Thursday, November 15, 2018

Book Feature: Fatal Agreements by Ashley Fontainne #books @ashleyfontainne

FATAL AGREEMENTS by Ashley Fontainne, Suspense/Mystery/Thriller, 449 pp., $15.99 (paperback) $3.99 (kindle)

Author: Ashley Fontainne
Publisher: RMSW Press
Pages: 449
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Whispered rumors tickled the ears of the residents of an entire town for decades about the disturbing secrets of the old Halstead House, dating all the way back to the early 1920s. Most people didn’t believe them. Several people will soon discover they should have listened.

Three years after struggling to cope with the death of her beloved father and escaping an abusive relationship, Samantha Chapman decides it’s time to return to her hometown of Hot Springs. She buys the ramshackle Halstead House, eager to transform the dilapidated, abandoned piece of history into her new law office and residence, hoping it will be the start of a brighter chapter and a safe haven to escape her personal demons.

Instead of newfound freedom, things take a dark turn when the resurrection of the old home reveals the disturbing secrets hidden within its walls. When youthful transgressions of numerous people come to light, including ones some members of the Chapman family are desperate to contain, it reveals the sins of the past. They collide with the grave mistakes of the present, creating a perfect storm of chaos and death for not only the Chapman family but others as well.

Some will survive.

Others will get burned.

