A Happy 4th of July Guest Reviews & Interviews of Fantastic Authors!

Hello Friends and Readers Everywhere!  Happy 4th of July Weekend!

A Special Author Reading Free For All Reviews & Interviews of The Many Fine Authors I Enjoy & Their Books! Enjoy & Happy Reading This 4th of JULY!

Interview ~ Review of Author, Janet DeLee and her new book: Taking Leaps . . .

Interviewer:  “I hardly ever accept review requests. This is partly because I prefer to spend my limited time reading books of my choosing, but mainly because I’m rarely sent a synopsis that piques my interest. And of course there’s always the sad but true point that an unknown book carries a higher risk of increased suck factor.”

However, for once, a review request caught my eye: the story of a group of dreamers in an Ideal Life Club, meeting to encourage each other towards their goals, with a few ghosts thrown in. I liked the cover photo (if not the title font), too. So I decided to take a leap and accept the request. AND just after replying in the affirmative, I looked DeLee up on Amazon and found she lives 3 hours away from me, she loves Italy and gardening, and this book is her second with the same main character. So I quickly emailed again and greedily requested a copy of her first book too. She replied and said she would send both as long as I read the new one first.

As promised, I read Taking Leaps & Finding Ghosts before Creating an Ideal Life. Though the writing style of TL&FG did not jive with my preferences, I still found myself engaged by the experiences of the characters. And I liked the suggested method of working towards making dreams reality:

1. Write a visualization of your goal.  2. Write a statement of affirmation.

3. Write at least one step towards actualization. (And, of course, take the steps you commit to.)


Interview ~ Review of Author, Rosie Tirant-Longhurst of her Novel, Echoes from the Oasis. . .

Born in 1958 on Mahe island in the Seychelles, as the daughter of a policeman and the eldest in a family of four brothers and four sisters, Rosie Tirant-Longhurst grew up in the tiny Seaside village of Beau-Vallon on the northern coast of the island.

She started her working life in 1975 as a nurse at Victoria Hospital and has been living in UK for the past 20 years.

What theme does your book explore and what do you hope to evoke in the readers?

The theme is historical, romantic and spiritual. The readers would discover the essence of true love. Experience another world of exotic beauty and the journey to the core of their beings. I do hope that the readers would see the connections between mankind, the marvels of nature and God.

What prompted you to be an author and where you influenced by a person, artist or genre?

“I became an author because I wanted to preserve the old way of life. I wanted my children, grandchildren and the world to know the real Seychelles and its people. I was not influenced by anyone in particular, although the central character in the story is a nurse, and I have drawn on some personal experiences from my nursing days.”

If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be, and why?

One of my readers has compared my work to Catherine Cookson’s books written in Northumberland in UK, because of the descriptive way I set the scene. Whilst, an Editorial review from TODAY in Seychelles quotes : “Her penmanship is particularly remarkable in the manner in which she paints the historical backdrop to the stage setting as she introduces the principal players whose lives and passions intertwine with the historical events of that period .”

Tell us about your latest work and what inspired you.

“Echoes from the Oasis” is my debut novel. It is the first book in the series, with future titles taking the story of Seychelles and the Seychellois people to the present age. I am inspired by the natural beauty of the Seychelles islands, the unique culture of the Seychellois people, and how our faith has molded us. Book One starts in 1912, and also features the outbreak of the First World War, and the role played by the Seychellois people in this conflict. We were a colony of Great Britain during those times . . . .

Special Interview of Award Winning Author, Jack Barr on CNN & CNN iReport of his book, Failing
at Fatherhood. . . Featured on CNN.com.

Dad’s Confession: I almost left my disabled daughter.

“The day my daughter Marley was born, I went straight to the nursery and held her for well over two hours. I just held her and cried because I had never experienced such a love for anyone or anything in my life.

I think the nurses thought I was crazy because eventually they told me I needed to go be with my wife. Three days later, before we left the hospital, the pediatric doctor told us she thought Marley might have Down syndrome.”

My reaction?  “Are you freaking kidding me?”

I immediately had a panic attack and was taken to the emergency room. Thoughts were racing through my mind: How could my perfect daughter have Down syndrome? How could they not know for sure? How could the general ultrasound, which said we had a 1-in-18,000 chance of having a child with Down syndrome, be wrong? Why was God punishing me? How could I live with a daughter that was going to be rejected by everyone … including myself?

I entered into a deep depression for the first year of Marley’s life. My wife became concerned about me, so I started taking antidepressants and seeing a counselor. I contemplated leaving my wife, or giving my daughter up for adoption, and suicide. I would lie awake at night thinking about my future, and searching for a reason to live. I believed all the negative things the world told me about Down syndrome, and viewed it as a curse on my family. The entire time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how this would change my life!

