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Review: Cocktails with a Dead Man by Joe Albanese

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingFive out of five quills ~~~  A Review reviews, authors, writing

 

 

Cocktails with a Dead Man  (a book of poetry) is honest, hard hitting,  marvelous and humorously clever.

With other poems in this book, the laughs are nonexistent. Albanese’s writing reflects situations (Anniversary Dinner) too painful to face head on. Love torn asunder. (We Need To Talk) Loss and heartbreak we mortals think we cannot survive. A nice mix of  despair and irony; my perfect cup of tea.  Later in the book is a poem about our dreams of fame as writers. What writers will ‘settle for’ so we can continue to write. (Moonlight Serenade)

If Albanese keeps writing poetry, we just might have another Charles Bukowski on our hands.  This reviewer certainly hopes so. 

Writers will smile and groan as I did, when reading Sensory Adaptation. When the writing  stalls (‘writer’s block’ are words not allowed in this household) and the page remains blank this excerpt of poetry rings with all the frustration and truth we writers feel at times.

Sensory Adaptation ©

Tick-tock, tick-tock
The page is still blank
Writing at the dining room
table
I hear the clock in the family
room to my left
Tick-tock, tick-tock
I hear the clock in the living
room to my right
I hear the clock in the family
room to my left, ticking
at opposing half-seconds
Tick-tick, tock-tock
Tick-tick, tock-tock
120 per minute
30 minutes
3,600 ticks
All I see is white
The cursor blinks
Tick-blink-tick
Tock-blink-tock…

Joe told me, “I allow myself to write shit, then come back and rewrite slightly less shit. Repeat until not shit.” In my opinion, he doesn’t publish work that still contains shit, only distilled…wonderful…poetry.
 
I am looking forward to interviewing Joe soon.
To Purchase 
Release date, January 15th
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  MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
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Book Review ~ The Best of Us by Robyn Carr

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing
5 out of 5 quills   ~~  A Review

 

Robyn Carr writes with a casual flaire that makes the reader feel like they’re sitting in a comfy chair, by a crackling fire, wearing warm socks.

I am a huge fan of the Sullivan’s Crossing series and this latest contribution is a winner. At least three love stories are woven together like a fine tapestry in The Best of Us. Catching up to what’s been happening to the recurring characters in her stories is like running into some good friends  you haven’t seen in a while. While a new character drives the whole story when she meets and falls for Rob Shandon, the pub owner.

And the writing is without a misstep. A perfect blend of encounters, conflicts, reunions and  happy endings. Bubbling along like a happy creek, you hardly know you’ve finished the book and are left wanting the next in the series….right now!

Released January 8th so get your copy now!

Did you miss my Interview with Robyn? Click here
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss. February:  Patrick Canning and March: Poet, Joe Albanese
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Interview with author, Molly Gloss

TS. Molly likes to brag (just a little) that on her mother’s side, she’s fourth generation Oregonian, from German immigrants. On her father’s side she’s fourth-generation Texan, as her great grandmother  was the first white child born in Irion County, Texas. She is widowed with one son and was recently blessed with a new grandson!  She says, “Why didn’t anyone tell me how magical this would be?! Oh, right, they did tell me, I just wasn’t listening!” She’s been writing full-time since  1980. “I’m a slow writer, but I’ve managed to eke out six novels and about 20 short stories.” She currently lives in Portland, Ore. 

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo of you at work in your shed, room, closet, barn, houseboat….) Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

Writing….

MG. I like to be comfortable. I wrote The Jump-Off Creek in longhand while sitting in my favorite overstuffed chair. When desktop computers became the thing, I wrote while sitting at a desk, but I never loved it, and now I write on a laptop, sitting on the living room sofa with my feet propped up on an ottoman and the laptop literally in my lap.

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

MG. Nope. I open the file I’m working on, reread the last few pages, and go to work wrestling with the next sentence. But I do have to have my favorite Roget’s Thesaurus close to hand. And also The American Thesaurus of Slang. Good for finding just the right period-perfect term for historical fiction.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

MG. I have never lived on the “dry side” of the West where many of my novels and stories are set. I grew up on the “wet side” and live here still, in a suburban townhouse at the edge of Portland.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

MG. I try to write from post-breakfast to pre-dinner, with a short break for lunch, but that schedule can vary greatly now that I live alone and have no children or husband or dog to contend with. Now sometimes I surprise myself by writing late at night. But it’s a sad irony that I do have more trouble sticking to a set schedule now that I have more time to write. When I had a family at home and had to keep up the housework, the grocery shopping, the gardening, making meals, etc, I was more disciplined about squeezing my writing into the available time. Now I’ve become a procrastinator!

