Featured Post

Book Blogger - Submit a book for review!

  Are you an author? Would you like your book promoted on my blog? and website? Would you like to have your book reviewed? If so, please con...

Monday, April 12, 2021

Interview with Norm Karin

 



Arrangement for Revenge

by Norm Karin

Book Genre: Mystery/Amateur Sleuth


Norm's Website


Follow Norm on Facebook



BUY THE BOOK HERE



Today, we had an opportunity to talk to Norm Karin.  Norm has written the book, Arrangement for Revenge.  

 

Let me tell you that I love the cover. That is so important for a book. Yours makes me want to pick it up immediately. That is such an important part of the industry a lot of authors miss. It wasn't until I started writing and blogging that I really caught just how big a deal it is. 


We are also excited to hear about the book itself. But first, tell us a little about your journey to become an author?

 

First, let me thank you for the opportunity to contribute to Jerry's Circumlocution. I retired after a 35-year career as a biomedical researcher and science educator. 


Thirty-five years? That means you were doing biomedical research back in the 80's. I bet that was a great time to be in that career. Did you ever write inside your job?


I enjoyed writing scientific book chapters and journal articles (and endless grant applications), but I dreamed for years of writing a mystery novel. In particular, I wanted to write a story that incorporated some humor. I’d gotten a taste of creative writing years ago when I was a guitarist in an acoustic duo/trio that performed original satirical songs. 


How long was your group together? What kind of songs did you all sing and write?


Over the nearly ten years this group performed, I wrote more than twenty songs that describe such topics as: a husband’s despair as he accompanies his wife while she shops for clothes (“The Man by the Fitting Room Door”); the reluctance of men to ask for directions (“Directions”); and “Bad Hair Blues.”

 

That is great. Did you draw your inspiration for your book in the same topics? Or did you pull ideas more from your career?  


My career led me to live in a number of places in this country and in Germany, and I incorporate bits of these experiences when I write. I’ve been fortunate to meet a great many creative people in my life, including some with wonderful senses of humor. Most of the characters in my book are colored by the traits of people who have made an impact on my life.


 

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


I have many hobbies, and they definitely influence my writing! I find it really helps to “write what you know.” As I mentioned above, I am a guitarist (you can find me on YouTube) and have focused primarily on jazz and “fingerstyle” playing for the past twenty years or so. Therefore, I decided to make Ed Ramsey, the main character in my mystery, a jazz guitarist and music professor at a small college in Texas. I spent most of my scientific career in academic settings, so it was natural for me to write about this character as a college faculty member. I got hooked on sourdough bread baking a number of years ago, and Ed shares this hobby as well. My wife, Charlotte, and I are avid birdwatchers, and Ed’s new love in the book is a professor who studies bird ecology. Charlotte and I have lived in a suburb of Buffalo, NY, since 2012, but we learned to scuba dive in the early 90s when we lived in Houston. My next book will be out soon and involves Ed becoming entangled in a murder during a scuba diving trip.

 

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


I’ll make two suggestions. First, make notes! Great ideas can pop up at any time of the day or night. When I’m home, I always have a Word document available for me to scribble thoughts that occur to me. I also use a memo recorder app on my cell phone, which is very handy when I’m traveling. My second suggestion is to constantly back up all electronic versions of your writing! External drives, USB drives, Google Drive, it doesn’t matter. This not only guards against losses due to a computer crash, but also helps protect against problems if inadvertent changes are made to a document. I back up to a USB drive every time I finish writing, even if only for a lunch break.

 

Both of those are great suggestions. What is your favorite part about writing?

I didn’t anticipate how much I would enjoy creating characters for my books. They truly are like imaginary friends! Once I established their personalities, it is almost as if they write their own dialog for me.

 

Alright, please tell us about your current release.

In Arrangement for RevengeEd Ramsey, a jazz guitarist and music professor at a small college, has his life turned upside down when his department chairman is found with his throat slashed. Ed becomes embroiled in the murder when Allison Clark, the victim’s oboe student, discovers the body and rushes into Ed’s studio for help. To complicate things further, Ed’s friend and faculty colleague becomes the prime suspect in the killing.

