Review ~ A Broken Kind of Beautiful

a broken kind of beautiful

Title: A Broken Kind of Beautiful


Author: Katie Ganshert


Release Date: April 15, 2014


Genre: Fiction / Christian / Romance

Synopsis

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four-year-old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth — appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows — so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line — an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

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My ****4.5 Star**** Review

Wow. I am feeling so uplifted right now. This book has left me feeling completely gushy and warm! I don’t think the title could have been more perfect.

Ivy is the main focus of the story. She’s broken. As it turns out, she’s not the only broken person in the story, though. Davis and his sister Sara are both struggling with issues of their own. Then there’s Marilyn who steadily has to deal with discouragement.

This book is full of raw honesty and wisdom. It’s a book I think anyone can relate to. While the characters may have held some lofty positions and their circumstances may not be ones we’d ever find ourselves in, the main issues are ones we can all find ourselves struggling with: fear, loneliness, rejection, lust, GUILT. This is a story of redemption.

Ivy may be a fasion model with problems I’ve never seen the likes of, but I could still completely relate to her emotions.

Davis. What an amazing man of God. He constantly pushes aside the flesh in order to put God’s will first. He’s the kind of caring and self-sacrificing man most single women long for. But he’s punishing himself. I loved listening to the pastor impart his wisdom. He’s a listener, and he knows how to gently guide Davis in the right direction.

As far as the writing itself, the story had a nice smooth pace throughout, and Ms. Ganshert really knows how to grab the reader. There are some quotes that just really hit you. I found myself saying, “Ouch,” more than once. It had me questioning if there were areas in my own life where I was trying to play God. It’s a beautifully written story that I recommend to everyone, especially those of you looking for a Christian romance that is so much more than just a romance.

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.*

About the Author ~ Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert

Christy Award finalist, Katie Ganshert is the author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows. She lives in Iowa with her handsome husband, their dinosaur-loving son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption, which she and her husband hope to complete sometime before they are fifty. – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=145407#sthash.TW4CBPC1.dpuf
Website: http://katieganshert.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKatieGanshert
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5197636.Katie_Ganshert
More Info: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=234965

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ The Tyrant’s Daughter

The Tyrants Daughter

Title: The Tyrant’s Daughter


Author: J. C. Carleson


Publisher: Random House Children’s


Release Date: Feb. 11, 2014


Genre: YA / Contemporary / Fiction

Book Description

From a former CIA officer comes the riveting account of a royal Middle Eastern family exiled to the American suburbs. “Every American should read this book. It’s an eye-opener.”—Suzanne Fisher Staples, Newbery Honor-winning author of Shabanu

When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?

J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl—and a country—on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics.

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My ****4 Star**** Review

This story takes you through Laila’s perspective as she’s been brought to the U.S. after her family has been removed from power and murdered in a coup. It’s an easy fast-paced read. It is at times an emotional read, too.

Where I struggled with this story, is that for most of the book, I had no clue what the point was. I couldn’t see where the story was going. There wasn’t a clear cut conflict in which I had a side to root for. There were plenty of problems that Laila had to deal with, but I wasn’t sure of the main point. In the end, I was able to see where it was going, though. Plus, there was a big shocker that I didn’t see coming. Even when I wasn’t sure what the point was, I found myself curious.

So, why 4 stars? I thought this book was truly unique. The plot was different from anything I’ve read before, especially for a YA novel. But, even the writing style was different. It’s rare to come across books these days that are so different. Therefore, I appreciate it when I come across them! I also enjoyed the emotional scenes that popped up here and there. And, I enjoyed a perspective of a real-life sitution that I’ve never gotten a chance to read about. Truly interesting and eye-opening!!

