Whispers Under the Baobab

One of my favourite writers, Darlene Jones (yes, she’s the one on the camel) has just completed another book, “Whispers Under the Baobab.” It is a stand-alone sequel to her previous publication, “When the Sun was Mine.”  In this sequel,  the setting goes back and forth in time.  We are taken from the U.S. to Africa and back, to events that happened earlier in the life of award-winning journalist, Flo McAllister. When she died, Flo left a mystery behind. The story evolves as we try to decode her secret notes.

I’d like to share the author’s thoughts with you here. Welcome Darlene. What can you tell us about your new book, “Whispers Under the Baobab”?

Darlene Jones

It’s always exciting when “the book” is finally edited, formatted, and published. Holding the print copy in your hands never fails to make your heart beat a little faster. You’ve done it.

Whispers Under the Baobab, my seventh book, is as gratifying as my first. Perhaps even more so for not only have I honed the craft of writing in the process, but I’ve set much of this one in West Africa including Mali, a country that has been dear to my heart ever since I lived there many years ago.

Even more gratifying are the comments from my Nigerian friend, who graciously agreed to be a beta reader.

As an African currently living in Nigeria, my country, I could relate especially with the African setting. Aside from developing the plot, Jones doesn’t fail to present the reader with tidbits about the life and culture of Sidu’s people.

Some sequels tend to lose steam along the way, but not this one. This second installment is a book you can relax with, and finish in a day. If you are looking for a novel where good triumphs over evil, where love is mutual and undying, where new friendships are forged from the unlikeliest of situations, and above all, where the plot is driven by suspense and some bit of code-cracking, then Whispers Under the Baobab is the book for you.

Darlene Jones demonstrates exceptional talent as a wordsmith, and for plotting an intriguing story whose premise invites readers be to resolute in their quest for what is true and right.

See both books here: http://ow.ly/aKXh30bMH88

 

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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

All titles available at amazon outlets and at smashwords.com

More info at anneli-purchase.com

 

Mobsters, Monsters, and Nazis

Remember the comic book days? Doesn’t this book cover remind you of those times? But this is not a comic book. It is the cover of a six-story illustrated series by Dan O’Brien and Steve Ferchaud, available soon.

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Hello from Dan O’Brien!

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Dan O’Brien and Steve Ferchaud have done it again! Mobsters, Monsters & Nazis will be a six-story illustrated series that will launch on Halloween and conclude right around Christmas. It is equal parts noir, pulp, lovecraft, and detective fiction with enough intrigue and mystery to keep you hanging on.

It is available for pre-order starting today, so be sure to grab it and let everyone know about it!

You can pre-order it for only $2.99 by clicking on the cover above or by following this link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OE781J2

 

 

Neurotically Yours -Bonnie Trachtenberg

Bonnie

My guest is author Bonnie Trachtenberg. Here she is to introduce her contribution to the Humour in Writing series.

“I love things that make me laugh, so it’s only natural that my books would include comedy. In fact, I find humor sneaking into things that I write that aren’t even supposed to be funny. It sure takes the sting out of the toughness in life! This is an excerpt from my second romantic comedy, Neurotically Yours.”

 

 

 

EXCERPT FROM NEUROTICALLY YOURS:

“You wanted to see me?” she asked.

“Yes. Please close the door and have a seat.”

Something in his formal tone told her this had nothing to do with outdated dairy products. She waited for him to open his mouth and breathe some fire her way, but instead, he opened a folder that sat waiting on his desk and shuffled through the stack of papers inside. It didn’t take long for Dara to realize the folder contained a collection of her printed columns.

He pursed his flaky lips and narrowed his eyes as he looked at her.

“I’ve read over your columns, Dara, and I’m very concerned.”

“Really? Why would they concern you?”

“I’ve never seen an advice columnist let loose on her readers the way you do. You’ve been writing this column for, what, almost eight years?”

Dara nodded slowly.

“I understand that a column will progress along with the columnist over a period of time. It’s only natural—but in your case…”

“Yes?”

“Well, I find the progression quite disturbing.”

“Disturbing?” she echoed with surprise.

 “Well,” he said, mustering professionalism, “early on, your column was more like a pep talk, more hopeful. That’s good. That’s what people want to hear, but lately…”

The Beast tapped his bony fingers on his desk while sighing.

“You can get to the point, Bob,” she said with some irreverence. The change in tone brought out the editor she was starting to know and hate.

“Telling people they’re better off on their own is not the best romantic advice.”

“It is if they’re dating a creep.”

