Archive for News

08 Nov 2013

MJ Magazine – By Authors for Authors

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I’d like to use today’s post to introduce you to

MJ MAGAZINE,  

a new magazine, written by authors for authors. It includes  reviews, writing tips and other articles and covers both independent and traditionally published authors.

The first issue had interviews with Jon Land, Steve Berry and R.J. Ellory. It also contained two reviews I have written. The magazine is founded by Fran Lewis, accomplished author and relentless supporter of other authors.

Today the second edition went live and three of my reviews / interviews can be found there

MJ Magazin is dedicated to MJ, the Fran’s late sister Marcia Joyce:

“My sister was the sunshine on a cloudy day. She was the most upbeat person I have ever met. No matter what bothered her she always had a smile. She was the office manager of Island Sports Medicine and ran that office better than a General in the army. She cared for the doctors but she cared and nurtured her staff. Birthdays, holidays, special occasions were celebrated. I should know because we wrote the poems together.”

[Fran also wrote a book inspired by her relationship to MJ: “Bertha and Tillie – Sisters Forever” is filled with stories based on real life events experienced by the author and her sister, Marcia Joyce.]

Authors are encouraged to read the magazine and then send their writing for possible inclusion in the next issue.

Find the Magazin on Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/346633

on Amazon: http://bookShow.me/B00EHKW020

And find Fran Lewis on Amazon

 

Biography: Fran Lewis

 

Born in the South Bronx, I grew up with people from many ethnic backgrounds. I learned to play and work with children in my school that came from other countries and different places.

I was always over weight as a child and got picked on a lot by the other children in my class and even my teachers. I found it hard to do many of the sporting activities that my sister and cousins could do. I learned at an early age that kids can be mean and I promised myself that I would never retaliate or do mean things to other kids in return. 

When I decided to write my short stories I realized that I had a lot to say about my youth and in both of my books I tell about a ten year old girl named Bertha who learns to deal with real life issues kids face today at home and in school. I write reviews for other sites and I wrote three children’s books and currently writing one on Alzheimer’s Disease. 

As an educator I the New York City Public Schools for over 36 years, I realized just how unique and precious our children are. I was the reading and writing staff developer in my school and the dean. I loved the children and had the respect of my fellow teachers and parents.

Teaching children to read was really very rewarding and introducing them to writing and creating their own stories was exciting for the students. I am a member of WhosWho of America’s Executives and Professionals as well as a member of WhosWho of America’s Teachers. I am the author of three children’s books and my fourth entitled Memories Are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story will be out next month. I am currently writing my fourth Bertha Book and a second on cognitive ways to keep your brain alert. The tentative title is Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs: Which Describes Your Brain. This book will deal with how we should help those who are seniors keep their minds and bodies active as well as ways to help delay dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

I review books for Manic Readers, I justfinished.com and BookPleasures.com. I review books for authors upon request and would love to get paid for doing my reviews. There are publicists that send me books to review and that get paid for my reviews. I wrote five books that are self-published and I am going to complete one book children’s book and one based on a true story. 

I host two radio shows on Red River Radio. The first is a book discussion where I interview or ask authors questions about their writing and books along with a book club panel to ask additional questions. I am going to host a show for children’s and Ya authors starting in August. I have been interviewed many times. I will be interviewed on D’s Roundtable on August 19th at and page Page Readers on Sept. 27th at three. My book discussion show is the third Wed. of every month at one eastern and my children’s author’s show will be four times a year. I am also going to interview Dr. Kenneth Weene on Sept. 21st at four. I had to reschedule the interview due to personal reasons. We will discuss the inside scoop about insane asylums and his career working in one plus his book Memoirs from an Asylum.

I hope this gives you a picture of what I do. Fran

I am a reading and writing staff developer and I worked with children with reading and writing disabilities. 
https://profiles.google.com/gabina49

15 Oct 2013

NEW RELEASE: THE BLACK EAGLE INN

1 Comment News

b3-full book

THE BLACK EAGLE INN

BOOK 3 OF THE THREE NATIONS TRILOGY

was released this weekend.

The book has already been featured on several book blogs

Devilwinds (Release Post)

Tattle Tale Blog (Long Feature)

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap (Release Post)

Hotchpotching (Release Post)

UviArt (Long Interview)

MarthaEmms (Interview)

Tazzis Place (Release Post)

Iyana Jenna (Interview)

 

The Book also charted in Historical Fiction / German and the first reviews have come in. Here are some excerpts:

 

Brilliant Historical Fiction: Fascinating and Entertaining

impeccably researched historical events with a personal perspective,

the best way to engage the readers and make history real

Christoph Fischer knows how to write amazing stories.

how did Germany recover, not just economically and physically, but philosophically and culturally?

a riveting story of a family, set against the backdrop of the changing political landscape of wartime and post-war Germany

***

an allegory of the old Germany

a really great historical novel in best traditions of James A. Michener and Errol Lincoln Uys, that delivers a historical narrative through character exploration; a fascinating journey into a less-explored territory. Highly recommended.

