At this busy, hectic time of year, let Lauren Scott’s lovely poem take you to a quiet, peaceful place.
(The Forgotten Child Trilogy, #2)
By Mark W. Sasse
Fruit, Faeries, & Fascist Dictators. The Adventure Continues.
In part two of The Forgotten Child Trilogy, enigmatic beings from the realm beyond—Bee & Ash—team up once again with old Manhattan businessman Francis Frick. Joined by a mysterious new recruit, Frick must fight to bring master criminal Ulrich to justice and continue searching for the truth about the forgotten child.
A child has been saved, but with international master criminal Heinrich Ulrich still on the lam, no one is content—not Bee, not Ash, and most certainly not Francis Frick. As the FBI closes in on Frick’s dealings, Bee decides to recruit young Hatty Parker to help Frick exact revenge on Ulrich and search for another child to save. But when Bee’s actions begin to worry the realm beyond, her old nemesis returns to earth to thwart her plans and pit her against her beloved companion Ash, leaving Frick and his new sidekick to play dangerous time-travel games with a genocidal maniac.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads
I have read and reviewed several of Mark Sasse’s books and I have to say The Forgotten Child Trilogy is fabulous and are my favorites! Book Two, The African Connection, is every bit as intriguing as the first book, A Man Too Old, for a Place Too Far. I recommend you read Book One first so that you have a good understanding of who the characters are and how they fit into the story.
One of the most endearing traits of The African Connection is the way the author takes you into another realm with characters like Bee, who is flighty and childlike, and Ash, who is more than patient with Bee, but who can be stern with her at the same time. These two and Zette, who has more power than Bee or Ash, appear out of “thin air” first to Francis Frick and then to others. But don’t think they are ghosts, they are far more than that.
Sasse peppers the book with oodles of descriptive text to insert the reader into the story. He makes it easy to picture people, places, things, and yes, the otherworldly. Now, I know you’re thinking you don’t like reading a lot of description, neither do I, but Sasse writes in such a way that it renders a necessary, sense of place, and is such an integral part of the story that you will enjoy every descriptive word. I promise.
The story is coherent, and the characters are so lifelike you begin to think they are real. Mark Sasse has created another winner in my book. Do I recommend The African Connection? Without a doubt!
This book was given to me by the author in return for my honest review
Mark W Sasse is a novelist and award-winning playwright and director. He vacillates on a daily basis between which genre of writing he enjoys the most. Luckily, he doesn’t have to choose! Sasse’s novels have been featured on curated sites such as Bookbub and Noisetrade, and his plays have been produced in New York, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney, Australia. His play “The Last Bastion” earned him the 2018 Greywood Arts Winter Writing Residency in Ireland. He is also a three-time winner of the Best Script Award at the Penang Short & the Sweet Theatre Festival. His plays have won multiple other awards such as Best Overall Performance and Audience Choice Award. He won the Festival Director’s Award at the 2016 festival.
Sasse’s interests cast a wide net – from politics to literature – from culture and language – from history and religion, making his writing infused with the unexpected as he seeks to tell authentic and engaging stories about people from all walks of life. His writing is straightforward and accessible to all, especially those who enjoy a page-turning good story injected with doses of history, adventure, Asian culture, and unexpected humor.
After being an adamant standalone novel advocate, he’s changed his tune and is working on the epic Forgotten Child Trilogy. Book one, A MAN TOO OLD FOR A PLACE TOO FAR, released in December 2017, and the following two books will continue the story in 2018 and 2019. He finally found the story that required more than one book, and he’s thrilled with it. It’s a crazy mix of magical realism, history, and time travel, wrapped alongside the requisite human stories.
As for his plays, he’s fond of both the short play (10 minutes or less) and full-length formats. From 2011-2017 he wrote for and directed the drama ensemble The RLT Players, a passionate group of dramatic storytellers who specialize in the short play format. In September 2016, his experimental theatre piece “How to Build a Dictator” was featured as part of Penangpac’s Black Box Experiments series. His goal is to have it go into full production somewhere in the world. Any takers?
