Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Feature: Live Echoes by Henry V. O'Neil




Inside the Book:



Title: Live Echoes
Author: Henry V. O'Neil
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Ecopy

There’s new hope for resolution of the decades-long war against the Sims: the discovery of Omega, a mysterious planet far from the fighting. Reena Mortas, the embattled leader of the human alliance, is betting everything that Omega could unlock the mystery of what’s creating the Sims.

Meanwhile, her husband and predecessor, the missing-and-believed-dead Olech Mortas, has made contact with the aliens who gave mankind the faster-than-light mode of travel known as the Step. Existing in a different realm, Olech is re-living the most important decisions of his life—while trying to explain human contradiction to a being that looks just like him, known only as Mirror.

Olech’s children, Jander and Ayliss, are still embroiled in the war. Jander has rejoined the Orphan Brigade on the mineral-rich planet Celestia, where he comes to believe what many of the Orphans feel: they’re supporting the wrong side. Ayliss, fighting in the all-female Banshees, is soon thrown into the losing war against the Sims, not knowing that every Banshee in the Human Defense Force is slated for an all-out assault on Omega that could win the war—or get them all killed.

Live Echoes is the gripping end to the Sim War series, and finally answers its central question: Where did the Sims come from, and why are they bent on humanity’s destruction?

PURCHASE HERE: AMAZON

Meet the Author


Henry V. O’Neil is the name under which award-winning mystery novelist Vincent H. O’Neil publishes his science fiction work. A graduate of West Point, he served in the US Army Infantry with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, and in the 1st Battalion (Airborne) of the 508th Infantry in Panama. He has worked as a risk manager, a marketing copywriter, and an apprentice librarian



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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Book Excerpt: When Wars Were Won by Hugh Aaron


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We invite you to Hugh Aaron's WHEN WARS WERE WON Blog Tour! Please leave a comment to let Hugh know you stopped by!
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Title: WHEN WARS WERE WON
Author: Hugh Aaron
Publisher: Stones Point Press
Pages: 269
Genre: Fiction

 Hal Arnold, a professor of English, returns to the Philippines after forty years yearning for the unity, spirit and optimism he knew as a 19- year-old member of a Seabee battalion in the South Pacific theater during World War II. Trying to recapture that experience, he writes this story, vividly portraying members of the battalion who impacted his life. Searching for his own identity, he finds it in the warm, rich culture of a small Filipino village where love and dignity thrive among a people who have suffered under the Japanese yoke.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

EXCERPT
"But you love the hacienda so much," she protested, sitting up, yet holding onto my hand.
"I do. But I can't live in this country, not the way it is. Nothing has changed, no one is better off than they were forty years ago. Corruption and cronyism are the system. It's suffocating, don't you see? I miss the freedom, its very atmosphere. I hadn't realized how much. There's a vibrancy at home. It's part of me. So come home with me."
"At my age, leave the hacienda?" she said, waving her hand. "I would never adjust to a strange place. I couldn't die anywhere else."
"I understand," I said.
"When will you let me read your story?" she asked the night before I departed.
"I'll leave it with you and you can send it to me."
"Do you think it will be published?"
"Does it matter? I asked. "I wanted only to write it, nothing more."
Tomorrow Nina will drive me to Manila. Tomorrow I shall go home for the second time, feeling no less anxious than the first, when Fortune drove me to Subic Bay. Tomorrow will be our second good-bye, and our last. Tomorrow.









Hugh Aaron, born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, was a Seabee in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war he graduated from the University of Chicago where his professors encouraged him to pursue a literary career. However, he made his living as CEO of his own manufacturing business while continuing to write. He sold the company in 1985 to write full time. To date he has written two novels, a travel journal, a short story collection, a book of business essays, a book of his WWII letters, a child’s book in verse and a collection of movie reviews. The Wall Street Journal also published eighteen of his articles on business management and one on World War II. He resides by the sea in mid-coast Maine with his artist wife.

His latest book is When Wars Were Won.

