New Release: The Passing Of The Night by Joanne Van Leerdam

People experience all kinds of night: loneliness, grief, depression, anxiety, fear, pain, and countless other darknesses. 

This newly released collection of profound lyrical poems explores the poet’s own experiences and observations of both dark and light, revealing her determination to not only survive, but to conquer whatever tries to overcome her. 

At the end of it all, the poet demonstrates that the smallest sign of light is enough to help a wandering soul find hope in the passing of the night. 

The Passing Of The Night is available on Amazon and all other major digital stores.

Book Review: Four American Tales by Jack Messenger

Jack Messenger Four American Tales.jpg

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On starting this collection with the first story, Wichega, I was immediately drawn in by the wistful, melancholic voice of Sweet Pea, telling her story so powerfully. This story is so evocative of memories, of sights and smells and sensations, that I almost felt that I was right there in the scene. This story is such an engaging way to open the quartet of stories.

Messenger’s writing is equally powerful and emotive in the other stories. The characters are developed richly, each having their own distinct voice and mannerisms that portray far more than what is told of them in the stories themselves.

These stories, and the characters in them, are varied enough to keep the reader engaged and curious throughout the book. There is neither cliche nor repetition in the plots, characters and imagery delivered by Messenger.

These stories are, without doubt, American in both style and setting, at different times reminding me of the imagery and eloquence of John Steinbeck.

This is the first of his books that I have read, but I definitely hope to read more of his writing. I enjoyed Four American Tales very much.

Four American Tales is available on Amazon.

Author Interview: Betty Mermelstein

Interview Red

Hi folks! I’m back again with another fantastic Indie author interview. Today, I’m chatting with multi-genre author, Betty Mermelstein. Welcome, Betty!

Thanks, Squirrel!

Tell me, Betty, what inspired you to write?

I have always loved to read and was interested in learning vocabulary and grammar even in elementary school, so I decided I wanted to tell my own stories with the written word.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Gone With the Wind: oh, the drama!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Since I was nine, I wanted to be a teacher because of my love of learning. I kept that desire and got my college degree in teaching. I retired after having taught preschool, elementary, and junior high.

Wow! Kids of all sizes!

That’s right!

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

You have to be willing to find the support as you struggle to format your books to get them self-published (especially as an ebook), find a means to advertise your books, and work your way through technology as you set up and maintain a website/blog. However, you don’t give up!

That’s right! Don’t give up!

*Betty and Squirrel give each other high fives*

What’s your favorite season?

It’s a toss up between Fall and Spring. I was born in the Fall, and it feels comfortable to me: the smell of leaves on the ground, the brightness of the foliage, the crispness in the air (of course, I haven’t lived in a climate that supports that for many years, but the memories make it palpable!). Spring makes me shiver inside with anticipation of newness and opportunities. It shows its beauty in its blooms and rejuvenates my soul with its breezes.

Oh! I love fresh blooms! It’s like… every bush is a salad!

Right…

Yeah. Back to the interview…
What the best book you’ve read this year?

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. I love historical fiction, and this one is set in WWII in France and New York, following characters who are part of the Ravensbruck concentration camp.

What’s your favorite thing you have written?

That’s a hard one. I also write poetry and short humorous essays, some of which have been published. I guess I feel most accomplished in putting together my collection of short stories that deal with relationships, entitled Seven for Reflection.

What are you working on now?

I mostly continue with my short humorous essays for my blog on Tumblr. There’s always something I experience in my life that I can poke fun at.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled in Canada, Europe, and around the U.S. One of the best trips was last year when I returned to our family’s summer cottage on a lake in Michigan with my husband and sisters. We connected with extended family and proved that you can go back!

What are two things in life that you wish were easier?

I wish my expectations (which covers a wide range of situations) could be met more than they are. I always tell myself my expectations make me delusional! I also wish I could learn things more quickly, especially in technology. In my twenties, I thought I could learn anything: again, delusional!

Thanks for joining me today, Betty! 

Thanks for having me, Squirrel!

Betty Mermelstein’s books can all be found at Amazon, and you can follow her blog on Tumblr

‘The Truths We Tell’ by Sarah Northwood

Sarah Northwood gives voice to thoughts and feelings commonly experienced, but often not so thoughtfully expressed, by people in all walks of life.

Divided into three sections – fear, contemplation and love, The Truths We Tell explores the ways in which we respond to the situations and feelings that challenge us and those things that fill and complete us. The reality of being haunted by regret and the “what ifs” of life is contrasted with the whimsy of fleeting happiness and the irresistible, transforming power of love.

