Sorrow to Shero: Pain, Power, and Peace takes its title from Dr. Jeannita Bussle’s unofficial moniker for her struggles and eventual recovery from her former husband’s undiagnosed mental illness and his subsequently abusive nature. Despite the normalcy of the opening of the book, the backdrop of Bussle’s childhood and her adolescent experiences in Detroit, it’s clear that she’s struggled with exceptional challenges, and lives with the effects of their underlying trauma. The pain in Bussle’s story never tips over into despair or hopelessness, and Sorrow to Shero is a tale that treats serious mental illness and episodes of domestic abuse with vulnerability and honesty. It’s an assured debut, and a memoir that already means a great deal to many people.
Bussle demonstrates real skill in bringing to life her world for the reader; vibrant in details, with her past and present delicately balanced against the backdrop of her faith and love for her children. Survivors of trauma and those that struggle with mental illness will find comfort in Bussle’s words, and how she’s been able to anchor the worst moments and events of her life firmly in her past. Bussle remains firmly in control of the narration of the events of the book – so complete, and so flawless in her perspective of the past, that it’s clear that her story is meant to be one of empowerment for other women who may find themselves in a similar situation. This is Bussle’s true achievement – a book about abuse and recovery, that captures the experience of it, with remarkable nuance and candor, without skipping over the ambiguities and the hardship. At the same time, Sorrow to Shero: Pain, Power, and Peace is also about motherhood and the deep bond between a mother and her children. Bussle describes herself, more than anything else as a proud mother, and this is instrumental in her ability to better her life for both herself and her children. The role of motherhood and the value of close family relationships is movingly explored throughout the book, there’s no doubting the integrity of her experience as a parent. Despite Bussle’s credentials, it should be made clear that her book is not the equivalent of a university professor addressing a packed lecture hall. This makes it both effortlessly readable, and highly personal. It’s a book that abuse survivors are likely to find in some senses recognisable, whereas the casual reader may find themselves mentally filing away ideas and terminology to dig into further at a later point for a greater level of understanding. Sorrow to Shero is a captivating and emotional memoir that explores some the things that break us and make us as people.
Pages: 133 | ASIN: B08CRY2FD4
In Demon Heart 3: Year of the Witch by David Crane we continue to follow Naoko Kitamura who is a demon hybrid and a government secret agent. After saving Japan from a mad genius who tried to destroy her country, Naoko’s enemies continue to grow. As the world approaches a supernatural singularity in the New Year, known as the year of the witch, she encounters dangerous supernatural entities and human wizards practicing dark magic. The order comes to retrieve a powerful supernatural weapon that is capable of dramatically changing western society. Once again Naoko must make a sacrifice for her country and her family.
David Crane’s characters are, as usual, both emotive and exceptionally developed to create uniquely extraordinary people that enthrall you from their introduction. I continue to enjoy reading about Naoko’s character because even though she is a complicated person she still remains selfless and relatable, if only in her grounded desires to protect her family. Crane has done a fantastic job of showing Naoko’s superhuman side while balancing it wither her sensitive human side. An almost yin and yang balance to her actions and abilities. I loved reading about Naomi’s relationships, especially about her relationship with her mother. I could tell that she appreciated her mother’s sacrifices and meant to honor her well. David Crane takes the reader on a wild journey that involves a exotic country rife with strange characters. The unfolding of events will put you on edge as the author ensures that every page continues to build upon the tension. This series is like a combination of Marvel’s The Iron Fist combined with Jim Butchers The Dresden Files book series. If you’re a fan of either then you’ll enjoy this book, if you’re a fan of both, then this book was written for you.
The plot of the Demon Heart 3 brings a thrilling conclusion to a spellbinding series with both antagonists and protagonists trying to outdo each other. From the start of the book I was consumed by the story. I enjoyed reading about each character and seeing how they evolved and what they became in the end. The chaos, intense action, suspense, and adventure in Demon Heart 3 will leave fans of the series satisfied.
Pages: 340 | ASIN: B088N6L1TW
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The Vatican Must Go is a fictionalized account that explores what might have brought all out war against a government attempt to stamp out Catholic Church control over the soul of Mexico. What inspired you to write this novel?
