Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Second Jezebel .. What It Takes To Write


It’s a pleasure today to welcome author Peter Mowbray to Thoughts in Progress to talk about his latest release, THE SECOND JEZEBEL.

Peter's love of history and his fascination with Catherine de Medici is plain to see in his newly published novel. The book, set seventeen years after the infamous Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, concludes Peter's interpretation of Catherine's story which began with his first novel, The Serpent of the Valois.

Here’s a brief synopsis of THE SECOND JEZEBEL:

          The slaughter of thousands of French Huguenots on a sultry August night in Paris 1572 will forever stain the reputation of the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici.
          As Catherine lays dying 17 years later she relives her most heinous crime as well as her machinations to keep herself and her sons alive and secure the throne of France for the Valois dynasty. For their survival she would employ any weapon be it the cold steel of an assassin blade or a subtle, but deadly potion from her personal closet
          Plots, murders, deceptions and fear all play their part in a long life that has turned Catherine from an innocent Italian Duchess to a duplicitous mother who could smile at murder.
          The tempestuous journey from The Massacre of St Bartholomew to her deathbed is remembered, as all she has achieved now threatens to destroy her.   

THE SECOND JEZEBEL is available on Amazon.

Peter joins us now to talk about what it takes to make a writer. Welcome, Peter.

To make a writer
Telemachus, how did it come about?

For someone who has spent a long career treating Thoroughbred horses - for everything from infertility to racing performance - the transformation to writer has been a long, unlikely and tenuous road. I started dabbling with a pen back in the Seventies, realized it wasn’t a natural talent of mine, but doggedness convinced me to continue. I read a lot of fiction, but always with reservations about copying style or ideas. It was my aim, if I might ever succeed, to have a voice that would be distinctly my own and I didn’t want to steal anyone else’s ideas – even subconsciously. So I muddled on and the efforts weren’t very good; if I was learning and felt there were mild signs of improvement – as well as an innate inability to accept failure.

Then, in the Nineties, I was approached to do some equestrian books for J A Allen, in London. That was easy, because I had the training, had read extensively, was very familiar with the subject matter. But that wasn’t real writing, even if there would be a total of 12 books. I’d never be a writer unless I could produce readable fiction.

There’s a myriad of projects here I started and never managed to get an agent or publisher to read. My shelves are laden with ideas and printed pages – but the standard of writing was never good enough. I took classes, but with a terrible determination not to be influenced by others, to be absolutely individual. So I trundled on and all my family said ‘Poor Pete’ – he’s a sad case, and useless.

There were some tiny bits of encouragement, maybe: an agent told me I had ‘a voice’.; another could see seeds in incubation. When my Dad died, I wrote some blank verse and was told I was a poet – not a writer. I’m not a poet.

Then Telemachus slipped into being; a bit of fun really, created in a moment of sadness, but a delight to write – and it didn’t take very long. Perhaps longer to refine, but the story poured out in a matter of weeks in which I could enjoy every moment, every line; have a laugh at my ingenuity.

Still, when finished, it was only my bit of fun and nobody else would want to read it. Classified as ‘rubbish’ by members of my family, even my own children were so convinced I was a failure they raised their eyebrows and tut-tutted.

I thought of trying to put it on Amazon myself, but was afraid I wouldn’t do it properly, that I would mess up the formatting and I really needed an independent edit anyway, an opinion by somebody objective, truthful and professional about its quality - if I personally believed strongly in it. But where do you find someone like that and how could I afford to pay them? You’re thinking ‘hens teeth’!

Then, a year ago, surfing the net one day, I came across a website that offered the whole package for a sum I thought was very reasonable. They would proof-read, edit, format, help with cover design, write blurbs, advice on marketing, place it on Amazon – and all for a figure that was less than the cost of a professional edit. I submitted a Word file on a Sunday afternoon and, to my complete dismay, had a response within an hour. My proposition looked ‘very promising’, I was told. Two days later, I had a seven-page free assessment that was glowing as well as comprehensive. I sent it to two of my children and both screamed loudly ‘Beware, it’s a fraud’. Still, I decided to gamble; it’s in the blood, see? And I felt the work would be ready with an edit. It proved to be the best gamble ever for me; the book was on Amazon’s website within two months. Realistically, they did no proof reading after the initial assessment, I had to change one or two things that should have been blatantly obvious. The editing, too, was a complete farce, had clearly been farmed out, and the standard was so poor I had to spend a couple of days correcting the corrections!