Through all of this is the reminder that life is what it is: “Feeling the breeze on her cheek she knew, the wind can never be the sun.” (Unique)

Without the fear, we cannot fully feel bravery or confidence. Without grief, we can fully experience neither love nor joy. Life is the sum of all its parts.

That is the truth that these poems tell. 

Author Interview: Lissa Dobbs

Interview Purple

The Book Squirrel sat down recently to talk with Lissa Dobbs, fantasy author extraordinaire.

Lissa, it’s great to have you here today. 

Thank you! It’s great to be here.

What inspired you to write?

We did a project in the fourth grade that required us to write, illustrate, and put together a book. I was hooked from that moment on.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I’m not sure. I think my characters are more realistic in my YA work in progress, but there’s something about the Ethan Grimley series that I love.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Raymond E. Feist’s Midkemia books will always be my most favorite.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Coraline.

Oh cool! I love Neil Gaiman!
What are you working on writing now?

I have several projects going, probably too many. I’m working on a YA novel, several short stories, and the ‘story that never ends’, which is a trilogy I’ve been working on for almost three years that just doesn’t want to cooperate.

What is your pet hate?

Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing? I’m not a fan of lying and cheating, and, yes, it does sometimes show up.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Hobbit trilogy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Dr. Strange. The Harry Potter movies. The Smurfs (the real ones).

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An author. Ever since the fourth grade. There were times that other things got in the way, and they still do, but that’s the number one dream. I’m just glad I can take some time to work on it now and again.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love winter most of all, when we get one. I prefer the cold because it’s easier to adjust your own temperature. Once you get to skin, it’s over, so I’m not a fan of hot weather (says the person born and raised in the US Deep South). There’s also a peace about the winter months, a feeling of rest, that doesn’t exist in the other months.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Raymond E. Feist, H.P.Lovecraft, and Nathaniel Hawthorne

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

Being an Indie author is actually pretty cool, though there are parts of it that are extremely difficult and time consuming. It’s nice to have complete control over my creation, even when what I create isn’t perfect.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

I wish it was a little easier to learn graphic design so I could make the covers I really wanted, and I wish it was a bit easier for me to have to confidence to really promote my books.

Where can we follow you on Social Media?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shadowwalkersofgrevared

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LissaDobbs

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lissadobbs/

Author Central: http://amazon.com/author/lissadobbs

Where can we find your books?

All my books are available on Amazon, though the short stories are not appropriate for children.

Rise of the Mad Gods: The Slave’s Caress: https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Mad-Gods-Slaves-Caress-ebook/dp/B06XCT53HB/

Rise of the Mad Gods: Broken Treasure/For Love of Her: https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Mad-Gods-Broken-Treasure-ebook/dp/B06W59CBNZ/

Aradia’s Secret: https://www.amazon.com/Aradias-Secret-Lissa-Dobbs-ebook/dp/B06XSRKCXV/

Wolf in the Shadow: https://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Shadow-Annals-Walkers-ebook/dp/B01HNNEHQE/

Yuletide Sparkle: https://www.amazon.com/Yuletide-Sparkle-Short-Story-Grevared-ebook/dp/B01DIR26RG/

The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III: https://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Ethan-Grimley-III-Book/dp/B06XCV2S6L/

A Walker is Born: https://www.amazon.com/Walker-Born-Chronicles-Ethan-Grimley-ebook/dp/B01E9A4LVK/

Cronus Attacks: https://www.amazon.com/Cronus-Attacks-Chronicles-Ethan-Grimley-ebook/dp/B01ENYSHOE/

Revenge of Cronus: https://www.amazon.com/Revenge-Cronus-Chronicles-Ethan-Grimley-ebook/dp/B01MFD4CF5/

Toasty Hands: https://www.amazon.com/Toasty-Hands-Fingerless-Gloves-Crochet-ebook/dp/B00U7L39YQ/

Soft and Fluffy: https://www.amazon.com/Soft-Fluffy-Simple-Crochet-Washcloths-ebook/dp/B015CWA0V4/

A Friend for Me: https://www.amazon.com/Friend-Me-Cuddly-Crochet-Heart-ebook/dp/B00U77G0SW/

Daddy’s Little Man: https://www.amazon.com/Daddys-Little-Man-Crochet-Heart-ebook/dp/B00VKPIBMI/

My Cross to Bear: https://www.amazon.com/My-Cross-Bear-Crochet-Centerpiece-ebook/dp/B015ANTRNW/

