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Archive for the ‘Guest Writer’ Category

Shu Wei’s Revenge

In his role as Town Scribe in 1898, seventeen-year-old Shu Wei is part of an incident which causes his family to emigrate from their village in China to San Francisco’s Chinatown. The intrigue, mystery, and tension that follow grow deeper as he tries to assimilate into a hostile world. Shu Wei ends up working for a local newspaper while he juggles the need to get his stories while dealing with the scurrilous demands and death threats by Tong members. In this coming-of-age saga, the restoration of his self-confidence and his family’s honor is at stake. Jack London and Mark Twain lend timely support.

About the Author (Full Text)

“I have had the good fortune during my career as an architect to travel and experience different cultures and environs. Working on large-scale projects in such places as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and England has not only been satisfying from a creative standpoint but has also allowed me to take away impressions that last a lifetime. Some of those impressions eventually became the seeds of my new novel. While at Columbia I was fortunate enough to receive a summer scholarship to travel and study throughout Europe. Writing a report on this trip in addition to my Master’s thesis in Urban Planning confirmed my deep-seated interest in writing. While working for the Mayor’s Office of Lower Manhattan Development in New York I published a book, To Preserve a Heritage-a book on landmarks in Lower Manhattan. By that time the motivation to research and to write-particularly historical pieces-was in my blood. My original research began some twelve years ago, but several hiatuses caused an interruption in my writing, specifically creating audio walking tours for the Financial District in San Francisco and artwork (etchings) for five of those years. … My book, Shu Wei’s Revenge, was a Semi-Finalist in the 2015 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.” 
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While watching a retrospective on the American film maker, Ken Burns, the commentator announced that Burns was soon to release a new documentary about the Vietnam War. After seeing a short heartbreaking clip, I thought about the 50,000+ American soldiers (many of them drafted) who lost their lives in a foreign war the U.S. inherited from the French who originally colonized this southeast Asian country.

Ken Burns’s, The Vietnam War, recently shown on PBS, brought back the images that were so much a part of my childhood, many of them indelible—the sort of images that you can never erase but you wish you had never seen.

I admit I don’t know much of the history and have not researched the politics surrounding the decision to send our troops into this small country. I have read only a few books about this war and seen even fewer films. The experience of the war for me, as a girl who had just lost her own father, is still raw and painful.

My Vietnamese and Cambodian friends are too young to have experienced the war itself. Of course, its aftermath affected their futures in many ways, most are now American citizens, arriving as children with their parents as refugees, establishing new lives and professions, raising families.

Today, my featured book is the book I most often recommend about this seemingly endless war written by John Podlaski—a drafted Vietnam War Veteran, a “cherry”—from his own experiences. Below is the full description of the book:

“When a soldier leaves for war, those left behind often wonder what their loved ones are experiencing. Letters home are always cheerful and vague – no sense in worrying the family. Then upon returning home, these young soldiers do not want to talk about their experiences. Family and friends allege they are now distant, changed, and not the same person they remember from several months earlier. What causes this?

“Although the backdrop for this novel is the Vietnam War, ‘Cherries’ exist in every war. They are the young ‘Newbie’ soldiers, who are trained for war. However, most are not ready to absorb the harsh physical, mental and emotional stress of war. Once they come under fire and witness death firsthand, a life-changing transition begins. This eye-opening account offers readers an in-depth look into the everyday struggles of these young infantry soldiers. You’ll feel their fear, awe, drama, and sorrow, witness the bravery and sometimes laugh at their humor.

“No two war experiences are the same, but after finishing Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel, readers will have a much better understanding as to why these changes occur and why our military heroes are different upon their return home. Veterans will relate!

“Parental Rating: This book contains content that may not be suitable for young readers 17 and under.

“Author’s statement: While Cherries is largely a work of fiction, many of the events and anecdotes described in the novel were based on the actual experiences of the author. The places and units mentioned were real and did exist. All characters portrayed are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events, and locales, are entirely coincidental.

“Award: Finalist in Sixth International Literary Awards at Washington State College, 1986 (titled The Ingenuous Soldier).”

Another of John Podlaski’s novels is When Can I Stop Running, reviewed on VVA Books. John is a Goodreads author.

When you see a Vietnam veteran, please say “Welcome Home, thank you for your service.” These “Cherries” deserved better than they received.

Welcome home, John! Thank you for your service and your willingness to write about your experience.

— Leigh Verrill-Rhys

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My good friend and colleague from Avalon Books has recently published a new book, An Uncertain Path.

Here are a few word about the book from Sandra Carey Cody’s own writer’s blog, Birth of a Novel, also on WordPress.

A tragic accident links the lives of two young women, unrelated, unknown to one Cody Uncertain Path Coveranother, causing each to question things she thought were certain, and setting each on a path neither could have imagined.

Peace Morrow, abandoned as an infant, is about to meet the birth family she’s always longed to know. Raised as a Pennsylvania Quaker, she wonders what her Virginia aristocrat family will think of her. What happens when a careless action by one of them takes the family to the brink of disaster?

