Craig McLay – update on a new novel

Craig McLay was first featured on Reading Recommendations almost exactly two years ago to the day, in Jan. 2015. He’s back now to tell us about a recently published novel.

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Don’t Tell Me How It Ends
by Craig McLay
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Novel, Humour

The author of the hilarious and award-winning international bestsellers Village Books and The International Cinema Society returns with an uproarious tale of freshman film school mayhem!

Aspiring director Andrew MacLennan has just been accepted into one of the most prestigious film schools in the country. Most of what he’s going to learn – like the finer points of shooting an action scene with a projectile vomiting stuntman, what to do when you find one of your instructors passed out in the bathroom holding a gun, or how to handle an audition with a former adult movie actress who takes method acting to wildly inappropriate new levels – isn’t in the curriculum.

His crew is just as crazy. Edgar Wells is a James Bond-obsessed Englishman who is distressed to discover that the woman he’s dating may also be his second (or possibly third) cousin. Esteban Hernandez is a football-mad Mexican who was officially dead for four minutes after his attempt to jack in to the city power grid went spectacularly wrong. And then there’s Satyajit Bharati, an Indian expatriate who has no problem being in an arranged marriage so long as the private investigator hired by his rich fiancée doesn’t catch him in the act with any of his current girlfriends.

Andrew’s life is further complicated by his developing relationship with up-and-coming comedian Nira Curtis, whose inability to distinguish between her life and her stage act could spell trouble. Andrew is still coming to terms with the death of his brother in a car accident five years ago and isn’t quite ready to premiere his personal demons in front of a blockbuster audience.

Struggling to keep his production from going off the rails, Andrew begins to realize that whether it’s real life or a movie, having final cut is not always a good thing.

For more information about Craig and his books click on:
Craig’s Website

Books available to purchase:
AMAZON US, UK, Canada
KOBO
BARNES & NOBLE
iBooks

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JP McLean – the release of the fifth novel in the series

J.P. McLean is back to tell us about a new novel in her series, The Gift Legacy. J.P. Has long been a friend and supporter of this blog. There are also reviews of her books posted over at reading recommendations reviewed.

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The Gift: Betrayal
by J.P. McLean
Published by Windstorm Press
Genre: contemporary thriller with a touch of fantasy

The Gift: Betrayal is Awakening Redux. Jackson Delaney was Emelynn Taylor’s love interest in Awakening. His role was controversial, pivotal and demanded to be told. Love him or hate him, you won’t forget him. Betrayal is his story.

When his wife leaves him for his half-brother, Jackson Delaney flies into high gear to find them. He dives headlong into dangerous intrigue involving the feared Tribunal and unscrupulous thugs from his past, in a quest for justice at any cost. When that quest leads him to a mysterious young Flier with no knowledge of her arcane gift, Jackson’s vengeance gets the better of him and may cost him something worse than his life.

Where to purchase copies

For more information about all of J.P. McLean’s books, visit her blog.

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Mary Smith

Mary Smith - web ready Mary Smith

What is your latest release and what genre is it? No More Mulberries – I would class it as contemporary women’s fiction but classifications are a bit of a moveable feast. The only time I was accepted for a BookBub promotion they changed the genre to literary fiction!

Quick description: Scottish-born midwife, Miriam loves working at a health clinic in rural Afghanistan but she can no longer ignore the cracks appearing in her marriage. Her doctor husband has changed from the loving, easy-going man she married. When Miriam acts as translator at a medical teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. An old friend appears, urging her to visit the village where once she and her first husband had been so happy. Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past, searching for answers as to why her marriage is going so horribly wrong.

No More Mulberries - web ready

Brief biography:
I was born on the island of Islay, Scotland, home of some of the best whisky in the world, but moved to the mainland to Dumfries & Galloway when I was seven. Finished school and had the longest gap year in history which lasted about 30 years while I travelled a bit in Europe, lived in England where I worked in a factory, was a child-minder, and went on to work for Oxfam UK before a chance holiday in Pakistan led to work there. This was followed, three years later by a job in Afghanistan. I returned to Scotland when my son was five and when he started school I finally went to university.

I had started selling articles while working abroad and have continued as a journalist – sometimes freelance, sometimes staff – ever since. Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women (a title which seriously curtails tweets) is a memoir from my time in Afghanistan. I worked on what became No More Mulberries while doing a Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.

