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Author Spotlight Saturday with Nathan Wall

Please welcome Nathan Wall to Genuine Jenn this week! Nathan is the author of Artificial Light, book three in the Evolution of Angels series. Welcome Nathan!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why/what inspired you to write? When did you start writing?

Well, I’m from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I’m married with two kids. I’m in real estate development. That’s great because it allows me to work from home a lot which means I can write more often than most other indie writers. I tend to do most of my writing in the morning before my family wakes up. After I take my daughter to school I’ll usually write for another hour and then get on with my day.

I wouldn’t say I’ve always been a writer, but I’ve always been a story teller. When I was younger I would make elaborate shows with my action figures. Where most boys would just make pew-pew and ‘raaarrr’ sounds with their toys, I would act out massive plots with gruesome twists. When my brother and other friends would play, I had to try extra hard to be nice. It was frustrating watching someone else screw up the story. I’d have to explain how the events were supposed to unfold and why there needed to be a sense of tension between Batman and Joker before rescuing Robin and Batgirl. I think they were good sports about it and let me act out the role of director, but really everything just went over their heads. We were 6 and 4 after all.

Around the age of 10 or so I wrote my first short story. It was about these robbers who got stuck in a flooded town. I think that plot was later stolen and turned into a really bad Christian Slater film. I remember seeing the trailer for it when I was in Jr. High and I was pretty peeved. In high school I wrote a story because I was challenged by a friend. It was an action-comedy-horror piece based off our school. Nearly every character died and then later came back with super powers. That’s when I really started to find my voice. That’s why I love writing cross-genre pieces. I hate labels. In a realm where we’re supposed to be creative, writers, readers and wanna-be’s spend a lot of time trying to fit works into very finite boxes. That doesn’t really compute with me. I mean, I sort of see the need for it from a retailer’s perspective. But in the online community, where we rarely search for books based on what’s available in a genre but more so through keywords, I don’t see why we’re forced to label our work when really just about everything produced now-a-days crosses lines.

Whatever. I’ll leave the debate of true Sci-Fi vs faux Sci-Fi to the snobs who never get past procrastination, and just continue to write.

What was this question about again?

What was your inspiration for ‘Artificial Light'?

The series premise for my Evolution of Angels universe in a nutshell, in which Artificial Light is the 3rd book, is that mythological gods of ancient religions (Zeus, Thor, Osiris, Vishnu, etc…) were all part of a supreme species called angels. Angels were assigned sections of earth to watch over and protect. When the Archangel Azrael, a reaper, defied orders to collect an innocent soul and instead restored it to life, a second war broke out. Even though the catalyst for the war was whether or not Azrael’s actions were justified, the real argument centered around angels having supreme power but no will of their own, and humans having limited power but free reign to do as they pleased.

That conflict led to faction lines being severed with the main “Corners” of Heaven splitting off in alliances. These factions came to earth and procreated with each other and sometimes with humans. A hybrid race called half-breeds or “Descendants” resulted from angel-human unions. Many of them were gifted with special abilities like telepathy, healing, teleportation and so on. Some of the angels even did experimentations on humans, turning them into human-animal hybrids known as changelings. This is what gives us mythological creatures such as werewolves, satyrs, centaurs and the like. The result is a constant blending of mythologies to create a new story allowing the legend of demigods like Hercules to coexist with the Biblical lore of Nephilim.

There’s also a whole host of mythological lore and archeology mixed into a very Sci-Fi explanation with shit tons of action.

Artificial Light is the 3rd book in my Evolution of Angels universe. It’s the culmination of entirely separate plotlines and casts in ‘Evolution of Angels’ and ‘The Descendants’. In Artificial Light, we see characters from both books interacting on the pages for the first time. Really, this is the book I couldn’t wait to get to before putting words to a page for E.o.A #1. Both book 1 and book 2 could be read out of order. There are nods to what is happening elsewhere in the world in each book, and when you read both books you have those “aha” moments where you notice what the other book was referencing. However, Artificial Light directly plays off what happened and what was established before it. In a sense, it’s the first TRUE sequel of the series. Yet, there is so much about it that doesn’t rely on what came before. I’m not talking about bringing Dr. Malcolm inexplicably back to life like what The Lost World did, but more so that I try to write everything as close to a standalone as possible. Think of it as not having to watch Thor in order to enjoy the Avengers.

In Artificial Light, we’re introduced to whole new characters. It’s just as much an origin story for Horus as it is continuing the journey of Jarrod, Lian and Austin from Evolution of Angels and Athena and Madame Patricia from The Descendants. In fact, at one point, the scope at scale of Artificial Light was so daunting that I decided to cut a whole storyline and save it for a parallel novel. So readers looking for a payoff on Zeus will have to wait and those in love with fan favorite Oreios won’t be happy that he’s not in this novel. But I didn’t really want to publish an almost 200k word novel. In the end, I think Artificial Light is much better off because of this move.

Oddly enough, in a series titled Evolution of Angels, it’s the first book of the series that actually has a large involvement of angels as main characters beyond the Prologue. To steal a line from a 5-star review for book one: The title “Evolution of Angels” is quite deceptive, as this book is not really about angels. Not in the form or from the point of view you would expect, anyway.

What three words would you use to best describe your novel?