He currently teaches drama in Saudi Arabia.
HOW DID HE FINALLY GET HIMSELF WRITING?
Sasse remembers writing his first play when he was about thirteen. It was about Queen Esther and the only person he ever showed that play to was his mother. In college, he wrote lots of poetry, even love poetry for a certain girl. But once he graduated, his writing confidence was shattered, so he gave it up for the next twenty years. He doesn’t recommend doing that! He went to China to teach English in 1992 and eventually moved to Vietnam to do the same in 1994, shortly after the U.S. lifted the embargo against their former enemy. He lived in the exotic Vietnamese culture with his family for nearly ten years. After many life-changing experiences, Sasse’s new-found taste for history sent him back to school to pick-up a second Master’s degree, this one in Humanities. This led to a shift from teaching English to history as he moved to Malaysia in 2006. Little did he know, however, that all of this was building up to another major shift which would get him back to writing.
On a whim in 2007, he embarked on a collaborative project with a group of students to write and produce a play, resulting in the original stage play “Monkey Love Potion.” It was such a fun and rewarding experience that he decided to try it again the following year. Before he knew it, he was hooked and that was the beginning of his love affair with live theatre. After writing and successfully producing four original full-length scripts, he finally got the nerve to try his hand once again at a hidden desire which had defeated him many times over the years – novel writing.
In the summer of 2011, he embarked on the journey of writing his first novel. His greatest worry was reaching the magical 50,000 word mark, so he could officially call himself a novelist. When the story, “Beauty Rising,” clocked in at over 60,000 words, he was shocked and happy. But not content. He didn’t know what to do with the novel, and he convinced himself that it would sit idle until he wrote a second novel. He hated hearing the words “one-hit wonder” echo in his head. So, in the summer of 2012, he wrote “The Recluse Storyteller.”
Feeling a little more confident, he decided to focus on exposing his work to the public in order to receive some feedback. In December 2012, he independently published “Beauty Rising.” When the first review from an online book reviewer was posted and it was over-the-top positive, he was flying high, and if he never wrote another word in his life, he would have been content. But that contentment was not to be. He was now hopelessly hooked on both play writing and novel writing, and he hasn’t looked back since.
He has published five novels with six already finished and ready for publication in 2017. Number seven will be his first sequel and will be available sometime in 2018. He is grateful for all the readers who have joined him on this journey of creativity.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
Sasse loves to cook everything from pizza to Thai. He’s coached softball or baseball for the past ten years, and he’s been a much too loyal fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates since he was 9 years old–another item he’s hopelessly hooked on. He enjoys travelling, visiting historical sites, and sitting by the beach or other scenic spot with a laptop, an idea, and a lot of time. He has a lovely wife and three wonderful children and one really cool son-in-law – he’s Korean, keeping with the Asian theme of his life. He has an active blog (www.mwsasse.com) where he writes frequently about history, writing, culture, and life. He loves to hear from readers, so he hopes you’ll stop by his site and say “hello.”
Author Biography taken from Amazon.com
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Do you enjoy young adult fantasy fiction? Check out this review of Daughter of Magic by Karen Eisenbrey on Rosie Amber’s blog.
Daughter of Magic is a young adult fantasy. It has a medieval setting and a theme revolving around magic and wizards.
The story opens with fourteen year old Luskell. She and her parents are travelling to a rural village, so that Luskell can stay with her Grandmother for the summer. Meanwhile, her parents must go to the city where they will act as ambassadors during tribal meetings with the new Governor.
Luskell’s parents both have magical abilities; her mother is a great healer and her father is a powerful wizard. Luskell’s own abilities are currently dormant; however, she builds a friendship with two boys and together the trio grow into their magic. They then set off on a quest to stop a power-hungry bad wizard.
Stories about wizards and magic are popular. This story follows well used genre tropes, but I found…
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By Janice Spina, author
John Spina, illustrator
Abby and Holly are cousins who are more like sisters. They enjoy doing everything together. Holly lives with Abby and her family in a haunted Victorian. Holly must deal in some difficult decisions with her family when unexpected and unfortunate events come to pass.
Abby is there to lend support to Holly along with two ghostly apparitions, Felicity and Minerva, who live in Abby’s house. These specters provide some magical and helpful advice along the way as they watch over Holly during this difficult time.
The girls’ friends, twins Davey and Derek Donato, from their own series, pop in to support Holly and bring some fun and comical relief to the story.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads
I am so excited about the Abby and Holly Series for girls, but it could be equally enjoyed by boys. In Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events, Abby’s cousin, Holly, is faced with some difficult issues. While her parents are away on overseas jobs, Holly is living with Abby. Things go downhill when her parents return for a visit and her mother becomes ill. Throughout this trying time, Holly has a tremendous amount of support from Abby, her Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob, and two ghosts who live in Abby’s house, Felicity and Minerva. Of course, their friends Davey and Derek are there to help, too.
As with all of Spina’s children’s books, Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events teaches life lessons such as respect, kindness toward others, and the importance of being polite. This book concentrates on handling the unexpected and overcoming life’s disappointments. The unexpected was Holly’s mother’s illness and hospital stay. With the love of her extended family, Holly was able to cope with her worry for her mother. Disappointment was addressed when her father announced that he was flying out to finish his work overseas. He explained to Holly the importance of fulling his obligations to his employer.
I highly recommend Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events to all middle-graders, both girls and boys. The storyline is one that will keep children interested with its elements of suspense and mystery. Though there are references to a childhood crush, they are not a major component of the story and certainly not enough to deter boys’ interest. And who doesn’t love a friendly little ghost or two! As with all the author’s children’s books, this one is true to her ideals of writing books that encourage children to read while incorporating those all-important life lessons. As a book I think every parent will want their daughters and sons to read, I give Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events 5 stars!
Janice Spina is an award-winning author with twelve children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish, Lamby the Lonely Lamb, Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose, Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, and Colby the Courageous Cat, Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier, and five YA/MG/P/T books, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Books 1-5, Abby & Holly Series, Books 1 & 2, copy editor, blogger, book reviewer and supporter of fellow authors.
Hunting Mariah is her first novel to be published under J.E. Spina. She published her second novel, a paranormal/mystery/romance, How Far Is Heaven, June 2016. Book 3 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives was published in August 2016 and Book 4 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series in December on 2016. An Angel Among Us, a short story collection, was published in March 2017 and Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, a children’s book, in May 2017. Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Mariah’s Revenge, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier and Abby & Holly School Dance, Books 1 & 2 in a series were published in 2018.
Jance has received the following awards for her books:
Mom’s Choice Awards – Silver Medal – Lamby the Lonely Lamb
Pinnacle Book Achievements Awards – Jerry the Crabby Crayfish, Broose the Moose on the Loose, Colby the Courageous Cat, Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, Books 1, 2, 3, 5 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series
Reader’s Favorite Book Awards – Silver Medal – Book 3, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives,
Honorable Mention – Book 1, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series
AUTHORSDB – Cover Contest – Silver Medal – Book 5, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series
AUTHORSDB- FINALIST in First Lines Contest – Hunting Mariah
Red City Review FINALIST – Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 4, The Case of the Brown Scraggly Dog
She is editing a YA fantasy and writing more books in a series for MG/PT/YA girls and plans to write more Davey & Derek Junior Detectives books. All of these books, hopefully over the next few years, will be published.
Janice’s short stories have been published in others’ anthologies and in The Writer’s Newsletter, https://thewritersnewsletter.com/fiction-non-fiction-
Book trailers: https://youtu.be/pLCjyc9Q9tQ (How Far Is Heaven)
https://youtu.be/pLCjyc9Q9tQ (Hunting Mariah) (Both created by Chris Graham)
https://youtu.be/2DIawvOX9aw (Mariah’s Revenge – created by Janice Spina)
Her logo is Jemsbooks – books for all ages! Her motto is – Reading Gives You Wings to Fly! Come soar with Jemsbooks! Happy reading!
Janice’s hobbies besides writing are crocheting, exercising to keep in shape, going to the movies with her husband or out to lunch or dinner, reading, book reviewing, blogging and spending time with her five grandchildren who are her writing inspiration.
Janice loves to hear from readers and appreciates and happily welcomes reviews.
Janice can be followed on her blog: http://jemsbooks.blog
Biographical information taken from Amazon author page
One of the things we take away from our weekend workshops are the memories. Faces, places, people, conversations and realisations, all combine to create a kaleidoscope of intangible souvenirs that find their own place in the hierarchy of memory. We may share an adventure, but the memories are unique for each of us and it would only be by combining all of them that a true picture of the weekend would even begin to emerge. We each bring our own perspective to the experience, and what will seem unimportant to one may be awe-inspiring to another. Some of what we experience will seem so mundane that it fades into the background, barely registering its presence in our minds, some moments will make such an impression that they remain fresh and evergreen for the rest of our lives.
Memories are more important than we consciously realise most of the time. They…
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An excellent guest post by Claire Fullerton on The Story Reading Ape Blog
Every writer has deep-seated motivation for writing a novel. It may be a person, place, or setting that resonates in their soul, and from this a story that won’t let them go. I was tentative when I began writing Mourning Dove, and by this, I mean to say that I tested the waters before I dove in head first to the full story. Mourning Dove started as a poem I never shared, but I liked its subject and rhythm. It spoke of a family dynamic, had movement and spoke of human nature in the face tragedy. In writing the poem, it occurred to me there is beauty to be gleaned in the worst of human affairs.
In one of those intuitive promptings that seems fateful in hindsight, I saw an online call for submissions to the 2013 San Francisco Writers Conferences’ contest. In looking at the categories, I thought narrative…
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By D.G. Kaye
In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.
Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other. (Blurb taken from Goodreads)
In TWENTY YEARS: AFTER “I DO”, the author talks about some authentic problems one encounters when the love of their life experiences health issues of advancing age. In her instance there is an age gap of nearly 20 years, but none-the-less, the difficulties of illness of either partner, the marriage with not only a new partner, but with the partner’s family, and a plethora of other concerns are easily faced by a couple of any age and at any stage of their marriage if love and laughter are part of that union.. I’ve always believed that true love conquers all, and D.G. Kaye confirmed that belief with candor and wit in her book as she talks about the trials and tribulations of her own marriage.
To say that I am a huge fan of D. G. Kaye is an understatement. I love her style of writing, her honesty in telling it like it is, and her never-ending sense of humor. If you haven’t read any of her books, just peruse all the titles and find one or more you can relate to. The author writes in a way that you can easily slip into her identity and find yourself present in a real-life situation that may be similar to your own. You will laugh along with her, sympathize with her, and possibly learn something about life and your own situation.
TWENTY YEARS: AFTER “I DO” is highly deserving of 5 stars.
D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
Kaye writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and the lessons that were taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome some of the many obstacles that challenged her. From an emotionally neglected childhood, to growing up with a narcissistic mother, leaving her with a severely deflated self-esteem, D.G. began seeking a path to rise above her issues.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she’ll bring her natural sense of humor into her other works.
D.G. began writing when pen and paper became tools to express her pent-up emotions during a turbulent childhood. She began writing notes and cards for the people she loved and admired when she was afraid to use her own voice. She journaled about life, and her opinions on people and events. Later she began writing poetry and health articles for a Canadian magazine as her interest was piqued by natural healthcare.
D.G. began reading extensively on the subject of natural health care after encountering quite a few serious health issues. Against many odds, Kaye has overcome adversity several times throughout her life.
Kaye looks for the good and the positive in everything and believes in paying it forward.
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
Her Favourite Saying: “Live. Laugh. Love …and don’t forget to breathe!” is her website logo, to remind herself and others that we often forget to take a pause. (Author Bio taken from Goodreads)
Social Media and Author Pages:
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If you like to write and want to share your stories, Sue Vincent has the perfect spot for you.
It is five o’clock here in England and my daily featured spot is empty again. I feel unwanted, abandoned, bereft… Here I am, all ready to welcome guests, and not a guest in sight! I could just sigh and reblog a post I have enjoyed, or I can use the space to offer it to you. I already have the regular Be My Guest and the Elusive Realities series detailed below, but what if I asked for something else?
I love learning about different times and places, especially the kind of lore that seldom makes it into books. The blogosphere has no nationality and encompasses the whole world… what better place to learn?
How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?
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By Janice Spina
This is Book 1 of a series of Abby & Holly books. These two girls were first introduced in Book 5 of the Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series.
Abby and Holly are first cousins on their mothers’ side. They moved to the quiet town of Linden, New Hampshire, and live in a grand old Victorian which is haunted.
The cousins are excited about attending the 6th-grade dance. When their friend, Justine, is bullied by two other girls, Abby and Holly, along with the help of a ghost and Davey and Derek Donato, the twin detectives, work together to formalize a plan to put a stop to the bullying.
I have long been a fan of Janice Spina’s young children’s books and her middle-grade Davey and Derek Junior Detectives series. I was excited to read the first book in her Abby and Holly series for middle-grade girls, and I was not disappointed.
Abby and Holly are the cousins we met in The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series Book 5) who helped Davey and Derek solve a case involving a ghost that was residing in Abby’s house. Now they are back seeking the help of their friends Davey and Derek in solving a case of a girl jealously sabotaging another classmate’s chance to go to the 6th-grade dance and plans to do even worse.
The story flows well, and the characters are developed nicely so anyone who hasn’t read any of the Davey and Derek series will have no trouble jumping in with book one of this series. Girls are going to love this series — a touch of puppy love, fantasy, and a mystery to solve all in one book. The lessons of forgiving and forgetting and being kind are well documented in the story, an important reminder for everyone. This is another 5-star book from Janice Spina.
Janice Spina is an award-winning author with eleven children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish (won Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), Lamby the Lonely Lamb (won the Silver Medal from MOM’S Choice Awards), and Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose (won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award), and Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, and Colby the Courageous Cat. Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series (Book 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) is a middle-grade/preteen series. Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone (won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and an Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite Awards). Book 2, The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat, won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and Book 3, The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant, also won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and Book 5 won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and a Silver Medal from Authorsdb Cover Contest.
Janice has published three novels under J. E. Spina, Hunting Mariah, a thriller/mystery, Mariah’s Revenge (Sequel to Hunting Mariah) a paranormal/mystery/romance novel, How Far Is Heaven, and a short story collection, An Angel Among Us, all available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She needs to edit a YA fantasy series which will be published in 2019 and beyond. Her husband is her illustrator and cover creator.
She has written over a hundred poems and two other novels. The two novels need editing before publishing. Janice says, “There is always another story swimming around in my head. If I don’t write them down they are lost forever.”
Her logo is JEMSBOOKS for all ages on which is her motto:
“Reading Gives You Wings To Fly! Soar with Jemsbooks!”
Janice’s and John’s joint goal is: To encourage children of all ages to read and to instill this love of reading in them to carry them through life and thus giving them ‘wings to fly!’
She loves to hear from readers and appreciates reviews. She says, “It’s like Christmas each time I receive a review!” (Taken from Goodreads)