Links to buy Mary’s book:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Mary’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blogs:
a blog about caring for my father who had dementia: My Dad’s a Goldfish
Take Five Authors
Novel Authors at Work
Amazon.com author page
Amazon.UK author page

What are you working on now?
I should be working on a follow up to No More Mulberries but have been side-tracked by two other projects. One is turning my blog about my father’s dementia journey into a book and the other is a local history project on the town where I live.

Mary’s reading recommendation:
I’ve just finished reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. The title drew me because “She was completely beside herself” was one of my mother’s sayings.

Fran Kimmel

FranKimmel360X480Fran Kimmel

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Shore Girl is a contemporary novel set in Alberta.

Quick description: Rebee Shore’s life is fragmented. She’s forever on the move, ricocheting around Alberta, guided less than capably by her dysfunctional mother, Elizabeth. The Shore Girl follows Rebee from her toddler to her teen years as she grapples with her mother’s fears and her own desire for a normal life. Through a series of narrators—family, friends, teachers, strangers, and Rebee herself—her family’s dark past, and the core of her mother’s despair, are slowly revealed. Along the way, Rebee learns that hope can be built from grief and that some love can last.

The Shore Girl

Brief biography:
Fran Kimmel writes and teaches in central Alberta. Born and raised in Calgary, Fran has worked all kinds of jobs including youth worker, career counselor, proposal writer, communications coordinator, and VP for a career consulting firm. Fran’s short stories have appeared in many anthologies, including twice in The Journey Prize Stories, and her first novel, The Shore Girl, was winner of the 2013 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award and a Canada Reads Top Forty selection.

Links to buy Fran’s book:
Amazon.ca (paperback and ebook)
Amazon.com (paperback and ebook)
Barns and Noble (paperback and ebook)

Fran’s promo links:
Website
Facebook

What are you working on now?
I’m working on a second novel about a struggling family that takes in a young runaway over Christmas.

Fran’s reading recommendation:
I just finished reading The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell, which is a shocking yet gentle story of one truly messy family.

Fran was a good sport in taking part in my Where/Who in the World is Reading Island in the Clouds??? promotion. “In the Alberta snow with Fran Kimmel and a fruity alcoholic beverage.”

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Claire Fullerton

Claire in front yard with dogs Dec 28 2011-1007895 1Claire Fullerton

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Dancing to an Irish Reel is contemporary fiction set on the western coast of Ireland.

Quick description: Hailey Crossan is an American who leaves the record business in Los Angeles and takes a trip to the western coast of Ireland, where she is offered a job at The Galway Music Centre that is too good to turn down, so she stays! It is a story of discovery that sings the praises of the Irish cultural nuances from Hailey’s first person perspective and is also a story of the ambiguity (and often times confusion) of new love, for she meets an Irish traditional musician who is so unbalanced at the prospect of love with an outsider that he won’t come closer nor completely go away.

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Brief biography:
I am a transplanted Southerner, in that I grew up in Memphis, TN. and now live in Malibu, Ca. In the past five years, two of my novels were published by Vinspire Publishing; one a paranormal mystery in two time periods, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea entitled, A Portal in Time and the other, Dancing to an Irish Reel. My third novel is complete; it is a Southern family saga set in Memphis, and is currently under review. Lastly, I am a 4-time award winning writer, a 5-time contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, and a frequent contributor to magazines such as Southern Writers Magazine and Celtic Life International.

Links to buy Claire’s book:
Amazon Books and Kindle
Barnes and Noble Books and Nook
Google Play
Kobo Books

Claire’s promo links:
Website
Author Facebook page
Dancing to an Irish Reel – Facebook page
Dancing to an Irish Reel – Google+ page
Claire’s blog
Follow Claire on Twitter
Claire on Pinterest

What are you working on now?
I am outlining another Southern novel.

Claire’s reading recommendation:
Thank you so much for this question. I love to share the work of great writers. I finished a book two days ago by an author named Katherine Clark. The book is entitled The Headmasters Darlings and is so well written and tightly crafted that I wanted to applaud all the way through. Story River Books, which is the imprint of the University of South Carolina’s press, of which the author Pat Conroy is the Editor at Large, released this incredible book very recently. It is a comedy of manners about an eccentric high school teacher in 1980’s Alabama, and a satire of sorts on the staid, upper-crust society of Birmingham Alabama.

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Mike Robbins Recommends Eddie Mark

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The Garden of Unfortunate Souls by Eddie Mark

What genre is it? Literary/Contemporary Fiction

Quick description: Eddie Mark’s The Garden of Unfortunate Souls opens on a wet and very stormy night in Buffalo, NY. The Mayor, Cornelius Brooks, has a problem. And his high-living wastrel of a son, Audwin, has just lost control of a car while in a drunken stupor. He has careered through someone’s garden and into their porch, in a run-down, crime-ridden part of the city. Cornelius goes straight there in the small hours to give the house’s occupant, Loretta Ford, 500 bucks to shut up about it. She does. It gets out anyway, from a source closer to home. Meanwhile, Cornelius is just about to find out that his daughter’s in trouble too, and Loretta has her own story. Over the next ten or fifteen years, the lives of Cornelius and his family, and Loretta and her young son, unfold as they deal with the world as best they can. Eddie Mark pic

Why I recommend this book: The characters’ lives are almost all deeply troubled. Mark shows us why. He doesn’t major on drugs, poverty or race; instead he shows how these people’s troubles began at home or school, usually back in childhood. It’s shrewdly and humanely observed.
Given how troubled the characters are, this book could have been a depressing read. It isn’t. Mark makes them come alive, and you find yourself caring about them pretty much from page one. There’s also a certain sly humour in the way some of them are portrayed – a lecherous church elder, for example; Mark could have simply made him a monster, but he’s too good a writer for that. Also, the book is written in an unshowy but quite elegant style that makes it easy and pleasant to read.

Links for people to buy it:
Available in e-book or paperback format
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon United Kingdom

headshot smallGuest reviewer’s latest title or project: My latest is Three Seasons: Three Stories of England in the Eighties, published at the end of 2014. It’s a book of three novellas, unconnected with each other, but all set in the south of England in the 1980s. In Spring, a middle-aged Hull trawler skipper, his great days gone, has one last throw of the dice a South Coast port. In Summer, an ambitious young man makes his way in the booming Thames Valley property market, unconcerned with the damage he does to others. In Autumn, the Master of an Oxford college welcomes his two sons home, but they awake difficult memories from half a century before. Three Seasons is about the Thatcher era in Britain, but it is not about politics. These three stories are portraits of a country and its people on the verge of change.

I have three projects currently in progress – a novella with a supernatural theme, a novel set in postwar England, and a non-fiction series of ‘think’ pieces built around the literature on a variety of topics. The novella may see the light of day in 2015; the other two in 2016-2017.

Mike Robbins has been previously featured on Reading Recommendations.

Lesley Crewe

Lesley CreweLesley Crewe

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Chloe Sparrow is Fiction

Quick description: Chloe  Sparrow  is  25  and  a  television  producer. She   somehow  becomes  involved  with  a  television  series  she  doesn’t  want  and  has  a   terrible  time  trying  to  adjust  to  The  Single  Guy.  Mayhem  ensues  with  her  Gramps   and  Aunt  Ollie,  while  her  best  friend  insists  she  find  a  man.  She’s  ready  to  kill   everyone.    

Chloe Sparrow

Brief biography:
Born in Montreal. Lives in Cape Breton. My eighth novel, Amazing Grace, will be published in September, 2015. I am one of the screenwriters for Relative Happiness, a movie based on my first novel. It’s risen to #2 at the box office for Canadian films, entering its fourth week commercially.  

Links to buy Lesley’s book:
Nimbus Publishing
Amazon

Lesley’s promo links:
Facebook
Twitter

What are you working on now?
Nothing at the moment. Too busy with film adventures!
 
To see my characters come alive was a kick. It’s like my story was suddenly in 3-­D. The entire process has been a gigantic learning curve and I have great admiration for the film industry. Our collaboration has been a blast and I have traveled far and wide for the film in the last seven months. Having my movie shown in my own local theatre is something I’ll never forget.

Relative Happiness

Listing On IMDB
Trailer for Relative Happiness

Relative Happiness Movie Tie-In edition

Lesley’s reading recommendation:
Hyperbole  and  a  Half  by  Allie  Brosh

Tricia Drammeh – an update on a new novel

Tricia Drammeh has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations. I have also listed Tricia as one of my All-Star Authors and I highly recommend her writing. Tricia is back now to tell us of a new release!

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Sweet Sorrow
by Tricia Drammeh
Young Adult Romance

Rowan achieves her greatest desire when she earns the part of Juliet in the school play, but it’s impossible to concentrate on her lines when her secret crush is cast as Romeo. Eddie is a fallen football hero and the subject of widespread gossip. Not only has he lost the respect of his peers, he’s also earned the open animosity of Rowan’s father, the high school’s football coach. Eddie isn’t the only one with a tarnished past—Rowan has secrets of her own. When the truth is revealed, will Rowan replace Eddie as the most hated student in school, or will Rowan and Eddie share the stage together?