Sam and her loved ones realize some family secrets should have remained buried.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, April 14, 1993
“I HOPE OUR chat made my intentions clear about what I expect from you, Samantha. Another incident like today will force me to contact your parents about your behavior. Again. This is junior high not elementary school. The days of disrupting class are over. Do I make myself clear?”
Biting her lip to keep from saying something nasty, Sam nodded. Rather than look at the irritated, sour face of Principal Townsend, she kept her gaze on her lap. She understood the proper response was “Yes, ma’am,” yet the words wouldn’t form on her lips. She was still too angry to play nice after Ms. Jolly sent her to the office.
The old hag English teacher, one of many in a school overrun with them, should have sent both guilty parties. Sam had no control over someone passing her something during class. Resa should be sitting right next to her, forced to listen to Terrible Townsend’s yammering about following rules and respect.
Sam tried to talk her way out of the situation. The thought of spending more time in detention or listening to yet another lecture from her mother made her mad. She tried to reason with the principal earlier, but it was a waste of time. Sam didn’t understand why she was the only one sent to the office. Resa passed the note to Sam during a pop quiz, not the other way around. Of course, Resa’s actions were sneaky. Sam’s loud argument in class with Ms. Jolly about the existence of the note and the request to produce it earned the trip to Terrible Townsend’s office.
“I can’t hear your head nod, Samantha.”
Raising her gaze, Sam stifled a laugh. Ms. Townsend’s ugly, beady eyes glared back, awaiting the proper response. Eager to escape the office, join Suzy for lunch, and read the note which started the mess, Sam caved. “Yes ma’am.”
“Thank you. You’re excused.”
Jumping to her feet, Sam strode toward the door.
“One more thing before you leave, Samantha.”
Cringing at the false assumption Ms. Townsend would let her go without some sort of punishment, Sam’s fingers wound around the doorknob. Terrible Townsend was fond of handing out detention as though it were Halloween candy. “Yes, Ms. Townsend?”
“When you enter high school, you should enroll on the debate team.”
Shocked by the words, Sam turned around. “Excuse me?”
After removing her glasses, Ms. Townsend stood, smoothing out imaginary wrinkles on her linen dress shirt. “Samantha Chapman, you have a way with words like your sister, though she’s yet to come out of her shyness. You have the command of a room like your parents; a perfect mixture of Big Sam’s joviality and Charmaine’s cool elegance. For a few seconds, you almost swayed me over to see your side of things. Your temper derailed you. It is something you need to work on controlling. I believe you are a natural debater and would make a great litigator someday.”
“Litigator?” Sam had no idea what the term meant.
Coming around from behind the desk, Ms. Townsend smiled, something she rarely did when alone, much less around the student body of Lake Hamilton Junior High. The student’s bright blue eyes were wild with curiosity and a hint of pride. As an educator, Ms. Townsend had seen the look enough times during her career in the public-school system. Samantha Chapman would go places if she learned to corral her mouth.
“Have you ever watched the TV show L.A. Law?”
“No.” Sam wondered where the strange conversation was headed.
“Lawyers who argue cases in front of judges and juries are known as litigators. I think you might be blessed with the raw abilities I mentioned. Don’t waste them. Focus your natural gifts and harness them while taming your tongue. If you do, I assure you great things will happen in your life, not only for you, but for those around you.”
Stunned by the surprising praise, Sam blinked several times before responding. “Thank you, ma’am.”
“Go before you eat lunch too fast. No need for you to get sick.”
Disappearing out the door, Sam headed toward the cafeteria while extracting Resa’s note from the front pocket of her jeans. A hint of smile danced on her lips while thinking about Ms. Townsend, pleased she didn’t hand out any detention. Maybe it was time to give the woman another nickname? She wished her mother would say such nice things; be more complimentary, but the kind words were saved for Suzy only.
Opening the crinkled paper, she paused in the hallway, ignoring the sounds of laughter and clanking of dishes coming from the cafeteria. The aroma of sloppy joes and coleslaw filled the hall, making her mouth water and stomach rumble.
“There you are! Come on, hurry!” Resa’s long fingernails dug into Sam’s forearm. Her blonde, frizzy curls bounced in time with her rapid pace while tugging her friend toward the cafeteria doors.
“What’s going on?”
The paper slipped from Sam’s fingers, flittering to the floor.
Bending over, Resa scooped up the note while continuing to drag Sam toward the doorway. “I tried to warn you when overhearing Kathy and Tanya planning it out in first period. I begged them not to do it, but Kathy wouldn’t listen. Hurry up because he’s started! Kip’s at her table!”
“Started what?”
“Kathy’s game. Suzy’s today’s victim.”
Yanking her arm away, Sam stopped inches from the double metal doors leading to the cafeteria. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. He plans on flirting with Suzy before asking her to the Spring Fling dance loud enough for everyone to hear the words before he…”
“Oh, shit!” Sam’s pulse quickened.
Kathy Poole was known for insensitive pranks. Even the slightest annoyance like bumping into her in the hallway was justifiable cause to be in her crosshairs.
Pushing Resa aside, she peered around the doors. Kip Hale sat on the edge of the table, peering down at Suzy, his smile fake and movements practiced. Suzy’s blue eyes were laser-locked on Kip’s tan, gorgeous face, mesmerized as though the boy cast some sort of hypnotic spell over her love-struck mind.
Sam spotted Kathy Poole, Tanya Reynolds and the rest of the cheer team three tables over, hands covering their mouths as bouts of laughter made their bodies shudder. Sam didn’t care for any of the snotty cheerleaders, yet she despised Kathy Poole. Tanya and the others were mindless followers—Kathy was the mean ringleader.
Every single student at Lake Hamilton Junior High understood head cheerleader Kathy Poole claimed track star Kip Hale as her own, including Sam’s twin sister, Suzy, who had a massive crush on the hunk.
The “game” would break Suzy’s love-stricken heart. Suzy tried out for next year’s squad and made it, beating out one of Kathy’s friends.
Shoving her books into Resa’s hands, Sam scowled. “If you’re the one who blabbed about Suzy’s feelings toward Kip, I’ll whip your ass next.”
Resa said nothing so Sam ran to Suzy’s aide.
The din of laughter from the boisterous students disappeared after they let out a collective gasp while watching Sam race across the floor, her unruly coppery hair flapping behind her like fluttering flames.
Kip’s devious smile vanished as Sam barreled toward him.
Suzy turned her head at the commotion.
The flush of embarrassment made Suzy’s normally pale cheeks vibrant burgundy. The smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose and cheekbones disappeared. A trail of wet tears spilled from her sister’s eyes, rolling down the red cheeks in a steady stream.
“What an idiot! I can’t believe she fell for it! Like Kip would ever take her ugly ass on a date or to the Spring Fling dance! She looks like Bozo’s kid!”
The snickers from Kathy’s table ignited Sam’s fuse. She balled up her fist, never slowing her pace.
Kip stood, holding his hands out in mock surrender. “Hey, it was a joke…”
She never let him finish the sentence. The sound and feel of her fist smashing into his face made her own devious smirk appear even though the impact hurt like hell.
Kip flew backward, head grazing the edge of the table behind him. He landed with a loud thump on the stained tile floor.
Kathy stopped laughing as blood squirted from in between her boyfriend’s fingers. “You crazy bitch! Look what you did to him!”
“I’m not finished yet.”
Sam turned the focus of her rage on Kathy, splitting her lip before the faculty swooped in to intervene. The metal braces on the girl’s teeth ripped open her knuckles. She didn’t care. Wrapping her fingers around a wad of thick, brown hair, Sam yanked, ripping out a large chunk.
Ms. Townsend arrived, pulling the girls apart as another teacher helped Kip to his feet.
Kathy sobbed on the floor.
“My office, all of you! Now. Looks like our little chat earlier fell upon deaf ears, Samantha.”
Glaring at Ms. Townsend, Sam yanked her arm from the woman’s grip. “They deserved it, trust me. No one messes with my sister. No one.”


