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: ‘Only The Few’ by L.N. Denison

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This suspenseful thriller had me hooked right from the start.

Immersed immediately in the world of post-apocalyptic London in 2025 and the life of the main character, Corporal Catherine Hyde, the drama unfolds steadily from the first page. From that point, the tension starts to build and the questions begin to gnaw at both the reader and Corporal Hyde.

Hyde’s character is brilliantly developed. She is likeable, strong enough to be a hero and weak enough to be believeable. The reader feels as though they know and understand her, and begins to feel defensive of her when she faces challenges from the situations she faces and from other people. Her flawed humanity contrasts profoundly with her strengths, adding another layer of deep complexity and irony to the story.

There are some incredibly confronting scenes which Denison has crafted to be both compelling and extremely uncomfortable: despite the strong desire to “look away”, the reader has to keep going because the story is just that good.

There is nothing predictable about ‘Only The Few’. The author keeps the reader wondering and guessing right up until the last page. On going back to previous chapters and re-reading sections, it became evident that the author had achieved exceptionally clever delivery of clues that the reader will never realise are clues until they return to those scenes after finishing the book. That is a sign of a gifted writer with a talent for creating and crafting fantastic stories.

The book concludes with a teaser line about a “companion” novel which spurs the curiosity and keeps the wondering and guessing going. I know what I want that companion story to be, but I guess I’m just going to have to wait until it arrives to find out if I’m right.

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Bravo, L N. Denison.  5 stars from me.

Nuts About Writers – Eva Pasco

Interview Orange

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

The Book Squirrel sat down recently to interview Eva Pasco, author of “An Englightening Quiche”. It was his first real interview, so he was a little nervous, but he found Eva so charming that it didn’t take him long to feel as though he’d known her for months.

What inspired you to write?

Already a proficient typist by the age of nine, courtesy of my mother, the catalyst which served as my writing inspiration occurred when I was 12 years old.  A malfunction in the electrical wiring caused our doorbell to ring automatically. This prompted me to compose, “The Mystery of the Midnight Doorbell,” a short story involving secret codes and a smuggling ring.

My overactive imagination soon spurred several mysteries and serial spy thrillers under the auspices of a fictitious organization—I.N.T.R.I.G.U.E.  Who knew I had a leg up on the popular Sixties TV series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.!

In high school, I wrote a romance novella which earned its place on a library shelf.  The book, a sheaf of orange typing paper fastened together with mod magazine cutouts on the cover, caused quite a stir until it disappeared.  The bulldoggish librarian who reluctantly allowed my Chick Lit in the library at the urging of several classmates, told me it was stolen.  Years later, when thinking back, I believe she trashed my enterprise.

The rigors of college, and the demands placed on a rewarding teaching career, shelved further creative writing ambitions until I retired from the profession. With time on my hands, midlife restlessness reactivated my dormant imagination. Thus far, as a result of that revival, I’ve written two books in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

At this point in time, it’s my second novel, released in September, 2016—AN ENLIGHTENING QUICHE. Life’s hairpin turns predisposed me to put the manuscript aside, resume where I left off in spurts, and at one point, I’d contemplated scrapping the project altogether.  Fortunately, I got perturbed with myself because I’m not a quitter and my characters deserved the life I’d planned for them. No small feat to pull off a novel resonating with small-town life and an assortment of characters, I bask in the sunshine of reader reviews, most of which highlight this aspect—“ I felt like I could walk down the streets and actually have a conversation with some of the characters.”

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

My all-time favorite book is ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Brontë for its intense and brooding portrayal of the tragic and consuming nature of love.

 What are you working on writing now?

Not so much writing, but conceptualizing the characters and plot twists and turns as they fabricate and incubate in my mind for my third Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel with the working title, ‘Aida’s Fishing Season.’

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My kind of vacation is day-tripping, alluded to in one of well over 100 Memoirs I’ve written, “Day Trippin’—“My fondest recollections growing up in the Sixties settle upon those day trips taken during my father’s two-week summer vacation. Thinking back, it was hardly a vacation for my parents. My mom would load the picnic cooler with utensils and food staples road-ready for my father to cook on the portable stove at a campground enroute to our destination.  Throughout most of the decade, from our Rhode Island point of origin, we traversed all over New England and beyond in our Plymouth Suburban station wagon.”

There’s nothing like a day trip by car, setting out early in the morning and stopping for breakfast before navigating oneself along the highways and byways off the beaten paths.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Without any hesitation—‘Casablanca,’ which, incidentally, plays an integral part in ‘An Enlightening Quiche.’ The characters are not cookie cut and come into their own morality over the course of the film, something I try to achieve with the main characters in my novel.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love autumn for its spectrum of colors and crispness in the air.  Whether by coincidence or synchronicity of chance, many of my most sacred moments in life have occurred during this season.

Oh, me too! And the nuts… oh! the nuts! Erm… where was I?
Ah, yes.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

Straight from the Acknowledgement page of my second novel:

My mother and namesake, Eva, for her unwavering faith and pride in my literary accomplishments cultivated by reading stories to me when I was a toddler.

My late father and namesake, Pasco, for the independent streak he instilled in me.

My sister, Gina, for encouraging me to pursue my dreams along untrammeled paths.

