American River: Tributaries follows three immigrant families struggling to pursue their dreams during the turbulent 1960’s. What served as your inspiration while writing this book?
My love of Northern California, the place where I grew up, and the wonderful history of the area. I was also inspired by my love of art and music and my passion for social justice issues. Immigration and ethnic diversity are the cornerstones of the story.
This book has so many fascinating characters that are well developed. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your characters?
Basically, the story focuses on the creative search for meaning, knowledge, compassion and understanding in a tumultuous world filled with prejudice, obstacles, jealousy, and betrayal. As my characters encounter these obstacles, they discover their own strengths and weaknesses and grow beyond their self-centered ambitions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the historical backdrop to the story and how well researched it was. What historical milestones were important for you to highlight in this book?
The Gold Rush had a tremendous impact on the population and culture of California. Before the Gold Rush, the population consisted mainly of Native Californians and Californios (settlers and landowners of mixed Spanish, Native Californian, and African descent). But gold fever brought people to California from all over the country and the world. The Anglo Americans (of English, Irish, or Scots descent), other Europeans (including Italians, Russians, Greeks and East Europeans), Chinese, Japanese, African Americans, and many more who came and stayed. This changed the makeup of the state’s population making it one of the most ethnically diverse in the country. So, this cultural diversity sets the scene for later entanglements.
Most of the story takes place in the 1960s, that decade that Time Magazine recently termed “The decade that changed a generation.” So, I take the reader down memory lane as my characters encounter the major issues of the time: immigration, racial prejudice, migrant workers, gay rights, women’s rights and the Vietnam War.
This is book one in the American River Trilogy. What can readers expect in book two, American River: Currents?
In Book Two, American River: Currents, a cavalcade of disasters—both personal and public—threatens to overwhelm the scattered members of the McPhalan, Ashida, and Morales clans. Alliances fray, relationships dissolve, divisive secrets are revealed, and promises are broken as the members of three California families struggle to salvage their shattered dreams. The story follows the character’s journeys to places as distant as Cleveland, Ohio, Venice, Italy, and Kyoto, Japan. From the concert halls of Europe to the artist’s lofts of Manhattan, American River: Currents is filled with passionate and resolute characters who refuse to let go of their unique visions of success—even as life’s tumultuous currents threaten to sweep them all away.
Owen McPhalans Mockingbird Valley Ranch is still a thriving family business in 1959. But when his wife, Marian, leaves Mockingbird to follow her dream of becoming a successful artist, she ignites a firestorm that impacts the descendants of all three families. As artists, musicians, writers, and politicians inherit their immigrant parents hopes, they are torn apart by ambition, prejudice, and deception while struggling through the turbulent 1960s. From the concert halls of Europe to Kyotos ancient avenues, and Manhattans artists lofts to San Franciscos North Beach, they each learn the price they must pay in order to realize their dreams. But just as the river is drawn to the sea, they eventually find themselves pulled back to the place that forged the original link between their destiniesa place called Mockingbird.
American River: Tributaries follows three California families as the descendants of Irish, Japanese, and Mexican immigrants embark on unique journeys to pursue their dreams amid an unsettled 1960s world.
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Walking Over Eggshells: Surviving Mental Abuse by Lucinda Clarke is an autobiography where she has changed all the names to protect the innocent and guilty. The novel is about Lucinda’s life and how she survived growing up and living with mental abuse. Lucinda’s mom had narcissistic personality disorder, and this impacted her entire life. She uses this novel to show that despite growing up with this abuse she still lived a life full of adventure, had a family and eventually had a successful career. You will laugh at some of the stories, cry at others, and be outright shocked by many and wonder how this girl survived to write this. Through it all Lucinda was able to grow and keep up with the times, she was born in the 1950’s and has had to adapt with a drastically changing society while continuing to endure the mental abuse of her mother at every turn even into her adult years.
