Archive for the ‘authors’ Category

Blood Over Badge – Wayne Farquhar

Title: Blood Over BadgeBlood Over Badge Shannon Evans Book Review

Author: Wayne Farquhar

Publisher: 3L Publishing

Date: 2010

Wayne Farquhar, former member of the San Jose Police Department, knows how to weave a good detective story. His first crime thriller, Blood Over Badge is a fast paced study of intrigue and the gritty raw efforts of detective work. Farquhar does a good job of depicting the good and the bad of the US Justice and penal system. Moving from a socio-paths trial that lands him squarely in the dreaded Louisiana penal colony Angola to the viscous murder of the mayor of San Francisco’s daughter in a seemingly unrelated crime, Blood Over Badge moves the reader swiftly from scene to scene. The soft underbelly of the evil that men do in the name of good and the good that the evil do to stay alive in the schizoid world of prison is explored through the twists and turns of this eye-popping book.

Farquhar’s police experience shines through in his realistic representation of the world of his two character homicide detectives. The twist and turns of the sub plots and the underlying back story keeps the reader hungry for more. This book is guaranteed to be a late night page turner in which the reader will be burning the midnight oil to get to the surprise ending to see if good or evil wins in the end. A good read, this is a book to share with your crime thriller loving friends. I can’t wait to see what Wayne Farquhar writes next to follow the success of Blood Over Badge!


Margaret Nevinski – An Interview about the Writing Life

I recently had the good fortune of interviewing middle grade author Margaret Nevinski about her recent publication of a short story, “The Eve of St. Agnes,” in the online literary journal, Hunger Mountain. Read her story here:

Margaret is an amazing teacher and presenter whom I have the great fortune of knowing as a Margaret Neviski The Eve of St. Agnesfellow Bainbridge Island author.  Her classes are highly sought by both young and not so young writers and creatives in the Pacific Northwest. Check out what she had to say about her writing life:

How did you get started as a writer?

MN: I started writing short stories for adults, which were published in small literary magazines. One day while I was jogging, I had a burst of adrenaline and an insight: my writing voice was most suited to young readers. That started my dream of writing for kids and teens.
I got lots of rejections, then personal notes from editors, then finally—a yes! I’ve written several children’s books for the school market, and now I’m working toward getting my
first middle-grade novel published.

I know that you often work with young authors. How young is too young to begin
learning about the craft of writing?

MN: I love teaching writing workshops for kids through the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Rec
District. I always learn something from young writers! Though I think creativity has no age
limit, I start working with young writers when they’re eight. By eight they’ve learned the
basics about writing and they’re ready to unleash their imaginations—a great combination.

Do you mostly write YA lit or do you ever branch out into other genres?

MN: My real love is middle-grade fiction for ages 9 to 12. I’m fascinated by the years when
you’re still firmly in childhood but on the cusp of becoming a teen.

What is your writing life like? Do you spend hours every day writing?

MN: I’m a morning person. I drink my coffee and read before breakfast, then settle down to my
quiet, morning writing time. I strive to have creative time each day. My motto is from The
War of Art by Steven Pressfield: “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing
else matters except sitting down each day and trying.”

What is your inspiration for your short story in Hunger Mountain Literary Magazine?

MN: I grew up Catholic and have always been fascinated by saints—their lives are filled with
quirky, odd details just waiting for fiction writers! When I discovered Keats’ poem, “The
Eve of St. Agnes,” I was intrigued. According to the myth about St. Agnes, a young woman
will dream of her future husband on the night of January 20th. I thought, how fun would it
be to give this story a contemporary, high school setting?

What is your favorite book you read as a young girl? Why?

MN: In grade school, a friend and I read a book called The Key House Mystery. The story details in my mind are vague, but the great thing about the book is that it inspired us to follow an elderly man in our neighborhood, spy notebooks in hand. One day his wife ordered us to
stop following him. For the first time, I realized that reading could have an impact on real
life. I’ve been searching for The Key House Mystery for years with no luck—if anyone finds
it, please let me know!

How do you deal with “passes” from publishers? Do you save the letters or do you toss

MN: Luckily my agent gets the rejections first, which she charmingly calls “passes,” so that
softens them a bit. Over the years, however, I’ve acquired a file full of “passes.” I’ve kept
every letter except one from an editor who said my writing was “competent.” Ouch! That

What book(s) are you currently reading or at least have on your nightstand waiting for

MN: I’m halfway through The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, which takes
place in Wisconsin where I grew up. I just finished Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other
Daily Disasters by Rachel Vail, a hilarious account of third grade. On my nightstand is a
wonderful collection of biographical essays that I dip into to get inspired: Joan Acocella’s
Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints. So you see, I never quite get away from saints!

No Plot? No Problem! Chris Baty’s How to Write a Novel in 30 Days

Title: No Plot? No Problem! Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Nanowrimo Chris Baty Mywritingmentor

Author: Chris Baty

Publisher: Chronicle Books

National Novel Writing Month is coming up (November) and I like so many of my writing compadres are chomping at the bit to get started. We are dreaming up plot lines, characters, and all the scrapes they can get into along the way.  Those of us who have participated in years past know how exhilarating Nanowrimo can be but we also know what happens along about week two when all your friends are at all the cool kid activities and you are only 10,000 words into your 50,000 word requirement.

Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem! is a solid study in how to not just survive the doldrums of middle month writing but how to conquer the roadblocks and distractions that jump out at you along the way. His no nonsense approach to putting words on paper make writing 50,000+ words in a month not only possible but accomplished by even the rawest of new novelists.  No Plot? No Problem! is not a step by step book on how to write a novel. It is a survivalists guide for how to meet your word count and keep your sanity all the while not losing all your friends and maybe getting carpal tunnel syndrome along the way.