Warnings: Mild language, violence, and making out/petting, but no sex
*I received a copy via NetGalley and Random House Children’s in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ J. C. Carleson

JC Carleson

J. C. CARLESON is a former undercover CIA officer who has navigated war zones, jumped out of airplanes, and worked on the frontlines of international conflicts. She now lives and writes in Virginia with her husband and two young sons. Her previous publications include the novel Cloaks and Veils, and Work Like a Spy: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6209666.J_C_Carleson
Website: http://www.jccarleson.com/

Happy Reading,

Alison

BIG FAT DISASTER ~ Book Blast & Giveaway

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Synopsis

Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It’s her life: Dad’s a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative’s trailer, where her mom’s contempt swells right along with Colby’s supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby’s role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she’s only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame. Harrowing and hopeful, proof that the truth that saves us can come with a fierce and terrible price, Big Fat Disaster is that rare thing, a story that is authentically new.
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About the Author ~ Beth Fehlbaum

In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is an experienced English teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading. She is currently a Library Science student at Sam Houston State University.
Beth is the author of Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014); Courage in Patience (Kunati Books, 2008); and Hope in Patience(WestSide Books, 2010). Hope in Patience was named a 2011 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Truth in Patience, which rounds outThe Patience Trilogy, is as yet unpublished. The Patience Trilogy has been revised and is available for acquisition!

Beth has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups. She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope”.

Beth is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope.

Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.
You can find Beth online at http:www.bethfehlbaumbooks.com
on Facebook, and on https://twitter.com/bethfehlbaum

Happy Reading,

Alison

Promo ~ Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen

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Publication Date: March 15, 2014


Genre: Fiction/Mystery


Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group

Synopsis

Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen by Lauren Leigh is a spellbinding murder mystery that offers a sympathetic look at the struggles faced by individuals with disabilities.

Baby is every adoptive parent’s nightmare—blind, paralyzed from the waist down, unable to speak, and diagnosed with developmental and intellectual disabilities. For the first 10 years of her life she is raised outside in a dog pen by a cruel adoptive father, a Mississippi deputy sheriff who values his bird dogs more than his daughter.

Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen is the story of Baby’s placement in a Mississippi mental institution for individuals with profound retardation after the brutal murder of her father and the arrest of her mother, and her desperate attempt to escape the institution.

Once the mother is convicted of murder and sentenced to death, the story takes a bizarre twist as mental health professions discover that Baby is capable of communication, despite being trapped inside a grotesque body that holds her prisoner.

How much does Baby know? Can she prove her mother’s innocence?

As the mother sits on death row, the clock ticking, a brilliant psychologist has the shock of her life when she discovers that Baby is not who she seems. The question is will the psychologist be able to solve the mystery in time to save the mother’s life?

Similar to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in the manner in which it reveals the inner workings of a mental institution, it is, in the end, about the triumph of intellect and passion over indifference and cruelty. It is written in the tradition of The Sound and the Fury and To Kill a Mockingbird, two novels that address the complex issue of intellectual disabilities.