The beginning chapters of the book tell of how Lucinda’s parents met and the eventual death of her father when she was only two. From there we are introduced to the never-ending criticism, punishments, and agony that Lucinda as a child endured. It is heartbreaking reading her words begging for a cuddle or a word of love and compassion from the women that called herself her mother. As a teen, the typical back and forth arguments continued, the younger generation is ungrateful, they need to do their part, so selfish, these are common themes even today we hear about the millennials. With Lucinda though, it is deeper, her mother really did expect her to do everything for her, and even when she did it was never good enough. The emotional struggle and need for love and acceptance is one that many readers can relate to, those that live with constant mental abuse will relate to Lucinda and see how she coped with the abuse while understanding why she continues to have a relationship with her mother.
Once Lucinda meets and marries Jeremy her life adventures take off. They never stay in one place long, always moving from one job to the next, involving everything from traveling encyclopedia sales to sketchy engineering jobs in South Africa. In a way Lucinda traded one form of abuse for another, she loves Jeremy but he takes advantage of her and plays on her need to be loved. This is the part of the story where you read and think ‘is this real?’ how can one person put up with so much? That, I think, is the real story behind this book. You can survive though mental abuse even when that abuse spans the majority of your life.
Throughout the book, Lucinda finds a way to make the best of her situation. She is willing to work be it animal breeding, filling, cleaning hotel rooms or writing. She never gave up no matter where she lived or what was going on with her and Jeremy, or her children, or her mother, she pushed forward and didn’t just survive the abuse, she made something of her life that she is proud of and even enjoyed at times. It is emotional, and at times hard to read; but Lucinda will make you believe anything is possible to overcome with the right mindset.
Pages: 239 | ASIN: B00E8HSNDW
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One of the joys of childhood is sitting with someone and reading a favorite story over and over again. The kind of story that sticks with you, and works it’s way into your heart. The Grumpface is that kind of story. It is about a grumpy old man that is cursed and lives in the forest of Ho. He captures unsuspecting travelers that get lost in the forest and they must complete a challenge to earn their freedom. If they cannot complete any of the three challenges they are trapped in the forest forever. In this story an inventor named Daffy Dan is looking for a rose to win the love of a girl named Bella. Bella sells flowers in the village but longs for a rose that she cannot grow. Dan thinks that if he can bring Bella a rose, he will have the courage to finally speak to her and win her heart. As he searches the forest of Ho, he gets caught by Grumpface and must find a way to escape or he will never have the chance to see Bella and tell her how he feels.
The first thing that grabbed me about this book, was the amazing illustrations. Grumpface at his worst is still funny enough to not frighten my four-year-old daughter. She fell in love with this book the first time she saw me reading it and saw the bright pink bird in the first challenge. The images throughout are all done with detail and colors that draw you into the story more. They complement the text in an artistic way as well as helping convey the emotions. The rhythm of the rhyming makes the story entertaining and flow smoothly. It is perfect for young readers, but not too silly that it will make parents want to hide the book after a week. One of the great morals of the story is to find the humor in life even when things don’t go your way. Daffy Dan is clumsy and riddled with bad luck it seems, it makes him relatable to young readers that are often clumsy themselves. Dan’s creative inventions all sound like great ideas and spark the imagination of readers as well. Grumpface is like the teacher or parent that just stares in disbelief at the crazy things Dan does. Together the pair make a memorable story that will leave you laughing.
B.C.R. Fegan and D. Frongia have created a beautiful and enchanting tale with The Grumpface. They manage to convey the fear and concern of Dan throughout the story, the disappointment he feels as things don’t go his way, and the joy he feels as he thinks he finally got it. The story touches the hearts of adults and keeps children entertained. It the teaches morals of persistence, compassion, and friendship. This is a book you will want to keep on hand to read for years to come.
Pages: 34 | ASIN: B06XFFK7VZ
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A Small Bronze Gift Called Mirror follows Lydia who is a sixteen-year-old girl living at a boarding school when the headmaster of the school forces Lydia to compete in a mirror contest. What was the inspiration for this very imaginative story?
