Articles for the Month of September 2018

Under the Escalator by George M. C. Held

 

An exciting new fantasy book for children.

George Held is the author of 20 poetry books, including the wonderful ‘NEIGHBORS’ series of children’s books which were loved by my nature loving little granddaughter. He is a former English professor, who holds degrees from Brown, the University of Hawaii, and Rutgers, and he also taught on a Fulbright in Czechoslovakia.

In this new release children’s book, written in rhyme, he explores the world of fantasy, and this story is an excellent introduction to this genre for children.

The story centres around an escalator, a common mode of transport for many years enabling people to reach to different levels in buildings. However, even some adults are unsure of them, the way the steps appear in front of you, then suddenly they slip away flat at the end…

What would happen if you didn’t get off?

Well, in this mysterious yet exciting story, a boy decides to ride the escalator all the way around, just to see what is under it. This captivated the imagination of my granddaughter, and she was fascinated to discover who, or what was under it, and what happened to him on his little adventure.

This is a very clever story is very engaging, and a great way to open conversations with young children. It has been wonderfully and vividly illustrated by the talented Bryan Canniff.

 

About the Author:

George Held is a poet & writer, satirist & translator, editor & critic who taught English at Queens College for over 35 years. He was a Fulbright lecturer in Czechoslovakia, 1973-76, and is listed in Who’s Who in America. Among his publications are the chapbooks MARTIAL ARTIST, translations of Martial’s epigrams; GROUNDED, which garnered one of his five Pushcart Prize nominations and from which Garrison Keillor read a poem on THE WRITER’S ALMANAC; and PHASED, available from CreatSpace & amazon.com. His forthcoming book is AFTER SHAKESPEARE: SELECTED SONNETS. His satires appear at www.infauxtainment.com, and he blogs at georgeheld@blogspot.com. He reviews books for, among other journals, NOTRE DAME REVIEW, AMERICAN BOOK REVIEW, RAIN TAXI and SMALL PRESS REVIEW.

 

About the Book:

This is the story of a boy, an escalator, and some trolls. Does he survive a trip to the netherworld?

 

Under the Escalator is available from Amazon in paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Under-Escalator-George-M-Held/dp/0916754235/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537790530&sr=1-1

 

Swerve: The Little Bastards 2 by Jim Lindsay

 

Swerve, an opportunity to travel back to the time of rock n’ roll, fast cars and a childhood in 1950’s America.

In SWERVE, we return with Jim Lindsay to America in the 1950’s, the era of rock n’ roll, fast cars seemingly eternal youth. Discover what it was like to live that life, with the thrills and consequences captured in this exciting sequel to his unforgettable The Little Bastards.

The story opens with the main character Sonny Mitchell’s parents reading in the news of the antics, (which happened at the end of the last book) their son had been up to and their outcome. At this point I would like to say that although this is a sequel, this book happily stands alone.

Sonny soon discovers that once his notoriety settles down he still has a lot about life to learn. The Little bastards are growing up, yet being typical boys, they cling onto their youth, and through the authors vividly descriptive writing, the reader tumbles through Sonny and his friend’s lives experiencing through them the fun, freedom, and innocence, which young people enjoyed at this time. Their antics are wide and varied, from tracking down the local legend Lucifer, discover girls, larking around, getting into scrapes, and finding out ways of making money so they could do up their precious cars, you name it they are up to it.

However, despite their fun ways and the thrills and spills of the drag racing scene, the boys are growing up. With his friends beginning to get serious and his own hormones rising, Sonny knows there is only one girl for him, but can he overcome her father’s prejudices and prove himself a worthy suitor?

Refreshingly open and entertaining, Swerve really does allow the reader to time travel back to an era which had so much to offer which was new and full of potential. And yet, through Sonny we glimpse underneath the ‘brave new world’ façade and discover the traditional outlook of the older generation at this time, and how totally revolutionary this era really was to them.

A wonderful story, not a biography, yet it could be as the author has put so much of his memories of his childhood into it. Highly recommended.

