Della Dennis

Della Dennis

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Something Unremembered – Historical fiction/contemporary realism/magic realism

Quick description: The narrator of the story is Janine LaFoy, a late 20th-century woman living in Alberta, with roots in French-Canadian Catholic culture. One would hardly think an outlying college town on the prairies would be the place a woman from the 15th century would choose to reveal her story, but when Janine begins to discover the story of Madeleine of Beauvais interpolated in the pages of her beloved books about the history of art and culture, an enigmatic presence begins to form. Mystified by references to Madeleine which seem to appear in her books only to disappear again, and unhappy with her own restless ever-aftering, Janine becomes preoccupied with uncovering the secrets of Madeleine’s life.

This book began by imagining how a subjugated history, a story that could not keep peace with being forgotten, bubbles up between the lines of 20th-century Janine LaFoy’s art and cultural history books.

Brief biography:
Della Dennis is a music educator and historian. As a missionary kid in Africa, she grew up in the shadow of a protestant ethic where fiction ranked among the lower orders of creation. As an adult she returned to her birthplace and settled in Edmonton. When her children were safely grown and on their own, she fell from grace and began to write. She wrote and privately published the story and documents relating to her grandmother’s early life and journey (as an 11-year old without her parents) to Canada in 1904. Something Unremembered is her first novel.

Links to buy Della’s book:
Stonehouse Publishing
All Lit Up
Chapters/Indigo
Amazon Canada
Amazon US

Della’s promo links:
Facebook
Goodreads

What are you working on now?
I am just beginning a second novel that takes place at the same time as Something Unremembered and features many of the same characters. In this story, the narrator, Janine, makes different choices. As a result, her interests and challenges and the course of her life turn out quite differently.

Della’s reading recommendation:
I have been reading Charissa’s Shoes by David Gay, a satiric, dystopian novel that is both absurd and prophetic. It is a startling reflection on the potential for cyber terrorism in the modern era. It was written before the Trump era, and mostly takes place in Canada, but some of the ludicrous behaviour of people seeking power could have been taken from today’s news. Next up, for a change of pace, I am looking forward to reading Evelina, an 18th-century novel recently reissued by Edmonton’s Stonehouse Publishing.

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N.R. Cruse

N.R. Cruse

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The League of the Star. Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction, in the style of The Count of Monte Cristo crossed with a Jane Austen novel of manners.

Quick description: A tale of a young man coming to age during one of the most frightening periods of the French revolution, the Grand Peur, where the houses of the wealthy were burnt in a series of riots. Now in safety in England, he writes letters to a friend who remains in France about the horrors of his experience, his torn sympathies as a left-leaning aristocrat. As he does so, he simultaneously writes of his current adventures in England with a group of naïve aristocratic ladies who are also recently escaped from France.

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Brief biography:
N. R. Cruse is a harmless sort of person, obsessed with history and old books. Around 20 years ago, study of life in the 18th century captured her heart and imagination, and never let go. In her other life, she does way too many things, even infrequently acknowledging the existence of her loving husband and two children. She lives in Edmonton, where she tries to reconcile herself to the realities of modern life.

Links to buy N.R. Cruse’s book:
Hardcover/Paperback
iBook
Kindle (Amazon.ca)
Kobo

N.R. Cruse’s promo links:
Stonehouse Publishing

What are you working on now?
My next project is a novel on rival Italian families, a la Romeo & Juliet. I loved writing the first half of it or so, but the remainder of the story is living within me, waiting till I have time to draw it out.

N.R. Cruse’s reading recommendation:
Lately, I have discovered Lord Lytton. He wrote many many novels, and they tend to be long and unassuming, but almost without the reader noticing it, he weaves a tale of interest and interconnectedness which only increases as you go along. Like walking deeper and deeper into a beautiful forest, until you realize you are completely surrounded by the most beautiful and varied orchard and gardens. His novel My Novel is just such a book. (Note: I think it is forgivable to skip all the sections of this book where Lord Lytton inserts himself having a conversation with his family about the book.)

Pam Clark

Clark Headshot_0017Pam Clark

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My first novel is titled Kalyna and it is historical fiction.

Quick description: Swept up in a whirlwind courtship, Katja and Wasyl begin life anew in a Ukrainian settlement of Western Canada. The dusty Canadian prairies promise hope and independence, but when war breaks out between the old world and the new, their newfound stability is shattered. Rumours of the internment of Ukrainian-Canadians haunt the new settlers. Would the country they love betray them like this?

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Brief biography: I was born in Edmonton and grew up with Ukrainian cultural traditions in my family, particularly around food and holidays. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I heard of the Ukrainian internment in Banff, Castle Mountain and researched it to find that over 24 such camps existed across Canada during WW1. The story of Kalyna derives from this experience: both family and cultural history and a desire to tell the story that needs to be shared as part of our collective history.