Great! It’s Pumpkin Time!: https://www.amazon.com/Great-Its-Pumpkin-Time-Decoration-ebook/dp/B016N8JUP8/

Simple Charm: https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Charm-Crochet-Pendant-Necklace-ebook/dp/B00UF0NUN4/

Bootie Slippers for All Ages: https://www.amazon.com/Bootie-Slippers-All-Ages-Crochet-ebook/dp/B00UG33RXS/

Little Purses for Little Things: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Purses-Things-Crochet-Heart-ebook/dp/B00UFXC28A/

Whoa! You’re prolific! And terrific! And… and…

Aww thanks, Book Squirrel.

You’re welcome, Lissa. Thanks for chatting with me today. 

Thanks for having me!

 

Author Interview: Leah Hamrick

Interview Purple

Welcome to the Book Squirrel’s “Nuts About Writers” series of author interviews.  

The Book Squirrel sat down recently to interview Leah Hamrick, author of ‘Spell Caster’!

Leah Hamrick Spell Caster

Hi Leah, it’s great to meet you

Hi! It’s great to meet you, too.

Thanks! Shall we get started?

Sure!

Okay… Tell us something interesting about yourself.

Well, I’m addicted to wildlife.

*gasp* You mean… you eat them?

No! I just love them! I love anything that crawls and moves and makes noise…

Phew! That’s a relief!

…but, my favorite is the whole other world that is below the water surface.
Hey, sorry I gave you a scare there. You’re a cute lil’ thing!

Nawww shucks! It’s okay. 
So tell me, what does “being creative” mean to you?

Being creative to me means to just do what you do best. Draw a stick tree if that’s all you got, LOL!

I wonder if stick trees have stick nuts… probably not much food on those!

And cute little stick squirrels!

What are your greatest sources of inspiration?

Things that have happened in my real life. I love mixing that in with my writing.

That makes the writing much more meaningful, I agree.
Do you have any current or future projects?

Oh hell yeah. Tons. I am currently rewriting my five star novel, Frost on my Pillow, which is a New Adult Paranormal Romance. Then, after that, I have to finish the second book in the series, not to mention write all these short stories for my amazing publisher’s numerous anthologies!

Leah Hamrick Frost On My Pillow

That sounds like it keeps you busy!
If you could just feature one title, what would it be?

‘Frost on my Pillow’… but sadly, it is not for sale at the moment.
It will be soon, though, so hopefully y’all decide to check it out, and fall in love with it as many already have.

Okay! I’ll have to make sure I follow you on Amazon and social media so I know as soon as it’s out!

Great idea! You’re a clever squirrel!

But your other books are totally great, and the cover of Spell Caster… wow! It’s gorgeous.

Aw, thank you! That’s so nice to hear. And yes, my other books are all on Amazon, too.

What is the relationship between your speaking voice and your written voice?

LOL! I just got asked this yesterday, I swear to everything that is holy. I see my speaking voice as how I write. How I write is in first person past tense… BUT, I do NOT have two POVs in a chapter. Let’s say… like if I wrote “He said, leaning back onto the couch.” that is just solely what my character is seeing. There is NO TWO POVS in my work. It may seem that way, but that isn’t how I write. If I want two POVs, I’ll just label another chapter and start with another person’s POV.

Labelling it is a great way to keep things clear.
What is the best advice you have for other authors?

Don’t let bad reviews get you down! They help sales, because it’s going to make others curious about why they feel that way, when the rest of the reviews are four to five stars. Sometimes, you will get someone jealous and they’ll mark all your books one star. I had it happen to me. But, just think of it this way. Are they really–after buying one of your books and hated it–going to go out and get another one?

No, I didn’t think so either.

Who is your favorite author? And why?

I love Jennifer Armentrout! Her writing is so amazing, and she knows how to add paranormal with romance and suspense and a mixture of different things that make me squeal. If anyone asked who I am inspired by as a writer, it would be her.

If you had to pick one book to live inside, which would it be?

Obsidian from Jennifer Armentrout!

What is the biggest flaw in your writing?

Total LOL moment. But, sometimes I switch tenses throughout the paragraph. I never catch it either.

That can be tricky! Thank God for editors, eh?

Where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kookycharacters

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spellbindingbooks/

Amazon Page: Author.to/LeahHamrick

Author Interview: Nancy Quinn

Interview Red

Nancy Quinn Go West

 

Hi, booklovers! It’s great to be back!