 

About the Author:

I was born in Corvallis, Oregon on Feb. 18 1947, and raised on a farm nearby that sustained my parents, brother Bob, and myself. After 8 years of education in a 2 room grade school, I entered and graduated from Albany Union High School. A stint in the Navy Reserve and a year and a half of college was followed by 42 years of farming. I have 2 children, Caralee and Jake, both of Portland, Oregon, and a girlfriend, Kathie. I live on the same farm with my dog Ruby.

I have several hot rods that I drive and an altered roadster that I drag race. I have developed a disease for land speed racing driving a modified roadster I have built.

After two years of writing my novel “The Little Bastards,” I can truthfully say I also have a disease for storytelling. The “Bastards” sequel has now been released..

It is difficult to write a bio without talking a lot about oneself and using a lot of I’s. Pardon me.

Author’s Website: http://jimlindsayauthor.com/index.html

 

About the Book:

In Swerve! we return with Jim Lindsay to America in the 1950’s, the era of rock ‘n’ roll, fast cars, and seemingly eternal youth. Discover what it was like to live that life, with the thrills and consequences captured in this exciting sequel to his unforgettable The Little Bastards.

–Susan Keefe, Midwest Book Review

For starters Sonny has fallen in love with a beautiful girl whose life he has saved, but she’s from the wrong side of town–her father owns the bank and doesn’t cotton to hot rodders in leather jackets. This love story, along with the strong vibes of class distinction, weaves through the book, and it’s just one of the elements that will keep you turning pages to find where it goes.

The extra treat in this sequel is a well-plotted detective mystery that Sonny sniffs out at the lumber mill, and that develops into another action adventure with multiple outcomes to finish off the book. It’s even better than the first one. There’s no question that author Lindsay is a natural

born storyteller. The pace never slackens. This one starts out with a bang and ends with a bang. And what’s between is darn good storytelling.

 

Swerve: The Little Bastards 2 is available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Swerve-Little-Bastards-Jim-Lindsay/dp/1732637903/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537175757&sr=1-1

One Pilgrim’s Tips, Tricks, Advice, Stories and Insights for the Next Pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago by Scott E. Bell

 

A truly inspiring and amusing guide to hiking the Camino de Santiago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confession time, I brought this book because I am longing to hike the Camino de Santiago and I wanted a honest to goodness, personal opinion of what it is really like to do this amazing walk.

I couldn’t have chosen a better book. The author Scott Bell somehow manages to encourage his readers to participate in the Camino whilst giving a warts ‘n all, no holds barred account of his own journey.

Scott starting his adventure at Saint Pied du Port in southern France, although there are various starting points. As we walk this beautiful, historical, journey with him he not only honestly gives his opinions on the sheer physical and mental strain which is put on the body, but he then offers advice on how to overcome them.

Of course on such a long route, accommodation is also very important, and the author discusses the various types of accommodation available, and the pros and cons of each, including some nasty little critters.

For some people the Camino is a spiritual journey, for others it gives them the time to find themselves, some are youth groups, friends, and others are families. During his travels he met and befriended many people from across the world, each with their own story, and reason for doing the Camino, and so human interest stories abound throughout the book.

The one overwhelming thing about this book is that it is truly one man’s journey, recounted with the purpose of helping others discover not only what they will need to undertake it, but also what they don’t need. The size of your backpack and weightiness of unnecessary gear is discussed and recommendations given by the self-named ‘snail’ of the route.

As the author says, the Camino de Santiago is different for each person, and during their journey that person will discover things about themselves they never knew before.

I found this book totally enthralling, and reading it, the author has inspired me to walk my own Camino when I can. I have to say though that even if you have no intention of doing the Camino, this book is jam packed with wonderful information about the villages and landscapes which the walk goes through and it is littered with historically interesting facts. – Highly Recommended!

About the Book:

So you’re thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago? Congratulations! This is the book you’re looking for.

This is not your typical travel guide. You won’t find lists of all the towns along the Camino, distances between them, recommended restaurants, tourist must-sees, yadda, yadda, yadda. There are plenty of good Camino guidebooks and apps out there for that. Nor is this a novel, diary, spiritual journal or reference manual. It is some of each… and a lot more!