Smart. Action-Packed. Shifty.

The hyphen means I get away with cheating. Doesn’t it?

Can you tell us if you’re working on anything else at the moment?

I’m always working on multiple projects. I have varying percentages finished on the follow up books to Artificial Light. Since I had to cut a huge chunk of this novel to make it digestible, I’ve got some shifting to do for my series outline. Books I thought I would publish next year will be delayed. It’s possible a direct sequel to Artificial Light doesn’t arrive until early 2018 even thought I have 3 more novellas planned.

I also have two other standalone books with no connection to outside works. One is completely written and the other is in early draft mode. I would very much like to publish them, but I wanted to get enough of Evolution of Angels’ universe out and ready for consumption before I started chasing squirrels. There’s that and the fact I can only budget SO MUCH for proper editing and cover design.

What was your very first book that you wrote?

As I stated earlier, I’ve written a lot. Most of them connected short stories. The first real novel—intended to be such—was a first person comedic-thriller. It’s about a young man looking to punish himself for past situations and outcomes beyond his control. The story leads to a shot at redemption and a chance for happiness eerily similar to what sent him towards the dark side in the first place. I haven’t published it yet.

Other than your own, what are your favourite books?

I like anything with large casts that keep you guessing, or superheroes. I really don’t like Young Adult novels.

When you are writing do you like to listen to music? What is on your playlist?

No. It’s distracting. I have certain songs that I’ll listen to while driving, walking home after taking my daughter to school, or riding my bike, which pump me up and shoot visions of action across my brain. But there’s nothing that I’ll listen to WHILE I am writing. I find I need to focus since I’m very much detail oriented.

Some songs that pump me up are No Leaf Clover by Metallica, Weak and Powerless by A Perfect Circle, Battlecry by Celldweller, SuperMegaDubstep and Fallen Angels by Ra.

I’ve even written my own theme song for Evolution of Angels and had it developed.

Who is your favorite character in your books?

In all of my books, it would be Wyatt Cooper from the previously mention, unpublished comedic-thriller. He’s simultaneously the perfect combination of what everyone would like themselves to be and everything they hate wrapped in an arrogant yet insecure shell.

In Evolution of Angels, I have the most fun writing Oreios, Jarrod, Lian and Set.

Do you ever take characteristics or nuances from close friends or family when working on character development and if so has that friend or family member noticed and what was their response to it?

All the time. It’s the best way to create realistic characters. Sometimes it’s more blatant than others. I’ve had friends notice aspects which were reflected in them, but most often characters my friends and family like the most are either characters which embody large amounts of their personality or are completely opposite of what they are. For instance, my wife loves Oreios but she’s nothing like him.

What’s your favorite treat?

Shinerbock

What’s your Favorite place to read/write?

I like to write in my office with the lights off. Reading I like to do in front of the TV.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

My wife and I are addicted to House Hunters International. I used to live overseas when growing up. I even did my first year of University in Brussels. I took my wife over there for our honeymoon. She became addicted. We’ve discussed this often about what we’d like to do when the kids are in college. In House Hunters International, you often watch people look for places to rent all over the globe. Our favorite ones are Europe. If I had to choose one place to settle, it’d probably be Italy because of the nice weather and food, or Belgium because of the beer and how quickly you can get to other places in Europe that you want to see.

However, my wife and I agreed that we’d be super rich when we get to this point in our life (this is a fantasy after all) and that’d we’d spend the Football season (and subsequently the Holidays) in America and the rest of the year spending no more than 2 months in any given city, immersing ourselves in everything it and the surrounding area has to offer. So, the real answer to this question is everywhere.

Purchase a copy of Evolution of Angels on Amazon.

Connect with Nathan on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Artificial Light by Nathan Wall

Artificial Light

by Nathan Wall

Giveaway ends February 10, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway


Thank you Nathan for taking the time to speak with us here on Genuine Jenn!  
 
~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

Hanover House by Brenda Novak ~ Book Review

Book Description:

Welcome to Hanover House….

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the antisocial mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them? 

After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst. 

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries. 

He knows what could happen if one little thing goes wrong... 

Purchase a copy on Amazon. 

About the Author: 
It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader's Choice, the Bookseller's Best, the Write Touch, the Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Published Authors.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking--she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!


Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Review: 

This is the first book I have read of Brenda Novak's and I have been missing out on some great work for sure. I was hooked right from the first page. I love psycho thrillers and this one will be a great series I am sure! It has a little of everything I enjoy, it is a clean read, with suspense, mystery, a killer or in this case multiple and romance. Sweet romance with a hot cop ;)

The main character, Evelyn has been through the worst when she was 16. She lost her best friends to murder, he then boyfriend, Jasper. He then went crazy on her, raping and tormenting her for three days before torching the shack he had her in. Evelyn lived and Jasper got away, no one has seen him in twenty years. Evelyn is on a mission to understand why men rape and kill women. She has a new prison that will open in Alaska with hand picked inmates that Evelyn will study.

All the while.... Jasper is hunting for Evelyn to pick up were they left off. It is a suspenseful, thrilling novel. I didn't want to put it down at all. The story flows very well following three characters, Evelyn, Jasper and the new love of Evelyn's life, Amarok. Evelyn can't have a romantic relationship after everything that happened to her but she finds herself falling for Amarok. He is sweet, caring and very good looking. I can't wait for this series to continue!

