J. Michael Fay – five long form short stories

Since 2013, I have had the great privilege and pleasure to assist J. Michael Fay in publishing all five of his long-form short stories under my imprint IslandShorts. Recently, Michael was featured in an article published in The Times, the local newspaper in the town of Minden, Ontario, where Michael lives and near where my family cottage was located. (How Michael and I are connected is explained in that article.) Michael’s was one of the earliest promotions I posted on Reading Recommendations and he came back for an update in Mar. 2016. He wrote On Writing “Tenderness” describing the background and inspiration that went into writing his short story. This is available as a free flipbook. And I have published three guest post written by Michael on my main blog: J. Michael Fay on Bread Loaf, 1978, J. Michael Fay on Banff, 1976, J. Michael Fay on Remembering Alexandra Centre.

So here are the five titles written by Michael that we’ve published so far, and here’s where to purchase all IslandShorts eBooks.

is_tenderness In southern Alberta during the hot, dry August of 1909, young cousins meet again after a lengthy separation of their families. Tenderness is the bittersweet story of Luke and Rachel as they come to terms with their losses through learning more of a shared heritage. Written in a style evoking the prairies of a century ago, J. Michael Fay’s story unfolds with quiet and gentle grace and a reverence for the era, the setting and his characters.

is_whirlabout The Whirlabout takes us back to America during the 1950s, when a quarter bought a movie ticket as well as a bag of popcorn, city neighbours gathered on front porches to listen to a ballgame on the radio while kids played in the street and, for an evening out, entire families climbed into their cars to go to the then-new drive-ins. Through innocent eyes, a young boy describes this time and place with precise detail and the memory of how he learned life’s lessons through the example of his own solid father.

Web In 1957, Danny is struck down with rheumatic fever and discovers a strange and frightening world on the children’s ward of the hospital. During months of recuperation his powers of observation are heightened and ultimately the time spent alone teaches him not only about survival, but about becoming the “big boy” the nurses constantly urge him to be, as he learns to accept the inevitable tragedies of life that surround us all.

cover4 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.

dd_cover1b Dan James graduates from college in 1967, a time of major conflicts in the US, when friends are being drafted to fight in the war in Vietnam. Dan, however, chooses to become involved in a different fight, one for human rights. He eventually heads north to Canada, a place where he can pursue a life working for the betterment of all. But also a place where the conflicts turn out to be much more personal.

Bob Van Laerhoven – update and a special offer

Belgian author, Bob Van Laerhoven, has returned to Reading Recommendations to tell us of a new English translation edition of his novel, Baudelaire’s Revenge, and a special price for the eBook at Amazon for the rest of December.

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Baudelaire’s Revenge: A Novel
by Bob Van Laerhoven
Translated by Brian Doyle
Published in English by Pegasus Books
Genre: Fiction – mystery, thriller, suspense

Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Crime Novel – Winner of the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category Fiction: mystery/suspense

Paris police commissioner Paul Lefèvre, robust and hirsute, hardly seems like a poetry lover. Nonetheless, he instantly recognizes the messages accompanying murder victims killed in flamboyant ways as excerpts from poems by the scandalous, recently deceased poet Baudelaire. Is this gruesomely inventive serial killer exacting revenge on Baudelaire’s enemies? Paris is in an uproar in 1870. The Franco-Prussian War is on full boil, the poor are hungry and insurrectional, and the decadent rich are partying. As Lefèvre and longtime comrade Inspector Bernard Bouveroux—they served together as soldiers in Algiers—seek to stop this diabolical, perhaps otherwordly serial killer, the philosophical Lefèvre is haunted by traumatic memories of war and a childhood abomination. He is also longing for his sharp-witted beloved, the now-missing prostitute Claire de la Lune. In this superbly crafted Hercule Poirot Prize–winning mystery, Belgian writer Van Laerhoven vividly and astutely evokes a city under siege and keenly portrays the complex and controversial Baudelaire. But he also constructs a wildly convoluted and sexually explicit gothic tale of monstrous urges and violently broken taboos.

Some great news: Amazon has selected BAUDELAIRE’S REVENGE for their Kindle 100 promotion for the month of December. From 12/1 to 12/31, it will have a promotional price of $0.99, and it will receive featured placement on the Monthly Kindle Deals page and in Amazon merchandising materials. (Availability of this special may be limited to North America.)

Amazon Canada

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!

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Fascination!

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 …

Fascination!

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.

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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
Amazon
Indigo/Chapters

Jerrod’s promo links:
Email: jerrodedson99 (at) yahoo.ca
My blog
Facebook
Twitter
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.

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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.)

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.

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Passion
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:
IslandShorts

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:
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.

Joan Crate

JOAN14 byDavid Joan Crate

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Black Apple, a novel

Quick description: Torn from her home and delivered to St. Mark’s Residential School for Girls by government decree, young Rose Marie finds herself in an alien universe where nothing of her previous life is tolerated, not even her Blackfoot name. For she has entered into the world of the Sisters of Brotherly Love, an order of nuns dedicated to saving the indigenous children from damnation. Set during the Second World War and the 1950s, Black Apple is an unforgettable, vividly rendered novel about two very different women whose worlds collide: an irrepressible young Blackfoot girl whose spirit cannot be destroyed, and an aging yet powerful nun who increasingly doubts the value of her life.

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Brief biography:
Joan Crate’s second novel, Black Apple, has just been published by Simon and Schuster. She has also published three books of poetry and been short-listed for several awards including the Pat Lowther Award, the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry, the Canadian Authors’ Association Poetry Book of the Year, the Commonwealth Book Award and the Books in Canada First Novel Award. She lives in Calgary.

Links to buy Joan’s book:
Simon & Schuster Canada

Joan’s promo links:
S&S Author Page
Facebook

From Metro News: Joan Crate tackles the residential school legacy in new novel
From The Calgary Herald: Calgary novelist Joan Crate examines residential schools in coming-of-age novel Black Apple

What are you working on now?
I’m working on a poetry book and doing some character work in fiction. I’m hoping it will develop into another novel, but at this point, it’s a bit early to tell.

Joan’s reading recommendation:
I really loved Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. That led me to her other books only to find that she writes detective fiction as well as literary novels Her Jackson Brodie books are the best detective fiction I’ve ever read!

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!

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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