***

a candid snapshot into the psychological make-up of people

A very honest and ruthless book with an incredible story

***

a brilliantly authentic period narrative while also being a juicy melodrama complete with family secrets and sibling rivalry. This is first-class historical fiction.

I was blown away by the detailed recreation of time and place. At the same time, I found myself lost in the emotional life of Anna Stockmann and her compelling journey of self discovery.

 

http://bookShow.me/B00FSBW2L6

 

A New Germany?

Can a leopard ever change its spots and can a Nation ever change? Is Germany trying to take over the European Union in militant fashion as some people claim? Are Germans always rigid, organised and pushy? Did Mussolini’s fascism stem from a reminiscent ‘Roman’ megalomania? Is there something inherently unchangeable in the makeup of a Nation?

Confronted with often harsh stereotypes of Nazi-esque Germans in film, television and conversations abroad it seems that a certain image sticks to us Germans in the view of other Nations. I left the country 20 years ago and often see the Germans from the outside perspective with similar eyes and cringe at some innocent remarks by my compatriots and their sometimes only misunderstood behaviours. Yet some of these stereotypes can reinforce undifferentiated ideas about German mentality and politics.

My book is by no means a glorification of the German nation. As much as I love my place of origin I am happy where I live now. By having written a somewhat political book about post-war Germany I hope to paint a more balanced and more complex picture about its past and its people. Like every country in the world Germany should remain a work in progress of continuous development and improvement.

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06 Oct 2013

NEW RELEASE: “A Menu of Death” by Lucy Pireel

2 Comments Book Reviews, News

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“A Menu of Death” by Lucy Pireel is a selection of very strong short stories, all written with a raw, edgy and bloody pen. Ranging from harsh reality to fantasy territory they provoke, open your mind, change your perspective, entertain and take you to the edge of your seat. They can be gory and violent yet also thoughtful and insightful; they are most certainly unpredictable and therefore a truly compelling read. Excellently written, tightly edited and brilliantly compiled into a varied yet homogenous collection the pages just flick through your fingers.
I’d find it hard to choose a favourite story or tell you much about the stories without giving vital clues away. I loved however one story about Karma, one about an abusive husband and one about a brutal killer, all of which turned out completely different from what I expected them to become and were extremely rewarding and a pleasure to read. There is a bite to these stories and a sharp mind behind them.
I came across the author via a tweet about her previous book, “Red Gone Bad” which was also an excellent reading experience and I am pleased that this new book is in no way second. Pireel is a fascinating emerging talent, an uncompromising wordsmith with plots that stimulate your adrenaline and your brain. 

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Here is a link to Lucy’s interview on my blog earlier this year:

http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/red-gone-bad-by-lucy-pireel/

21 Sep 2013

Peace In Time Book Blitz

1 Comment News

 

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Peace In Time Book Blitz

 “The Bridge of Deaths” by M.C.V. Egan was recommended to me by several of my reviewer friends who just earned themselves more credibility. This well written and compelling story is based on a true event, the crash of a British Airways Plane at a Danish bridge in 1939. 
A couple in Britain and a woman in Florida are trying to reconstruct the events and the lives of the people who were killed through various channels of research; some of it factual, some psychic. 
It is fascinating how the story unfolds, like a regular detective story, but the use of transgression to past lives and the use of information derived from psychics adds a special touch to it.
Whether you – like myself – are open to the concept of transgression or not, the result is the same: a carefully composed and thrilling read that combines historical facts with suspense and entertainment.”

The Peace connection:

“Peace is defined as a state of harmony or simpler even as a lack of violence and conflict behaviours. The Bridge of Deaths, as featured in the book of the same title, is at first a sad symbol for the opposite. Two weeks before WWII erupted a plane crashed near a Bridge in Denmark. The identities and missions of the passengers are subject to an intense archival and psychic investigation as detailed in the book. While unravelling the mystery of the plane throughout the book we learn about the sad history of the Bridge of Death:

Used as a landmark for fighter and bomber pilots on their way to Germany many other planes were shot down around the area, serving as reminder of hostility and broken down international relations. However, as the protagonists of the story learn more about the passengers of the plane in question they begin to find their inner peace, at a time where the atrocities have long come to an end, and the bridge can serve again as a symbol for connecting people and countries separated from each other.

For me peace begins with myself. If I am at peace within I can bring peace to others. Peace should be a natural state of being.