I give this book 5 stars!


~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

Sylvan Shame by Brandi Warner ~ Short Story Book Review

Book Description:


HE DREAMED OF THIS MAN HIS WHOLE LIFE

…until he came true.

Dr. Tyson LaForge—standing at 6’2” weighing 230 pounds of pure muscle, with dark wavy hair that covers cobalt blue eyes—has recently graduated medical school, and tonight starts the beginning of his night shift on the emergency room floor of Tulane Medical Center.

Just when Tyson runs out of patience for the chaos that surrounds him, a nurse points to Room 208, where a mysterious male patient—black hair, black eyes, and an even blacker soul—awaits him. The man won’t let the other nurses come close to him with silver scalpel. He fights and spits at everyone in the room when they try to hold him down to administer anesthesia. A gaping wound bleeds profusely in his side, and he needs Tyson’s medical expertise before it’s too late.

Tyson finds himself immediately drawn to this thick and throbbing stranger for some unknown reason. He wonders if the man with no name, who refuses to speak or reveal his identity, just might be running from someone. He clearly is hiding something.

Tyson will soon discover the cause for the man’s shiftiness and nervous energy lies in the fact that he is a werewolf, and his pack wants him dead.

When he looks at this wounded man, so large and powerful and full of wild energy, sitting naked on the gurney, Tyson sees a glimmer of recognition in his eyes. The hairy stranger warns the other nurses and hospital staff to stay away—to beware—but his eyes communicate a desperate vulnerability that only Dr. Tyson LaForge can understand. The spark of connection between Dr. Tyson LaForge and his new werewolf patient will change both of them forever, and both men will discover parts of themselves they never understood before meeting each other. Follow Tyson LaForge on a journey into the heart of shifter love and sexual heat—the ending will leave you breathless and heaving for another session of hot and sexy human/werewolf lovemaking.

Total Page Count: ~50 pages. Please note this novella includes two complementary novels with your purchase, with links to other stories you might find interesting. If you like short stories that pack a punch with heat and sexytimes, give this a shot. 18+ ONLY. READER BE WARNED.

Purchase a copy on Scarlet Flower Publishers

Review: 

This is a short story, a werewolf shape shifter type story. The author has a great story idea with this but I didn't feel this book as much as I thought I would. First there wasn't any shape shifting, boo, I also didn't find it as sexy as I thought it was going to be (there is a sexy scene at the end but I felt it couldn't went deeper), it was pretty tame. I did like how the author had the human Dr. Sexy Dr. Tyson LaForge meet his sexy but dirty and disheveled wereworlf, while on his first night shift at the hospital. With some reworking this could be a great short story. I am not sure if this is the first from the author or not. I did that it could use some more editing with grammar.

It was a fun read for 30 minutes before bed. I look forward to reading more from the author in the future.

I give this a 3 stars out of 5. 


 ~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. I received a copy of  the above book for review purpose. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Simon & Schuster Canada #ValentinesDay2016


You're invited to a fun Valentine's Day event on Facebook with Simon & Schuster Canada! Check in daily for giveaways, reading recommendations, excerpts, and other fun, bookish things between now and February 14th! Hang out on Valentine's Day with your one true love: books!

Join the event page right now and use hashtag #ValentinesDay2016


~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

The Magic of Esmerelda (Monday) by Khristin Wierman ~ Children's Book Review

Book Description: 

Meet Esmerelda!! She is a little girl who seems to conjure magic wherever she goes. Esmerelda’s magic is special, yet it is something we are all capable of creating – it’s simply kindness, compassion and the desire to help others. Through Esmerelda’s example, children learn how our everyday actions can have a profound impact on our friendships and the world around us.

“Monday” is the first of the seven-part Esmerelda picture book series. On Monday, Esmerelda is able to practice kindness and compassion at school. She teaches her friends a little bit about sharing and makes a new friend along the way.

Most appropriate for:

*Ages 4 – 6
*Preparing for friendship and school life
*Bedtime stories with a lesson
*Learning kindness and compassion
*Learning to share

Purchase a copy on Amazon

About the Author: 

Khristin Wierman lives in Oakland, California and the Tucson area of Arizona with her husband, step-son and two cats. The Magic of Esmerelda series is her first venture in writing children's books.

Connect: Amazon  | Goodreads
 
Review: 

My daughter, Abby loved reading this book. She said that Esmerelda is awesome and liked that she included Eric in playing with her and her friends at recess. They made a new friend after inviting him to swing with them and he was happy. Abby also loved that Esmerelda has two black cats. She didn't like that Annie was mean at the beginning to Eric but in the end she was also playing with him and taking turns on the swings.

Abby did find some of the words a little hard but we read it together. She gives this book a 5 out of 5 and can't wait to read more of Esmerelda's adventures. 


~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

Worst Laid Plans (A Maddox Storm Mystery Book #1) by Claire Robyns ~ New Book Release & Review

Name of book: Worst Laid Plans
Publisher/Author: Claire Robyns
Date released: 1 Feb 2016
Number of pages: 183
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Book Description:

All Maddox Storm wanted was to come home and hide from the world in peaceful solitude for a few short weeks. Oh, and give her soon-to-be ex cheating scumbag husband a fat headache while she’s at it. He hates all small towns, and Silver Firs in particular, with the kind of passion most men reserve for the bedroom.

