Category Archives: Books

Happy Hogmanay!

Dec 31st says goodbye to the current year in anticipation of what is to come in the next year. Known as New Year’s Eve in many countries, in Scotland, it’s a special celebration known as Hogmanay. Great street parties with entertainment take place in major cities. Edinburgh’s celebration is the most widely known. You can see what’s happening in Scotland’s capital to ring in 2013 here.

But before I pop the cork on the champagne, I want to take a look at 2012 and reflect on all the good things that happened to me during the year.

In early January, fellow Writers’ Ink member, Joe Mossman, and I did a spot for the local cable TV’s program, Readers’ Corner and talked about our group.

Joe Mossman, myself and host of Readers' Corner, Doreen Barnes
Joe Mossman, myself and host of Readers’ Corner, Doreen Barnes

A few days later, I was assigned my editor. We hit it off immediately which made the revision process a lot more fun. My gorgeous cover designed by Aidana WillowRaven was revealed here on January 18th.

My novel's cover created by Aidana WillowRaven
My novel’s cover created by Aidana WillowRaven

In February, I was honoured with my First Book award from the Ottawa Romance Writer’s Association.

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March came and with it, I received the Versatile Blogger Award from loveahappyending.com associate reader, Susan Livingston. I had been an associate reader for loveahappyending.com myself since June 2011 and on May 21, 2012 (my son’s birthday), I became a featured author!

June brought about the new Melanie Robertson-King “brand” reveal.

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The weekend of Sept 14-17 (okay Friday to the following Monday – weekend plus) took me to Kansas for the debut of my novel… and best of all, I got to hold it in my hot little hands for the first time. It was brilliant meeting my editor, Carla, for the first time and my publisher, Vivian Zabel, and fellow 4RV Publishing authors Jacque Graham, Janet Brown and Galand Nuchols.

Janet Brown, me, and Galund Nuchols with our books that debuted at the Kansas Book Festival
Janet Brown, me, and Galund Nuchols with our books that debuted at the Kansas Book Festival

My short story, Cole’s Notes, that had been accepted for publication became available for the Kindle in Carrick Publishing’s first cross-genre anthologyEFD1 Starship Goodwords Cover – EFD1 – Starship Goodwords, and classed as literary fiction, no less!

Home from Kansas and the following weekend I hosted my hometown launch at the Wedgewood Retirement Resort in downtown Brockville.

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One week later, I embarked on a 21-stop 15-day blog tour starting off at loveahappyending.com and ending at Author Roast and Toast.

In October, I created a blog for my character, Sarah, and filmed another program for Readers’ Corner – this time talking about my novel,

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was invited to join Famous Five Plus and woo-hoo, I got my first 5-star review for A Shadow in the Past!

November came along and with it, my first kick at the can taking part in NaNoWriMo, and a number of appearances and signings – Ladies’ Night at Green Things Garden and Gift Shop, the Mallorytown Legion’s Christmas Bazaar and Bake Sale, and finally downtown Brockville’s Christmas Open House at Leeds County Books.

December and another signing – this time in Gananoque at All About Books Internet Cafe and I was awarded the Liebster Award by Joanne Clancy.

A great year for sure, and now I’m looking forward to what 2013 brings! So now that I’ve rambled on long enough, it’s time to pop the champagne corks and ring in the New Year.

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Happy New Year! Happy Hogmanay! Or Happy whatever you call it in your part of the world. May 2013 be good to you and yours! Cheers!

A Shadow in the Past currently #2 in Preditors & Editors Readers Poll

My novel's cover created by Aidana WillowRaven
My novel’s cover created by Aidana WillowRaven

I’m so excited. My novel, A Shadow in the Past, is currently sitting in 2nd place in the YA category at the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. If you’ve not done so already, I would appreciate your vote. Help me make it to #1.

If you’ve already voted – Thank you! Follow the instructions here.

Author Interview with Jack Durish

Durish-46-4x5Celtic Connexions welcomes US author Jack Durish. He’s got a lot on his plate these days, so without further ado, I’ve put him in the hot seat to allow him to get back home as soon as possible.

What is the one book you want us to read (title, genre, and availability)?

7470956Rebels on the Mountain: Historical Fiction available in all ebook formats on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

What is your one sentence synopsis?

A childhood crush evolves into romance when Nick Andrews, a U.S. Army spy, reconnects with Lucia Comas, an American-educated mulata, in Cuba while he is there to unravel the diplomatic mess created by Fidel Castro’s revolution.

Who are the main characters and who would you like to see portray them in a movie?