You can visit his website at www.StonesPointBooks.com.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book Feature: Stoking the Flames by Victoria Zak


Inside the Book:

Title: Stoking the Flames
Author: Multiple
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Fantasy
 
13 of your favorite NY Times, USA Today and International Bestselling authors have ignited with brand new fiery tales of scorching passion that erupts when a dragon is united with their soul-mate.
PREORDER YOURS TODAY! JUST 99¢! AVAILABLE FOR A VERY LIMITED TIME!!!!
ADD US TO YOUR WISH LIST! ADD US TO YOUR TBR!!
13 ALL NEW STORIES!!!! STOKE THOSE FLAMES BABIES!!!
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAQ7IJR
AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01NAQ7IJR
AMAZON CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01NAQ7IJR
AMAZON AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01NAQ7IJR
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stoking-the-fla…/1125453692…
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1192874425
KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/…/stoking-the-flames-13-tales-of-drago…
Add us to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/…/show/33809623-stoking-the-flames
Soul Fire by Kelly Abell
Sometimes breaking a curse leads to an unforeseen destiny
Desired Revenge by Solease M. Barner
A throne lost.. Centuries of debt.. A new threat arises that not only jeopardizes her lost kingdom but also her heart. Sometimes vengeance isn’t vengeance once the heart is involved. Will Carmen have her Desired Revenge?
Devon by Kathi S. Barner
On Wings of Time by Linda Boulanger
One man with a dragon’s soul. One woman with the key to unlock his powers. With six hundred years separating them, Fate’s carefully woven web is about to be tested with a kiss and the flip of a coin.
Dragonslayer, Dragon Heart by Isobelle Cate
Heart of a Dragon by L.J. Garland
When an unimaginable evil rains down from the sky, fate demands action from the most unlikely place–a terminally ill woman. But even with a fierce warrior at her side, does a single dragon stand a chance at saving the world?
Promised to A Dragon by Darlene Kuncytes
When you’re promised in marriage to a dragon shifter like a piece of chattel… what will it be – fight or flight?
The Dragon’s Sacrifice by Andi Lawrencovna
Sadie’s Shadow by Julia Mills
Long forgotten secrets, ancient curses and a prophecy she’s been running from for over a century. Fate and Destiny battle for Sadie’s soul but only her Shadow knows the truth…
I Dream of Dragons by Tricia Owens
When a genie in a bottle seduces her inner dragon, a sorceress must decide if the attraction is real or if she is being tricked.
Fire and Ice by Kate Richards
The battle for Crossroads rests in the hands of an ice dragon who has yet to shift and isn’t sure she can. Is his fire enough to set her desire ablaze and free the dragon within?
Curse of the Dragon’s Eye by Kali Willows
When reality is just an ancient curse in disguise, an Egyptian Pharaoh fights for her soul & her flight of dragons
Scorched Hearts by Victoria Zak
One lost heart and another ready for love collide with burning desire. One of them is bound to get SCORCHED.

Meet the Author:

Growing up in the sister city to Stirling, Scotland, Scottish flare was abundant throughout Dunedin. From her High School band to the annual Highland Games that took place right across the street from her childhood home, the bagpipes beckoned her toward her calling. It seemed only natural for Victoria Zak to want to write in the Scottish historical romance genre. Add to the fact, she was also a paranormal romance junkie, there was no doubt that her influences would be the driving force behind her stories.
Although, she never sought out a writing career, her desire for the written word grew the more she read. Her love for Scotland, curiosity of history, and passion for romance has inspired her to write her first book, Highland Burn. The Guardians of Scotland series continues this winter with book two, Highland Storm.
Today, Victoria Zak lives in the sunshine state with her husband, two beautiful children, and three furry friends. Living in paradise, being a stay at home, and to be able to share her stories has been a blessing.
Victoria loves to hear from her readers.
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Cover Reveal: Sweet Reality by Laura Heffernan




Inside the Book:



Title: Sweet Reality
Author: Laura Heffernan
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ecopy 


SUGAR, SEA SALT, AND SHOW BIZ

Jen Reid’s life after walking off a reality show has been great—she’s gone from being a broke twenty-four-year-old Seattleite with no love life and no job to the twenty-five-year-old who got the guy, moved to Miami, and is starting a bakery with her best friend. She thinks her showmance boyfriend might be about to propose. And with mouthwatering goodies based on everyone’s favorite shows, her business, Sweet Reality, is destined for success.

