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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Review Kelle Riley's Read My Lips



5 stars!

 As someone who teaches and once had a career in the counseling world, I enjoyed the primary theme of trust in Kelle Riley’s Read My Lips. I can also connect well with how impactful other’s actions can be to our own lives. There is much to connect with as we are introduced to Claire, who directs the McClaire Literary Clinic. Clayton attends the clinic under a false name, Artie, seeking help with his dyslexia. Kelle then weaves a well paced story as “Artie” has several opportunities to reveal his hand and come clean with Claire. Kelle does a superb job portraying his fear: 

All of his noble urges to come clean with her had dissolved the minute he learned how deeply Peterman wounded her. No wonder she thought of men with power, money, and influence as the enemy.

- Riley, Kelle Z.. Read My Lips (pp. 90-91). Kelle Riley. Kindle Edition.

FOLLOW KELLE ON FACEBOOK

He is a man caught in a lie trying to live out the burning truth that he is in love. yet, what is he to do that Claire was so hurt by someone with wealth and power. If she discovers he isn't just a man overcoming dyslexia but an actual wealthy billionaire will she still love him? I enjoyed the fact that it is Clayton’s wealth and power as a billionaire chocolatier (and yes there are some steamy love scenes if that is what you read for) rather than his dyslexia that he fears will cause him to lose Claire. Of course, eventually Claire discovers who “Artie” really is. The end is well crafted and checks all the boxes of why we read such stories as Read My Lips. A wonderful first book in a series.

FOLLOW KELLE ON TWITTER

The second book promises the story of Jill, an enjoyable side character in Read My Lips. It looks to be fun based on Jill’s character in Read My Lips:

“Jill had shouldered the responsibilities of supporting her stepmother and her younger siblings from that moment on. Beneath Jill’s polished exterior was a woman determined to sacrifice herself to make amends for a twist of fate. A woman destined for heartache because she was prepared to forego love for money.”

Riley, Kelle Z.. Read My Lips (p. 128). Kelle Riley. Kindle Edition.


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Taken from Author's Website
Kelle Z. Riley, writer, speaker, global traveler, Ph.D. chemist and martial artist weaves bits of her real life into the Undercover Cat Series books. The series features a scientist-turned-sleuth who juggles mystery, romance and the search for a perfect cupcake recipe.

By day Kelle is a full time chemist working in water treatment with multiple U.S. patents. At night she turns into an author whose accolades include finals in the RWA Golden Heart and numerous chapter contests. More information on her workshops can be found on her website.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Review of The Finest Lies

Ever wanted to replace a sibling 
with a better, more polite robot version?

Ever wanted to replace a sibling with a better, more polite robot version? That is exactly the hook fro David J. Nalman's The Finest Lies. I found both the idea and the execution enjoyable. It is clear that David had fun developing the story, which arose from a creative writing prompt his own children did. 

BUY IT HERE

At the time of this posting, it is actually free with Kindle's program.

Here is the "blurb:"

High schooler Nicole Hallett has just about had it with her brother Jay, so when a mysterious man appears with an offer to replace him with a better one, she doesn’t hesitate. Nicole has always been impulsive, but this time, she finds herself in predicament far worse than anything she’s experienced. Just like that, an average snow day—usually filled with hot cocoa and snowball fights—is commandeered by the stranger, who forces the siblings into a dangerous game.

Confronted by past reflections, tested by present complications, and threatened by future possibilities, Nicole has until the end of the day to disentangle the riddle of her life.

This suspenseful, yet winsome novel by award-winning author David J. Naiman explores the power of family and forgiveness. But take heed. The truth can cut like shards of glass, especially for those who’d rather avoid it. Sometimes, only the finest lies will do.

 

David's Website HERE


And here is my review (also posted on the Zon and goodreads). It is a fun, easy read that reminded me a bit of Freaky Friday with the deadline to fix everything ( Goodreads )


----

The story opens with the great line (for any of us with kids at least) “If her mom hadn’t already left for work, she would have called Nicole dramatic—and said it dramatically, bathing in that classic parental brew of irony and hypocrisy.” With such a personality, it is only natural Nicole would call the number on her TV promising a brand new brother, an upgrade from the one she was so annoyed with. From there we encounter various swaps, though the desire for a ham sandwich to be thrown into the bargaining falls flat. Turns out, whoever is producing robot versions of kids doesn’t have many ham sandwiches. The story reads at a fast pace with enough similarity and differences between the characters and their robot selves to keep you engaged. That said, my favorite character is probably the dad who may not always know what is going on but is willing to make snowballs at any time. 