First, let me tell you that from the first time I set foot in Mexico, I found it an absolutely fascinating place. It is a country full of contradictions. It is an unlikely mixture of instruments that somehow plays a harmonious tune. So, being a person who wants to know how a clock works as much as wanting to know what time it is, found it challenging, not so much to adapt to, as to understand how it ticks.
So, in that pursuit, there is a trove of interesting stories to be told, and City of Promises my first novel challenge, covered eight years in the 1940s, a decade acknowledged as “Mexico’s Golden Age”. Many of the cultural accomplishments of the Golden Age are now cultural traditions held tightly by all Mexicans. That work also led to traces of mysterious talk of a hidden piece of history referred to as the “Cristiada” and sometimes called the “Cristero War”.
Going back to when I first arrived in Mexico, I knew of it as a staunchly Catholic country but was puzzled by the absence of priests and nuns in public. I later learned that by law, the Catholic religious habit was only allowed to be worn in the privacy of church property. This, in the late 1960s, of all things, but it was a thought filed away somewhere in my mind.
There are all kinds of interesting subjects an historical fiction author can uncover in Mexico, where inspiration abounds. However. for me, the tricky part is envisioning a sound approach angle to take in building those subjects into a story.
Over time, accumulations of scarcely spoken religious persecution stories led me to research information on the matter. Because the Mexican government and the official history curriculum does not recognize the conflict took place, there is not much in the way of readily available material. Eventually, while searching Vatican papers, I landed on one French born, Vatican scholar who had recently written and filed a paper on the Mexican Catholic rebellion, in which he speculated upon US based Masonic Order complicity.
I had found the story building morsel I needed to make a religious war in Mexico palatable to a broader audience.
Add to the morsel that during my college days in southern Colorado I had come to appreciate the derelict Ludlow massacre monument site, the abandoned mining camps, and knew people who lived through the coal field strike breaking terror referenced in the early going of the book. Gathering the ideal characters from Colorado to form the mercenary force was easy. You never know when listening to old timer conversations might come in handy.
So, directly to your question, when it comes to writing a tale of Mexico, inspiration comes built in.
I enjoyed the ease with which you blended political, religious and historical elements. What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?
I’m pleased to hear that and thankful you are asking this question, because it gives cause for me to reflect on the result of my work in order to come up with an adequate response. Hmm. Perhaps, I am near sighted and if so, it may have been best if you had included social class in your list of elements. That is because class distinctions are an underlying element of almost everything running through my mind in every analysis and interpretation of those things which influence Mexican life. If I am right about that, it holds up to reason that social class is the thread running through the three elements you mention, to seamlessly stitch them together.
I think of my themes of greed and humility. Politics is an economic social class. Its members even have a name; the politicos and they are governed by greed.
It could also be argued that the Catholic church is also guilty of that nasty theme of greed, because it turns out it was the beneficiary of the spoils of war. Come to think of it, they would have also been the beneficiary of continued peace. So, there we have another important theme. Power.
The poor Mexican campesino is the most-humble social class represented in this story. I wanted for them to display their dignity and dedication, so that is another important theme. At the close of the story, it is the campesino who carried on the war against government religious persecution. They wanted nothing more than to fight for the right to choose religious freedom. The church only supported them spiritually but never financially. The campesino did it alone.
Right and wrong are another set of themes. I wanted to show that a person does not necessarily have to favor a political side or a religious side in order to commit to a just cause that is right for humanity.
Abe is probably the least likely candidate, but in the end, he is the one who committed most completely to a life changing event.
Rosa’s character was intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
This is a wonderful question falling as it does on the heels of your previous query. I wanted Rosa to be representative of an unfairly treated segment of the Mexican social strata. For myriad reasons these are women who have little choice but to parlay their assets into a source of income, hustling drinks as a cocktail waitress. Personally, I feel for the many women like Rosa who are summarily written off by so many in the mainstream society. Rosa finds herself with little choice of accomplishing her personal goal of improving the lives of polio children unless she can bring in adequate income to afford her contribution to society. She is an amiable character. Given the opportunity in The Vatican Must Go, she easily proved herself a genuine benevolent heart.