That is, until a killer competitor opens right across the street. If she’s going to save Sweet Reality, Jen has to come up with a secret ingredient—like the recipe that won Totally 80s Bake-Off. Jen can get it—if she steps back into the spotlight. Soon she and her boyfriend are out to sea on a cruise ship full of reality stars, including her nemesis, Ariana; her lying, cheating ex; and some wicked producers looking to bring the drama. Separate cabins, “surprises” from her past, and scenarios tailor-made to spark fights are just the beginning. But with her self-respect, her business, and her future on the line, the fallout from this made-for-TV plotline will be all too real . . .

PURCHASE HERE: AMAZON|APPLE|GOOGLE PLAY|KOBO|B&N

MEET THE AUTHOR

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the Northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

CONNECT WITH LAURA: WEBSITE|TWITTER|FACEBOOK


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Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Feature: The Book of Steven by Steven T. Stevenson




Title: The Book of Steven

AuthorSteven T. Stevenson
PublisheriUniverse
Pages: 284
GenreReligious
FormatKindle/Paperback

For those of you who are bent on destroying yourselves, or even contemplating an attempt, you might want to reconsider your options. Ultimately getting rid of “you” may be more difficult than it seems.
And if you do choose to stick around and participate, you will have to roll up your sleeves and live according to you. That may mean following a path which has been laid by others, or choosing to follow yourself. Declining to take that fork in the road, however, may lead you to a place where you never wanted or expected to be. And all the universe will be able to do is watch in wonder as the story of you unfolds.
The Book of Steven is a story about participating and not giving up, and about maintaining wonder for the universe in which we live. Follow Steven’s experiences as he—and you—learn that our world was not just written for or by someone else. We are, or should be, participants in our lives and not simply content to sit on the sidelines or to wait for someone else to make the world right for us. We should also remember that as human participants, we have the ability to enact any role we choose, and not just the ones other people may think appropriate for us.
If you happen to find yourself on a difficult path and truly need to find a new way to examine your life, The Book of Steven will help you find hope where there appears to be none, and offers a unique perspective for examining the universe in which we all choose to participate. Steven’s message is that you do not have to simply be content to live in a world of personal despair, when the possibilities presented by the universe of life are truly boundless.
Steven’s journey is not an easy one to take, however, and for those of you who may not need to explore alternative perspectives for our world, you may wish to devote your attention elsewhere.
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Cover Reveal: Crazed by Jacob Stone




Inside the Book:




Title: Crazed 
Author: Jacob Stone
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Ecopy 


L.A. detective Morris Brick has seen the face of evil. He has witnessed the grisly handiwork of a deranged sadist known as SCK—the Skull Cracker Killer. But Brick isn’t the only one watching. A crazed lunatic’s interest in the case has turned into a deadly obsession. This sicko vows to outdo SCK and reach new heights of macabre mayhem. The mounting body count is a personal challenge to Brick. But as he lays his trap, he can hardly imagine the evil he is about to face . . .


PURCHASE HERE: AMAZON|GOOGLE PLAY|KOBO|B&N

MEET THE AUTHOR

Jacob Stone is the byline chosen by award-winning author Dave Zeltserman for his new Morris Brick series of serial-killer thrillers. His crime, mystery and horror fiction has won top praise and has been translated into six languages. His novels Small Crimes and Pariah were both named by the Washington Post as best books of the year. Small Crimes topped National Public Radio's list of best crime and mystery novels of 2008 and is being made into a feature film. Dave lives in the Boston area.

CONNECT WITH JACOB: WEBSITE


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Friday, February 10, 2017

Cover Reveal: Releasing Henry by Sarah Hegger


Inside the Book:



Title: Releasing Henry
Author: Sarah Hegger
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ecopy 


A light in the darkness . . .

The youngest son of Anglesea, the once idealistic Henry has survived the Holy Pilgrimage, but lost all his deeply held beliefs in honor and nobility. Captured in battle, he is sold as a slave into the home of Alif

Al-Rasheed, a wealthy Genovese merchant who has converted to Islam. Bereft of faith, imprisoned in a foreign land, Henry has lost hope in his ability to love again—until he lays eyes on his captor’s beguiling daughter.

