Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Billi Tiner's Publishing Journey @TinerBooks #WriteTip #BookMarketing #PubTip

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I wrote my first book, Welcome Home, approximately 12 years ago. I have always enjoyed writing, but most of my writing had been in the form of poetry or short stories. This was my first attempt at a full-length  book. The story is based on a patient I had during my first year in veterinary practice. It is a children’s book written with a Labrador Retriever as the main character. The story is written from the dog’s point of view. When I completed the novel, I was very proud of it and eager to get it noticed. I sent hundreds of query letters to agents and publishers, but received rejection letter after rejection letter. After about a year, I gave up on ever getting it published. Ten years later, I got motivated to try again. However, I had the same disappointing results. Finally, two years ago, my father-in-law, who is an author and has had numerous nonfiction books traditionally published, told me about Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. My confidence in the quality of the book had been severely affected by the rejection it had received from agents and publishers. However, my husband convinced me to give it a try. Having no idea what to expect, I took the plunge and self-published the book. I contacted a few bloggers I found on-line who agreed to review it for me. I was very curious to see what they thought of it. When Welcome Home received its first five-star review, I was more relieved than anything else. I finally had a third party telling me that the story was indeed something that people would enjoy reading. After that, the writing bug took a firm hold on me. I quickly set out to write my next book. In addition, I read every marketing tip article I could find on the Internet.
Now, two years later, I have four children’s books, three young adult books, and two contemporary romance novels available for purchase. I recently quit my job to become a full-time writer. I am overjoyed and humbled by the positive responses I have received for all my books. I still hungrily read every review. I have to admit that each negative review I receive is a blow to my confidence. However, I remind myself that not everyone enjoys the same type of story. I look at bestsellers that I have no interest in reading as a good reminder that everyone has their own unique taste. The main thing is that I love what I do, and I plan to keep doing it, for as long as I can.

From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel.
Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone.
Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.
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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
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The Ouroboros Key #Excerpt by @PatriciaLeslieA #AmReading #Fantasy #MustRead

Friday, April 25, 2014

The office was pleasantly quiet. Simone had turned Sherrie’s radio off as soon as the receptionist had walked out the front door, a pleasant respite from the usual noise that followed the girl everywhere she went. Nick stood over Simone for a second, watching her work straight-backed and barely moving.
“How can you sit so long at that thing?”
“Hmmm?” The web browser flicked from page to page, slowed to let the cursor glide over a few lines before clicking on another link and moving on.
“Simone?” Nick leaned against the desk, bumping the keyboard to get her attention.
“Nicholas, did you want something?”
“Any calls?”
Simone reached across to the message pad and flicked over the blank top page, shaking her head. “Let’s see, Elliott and Sherrie are still out. Dan did call, but didn’t say anything I felt should be committed to paper. He’s finished filling reports out at the precinct and is on his way to the gallery. He promised to be back here by three.”
“He’d better be. I need to get down to Castle Rock by four. Did you finish the report on John Leary’s recent activities?”
“As a matter of fact, yes.” Simone gave a cool smile and pushed back from the desk to cross her legs, hands slipping from the keyboard to rest on the desk edge. “He and his secretary were quite active after hours. I swear Dan was blushing. That lens he talked you into buying has quite an effective zoom range; not a blurry pixel in sight. He does take a good photo, all the right angles.” Her smile warmed as she spoke. “Mrs. Leary isn’t going to be at all happy. I imagine this will be one set of family photographs that won’t make it to the mantelpiece.”
Simone’s gaze wandered back to the computer screen, fingers crept back to the keys, but Nick didn’t move. “Was there anything else?”
“I was just talking to your Professor Shaw. He’s coming over shortly with some of Flemming’s journals, wants you to take a look at them.” He slapped the Post-It note onto the monitor. “Also mentioned something about the Sangreal. Seemed excited. Know what that is?”
“You know, he really does prefer to be called Finn. Professor sounds so stuffy and he’s anything but stuffy.” Simone pulled the note from the screen and read the single word. “Sangreal. Sounds familiar. Did he say anything else?”
“Finn would be the one to know. I wonder what he’s thinking?”
“Talk that over with the professor … Finn, when he gets here. Meanwhile, see what you can find in here.” He tapped the monitor. “I don’t see what any of this Albigensi stuff the professor was into could have to do with her vanishing …”
“On the contrary, Nick. This is ‘the stuff’ where ancient mysteries can be found. Secret societies, historical cover-ups. Who knows what scandals we might unearth, perhaps what Professor Flemming might have come upon?”
Nick rolled his eyes at Simone’s enthusiasm for unearthing scandals and returned to his office to call the soon-to-be unhappy wife of Mr. John Leary.
With Nick’s departure, Simone returned to her research. She bookmarked the website she had open and typed in the new search request. Sangreal  She said it out loud a few times, playing with the syllables, and then whispered, lips moving silently over the vowels and consonants as the screen filled with lists. She clicked on the first one, and smiled.