The man responsible for the service was named Dai Williams; he had had a long career in the publishing world and certainly knew all about books. He has since been accused of fraud, but I owe him a debt of gratitude. He died and was no fraudster, just a human being trying to secure his family in the knowledge he was going to die. 

I was quite prepared to take the book down if it got bad reviews, but, to my amazement, they were positive from the start. People talked about the quality of the writing, the intricacies of the story, the underlying mystery of it all. But I was twice as amazed when I got the report from the Writer’s Digest judge, which almost duplicated Dai Williams’ assessment and even went a bit further. To be told by a judge in a competition that ‘ – the depth of the allegory is astounding’ was astounding for me. That he could say it was ‘brilliant’ and ‘an achievement’ meant I had finally got to where I wanted.

Maybe I can call myself ‘a writer’ now!

Peter, thanks for joining us today and sharing this look at what it takes to be a writer. I would say, yes you are a writer now.

For those unfamiliar with Peter’s writing, I’ll let him tell you a bit about his background.

Author Peter Mowbray
My name is Peter Mowbray, I am a “young at heart” 56-year-old, married to Sally and have 2 grown up sons Oli and Ross, we live just outside the regatta town of Henley on Thames in Oxfordshire. I work as an office administrator for a conference and event production
company.

I’ve always had a passion for history, even as a young child, and was fascinated by one particular character from sixteenth-century European history - Catherine de Medici. From the infamous Medici family, who became a Queen of France.

From what I had read and learned, I decided to put together my own interpretation of  Catherine’s story. After studying for and gaining a diploma in historical writing I wrote my first novel – “The Serpent of the Valois” which was self-published in 2013.

The second part of this work is available this month. “The Second Jezebel” concludes my story of this enigmatic woman.

The idea is to learn and write more about some of the fascinating characters that have lived and loved, and who have a story to be told.

Thanks, everyone for stopping by today during Peter’s visit. Has there ever been a character from history that you were (or still are) fascinated with?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

YALit Giveaway Event!


I’m excited today to be a part of the YALit Giveaway event. What is the YALit Giveaway - a bunch of authors who got together to bring you a YOUNG ADULT Big Box of Paperbacks Giveaway!

One lucky winner is going to win FIFTY (50) Young Adult Paperback Books! How’s that for an epic Book-Lover’s Prize?!

THIS BOX OF BOOKS IS VALUED AT OVER $500! And this giveaway is open worldwide! The group’s first giveaway went to a winner in ROMANIA–and yes, they are willing to pay the insane shipping on this oversized, overweight package to get the prize to WHOEVER wins!

Here's a sneak peek from a couple of the sponsors:

Adrenaline Rush by Cindy M. Hogan

As I hurtled toward my destination at 500 miles an hour, I pulled out a notebook, placed it on the shiny mahogany table in front of me, and scribbled a quick to-do list. Pick out an outfit. Get folders and notebooks. Switch into fourth-period drama. I chewed on the end of my pen. Oh yeah—just one more thing. Get kidnapped.

According to my pre-mission briefing, kidnappings were up in the States by five percent over the last five years. The significance of which didn’t hit me until I found that the statistics for kidnappings had remained static for a good thirty years. The spike caught the attention of the FBI, and they put their best men on it. The problem? Right when they thought they’d discovered the pattern of the kidnappers, it seemed to change.

We hit some turbulence, and the force of it pulled me out of my reverie. I sucked in a deep breath, my hands resting on the soft leather side arms of my big comfortable seat as the Gulfstream jet jumped. I let the rollercoaster feeling wash over me like a wave, forcing myself to enjoy every last tingle. I only had this flight and a few hours tonight to assume my new thrill-seeking alias—the one that would lure the kidnappers and save the day before the pattern changed again. I might as well make the most of it.


