Good morning everyone!
I am delighted to be taking part in a Blog Tour today for The Ghost of Glendale, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. Unfortunately due to my reading schedule I wasn’t able to read and review this title today, but I would encourage anyone interested in the book to check out the other stops on the tour!
About the Book
At twenty-four years old, Phoebe Marcham is resigned to spinsterhood, unwilling to settle for anything less than the deep love her parents had shared. That is, until adventurer Duncan Armstrong rides into her home wood, larger than life and with laughter in his eyes and more charm in his little finger than anyone she’s ever met before. Far from ridiculing her family ghost, Duncan resolves to help solve the mystery which has left Simon Marcham a spirit in torment for two hundred years.
About the Author
Natalie is a published novelist and short story writer whose addiction to the books of Georgette Heyer and love of The Regency have been the inspiration for her latest book, The Ghost of Glendale.
Working on the premise that you never stop learning, she goes to any and every writing event and workshop she can. In addition she attends The Write Place Creative Writing School in Hextable in Kent, one of the rewards for which is an abundant supply of cream cakes to celebrate the frequent successes of its students.
Natalie is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She lives with her husband in southeast London.
If you would like to find out more about the book, or if you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can do so via Amazon.
Don’t forget, there are a number of lovely blogs involved in the tour so please check out their posts and their thoughts about The Ghost of Glendale.
I have been looking forward to this post for so long!
Today I get to share my thoughts with you about StoneKing as part of the ongoing Blog Tour. Thank you to Fiery Seas Publishing and Donna for the opportunity to get involved!
Part of the reason this has been some time in the making was that before February, I hadn’t even read any of the earlier books in this series. So… I had some catching up to do! If there is anyone else new to the series and would like to learn a little more about my thoughts for the prior books in the series, Kinglet and Fiskur, you will note I have kindly (and unashamedly) provided links for my self promo for you to take a look at.
Are you sitting comfortably, ready to see where Kristan’s adventure takes us next?
StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio February 20th, 2018 Fantasy The Gemeta Stone Book 3 Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC
They call him StoneKing: the lord of four countries, the vanquisher of the Wichelord Daazna, the man who will restore his people to prosperity and peace.
But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.
And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.
StoneKing picks up a short while after Fiskur – Kristan’s anointed Reaches are now governing his realm whilst he returns home to Fandrall to restore his birthright.
Yet the StoneKing himself is as broken as the realm, and as he tries to take the troubles from everyone’s shoulders, will he break under the strain? He is certainly a different man. In Kinglet he is a young, strong, altruistic and stereotypically heroic in character – which couldn’t be any further from the truth now. He is physically weak and mentally tested as he struggles to master his magic, whilst everybody else succeeds in trying his patience. It is hardly surprising when the rocky foundations of control crumble, given that Kristan’s Reaches lack the experience required to rule the realm in his stead.
An unexpected journey as a result of a delegation visit and an even more shocking gift is the only reason that Kristan discovers any of the ongoing turmoil; it only goes to show how tenuous his control is.
I am not going to lie – I loved seeing Kristan fall from grace in Fiskur; not that I would wish the trauma he went through on anyone, but there would have been very little scope for character development if he hadn’t. I’m not a huge fan of tropes, some more than others, and I actually love this series more for breaking the stereotype. Nobody is as perfect as Kinglet painted Kristan to be, so the newfound dark elements of his mind and perspective lend a greater depth to his character. At the moment, his all-in-all expression of negativity creates a lot of conflict and uncertainty, but I cannot help but feel it has some greater part to play later on. Who can say, maybe Daazna created the tumultuous monster that will be his undoing?
I would say it helped a great deal that I have read the previous instalments to the series only a short time ago, but I found StoneKing incredibly easy to pick up. Also, given that by the third book the reader understands the fantasy world built by the author, the pace of the book seemed quicker to me. Whilst the text was still beautifully and vividly descriptive, the need to impart detail and explanation was not so prominent and that enabled us to get on with the action. I am not one for spoilers, so you will just have to pick up the book(s) to find this out for yourself!
The one thing that surprised me about the book was the distinct lack of presence of our main antagonist, Daazna. Instead it appears that Kristan has more than one enemy and maybe their future role could become more significant than we know. Personally, I would have liked to see even one chapter dedicated to Daazna. I want to know his plans!! Even just to serve as a reminder that he is still alive!