Fictional
Nick Andrews: A U.S. Army Ranger and Korean War Veteran who has made a career of reconnaissance patrols behind the Iron Curtain – possibly portrayed by Stephen Amell.

Lucia Comas: An American-educated, island-born mulata, daughter of the second wife of don Carlos Comas, a Cuba sugar plantation owner, and love interest of Nick Andrews – possibly portrayed by Christina Milian.

Emma Regan: An American socialite whose husband, a retired pediatrician operates a free clinic on the sugar plantation she inherited, and sister to the don Carlos Comas’ second wife Sigourney Weaver.

Real
Fidel Castro: The charismatic leader of the revolution that overthrew the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista – possibly portrayed by Jsu Garcia.

Che Guevara: The Argentinian doctor who became one of Castro’s most notorious lieutenants and his executioner following Fidel’s rise to power – possibly portrayed by Guillermo Diaz.

Ernest Hemingway: Nobel Prize winning author and Havana resident who mingled freely in the halls of power in Havana and purportedly supported Castro’s revolution – possibly portrayed by William Hurt.

Tell us about the story without revealing too much.

Nick Andrews uses the cover of a pleasure trip with friends, the Regans – a retired doctor and his socialite wife who own an estate in Cuba – to infiltrate the island from its halls of power in Havana to the rebel camp in the mountains at the eastern end of the island. Unexpectedly, he rekindles a childhood crush with the island-born niece of the Regans, and makes friends with a loyal Fidelista rebel. Romance, rum, rumba, and revolution layer themselves into a thrilling tale of intrigue, action, and suspense.

What inspired you to write this book and how long did it take?

I was slated to pilot a vessel from Galveston Bay to the Chesapeake, with a stop in Havana, when I was a young sailor, but the trip was canceled due to several factors including the fall of the Batista government in Cuba. I suppose that I never let go of the disappointment of missing that adventure. Thus, I followed events in Cuba closely and studied the history of the island and its people during the intervening fifty years. I spent another two years cataloging and studying my research, and another year and a half to write and edit the manuscript.

What other books have you written?

Dream Pirates – Fiction for young readers with impaired reading skills and new English speakers
WordPerfect: Creative Applications – Technical manual
Infantry School: A Soldier’s Journal – Personal memoir
Vietnam: A Soldier’s Journal – Personal memoir
Trifles: Literary Dessert – A collection of short stories to be published soon.

Which authors inspired you, your style?

Many including…
Ernest Hemingway: Voice
Mark Twain: Irony
Charles Dickens: Memorable characters

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

www.jackdurish.com contains my personal blog as well as my biography, a synopsis of all my books and links to them, and recommended websites for anyone interested in reading.

How can we follow you? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

Twitter: @jackdrsm
Google+: Jack Durish

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

I am currently working on my second novel featuring Nick Andrews as a young soldier in the Korean War. Also, I have been posting to my blog a series of articles built from my research into Cuba with special emphasis on the love-hate relationship between the island and the United States. Most expect a change in US-Cuban relations when Fidel Castro dies, and Americans will begin looking forward to visiting this Caribbean paradise which has been off limits for so many years.

Thanks for stopping in, Jack, and sharing your story with us.

 

I’m over at YA Author, Suzy Turner’s blog today…

Christmas Eve and I’ve flown to Portugal to meet up with YA and fellow Famous Five Plus author, Suzy Turner. Why not pop over to Suzy’s blog and see what we’re talking about?

But don’t lag about or you’ll miss the interview and won’t be home in time for Santa to come.

If you’re feeling so inclined, here are a couple of tweets:

YA author @suzy_turner talks to debut YA author @RobertsoKing over at http://ow.ly/ggVlB Drop on by. #FFP #lahe

Debut YA author @RobertsoKing stops by to chat with @suzy_turner http://ow.ly/ggVsd to talk about writing and other things #lahe #FFP

A Christmas Kindness Book Blast

Celtic Connexions is thrilled to host fellow 4RV author, Cheryl Malandrinos (writing as C. C. Gevry) to celebrate her A Christmas Kindness Book Blast.

Christmas-Kindness-book-blastA Christmas Kindness by C. C. Gevry

cover wrap.inddEight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who has only one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

Inspiration Behind A Christmas Kindness

How is it that children have the ability to reach out and help others in ways adults don’t always think to do?

One year, our oldest daughter–then only eight–went door-to-door in our neighborhood collecting money for Toys for Tots. Coordinated by the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, this program collects new, unwrapped toys each year and distributes them as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in our communities. This summer, my girls ran a lemonade stand so they could bring money to a local animal shelter.