Rachel Woodard, longing to break out of the safe world she’s always known, takes a drastic step that results in the death of a young man and sets off a chain of events that swirls outward like a pebble dropped in a pool. Can she live a lie to preserve her own life and save everyone she loves from heartbreak?

An Uncertain Path is available on Amazon.

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CJ Verburg’s Another Number for the Road  has all you could ever want from a murder mystery set in two iconic periods of American history: the 1960s: Free Speech, Free Love, Stop the War, Civil Rights and sex, drugs, rock and roll; and 1980s: Reaganomics, Cold War Collapse, Punk Rock, big hair and bigger shoulders.

Rock journo cum detective, Cory Goodwin (who has as many names as identities) goes on a “Magical Mystery Tour,” and then some, to recover her true inner self which has been consumed and subsumed by the demands of her multimillionaire son-of-the-founder-of-a-cosmetics-conglomerate husband’s boardroom betrayal of all they meant to each other as writing romantics who eloped in creative Paris and crashed in corporate necessity in Boston.

Cordelia Goodwin Thorne had many years of protest activism and rock star groupie antics to keep her from sinking into the paradox of her journo daydreams and her cosmetic charity dinner reality.

She joins the “Magical Mystery Tour” when she learns that The Rind is the mystery band—a group she interviewed for a magazine as a teenager. She aims to rekindle her past admiration for the much-maligned strongman of the band, the appropriately named, Dan Quasi, who, after the brutal murder of his friend and co-band member, Mickey Ascher, takes a runner and hides out for the twenty year hiatus, having lost his wife and his French bit to aforementioned co-band member.

Did this Quasi musician kill his best friend? Or was it the French bit? Or possibly her jilted lover and third band member, also appropriately named, Roach? Or has the mild-mannered Terry, fourth band member, been hiding a violent temper all these years?

The process of discovery is further energized by the author’s experience as a playwright and director. CJ Verburg makes use of the theatrical technique of juxtaposing two scenes on stage at once: flashbacks, backstory, supposition and real time, one upon the other, while skillfully  juggling a cast of characters that would daunt Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffiths.

Another Number for the Road  will satisfy all fans of complex, convoluted whodunits who remember the Sixties with longing and survived the Eighties, Nineties and are in deep with the Twentieth Century.

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One of the first books that sparked my interest in history, and particularly the Middle Ages, A Distant Mirror, purported to compare the 14th Century to the 20th. At the time the book was published, I was deep in studies of Comparative Literature, World Literature, Women’s Fiction et cetera, et cetera.

Cover image of A Distant MirrorWhat enthralled me about A Distant Mirror was the inevitable connection to tales of chivalry and classic romance—a literary convention that is neither tragedy nor comedy; a heroic or mysterious prose narrative set in a distant time or place; a medieval tale of knightly adventure.

Barbara W. Tuchman turned the study of history into a great adventure and a lifelong love of all things Medieval.

I loaned my copy to a fellow Mediophile (I think I’ve made that word up) and she never returned it, so it was with great pleasure that I found Tuchman’s book is available on the iBookstore.

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Humor-Social Commentary/Contemporary

As you’ve probably guessed, Linton Robinson is one of my favorite go-to authors for humor, particularly male humor. Call me whatever you like but Lin’s humor makes me laugh. It’s ironic, twisted, often self-deprecating and always ROFL funny. My favorite line is “Have they ruled out suicide?” (You’ll have to read Sweet Spot to get that one.)

This week I’m featuring The Way of the Weekend Warrior, a sardonic look at the world of the wayward journalist, gone rogue and a whole lot of other things.

I am enthralled by Lin’s humor, caustic wit, sarcasm, insights and social commentary. He sees the world for what it is, full of people who have no business pretending they are anything other than—well, you be the judge. But remember, we’re in the same boat.

The Way of the Weekend Warrior is available on Amazon, in Kindle or Paperback.

 

 

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Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance
Size Matters, By J. L. Salter
 
Size does matter, when you’re only a foot tall.
  
Concept:
Accidentally swallowing a mysterious pill from her eccentric scientist cousin, Emma Hobby shrinks to under a foot tall. When she resumes normal size, she must track down her cousin, who’s obviously in trouble (based on those unsettling messages he left). Can those sci-fi miniaturization pills help find him? How about Logan Stride, the attorney who wants to handle more of Emma than her case? 
 
Blurb:
Emma Hobby mistakenly takes a pill from a bottle mailed her by her eccentric/brilliant cousin — and it reduces her to eleven inches tall. Now she’s eye to eye with the Cyndi dolls she lovingly collects and sells in her shop.
Nobody – not even her best friend – believes her, so Emma takes another pill to see if it happens again. It DOES! This time she has a witness (Vickilee), who records things as they happen… and establishes a partial timetable.
Now that she thinks she knows what happens and when, can Emma use these pills somehow to help rescue her cousin, who left those unsettling messages? And will that handsome attorney she’s almost dating help her efforts? Or will Logan Stride just get in her way?
 Size Matters. Novel, $1.99. Size Matters

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