The Seamless Web

My guest today is Joe Eliseon. He is looking at you over his glasses because he wants to make direct eye contact with you, dear readers, as he is about to share his interesting history with you.

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The well-seasoned old codger looked at me sideways, stroking his clean-shaven chin.  “You know, if we hire you, you’ll be the only lawyer in the firm with a beard.”

“What is it?” I asked. “Some sort of hormonal problem?”

Honest to God, I thought it was something in the water.

Times have changed since I was in law school, interviewing for jobs. I grew my beard back then, wanting to do something women couldn’t do, at least not well. Recruiters described a law firm as “casual” and “relaxed” if they allowed you to take off your suit coat on a hot day. The constant, staccato beat of secretaries’ typewriters told the partners they were making money. Big clients like insurance companies were pushing hourly billing as a cost-control measure.

Today, most law school graduates are women and scraggly beards pass unnoticed among the surviving but otherwise emasculated males. Suits and ties are reserved for court appearances, as if they were the wigs worn by British jurists. There are hardly any secretaries; lawyers do their own typing on keyboards that click quietly rather than clack loudly. Consultants and accountants tell you whether or not you’re making money. Big clients like insurance companies moan over the fact that hourly billing is bankrupting them.

And I don’t practice law any more. I write novels.

Why is that?

There’s no simple answer to the question. It’s like asking me why I became a lawyer in the first place. I’ve given simple answers to the latter question, but I find they change over time. The more I think about it, the more I remember little things that contributed to the decision. Some of them seem more important at one point, others at other points. They rattle around in my head and jostle for position. Figuring out your own motivations is damned difficult. It’s so much easier to figure out other people’s.

Maybe that’s why I write novels. Or I may just have stories to tell.

Let’s talk a little about my books.

I had written a number of short stories before I wrote my first novel, The Seamless Web: A Legal Comedy. In fact, SW started out as a short story about a young attorney who discovers how to manipulate the electronic records of legal cases and starts writing his own cases.  That’s the core of the novel, but the characters took over and ran off with the story. My protagonist, Pete Roselli, turned into the legal equivalent of Everyman, having to face the consequences of a little lie that keeps getting bigger and bigger. He finds that a lie, even a little one, leaves you at the mercy of all manner of liars.

My second novel is still a work-in-progress. It’s called D.P.W.: A Political Fantasy. It’s about politics as seen through the eyes of a low-level public employee, a snowplow driver in the Department of Public Works, who finds himself the target of a federal investigation into municipal corruption. Wondering why he has been singled out as a target for his pitiful nickel-and-dime graft, he consults his retired mentor in the Department. This mysterious character, who lives in a broken-down shack in the far reaches of the Department’s equipment yard, explains to him that he’s been targeted precisely because he is a small-timer. Our hero thereupon resolves to fight back by becoming the biggest crook he can be.

DPW’s almost done. I’m finishing up the third draft. I’ll need to do a fourth. But it will be ready for release by summer 2016. Of course, that’s what I said last year.

While you’re waiting, I really do recommend my short story collection: Five Minutes More and Other Stories,  in which I skip from haunted law firms to time-travel to ancient Sicilian legends to science fiction to gods new and old.

And visit my Google+ page, where you’ll find links to a baker’s dozen of free short stories that I ought to be charging for.

Full Edition FINAL

Visit Joe’s website:

http://joeeliseon.com/

There you will find all his book information, and if you click on “Contact” on the menu at the top, you can find all the links to his wonderful sites and podcasts.

 

 

Love and Drama

Women love a love story.

Men?

I think men secretly love a love story but they don’t want to let their emotions go all to pieces, at least not so anyone could see. While they wouldn’t be caught dead holding a copy of some romantic novel, they wouldn’t mind watching a movie with drama and a relationship as long as it wasn’t too sappy.

Apricot Nectar

So authors of novels that involve relationships have some options. They can give up on men as readers and write “romance” novels for women. Or, they can write the kind of novel that both men and women can enjoy, with more happening in the novel than simply a love story.

The latter is the kind of novel I prefer to write. I always have relationships going on in my stories, but the background events and locations raise the interest level for all readers.