Much like in Fiskur, we are introduced to a number of new characters. I love Serle, aforementioned “inexperienced squire”. He is only a child, bless him, but I would go so far as to say he is practically incompetent at being a squire. There were times when he irritated Kristan so much and was so deflated at the whole situation that I just wanted to mother him and tell him it was alright. I also loved Nolle and her cheeky side. Even knowing the wrath she would endure from the StoneKing, she still pushed the boundaries far more than she should have. But then she could, because he needed her Wiche power. Both of these characters made refreshing additions and I hope to see more of them in future books.
I cannot wait to see what the next instalment of the series is and what difficulties Kristan and his friends encounter. Having read the first three books and really enjoyed them, I can hand on heart say that I will be following the series through to the end, whenever that may be.
About the Author:
Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. Her award-winning short story, “Yaa& The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing. Social Media: WebsiteFacebookTwitterPinterest
Good morning all on this snowy Sunday!
Thankfully we haven’t had too much snow at low level, but the hilltop views out my window are beautifully white! Have you guys had any snow?
Things have been pretty quiet here again this week as I have been trying to catch up with my March TBR. I didn’t have such a good month for reading in February and ended up nearly a week behind! Safe to say I have caught up with myself now though!!
This week I shared my review of Living on A Rainbow by Calvin Wade, a lovely book that addresses the impact mental illness can have on both individuals and families. It really was an eye-opener.
This week’s reading has been really enjoyable, even if I do say so myself! I started the week having read the first 10 chapters (or thereabouts) of Strange the Dreamer, but I put that to one side as I needed to have StoneKing read this week.
I found StoneKing easy to pick up, having not long read the previous book in this series, Fiskur. I picked this book up on Monday and I finished it by Thursday, so I made good time. I think the pace of the story helped too – I actually found it really easy and enjoyable to read!
Now, Strange the Dreamer. The book I didn’t really intend to read this month. In one fell swoop I created “March of the ARC’s” and broke it, but I don’t regret it. I was picking up the book for the odd sly chapter in between reading StoneKing (because I could and why not?!) – but after finishing StoneKing I threw myself into it. By Friday, I had read about 40% of the book. Yesterday, I didn’t just read the rest of it, I DEVOURED it!! I found myself picking it up again and again and again until I got to the last part late evening. I had to finish it before going to bed. And I did. And I loved it. And it’s all I can do to not read it ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!
I probably will before Muse of Nightmares is released later this year!!!
If you haven’t guessed, based on my excessive exclamation mark use, I may have enjoyed the book. Slightly.
Lastly, I very briefly touched on Beowulf, my next ARC, but not enough to really comment any further at the moment. I have only flicked through the beginning. I don’t anticipate this to be a particularly lengthy read, as a lot of the content is the original, untranslated poem.
The past few weeks I have also been talking about listening to An Almond for A Parrot, but I’ve just realised I haven’t actually made any progress on that this week! Shameful!
I have to wait five months for Muse of Nightmares… FIVE MONTHS?! I am so in love with this duology (and Lazlo, obviously) and I can promise you I will be reading this as soon as I have my hands on a copy in October!
I’ve heard some fantastic things about Children of Blood & Bone lately too, especially from you lovely bloggers out there, so I bought myself a copy earlier today! I cannot wait to read it!! Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on the book!!!
I know my blog has been a little on the scarce side lately, so next week shouldn’t disappoint!
I’m kicking off the week with the much awaited (on my part at least) Blog Tour for StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio. I’ll be reviewing the book tomorrow in the penultimate slot and I would love if you could check that out!
I’ll be publishing another review on Wednesday for Copper Sky by Milana Marsenich, a fictional book illustrating the struggles of both men and women in the small mining town of Butte in 1917. Milana is also working on a guest post, which we are planning on sharing with you all on Thursday!
I also have another post up my sleeve; a few weeks ago I was very kindly nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award by the lovely Larissa! Thank you dear! I haven’t forgotten, so I will get around to this soon, I promise! I am going to try and share this with you all towards the end of the week, but I don’t want to commit in case of timing constraints! If all else fails, I’ll begin the next week with this post!!