HOURS LATER, EARS ringing from her mother’s yelling, Sam stared at the ceiling while Suzy finished brushing her teeth in the bathroom. Ms. Townsend suspended her for three days, which ended up getting her grounded for three weeks. She didn’t care. The punishment was worth it because Kathy, Kip, and Tanya were suspended as well. She won her argument this time with Ms. Townsend.
After Resa showed the note to the principal, their plan in black and white doomed them. Less than twenty minutes after the battle in the cafeteria, several students humiliated by the trio in the past came forward. Once they spilled their stories, Kip was kicked off the track team, Kathy and Tanya stripped of being cheerleaders, and they all received a week’s suspension.
A soft knock on the bedroom door made Sam smile. Suzy slammed the bathroom door shut.
“Hey slugger. I brought some ice for your hand.”
“Thanks, Daddy.” Sam noticed the gleam in his baby blue eyes. It looked like he had some new grays, making his fading auburn hair shimmer under the overhead light. “Does this mean you aren’t mad at me anymore?”
Easing down on the edge of the bed, Big Sam smiled after handing the ice pack to his daughter. “Your ma’s the one who’s got her feathers all ruffled. Not me. I’m a preening peacock. You stood up for your kin when the bullies attacked. I’m proud of you.”
Sam’s mouth dropped open. “You are? Why didn’t you say something when Mom was tearing into me?”
“Because over the years, I learned when to try and battle your ma and when to let her have the reins and run amok. Tonight, I picked the latter.”
After resituating the ice pack, Sam asked, “When my grounding’s over, may I start watching L.A. Law on Thursday nights?”
Big Sam raised an inquisitive brow. “Fine by me but TV ain’t my preferred entertainment choice. You know your ma watches Knots Landing on Thursday nights. Good luck convincing her to give up her nighttime soaps. Why the sudden interest?”
Sam shrugged her shoulders. “I’m thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. Being a lawyer sounds like fun.”
Ruffling the mop of dark auburn curls on his daughter’s head, Big Sam smiled. “You can be anything you want, darling daughter. Put your mind to it and stay focused. I’m behind you, and your sister, one-hundred percent with whatever career choices picked.”
Yanking the door open, Suzy stormed out of the bathroom and jumped into bed. “I hope you aren’t letting her off the hook, Daddy. What she did was wrong.”
Sam gaped at her sister.
Big Sam chuckled, rising to his feet. He found it rather amusing the twins looked identical yet had polar-opposite personalities. One’s attitude was courtesy of his wife, and the other was more in tune with his laid-back style.
He sensed an epic battle looming between his girls. “Well, enough raging estrogen for one day. Time for me to retire to the back porch with a good book and cigar. Try not to leave marks on each other or make a mess, girls. Love you both.”
Neither sister spoke for a full minute after their father left. Sam sensed Suzy’s anger from the across the dark room. She couldn’t fathom why in the world her twin was mad at her instead of the mean kids at school.
“You ruined my life.”
“My turn to talk, Sam! You did enough gabbing all day, and when talking didn’t work, you acted like a boxer. Don’t stick your nose into my personal life again. Ever. I’ll handle things on my own. You may not mind being a social outcast, but I do, so butt out.”
Stung by the harsh words, Sam remained quiet. Suzy had never, ever, spoken to her like that before. For thirteen years they were consumed by the tight, twin bond between them. Silent tears trickled from her eyes, soaking the pillowcase while fuming over the day’s events.
Streaks of lightning lit up their bedroom, followed by a crack of thunder so loud their beds shook. Sam was terrified of storms and Suzy knew it. Closing her eyes, she counted to ten, waiting for her sibling to come snuggle next to her like she always did when thunderstorms came.
Suzy never moved a muscle.
When the second boom rattled the bed, Sam’s eyes popped open. “Are you…?”
“No, I’m not. Deal with your fears while I handle mine.”
Sam sensed things would never be right between them. The knowledge made her sad and angry at the same time. She did nothing wrong and yet was being treated as though she did.
She wouldn’t grasp until many years later the devastating effects of the day’s incident, and how her actions to protect her sister would end up being the downfall of her entire family.