Prophetic dreams have haunted Dan Tenney since childhood, foretelling him of a life-changing event that is soon to take place. But before he can learn the meaning of his visions, he is attacked by a shadowy group of extremists: the Brotherhood of the Grail.
Finding sanctuary underground, an ancient relic comes into his possession and Dan begins to understand the path his visions have laid out before him. His quest will be fraught with an otherworldly people and an event that could tip the balance in favour of human existence-or disastrously against it. The mysterious Brotherhood will do everything in their power to prevent Dan from fulfilling his destiny as the Bearer of Ouroboros
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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@TracyWeberTypes on Finding Inspiration in Everyday Life & What Inspired Her #Mystery Book

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Several things inspired me to become a writer: a lifelong love of cozy mysteries; a passion for yoga; an almost obsessive love of dogs; a next door neighbor who is also a prolific author. I can even narrow down the specific moment I decided to write the Downward Dog Mystery series. It involved a rainy night, a particularly challenging workout, and a passage from Susan Conant’s book Black Ribbon.
But in the end, the inspiration for Murder Strikes a Pose came from my German shepherd dog Tasha, a homeless woman, and her Rottweiler mix—all of whom taught me the true meaning of love.

Tasha has some of the same issues as Bella, the German shepherd in Murder Strikes a Pose. She’s huge, not always perfectly well behaved, and she has a variety of expensive health conditions. In spite of her problems, I adore her to a fault. Living with Tasha has changed my life, in every way for the better. She has made me more patient, more loving, and more connected with my community. At the same time, she gets me into some pretty “interesting” situations. My yoga students have been putting up with my “Tasha stories” for years now, so writing them down seemed like a no-brainer.
Most people don’t understand my connection with Tasha, but I befriended a homeless woman who did. She used to hang out near the entrance to my favorite grocery store, and she always had a large Rottweiler mix in a crate next to her. The dog was aggressive to other dogs and frightening to the store’s customers. The crate—which my friend stored behind the building at night—allowed her to keep the dog nearby, in spite of its reactivity.
I never knew this woman’s name, but she adored her dog to a fault and went to great lengths to keep it safe, in spite of her own financial issues and living conditions. She was as dedicated to her pet as most people are to their children.
I started to wonder: What if her dog had Tasha’s illnesses as well as its behavior issues? What would she do? Whatcould she do? She could never have afforded Tasha’s medication. That’s when the story of George and Bella formed in my head. I want to be clear: George is not that woman—not even close. But like her, he knows the joy and heartache that come from deep love for an imperfect creature. And like her, he was willing to make great sacrifices for his dog.
Unfortunately, she moved out of my neighborhood long before I wrote the first draft of Murder Strikes a Pose, so I will never know what she would have thought of being my muse. I hope she would have felt complimented.
Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she current­ly lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sip­ping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Tracy loves connecting with fans.  Find her on her author web page or on Facebook.
When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.
One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
Cozy fans will eagerly await the next installment.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Murder Strikes a Pose, by Tracy Weber, is a delightful debut novel featuring Kate Davidson, a caring but feist yoga teacher . . . Namaste to Weber and her fresh, new heroine!” PENNY WARNER,AUTHOR OFHOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE
“[T]his charming debut mystery . . . pieces together a skillful collage of mystery, yoga, and plenty of dog stories against the unique backdrop of Seattle characters and neighborhoods. The delightful start of a promising new series. I couldn’t put it down!” WAVERLY FITZGERALD, AUTHOR OF DIAL C FOR CHIHUAHUA
“Three woofs for Tracy Weber’s first Downward Dog Mystery, Murder STrikes a Pose. Great characters, keep-you-guessing plot, plenty of laughs, and dogswhat more could we want? Ah, yesthe next book!” SHEILA WEBSTER BONEHAM, AUTHOR OF DROP DEAD ON RECALL
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Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
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David Graham's Publishing Journey for INCITEMENT #AmReading #Thriller #GoodReads

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The publication of Incitement was almost purely a stroke of good luck. In the space of six months, the book went from sitting on my computer, where it’d been for a few years, to being available in bookshops throughout Ireland and, subsequently, to all of the main outlets online.

