A thriller author is with us today!!!

Author Ronald Chapman as written another thriller, The Dark Side of Grace, a sequel to his best seller, A Killer’s Grace. Please welcome Ron to Choices today and don't miss his guest post titled: Agnostic But Faithful. Now here's Ronald's guest post: Agnostic But Faithful by Ronald Chapman   Many years ago, very early in my recovery from alcoholism, one of my mentors was an enigma to me. While I had been raised and immersed in faith communities for much of my life, Patrick was an avowed agnostic, having no knowledge of a Higher Power. Yet he prayed, meditated and rigorously practiced contemplation. I asked Patrick one day how he reconciled that for himself. “Ron, I don’t have to believe in something in order to experience it.” That kind of clarity mystified me. Yet as I watched him and others being transformed in their recoveries through common practices, it became obvious that what we believe is far less important than the actions we take, which are based on … [Read more...]

Introducing a delightful book for boys – I can’t wait to love you forever

I'm pleased to host Patricia Eckerman Ambas'  WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING tour of  I Can't Wait to Love You Forever. Patricia has also honored us by writing an essay about her self publishing successes. Here's Patricia: I'm Just Getting Started by Patricia Eckerman Ambas It was January of 2022, midway through my first year not teaching full-time in over a decade, when I wrote the story that would become my first published book, I Can’t Wait to Love You Forever: A Big Brother Book. It had taken a career shift, a new baby, and an online course on self-publishing, but I was determined to make my lifelong dream reality. When I sat down to refresh the story I had written seven years before when my oldest was a baby with hopes to publish it back then, I found myself opening a blank document and a different narrative came out. I absolutely loved it - a heart-warming tale about my son and the game he invented while anticipating the arrival of our new baby, but then I wrestled in self-doubt … [Read more...]

Who doesn’t like a historical romance?

Choices is excited to have Audry Fryer and her historical romance, Until Next Sunday, with us today during their WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour. This book is written with so much heart - you can't help but fall in love with the characters from this historical romance! After bravely leaving the life she knew to come to America, illness threatens Rosina’s happily ever after. When separated, will letters keep their love alive? About the book: Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream. She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place. Then she met him. Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life. But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the … [Read more...]

What’s your blind spot?

Let's welcome Rob Hoffman on his first WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour to promote his latest book, Blind Spot. We are very excited to read his guest post, "Man Plans and God Laughs," a common expression heard throughout many of our lives.   Man Plans and God Laughs by Rob Hoffman Humans are guilty of so much.  Really, we are a sinful tribe when you cut right down to it.  Forget the seven deadly sins, that barely scratches the surface.  Ten Commandments, geez, that wouldn’t even cover a night in the French Quarter in New Orleans.  Oh I know what you’re thinking, we’re not all bad, not all of the time.  We are capable of so much good, you say.  Yes I know, and that might be humanity’s greatest sin of all, wasted potential. No blog could ever capture all of our flaws, so it beguiles us to try and narrow the vast and practically endless ocean of faults and sinful behavior that inhabit humanity down at its core.  While we can debate which of our transgressions are worse … [Read more...]

How important are characters in your stories?

Are characters the most  important part of a fiction piece? Do they control the action? Here is Elizabeth Kirschner, author of Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts, discussing the supremacy of the characters in our stories. Please welcome Elizabeth to Choices while she's on her WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour. The Invention and Supremacy of Character by Elizabeth Kirschner How are characters invented and why do I balk at the word “supremacy?” Yes, I put it in the title, meaning, I suppose, that the characters in our stories are the ones who dictate what may or may not happen in any given situation. There’s a myth that I’d like to debunk. Namely, the writer doesn’t have full agency over what transpires in the story. We, at best, attempt to infuse our characters, let them, how odd, be the ones who choose the scent trail of their own fates. Was it John Updike who likened the writing of stories to a game of baseball? The analogy being that we put our characters, like … [Read more...]