Let me give you four examples:

One

In my novel, The Wind Weeps, a woman becomes involved with two commercial fishermen. Of course she chooses the wrong man. After that, it’s a matter of her survival. I don’t take the fishermen out of their setting and focus only on the love affairs. The events that influence the development of the story are set in the real working lives of the fishermen. The characters run their trollers, they do some hunting, they do boat maintenance, go mushroom picking, and explore the fabulous coast of British Columbia from Vancouver to the Queen Charlotte Islands. But all this is written to appeal to men as well as women. Romantic attachments develop within this lifestyle. Exciting drama and tense situations keep you turning pages.

Two

My novel Reckoning Tide is the sequel to The Wind Weeps. It is a “must read,” if you enjoyed the free download of The Wind Weeps. I think you will find the continuing adventure and ending of Reckoning Tide very satisfying.

Three

Another love story in a practical, yet exotic setting is Orion’s Gift. Sylvia, a gorgeous California woman,  has received news that prompts her to flee her comfortable home. She goes on an extended trip down the Baja Peninsula. But for the men, who also enjoy real life situations and a love story sneaked in on the sly, I introduce Kevin, owner of an Alberta hardware store. Kevin is a handsome man who has let his wife steamroll over him for years. Events evolve that allow Kevin to escape, and Baja is his destination. When Kevin meets Sylvia, they should live happily ever after, judging by the sparks they send up to the heavens, but their two spouses are hunting them down. Trouble looms.

If you like a good love story with spicy sex, and  a real inside look at dry camping on the Baja Peninsula, Orion’s Gift is the book for you.

Four

And then there is Julia’s Violinist. Born of German heritage, in what was then Austria-Hungary, Julia is an innocent victim of the fallout of two world wars. Julia’s Violinist is not a war story, because, as its author, I dislike war stories. But what I have learned is that when there is major strife in the world, people still  try to continue living their usual lives. The war tears up the very foundations of Julia’s life. Widowed, having lost her home to the spoils of war, she and her two children are rebuilding their lives. Times are hard. Very hard. She remarries, but her husband is a difficult man.

Then one day a letter arrives from Canada. After twenty years, her first love has found her again after searching for her through the Red Cross. “Come to me,” he writes. “Thank God I’ve found you. I still love you after all these years.”

You will love Julia too. I guarantee it.

Anneli Purchase

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More info at anneli-purchase.com

 

Seeking Purpose

My friend and fellow author, Carol Balawyder is a guest on Joanne’s blog. I’ve reblogged this to Anneli’s Place. Read about Carol’s story of how her writing fills gaps in her life.

Joanne Guidoccio

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Canadian author Carol Balawyder musing about the two acts of her writing journey.

Here’s Carol!

carolbalawyderI am so grateful to be featured among so many (over 90!) wonderful writers in Joanne Guidoccio’s Second Acts series.

In life one has many second acts but the one which I wish to focus on here is my writing journey.

ACT ONE

Five years ago I retired from a successful teaching career with the luck of a pension that allowed me the freedom to write without the financial burden of having a day job. My initial intention was to put my heart and soul into writing crime novels. After all, wasn’t that the purpose for my going back to school to study criminology and later teach Police Tech and Corrections so that I would have credibility as a crime writer?

mourninghasbrokenBut then people around me…

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Holiday Reading – Caroline James

Author Caroline James Image visits us today to share three of her favourite books for your holiday reading list.

Here’s Caroline:

CJ holiday reads

The Tea Planters Wife by  Dinah Jefferies
A delightful read set in an exotic location that easily transports the reader to life in Ceylon in the 1920s. I loved this book, not only for its rich history but the gripping tale too. 
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
A 1950s period piece – think Mad Men and settle down. A brilliant portrait of American surburbia set in Connecticut with layers and layers. I devoured this book enjoying the story of conformity and society’s expectations.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carolos Ruiz Zafron
A page-turning mystery that I couldn’t put down. I wanted to savour each page. It’s got everything from an intricate plot to star-crossed lovers, mayhem, and mystery.
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Universal link to: So You Think You’re  A Celebrity…Chef?  viewBook.at/carolinejameschefs
 “There’s something very British about this book and you engage with the characters and root for them from the opening chapter, think – ‘AbFab meets MasterChef in a Soap!'”
To find out more about Caroline James:

Web:      www.carolinejamesauthor.co.uk
Twitter:  @CarolineJames12

Holiday Reading – Jenny Harper

Today’s guest is author Jenny Harper. She will share her favourites to add to your holiday reading list.