            The story came to the author out of his own kid’s creative writing. The afterward was a nice personal touch to the overall story which is a fun read. 




Thursday, November 25, 2021

Corinth 2642 AD by Bindiya Schaefer

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:  a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Corinth 2642 AD tour banner

Corinth 2642 AD by Bindiya Schaefer. In a future where ethnicity is individually unique, a young investigator is forced into a pureblood, cultish society when its young members start to go missing.


Corinth 2642 AD book cover
Corinth 2642 AD
By Bindiya Schaefer
Genre: Science Fiction
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 21 September, 2021

Blurb:
In the year 2642, no one person is ethnically like the other. Globalization, war, and other catalysts have given birth to a diverse and multi-ethnic new world.

Not everyone feels this new society is ideal, though. A select group of seven colonies—a pureblood, white supremacist cult complete with arranged marriages and heavily guarded borders—have only had one mission: protect the bloodline from contamination and produce the next generation of survivors. But some young people, destined for a life without choices, make a run for it, including Cara, the granddaughter of Julius Bull, the colonies' leader.

Desperate to keep her dissidence quiet for fear of potentially inciting a power struggle within the colonies, Bull brings in Jimmy Matoo—a Special Investigator from San Francisco whose brother was found dead near one of the colonies the same night Cara disappeared. For Matoo, the visit to Corinth, Oregon, is eye-opening. He has never seen a white person before and is shocked by their ideas of imperialism, racial purity, and the prospect of arranged marriages in the 27th century. His investigation reveals that dozens of young colony members have gone missing over the years, and some have been found dead on the outskirts of Corinth.

With the clock ticking, San Francisco’s Detective Matoo’s missing persons investigation soon becomes a fight for survival—turns out the residents don’t like a brown fellow in their midst. Can he find Cara, figure out what happened to his brother, and save the leader's family from the Cabal before it’s too late? Maybe. But first, he must find out who in the colony has the means and connections to smuggle the dissidents out without being detected because it could be the difference between life and death.


I am participating in a  blog tour organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The tour runs from 22 November till 5 December. You can see the tour schedule here.

Links:
- Goodreads
- Bookbub
- Amazon
- B&N

Bindiya Schaefer author picture
About the Author:
Bindiya is a former defense and aerospace journalist. Before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, she lived in Dubai, UAE, and Bangalore, India.

CORINTH 2642 AD is her debut novel. To find out more visit her website www.bindiyaschaefer.com or follow @authorbindiyaschaefer on Instagram.

Author links:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Instagram
- Goodreads
- Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Corinth 2642 AD. Two winners each win a paperback copy of Corinth 2642 AD (US Only).

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Corinth 2642 AD tour banner

MY REVIEW: Three Stars:

The book is set in a future where racisim is dead… well …. Almost.

 

For me it was an interesting mashup of The Grace Year, Longmire, and White Fragility. I liked the world build of a world where interracial marriage, space travel, and radical climate change have developed a more unified world system. The colonies to me read a bit too “preachy.” The colonists are too over – the – top for me from their blatant racism to their breeding systems for children. 

The book is a bit mystery and a bit dystopian sci-fi. It is well written and the core story is compelling. I did enjoy the characters in the book, particularly Detective Matoo.

I would give it five stars except I felt often pulled out of the story for the sake of the propaganda. To be fair, the world of racism, torture, sexism, and such moved the plot forward, but I seldom enjoy books that take modern conflicts (albeit in a future world) but build a bit of a straw man for one position. 



Lola's Blog Tours graphic


NOW... For the Interview:


First, let me thank you for joining me.  I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.

 

YOUR INFORMATION:

www.bindiyaschaefer.com

Twitter: @bindiyaschaefer 

Facebook: @bindiyaschaefer

Instagram: @authorbindiyaschaefer

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

 

That is great.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?


 

I’ll start with a fun fact: I speak eight languages. One of them is my mother tongue, Tamil. My favorite is Arabic, which I learned to read and write while growing up in Dubai, UAE. 

 

I kick-started my writing career as a defense and aerospace journalist in Bangalore, India. After eight years of that, I decided to go over to the dark side: marketing for a multinational corporation in the U.S. So, I packed my bags and moved to California, where I now happily spend my evenings writing and my weekends camping in the California wilderness (where I also write) with my husband and our baby-dog. 


