Book Review and Author Interview The Immortal Seeds

Imortal Seeds eBook CoverTitle: The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures

Author: Sambath Meas

Genre: Family Memoir

This is a story about a father’s dream of escaping a war-torn country in search of stability and freedom, so that his children can live and thrive.

 

Sarin Meas, who was born and grew up in a remote village in Trangel, Kampong Chhnang, drifts from one place to another in search of a purpose, and a better life. In Pailin, a small town in western Cambodia known for its richness of gemstones, he meets a poor and uneducated girl whose daily life, from dusk until dawn, is strained by hard work: selling fruits and vegetables at the local market, along with cooking, doing laundry and cleaning up after strangers and relatives whom her aunt has taken in. If she doesn’t do her chores correctly and one of them tells on her, her aunt, a woman whose mood changes like a person suffering from a split personality, hurls foul language at her and beats her with any heavy object in sight. Sarin realizes that this young woman, whom everyone calls Thach, will die if she continues to live like this. So he marries her out of compassion. His compassion turns into love. Sarin and Thach form a family.

Tragically, after fifteen years of peaceful existence and independence from France, Cambodia gets sucked into the war of idealism between the world’s super powers—America, China, and the Soviet Union—by way of the Vietnam War. Cambodian leaders and people take sides. The Khmer Republic (backed by the United States) and the Khmer Rouge (backed by China, the Soviet Union and Vietnam) fight each other acrimoniously. After five years of battle, the relentless Khmer Rouge soldiers emerge victorious. Sarin has an opportunity to escape to Thailand with his family, but chooses to remain behind out of fear of the unknown. Soon he realizes the victors don’t know how to manage the country. Fear, paranoia and revenge turn them and their supporters into a killing machine.  Sarin, through cleverness and luck, helps his family navigate the horror of communism. When a second opportunity arrives, like thousands of other surviving Cambodians, he takes the chance to venture to the unknown—to find freedom, opportunity, and a better life for his family.

The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures is not only about the continuing of a family’s life cycle; it is also about a father’s idea—a purpose—that gets passed on to his daughter. In turn she hopes to pass it on to people not only within her community but also around the world.

“King Grandfather would like to wish that your memoir The Immortal Seeds will become successful.”

—Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia

The Immortal Seeds is a story of war, love, and the unbreakable bonds of family. Touchingly told, Sambath pays homage to her family across the generations, and shares how they helped the Meases to survive the war and thrive in peace.”

—Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father and Lucky Child

The Immortal Seeds exhibits a memoir’s emphasis on highly personalized, if not fully contextualized, experiences.”

—The Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia’s Newspaper

So, where do I begin? The Immortal Seeds is part memoir, part family history, set against the backdrop of a political regime that is far from democratic. The communist Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia was something I’d only vaguely heard and read about in the past, but this book was a real eye-opener for me.

The author’s research is incredible, and the setting is described in a very detailed, plausible way, that makes it easy for the reader to imagine themselves being there. The strength portrayed by the people showcased in this book is phenomenal, and an inspiration to everyone.

 

Author Interview

1. Have you been writing for a long time? 

I have been writing for 13 years now.

2. What inspired you to start a writing career? 

My writing stems from me wanting to learn more about my family history, especially about my father who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He and I experienced a hostile relationship. It was so combative and toxic that we could not bear to be in the same room. He was a miserable person and he was making me miserable, too. My mother was forced to be in the middle of it all. I was sick of our fights and his soul-crushing sarcasm.  I wanted our relationship to change. But first thing first: I changed myself. I started to read self-help books. They changed my life. I became a more understanding person and wanted to find out what was wrong with my father. I started to talk to him, to ask him about his pasts, as I was reading about refugees like him who suffer from post-traumatic and sudden death syndromes. I knew we fled a war-torn country, but I never knew the details of my parents suffering and what they went through to provide for me and my sister. I asked him and my mother about it. My mother had buried it so deep that she forgot about it. As for my father, he refused to tell me. I finally manipulated him into telling me about his pasts by relaying what journalists and orphans who survived the “killing fields” of Cambodia were saying about this dark period of our history. He was mad. He thought those people either did not remember or manipulated their stories to fit their biased or ignorant narratives. He finally opened up and when he did, he would not stop. This was when I started to record my family history, research, and interview my family, friends, and relatives.