Ashley Fontainne writes in multiple genres ranging from mystery/thrillers to suspenseful paranormal to dark comedy. The recipient of numerous awards for her gritty, no-holds barred style of writing, her stories will captivate and pull you inside the lives of her characters and intricate plot lines.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Book Review: The Early Years by Rachel G. Carrington

Inside the Book:

Title: The Early Years
Author: Rachel G. Carrington
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Author Rachel G. Carrington lays no claim to lofty jobs, higher education, nor grand accomplishments except for a love-filled, multifaceted, family-oriented, poverty-to-plenty life. In The Early Years, the first in a series, she shares her story.
As a young teenager, just entering high school in the small town of Denton, Kentucky, Carrington planned to attend college and become a teacher. With coursework geared toward college attendance, she was offered a lucrative scholarship that would help her to attain her goal. However, it took only a single event to send her down a different path. She met a returned World War II veteran who was attempting to pick up the pieces after finding his marriage in irreparable shambles and his children gone. As he struggled, Carrington was there, and they pulled together to clear the many hurdles before them.
In this memoir, she tells the story of their journey and how their love and dedication for each other kept moving them forward. Filled with the joys, disappointments, and struggles of a couple, The Early Years narrates how the love of the heavenly Father was the continuous thread that bound Carrington’s life together.

My Review:

I'm not usually a huge fan of non-fiction books, but biographies can really pique my interest, so when I saw the premise for this book I asked to review it. The author does a great job of navigating us through her life, and through all the ups and downs that she encounters to get to her happy ending. She shows a lot of perseverance and gratitude, qualities that I think are lacking in many people in today's world.

It is a true inspiration and a very enjoyable book. 

Meet the Author:
Rachel G. Carrington, a transplanted Kentuckian, is a widow, mother of seven and grandmother to three generations. Included with her many other interests, she spends much of her time writing and lives in Hamilton, Ohio and in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Book Review: Forestry Flavours of the Month by Alastair Fraser

Publication Date: May 20, 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 228
Genre: Biography
Tour Dates: September 4 - 15

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Forestry touches on all aspects of human welfare in one way or another, which is why foresters need to play an active role in determining our collective agenda. Alastair Fraser, a lifelong forester and the co-founder of LTS International, a forestry consulting company, explains how forestry changes with political cycles and how foresters can promote healthy forests at all times.