Here you’ll find advice to enhance YOUR Camino. Practical stuff, like what to pack. What NOT to pack! Tips to keep you safe and healthy. Advice about carrying money. Key Spanish phrases. Stories to entertain you. I keep it light, I keep it simple, and I keep it real.

My experiences and insights on the Camino Francés will help prepare you for the Camino. But I don’t just want to prepare you to walk the Camino… I want to inspire you! My stories, after all, are MY stories, and my experiences are MY experiences. Your job is to get out there and create your own.

Your adventure awaits.

Available from Amazon in Paperbackhttps://www.amazon.com/Pilgrims-Stories-Insights-Pilgrim-Santiago/dp/1981042601/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1536847910&sr=8-1

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Pilgrims-Stories-Insights-Pilgrim-Santiago-ebook/dp/B07CXKNNS9/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1536847910

 

 

Game Piece by Alan Brenham

 

Pre-Release – This book will be available on Amazon on 16th October 2018.

An action packed, psychological thriller which will keep you on the edge of your seats until the very last page.

Life is all about priorities, and Barry Marshall a Detective in the Temple Division, Texas is forever finding himself taunted by colleagues that he is a Boy Scout, brown nose, and worse. Always the last to leave the office, Barry is driven, he is contentious, proud of what he does and the differences he makes. However, his diligence often leads to him working late and both his wife Erin and his daughter Cailey miss him. Erin wants him to change career, after all he is turning out just like his father, ‘married to the job!’

This particular Friday was bad enough, discovering he had been targeted by identity thieves, that was a nuisance, then, just as he was just about to leave the phone rings…

The caller offers a lead on another case. Even though he wishes he could, Barry can’t ignore it. When he arrives at the proposed meeting place however, he soon discovers that the lead story was a red herring, instead of the informant, there are two bodies with their throats cut!

From there the story escalates with Barry centre stage. Strangely, the caller always contacts Barry’s cell phone, and seems to know what he is doing. To make things worse, tensions are growing at home as Barry is never there, and night’s out and trips to the park are pushed to one side with work taking priority.

With a serial killer on the loose in Temple, no-one is safe. As the body count rises the clues are thin and far between. Barry can’t put a face to the voice, however, one thing is certain, the killer knows him. As tensions mount at home and work, a frustrated Barry finds himself wrongly accused and desperate for answers.

This fast paced, exciting thriller has twists and turns right until the very last page. The author, Alan Brenham has used his lifetimes experience as a Texas law enforcement officer, a criminal prosecutor and later criminal defense attorney, to give his readers a real insight into what life is like when your world revolves around protecting the innocent, and those you love.

About the Author:

Alan Brenham is the pen name of Alan Behr. He worked as a Texas law enforcement officer for over twenty years and as a criminal prosecutor and later criminal defense attorney for over twenty-five years. Today he lives in Texas with his wife, Lillian, where he’s working on his sixth novel.

His first crime novel, Price of Justice, won several awards including best in police/crime fiction. It also became a top 100 international bestseller. A second novel, Cornered, was released by Black Opal Books on July 13, 2014. Rampage, a sequel to Price of Justice, was released on July 4, 2015. His fourth book, Game Piece, is set for release in October 2018. A fifth novel is near completion.

About the Book:

Alan’s upcoming novel, Game Piece, is a multi-point-of-view adult mystery told from the points of view of Barry Marshall, his wife, Adrian (a boy who is integral to the investigation), and the killer. Detective Barry Marshall is about to lose everything he holds dear—his wife, his career, and his reputation. A mysterious phone call leading him to the dead bodies of a young couple kicks off the ultimate endgame. Unbeknownst to Marshall, the killer had dated his wife years ago. Seeing Marshall with her, the killer is pushed over the edge. He wants to punish Marshall for stealing his beloved by playing a cat-and-mouse game of murder. When the body count rises, Marshall is looking at the possibility of facing his worst nightmare.

For more information and buying links this is the author’s website: http://www.alanbrenham.com/game-piece.php

 

New Release – La Petite Josette en Provence by Ashley Davidson-Fisher

 

France captured the hearts of southern California born and raised author Ashley and her husband Michael in 2003, when they arrived in Provence with their four young children. Ashley was studying abroad for degrees in French Culture Studies and Business, and whilst Ashley participated in her university work, Michael and the children became immersed in the French culture and language. Trips out exploring their adopted country led to a love of the region, and after returning to the USA to complete her degrees, Ashley and her husband returned with their youngest child to Provence in 2010.