Incitement had been completed over 3 years earlier. As most writers do, I’d eagerly set out to find an agent but then the rejections started coming back. Once the number of ‘no’s exceeded thirty I became disheartened and decided to put the book to one side for a bit.

Then for whatever reason, I picked it up, read it again and it immediately became apparent I was trying to tell the story from too many perspectives. Boiling it down to its essence I realized that there were really two characters I had to primarily focus on. What resulted was a far tighter, easily accessible manuscript. Once I completed Incitement, however, I never got around to resubmitting it. I would often point to other commitments such as family, work etc. as the reason but I don’t know how much of it was a desire to avoid further rejection.

I was driving to the office one morning in May 2013 after dropping the children to school when I heard an announcement on RTE Radio 1, Ireland’s national broadcaster. One of their leading programs was running a competition for unpublished authors with the prize being a publishing package. I deliberated for a while but in the end decided I’d nothing to lose and entered Incitement. I’d completely forgotten about the competition when a few months later I received a call telling me I’d made the shortlist of five from over 500 entries.

Despite being delighted to have made the shortlist, my expectations still weren’t particularly high. The competing books appeared to me to be much more in tune with the tastes of the listenership. Incitement isn’t a typical crime novel by an Irish writer in that it doesn’t feature Irish protagonists. The story begins with a series of violent incidents. A bloody massacre at a Mexican heroin refinery; a Miami-bound freight ship hijacked for its cargo of illegal narcotics; the assassination of a Kosovar drug lord – all pointing to a war between two drugs superpowers.  A DEA Agent, Diane Mesi, investigates and becomes convinced that the conflict is being orchestrated by an unknown third party but she’s marginalised by her colleagues and her judgement is challenged at every turn. On the other side of the conflict is Michael Larsen, a Danish ex-soldier who’s been hired to fuel the conflict until it destroys both sides. He hopes that bringing down the cartels will atone for some of his past actions. Neither Mesi or Larsen know, though, the full extent of what is being planned or the stakes involved. As they each pursue their own resolution, the violence escalates and they become increasingly isolated and vulnerable.

The finalists were invited on the air in August while the judges discussed the merits of each entry. One of the judges was Ferdia MacAnna, a BAFTA winning director and writer of a novel that had been adapted into a film with Jared Leto and Christina Ricci. Ferdia was very generous in his praise for Incitement, saying “… a page-turner, couldn't put it down ... I'm amazed it's a first book, it's like a 3rd or 4th from an established writer …. It's a great book, if you like thrillers ...”. To my absolute surprise Incitement won and, just like that, was going to be published.



A brutal conflict unleashed.
Who stands to win?

A bloody massacre at a Mexican heroin refinery; a Miami-bound freight ship hijacked for its cargo of illegal narcotics; the ruthless assassination of a Kosovar drug lord - a war has erupted between two drugs superpowers.

As DEA Agent Diane Mesi investigates she becomes convinced that the conflict is being orchestrated by an unknown third party. But she is marginalised by her colleagues and her judgement is challenged at every turn. Only if she can expose the truth will she be able to stop the violence and save her career.

Michael Larsen is an ex-soldier and hired mercenary who has been contracted to fuel the conflict at every opportunity until it destroys both sides. As he battles his own demons, he hopes that by directing the violence he will attain some measure of redemption.

But neither Mesi nor Larsen know the full extent of the forces at play or of what is truly at stake. As they each pursue their own resolution, the violence escalates and they become increasingly vulnerable to the dangers that stalk them.

Incitement won the John Murray Show / RTE Guide / Kazoo Competition from over 500 entries.

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Genre – Thriller
Rating – R
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Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem (Bloodsong #Series 2) by Sandy Nathan #Fantasy #BookClub

Friday, April 18, 2014

 Enzo Donatore sat on one of the finely carved marble benches ringing the wide patio behind the palace. He was contemplating a little problem that had been worrying him more than was seemly. Ruining his afternoon, truth be told. Despite his gloom, light flooded the area where he sat. It shimmered on Enzo’s silver-flecked blond hair and closely trimmed beard; it shone on his strong teeth and jaw. His body was perfectly formed. His tailored jacket could not hide the breadth of his chest or his muscular physique, yet he carried his massive form with grace and ease.

His brother emerged from the castle’s nearest door with a very attractive young lady. He beckoned for his brother to bring the girl over. He was so distraught by the difficulty gnawing at him that he neglected to rise to greet her.

“Lorenzo, this is Andrea Beckman, the young woman I told you about,” Diego said. “We had a lovely time at the Alhambra yesterday. I invited Miss Beckman to the party this evening, and to stay as long as she wanted.” Diego smiled at her. “I’ll let you two get acquainted. I have work to do in the office.”

She looked at him with huge, trusting eyes. “Señor Donatore—”

“No, my dear, call me Enzo. Everyone who knows me does.”

“You’re a very long way from home, my dear,” said Enzo. “You’ve travelled all the way from California to my little abode.” He waved his hand to indicate the vast terrace around them, the lower courtyards cascading down the mountain, the vast blue skies, and the expansive fields and orchards of his domain. “You traveled all this way by yourself. You’re quite the adventuress.”

Enzo’s face radiated bonhomie, obscuring the sharpness of his gaze. Andrea stood next to him on the stone balcony, a slim young woman in a traveler’s cheap, wrinkle-proof dress. The dress couldn’t disguise the bounty of her breasts. She had dark hair and a fine, straight nose. Magnificent gray eyes.

He could tell she was awed by her surroundings, but managed to appear poised. From what Diego told him, this trip  must have been the greatest adventure of her life. Most probably, it would be the last. His lips curved into a smile.

“I ran into Diego—Señor  Donatore—at the Alhambra, as he said,” she replied.  “He invited me to stay here. I hope you don’t mind. I don’t usually just meet people and then show up at their castle. But he was so kind and he said that you have company all the time, and parties ... It didn’t matter that we’d just met.”

Her voice had the ingenuous inflection of the American West. He loved it. As she blinked her wide eyes, Andrea’s flaws were perfectly apparent to him: greed, ambition, and a willingness to believe anything that seemed to serve her purpose. Enzo smiled broadly. She was far better than Diego had indicated.

“I’m delighted to have you, my dear. What Diego said was true. Sometimes it does seem that we have a continuous party.” He chuckled. “My brother has impeccable judgment about whom to include in our social circle, and, as you can see,” he indicated the massive stone palace behind them, “we have plenty of room. Please stay as long as you like.”

A delicate flush rose from her neck. “Thank you. I can only stay a week. I have a new job waiting for me at home. I just finished my master’s degree in computer science at Berkeley. This trip is a graduation present from my parents.”

“Tell me about your job. I’m interested in jobs. I provide many. You’ve heard of Donatore Indústrial?”

“Of course. The Donatore name is famous all over the world.” Her tongue darted around her lips before she answered, a defensive gesture. It told him who her employer was before she said the name. Of course, he already knew from what Diego told him. Everyone knew of the feud between him and Will Duane. He tensed in anticipation of the word. “Well, my new job is at Numenon, in their Palo Alto headquarters.”

A hiss escaped him. She pulled away.

“Don’t mind me,” Enzo said, recovering. “Will Duane is an old rival.” He waved his hand. 

“His refusal to leave Europe and take his products with him has caused me much grief.”

A band struck up from the terrace’s lower level. “Ah, the party has begun. Would you like to meet your fellow guests?” He rose and indicated she should join him by the balustrade.

Andrea stood so close that he could have nestled his palm into the soft valley joining her waist and hip. He glanced at her face. A thin film of moisture glistened on her upper lip. A wisp of dark hair had loosened from her chignon and whipped in the wind. She reached up and secured it, neat as an adder.

She reacted to him the way everyone did when they saw him stand for the first time. She stood stiffly. Her eyes traveled up to his chest, and up again until her neck was craned back. When her head stopped moving, he knew she saw the underside of his nose and jaw. Her mouth opened; her face registered dismay and then, pity.

“I’ve a bit of gigantism, my dear,” he said. “Runs in the family. My father was much taller than I am. You must get used to me, and then you will think of me as your uncle Enzo.”

Enzo closed his eyes, inhaling sharply. He put his fingers to his forehead and winced.

“Are you all right, Señor Donatore?” Andrea asked.

He grimaced. “My dear,” he said, and then lifted her hand and brushed her knuckles against his lips. “I must attend to a bit of business. I’ll find you some company.”

