Reflection: The Paul Mann Story is the story of an elderly man retelling his life to his grandson through his journals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
I worked in a nursing home at the time I started to write this book. Seeing all the residents, seeing how their lives were going, made me understand how precious life and family is. This gave me the idea to come up with an elderly resident who would tell his story.
Paul lives an interesting life with twists I didn’t see coming. Was his story planned or did it develop organically while writing?
A few of his life moments were planned but most developed organically as I wrote through the story.
Throughout the story I felt that family and love was important. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
Yes, I wanted to show that in the midst of life, good and bad, at the end of the day we all need our family.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am currently writing a time-traveling story that will involve a real event in history. There is no release plan yet.
When you’re old, tired, and alone, will you reflect on your life?
Well, one-hundred-and-four-year-old Paul Mann is. After not seeing his grandson, Marlin, for nearly five years, he reads to him from his journals. Paul relives his best moments with his late wife, Janet. He also relives the horrors he saw in the second world war, and from his crazy, murderer of a step-father.
Will you let Paul Mann read to you?
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What do you find is a common misconception people have about humor?
The most common misconception about humor is you have to be born funny to use your sense of humor. Not true. Think of humor like a muscle, if you exercise it, it will get stronger, if you ignore it, it will weaken. Anyone can exercise their sense of humor and practice using it more.
I find that some people have a good sense of humor, while others do not. How does having a good sense of humor play into the habits you describe?
We are all on the bell curve of humor with some apparently more comfortable using humor and others less comfortable. Past negative experiences with humor, such as being teased or criticized for their sense of humor can definitely make one more hesitant to use their sense of humor. Some have even been mocked for the sound of their laughter. This discomfort can be overcome and practicing these humor habits can help one become more comfortable with their sense of humor.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Just in the concept stage right now, I’m looking at doing a book on the role of humor in leadership. I also have a children’s book in the works called “The Frog Who Couldn’t Jump” for children with arthritis.
“7 1/2 Habits To Help You Become More Humorous, Happier & Healthier” is an easy and fun book to read. The practical applications on how to improve your sense of humor make this a ‘keeper.’ This book reveals the mysteries to improving your sense of humor to be happier, healthier, have better relationships and make you a more humorous person. This funny, uplifting and endearing book will teach you the secrets of using humor to decrease stress, cope with adversity and enhance the good times. It tells the story of one man’s rise from the depths of illness and chronic pain to the heights of success attributable to his daily humor habits. He explains his discovery of how the simple use of HUMOR can transform your life and the world you live in.
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Friends of the Tsar is inspired by your personal experiences and your family history. Why was this an important book for you to write?
The diversity of my knowledge, which was given to me by spirit, was something too important to have lay dormant. The knowledge I accrued from many camping and four wheel driving trips was gained through life and death situations I encountered. If, by getting this information out to the world could save just one life, then I will have had good reason to write it.
The many miracles that kept my family and I safe on these learning adventures were so profound in that they were logic-defying, and I thought what better way to tell of my miracles than through an Australian character who entertained the Zuckschwerdts, my grandparents, with the narratives while snowed in.
What were some things that you felt had to stay true to real life and what were some things you took liberties with?
I felt that the horrific conditions in which my grandparents were successful in decamping from Russia had to stay true to life, also their personality.
I took liberties with the negative aspects of their plight because it would have been too depressing for a reader to continue reading. Too many family members were murdered by the Bolsheviks.
I also wanted to honour them with an acknowledgement of their plight after which they were positive in the rebuilding of their future together.
I felt like faith and family were important in the book. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this book?
The pivotal themes I wanted to capture were miracles, spiritual awareness, hope, danger awareness in nature, remembering ones heritage, and faith and family.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
My mother, on the other side, wants me to write children’s books. My previous vocation as artist allows me to illustrate the books myself, and my eagerness to encourage young people to speak up when put in danger, especially when dad’s driving is too scary, strengthens my resolve.
It won’t be until this time next year that a book would be ready for publication, should I decide to do so.
1917–The Russian Revolution. Danger and chaos abound, and the aristocratic Zuckschwerdt and Orloff families are desperate to escape to safety. Enter Blue, an Australian cattle-breeder with a big heart. Blessed by a heap of miracles from the Outback and beyond, he shares his gripping adventures with the snowed-in families. Blue has survived everything from bushfires to crocodile attacks.