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

MG. Speaking of which! I’m not the best person to give this advice, as I’ve become a terrible procrastinator myself, horribly addicted to the lure of the internet. I had to go away to a place without wifi in order to finish my last novel. Perhaps that’s my advice? Disconnect from wifi!

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

MG. More often than not, a new character arises out of research for a previous novel. In researching for The Jump-Off Creek, which is a novel about a single woman homesteader, I came upon Teresa Jordan’s book of oral histories, COWGIRLS: WOMEN OF THE AMERICAN WEST, and there for the first time heard about young girls traveling the countryside breaking horses during the nineteen-tens, and my character Martha Lessen in THE HEARTS OF HORSES arose out of that research. And then while I was researching the history of horse training for that novel, I fell into a cache of material about how horses were trained (and misused) in the Western movies of the 1930s, and that was the beginning of my character Bud Frazer, a Hollywood stunt rider in FALLING FROM HORSES.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

MG. I’ve always wanted to write. I was a voracious reader and I think I’ve often been driven by a desire to write the story I couldn’t find on the library shelves.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

MG.They are intertwined. The character doesn’t exist for me until I know what sort of situation they are in. And the situation doesn’t mean anything to me unless I can see how it impacts a particular person.

Don’t miss Part two of this Interview on January 25th
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss. February:  Patrick Canning and March: Poet, Joe Albanese
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

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New Journal for Your Baby & You

   My Baby & Me ~~~  A Journal for new Mommies and Moms-to-be

 

This journal is for you, Mother-to-Be. To write your thoughts and your feelings for your unborn child. Maybe write a few letters to your baby.

Pregnant women and new mothers inspired this author to create a journal just for them. To record their thoughts and dreams. What they first thought when they found out they were pregnant. What they experienced when they first felt their baby move. What the mother thought when she held her baby for the first time. There are wonderful quotes about pregnancy and motherhood on each page. There are pages where the mother can write letters to her unborn child. Two hundred-fifty+ lined blank pages just for you, Mom.

Great Gift idea!!

Available at all Book stores and online

 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

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The Euphemism Treadmill…

John McWhorter

I recently saw an interview (too short) with John McWhorter, linguist, teacher and author. He spoke of our euphemism treadmill and how it relates to our everyday speech and language. I was fascinated! 

If you follow me, with any regularity, you know that not only is my chief craft writing, but I am also fascinated with words, their origins, our slang, our euphemisms, and colloquialisms. If we step off the euphemism treadmill, or never get on in the first place, we are quickly unplugged by what people around us are saying.  I give you an example:  I recently wrote another play for teens and I thought, ‘opps, I’d better check teen euphemisms/slang just in case it’s changed since I last used such words as: ridiculous, sick, cool, etc.’ Yep! They’d left me in the dust…none of these words were ‘cool’ anymore.  

Teen Slang 2018

Woke – as being aware, and “knowing what’s going on in the community.” It also mentions its specific ties to racism and social injustice.
Bruh–A casual nickname for “bro”

Idts.–I don’t think so
Ngl– not gonna lie
Fam–Their closest friends
GOAT–Acronym for “Greatest of all time!”
TBH–Acronym for “To be honest”
It’s lit–Short for “It’s cool or awesome!”
I’m weak–Short for “That was funny!”
Hundo P–Short for 100% sure or certain
Gucci–Something is good or cool
Squad–Term for their friend group
Bae–Short for “baby.” It’s used as a term of endearment for a significant other such as a girlfriend or boyfriend. As an acronym, it stands for “Before Anyone Else.”
Curve–To reject someone romantically
Low Key–A warning that what they’re saying isn’t something they want everyone to know
Salty–To be bitter about something or someone
Skurt–To go away or leave
Throw shade–To give someone a nasty look or say something unpleasant about them.
Straight fire–Something is hot or trendy
Sip tea–To mind your own business
Thirsty–Being desperate for something

Writers: Be judicious and thoughtful when you use slang or euphemisms in y our writing. It can quickly turn into lazy writing. 