Snarky, bossy, understanding, and spunky, Baty does a superb job of making the large project of Nanowrimo seem not only ‘doable’ but something to look forward to year after year. Part therapist, part drill sergeant, Chris Baty does an outstanding job of taking a large task and chunking it down to a series of efforts that all add up to one large volume in the end. No Plot? No Problem! Is a good read to get any writer back into the right mindset to embark on their 30 day trek to a raw novel.

The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman by Britt Santowski

Britt Santowski The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable WomanTitle: The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman

Author: Britt Santowski

Publisher Aviva

Date: 2010

Britt Santowski’s book The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman is a solid “awaken you to your life” kind of book. Santowski’s premise to kick the reader into gear is to focus on three basic strategies: Accountability, Collaboration, and Initiative. Following her basic blueprint for change set forth in the The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman, the reader move toward achievable realistic personal goals and figure out how to truly grow and take the hard steps that result in real lasting change.

Filled with useful exercises for achieving clarity, tips for success, and a call to action after every instructional objective, this is a good book to help you make the break through you have been trying to find that propels you to the next level of your personal and professional success. Santowski’s book is a good book for anyone seeking to dig down within them self for the empowerment they know is necessary to reach the next level of personal growth and development. Get out of your comfort zone, do the real work it takes to change, and use The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman to achieve your individual aspirations.

The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman should be in the hands of every young woman entering college, graduate school or the professional world. This book has so many good nuggets that you will want to savor it with your book club, women’s group, or professional networking organization. Brit Santowski’s book should be required reading for young people. While targeted toward women, this book has universal appeal. The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman is a must read.

We’ve Never Had a King – Guests of the State by Brad and Mary Bradbury

Title: We’ve Never Had a King – Guests of the State

Author: Brad and Mary Bradbury

Date: 2010

Publisher: Outskirts Press

We’ve Never Had a King is a memoir of collected stories and experiences of Brad and Mary Bradbury and the life they shared overseas while Brad was an adviser to the Oil Ministry in the 1950’s era Kingdom of Iraq. Mostly anecdotal and charming in places, the book covers Brad and Mary’s young married life and the difficulties, experiences, and aha moments of living abroad in what is an emerging nation.

While the book has moments of funny almost irreverent stories and vignettes there are also long pauses of mundane stories that add little to the book. It is difficult to tell what is the point of the book as it is rather eclectic and discombobulated as on one page there is a story about churches and on the next gift giving and dog castration. The book would benefit from a good developmental edit where the pieces of stories are tied by theme or function. While not a bad read it is definitely one that takes time to plow through despite the short succinct narrative. The reader will find themselves trying to make sense of the ebb and flow of the stories.  Charming in places, informative of the life of ex-pats in Iraq during the 1950’s, the book is not bad, it just feels like a rough draft craving a revision to connect the dots.

Complications – A Doctor’s Love Story by Linda Gromko

Title: Complications – A Doctor’s Love Story

Author: Linda Gromko

Publisher: Bainbridge Books

Date: 2009

Complications - A Doctor's Love StoryBainbridge Island, WA is a bucolic Seattle commuter community. Tight knit groups form from years of ferry commutes, PTA committees, and summers spent crabbing and clamming on the tiny island’s shores. A perfect place to meet, fall in love, and raise a family little did the single mom of a grown son busy with her commuter life to her Queen Anne family practice ever think she would fall in love and raise a family again…Then she falls hard for Steve and his lovely young daughter Brita.

Love is complicated enough at middle age, adding a young child to the mix makes it a bit more delicate of a situation, but then toss in a new husband’s kidney disease and life gets really stick fast. Linda, a Board Certified Family Practice Physician, former nurse practitioner, mother, and wife tells her family’s story lovingly, poignantly, and through the knowing eyes of a doctor. Full of hope, commitment, and a love that shines through it all, this memoir is so compelling and filled with unique perspectives that it should be in the hands of every family, advocacy group, caregiver, and physician who works with patients with kidney disease.

Excellently written, Complications-A Doctor’s Love Story is a warm, heart-felt story of finding love and living life large despite the difficulties of a life-threatening disease.

Joseph’s Bones: A Collection of Stories by Ozzie Nogg

Joseph's Bones Book ReviewTitle: Joseph’s Bones – A Collection of Stories

Author: Ozzie Nogg

Publisher: Oznas Books

Date: 2010

Joseph’s Bones is a wonderful treasure chest of stories and tales to rummage through and relish. Ozzie Nogg, a masterful story teller has captured the essence of those whose memories she cherishes most and shares them with us, her audience, with the reverence ancestors and patriarchs deserve and with the love and gratitude of one who cherishes them dearly.Through the trials and tribulations of her childhood we meet Nogg’s Bubbie (grandmother), her younger brother, and her parents as they celebrate holidays and traditions held sacred in their family.

Joseph’s Bones will have you rolling on the floor laughing at her stories of family and their rather ordinary extraordinary lives. You will celebrate with Nogg’s family on the occasion of her Father’s 83rd birthday and the ceremony of a most unusual second Bar Mitzvah. Nogg, now a Bubbie herself, is leaving behind a valuable legacy for her children. Moses cared much for Joseph’s legacy carrying his bones out of Egypt back to the Promised Land, Nogg has done an excellent job of continuing the story teller gifts and sharing her family’s legacy with the next generation.  This is a book that is so charming that you will want to share it with close friends and family. It is easy to see why Joseph’s Bones was a Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Winner. Her Bubbie would be proud!