Introducing Margi Preus’ The Silver Box

Welcome to Margi Preus' WOW! Women on Writing tour of The Silver Box. You'll definitely want to add this wonderful middle grade fiction book to your reading list! Book Summary In the final Enchantment Lake mystery, Francie’s search for the truth about her mother—and herself—plunges her into danger during a North Woods winter.  When she wakes in her aunts’ cold cabin on the shore of Enchantment Lake, Francie remembers: everything about her life has changed. Or is about to. Or just might. Everything depends on the small, engraved silver box that she now possesses—if only she can follow its cryptic clues to the whereabouts of her missing mother and understand, finally, just maybe, the truth about who she really is. Francie, it turns out, has a lot to learn, and this time the lessons could be deadly. Her search for answers takes her and her best friends Raven and Jay as far afield as an abandoned ranch in Arizona and as close to home as a sketchy plant collector’s … [Read more...]

Yup! A perfect read for these times

I'm so happy to brag that my historical novel, Papa's Shoes, received three five-star reviews in the last week. I hope you'll pick up the book and read it while you're at home during the coronavirus shut down. Then be so kind to write another five-star review. With huge thanks!!! Where I Got the Idea for Papa's Shoes While my husband was writing our family histories some twenty-five years ago, he interviewed some of the elders in our family and collected writings by others. I became very intrigued with what my aunt – my father’s sister – wrote about her life as a young girl when she was well into her eighties. That she wrote a whole page describing her friendship – as she called it – with a young gentile teacher named Merrill Faulk. He would pick her up at her family home and take her to school plays and concerts and then out for a bite afterward. She also wrote that her brother (my father) objected so strongly that he got the family to move to Chicago to get her away from this … [Read more...]

Sport fishing with a feminist twist

I usually post a photo of my guest author's book first. But today I have to post the author's photo first - it is so amazing. Thank you, Sarah Stonich, for this great pose and for agreeing to visit while on your Wow! Women on Writing tour and write such an interesting post for Choices. Drumroll, Please! Here's Sarah Stonich! Sarah is the author of Fishing, the first installment in a trilogy filled with hilarity and heartbreak that approaches the essential question.....when should life be steered by the heart, not the rules? Here's what Sarah has to say about inviting authors to your book group. Invite a writer to your book group? Absolutely. Writing is a solitary business, so getting out to meet readers can be a treat for authors. In these days of social distancing I really miss physically attending book clubs and meeting readers. Thankfully, there’s Zoom, Skype and other platforms, so my schedule of bookclub visits hasn’t slowed down much. Now more that ever, it … [Read more...]

On a conference panel? Come prepared

Since the publication of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On (Dream of Things), and now the publication of my historical novel, Papa's Shoes (Aberdeen Bay), I've been asked to appear at many writers conference panel discussions. Actually I've been asked to speak on my own - which I did once - but I always prefer to among three to four others on a panel. This last Friday evening I appeared on the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference panel "Writing a Best-Selling Memoir" with four other authors. One authored two biographies of well-known television stars, one wrote a book she called a fictionalized memoir, one was an agent and lawyer who discussed some of the legal issues of writing memoirs, and the moderator, who was a public relations specialist and editor. That said, I was really the only true memoir author on the panel. By the way, the agent/lawyer emphatically said there is no such thing as fictionalized memoir. It's either fiction or memoir, but not both. And I … [Read more...]

A little bragging is in order

Since my new historical novel, Papa's Shoes, was published by Aberdeen Bay about a month and a half ago, it has received some fabulous reviews. And even a few requests for a sequel - stay tuned about that. Here are three five-star examples: A Love Story with Acceptance, written by Lisa. Oh my goodness, I enjoyed reading this book so much. The story line starts with Ira, father & husband, and his journey of leaving Poland to make a life for his family in the United States of America. Once in America, as he is saving money to bring his wife and sons to join him, he receives news that all but one son died of the plague. Ugh! He returns and takes care of business then returns to America with his wife left to raise their remaining son and the baby on the way. Ruth, his wife, mails a pink string to Ira once Ava is born. When enough funds allow, Ira sends for Ruth, Charlie (their oldest son), and Ava. This is when the story shifts from one of Ira and Ruth to that of Charlie and … [Read more...]