“Last month you suggested that a forty-eight-year-old woman,” he shuffled through the file so he could quote her accurately, “‘would be better off with goldfish for company than the pathetic stream of misfits polluting her dating waters.’”

“Well, it’s true,” Dara defended matter-of-factly.

He pulled out another page with a huff and started reading. “And from March, you told Stymied in Santa Monica that, and I quote again, ‘Couples therapy would be a waste of time considering your fiancé’s obvious obsession with killing small, defenseless animals.’”

Bob looked sternly at Dara. “So he’s a hunter,” he said with annoyance. “Lots of people are hunters. That doesn’t disqualify such a person from couples therapy—or good relationships.”

“It does when the person does it every weekend instead of paying some modicum of attention to his fiancée. My God, they’re not even married yet, and he’s totally ignoring her, not to mention murdering innocent wildlife.”

“Well,” Bob added as he pulled Exhibit C from the pile, “at least you’re an equal opportunity offender. You told this man that his girlfriend was ‘clearly a narcissist who will play nice until she sinks her claws deep enough into your skin to hold you down and eat you alive.’ Then you quoted lyrics from a Hall and Oates song, ‘Maneater.’”

“Yes,” Dara commented coolly, “I’ve seen it happen many times with women like that.”

“You told him to ‘get over his hard-on for bitches unless he wants a life of pain and misery.’”

She nodded with assuredness. “Sound advice.”

The Beast huffed at her again and began to raise his voice, “First of all, you can’t diagnose someone with a personality disorder when you’ve never even met her.”

“Oh, come on, it’s so obvious though—” she started.

“And, second, if he breaks up with her after reading this, we could have a lawsuit on our hands!”

“We have a disclaimer, remember? This is only for entertainment purposes, blah, blah, blah—”

“That doesn’t mean someone won’t start trouble anyway! We live in a very litigious state.”

The Beast tried to calm himself with a deep breath.

“Dara, your column is way too… depressing.”

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Buy Neurotically Yours

Amazon: http://amzn.to/HY4PyF

Amazon UK: http://is.gd/e14qU0

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/KumteQ

 

 

 

Turning Points Series – Bonnie Trachtenberg

Bonnie

My guest for this installment of a “Turning Point Scene” is Bonnie Trachtenberg,  the multi-award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel, Neurotically Yours: A Novel, and The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking. Bonnie writes a monthly relationship and advice column for Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle Magazine. Bonnie was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. She lives in New York with her husband, four cats, and a dog.

WEDLOCKED – Turning Point Scene

When I was sure they both had disconnected, I hung up quietly. Then I let out the breath I realized I had been holding in. My hands were shaking with rage. I tried to decide what to do but then determined to just let him have it with both barrels. I opened the bathroom door and slowly sidled up to where Craig was reclining in the easy chair.

“What are you doing?” I asked him accusingly.

“Watching TV.”

“No!” I shouted. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” This got his attention, and he looked up at me. “You’re going into business with Lou?!”

“What are you eavesdropping on me?”

“Don’t try to turn this around. What do you think you’re getting us into? Don’t you think I know what a crook he is?”

“Rebecca …”

“Which one of his shady ventures did you buy us into?” I said as I paced the floor in a fury.

“It’s on the up and up.”

“Yeah, sure it is. What are we drug runners now? Or will all our new furniture have fallen off a truck?”

“It’s nothing like that.”

“And how could you invest our wedding money without even discussing it with me? That’s our money, Craig. Our money. And the last place in the world that I want it is anywhere near Lou!”

I was now standing over him with menace in my eyes.

“Rebecca, I didn’t have a choice.”

“What are you talking about? Didn’t have a choice …”

“The business isn’t doing … as well as it should. My father’s getting out.  I need to diversify.”

“There are a million other jobs or business ventures you could explore. How could you pick Lou?”

“He made me an equal partner in his company.”

“He doesn’t run a company. He runs a racket.”

“Look, I did it cause I need a lot of money, and I need it fast.”

“Oh, and why is that?” I asked anxiously, afraid to know the answer.

“Cause the IRS is on my ass—big time.”

“Oh, jeez, Craig. Is there anything else you’ve managed to screw up that I should know about?”

“Rebecca … it’ll be fine. I promise you.”

Then I stood up straight and walked to the sliding doors for a breath of air. I looked out on the beauty of Capri. Then I waited about twenty seconds, took a deep breath, and turned back to face him.

“I know the fact that we’re on our honeymoon makes it a very inopportune time to announce this, Craig, but … I want a divorce.”

