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Skeletons on the beach

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LowCountry Boneyard by Susan M Bowyer

A Boneyard here in the Lowcountry is where trees go to die. It is the beach of trees washed up from the sea and delta, and the branches remind the artist of skeleton hands and fingers.

Jekyll-Driftwood-Beach

This is a story of betrayal, corruption, over-whelming pride – leading to a fall, and forgery. Lust and greed and most of the other seven deadly sins also make an appearance.

As it so often seems, in many of these ‘aristocratic’ families, there is a fearsome matriarch with an over-wheening pride in an ancestry such that only marriage and children from a limited genetic pooll will answer, and woe betide anyone who defies the matriarch!

Genetic traits however, are just that, and are passed down the family tree, often unwelcomingly – hence the Habsburg nose (and lip) for instance. habsburg

But other traits are mental rather than physical and artistic ability is one such trait that is often passed down the family line, and so it is here.

This third book in the series about the Lowcountry is not quote as fresh as the first and the romantic storyline is getting rather laboured I felt. I also linked the genetic trait very early in the story although I never suspected quite how determined the matriarch could be about preserving her lineage.

So some more obvious points and some not, still plenty of twists and turns to intrigue the reader and keep you wondering how it all happened. 3.75 stars.

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BlogTour: Guild of Immortal Women

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Title: Guild of Immortal Women
Author: David Alan Morrison
Publication Date: November 2014

Two bodies are discovered on the grounds of “The Bastille,” home to a coven of witches who belong to the Guild of Immortal Women. The bodies have strange characteristics, so what follows is a combination merry and sinister romp through ancient history. Medieval times are brought to life through a massive Tapestry adorning the mansion’s walls where the characters — animals and humans — emerge through tears in the fabric. It is up to Detective Matt Mathers and social worker Lynn Swanson to solve the murder-mystery while dealing with the strange world of magic, Guardian Abbey’s amnesia from her past lives, and the devilish mission of Robert and the Doctor to create an immortal heir through the laboratory.

Foreword Reviews‘ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist

 

DAMheadshot.jpeg Author Bio:
Dave Morrison (CI & CT, NIC-A, SC:L, NAD-5). Dave received his A.A. in ASL/ENG Interpreting from L.A. Pierce College in 1989. In 2000, he obtained his M.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Kentucky. He has interpreted in a variety of venues, from the courtroom to funerals to underwater conservation forums. As an actor, he has been seen on stage, TV and film. He is currently an adjunct instructor of Drama at Skagit Valley College and works with local theatres as a director, actor and instructor.
Author Links:

 

Q: What is the story of how you came up with the idea for GUILD OF IMMORTAL WOMEN.

In 2007 my father died. We had been estranged for most of my life and we had just spent the last couple of years rebuilding a relationship. I went to my best friend’s house to do some healing and she reminded me of the book idea she had told me about years before.  She convinced me to write it as a way of grieving.

Q: How did you pick the women who would be Immortal?

Holly wanted Joan of Arc to be Amelia Airhardt and had always been set on Eleanor as the head of the Guild.  As for the others, we literally sat on the phone – me in Seattle and she in southern California – and searched the internet for the most interesting women we could find.  I was surprised at the lack of information on famous females of ancient times!  

Q: What was the hardest part of writing your books?

 Editing! That answer is easy – it’s always the editing.  As writers we put so much of our life and soul into these written pages! Many of us slave over specific words or phrases for hours. None of that matters in editing.  If it doesn’t work for the story or pacing, out it goes.  Books are so much like turkey at Thanksgiving – one knows about the preparation of an eloquent meal, but when you have to face the heat of the kitchen yourself….oy! Another story.

Q: What project are you working on now?

 Once TRAVELS WITH PENNY and GUILD are out into the world, I’d like to take a short break first.  I feel pretty ragged about now…signings, book festivals and so forth take a lot out of you.  When I’m back at the keyboard, I have another work, ANGAKOK, with Booktrope, that needs some attention.  Tick tock!

Q: What is the most interesting part of your daily life?

 Wow.  Good question.  I never saw myself as having a particularly interesting life.  But, then again, “interesting” is relative, isn’t it?  My day jobs are a sign language interpreter, instructor at a community college and theatre director.  I like to think that just by showing up I get a full plate of drama and entertainment.  

Q:  What is your writing process like?

I’ve always been one of those people who sees entire scenes in my head.  As soon as a scene appears, I try to rush over to the keyboard and get it down.  The problem is that the scenes don’t always appear in the correct order. I see the end of a book (or play, as I’m also a playwright) first, or the dramatic climax first.  Every so often I write down the scenes on index cards and lay them on the floor to see what piece of the story is missing.  Maybe this is why editing is so difficult.