With wolves and winter nipping at their heels, the Zuckschwerdts prepare to depart for the lucky country. Plunged into hostilities and espionage in Petrograd, they make a break for the high seas, only to find themselves in a deadly game of bluff with a German U-boat skipper.
Blue is in a predicament of his own when three of the Orloff daughters fall for his red earth charms. Will he find true love with one of them? And will his Aussie anecdotes help the family understand that awareness and preparation can spell the difference between life and death? As miracles begin to unfold, the Russian refugees discover the power of faith.
Inspired by Jon de Graaff’s personal experiences and his grandparents’ family history, ‘Friends of the Tsar’ is a thrilling tale. Spiked with humorous twists, tragic turns, perilous encounters, and life-saving lessons of survival. It offers spiritual insights into forgiveness and unconventional love.
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Cuffed by You captures the romance, comedy, and drama of the last two books and takes it to a new level. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
It’s funny but one of my readers who has been with me from the start suggested that I use a meme that I posted as a scene in one of my books. That scene ending up being the attempted drowning scene in Addicted to You. To pay homage to my reader I named Kayla after her. Cuffed by You sort of took on a life of it’s own. I knew that I wanted Kayla to have her own book because who doesn’t love a good woman who was pushed to the brink receive her happily ever after? Who better than to be brought down by craziness than the series’ man-whore Marc. I thought that it was fitting that he would go from never wanting to person, to ending up with five. Really, the characters took on a life of there own and I was just along for the wonderful ride.
I enjoyed the depth of Kayla’s character. What was your process to bring her character to life?
I wouldn’t say that I had a process. Being a stay at home mother of three, it was easy to grasp what she would be like daily. All I had to do was add in what I would feel like if my husband ever did that to me and bam, she came to life. I think that a lot of women are able to relate to Kayla regardless of whether they’re married and have kids. What happened to her is a woman’s fear. Of course we want her to come out on top and with a much better man than ever before. The fact that Marc was so sweet and loyal to her children was just a huge plus and is what really stole her heart. It’s easy to guard your own heart, but when someone loves your kids as much as you do…well cupids arrow sticks.
I really enjoy the level of detail you give to each character. If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast as your main characters?
Hmmm, that’s a pretty tough question. I’m not really sure because I haven’t really based them off of any celebrities. I know that some authors use inspiration boards for their characters but I don’t. Let’s see, I love Alexander Skarsgard, I most certainly wouldn’t mind him playing either Marc or Rocco. Tom Hardy has to be in there somewhere because…Tom Hardy. Luke Evans would be great as Morris. I think Eddie Cibrian would make a great JJ because of his dimples. Tyler Hoechlin would make a great Damon and Declan. He has the body and broodiness of Damon but also the smile and sweetness of Declan. Huh, I guess that wasn’t very hard after all. Thanks for making me look up some hot celebs!
What is the next book in the in the SAPD series and when will it be available?
The next book in the series will be JJ and Sage’s story titled Protected by You. I’m hoping to have it out by May 5, 2019, but we’ll see. Every Indie author knows that a million and one things can go wrong when it comes to self-publishing, so wish me luck!
Kayla has had a pretty crappy year. Cheating husband? Check. Getting arrested for trying to drown him? Check. Getting handcuffed by the world’s hottest cop? Check. Raising four kids alone? Check. Cheating ex-husband being a complete nuisance? Check.
Obviously, it makes sense that she wants to stay as far away from the opposite sex as possible. The only thing she cares about is her family and work…well and maybe keeping her battery supply fully stocked. Of course, staying away from the opposite sex would be a lot easier if a certain Viking looking police officer didn’t seem to be everywhere that she is. It would also be a lot easier if he would just stop flirting with her. Doesn’t he understand that she’s a mess on the best of days? A mess with four kids! What man in his right mind wants a woman who’s crazy with a ton of kids?
Marc is the type of man who enjoys variety in life…if you know what I mean. But he hasn’t been able to get a certain crazy jilted woman out of his mind for the past year. Unfortunately for him, he likes a woman who’s a little crazy and Kayla has just the right amount. He knows that the last thing that she probably needs in her life is a man like him. But it’s like fate is even trying to help him. She is everywhere these days and he’s not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
He’s a man who always has a plan. His newest one? To get Kayla to be his. Pretty simple right? Sure, if you don’t factor in that she doesn’t want a man. And that she has four kids. And that her ex-husband is the biggest piece of trash that he’s ever met. And if you don’t include meddling family members. Sure, this will be a piece of cake. What could go wrong?