Excerpt

When Thad Vanderbilt arrived at the county jail, he was eating a hamburger that he’d picked up at the drive-through window of a fast-food restaurant. He took bites of the burger and sips from a cup filled with iced tea as he walked into the building and asked to meet with Rivers in a private conference room.
As she walked in the door, he was in the process of wadding up the paper wrapping around the burger. He tossed it into a nearby trash can and then took a sip from the cup, gurgling the last few drops from the bottom of the cup before discarding it. Left behind was a touch of mayo that stuck about an inch from the corner of his mouth. Rivers noticed it, but said nothing, not really caring whether her lawyer looked foolish or not.
Thad stood and extended his hand as she approached the table and sat in a folding chair. His fingers felt damp from the soft drink cup, and she wiped her hand against her jumpsuit.
“I’m Thad Vanderbilt,” he said. “I’ve seen you around town, but I don’t think we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.”
“I’ve seen you in your convertible.”
Thad laughed. “Yes, and it will be paid for in another three years, just in time to trade it in for a new one.”
Rivers didn’t think that was funny and she did not respond with a laugh of her own.
Thad looked at a legal pad, reading over his scribbled notes.
“I see your husband was a deputy.”
Rivers nodded.
“And you have a little girl named Baby. Is that correct?”
“Yes. Have you seen her?”
“No, I haven’t. I understand she was taken away and placed at Silverstone Retardation Center.”
“That’s what the sheriff told me.”
“She’ll be well taken care of there.”
“I hope so. She’s not used to strangers.”
“They are used to people like her.”
“What do you mean, people like her?”
“You know, retarded.”
“Oh.”
“How do you want to plead on this?”
“What do you mean?”
“Guilty or not guilty.”
“Oh.”
Rivers didn’t answer, sort of drifted away, lost in thought.
“Did you hear me?”
“What?”
“Guilty or not guilty?”
“What’s the difference?”
“If you plead guilty, there is no trial and the judge decides your sentence. If you plead not guilty, you go to trial and listen to people say a lot of bad things about you, and then the jury decides if you are guilty or not guilty, and then, if you are guilty, they pass sentence.”
“And if the jury decides I am not guilty?”
“Then they send you home.”
“In that case, who goes to prison?”
“The prosecutor will decide if there is someone else he wants to prosecute. If there is, then he will go after them and try to get a conviction.
“Oh.
“So what do you want to do?”
“Did the sheriff give you any information about Angus?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Did the sheriff give you any details about what happened to him?”
“Sure.”
“Would you mind telling me what you know?”
“No problem.” He looked over his notes. “OK. They found his body yesterday, buried along the tree line of your property, about fifty yards from the dog pen.”
“Did he look upset?”
“Excuse me?”
“Did it look like he was upset over being dead?”
Thad paused again, this time to collect his thoughts. “Ma’am, when you’re dead I don’t think you necessarily look upset or not upset.”
“I see.” She lowered her eyes, looking down at her lap, where her fingers were intertwined in a knot. “Does it say anything about how he died?”
“Yes, ma’am, it says he was struck in the chest with an ax.”
“That all?”
“No, it says he was hacked on a little bit.”
“Do they have the ax?”
“Apparently, it was buried with him.”
Rivers sat quietly for a while. Then she put her hand on her chest, feeling her thumping heart. “Would you mind seeing after the burial?”
“That’s not really what I do.”
“Baby and I are the only family he’s got. If not you, then who?”
“Ma’am, you’ve put me on the spot.”
“I know that.”
Thad doodled on his legal pad as he struggled with her request. He had moved to Murphy County from Memphis, where lawyers played by a different set of rules. In Memphis, her request would have been laughed at, but not in a rural community where everyone knows everyone else, or if they don’t, they know of them or have heard stories about them.
“That’s not something I usually do,” he said. “But I’ll make an exception in your case.”
“Thank you.”
“But you still haven’t answered me.”
“About what?”
“About your plea.”
“Can I decide what goes on the tombstone?”
“I don’t know for sure, but assume that would not be a problem. You are his wife.”
“Will there be flowers?”
“Yes—if I have to send them myself.”
“That’s nice.”
“I don’t mean to be rude, ma’am, but I need to know your plea.”
Rivers looked up, as if searching for the answer on the ceiling. Inexplicably, a serene look appeared on her face. “What will happen to me if I plead guilty?”
“It is a capital offense to kill a police officer, so the penalty would be death by injection.”
“I see.”
“Is that what you would like to do?”
“Yes, I believe it is.”

About the Author ~ Lauren Leigh

Lauren Leigh is a mental health professional who has devoted her life to working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. This is her first novel.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Shattered Embrace ~ Promo Blitz & Giveaway

shattered embrace

Contemporary / Women’s Fiction

Date Published: 3/14/2014

Bethlehem took her first breath as her mother took her last.