 

Questions abound as the local sheriff tries to sift through the puzzling clues. What is the motive for the crime? Is the enigmatic Miss Clark somehow involved? Why does a student’s suicide four years earlier seem to hold a key to identifying the murderer? While trying to help the sheriff solve the mystery, Ed finds his own life in danger!


Sounds like it will contain elements of your entire journey both as a researcher and your humor and music experience. Is there somewhere our readers can get a taste for the book?

 

Your readers can see a free sample of the book by clicking on the Purchase Link, above, and selecting Kindle (Amazon).


BUY THE BOOK HERE

 

What exciting story are you working on next?


I am in the final editing stages of another Ed Ramsey Mystery entitled Bad Breath. In this story, Ed; his girlfriend, Tracey; and his son, Frosty, embark on a weekend scuba diving trip in the Gulf of Mexico, only to have it marred by tragedy: a diver goes missing and later is found dead on the sea bottom. However, what first appears to be a fatal accident turns out to be a case of murder, and Ed reluctantly finds himself entangled in the investigation.

 

The murderer must be among the small group of passengers and crew on board the dive vessel, but the police can find no motive for the killing, which greatly complicates their ability to identify potential suspects. Ed, Tracey, and Frosty try to assist the authorities, which leads them into some harrowing experiences before the case is solved.

 

Ironically, this was the plot I had planned as my first book. I truly don’t remember how the plotline for Arrangement for Revenge originated. It just fell out of my head!

 

I hear that sometimes, especially amongst panthers. Some authors plot and outline and others just start writing. I love reading authors who do both as long as the yarn is well told. Who are your favorite authors?


I read many genres, but I love classic mysteries. I’ve read all the Sherlock Holmes stories multiple times, and I really enjoy works by authors from the golden age of mystery writing: Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Ellery Queen, Erle Stanley Gardner. I also am a fan of the irreverent but highly entertaining mysteries by the Texas country musician, Kinky Friedman.

 

 

All excellent choices. I thank you again for joining us. Tell our readers one more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?


They can find it here.

 

 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Review: Me, Boo, and the Goob by William L Garner


 Today, we are talking to William Garner.  

William has written the book, 

Me, Boo and the Goob: A Southern Adventure.  

 

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

 



Me, Boo and the Goob: A Southern Adventure


by William Garner

 Website


 Facebook


I had the opportunity to read your book. I appreciate the copy. If I can, I'd love to read my review here.

Me, Boo, and the Goob traces the story of a ten year old receiving a cadillac. The tale winds and turns well with every chapter being a different slice of the author's life. Sometimes the chapter may lose sight of the ultimate goal, that cadillac, but never the fun in the journey. The writing style reminded me a lot of Earnest Gaines, A Gathering of Old Men, even though the material was very different. I loved the prose and felt comfortable seeing the small town life through the eyes of William. His best friend, Boo, was a bit more initiative than say, Rowley on Diary of a Wimpy Kid . Maybe closer to Paul Pfieffer of the Wonder Years. There are tales of ghosts, explosions, guns, and fires to keep you turning each page. And like any good brother, William doesn't miss a chance to blame the Goob, his younger brother for his mistakes while also showing he clearly loves his sibling.  I read the book in two days and enjoyed the ride almost as much as I would a ride in a pink caddy. 

Those were my thoughts as I read your book. Overall, it was a very enjoyable memoir. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing this account?

When I was in 3rd Grade, my allergies were so bad I could not go outside at recess.  In the winter, my fingertips would split and crack from the dry cold air.  So instead of going outside to play for a while, my teacher used to send me to the library.  I read.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  I read Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.  I read Great Expectations.  I discovered Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain.  I read the entire World Book Encyclopedia A through Z.   

 

"Some folks wait for inspiration to strike.   
Writers sit down and just go to work."

 

 


I used to thumb through the Encyclopedia as a kid. I think most houses had a set. But I never read through it! That is incredible.


For a book report once, I tried to turn in a book report on World Book’s Book ‘T’.

I bet you really developed a deep knowledge of history.


