Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Acceptable Misconduct by Maria Riegger

Maria Riegger is based in the Washington, DC area. She is a banking/corporate attorney by day (but please don't hold that against her), and a fiction author by night.

Maria is a Gemini whose head has always been in the clouds. From a young age, her mother scolded her for not paying attention; when she was bored, she would make up stories in her head. She has been writing since she was about thirteen years old. A lover of languages, she speaks French, Spanish, and Catalan.

She has been caught air-guitaring in public. She loves to laugh and is the "go-to" person if a friend needs someone to laugh at his lame jokes. In true Gemini fashion, she indulges both her logical personality as an attorney as well as her creative fiction-writing personality. She loved law school and even misses it, which led her friends to conclude that she is certifiable.

A native of the Washington, DC area, she is a political junkie who has respect for all views and who admires the political involvement of Americans. She loves nothing more than a solid political discussion where all views are represented.

An irreverent Gen X’er, she writes gritty contemporary romance, with plenty of sarcasm.

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About the Book

Antagonistic Washington DC law student Isabel must face her unsettled past and navigate the final weeks of the semester while figuring out fellow student Tarek's feelings for her before he slips away.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I have always loved to write novellas, short stories, and other works. I reached the point at which I felt the need to create, and decided to write and self-publish novels.

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

It is certainly difficult to put yourself out there. I didn't allow myself to dwell too much on the fact that I was making myself vulnerable to criticism. Authors need to develop thick skin. Not every reader will love what you write, and that is OK.

Where are you from? 

I was born and grew up in northern Virginia, right outside of Washington, DC (where I still live).

Does your area have a good writing community?

There is a vibrant writing community here, with a ton of great resources. I organize a local writing group and members range from published authors to beginners, and work in several different genres.

Do you have a "day job"?

I'm a bank regulatory attorney during the day. I promise that it is not as boring as it sounds!

What genres do you write?

I write gritty contemporary romance, with plenty of sarcasm. I'm also working on a thriller and a couple of nonfiction works.

What inspires you to write?

Inspiration is all around us. Writing is an ideal activity for introverts like myself, but we also need to experience the world in order to get inspiration for our writing, and that includes interacting with people.

How often do you write?

I try to write at least a little every day. I definitely have spurts where I write furiously for several days, and other times when I write much less.

What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?

I've been researching the Israeli Defense Force for a thriller I'm working on.

What authors and/or books have most influenced you?

Ken Follett is one of my favorite authors, and Eye of the Needle is one of my favorite novels. Follett is great at pacing and development, as well as at holding the reader's attention.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

I first considered myself an author when I published my first novel.

What are your goals as an author?

I hope to publish as many books as possible. I'm currently writing/outlining several, including a romance novel, a thriller, and a couple of nonfiction books.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

I have difficulty finding time to write, especially with a full-time day job. I take notes on scenes, etc. whenever ideas strike, and add them to my manuscript when I get a chance. I also try to devote time during evenings and weekends to writing.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

It makes my day to receive positive reviews. A couple of times, readers have sought me out on social media to tell me how much they enjoyed my book, and that is priceless.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

The best writing advice I have ever received is to keep writing, and to write and publish as many books as you can. There is no surefire formula to being a successful author; however, one full-time author has written that being prolific is a driver of success. When readers find an author whom they like, they want to read every book published by that author.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I didn't want to spend too much time querying publishers to no avail. I also prefer to retain complete creative control as well as keep 100% of my proceeds.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a contemporary romance set during a political campaign in the Washington, DC area.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Pandora Device by Joyce McPherson

Joyce McPherson is the author of the Camp Hawthorne series as well as biographies for young people. She is also the mother of nine children, who give useful advice for her books. In her spare time, she enjoys reading history, working with young people, and directing Shakespeare plays.

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About the Book

Stella’s grandmother doesn’t like to talk about her parents, even when she asks. But now that she’s in sixth grade, Stella needs answers. A rusty box provides a clue to the place her parents met—Camp Hawthorne—and Stella is determined to go. The camp’s secret draws her into extraordinary possibilities she never knew existed. And despite warnings to leave the past alone, she uncovers a mystery linked to her parents and must decide how much she will risk to find the truth.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

Chapter One

Grandma didn’t like to talk about my parents, even when I asked. The sparkle would fade from her eyes, and her arms would wrap around me and hold me tight.

She seemed to gather strength from the bags of clothing, newspapers and odd gadgets she brought home every day, sorting them into piles at night until the rooms were crammed full with only a path down the middle.

For me, the rooms were like caves filled with treasure, and I used to invite Lindsey over to help me explore. I liked to think about the things we found—a black typewriter, a bomber hat, a spindly lace umbrella—they all belonged to someone once. There must be stories.

But the stories just stayed in my head until the day we found the box.

We were sorting through a pile of clothes, and Lindsey had tied a fringed shawl around her head so that only wisps of her blond hair showed.

“Look Stella. I’m a gypsy queen,” she said, rattling some bangles on her arms.

“And I’m a pirate.” I buckled on a leather belt and poked through another mound of stuff in hopes of finding boots.

Near the bottom, a moldy boot was caught under a rickety sewing machine. I tugged at it, but it wouldn’t budge. I finally pulled so hard that the machine creaked, and a rusty box flew free with the boot.

“Treasure,” Lindsey said.

I rubbed the grime from the lid, and a sudden lump rose in my throat. Faint letters were scratched on the box—Franny. My mother’s name.

My fingers prickled as I opened the lid.

Inside lay some faded photos and a red bandana, tied in a knot. I loosened it, and a key chain fell out. For a moment it sparkled in the dim room, but I looked again and it was just blue and white plastic, braided into a rope with an empty key ring at the end.

“Did you see that?” Lindsey asked, touching the key ring lightly.

“Let’s show Grandma,” I said.

We dashed down the hall to her library and squeezed through the stacks of newspapers that filled the room like yellowed skyscrapers.

She sat in her recliner in the midst of them, and I had a quick image of those towers slowly tilting until they whooshed across the floor and through the front door. That was my biggest nightmare—that the whole neighborhood would find out about Grandma’s collections.

“Look what we found,” I said.

Her face crinkled in a smile at the sight of us, but when she saw the box she put a hand on her heart. “I thought that was lost. It’s your mother’s keepsakes from camp.” She pulled out one of the pictures. “And here she is with your father.” Her gray eyes swept the room with the sad look she got when she talked about the past.