M.C.V. Egan has created a new monument for peace.”

 

Genre: Historical Paranormal
Publisher: AuthorHouse Publishing
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Amazon

On August 15th, 1939 an English passenger plane from British Airways Ltd. Crashed in Danish waters between the towns of Nykobing/Falster and Vordingborg. There were five casualties reported and one survivor. Just two weeks before Hitler invaded Poland with the world at the brink of war the manner in which this incident was investigated left much open to doubt. The jurisdiction battle between the two towns and the newly formed Danish secret police, created an atmosphere of intrigue and distrust.

In the winter of 2009-2010 a young executive, Bill is promoted and transferred to London for a major International firm. He has struggled for the better part of his life with nightmares and phobias, which only seem to worsen in London. As he seeks the help of a therapist he accepts that his issues may well be related to a ‘past-life trauma’.

Through love, curiosity, archives and the information superhighway of the 21st century Bill travels through knowledge and time to uncover the story of the 1939 plane crash.

The Bridge of Deaths is a love story and a mystery. Fictional characters travel through the world of past life regressions and information acquired from psychics as well as archives and historical sources to solve “One of those mysteries that never get solved” is based on true events and real people, it is the culmination of 18 years of sifting through sources in Denmark, England and the United States, it finds a way to help the reader feel that he /she is also sifting through data and forming their own conclusions.

The journey takes the reader to well known and little known events leading up to the Second World War, both in Europe and America. The journey also takes the reader to the possibility of finding oneself in this lifetime by exploring past lives.

 

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About The Author:

 

M.C.V. Egan lives in South Florida. she is fluent in four languages; English, Spanish, French and Swedish. From a young age became determined to solve the ‘mystery’ of her grandfather’s death, she has researched this story for almost two decades. the story has taken her to Denmark, England and unconventional world of psychics.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

Rafflecopter :

 

 

Giveaway – Peace Prizes

 convert

12 Sep 2013

BLACK EAGLE INN: COVER REVEAL

2 Comments News

THE EAGLE IS ABOUT TO LAND:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18468588-the-black-eagle-inn

http://www.facebook.com/TheBlackEagleInn

 

download

 

THANKS TO DAZ SMITH FROM NETHED.COM

http://www.nethed.com/

WE HAVE ANOTHER WINNING DESIGN

b3-full book

 

 

Keeping the colour scheme and the writing from “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” and “Sebastian” the book shows Bavarian country side at its best with the Black Eagle in the centre, which in the book is the name of the family business and which was also an emblem on the post-war German flag. Here is what the complete cover will look like:

 

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 Please contact me or leave a comment if you have a spot on your blog for the release (after October 15) or if you would like an ARC copy 

The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen. Childless Anna Stockmann has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew ,Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany has some unexpected challenges in store.

Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the distant background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers an indirect perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity

 

 Here are the covers in comparison

 

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11 Sep 2013

Author Interview at Suzy Henderson’s blog

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Reblogged from Suzy Henderson

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http://lowfellwritersplace.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/author-interview-with-christoph-fischer.html

Today I welcome the Author, Christoph Fischer to the blog. Christoph presently has two books out, the first of which is The Luck of the Weissensteiners. This is set in war torn Europe and incidentally, is one of the top ten indie books for August 2013.

Hello Christoph, and welcome. It’s great to speak with you today and to learn a little more about your books, the Three Nations Trilogy.

Hello Sue and thanks for inviting me to your blog.

Always a pleasure to host a fellow writer of historical fiction. Can I begin by asking what was it that influenced you to explore such periods of history?

When my interest in family history arose a few years ago I realised how little I knew about any of it, particularly Czechoslovakian history before and during WWII and about the places where my family came from. There was nobody I could get first-hand information from so I had to get my head into the archives and history books.
I am not a ‘pure’ German and have often felt a little bit like an outsider in Germany. Now I even live as an ‘alien’ in the UK and maybe that is why my interest was drawn to periods in history where Nations were drawn together or separated.
The fascination with what I found led to my first book, “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”. [My ancestors had different experiences to the characters in my book but they infiltrated my story a lot.]
Vienna and the early 1900′s have always been mentioned in the literature I read for book one as a perfect place in history. I wanted to find out if that was true, which is why I chose it as the setting for my second book “Sebastian”. There were some unanswered questions and themes from the first book that I wanted to explore further and so I decided to write the Three Nations Trilogy. The breaking down of the multi-cultural Austro-Hungarian Empire in “Sebastian” serves as a useful and sharp contrast to the pan-Germanic Third Reich and offers a point for reflection between the two books

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for more of this interview please click here

http://lowfellwritersplace.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/author-interview-with-christoph-fischer.html

09 Sep 2013

COMING SOON: THE BLACK EAGLE INN

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IN THE FINAL STAGES OF EDITING AND COMING SOON:

BOOK THREE IN THE THREE NATIONS TRILOGY:

THE BLACK EAGLE INN

download

ESTIMATED TO ARRIVE END OF OCTOBER

Here is a little plot teaser:

The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen.  Childless Anna Stockmann has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew ,Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.

Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers an indirect perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.

 

I am looking FOR BLOG HOSTS and other help with the 

LAUNCH in LATE OCTOBER/ EARLY NOVEMBER

 

07 Sep 2013

Author Bernice L. Rocque in Lithuania

1 Comment Book Reviews, News

THE FOLLOWING POST IS ABOUT A WONDERFUL SHORT NOVEL,

UNTIL THE ROBIN WALKS ON SNOW by BERNICE L. ROCQUE  

and the author’s visit to Central Europe to connect with her roots there.

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THE STORY:  It is 1922. An immigrant family and their devoted midwife struggle to save a tiny premature baby. Inspired by real events in Norwich, Connecticut, this historical fiction novella about determination, family, faith, and friendship includes a story chapter about the family’s Polish and Lithuanian Christmas Eve traditions. Appendices include Author’s Notes about the facts, family history, and research behind the story

BERNICE: 

More than forty years ago when I was in my teens, I interviewed my grandmother and numerous other relatives about family history. I took a few notes about the 1.5 pound baby born to my grandmother in 1922. It is astounding to me now that I didn’t ask more questions.
In the fall of 2009, my Uncle Tony reminded me about that baby. My uncle is a retired engineer and a naturally curious person and problem solver, much like my father was, and like their grandfather, Nikodimas. Since this event about the baby had some mystery attached to it, my uncle and I became more and more intrigued as we talked.
Since 2004 when I joined the writing group, I had been writing mostly memoir pieces about my immediate family and cousins. I could tell my uncle was hoping I would write a story about this birth, so I offered to try historical fiction if he would serve as an advisor, since he grew up in the 1920s-1930s. He gave me a big smile and said, “Let’s do it.” And so we embarked on this adventure of trying to unravel the mystery and tell the story that “might have happened.”

My Review of the book:

“Until the Robin Walks on Snow” by Bernice L. Rocque grabbed my attention on the historical fiction forums on Goodreads and was intrigued by the Eastern European angle of the story, something that I have researched myself for my own books.
I found the relatively short novel had a lot more to it than Eastern European culture. It is a meticulously researched and detailed account of the winter 1922 and 1923 in Norwhich, Connecticut, during which a group of mainly Lithuanian Immigrants fear for the live of a fragile baby. Antoni is the smallest baby the doctor has ever seen – dead or alive – and his survival is in serious question.
The author describes precisely which steps the family and the doctors take to help the baby survive in the same way as she adds great detail and authenticity to the cultural background of that group: The house they live in, the cooking implements they use, the clothes and fabrics, the religious habits and celebrations – all of this creates an amazing insight and allows the reader to become part of the community and the times.
It is a great challenge to write about one small subject matter such as the birth of a fragile baby. Some authors might have been tempted to fill the book with lots of side plots to keep the reader’s attention but Rocque manages easily to hold the interest and the suspense up.
As a plot driven writer and reader I was surprised to find myself so comfortable in the slow pace which this close up of the family and the surrounding community kept. The Wigilia, a Polish Christmas Eve dinner, the fables told and so much more that is mentioned makes this a well-illustrated and rich feast for the historian and culturally interested.
Right from the beginning when the author gives an introduction, background and her acknowledgements, the writing was already so fascinating and captivating that I was surprised when the actual novel began.
This is well crafted from research to the composition. If you have an interest in this field then “Until the Robin Walks on Snow” is a must read.

http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/until-the-robin-walks-on-snow-by-bernice-l-rocque/

THIS IS FROM BERNICE’S WEBSITE  BLR Connections Photo Cropped 4

http://3houses.com/lithuania-that-feeling-of-being-home/

 For years I have wondered about Lithuania.  What was it like? This Baltic country was the homeland of my immigrant grandmother, Marianna. Two years ago, I promised myself that I would travel there. Fifty years had passed with no communication with relatives.

A month ago, when I stepped onto Lithuanian soil and began to experience this exquisite country, my first impression was that Lithuania felt like home. In researching my trip and experiencing the country first-hand, I learned that Lithuania is a land of geographical contrasts, rich history, and deep traditions. 2013-06-11-14.52.47-Cathedral-Square

A resilient people, the Lithuanians have survived centuries of unwelcome governance by other nations and extreme suffering at the hands of invaders. Remarkably, the Lithuanian people endured, often resisted their oppressors, and somehow protected their language and culture. The first country to break away from the Russian block (1991), their high level of education, respect for the environment, and enterprising nature are moving this spirited nation forward.