Early in the fifth grade, for a writing assignment I wrote about OSS (Office of Strategic Services) agents being parachuted into France at night during World War II to work with the French Underground.  I had read about the agents and their stories.  I had become a history nut of sorts.  I used to close my eyes and imagine what it was like to jump into night sky from an airplane hiding in the cold, darkness and clouds above a sleeping enemy.  I could almost sense the loneliness the agents must have felt hanging under the silk canopies as they drifted in the wind as they descending to the earth they knew was near, but could not see.  I wrote it like I saw it.  My teacher gave me an ‘F’, and accused me of plagiarism because according to her ‘there is no way you wrote this’.



That's rough.

 

By the end of the first 9 weeks, after several other writing assignments and a couple of parent/teacher conferences, she changed her mind.  She revised that grade, and I became her ‘star’ pupil.  For the rest of my academic career, whenever I needed to get my grade point up, I’d take a class that involved writing a paper.  I knew that even if I never became anything else, I would always be a writer.


That had to build a lot of confidence in you at such an early age. Were you ever given advice as a writer you would pass on to others?


Some folks wait for inspiration to strike.  Writers sit down and just go to work.

 

"Early in the fifth grade, for a writing assignment I wrote about OSS (Office of Strategic Services) agents being parachuted into France at night during World War II...

 

I used to close my eyes and imagine what it was like to jump into night sky from an airplane hiding in the cold, darkness and clouds above a sleeping enemy." 


I've heard that before. Just start writing and the inspiration will come. Where do you find you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?  


I get ideas from life.  My novel is based on my youth in Jonesboro, Arkansas and in Hernando, Mississippi.  I take things that actually happened and let my imagination run with it a bit.  Sometimes the actual true story is good enough.

 

Integrating your own bio into a story is very personal. Do your hobbies ever play into your writing?  


I really enjoy scuba diving.  I became a diver in 1974 and have been an instructor for several years.  I also enjoy building things.  I built our pavilion out at our pool, as well as the pump house.  My hobbies don’t usually play a direct role in my writing, but when I am engaged in doing them, I do some of my best thinking.

 

I understand that. I'm a volunteer fireman and find a lot of my ideas come to me when I am doing activities for the station, even though I have never written anything about emergency services. 


"If you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a kid, 
this is the book for you." 


Shifting gears, what advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?  


Read, read read.  Read everything.  Read the classics.  Read biographies.  Read histories.  Read humorous novels.  Pay attention to the language and how the story is told.

 

That's good advice. I think Stephen King said if you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write.When you sit down to write, all those things you read become a tapestry from which to draw. I love that. What is your favorite part about writing?  


Polishing.  Getting a rough draft down is tough, grinding work.  I really enjoy crafting the language.  It has to flow in keeping with the character and the story.  It ought to almost play a movie in your brain as you read.


I definitely agree about the movie being played out as you polish and edit. Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?  


I am semi-retired, but my schedule is a mess.  Writing is ‘work’, so when I set down to write I block that time and write.  Even if I don’t keep anything I write that day, I write when I have blocked that time.


 

Please tell us about your current release.  


Me, Boo and the Goob: A Southern Adventure is a humorous story of three small boys growing up in a small town near Memphis.  The story is driven by the boys endless adventures and punctuated by their innocence, their naivety, their loyalty and their courage.  The story runs the gamut of small boy activities beginning with encounters with ‘ghosts’, including piano lessons, bad storms and bank robbers culminating with  the trauma of moving to a new town and making new in interesting friends.  If you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a kid, this is the book for you. 

 

Can you read / provide us with a small exert? 


Well, on the day after Christmas, I was sitting in the parlor with my big sister, Sweet Pea.  That isn’t her real name, but that’s what Mom and Dad called her, so that’s what everyone called her. She was sitting at piano practicing ‘Heart and Soul’.  I wasn’t doing nothing but picking sock lint from between my toes and watching her play.  She’s going to be a big star some day.  Last year on the fourth of July, they crowned her ‘Little Miss Lady of the Lake’ over at Sardis Reservoir and set off a bunch of fireworks because she was the prettiest girl there.  Mom has her learning how to dance ballet.  If only she could sing, she could be on Ed Sullivan’s TV show or maybe Lawrence Welk.
 