A marriage of opposites . . .

To Henry, Alya is a beacon of beauty he cannot ignore. But the heart of this proud daughter of Cairo will not be won so easily. Divided by religion, language, and culture, Ayla has little in common with the disillusioned Englishman—and yet he has vowed to protect her life in exchange for his freedom. As they embark on a perilous journey to safety, their bond will grow—and be tested—in ways neither can anticipate. For their greatest challenges will arise where Henry least expects. With threats conspiring to divide them, will he find the strength to stand by Ayla—and together will they find a common ground on which to build a future?


PURCHASE HERE: AMAZON|APPLE|GOOGLE PLAY|KOBO|B&N

MEET THE AUTHOR

Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble. Mimicking her globetrotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother. She currently lives in Colorado with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.

CONNECT WITH SARAH: WEBSITE|TWITTER|FACEBOOK


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Book Blast: Songs (Still!) Waiting for a Rock Band by Manu Rodriguez




Inside the Book:



Title: Songs (Still!) Waiting for a Rock Band
Author: Manu Rodriguez
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Music/Lyrics
Format: Ebook
"Tenerife... It was at that time that I had the urge to communicate what music meant to me. And there I was, buying records... and then a mixer, and I tried my hand at being a DJ, and I worked on the radio... And I wanted to have a rock band to melt my feelings with music and others. But that remained a fantasy, a dream. And so I started writing poems, lyrics, songs inspired by other songs and by that time I was living." ... "Tenerife... Fue en aquel tiempo que sentí la urgencia de comunicar lo que la música significaba para mí. Y compraba discos... Y una mesa de mezclas y ugé a ser DJ y trabajé en la radio. Y quería tener una banda de rock y fundir mi emoción con la música y con los demás. Pero esto quedó en un quería, en un quise, en un sueño hasta hoy no cumplido. Y así es que empecé a escribir letras, poesías, canciones inspiradas unas por el momento y otras por las de otros." - Manu Rodriguez, Edinburgh December 2015 Poignant and personal, introspective yet outgoing. Young and carefree, yet heavy with the weight of age and responsibility. These pieces of poetic lyrical prose are like photographs, well thumbed and cherished. Each is a vignette, a window, through which we only see what the writer chooses to reveal. In a real, immediate sense, these might be songs - rock songs, even.  I have even been putting some of them to music, with Manu's blessing. Even so, these elusive lyrical fragments are, in their own haunting way, still, waiting for a rock band. - Calum Carlyle, musician, Edinburgh April 2016

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Book Feature: Ashes to Fire by Emily B. Martin




Inside the Book:


Title: Ashes to Fire
Author: Emily B. Martin
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Format: Ecopy

“You are a country.”

Those words have been the guiding force behind Queen Mona’s every move since she was a little girl—the idea that all her actions and desires were, first and foremost, decided based on what was best for Lumen Lake. It had kept her alive after the Alcoran invasion, it had driven her to retake her country, and now it is the steely resolve she needs to finally confront the despotic Seventh King, Celeno.

But when her diplomatic mission finds herself on the run through the swamps of Cyprien—accompanied by the unlikeliest group of companions—Mona discovers that while she is her country, she is also someone who has been sheltered by principles and bound by past mistakes. Now she must struggle to reshape her view of the world and face intimate new truths—not only for the good of her country, but for herself, as well.

A desperate journey to secure peace, and an even greater journey to discover herself, Ashes to Fire is the captivating and adventurous follow-up to Emily B. Martin’s Woodwalker—once more with cover art by the author herself!

PURCHASE HERE: AMAZON|B&N

Meet the Author


I am an author, illustrator, and environmental educator.  My favorite genre to write is fantasy-adventure, while my favorite reads are usually detailed, thought-provoking historical fiction. Digital painting is my usual art medium, but I also love keeping watercolor journals and pencil sketchbooks.

Writing and art aren't my only passions.  In fact, they're not even my official expertise (at least on paper).  In 2012, I earned my Master’s degree in Parks and Protected Area Management from Clemson University.  During the summer, I work as an interpretive park ranger with the National Park Service (with the hat and everything).