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While I was visiting Lithuania, a writer friend was visiting Poland, also on an ancestral journey. I smiled when I read her email question to me: could her DNA know?  She described the similar phenomenon  — that surreal sense of being home. Her question has been on my mind since she posed it.

The feeling is somewhat difficult to describe. Calming and peculiar at the same time, this same wash of familiarity had pervaded my trips years ago to Quebec, Montreal, Arizona, and even Alaska. Maybe my DNA somehow recognized French Canada, my mother’s homeland, but why Arizona and Alaska?

I believe part of the answer came less than a year after the trip to Alaska. When I submitted my DNA to National Geographic’s genographic project in 2006, they analyzed my mitochondrial DNA. According to their report, my mother’s mother’s mother’s… people had traveled out of Africa, across the Middle East and Asia, and over the land bridge to the Americas. I was stunned. I expected the diagram to show a path to western Europe. Could this be correct?

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Before contacting National Geographic, I called the cousin who had assumed the research on our French Canadian family after I had to let it go due to work demands. She HAD identified the likely ancestor in our family tree, a Native American woman. As it happens, we also have some Native American blood on our Canadian grandfather’s side of the family. So this information provided a possible clue about why an unfamiliar place might feel familiar.

Any rational person might dismiss these “sense of home” impressions, perhaps assigning the experiences to the realm of overactive imagination. As I age, though, I trust my instincts more. They have proven reliable far too frequently to ignore, somehow magically distilling my reservoir of knowledge and life’s experiences, not so unlike the insights that “big data” analyses digitally discover for businesses today. In simpler terms, I also pay more attention to any impression that moves from a single point, to two (a pattern), and then three or more (a trend). Just part of the lessons of business and life.

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That being said, my left brain would still like to see science backup my sensory feedback. In every century, science does bring clarity to some of life’s mysteries. So, as I sit here writing this blog, and though emotionally accepting the wisdom of my intuition, my intellectual curiosity is jiggling.  Is there scientific evidence to support this feeling of “being home” in a location you are visiting for the first time? Is there such a thing as genetic memory?

This lingering brain action is normal for me. My cousin, Birute, in Lithuania, had commented that our family has curiosity in its blood. Her observation, shared during my Lithuanian visit, agrees with what I know. Many of my U.S. relatives are/were not just curious occasionally, but skilled problem solvers, perpetually looking for answers to their questions.

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My grandmother, Marianna, her father, Nikodimas, and her husband Andrzej all exhibited this attribute during their lives. If you have read my book, UNTIL THE ROBIN WALKS ON SNOW, you are familiar with how they and the midwife did not hesitate to attempt the impossible in 1922 — find a way to save a 1.5 pound newborn. Researching this compelling story helped me to understand why I have consistently chosen to “climb mountains” during my business career. Challenging projects are like a favorite food!

So, my curiosity is fueling my fingertips right now. As someone who was a reference librarian when the internet did not exist, I just marvel at what can be found with only a few key strokes and a little time.

Well, there will be more than I have found so far. But, I have identified a field which appears to be investigating related questions. Epigenetics is a relatively young field of interdisciplinary study. A number of credentialed researchers are examining whether the genetic code of humans and animals is altered by life experiences and then transmitted to offspring, with effects emerging in subsequent generations.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if, in our lifetime, they more fully unravel the breadth of genetic memory?  Will these curious scientists be able to explain eventually that peculiar sense of “coming home” when visiting a land of your heritage?

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What do you think?  Have you visited an ancestral country and had the feeling you were home?

Here are a few links if you are curious to read more about Epigenetics and related research.  If you find more great information, please leave a comment.

http://discovermagazine.com/2013/may/13-grandmas-experiences-leave-epigenetic-mark-on-your-genes#.UelgiqyYfkQ

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/science/in-andalusia-searching-for-inherited-memories.html?ref=science&_r=0

http://www.routledgementalhealth.com/books/details/9780415191876/

Key to photos by Bernice L. Rocque.  All rights reserved.