Q: So you don’t pre-plan your work?

Not usually, no.  I follow the age-old advice of “write with the end in mind” as well as my characters, but not much else.  I’ve found this syle has pros and cons – like anything – but for me it works.  I set out with my characters’ having a goal, some personality quirks and things they are afraid of.  Then, I just throw obstacles at them.  It easier with something like TRAVELS, as it was a memoir and I didn’t have to invent anything.  If you knew my family, you’d understand.  Once I got over my anger at them, I learned to see them as an entire lifetime of entertainment value.

Q: What advice do you give new writers?

Write. Write what you see.  Write what you feel.  Somewhere, somehow, someone is going to love your stuff.  But always remember – someone is going to hate it as well.  Ultimately, you need to be satisfied with what you’re doing.

Q: Any last words?

Yes.  Make sure to have a life.    Let your art flow from your observations of the everyday; don’t lock yourself away in some dark, dank place with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a laptop.   We are on this Earth to engage with our surroundings; to love and experience this great thing called LIFE.

GIVEAWAY

 

This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours.

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Dick Lochte talks about his Sleeping Dogs:

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Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Originally, my book SLEEPING DOG would have had a much different title. I got the idea for the book from an article in the Los Angeles Times about racehorses being stolen in California and transported into Mexico where they would literally be run to death in small tracks there. The plot popped into my head: when a teenage boy’s beloved animal is horsenapped by a Mexican cartel, he and a grumpy, not-entirely-sober horse trainer would undergo a series of adventures searching for the horse.  Alas, the book and especially the popular film BLACK STALLION appeared suddenly and it seemed the boy, the trainer and the horse story, while considerably different from mine, was not different enough. I put the concept aside for a while, but one morning a local television news show carried a feature about dogs that were being stolen locally to be used to train illegal fighting dogs. I thought I could have my young heroine, Serendipity Dalquist, discover her dog is missing. After getting the run-around from the police she decides to hire the human bloodhound, private eye Leo Bloodworth, to find the dog. He refuses. His sleazy office mate, takes the case and is murdered.  And Serendipity’s and Leo’s adventures begin.

 As for my approach, I decided to play with the first person narrative, letting Serendipity and Leo narrate their own chapters, not always agreeing on what really happened.

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I get an idea for a story (from news reports, a person I notice on the street, a comment someone makes, whatever). I don’t think too much of it at the time, but if it persists, I’ll spend a few minutes spinning it around and either wind up discarding it or noting it down in an “Ideas” file. Most of these remain in the file, but on rare occasions, two or more of the ideas seem to coalesce. And that will be my next book.     

 How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

A friend says he believes research to be a writer’s tar baby: you can get so caught up in it, the book is never written.  That won’t happen to me. I keep research at a minimum, either by writing about things I know very well, making stuff up, or by spending quality time with my good assistant Google.

 SLEEPING DOG was a different situation. Written before Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page were even in their teens, it required a number of hours in neighbourhood libraries studying maps of California, current news about dogfights and dog thefts, the 1960s hippie movement, banking conventions, conversations with members of the Los Angeles Police Department, a working private detective, bankers, and visits to various locations in Southern and Northern California.

What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

See answer to 3.

How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

The easy way to get cooperation from the police is to go through their public relations department. That’s true for business executives, too. But you have to be very careful in making your request sound as if your subject’s contribution will benefit the organization.

How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

SLEEPING DOG was my first novel. On the first week it was submitted, it was turned down by one publisher and purchased almost immediately by another.

Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

No.  All of my book originally have been brought out by publishers.

Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

Sorry, but I have no practical experience in self-publishing. If you want an uneducated opinion, I would recommend an aspiring novelist submit her or his work to a publisher first.  The success of 50 SHADES and the handful of other examples of self-publishing best sellers strike me as rare as white alligators. 

Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

I’d say the income will probably not be sufficient enough. SLEEPING DOG was a fairly successful first novel that went into three printings and earned a very nice paperback advance, along with an advance for the next two novels. That, and the very quick option of film rights, meant I could cut back on journalism, which was my occupation at the time.  But many of my writer friends have continued their day jobs. And that’s another plus for the writing profession: you don’t have to give up the day job. 

What is the best piece of advice you were given that you could pass on to aspiring writers?

The advice is painfully simple: finish the book. Don’t keep polishing that first chapter until it shines. Don’t get four or five chapters down and set it aside to start “something more saleable.” Don’t talk yourself into turning your idea into a screenplay. Write the book, all 90,000 words. And then show what you’ve done to the most critical person you know – preferably someone with no empathy affect. You don’t have to agree with everything they say, but if they trigger any doubts, pay attention to them.

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