So call it revenge, or call it poetic justice, but investing his savings in the town’s founding inn seemed like the perfect plan for all her needs.

But everything goes out the window when Maddox finds her arch-nemesis dead as a doormat in the kitchen downstairs. Before she knows it, she’s embroiled in a murder investigation and tangling with the smoky-eyed detective on the case. Not that she doesn’t trust him to do his job, but he may not be quite as motivated as she is to bring the guilty party to justice. After all, she’s the one who unwittingly incriminated upstanding townsfolk and worse, she may be living under the same roof as a pair of unlikely murderers.

Purchase a copy on Amazon.
 
About the Author:

I love to write mystery, romance and adventure, cause sometimes one life really can have it all (between the pages of a book, at least.) When I'm not thigh-deep in laundry, shopping, cooking and general crowd control, you'll find me head-and-heart-deep in the tangled lives of my characters.

If you'd like to be alerted for new releases, please sign up for Claire's newsletter.

Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook |

First Review (Jenn):

I haven't read many cozy mysteries lately. I am going to get back into them after this book. This was a great lil cozy mystery. I love that the author wrote it in first person point of view, Maddox. I love the main character. Actually it is hard not too like all the main characters. They live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. Word travels fast that Maddie is back in town and staying at the Hallow House. Out of the blue this little town is shaken with the death of Ms. Daggon (who not many really liked anyways, bless her soul). Maddox finds herself in a pickle every time she opens her mouth around Detective Bishop (Nate). Then things get more and more interesting. It is a fun who dunnit novel with fun characters that I am sure you will love. The author did a fabulous job at keeping a great pace with the story line and roping the reader in from the start. I can't wait to see what happens in book #2!

I give this a 5 out of 5 stars as I had a really hard time putting this book down.

Second Review (Kris): 

Twists and turns. Secrets and lies.

Worst Laid Plans is a small town of Silver Firs, with secrets buried in the past.  The main character Maddox, reveals hidden clues , and unsuspected people.  Responsible in disrupting the towns history. This storyteller leaves you feeling sympathetic toward the evolving characters, and shocked
by the hidden criminals.  The clock ticking sequences have Maddox and her best friend Jenna involved in solving the towns mystery, making for an exciting read!

The author Claire Robins captivates her readers with unexpected plot twists, and relationships broken by betrayal.  In the end, will all love and hope be lost.  You will have to read to find out.

~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. I received the above book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

Author Spotlight Saturday with Jody Medland

One thing I love about book blogging is that we meet great authors from all over the world. This week we talk with Jody Medland, author of The Moors (keep an eye out for our review) who is from the United Kingdom. 
Welcome Jody to Genuine Jenn! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why/what inspired you to write? When did you start writing?

Honestly, I feel like writing is the only thing I've always been able to. I put little effort into school, but it was always my writing that got attention. I had a natural flair and because it never felt like work, I did it consistently. If you do something every day, you're always likely to reach a noteworthy level, and because I have an innate passion for story, it's no real surprise I earn a living through writing now.  

What was your inspiration for ‘The Moors’?

When I was younger I had a summer job delivering bouncy castles to people's homes. You had to drop them off in the morning and pick them up at night. There was one house in the middle of Exmoor, which is a vast expanse of deserted land in South West England, that was beautiful by day by incredibly intimidating at night. I became very aware that if anything went wrong, or if anybody/thing was to turn on me, I'd be in the middle of nowhere and nobody would be able to help. That married with a local fable about an "Exmoor beast" who is supposed to roam the land, and pretty soon the story started writing itself.  

What three words would you use to best describe The Moors?

Gripping, mysterious, disturbing.

Can you tell us if you’re working on anything else at the moment?

SO much! I love to write, so I'm working on my next novel as well as my second screenplay, but I also run my own publishing company, Pen Works Media, so we're currently editing three books for release next year and there are more on the way. If anyone's interested in finding out more, it's probably worth joining our mailing list, which can be found at penworksmedia.co.uk.

What was your very first book that you wrote?

I have no idea what it was called, but I remember I was set a piece of homework when I was about 10-years-old and I came in the next day with a book that was fully written by hand. Once I started writing about the subject, which again eludes me now, I just couldn't stop. The teacher was amazed that I'd taken the project to that level and her reaction triggered something inside of me. I realised I was good at something, and that something had a lot of power. You are probably asking what was the first book I published though, and that was an e-book series I created, titled The Emerging Light Series. The series was made up of 100 short stories, some were written by me, but I also opened it up to receive submissions online. We sold around 5,000 copies and for a starter project, that wasn't too bad.

Other than your own, what are your favourite books?

The first book I ever loved was The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. Jon Ronson is an interesting author, and I'm deeply moved by anything Khaled Hosseini does. I also own a book that's so incredibly good, I won't alllow myself to finish it. That might sound odd, but in my view it's a true masterpiece, and I don't want to lose the feeling of reading it for the first time, which is a real testament to the author. It's called The House of Leaves and it's written by Mark Z. Danielewski.

When you are writing do you like to listen to music? What is on your playlist?