My job has always been to tell stories. I guess now I’m just making them up instead!

 

 

Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?

 

Everything inspires me. Sights, sounds, smells. It usually comes to me as a wisp of an idea and it’s only when I start obsessing about it that I know I have to write it. 

 

What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?

 

I live to eat! So, I find that I’m always (albeit subconsciously) incorporating scenes with food or cooking into my stories. 

 

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?

 

Write! Even if it’s only a line everyday, keep at it. 

 

 

Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?

I have a full time job and write in the evenings or on the weekends. Rather than scheduling time, I work towards daily goals. I typically write 2500 words 4-5 days a week.


What is your favorite part about writing?

The torture and self-doubt.

 

Please tell us about CORINTH 2642 AD.

 

A lot has changed in 2642 AD. Chocolate has become extinct, Hyperloops have replaced cars and wearable technology is the norm. But nothing has changed more than humans themselves. People no longer identify themselves as White, Asian, Brown or Black. It is this world many in an isolated neo-nazi colony in Corinth, Oregon (where marriages are arranged and dissent from the status quo means death) yearn for. 

 

PI Matoo’s investigation into his brother’s death leads him to Corinth. He quickly discovers dozens of young colony members have gone missing over the years, and some have been found dead on the outskirts of Corinth. With the clock ticking, Matoo's investigation soon becomes a fight for survival—turns out the residents don't like a brown fellow in their midst. 

 

 

What exciting story are you working on next?

 

I just finished a SFF novel set in alt-Arabia. It’s essentially a love letter to my home town, Dubai! I’m now working on a new SFF set in San Francisco. 

 

Who are your favorite authors? 

 

Currently, Alexandra Bracken and Alexandra Christo

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Life As We Knew by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Any plans for the upcoming holiday?  

 

Surprise, surprise: I will be camping over the holidays! My husband and I go snow camping in the wilderness every winter and over the years it has become our little tradition, so I’m looking forward to disconnecting and spending time with him.

 

 

What is your writer’s kryptonite? 

 

The couch and a warm blanket. 

 

 

One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/corinth-2642-ad-bindiya-schaefer/1140008672?ean=9781952919534

https://www.amazon.com/Corinth-2642-AD-Bindiya-Schaefer/dp/1952919533/ref=rvi_2/146-2379226-1397233?pd_rd_w=mTXm7&pf_rd_p=c0296674-5a83-4ad6-b035-0702d2b359df&pf_rd_r=BT4NTEMJFS33SKB4YTZJ&pd_rd_r=32abf768-dbdf-4979-a8d8-e61d3dd51627&pd_rd_wg=EYiQw&pd_rd_i=1952919533&psc=1

 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Interview with Khaled Talib

 


Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Khaled Talib.  Khaled has written the book, Spiral, a thriller.  

 

First, let me thank you for joining me.  I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.

 

 

www.khaledtalibthriller.com


https://www.facebook.com/khaled.talib


https://twitter.com/KhaledTalib


https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6940359.Khaled_Talib

 

 

That is great. Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

 


I’m a former magazine journalist and Public Relations consultant. I’ve authored five thrillers since 2014. I live in Singapore. 


What led you to start writing?


I believe some of us are born with a gift, and sooner or later it will manifest in the way you think and act. I’m more interested in the world of imagination rather than fixing things or trying to solve answers to mathematical questions. I can’t sing for nuts, but why are some people able to sing or excel in sports? There you have it…it’s a gift. 


You might be able to learn a craft, but will it be natural? Some people are multitalented; in my case, I seem to be interested in telling stories. Ideas are always pouring out of that mental faucet. Even if I try to ignore those ideas, I’ll only be lying to myself. Besides, I enjoy what I do.    

 

Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?

 

I get my ideas from everywhere. It could be an interesting article in the newspaper or a personal experience. Recently, someone emailed me something and as we corresponded to and from, I received an epiphany, inspiring me to write a synopsis for a new book. I’m still working on the draft idea, but I’m getting there.   

 See Khaled's Website Here


What is your favorite part about writing?

 

When the plot comes together. I like the smooth process writing page after page without hiccups in between. I dislike getting stuck in a ‘writing quicksand.’ Then I’ll have to wait it out to find a way to escape because if I don’t the story is as good as dead.   