A quote from Plato’s Apology of Sokrates served as my inspiration for my story:
“something divine and spiritual comes to me, (…) I have had this from my childhood; it is a sort of voice that comes to me, and when it comes it always holds me back from what I am thinking of doing, but never urges me forward.” – Plato’s Apology of Sokrates- 31d. What if we could not only hear this divine and spiritual voice, but also give it a face? Would we be satisfied with the image? Would it be what we imagined it to be or would it be what others expect it to be?
Lydia is a strong-willed, independent teen who takes matters into her own hands. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?
Like most characters of the story, Lydia has many challenges to overcome and a difficult task to carry. She faces a lot of issues that people today struggle with. That require many morals and values like self-respect, compassion, altruism and justice. Lydia is a strong-willed young girl, who changes and develops these values as she grows up.
The story has a wonderfully unique take on magic mirrors that’s different from the fairy tale version. How did this idea come to you and how did you develop it into a story?
From the beginning I wanted somebody for Lydia to talk to, because it’s not easy for a child to be left grow up alone. This resulted in the creation of Phoebus, who could prove to be a true friend or an enemy. I tried to show how difficult it is for us today to protect ourselves from bad influences. That’s why the reflections in the mirrors are often shaped by how we perceive ourselves through the manipulation of the others.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
Currently I’m writing another mystery novel about two very different people, which have nothing in common until they bump on each other. It will be available as soon as the English translation is finished.
“A small bronze gift called “Mirror” follows the story of Lydia, who is forced to go on the run at the age of 6 when her mother is murdered. Protected by her grandmother, Lydia’s life is shrouded in mystery, compounded by the small bronze gift she was given and which she calls ‘mirror’.
At the age of 12, Lydia is left in the care of Mrs. M, and is given a place at a school filled with unusual characters. When she arrives there Lydia discovers that all the children have the same ‘mirror’ as she does. But it’s when she starts to learn how to use it that the real story unfolds and she must undertake a remarkable journey.”
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The Children of Fi is the exciting follow up to your other novel, The Mage Sister. Arinda has a plan to start a magicker school for girls. Why was it important for Arinda to create this school, alongside the one for boys at Vespith academy, against Jahx’s wishes.
Actually, Jahx is all for the program – he just gets frustrated with Arinda’s headstrong ‘I’ll-do-it-my-way’ sort of approach. His protests are meant to slow her down and get her to understand that she must follow the proper structure like everyone else, that there are consequences if she doesn’t. For Arinda, the magicker school for girls means so much to her because as a child, she was powerful and very smart. However, since there were no programs for girls, and being a girl magicker was such a shameful thing to be, she had to hide it and was not allowed to learn about her power. If she had never been sent to Vespith Academy and Jahx’s magic hadn’t chosen her, she faced a life of nothing but drudgery. She wants to stop that happening to other girls because it made her life so miserable and hopeless.
In this story you bring back some old friends and enemies, as well as introduce some new ones. Did you choose which characters to bring back, because you like writing for them, or did the story dictate who came back?
While I do really enjoy writing for some of them, such as Nathan and Cullen, the story did have a lot to do with who needed to return. Most of them had become such an integral part of Arinda’s life in The Mage Sister, they couldn’t just disappear in the second book. Also, Miles Dunforth, the main antagonist in The Children of Fi, is just as lazy as he is evil and I knew he couldn’t pull it off by himself. He’d have to find a really good henchman, and who better than someone that already had a reason to want revenge on the Kingdom of Rowan and the Circle of Mages.
The Children of Fi gives a lot more history of Kynllaria and Fiaryn. Was this backstory something you always had, even when writing the first book, or did it come after the first was finished?
Part of it, like the history of Fiaryn and Fiaryn’s Gate, I had developed long ago when I started writing The Mage Sister and building the world they live in. Other parts, such as the story of the Sun Dynasty of Naria Valley and the specific details of Jahx’s history, needed to be added and pretty much evolved as I wrote it.
Cullen, the Master Healer of Rowan, is a defender of Arinda’s plan to educate girls in magic. I found his character to be intriguing. What was your inspiration for his character?