Here’s Jenny:

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My three books:

Sarah Mallery, Sewing Can Be Dangerous, and other Small Threads.  A great collection of short stories woven around key historical events – and all with a link to sewing.

Mary Smith, Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni. A non-fiction account of life as a health worker in Afghanistan – vivid, insightful, hilarious, moving.

C L Taylor, The Missing. Fast-moving psychological thriller that really grips you.

My latest novel:

People We Love.

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“An engaging and delightful read. Jenny Harper is a most gifted storyteller.” Alexander McCall Smith

‘Thoroughly entertaining’ Katie Fforde

Her life is on hold – until an unlikely visitor climbs in through the kitchen window.

A year after her brother’s fatal accident, Lexie’s life seems to have reached a dead end. She is back home in small-town Hailesbank with her shell-shocked parents, treading softly around their fragile emotions.

As the family business drifts into decline, Lexie’s passion for painting and for her one-time mentor Patrick have been buried as deep as her unexpressed grief, until the day her lunch is interrupted by a strange visitor in a bobble hat, dressing gown and bedroom slippers, who climbs through the window.

Elderly Edith’s batty appearance conceals a secret and starts Lexie on a journey that gives her an inspirational artistic idea and rekindles her appetite for life. With friends in support and ex-lover Cameron seemingly ready to settle down, do love and laughter beckon after all?

amazon.co.uk

amazon.com

Jenny’s author page

Holiday Reading – Bonnie Trachtenberg

I hope you’ve got your holiday reading list handy so you can add to it today. Author Bonnie Trachtenberg is going to share her latest favourites with us. Here’s Bonnie:

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I love to laugh all year long, but especially during the holidays, so I’ve chosen three books to share that thoroughly entertained me!

 

Here they are. All funny books for the holiday season.

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

If you enjoy lighthearted mysteries, you’ll love this gem by Lisa Lutz, which had me laughing so hard at one point that I actually had tears streaming down my face.

Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris

If you’re in a holiday kind of mood, David Sedaris’ hilarious collection of Christmas-themed stories told in his inimitably funny voice, will bring a smile to your face and some extra joy to your holiday.

I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron

We lost the great Nora Ephron recently, but luckily she left us with some of her wonderful books and movies to enjoy over and over again. In this one, she brings us her candid and witty insights and observations on modern life.

 

Here is one of Bonnie’s own novels, Neurotically Yours

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/HY4PyF

Website: http://www.BonnieTrachtenberg.com

Holiday Reading – Melanie Robertson-King

Author Melanie Robertson-King joins us today to share her favourite books to add to our holiday reading list. Here she is:

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The Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride:  Another page turner by this Scottish crime writer. I picked this book up on a recent trip to Scotland and read it on the plane coming home. One of the things I love about Stuart’s books and especially this one, is they’re set in places I’ve visited. Dark, heinous crimes, and in this latest book, Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae is removed from his comfort zone (Aberdeen) to rural Aberdeenshire. This novel is different from the earlier books starring this detective, but well worth reading.

The Highland Lass by Rosemary Gemmell:  Set in present-day Scotland, this novel ties in the love story between Robbie Burns and his beloved Highland Mary when Eilidh Campbell returns to Scotland to discover the identity of her biological father.

The Farran Mackenzie Mystery Series by Maggie Wheeler: There are four books in this series and I’ve read and re-read them. All  have been recently re-released in e-book format. Maggie spins a series of cozy mysteries (A Violent End, Brother of Sleep, All Mortal Things and On a Darkling Plain) set in Eastern Ontario and tying in to the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project of the late 1950s with Farran Mackenzie (a modern day Miss Marple) in the middle of it all, trying to solve the crimes without getting herself killed.

Melanie’s latest release: Tim’s Magic Christmas

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Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Melanie’s website http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/