Rosa had to be a good judge of character. She had dealt with aggressive men every day and mastered how to tactfully deal with them. When she did fall for Matt, she knew in an instant her instincts were right, and she never doubted herself. She gave her everything to the relationship. The same goes for Rosa’s all-in involvement in her Catholic friends’ movement. I wanted there to be no mistake about Rosa’s rock-solid character.
In my previous novel it was Ana, a dancehall fichera or paid dance partner who rose to the great heights of a strong female character with enviable principles.
I try hard to always bring the ideals required to develop a strong female character and I thank you for recognizing that in your line of questioning.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Next up is a novella tentatively titled Silvia’s Story. It is the story of a young lady who appeared in my first novel, “City of Promises” and did not get the full character development she deserved. She was much too interesting and flawed to not let her have her own prequel explaining how it is she was motivated to migrate to Mexico City and rose so fast to her own brief brush with fame.
With fingers crossed, I can tell you Silvia’s Story is tentatively scheduled for 2020 year end release.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, catholic, d grant fitter, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, history, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, The Vatican Must Go, thriller, writer, writing
Hampshire Stories is a collection of dramatic short stories set in Victorian England. What draws you to the Regency/Victorian period of England?
I have always enjoyed the 1800s, its historical events, literature, and arts. Having been born in Rome, where the architecture and the art of that period are still very evident, I always felt a fascination and an attraction for the 19th-century. Also, I am an avid reader of 19th-century English literature. What draws me to the literature of the period is the elegance of the prose and the emphasis on courtship and romanticism in their novels.
What were some sources of inspiration that informed your writing?
As I said, I am an avid reader of 19th-century literature and my favourite authors of the period are George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Margareth Oliphant, Elizabeth Gaskell, Jane Austen, and Charlotte Bronte.
My favorite story from the collection is ‘A Forbidden Love’. Do you have a favorite story from the book?
I am partial to ‘Emma has a Lover’ and ‘Frederick.’ I really enjoy the dialogue in these two short stories which somewhat reminds me of the dialogue in some of my favorite Jane Austen novels.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book is a novella called ‘A Farmer’s Daughter.’ The heroine of the story is Charlotte, whom we have met briefly in ‘Hampshire Stories.’ I am planning to publish it in the summer of 2021.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Hampshire Stories, historical fantasy, historical fiction, Joe Giampaolo, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, short stories, short story, story, writer, writing
General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms follows two unlikely heroes who set out on a quest to liberate their repressed animal friends. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?
The main inspiration was my great nephew Jack. I am spending a lot of time with him now and he has an inquisitive mind. He bombards me with simple questions about this and that. He has a passion for animals, battles strategies and storytelling. Together we made up stories to illustrate the answers to his probing questions. In a way the novel is a compendium of these various mini-tales. I have always been a huge admirer of J.R.R.Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and George Orwell. So I used their frameworks as the matrix in which to embed and develop these mini-tales.
Jack is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
You probably mean Miaow. In his case, it all comes down to Saint Paul’s immortal quote in his letter to the Romans, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out- this I keep on doing.” This is at the heart of every illicit addiction that prevails especially in our times. The struggle between flesh and spirit generates inner conflict. This is good as it implies a vibrant healthy conscience. This is the hallmark of Francois Mauriac’s writing. He was a major influence on Graham Greene, who similarly created conflicted protagonists in his novels.
Regarding General Jack: He is the Christ-like figure who is the bearer of the good news. The manner in which the animals receive his message in the novel is a retelling of the transcendent parable of the sower.
What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?
When I was in my early teens, I subscribed to the weekly periodicals “Look and Learn”, “World of Wonder” and “Tell Me Why”. I was hooked on them. It was amazing. Within the forty pages or so of each magazine, they covered a host of various themes like history, famous heroes and villains, geography, battles, literature, politics, geography, cultures, inventions, and many other issues. They presented these stories in a way to appeal to middle grade readers. These stories inspired, educated and entertained the reader. It’s a pity they’ve long gone out of print. With my book I attempted to emulate these types of magazines, in a way to stimulate and entice the reader unto higher reading.
