Beware the Goats!

I first met Sarah through the Authors For Families charity drive. If you’ve followed my blog for the past year or so, you’ll notice that I’ve participated in this multiple times. Basically authors donate books, edits, read-throughs, etc. in exchange to donating to a select charity. I’ve seen the organization and coordination this takes behind the scenes. She works hard for a fantastic cause, and now in a few weeks we’ll be sharing a booth together at Decatur Book Festival!

Today her debut novel gets released, Double Crossing the Bridge. Although I haven’t gotten the chance to read it completely yet, I did read through the first chapter that got posted yesterday on the Parliament House Blog. This is such a fun and unusual world already and I’m really curious to read more!

Trolls, unicorns, and humans all exist – and somehow those dang billy goats always find a way to cause trouble! Congratulations on the book release, Sarah!

I’ve nabbed my copy already, have you?

(By the way, isn’t it weird that we’ve both written about trolls??)

Review: Henry Franks

After reading his fantastic novella, Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds, I was eager to hop into more of Peter Salomon’s work! Fortunately he’s got a few other books that he’s written, and this book, Henry Franks, was his first!

Instantly you get the kind of dark book this will be…

Finished: 6/26/2019

Henry Franks is a novel about a teenage boy with scars that are always itching and a terrible case of amnesia. He doesn’t remember anything that happened before the accident, and he suffers from not recognizing his own name or his own father. As Henry slowly unfurls out of his shell around his talkative neighbor, Justine, the newspapers are full of murder reports happening all across the quiet island of St. Simons island.

So first off, having grown up in Georgia myself, I love that this happens in a known Georgia location during specific years and during a very specific weather pattern. I think it’s incredible the amount of work and research it takes to create a world within that space, but Peter does a splendid job with it.

Another piece I want to include, and perhaps the part that made this book glow for me, is the clear knowledge of cognitive science and the effects of head trauma. People forgetting who relatives are and sometimes, more importantly, not having the same feelings of warmth as they used to are known side effects of that trauma. Read up on Capgras syndrome for more information on this very real phenomena.

What makes life worse for Henry is that his father seems untrustworthy. And you’re not sure if it is a case of head trauma or if he really is acting suspiciously. So you’re not sure if Henry’s lack of emotion for his father is truly from head trauma and amnesia, or if his father isn’t who he says he is.

Anyway, you get the idea of how tangled this story is and how much fun it is to unravel the mystery! I honestly love that about Peter’s books. The ending absolutely threw me for a loop too!

I am looking forward to getting to read more of Peter’s work!

What I consider a 5-star book:

  • Is it a fun read? I turned each page with growing concern, eager to unravel the mystery at hand, so yes, definitely a fun read!
  • Would you recommend it to others? Absolutely! I loved the twists and turns this book took, and the horrific encounters they had.
  • Does it stick with you? Definitely! It’s a storyline that you’ll find creeping into your mind again and again.

My overall rating: 5/5

Creativity in Public Spaces and the Importance of Bookshelves

I recently read Kelley Frank’s post (my sister and BFF) on making art in public and why it’s a good idea, and it got me thinking.

Growing up I was exposed to so much creativity. There was knitting, needlepoint, piano, clarinet, cooking, and of course, painting. Besides the piano, which obviously took up a good chunk of the living room, few artistic endeavors were given dedicated space in our house. Clarinet playing happened in the bedroom, painting in the kitchen, but books were given their own room entirely. We had our own home library, with at least four bookshelves, and more stacks of books that wouldn’t fit into the shelves.

Both of my parents collected tons of books, and still do, from biographies to comic books, from advanced calculus textbooks to steamy romances, they had a ton to choose from. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was younger, but books were worth the expense. We would scour bargain bins at department stores and check out the sale racks at Barnes and Nobles. Growing up with access to that many books seemed just normal to me. I would be able to check out a book series my mom had read as a kid, or read adventure novels that my dad collected. I could read books my older sister had read when she was a kid. We had most of the Babysitter’s club, a ton of Stephen King, and at least one encyclopedia set. It was a shock when I visited my friends’ homes and found they didn’t have a library at home, or even a full bookshelf.

“I do it because I think particularly in this country people are so distanced from literature, the way it’s taught in schools, that they think that people who write are magicians on a mountaintop somewhere, […] And I think that’s one of the reasons why there’s so much illiteracy in this country. So by doing it in public, I show people it’s a job … like being a plumber or an electrician.”

Harlan Ellison

In Kelley’s post, she focuses on the importance of seeing art performed in public, and how the act of doing the artwork drew the attention of some kids on a field trip. For me as a child, everybody in my family was creative in some way. I was surrounded by it all the time. While books certainly can’t be written in public (though it has been done before!), the fact that you sacrifice precious space in your home for books is a very telling decision. It speaks to the importance of books without having to see them performed.

But what do you think?

Do you think having a bookshelf at home stuffed with books helps kids realize the importance of them? Or do you think that kind of clutter isn’t necessary? I knew kids growing up that owned only 5 books, but those books had been read 20 times at least. Ebooks add a whole different dimension to the conversation too!

Scrivener Tutorial Part 4: Using the Inspector

It’s been a busy year so far, y’all. I’m glad to get back to continuing my Scrivener tutorial series for fiction authors. I was really pleased to see how many people enjoyed the first three videos in my Scrivener playlist, so now that festival season has gotten a little bit quieter, I’m jumping back in with it.

In this video I tackle the Inspector and show features like labels, statuses, notes, an document references. I also show how to add color to your Binder to help organize scenes, chapters, and books.

Interview with Heather Kindt

Remember me mentioning how bad I was about sharing interviews here? Especially around a book release? It’s such a busy time that sometimes posts fall through the cracks. I’ll share hen on social media, but sometimes I forget to post them here.

Well here’s another poor interview that I forgot to post. This one is with fellow Parliament House sister, Heather Kindt. (Her book, The Weaver, comes out soon!) I talk about what inspired me to write Stolen and even mention some of the earliest original works I’ve ever written. (You’ll be surprised!)

I also discuss my journey on becoming an author, from my fan fiction days, to focusing on my computer science degree, and finally getting back into writing again. Every person’s journey to finding their craft is different, and these days there are so many potential paths to take too.

I hope you enjoy it!

Interview with Parliament House Press Author, Marlena Frank