Chosen Wolf (Curse of the Moon #2) Excerpt

The full moon inched higher in the night sky, growing bigger and brighter by the moment. One by one, the members of the pack ran behind the Moonhaven mansion to remove their clothes before they tore to shreds as their bodies turned from men to wolves. Howls sounded in the distance.
          Toby squeezed my hand, holding my gaze. “Maybe this will be the month you can finally shift again, Victoria.”
          Sharp pains ran through my body. My right hip cracked. I bit my tongue, trying not to cry out in pain. My skin felt on fire as fur tried to poke through, but couldn’t.
          His face tensed, a pained look in his eyes. “Are you shifting?”
          I shook my head. There was nothing normal about this, and it was proving to be more difficult and painful than my other months of un-shifts. Each one grew worse than the last.
          Toby scooped me up, carried me inside, and helped me onto my bed. “I can’t keep my wolf inside any longer. I’m sorry.”
          “It’s okay.” I fought to keep my voice steady. Tears threatened.
          He brushed hair from my face and kissed my forehead. “Ziamara’s upstairs sleeping. She said to wake her if you need anything.”
          “I’ll be fine.” I grimaced, the pain nearly choking me.
          Toby cried out and the sound of ripping fabric tore through the room. He spun around and dashed out the door. The back of his shirt had ripped, and fur poked through the split material.
          I gripped a pillow, squeezing it as hard as I could to distract myself from the pain. It didn’t work, and the pillow exploded, filling the air with white feathers.
          A loud pop sounded and then a horrific pain shot through my shoulders. I slumped down and screamed, unable to take the pain.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. What do you think of this awesome giveaway? If you won, would you keep all the books, give them all away or share some while keeping some for yourself?




Monday, February 20, 2017

The Remnant {+ Giveaway}


It’s a pleasure today to be a part of author William Michael Davidson’s tour featuring his new novel, THE REMNANT, which was released earlier this month by Dancing Lemur Press L.L.C.

You can follow Davidson’s tour schedule HERE for reviews, excerpts, interviews, features, and more chances to win a copy of his book.

◊THE REMNANT
◊by William Michael Davidson
◊Dancing Lemur Press L.L. C.
◊Release date: February 7, 2017
◊$15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 242 pages
◊Science Fiction/Christian Futuristic Fiction
◊Print ISBN 978-1-939844-29-3
◊eBook ISBN 978-1-939844-30-9
◊Order through Ingram, Follett, or from the publisher
◊$4.99 eBook available in all formats

One nation, without God...

          Colton Pierce apprehends Abberants—those who display symptoms of faith—and quarantines them on a remote island to ensure public safety.  Years prior, the government released a genetically-engineered super flu that destroyed the genes believed to be the biological source of spiritual experience in an effort to rid the world of terrorism. As an extractor with the Center for Theological Control, Colton is dedicated to the cause.
          But Colton's steadfast commitment is challenged when he learns his own son has been targeted for extraction. An underground militia, the Remnant, agrees to help Colton save his son in exchange for his assistance with their plan to free the Aberrants on the island.
          Colton is faced with the most important decision of his life. Remain faithful to the CTC? Or give up everything to save his son?

THE REMNANT is available to order in eBook form at the following sites:

The print format of the book is available at these sites:

Be sure to add THE REMNANT to your bookshelf on Goodreads.


Here are my thoughts on this intriguing book.

Author William Michael Davidson created interesting, realistic and likable characters for his latest release, THE REMNANT. He also created a protagonist, Colton Pierce, that most readers will despise and won’t be able to relate to at first.

But Davidson’s unique storytelling abilities will draw readers in where they discover characters grow and evolve as the story unfolds. Maybe the protagonist isn’t what he first appeared to be after all.

In addition, Davidson tackles the issue of religion and where it might have and might not have a place in the world. Readers who let the faith aspect of this book keep them from reading it will miss out on a truly exceptional and well-balanced story.