Ordinarily, in a novel you’d have one or two themes. You can’t have more as the book risks losing its shape and focus. I could get away with stuffing myriad themes in one novel because I treated the novel as a symphony. Each chapter can be likened to the movement of a classical symphony- you have the different variations of the sonata, the andante, the allegro and the scherzo. Each movement has its own unique set of themes, they are rarely monothematic. But these themes blend in well together, at times complementing each other in the overall symphonic composition. A composer uses the movements to organise or contrast the themes and ideas in a larger piece of music. Incidentally, my book ends with an adagio that is preceded by an andante segment from the penultimate chapter.
In the main, the novel is an allegorical study of human nature and man’s destiny.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book is actually the first novel I wrote and it is the first novel of the Jack trilogy where the story centres around the namesake of my great nephew. They were intended for him to be read at his different literary ages. ”General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms” is the second. Unusually, I had two consecutive free weekends. I wrote the first drafts of both novels in each weekend. The manuscript has long been ready but I have been held up because of the illustrations. I hope to get it published by the middle of next year.
Again it’s a 21st century retelling of Aesop’s fables. It’s about a five year old boy who considers himself a superhero. He interacts with forty different colourful supervillains to protect the residents of Jacktown with unpredictable consequences. It is an illustrated chapter book intended for early readers 7-10 years. The title is “The Joyous Adventures of Whizzojack.”
Author Links: GoodReads
The Calla’cara Gambit follows Milo who finds himself being blackmailed into helping the Sentient Ships emancipate from the Empire. What were some sources that informed this novels development?
Milo’s story is about everyone who’s ever had to navigate the thicket of laws and regulations in a “civilized” society. Especially when something is legally allowed but the people in power don’t want it to actually occur (like the Sentient Ship Emancipation). Once he’s blackmailed by the Sentient Ships and the Khan he has no choice; either he succeeds or his closest companion, Isaac, will end up confiscated by the Empire.
The structure of the Mercantile Empire is loosely based on the Hudson Bay Company and the East India Trading Company. They were commercial entities incorporated for political purposes by England. They existed to generate a profit for their shareholders but also had to provide governmental services. It allowed me to explore the concepts of a true “government by the customer”. And how someone might use the “system” against the people in power for their own goals.
Milo continues to be an engaging character throughout this book. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce with his character in this book?
Does absolute power actually corrupt absolutely? How pragmatic is Milo willing to become in the furtherance of his goals? Can Milo develop relationships with the people he sends into harm’s way instead of just seeing them as pawns? And what is the impact on him when very negative things happen to them? Can he experience personal growth as a vampire? Can he learn to be an empathetic leader who’s still willing to make the very hard choices and what does that cost him?
What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
I wanted to tell a very complicated story with intricate plotting and multiple characters that captured the labyrinth of navigating the halls of power at the highest levels. I wanted to tell enough of their individual stories that the reader becomes emotionally invested but not so much that it slowed the story down. I wanted to tell it from all the individual viewpoints while maintaining Milo’s first person POV. My goal was twofold; what is the minimum amount of exposition necessary to advance the story in an engaging fashion and could I engage the secondary characters enough to make them meaningful to the reader? If a reader tells me one of the secondary characters is their favorite over Milo, I will feel I have succeeded.
What can readers expect in book three of the The War Against Infinity series?
A storm is coming…
1,000 years ago the Vampire Tribes left Earth, following Milo to the stars to escape the governments and technology of Earth that were getting close enough to positively confirm their existence. 500 years ago, Milo left the Wandering Tribes (as they named themselves) to their own devices, effectively abdicating his position. But since the First of the Vampires can only change hands following the death of the previous First, he’s still their titular head. Now he’s discovered he needs them to effect his plan to manage the various civilizations that make up the Mercantile Empire and the surrounds because he’s still the Chosen of the Most High and he still has to prevent the Adversary from winning the Bet with the Serene Supreme Deity and cause the Universe to get reset.