Anyway, I was getting down to some serious lint picking when I got this big tickle in my nose.  I let out a ginormous sneeze.  It was so big that it shook the whole house.  When I sneezed, I kicked out with my foot a little bit and accidentally kicked the leg of the end table that was beside the couch.  The table banged up against the wall.  This made the big, old, tall, skinny candle on the table rock back and fourth three or four times.  Each time it would rock, it would pause just a second or so at the peak of the swing, then it would flop back the other way.  Each time it swung, it got closer and closer to falling.  Finally, it swung just a fuzz too far, and it fell over against the wall.  It just leaned against the wall for barely a half a second.  The flame of the candle flicked up on that old wallpaper just like a snake’s tongue.  Quicker than you can say ‘Jack Sprat’, I jumped and snatched up the candle. 
 

I blew it out.   “Whew!  That was close”, I thought. “I almost set the house on fire.”

 

What exciting story are you working on next?


I have two projects I am working on.  One is a sequel to Me, Boo and the Goob.  This is a tough go.  The boys age some, and so do their perspectives and their adventures.  They remain, none the less, somewhat innocent and naive.

 

The second is related to my 30 year career as an Information Technology executive.  This book targets people who are new to the work force and helps them understand what they need to do in the first ninety days of a new job in order to be as successful as they can be.  

 

Who are your favorite authors, other than the editors of Encyclopedia volume "T?"  


Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Hunter S. Thompson are my favorites.  As a history buff, I do enjoy Max Hastings work.

 

Any plans for the upcoming holiday (this changes, but if we are near a holiday it can be a fun connect with readers)?

 


 

And I always like to ask, what is your writer’s kryptonite?  


Interruptions.  I have to focus, and dive deeply into the story I am telling.  I can not be completely invested in my story if my brain keeps getting yanked out to answer the phone.

 



 

Thanks for talking. One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?


 My book is available by order at Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Millionand and almost any local bookstore.  It is in the catalogs.  It is also available in hard-copy and in a five CD Set via my website, williamlgarner.com.  Audible.com has the audio version.


Friday, April 2, 2021

BLOG TOUR for JAM SESSIONS!


Blog Tour: Go check out these great blogs (and see my book Jam Sessions promoted!)


April 12th

Gina  www.GinaRaeMitchell.com

Jessica www.jessicabelmont.wordpress.com

Didi www.didoviatt.wordpress.com

 

April 13th

Carla www.carlalovestoread.com

Meenu www.nerdybookarazzi.wordpress.com

Feliciawww.nesiesplace.wordpress.com

 

April 14th

Nishtha www.feeltheread.wordpress.com

Amy www.zanybibliophile.wordpress.com

Yesha www.booksteacupnreviews.com

 

April 15th

Lili  www.lilisblissfulpages.wordpress.com

Sara www.avidinspire.com

Nina www.thecozypages.wordpress.com

April 16th

Els  www.bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Mary www.sophrilreads.com

Shalini www.bookreviewsbyshalini.com


As an independent

 writer, writing is only half the journey. Actually, it is probably a third of the journey. Then there is content editing, editing again, proofing, copy editing... I recall as a kid doing woodworking projects with my dad. We would cut the pieces to whatever we were making in one night. Then there would be four or five nights of sanding. My dad never made me work in his shop, but when I showed up to be with him I couldn't move on to a new project until I had finished sanding the one on my workbench.


While some writers, including myself, set a first draft aside for a bit before returning, I think the analogy still holds.  I am thankful for the friends and the hired professionals who have helped me develop my craft. 

Once the "sanding" is done you must assemble the project. For an indie writer that means epub, mobi, ISBN numbers, and, these days, navigating the "Zon" as well as possible venture into Book to Digital, Ingram, and others. I am a big believer in the small bookstore so always try and place my work where they can access it apart from Amazon. It is a labor of love since the majority of my sales are on the "Zon."


Which leads to the next point, How do you advertise? Amazon marketing? Facebook ads? Network with local libraries, bookstores, and small businesses? Move into audiobooks? Goodreads? Bookbub? Twitter blasts? Youtube video pitches? Look for a small publisher? Hold up a sign at the top of interstate reading, "Author: Will work for reviews?"


I have listened to many of my peers, read extensively, and tried several things. Up until now, I have never tried a book blog. I have taken down all my marketing except the blog for the month of April and May. I figured that would be the best way to see what the impact is for both real, tangible reviews and for book sales.


I am getting close to the final edits (just got back a paid edit to work through) for my next Middle Grade, this time a fantasy titled Freckles: The Dark Wizard. In fact, some possible art just came back.