My blog is filled with word craft, origins of words, slang, and euphemisms. My least favorite euphemism is Snap! = a concise, or biting remark was just delivered. And ‘no problem that has replaced ‘you’re welcome’ as the universal response to ‘thank you’.  Hate it!

My favorite will always be the post about Mr. Crapper, the plumber. 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

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Book #9 in the World of Murder Series

This series, beginning with Brush with Murder follows two seasoned murder cops through the five boroughs of New York City. True crime in the tradition of the old masters of mystery.  But with excellent forensics and twenty-first century policing.  Add to that a shiny, new detective for the team.

Triad of Murder is Book #9 and while it stands alone the author recommends that the reader start at the beginning. 

In this newest offering, two lovers are shot in the head but there’s no gun at the crime scene. It can’t be murder/suicide with no gun. This looks more and more like a double homicide. Or does it? Then Detectives O’Roarke, Garcia and Sneed are called to a potential homicide with no victim.  Liquor, jealousy, machismo and a few rocks…but does it add up to murder? Phoebe Sneed is a bright and shiny new detective taking over as the lead detective for the first time. Her case has too many bullets, too many perps and too many witnesses.

Inspired by true crime case files.  “You can’t make this stuff up!”

Available in all fine bookstores and online. 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

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Guest Blog by author, Rick Lenz

‘Delete’ Clever ~~ Make Room for Honesty ~~ by Rick Lenz, author

When I was a young writer, I made my living as an actor. During the first half of my acting career things went well. I tried to be as honest as I could in my work, but when I was offstage or off-camera, it seemed to me the best thing I could do was to be “cool.”

Between jobs, I worked hard on my notion of who I was and wanted to be. Without knowing that’s what I was doing, I convinced myself I had an image to build and protect. Like many young professionals, I thought it was important to be clever. If I said a cynical thing and got an appreciative laugh that was the kind of thing I wanted to learn to say more often. I was “hip.” On the surface anyway, there were very few things cooler than being hip.

The word isn’t used much anymore, but I desperately wanted to be and stay hip. When you’re young, people often seem to react positively when something cutting, or biting, or just plain mean is said at someone else’s expense. Often, I’m afraid, that’s a fair definition of what “hip” was at the time and “cool” often is now.

Those things wear thin very fast. A constant onslaught of clever soon gets to be something you want to turn away from. Clever too often turns out to be cruel.

Meanwhile, my writing, which became more and more important to me, suffered from the fact that I’d spent much of my adult life trying to invent my cool and clever self, the artificial me. It turned out that persona—for me—was not only an uncomfortable place to live, it was an alienating way to be a writer—and a writer cannot afford to alienate his reader. For years my writing suffered from that voice.

If you’re cruel, cruelty is what will come back to you. The wisest voices of the ages have not said, “Judge not lest God will judge you.” They’ve said, “Judge not that you be not judged.”

It’s not some outer power that’s going to come after you, seeking retribution. It’s you yourself, who will unconsciously (in most cases) know for sure that payback is coming your way. And it will get you and it will pay you back. In kind.

It took me far too long to learn that the most important thing I could do toward becoming a good writer was to be Don Quixote “In search of honor.” One of the synonyms my dictionary gives for “honor” is “mark of respect.”

It’s a wonderful thing to give your reader a “mark of respect.”

That does not mean that you can’t be witty or funny or even clever when that’s called for. But underneath whatever it is, readers deserve one thing from us beyond our professional due diligence: our respect.

Come back for my Interview with Rick in March ’19

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

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Interview with author, Jayne Ann Krentz (Part 2)

Q:  How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

A: Before I got this cool writing gig I did time in the corporate and academic worlds so I often use elements from those experiences in my plots.  I’m convinced that every writer has a core story. We spend our careers exploring it.  My core story is romantic suspense—a murder mystery entwined with a passionate relationship.  I love that combination.  The love story raises the stakes in the suspense and the danger raises the stakes in the romance.  When I plot I try to make sure that every twist in the suspense affects the relationship and vice versa.  This is true across the three time zones in which I set my stories:  historicals, contemporaries and futuristics.

When I was growing up my formative books included Nancy Drew and Andre Norton.  But it wasn’t until I graduated from college that I came across the book that changed my life:  Anne McCaffrey’s RESTOREE.  Looking back, I think it’s clear that she pretty much invented the futuristic romantic suspense novel with that one book.

Q: Have you or do you want to write in another genre? 

