japanese eyes. We have all heard about how respected honor is to the Japanese people, but I doubt many understand the depths of the word as far as this society is concerned. I know I had to sit back to take it all in.

This is a wonderful story and I feel enlightened having read it. The lessons Miyoko learned are as complex as her history and are summed up in these two quotes. “Obedience without choice is not honorable. It is merely survival, without grace or joy.”  and “...to survive one must be able to bend without breaking.” The story is how she came to realize these truths. The plot moves at a good pace as Miyoko struggles with her dilemma of how to keep harmony with her family, friends, and most of all her own secret heart.  Outstanding job for a debut novel, Ms. Williams. 

FYI:

Ms. Williams has included a glossary of Japanese terms and family relations at the beginning of the book. I was a bit overwhelmed seeing these worrying I wouldn't be able to follow, but the author made it easy, it was a needless concern. My insecurities always jump to the forefront of my brain. I need to work on that.

Format/Typo Issues:

Nothing at all jumped out at me with editing or formatting.

Rating: ***** Five stars      

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale / Pam Ferderbar


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words

Availability
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: NO Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

Growing up in Wisconsin, Pam Ferderbar worked at the “family advertising photography business where she honed her skills as a TV commercials director, and was paid to play with imaginary friends called actors.” After college she moved to Los Angeles and continued directing commercials as well as adding screenwriting to her activities. An earlier, novella-length version of Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale sparked a bidding war for the movie rights, only to have the deal fall apart when the executives in charge of the project were fired a few months later.

Pam has now returned to her roots, living in Wisconsin, working with her father and writing her next novels.

Description:

Charlotte Nightingale has the worst luck in the world. Every day is a bad hair day. Her boyfriend’s a snake, her job blows, and her own family seems to hate her.

For over 4,000 years the Chinese have practiced the ancient art of Feng Shui, a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health, love and good fortune for people inhabiting it. The Chinese never met Charlotte Nightingale.

A handsome Chinese food deliveryman/Feng Shui master takes pity on Charlotte and breaks out every tool in his Feng Shui arsenal to bring her some modicum of happiness. It rocks her world all right. Charlotte’s life goes from bad to worse.

When everything comes crashing down and run-of-the-mill catastrophes pale in comparison to recent events, Charlotte unwittingly embarks on a great adventure during which she finds romance, a new wardrobe, bags of money and most importantly, herself.”

Appraisal:

What a fun read.

Charlotte has one kind of luck. The bad kind. She has a dead-end job at a slimy car dealership, lives in an apartment where everything is falling apart, and has a leech for a boyfriend. She dreams of being able to afford to go back to school to become a librarian. In contrast, her sister Charlene is a fashionista who has all the good luck including good looks and a rich doctor as her new fiance. (Her goals appear to be limited to looking good and marrying well.)

What made this story so fun, beyond Charlotte being a character I found easy to root for, was the humor. There was something different about it, but I had a hard time putting my finger on exactly what. I almost described it as subtle slapstick. But that's wrong. The definition Wikipedia gives for slapstick is that it “is a style of humor involving exaggerated physical activity which exceeds the boundaries of common sense.” The humor here is slightly exaggerated, at times, and might sneak past the boundaries of common sense occasionally. But I wouldn't call it physical. (Okay, maybe it was even that at times, at least as much as a book can be.)

I finally came to the conclusion that what was different is how visual it was. I rarely read a book where I picture many scenes unfolding in exquisite detail like I did here. At times, it felt like watching a movie as the scene unfolded in my mind. Given the author's history working in visual media, both photography and TV commercials, my theory even seems to make sense. Give it a read and let me know if you agree.

FYI:

A small amount of adult language and some mild adult situations.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Skeleton Run / John L. DeBoer


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words

Availability
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

A retired surgeon and father of two grown sons, John DeBoer lives in North Carolina with his wife. He has written five other novels.

Description:

"Twenty years ago, four teenage boys left a baby behind in a crushed car after they caused the tragic accident that took the mother’s life. Ever since, they’ve guarded the secret that would’ve ruined their lives and destroyed their future careers. But when one of them succumbs to illness, a blackmailer makes contact, and the survivors realize that, somehow, someone else knows. Now, everything that matters to them is at stake.

Las Vegas billionaire Wendell Logan is pursuing the role of political kingmaker, and he’s selected his unsuspecting king: Alan Granger, governor of Pennsylvania. Granger confesses his closet skeleton to Logan, but the tycoon has invested too much time and money into Granger’s future presidential campaign to let him and his old friends endanger Logan’s power play.”

Appraisal:

There are a couple of major themes that run through Skeleton Run. The first and most obvious, how skeletons in the closet can come back to haunt you. While many of us made mistakes when we were young and stupid, I trust few of us have skeletons as serious as the boys in this book. The other theme is money in politics, specifically by looking at what might go wrong with allowing the rich and powerful to have few restraints on political donations in the wake of the US Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision. The result is a fast-paced thriller with some entertaining twists, including an interesting way of tying the initial thread of the accident and the baby left behind to the more current timeline and political intrigue. Thriller fans will find Skeleton Run to be an intense, satisfying read.

FYI:

Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fleischerhaus / Melissa Bowersock


Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Mystery/Paranormal

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

Availability
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: NO Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store

Author:

Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic, award-winning author who writes in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres: biography, contemporary, western, action, romance, fantasy, paranormal and spiritual. She has been both traditionally and independently published and is a regular contributor to the superblog Indies Unlimited. She lives in a small community in northern Arizona with her husband and an Airedale terrier. She also writes under the pen name Amber Flame.”

Description:

Julia Martin, newly-divorced but still reeling from her husband’s infidelity, takes a much needed vacation to visit old college friends in Germany. While touring a little-known concentration camp and museum, she spontaneously experiences a violent past life memory of being murdered in this very camp during the Holocaust. Efforts to understand her memories only lead to more questions, the largest being: is her killer still alive? Supported by her friends and comforted in the arms of a handsome doctor, Julia attempts to uncover the mysteries of her past life and find justice for the person she used to be.”

Appraisal:

Wikipedia says that suspension of disbelief “is a term coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a 'human interest and a semblance of truth' into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.” To put this in a more simplistic way, write a good story, and the reader will willingly (probably subconsciously) play along with the parts they'd never believe in real life.

At its heart, Fleischerhaus is a mystery. Actually two. The first is what is causing the protagonist Julia to have the flashbacks? Hallucinations? Whatever it is that happens when she visits the site of a former concentration camp feels like a memory of a past life, but her brain doesn't want to believe. I'd never believe this in real life, but while reading I was onboard from the start, not questioning it at all.

The mystery of who Julia was in this past life was the first puzzle to be solved. (If they could verify the things she was feeling actually happened, then maybe she really was experiencing something from a past life. As those pieces started falling into place it setup another mystery, who murdered her in that prior life and was it too late for him to face justice? This was well written. Integrated what I'm assuming are reasonably accurate bits of history into the story, and was a clever, well executed story idea. Definitely recommended if an offbeat mystery appeals to you.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars