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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book Feature: Evolution Now by David Penny







Publication Date: March 27, 2017
Publisher: XLibrisNZ
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 229
Genre: Science
Tour Dates: August 14-25

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This is a very Popperian approach to evolutionary study. Karl Popper was a philosopher of science, who took science very seriously, and had a profound influence on the chemists and zoologists where I did my undergraduate degree. The book starts from about 1600, when people accepted that life continued to arise “naturally,” and then moves to the pre-evolutionary concept of the fixity of species. Darwin started as a geologist in the Hutton-Lyell tradition and quickly became convinced that current causes were sufficient to explain geology, and he then moved to biology. I gave an account of his theory in some detail. However, there is also an update on what we have learned since Darwin. This is followed by a chapter on human evolution, especially human speech and the Out of Africa theory. This is followed by two chapters on beliefs that maybe incorrect (one of which is the extinction of dinosaurs from the extraterrestrial impact at the K-Pg boundary—maybe incorrect). The other is the direction of change between eukaryotes (which have a true nucleus) and akaryotes (without a true nucleus). The book finishes with a section on what is left for the future. In good Popperian style, there is a lot left for us to discover!







David Penny is a 'Distinguished Professor' at a New Zealand University, and has a PhD from Yale University. He is a New Zealander by birth.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Feature: Everything You Need to Know About Camping and RV'ing by Ghislaine Bourdon






Title: Everything You Need to Know about Camping and RV'ing
Author: Ghislaine Bourdon
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Sports & Recreation/Camping
Format: Ebook
These are informative and entertaining lessons that teach the ways and etiquette of camping that will lead to a more relaxed and enjoyable vacation for everyone. Learn to organize, plan, and prepare with eagerness and excitement. 

Camping is fun for everyone especially if you know how to do it right! Let me guide you to your greatest adventures.




Ghislaine Bourdon has a bachelor's degree in studio art. She was a swimming instructor for most of her life and taught swimming for the school system in France for many years. Ghislaine bicycled across most of Europe including the Alps alone when she was sixteen years old. She has climbed many mountains and does extensive camping trips. Trying not to be hindered by a past mental illness Ghislaine has overcome many life long difficulties. She is an extremely diversified individual with talents that abound.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Feature: Constitutional Renaissance by Richard Monts






Title: Constitutional Renaissance
Author: Richard Monts
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Political Science/Government
Format: Ebook
Have you had enough? When will the United States government stop growing? All constitutionally enumerated activities should have been in place long ago. There should be no more expansion in scope, yet there is. What we have now is an overbearing out-of-control central government—expanding far beyond constitutional limits—imposing on member states’ sovereignty. The result is a reduction in competition among states, a stifling business environment, and citizens and businesses suffering under complex taxation and regulations. On top of that, a litigious environment depresses economic activity further. There is an alternative! This book presents one that is very business friendly, establishes competition among the states, and provides a positive environment for the individual to strive for their potential while honoring the genius of the Constitution.
Mr. Monts has been concerned about continued expansion of the United States government since the Kennedy administration. He deferred to others, constitutional and legal experts galore, for the correct interpretation of the Constitution. He assumed they were right. During the Affordable Care Act discussions, he had heard enough. He determined to answer two questions to his own satisfaction. First, what is the role of the United States government? Second, what is the best environment for the individual to realize their own potential? After reading the Constitution and other contemporary writings, using his own common sense, putting intellectual integrity and honesty before ideology, ignoring case law, using correct meanings of critical words, he had his answers. The results are in this book.

Authors To Watch: Emma Hartley, Author of The Nature of Entangled Hearts





Emma Hartley is an author and artist living in picturesque Maine. She has been writing and making art since childhood and has been insatiably curious and industrious her whole life. Emma was a double major in English and Fine Arts and she received her Masters in Art and Design Education. She is a specialist in ceramics and includes much of this expertise in her novel The Nature of Entangled Hearts. Her other interests include playing drums, making art and exploring every square inch of the Maine coastline. The Nature of Entangled Hearts is her first novel.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK




The Nature of Entangled Hearts is a fast-paced, edgy, romantic thriller, with a subtly supernatural twist.  Enter the story of Elwyn and James, two strangers entangled by their past-life experiences,
who are mired in an unquantifiable present.  Throughout the novel they work to understand the bonds that hold them together, just as an unforeseen danger threatens to tear them apart.
                                                   
Elwyn “Derrin” Derringer is a ceramic artist and a professor at the local college of art in Portland, Maine.  She has always felt insecure and disconnected, unsure of how or why she fits into the world, seeking through her art to fill in the missing pieces of herself.  When Elwyn’s eyes lock on those of a stranger across the market, everything she has taken for granted as reality is thrown into question.  Understanding blooms in fits and starts, interrupted by her fears of attachment and eventually by the unwanted attentions of an obsessed and disturbed art student.

Throughout the novel, Elwyn discovers reservoirs of strength and independence as she faces these challenges, endearing the reader with her feisty nature and her fierce desires to create authentically, to love intensely and to transcend the destructive links to her past.  “The Nature of Entangled Hearts” takes us on a thrilling ride through past and present, through love and dread, through loss and reclamation, leaving us thankful that we don’t understand all the mysteries of the universe just yet, and reminding us never to take our lives - or our loves - for granted.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble




We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?

Thank you for having me!  I began writing fiction when I was a very young child.  I recently went through a trunk of old things from my childhood and I encountered an old journal.  One of the love stories I had started in third grade reminded me very much of my current work.  Noticing the similarities in theme was a surprise.  Apparently, I’ve been thinking about this stuff for a while!

As far as my adult writing career goes, I began writing in earnest when my first child was one year old.  I went back to work as an art teacher for two-and-a-half days a week, but the daycare we used was three days a week.  That left me with Wednesday afternoons free.  So, when I got out of work, I went to the coffee shop across from the daycare and I wrote for three hours until it was pick up time and my child woke up from her nap.  During that year of Wednesday afternoons, I wrote an entire novel.  Once I realized I could actually do it, I was hooked.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

My books grow pretty organically.  There is always a seed from which a character or plot line grows.  I never know where these seeds will come from next, but when they germinate and start to sprout, I map out my rough outline so that my story doesn’t ramble.  I want my characters to lead the way, and I usually trust them to do so. 

These days, I write on Mondays.  I block out the entire day for my work and commit myself to it wholeheartedly.  I usually write in coffee shops because the bustle of activity and people feeds my creative energy.  It’s like an instant community of strangers.  Plus, the caffeine doesn’t hurt…

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

The Nature of Entangled Hearts is a love story, a thriller, and an exploration of what it means to be human and to love deeply.  It brings us on the journey of two strangers, Elwyn and James, who meet for the first time after they lock eyes in the public market.  They feel compelled to figure out why they are so drawn to each other.  Elwyn, a feisty professor of ceramics at the local art college in Portland, Maine, initially resists the lure of the handsome James.  She quickly realizes, however, that there is something deeper pulling her towards him.  James, a successful businessman, has always been plagued by nightmares of a dying woman.  When he sees Elwyn, however, his hope for a normal life is kindled.  As the characters overcome their personal fears and hesitations, they come to understand their connection, just as an unforeseen threat, in the form of a disturbed art student, threatens to tear them apart.  The book follows Elwyn and James on their epic journey through the past and present, uncovering the nature of their deep love for one another, and imbuing them each with courage and hope.

How did you get the idea for the book?

The idea for The Nature of Entangled Hearts came from a real experience I had with a stranger in the Public Market.  Our eyes met and I wondered why this beautiful man was staring me down.  The look in his eyes was one of familiarity and yearning.  I couldn’t figure out his motivation, so I chickened out and turned away.  Talk about regretting a sudden burst of shyness!  He left, and as he did, he looked back at me with a wistful expression.  Then, he was gone.  I played that scene in my mind over and over, wondering what that man thought he saw in me.  Did he know me?  I thought of a thousand ways our encounter could have ended, instead of me turning away, and each of those musings brought me one step closer to this novel.  

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Elwyn “Derrin” Derringer is my favorite character.  She is feisty and funny, insecure and creative, quick to anger—but usually at herself.  She is prettier than she thinks she is.  She takes charge in difficult situations.  She finds courage she didn’t know she had, and her will to love rules in the end.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

The ending was very difficult to write.  I originally had a different trajectory that never quite seemed to fit.  When I deleted fifty pages of writing, it freed me up to create the ending that was meant to be.  It is never easy to see your characters in danger or pain, nor is it easy to know exactly the right path for them to take.  In this case, I am satisfied that the characters remain authentic, even as they face danger at the end of this novel.

What projects are you currently working on?

My upcoming novel, The Annealing of Aliza Bennett, is set for release in July.  I am also finishing up two more novel-length manuscripts, and I have to keep myself from starting anything new until I finish the work I have started – which is hard for me!  




What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?
 
Read a lot!  Think about what you read and ask yourself how the author may have come up with her ideas and characters.  Then, think about yourself, your own experiences, your acquaintances, your surroundings, and ask yourself about the stories you already have in your heart or mind.
 
After you’ve done your homework, it’s time to write.  Carve out a chunk of time every week (or every day if you can manage it).  Set the tone for your best work.  If you work well in a quiet place, set up a writing sanctuary in your home.  If you work best out in the hubbub, like I do, then find a table at your favorite coffee shop and park there unabashedly all day.  If you can make writing a part of your life, you start to think of yourself as a writer.  Then, the words will flow.  Above all, enjoy the process.  I write because I love to write.  I hope you do too.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Book Feature: Yesterday is Never Gone by Ilona Salley






Title: Yesterday is Never Gone
Author: Ilona Sally
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Thriller/Crime
Format: Ebook
Niki is no stranger to horrific personal challenges. As a child, she bravely endured abandonment by her father. While in her teens, she witnessed her mother’s murder and the abduction and presumed death of her only sibling. Although her secrets have always been carefully cloaked from others, they have shaped her personality more than she would like to admit. But with a past as terrible as hers, how can Niki ever hope for a bright future? Years later, Niki is a dedicated profiler in a criminal investigation agency with no idea her life is about to change exponentially. One day, through a quirky twist of fate, she receives startling news that her sister, Inge, is alive. As a driving force compels Niki to search for her, she embarks on a quest that takes her through cities and wilderness on two continents. She encounters difficult decisions, threatening mobsters, near-death experiences, and romance, yet nothing deters her from reaching her goal—not even a gruesome discovery about her father. But Niki is about to discover that things are never what they seem to be. In this thrilling tale, deception and inner turmoil hamper a young woman’s journey toward a new reality as she attempts to reconcile her past and find the truth.
Ilona Salley emigrated from Germany to Toronto, Canada, with her family when she was three. Throughout her life, her interests have included squash, skiing, wood carving, literature, art, and languages. Her fascination with architecture and archaeology has led her to travel in search of ancient places and artifacts. After a long career as an educator, she expanded her horizons by teaching in England and China. Now, she spends part of each year in Fort Myers, Florida.

Monday, November 20
Review From Here
Literal Exposure

Tuesday, November 21
The Writers Life
A Title Wave

Wednesday, November 22
A Book Lover
Born to Read Books

Thursday, November 23
T's Stuff
Mythical Books

Friday, November 24
My Bookish Pleasures
Inkslinger's Opus

Monday, November 27
All Inclusive Retort
Indie Wish List

Tuesday, November 28
Bent Over Bookwords
Lover of Literature

Wednesday, November 29
The Book Czar
The Book Refuge

Thursday, November 30
The Hype and the Hoopla
The Revolving Bookshelf

Friday, December 1
Voodoo Princess
Write and Take Flight

Friday, November 24, 2017

Book Feature: 2D Surgical Hospital by Lorna Griess





Title: 2D Surgical Hospital
Author: Lorna Griess
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Military Biography
Format: Ebook
This book is about living and working in a mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) in South Vietnam. It talks about the hospital itself, the setting, how we lived, how we coped with less-than-good circumstances, the type of patients we received, the equipment we worked with, and the emotional highs and lows that were part of every day. The stories are true. Some of the dates and numbers of things may be off a little; that was a long time ago. Names have not been used to protect the wonderful, dedicated people with whom I worked and lived with.
Lorna Griess made the Army Nurse Corps her career after her tour in Vietnam. She served in hospitals worldwide for almost thirty years. She retired as a full colonel and chief nurse at Letterman Army Medical Center on the Presidio in San Francisco (now closed). Fully retired from nursing, she joined the Military Officers Association of America, California Council of Chapters, and became their legislative liaison. She serves as a veterans’ advocate in the California State Legislature. She is a member of several other veterans’ organizations including Vietnam Veterans, AMVETS, and VFW. She writes articles, reporting on current legislation for local newsletters. For relaxation, she has become an artist. Her oil paintings have been on display at several galleries around Sacramento, including the Crocker Art Gallery.

Monday, November 20
Review From Here
Literal Exposure

Tuesday, November 21
Mythical Books
Born to Read Books

Wednesday, November 22
A Book Lover
I'm Shelf-ish

Thursday, November 23
The Dark Phantom
The Zen Reader

Friday, November 24
My Bookish Pleasures
Inkslinger's Opus

Monday, November 27
All Inclusive Retort
T's Stuff

Tuesday, November 28
Bent Over Bookwords
Lover of Literature

Wednesday, November 29
The Book Czar
The Book Refuge

Thursday, November 30
The Hype and the Hoopla
The Revolving Bookshelf

Friday, December 1
Voodoo Princess
My Life. One Story at a Time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Excerpt reveal: Written Off, by Sheila Lowe


Written Off_Sheila Lowe Cover FinalTitle
: Written Off
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Author: Sheila Lowe
Publisher: Suspense Publishing
Find out more on Amazon
About the Book:    
In the dead of winter, handwriting expert Claudia Rose journeys to Maine to retrieve a manuscript about convicted female serial killer, Roxanne Becker.  While searching for the manuscript, written by Professor Madeleine Maynard, who was, herself, brutally murdered, Claudia uncovers a shocking secret about a group of mentally unstable grad students, selected for a special project, and dubbed “Maynard’s Maniacs.”  Was Madeleine conducting research that was at best, unprofessional—and at worst, downright harmful, and potentially dangerous? Could that unorthodox research have turned deadly?
Claudia finds herself swept up in the mystery of Madeleine’s life—and death—and makes it her mission to hunt down Madeleine’s killer.  But Claudia soon realizes that Madeleine left behind more questions than answers, and  no shortage of suspects.  Seems the professor’s personal life yields a number of persons who might have wanted her dead—and her academic success and personal fortune clearly made her the envy of fellow faculty members.   The University anticipates being the beneficiary of Madeline’s estate—but that seems in question when a charming stranger, claiming to be Madeleine’s nephew, turns up brandishing a new will.
The local police chief prevails upon Claudia to travel into town to examine the newly produced, handwritten will. Rushing back to Madeleine’s isolated house to escape an impending storm, Claudia becomes trapped in a blizzard.  With a killer.
Intelligent and engaging, bristling with tension, twists and turns, Written Off is a pulse-pounding tale that grabs readers on the first page and doesn’t let go. With its appropriately chilling Maine winter backdrop, compelling characters that spring to life in the novel’s pages, and seamlessly-plotted storyline, Written Off brings spine-tingling thrills and plenty of chills. Resplendent with fascinating details informed by Sheila Lowe’s experience as a forensic handwriting analyst, Written Off is an extraordinary—and extraordinarily terrifying—work of psychological suspense. Smart and suspenseful, tense and intense, Written Off will leave readers gasping for breath.
EXCERPT
December 3
The cabin was the size of a master bedroom; a ramshackle shed whose cedar logs had expanded and contracted, until the spaces between them were large enough to admit small vermin. Inside, the musty smell and scat on virtually every surface confirmed that many such creatures had availed themselves of the accommodations over the years while it fell into disrepair.
It had been unused for so long that few in the village of Summerhays remembered that the cabin stood—or more accurately, leaned—in the overgrown clearing in the woods, let alone who had built it, though most folks readily agreed that given the one room, a hunter was more likely than a family to have occupied the place.
No evidence of any dweller endured; no furnishings other than a rough-hewn kitchen chair. No guesses how long the chair had stood in front of the old wood-burning stove, waiting for someone to sit down and warm their hands.
Each summer, the vegetation crept closer to the cabin. What little light that managed to penetrate the sagging windows was murky at best. In winter, even when the trees were stripped of their leaves as they were now, the metallic snow-laden skies darkened the cheerless room to a permanent dusk.
It was through those grimy, sagging windows that searchers spotted the remains of Professor Madeleine Maynard. 
Chapter One
Chaos theory—the science of surprises—teaches that one small change to a system can later produce tremendous, and often unintended, consequences. You start the day taking a friend to the doctor and make a choice that ends up altering lives. Including your own.
Claudia held open the doctor’s office door and followed Zebediah Gold out into the hallway. The week following hip surgery he was eager to get back to the gym, to long walks on the beach and driving his car whenever he felt like it. To his chagrin, he was being forced to understand that in his early seventies his body took longer to heal than it used to. The patience he generously imparted to his psychotherapy clients was less evident when it came to himself, and the unhappy thump of his cane on the polished floor shouted his feelings louder than an F-bomb.
That he was stewing over something had been noticeable from the moment Claudia picked him up at the guesthouse where he lived in Venice Beach, The drive to the Beverly Hills medical building made in near silence. Even when she told a silly joke that on any other day would have made him groan, Zebediah—ordinarily the most good-humored person on earth—barely responded.
“The Buddha said to the hot dog man, “Make me one with everything.”” Half a head shake. “Come on Zebediah, that was funny. Okay, the Buddha hands the hot dog man a twenty. The man puts it in his apron. The Buddha says, “where’s my change?” The hot dog man says, “Change must come from within.” Nothing.
He had not flirted with woman at the front desk, nor the nurse, and that was definitely out of character for her friend. Now, back at the elevator, Claudia kept waiting for him to tell her what was on his mind. By the time she pressed the button for P2, she was burning with curiosity and could no longer contain it.
“What did the doctor say? How’s your progress?”
“Fine.”
The noncommital answer was infuriatingly unsatisfying. Claudia was glad when no one else shared the ride to the parking garage. She held the view that when shared with strangers the trip took longer, everyone uncomfortable, avoiding eye contact by watching the floor numbers flash past. Her friend Kelly Brennan would inevitably make some ribald quip to break the ice. If Kelly were there now to vamp with Zebediah, she would certainly have found a way to make him laugh.
They bumped to a stop at the subterranean parking level. Dozens of parked cars and she and Zebediah the only humans in sight. It made Claudia think of earthquakes and being trapped underground. “Would I get an answer if we played twenty questions?” she asked, her voice hollow in the gloomy cave-like structure.
This time, he managed a faint smile. “Twenty questions sounds like fun.”
“Number one, is there a problem with your recovery?”
“Not at all, darling, I’ll be leaping tall buildings in a single bound by tomorrow.”
“So, does that mean you got a clean bill of health?”
“All is well, Doctor Rajagopian says I’m right where I should be.”
“Then what’s with all the cane thumping?” Reaching his Lexus, Claudia opened the passenger door. Zebediah handed her the cane and maneuvered into the seat. In his present condition it was easier for him than her low-slung classic ‘85 Jaguar. “Too many restrictions,” he grumbled. “No air travel for three months.”
She handed him back the cane and went around to the driver’s side. Up the winding slope to the exit, she inserted the parking ticket in its slot, happy to see daylight. “What’s the problem? You don’t need to fly anywhere in the next three months.” He didn’t say anything and she glanced over at him. He was staring down at his hands, twisting in his lap. “Do you?”
“As it happens…” Zebediah started, then broke off. The gate arm rose, and Claudia shouldered the Lexus into the endless stream of vehicles on Wilshire Boulevard. L.A. might have dealt the smog a crippling blow, but the traffic monster consumed the Southland with the appetite of King Kong.
“As it happens, what?” she asked when Zebediah left his words hanging.
“As it happens, I do need to fly. To Maine.”
“Maine?”
“Yes, darling. It’s a large state on the East Coast.”
“I know where Maine is, thank you. What’s there?”
“Blueberries in the summer. Loads of snow in the winter.”