Finding Emma by Steena Holmes

What an emotional story of a women whose younger daughter has gone missing. Emma has been missing for two years and Meagan’s life is falling apart all around her desperately wanting her daughter back. Will she find her? Does she save her family from falling apart? Read this story and find out!
Steena Holmes does a fabulous job with the character building and writing about the human condition these characters find themselves facing.

An intense, heart- wrenching story that will change you. I rated this book four star.

Stephanie 

Interview with Author David Ross

1. Who or what inspired you to become an author?

A: I have been writing since the age of nine, so an actual inspiration source is pretty hard to identify. Jumping ahead in my personal timeline, I remember reading a few pretty influential novels during high school – Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace, Lord of the Flies, Catch 22 and others. These books were highly stimulating and sent me along the path to future writing efforts. In college (1972) I entered a creative writing program and had some valuable one-on-one tutoring. I was introduced to authors such as John Fowles and Thomas Pynchon. I was also reading Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, John Updike and others at the time. In my thirties and forties I did a lot of traveling, crossing the ocean (Atlantic and Pacific) more than 30 times during a ten year period. I visited over thirty countries – many more than once – which was also a huge influence on my writing. Overall, the answer is many faceted, but in short I think I was born to write and hardly remember a time when it did not feel natural putting pen to paper, so to speak.

2. Please tell us a little about your book, “The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans.”

A: Ah, Fizzy Oceans, my dear friend! Fizzy is admittedly my alter ego. I think it is my best book to date, the book I have been trying to write for nearly 50 years, the one I always knew I had inside me that begged to come out. The novel spans centuries, reaching back into the past and also far into the future. It imagines a world where we can manifest our deepest dreams and longings instantly, where ideas (not money) are the currency in which we deal, where art and literature are highly treasured, where anything is possible. But it also imagines a physical world – our world – that is in danger of ecological collapse. Fizzy is a thinker, a traveler, an adventurer, an entrepreneur, an archivist. And she also thinks she has a few answers for what ails our world. Perhaps that is a bit presumptuous on my part, but I think that is ultimately a writer’s privilege. Ideas are indeed our commerce, so I take the liberty of making some rather radical suggestions toward solving some of our most challenging problems. I think Fizzy is not only a girl for all seasons, but perhaps ahead of her time. And yet, her own alter ego, Amy Birkenstock, is very much a real girl in the real world with some of the very real (and very common) problems of our time. The book is hard to capsulize, but I think it comes together once the reader can suspend his commitment to the literal and plunge headlong into Fizzy’s virtual (and quite metaphorical) world. The book took me three and a half years to write, and I am very, very proud of it.

3. Out of all the characters you have written created. Who is your favorite and why?

A: Obviously, Fizzy Oceans is near and dear to my heart. But I am also quite close to Doran Seeger in my Books XENOS and A WINTER GARDEN. He is a true seeker. Julian Crosby (CALICO PENNANTS) is a hapless and unlikely hero who finally musters the courage to salvage his life and his future. I value vision and courage. And there is one other as well: Hermes Hawthorne, a fifteen-year-old kid in my novel HOW HIGH THE WALL. Hermes is a real hero, and I really like genuine heroes.

4. What is your next book project?

A: Not sure. When I finished Fizzy Oceans a year an a half ago I was pretty convinced I would not write any more novels. I felt I had said it all, so to speak. But now I don’t know. I’m tossing around an idea I had 13 years ago that came to me while visiting the Island of Karpathos in Greece. I met some people there who literally acted out what I thought might be a terrific novel. (Talk about a Greek chorus!) All these years I’ve been thinking about it, and now, just maybe…

5. What is your favorite quote?

A: I supppose I have hundreds, but at the moment one comes to mind. It was uttered by Mark Twain when he was asked about his reaction to a negative book review. He said, “Who am I to disagree with the critic?”

6. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

A: My advice to an aspiring authir is simple: try to write something true and unique and meaningful. Don’t copy what others have done; it’s hollow. Tell the truth – your truth – even if it seems risky. The reader always knows when he’s being conned.

And thanks you so much, Stephanie, for allowing me the opportunity to connect with your readers and followers. Warm regards to all!