Cullen seems to be everyone’s favorite character. For the most part I just let him be himself, but I’ve also known and worked with many doctors over the years (I’ve worked in the medical industry since 1999). As a healer, Cullen has many of the characteristics I observe in the doctors I work with every day – self-assurance, compassion, occasional impatience, frustration with patients who don’t listen – mixed with a person dealing with a troubled past and an unpleasant personal life that few know about. These are all elements that are a part of Cullen, yet Cullen isn’t based on a specific person I’ve ever known. I just borrowed some of the traits I’ve observed to add authenticity to what he does and allowed him to speak in his own voice.
Is there going to be another book after The Children of Fi? If so, what will that book be about?
I am currently working on the third book in the series, telling the story of what happens after The Children of Fi. It’s hard to tell much about it without including spoilers for The Children of Fi, so I’ll just say that there will be a lot about a certain event at the end of The Children of Fi, which must involve quite a bit of conflict, and I’m not entirely certain how that’s going to be resolved just yet. Also, a new conflict arises surrounding the location Fiaryn’s Gate and the gate itself. Now that Fiaryn’s is gone, quite a few people have plans for it and some are willing to do anything to claim it. And finally, a whole new group of characters comes out to play, and we will learn more about the ancient and mysterious Coubirigh, the scary baddies that turn magickers into mages… if they survive the encounter.
A great accomplishment, a dire mistake, and secrets buried long ago set into motion a volatile chain of events that lead the Kingdom of Rowan straight into an unexpected war. When Arinda’s school for female magickers becomes more successful than she could have hoped for, she and King Nathan are invited to other countries to advise them on setting up their own programs. But not everyone is interested in the education of their girls, and not everyone is who they seem to be. In this sequel to ‘The Mage Sister’, long kept secrets are brought to light, and the truths they reveal will change the world of Kynllaria forever.
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Welcome to the beautiful world of the Crysnix. The author introduces us to these small fairies that have the power to grant wishes to the people of the world, as well as provide comfort and positive thoughts in our times of need. The story takes place in Galvin Cove, a small fictional town in a New England kind of setting of the United States. The nearby forest holds the small village of Crysnix, where the fairies learn to deal with their own issues so that they may mature and help the nearby town of humans with their problems. Elixir, a fairy with a troubled past, finds himself struggling to be the knight that his father could not. Learning from his past and from those around him, he prepares for a showdown with the Dark Prince Onyx. If Elixir fails, it might be the end for his village of Crysnix. Princess Amethyst struggles to mature from a life of pampered wealth, Aderra suppresses feelings of jealousy over Elixir’s misplaced attention, and the humans of Galvin Cove deal with several of their own issues in the story, including drug use, stealing, violence, love, and compassion. Will the Crysnix be able to guide the humans to the right choices while dealing with the unseen forces of evil around them?
This novel is filled with so much goodness, it’s difficult to feel a negative thought. Lisa Shore gives plenty of sage-like advice in these pages that I couldn’t help but feel like I was better off after reading it. There is so much variety between the characters and situations in the story that almost anyone would find something to which they can relate. However, one downfall of this variety is that not every story line gets the attention that one might want it to receive. Some of the lessons come off as oversimplified because the plot moves along quickly. Still, the story does what it seems to set out to do at its core. It gives the reader an inside look at the Laws of Light, which are rules that fairies (also called Crysnix) know very well, but humans struggle with when it comes to their implementation. Through this device, the author is able to deliver great advice from all of the wise, caring fairies, and sometimes even from the humans. There are meaningful quotations at the beginning of each chapter to set the tone for these lessons, as well. While some of the quotes will not hold the same weight for every reader, their positive effect on the novel as a whole is undeniable.
Overall, this book was a fantastic read. The plot holds enough meaning to make the lessons learned both insightful and valuable to any reader that pays attention enough to take it to heart. I would love to enter this world again and see how the characters continue to progress!
Pages: 226 pages | ISBN: 1504339657
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