 

What does literary success look like to you?


When readers enjoy my work and leave a nice review… when they email me and tell me how much they enjoyed the book. Simple things…

 

It is always great to know a reader has connected with your work. Please tell us about your current release so our readers can connect to it.

 

Spiral is a story about a downtrodden Australian man who moves from one state to another to begin life anew after a tragedy. But he finds himself in trouble again. He eventually meets an indigenous man who teaches him how to free himself from the shackles of his past. 


 See Khaled's Twitter Feed Here


Can you provide us with a small exert?  

 

The old man stepped back and looked at Laurence askance. “Bamapana…he’s inside you, mate. The demon is causing big mischief, picking your soul. You must be strong to fight Bamapana.” 

“Piss off! I don’t have time for your bloody superstition,” Laurence said.  

The indigenous man slipped his hand through the door gap and placed his palm on Laurence’s heart. 

Laurence grabbed the aboriginal man’s wrist. “What do you think you’re doing?” 

“Bad man took the woman.” The old man’s eyeballs shook behind their closed lids. “Bad man…Bamapana bring evil.”

Laurence cocked his head. “Woman? How did you—?” 

“Bamapana…he tricks men…he creates trouble…big, big trouble.”  The whiteness in the indigenous man’s eyes expanded in fear. “Follow me.” 

 “Follow you where?”

“Follow me.” The aboriginal man disappeared behind a few cars. 

 Laurence trailed the old man as he headed towards a green Ute, a vehicle with a tray back, parked parallel at the side of the road. He signaled Laurence to climb into the back.  “Lie down and cover yourself.” 

 “Where are we going?” Laurence drew a plastic sheet over himself.

 “To find you.”

   

Thanks for letting us see a snippet. Any plans to come state side?

 

I was thinking of visiting New York city next year in the summer. Let’s see how it goes. With this C-thing around, you just never know. Central Park and The Metropolitan Museum of Art are some of the places I really like to see. Also, I’d like to try the Reuben sandwich and a bagel.

 

 

All writers seem to have something that they struggle against. What is your writer’s kryptonite? 

 

Nighttime. I can no longer write at night. I can think about the project, but I have more energy in the morning.  

 

 

I can empathize with that. I have always been a morning person. Since it is getting late, I'll let you go. One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?


 

https://www.amazon.com/Spiral-Thriller-Khaled-Talib-ebook/dp/B08QH312VB

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1059003

 

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/spiral-32

 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Interview: Christopher Acker

  



Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Christopher Acker.  Christopher has written the book, Things Happen.

 

First, let me thank you for joining me.  I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.

 

 

On Amazon

 

On Facebook

 

His new collection of contemporary short stories, Things Happen, will be available on Amazon on November 15, 2021, the day this blog posts. Congratulation on that accomplishment!

 

  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 


I am a husband, father of two wonderful girls (Violet and Emily), and clinical social worker living in Bridgewater, New Jersey. I’ve been writing fiction for nearly twenty years.

"My ears are always scanning for story ideas."

Clinic social work - that can be a heavy career path. I was a clinic director once upon a time. I bet writing is a nice release and destressor. When did you begin writing?

I first discovered my love for writing during my sophomore year at Rutgers University. I was taking a class called “The Short Story” and our professor had us read Raymond Carver’s “I Could See the Smallest Things.” The story is only six pages long but it changed my life. I had read minimalist stories before (e.g. Hemingway) but the way Carver created so much drama with zero plot to get in the way was like seeing a stupendous magic trick. And I just had to learn the secret! 

Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?

 

“Inspiration” usually hits me when I least expect it. Sometimes it’s a news article I stumble across. Other times, it’s a small detail (like a flattened Dunkin’ Donuts bag) that makes me think of a story. I’ve even written a story after a friend muttered something random that I thought would make for an excellent line of dialogue.

In other words, my ears are always scanning for story ideas.

"Better yet, read your work aloud. The ears can find areas that need improvement that the eyes have trouble seeing."


What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?

 

My advice is twofold. First, write. Naturally, the more you do something, the more you get better at it. You learn from your mistakes. You can pick up things just by the act of writing more and more.

My second bit of advice is edit. This is a no-brainer. All of my first drafts are complete garbage. But with each round of editing, the real work takes place. Have a trusted friend give you some feedback during the editing process. Better yet, read your work aloud. The ears can find areas that need improvement that the eyes have trouble seeing.