Spotlight of Michelle Dim-St. Pierre’s Bloody Coffee

I'm so happy to spotlight Michelle Dim-St. Pierre's new book, Bloody Coffee, here at Choices today. It is a complex, suspenseful, and engrossing tale of doubts, trust, budding romance, and two bullets. Words of praise: “Michelle Dim-St.-Pierre is proving to be a major talent in epic romantic drama!” ~Grady Harp, Amazon Top 50 Hall of Fame Reviewer “A thrilling and emotional psychological mystery-thriller.” ~Detroit Free Press “This book grabbed me at page one and wouldn’t let me go!” ~Pamela Gossiaux, award-winning author and journalist. About the book: Eighteen-year-old Leigh arrives at a Tel Aviv hospital, seeking information about her probable father, Dr. Sloan, who had a cardiac arrest right after they met for the first time. As she stands next to her father's bed and watches him, her past, present and future collide. Despite the advice of those around her, Leigh decides to face the challenges of the legal system in Israel. She obtains a court order for a … [Read more...]

My novel cover! Voila!

Here it is. What do you think?   Cover art by Jen Jenkins Dohner … [Read more...]

A must-read young adult book

Politics are pretty much at the forefront of my life right now. I eat a regular diet of the news every day though I take in much more than I should. With that in mind,  Micheal D. French's new young adult book, The Beginner's Guide to Winning an Election, is just up my alley. I also find the book a great learning vehicle for young folks who are and/or want to get involved in politics. As we saw from our recent mid-term elections, more young people than ever are participating in politics in a very smart way. Don't you love the cover? I do. Here's my review. Review of The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election by Madeline Sharples Brit Kitridge was definitely a beginner when she decided to enter a high school election as a candidate for student body president. But she is smart and learns very quickly – especially about her major opponent, Matthew’s ties to money and other political shenanigans that he and his team use to ruin her reputation and try to get her to bow out. She … [Read more...]

My novel, Papa’s Shoes, has a publishing contract

I'm very excited to announce that I've signed a book publishing contract with Aberdeen Bay to publish my historical/romance/immigration story novel, Papa's Shoes. They've given me a lot things to provide to get it ready, including: 1. Author photo 2. Author bio 3. Cover art 4. Reviews for back cover 5. Book synopsis (short and long version) 6. Dedication 7. Acknowledgement 8. Book cover and synopsis for your previously published books   And Aberdeen Bay's next steps are to do the design, layout, and production of the book so it is ready for publication this coming spring - April or May 2019. WOW! that's fast! I'm also pleased to say that Aberdeen Bay found my book just about ready to go. I guess it helped to revise, revise, revise and give it to a professional copy/line editor for a last editing shot. I'm forever indebted to my editor Pat Zylius - a very meticulous person. Here's a bit of information about Aberdeen Bay, taken from their … [Read more...]

David Myles Robinson has returned

I'm pleased to welcome David Myles Robinson back to Choices, while he's on his WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour for his new book, Son of Saigon. I couldn't resist reading another one of his mystery thrillers after the great time I had reading The Pinochet Plot. See my post about that book and my review here. His latest book is called Son of Saigon, and it doesn't disappoint. Here's a brief synopsis: Hank and Norm were living the good life: two friends with plenty of money, homes in a lovely California retirement town, and no problems except for the boredom that felt almost fatal. Then Mai came into the picture, the love of Hank’s life during his CIA days in Saigon, desperately needing his help to save the son he’d never known he had. Boredom was over, as Hank and Norm hit the road, following the few clues Mai could give them in search of a man who desperately wants not to be found. What they find is a slew of lies and hidden truths, strange characters, improbable … [Read more...]

Should we write fiction about real people?