He explores critical issues such as:
• forests and their connection to coal;
• forest's role in combatting floods and climate change;
• illegal logging in Indonesia, Laos, and elsewhere;
• tactics to promote sustainable forestry management;
• plantations as a solution to tropical deforestation.

From pulping in Sweden and Brazil, paper mills in Greece and India, agroforestry in the Philippines, "pink" disease in India and oil bearing trees of Vietnam, no topic is off limits. Based on the author's life as a forester in dozens of countries, this account shows the breadth of forestry and makes a convincing case that forestry management needs to focus on managing change and achieving sustainability. Whether you're preparing to become a forester, already in the field, or involved with conservation, the environment or government, you'll be driven to action with Forestry Flavours of the Month.


Are you at all concerned about our natural resources and how they are diminishing? If so, this is an important book to read. Mr. Fraser addresses not only the issues we face in different regions of the world but what can be done to help save those resources and our planet as a whole.

I loved how he discussed the different problems that forestry management deals with - I really had no idea the depth that their experience and job reached. This is a very well written and informative book that I think everyone could benefit by reading. 

Alastair Fraser is a founder member of the archaeology group No Man s Land. He has worked as researcher and participant in a number of Great War documentaries. Steve Roberts is a retired police officer and an ex-regular soldier. He specialises in researching individuals who served during the war and is also a founder member of No Man s Land. Andrew Robertshaw frequently appears on television as a commentator on battlefield archaeology and the soldier in history, and he has coordinated the work of No Man s Land. His publications include Somme 1 July 1916: Tragedy and Triumph, Digging the Trenches (with David Kenyon) and The Platoon.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Book Blast: Ben Abdul-Malik Akran by Sotonye Sagbe Boyle

Title: Ben Abdul-Malik Akran
Author: Sotonye Sagbe Boyle
Publisher: AuthorHouse UK
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook
When Akran suddenly surfaces out of the blue to cart Ben away to London, like a puppy in a chain, he knows things will never be the same for him again. ‘I don’t like white people,’ Ben tells his father, whom he sees as an ingredient in their evil manipulation. His classroom teacher teaches him, ‘white people perpetrate all the crimes in the world,’ a philosophy which implants in him, and earns him many adversaries–an orgy of killings. Ben joins the deadly Al Qaeda Network to seek for justice when his rivals kill his friends–Amafor, Dandy and beautiful Omar. For him, ‘justice delayed, is justice denied.’ But for his association with the Al Qaeda Network, death means nothing to him anymore...



Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins October 22 and ends on November 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 


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Monday, October 29, 2018

Blog Tour / Interview / Daniel Kenner, Co-Author of 'Room for Grace' @alwysroom4grace

Daniel Kenner rocked out to Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” while other infants sang “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” A proud member of Actor’s Equity, SAG-AFTRA, and National Players Tour 60, Daniel was a Presidential Arts Scholar at George Washington University and Scholarship recipient at The British American Drama Academy. Directed the Washington D.C. premier of Sarah Kane’s Crave. Author of the manuscript, Roux. Winner of the Rhode Island Playwriting Festival for his World War II letters home drama, Fields of Sacrifice. Adapted Les Misérables for high school stages.
Maureen Kenner’s heart was in the classroom. For thirty-five years she was a Special Education teacher in the Providence Public Schools. Born and raised in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Maureen graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in education and later earned a Master’s Degree from Providence College. Maureen was a vital influence at the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point, working tirelessly as a mentor for the betterment of all children and their families. Honored with many accolades throughout her career, Maureen was awarded Providence Teacher of the Year in 2003. Living with cancer, as a model patient, Maureen exemplified integrity, courage, grace, and hope. For thirty-one years, through sickness and health, Maureen was the beloved soul mate to the late Jacob “Buddy” Kenner, her intense love recognized in 2016 as a Rhode Island Caregiver of the Year.



