Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Crossing Forces series:
Welcome to Antioch, population fifty thousand.
With a police department full of detectives and officers who are good at what they do, throw in the occasional FBI agent, and the bad guy doesn't have a shot, no matter how big the crime.
Crossing Forces by C.A. Szarek
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The Majestic rose up out of the water in its Liverpool dock with all the glory of its name. Amelia held one hand to her hat and stared at its iron sides, its two dun-colored funnels and three tall masts. The ship was a strange thing to her, a mixture of old and new, progress with hints of the past. It had sails that could be unfurled in a pinch, but with its powerful new engines, the ship could cross the ocean in a week.
Seven days to a new world. It was an exact description of everything her life had become. It was every bit as daunting.
“What am I doing?” Amelia whispered, staring at the hopeful monstrosity in front of her. It was one thing to accept an offer for a new life. It was another thing entirely to go through with it.
She turned away from the ship, swallowing the nausea that had plagued her since she’d left her mother’s house. This time it wasn’t morning sickness. That was long past. At the moment, the baby was the least of her worries. Her stomach rolled over the idea that she was about to board a ship heading for a new life at the mercy of a stranger, a man, no less. The last time she had trusted her life and her future to a man had been a disaster.
She paced, purse clutched to her chest, scanning the busy dock in search of her American savior. Men, women, and children crowded the gangplanks, eager to start their journeys, excited and hopeful. Many of the third-class passengers carried bundles that indicated theirs was a one-way trip as much as hers was. Eric had left her there to go buy her ticket, but there was nothing stopping him from running off and leaving her stranded. Like her father. Like Nick. She was a fool to agree to this. She pivoted and marched away from the ship.
No, she stopped herself after a handful of steps, this was the best decision she could have made. She may have felt small and lonely standing by herself, waiting, heart and stomach fluttering, but she was as much a part of the intrepid adventurers seeking a new life in America as any of her fellow passengers. This was right.
“Well, we got a minor problem on our hands.”
The twang of Eric’s accent shocked Amelia from her worries. She spun to face him as he approached her with wide strides, scratching his head and looking as guilty as a schoolboy.
“A problem?” she asked, voice fluttering.
“Yeah. I went to buy you a ticket, but they’re plumb sold out.”
Amelia’s chest tightened and her tender stomach lurched. “Oh. Oh dear. Well I suppose….”
She lowered her eyes, heart aquiver. As quickly as it started, her chance for a new life was over. All that worrying for nothing.
She squared her shoulders to face her fate. “I … I thank you for your efforts on my behalf regardless, Mr. Quinlan.”
Eric’s brow crinkled into a curious frown. “Regardless?”
“I suppose I could find work here in Liverpool,” she explained. “Surely there must be a shop somewhere that would look the other way from….” She lowered her hand to the mound of her stomach.
Eric’s lips twitched. The morning sunlight caught in his eyes. “I didn’t want to have to put you in third-class, so I told them you were my wife.”
Amelia blinked. “You what?”
“I told them we’re newlyweds. I reserved my stateroom in first class last year when I came over. Good thing I paid for it then too, ‘cuz after this fiasco of a trip I’ll never ride first-class again. Anyhow, when they said they didn’t have any more rooms, I told them you were my wife and that we would be staying in the same stateroom. They sold me a ticket for that.” He handed her a fresh, clean ticket with her name written as ‘Mrs. Amelia Quinlan’. “Sorry.”
Amelia held perfectly still on the outside, but on the inside her heart pounded and her stomach rolled with guilt for questioning him. He wasn’t abandoning her. He had gone out of his way to help her. Her heart squeezed as it never had before. She took the ticket from him with a trembling hand, hardly noticing when her fingers brushed his. She was rescued after all.
“Thank you, Mr. Quinlan. You have no idea how much this kindness means to me.” She had to concentrate on breathing, standing straight, and looking up into his handsome eyes with a smile to keep her tears at bay.
“You don’t mind sharing then?” he asked her.
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Genre – Western Historical Romance
Rating – R
When did you first know you could be a writer?
Only a few years ago. I was always writing songs for my bands or short, short stories. I tried writing political essays or papers, did a few zines. I studied political science for a year then left because it really wasn’t me. I didn’t even know you could go to college to study writing (like, fiction writing) until my spouse (who was then my new girlfriend) just said one day “Why don’t you go back to college. You can take writing classes and you’d be good at it.” And I said “That’s a program?!?” Turns out Concordia admitted something like 40 new student a year in creative writing programs (drama, fiction and poetry combined). I had to apply twice before I got in, but I did.