They stood on the castle’s highest terrace. Buff-colored stone patios spread out behind them, and cypress-flanked stairways descended from each side. The staircases dropped and dropped again, until they reached the distant walls that surrounded the castle’s lands.

Enzo moved to the stone balustrade and looked down. The terrace below was crowded with people sipping drinks and dancing to black-clad musicians. A tall, auburn-haired woman looked up. He caught her eye and beckoned. She immediately headed for the stairs, moving toward them with surprising speed. The silk of her dark green gown pressed against her body as she walked, revealing its outlines.

“Andrea, this is Penelope. I’m going to leave you in her care.” Andrea looked flustered when she saw the other woman’s silk gown and jewel-draped arms and neck. Her hair was lacquered and wrapped as though she was a model in Vogue.

“Don’t feel embarrassed, my dear. We are formal here at the castle. Our guests are often taken by surprise. Penelope, get Andrea something to wear.” He kissed Andrea’s hand. “I’ll meet you for dinner. I’d like to continue our conversation, if that suits you.”

“Oh, yes!”



Will Duane owns the tech revolution. It's 1997; Will's been the richest man on the planet for twenty years. He can sway governments and ruin lives. Will's latest mission brings him into conflict with all that's holy.

He and his corporate hot shots reach their destination, a Native American spiritual retreat. Their luxurious motor homes enter the Mogollon Bowl, a geophysical anomaly where anything can happen. Now Will can spring his trap.

Grandfather, the powerful shaman leading the retreat, seeks a world where love is king, a world of peace and harmony. This vision has haunted him all his life. His corporate guest is the key to making his vision real. Grandfather knows exactly what Will Duane wants.
A malicious force steps into the action. Both men's hopes are dashed, as a sacred place becomes the playground of evil. A malevolent power tries to claim their lives and souls.
You won't forget this modern day fable, a high-speed, high stakes fantasy with visionary roots.

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Genre - Visionary Fantasy
Rating – R
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Maria Elena Sandovici on Writing in First Person (or Third) @SandoviciME #AmWriting #WriteTip #TBR

This is something I’ve given a lot of thought to. Different chapters in my novel, DOGS WITH BAGELS, are written from different perspectives, some from the point of view of L, a young woman trying to make ends meet in New York City, and some from the perspective of her immigrant parents, Maria and Victor. Initially, though the point of view shifted from chapter to chapter, everything was written in the third person. Somehow, that didn’t feel right.
DOGS WITH BAGELS went through eleven meticulous rewrites, over the course of six years. I experimented with different styles, trying to find my voice, or rather, the voices of my characters. It was in one of the later drafts, that I decided to change all chapters written from L’s perspective to first person, leaving those written from either of the parents’ perspective in third person.

Suddenly, I had found L’s voice, which is clearly different than Maria or Victor’s. Maria, the mother, is nostalgic, but also reserved. L, on the other hand is insecure, and a bit scattered, having not yet figured out who she is. She is, however, chatty, open, and allows for more personal closeness than her guarded mother, whose life experiences have led her to be removed, at times, even from her own feelings. Writing L’s chapters in first person, felt fresh, and suddenly felt right. I felt like I finally got her. There are a few more distinctive elements to her. She mixes foreign phrases randomly into her musings, and derives great amusement from playing with words. But she also speaks to the reader directly, exposing her innermost thoughts without censorship.

While writing some chapters in first person, some in third, felt right to me, and allowed me to better craft my characters’ voices, some reviewers criticized this feature of my novel, pointing out that, stylistically this is simply not done. They said I should have used the omnipresent narrator instead. I had, indeed, experimented with that in the first few drafts, but it was not right for me, or for my characters.

Frankly, I love that my style includes something controversial. I get a huge kick out of the notion that in these post-modern times (or should I say neo-baroque instead?), in which everything appears to have been done, and every rule already been broken, there is still something a writer can do that ‘is simply not done.’ I think art has no rules. One simply does what artistically feels right. To me, the characters’ individuality, their emotions, and their style in relating to others, the very distance they choose to take from their own lives, is best conveyed by changing perspective, and changing from first person to third person too. I’d rather write in a way that gives my story life and feeling, than in a style others deem correct.