What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?


One of my creating writing professors in college told our class that On Writing Fiction by David Jauss should be on every writer’s bookshelf. She wasn’t kidding! There are too many pearls of wisdom in this book to list here. I go back to it whenever I embark on a new project.

 

I will have to check it out. I'm currently in Save the Cat but often resist King's book, also titled On Writing.  One of the things he discusses is finding a "when" to write. Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?

 

I wish I wrote full-time, but a little thing called bills gets in the way. I work full-time helping homeless Veterans get back on their feet. Between that, taking my girls to soccer games and swim lessons, and exercising to stay healthy, finding a good chunk of time to write is next to impossible. If I get twenty minutes here or there, then I have to take advantage of that. Maybe that’s why I gravitate to writing short stories.

 

That makes total sense. Keeping track of everything in a long novel can be an immense task. I know if I walk away more than a few days I start getting names and places wrong. Short stories are much tighter. What is your favorite part about writing?

Editing. It is so rewarding seeing a story really take shape.

That is pretty amazing. Most authors loathe that process. But editing is the secret to a quality product. How do you know you are done editing?

Flipping through some of my work and thinking to myself, That’s a damn good story.

 

Please tell us about your current release.

 

Things Happen came out of the pandemic, but thankfully, none of the stories are about the coronavirus, quarantining, or social distancing.

 

The ideas behind the four stories in this collection felt much more substantial than a typical short story. And to be honest, I had no interest in turning any of the ideas into a novel. I was inspired by Stephen King’s Different Seasons and took a crack at the long-form short story.

 

As I was writing each story, I felt there was a connective tissue that wove through the four tales. Celebrities (in one form or another) make an appearance in each story. They are also loosely based on various things I’ve seen in the news over the past few years (i.e. racial unrest, high school sports run amok, Google Maps re-surveying neighborhoods, and the trial of a kidnapper/rapist). 

 

I also played with my writing much more than I have in the past. Here, I was inspired by T.C. Boyle and Denis Johnson instead of my regular muse, Raymond Carver. It was a blast to be more expansive with my writing. I’m not sure if I will stick with this style moving forward, but it’s always fun to travel outside your comfort zone.

 

Can you read / provide us with a small exert? (optional – under 200 words)

 

Here’s the opening paragraph to “Now You See Him, Now You Don’t,” which is the first story from Things Happen.

 

The first time she spotted the Google Maps car was at Machpelah Cemetery. Dinah didn’t even know what she was looking at. All she could see was the red camera. The rest of the car was obscured behind the row of hedges that formed the cemetery’s perimeter. It looked like a giant red eye, like HAL 9000. The orb wouldn’t stop gawking at her. Strangely, she could feel it record her every move.

Leave me alone, she wanted to tell the giant floating eye. Can’t you see I’m grieving?

BUY THE BOOK HERE 


Thanks for that share. Most of us are influenced by other writers. Who are your favorite authors? 

 

Raymon Carver, Cormac McCarthy, and Denis Johnson

 

Any under-appreciated novels you'd promote to our readers?

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson. I don’t understand how this collection of stories hasn’t caught on as much as Jesus’ Son did. “Doppelganger, Poltergeist” alone is worth the price of admission.

 

It is easy to pour a lot of money into the craft. Books, marketing, editing, going to press, conferences, and so much more. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

 

A French press.

 

That is excellent, though I am a McDonalds coffee - black - type of guy. Other than fatigue fixed by coffee, what is your writer’s kryptonite? 

 

My guitar. Every time I encounter writer’s block, I want to throw in the towel and futz around with my guitar. It’s such a distraction!

 

What part of writing and publishing makes you want to throw in the towel?

 

The worst part of writing for me is the first draft. There is nothing more terrifying than a brilliant white sheet of paper staring back at you.

 

Other than that, promoting my work has been the most uncomfortable part of the process. Writing is a very quiet, meditative process, which works well for introverts like me. Telling people Come look at my book, although necessary for writers, does not come naturally to me.

 

Anything additional you want to share with the readers? 

 

Simply, I hope you enjoy my book.

 

One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HQ7ZFXM/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=things+happen+christopher+acker&qid=1633340304&sr=8-1


BUY THE BOOK HERE

 

 

Things Happen will be available on Amazon on November 15, 2021.

