Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Birthday, William Faulkner!

William Faulkner was born in 1897 and would've been 117 years old today!  He's the author of many books and stories. My favorite is his novel, The Sound and The Fury (1929). The story is a complex one that spans 30 years. It deals with the dissolution of the Compton family, aristocratic Southerners. The novel begins with the first line of:  "Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting."

"I'm trying to say it all in one sentence, between one Cap and one period. I'm still trying to put it all, if possible, on one pinhead. I don't know how to do it. All I know to do is to keep on trying in a new way." ~ William Faulkner on writing

Photo credit: "The Faulkner Portable" by Gary Bridgman,

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Removers

In 1990, when Andrew Meredith was 14 years-old, his family fell apart. The downfall was caused by his 50 year-old father, a teacher fired from La Salle College in Pennsylvania after he was accused of sexual misconduct with a female student. The scandal and its lasting impact on the lives of his mother, sister and himself bind this powerfully drawn, often wrenching debut memoir, The Removers. The story of Meredith's experiences working alongside his father, who later found work as a "remover," taking away the bodies of people who died in their own homes, becomes the central thread and metaphor for the dissolution of his family.

A remover is someone who is "paid to be invisible . . . We are men made to be forgotten." Fortunately for the reader, however, Meredith never forgets incidents from an 18-year period in his life, which vividly recall details from his often gruesome, sometimes exhilarating, experiences in handling corpses while grappling with his bitterness toward a father who broke his heart.

Meredith's fluid, unabashed prose is delivered in a stream-of-consciousness style interspersed with scenes of how he floundered for fifteen years after high school. He worked a job he didn't want, taking ten years to finish college, and endured a series of failed romantic relationships. After ultimately moving to California, Meredith missed his hometown—the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia. Might his work with the dead have been his true professional calling, his salvation? Meredith's circuitous journey of self-discovery, his trying to reconcile his life by working with the dead, will fascinate those interested in the mysteries of life and death.

The Removers: A Memoir  by Andrew Meredith
Scribner, 24.00 Hardcover, 9781476761213, 179 pp
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Readers (7/25/14), click HERE

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Family Matters: A Mystery Anthology (New York Style)

Family life and the impact of crime on familial bonds take center stage in Family Matters: A Mystery Anthology (Murder New York Style) edited by Anita Page and presented by the New York/Tri-State Chapter of SISTERS IN CRIME

As in the first two anthologies in this series, Deadly Debut and Fresh Slices, all the stories are set within neighborhoods and towns of the greater New York City area and explore a gamut of scenarios and emotions. Pressure mounts in "Thanksgiving on the Throgs Neck Bridge" by Terrie Farley Moran, a menacing story about alcoholism and the toll it takes on a family. The power of wealth and the consequences of greed are at the heart of "Killing Short" by Cynthia Benjamin.  A diamond broach, a family heirloom, is the centerpiece of "Roads" by Eileen Dunbaugh. And a tragic 'work-related accident' tears a family apart in "Stealing Home" by Clare Toohey.

There are stories about parents and children. In "Their Little Secret" by Anita Pagea teenage daughter gets caught up amid her parents' crumbling marriage. "Eldercare" by Triss Stein deals with an adult son eager to cut the cord with his elderly, infirm mother.  A naive widow, a troubled son and a locked basement forge "Everything in its Place" by Fran Bannigan Cox. An over-bearing Italian-American mother reports a suspicious death to a tough, female, NYPD detective in Catherine Maiorisi's "Murder Italian Style." And a pet parrot comes between a mother and young daughter and brings them face-to-face with mortality in "The July Rebellion" by Kate Lincoln

Siblings and close relatives anchor "My Brother's Keeper" by Leigh Neely where an elderly mother gets drawn into a power-struggle between her righteous daughter and her ne'er-do-well son. And a mysterious history lingers between 'long-lost' cousins in "Sylvia" by Roslyn Siegel.