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Collette should be one of the happiest women around. As the wife of a wealthy plantation owner, she has everything she could possibly want and lives in the home of her dreams. Her husband, however, makes living her best life impossible. As he has taken up with Amana, one of their slaves, Collette’s life has taken quite a tragic and sad turn. When Amana finds herself in just the right place at the ideal moment to save Collette’s life, both women begin to realize there is much more to their relationship than either of them could have ever imagined.
Keeper of Slaves, Antebellum Struggles Book 2, by Dickie Erman, traces the drama surrounding Trent and Collette Winters and the battle to survive via the Underground Railroad. Erman skillfully crafts a cast of characters who are deeply involved in making the Underground Railroad successful. The author appeals successfully to readers’ emotions and describes incredibly intense scenes of fearful and anxious moments of planning as the book’s main characters attempt to do what feels like the impossible given the time period and the extreme circumstances of their lives.
Even though Erman includes a brief summary of events from Book 1 at the outset, I feel there are several key elements I was missing as I read. Quite a bit of time was spent trying to visualize situations and subplots. There is a history between this entire cast of characters that is begging to be read.
I am beyond intrigued by the “ghost ship.” I found it to be a fantastic addition to the plot and was able to visualize each and every aspect of the ship and its lack of life, the missing supplies, and the eerie and overwhelming silence. Though it sounds a bit out of place in a story of this genre, it actually works quite well.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the concern I have over the dialect. While the bulk of the dialogue feels quite authentic, there are a few things I found distracting as I read. Accents and turns of phrase felt accurate throughout the book for the most part, but a few terms like “machismo” and “space aliens” struck me as odd and felt out of place for the book’s antebellum setting. Periodically, the reader is given the impression that the third person narrator is, indeed, part of the story. While this works in some cases, it doesn’t feel effective here. I was especially confused when, in the narration, the alligator that attacks Collette is referred to as a “gata.” The sudden switching on and off of the more personal narration is a bit difficult to reconcile with the rest of the book.
I am giving Keeper of Slaves, Antebellum Struggles Book 2, by Dickie Erman, 4 out of 5 stars. Fans of historical fiction who desire a bit of romance in their plots will enjoy Erman’s work. I highly recommend Keeper of the Slaves, Antebellum Struggles Book 2 to those who are particularly attracted to Civil War stories with generous amounts of character interaction and authentic dialogue.
Pages: 211 | ASIN: B07NN5ZF8X
Tags: african american, alibris, america, Antebellum Struggles, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, civil war, Dickie Erman, ebook, fantasy, fiction, ghost ship, goodreads, historical, history, ilovebooks, indiebooks, keeper of slaves, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, romance, shelfari, slavery, smashwords, story, underground railroad, writer, writer community, writing
In the early 1900’s in old Russia, the beginnings of the Russian revolution are forming. The aristocrat class is in danger and families are making plans to escape before the war takes not only their homes and properties, but their lives. Olga is a young doctor and the only daughter of Natasha Vishnievsky. Her father arranges for her to escape, unfortunately things do not go as planned. Seven Days in Lebanon is a book filled with history and based off the real life of Olga Von Eggert Khadjieff, Eleanor Tremayne’s grandmother. The book covers three generations of women’s lives in the family and is weaved together through journal entries, memories, and an ambitious well off artist looking for meaning in his own life.
The story starts out in Russia, but quickly moves into Olga’s escape from the Bolshevik army and the journey she takes is not an easy one. Fate kept her alive on more than one occasion and her skill as a doctor kept her alive more than once as well. The beginning of the book goes into detail about her escape from Russia and, eventual marriage to Prince of Kiva, through journal entries and stories that Olga is telling her granddaughter Anastasia. Olga’s mother Natasha kept a journal of notes, family history, and memories meant for Olga. However, it was never reunited with her and ended up in the hands of Damian Tolbert a rich French artist that writes and shoots photography.
The story’s point of view jumps around a lot, going from Olga, to Anastasia, sometimes her parents, and to Damian. The time lines are also mixed and mingled, it is not told in a linear fashion rather just like it would be listening to a family member, bits and pieces here and there and you have to assemble it all together in order in your own mind. It is confusing at first but soon you realize that the writing style is slightly different for each point of view. It draws you in despite the jumps. Knowing this novel is based on real events that took place in the life of the author’s grandmother, Olga, makes the story that much more interesting. These are first hand events and stories passed down from one generation to the next, a lost tradition.