 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Review: Escape the Amoz


I held a booth at NextChapter Con this year. It is a con for independent authors to share their works with the public. I had a great time and loved meeting so many avid readers. Thank you! You are awesome!


As a reader myself, I came home with almost as many books to read as I sold of my own. One book I brought home was Escape the Amoz by Nancy Jo Wilson. It is roughly the story of the Exodus with a few modern twists and a whole lot of sci-fi. I read it in two sittings and thouroughly enjoyed the tale. It is, for me, the reminder that there are so many great stories out there. One reason I do this blog is because I want to promote great story. There are those exceptional, beyond all expectation stories that gain global recognition such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or Green Eggs and Ham. There are some that gain global recognition because the media world is hungry for anything that isn't Fast and Furious 37: Racing in Rockiing Chairs. These stories are easy to find in almost any bookstore, on lead pages of Amazon, or wherever you see book promotions (for one of my kids that is taco bell $5 boxes. Whatever is advertised on those totally captivates him). But there are still other, amazing fun stories out there to enjoy. Escape the Amoz is definietly one to check out. 


Here is my review as posted on Amazon and Goodreads:


When i began reading the YA sci-fi novel, Escape the Amoz, I immediately thought the story would connect with many of the minority students I teach. In a good sci-fi world build, there are have's and have-nots. There are those in luxury and those in poverty and oppression.  Reminiscent of the Exodus story there is a leader who can help. Caleb is thrust into awareness of the problem as a young man when his father is unjustly arrested. However, in a good Heroe's Journey model, it is three years (during which Caleb buffs up on the farm) before he unites with Galax and One Corp to lead his people to freedom. While OneCorp represents the deliverer in the Exodus story, including OneCorp's decision to take the oppressed people led by Caleb to the mountains, a poor tactical decision, it has a great sci-fi flare. 

While the novel could benefit with a cover more specific to the story (the one there is a bit generic) and page numbers, the content is golden. Definitely worth the read.




Also, if you live in the north Georgia area, keep an eye out for NextChapter Con 2022. It is a great place to come celebrate stories, support some local artisans (authors are artists too), and get to meet so many fun people. I chatted with a man in his 70's spinning tales of his rather wild youth, a tallented author writing were-otter stories, a author telling tales of a man whose wife passed and he goes unhinged... in a funny good way, and some great cut 'em up zombie books.


Their website is here: NextChapter Con 

Also, check out their "GOAT reads" program. It is pretty awesome.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Interview with Sam Gridley


Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Sam Gridley. Sam has written the book The Bourgeois Anarchist, a novella. First, let me thank you for joining me. I absolutely love Novellas and think they will really be popular over the next few years as I watch the reading habits of my friends and family. In particular, I have noticed younger readers like the serial or the novella size read. 


"What led me (to writing) — who knows? Perhaps trying to figure out where I belonged after so many moves." 


 I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.

 

 Website: https://gridleyville.blog

Twitter: @SamGridley2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bourgeois-Anarchist-Sam-Gridley/dp/1646625447/

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-bourgeois-anarchist/9781646625444

 

That is great.  And today we are promoting The Bourgeois Anarchist. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?


My family moved around a lot, a product of my father’s frequent job-switching and wife-switching. In succession I lived in Pittsburgh, Camden, Providence, Bristol, Westchester, Palos Verdes Estates, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Northridge, Culver City, Berkeley, Oakland, Cambridge, Brighton, London, Palo Alto, Bellefonte, Baltimore, Lyndhurst, Rutherford, and perhaps a few other places I’ve forgotten. This was before the age of 29. Since then, I’ve settled in Philadelphia, PA, and scarcely budged.

 

"It usually takes two such “hits” for a story to develop, an intersection of two ideas or themes, before I sense the “arc” of an actual story."


I first started writing a bit of poetry and creative nonfiction in elementary school, probably in Torrance. What led me—who knows? Perhaps trying to figure out where I belonged after so many moves. In high school, after two more moves, I developed the idea of writing fiction, though at that point the ability to do so eluded me. In college, two additional moves later, it seemed I was destined for an academic career as an English professor, but during a summer seminar on Milton I spent a lot of time reading Milton criticism, and at that point realized that a career that compelled me to read other critics would bore me to death. (From that summer’s reading, only a single bit sticks in my mind: a critic’s assessment that the opening lines of Paradise Lost tell us that something grand is about to begin. Okay, grand, but how and why? And so what? Is that useful criticism?) Soon after graduation, therefore, I took an equally boring job in book publishing, and that industry is how I’ve made a pseudo-living ever since.