Husbands and wives take prominence in Deirdre Verne's, "Dead Last," about a 9-11 survivor who sets off for the New York City Marathon and is forced to run for his life. JFK airport serves as the backdrop for "We All Have Baggage" by Lindsay A. Curcio, a story about an older woman who is suddenly forced to question the implications of her marriage. A wife suspicious that her husband may be cheating pervades "Crossing the Line" by Ellen Quint.  And there is something very unsettling about a husband's sudden death in "You Always Hurt the One You Love" by Lynne Lederman.

Older relatives figure prominently in "The Kaluki Kings of Queens" by Cathi Stoler about slick, card-playing elderly grandfathers who exacerbate the imagination of an impressionable boy. And a centenarian who believes she is cursed, harbors a secret from the past that may change the present and future in "The House By the Bay" by Dorothy Mortman.

Alternate variations of family also figure notably in "Death Will Fire Your Therapist" by Elizabeth Zelvin, a story which focuses on a tight-knit therapy group dealing with family issues and an unexpected death of one of the members.  A community busy-body unravels dark family secrets of her neighbors in "Murder in a Family" by Stephanie Wilson-Flaherty.  And family expectations oppress and impact friends and lovers in Anne-Marie Sutton's "Friends."

The smorgasbord of 20 stories that round out this well-balanced collection are filled with humor and horror and offer differing perspectives, voices and points-of-view. Unexpected twists and turns—and endings that often pack a chilling, emotional wallop—make for compelling, page-turning short reads that will interest a broad-range of mystery readers.

Glenmere Press, $25.00 Trade Paper, 97809909131922, 248 pp
Publication Date: August 22, 2014
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Novella: COLD COMFORT by Kathleen Gerard

Cold Comfort is a very special story about the bonds of family and old flames—and the unexpected power of love. I hope this novella will warm your heart...

Here is a brief synopsis:  It's Thanksgiving weekend and photojournalist Anna Maria "A.M." LaRusa returns to Federal Hill, a small Italian-American enclave in Rhode Island, to spend a quiet holiday with her only remaining relative, her Aunt Minnie, a 96 year-old who texts and has a blog. But when an anticipated blizzard nor'easter threatens the region, there is a change in plans. As A.M. and her aunt prepare for the holiday and the storm, A.M. unexpectedly runs into a man she hasn't seen in ten years—a man whom she still refers to as "the guy who broke my heart in college"—and her weekend and her life are suddenly upended. Stuck amid the cold, snowy deep freeze that paralyzes the region, A.M. begins to wonder if her wounded heart from a long-ago unrequited love will ever thaw.

The novella is available for purchase wherever e-books are sold !

Link HERE for Amazon  (Kindle)
Link HERE for iBooks
Link HERE for Barnes & Noble  (Nook)
Link HERE for Kobo
Link HERE to order via Google Books
Link HERE to order direct from my publisher, UNTREED READS

As always, I appreciate your support and encourage you to share your review about the story on Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Google Books etc.  

And thank you, in advance, for passing on this information to other readers!

 Be sure to check out my other titles on Amazon and iBooks!

Untreed Reads Publishing, 99 cent e-book, ASIN: BOONFPVKEM, 61 pp (215 kb)
Publication Date:  October 13, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gina Holmes: Helping Others Heal

The Writer's Life

Gina Holmes is the CEO and founder of the popular literary site Novel Rocket and the bestselling and award-winning author of the novels Crossing OceansDry as Rain, and Wings of Glass. She is a two-time Christy and ECPA Book of the Year finalist and winner of the INSPY, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award. Her work often examines big themes reflecting the challenges of life including death, grief, adoption, alcoholism and spousal abuse.  

Holmes holds degrees in science and nursing and resides with her husband and children in southern Virginia. She "works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their pasts and discover their God-given purpose."  To learn more about her, visit or follow her on facebook and twitter.