It is perhaps these experiences into the French way of life as an expat which inspired Ashley to create this clever little story. It is written primarily in English, but also has many phrases written, and explained in French also. I think this enriches the story and enables the reader to enjoy a truly bilingual experience.

The setting is the beautiful village of Les Baux-de-Provence. It is a listed heritage site, is noted as “one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France” (“Station classée”). Its ruined castle, and history make it the ideal foil for the wonderful journey of discovery, which La Petite Josette and her big sister Anne-Laure embark upon in this story.

There is great excitement in the household, the family are going for a day out! The girls can’t wait for mum to pack the picnic, and dad to get the car ready. Eagerly they watch the beautiful countryside, the vast vineyards, and olive groves go by on their way to their hilltop destination, Les Baux-de-Provence. However it is the village’s hilltop ruined castle which captivates the girls’ imagination.

As they look around it, papa explains its history, and the girls are caught up in the atmosphere, looking over the ramparts, seeing the village below, and even some troglodyte caves!

What an exciting day, they have, there is so much to see and do! But all good things must come to an end, and it is two tired girls who return home at the end of a wonderful day, and clutched in her hand La Petite Josette holds a very special souvenir.

A lovely story, one to be treasured forever, beautifully illustrated by the author and her husband’s talented daughter Martinique Louise Fisher. – Highly Recommended!

About the Author: Ashley Davidson-Fisher

 
Born and raised in Southern California, Ashley and her husband, Michael, fell in love with France shortly after arriving in Provence with their four young children in 2003. While Ashley was participating in her university’s study abroad program in Aix-en-Provence, Michael enrolled the kids into French public school and additional language-learning classes. The children quickly made friends and learned the language at lightning speed, but it took a lot more time for Ashley and her husband to make progress in the language.

In between schoolwork and classes, what better way was there to practice those new-found language skills? Adventures, bien sûr! Thanks to their little, white, station wagon named “François” and PB&J croissants (say what??!!), weekend and holiday road trips allowed the family to immerse themselves into the French culture while taking in the magnificent sights of the Provençal countryside. And voilà……just like that, a love of all things French was born.

Upon the family’s return to the USA, Ashley completed her Bachelor of Arts degrees in French Culture Studies and Business at California State University-San Bernardino. She loves traveling, hiking, photography and reading. Since 2010 Ashley has lived in Provence, France with her husband and their youngest daughter, Presley.

About the Illustrator: Martinique Louise Fisher
 
Martinique is an illustrator from California. She is the oldest child of Ashley and Michael and has been drawing since she was two years old. At the age of thirteen she decided she wanted to become an illustrator and started building her portfolio. She has illustrated book covers, tarot cards, greeting cards, has been featured in online magazines, and has shown in galleries all over the United States.
Martinique has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts, in New York. You can find more of her art work at www.martiniquelouisefisher.com
 
About the Book: 

La Petite Josette loves adventures and history and she is super excited for her trip to one of the most beautiful villages in Provence, France. What will she find? A castle, knights, perhaps a “treasure” to take home? There’s so much to do before the trip, but with the help of her big sister, they’ll be on their way in no time. Beautifully illustrated by the author’s daughter, this bilingual, French and English language adventure and learning book is designed to help teach children and adults basic, multi-language skills and to foster a love for exploring the world.

“Wake up, La Petite, réveille-toi, we’re going on an adventure to a medieval village!”
 
La Petite loves adventures and history and she is super excited for her trip to Les Baux-de-Provence, one of the most beautiful villages in Provence, France.
 
What will she find?
 
A castle, knights, perhaps a “treasure” to take home? There’s so much to do before the trip, but with the help of her big sister they’ll be on their way in no time.
 
La Petite en Provence is an illustrated, bilingual, French and English language adventure and learning book.
 
It helps to teach children basic, multi-language skills and to foster a love for exploring the world.
 Author’s website: https://lapetitejosette.com/