Today I’m interviewing Nancy Quinn, author of ‘Go West, Young Woman’. 

Hi Nancy, it’s great to have you here.

Hi, uh… Book Squirrel? Squirrel?
What should I call you?

Sure. You can call me anything except late for dinner.

Haha , okay!

Tell us, Nancy, what inspired you to write?  

Books have always been such an influence in my life; I secretly wondered if I would ever write one. I had greatly admired the books written by James Herriot, and being a wildlife artist and having a love for animals, I enjoyed the stories of his encounters and relationships with dogs, cats, and livestock.  As I grew older and began to have my own experiences with both domestic and exotic wildlife, I often thought my own true stories might make an interesting read.  When my husband and I moved our family from Washington, D.C., to a rural mountain in Montana, I felt I finally had a story worth sharing in written word.  My debut book, Go West, Young Woman! tells of our adventures living with our new neighbors – wolves, cougars, and grizzly bears.

Wow. Scary! Any squirrels over there that haven’t been eaten yet?
You bet there are.
Phew! Okay, sorry for the distraction. Next question…

What are you working on writing now?

I am currently writing the sequel to our story.  It covers the next five years of our western experience.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

I still adore the pioneer stories like Little House on the Prairie and the Nancy Drew mystery series, so much so that I read them with my daughters.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?  

I enjoy writing about nature and the behavior of animals, so I try “painting” a picture with my words.   I think some of my best writing describes the weather and climate here in Montana – thunderous summer hailstorms, water-colored sunsets of ever changing hues, and autumn frost twinkling on golden brown leaves.  Other favorite topics include my “conversations” with animals, and their discussions with each other.  It’s fun to describe their unique personalities by expressing their thoughts in words.

What’s your favorite season? Why?

Summer!  Summer in Montana is warm and dry.  We don’t have much humidity here, and I can stay outside for longer periods of time.  The rolling mountains have shed their blankets of snow, the green grass is cool underfoot, and we can pick wildflowers throughout the meadows.  After the morning rain passes over the mountains, we can see a rainbow or two.  I get to spend more time with the horses, enjoy a different sunset every evening, and marvel at the night skies so intense with stars.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Prior my husband retiring from the United States Air Force, we were investigating where we wanted to live, so we decided to take a trip out west and see a part of the country unknown to me.  We rented a mini-van for a month, and spent that time exploring Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.  We traveled at our own pace and explored countless towns, looking for one to call home.  The feeling of freedom from not having a schedule, combined with the scenery of the wide-open spaces and the self-reliant and self-assured people we met along the way, are memories I hold very dear.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Spy Handler, a Memoir of a KGB Officer. I enjoy true stories and this book is a fascinating memoir by the Soviet agent who recruited Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, two of America’s’ most infamous traitors.  I also am a fan of Sherlock Holmes, so any story, book, or movie involving the fictional sleuth is a must read or see for me.  Did you know there’s a recent book about Holmes and Watson visiting Montana?

Really? That’s quite a fascinating idea!

I know! That’s why I mentioned it.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I love the movie Overboard with Goldie Hawn.  It has some hysterical one-liners and situations that make me laugh every time.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a vocalist and win a Grammy Award!  As a young woman I studied voice and learned opera with a retired instructor from Julliard.  I used those skills to sing in night clubs, much to her chagrin.  I sang professionally for a few years and even generated some mild interest from MCA records.  Since I was never offered a contract, and it was hard juggling music with a job in law enforcement, I decided to pursue my art, and later my writing, as a career.

 Name two things in life that you wish were easier. 

I wish marketing my book was easier!  I also wish I didn’t have to be so careful with my diet; I used to be able to eat anything without gaining weight.  Now, I find myself passing up some of my favorite foods (is chocolate a food group?) for the sake of my health.

I’d love to know more about your book…

You could watch my book trailer!

Great! Where’s it hiding?

It’s on Youtube!

It’s on SquirrelTube?

Uh… I’ve never heard of that.

Oh. Awkward….
I’m keen to read your book, Nancy. Where can I get a copy? 

It’s available on Amazon or at Hellgate Press, where it’s currently on sale!
Or, you can get personalized autographed copies at www.quinnwildlifeart.com .

Hellgate Press… is that a fire sale?

Haha, no!

Okay. Where can we find you online?Social Media Logos Cutout

My Website: https://nancy442.wixsite.com/quinn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nancyquinn0/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nancyQauthor

Thanks for being here with me today, Nancy.
See you soon!

Bye for now, Book Squirrel!