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

From my perspective: Being an Indie author allows me the freedom to write about any subject matter in the manner I see fit without editorial censorship. That aspect is very liberating.  Be prepared to struggle to sell “one” book a day, week, or month at a time despite working your butt off to do so through various marketing strategies. Be prepared to spend more money than you’ll ever earn because you believe in the merit of your book and want people to read it.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

1 – Surviving on one’s own.  There’s very little wiggle room for screwing up when there’s no backup.

2- Coping with changes that may not necessarily be for the better.

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Where can we find your book?

Amazon: https://amzn.com/B01LX9UXWV

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/hm23t6w

Authors Den (Signed Copies): http://tinyurl.com/jkmqhpa


Where can readers follow you on social media?

Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco
Thanks, Eva! You’re amazing! 

Book Review: ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ by Eva Pasco

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Just the right proportions of history, secrets, adultery, passion, and rivalry are mixed together to form the wonderful sensation that is ‘An Enlightening Quiche’.
Rich in detail and sassy narration, Eva Pasco paints a portrait of small-town life that rings true for anyone who has lived in such a place.
On the surface, everything is clean and just right, but underneath there is a surging, heaving mass of emotion, ambition and self-interest that immerses the reader in the
characters’ lives.
Eva Pasco‘s writing is descriptive and quirky, reflecting the French-Canadian idiom of the fictional town of Beauchemins, Rhode Island. The reader is drawn into the story through the parallel narrations of the lead characters, making them them feel as though they are a one of the townsfolk and leading them to decide for themselves who is honest or justified in their actions as the story progresses. Pasco’s humour comes through, resulting in chuckles and smirks as one reads. Yet there are also moments of shock and sadness, and of a strong sensation of more than one character wishing things had been different.
Having spent some time in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, the French-Canadian nostalgia for all things Quebequois has been beautifully captured by Pasco. The occasional exclamation of “Tabarnak!” and the consistent use of French names for even the most mundane of foods – “un croque-monsieur” for a grilled ham and cheese sandwich –  adds authenticity and depth to the characters. Beauchemins actually made me a little homesick for my own part of French Canada. Would someone please deliver me a poutine?
This honorary Canuck gives ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ 5 stars, not only for it’s fabulous story, but also for its charm and authenticity. Beauchemins – ca vaut le visite!
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See the book and read the reviews on Amazon.

April Reading List Challenge

March didn’t quite go as expected. How on earth is it April already?

Needless to say, I didn’t get through all the books on my list for March. It was a combination of factors, being an action-packed month at work which meant taking more work home, and getting distracted by my own writing and  organising a new release!
The books still on the pile have been carried over to April, with a couple of others added.

In March, I read all of ‘Call of Sunteri’ by Missy Sheldrake, and half each of two other books: ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ by Eva Pasco, and ‘Sediments’ – the poetry of Lyra Shanti.

‘Call of Sunteri’ is a beautifully written, magical adventure tale for YA and older.
You can read the official Book Squirrel review for more information and links.

Lyra Shanti’s poetry is beautiful and vivid. It winds tendrils of love, desire and angst around your imagination and forces it to paint pictures for you. I’ve not finished reading it, so keep an eye out for that review this month.

‘An Enlightening Quiche’ has a lot more depth and profundity than one might expect from a book titled after quiche. I’m really enjoying it. The review will happen soon!

Which brings us to my April reads.

‘Christmas Miracle in July’ and ‘Christmas Miracle on Valentine’s Day’ by  R.M. Gauthier.

These twin novellas blend humour, small-town life and unexpected romance. I wonder, though, if the romance is the only thing that will take the reader by surprise? I suspect not.

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‘Souls Discovered’ by Miranda Brock. Fantasy, adventure, mythical beasts and a quest. It already sounds like a winner to me!
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‘The Dying of the Mother Seed’ by India Emerald. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by this author so far. I’m looking forward to this.

At the time I wrote this, The Dying of the Mother Seed was still listed as free on Amazon. I don’t know how long that will last.
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‘Snowberry Blossom’ is a short story/novella that fits into the Keepers of the Wellsprings series right after ‘Call of Sunteri’. I’m sneaking it in because it’s short, and because I can’t wait to keep reading this series.
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If you’re looking for something new and different, you could try ‘Stained Glass’ by Joanne Van Leerdam.  This new release was featured on the Book Squirrel blog last week.
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This is a collection of  22 poems for and about women, by a woman who is striving to live, love, work and make sense of the world she lives in.

Available now in your favourite eBook store, and permanently priced at $0.99.

New Release: Stained Glass by Joanne Van Leerdam

‘Stained Glass’ is a eBook that presents a collection
of  22 poems for  and about women, by a woman Promo Stained Glass Coverwho is striving to live, love, work and make sense of the world she lives in.

‘Stained Glass’ is poetry that reflects the light and shade of life, and all the colours in between.

The poems celebrate the strength and extraordinary resilience of women through the exploration of diverse issues, including love, loss, social expectations, self-awareness and personal integrity.
In rare moments the glass is rose-coloured; elsewhere, the window is astonishingly clear.
There are 7 brand new poems in this collection.
Some of these poems – roughly one-third – are in Van Leerdam’s first collection, ‘Leaf’, and others – another third – are in her recent release, ‘Nova’.
‘Stained Glass’ will be permanently priced at 99c, and is available on AmazoniBookskobo and other digital stores.