Left to survive in overcrowded Ethiopian orphanages, she developed survival skills rivaling a warrior – a fierce, independent fighter before she could walk or talk. As she approached her second birthday, Bethlehem lived her days guided by two rules: everyone leaves and trust no one.

A world away in Canada, Tory Witcraft is trying to adopt from Ethiopia with her husband, Matt, when her adoption agency goes bankrupt, threatening her dreams of becoming a mother. Against the advice of many, including government officials threatening to revoke the adoption, she goes to Ethiopia, and her new daughter, Bethlehem.

When they finally meet, both mother and daughter struggle to connect, each trapped by their own fears and demons. Emotions and tempers run hot. Hearts and dreams collide, shattering a family before it could fully form.

The adoption journey was difficult, but no one expected the hardest part of the journey would begin once they met.

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EXCERPT

An itty bitty little thing of a girl came running into the room. Bouncing high with each step as she flew at them and promptly threw herself into Matt’s lap. Tory’s hand clutched her face, her breath stopped in her chest as she watched Matt draw the little girl close. His body rocked as he held her, his face split into a smile of pure joy.

“Daddy!” she cried out in a squeaky voice. She grabbed Matt’s face kissing each cheek with a big, slimy, open mouth kiss.

“Bethlehem!” Matt breathed out as he hugged her and kissed the top of her head.

“Bethlehem,” Tory whispered the name, as if saying it for the first time as she took in the face of the little girl she had studied through pictures for months. Blowing up the pictures until she could examine every facet of the the little girls features. Seeing her up close, face to face, finally close enough to touch left Tory breathless. Her skin itched to touch her. With a tentative hand she stroked her back.

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About the Author ~ P.R. Newton

P.R. (Piper) Newton is a proud geek mom of two little boys, one through birth, one through adoption. She has a background in psychology and continues to take post-grad courses in childhood trauma and development. In her writings she loves to explore the human mind, putting her characters through unthinkable things, just to see how they react. She is a full-time author, who believes in the magical, creative inducing powers of arm warmers and stripy socks.

Website: http://prnewton.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PRNewtonAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PRNewtonwrites

Happy Reading,

Alison

Requiem for Doctor Edward Browne ~ Book Blast & Giveaway

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Title: Reqiuem for Doctor Edward Browne

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Richard Dean Smith

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 580

Language: English

ISBN – 978-1-44013-771-6

When Dr. Browne’s partner retires, his practice is taken over by Dr. Forbes Q. Hazzig, who becomes a zealot for a ‘managed care revolution’ of ‘marketplace medicine.’ Browne and his associate Dr. Kennes receive irrational, discordant information from healthcare experts, consultants and economists. Browne learns that rhetoric of a mass movement must be as erroneous as possible promising a vague, glorious future. Hazzig grows immensely rich and gains enormous power relying on intimidation and coercion.
Joanna Browne’s exhibition of J.M.W. Turner becomes a thrilling success, yet Hazzig’s wife succeeds in eliminating Joanna’s position at East Valley Museum of Art. Joanna must accept a position at a distant university; her absence devastates Browne.

Browne and Kennes discover managed care was based on a Washington bureau hoax, the ‘health maintenance strategy’ of 1973: an irrational mass movement, a mass hysteria. Hazzig plots to humiliate and ruin the two doctors; each threat goes awry. Hazzig is discredited; his illusory wealth collapses.

Reunited with Joanna, Dr. Browne receives a disturbing invitation to return to East Valley to be recognized with Dr. Kennes for their efforts to expose the folly of managed care. Browne is reluctant to relive his lonely, troubled, distressed past.

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About the Author ~ Richard Dean Smith

Richard Dean Smith 48 words The author received medical education at Kansas University Medical Center and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. He is presently Medical Director of the Rehabilitation Services, John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek, California. Dr. Smith lives and practices where managed care had its beginning and its most rapid growth.