It is done by the same young man who helped me out with Jam Sessions. He is a high school student and amazingly talented. But I digress. If you have read this far then you are likely one of my loyal supporters, encouragers, and patrons. Thank you. If you have time, go check out one of the above blogs and throw a like or comment up so that blogger knows their posting was worthwhile. We are all in this together.

Oh... and if you haven't go buy my books!  Links are on my webpage:






 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Review of The Monarch

  I was given a copy of The Monarch to review. My review is my opinion and was not influenced by the author.


The Monarch opens with a compelling few chapters that draw the connection between a world of microwaves and pub crawls with ancient poems and the Viking heritage of Northumbria. The scenes change from the dog track to hotel lounge bars to ICU and back to pool tables as Jennings develops intriguing characters. There are quite a few storylines interwoven as Jennings reveals the many sides of the main protagonist, Jerry Compton. However, it should be said that the landscape of modern Northumbria is every bit just as real a character as Jerry. 

 

The dialogue and language take a bit of getting used to but ultimately bring an authenticity to the narrative. In between the current moments of a dad and son skipping stones and the heritage of the land’s Viking past, the author pulls in anchor points to draw the reader unfamiliar with the area into the story such as comparison to The Blues Brother’s Rawhide scene. These connections help someone unfamiliar with the language and history of the area feel a little more at home in the story.


I imagine the book would benefit from a proof, but I hesitate to say that (and did not with my Amazon review) because I am so unfamiliar with the dialect it is written in. Sometimes the narrative reads like more modern English, and sometimes it has similar dialect as the dialogue carries. The characters were interesting and in so many ways humanity is the same no matter where we are. There were moments in the story I connected with as a father in particular. The overall pace of the book was good once I became more competent hearing the characters in their own voices.



HERE IS THE INITIAL INTERVIEW:


I had the pleasure to correspond with John Jennings 

about his new work, The Monarch, recently. 


John's Website


https://www.facebook.com/john.jennings.1232



It was always (my) ambition to write a novel though. And that all became serious when I was still teaching in England.



John, Thank you for speaking with me. Tell us a little about yourself and what led you to be a writer? 

 

Well, I have been writing pretty much my whole life in one form or another. I went to university at 20 and studied English literature as a major. This was after an interest in English literature at school and college. I then worked for a while on a paper in London before going on to study journalism. I had my first article published when I was in my mid-twenties and have continued to write ever since.


It was always the ambition to write a novel though. And that all became serious when I was still teaching in England. I was encouraging so many of my students, all adults, that they should follow their interests and dreams. I offered to pay the fees for a young lad to submit his application to enter the university system. Like many people in Sunderland I met, he was pretty poor, working part-time as a cleaner, but with big well justified ambitions to become an artist. I thought, here I am encouraging everyone else. Get your finger out! I looked into a PhD, but my MA credits weren’t gonna be recognized as they were from 2000 – this was around 2016. That’s when I started focusing on the idea of the novel, and the idea of self-publishing - as opposed to vanity publishing - was born.  


Reading and writing can be the best escape, potentially helping counter the onset of depression and the sense of isolation, especially in these strange times with lock-downs and everything. 


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

 

I have always written about what I know about, whether through direct experience or through knowledge gained through reading. I am a big fan of James Joyce, as well as the Classic English and Irish, Russian and French novelists, especially from the Nineteenth Century.

 

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

 

Travel is my biggest hobby, that’s the beauty of living here in Ireland. I am away from my home-town of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and have visited many countries, The US and Canada on four occasions. I intend to write a lot more books encompassing my travels, either in novel form or as contemporary travel literature. I love Michael Palin and Louis Theroux.

I am also hugely into films of all descriptions, mainly American and British, but I do like Australian, European and World Cinema.

 

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

 

Try to get your head in the right place. Ignore the distractions, as best you can.  Definitely do some research on Barnes and Noble and Kindle Direct Publishing, just to give you the reassurance that you will get your work out there. Once you have written a fair few sections of your book, upload it, but don’t publish. Leave it as a draft to be previewed. I did this and it really inspired me in the process of publishing through Amazon. Nothing like seeing the draft on the tablet to provide motivation.