There are some harsh topics and some graphic details involving death, and rape, and murder. However, they are told from the perspective of facts and not in a sensational manner. It is just how things were back in that time. There are times the stories feel like a history lesson and times like a day dream. The mix of styles makes this book intriguing and you want to keep reading it. The sad and brutal events are mixed with hope and promise of a better future.
Aside from the history element, seeing Anastasia discovering her heritage is probably my favorite part. How things from the past, little things like that raven imagery all start build a bigger picture for her and she grows into her heritage that prior to Olga’s death she said she didn’t care about. This is a great telling of a family and their history told in a manner that is fun and engaging and not like that of an autobiography or history book. This would be a great choice for anyone looking for a book club book or discussion group.
Pages: 386 | ASIN: B07NJJTGYJ
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, biography, Bolshevik, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, ebook, Eleanor Tremayne, europe, family, goodreads, historical, history, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, life, literature, love, memoir, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, russia, russian, seven days in lebanon, shelfari, smashwords, story, writer, writer community, writing
The Money Trail is another excellent edition to and Sean Kruger series. Once again we meet Sean Kruger and his band of intriguing friends. It’s obvious that Fields cares about his characters as the development of core characters that have been present throughout the series is extremely well done. There’s just enough action to get your heart pumping and just enough drama to have you on the edge of your seat.
It takes skill to keep readers coming back again and again to read about the same characters in slightly similar situations. It can get redundant and boring when executed poorly. That is not what readers will find in this book. Lovers of the Sean Kruger Series will only find more of what they’ve come to love and expect out of Fields. His characters are well developed, the action and drama are paced well and the twists and turns will have readers guessing with just the right amount of bait. It’s hard to put down a book in the Kruger series once you’ve picked it up and The Money Trail is no exception.
Fields has been writing these books for nearly five years. That’s a long time to keep characters straight and ensure that you don’t have them acting out of turn. Clearly Fields has a method to his madness as every book further develops the characters personalities and honors their growth from installment to installment. His books have won awards and are sure to influence a generation of readers. High praise for someone who began as an Indie writer making a break on their own.
Reading an installment of the Sean Kruger Series can be bitter-sweet. There is the thrill of the read: finding out what Kruger is up to now, where he will go and who he will bring with him. But there is also the disappointment when it ends because you simply want more. The Money Trail by J.C. Fields brings out that feeling effortlessly. It’s such an engaging read that is engrossing and fun. This book is an excellent installment in the series and I can’t wait for the next thrilling drama he gets caught up in.
Pages: 349 | ASIN: B07MTMCCDQ
Tags: action, adventure, alibris, america, assassin, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, conspiracy, crime, crime fantasy, crime fiction, detective, drama, ebook, FBI, goodreads, government, ilovebooks, indiebooks, jc fields, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, russia, sean kruger, shelfari, smashwords, story, suspense, terrorism, terrorist, the money trail, thriller, united states, writer, writer community, writing
The author of “The Odds of Gods: Why Christians Should Never Tell Lies”, Rush O.C. Campbell, starts out his narrative in a no-nonsense manner that is as efficient as it is descriptive. We get to know the characters that are important to the story, one by one, and in much detail, through a semi-predictable pattern. In fact, by the 20th character description, it begins to feel a little more like a character reference guide meant to be referred to later as you are reading through the story. Once the character descriptions are finished, however, the reader is in for a nice surprise.
The style of writing employed in this book is perfect for anyone who loves theater and film. Instead of building up atmosphere and nuances for the reader through sensory connections and context clues, the setting, room descriptions, facial expressions, tone of voice, direction of speech, and pretty much every other useful bit of information is conveniently laid out for the reader to see. The writing actually feels a bit more like a screenplay than a novel, and there are a lot of readers who will certainly appreciate the tact and skill employed by the author.
An interesting aspect of the book is that Campbell is writing about real people, in the real world. There is very much a sense of realism and humanity in the conversations that take place, and the based-on-true-events story invites readers into the world of the author.
The reader follows Rashman, a Jamaican-English man, and several other characters through a series of conversations relating to the common perception of Christianity and how things might not be quite as simple as many make them out to be. In fact, the book is intended to pave the way to a renewed process of thought towards the Bible and is full of notions meant to bring believers the salvation they so fully crave. The story is interesting, takes many twists and turns, and the character relationships and interactions are rich and engaging. Rashman is a man sure about his beliefs and following him through this story is certainly unique and thought-provoking at the same time.