3. Is this book a stand-alone, or is it part of a series? 

It’s going to be a trilogy: the first book is about my family’s pasts; the second is going to be about me growing up in Uptown, Chicago; and the third book is going to be about my struggle to find success and happiness against all odds.

4. Which character did you enjoy writing about the most? 

I enjoy writing about my father and mother, because I learn how much they have changed as human beings.

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

If you want to write, do it! Don’t let fear and procrastination get in the way. Just dive into it. You’ll learn a lot along the way. The end product will make it all worth it.

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Author Interview Everything Under The Sun

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Author Interview

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

 I don’t have a favorite – I have several! Anne Rice and Neil Gaiman I have admired for many years. I love Rice’s deep, descriptive style and Gaiman’s unique ideas. But I also love Paullina Simons and Cormac McCarthy – there are just so many! And, of course, there’s J.K. Rowling, but I don’t really have to name her, do I? Isn’t she everybody’s favorite by default? 😊

 

Which do you prefer: ebook, hardback or paperback?

 Definitely paperback, hands down. I have a Kindle and it’s just not the same. Hardbacks can’t be held comfortably (yes, I bend the spines! I’m totally guilty!). I can’t imagine a world without physical books. It’s depressing to imagine, actually.

 

What is your favorite type of food?

 Mexican!

 

Who is your favorite book boyfriend?

Shura. 😉

 

Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?

Of course, I love to read. I also love the outdoors (hiking, swimming, biking, tennis, etc.), and binge-watching television series’.

 

Is there one book that has had an impact on not only your writing, but on you personally?

 That would be THE VAMPIRE ARMAND by Anne Rice. It’s a book that I’ve read four or five times and the one that really inspired me to try to become a published author.

 

If the Earth suddenly became uninhabitable, would you rather live under the sea or in space?

 In space! I’m obsessed with the Universe. Besides, the thought of living in the ocean sort of terrifies me.

 

What was your favorite pastime as a kid?

 Playing in the wooded creek at my grandparents’ house in Greer’s Ferry, Arkansas.

About the Book

Title: Everything Under The Sun

Author: Jessica Redmerski

Genre: YA/NA Crossover; Dystopian

Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about.

Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?

 

 

Author Bio

Jessica Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, international bestseller, and award winner, who juggles several different genres. She began self-publishing in 2012, and later with the success of THE EDGE OF NEVER, signed on with Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance. Her works have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Jessica is a hybrid author who, in addition to working with a traditional publisher, also continues to self-publish. Her popular crime and suspense series, In the Company of Killers, has been optioned for television and film by actor and model William Levy.

She also writes as J.A. Redmerski.

 

Links

Website

Twitter

Goodreads

Facebook

 

Buy from Amazon (eBook)

Buy from Amazon (Paperback)

 

 

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Release Blitz Oak Seer

About Oak Seer

Thrust into the public eye as the “Green Lady,” Effie of Glen Coe has become a living legend, the fey woman who saved Scotland from devastation. But to some, she’s a threat to human existence and a traitor to fey-kind.

Determined more than ever to forge a peace between fey and humans, Effie finds herself navigating a realm increasingly divided. The lords of London have other plans, and once again Effie is pulled into a quagmire of politics and greed. She must stand against plots to remove her kind from the shores of the empire and madmen who murder fey without regard.

Even worse, heinous cults have arisen, enthralled by an unseen enemy. With violent thugs and unruly mobs all around, wits and courage are not enough. Effie must become something more than herself, an Oak Seer, a fey mantle long lost. But can she survive long enough to claim it?

Author Bio

Craig Comer is the author of the gaslamp fantasy series A FEY MATTER, which includes THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN and OAK SEER. He is a co-author of the mosaic fantasy novel THE ROADS TO BALDAIRN MOTTE. Craig earned a Master’s Degree in Writing from the University of Southern California and enjoys tramping across countries in his spare time, preferably those strewn with pubs and castles. His website is: https://craigcomer.com/

Links

https://craigcomer.com/

Get your copy on Amazon

An excerpt from Oak Seer – Chapter One

Heavy spring rains flooded the road to Langmire. The village sprouted to the north of Stirling along the River Teith. It smelled old to Effie, full of moldy timbers, damp leaves, and rusting iron. The collection of buildings, crofters’ homes mostly, sagged like the slumped back of a crone. Grey smoke wafted from a few blackened chimneys that sprouted from thatched roofs. Someone baked fresh bread. She caught it on the wind, and another something sweeter. Eager for a warm hearth and a cup of honeyed tea, she licked her parched lips. She’d travelled a full day to reach the village. She’d come because Conall Murray had begged her, because without her an innocent woman would hang.