 

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

The fees for my MA in journalism. And the bus fare to London. After that, anything was possible.


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

 

Just get on and write. Nothing more to it than that really. Although, I have been keen to develop over the years, and have been involved in writing, website creation and desk-top publishing for years, without those skills and experience I would have never known where to start, I doubt. It has been a gradual evolution, more of a pursuit of an ambition developed years ago from a spark. But ultimately, you need to follow your dream.

 

My favorite part, undoubtedly, is during the editing process. 
As you’d imagine, finishing the final edit and getting it up there in print.  


What is your favorite part about writing?

 

My favorite part, undoubtedly, is during the editing process. As you’d imagine, finishing the final edit and getting it up there in print. I look forward to getting the paperback. I love computers and, unlike my wife who can’t abide the e-copy format, I have no problems, and generally read on my phone or on my laptop, even on my kids’ tablets. Nevertheless, there is still something to be said for the feeling of having the tangible paper format in your hand. Nothing beats that really. It is every writer’s dream.

 

Please tell us about your current release.

 

My book The Monarch is the exploration of small town mentality amid the stagnation of post industrial North-East England and Ireland. Although Northern England was a hive of industry and innovation, and formed the backdrop for much of the Industrial Revolution for a couple of centuries, it was left devastated in the Eighties. Even afterwards the area still suffers. The book, which reflects my marriage and move to Ireland, another country which certainly had its share of hardship, is a kind of symbolic catharsis, a reflection on the times and hopefully a part of the healing process, for me at least. It is supposed to be reflective of the change from the machismo of these areas towards a softer more feminine outlook complete with psychological symbology. It is essentially quite feministic, really, despite first appearances, and being written by a man.

 

Can you read / provide us with a small exert? 

 

Jerry longed to leave the bay. Surrounded by glass. Cocooned within the carpeted windowed outward-looking enclave, staring at the birds and longing for the open sea, or the pub cellar, his inner sanctum, his own sanctuary. Here he sat exposed and open to all. Unable to hide away, manipulated hourly by well-meaning nurses or care staff. Often less than well meaning.

Jerry was almost constantly and patiently persuaded to drink up, sit up or turn round. The daily exercise class, better than sitting doing nothing, he knew, but boycotted. A principled protest waning towards acceptance. The sea beckoned.

He looked out as the rain gushed onto the path ahead. Leading to the cliff edge, out to the North Sea, Jerry looked ahead, the wind-swept greenery of the garden, the gazebo to the left, cloven by the asphalt and bordered by the fenced off cliff edge. Beyond, the sea beckoned.

Fishing, trawling with his cobble. Managing the bar. Laughing, joking and idling away the time with friends, his family and the custom. Arthur. His long-time friend – side kick, some had said. Ahead the sea beckoned.


Thanks for sharing. What exciting story are you working on next?

 

I have begun, and I mean that, just the first few pages, of a new novel. Again it will be set between two places. Newcastle upon Tyne and London, England. I really don’t know much more, although I expect it will center around the youths of father and son, different places, different times – memories and the present juxtaposed alongside other characters’ stories. I’ll see how it develops, but I intend to again focus on differences in dialect and perceptions.

 

You mentioned a few earlier, but who are your favorite authors?

 

As I said earlier, I am a big fan of the Classic novels of the Nineteenth Century, and similar types of work which progressed from them. Hardy and Dickens were staples growing up, and I went on to study and love Joyce, EM Forster, Balzac, Flaubert, Conrad and Tolstoy.  I love dystopian works, like Swift and Aldous Huxley. I read We by Zamyatin, the inspiration for Nineteen Eighty Four, but I never really enjoyed Orwell’s fiction. I love all his non-fiction commentaries though, as well as all of Laurie Lee. - I hope to explore Orwell’s fiction in coming months I have also read all of Irvine Welsh, and was always impressed by his use of dialect. Edinburgh used to be part of the Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, geographically where The Monarch is set, and it is actually Northumbrian English that Scottish people are speaking when not using Gallic. His books inspired me to publish in North-Eastern English dialect, which is spattered throughout The Monarch amongst traditional English. I have always liked George McDonald Fraser, whose work I have read completely. I just recently read a lot of his daughter’s stuff, Caro Fraser, which actually provided some motivation.

