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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Angelique Conger on motherhood in her novel EVE: FIRST MATRIARCH


Appropriately for Mother's Day, my guest is Angelique Conger, who explores the concept of motherhood in its most ancient form in her novel Eve: First Matriarch.

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Deciding to Write Eve
By Angelique Conger

My first child was due in December of 1974. Being “large with child” my thoughts turned to other women whose children were important at that time of the year. I naturally thought of Mary, the Mother of Christ and her delivery of that sacred child. Then, I began to think of our first mother, Eve.
So little is known of her. There are but a few sentences regarding her in Genesis and over the centuries she has been villainized. I began to wonder about her, especially as I carried my first child, I wondered about the birth of her first child.

I would have a clean hospital bed and doctors and nurses who had helped mothers give birth many times. Who was there to help and support Eve? Were there angels? Was it Adam? If so, how did Adam get the knowledge he needed to help her safely give birth to their first child?

I wondered. I thought. I questioned. I gave birth to that son and four more children. Each child brought my thoughts back to Mother Eve. How did she manage?

In college, I took a class in creative writing and attempted to tell the story of this important Mother—and failed. I tried to tell it from the outside looking in. I got nowhere with the story. Later, I tried again, and failed once more. I believed I could not write her story, could not discover the answer to my questions.

Then, three years ago, my sister challenged me to participate in National Novel Writing Month. “Sure,” I said, “but what story will I tell?”

It came to me to try once more to learn the story of Eve. I changed the perspective, writing from her point of view, thinking as she would think, and the story flowed. I learned all the answers I sought, and more. I learned about being the only woman with the only man on earth, their struggles, their difficulties in discovering and inventing. I learned much more than was finally included in my book, because I had to focus. That focus became the focus of my earlier questions. How did Eve handle becoming a mother, and from whom did she receive help?

Angelique Conger
I hope you will enjoy my discoveries in Eve, First Matriarch, and in the following books about the wives of the other patriarchs.



Eve: First Matriarch

Eve is a mother to us all. Here is her story of longing, anguish, and hope…

Eve wants nothing more than to fulfill God’s two commandments: live in absolute obedience and replenish the earth with her children. But the power of the Destroyer is strong, and when she’s told she has a chance to fulfill the second commandment by breaking the first… she takes it.

Expelled from a garden paradise into a wild, dangerous world, Eve learns that her failure to obey will someday cause her to die. With a limited time to teach Jehovah’s commandments to her children, she’s devastated when the Destroyer starts to lead them astray. Can Eve overcome evil to teach her children obedience and happiness?

Eve: First Matriarch is a reimagined story of the biblical figure of Even. If you like rich historical fiction, feminine perspectives, and illuminating stories of motherhood, then you’ll love Angelique Conger’s debut novel.



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Learn more about Angelique Conger on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
You can purchase Eve: First Matriarch on Amazon.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lucinda E. Clarke on Writing an African Adventure as Her Own Boss

Our well-traveled guest talks about how retirement led to the freedom to create a character close to her heart. Please welcome Lucinda E. Clarke, author of Amie: An African Adventure.

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Stories of My Own Choosing
by Lucinda E. Clarke

After thirty plus years writing for other people who knew what they wanted, and my eager compliance (despite the propaganda) which allowed me to bank the cheque and support two children, one husband and a St Bernard with a voracious appetite; when I retired I became my own boss. Finally I could write what I wanted.

Enter Amie Fish, the shy, quiet, rather spoiled, newly-married first world girl living close to family in the London suburbs.

It was time to drag her out of her comfort zone and send her to Africa. I gave her a while to settle in, make friends and discover the beauty and majesty of the Dark Continent.

Then the first crisis arises as she’s coerced into filming, first propaganda for the government, and then the results of atrocities that signal the coming civil war. When the hostilities break out in the capital she gets caught up in the fighting and lands in prison. From then on it’s a struggle to survive.

I’ve drawn on my extensive experience of Africa in all three of the Amie novels. I was so fortunate to go where few tourists or residents ever go, from witchdoctor’s huts to chief’s kraals, to meeting royalty, presidents and peasants. I was often the only European for miles around as I worked deep rural with my filming crew.

