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.

9781408865385

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
Twitter

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.

Maria Savva Recommends Maria Haskins

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Odin’s Eye
by Maria Haskins

Genre: Science Fiction/Literary Fiction

Imaginative, skillfully crafted short stories that will transport you through time to different worlds.

12027794_10153291811246464_9212678525409805684_nWhy I recommend this book: The stories are so well written. I’d recommend it even if you don’t usually read science fiction. It’s not a genre I would normally go out of my way to seek out, but I really enjoyed this book. These twelve stories will make you think about what could happen if science became so advanced that we were able to travel easily through time and space. The stories show a deep understanding of the human condition.

 

Links for people to buy the book:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

MariaGuest reviewer’s latest title or project: My new collection of short stories, Lost and Found, is almost ready for publication. I am having the cover designed by Aeternum Designs because I was so impressed by their design for A Time to Tell and also Book 4 in the Mind’s Eye Series, Tales From The Cacao Tree, available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Maria Savva has been previously promoted on Reading Recommendations.

Robert Runté Recommends Playground of Lost Toys

PlaygroundLostToys

Playground of Lost Toys
edited by Ursula Pflug and Colleen Anderson

Genre: Speculative Fiction

Quick description:
An anthology of 22 original short stories by a cross section of Canada’s top sf, fantasy and horror writers examines the role that that one special toy plays in our childhoods and/or the impact that has on our adult selves.

Ursula Pflug

Ursula Pflug

Why I recommend this book:
This wasn’t an anthology I thought I’d be interested in, but I really respect the editors, so I ultimately got involved. And then, at a prelaunch party I heard some of the writers read from the anthology and it blew me away! So not the sentimental stories about lost dolls I had half expected. Instead, an incredible array of powerful writing that ranged from funny to moving to chilling.

Colleen Anderson

Colleen Anderson

I may never get some of the imagery out of my head! When I finally got my copy I was struck by how the editors had been able to assemble an indispensable collection of some of the best writing this country has to offer. The thoughtful introductions by the editors, and the afterword by Derek Newman-Stiles, are themselves worth the price of admission. Table of contents is available at the website. Ursula Pflug has been previously featured on Reading Recommendations.

Links for people to buy the book:
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo

runte2 Guest reviewer’s latest title or project:
My latest sale was the short story “The Age of Miracles” to the Strangers Among Us anthology, edited by Lucas Law and Susan Forest, due out in August 2016. The anthology is on the theme of, and a benefit for, mental health. (Robert Runté is a contributor to this anthology and has also been previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)

Sally Cronin – an update on a new collection of short stories

Welcome back, Sally Cronin! Sally was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in March 2015, and has featured me and my books numerous times on her own blog. As well, Sally has been a great support of this blog in reblogging many of the other authors’ promotions. Thank you, Sally!

Sally says: I am very grateful to Susan Toy for her continuing support of my books through the excellent Reading Recommendations. Being featured here in 2015 has certainly been a very positive experience.

Tales From the Garden small- Cover

Tales From The Garden
– Behind the scenes
by Sally Cronin

Writing short stories has always been a way for me to escape for a couple of hours from more mundane but necessary tasks such as homework and then more fact orientated documents such as annual budgets or training manuals. I began to write a weekly short story for my blog as a way to keep me motivated whilst working on other longer term projects. It also provides instant feedback and hopefully keeps interest in my writing fresh.

About Tales from the Garden:

This collection of fairy stories was my surprise book of the year and I am so delighted with the response to its release.

Tales from the Garden is a collection of fairy stories and 80 illustrations, for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

The tales reveal the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees and you will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.
There are wicked witches, mischievous dwarves who also spend too much in the sneezeweed patch. Dragons, handsome fairy princes and wayward ladies of the court. The garden is a magic sanctuary and those in danger find their way through the gates to protection.