Photo 1:  Cathedral Square, Vilnius, Lithuania (6-11-2013)

Photo 2: The Nemunas River, taken at Vilkija, near Kaunas (6-15-2013)

Photo 3: Historical house at Rumsiskes Open Air Museum, outside Kaunas (6-14-2013)

Photo 4: Forest on the Coronian Spit (Kursiu peninsula) (6-17-2013)

Photo 5: View from Ventes cape toward Curonian Spit (Kursiu peninsula) (6-16-2013)

Photo 6: Giant pine in Palanga (6-18-2013)

 http://3houses.com/lithuania-that-feeling-of-being-home/

 Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKIYGsZmjUY

05 Sep 2013

Mark Louis Rybczyk: The Travis Club

3 Comments Book Reviews, News

 

Mark-Banner

Radio listeners in Dallas/Fort Worth may know Mark Louis Rybczyk better as ‘Hawkeye,’ the long time morning host on heritage country station, 96.3 FM KSCS. An award-winning disc jockey, Mark, along with his partner Terry Dorsey, have the longest-running morning show in Dallas. Mark is an avid skier, windsurfer and traveler. He is also the host of ‘Travel With Hawkeye’ a radio and television adventure feature that airs across the country. The Travis Club is the third book from Mark Louis Rybczyk.

The Plot:

In a cathedral in downtown San Antonio, just a few blocks from the Alamo, sits the tomb of Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and the other Alamo Defenders. Or so we have been led to believe. What secrets really lie inside the tomb and what has a group of misguided activists known as The Travis Club stumbled upon? How far will the city’s power brokers go to protect those secrets?

What would happen if a group of slackers discovered San Antonio’s DaVinci Code? Find out in the new book by Mark Louis Rybczyk, The Travis Club.

 

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How did you come up with the idea for your book?

In the mid 1980’s when I just out of college, I was living in San Antonio starting my career as a morning radio host. One weekend morning, I was riding my bike through historic Fort Sam Houston, an Army post situated in the middle of the city.

I’m one of those kind of guys that stops and reads every historical marker and that morning I must have run into about 10 of them. Little did I know that Dwight D Eisenhower was once stationed there and met his wife while coaching football a local university. Or the the first military flight occurred on the the parade ground with a plane purchased from the Wright Brothers.

On my ride home, I decided to write a historical guide book to San Antonio. I figured there were enough stories that, by themselves would not merit an entire book, but all together would be an interesting read.

It took me three years to write. In 1990, I published my first book, San Antonio Uncovered. The book was a local best seller and sold 5 printings and 2 editions. It was this book that gave me the idea to write my current novel The Travis Club.

The Travis Club features many of the odd, funny and hard to believe stories that seem to be so prevalent in San Antonio including the fact that there is a tomb in the back of the nation’s oldest cathedral that supposedly holds the remains of Davy Crockett and other Alamo defenders. Even today, the church is not sure about the validity of the remains. I thought it would be fun to create a Da Vinci Code type story about the tomb and weave thru it the history and quirkiness of on of this nations oldest and most unique cities.

Are you like any of the characters?

I have been accused by many of my family and friends of being a bit too similar to the main character Taylor Nichols. I will concede that there are many similarities.

What else would you like our readers to know about yourself?

I would like to point out to other writers how much trouble I had getting this book into print and how important it is to be persistent. I first wrote this book and tried to get it published over ten years ago. I ended up putting it on a shelf and started other projects. I finally pulled it off the shelf and reread the entire work. Because so much time had passed and I wasn’t as emotionally attached to the original, I was able to edit the book down, cutting out not essential parts that didn’t contribute to the plot.

Next, I hired and editor to look over the project. Those were the best two things I ever did.

The self editing made the book so much better. The professional editor made the book so much more polished.

The third thing I did was decide to self publish. I decided to wait a few years for self publishing to get better established. I’m glad I waited and I’m glad I self published. The timing was right. I have been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming positive reaction from readers. I have received quite a few reviews on Amazon.com and most have been between 4 and 5 stars.

You are never really sure what the public will think about your book until it is published. It has been an exciting time for me.

Are there any changes you would have made to your book?

After it was published, I wish I would have made one extremely minor change. I told my wife about it and she said I was nitpicking, so I stopped worrying about it. Your book will never be perfect, you will always wish you made changes.

One thing I added to the book that no one ever seems to get is the metaphor of the main characters cat. The cat is always trying to get outside to mark his territory, not unlike the main characters of the book, who also mark their territory by appointing themselves the protectors of the San Antonio’s historic treasures. I can honestly say that no one has ever picked up on that metaphor. Next time I won’t try to be so clever.

Will there be more/ a sequel?

I am hoping to write a sequel perhaps a trilogy. Many of the reviewers have mentioned that they would like to see more from the main characters and the other members of the Travis Club. I am excited that people have become so invested in my characters and I want to take it to the next level

I would also like to to write a tour of the places that are mentioned in the book and where to find them in San Antonio. I probably will post them in my blog SanAntonioUncovered.com

 

Website | Metroplexing | San  Antonio Uncovered | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

Giveaway:

 

One paperback copy of The Travis Club.