I do. All the time. It has to relate to what I'm working on. Often I listen to Glen Hansard, but I also like my film scores and instrumental music. Hans Zimmer has created some pretty great stuff, and I LOVE the Cinematic Orchestra. Very inspiring! I'm editing a young adult fantasy book at the moment, so the Lord of the Rings soundtrack is coming in quite handy, too.

Who is your favorite character in your books?

I don't have a specific favourite, but for some reason I seem to write great parts for women. It's a comment I hear all the time, and with actresses voicing their frustration at the number of two dimensional female characters there are out there, maybe I can use it to my advantage. I just think any character you write needs to be interesting and full of conflict, possessing good points as well as a fatal flaw. People love conflict, be it internal or external of the character, so I always try to make sure my characters, and my stories, are full of them.

Do you ever take characteristics or nuances from close friends or family when working on character development and if so has that friend or family member noticed and what was their response to it? 

I think it's impossible not to. Sometimes I go out and look for inspiration - a movement, a tone, a characteristic that can become part of the DNA to one of my characters. More often than not though, somebody just says or does something around me, and I always make a note of potentially good material. A few people have noticed themselves in my characters, but I'm surprised not more people pull me up on it!

What’s your favourite treat?

Honestly, my treat is writing. I feel like everything else I do in life - earn money to pay the bills, do the day job, watch helplessly as societies all over the world are torn apart by greed - are things I must tolerate before, at last, I can sit in my office and write. I have viewed writing as some form of escape my whole life, so to me, it's a treat every time I get to do it, and I mean that wholeheartedly.  

What’s your favourite place to read/write?

I've always been inexplicably productive when writing on transport. It seems that having movement around me helps be creative, and writing into a notebook offers so much more freedom than tapping away at a laptop. Having said that, I've just moved into a new house and, for the first time in my life, I have a dedicated office space. I can't tell you how nice it is to read and write in there.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love Italy and I want to see more of it, but Santa Monica is a bit of a paradise for me. It just seems to have everything, the people are lovely and I find it a very spiritual and creative place to be. If that's not heaven then I don't know what is.
Purchase a copy of The Moors on Amazon

 Thank you for taking the time to chat with us on Genuine Jenn

~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

Gospel Prism by Gerald Weaver ~ Book Blast


Title:   Gospel Prism
Author:   Gerald Weaver
Genre:   literary fiction
Publisher & Date:  London Wall Publishing,  21 May 2015
Pages:   370-paperback, 338-harcover, 284-Kindle

Book Synopsis:

Alone in his jail cell, Christian receives a midnight visitation from a beautiful stranger. She is the messiah and tasks him with solving a series of spiritual mysteries in order to save his immortal soul...

Atmospheric, dreamlike, unpredictable and wise, Gospel Prism is the dazzling debut novel from Gerald Weaver which brings into focus the relationship between literature, language, truth and religious faith.

'Gospel Prism is a remarkable, charming but disturbing novel with an intriguing premise.' Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities,  Yale University

'Weaver's Gospel Prism is lit by a literary wit and the intricate knowledge that at the end, as in the beginning, there is the word.' Jonathan Levi, author and co-founder of GRANTA

 Purchase a copy on Amazon US / UK / CA  

About the Author: 

Gerald Weaver received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and Juris Doctor degree from Catholic University. He has been a Capitol Hill chief of staff, a campaign manager, a lobbyist, a single father, a teacher of English and Latin, a collector and seller of Chinese antiquities and a contributor to the political magazine, George. He lives in the suburbs of Washington, DC, and travels regularly between the United Kingdom and the US. Gospel Prism is his first novel.

His experience of reading challenging literature in order to survive a dark place served as a provocation for this sensitive, atmospheric, dreamlike, compassionate, unpredictable and wise debut novel which brings into focus the relationship between literature, language, truth and religious faith.

Connect: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |



~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

Something in the Water by Ben Starling ~ Book Review/Interview/Excerpt Tour


Book Description: 

The sealed box Teal finds in the street contains more than just a mystery...

What if to be with the man of your dreams…you had to give up your life? On the verge of losing her job, side-lined journalist Teal is forced to travel to the South Pacific to profile a powerful businessman. But with her almost-but-not-quite fiancĂ© Bear discouraging her every step of the way, she may not be able to save her career or her relationship.

When corporate criminals invade paradise, Teal teams up with a former boxer turned marine-biologist to investigate. As she discovers the true intentions behind their new canning operations, she must either accept the plum promotion that will save her career or—with Perry—defend the island with more than her life.

Something in the Water, An Ocean Romance is available on Amazon.

Review:

This is book two in the Ocean romance series. I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than the first, Something in the Air. The first was a good story but I felt it was rushed.  This book goes into more of a story, touching a few different topics within the story. I loved learning more about Firefly Bob (I knew it! can't tell you what I knew though), the whales (I've always loved whales), and the Island.

The author did a great job with his characters, you either liked them or you don't. Dan Dragan is one of those characters that I didn't like at all in book two. Perry, what can I say about this man, he is an amazing catch. Teal is likeable right from the beginning, she has had a rough like and finally was starting to have things fall into place. Edward, ouch, I couldn't stand him, nothing nice to say about this man. Right from the beginning he got on my nerves with his better than thou attitude and his haw, haw's.  I loved the couple at the resort, Frank and Nancy. Grandma Lizzie is also another amazing character. If you care a lot of about the ocean and the whales this is a great story about love, determination, doing right for the planet. I will admit to shedding a few tears near the end. There are a few sad times. 