The futuristic setting may not be as far-fetched as some, but it offers a thought-provoking look at how things could be. The story flows smoothly and at a good pace.

THE REMNANT is a tantalizing tale that will make you stop and ponder the what ifs of life and how you would react in the same setting. A fascinating read you don’t want to miss.

The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, Dancing Lemur Press L.L.C., @2017, ISBN: 978-1939844309, Trade Paperback, 242 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
Author William Michael Davidson
William Michael Davidson lives in Long Beach, California with his wife and two daughters. A believer that "good living produces good writing," Davidson writes early in the morning so he can get outside, exercise, spend time with people, and experience as much as possible.

A writer of speculative fiction, he enjoys stories that deal with humanity's inherent need for redemption.

For more on Davidson and his writing, connect with him on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon Author’s Page.

This is a tour-wide giveaway for two (2) print copies that are available to those living in the U.S. only and one (1) eBook copy available international. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Sunday, Feb. 26. You can enter to win at each stop of the tour.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour for more chances to win. The schedule is located HERE.












Saturday, February 18, 2017

Autumn’s Dance {+ Giveaway}


It’s a pleasure to be a part of the AUTUMN’S DANCE by Sarah Gai Blitz with Xpresso Book Tours.

As part of the blitz-wide activities, Sarah is giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card. Please see the end of the post for more details on the giveaway.

◊ Autumn’s Dance
◊ by Sarah Gai
◊ Publication date: February 14, 2017
◊ Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

“A story that captures your heart and continues you thinking about it long after you fall asleep.”

          Autumn Nash lives a nomadic existence with her harvest-travelling father, except every summer when they return to one place like clockwork…Ligonier, PA. But this season, Autumn meets a young man who changes her world and makes her long for more.
          Eric Foster has been sent to stay the summer in Ligonier with his grandfather in hopes of altering his path as his life spirals downward. His direction changes the moment he sees Autumn; he knows his very reason for breathing is solely to be with her.
          When Autumn is ripped away from Ligonier, she leaves Eric confused and devastated that their time is over. Both teens struggle through the years gone by without the other. Will Autumn ever see the boy who changed her life again? Will Eric wait for her? Will Autumn ever make it back to Ligonier? And what will happen when buried secrets surface?

Discover a love that takes you back to what it’s all about—the confusing, yet simplistic, beginnings of falling in love and watch it evolve into something that takes your breath away.



Are you a book reviewer?
Request a review copy here!



Author Sarah Gai
So this is me in short. I'm plus size and completely adorable (or so my husband tells me) A momma of three princes who light my world. I drink way too much coffee, chocolate is a staple. I love to write after midnight and my love for short stories will never fade. With such a limited amount of time to enjoy quiet writing, I have mastered the skills of fitting a lot into a small amount of pages. Humour keeps me smiling and well.. if you've read my books you'll know that I put a lot of myself into the characters.

And to answer your questions. My best friends and I forgot the part about growing up and love every minute of it. Aside from writing I also run a publication IndieLove Magazine, promoting Indie Awesomes from a range of fields and professions. Check it out at www.indielovemagazine.com

In 2017 I will be saying goodbye to Chick lit for a while and heading into Contemporary Romance. I hate to be put in a box! Join my street team at www.sarahgai.com and come have some fun!

Love to all xo.

Wanting to write for all the women out there who want a good short read about strong friendships, romance and body positive, love the skin you're in kind of fiction. Check out http://Facebook.com/sarahgaiauthor or www.sarahgai.com


The blitz-wide giveaway is for a $20 Amazon Gift Card. To enter just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks for stopping by today during Sarah’s blitz. Did you as a youngster or do you now go to the same place every summer?


Friday, February 17, 2017

Draw and Color Your Way to a Younger Brain


Draw and Color Your Way to a Younger Brain: Dogs, Cats, and Wild Animals by Anastasia Catris
◊ Paperback: 176 pages
◊ Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style (January 24, 2017)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 1455543616
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1455543618

SYNOPSIS:

Go beyond the calm coloring craze: Train your brain and enhance your memory as you copy, complete, and color a series of 90 beautifully complex animal creations--from cats and dogs to elephants and zebras.