What inspires you to write and why?
All things of life and a lot of art. I feel inspired by the everyday lives of “common” people. But on the other hand, I also like these huge surrealist worlds where you can allow your imagination to run wild. So far my work had been very realistic, very down to earth, but I know I have these stories in me that will require me to work in more surrealist ways.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I didn’t plan to be a noir writer. It’s not like it’s a very popular genre anyways and I thought “Wow! I can make a fuckload of money doing this.” But what I do comes out dark, so I roll with it. I’d like to think I write what Lehane once called “literary noir,” and hopefully that’s what readers will feel as well.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first (short) novel was The Factory Line and it’s a true-ish account of life in a Montreal factory. I worked a lot of shitty jobs and odd jobs back in the day and it provided me with enough material to write a novel.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
When I was younger, it was Bukowski, but I don’t think I write like him or that we are driven by the same things. I like the fact that he “had” to write, but then again, his stuff is mostly about being drunk and/or an asshole. I mean, I loved Post Office because I felt I could relate to a shitty work environment, but the whole “I’m drunk so fuck you” thing is really not like me at all and I got out of it quickly.
I then found Mordecai Richler and Truman Capote. I mean, you can’t try to write like someone else did, it probably won’t be good anyways, but I think that we’re in the ball park if you compare my stuff to Richler and Capote.
Who or what influenced your writing over the years?
Music is always important. There are a handful of artists and songwriters that have influenced me in a positive way. I often cite Jabob Bannon, but I could also include White Trash Rob from Blood for Blood, As far as novelists goes, one professor game me Faulkner to read a few years ago and it change the way I see literature.
What made you want to be a writer?
I can’t pin point one thing. I just always kinda wrote. I used to think I could be the lead singer in a successful punk/hardcore band. When that went south, I turned to writing instead. At one point, Mary (my spouse) just turned around and said, “But why don’t you make a living out of this.” I never thought I could and writing still don’t pay the rent but the inspiration still keeps coming, so why stop?
“All they really wanted to do was fuck around, be creative, listen to music, skateboard or go to shows. People kept telling them growing up was supposed to be tough but it’s not like they didn’t know that already. Timmy had listened. Timmy had finished school and got himself a job. That didn’t stop him from running his van into a pillar one night so what was the fucking use? Nobody seemed to have an answer.“
Conor and his friends are growing up in a one factory town where the most likely employment prospect is the assembly line or the farmer’s coop. Aiming higher than the local college, Conor finds himself spending more and more time in downtown Montreal, discovering himself through punk and hardcore music. But as his girlfriend wants nothing to do with the city and his friend Jake loses his brother when the factory closes, Conor’s ambitions could require him to burn bridges he might not be ready to burn.
With A Teenage Suicide, Ian wanted to write a story about kids making decisions and kids making mistakes. Stylistically, it is fair to mention influences of Truman Capote and Mordecai Richler. Imagine of the “cold-hard-fact” descriptions of In Cold Blood mixed with the realistic and witty dialogue of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.
Ian Truman is a hardcore kid turned writer. He proudly claims to be from a working class family and has been straight edge and vegetarian for at least a decade now. He hopes to bring the passion, verve and dedication of hardcore into the art form of the novel. Born and raised in Montreal, he is a graduate of Concordia University’s creative writing program. A Teenage Suicide is his third novel.
Genre - Literary, Coming of Age
Rating – PG13
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Monday, February 24, 2014
Survivors of #sexualabuse are invisible? ... Chatting with #Author Ty Johnson-Anderson @invisible_soror
Friday, February 21, 2014
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is so well written and heartfelt that without the paranormal elements, it is hard to believe it is fiction. The major question A 3rd Time to Die tries to answer is - what is another definition for love? Commitment? Devotion? Sweet pain? Perseverance? Acceptance?
Both main characters have to make choices which helps them learn, give, receive, and grow in a relationship. Maybe all that comes close. Imperfect people loving imperfect people, finding out who they are between their past lives and present time.
I delight in being surprised in the books I read, and it's fun to discover the surprises in this one. Authors who give courageously, who put themselves out there for the world to see, who help me see the world in a new way, are tops in my estimation, and George Bernstein does it with A 3rd Time to Die.
This book is so worth reading, it is thought provoking and very real. The author is so accomplished at characterization that I could clearly see from Ashley's viewpoint and why she acted in the manner that she did. I truly felt a strong connection with the main characters.
Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
View all my reviews