The guardians who have kept this sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

The book is available at a substantial discount via my own website
Also at Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon CA

DSC_0869 a About Sally Cronin:

Sally Cronin spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Radio & Television; and has taken a great deal of inspiration from each.

She has written short stories and poetry since a very young age and contributed to media in the UK and Spain. In 1996 Sally began studying nutrition to inspire her to lose 150 lbs and her first book, Size Matters published in 2001, told the story of that journey back to health. This was followed by another seven books across a number of genres including health, humour and romance. These include Just Food For Health, Size Matters, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, Flights of Fancy anthology, Turning Back the Clock and Media Training.

All these can be found on Amazon or Smashwords.

For the last two years Sally has written a daily blog covering the subjects close to her heart including writing, health and music: Smorgasbord Invitation – Variety is the Spice of Life. You can link to it from here.

Connect to Sally on social media.
Website
LinkedIn
Twitter
Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Google+

My thanks again to Susan for inviting me to update you with news of my latest book.

You are most welcome here any time, Sally! Thanks for visiting again.

Maria Savva and Ben Ditmars – update on a new anthology

Maria Savva was originally featured on Reading Recommendations in Dec. 2013, and Ben Ditmars was featured on the site in Feb. 2014. Both authors have contributed to this new anthology recently published.

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Tales From The Cacao Tree (Book 4 in The Mind’s Eye Series)
with contributions by Maria Saava and Ben Ditmars
Genre: Mixed – poetry, short stories, photography; an anthology

From a review by Maria Haskins on Amazon:
Tales From The Cacao Tree is the latest installment in the Mind’s Eye Series, a series of anthologies containing poetry and short stories inspired by, and accompanied by, photographs. This fourth book in the series, as you may gather from the title and the delectable cover, is all about chocolate.

Just like the other Mind’s Eye books, Tales From The Cacao Tree is an eclectic and enjoyable blend of different genres and writing styles, and as a reader you get to experience chocolate in every imaginable (and unimaginable!) way. There really is a bit of everything here: beautiful and evocative (and sometimes playful) poetry by Ben Ditmars, Helle Gade, and Richard Weatherly, and short stories by Darcia Helle, Maria Savva, Julie Elizabeth Powell, and J. Michael Radcliffe.

Many of the stories inspired by the accompanying chocolaty pictures involve nefarious and violent crimes: so, obviously, chocolate has a dark side…

The fantastic photos in the anthology were taken by Helle Gade, Kim Stapf, and Martin David Porter. And reader beware, you will probably end up craving chocolate while you’re reading!

Purchase this book from:
Amazon

Axel Howerton

Axelheadshotbw2wbAxel Howerton

What is your latest release and what genre is it? AB Negative – Crime anthology, fiction

Quick description: AB Negative is an anthology of Alberta-based crime stories, by Albertan authors. This is a labour of love for crime writers from across the province, focusing on our beloved home province with stories ranging throughout time, geography and stylistic bent. There are dark noirish tales of sin and revenge, drug deals gone wrong, homey stories about neighbourhood killers, humorous tales of bumbling mafiosa, detectives on Stephen Avenue, and futuristic visions of sexbot domination.

AB NEG COVER Ebook

Brief biography:
Axel Howerton is the author of the darkly funny detective novel Hot Sinatra, a finalist for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Axel is a former entertainment journalist, award-winning poet, and editor. His short fiction has recently appeared in such weird and wonderful publications as Fires on the Plain, Steampunk Originals, Clones Fairies & Monsters in the Closet, Big Pulp, Night Shade, Dark Eclipse, and Sleuth Magazine. He is the editor of the anthologies, Death by Drive-In, Tall Tales of the Weird West, and AB Negative.

Axel is a member of the CSFFA, Calgary Crime Writers, The Kintsugi Poets, and serves on the board of the Crime Writers of Canada. He recently brought the “Noir at the Bar” #NoirBarYYC event to Calgary, Alberta, and he is the owner and publisher of Coffin Hop Press. Axel spends most of his time roaming the untamed prairies of Alberta with his two brilliant young sons and a wife that is way out of his league.