 

Even a pseudo-living can open doors and create possibility though. Do you get any inspiration in your day to day life?


I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. Often it comes from reading—a particular phrase will hit me and suggest a theme for a story. But it usually takes two such “hits” for a story to develop, an intersection of two ideas or themes, before I sense the “arc” of an actual story.

 

Information about stuff I don’t already know comes—of course—from the internet, plus books. My interest in anarchism began initially with a book I helped produce about the Spanish Civil War. Then I read other books on that era. When I got the idea for The Bourgeois Anarchist, I did a lot more reading online in the history and current practice of anarchism.

 

I've heard you mention reading and research. What is your favorite part about writing?


That’s hard to say. The feeling of being so absorbed in the story that the characters come alive and the words just flow out on the page. (That doesn’t happen too often.) And then the feeling of satisfaction at the end of a day when you feel you’ve written something good. (Although when you reread it the next morning, your illusion may be dashed.)


"Marry a rich person who believes in your genius. Then be a very, very devoted spouse so you don’t lose your financial backing."


What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?


My hobbies are reading and taking long walks with the dog. For reading, see above. For dogs, see many of my published stories, including “Dogs Welcome” and “The Goodbye Dog” (links to both on the About page of my website). The Bourgeois Anarchist, however, does not include a dog; I’m afraid that’s a shortcoming.

 

Well, as a dog lover I must say they are always welcomed presences in a story. I think there is a joke in there somewhere about a dog and an anarchist? Something about dogs and cats, communists and capitalists... but I don't recall it off the top of my head.


As someone who writes but also makes a living inside the world of writing, I'd be interested to know what advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?


(A) First choice: Marry a rich person who believes in your genius. Then be a very, very devoted spouse so you don’t lose your financial backing.


(B) Second choice: Find a day job that allows you time and energy to write during your off-hours. But keep looking for that rich soulmate.

 

Whether you choose (A) or (B), take all advice with multiple grains of salt. For instance, if people tell you that good writing eschews adverbs, respond graciously and ignore them thoroughly. But if the advice happens to be useful, embrace it. Be both openminded and utterly stubborn.

 

 

That is strong advice. I had a mentor once say something similar: "You can marry more money in a day than you can make in a lifetime." Assuming you did not go down path "A," what is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer that you use?


Wallace Stegner suggested my hair was too long, which I suppose was advice that I cut it. Twenty years later, I did.


"Persistence, that’s the key." 


(chuckles) Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?


Work in book publishing still provides most of my small income. For a while I tried a rigid part-time schedule: writing in the morning, work for pay in the afternoon. My production was slender, so I gave that up. Since my work for pay is freelance, I now write whenever and however, no fixed schedule, and this seems to fit my fitful imagination. For people who need a lot of structure, this wouldn’t work, but it suits me.

 

How many hours a day do you write?


Between zero and five hours a day, more on occasion. Really, it depends. Beyond five hours in one day, I start to fade. But if I have something going, I’ll devote at least some time to it every day, six or seven days a week. With The Bourgeois Anarchist I would put in at least two or three hours daily, probably averaging about 25 hours a week. Persistence, that’s the key.


 

What does literary success look like to you?


Groupies! But where are they? Why don’t I have any?

 

 Maybe they will arrive as soon as you tell us about your current release.


The protagonist of The Bourgeois Anarchist, Susie Alioto, is a longtime political militant. After college she spent two decades in an anarchist commune, and at age 66 her beliefs haven’t wavered. She protests with young people to demand justice and human rights. She marches for gun control, for Black Lives Matter, for action against climate change. A portrait of her special anarchist hero, Errico Malatesta, hangs on her refrigerator with an inspirational quote of his: “Impossibility never prevented anything from happening.”

 

Yet Susie now teaches at an expensive private school, and her life is comfortably middle-class. Her son Eric, a budding mathematician, mocks her as a “bourgeois anarchist.”

 

As the story opens, violence breaks out at a peaceful rally, and Susie is injured. A young woman dressed in Antifa gear rescues her, and Susie is drawn into a mysterious intrigue involving angry activists and devious capitalists, gentrification, arson, even mobsters. Cops pound on her door to demand information. Though Susie tries to hew to her principles, the true nature of justice becomes muddled, and her anarchist heroes—including the grizzled Malatesta on her refrigerator—provide no clear answer. People’s lives are at risk, and she doesn’t know what to do. The dilemma escalates into an existential crisis.

