Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Accept the Broken Heart: A Memoir by Robin Leigh Anderson

Robin Leigh Anderson was born in the Montana Rockies and escaped to California in the early 1970s. She attended school in Montana, Washington State, and California, eventually settling in beautiful Santa Barbara with child and cats where she lived for 38 years before escaping sans grown child and late cats to Northern California. An advocate of reinventing oneself, Ms. Anderson dabbled in many of the major disciplines of life, providing fodder for the writing she pursued since she was eight. She has won numerous awards at writing conferences over the years, and was staff of the prestigious Santa Barbara Writer Conference for ten years. She has published numerous articles and short stories in her lifetime. She taught “crash-and-burn” intensive writing seminars in Santa Barbara and was the moderator of a writers’ critique group. She still conducts occasional seminars and enjoys editing others’ works, words being her all-consuming passion, as she writes in several genres.

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About the Book

What can be said of Hell, when at its most quiet, I was most terrified? The explosions that had rocked every fiber of my being and made my bones feel like they could simply shatter like tempered glass still resonated. I looked over at the wounded, wondering if I had the same haunted look in my eyes, and thought I probably did. In this war, no one leaves. No one goes home... and everyone is a casualty of war. Unbelievable love set against unbearable challenges. I lived this novel. We need to learn, and to teach others, to study war no more.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

From the chapter entitled "Green Eyes":

“Aren’t you ambitious!” I teased. “A Hawaiian honeymoon and three kids, and on Marine pay.”

“Well, if I stay in the Marines, I won’t be a corporal forever,” Tom countered. “And I wager I couldn’t keep you from nursing. You’re too good at this.”

“Oh, son, you’ll probably find there’s a lot of things you can’t keep me from doing,” I said, rolling my eyes.

He smiled weakly. “I will enjoy every minute of it.” His eyes closed and my breath caught in my throat. His eyelids fluttered open . He struggled to focus on my face. “Would you kiss me?” he requested.

I leaned over and gave him a lingering kiss. He tasted strangely sweet.

“Soft lips, and warm,” he whispered. “Bet the rest of you is pretty warm, too.”

I chuckled. “Easy, Marine, we’re not wed yet.”

“You’re telling me I’ve got to wait?” There was a definite twinkle in his dark eyes. “I can do that. I think it will be worth it if I can own your heart.”

“You already do,” I said, and I meant it.

“I did it, I fell in love,” he whispered. “Thank you, green eyes, thank you.”

“You bet, handsome,” I nodded, “the pleasure is all mine.”

Tom gave me one last long look and a tiny smile. A thin trickle of blood ran down his cheek from the corner of this mouth. I tried not to react. His breathing slowed, then stopped. I gently put a finger to his inner wrist. I concentrated, but there was no pulse. His fingers did not release mine from their grasp. My other hand shook as I reached out to close his eyes. I sat next to the cot, my heart racing.

The pilot joined Patty in the doorway to the ward. “Look, lady, I can see from here he’s not breathing any more. Time to go.”

Patty turned to put one hand squarely on the pilot’s chest and she pushed him back through the office and out of the tent. “Back away, hard-charger,” she said angrily. “Don’t think for a minute I can’t put your ass in the dirt. What do you think it took for her to sit there like that for the final twenty-five minutes of that boy’s life! You should be so fucking lucky that someone will be with you when you get your arrogant ass blown out of the sky that last time. Go have something to eat, go take a leak, or go jump off a cliff, but leave the girl be. You’ll be on your way soon enough.” Without waiting for a reply, Patty walked into the tent, slapping the flaps closed. She sat down at the desk and kept an eye on the ward as she completed the requisition forms for the pilot.

I don’t know how much later it was when I kissed the fingers of his cold hand and offered up a small prayer. I pulled dogtags free of his shirt and looked at his full name.

Patty rose as I walked out of the ward past the stalwart Marines. “Your shift is over,” she said softly. “You couldn’t do more than you did today. I heard everything. Go now, rest, write your family, whatever. I’ll bring you some supper later.”

All I could do was nod. I walked to the billet tent and looked around for my diary. Suddenly my knees crumbled. I fell onto my sleeping bag. The grief of an unrealized lifetime welled up inside me, and I sobbed uncontrollably.

The pilot stood outside the tent, unsure if he should enter. Patty walked up to stand beside him. “When somebody writes his family, tell them he wasn’t alone.”

“She shouldn’t be, either,” the pilot said quietly.

Patty gave the man a squeeze on his arm. “She’s not alone. She’ll never be alone.”

Monday, 11 December 2017

Tie Died by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Kathryn Elizabeth Jones has been a published writer since 1987. She started as a newspaper reporter, published her first novel in 2002, attended college in her 40s, and opened the doors to Idea Creations Press in 2012. She has published 12 books to date in the genres of Christian fiction, nonfiction (including Christian and business) mystery, YA and LDS middle reader. Kathryn offers opportunities for authors to get their books out into the world using her publishing services and loves speaking to authors about writing, publishing and marketing.

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About the Book

When 18-year-old Brianne James discovers a murdered young girl at Montgomery Park – a 15-year-old who has been left for dead in the icy snow – there is only one thing she can do: search for the killer.

Brianne has a nose for sleuthing. She can connect with people; even scary people. She has the smarts to solve even the most underhanded crime, and she can solve it with or without the help of the police or her parents.

When it comes to Conner Ryan, however, his unrelenting assistance is quite another story. When you’re in love with one of the hottest guys in school – who in the heck cares?

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Keep reading for an interview with Brianne James, a character from the book:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born in New Jersey. My brother and I grew up with terrible parents, but eventually found our way to a new family who took us in.

Do you have a close relationship with your family?

Yes, and I'm grateful for that. Still, my mother is often in my business more often than she should be. Dad is more easy-going, but he isn't well, and I try to keep things as positive as I can with him.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?

The day I was taken in by Susan and Henry. I still remember the first time I stepped into my new bedroom. It was actually pretty. I even had a bedspread and a place to hang my clothes.

Who was your best friend growing up?

My brother, Oscar. He and I took care of each other. Mom was not often among the living. She drank a lot, and so did Dad.

If you could compare yourself to someone from another novel, who would it be? 

I read mostly from the computer screen, but rarely novels. I'm more into finding the answers to clues, researching how people die, and stuff like that. I might look into what causes a person's skin at death to turn blue. Stuff like that.

Mom would say I'm a lot like her. She would say that she's showing me the ropes through her Susan Cramer Mystery series - a series that you can read right before this book. Because I'm not really blood related to either Susan or Henry, I would say that I'm my own unique person. Sure, I like solving murders like Mom, but Mom and I are totally different.

Who is your enemy?

Criminals. Did you know they come in all shapes, sizes and ages? I find that incredible. People who sneak around and take another life, may think they will never be found out, but they usually are. I'd like to think that I'm helping the police out. They might not like it either, but who cares?

Who do you most admire in your world?

As much as I tease her - my mom. She started this detective stuff out years ago, not really knowing what she was doing. People haven't always been kind to her. But she has always been kind to me, even in the beginning when I played with mud balls, and probably looked like one. She fed me and my brother when we were hungry, and took us in when we needed a place to crash.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

Some might say I'm too smart for my own good. Maybe they're right, but my favorite subject in school is biology - and that's not just because Conner Ryan is my science partner.

What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?

Maybe this is more scary than embarrassing, but you'll want to pay special attention to the secondary characters in this book. Some of them are not what they seem to be.

What is your greatest fear?

I have more than one fear. One of them is that Henry will die. He's been so good to me and my brother. Another is that I will never have a boyfriend.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

Love is more important than any investigation, but it's hard to balance the two.

What is the strangest situation you've ever found yourself in?

Too many strange situations to count. Not counting my younger years, I would say finding a girl lying dead at the local park.

What is the greatest obstacle you have ever had to face?

Letting go of my birth parents, and opening my heart to the future.

Do you have a secret you've never told anyone?

Okay. I'm not really as secure as I sometimes sound in the book. I mean, the past is always creeping up. Stuff I might not even share, but that you will more than likely see between the lines. How can a person be totally secure when their birth parents really didn't care about them?

Have you ever been in love?

Yes. Conner Ryan is the hottest guy in school. I'm not going to tell you if or how it worked out for me, however. You'll have to read the book.

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