 

 

 

Rafflecopter:

 

 

 

 

 

Publisher: Self Published

 

Genre: Mystery

 

Release Date: June 17, 2013

 

Amazon

 

 

 

Excerpt One Short:

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 

Noel Black sharpened a pencil and placed it neatly back in the top drawer of his glass-topped

 

desk, right next to the other sharpened pencils. He glanced at the clock then straightened a few

 

paper clips and a calculator on the stark, polished surface.

 

11:08 p.m.

 

He knew he’d be leaving soon. So important to stay on schedule. Especially on a night like

 

tonight, when a life would come to an end.

 

Among the abstract paintings of his office was one unframed black and white print. A picture

 

of her. Not a picture of sentiment, but simply of record. A photo that would soon belong in a file.

 

Black fingered the yellowed photograph and could not help but think of childhood visits to

 

his mother’s father, his abuelo. He remembered spending the hot San Antonio summers at a

 

rickety west-side duplex much different than his parents’ ranch house in Dallas. Abuelo’s home

 

was filled with people, music, food and love.

 

As a child, Black would spend summer afternoons within earshot of the front window,

 

waiting for the rumble of his grandfather’s old diesel engine. Then the home would fill with

 

other workers, workers who were grateful to the old lady. All immigrants, they had left Mexico

 

hoping for a better life. The old lady offered them higher wages than the pecan shellers received.

 

With the promise of steady income came the chance to move into a house with plumbing, to send

 

money home, and to send for other relatives. His grandfather loved the old lady and he did too.

 

More recently, Noel Black’s feelings about her had changed. She was a relic, an icon of a

 

past era. Now in her final years of the 20th century, the old lady had outlived her usefulness and

 

had no place in the modern San Antonio that he envisioned. She was in his way. She needed to

 

be eliminated.

 

Of course, this kind of work had to be contracted out. He usually relied on a local contact

 

who understood the procedures. Anytime a life was extinguished, it must be done with precision

 

in Noel Black’s world.

 

 

 

Excerpt Two Long:

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 

Noel Black sharpened a pencil and placed it neatly back in the top drawer of his glass-topped

 

desk, right next to the other sharpened pencils. He glanced at the clock then straightened a few

 

paper clips and a calculator on the stark, polished surface.

 

11:08 p.m.

 

He knew he’d be leaving soon. So important to stay on schedule. Especially on a night like

 

tonight, when a life would come to an end.

 

Among the abstract paintings of his office was one unframed black and white print. A picture

 

of her. Not a picture of sentiment, but simply of record. A photo that would soon belong in a file.

 

Black fingered the yellowed photograph and could not help but think of childhood visits to

 

his mother’s father, his abuelo. He remembered spending the hot San Antonio summers at a

 

rickety west-side duplex much different than his parents’ ranch house in Dallas. Abuelo’s home

 

was filled with people, music, food and love.

 

As a child, Black would spend summer afternoons within earshot of the front window,

 

waiting for the rumble of his grandfather’s old diesel engine. Then the home would fill with

 

other workers, workers who were grateful to the old lady. All immigrants, they had left Mexico

 

hoping for a better life. The old lady offered them higher wages than the pecan shellers received.

 

With the promise of steady income came the chance to move into a house with plumbing, to send

 

money home, and to send for other relatives. His grandfather loved the old lady and he did too.

 

More recently, Noel Black’s feelings about her had changed. She was a relic, an icon of a

 

past era. Now in her final years of the 20th century, the old lady had outlived her usefulness and

 

had no place in the modern San Antonio that he envisioned. She was in his way. She needed to

 

be eliminated.

 

Of course, this kind of work had to be contracted out. He usually relied on a local contact

 

who understood the procedures. Anytime a life was extinguished, it must be done with precision

 

in Noel Black’s world.

 

11:22 p.m.

 

38 minutes to show time. His instructions were explicit: action not to be taken until midnight.

 

Not a second sooner. Not a moment later.

 

He locked the glass door behind him and walked briskly to his polished black BMW. He

 

knew that he should stay and wait for a call. But tonight, waiting was too difficult.

 

11:37 p.m.

 

He eased the perfectly waxed sedan through the streets of downtown and into the fringes of

 

the west side. “This land is way too valuable,” he mumbled aloud. He slowed down and parked

 

across the street, hoping to be inconspicuous, even though he knew that a European sedan was

 

about as common in this South Texas barrio as a snowball.

 

“Just a quick look,” he told himself.

 

He caught the eye of a shadowy figure in a black hooded sweatshirt. It was one of the locals

 

he had hired to complete the job. Black flashed back the mal ojo, the evil eye. He knew he

 

shouldn’t have come. But deep inside he needed to see her one last time, not to pay his respects,

 

but to make sure the job was done right.

 

11:46 p.m.