This reminds me of a painting I did once, in which I had mixed different mediums. I was told by a more seasoned artist, that oils and acrylics should never be used jointly, because in the long run, they would not stick to each other. Later, I incurred similar criticism for writing on the walls at one of my art exhibits. The background to my paintings was white paper upon which I had written everything from a love letter to a former beau, to strange things about my dislike for science fiction, to bad words, and political slogans. Some people liked it, some found it odd and distracting.

One day, as I was visiting my favorite art gallery in Houston, the Cy Twombly gallery, I realized that in my favorite painting, a huge panel with tremendous emotional impact, Cy Twombly had done all of the things I had been told not to do: The panel is a combination of acrylic and oil. He wrote on it, in pen, like a naughty child scribbling on the walls. He simply had given himself freedom to not follow any rules, but rather make his own. And there I had it, as clear as day: Art requires freedom. Sometimes, creating something worthwhile means allowing oneself to do things one’s own way. In the end, what matters to me, is the emotional impact of a work of fiction or a painting, not the stylistic rigor, or the adherence to rules that are debatable anyway.


Liliana is the disappointing daughter of hardworking immigrant parents. She is a girl looking to be rescued from her own insecurities and bad decisions. Unable to afford rent in New York City proper, she is craving a life of luxury that isn’t hers, while subsisting on bagels and coffee. In desperate need of support - emotional and otherwise -, she clings to potential saviors, never bothering to question if the attachments she forms really fit her.

In a parallel storyline, her mother, Maria, is trying to reject all offers of help, especially those of her estranged husband, whose unexpected generosity forces her to revisit past mistakes she hasn't come to terms with. Enmeshed in her own drama, she doesn’t notice her daughter’s troubles until it’s too late. Desperate to keep Liliana from making a mistake that will alter the course of her life, Maria reveals her best-kept secret, a story so shocking it might have the power to jerk Liliana back to reality. It could, on the other hand, alienate her forever.

DOGS WITH BAGELS is a story about the American dream gone bad. It is also a story about mothers and daughters, about female friendships, the struggle to survive in one of the world’s most expensive cities, and women’s secret desire to have wild passionate sex with their exes. A cross between Bridgett Jones’ Diary and Sex and the City - with an accent! -, DOGS WITH BAGELS is as addictive as a trashy tabloid you can't seem to put down.

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Genre - Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating – R
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Writing As Personal Therapy & Novels Like A Terrarium by @JR_Tague #AmWriting #AmReading #YA

I’m a bit of a control freak. I like it when things are organized and orderly and make sense. But, as you know, those things don’t really jive too well with the real world. We don’t always get to have what we want. Things don’t always happen for a reason. And, as Schmendrick the Magician points out in Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, “There are no happy endings, because nothing ends.”

Except that’s not entirely true. Novels end. Sure, the story continues. But that’s off-screen. The main plot of the novel is concluded. Characters learn their lessons, or don’t. Readers are left with a sense of satisfaction, of completion.

A novel is like a terrarium. It’s a miniature world in which we can observe life on a smaller scale. Most of the time our own lives aren’t so organized. It’s hard to know the point to our lives, because usually, there are multiple points. And those change.

Novels, on the other hand, get to be focused. They can zero in on a central theme and follow it to an inevitable conclusion. In a way, we get to live vicariously through the characters. Their lives get to have meanings that are easier to figure out.

Writers get to be the gods of those worlds. We get to have control over them in a way we never can in the real world. If used properly, that can be extremely therapeutic. Think about it: we have a built-in universe in which to test out and explore our own ideas and issues. Our characters can act out various scenarios and we get see what the reactions will be before we have to commit to them in our own lives.

I don’t think most of us do this consciously. But the issues we’re grappling with often work their way into our stories. And sometimes that’s enough distance for us to recognize the possible solutions. Therapy is all about helping someone figure out the answers to their own questions. Through writing we get the release of airing our issues, the commiseration/camaraderie of relating to others (even fictional others) with similar issues, and the relief of knowing they can be solved.


Max McKay gets a second chance at life when, after a bizarre accident on his sixteenth birthday, he is reanimated as a new breed of thinking, feeling zombie. To secure a spot for his eternal soul, Max must use his video game prowess as well as the guidance of Steve the Death God to make friends and grow up. 

As if all that weren’t hard enough, Max discovers that he’s not the only zombie in town. As he enlists the help of his new friends, Adam and Penny, to solve the mystery of their un-dead classmate, Max discovers that he must level up his life experience in order to survive the trials and terrors of the upcoming zombie apocalypse. And, even worse, high school.

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Genre – YA
Rating – PG
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