To rate “The Odds of Gods: Why Christians Should Never Tell Lies,” by Rush O.C. Campbell, one would have to consider the content. The book is definitely entertaining and immersive. The subject matter is certainly for a very specific audience, however, and the subject matter is nothing short of heavy. If you are a follower of the Christian faith and feel yourself prepared to challenge your current perceptions of how well you are following the teachings of the Bible, this book is definitely for you.
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B07NB13JLT
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, bible, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, christian, christian fiction, contemporary, ebook, faith, fantasy, fiction, god, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, Jamaican, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, religion, shelfari, smashwords, story, The Odds of Gods, Why Christians Should Never Tell Lies, writer, writer community, writing
An epic sci-fi tale that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. This story is both mesmerizing and terrifying at the same time. Wil is testing an experimental space pod that ends up on the opposite side of the solar system, NASA can’t find him, and their probably not going to be able to bring him back, anyway.
Fast forward many years, and Wil is still in outer space, he has somewhat given up on the chance of being rescued, he’s basically an outer space bad guy, who smuggles and gets away with a lot of stuff he really shouldn’t, but who’s going to arrest him? The space police? He’s now looking for a crew to help him deal with the all out war that is happening right in front of his eyes.
After being captured by a ship from another galaxy, Wil is ready to fight back. He really has nothing else to lose, so why not? If you’re looking for a lighthearted space saga, then this is definitely a book you’re going to want to pick up. I love that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, there are tons of pop culture references, and there are many homages to pop culture themes. It’s enjoyable, relaxing, and definitely funny. People who enjoy shows like Farscape and Guardians of the Galaxy will get a kick out of this.
There were times that Wil would do or say things and I was completely flabbergasted, but also I totally believed that this is something that he would do. He is at the point in life where he really doesn’t care anymore, because he knows he’s probably not going to make it back to earth, so he just does what he wants and people have to do deal with it.
The writing was great, it was easy to read, and fun to enjoy, it didn’t matter if I had 5 minutes to read or an hour, I could get sucked into the story quickly, and it was easy to pick up right where I left off. I can’t wait to read the next books in this series.
Pages: 422 | ASIN: B07H7QXWKT
Tags: action, adventure, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, earth, ebook, fantasy, Farscape, fiction, goodreads, Guardians of the Galax, ilovebooks, indiebooks, john wilker, kindle, kobo, literature, NASA, nook, novel, opera, publishing, read, reader, reading, saga, science fiction, scifi, shelfari, smashwords, solar system, space, space opera, space rogues, Space Smuggler, story, The Epic Adventures of Wil Calder, writer, writer community, writing
This is such an easy book to get lost in! I had so much fun reading this, I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I have found a new love for these fantasy type books that create an incredible world that you can’t help but feel like you are a part of. The fact that this book had so many mythical components as well as incredible characters and a fantastic story line just makes it even more intriguing.
If you are looking for a book that speaks to you, one that makes you feel like you are a part of something, then this book is definitely one you are going to want to pick up. When Eve realizes that she is the light in the dark days, after being abused and treated like a servant all of her life, it’s incredible. It was like watching an abused dog be taken in by a loving family, the way that the author describes the things that happen in this world, especially to Eve, it’s unbelievable, but you don’t want to put the book down because you are rooting for Eve to defeat evil.
There are two other books in this series that I cannot wait to get my hands on, there are just so many elements of this series that I wish it were a movie, or television show. You watch this story unfold in front of your eyes, and it’s like you’re no longer reading, you’re actually there, taking part in the action yourself. That’s how you know you found an incredible book, when you no longer feel as if you’re sitting on your couch but rather in the throes of action.
I definitely recommend this book to people who want some adventure, mystery and thrill in their stories. Eve is an incredible character, who doesn’t take any backtalk from anyone and is willing to put her life on the line for the good of mankind. Even though she is beaten down, and has been her entire life, she rises again and again to defeat the evil that has come to try and steal the life out of everyone around her. I cannot wait for you to read this book and love it as much as I did.
Pages: 349 | ASIN: 1980483159
Tags: action, adventure, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, pirate, publishing, read, reader, reading, romance, shelfari, smashwords, story, supernatural, the dark age chronicles, tl bailey, writer, writer community, writing