As Amie lurches from one crisis to another throughout the series she learns to toughen up. All the rules, morals and mores she learned as a child do not apply to Africa. She sees a totally different mindset, a new set of guidelines she’d never imagined. She makes friends, is betrayed by others, loses everything and begins a new life. She is forced to work for those
Lucinda E. Clarke
who will kill her if she does not obey. She changes from meek housewife to trained killer, someone who no longer officially exists, facing dangers she would never have envisaged.

Yet despite everything, the country and the peoples take a hold on her and won’t let go. She’s in love with her adopted continent, mentally she’s trapped and realises that ‘while you may leave Africa, Africa will never leave you.’

My biggest inspiration for writing the series is to share the truth about the real Africa, to share with people the raw, savage reality besides the warm, friendly people and open the readers’ eyes to a very different world.

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Learn more about Lucinda E. Clarke on her website.
Sign up for her newsletter here.
You can purchase Amie: An African Adventure on Amazon.



Monday, May 1, 2017

New Cover Reveal: A KISS AT VESPERS medieval Irish romance


If you feel like you've heard the title of this novelette before, you're right. A KISS AT VESPERS was originally published in 2013, but now I'm re-releasing it. And there's nothing like a shiny new cover to make folks notice.

And so, it is my pleasure to share with you...




Isn't it lovely? There's a baby goat!! Sweet and romantic, just like the story. Want to read the book? You don't have to wait long. The e-book will be available on June 1, 2017.

To be notified when A KISS AT VESPERS becomes available,

A KISS AT VESPERS

In 1008 AD, Dublin is just a small town, newly opened to trade now that Viking violence there has died down. A young woman named Asta runs away from her boring life in Britain on one of her father’s trading vessels bound for Dublin, hoping that she and the sailor she loves can find a new life together. But when shipwreck takes him from her, her whole world changes. She is helped up the rocky shores of eastern Ireland by handsome and enigmatic Brother Martinus, who takes her to the Monastery of St. Luran’s to recover. Despite his vows of silence and chastity, Brother Martinus is entranced by the beautiful maiden who seems delivered to him by Providence. Their unexpected relationship causes both of them to rethink their concepts of faith and love.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

VIOLENCE IN VEGAS - A Kindle World Novella by Julie C. Gilbert


We do try to be cutting-edge here at Jester Harley's. To that end, I am pleased to welcome our first fanfiction-writing guest. Take it away, Julie C. Gilbert!

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Writing Crime Fiction for the Lei Crime Kindle World
by Julie C. Gilbert


Hi, Thanks for having me, Anne.

Today, I’d like to tell you about my book, Violence in Vegas – a Lei Crime Kindle Worlds Novella. It features FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott, who is not a character I came up with. That said, I have a weakness for writing FBI agents. This is true in my Heartfelt Cases series (Christian Mystery) as well as most of my Kindle Worlds stories, six of which are Lei Crime and one that’s in the Sydney Rye Kindle World.


Aside - What is Kindle Worlds?

Kindle Worlds is Amazon’s idea of officially licensing fanfiction. Basically, you find a world you like and write a story with one of the characters created by the original author. Then, you split the royalties with the author of that world.


Back on Track – Violence in Vegas

Julie C. Gilbert
I’d originally set out to write about many different characters in the Lei Crime Series, so I started the Defining Moments Series. However, Defining Moments II turned into Shadow Council #1 because I fell in love with writing Marcella Scott. She was just a ton of fun with her love of fancy shoes, her lovable partner, and her need to dodge her mother’s matchmaking efforts.

The Shadow Council series grew to 4 books which had her pitted against bank robbers, corrupt politicians, and crazy people from her past. I thought the poor lady needed a vacation. She wound up in Vegas to help a friend with an unofficial sabotage case. Since trouble follows her like a magnet, she ran into mayhem, of course.

Thanks for stopping by and listening.

Official Description for Violence in Vegas:

Sin City holds some dark secrets …

But Marcella Scott’s in town to help Angela Melkin-Pierce with a small case of sabotage. Somebody’s been slashing guests’ tires and ransacking rooms at The Grand Game Hotel. With the guest list including the Reno Birdwatcher’s Society and the Paradise Quilting Club, the suspect list is very thin. The only intriguing option is Gatton Technologies, headed by eccentric billionaire, Jeffrey Gatton. When he decides to host a masquerade party at the hotel, Marcella goes undercover.

The air of elegance quickly turns to terror when masked men kidnap Gatton and Angela.

Marcella’s going to need all of her wits—and a borrowed handgun or two—if she wants to survive the violence in Vegas.

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Grab your copy of Violence in Vegas today, or start at the beginning of Marcella’s adventures (Shadow Council #1: Money Makes it Deadlier). When you finish with that, Rescue in Reno should be ready for you.

You can visit Julie C. Wilson on her Website and learn how to get a free scifi or mystery book. You can also find her on Facebook.






Thursday, March 30, 2017

John McRandle on his unusual picture book for grownups, THE AWFULBET


There's little in life I admire more than weirdness and originality, preferably both in the same work. And so, it's my great pleasure to introduce you to the oddest picture book you're likely to see today, The Awfulbet, written and illustrated by John McRandle.

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The Tale of The Awfulbet
by John McRandle

The Awfulbet: A Bracing Compendium of Disease & Effluvia For Grownups is an ABC book with a collection of 26 letters who endure a wide range of amusing afflictions. From Acne to Zombification, and all infirmities in between, each letter has been given an alliterative assortment of awfulness. For example, meet ‘B, who is Beset by Bunions, Baldness and Boils’, or ‘R, who is Ripe with Ringworm, Rosacea and Rabies’—the characters of the book possess a certain comical charm that will appeal to kids and grownups alike.


This is my first book, and my first foray into the world of self-publishing. Starting as a germ of an idea two years ago, the project came to me in a late-night burst of creativity. The writing was the fastest part, with the droll diseases flowing from my pen. But the illustration took a lot of time, as each letter’s illness had to be anthropomorphized and personalized to build the character. I suppose the genesis for The Awfulbet can be traced back to my youth reading Mad magazine and collecting Topps’ Wacky Packages, which fueled my interest in the sort of subversive humor that kids love. Some of my largest influences are Dr. Seuss, Edward Gorey, and Roald Dahl, as they play a huge role in my literary and artistic interests—and my love for darker and more disturbing work.

As a young person I was fascinated by the creatures you would find when turning over rocks, or the strange old things you'd find packed in the attic or basement that had been discarded by their owners but still had stories to tell. Growing up as the child of a German historian and an audiology professor, I always had an interest in language and science. We had a large library filled with art, natural history, and science books, and linguistic humor and wordplay were always popular in our house. What I hope to do with The Awfulbet is make something curiously creepy and grossly entertaining that appeals to the 13-year-old rock flipper and attic explorer in all of us.

BLURB:

The Awfulbet: A Bracing Compendium of Disease & Effluvia For Grownups chronicles the sad state of affairs in which these endearingly ill letters find themselves. From Acne to Zombification, there is no end to the problems these troubled souls will endure.

This contagious interpretation of an alphabet book springs from the fevered mind of John McRandle, a New York-based illustrator and musician. Night after night, he toiled until the wee hours, delving into the lives of these 26 little creatures. Now, the fruits of his labor can be yours!

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Learn more about The Awfulbet on the book's website.
You can purchase The Awfulbet from the Blurb bookstore


See more of John McRandle's work on Tumblr and follow him on Instagram as @jdmcrandle

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Author Suenammi Richards on choosing Taos as a location for her new book


I haven't visited Taos in years, but after reading this essay from today's guest, Suenammi Richards, I think I may need to book a trip there soon...

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Picking Locations with Heart

By Suenammi Richards

There was a swirl of thought placed into the development of my characters for my latest book. Even more so into the location where this great and magical love should grow wings and take flight. During the research side of writing my latest book, So a Psychic and a Rocket Scientist Walk into a Bar, I decided to set the locale as Taos, New Mexico. Taos is an interesting artistic hub bub of modern and indigenous art. Taos went very hippie in the '70s and thankfully, never quite recovered from it. This legacy of art, peace and free love leads us to one of Taos’ most prolific and well-known visual artists. This artist is mentioned briefly in my book. He is Ted Egri. My female protagonist has a piece of his. He represents a blending of indigenous art and regional legacy. 

Taos has a very prolific culture of art. This art is a mix of indigenous stylings and contemporary takes on historical folklore and canon. The art ranges from pottery from very early indigenous tribes to modern digital media. While my characters did not delve into the visual arts scene, it would be remiss to not point out that visual art is Taos’ most valued cultural contribution.

Even though I write, my first artistic love is visual art. Years ago I studied some of the contributions from this area. I was impressed and moved by the cultural history and authenticity of Taos’ artistic scene. So when I wanted to really immerse characters in a place where magic could be believed, I dedicated this location to the cause.

Author Suenammi Richards
I also desired to point out the importance of indigenous voices. Art as it exists and lives is much like writing in the idea that it is a living tangible expression of the most poignant aspects of the human soul. As artists it is important to recognize our roots and how they have influenced where we are as a species. What our artistic futures can hold. In the shards of a dish that is thousands of years old we can see the parts that carried us and made us. There is the need for community, sustenance and care. A bowl is a symbol of how we should preserve and treat our art. We carry the best of it. We carry as much as we can. Not only for ourselves but to share with others.


So a Psychic and a Rocket Scientist Walk into a Bar

Clair wasn’t sure what she should expect when she literally ran into Sergei and promptly passed out. There had always been whispers about Clair and her family. No one knew quite what they were but it was a history and a birthright Clair had deftly avoided for almost all of her life. This new occurrence puts Clair on the cusp of what was always fated to be her calling. With someone’s life at stake she knew she finally had to literally choose between life and death. 
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You can learn more about Suenammi Richards on her blog and by following her on Twitter.

You can purchase So a Psychic and a Rocket Scientist Walk into a Bar on Amazon.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Learn about Christina Hoag's dark, gritty gang novel, SKIN OF TATTOOS


As a fiction-writer with one foot in the world of journalism, I am especially interested in this guest post by Christina Hoag. But hers is a type of hardline reportage much different from my own experience. For Skin of Tattoos, she found inspiration in an element of society that most of us hope to avoid. But we're thrilled to read about it! Welcome, Christina.

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What inspired me to write Skin of Tattoos
by Christina Hoag

Skin of Tattoos is set in the gritty underbelly of Los Angeles’ gangland, the darker side of the palm-studded, movie-star lifestyle that L.A. is known for the world over. Why, readers have asked me on more than one occasion, did you write about gangs?

In 2000, I was sent on a magazine assignment to El Salvador for story about gang members deported from Los Angeles to their birth country, which they identified with, but really didn’t know because they had left, fleeing the 1980s civil war, when they were infants and small children. Some of them barely spoke Spanish.

Growing up in L.A., they had joined gangs to protect themselves against long-entrenched Mexican-American gangs who didn’t welcome outsiders. But because the Salvadorans weren’t U.S. citizens, they later were vulnerable to deportation when the government started cracking down on immigrants with criminal records. The stories of the young men I interviewed, who were basically stuck between worlds, struck me as an unusual outcome of both a civil war and an immigrant experience. I tucked it away in my mind as a great premise for a story, and a couple years later, I wrote an outline for a novel and stuck it in a drawer.

In 2008, I became a reporter for the Associated Press in Los Angeles and ended up covering gang issues. I dusted off that old outline and started writing, although I stopped and started many times, not confident that I could pull it off. I got a lot of encouragement in writing classes I took, however, and eventually finished it.

I then ended up collaborating on a nonfiction book with a former Black Panther who had formed a programme to turn former gang members into community peacekeepers with the aim of stopping the cycle of retribution that drives gang violence. That book, “Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence,” is now being used in several universities as a textbook for courses that involve urban communities and policy.

Author Christina Hoag
After many rewrites and even more rejections, Skin of Tattoos landed a publisher and was published in 2016—sixteen years after I did those initial interviews in El Salvador. It was a long journey, indeed, but I learned valuable lessons: Write about something you’re passionate about so you don’t lose interest along the way and success is a lot about perseverance.


SKIN OF TATTOOS

Los Angeles homeboy Magdaleno is paroled from prison after serving time on a gun possession frameup by a rival, Rico, who takes over as gang shotcaller in Mags’s absence. Mags promises himself and his Salvadoran immigrant family a fresh start, but he can’t find either the decent job or the respect he craves from his parents and his firefighter brother, who look at him as a disappointment. Moreover, Rico, under pressure to earn money to free the Cyco Lokos’ jailed top leader and eager to exert his authority over his rival-turned-underling, isn’t about to let Mags get out of his reach. Ultimately, Mags’s desire for revenge and respect pushes him to make a decision that ensnares him in a world seeded with deceit and betrayal, where the only escape from rules that carry a heavy price for transgression is sacrifice of everything – and everyone - he loves.

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Learn more about Christina Hoag on Facebook and Twitter.

Skin of Tattoos is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon