Bob Van Laerhoven – update on a new story

My favourite Flemish author, Bob van Laerhoven, returns to Reading Recommendations with news of his participation in a new collection of short stories, now available in English.


After the French publication of the collection of short stories Bruxelles Noir, the English version, Brussels Noir, is now published in the States by Akashic Books in their famous Noir-series.

The collection shall also be published beginning of next year in Poland by Editions Claroscuro.

I’m the only Flemish author in the collection. My colleagues are all Walloons from the French-speaking part of Belgium.

I wrote Paint it, Black, my contribution, originally in English.

Best wishes,
Bob Van Laerhoven-Belgium

Where to purchase:
Akashic Books

Kevin Brennan – update on a new novel and introducing a new way of publishing!

Kevin Brennan has been promoted a number of times on this blog because he keeps writing and publishing great books, which is a good thing for readers like me who love the way this author writes his stories! He’s also part of the Reading Recommendations Revisited, a select group of authors who always give back as good as they get in the promotion department. Now Kevin is back to tell us not only about his latest novel, but of a whole new way to look at releasing and distributing said novel that I think is pretty nifty!



It’s a road picture (with pictures)…

It’s the novel you buy straight from the author …

It’s a novel about self-realization and vengeance …

It’s a novel about the pointless journey of a grieving young widow — Sally Pavlou — and a lovestruck private investigator — Clive Bridle — looking for the dead man who done Sally wrong …

It’s a novel about postponing the inevitable and rushing to conclusions …

It’s a novel about looking for love and avoiding detection …

It’s a book about doing the thing you do best and finding all the satisfaction you need in it …

There’s a ‘63 Dodge Dart convertible; there’s a magical dog named Biscuit; there’s a cult of bald priestesses and a band of brutally honest guilt-mongers; there’s a massive collection of garden gnomes; there’s cutthroat Texas hold ‘em; but most of all, there’s …


Since Kevin has been blogging about the release of this book and explaining all about his new attempt at publishing, one that means a direct connection between author and reader (purchaser), I’m going to let him explain by linking to those blog posts from the past week:
Fascination launch! Buy for as low as $3.99
Re #guerrillapublishing
Bottom dollar

Where and How to purchase Kevin’s book:
50 Ways to … buy Fascination (And that’s me holding up my purchased copy of Fascination already locked and loaded on my Kindle!)

So there you have it, folks! A new way of publishing and putting books directly in the hands, or rather on the devices, of the readers. And here’s somthing I’d like to ask of my readers … if you do go ahead and purchase a copy of Fascination after reading this promotion, please do send Kevin an email and tell him you heard about the book through me and Reading Recommendations. You won’t win a prize or receive a discount for this, but you will help us both better assess how our efforts are working to promote, distribute, and sell books in a different way from the norm. I too am looking at trying something different again when it comes time to “print” copies of my new novel, One Woman’s Island. So this is all in the name of research and you’d be helping us immensely. Thank you!

Jerrod Edson

Jerrod Jerrod Edson

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My fifth novel, The Moon is Real, has recently been published by Urban Farmhouse Press. It’s literary fiction.

Quick description: On April 1, 2011 (the day the Harbour Bridge tolls closed), two hitmen have arrived in Saint John from Montreal to kill a local drug dealer, Eddie Smythe, who has not paid up. Smythe and a pal do their best to elude them. Connecting storylines include Eddie’s uncle who has lost his grip on reality and finds solace in the portrait of his dead sister, as well as a love story between failed poet, Charlie White, and Prin, a street-smart prostitute trying to raise a child. These two characters were first introduced in my 2005 novel, The Dirty Milkman, and I’m revisiting them six years later.

Ultimately the story examines that thin line between what’s real and what isn’t, and how we sometimes need to go a little crazy in order to stay sane. An early version of the manuscript won the WFNB’s David Adams Richards Prize in 2013.