I love to hike, camp, and backpack with my family, and while I call southern Appalachia home, I have a not-so-secret love affair with the Rocky Mountains.  I live in South Carolina with my husband and two daughters.

I am represented by Valerie Noble of Donaghy Literary Agency.


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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Book Blast: That Rainy Day by F. de Sales Meyers




Inside the Book:



Title: That Rainy Day
Author: F. de Sales Meyers
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Format: Ebook
As Veronica Adamo grows up motherless in an Italian neighborhood in East Baltimore, she passes her time listening to her jazz musician father play the piano, hanging with the neighbor boys, crabbing at the dock, and swimming in the dark harbor waters. With her poor and broken best friend, Dalton Braskey, always by her side, Veronica eventually matures into a woman who attends college. But when she captures the eye of Karl Jasinski, a fast-talking, handsome musician, everything changes for Veronica. Without a mother to guide her, Veronica throws caution to the wind and soon falls prey to the dark world that surrounds Karl. Lured away from common sense and her friendship with Dalton by drugs, good times, and easy money, Veronica struggles to escape her father's despair about his failing career and fear of losing her. But when he finally reveals the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of her mother at the same time Karl shows his true colors, a now emotionally fragile Veronica asks Dalton to do the unthinkable as her life comes full circle in one life-changing moment. That Rainy Day shares the poignant tale of a young woman's coming-of-age journey as she strives to deal with loss and life's unfortunate twists and turns.

About the Author

F. de Sales Meyers earned a Bachelor of Science degree and National Key from the School of Journalism at Boston University. After serving in the navy during World War II, he worked for the state department in the Public Information Office of the Department of Health and Hygiene. That Rainy Day is his debut novel

Giveaway

F. de Sales Meyers is giving away a $25 Gift Card!


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 January 10 and ends on February 10.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on February 11
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Talking Books with Howard J. Smith, author of 'Beethoven in Love; Opus 139'




Howard Jay Smith is an award-winning writer from Santa Barbara, California. BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139 is his third book. A former Washington, D.C. Commission for the Arts Fellow, & Bread Loaf Writers Conference Scholar, he taught for many years in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and has lectured nationally. His short stories, articles and photographs have appeared in the Washington Post, Horizon Magazine, the Journal of the Writers Guild of America, the Ojai Quarterly, and numerous literary and trade publications. While an executive at ABC Television, Embassy TV, and Academy Home Entertainment, he worked on numerous film, television, radio, and commercial projects. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Symphony - "The Best Small City Symphony in America" -  and is a member of the American Beethoven Society.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

INTERVIEW BOOK CIRCLE ONLINE AT YOUTUBE

INTERVIEW BLOGTALK RADIO




Title: BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139
Author: Howard Jay Smith
Publisher: SYQ
Pages: 385
Genre: Literary Fiction/Biographical Fiction

At the moment of his death, Ludwig van Beethoven pleads with Providence to grant him a final wish—one day, just a single day of pure joy. But first he must confront the many failings in his life, so the great composer and exceedingly complex man begins an odyssey into the netherworld of his past life led by a spirit guide who certainly seems to be Napoleon, who died six years before. This ghost of the former emperor, whom the historical Beethoven both revered and despised, struggles to compel the composer to confront the ugliness as well as the beauty and accomplishments of his past. 
As Beethoven ultimately faces the realities of his just-ended life, we encounter the women who loved and inspired him. In their own voices, we discover their Beethoven—a lover with whom they savor the profound beauty and passion of his creations. And it’s in the arms of his beloveds that he comes to terms with the meaning of his life and experiences the moment of true joy he has always sought.

Purchase Information:

Amazon


 




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 am fortunate at this stage of my life to live in Santa Barbara, a place that is as close to paradise as one gets in this country.  Weekends we will often walk the rugged coastline north of town or kayak outside the harbor.  I also love classical music and opera and we catch every concert possible here – of which there are many. I am also on the Board of the Santa Barbara Symphony – the best small city orchestra in America – and the responsibilities associated with running it take a fair amount of my focus. Using my past business and finance experience I oversee development and planned giving for the Symphony. 