Gina, tell us about your newest release, Driftwood Tides.
Driftwood Tides tells the story of an aging, alcoholic driftwood artist turned beach bum, Holton Creary, and young woman named, Libby Slater. Libby grew up with an absent father and a loving but cold, socialite mother. Leading up to her wedding, Libby and her groom-to-be go through genetic testing, and she learns her blood-type doesn’t match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is reluctantly told that she’s adopted. She goes searching for her mother, Adele, only to find her husband, Holton Creary passed out and lying face down on the carpet of his Nags Head, North Carolina beach shack.

Libby lies about her real identity until she is finally found out. Holton does not welcome the news. He never knew that the wife to whom he had given "saint" status had actually given up a daughter for adoption. Together, Libby and Holton search to learn the truth about Adele, Libby’s father and themselves.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
At its heart, Driftwood Tides is really about discovering who we are, whose we are, where we belong and the need to accept and bestow forgiveness.

Any special reason why you chose to set the novel in Nags Head, North Carolina ?
Oh, how I love that place! I’m not sure there’s a more peaceful setting in all the world. And the further out I get from civilization, the happier I am. I love the sand dunes, the untouched nature, the quaint towns. Just everything! (Well, except sand in my bathing suit maybe :)

You seem to have a recurring theme in your novels about absent fathers. If it’s not too personal, can you share the reason for this?
It is too personal, and I don’t mind answering (wink!) When I was 6 years-old, I was packed up by my stepfather and driven to my father’s house. Overnight I had a new Mom, new sisters and brother, house and life. It was as traumatic an experience as I can imagine. There were few explanations that made sense to me and I missed my other family desperately. I think ever since I’ve been trying to settle some pretty deep-seated questions. Writing books is wonderful for that.

Your novel Crossing Oceans is a fan-favorite. Do you think you will ever write a sequel? 
I love that book too. Makes me cry just thinking about certain scenes. I would love to write a
sequel, prequel or off-shoot stories. I love those characters dearly. I’m under contract for three different novels, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the time, but I’d love to explore Craig’s story and of course, Bella’s. I miss Mama Peg very much!

You’ve said that, out of all the novels you've written, Wings of Glass is your favorite. Why?
Well, for storyline, I think Crossing Oceans is the strongest. But I think my writing in Wings of Glass was my best. Plus when I was very young, I watched my mother in one abusive relationship after another, and then two of my sisters. I had been there too, despite thinking I was better than that. I know the mindset that keeps a woman (or man) in a relationship like that, and I wanted to give insight to those who don’t understand. I’ve received enough letters to know I did what I set out to do.

You’re originally from New Jersey but you seem to write all your novels from Southern locales. Why is that?
Ha, you found me out! Yes, I was born and raised in NJ. As much as I love my friends and family, I am definitely more suited for the slower pace of the South. I’ve lived in Southern Virginia for half of my life, and I plan to spend the rest of my life here if I can. I try to write books from settings that make me happy. So I write where I want to be. (Although, I’ve got to say, NJ food is amazing and you’ve got to love a boisterous NJ laugh!)

What do you like most about being a writer? Least?
Most, I like being able to have a platform to share lessons I’ve learned in my life that I know others would benefit from. And more than that, I just love to tell a good story.

Least, would be the unpredictability of the business. Sometimes it seems so random and the lack of control makes me uncomfortable sometimes. (Which is probably right where God wants me!)

If you could go back to the pre-published writer you were, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself?
Well, I wouldn’t have told myself how many novels I’d write that would never see the light of day, because I would have given up. I wouldn’t have told myself how little money there is actually to be made or how lonely writing can be sometimes. I wouldn’t have told myself that I’d still have a day job with 4 novels out in stores, including 3 bestselling novels… okay, but that wasn’t your question… I would tell myself to relax. Some of this, most of this is, is out of your hands, and that’s okay. It’s not going to be at all what you think it is, but it’s going to be so much more. You won’t get rich, but you will touch lives. At the end of the day, that’s going to be exactly what will fulfill you.

Where can readers find your books and learn more about you?
Thanks for asking! My books are available at B&N, BooksaMillion, Amazon and indie bookstores. You can learn more about me and my work at