 

In the midst of this turmoil, Susie stumbles into unexpected romance. But is the new man any more reliable than the ones who’ve failed her in the past? Meanwhile her son, the apolitical math geek, adds an offbeat and comic perspective that may offer a clue to the personal and political intrigues.

 

Can you share a sample?


Here’s the very beginning:

 

NOT ONE MORE!

 

—a sign hand-lettered in red, white and blue, lifted high above the marcher’s shoulders.

 

I want to read BOOKS, not EULOGIES

 

—stark black on white, poked aloft on a wooden cross.

 

Susie Alioto, a tiny woman packed in by the crowd of marchers on Market Street, strained to see past the welter of signs and banners bouncing around her—what block was this? how much farther to City Hall?—as she proudly hoisted her own handmade contribution, drawn with markers in the anarchist colors of red and black. It aimed straight at the National Rifle Association, which funded the politicians who refused to adopt commonsense gun-control measures. The latest attack in the wave of mass shootings across the country—16 dead, 19 wounded at a high school in the Midwest—had prompted this outpouring into the streets of Philadelphia, semi-coordinated with demonstrations in other cities.

 

KIDS’ BLOOD on YOUR HANDS, NRA!!!!

 

read Susie’s sign, the “blood” red and drippy, the “NRA” a shadowed, ominous black with the outline of a semiautomatic rifle behind it. A longtime teacher as well as activist, Susie knew the value of dramatic presentation.

 

What exciting story are you working on next?


My current story-in-revision is an exploration of the stereotype that men never discuss their feelings with each other. 


Not sure how I feel about that one. Sorry... the opportunity was too good. Continue.


It features two middle-aged guys who were “best friends” for 20-odd years until a seemingly minor incident drove them apart. One dies, and the survivor thinks back to the incident and realizes how little he understood his friend. I don’t know that I’d call this story “exciting,” but I found the bantering, man-to-man dialogue a lot of fun to write.

 

Who are your favorite authors?


Too many to list! Current ones: Elise Juska, Liz Moore, Richard Russo, Colm Toíbín. Lates: William Trevor, Brian Moore, Wallace Stegner. Oldies: James Boswell, Jane Austen, W.B. Yeats, Ford Madox Ford.

 

That's good. I always ask that question and am surprised when authors don't read. I am glad you do and it will speak well for your own work. In the same line of questioning, what’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?


The Speed of Clouds by Miriam Seidel.

 

I'll have to look for that one. Maybe a holiday read. Speaking of, This interview will publish as Halloween approaches. Any plans?


If a holiday involves a family get-together, I treasure it. Otherwise, I ignore holidays, partly because I dislike crowds. What’s the appeal of a beach when it’s so crowded you can hardly see the sand? Or a park when large parties of picnickers are blaring music? Being a freelancer means I can work on a holiday and then take another, quieter day off.


Does a dislike of crowds make any part of marketing difficult??


Appearing in public to promote my writing. Still difficult.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


My first computer! It was a—wait, can I remember the name?—have to turn to the internet to jog my memory—yes, there it is, a Leading Edge! A brand long forgotten, like most of what I wrote back then..


"The first unsolicited comment from a reader of The Bourgeois Anarchist: 'Your book was hard to put down and done in three days. I disagreed with Susie quite a bit, but I feel like she’s someone I know. Even me at times.'” 


What is your writer’s kryptonite?


Noise! Can’t write when there’s turmoil around me. Can’t listen to music while writing. I’m amazed by people who write in coffee shops.


 My writer group had a long discussion the other day about music they listen to while writing. I am with you. I prefer silence. Are you involved in any writer groups?


The Working Writers Group in Philadelphia, founded in 1986 and still going strong. Bravo, WWG! The Bourgeois Anarchist is dedicated to the group.

 

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?


The first unsolicited comment from a reader of The Bourgeois Anarchist: “Your book was hard to put down and done in three days. I disagreed with Susie quite a bit, but I feel like she’s someone I know. Even me at times.”

 

 

That sounds like your first groupie!! One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?Add your links here again


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bourgeois-Anarchist-Sam-Gridley/dp/1646625447/

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-bourgeois-anarchist/9781646625444