Available to purchase from Amazon
*Sweet Sorrow is available for free download beginning today and through the weekend and will be available in a paperback edition soon.

Lorna Schultz Nicholson

lorna8370Lorna Schultz Nicholson

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Fragile Bones – YA Contemporary

Quick description: Two teens: Two voices. Harrison is a 15-year-old boy with high functioning autism/Asperger’s and Anna is an overachiever in her senior year of high school. They are paired together in the Best Buddies club at their high school. Harrison and Anna meet for ice cream and at the Science Center and develop a friendship that goes through many emotions. Written in alternating voices, Fragile Bones is the story of an unlikely but beautiful friendship.

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Brief biography:
Lorna has published over thirty books, including picture books, middle grade fiction and YA fiction and non-fiction. They have been nominated for the Golden Eagle Award, Diamond Willow Award, and Red Cedar. She loves writing series. Fragile Bones is the first book in her One-2-One series. Oh, and she divides her time between Edmonton and Penticton and lives with her hubby, and two dogs: a whiny Bichon Shih Tzu and a naughty Mexican rescue dog.

Links to buy Lorna’s book:
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo

Lorna’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

What are you working on now?
The second book in the One-2-One series. There is no title as of yet but it will be about Erika, (a 15-year old born with Down syndrome), and Gianni, her Best Buddy. It will be released in March 2016 with Clockwise Press.

Lorna’s reading recommendation:
Since I’m a voracious reader and always have a book on the go I will tell you what I just finished. 1) The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. I’m a bit of a crime fiction junkie and this was an entertaining read. 2) Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius. This is a very interesting and deeply emotional memoir about a young boy locked in his body. Since Canada has so many wonderful children’s writers I also recommend Teresa Toten and the Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. And Crush, Candy, Corpse by Sylvia McNicoll. My mother has Alzheimer’s so this book resonated with me. Also, Janet Gurtler, Beverley Brenna, Natalie Hyde, (loved Hockey Girl), Susin Nielsen, Deborah Ellis (my hero) and there are so many more. Oh, and I can’t forget Ann-Marie MacDonald and Jane Urquhart. I could go on and on with this question so I’ll stop.

Christine Campbell

IMG_0653 Christine Campbell

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Here at the Gate – Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Quick description: Mhairi had worked hard to build herself a normal, stable life, but there had always been a dark fear inside her. No matter how happy she was, it was always there. It followed her about like a black bat, haunting her nights, hiding in a corner during her days, flapping out at odd moments, scaring the wits out of her.

It was as though she was standing outside a high-walled garden, barred from the secret of her past by the wrought-iron gate. She could see all the bushes and trees, the rhododendron and hydrangea. She could even smell the roses and the honeysuckle, but then the gate would swing shut and she was outside and it was dark.

Now her happy, settled life was being threatened and she knew she had to force through the darkness, and open the gate.

She needed to remember what she had spent a lifetime forgetting.

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Brief biography:
Hi! I’m Christine Campbell and I’m a baby-boomer, a late bloomer, and a writer.

There! I stood in the middle of the circle and owned up. I am a writer: a novelist, in particular. I write contemporary women’s fiction: strongly character-based, relationship novels . . . with a smidgen of romance and a generous dusting of mystery and detection.

I have learned a lot about my craft since that wonderful night when I held my first completed, printed manuscript novel in my arms. My first book-baby. It was many years before I had the confidence to let it go off and make its way in the world, not having it published until 2008.

I have now completed seven novels, four of them published so far, with a fifth almost ready to leave home and see the big wide world and, even more importantly, to be seen by it. It’s so exciting when your book-babies grow up and leave home. As mother of five grown-up, married children and ten grandchildren, I know a lot about babies growing up and leaving home!

Links to buy Christine’s book:
Amazon

Christine’s promo links:
Blog
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
YouTube
Amazon Author Page

What are you working on now?
The novel that is with the publisher right now, and will be released soon, is the first of a series, I think of three, but, if my readers enjoy them, who knows how many? The series is called The Reluctant Detective, and this first book in the series is called Searching for Summer. The series is so named because the main protagonist, Mirabelle Milligan, never intended to turn detective, but, when her teenage daughter disappears, Mirabelle gives up everything to search for her, following clues and hunches wherever they may lead. In Searching for Summer, most of the action takes place in and around Edinburgh, but in the second and third books, it moves further North in Scotland, and further West respectively.

Christine’s reading recommendation:
I am a great Anita Shreve fan, and one of my favourite Anita Shreve novels is The Pilot’s Wife, which I read fairly recently.