 

Any plans for the near future other than writing?

 

I am planning on undertaking more reviews alongside progressing with my current novel. I often like to work on poetry, which I find rewarding given the right inspiration, which could be anything, anywhere, whenever.

 


What is your writer’s kryptonite?

Distractions, which are everywhere.

 

Yes, they are!  I have a friend who has an app that grows him a tree if he sets his phone down and doesn't pick it up. It is so easy to shift our focus. I have found other writers struggle with distraction as well. Are you involved in any writer groups?

 

I am not currently working with any groups, but I did help out with teaching a group Sikh women with Creative Writing, and have taught countless people various forms of writing. I am now working mainly online and am currently reviewing two novels with more expected to follow. I am thinking of contacting a local book club, not far from my home in Ireland. They are a  couple of English lawyers I know who frequently host book readings. It could be interesting.

 

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?

 

I hope you all enjoy the book, and any further works I publish. Reading and writing can be the best escape, potentially helping counter the onset of depression and the sense of isolation, especially in these strange times with lock-downs and everything. If anyone wishes to contact me via my website, I will always do my best to reply. Nothing beats the contact of other people.

 

 

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

Add your links here again

 

Although it will be available to order form bookshops in future, the easiest way to get the book is from amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QVYF5ZL

It can also be read on Kindle Unlimited, the reading library available to members who pay a monthly subscription to Amazon.

If anyone wishes to buy a signed copy this can be arranged by contacting me though my website:

https://jenningsje.wixsite.com/writing

 


Monday, March 15, 2021

Potato and Carrot Soup





 We love soup season. And this is one of our favorites. Don't be scared by the multiple steps. It is totally worth it.


And compared to many recipes it still fits the category of simple but fresh. I do not like canned potato soups. Never have. I also don't like cooking where intructions are more chemistry and baking than just playing in the kitchen. This recipe is versatile, doesn't involve "rue's" or "whisking."

And it is delicious. Ready?



INGREDIENTS:

5-6 potatoes (russet or golden)

2 stalks celery

1/2 small bag of carrots

Medium onion

 12oz or more of bacon

32 oz chicken broth

8oz heavy cream

Shredded cheese

salt, pepper, cajun spice (optional)


DIRECTIONS:

-1. Cut the bacon into small pieces (later it will be topping - you can cook it whole and break up later if you prefer). Cook in your pot on medium heat (5 on my stove)



-2. While the bacon cooks, cut up the celery, onion, and potatoes. I cut the carrots in half also. Approximately 1 cup celery, 1 cup onion, one cup carrots, and four cups potatoes.

-3, Scoop bacon out and set aside for later. DO NOT DRAIN GREASE. It is your topping. Keep heat on medium and stir in all veggies. Make sure you stir them around so all are coated in the bacon grease. Cook for 10 minutes 



-4. Add salt, pepper, and, if desired, cajun spice to taste. I put about a teaspoon of each. Actually, I pour out in my hand what looks to be about the size of a nickel. That is how I was taught. Try a teaspoon, you can always add more later. Two teaspoons of cajun if you like it hot.



-5. Pour in chicken broth. Turn on high and bring to a boil. Boil (may want to back it down to 7 or 8 after get to a boil) for another ten minutes. Longer is okay. Want potatoes to be tender.





-6. Scoop out about half the soup and put in a blender. Blend till smooth and then replace it in the pot. This gives you that creamy texture. I suppose it isn't necessary, but I think essential. If you don't have a blender, just get some in a mixing bowl and smash.



-7. Lower heat to low. Mix in creamer and stir in till warm. Then serve!!



A few notes:

- If have too much bacon grease (some bacon produces more than others) you can pour some in a cup before stiring in veggies. Then you you can pour it in slowly to make sure it is all absorbed by the veggies. That said, a little extra bacon isn't going to hurt anyone.

- If you want yours to be thicker you can mix milk and flour and stir in. 1/2 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of flour. Or 1 cup and 2 tbs. Be sure to mix well enough that NO flour chunks are visible. If they are, they WILL NOT dissolve in the soup. I don't ever do this step, but I know the trick from when I ran a restaurant.

- My family loves the grilled cheese with the soup. Easy to make and toss in the oven while soup boiling