Links to buy Axel’s book:
All the links can be found on the Coffin Hop Press website.

Axel’s promo links:
Coffin Hop Press
Axel Howerton website

What are you working on now?
After having produced, edited and published two anthologies this year, as well as publishing new fiction in great new venues like Sleuth Magazine, I’m going to take a little time for myself and get back to some novel-length projects. One is a humorous action-adventure-style historical look at Fort Whoop-up and the formation of the NWMP in Alberta. The other is a sprawling crime saga involving several characters that have appeared in some of my short fiction.

Axel’s reading recommendation:
The Friends Of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins, which was a formative influence on the crime writing of Elmore Leonard. It’s very quick and snappy writing, a lot of dialogue and very little in the way of descriptive prose. Solid crime-writing and excellent criminal characterization from a man who was, at the time, an assistant US Attorney.

Randy McCharles, who has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations, has written one of the stories included in this anthology.

Hubert O’Hearn Recommends Young Irelanders

Young-Irelanders1

Young Irelanders
Dave Lordan. ed.

What genre is it?
Short story anthology

Quick description:
Twelve emerging writers who live in Ireland (two were born elsewhere) contribute short stories with the goal of showing the incredible mosaic of thought and talent present in modern Ireland.

Why I recommend this book:
I have always been a great devotee of short stories. They allow for a degree of experimentation in alternative structures and utterly macabre situations that are wearying in longer formats. Over the years, I’ve probably reviewed more short story anthologies than you’ve had hot dinners and this one actually stands as the best I have run across. There are no ‘fillers’, no story you speculate made it in because the writer had slept with the editor. There is all the experimentation and daring situations I referred to, yet even the stories that follow a traditional narrative structure show a maturity in deep exploration of character that any writer in the world would be proud to author. Ireland has always punched above its weight in terms of literary art – a nation of four million, about the population of Toronto, has once again delivered the successors to Wilde, Shaw, Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, Doyle … well, you get the point.

Links for people to buy it:
The publisher, New Island Books, can be found at their website.

Hubert profile Hubert O’Hearn’s latest title or project:
On a daily basis I am working with emerging writers myself, through my Six Months to Better Writing course (email me at ohearnofireland (at) gmail.com for details). In terms of literary output, my collaborator Ciara Donnelly and I are polishing the one-act musical plays we have written, known collectively as The Four Freedom Plays. There is also a new collection of poetry on the horizon, following up on my earlier Random Acts of Love and comprised totally of the poems composed here in Ireland, where I emigrated in 2012.

Hubert O’Hearn was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in April, 2015. Information on Hubert’s Writers’ Pro Shop was also featured on my main blog.

Felicity Harley Recommends Eliza Sherlock

u_1423090071cover3rapture500jpgRapture
by Eliza Sherlock

What genre is it? Women’ s literary fiction / short story collection

Quick description: This is a book of twelve short stories, each diverse and yet interconnected by themes of dislocation, loneliness, loss and discovery. A brain-injured young man rebels against his diminished life, a doorman at one of London’s exclusive hotels impersonates a deceased client, a retired banker tries to renew his importance by sculpting and erecting an enormous spire in his front yard, a young wife discovers the betrayal going on under her own roof, and in the concluding story railing against her daughter’s self-destructive life and wasted potential, the grieving mother longs to recapture the past. The loneliness, longing and emptiness that lead to the search for meaning and connection in the midst of tumultuous personal change are achieved in unusual ways. From diverse walks of life and settings, young and old, the characters’ every love relationship, every betrayal tests their assumptions and reshapes the future.

Eliza Sherlock resized Why I recommend this book: The book will appeal to readers who seek fiction with complex characters whose stories unfold in surprising and suspenseful ways.