Links to buy Pam’s book:
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo
Shelf Life Books
Owl’s Nest Books
Pages On Kensington

Pam’s promo links:
Website
Twitter

What are you working on now?
I am currently researching and writing a thriller that takes place in Japan; it is quite a departure from Kalyna but the depth and importance of research is similar.

Pam’s reading recommendation:
I would love to recommend a few, such as Sweetland by Michael Crummey and The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel. I really enjoyed The Three Sisters Hotel by Katherine Govier as she is one of my favourite writers for style and character development and her newest novel features my favourite places of Canmore and Banff National Park. (Katherine Govier was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)

Melanie Kerr

Kerr Melanie Author’s full name Melanie Kerr

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Mary Green, Historical Fiction, a drawing-room drama similar in tone and theme to works of Jane Austen.

Quick description: A coming-of-age tale, set in early 19th Century England, about an orphan girl who is raised in a wealthy family and must make her way through London society and into the wider world on her own terms.

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Brief biography:
Melanie Kerr studied linguistics, English and theatre at the University of British Columbia and law at the University of Alberta. She is also the author of Follies Past: a Prequel to Pride and Prejudice. She lives in Edmonton, where she raises her three children, organizes Regency costume events, blogs on all things old and English, endeavours to take over the world and occasionally practices law.

Links to buy Melanie’s book:
Stonehouse Publishing
Hardcover/Paperback
iBook
Kindle (Amazon.ca)
Kobo

Melanie’s promo links:
Blog
Facebook Page Book
Facebook Page Author
Twitter

What are you working on now?
In my head, I am working on a prequel to Sense and Sensibility, as well as planning several Regency costume events. We shall see when I get the chance to actually write it!

Melanie’s reading recommendation:
I thoroughly enjoyed The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. It is both witty and profound and, above all, nice and long. Aside from Jane Austen, that is one that captured me. I am also a great fan of the mini-series starring Damian Lewis. His might be one of the greatest acting performances of all time.

Judith Barrow

judith headshot Judith Barrow

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Living in the Shadows is the last of my trilogy. It’s a Family Saga but is also a cross-over into Historical and Crime fiction.

Quick description: Living in the Shadows, set in 1969, is the story of how the next generation is forced to live with the consequences of the actions of their parents. The first book, Pattern of Shadows was inspired by my research into a disused cotton mill in Lancashire in the North of England, and its history of being the first German POW camp in the country. Pattern of Shadows begins the story of Mary Howarth, a nurse in the hospital in the camp and the consequences of fraternization in WW2. The sequel, Changing Patterns, set in 1950/51 is a stand-alone book but also continues with the story. In Living in the Shadows the dark history of the Howarth family is potrayed against the era of the sixties; of free love, cults, drugs, pop music and miniskirts.

51CLk1CvWvL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)living in the shadows

Brief biography:
I was brought up in a place called Saddleworth, a group of villages on the edge of the Pennines in Yorkshire. I moved to Pembrokeshire in 1979 with my husband and three small children into a half-built house in a field. I have had short stories and poems published, two stage plays performed and have written two children’s books. I tutor creative writing for adults under the Lifetime Learning Scheme for Pembrokeshire County Council and hold private creative writing workshops. I write family sagas which sometimes slide over into other genres.

Layout 1Links to buy Judith’s book:
Pattern of Shadows:
Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Changing Patterns:
Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Living in the Shadows:
Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes &Noble

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Judith’s promo links:
Blog
About Me
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
Saddleworth House Apartment

What are you working on now?
At the moment I’m writing the prequel to my trilogy and also a novel about a woman caring for her elderly mother who has dementia, which is a cross-over genre into Crime and Romance.

Judith’s reading recommendation:
May I recommend two authors, Susan? Thorne Moore and Terry Tyler. If not, I’ll stick to Terry; I’ve read most of her books and really enjoy them. She has a novella out today. Thorne has a book coming out in June, though, if you wanted to keep her in mind; she’s also a brilliant author … Sorry, am I straying from my remit?

Katherine Govier – update on a new novel

Katherine Govier was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Jan. 2014 and again in May 2014. She’s back now to tell us about a new novel that is being released today!

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The Three Sisters Bar & Hotel
by Katherine Govier
Published by Harper Collins Canada

A landmark novel of the Canadian West from one of Canada’s most accomplished writers, author of The Ghost Brush and Fables of Brunswick Avenue

Gateway, Alberta, 1911. The coming of the railroad to the Canadian Rockies has brought a parade of newcomers to the heavenly Bow Valley: climbers, coal miners, artists, scientists, runaway aristocrats and remittance men. Among the latter is the poacher Herbie Wishart, who arrived on a one-way ticket and has reinvented himself as a trail guide and teller of tall tales.