Happy Reading,

Alison

A Star’s Legacy ~ Book Blast & Giveaway

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Title: A Star’s Legacy

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Peter Longley

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 576

Language: English
ISBN – 978-1-44014-256-7

Three unique people— Joshua of Nazareth, Linus Flavian, and Maria of Magdala— are born in 5 B.C. during the appearance of an unusual star over the Middle East. Their lives will become intertwined through a series of events that will forever mark them. Around the time of their birth, superstition is rife. Intrigue between High Priests, the Herodians, and Rome, along with hope in an expanding world of greed and commerce, shape their differing destinies. Action takes the reader from Jerusalem and the hillsides of Galilee to the Jewish world of Alexandria, the trading centers of Petra and Palmyra, and the magnificence of Rome. Surrounded by rebellion, slavery, and their own adolescent dreams, the lives of Joshua, Linus, and Maria begin to unfold in a vast canvas covering the length and breadth of the Roman world. The first in the dramatic new series, The Magdala Trilogy, A Star’s Legacy provides a fascinating commentary on the origins of Christianity that is both challenging and yet plausible, incorporating traditional beliefs, fictitious thoughts, and new interpretations. With vivid prose and compelling characters, A Star’s Legacy offers a captivating glimpse into Biblical times and Christianity’s core ideas.

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About the Author ~ Peter Longley

Peter Longley graduated with a master’s degree in theology from Cambridge University in 1970. He was a licensed lay-reader and preacher in the Anglican Church both in Ireland and the United States. Brought up in England, Longley lived in Ireland from 1966-1977. Since 1977, he has lived in the United States in Georgia, Minnesota, and Missouri.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Faces Behind the Dust ~ Book Blast & Giveaway

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Title: Faces Behind the Dust

Genre: General

Author: Cora L. Hairston

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 212

Language: English

ISBN – 978-1-47595-829-4

This book begins about a precocious, nosey little girl, who has eavesdropping down to a science. The stories surrounding this coal mining community are about family, neighbors and friends. ClaraBy loves her Daddy. The drama of this book will have you laughing and crying, as she grows into womanhood along this journey.

She is struck with sorrow at the loss of her best friend, and worries about her father and brothers when tragedy struck. Also sees her father growing weary over the years as his health deteriorates. Her sister is a fast “breeder”, who seems to be caught by the “BIG BIRD” every year or so with cute little gremlins. There are racial issues that took place in the early 1950’s and 60’s during the period of integration. ClaraBy begins to grow into a lovely young lady who is trying hard not to let her hormones get the best of her. This book is the beginning of her life and she has a lot of living to do. “HELLO WORLD!!” HER COMES CLARABY ROSE!! (book 2).

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About the Author ~ Cora Hairston

CORA HAIRSTON is retired from Logan General Hospital, as the radiology co-coordinator after 30 years of service. She has written numerous poems and 20 or more gospel songs. Her love is singing, playing the piano, going to church, and preaching life lessons to her grandchildren. Leading up to her retirement so that she would have something to occupy her mind outside of home, she was encouraged by her daughter Amanda, to return to school to become a “nail technician,” which she did. This led her to be owner/operator of her own salon and eventually a “ladies boutique.” Cora and her husband, Fred, are the proud parents of four children, seven grandchildren, (one deceased) and four great-grandchildren. They reside in Omar, West Virginia.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Peter in Flight Tour, Interview & Giveaway

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Synopsis

Peter can tell you how to run a great marketing campaign. He can tell you everything there is to know about successful trade show programs. He can tell you stories about the thousands of people he has met, miles he has flown, hotel rooms he has stayed in, and ways to work the system to your advantage. Still, he can’t tell the woman he loves how he feels.

Peter in Flight is a novella by Paul Michael Peters designed to be the perfect read for a cross-country flight or extended layover. Life moves fast in this quick read about a “trade show guy” and a love he thinks he can never have.

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Excerpt

I’m in Vegas staying at the Hilton next to the convention center. There’s a place in the hotel called Star Trek: The Experience, based on the television series and movies. There are games and a Star Trek-themed bar along with artifacts from the show and a “virtual experience.”
Two years ago during COMDEX, the largest conference I attend, I made friends with a bartender at the Star Trek Experience. Dressed as an alien character called a Ferengi, with a large prosthetic forehead and enormous ears, he stands behind the bar on a riser. Once he is off the riser to grab a drink or walk the floor you realize he is five feet tall at best. I only know him as Phil the Ferengi, but he may be the best bartender I have ever met. He also owns a string of car washes.
“Hu-mon,” he greets me in character, “what can I get you? Drink? Holodeck? Games?”
“Hello Phil, good to see you again.”
“Ah, yes hu-mon, I thought I recognized you. What are you drinking tonight?”
“I’ll have a gin and tonic please.”
He steps up on his platform with the drink when he returns. I know I can talk to him because it’s a slow night and I know his name.
“How are your travels, hu-mon?”
“They’re good, thank you. How is your car wash?”
“They are very profitable. All of this desert dust can eat away at a car’s finish. But there’s also a new city ordinance; I have to “go green.”
“What will that mean for you?”
“I have to add these tanks that collect used water, then filter it, and use it again. They call it gray water.”
“I can imagine why.”
“Are you sad, hu-mon? Or tired? You don’t look well.”
“I’m losing sleep. I’ve never had this problem before. I can usually sleep anywhere, but in the last week I can’t get a full night.”
“What’s her name?”
“It’s that obvious?”
“It is usually women or money. What’s her name?”
“Tatiana. She is both unavailable and my obsession.”
Phil grabs the bottle of gin and puts in on the bar in front of me. “Do you know Plato?”
“The philosopher? A little.”
“Through Aristophanes, who was a peer of Plato’s, we know this one interesting story about early hu-mons. Hu-mons were not separate from one another, but were made in pairs. They had two heads, four arms, and four legs. And they wouldn’t walk around so much as they would roll around tucked up in a ball.”
“This is not Star Trek?”
“No, ancient Greek philosophers describing the earliest version of humankind.”
“Go on.”
“So here they were—women and women, men and men, men and women—all sorts of these paired creatures rolling at great speed across the countryside of ancient Greece. The speed at which they move, the power they have, starts building confidence in humanity. The confidence turns to pride. And it’s with this pride, what the Greeks call hubris, that they decide they are better than the gods and try to overthrow them.”
A couple comes to the bar interrupting Phil and he takes their order. Once they are settled, he returns.
“So the hu-mons think they can conquer the gods. But when the hu-mons attack the gods, Zeus strikes them with such great power that he splits them all in two. Now the hu-mons are sad, desperate, and alone, and they start to kill themselves because they’re having a hard time without the warmth and comfort of one another. Some remove themselves from the community. Others get lost in the wilderness and are never seen again.”
“So what happens?”
“Zeus is wise. He and the other gods need the hu-mons to worship them. While they are asleep, he changes their bodies to what we know today, so that we walk upright and find it easy to reproduce.”
“Interesting.”
“Well, here’s the part that applies to you, sleepy hu-mon. After all of those changes, the gods left a memory, a longing inside each of them for their other half. That craving for the other half is instilled so deep inside, that we end up traveling the world searching to fill that absence. And when we are fortunate enough to find that other half, we know instantly—getting lost in the entwinement of friendship and love and intimacy—that we have finally found home. People like this will spend their whole lives together. If you ask them what they find attractive or appealing about one another, they can’t explain it—they just know it’s right.”
“It’s a beautiful idea, that something is missing from each of us, and we have to trust others to fill that. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants; there’s no getting around it.”
“Easier to say, but I like my story better.”
“Thanks for your time and the drinks,” I say, getting up.
“Any time, hu-mon. We’re always open.”