 

He started up his engine and allowed his eyes one final glance at her. It was one time too

 

many. Immediately, he noticed something amiss. A glint behind a window pane that made him

 

realize someone must have been tipped off.

 

He felt a rock in his stomach. He knew there would be trouble.

 

 


02 Sep 2013

A Chat with Christoph Fischer

3 Comments News, Review

TLOTW SLider

Today my biggest news is that a website in the US by a fellow author has chosen my book to become a study object for online students and I am invited to answer their questions. Oddly enough just a few days ago exactly this was suggested by one of the reviewers. 

Author Julia Gousseva is a writer and a teacher  Molly

She has a BA in English from Moscow State Linguistics University and two graduate degrees from the University of Arizona: MA in English Language and Linguistics and a PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching. 

She is a full-time writing teacher at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. 

The goal of this blog is to give her students (and anybody else who happens to wander in) a chance to interact with today’s most interesting writers.

Here is the link!  2137033

http://juliagousseva.com/2/post/2013/09/a-chat-with-christoph-fischer.html

The Luck of the Weissensteiners  

continues to do well in the Jewish Fiction Charts on Amazon –  as does Sebastian.

The current review Bonanza is ongoing for both books.

And here are the last three reviews for The Luck of the Weissensteiners , bringing it to a total of 64 on Amazon.com and 50 on Amazon.co.uk.

Sebastian climbed to 28 reviews – amazing after only being on the market since May.

******

Should be Required Reading for History Students, August 31, 2013

…As a romance, this book is superb: well-drawn, believable, with authentic and likable characters, each with their own realistic flaws.

But calling this amazing novel a romance would be a major understatement. What immediately complicates the budding relationship between Greta and Wilhelm is the historical setting that at first acts as a backdrop for their relationship but, as the story develops, gradually comes to the fore and becomes a guiding force in the story, just like it happened in Europe in 1933 as the dramatic events of World War Two unfolded.

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...The historical detail, the meticulous research done by the author (just look at the topnotch bibliography at the end, and you will be amazed), the accuracy of the smallest detail in the narration – all make this story come to life in the most realistic way possible.

But don’t think that research means absence of plot or dry writing style. Far from it. As the story and the raging war in Europe progress, Greta and Wilhelm get deeper and deeper involved both in their own relationship, full of challenges and complications, from settling on common religious beliefs to dealing with a miscarriage to attempts to find a safe place for their young family to eventual separation, and in events surrounding them. And that’s just the beginning.

old-town-bratislava-james-a-stewart

This beautifully told story is filled with allegories and symbolism. For example, at one point, Greta and Wilhelm are considering getting forged passports from a communist and a former customer of Wilhelm’s bookshop. A passing phrase, “we know a lot about people by the kind of books they buy” immediately made me think of the power of books, a theme that runs strongly throughout this novel, and Hitler’s multiple agencies that diligently worked at blacklisting, banning, and eliminating anything that could be construed as “un-German.” Banning books and limiting information access – a terrifying but still very much present concept in today’s world.

The author’s portrayal of Greta as a “pawn in a political chess game” as she is trying to fit in but failing, feels very real. In Greta’s case, with her Jewish background but lack of Jewish religion, a blond son, and a German husband, she just doesn’t belong with either Jews or Germans. Nowhere seems safe for her in war-ravaged Europe. Greta’s plight feels so real, I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s the author’s own “ambiguous sense of belonging” in Bavaria (he was born in Germany from a mixed heritage marriage) shaped his understanding and emotional connection to Greta.

An amazing book on many levels. Highly recommended.

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Wonderful, September 1, 2013

I was gifted this book to review and it is one of the best books that I have read about WW2 . A very humane and personable. The family of weavers where like a family to me. I felt the pain that Greta experienced…. Rather than reading about the atrocities that occurred during the war, this writer wrote about a family and all of the trials and tribulations they experience. While presenting facts about the war that tied everything together…. I would highly recommend this book.

 *****

An Oblique Lightness of Being, September 2, 2013
 
This review is from: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Volume 1) (Paperback)

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… two decades before the setting of Kundera’s novel, but dealing similarly in the themes of identity, nationality, shifting ideas and shifting frontiers.

I called up Kundera’s name because Fischer has the same oblique style and concentrates on the slow steady construction of his characters until they are flesh and blood people that we know as intimately as our neighbors and friends. His story portrays struggle, romance, separation and, ultimately, redemption in a way that is both moving and totally believable. The moment I finished this book I clicked into Amazon to find the second book in the trilogy. That says all that needs to be said.

*****
THANKS EVERYONE FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR THE SUPPORT! Reviews like this keep us writers going, so thanks for taking the time and writing such lovely and heart-felt comments.
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