Links for people to buy it:
Createspace
Smashwords
Barnes & Noble
KOBO
Google Play
Amazon US, UK, Canada, Australia
iTunes
Inktera
Scribd.

787 Guest reviewer’s latest title or project:
Felicity Harley was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in March, 2015, and is the author of several books of poetry and fiction. Her most recent book is Portraits and Landscapes.

Bob Van Laerhoven

I discovered the writing of Bob Van Laerhoven recently when Jack Eason promoted his longtime friend. I took particular notice of this author, because he is Flemish-Belgian, just like my grandparents and mother who emigrated to Canada from Belgium in 1919. (I wrote about my grandfather previously on my other blog.) Bob has been a pleasure to work with in preparing this promotion post and I’m very pleased to now present to you “a fellow Belgian”!

C Studio Schrever Bob Van Laerhoven

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Dangerous Obsessions, published by the Anaphora Literary Press, is a collection of short stories, set in different countries and time-slots. It’s a bit difficult to describe the genre. In general, I try to write cross-over between literature and the mystery genre, but in this collection the “connecting factor” is that all the stories, except one, take place in war-zones. They are not tales of pure mystery. Let’s just say that the stories are “noir” and that I try to write in a style that is appropriate for the “mood” in each story. I’m a novelist at heart, I don’t write many short stories, but I consider them an excellent introduction to my theme(s) and style(s). My novel Baudelaire’s Revenge, published by Pegasus Books in 2014 in hardcover, and in April of this year in paperback, has stirred up a lot of response in the USA. Some find the novel “controversial” and I take that as a compliment because Charles Baudelaire, the main subject of the novel, was controversial in his time, the 19th century, too.

It’s not easy for an author from a small language community – Flanders has 5 million people, to venture into the vast English-reading market. Therefore I’m happy with this fast “follow up” on Baudelaire’s Revenge with Dangerous Obsessions while the last details in the translation of Return to Hiroshima, my second English-translated novel, are being completed.

Quick description: I chose for variety in Dangerous Obsessions: different settings and different styles. I was a travel writer in conflict-zones from 1990 till the end of 2003 and echoes of my experiences trickle through these confronting tales, set in civil war-torn Algeria in the fifties, in a gypsy-populated concentration camp during WWII, in a Peruvian border-town where stealing is a deadly art, in Liberia during the civil war in the nineties, and in Belgian Congo during the bloody uproar in the sixties.

Laerhoven - Front Cover - Dangerous

Brief biography:
A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, I made my debut as a novelist in 1985 with the novel Nachtspel (Night Game) and quickly became known in Flanders for my ‘un-Flemish’ style and my kaleidoscopic novels in which the fate of the individual is closely related to broad social transformations. I became a full-time author in 1991. As a freelance travel writer I explored conflicts and trouble-spots across the globe from 1990 to 2003: Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Lebanon, Mozambique, Burundi… to name but a few.

During the Bosnian war I spent part of 1992 in the besieged city of Sarajevo. Three years later I was working for MSF – Doctors without frontiers – in the Bosnian city of Tuzla during the NATO bombings. At that moment the refugees arrived from the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. I was the first writer from the Low Countries who had the opportunity to speak with the refugees. These conversations resulted in a travel book: Srebrenica – getuigen van massamoord (Srebrenica. Testimony to a Mass Murder). The book denounces the murder and torture of the Muslim population of this Bosnian-Serbian enclave and is based on first-hand testimonies. I concluded that mass murders took place, a notion that was questioned at the time but later was proven accurate.

In 2007 I won the Hercule Poirot Prize for the best mystery novel of the year with De wraak van Baudelaire. In 2013, the French translation La Vengeance de Baudelaire was published in France and in Canada. The English translation, Baudelaire’s Revenge, was published in the US by Pegasus Books in 2014. Also in 2014 came the publication in France and in Canada of Le Mensonge d’Alejandro (Alejandro’s Lie), a second novel in French translation. Baudelaire’s Revenge won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense”. Currently, the English translation of Terug naar Hiroshima – Return to Hiroshima is almost finished. A French translation is in the making. In April 2015, The Anaphora Literary Press released the collection of short stories Dangerous Obsessions in paperback and in e-book.