You could read this book as a stand alone but if you are like me, you will want to start the series at the beginning. There isn't a huge tie in with the first book but you will see how over the years Daniel Dragan has changed his attitude.

I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Interview with Ben Starling:
First of all, tell us a little about yourself. Do you have a pet or pets?

I had a beautiful and brilliant Great Dane named Edington once. She learned every game in a flash, retrieved things I didn’t know I wanted and danced with me with her paws on my shoulders. I lost her many years ago, but I’ll never forget her. I’m sure she’s my guardian angel watching over me. I’ve had a few close calls and I credit my continued existence entirely to Edington.

What have you been working on recently? Can you tell us about your new release?

Something in the Water is fundamentally a love story—with a bit of adventure in the tropics thrown in too. Here’s the blurb: The sealed box Teal finds in the street contains more than just a mystery… What if to be with the man of your dreams…you had to give up your life? On the verge of losing her job, side-lined journalist Teal is forced to travel to the South Pacific to profile a powerful businessman. But with her almost-but-not-quite fiancĂ© Bear discouraging her every step of the way, she may not be able to save her career or her relationship. When corporate criminals invade paradise, Teal teams up with a former boxer turned marine-biologist to investigate. As she discovers the true intentions behind their new canning operations, she must either accept the plum promotion that will save her career or—with Perry—defend the island with more than her life.

Do you ever take quirks or nuances from close friends or family when developing your characters?

Not consciously. But we are really the sum of everything we see around us. I’m pretty sure that all my characters are complex combinations of every person I’ve ever met in life. And once you have that many disparate ingredients in the recipe, a little magic happens, and the character takes on a life of her or his own.

How did you get started writing?

I’m a freelance editor, working on business plans, articles published in specialist magazines and some fiction. After so many years of working on other people’s stories, it felt like the right time to create an original one of my own. My upcoming novel, Something in the Water, was inspired by the loss of my partner at forty-five years of age to ovarian cancer in 2012, just thirteen weeks after her diagnosis. In the aftermath, an old friend challenged me to turn that grief into something positive.

Remembering a conversation with a charismatic Polynesian fisherman (I visited there once) about his people’s vision of death and the afterlife, I began to write. Through the written word, I hoped to explore and capture several extraordinary events that happened around the time of my girlfriend’s death. The novel and the series kind of took off from there…

Do you believe in Destiny?

We are given a hand of cards at birth and the free will to choose how to play them. However, sometimes the Universe delivers the perfect someone at just the right time. And that’s the luckiest moment in a life.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I draw to unwind. Magical realism in black and white is my favorite. Recently, I’ve been exploring marine themes too. I’m always promising myself to branch out and explore color. But I keep coming back to pen and ink. I’ve posted some on my site.

What can we look forward to next from you?

Something in the Water will be supported by a series of short stories that reveal the backstories of the major characters in this world.

The first in the series, Something in the Air, is available now free at my website and on Kobo (and also Amazon) and the second short story in the series, Something on the Fly, will be released in the Spring!

Something in the Water - available on Amazon  
Something in the Air – Available for FREE at www.ben-starling.com and at Kobo & Amazon
Something on the Fly – coming soon!

* * * *
Excerpt from Something in the Water – Chapter 1 begins…

New York, September

He didn’t look like the hotel guests, the business people, or the tourists. He didn’t move like them either.

He brushed past me as I climbed off my Vespa, stilettos in hand, outside the entrance of the Waldorf Astoria. Had he smiled at the radiance of my scarlet ball gown? Or was he amused by my battered Converse sneakers?

As a valet approached to take my scooter and helmet, I spotted my boss, Malcolm, waving hello from the lobby. He was approaching the glass doors that separated us when I noticed a small wooden box on the ground. Two steps later, I had picked it up. Who could have dropped it?

No one was close by, so I turned. The only man who’d passed me was already a half block away, gliding beside the cars that waited for the lights to change at the end of the block. Was it his?

What I knew for sure was that now wasn’t the time to be tracking down the little box’s owner. I should hand it in to reception and concentrate on the evening ahead. For a few seconds, I relaxed as I studied the hotel’s confident, soaring opulence—a world unknown to me before my arrival from Nantucket four years ago. The smooth texture of the box, however, drew my thoughts back to it. Was there something valuable inside? What if it did belong to that man, and he never returned to collect it? I turned the box over—and caught my breath.

“How on earth…?”

Malcolm emerged in front of me. “Hello, darling, you look absolutely—are you okay?”

I thrust my sparkly evening shoes into his hands, and hitched up my shawl. I was about to give chase when a convertible Ferrari lurched to a stop beside me.

“Going my way, babe?” its driver shouted, over the thrum of the engine.

But my dress was redder, and I got the better start.