Launch Party!!
Come on out for a pint and a book!
Here’s the link to a video of Jerrod reading from his new novel at the launch party!

Brief biography:
I was born in Saint John, NB, in 1974, and raised in Rothesay. I’m a graduate of Carleton and York Universities and have lived in Mississauga since 2004 with my wife Leigh and daughters Hadley and Harper Leigh. My other novels include The Goon (Oberon Press, 2010), A Place of Pretty Flowers (Oberon, 2007), The Dirty Milkman (Oberon, 2005), and The Making of Harry Cossaboom (Dreamcatcher Publishing, 2000).

Links to buy Jerrod’s book:
Urban Farmhouse Press

Jerrod’s promo links:
Email: jerrodedson99 (at)
My blog
NB Literary Encyclopedia
WFNB Profile

What are you working on now?
I’m just finishing my sixth novel, Dogs in Heat, and will be submitting it hopefully by early September. It’s a whacky one, way out of my comfort zone, but it works. I’ll also be promoting The Moon is Real.

Jerrod’s reading recommendation:
I’m a Hemingway addict. I’m currently reading The Nick Adams Stories to prepare for a Hemingway trip to Upper Michigan in August.

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.


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:
Kindle (

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.)

Michael Fay – update on a new short story

Michael Fay has been previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Nov. 2013, and was actually the third author to be promoted on this site.


by J. Michael Fay
ePublished by IslandShorts

1963 is a pivotal year for Dan James. Believing his destiny was set at the age of eleven when he stood next to his father’s coffin, he enters the seminary at seventeen to become a priest. A well-read fellow seminarian and the world-shaking event later that year cause Dan to question his true passion in life.

Passion is the third in Michael Fay’s series of long-form short stories featuring Dan James, following The Whirlabout and The Healer. Along with Tenderness, all have been published by IslandShorts.

“This is a thoroughly engaging story about a young man’s coming of age and discovering while enrolled in a seminary that his calling is not for the priesthood but for literature and writing. One can smell the incense in the chapel and hear footsteps echoing in the stone hallways while young Dan James wrestles with his decision before walking out into a world with much to relish, treasure and describe.”
~ Dennis Gruending, journalist and author of Pulpit and Politics

For more information about all of Michael’s publications:

and where to purchase

Michael has recently written three guest posts on my other blog, reminiscing his early days as a writer and conferences he attended during the 1970s.
Guest post: J. Michael Fay on Bread Loaf, 1978
Guest Post: J. Michael Fay on Banff, 1976
Guest Post: J. Michael Fay on Remembering Alexandra Centre

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:
a blog about caring for my father who had dementia: My Dad’s a Goldfish
Take Five Authors
Novel Authors at Work 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 Recommends Leslie Greentree

Leslie Greentree photo
Book Title and Author:
A Minor Planet for You and Other Stories
By Leslie Greentree
Published by The University of Alberta Press

What genre is it?
Short story collection

Quick description:
A silver goblet, stale-dated hot chocolate, a telescope aimed at minor planets, abandoned black shoes, magic rope, fancy vinegar bottles. In Leslie Greentree’s exotic mix of stellar stories, these and other objects bring to focus the rich inner lives of girls and women as they sort through their imperfect relationships.

A Minor Planet for You Book Cover

Why I recommend this book:
I reread A Minor Planet for You and Other Stories while I was on vacation this February, and it was like Christmas all over again. The characters in these stories remain so dear to me.

Greentree understands the complexities of the human heart and the lies we tell ourselves as we forge our way through that dark and messy labyrinth of relationships. With crisp prose and searing dialogue, she’s able to bring the feelings of hurt and betrayal front and centre.

There is much humour in these 14 stories and many dark moments too. These characters make plenty of missteps as they try to understand themselves and the people surrounding them. They do bad, sometimes despicable, things. But there is an arc of vulnerability throughout the collection, a jumble of raw feelings that make these girls and women both real and empathic.

For more information on Leslie and her writing, please check her website.