AUTHOR BIO:
David A. Ross is a writer, editor and publisher. From 1984-1985 he was a columnist and contributing editor for Southwest Art Magazine. His novels include The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans, Sacrifice and the Sweet Life, A Winter Garden, Stones, Xenos, How High The Wall, Good Morning Corfu, and his award-winning first novel The Trouble with Paradise, republished by Open Books under the title Calico Pennants.

In addition to his career as a novelist, he was formerly the publisher of the small press Escape Media from 1992-2004. Currently he is the publisher of online literary and features journals including Moronic Ox Literary & Cultural Journal.

Thank you Daivd for this wonderful review!

Stephanie

Interview with Patty Wiseman

1. Who or what inspired you to become an author?

First of all, from my earliest memory in school, I loved to read. My first grade teacher Mrs. Bell introduced wonderful stories to me. I was a fast learner, and she nurtured my appetite. My older sister taught me to read before I entered school, but Mrs. Bell unlocked my imagination. Naturally, I did well through school with short story assignments and poetry. The writing bug was taking hold. Marriage, children, and life in general side-tracked that interest until about ten years ago. The inspiration to really take writing seriously came through real life experiences. Someone said, you should write a book and so I did!

2. Please tell us about your book, “An Unlikely Arrangement.”

 An Unlikely Arrangement is the first in a series I call The Velvet Shoe Collection. These books are romantic mysteries, with twists and turns the reader won’t see coming. They are actually based on the real life situation of my own grandmother’s arranged marriage in the 1920’s. She was a rebel, always in trouble, and her parents decided to arrange a proper marriage for her. Her rebelliousness led to a series of events that would change her life forever. At seventeen, she witnesses a broken engagement, a kidnapping and a murder. Set in 1920’s Detroit, Michigan, the mob plays a part in this suspenseful story. She doesn’t expect to even like the man they choose for her, but her world explodes when she first lays eyes on this handsome man. The emotional journey Ruth goes through is not unlike what young women face today. I hope through this story we can feel a kindred to all women no matter what era they lived.

3. What is your next book project?

I’m working on the second in the sequel right now. It’s called An Unlikely Beginning, and it picks up the story from the first book after the surprise ending leaves you wanting more. There will be three books in this series.

I also have a romantic comedy in the works. It’s a modern day story of a single mom, trying to maintain her female identity while raising two sons and working two jobs.

4. What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is… “Trust that little voice in your head that says wouldn’t it be interesting if….; And then do it.” ― Duane Michaels

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

I would tell any aspiring author to study, study, study. Usually, everyone says follow your dream, keep on keeping on, etc., and that is important. But what really works for new writers, especially in this time of instant publication, is to study the craft! The only way to stand out in this crowded profession is to be the absolute best you can be. I read a lot of the tried and true authors, the ones that are successful. I ‘listen’ to the cadence or the flow as I read. Watch your grammar and punctuation, and polish, polish, polish!

Thank you so much for this interview Patty. It’s a pleasure and an honor!

Stephanie

Thank you for having me, Stephanie. I really enjoyed it!
Patty

Interview with Author Cynthia Haggard/ Author Giveaway

1. Who or what inspired you to become and author?

Making the transition from bench scientist to science writer, I had the bright idea of taking creative writing classes to help me better my prose style. On the first day of the “Introduction to the Novel” class, the Stegner Fellow who was teaching it informed us that we had to produce the first five pages of our next novel. Ever the good student, I took a deep breath and complied. I have never looked back.

2. What is you favorite book you have written and why?
Since I’ve only published one novel, I have to say that it is my favorite. Titled Thwarted Queen, it is the saga of the Yorks, Lancasters and Nevilles, whose family feud started the Wars of the Roses. Told by Lady Cecylee Neville (1415-1495), the Thwarted Queen.

2. What inspired you to write about Lady Cecylee?

My sister has a habit of taping BBC programs that she thinks I might like, so that when I visit her in England I can watch them. On this particular occasion, she taped a program in which Tony Robinson (well-known in the UK for popularizing history with such programs as The 10 Worst Jobs in the Middle Ages) was talking about the mysterious disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, commonly thought to have been murdered by their Wicked Uncle Richard III. He casually mentioned that British historian Michael K. Jones had been going through the archives of Rouen cathedral to do research on Richard III’s parents, Richard of York and Lady Cecylee Neville, and discovered that Richard of York was absent during a 5-week period of the summer of 1441. Nine months later, a son Edward was born. This tidbit gives credence to the idea that Edward might have been illegitimate. None of this would have mattered that much, except that Edward became King Edward IV of England, and the Queen of England traces her ancestry through him. But my burning question was: What on earth did Cecylee say to her husband when he returned from his summer campaign. And that is how the novel started.