About the Book:

Author: Daniel Kenner & Maureen Kenner
Publisher: Silver Boot Imprints
Pages: 200
Genre: Memoir & Biography


Stage 4 cancer for her and a debilitating disease for her husband: life crashed down in an instant. Maureen Kenner found resilience, however, in the lessons she learned from her Special Ed students in Providence, RI. Her students lived with their hearts opened despite struggles of the highest magnitude. Through these students, Maureen gains courage, humor, and the strength of spirit to face her devastating realities, head on. Maureen’s oral history was captured by her son Daniel who tenderly wrought this book out of their recorded conversations. Through anecdotes and hard-earned lessons, Maureen tackles challenge after challenge and reframes daily struggles with a positive outlook allowing her to transcend and conquer mortal fears with dignity and room for grace.


"Maureen Kenner was one of those people who brightened every room she entered. Thanks to Room for Grace, that light is not extinguished. Although her story shares great sadness, Room for Grace is a book of hope and a celebration of life that sheds Maureen’s light on us all."

—Ann Hood, Author of The Obituary Writer and The Red Thread

“In these pages, you will find a story like no other. Maureen’s story is one of courage and love, a story that will move you to your core.”

—David Flink, Chief Empowerment Officer, Eye to Eye

“The piercing light of Maureen’s compassion, love and intelligence, will leave every reader wanting to reach out in the spirit of service and live life to the fullest.”

—Annie Lanzillotto, Author of Hard Candy: Caregiving, Mourning, and Stagelight

“Buddy Kenner was a big-hearted teacher, universally beloved by all, a warrior for the arts and their importance in the curriculum. Amazing and unique guy. Read this book.”

Tom Chandler, Rhode Island Poet Laureate Emeritus



Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I see a lot of theater. I sit in the sun and squint. I eat cheese. And ice cream. I get depressed sometimes. Or lethargic. I take walks and listen to people and write down fascinating quotes or interact with strangers in parks and subways and busy New York Streets. Sometimes just to get a reaction. I like to take the Staten Island ferry. I play board games. I make fun of my friends. I edit and edit and edit all my sentences and overthink most things. I love to watch movies. Why aren’t there more heist films? I love buying vinyls and thumbing through the racks of old soul and funk records. Sometimes I combine these things and take the ferry when it’s sunny outside and I’m really sweating, eat an ice cream cone after I’ve just seen a movie and eaten spicy noodles and shopped for a record and just read a play while the ferry charges towards the Statue of Liberty.

When did you start writing?

My uncle recently reminded me that I wrote three “books” by the time I was I think eleven. My first book was a memoir. Which is hilarious. The second was about a girl who gets bullied in middle school because she’s adopted and the third, The 3 A.M Huddle, was about a boy who plays with his baseball cards after he’s supposed to be sleeping. My dad was convinced Bob Dylan was part of our family so I grew up listening to a lot of Bob while other kids were singing lullabies. But I started to seriously write in high school. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and writing became an outlet. I wrote my second play, Fields Of Sacrifice, based on an Andrew Carroll book. Unfortunately, when I was on the cusp of further independence, taking my driver’s license permit test, I found out one of my best friends, Nick, was unaccounted for after the fire erupted at the Great White concert at The Station nightclub. Foam sound insulation caught fire after pyrotechnics were set off. I remember watching the news footage, almost paralyzed with fear, which showed that any escape was nearly impossible, and there near the front of the stage, was a boy who looked like Nick. Nick was the youngest of one hundred people who lost their lives in Warwick that night. My friends and I lost a gentle friend in the most horrifying way. For his funeral, his mother and father gave Nick a “Graduation” with the motto, “Do Not Fear To Hope,” a line Nick had written in They Walk Among Us, his play about three guardian angels passing on messages of love and hope. My mom liked to say every time she came into my room after that, I was writing volumes and volumes of stream of consciousness poems and songs. I guess I’ve always channeled my pain and put it on paper. I remember thinking all of a sudden I had to grow up with the absence of one of our best friends. So, I’d sit there after school, just writing and writing and writing. And then I’d come down for dinner when Dad’s meatballs and spaghetti was ready