Links to buy it:
A Minor Planet for You and Other Stories can be purchased at your favourite online outlet, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Fran Kimmel PhotoGuest reviewer’s latest title or project: Fran Kimmel is at work on her second novel, (the title TBD) about a rural family that takes in a troubled 12-year-old girl over Christmas, turning their notion of family upside down. Fran has been previously featured on Reading Recommendations.

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!


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:

Cinthia Ritchie

Ritchie photo5 Cinthia Ritchie

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Women’s/literary fiction: Dolls Behaving Badly, 2013

Quick description: Carla Richards is many things: an Alaska waitress who secretly makes erotic dolls for extra income; a divorcee who can’t quite detach from her ex-husband; and a single mom trying to support her gifted eight-year-old son, her pregnant sister and her babysitter-turned-resident-teenager.

She’s one overdue bill away from completely losing control–when inspiration strikes in the form of a TV personality. Now she’s scribbling away in a diary, flirting with an anthropologist, and baking up desserts with the ghost of her Polish grandmother.

Yet, getting her life and dreams back on track is difficult. Is perfection really within reach? Or will she wind up with something even better?


Brief biography:
Cinthia Ritchie writes and runs mountains in Anchorage, Alaska. She’s a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Best American Essays notable mention, recipient of a Connie Boochever Fellowship and two-time awardee of a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship, winner of the Sports Literate and Memoir essay awards and semi-finalist in the Rose Metal Press Poetry Chapbook Award.
Find her work at Best American Sports Writing, Sport Literate, Mary: A Journal of New Writing, Evening Street Review, Water-stone Review; New York Times Magazine, Boiler Journal, Writers Digest, Cactus Heart Press, Damfino Press, 101 Word Story and over 50 literary magazines and small presses.

Her first novel Dolls Behaving Badly was released from Hachette Books/Grand Central Publishing.

Links to buy Cinthia’s book:

Cinthia’s promo links:
Writing Website
Running website

What are you working on now?
Oh, man, too many things. I finished up my second book, Waiting For My Daughter’s Ghost, which is presently in New York; have no idea when it will be released. I’m also working on a YA novel, a horror novel set in a small Alaskan community and a memoir about my sister, who died of an eating disorder. Plus I have two poetry chapbooks I’m sending around and I’m planning to collaborate with a photographer on a book about Alaska and its people.

I’m a bit scattered and hyper-active, lol.

Cinthia’s reading recommendation:
Oh, it has to be Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton. Such a simple book yet so complex in language and thought. I didn’t know at the time of reading but it won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Rob Doyle

Irish Times photoRob Doyle

What is your latest release and what genre is it? This Is the Ritual is a short story collection.

Quick description: Lost and isolated, the characters in these stories play out their fragmented relationships in a series of European cities, always on the move; from rented room to darkened apartment, hitchhiker’s roadside to Barcelona nightclub. Rob Doyle, a shape-shifting drifter, a reclusive writer, also stalks the book’s pages.

Layering narratives and splicing fiction with non-fiction, This is the Ritual tells of the ecstatic, the desperate and the uncertain. Immersive, at times dreamlike, and frank in its depiction of sex, the writer’s life, failed ideals and the transience of emotions, it introduces an unmistakable new literary voice.


Brief biography:
My first novel, Here Are the Young Men, was chosen as a book of the year by The Sunday Times, Irish Times, Independent and Sunday Business Post, and shortlisted in the Best Newcomer category in the Irish Book Awards. My fiction, essays and criticism have been published widely, and translated into various langauges.

Links to buy Rob’s book:
Bloomsbury Publishing

Rob’s promo links:
My website

What are you working on now?
I am putting the finishing touches on a collection of non-fiction writings, and I have co-written a screenplay of my novel Here Are the Young Men, hopefully to be filmed later in the year.

Rob’s reading recommendation:
The books of the English author Geoff Dyer have long been an inspiration to me. His Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It is one of my favourite books.