You can find the rest of Something in the Water, Chapter 1 at http://ben-starling.com/chapter-one/

* * * *
About the Author: 


Ben Starling is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both central themes in his upcoming novel. His interest in marine life has taken him across three continents over the past three decades. He is Oxford’s only ever Quintuple Blue (varsity champion five years running), was Captain of the university boxing team, and coached and boxed competitively until about five years ago. He is 6’3”and 185 lbs. Ben graduated from Oxford University with a Master of Arts and an M Phil. He was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since childhood.

Connect with Ben at www.ben-starling.com 

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~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

The Moors: Some secrets are better left buried by Jody Medland ~ Book Review

Book Description: 

The call was disturbing, but as far as investigatory journalist Amanda Connors was concerned, it had to be fate. Inadvertently, it was the years of abuse during her childhood that led her into journalism and to now receive an anonymous tip-off claiming negligence within a children’s care home offered the chance to finally put the past behind her. It was the winter of 1972 when she journeyed from London to Devon to pursue the lead, though she would only learn one thing: some secrets are better left buried.

Purchase a copy on Amazon

About the Author: 


Jody Medland is an award-winning writer who has worked successfully across the advertising, education, film, gaming, literary and television industries.

His debut feature film, The Adored, was released in the States in 2013 and has since enjoyed worldwide distribution, including territories such as the UK, Germany, Poland and Uganda. It won Best Film at the Durban Film Festival in South Africa and earned three official selections in Wales, Germany and the US.

Jody is deeply passionate about his literary work and from 2011-2012 he produced and published ten short story books, titled The Emerging Light Series – a project that encouraged new writers to create and submit short stories.

It is the ability to wield strong, original concepts that Jody is renowned for among his peers and he is a great fan of dramas, thrillers and mystical stories, which are his genres of choice when writing.


Connect: Goodreads | Twitter |

Review:

I knew I was going to enjoy this book as I love books set back in the '70/80's. I also find it interesting to read story about mental illness or disabilities. This book delivered. I started reading it late one night, giving myself 30 minutes to read but almost an hour later I was about half way through the book. I only put it down because I couldn't keep my eyes open longer. The next day I finished it. I can't wait for the next book.

The characters are all well developed. The author gives us enough about the characters to build interest and wonder really who they are. Who is the mean one and who really cares for the children in the house. What is happening at this house and who is doing it. The story moves at a steady pace and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I really enjoy Amanda and found the beginning helped a lot to get to know her better. I was surprised at the end of this story. It doesn't have a happy ever ending and keeps you wondering what will happen in book two. It is one creepy creepy read.

I give this book a 5 stars.



~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. I received the above book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

Writing Wednesday ~ Short Story ~ Love at First Sight

  

This weeks story was inspired by a writing prompt in a Goodreads group I am part of. The prompt was to write a scene in a driveway and include a blue scarf. Keep on reading to see what I came up with. Would love some feedback if you are enjoying these post. Please leave a comment below.

Title: Love at First Sight
Word Count: 1031
Written by: Jennifer Levac
 
     Annabelle pulls back the giant black and white floral curtain as she looks out the big picture window, keeping a close eye on the driveway. A light dusting of snow is has been falling for most of the making the long two lane driveway a winter wonderland.

     "Mommy, when will Daddy be home?" Annabelle asks her mother for the millionth time.

     "He will be home in twenty minutes," Vivian tells her five year old daughter, Annabelle. Mark, Vivian's husband works many hours each week. He also does a lot of traveling with his big cooperate job. Vivian doesn't enjoy the times Mark is away but she knows they couldn't enjoy the life they live without this job. Mark wants his ladies to enjoy life without any worries.

     Vivian is a stay at home mom to just Annabelle, that is at least for the next seven months. Vivian is due with bay number two, a little boy by June. When Mark gets home, he and Vivian will be telling Annabelle about her little baby brother. Mark also has another surprise for Annabelle, one that Vivian is quite excited to see.

     "Mommy, I can't wait any longer! I want to see Daddy and get my surprise!" Annabelle said jumping up and down while looking out the big picture window.

     "I know sweetheart, twenty minutes is a long time at your age. Why don't you go play and Mommy will call you when Daddy arrives, okay?" Vivian runs a hand down Annabelle's silky soft brown locks. She has a petite frame just like her mother, but she bares Mark's facial features and brown hair. She looks just like her Daddy.

     "But Mommy I want to see Daddy right away!" exclaimed Annabelle.

     "Okay, you can hang out here. Mommy is going to go put the chicken in the oven for dinner. I'll be in the kitchen if you need me," making her way to the kitchen.
 
     Annabelle stands looking out the window silently wishing for her Daddy to hurry up and come home.

     "MOMMY!! DADDY'S HOME!!!" Annabelle squeals and runs for the front door, grabbing her winter coat and boots before rushing out of the house.

     "Don't forget to do up your coat Annabelle, its cold outside," Vivian calls to Annabelle, as she wipes her wet hands the dishtowel and heads for the front hall to meet Mark.

#

     Mark looks over the edge of the brown cardboard box on the passenger seat beside him at the sound of whimpering. He smiles at the big brown eyes looking up at him from inside the box. His daughter, Annabelle will be so excited to see what he has as a surprise for her. Mark has been on the road for the past week with work but promised Annabelle a surprise when he returned home. Vivian and Mark had come up with the idea of a new puppy a about a month ago when they thought it was about time to give Annabelle her own pet and a bit more responsibility.