Interview

1.With this being your debut novel, what have you enjoyed most about the process?

For me the best part of writing is the resolution. There are challenges each character faces, the rise and fall of the plot, getting the language right and making certain it connects with the reader. Resolving these challenges are fun for me. They are emotionally rewarding. While “Peter in Flight” is the first thing I’ve published, I’ve spent years writing. There were times I would dream about certain characters after thinking about them all day. Or when something is complete, I’ll feel a real loss, just like when you read a good book and you don’t want it to end. I am writing about situations and characters I’ve come to enjoy and spend time with.

2.What have you enjoyed least?

While I enjoy the characters, plot, adventures, romance, and dialogue, I am not good at punctuation and grammar. It’s important. There are these rules that we all accept in a way to communicate with each other accurately, and I’m not good at them. I don’t have them memorized, and I can’t always tell what’s most accurate. It’s why I took time to find an editor that I liked, that I trusted, and that will be honest with me. I use Hollow Tree Literary Services, with Steve Bauer. It’s not something everyone would need or could use, but I do. Steve is someone I trust and can bounce ideas off of, and he is honest and generous in his feedback. He see’s things I don’t. Much of this comes from his time as a teacher, he has been witness to a lot of writing, and working with him I leverage experience I just don’t have.

3. Where do you like to do your writing?

For “Peter in Flight” in its final form, I was living in Toronto. Each weekend morning I had a ritual. First there was breakfast at this place called Hazel’s Diner. Canada’s idea of a diner is different than those in the US I find. Hazel’s had this small but wonderful menu. It was all about quality ingredients. This was in York Mills, a neighborhood on the North side of Toronto. A father ran the place with his daughter. It was small enough that I could listen in to other conversations over breakfast. I am awful for doing this I am sure, but some conversations other people have really make you think about what a character might say. How they perceive a situation. After breakfast, and some notes on where I left off, I would go over to a small coffeehouse and write for 3 – 4 hours straight. During the week, when I had free time, I would go back over what I’d put down the weekend before to clean up and reshape.

Today I do something similar, however I live in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor is home to Zingerman’s coffee house, which for my money is the greatest coffee on the planet. I spend hours each weekend writing here, and then on weekdays, I go back over what I produced.
I’ve tried writing in other places, but coffee houses have a background noise that helps me to concentrate. The only other place I’ve found to be this productive is on a plane. During a four hour flight I can crank out lots of pages. It’s where I wrote the first draft of “Peter in Flight” over ten years ago. But it was a much different story in the early versions.

4. Have you looked to any particular authors as a guide for your own writing?

I have. After adding many books to my collection on writing, I find very few of them helpful. “Bird by Bird” was one of the first, and most helpful. After that I found them redundant. It was more productive for me to write. I wrote in different styles and formats, short story, novella, novel, and the more I write, the more I read, the better I think I get. But the books on writing were not insightful of inspiring outside of Lamott.

5.What are a few of your favorite books?

I am a bit odd when it comes to reading. No one has made me more interested in literature than W. Summerset Maugham, Steinbeck, Dickens, and Kipling. These are not the names many of my peers will tell you. Maugham was big, but it was generations ago. People today tell me they find him difficult to connect with. Maybe I was born at the wrong time as I connect with people from a different age.

6.What are you currently reading?

This is going to sound, I don’t know, pathetic was the first word to come to mind. But I am reading two books at the moment, Judy Bloom’s “Are you There God? It’s me Margaret” and “Night Owl” by M Peirce. The thing of it is, I don’t understand women. I would like to understand them better. I would like to be a better writer with a voice that reaches them. I never feel like I know what women want. I’m always concerned that what I write might be too pornographic when I was really looking for something steamy. This happened a few times in “Peter in Flight”, but in my current writing, “The Symmetry of Snowflakes” I am not letting this fear hinder me. I would rather have some one pull me back for having gone too far.