When did you start writing?

I began writing with my very first short story about piloting a Cessna – about half a page long – when I was in elementary school.  And got my first rave reviews!

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

In my mid 20’s I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a Scholar into Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf Conference where I met the late novelist, John Gardner.  John became my mentor and over the next few years I returned to Bread Loaf as a scholar two more times.  There I worked with other greats of that era, John Irving, Toni Morrison and Tim O’Brien. I also studied with John back in DC and Virginia. Gardner was hands down the best teacher I have ever had for any subject ever.  It was through my work with him that I found my essential voice and truly began my career as a writer. 

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

In short order I would head to Venice, Vienna and Prague.  My next novel which I am actively researching is also related to music. This novel, Mozart, Da Ponte, Scandal, will focus on the life of Lorenzo Da Ponte, the man who wrote the lyrics for Mozart’s three most famous – and scandalous in their time – operas, ‘The Marriage of Figaro,’ ‘Don Giovanni,’ (both of which premiered in Prague) and ‘Cosi Fan Tutte,’ which played in Vienna.

Born a Jew in 1749, Da Ponte not only outlived Mozart by some 40 years, he also grew up in and around Venice in an era when people still ran around in capes and masks all year round. After his father converted the entire family to Catholicism when Lorenzo was only 14, he unwillingly became a priest in order to get an education.  He led a rogue’s life; a priest and literary scholar who would say Mass on Sunday while whoring, drinking and gambling the other six days of the week with his friend, Casanova, the infamous role model for Don Giovanni.  

Always too politically outspoken for his own good, he was successively expelled from the Veneto, Venice and Vienna and had to flee debt collectors in London before making his way to early modern New York where he opened an Italian bookstore in Manhattan and a deli across the river in New Jersey.  He started an opera company – the seeds of today’s Met – and was the first professor of Italian at what became Columbia University

Da Ponte was the classic survivor, who in his day did everything he could to stay afloat financially while still writing a collection of operas that were considered scandalous in their day but are today revered as some of the finest works of that genre ever created. His eight decades constitute a life adventure well worth exploring. 

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

My taxes.


Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

There are other parts of Italy, the Piedmont, Sicily, Florence, Rome, Naples, some of which I have already visited or lived in, that would be an excellent setting for something, especially if there’s enough expresso, gelato and wine.  Machiavelli, the Borges, Vivaldi, Verdi and Andrea Zani all come to mind as possible historical personas to explore.

Back to your present book, Beethoven In Love; Opus 139, how did you publish it?

My friend and fellow writer, Russell Martin, author of the non-fiction bestseller, Beethoven’s Hair, also runs a small independent press, SYQ.  The publisher of my previous book, Opening the Doors to Hollywood, was Random House. It was however not only a non-fiction work based on film and writing classes I taught at UCLA, it was also a long time ago.  After a number of attempts to reach out to literary agents and other publishers, I realized that the publishing world had vastly changed since Opening the Doors to Hollywood was released in the 1990’s.  Every agent I spoke with wanted either a celebrity driven piece or an easily commoditized book of 250 pages.  Beethoven in Love; Opus 139 is neither. I ultimately decided to go with SYQ and found the process much more to my liking.  I was involved and had control over every aspect of the process, including the layout, design and cover.  I should add that the cover art was done by my son, Zak Smith, a well-known artist in his own right with five published books and paintings hanging in eight museums around the world.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

Yes and no.  Although I have traveled extensively in Europe over the years and felt comfortable setting my novel there, I had intended to make my way to Vienna and Bonn on a trip but for personal reasons at the time was unable to do so.

Why was writing Beethoven In Love; Opus 139 so important to you?

As one of the fictional characters, Johann Gardner, a writer inspired by my mentor, John Gardner, says to Beethoven in the course of the novel, “What is a novel, but a collection of lies we tell to reveal greater truths.” 

Whether we are conscious of it or not when writing, (and hopefully one is always conscious) a book, a story, an article is always about something, it always presents a world view, an attitude, a philosophy of life.  In simple terms, you want the reader to finish your book, and feel as if they have not only been thoroughly entertained but that they have also learned something about life and the way of the world.  If a character does something, it has its roots in their behavior and thoughts and there are consequences that occur because of those attitudes and actions – and this is what I would not only want my readers to reflect upon when they finish but to also consider how those situations, behaviors, and ideas might impact their own lives.