 Wedlocked_Book_Cover

Learn much more about Bonnie at her website: http://www.Bonnie

Trachtenberg.com

Read her advice column at: http://www.loveahappyending.com/category/in-search-of-a-happy-ending/

Find her on Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/BonnieTrachtenberg

Follow her on Twitter: @Writebrainedny

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Wedlocked

Amazon: http://is.gd/2XLInB

Amazon UK: http://is.gd/hIKHRa

Barnes & Noble: http://is.gd/t8Izux

Neurotically_Yours_Cover_JPEG

delusional-thinking-FINAL-Amazon

Buy Neurotically Yours

Amazon: http://amzn.to/HY4PyF

Amazon UK: http://is.gd/e14qU0

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/KumteQ

 

Buy The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking

Amazon: http://is.gd/dquC6v

Amazon UK: http://is.gd/2u3KnV

Barnes & Noble: http://is.gd/FTczLh

The Mailbox

This photo got my wheels turning. I could never look at it without stopping to think and wonder. So many possible stories hovered at the edge of my brain. Finally I wrote one down. It’s not a happy story. Even in the sunshine, this photo brought out melancholy feelings. Here is one story: ??????????

“I’ll write,” he said, but he didn’t make eye contact. Warren hated anything to do with pen and paper.

“But you could phone when you get to Duck Lake,” I said.

“Joe’s cabin doesn’t have a phone.”

“Well, then how did he get in touch with you to arrange the fishing trip?”

“He called from a neighbour’s place.” Warren set down his coffee cup, spilling some of it, and got up from the table.

“You could call me from there.”

“The neighbour’s house is about five miles from Joe’s place. I’ll write you a note.”

“Do you have to go for a whole month?” I hated the whine in my voice.

“Look! I haven’t had a holiday for months.” His voice was tight. “And anyway, we probably need a break from each other. Just don’t bug me. I’ll be back when I feel like coming back.”

“But—”

“And yes, I’ll do the shopping in Bozeman before I come home.” He strode across the room. “Get me the list. I gotta go pack.”

***

Ten minutes later, Warren rushed out the door and threw his duffle bag into the cab of the truck. I bent down to slip on a pair of runners on the veranda, then turned to wave goodbye but he was already peeling down the long driveway, tires spitting gravel into the cloud of dust he left behind. He raised a hand and waved through the cab window without turning his head.

I wiped the dust and a few stray tears from my eyes. I stood dumbstruck as I listened to the fading grumble of his truck tires on our country road.

I turned to go back into the house. Warren’s fishing rod mocked me from where he had leaned it in the corner of the room.  And I knew that my mailbox would remain empty.

***

What Love Means

Bonnie Trachtenberg loves cats. For this reason and many others, she’s always welcome on my blog. Here she is sharing her views on love for our Valentine’s Day countdown.

Me sitting on rock at beach

What love means to me…

My husband has never bought me flowers. He knows the cats will eat them and throw up. He doesn’t buy me candy—until I take him once a year to Godiva so I can pick out all the chocolates I like, and not waste calories on the others. He has never planned a surprise event for me, whether on my birthday or at any other time, or picked out jewelry to gift me with. He knows I have specific tastes and he doesn’t want to disappoint me. I make the social plans, the dinner reservations, and happily pick out my own gems, sometimes with him by my side.

But let me tell you a few of the things he has done…

My husband built a house in our yard for our stray cats with insulation, cat doors, windows, window seats, cozy beds, and heat, so I don’t worry about them all winter. When he thought his son was extremely allergic to my indoor cat, he built us a beautiful addition to our home so that my cat and I could have a luxurious, spacious place to be when his son came over. He gave me one of my favorite gifts of all time: a portable back scratcher that fits in my purse, for those annoying, hard-to-reach itches I always seem to get. He is appreciative if I simply heat up a frozen dinner for him and will joke, “You outdid yourself.” He has learned to watch old black and white movies with me and even enjoy them. My husband knows my idiosyncrasies and loves me in spite of them. He hugs me and tells me he loves me every day. He is my best friend, my greatest admirer, my biggest fan, and the only man who ever really “got” me—and I wouldn’t trade him for all the flowers and candy in the world.

Bonnie is the author of the bestselling, multi-award winning romantic comedies Wedlocked and Neurotically Yours. She is also the author of the humor/satire book The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking. She lives in New York with her husband, four cats, and a dog.

Wedlocked-a-Novel-by-Bonnie-Trachtenberg-160x190Neurotically_Yours_Cover_JPEGdelusional-thinking-FINAL-Amazon

Learn much more about Bonnie at her website: www.BonnieTrachtenberg.com