Fiction, literary fiction, is about escape. Readers want to forget about what’s going on that day, who they had to put up with, and what they have to go back to in the morning to pay the bills. Sometimes it’s the man in their life who doesn’t understand or get them, fails to rise to an occasion to meet the needs they have. For men, it’s similar, but I get what distracts them.

7. What is one thing that you’d like to share that most people wouldn’t think to ask?

Be nice to your fellow traveler. I travel all the time and it surprises me how many people think that because they have a first class seat, they are first class. Or others who are bubble people, those who only consider themselves when interacting with the rest of us. They don’t get that they are holding up others from getting off the plane because they need to adjust something, or can’t get their bag. People who are walking up a jet way, or in the airport, and just stop. It’s equal to being on a freeway and slamming on the breaks for no reason. We are all trying to get to a gate for departure, get home to the one’s we love, or to the bathroom because of all the water we drank on a flight. Be nice to your fellow traveler.

8. Do you have any advice for other writers hoping to put out their first book?

A lot of what I’ve done comes from practical experience. If I had the chance to write, “Peter in Flight” over, I would spend more time re-writing and get more people to provide feedback. Now that I’ve got a larger base of people I trust to read early drafts, I am using them for my next book, “The Symmetry of Snowflakes.” My friends who saw the early version of “Peter in Flight” were very kind and generous with their time, but I didn’t understand what I should listen to for comments or feedback. I have an editor at Hollow Tree, he has good advice, I should have considered it more, I should have taken more time to re-write. Part of that just comes with understanding the process, part of that is having enough confidence in what you are writing. You want it to be true and honest and good, but you need to make certain that is what the reading is gaining from it.

My first draft of “Peter in Flight” was over ten years ago. It was a very different story. I took into consideration what people said after reading it to shape the plot and characters into a better story. It’s an odd balance. You want to get it right, but you also want to put it out there. I could have spent another two months with the story, but I was also very interested in getting it out on the market.

9. What do you enjoy doing outside of writing?

Writing is my escape. I love writing. If I could afford to do it full time I would take it. Right now in my other free time, I am visiting all of the US Presidential museums. There are now two remaining on my list and I’ll have been to all of them. I’m doing this interview from Kansas City where I have just been to the museums for Ike and Truman, along with the WWI museum. My mom was a teacher, so every vacation had to include something educational, a stop at a historical sight, or something that would give you perspective in the world, like art appreciation, or science. So in my free time I like to learn or grow somehow. It’s just the way I was raised.

10.What can we expect from you next?

In the spring of 2014 you will be seeing a novel called, “The Symmetry of Snowflakes.” It’s about family.

Family is complex. The relationships we have with our family, the commitments we keep, and the choices we make to support that family is the heart of the story. There is a growing group of people who have parents on a second or third marriage. When they get together during the holiday’s there are multiple generations, several locations, and more expectations placed. Caring for these families can be complicated. The story is about John Hanson, who has a large family, and at times, the only one that others can turn to for help. He is trying to live his own life while helping his family during lean times.

Thank you for taking the time to interview me, and thank you for reading.
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The pleasure was all mine! Thanks for sharing!! We’ll be watching for The Symmetry of Snowflakes!

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About the Author ~ Paul Michael Peters

Paul Michael Peters
Paul Michael Peters is an American fiction writer based out of Ann Arbor Michigan. After studying at the Second City in Chicago he spent extended periods of time living in Philadelphia and Toronto before returning home to his beloved big mitten shaped state. “Peter in Flight” is his debut work. You can follow him at paulmichaelpeters.com where he writes a blog called “Everywhere Man”.

Author Quote
“I wrote this story while I traveled extensively for work between 1998 and 2008 taking notes on the things that happened on each trip. I could not include all the good stories. Looking back on my time on the road, I always liked to think of myself as George Clooney from Up in the Air, but in reality, I was John Candy from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”

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Happy Reading,

Alison