     Mark turns onto Maple Steet and can see his driveway from the corner of the street. Annabelle is likely waiting at the window in their living room, this has become her ritual when Mark is traveling for more than a day at a time. He can't wait to get in and see his family, it has been a long and exhausting week.

     "Almost there little one, you will soon meet the best little girl that will love you to pieces," Mark says as he pats the puppy on the head. The pup affectingly starts to lick at Mark's hand with its big wet tongue.

     Putting on his right flasher, Mark turns the car slowly into the driveway, noticing the curtains in the front window falling back into place. Mark smiles to himself as he sees Annabelle opening the front door and charging down the steps as she is trying to do up the zipper on her big puffy winter coat.

     Mark puts his car in park and looks quickly for something to wrap the new puppy in to keep it hidden. Spying one of Vivian's scarves in the back seat, he reaches for the dark blue fabric. Wrapping the puppy in the Vivian's scarf, Mark reaches for the door handle and gets out of the car. Mark gently holds the puppy in his arms, bending down to Annabelle's height as she approaches her father.

     "Daddy! I am so happy to see you," Annabelle says with a huge smile on her face, showing off her sweet dimples.

     "Come quietly, Annabelle. I have something special for you," Mark says and pulls back the dark blue scarf revealing the tri-coloured beagle puppy, watching Annabelle's face light up with excitement.

     "Oh Daddy, she is so cute!" Annabelle exclaims as she puts her face right up to the puppies black wet nose. The tri-coloured beagle gave Annabelle's a sloppy wet kiss all over her face. Annabelle started to giggle, "Can I hold her Daddy, can I?"

     "Sure but you need to be very careful and quiet with her as she is just a puppy and getting to know us," Mark replied.

     Annabelle reached out her tiny little arms and Mark passed the tiny puppy to his daughter.

     Hugging the puppy close to her tiny chest, Annabelle looked up as Vivian approached them in the driveway.

     "Mommy, looked what Daddy gave me! Isn't she soooo cute? I think I will call her Molly. She will be my bestest friend ever, I just know it! I can't wait to tell Sarah about her. Mommy, can Molly sleep with me tonight? Can she, PLEASE!!" Annabelle squealed as she tried to stay still with her new puppy in her arms her excitement rising with every word.

     "Sure, she can sleep with you tonight, Annabelle," Vivian said as she reached down to pet the new puppy. Annabelle headed back to the house with her new best friend, Molly.

     Vivian smiled at Mark and said, "Looks like it is love at first sight."

     Mark reached for Vivian, giving her a tight hug and a gentle kiss. They headed into the house behind their daughter holding each others hand.


~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. This is a work of fiction. Copyright of Genuine Jenn. *~

Multicultural Children’s Book Day ~ Book Review of Maya's Blanket/La Manta de Maya #ReadYourWorld


The Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCCBD) team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.

For your information: The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.
  
Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld


Multicultural Children’s Book Day has 12 amazing Co-Host

Help spread the word on our  Classroom Reading Challenge. This very special offering from MCCBD offers teachers and classrooms the chance to (very easily) earn a free hardcover multicultural children's book for their classroom library. These books are not only donated by the Junior Library Guild, but they are pre-screened and approved by them as well. 

What we could really use some help with is spreading the word to your teacher/librarian/classroom connections so we can get them involved in this program. There is no cost to teachers and classrooms and we've made the whole process as simple as possible. 

You can help by tweeting the below info: ​ Teachers! Earn a FREE #Multicultural Kids Book for Your Classroom! #teachers, #books #teacherlife http://ow.ly/UUy96

The Classroom Reading Challenge has begun! Teachers can earn a free diversity book! #teachers, #books  http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/?p=1796 
My daughter and I had the opportunity to review Maya's Blanket/La Manta de Maya by Monica Brown

About  Maya's Blanket/La Manta de Maya

Little Maya has a special blanket that Grandma stitched with her own two hands. As Maya grows, her blanket becomes worn and frayed, so with Grandma's help, Maya makes it into a dress. Over time the dress is made into a skirt, a shawl, a scarf, a hair ribbon, and finally, a bookmark. Each item has special, magical, meaning for Maya; it animates her adventures, protects her, or helps her in some way. But when Maya loses her bookmark, she preserves her memories by creating a book about her adventures and love of these items. When Maya grows up, she shares her book-Maya's Blanket/La manta de Maya-with her own little daughter while snuggled under her own special blanket. 

Inspired by the traditional Yiddish folk song "Hob Ikh Mir a Mantl" ("I Had a Little Coat"), this delightful story puts a child—focused, Latino spin on the tale of an item that is made into smaller and smaller items. Maya's Blanket/La manta de Maya charmingly brings to life this celebration creativity, recycling, and enduring family love.


Purchase a copy on Amazon

Our Review:  

My daughter was really excited to read this book as she also has a favorite blanket that she has had since she was a baby. She liked that when Maya's blanket was starting to fray they made it into a dress, then a skirt, a shawl, scarf, a hair ribbon, and a book mark. The story was a lot of fun with a magic blanket. My daughter found the words hard to pronounce but enjoyed learning a new language. We tried out best to read Spanish words in the book. 

My daughter gives this book a 3.5 stars out of 5. 


~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

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