Why don’t I think of doing such things? I guess it’s easier to write a check and send it in the mail. But what effort is involved in that? My children make it personal, and much more meaningful, by giving something of themselves.

With A Christmas Kindness, I hope to capture the generosity of a child’s heart–the way they look at the world as a place of endless opportunities to make a difference.

May you be blessed this holiday season.

Cheryl MalandrinosCheryl Malandrinos, writing as C. C. Gevry, is a children’s author and editor. She is a member of SCBWI. A Christmas Kindness is her first book with 4RV Publishing. Visit her online at http://ccgevry.com.

Pump Up Your Book and C. C. Gevry are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

$25 AMAZON GIFT CARD

1 COPY OF A CHRISTMAS KINDNESS

1 COPY OF LITTLE SHEPHERD

ENTER TO WIN!

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, then after they visit your blog, they are directed to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries.

This promotion will run from December 17th – December 21st. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email, and announced on December 24th.

Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win.

Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour.

What a great way to not only win these fabulous prizes, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!

A Christmas Kindness Book Blast Schedule

Monday, December 17

Carpinello’s Writing Pages
Celtic Connexions
WV Stitcher
Seasons of Opportunities
The Busy Mom’s Daily
The Book Connection
The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection
George Beddingfield
Margay Leah Justice
The Story of a Writer
Janet K. Brown
Bluebell Books
Paperback Writer
Hollywood Daze
Writing Daze
Maureen’s Musings
Coffee & A Keyboard

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If the form doesn’t work, you can enter at: http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2012/12/13/pump-up-your-book-presents-a-christmas-kindness-book-blast-25-amazon-gc-free-books/

Today’s book signing…

Things went well today at All About Books Internet Cafe all about booksin Gananoque. Owner Debra Savoy, was a lovely and gracious hostess. We hit it off immediately and before the end of my time there, we agreed to a date to do it all again in 2013!

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My table set-up

According to Debra, Saturdays are slow at her shop but traffic was brisk during my two hour time frame. There were the regulars who come for coffee/tea and a chat and folks off the street.

We had the opportunity to talk before people came into the shop about writing in general, my inspiration to write, my journey to publication along with some good “girlie” chat.

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Having a good natter
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Posing with my book and one of the “regulars” in the background

I took some time to pose for a picture with my book (hubby came along to take pictures in addition to fetch and carry). Suffice it to say, he was quite chuffed when the box of books was lighter on the walk back to the car.

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Signing a copy for Debra

My first sale of the of the day, and personalizing the copy for my wonderful hostess.

The afternoon went well. I sold 4 books and left a further 5 copies there. Debra assures me she’ll be able to sell them  with no difficulty.

What can I say other than I’m chuffed to little mint-balls to make this contact!

I’m looking forward to returning on February 16, 2013 (weather permitting). Winter in these parts can be truly unpredictable but we’ve got plenty of time to work things out and come up with a game plan for my next visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEMORIES OF CHRISTMASES PAST

Yesterday, the local writers’ group I belong to held their annual Christmas tea, hosted by one of the members in her lovely home on the river.

Every month, as a group, we write something to the same prompt, which has to be exactly 250 words in length. The theme for Sunday was about Christmas – one particular one that stood out or just memories. I went with the memories and this is the piece I wrote (dedicated to my grandmother and my father).

MEMORIES OF CHRISTMASES PAST

For Minnie (1892-1971) and my Dad (1913-1969)

As a child, spending time at my Grandmother Minnie’s farmhouse east of Athens was something I always looked forward to. Christmas Day was even more special because all the aunts, uncles and cousins were there, too. No matter how horrendous the weather or long the journey, everyone always made it. Without fail, the Petawawa faction was always last to arrive, leaving the rest of us chomping at the bit so that Christmas could begin!

You have to picture the scene – nine kids, six parents, Minnie and my Uncle Winston cheek and jowl in the two rooms downstairs and without benefit of indoor plumbing until 1970. Dishes were washed and rinsed in two large galvanized washtubs that were hauled up onto the table and filled with hot water from the kettle on the woodstove and cold from the buckets on the counter brought over from the well on the other side of the road. And if you had to go, it was either make the long trek to the outhouse or use the thunder-mug upstairs in Minnie’s room or the one on the stairs.

My love of reading began during those Christmases at Minnie’s. My cousin from Toronto gave me a book every year from the time I turned ten.

1970 was the last year for family Christmas at Minnie’s and the first with indoor plumbing. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but to us it was. With how commercial the holidays have become, I long for those simpler times.

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I still have most of those books (I think I only ever parted with one – a book of fairy tales).

What are some of your favourite Christmas memories?