So that is *ALL* for now – I look forward to seeing you around!!
Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women out there! I hope you have some lovely plans for today!
I’m off to spend the day with my mum a little later, but for now, here is how my week has gone in all things bookish!
So I kept things reasonably quiet in terms of blog posts as I knew I wanted to get a fair bit of reading done this week. For the first time ever I reviewed an audiobook, The Stand by Stephen King. I have really taken to audiobooks; they are so convenient to listen to if you are up and about doing other things… and that way you still get everything done and the benefit of “reading” at the same time! Win!
I’m actually quite pleased at how much I have managed to read this week. Unfortunately, due to running over in finishing up my last February read, I am a little behind schedule and fingers crossed I can make that time up!
Living on A Rainbow was my last February read, which I finished on Monday. It covers a number of sensitive topics including mental illness, so be warned, but I have to say it is beautifully done. Not only that, watching the MC slowly decline only goes to show that it really can happen to anyone!
On Tuesday I began my March TBR in earnest, with Copper Sky by Milana Marsenich and again, what a beautiful book. It highlights the struggles of living in Butte, a mining town in Montana in 1917. Whilst it also includes the dangers men faced in working in such conditions they did and disasters experienced in the town, it predominantly focuses on the struggles of two women, Kaly and Marika. Kaly is a prostitute who finds herself pregnant and doubting the future of both her and her baby. Marika aspires to be a doctor and fights against her father and the arranged marriage he has planned for her. Without saying too much, I finished this book yesterday I really can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all about it!
I’ve also been listening to An Almond for a Parrot now for the past few weeks and it is so laugh out loud funny, I daren’t listen to it in public in fear of people thinking I am stark raving mad! It’s brilliant! It’s a little more risqué than I would normally “read”, but it is portrayed from a perspective of near innocence (which is funny, since our MC is a “lady of pleasure” to put it politely). You cannot help but laugh!
So, you may have noticed “Strange The Dreamer” up there and thought… what the? That’s not an ARC!! And you would be right – it isn’t. Yesterday, this book was really calling me. It’s been sat on my bookshelf for nearly a year and I keep picking it up, flicking through a few pages and then put it down again, vowing to read it next month. Or the month after. It hasn’t happened so far.
So yesterday, temptation got the better of me. I told myself if I had a productive day and finished reading Copper Sky I would read the first chapter. Naturally, this spurred me on, I got all my housework done and finished Copper Sky in the early evening. After a short break, I made myself a cup of tea and read the first chapter. Then the second, third, fourth… you get it. I ended up reading all of part one, which is about 80 pages worth.
So yes, you could say that I fell off the bandwagon in a way. That being said, if I find a book that I love so wholeheartedly that I cannot put it down, I’m not going to deny myself that! That is what we readers look and secretly hope for.
I’m still going to be fulfilling my ARC reads, but no doubt I’ll be reading this on the side too. I will not wait until next month to pick it up again.. I can tell you that now!
I’ve heard many a good thing about John Grisham’s writing, so when I saw this book discounted last Sunday, I knew had to try one of his books for myself!
Likewise with The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans, the murder mystery element of the book intrigued me, especially since it is set in London 1881, and historic fiction IS one of my favourite genres after all!
This week, I am going to be reviewing my recent read of Living On A Rainbow by Calvin Wade. I touched above on how well the book tackles difficult themes, so if you are interested to know more, please stay tuned for my review on Wednesday!
Again, this week I am keeping it reasonably QT in the hopes of catching up with my reading, but the following week I will be sharing a number of different posts with you!
Happy Sunday everybody!!
I hope you got lots of reading done this week – a lot of people would have had the opportunity with the weather being the way it was. My parents were in Derbyshire and they experienced 8-10 inches of snowfall… and whilst the pictures are lovely I wouldn’t like to be stuck in it!!
Alas, here at home we only had a dusting of snow, so there were no reading days for me this week. *silently wallows in despair*
I could have used the time to finish my February TBR, but never mind. I set myself the target to read five books, but only made it about halfway through book four on the list. That being the case, I’ll have to sincerely apologise to ADSOM fans, because I am going to have to postpone this read for a short while.
Moving on to cheerier topics, I treated you all to two reviews this week! First I posted my review of Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio, in preparation for reading StoneKing for the ongoing Blog Tour. Then on Thursday I took part in another Blog Tour for P.J Reed’s The Torcian Chronicles. I would really appreciate if you could take a look at those if you haven’t already.
Finally on Friday I published a brief Reading List for March, called March of the Arcs! As the name would suggest, this month I am dedicated to reading some ARC’s received. The first book on my list was added at the request of the author, the second a Blog Tour (19th March) and the final three are Netgalley downloads that I have had for shamefully too long!
This week I have been attempting to finish Living On A Rainbow by Calvin Wade. It is the last book that I managed to start in the month, and I am really trying to finish it so as to not set myself too far back for this month. I’m really enjoying it so far though, so hopefully I’ll be able to share my thoughts with you about it soon.
I also made a brief start on Copper Sky by Milana Marsenich, which the author has kindly asked me to read and review. Thank you to both her and OpenBooks for the opportunity and I can’t wait to get stuck in further!
On the audiobook front, I began listening to An Almond for A Parrot yesterday, whilst I was doing my housework of all things. I like to listen to books when I am doing mindless tasks, as it gives you something to concentrate on. I added this book to my TBR last year and it’s perfect to listen to. I love the narrator’s way of voicing characters – she has really brought them to life.
This week I was *reasonably* tame.
By reasonably, I mean I bought two books… but here me out…
Over the next year or more, I am looking to save a lot more money than I do currently. I’m actually quite good at saving normally, but if I am saving for anything “extra” and I don’t see the reward in the near future, I find it more difficult to not spend money for that purpose.
So, knowing what I am like and knowing that I am looking to be saving this money over a long spell, I have decided to set up a reward scheme for myself. I have set myself a savings target every month, starting in April. Basically, if I save my target every month I am going to buy myself a Penguin Classics book as a reward! That way I get to grow my collection and see the benefits of saving my money. I think it’s a good idea and it’ll work for me.
So, finally, to that end, I started my collection to set the wheels in motion with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Next week is blessedly going to be less manic and I am hoping to get plenty of reading done. I only have one post planned for you, which is a review of the first audiobook I listened to – The Stand by Stephen King.
I also hope to invest more time into discovering new blogs to follow this week – so I look forward to reading your posts soon! If anyone is feeling so kind as to post a link to their blog, either here or on my Twitter page, I would greatly appreciate it!!
Mesham sits dejectedly in a tiny garret above an inn, as the lands of Torcia fall to the magically-enhanced army of the infamous Mivirian Horde. One of the last surviving ancient warlocks of Torcia, Mesham knows he is marked for death.
The Torcian king knocks on Mesham’s door later that evening and offers him the chance of rejuvenation in return for a seemingly impossible mission into the heart of Mivir. Mesham reluctantly agrees, only to realise the evil of Mivir has spread to the very top of the Torcian government.
As Mesham undertakes his quest to complete the mission, he finds himself hunted by his king, by the mighty Torcian warbands, and by the Horde.
But he cannot fail, for the fate of Mesham’s beloved Torcia rests in his hands.
I wanted to love this book – I really did.
When given the opportunity to take part I jumped in immediately, as I felt this would be a book right up my street. Theoretically, it is – fantasy is my favourite genre after all!
There are so many great books to choose from, making competition in the genre fierce. There were elements of the book that reminded me of other writers; the adventure undertaken by Mesham and Shadral struck me as rather Tolkien-esque, as the they stumble from pitfall to pothole and fight their way out of every danger lurking around the corner.
This wasn’t the review I had hoped to be writing; I had high expectations for this book, but unfortunately it just didn’t work for me. The plot has promise and I enjoyed the tale, but I struggled most with the way in which it was written.
The biggest make-or-break factor for me is the narration… and I have no qualms in admitting that I am very particular about it too. Some parts were written really well, but there were several I struggled with too. There are places in which the descriptions are repetitive and would benefit from being more concise. I appreciate fantasy requires world-building, but I feel some paraphrasing of descriptions could have achieved that better.
You may think I am pernickety in mentioning this, but whilst reading the book I picked up on a number of inconsistencies and contradictions in the text. I am really sorry to say it, but this is a pet hate of mine. If I read conflicting information to that I’ve been told already, I’m going to go back and check, and that ultimately breaks the reading flow. That makes reading take longer and it feels less of an enjoyable pastime and more of an exercise in concentration.
I think this has promise to be part of a good series that I am sure many others will love, but it turns out this first instalment just wasn’t my cup of tea.
P.J. Reed – Writer of warlocks and other magical creatures.
P.J. Reed is a writer and poet from England. She holds a BAEd from Canterbury Christ Church University and an MA from Bradford University. She has been widely published in anthologies and collections.
P.J. Reed currently lives in Devon, with a handful of teenagers, one feral cat and a dog called Fizz. Social Media Links – Website – http://fantasyworlds.jigsy.com Twitter- https://twitter.com/PJReed_author Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheTorcianChronicles
I’m glad to report a comparatively more successful week this week.
It feels like I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately… so I’ve been trying my best to work out a way to get out of it. Admittedly, I am still working on a couple of ideas, but hopefully this motivational lull doesn’t last too long.
I kept things reasonably quiet on the blog this week, with just of couple of posts shared. The first post, and the only one I had planned to publish was my review of Kinglet by Donna Migliaccio. I have been reading the series in the run up to the Blog Tour of StoneKing, which I am really looking forward to!
I also published an additional post last night, which I hadn’t really anticipated to share at all when I first wrote it last month. I had written it as a way to vent some frustration and it has been playing on my mind ever since. I must have been feeling particularly salty last night, because I finally decided to share my opinion (be it wanted or not). If you want to take a look at my heated ramblings and perhaps have a giggle or two, take a look at my Unpopular Advice for Authors post here.
I started off this week finishing Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio. As I mentioned above, I am making my way through The Gemeta Stone series in readiness for the third instalment, which has just been published!
Next I moved onto The Torcian Chronicles by P. J. Reed, and I am going to be perfectly honest and say that I ended up skim-reading this as I am reviewing it for a Blog Tour next week. I don’t want to say too much prematurely, so if you are interested in what I have to say on this, check out my upcoming review.
Lastly, I have started reading Living on A Rainbow by Calvin Wade. I downloaded this book a few months ago when you could access it for free and I am currently about 30% through at the moment.
Before this week I had never heard of Don Quixote. I only came across it when I was watching a fellow bloggers YouTube channel and she was discussing reading it for her university studies!
I then read up a little more about this mammoth of a book and decided I wanted to add it to my list of classics I wanted to collect.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a book I distinctly remember borrowing from the school library years ago. I don’t ever remember ACTUALLY reading it though…
I used to do that a lot.
I’ve decided that I should also pick up this iconic book at least once in my lifetime.
Next week is going to be a busier one on the blog!
I am taking part in a cover reveal tomorrow for Breachers by Anthony Thomas, a science fiction novel being published later this year. Also going to state my intentions here and say that it sounds like it’s right up my street. I hope there is a blog tour for it later on this year, as I would love to take part!
I have two reviews to share this week – on Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on Fiskur, the second book of The Gemeta Series and on Thursday I am reviewing The Torican Chronicles. I hope you can join me for those!
We are also welcoming in a new month this week, so I will be sharing my reading list with you all on Friday!!
What books are you looking forward to reading?
Today I am excited to be taking part in a Blog Tour for Triple Cross Killer, by Rosemarie Aquilina, organised by Fiery Seas Publishing.
This is the first time I have written a review as a part of a tour, and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you all!
Triple Cross Killer By Rosemarie Aquilina Fiery Seas Publishing December 5, 2017 Thriller
Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo iTunes
Book Trailer: here
Have you ever wondered what really happens to Santa Claus letters? In Detroit and Sarasota some children’s letters are diverted and reviewed by Nick Archer, a religiously obsessed, narcissist. Nick responds, leaving a trail of devastation in the two cities.
In Detroit, co-ed partners and wise-cracking lovers, detectives Jaq McSween and David Maxwell, team up with Sarasota detectives Abel Mendoza and his partner, Rabbit, to find this daunting killer.
When Jaq’s friend, the lovely nurse, Rita Rose, takes a chance on love again, she gets caught in Nick’s web. Working with the ME, she joins in, adding her perspective when events take a sinister turn.
Can this diverse team of characters pool their insights, barbs, and taste for bad food to save Rita when she discovers the final clues or will she become the next victim?
Christmas is a time when children get to ask the man in the big red suit for their greatest desires… a new bike, toys and such. Some children end up getting a whole lot more than they bargained for…
When murder victims start turning up in two cities, it is a race against time to catch the killer before he escalates any further. Leaving distinctive marks on his victim, though no other trace as to his identity, will Jaq and David, with the help of Abel and Rabbit catch the killer before Christmas?
I love how we know the killer’s identity from the start; it makes a refreshing change from a typical “who dunnit” crime/thriller story. I would argue that this is more difficult to achieve, yet is executed flawlessly here. Rosemarie’s background is obviously a huge contributor to developing each and every character and exposure to such personalities is what makes both the plot and the characters feel so genuine.
God bless Rita – I feel so sorry that she ends up being involved with Nick. After her first marriage deteriorated she avoided the complications of another relationship for so long… and then when she finally does take the plunge, she ends up with this narcissist. Could she be this unlucky twice in a row by chance? Perhaps not…
Nick experienced a rough childhood. Being brought up in a family with an abusive father left it’s scars. As an adult, Nick adopts his extreme religious views and strives to protect children and their innocence from similar domestic issues. If I had to describe Nick to you three words, I wouldsay he is cold, calculated and clinical. No detail is missed. His planning is meticulous.
I think the book was also well paced – information is fed to you at the right points to keep intrigue peaked but not to give the whole game away. Naturally as the puzzle pieces fit together the full picture is unraveled, but there are a few surprises along the way! Just when you think you have everything sussed out there is a plot twist to pull the carpet out from underneath your feet!
Rita is a fantastic character. Maybe I relate to her more as she is a compassionate woman, who has unfortuntely been trodden into the dirt by so many people that she doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Whilst there are times I really wanted to shake her and make her see past Nick’s charm and understand what a controlling man he really is, I can see why she acted the way she did. Wanting someone to love and to be loved is not a crime, and when she decides to take a chance on Nick, she falls for him hard. Love is blind, so they say. There are a number of small sections in which I was praying nobody was looking over my shoulder at work (thankfully nobody did), but I do think they were essential to the story in conveying the control Nick has over Rita – physically and emotionally.
Personally, I am very picky about books around the crime or thriller genre. They have to be written very well and have developed plots in order to compete within a large market. I can proudly say I loved Triple Cross Killer, and I have no doubt that it will hold its own. I wish Rosemarie every success with the book, because I think all the praise is deserved.
Congratulations on the book release, and thank you for the opprtunity to read and review Triple Cross Killer!
About the Author:
Rosemarie Aquilina is the mother of five children. Elected as a 30th Circuit Court Judge serving in the General Trial Division, after having served as a 55th District Court Judge in Mason, Michigan, she takes pride in public serve.
In 1986, Judge Aquilina became the first female JAG Officer in the history of the Michigan Army National Guard, she retired in 2006 with twenty years Honorable Service. She is an adjunct law professor at both Western Michigan University—Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Michigan State University College of Law and has earned teaching awards at both institutions. Judge Aquilina is the former owner of Aquilina Law Firm, PLC, and former host of a syndicated radio talk show called Ask the Family Lawyer.
Roll the Dice was published on November 28th, so I think I can speak for all book bloggers in congratulating Wayne for all his hard work. You can breathe a sigh of relief because it has all paid off!
Just how hard is it to get that first draft manuscript into a published novel? I was given the opportunity to ask the author about his experience…
“Both processes: writing a novel and retaining a publisher were time-consuming, circuitous, thrilling roller-coaster rides with uncertain twists and turns. I landed on terra firma and delighted to share the emotions of those rides. I overcame the obstacles and now revel in the ultimate victory for an aspiring author—my novel Roll the Dice will be published November 28 by Fiery Seas Publishing.
My novel’s main protagonist is Tyler Sloan, a rock star who exits the stage to campaign for the United States Senate. Sloan has a complicated and difficult relationship with his father Mike, who was a nationally famous politician. The novel has plot lines with intrigue, corruption and sexual tension between Sloan and his young, attractive media advisor Bree Baker. A quick plug—the novel is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and in selected bookstores.
The first novels I remember reading were Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. I love that genre, but the “write what you know” cliché is accurate. I have no knowledge of that world; or the nuances of crimes and police work that Michael Connelly skillfully explores in many of his novels. I do not hold the passion to create a fictional world such as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.
I have been an attorney for more than two decades and volunteered in my first political campaign when I was 17. Before I graduated college, I was the campaign manager for a successful Los Angeles City Council campaign. I managed another victorious campaign and served on the staffs of those two Council members, including as Chief of Staff. I later served on two government commissions and in other roles in politics and government.
As an attorney, I draft legal documents, but needed guidance to write fiction. It is not a skill set taught in law school. I attended UCLA Extension courses on fiction writing. I would encourage any aspiring author to attend classes, review online material, read books or view YouTube videos of a host of tutors, my choice is best-selling author Michael Levin, who skillfully explains the writing process.
The most important recommendation is to simply keep writing. The goal is to write daily. Just keep going. I jotted down notes of interesting phrases, observations, and people I met. Exaggerate, combine, twist, mold and mangle these qualities for your novel.
Writing the book consumed years of my life. I never suffered from “writer’s block,” but my legal practice is a time-consumptive occupation. I rewrote Roll the Dice many times; it was an illusion when I thought the work was completed.
When I thought the novel was completed, I entered the manuscript in online book contests. I survived the initial cuts in Amazon’s CreateSpace contest, but did not proceed as far as I hoped. With my confidence muted, I did some research.
I went online and to the bookstore to acquire ideas on fine-tuning a novel. I rewrote it, tightened it, reduced a character or two, combined or eliminated scenes and once again, thought I was ready. The novel was completed. It was done.
My first real success was when the manuscript was named one of the year’s best unpublished manuscripts in a Kirkus Reviews contest. The novel was completed. Now it was done.
I had a fortuitous meeting with a friend, a former executive at two major studios. I described the plot and main characters and asked for his input. He suggested one substantial change; that the deceased father of my protagonist Tyler Sloan be alive and become a major character. This one change added significant conflicts throughout the book. I rewrote it again. Once again, I was now certain the novel was done.
I sought out a literary agent. Cue the drumroll— the Rejection Process began. I reminded myself that the best-selling authors of our time were rejected. John Grisham was rejected by 16 publishers and J.K. Rowling nearly matched it with 15 rejections. The Beatles were rejected numerous times. One Decca Records executive passed, and informed their manager Brian Epstein, that “guitar groups are on their way out.” Good call.
I only needed one agent and braced myself for the expected deluge of rejections. I was not disappointed. One rejection was humorous. An agent took some time to write on my query letter which was on my legal stationary, that he would, “never represent an attorney as an author.” No profanity, but his comments were laced with insults as to the honesty of my profession. That agent was likely to be pleased to reject: Grisham, David Baldacci, Scott Turow, Meg Gardiner, Linda Fairstein and countless other attorney-authors. You have to smile.
More than one agent expressed an interest and I retained New York-based, Linda Langton of the Langton Literary Agency. Linda is perfect; supportive, smart and patient. I was once again certain the novel was complete.
Linda was pleased, but believed the manuscript needed an editor to be commercially viable. After the editor’s comments, I once again rewrote Roll the Dice. One bit of advice to all aspiring authors; accept the input of a skilled professional. I gladly accepted Linda’s advice and the editor greatly enhanced the manuscript. With her guidance, the manuscript was transformed into a finished work. The novel was now ready to be published.
I was very fortunate to have a skilled literary agent who located Fiery Seas Publishing to publish my first novel. I have enjoyed a varied career in politics and law; however, the satisfaction of a publisher believing in my work ranks among my most satisfying career achievements.
I admit that even holding the book in my hand, there are times when I would revise certain sentences or phrases. However, the novel is now complete.”
About the Author:
Wayne Avrashow was the campaign manager for two successful Los Angeles City Council campaigns and a Deputy/Chief of Staff to those two elected City Council members. He served as a senior advisor for a successful city-wide referendum in the City of Los Angeles, co-authored ballot arguments on Los Angeles County-wide measures, served as Chairman for a Los Angeles County ballot measure, and was a Los Angeles government Commissioner for nearly twenty years. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Yaroslavsky Institute, a public policy institute founded by long time Southern California elected official, and now UCLA professor, Zev Yaroslavsky.
His background in politics, government, business, and law provides unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns.