Research shows that drawing keeps your mind focused and your memory sharp. DRAW YOUR WAY TO A YOUNGER BRAIN includes 90 intricate line drawings of cats, dogs, and safari animals to boost your brainpower using proven art therapy techniques.
Train your brain and enhance your memory as you copy, complete, and color in outlines, doodle in the gaps, and progress to forming your own artistic designs. Line by line, heal your mind, spark your creativity, and improve your cognitive function as you fill in the pages with art and color.


Anything you can do to stimulate your brain and keep your mind sharp is a good thing. Bestselling illustrator Anastasia Catris has created a fun way to accomplish both.

Catris takes the adult coloring book craze to a new level in her recent release, DRAW AND COLOR YOUR WAY TO A YOUNGER BRAIN: Dogs, Cats, and Wild Animals.

While coloring can be calming, relaxing, and fun, just image the exhilaration of copying and designing your own interruption of drawings. Using art therapy techniques, you not only get to color but you also get to complete and enhance the 90 intricate line drawings of wild animals, dogs, and cats.

This beautifully crafted book of amazing creatures will keep you spellbound from the first page to the last. You can let your imagination run wild with colors as you copy the details from one image to another.

This is way more than a coloring book. It’s a book that could help you train your brain and enhance your memory while relaxing as you color.

This book is not designed just for artists to enjoy, but anyone who enjoys art and wants to try their hand at it. Novice and professionals alike will be delighted by the drawings in this enchanting book.

Draw and Color Your Way to a Younger Brain: Dogs, Cats, and Wild Animals by Anastasia Catris, Grand Central Life & Style, @2017, ISBN: 978-1455543618, Paperback, 176 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks for stopping by today. What do you do to help stimulate your brain and keep your mind sharp?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mission Impawsible {+ Giveaway}


MISSION IMPAWSIBLE by Krista Davis
◊ Series: A Paws & Claws Mystery, Book 4
◊ Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
◊ Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
◊ Publisher: Berkley (February 7, 2017)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 1101988568
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1101988565

SYNOPSIS:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Murder Most Howl comes the fourth Paws & Claws mystery...
 
In the pet-friendly town of Wagtail, Virginia, there’s no love lost when Holly Miller meets her match in a murderer...
          Holly and her grandmother, Oma, are working their tails off to prepare the Sugar Maple Inn for an upcoming matchmaking event for pet owners. While Holly has no interest in pairing up, Oma plans on playing Cupid and finding someone to warm her reluctant granddaughter’s heart.
          Unfortunately, one man Holly does meet is cold—dead cold—and he has a personal letter from Oma in his pocket. As suspicion is cast over the inn's guests, Holly—with the help of her furry friends, Trixie the Jack Russell and Twinkletoes the cat—must fetch the real killer, or she may soon have a date in court.

Delicious recipes for owners and pets included!  


Author Krista Davis has a genuine talent for crafting eccentric characters that draw you into her stories and hold on to your imagination long after you’ve finished the story.

MISSION IMPAWSIBLE, the latest release in her Paws and Claws Mystery Series, is a prime example of Davis’ crafty characters and tantalizing storylines. Combining lovable pets, an amiable pet-friendly town, a dash of romance, a murder mystery, and the love of family and friends makes this a well-balanced tale.

The characters are realistic, likable and well-developed. Their unique interaction is captivating. The story flow smoothly and at a good pace.

The twists and turns of the story will keep you on your toes. Even if you guess the killer’s identity, the path to their unveiling is well worth the read.

This is a charming story that will delight mystery lovers and hold a special place in the hearts of pet lovers.

Mission Impawsible by Krista Davis, A Paws & Claws Mystery (Book #4), Berkley, @2017, ISBN: 978-1101988565, Mass Market Paperback, 304 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Penguin Random House, I have a print copy of MISSION IMPAWSIBLE by Krista Davis to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Friday, Feb. 24.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Do you enjoy stories that include pets as characters? Do you live in a pet-friendly community?