I'm excited to have Cindy Fazzi here today while she's on her WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour. She discusses her new book My MacArthur and how to write fiction about a famous person. I love this subject matter so much that she's inspired me to find a famous person to write about too. Perhaps a dead famous person like she did. Here's Cindy! Three Tips on Writing Fiction about a Famous Person By Cindy Fazzi Writing a novel about a real person is difficult—the more famous the person, the greater the challenge. Writing about Douglas MacArthur, an iconic World War II general, was certainly not easy, especially because I focused on a little-known love affair he had with Isabel Rosario Cooper, a Filipino actress. Here are a few things I learned from my experience writing my historical novel, My MacArthur. 1. Choose your subject well; remember that you can’t defame the dead. Under American law, the party who claims that he or she was defamed may file a lawsuit. Obviously, a … [Read more...]

Using educator skills to build fictional characters

Cheryl Carpinello, our Choices WOW! Women on Writing book tour guest today has used her years as an educator and observation skills to create characters her young readers can relate to. Author of Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, Cheryl shares how using the traits of her students helped her build believable characters for her award-winning fiction.   Being an Educator Helps Me Build Believable Characters By Cheryl Carpinello Writing characters that readers can identify and bond with is difficult at the best of times. When writing for young readers, I transport myself back to my classroom where I watch my students working and discussing. I wander the school hallways and observe students’ interactions with each other and with other teachers. Doing these exercises helps me develop characters that my readers can relate to and see pieces of themselves. As an adult writing for ages 9-15, it is important that my characters come across true. Kids are really amazing and at … [Read more...]

Welcome! Mary Maurice, author of the Suicide Letters of Jack Monroe

Choices is very pleased to have Mary Maurice visit while she's on her WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour of The Suicide Letters of Jack Monroe. She has also given us her thoughts about the failing use of the word, Please - a word that has always been well-used in my family - along with its companions, Thank You. At least Ms. Maurice has a sense of humor about it. Here are her thoughts! PLEASE, WHERE ARE YOU? by Mary Maurice Has anyone seen, Please? You know, to please or not to please, that is the question. Whether it is pleasurable to please, or polite to say please, is becoming a mystery to people, at least that what it seems to me as I pace through this unconscious society. Just another word that’s lost its meaning and status in our vocabulary. I can still hear Mom saying. “What’s the magic word?” Or maybe it’s what the techno world is turning humans into. Rude, insensitive, self-indulged individuals, who think because they have the world at their fingertips, as they … [Read more...]

My novel is finished – now what?

I had every intention of submitting my finished novel to a small press I heard about a few years ago that publishes American Jewish Experience fiction. I kept checking back and kept checking back to see if they were still around over the years. But when I pulled up their website again yesterday, I found a new note pertaining to their guidelines - they will only look a fiction works that are represented by an agent. That of course stopped me dead. Now I am on the lookout for a small press that will be interested in coming of age/immigration/feminist themes and maybe willing to go with the American Jewish Experience theme as well. Looks like a very tall order to me. I'll also make friends with the agents I've met through the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, whom I've heard on panels many times. Maybe I can persuade one of them to represent me. In the meantime I want to thank all of the people who helped me with the book along the way. The following  is what I wrote for the … [Read more...]

My thoughts about the film The Wife (spoiler alert!)

The new film, The Wife, with Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce, brought up a lot of memories of my writing career. Early on in her studies, Joan Castleman, the character Glenn Close plays in the film, was told she could get nowhere as a female author. It was the year 1958 – the same year I started college as a journalism major. Castleman, already recognized for her writing skills, says she couldn’t live without writing. I too was hell-bent on having a career in writing though I was discouraged as well. My father made it clear I should study to be a teacher – after all that’s what girls in my generation did – or skip college altogether and become a secretary. Of course, the Castleman character in the movie and I were on totally different paths in our writing. My forte was journalism; hers was fiction. I persisted and got a job right after graduating from college at a fashion trade magazine, which I quit after three weeks because my male boss verbally abused and harassed me. A … [Read more...]