Wayne is a practicing attorney who specializes in government advocacy, real estate, and business law. Formerly, he was an officer in two real estate development firms. As a lawyer-lobbyist, he has represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at his law school and taught at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. He has also authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers, legal, business, and real estate publications. In addition, he is the author of a self-published book for the legal community, Success at Mediation—10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys.
Today I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in a blog tour, arranged by Fiery Seas Publishing. As a part of the tour, I am glad to provide you with an excerpt from Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio, which has just been published this month!
Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio November 7th, 2017 Fantasy The Gemeta Stone Book 2 Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC
With his family’s talisman in his possession, Kristan Gemeta is ready to face the Wichelord Daazna – but he has no inkling of the scope of Daazna’s power, nor the depths of his hatred.
With the recovery of his family’s protective talisman, Kristan Gemeta has found hope, courage – and perhaps even the first stirrings of love. With the aid of Heather Demitt, her band of rebels, a shipload of Northern brigands and the legendary Kentavron, he readies himself to face the Wichelord Daazna. But neither he nor his comrades realize the strength of Daazna’s power and hatred. The Wichelord’s first blow comes from a direction Kristan least expects, with horrific, lasting consequences.
FISKUR EXCERPT #4
From Chapter 17
Kristan swung. It was an efficient sideways blow that severed the boy’s head and sent it flying. For a breath or two the boy’s body stayed upright, twitching and spurting blood, then fell back. Kristan stood over him. His knees buckled for an instant, but then he recovered. He stooped and carefully wiped his sword on the boy’s blanket, then straightened up and looked at his friends. “That’s all,” he said, and sheathed his sword.
Melissa’s hands went to her mouth. Nigel made a sound of revulsion and averted his eyes. “Astéria mou –” Torrin started to say.
Kristan’s face twisted into a snarl. “Do you object? Should I have let him go, so he could tell Daazna where to find us?”
“He was just a boy –” Melissa whimpered.
“You chose to come with me. All of you. No one forced you. No one ordered you.”
Olaf put out one hand, as if to pat him on the shoulder. “Now, Fiskur –”
Kristan threw up his own hand to ward of Olaf’s touch. “Don’t touch me. I’m sick of being mollycoddled; sick of being challenged. I will do what I must. If any of you don’t like it, then you can go your own way, do you hear me?”
He wheeled and strode off. Silenced by his outburst, they followed him back to their horses, tethered some distance away. They mounted up and continued north through the night, wordless and miserable.
As the sun rose, the woods around them grew unpleasantly still. Heather was sticky with sweat but left her hood on and her sleeves rolled down against the biting flies that swarmed around them. Near noon they paused to eat and rest, but no one had much appetite, and the flies and heat made sleeping impossible.
“How much further?” Torrin asked as they broke camp again.
“A day and a half…maybe two,” Kristan murmured thickly. He dragged himself into Malvo’s saddle. “We lost time when we doubled back.” Sun and shadow…shadow and sun…
As they journeyed on, Heather closed her eyes against the flickering light. The muffled clop of hooves, the creak of saddles and the jingling of tack blended into a monotonous drone; half asleep, she thought of O Tópos, its vineyards and sun-warmed clusters of grapes, orchards full of meaty, succulent cherries and crisp sweet melons on the vine. She thought of walking barefoot on the cool green grass of the promenade; she remembered Kristan’s hand stroking her hair. How long ago it seems, she thought, a lifetime ago. We were children, we were pure. Daazna took that from all of us. We’ll never be that innocent again.
Tears stung behind her closed lids. One squeezed free and rolled down her left cheek, and as it did, she felt a breath of cool air along its track. She opened her eyes. Daylight was fading. A gust of wind rattled the leaves overhead. Beyond them the sky was thick with scudding greenish clouds.
“Storm,” Olaf said. “You can smell it coming in from the west.”
“How soon?” Torrin asked over his shoulder.
A spat of rain landed on Heather’s hand, another on her face.
“Right now,” Olaf said.
I hope you all enjoyed that little snippet of the book! If you would like further details of the book, the links are provided below! Buy Links: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ iBooks About the Author:
Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing. Social Media: WebsiteFacebookTwitterPinterest
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My name is Rebecca; welcome to my humble little blog.