A: There has always been plenty of room for my stories in the romance genre. In my opinion it is the least confining of all the genres. The others all seem to have rather strict conventions and expectations—writers violate them at their peril.  But there is plenty of scope for storytelling within romance.  The settings can be historical, contemporary, futuristic or paranormal. The sexuality can be sweet or intense. The suspense can be anything from a serial killer thriller to a cozy plot.  Romance writers are  free to deal with almost any social issue.  No limits, really.  All that is expected is a romantic relationship and the HEA.  Works for me.

Q. What’s your down time look like?

JAK. I was recently introduced to boxing as a workout and fell in love with it. Which is a good thing because  I love to cook AND eat and, therefore, I need the workout!

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

JAK. Nope.  As has been noted, the paper book is still the simplest and best way to preserve information and stories because it can survive hundreds of years.  Our technology, on the other hand, evolves so fast that anything preserved in that format will probably be impossible to read even a hundred years from now. 

Q. What makes a writer great? 

JAK. Voice. It’s impossible to define but in the end it is the only thing that really matters.  If the writer’s voice is not compelling readers will not finish the book.  But here’s the sticky part — no two readers respond to a book in the exact same way.  Everyone brings something different to a book and everyone takes something different away.  Readers will fall in love with a lot of different voices over the years. 

Q. and the all-important:  What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?  

A. One scene at a time. 

Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

A:  Figure out your core story early on.  Every writer in every genre has one.  It has nothing to do with a particular fictional landscape.  It is all about the emotions and themes and values that compel you as a writer.  Once you truly understand your core story you will realize that you can take it into any genre.

Did you miss Part I of this wonderful Interview? Click here

Untouchable will be on sale January 8, 2019
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

 

Did you Know?

The entire collection of World of Murder is now available in AUDIO books. Listen to these true crime thrillers fromWorking successfully with an illustrator
book 1 to book 7. 

Art of Murder 
Dance of Murder
Act of Murder
Angel of Murder
Taste of Murder
Bridge of Murder
Video of Murder 

Coming Soon! Shadow of Murder

Audio Samples of Bridge of Murder & Video of Murder 
Narrator: Daniel Dorse

Available on Audible.com, Amazon.com, & iTunes.com

Interview with author, Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Amanda Quick)

TS. I have been buying and reading Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick (pseudonym  for her period pieces) for more than three decades and am one of her biggest fans. Since 2013 I have been requesting an interview from this author and finally the stars aligned and Santa granted my wish. Wink. It is my honor to share with my fans, writers and readers this fascinating look into Jayne Ann’s writing processes and down time. 

Q:  Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?   Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

JAK: I like to write in my office.  It’s my refuge, retreat and comfort zone.  That said, I can—and do—write just about anywhere—on a plane, on vacation, etc.  Writing is an addiction for me.  No matter where I am or what I’m doing there’s a story going on in my head.  I can make notes, work through plot issues, and jot down ideas with a pen and a yellow notepad but I do my most creative writing on a computer because I’m fast with a keyboard.  That means my fingers can keep up with my thoughts.  Every morning when I sit down to write I send up a personal “thank you” to the teacher who taught that touch typing class back in high school!

Q:  Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

JAK:  No special rituals, well, except coffee.   I just need my computer and a keyboard and a cup of coffee.  I also need solitude.  I know a lot of authors write to music but I can’t do that.  My brain starts going in two different directions, one part following the music, the other trying to focus on the writing.  Guess I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

Q:  Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

JAK:  Nope.  Okay, I love to shop at Nordstroms (Seattle, Washington) and I love to cook vegetarian/low carb but those two passions are not exactly secrets. Everyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram knows that much about me. (and apparently also loves to crawl around in Lava craters.)

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

JAK:  I’m definitely a morning person. I get up around five am. My husband and I love our breakfast routine which includes coffee, cottage cheese, peanut butter on rye crisp and three different newspapers.  After the papers, I take my last cup of coffee to my office.  I’m usually at my computer by six-thirty at the latest.  I write fairly steadily until noon with a one hour break at some point for working out.  Afternoons are for the other things that go with writing—untangling plot problems, figuring out motives, checking research, and, oh, yeah, real life.


Fun Fact
: Is there any fan out there that doesn’t know that Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick are one in the same??

 

Join us for Part 2 on December 21st

Untouchable will be on sale January 8, 2019

Coming Soon!  My Review of Untouchable

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase