Smorgasbord Christmas Party -Guest Susan M. Toy with Best Books Read 2016

I’m so pleased that Sally Cronin hosted me on her blog, Smorgasbord, to provide readers with a list of books by Indie Authors this year whose books I deemed to be the best I read in 2016! Note that many of these authors have already been recommended by me on this blog.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

word-cloud-11I am delighted to welcome another guest to the Christmas Party.. Susan M. Toy has been in the publishing business for a very long time and devotes her time to promoting authors of all genres on her blog and on social media. Susan’s Reading Recommendation posts and archive are a treasure trove of great writing, which is why I am even more honoured to have one of my books in such good company.

Susan is looking back at what has been a bumper year for Indie authors with the first part of her review. She will be looking at mainstream authors in part two on her own blog… so keep an eye open.  I will now hand you over to Susan M. Toy.                     

Best Books Read in 2016 – Part 1 by Susan M. Toy

For the past couple of years I posted lists to my blog of The…

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David A. Poulsen – a new teen/adult novel … and an unusual launch

I’ve known David Poulsen for more years than either of us would care to admit! I was his sales rep when he published his humorous adult novel, Don’t Fence Me In, with Red Deer College Press during the Dennis Johnson days … We both miraculously survived that time – life in the book biz was always sketchy for both authors and sales reps whenever DJ was involved … and David has since gone on to successfully write and publish many more books, both for adults and teens, as well as continue his career as a Professional Rodeo Announcer. He has been a guest on Reading Recommendations several times and is back now to tell us about his new novel and a special event organized to launch it.

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And Then The Sky Exploded
by David A. Poulsen
Published by Dundurn Press
Genre: Teen/Adult novel

When Christian learns his great-grandfather helped build the A-bombs dropped on Japan, he wants to make amends … somehow.

While attending the funeral of his great-grandfather, ninth-grader Christian Larkin learns that the man he loved and respected was a member of the Manhattan Project, the team that designed and created the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during the Second World War.

On a school trip to Japan, Chris meets eighty-one-year-old Yuko, who was eleven when the first bomb exploded over Hiroshima, horribly injuring her. Christian is determined to do something to make up for what his great-grandfather did. But after all this time, what can one teenager really do? His friends tell him it’s a stupid idea, that there’s nothing he can do. And maybe they’re right.

But maybe, just maybe … they’re wrong.

Where to Purchase:
Dundurn Press

From David:
Anybody can have a book launch in Toronto or Calgary but it’s not every day that Ponteix, Saskatchewan hosts a national book launch. I’m so excited that that is exactly what is happening in this cool town of 700 people. We’ll be launching my newest teen/young adult novel tomorrow evening (the 24th) in the high school gymnasium with a beef on a bun dinner at 5:30 pm and the reading/signing to follow.at 6:30 The community had gotten behind School Principal Chad Striker who has taken the lead in putting this together and even folks from neighbouring communities are planning to come–which is the way they do things in Saskatchewan (you may have heard of the Saskatchewan Roughriders)…so if even a tiny bit of that kind of community spirit is in play tomorrow night, it will be a wonderful evening. So if any of my Saskatchewan friends are near enough to pop by or even if you’ve never met me but would like to experience a book launch, rural Saskatchewan-style, stop by the Ponteix School tomorrow. Should be a very cool evening.

And … here’s what happened!

14859824_10210324401324303_8309112972153405390_o The National Book Launch of And Then the Sky Exploded in Ponteix, Saskatchewan on Monday night was not just a hugely successful literary event–it was one of the best “writer-days” of my life. Yes, we sold a whack of books but more importantly, I was overwhelmed by the friendship, the kindness and the generosity of the people of Ponteix and neighbouring communities. The tireless effort of Principal Chad Striker, the School Council and so many others in putting on the supper and launch/book signing is something I won’t ever forget. Ponteix, you will always have a special place in my heart. Now my tour of schools in amazing Saskatchewan continues. 14633540_10210324402084322_657186659943310621_o

Sue Vincent

sue-vincent Sue Vincent

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The latest book, apart from the graphic novels, was Lands of Exile: But’n’Ben, written with Stuart France. It is the seventh book featuring the adventures of Don and Wen as they delve into the mysteries and history of Albion.

Genre? This is where it all falls down. At least I got my name right. I know we are supposed to write within nice, neat categories … and preferably popular ones to boot … We couldn’t call it fiction as it is based on our own adventures in the ancient landscape. Nor could we call it factual because, at least as far as I know, we are not being pursued by the police for the abduction of a standing stone …

We listed it under travel, because that, at least, was accurate.

Quick description: Ben is in prison, which is rather unfair. It hadn’t been his idea to steal the standing stone. If only he hadn’t gone back for the gun …

Don and Wen, the true culprits, are heading north. As they follow a trail of arcane signs, they are unaware that they are being pursued by the best the police force can muster.

Which, thought WPC Kraas, eyeing her new partner as he fished yet another pork pie out of his pocket, wasn’t much.

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Brief biography:
Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer, painter and award winning poet. She is also one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. Sue lives in Buckinghamshire, England, having been stranded there due to an unfortunate incident with a pin, a map and a blindfold; a temporary glitch of some twenty years duration. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion; that hidden country of the heart that is the backdrop for many of her books, particularly those co-authored with Stuart France. She is currently owned by a small dog who also blogs and who gets all the fan mail.

Links to buy Sue’s book:
Amazon.com
Amazon UK

Sue’s promo links:
Daily Echo Blog
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Twitter
Facebook
Linkedin
Google+
Pinterest
Goodreads

What are you working on now?
The current preoccupation is a five-act sacred drama for the Silent Eye’s annual workshop in April. It tells of how the power of the Old Ones was withdrawn from the stone circles and standing stones when the land was threatened by invaders and how the stones sleep, awaiting the time when they will be reawakened.

It is a symbolic story, such as were used in the Mystery Schools of long ago, to explore the story of the soul’s voyage through eternity.

When that is written, the next book will be Bean Sidhe, the second book in the Lands of Exile series, where Don and Wen head off to explore the sacred sites of Ireland.

Sue’s reading recommendation:
I have been re-reading Alan Richardson’s On Winsley Hill. It is the story of an old light and a new love that is, perhaps, as old as the land itself. Alan’s style soars through passages of otherworldly beauty to the earthiest of humour. He writes with a deep love of the land, a genuine knowledge of the human mind and soul and a gleam of mischief in his eye.

Although he is perhaps best known for his biographies of such major figures in the esoteric world as Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley and William G. Gray, his fiction is delightful, sometimes wickedly funny and always has an underlying current of old wisdom. This is a man who knows what he writes.

Kevin Brennan – an update on an update

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On August 12, 2016, Kevin Brennan visited Reading Recommendations to tell us of a new novel and a new way of publishing: Kevin Brennan – update on a new novel and introducing a new way of publishing!

Now he’s back with the news that Fascination is available to purchase and download as an eBook from Amazon.

¡Fascination is live on Amazon!

Yesterday, with no fanfare whatsoever, I published Fascination on Amazon.

I know. Unexpected, right?

You can probably guess why I did it. Two main reasons: One, that after an initial blast of sales to, pretty much (no, exclusively), people who read this blog, I couldn’t give away a copy. There was no follow-up, no word of mouth, and though a number of potential readers expressed interest via comments on reviews of the book on other blogs, none of them pulled the trigger. Two, aside from the blog and Twitter, there’s no way to market the thing. I knew this going in, of course, but I’d hoped that Janey would tell Jenny and Jenny would buy it and then tell Jackie, who’d buy it herself and then tell Jill. It’s #guerrillapublishing, right? The word spreads and strangers start showing up. Six degrees of separation.

Just didn’t happen.

In the same vein, there’s also no way to attract new reviews, especially reviews by people I don’t know.

It was only after I found out that my mother and sister still couldn’t get the PDF onto their Nooks that I accepted (heavy sigh) that #guerrillapublishing has failed.

At least here. Now. With this book.

(Read more here …)

Where to purchase:
Amazon

Congratulations, Kevin! And best of luck with the eBook version of Fascination!!

S.K. Nicholls – update on a new novel

Happy Birthday, S.K. Nicholls!

S.K. Nicholls has been previously promoted on Reading Recommendations. She’s back now to tell us about a book recently published, the first in a new detective series.

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Naked Alliances: A Richard Noggin Novel (The Naked Eye Series Volume 1)
by S.K. Nicholls
Publisher: Brave Blue Heron Books
Genre: Crime fiction

When a young immigrant woman and an exotic dancer are forced to flee men with guns and have no place to hide, Richard Noggin, P.I., can’t turn his back—even if helping out makes him a target. Richard plans to impress an aspiring politician by taking on a big white-collar case that could take him from the streets to an air-conditioned office. Instead,he’s handed a cold case and quickly finds himself sucked into a shadowy world of sex, secrets and…murder. Marked for a bullet and stretched thin by his investigations, Richard reluctantly teams up with the unlikely, brassy custodian of the young woman on the run. With bodies piling up, Richard and his companion are forced to go undercover in a most unlikely locale: the Leisure Lagoon, a nudist resort. Going undercover in this instance will mean going uncovered…but lives are at stake—and this Naked Eye will have to juggle to keep his balls in the air and connect the dots before anyone else is murdered. As his pulse-quickening quest for answers leads from the dark corners of Orlando’s Little Saigon to the sunny exposure of the Leisure Lagoon, Richard will be put to the test. Just how much will this Naked Eye have to bear…or bare? The heat is on in this quirky Sunshine State crime thriller.

**From smt: I had the opportunity to beta-read and provide suggestions on this novel almost a couple of years ago now, and thought at the time that this was going to be a great novel once it was published. Since publication, I received a complimentary copy and reread. I’m happy to say that this novel is now better than I expected it could be! Well done, S.K. Nicholls! You are sure to find many new readers and fans for this detective series! Congratulations!

Where to purchase and for more information:
S.K. Nicholls’s blog and website
Amazon

Seumas Gallacher – update on a new Jack Calder novel

Seumas Gallacher has been an online friend and supporter of Reading Recommendations almost since the beginning of the blog. He’s a self-published author who definitely promotes his fellow authors and we all thank him heartily for that!

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Deadly Impasse – Jack Calder Crime Series #5
by Seumas Gallacher
Genre: Thriller/Suspense

The team at specialist security firm, International Security Partners (ISP), ex-SAS officers, Jack Calder and his mate Malky McGuire; Jack’s Asian wife, former Anti-Triad fighter, May-Ling; and former London Serious Crimes Squad commander, Donnie Mullen, take on international crime barons and people-traffickers.

An explosion in the vaults of a private bank in the calm backwater of Luxembourg links to the shores of Libya and the perils of migrants in the Mediterranean, before crossing continents to drug-running cartels in Central America.

Jack and his ISP squad pitch their lethal black ops skills to combat the callous greed and brutal actions of the syndicates as they move to break the deadly impasse.

*From Susan: I have read all five of the novels in this series and I highly recommend every one! But I just wanted to add something that came up after I read this latest novel. It’s not giving away too much to say that part of the story involves human trafficking along the northern coast of Africa with desperate migrants trying to make the arduous journey to the southern shores of the Mediterranean. Shortly after I finished reading this book, and in an eerie “art imitating life” situation, an article came to my attention and I shared it with Seumas.

Hundreds dead in shipwrecks off Libya

To which Seumas replied, “Did you read the poem I wrote about migrants?” He had published it on his blog in the post,
… Authors … getting ‘touchy-feely’ with yer writing is okay …

I’ve posted the poem here with Seumas Gallacher’s permission:

How many more migrants must we lose?

Hold on tight, don’t cry, my son,
This will not last too long.
Listen how your Mama sings
Your favourite nursing song.
This water will not harm us now
We’re nearly at the shore.
Be strong and brave, my boy
And we’ll be wet no more.

Yes, yes, that wave was huge, I know,
But hang on tight, be safe with me.
This darkness merely hides the land
We’re getting closer now, you’ll see.
The sea is wild but brings us fast.
This wind behind our back
Will blow us into land quite soon.
Watch us veer and tack.

No, please don’t cry, my lad,
I’m here to hold you tight
This angry sea won’t harm you
We’ll be safe ere blows the night
Talk to Papa, tell me things,
All the things you’d like to say.
Tell me how we’ll live our lives
On the shore we near this day.

Papa, truly, truly I am scared
These waves are far too tall.
And this darkness blinds my eyes.
I hate this, hate this all.
Papa, Papa, the boat is tipping over,
Papa, Papa, where’s your hand?
Papa, Papa, catch me please.
Papa, Papa……….. Papa?

Seumas Gallacher
October 16th, 2016

Where to purchase:
Amazon

Tim Baker – Update on a new Flagler Beach novel

Tim Baker is back with another new novel, and his wonderful character Ike is in it!! Tim has been associated with Reading Recommendations since the beginning and I’ve been pleased to announce each new novel as they are released. I’m also pleased to have been a beta-reader of this novel and I can honestly say this is the best Tim Baker novel I have read yet – and I’ve had the great pleasure of reading every one!

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Blood in the Water
by Tim Baker
Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Blood in the Water – my ninth novel – tells the story of Bob “Oscar” Oscarson, who finds a 300-year-old Spanish coin while SCUBA diving. Naturally he thinks his find is only the beginning. Unfortunately, he’s right—it’s the beginning of trouble the likes of which he never imagined.

In the book, we also see the return of Flagler Beach P.I. Steve Salem and his partner Val Casey (Backseat to Justice), who are investigating the disappearance of a retired architect from Rhode Island. Somehow their investigation connects them to Oscar and his mystery coin, and before long…there’s blood in the water.

Available in paperback and Kindle.

Also, to celebrate this new publication, Tim is offering a couple of his earlier books FREE!! for a limited time … The True Meaning of Free Choice

Lawrence Schwartzwald

I first learned of Lawrence Schwatzwald’s photography through Canadian poet Frank Beltrano (who has previously been promoted on Reading Recommendations as well as being a great personal pal). Frank had suggested I’d find Lawrence’s photos very interesting. I became Facebook friends with Lawrence, enjoyed viewing all his photography, and was very pleased when he announced the publication of this collection of photographs of people reading. The concept is so in keeping with my own attempts to promote and encourage reading that I invited Lawrence to join RR to tell us about it.

Self-portrait on Madison ave.  Exclusive Photos by Lawrence Schwartzwald

Self-portrait on Madison ave. Exclusive Photos by Lawrence Schwartzwald

Lawrence Schwartzwald

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Art of Reading, a photo essay

Quick description: A collection of candid images of ordinary folks (mostly New Yorkers) in the act of reading books and printed matter.

front book cover of The Art of Reading by Lawrence Schwartzwald

front book cover of The Art of Reading by Lawrence Schwartzwald

Brief biography:
Born in the Bronx, I currently live and work in Manhattan. I spent nearly twenty years as a salaried freelancer with The New York Post. In 1971 or 1972, I picked up a copy of Andre Kertesz’s On Reading, which has had a great influence on this series.

**The Art of Reading was selected for the 7th Annual Photobook Exhibition at the Davis Orton Gallery in Hudson, NY, November 19-December 18, 2016, and at The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA (dates tba).

Links to buy Lawrence’s book:
The Art of Reading, a photo essay, is available via McNally Jackson Books in Soho (to purchase a signed copy), Dashwood Books, The Art Book Store at P.S. 1 MoMA, K&M Camera on Broadway, Strand Books and Grolier Poetry Bookshop in Cambridge, MA.

Lawrence’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Instagram: lawrenceschwartzwald

From Slate: Photographic Proof That New Yorkers Will Read Books Absolutely Anywhere

Lawrence’s reading recommendation:
The last book I read is Bruce Davidson by Aperture.

People Are Strange – a new anthology

Maria Savva, Ben Ditmars and Maria Haskins have all previously been promoted on Reading Recommendations. These three authors are now included in a recently published anthology of stories and poetry inspired by nineteen photographs.

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People Are Strange
edited by Robert Helle
Genre: Anthology
part of the Mind’s Eye Series

12 Stories and 7 poems, inspired by 19 photographs.

We are more than what we say
And less than what we wish

Living together, separately,
United by division

Connected, disconnected
Oh, People Are Strange

Contributors:

Editor:
Robert Helle is a free-lance editor who honed his skills at various newspapers, including The Daily Times in Ottawa, Illinois. As a Daily Times reporter, Bob earned a prestigious news-reporting award for his 1989 series on the plight of Viet Nam-era prisoners of war who were never found. Bob went on to serve other newspapers as a columnist and editor before turning to free-lance work. He is currently working on his own novel.