Herbie becomes outfitter for a fossil-hunting expedition headed by a prominent Washington, D.C., archaeologist. Rumours say that the findings of the secrecy-shrouded Hodgson expedition, as it comes to be known, could overturn all previous knowledge about early life forms. Brought along to help in the quarry for the summer are Hodgson’s adult children, mopey Humphrey and the captivating Isabel, with whom Herbie strikes up a campside alliance. But when an early snowstorm hits and trailside grudges come to a head, the expedition mysteriously disappears. The tragedy threatens to stain the Rocky Mountain park’s reputation just as its newly elected government overseers begin to sell the pristine Canadian wilderness to the world. Despite all efforts from that year on to solve, or bury, the mystery, the disappearance will haunt Gateway, and define the futures of Herbie Wishart and his stubbornly female descendants.

The Three Sisters Bar and Hotel is at once sweeping and intimate, and bursting with heart, wit and larger-than-life characters who rival the Rocky Mountain landscape for sheer brio. Katherine Govier proves she is one of Canada’s master storytellers with this new novel, which is a groundbreaking portrait of Western Canada’s past, with all its contradictions and complexities, an intimate story of romance and family, and a tantalizing historical and prehistorical mystery.

Purchase copies here:
HarperCollinsCanada

Luccia Gray

Lucy Luccia Gray

What is your latest release and what genre is it? I released Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, book two in the Eyre Hall Trilogy, last August.

Quick description: Following Edward Rochester’s death, Jane Eyre, who has been blackmailed into marrying a man she despises, will have to cope with the return of the man she loved and lost. The secrets she has tried so hard to conceal must be disclosed, giving rise to unexpected events and shocking revelations, including murder, kidnapping, child theft, blackmail, and forbidden love, in this breathtaking family saga, which will move the action from the Yorkshire countryside, to Victorian London, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Colonial Jamaica.

Paperbacks my books

Brief biography:
Luccia Gray was born in London and now lives in the south of Spain with her husband. She has three children and three grandchildren. When she’s not reading or writing, she teaches English at an Adult Education Centre and at the Spanish National University.

Links to buy Luccia’s book:
Amazon UK Author Page
Amazon US Author Page

Luccia’s promo links:
Luccia Gray’s Facebook
Twitter
Blog, Rereading Jane Eyre

What are you working on now?
I’m working on part three of the Eyre Hall Trilogy, Midsummer at Eyre Hall, which will be published in the spring.

Luccia’s reading recommendation:
I read every day, as much as possible. I usually read (and re-read) classics and contemporary fiction at the same time. I’ve just finished rereading Maria or the Wrongs of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft, and I’m in the middle of Demelza by Winston Graham, which I hadn’t read before, and am thoroughly enjoying.

The latest contemporary novels I’ve read are Midnight and Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth, a contemporary family drama set in Wales, and a romantic comedy by Lizzie Lamb, set in Scotland, Scotch on the Rocks, which has just been shortlisted for the Exeter Book Prize.

Kevin Brennan – Reading Recommendation Revisited

Kevin Brennan was first featured on Reading Recommendations in March, 2014, then returned with an update in Dec., 2014. I have had the great pleasure of reading everything Kevin has now published, including his most recent novel, Town Father, and I can say, unequivocally, that his writing is excellent, his stories are unique, imaginative and fresh, and he creates characters that are memorable. Kevin is experimental in his exploration of different literary genres and I believe him to be a very talented Author. He’s also been a great support of me and my blogs, and we’ve had terrific offline discussions about writing, reading and literature. And throughout the time since we “met” he has continued to write, write, write! Welcome back, Kevin!

Sonoma County

RRR: Since your first promotion on RR, what have you been doing?
KB: Since RR first featured my novel, Yesterday Road, back in early 2014, I’ve published two more novels — Occasional Soulmates, an offbeat chick-litty story that has a little fun with the genre; and Town Father, Or, Where Graceful Girls Abound, a historical, utopian novel about a California village in the 1880s populated only by women (oh, and one man). I’ve been busy writing and revising other work as well, of course, but also managed to move from the San Francisco Bay Area to a small town “in the shadow of the magnificent Sierra Nevada,” as they put it in Town Father. My wife, Susan, and I couldn’t be happier.

RRR: What else have you been doing, outside of the writing?
KB: We are exploring the local peaks and valleys near our new digs, as a matter of fact. Recently we found ourselves on a one-lane logging road way up in the back-country, hiked for miles and miles without seeing another person, and took in panoramic views that must have looked exactly the same two hundred years ago (logging notwithstanding). We’re also shifting gears in our day jobs so we have more time to enjoy the area.

My jazz guitar playing is slowly improving too. Sometimes it’s a tough choice between practicing guitar or getting started on writing a new book!