Links to buy Bob’s book:
Amazon: “Dangerous Obsessions” Kindle
Amazon: “Dangerous Obsessions” paperback
Amazon: Baudelaire’s Revenge hardcover
Amazon: Baudelaire’s Revenge paperback
B&N hardcover
B&N e-book
IndieBound

Bob’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Goodreads
3D-“Parisian” Inkflash-room for Baudelaire’s Revenge and Dangerous Obsessions

What are you working on now?
I’m working on a new novel in Dutch (I have spent my advance already some months ago, so my Dutch publisher is frowning and yelling that there is also a writer’s life outside being translated and published abroad and that I must not forget the country in which I was born. The novel is set in Berlin in 1922. Paul Van Ostaijen, a famous Flemish avant-garde poet, is one of the main characters. This WIP is a mix of a literary novel, a mystery with a grim social background, and an unusual love story. I don’t have a title as yet, but luckily I have progressed during the past two months to roughly two thirds of the novel. But there is still a lot of work ahead. Usually, I write 3 to 4 versions before I’m satisfied…

Bob’s reading recommendation:
The very elegant Italian author Curzio Malaparte with his novel “De Huid” (The Skin). This is a master stylist who writes phenomenally about WWII. His novels are really fascinating.

Lee Kvern

Lee KvernLee Kvern

What is your latest release and what genre is it? 7 Ways To Sunday – Short Story Collection

Quick description: 7 Ways To Sunday – a short story collection that grapples with humanity in all its flawed, often guffawed glory. An artist’s girlfriend dies by mistake. A mother holds surveillance on her son’s foray into drugs. A sibling’s jealousy raises its green head toward her sickly brother. A father’s death; a mother’s fear for her unbridled, grade-two son. A hijab-wearing woman challenges the modern world of Save-on groceries, along with an arborist, his wife and a Shar-Pei – all in need of an attitude adjustment. A bed-ridden woman looks back over her life. RCMP and prostitutes arrive for family tea on a Wednesday afternoon. These are some of the happy/sad, mad/glad themes laid out in this Oh-Humanity collection of stories captured with humour, compassion and insight by Lee Kvern.

“Lee Kvern is one of those generous writers who leaves her heart and intelligence on every page. And what a big heart it is. What a marvelously vibrant, wholly original intelligence.” ~ Barbara Gowdy

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Brief biography:
Lee Kvern is the award-winning author of short stories and novels. Afterall was selected for 2013 Canada Reads (Regional)< and, also nominated for Alberta Books Awards. The Matter of Sylvie was nominated for both the Alberta Book Awards and Ottawa Relit Award. Her short stories are also well-celebrated: National winner CBC Literary Award, winner: Western Magazine Awards, Hazel Hilles Memorial Short Fiction Prize, Howard ‘O’ Hagan Award. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, published in Event, Descant, Air Canada enRoute, subTerrain. On-line: Joyland.ca, Foundpress.com and LittleFiction.com

Lee Kvern is the past Alberta Writer’s Guild Mentor 2014 and former Writer-in-Residence for the Canadian Authors Association 2013.

Links to buy Lee’s book:
Great Plains Publications
Chapters/Indigo
Amazon

Lee’s promo links:
Twitter
Website

Reviews for 7 WAYS TO SUNDAY:
From Pickle Me This: 7 Ways To Sunday by Lee Kvern
From FreeFall Magazine: J.D Mersault’s Book Review of “7 Ways to Sunday” by Lee Kvern

What are you working on now?
Book 4

Lee’s reading recommendation:
Boundary Problems by Greg Bechtel