In the heart of the village grew a stout oak. Muckle Ben the locals called it, Effie had once heard. They’d carved a Green Man into its bark long ago, during a time when such things held power. Now banners pronouncing some celebration hung from its limbs more often than not, but none remained there currently. Its trunk stood as somber as an undertaker. Chickens picked at worms in the upturned soil near its roots, and a lone hound howled at the rustling leaves as the branches creaked above.

Fergus Alpin hacked into his handkerchief, a wet, miserable noise she’d had to contend with the entire journey from Stirling. The Fey Finder sat across from her in the steam carriage’s tight compartment. His wrinkled face was spotted and thin, and he kept tugging his coat tighter about his frail bones. She tried to avoid his gaze, but nothing adorned the compartment for her to study, and she could only stare out the window for so long before feeling rude.

“I’ll do the speaking,” the man said. “You will remain silent.” The quiver at his lip turned into another fit of hacking, yet she still heard his mumbling. “Send a fey to catch a fey, and one with paps at that!”

The steam carriage rocked and bounced, splashing through the flooded road as if fording a stony riverbed. Its benches were worn and hard, the padding flattened from years of service. A lightly stained wood paneling formed its walls, floor, and roof. The boiler at the rear of the carriage warmed the compartment, but at the expense of the coal smoke that clouded the air.

Effie shifted to relieve her sore hips. Her eyes narrowed. “The Fey Finder General bade me accompany you, Mr. Alpin, and not so I would stand and do nothing.” She tried to keep the bite from her tongue. Of Fey Finders, Alpin was a journeyman and not a zealot. At least there was that. He sought not to be bothered rather than possessing the fiery hatred common to his profession.

She pressed her palms into the cushion on either side of her, to steady herself. It still marveled her she could sit so close to a Sniffer, a man the crown tasked with hunting down malevolent fey. Malevolent, as if they knew what the word meant. They hunted all with fey blood, and as a Sithling—one with the ancient blood of the Daoine Sith coursing through her—that included her. But things had changed after Caldwell House, and she had a need to trust where once she dared not. The fierce battle there had forced the lords of the empire to open their eyes. They could not rest on centuries of intolerance any longer. They had to welcome the fey into society’s ranks and accept a permanent treaty. They had witnessed the fate awaiting them if they did not.

Effie’s heart warmed. If the lords of the empire could learn to trust, so could she, and perhaps the Scottish fey would live freely for the first time in millennia.

Alpin’s jaw worked. He’d likely never had someone with paps stand up to him. Most Scots of either gender avoided Sniffers as if they carried the plague. “Look here, Miss Effie,” he snapped. “I’ll not have it. You may dine with the likes of lords, but you’re not in some grand procession here. I know the hearts of these gentle folk better than you ever will, and I will not banter with the mind of a devious hag.”

“When you see one, I’m sure,” said Effie, not knowing whether the man had meant her or the poor Spae Wife they’d come to question.

Heavy spring rains flooded the road to Langmire. The village sprouted to the north of Stirling along the River Teith. It smelled old to Effie, full of moldy timbers, damp leaves, and rusting iron. The collection of buildings, crofters’ homes mostly, sagged like the slumped back of a crone. Grey smoke wafted from a few blackened chimneys that sprouted from thatched roofs. Someone baked fresh bread. She caught it on the wind, and another something sweeter. Eager for a warm hearth and a cup of honeyed tea, she licked her parched lips. She’d travelled a full day to reach the village. She’d come because Conall Murray had begged her, because without her an innocent woman would hang.

In the heart of the village grew a stout oak. Muckle Ben the locals called it, Effie had once heard. They’d carved a Green Man into its bark long ago, during a time when such things held power. Now banners pronouncing some celebration hung from its limbs more often than not, but none remained there currently. Its trunk stood as somber as an undertaker. Chickens picked at worms in the upturned soil near its roots, and a lone hound howled at the rustling leaves as the branches creaked above.