When I came across the story of Beethoven’s death -- how at his last moment a bolt of lightning strikes the side of his building, rousing him from a coma; his eyes open, he sits up right, he shakes his fist at the heavens and then collapses back to the bed and is abruptly gone -- I found the contrast to my own near death experience stunning. 

When I was not yet twenty-one and going to school overseas in Singapore, I had a severe motorcycle accident. As my body somersaulted through the intersection, time stopped and a great and profound sense of peace and tranquility suffused my consciousness.  Fear, especially that fear of death we all share, disappeared.  My biggest surprise was landing very much alive – and in pain – on the other side of the crossroads and not the “other side” of life.

Beethoven’s death throes were so different from my calm transition.  That led me to wonder what it would have taken for this great man to come to peace with all the turmoil and failings of his life – and there were many.  In that nugget of a thought, Beethoven in Love; Opus 139, was born.

In the novel, at the moment of his death, Beethoven must find a way to come to peace with all of the failings of his life in order to order to enter Elysium, be rejoined with his Immortal Beloved and find his one moment of joy. I would hope then that my readers reflect upon these greater truths and in their own way find their moment of joy, their passion for life and a greater degree of peace and contentment for having gone on this journey with Beethoven. And although those injuries still ache decades later – especially when it rains – researching and then writing this novel was an absolute joy. 

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

I read a lot and often skim news articles from around the world – not just current events but historical as well. As a working professional writer, screenwriter, teacher and TV executive for almost four decades, I am always on the lookout for great stories of historical figures where my potential protagonist wrestles with the same types of profound emotional or psychological issues that each and every one of us can relate to in our own lives.


Any final words?

Yes. To everyone who reads this interview, please buy a copy of “Beethoven In Love; Opus 139” – you will not be disappointed.  Researching and then writing this novel was a long journey, every moment of which was an absolute pleasure.  I learned ages ago that if you want someone to take the time and effort to read your book and find your work compelling and engaging, you must also be equally passionate about what you create. I absolutely love the entire process of crafting a story, from jotting down ideas and doing research when necessary, to shaping each line, each paragraph, each character, each scene. I want to transport the reader into a vivid and continuous dream that is so powerful, so all-encompassing that the next thing they know is that someone is calling them to dinner.   Given all the wonderful critical press reviews and comments I have received regarding the novel, I am confident my readers will be fully satisfied when the reach the end of Beethoven’s journey to Elysium.



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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Forger by Michele Hauf


Inside the Book:



Title: The Forger
Author: Michele Hauf
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Ecopy 


When Interpol’s covert behind-the-scenes Elite Crimes Unit looks for new talent, they recruit someone who knows all the tricks—and sometimes a troublemaker is exactly who’s needed for the job…

Olivia Lawson’s bosses at Scotland Yard don’t take her work very seriously. Art and antiquities? Bor-ing! But her latest investigation, at London’s world-renowned Tate, is turning out to be far more explosive than anyone expected. In fact, the vandalized, booby-trapped painting hanging on the gallery wall would have blown her off her feet if it wasn’t for the tall, dark-haired stranger who tackled her at the last second—a stranger as finely sculpted as any masterpiece in the museum.


Ethan Maxwell is working this case for the Elite Crimes Unit because it was a choice between that and lockup.  A (barely) reformed art forger, he’s got the expertise to lead Olivia through a dangerous manhunt. But the crime may have a more personal connection to him—and the all-too-real feelings he’s developing toward Olivia could pull her into the line of fire too . . .


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MEET THE AUTHOR


Michele Hauf has been writing romance, action-adventure and fantasy stories for over twenty years. Her first published novel was Dark Rapture (Zebra). France, musketeers, vampires and faeries populate her stories. And if she followed the adage “write what you know,” all her stories would have snow in them. Fortunately, she steps beyond her comfort zone and writes about countries she has never visited and of creatures she has never seen.


CONNECT WITH MICHELE: WEBSITE|FACEBOOK
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