3. How do you choose you subjects to write about?

Ideas come to me. Not a very helpful answer, but it’s true. My second novel (forthcoming) titled Family Splinters came about because I had this vague idea about a young woman who was forced to leave home for some scandalous reason, and her sister brought her her violin. My third novel is a sequel to my second novel, and that came about because I imagined what would happen if Grace (the violinist in the second novel) was forced to encounter an old flame that she met in the second novel. My fourth novel hasn’t been written yet, because I haven’t finished doing the preliminary research. But I can tell you that it’s set in Sicily during the Middle Ages, and I’m traveling there next month to get some ideas!

4. What is your favorite quote?

“Man is a rational animal. So at least we have been told. Throughout a long life I have searched diligently for evidence in favor of this statement. So far, I have not had the good fortune to come across it.”
— Bertrand Russell (Unpopular Essays)

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Find some time to work at writing every day. Write non-fiction. Expand your vocabulary. Do a daily word prompt. Do writing drills. Take classes in writing. Because if you are able to produce glorious prose with well-chosen words, you will not be confined to writing plot-driven stories, you will be able to write whatever you like. That is the pragmatic reason. The aesthetic reason is that we speak this glorious & magnificent language called English, so why not make it your own by getting to know its weird and wonderful corners?

Thank you Stephanie for this interview. It was a pleasure to talk to you.

Cynthia Haggard
Author of THWARTED QUEEN,
now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Redroom and Smashwords.

WEBSITE & BLOG: http://www.spunstories.com
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/author/cynthiasallyhaggard
LINKEDIN: http:.//www.linkedin.com/in/cynthiahaggard
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.haggard
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/#!/cynthiahaggard

Bio:
Born and raised in Surrey, England, CYNTHIA SALLY HAGGARD has lived in the United States for twenty-nine years. She has had four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer and novelist. Yes, she is related to H. Rider Haggard, the author of SHE and KING SOLOMONS’S MINES. (H. Rider Haggard was a younger brother of the author’s great-grandfather.) Cynthia Sally Haggard is a member of the Historical Novel Society.

Thank you Cynthia for giving me the honor of this wonderful Interview and a giveaway.
Stephanie

Giveaway Information:

Cynthis Haggard is giving a copy of her novel THWARTED QUEEN to a lucky winner! This giveaway will end April 11th. So make sure to enter by then. The winner will be announced on April 12th.
1. Please leave a comment with your name and email address below in the comment area to enter the giveaway.

2.. 5 points if you follow my blog @ Network Blogs
(If you are already a follower of Layered Pages you will automatically receive the bonus point.)

3. Five points if you subscribe to Cynthia Haggards websire: www.spunstories.com

5. 2 points if you read and leave a comment on one of the author interviews on Layered Pages.

6. Five points if you join Ladies & Literature Book Club on Goodreads. (Womens Club Only)


The winners will be announced on Layered Pages and by via email.



Big Contest at Ladies & Literature!

Author Elena Aitken is holding a contest on Ladies & Literaure. There will be NINE lucky winners! Ladies if you’re not a member and would like to participate please join our lovely and excting book club.

Link to Book Club: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/40140.Ladies_Literature

Link to contest: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/846139-contest-mom-needs-a-vacation-why-winners-gets-prize

We’re a ladies club only.

Thanks and best of luck!

Stephanie & MODS of L&L

Noble Satyr by Lucinda Brant

This is the first time I’ve read a story by Lucinda. I had the pleasure of winning this through a contest.The characters where so lively and entertaining. I was impressed with the character building as well. I don’t read a lot of Georgian novels but I enjoyed this one very much and look forward to reading more of Lucinda’s stories.

I rated this book 3 1/2 stars.

Stephanie

Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby

This story has two main characters. Olivia Westerly and Ethan Alan Doyle. What wonderful characters they are! Olivia who avoids marriage until later in life-which was unheard of during the early 1900’s-only to become a widow shortly after. Allan with many kept secrets surrounding tragic circumstances. Fate I believe brings them together. I felt such deep emotions and sympathy for them. Only hoping the best for them. Such a beautiful heart warming story. A must read!  I rated this book four stars.

Stephanie