Photographers:
Martin David Porter is a third generation (at least!) artist hailing from Saffron Walden, Essex in the United Kingdom. Born in 1972, he has always had an interest in natural history, art, and music. All these subjects provide inspiration for his photography. Martin still lives in Saffron Walden with his partner Ruth and his daughter Rosie. Martin has worked with many big names in the music business, but is equally at home alone in the woods and fields as he is in front of screaming crowds and amplifiers.

Helle Gade lives in Denmark with her little diva dog. She is a poet, hobby photographer, nocturnal creature and chocolate addict. She has been writing poetry since 2011 and published four poetry collections since then.

Kim Stapf – Photography is my love, nature mostly. Reading rocks my world.

Poets:
Helle Gade

Ben Ditmars is an author of gnomes, plays, poetry and more. He was first published in his college publications the Cornfield Review and KAPOW and has since been featured in several online literary journals. Currently, he lives in Marion, Ohio where he works in education.

Short story writers:
Darcia Helle writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else.

Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and translator. She was born and grew up in Sweden, but moved to Canada in the early 1990s and now lives just outside Vancouver on Canada’s west coast with a husband, two kids, and a large black dog. She debuted as a writer in Sweden in 1989. Her first books in English are Odin’s Eye, a collection of science fiction short stories, and Cuts & Collected Poems 1989-2015.

Maria Savva lives in London. She’s a lawyer, and in her spare time writes novels and short stories in various genres, including drama, psychological thriller, and family saga. Maria is also a music blogger for Rock And Roll and Soundwaves Review.

J. Michael Radcliffe published his first novel in 2010, and has since gone on to write three other novels in the Beyond the Veil series. He has also written multiple short stories and collaborated with other writers. He lives in rural Kentucky with his family and their ever-growing cadre of cats.

Julie Elizabeth Powell cannot ignore her dreams, so many of them, with names and places and ideas that spark her imagination and compel her to write; to create stories, whether fantasy or horror, or mystery or psychological thriller or murder or even humour and adventure. So, her garden is sown, flourishing, with all manner of growth, and still the dreams come.

Thomma Lyn Grindstaff gets some of her best ideas when hiking in the mountains. She’s both a novelist and a musician: a classically trained pianist and composer. Other passions include studying philosophy, science,and spirituality. Last but never least, she’s a cat wrangler and shares her home with three Ballicai (cats). If you could sum Thomma Lyn up in three words, they would be Artist, Seeker, and Adventurer.

Purchase copies from:
Amazon

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Mike Martin – update on a new novel in the Sgt. Windflower Series

Mike Martin has returned to Reading Recommendations to tell us about a new novel in his Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Mike has previously been featured several times
on this blog.

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A Long Ways From Home
by Mike Martin
Genre: Mystery

Author Mike Martin is pleased to announce the release of his new book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, A Long Ways from Home. This new mystery continues the adventures of Sgt. Windflower as he tries to solve crime and experience the joy and the sadness of life in small Newfoundland communities.

A weekend visit to picturesque Newfoundland by a large crew of outlaw bikers leaves behind another mess for Sgt. Windflower to clean up. This time he’s facing violence, murder, mystery and intrigue. This adventure has Windflower questioning everything he thought he knew. There are troubles on the home front, cutbacks in the policing budget, old friends leaving and new ones not quite here yet. Windflower is seeking to find answers in territory that is both dangerous and unfamiliar.

This installment in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series has our hero dashing all over the beautiful little island of Newfoundland. Along the way he never wavers in his pursuit of justice. But he still tries to find a way to enjoy the natural beauty that lays all around him, and to bring out the best from everybody he meets.
A Long Ways from Home is about more than just homicides or the dirty dealings of outlaw bikers. It is also about helping people and communities face up to and overcome new and very difficult challenges. Windflower relies on his friends and allies, including some four-legged ones, to help him and them find the answers. He also discovers that we are never really alone, even when we are a long ways from home.

Book one of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, The Walker on the Cape was published in 2012. Book two, The Body on the T was published in 2013. Book three, Beneath the Surface, was published in 2014. Book four, A Twist of Fortune was published in 2015.

Book Details:
A Long Ways from Home
By Mike Martin
Publisher: Friesen Press
ISBN: 978-1-4602-9200-6
Pages: 378
Genre: Mystery

About The Author:
Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have been published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome Magazine.

Where to purchase:
Amazon
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
Chapters/indigo
itunes
Friesen Press
Barnes and Noble

For more information …