Fergus Alpin hacked into his handkerchief, a wet, miserable noise she’d had to contend with the entire journey from Stirling. The Fey Finder sat across from her in the steam carriage’s tight compartment. His wrinkled face was spotted and thin, and he kept tugging his coat tighter about his frail bones. She tried to avoid his gaze, but nothing adorned the compartment for her to study, and she could only stare out the window for so long before feeling rude.

“I’ll do the speaking,” the man said. “You will remain silent.” The quiver at his lip turned into another fit of hacking, yet she still heard his mumbling. “Send a fey to catch a fey, and one with paps at that!”

The steam carriage rocked and bounced, splashing through the flooded road as if fording a stony riverbed. Its benches were worn and hard, the padding flattened from years of service. A lightly stained wood paneling formed its walls, floor, and roof. The boiler at the rear of the carriage warmed the compartment, but at the expense of the coal smoke that clouded the air.

Effie shifted to relieve her sore hips. Her eyes narrowed. “The Fey Finder General bade me accompany you, Mr. Alpin, and not so I would stand and do nothing.” She tried to keep the bite from her tongue. Of Fey Finders, Alpin was a journeyman and not a zealot. At least there was that. He sought not to be bothered rather than possessing the fiery hatred common to his profession.

She pressed her palms into the cushion on either side of her, to steady herself. It still marveled her she could sit so close to a Sniffer, a man the crown tasked with hunting down malevolent fey. Malevolent, as if they knew what the word meant. They hunted all with fey blood, and as a Sithling—one with the ancient blood of the Daoine Sith coursing through her—that included her. But things had changed after Caldwell House, and she had a need to trust where once she dared not. The fierce battle there had forced the lords of the empire to open their eyes. They could not rest on centuries of intolerance any longer. They had to welcome the fey into society’s ranks and accept a permanent treaty. They had witnessed the fate awaiting them if they did not.

Effie’s heart warmed. If the lords of the empire could learn to trust, so could she, and perhaps the Scottish fey would live freely for the first time in millennia.

Alpin’s jaw worked. He’d likely never had someone with paps stand up to him. Most Scots of either gender avoided Sniffers as if they carried the plague. “Look here, Miss Effie,” he snapped. “I’ll not have it. You may dine with the likes of lords, but you’re not in some grand procession here. I know the hearts of these gentle folk better than you ever will, and I will not banter with the mind of a devious hag.”

“When you see one, I’m sure,” said Effie, not knowing whether the man had meant her or the poor Spae Wife they’d come to question.

 

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Author Interview My Name is Nelson

Author Interview

Have you been writing for a long time?

Basically, no.  I’m still relatively new at this, and rife with eager enthusiasm.   I’ve published two other novels under a different name in a different genre, however.  I wanted to try my hand at a lighthearted, page-turning thriller, and consequently, “Dylan Fairchild” was born this year.

What inspired you to start a writing career?

I felt like I would be really, really good at it.

Is this book a stand-alone, or is it the first part of a series?

This is a standalone book, but thanks to the epilogue, we’re very well-positioned for a sequel.

Which character did you enjoy writing about the most?

It’s definitely hard to choose, because I’m extremely proud of all the characters.  The socially dysfunctional mad scientist, the dejected, hard-drinking exotic dancer, the physics prodigy and her navy officer partner, the “jagoff” of a boss, the clever First Lady, the F.B.I. agents, the fighter pilots, the small-town sheriff…                                                          

The book is dedicated to all the men and women who work so hard to defend our nation, so there’s quite a few characters in law enforcement and the military.  Ultimately, if I had to choose one or two characters, I really enjoyed writing the repartee between National Security Advisor Chet Addington and President MacIntyre.  And Chet Addington gave us the book’s provocative subtitle!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

There’s approximately five million books for sale in the Amazon Kindle Store.  If you think the world needs yet another book, make sure you’re extremely passionate about it.

About the Book

Title: My Name is Nelson

Author: Dylan Fairchild

Genre: Thriller

President Andrew MacIntyre was having a pretty good first year in the Oval Office.  Suddenly, during what should have been a peaceful Christmas season, he’s facing one of the worst national security crises in American history.  And it’s being masterminded out of a sleazy, New Mexico strip joint?  What the hell?

Is this a political thriller?  Or is it science fiction?  A zany comedy?  Perhaps it’s a love story.  Whatever it is, it’s a riveting page-turner with a little sex appeal, and a lot of laughs.  If “Doctor Strangelove” can find the humor in nuclear war, then surely there’s a little bit of laughter lurking in unmanned aviation, as well as some serious, heartfelt moments.

It’s little wonder White House National Security Advisor Chet Addington* said this was, “Pretty much the best novel ever.”**

* Absolutely, positively, not a real person

** He’s been known to be wrong about stuff

 

Author Bio

Dylan Fairchild is the pen name of a Virginia-based indie author.  He usually lurks in a different genre.

“My Name is Nelson” is the author’s first thriller.  It’s a genre-busting blend of humor, action, political-military intrigue, romance, and science fiction.  “The Indie View” awarded it “five-plus” stars and said “in terms of sheer storytelling mastery, it’s one of the best books we’ve seen in a while.”  The book is dedicated to “all the men and women who work so tirelessly to protect our nation.”

The author can be found on Goodreads.com, and he is happy to reply to any questions, comments, or witty ridicule of his photo.

Goodreads

 

Links

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Cover Reveal: To Know a Killer

About the Book

Title: To Know A Killer

Author: Natalia Hale

Genre: Thriller / Suspense

It takes one to know one still rings true.

For years Luna Lis has been at the forefront of every trend in fashion, deciding what’s in style and what’s out. Cold, calculating, and downright manipulative, Luna fought her way to the top of the tower at the international fashion magazine L&L and is now editor in chief. She’s been written up as one of the most influential women of the world, and nobody is about to knock her off her pedestal. That is until a phone call from a detective makes her realize that there’s more to journalism than what’s hot or not on the runway.

Notorious serial killer Hannah Best has been in jail for over a year, but that hasn’t stopped her from influencing the world. Half a dozen reports have come out with perpetrators claiming they have killed for her. She wasn’t willing to speak out about it, but now she wants a tell-all book written about her life and the real story told. And she knows exactly who she wants to write it.

Luna Lis.

Author Bio

Natalia Hale is a journalism graduate with very little interest in writing news articles of any kind. A reader of the mysterious and morbid, she decided that it was time to start her publishing journey in 2015 with her novella It Takes a Killer. Focusing on short fiction, her stories delve into the disturbing tales that toe the line between acceptable to read in public and “if this is what you think about maybe you should talk to someone” (semi-joking advice from a friend). She is not as dark a person as her writing, but tends to get lost in existential thoughts.

Links

It Takes A Killer, the first book in the series, will be free on Amazon from May 23 to May 25.

It Takes A Killer on Amazon

Website: www.nataliahale.wordpress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/halebooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/natalia_writes

Giveaway

Win an ebook copy of “It Takes A Killer”, the first book in the duology.

Follow this link for the giveaway
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Author Interview Stolen Obsession

Author Interview

The story behind the story. What was the inspiration for STOLEN OBSESSION?

After I completed a work of non-fiction for family and friends in 2009 and enjoyed the experience, I challenged myself to write a romance novel. It seemed like an exhilarating idea and I thought it would be easy. How tough was telling a story?

Looking back, eight years later, the inspiration for writing fiction was my burning desire to delve into another creative outlet I hadn’t tried. I expected writing would come as naturally as painting and photography had for me, but I was wrong. Of all the projects I’ve ever undertaken, writing has been the most time-consuming and difficult. It took me two years to write a first draft—the only work of fiction I’d ever written. Editing it to perfection seems comical today when so much was wrong with the original manuscript. It’s true that first drafts are supposed to stink like mine had. I didn’t know what genre fiction was, let alone what genre I had written. Time spent honing my craft made STOLEN OBSESSION a project I’m proud of.   

Having said that, my personal experience with the sheep industry helped me to create a believable protagonist with the goal of a rural lifestyle, yet write her as the stronger, more outgoing person I wish I had been in my late twenties. It’s given me a “do-over.”

 

What was the most challenging aspect of writing STOLEN OBSESSION?

The toughest part of writing this novel was learning the craft. Most frustrating was reading best-selling authors who don’t follow the same writing rules as new authors. My reading choices were books from well-known authors. Trying to emulate them in my work was a huge mistake. Agent critiques through online sources continually dinged me for my creative hyperbole and leading the reader with telling the story versus showing character interaction. It was hard to know which author to read because of the bad habits I had picked up in my writing. Until I understood that debut authors “should” follow certain rules, but not necessarily, and edits and critiques were all subjective, I struggled. So much depends on author voice and how compelling the story is written with the reader in mind.

Being afraid to read other authors’ works for fear of plagiarizing was another huge stumbling block I had to overcome. A writer can’t write without reading. Only reading creates an atmosphere for a writer’s words to flow onto the paper. In my case, being a stickler for details and perfection prolonged the release of my first book in the Annalisse Series. I’m one of those constant manuscript editors that critique groups and writing mentors warn debut authors about. I doubt I’ll ever break the habit, but it gives me something else to work on for the remainder of the series.

 

What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

Simply, that we take so much for granted when things go well. Excellent health and happy circumstances need a reality check once in a while. Be thankful every day for those around you—family, friends, and colleagues. In STOLEN OBSESSION, Annalisse experiences a great deal of personal loss. She transforms herself into a more thoughtful person by the end of the novel.

 

Describe your background.

I grew up in an era where a college education wasn’t the be-all-to-end-all. My family couldn’t afford a college degree for my sister and I, and attending a junior college had no appeal for me. I wanted to become a professional artist and felt that a college degree wouldn’t help me achieve my goals. It may have, but I had tired of schooling.

I went to work out of high school as a receptionist, which forced a very shy girl to interact with the general public. I was afraid to try anything new, including driving. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was twenty years old! At the time, I lived with my grandmother. (She’d had a tough time adjusting after my grandfather passed away.) She’d drive me back and forth to work. Shyness was the hardest bridge to cross until I’d worked for several years and gradually built my confidence.

In 1978, I met my future husband on a blind date, set up by my boss’s son. I worked at the Modesto airport for a fixed base operator, and Gregg Bell was in pilot training at our satellite office in Tracy, CA. I was the city girl who loved animals and Gregg had sheep. He lived on acreage and exposed me to the calming rural atmosphere I knew suited me and my art.

Constantly drawing and painting his sheep in the quiet of his little ranchette, put the desire to break away from just any job—to working as a full-time artist on the front burner. I had a business opportunity in the early 1980’s after marrying Gregg, when he suggested I create sheep related stationery and sell it in a catalog. While working full time in Pleasanton, CA, I put drawings onto paper in the office breakroom during lunch. The business even allowed me to ship my products via UPS from their establishment. I studied how to start a sideline mail-order business while I worked.

My husband was climbing the management ladder at the state’s major utility and finally landed a good position in the San Joaquin Valley. A place where I could work for myself full-time. My catalog venture, Ewephoric, became a reality in 1985.

We’ve raised several different breeds of sheep along the way and were heavily involved in helping families and 4Her’s learn how to raise sheep. We grew our flock numbers to 120 head when we made our move to East Texas in 2012. We now raise purebred Horned Dorset sheep exclusively where I use my photography and nature artwork as models on over 200 products. Occasionally, I write articles for animal husbandry magazines regarding sheep health. In many circles, I’m know as, “The Sheep Lady.” Although, my husband still calls me, “The Mail Order Queen.” I love mail order! Both buying and selling.

 

Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

I try to write something every day. Whether it’s in a current work in progress or notes in a word document for future installments in the Annalisse Series. First thing in the morning, I open a book and read. Even if it’s only for a half-hour, I read. Reading keeps my mind untied and unleashes more cohesiveness to my writing.

My first manuscript drafts were done without an outline. This created too many plot lines and plot holes. By the 5th draft of STOLEN OBESSION, my editor recommended an outline before I wrote the next draft. She asked to approve it before the draft. I’m task regimented anyway, and using the outline method made better sense for a writer like myself. The second installment in the Annalisse Series, SPENT IDENTITY, was outlined before work began.

If I have days where the words won’t spill onto the manuscript, I put writing aside and pick up a book. Once I’ve read a few chapters, I can get back to my own work in progress.

 

What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

The complete Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon is strewn across the table of my reading room just off the bedroom. I’m a voracious reader of Karen Rose romantic suspense and those who write in a similar third-person like myself. Before I started the fiction-writing journey, I used to read Nora Roberts romance and a few others like James Patterson, but find it harder to read them these days. I don’t want to pick up the earlier bad habits in my writing, and it still infuriates me how often they write outside the lines for the rest of us!

I’m currently about to dive into, NO EXIT, by Taylor Adams and, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, BY Karin Slaughter.

 

Which authors inspire you?