So he has to re-assume control of the Families that make up the Wandering Tribes. Then he has to persuade them to abandon their traditional secrecy and integrate into the various societies of the most powerful, influential Members of the Mercantile Empire and assume control; without actually taking over. It’s an interstellar mafia with Milo as the Godfather against the Mercantile Empire.
Because when the storm hits… all Hell is gonna break loose!
Posted in Interviews
Tags: adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, rob bartlett, science fiction, scifi, space adventure, space opera, story, The Calla'cara Gambit, writer, writing
Subterfuge finds Maggie and her team hunting a Russian crime boss who took a contract out on her two years ago. What were some sources that informed this novels development?
Maggie is given the unique opportunity to assassinate the very person who ordered her death two years ago. Valdev Belevich, the Russian crime boss, has never seen Maggie, which gives her an advantage. Still, because of the nature of casinos, the criminal element they attract, and facial recognition software, she must change her physical appearance as much as possible. The team is acutely aware the longer this mission takes, the longer Maggie is in danger of being recognized. Shep’s government contact told him the mission is not an option, it is a demand and they don’t want to know details. For Maggie, this is a personal job. Not only was she Belevich’s target two years ago, a hit he believes was successful, but he is the last link to the murder of a loved one. She is seeking revenge. It isn’t long upon the team’s arrival that Maggie finds the mission is more intricate than originally thought. It turns into a life changing event for her and Shep.
Maggie continues to be an intriguing character. What were some new angles you wanted to explore about her character in this book?
At 26, Maggie is now an adult and the mother of two children. Prior to this mission, she had re-enrolled at a university to finish her music degree. Her life is going in a positive direction until the assassination orders come down from Shep’s government contact and she must rejoin the team to go undercover. I wanted readers to see more of Maggie’s fragile side in this book. She has been through tremendous trauma in the previous books which were never fully resolved. As a black ops assassin, Maggie could always get through a mission with emotions in check. Because of the personal nature of this assignment and her driving need for revenge, it takes a toll on her emotionally. I wanted readers to see what happens when Maggie’s two worlds collide and how she copes with it.
The team go undercover at a casino resort in Northern Spain. Why did you choose this location for your novel?
By locating the casino near Oviedo, in Northern Spain, it adds an extra level of stress and melancholy for Maggie. Her mother’s birthplace, Malaga, in Southern Spain, is where Maggie found her extended family and where she lived for over a year and a half. Because she and her team brought down the Brotherhood, she had to cut all contact with her mother’s family. It also creates another level of danger for her being back in Spain, a country that is no longer welcoming to her. From a logistic standpoint, it made sense geographically for Belevich’s drug route to pass through the Oviedo area on its way to the Bay of Biscay. This ties him to the largest criminal family in Spain, the head of which resides in Oviedo.
What can readers expect in book five in the Magdalena series?
Without giving away the ending to Subterfuge, Maggie encounters a man more evil and more dangerous than any previous foe. He is relentless and it will not be easy for her or Shep to escape him. Book five will find Maggie pitted against him. What he wants from her and what she discovers will be at the center of the plot.
Because You Care for Beany Bear is a fun and colorful interactive children’s picture book that follows Beany Bear on several different adventures. Beany Bear starts the story on his own in this rhyming adventure book and slowly collects a band of new friends along the way. Each animal friend is different and comes with a new lesson to teach young readers.
Christine Logan has written a charming children’s adventure story that seeks to educate children with simple rhymes and fun friends. New readers will easily pickup new words throughout the story, but I think this book is best read with an adult. The book is interactive and speaks directly to the reader, getting them to interact with the story and help Beany Bear in many of the varied situations that he finds himself in. There are several things throughout the book that the reader is supposed to find on the page, but these are often pointed out to the reader with arrows. I felt like this removed the opportunity for readers, with parent guidance, to search the page on their own.
The illustrations throughout this wonderful book are all exceptionally well drawn, vibrant, and welcoming. Each page is fully colored and has plenty of imagery for readers to indulge in. Because You Care for Beany Bear is really a collection of short stories that take Beany Bear on many different adventures with each one leading into the next one. The song at the end was the icing on the cake. I can imagine singing this song with my child every time we read this book as a fun way to end the story.
Pages: 52 | ASIN: B08KJSRZ8L
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