RRR: Is there one marketing tip or trick you discovered while promoting your own books that worked particularly well and that you’d like to share with other authors?
KB: To be perfectly frank, my best bet with marketing my books is to maintain an online presence in case anyone is watching (agents, take note), and to fall back on EReader News Today when it’s time to run a promo. Nothing else has worked as well, and since I’m on a tight budget I have to be careful how I spend my marketing dollars. I am actively seeking indie bookstores that might be interested in selling the paperback of Town Father, so if any readers have a favorite, I hope they’ll make inquiries for me!

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RRR: Please recommend three other authors whose work you have “discovered” or rediscovered this past year whom every reader should consider reading.
KB: I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t had much time for a lot of reading this year, thanks to our move, but I’m interested in books that toy with form and genre in new ways, such as Rachel Cusk’s Outline. I’d like to see more innovation in novels, so her approach is refreshing. I also gave in and read Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice a while back. He’s not new by any means, but he can still bring it. Also, exciting things are being done in the realm of personal essays, and in that vein I discovered a book called Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan that was a real dazzler, and Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan.

Sometimes getting out of the fiction pool is good for perspective and learning new things. I now know more about surfing than I every thought I wanted, or needed!

For more information about Kevin, see his Amazon Author Page, Blog – What The Hell, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

And Kevin adds this incentive!
Yesterday Road is currently on sale for 99 cents (ebook), and from December 3 through 6, the eBook edition of Occasional Soulmates will also be on sale for 99 cents.

Town Father (eBook) is available for pre-order at $2.99, with instant delivery on December 8. The paperback version (and it’s gorgeous!) is on sale for $9.90.

Purchase links for all of Kevin’s books may be found here.

Thank you, Kevin!

Marie Powell

M.E (high)Marie Powell

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Hawk – young adult historical fantasy

Quick description: If only Hyw could tell someone about his ability to scout through the eyes of a hawk, maybe it would secure his place in Prince Llywelyn’s guard. If only Cat could see her future, now that she’s thirteen and promised to a boy she barely remembers…

When a messenger summons the prince to a secret meeting, Cat and Hyw find themselves in the middle of a war that threatens to destroy Wales. Can they master their special abilities in time to save the royal family – and themselves?

Set during the events of 13th Century Wales, Hawk is a fantasy novel that recreates what life might have been like for two teenagers coming of age.

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Brief biography:
Marie Powell was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, but now calls Regina home. She has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her 30 children’s books are published by Scholastic Canada, Amicus Publishing, Lerner, Crabtree, and others. Her poetry and short fiction appear in literary magazines, while her articles appear in regional and national magazine, broadcast, and online markets. Hawk is her first young adult novel.

Links to buy Marie’s book:
Chapters
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo Books

Marie’s promo links:
Five Rivers Publishing
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

What are you working on now?
I’m working on the second book in this set, under the working title Hawk and Crown, due out in 2016. As well, I have two more young adult novels on the go, and another historical novel set in late 13th Century Wales. I’m always writing something.

Marie’s reading recommendation:
Lately I’ve been catching up on the new books in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. I started watching The Dresden Files on TV a few years back, and quickly discovered the books are even better. Two parts cheeky urban fantasy hero and three parts hardboiled detective, Dresden is Chicago’s only wizard private investigator. He and his human and supernatural crew face a full range of villains — everything from the Winter Court to the Sasquatch. Right now I’m enjoying Skin Game, the latest in the series of 14 books (so far).

J.P. McLean Recommends Elinor Florence

Bird's Eye View COVER IMAGEBird’s Eye View
by Elinor Florence

Genre: Historical Fiction

Bird’s Eye View is fact-based fiction about a young woman from Saskatchewan who joins the Royal Canadian Air Force and becomes an interpreter of aerial photographs. Stationed with hundreds of other intelligence officers at a converted mansion in England called RAF Medmenham, Rose Jolliffe spies on the enemy from the sky, watching the war unfold through her sterescope. Lonely and homesick, she keeps in touch with the home front through letters from her family and friends back home.

Elinor Florence with glassesWhy I recommend this book:
What I enjoy most about reading historical fiction is the glimpse into a by-gone era. It’s the small things that hold my attention — the slap of liver to a plate, the scratch of woolens, the damp of grey slush — and Bird’s Eye View offers many such insights. That Elinor Florence tells the story through a Canadian lens adds an interesting layer, as does her young protagonist, Rose Joliff, a farmer’s daughter who learns some painful personal and professional lessons during the war. The writing is superb, the setting and characterization are fascinating and the story will squeeze your heart.

Links for people to buy it:
Dundurn Press
Amazon

JPMcLean Author Photo #2 for SToyGuest reviewer’s latest title or project:
Penance, Book IV of The Gift Legacy

J.P. McLean has previously been featured twice on Reading Recommendations, first in January, 2014, and recently in Reading Recommendations Revisited.