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

Anytime I experience heartbreak I think I retreat to writing. Or when I was younger and I thought I was special, I wrote a lot. Now, it’s more of a preservation, I think. But the pivotal moment. Going away to college and finding my independence and some semblance of who I was supposed to be was pretty pivotal. Finding my voice and a new group of friends and my meaning in a theater department was monumental. But heartbreak. Yeah. I’ve had two serious breakups. And I’ve had two parents with life altering diseases. Sometimes I write to remember. Sometimes I just can’t quit writing. It’s in flashes and bursts.

Why was writing Room For Grace so important to you?

After dad was diagnosed with dementia and Mom with Stage 4 cancer, I didn’t know how I was going to help or how I was going to keep showing up. I was terrified. I needed this project to keep me close to them. Once I had the idea, I became fixated and never wavered. It was what I had to do. Not only for me. But it became a gift to my mom.

In writing Room For Grace, did you travel anywhere for research?

Room For Grace originated from an oral history I conducted with my mom in Bar Harbor. And the idea arose down in Sarasota, Florida maybe six months earlier. My dad’s communication and storytelling was blocked and being diminished by his dementia. And I wanted to capture the stories of my mom and dad’s lives so for their thirtieth wedding anniversary we went to Bar Harbor, Maine. I had this beautiful notebook that I filled with ideas and questions and conversation starters. And my mom was a talker so, that week went by pretty quickly. We recorded thirty hours. And then six months after they passed I left Brooklyn for two weeks and went out to New Mexico to work on much of the dialogue. It was a gut feeling. I had to go west, along the turquoise trail. Something about the dry heat and long roads and Mars-like feelings. I’m terrified of heights so the first thing I did when I got there was take a hot air balloon trip at sunrise something like 7500 ft above sea level. I needed to work through some fears. Then I went to the hotel, sat down and the voices came back and gave me the oomph to keep writing. To finish Room For Grace. To turn it into a complete project.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I get my best ideas from deep, meaningful connections. I give all of myself, the good and the bad, and I think it encourages others to interact with me the same way. There are so many powerful stories and I love listening and asking questions. I love investigating the driving force behind people and being present. Like really present. And sometimes you stumble onto something beautiful, sometimes it’s an answer, sometimes it’s an exasperation. But to answer the question, I get ideas outside, definitely. Walking. With no headphones in. Or the moments of hopefully stunning silence as I walk away from the theater.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Oh, nice. I’d definitely rent a moped and ride down by the water, maybe sing “Blessings Reprise” over and over again by Chance The Rapper and eat some spicy cumin hand pulled noodles. Park by a used book shop and go into the crevices of their play section or walk into a record shop, see if they have any early 90’s hip hop bootlegs, then take a drive along the Hudson with my lovebug.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Book Blast: Sara Hatun by Ayah Hamad

Title: Sara Hatun
Author: Ayah Hamad
Publisher: AuthorHouse UK
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Ebook

Sara Hatun comes from the Kayi Tribe and is the daughter of its Master Suleyman Shah. But what will save her from being caught by the temple guards, from being locked up in Aleppo’s king’s palace, or from losing one of the closest people to her heart? There is only one solution!


Ayah Hamad is a 13 year old (May 29, 2004) girl born in Sharjah, UAE. She spent her childhood in America before moving back to the UAE in 2013. Ayah enjoys Horse riding, editing videos, reading and writing. Sara Hatun is her first story and she is looking towards being an active writer in the future.



Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins October 22 and ends on November 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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