I’m amazed by Diana Gabaldon’s power to write compelling characters and bring a reader into their minds. I purchase every Karen Rose book as it comes out because she has the uncanny ability to write a wide variety of characters without making them sound the same. Her dialog is excellent and villains admirable.

 

What have you learned from the experience?

I’ve found its okay to write sloppy sentences, move on, and go back to fix them later. Boggy manuscript drafts and editor criticism are part of the process for a good novel. Challenging yourself to work on something completely out of the box is invigorating to the soul!

 

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Just because the process is hard, don’t give up. I’ve found anything that comes easily won’t be worth a damn in the end. It’s the hard stuff, doing the hard things, that makes the journey worthwhile.

Think about something else other than writing when you’re blocked—take a break. Don’t force it when words don’t come. Go outside. Take a walk in nature. Marvel at what’s around you. Take a journal with you and watch people interact with each other. Record their mannerisms and quirks. Use this in your writing and you’ll see an immediate improvement.

 

What are you working on now?

The second book in the Annalisse Series is currently out of outline form and underway. SPENT IDENTITY finds Annalisse in the middle of saving the family farm when a stranger is found dead in one of their barns. Then Annalisse’s aunt, the only living relative with the farm, disappears.

 

 

 

About the Book

Title: Stolen Obsession

Author: Marlene M. Bell

Genre: Romantic Suspense

PEOPLE DIE, BUT LEGENDS LIVE ON.

Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.

Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.

But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?

 

Author Bio

Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

 

Links

Book Trailer

Author Website

Stolen Obsession Book Page From Website

TWITTER:  @ewephoric

FACEBOOK: fb.me/marlenembell

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Book Excerpt Miranda Bay

Book Excerpt

From a sunny beginning it ended a raw day with a blast of winter swooping up the island. Heavy smudged clouds threatening a drenching pressed down on the bay. Only after hours of madness did the wind drop leaving the sky clean, a tangled web of fresh stars naked in winter blackness. Waves had scoured the beach depositing driftwood high on the once sleek shore.
Winter was for seagulls and seals.
Miranda spent the day doodling in her new Reception office. She was trying to decide on a name. Miranda Bay Motel sounded dingy. She wanted signage that would impart a fun holiday experience along with an efficiently run business.
The new sign was duly delivered.
Neville spent a day erecting it. MIRANDA BAY Beach Resort.
Pansy read the sign out loud.
“Try to pronounce it like its font, Pansy,” Miranda laughed. “It’s not Copperplate Gothic.”
With modest building renovations progressing, Miranda considered furnishing options being drawn toward a timeless texture of wool, leather, fur and stone. She wanted the effect of warmth and relaxation, not that she could afford real. But Trade Aid sold vases from Africa, and their faux-fur throws would be cozy. And ethnic wall hangings.
She was full of enthusiasm. And Chianti.

About the Book

Title: Miranda Bay

Author: Susan Tarr

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Miranda, a strong-minded and lovable young woman, splurges her inheritance on the old Miranda Bay Sanatorium in the sub-tropical Bay of Islands, New Zealand, simply because it bears her name. She knows little about running a business and depends heavily on loyal cousin Pansy’s expertise.

In her frantic drive for success Miranda hires a local character to get cracking on the property. Hamilton, her lascivious financial advisor, seizes the opportunity to undermine her. But now with paying guests expected, she must make some serious decisions.

So the guests trickle in – hardly the sophisticates Miranda has envisaged.

At the brink of despair, she experiences deepening depression and manic behavior. She contrives an outlandish economic solution to the problem. What follow is intrigue and terror, and an emotional and tender unfolding of events in the face of financial ruin.

“Witty and wicked, scandalous and scary, this is a story to make you laugh and cry.”

 

 

Author Bio

Susan Tarr has been writing for 25 years, drawing on her international travels, work within the NZ tourism industry, and her work in various psychiatric hospitals within New Zealand.

She lived in Kenya, East Africa, for some years where she began her family.
Although she writes from personal experience, she also uses anecdotal information from conversations and other peoples’ stories, resulting in her characters taking on a life of their own and becoming larger than life. She enjoys a wide variety of personalities.

Susan says, “As I write their stories, my characters will often lead me to places I couldn’t imagine. So I relax and let them form as they will. I am passionate about my writing and I usually have three books on the go at any one time.”

 

Links

Buy the book: Universal Purchase Link

Buy on Amazon: Amazon

Publisher

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