But the truth is, I felt badly about myself. At one point, I wrote a letter to myself asking why things had to be this way. I prayed for God to take my worthless life in exchange for removing Marley’s extra chromosome. I would even quietly lie awake at night contemplating how I would feel if she suddenly stopped breathing while she slept. Finally, one Saturday morning, when Marley was about 2 months old, I got up and told my wife I was going for a walk.

I had no intention of coming back. I was going to leave my wife and daughter.

I couldn’t do it anymore. But then, after I left, I started having second thoughts, and that’s when I remembered that my wife had signed up for an online support group. I ended up spending the next two hours talking on the phone about my daughter and family with a man I had never met. He had a 2-year-old with Down syndrome.

I cannot explain it, but after talking to him for two hours I had the strength to go home and face another day. For the next six months, I got up and faced one day at a time.

Years ago, my father said to me, “If you want to fix a problem, then do something about it.”

I followed his advice. First, I tried to gain as much knowledge as I could about raising a child with Down syndrome. Next, I started calling every family I could find that had a child with Down syndrome. I owe a great deal to these families because they were willing to talk to me despite the 12-hour time difference between Bangkok and the States.

I also started forcing myself to interact with my daughter. She was desperate for me to start loving her, and she continued loving me until I broke down and did the same. I was scared to accept my daughter because that would mean accepting her disability. But the reality was the only thing keeping me from loving my daughter was my own ignorance.

Once I overcame my own selfish expectations for my daughter, I slowly began to see the beautiful girl who would change my life forever.

And finally, I talked to God. I talked to Him just like He was sitting in a chair beside me because that was the true barrier in my life. I was honest with God throughout the entire process, and that is when I started finding peace.

Healing is a process and a journey. I would have never experienced this life-changing transformation if Marley had not been born.

It is true, there are difficult times having a daughter with Down syndrome. But it also true that she is very much like any other child. Marley smiles, laughs, plays, is able to meet many developmental milestones (albeit her own pace, with her own style), makes mistakes, and, most importantly, completes our family.

She literally brightens my day every time I see her. She’s now 2 years old, and at this age all children develop at different rates. Marley can walk; swim; sign and speak words; throw and kick a ball; follow simple directions and throw tantrums. She also knows how to manipulate her grandparents. But she has not learned how to run or jump. She is taking thyroid medication and has a small heart defect.

The key is, she is very similar to most toddlers her age and every child with Down syndrome is different just like every child is different.

Before our summer break, she passed an entrance exam to start at a British preschool in September with her peers who are not labeled as “special-needs children.” In my opinion, these limitations we put on children with Down syndrome are outdated and lead to a lack of acceptance in our society.

The medical community focuses on so many of the challenges associated with Down syndrome that we develop an unnecessary fear — but these are only differences. The truth is, I am a better person today because of my daughter, my daughter who has Down syndrome. I am thankful for a wife that was willing to push me to change, and support me when I struggled. . . .


Tim Jopling

Interview ~ Review of New UK Indie Author, Tim Jopling. His New Book Series Akira-Deane Thrillers. Book 1 UNDERGROUND MURMURS . . . .

How a minor character from 24 launched a writing career for Tim Jopling  – @tim_jopling – Twitter

When 24 started on BBC2 just over ten years ago I was blown away by the attention to detail and how serious it was compared to some of the films I had seen around that time that really could be classed as spoofs. As the series progressed there were many memorable scenes and characters but it was a small character that caught my attention.

Half way through the series the main characters family are based at a safe house with CTU Agent Ted Paulson and his partner Ron Breeher given the task to protect them. Straight away I was really impressed with these two guys who had worked together for years and were trusted by the main character. The Ted Paulson character in particular seemed to embody the look and attitude of a government agent and the scene where the safe house is attacked completely blew me away. Paulson had to stalk through the safe house to find the attackers which had me on the edge of my seat.

From that moment on I was determined to write something that had excitement, darkness, and grit. It’s funny though, I have yet to meet anyone that remembers the character of Ted Paulson let alone agree on just how good those scenes were. To be fair he was only in 2 episodes!

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your book Underground Murmurs?

That’s a tough question! For Akira I always thought Michael Fassbender would be suitable as he could bring that element of darkness to the role. Dominic West would make a good Thomas Deane with maybe Tom Hiddleston as Olsen.

What do you think people will enjoy most about the book?

I’d like to think they will enjoy the relationships that exist between the characters and find that although there is action and lots of cliff-hangers the story (and all those in this series) are ultimately about relationships, broken or otherwise! Akira’s character in particular is one that is proving popular with readers. Akira is a complex character and you never really find out much about his past, and the fact that he hears the voice of his dead wife in his mind and she directs him to follow her wishes does give it a few layers! Other than the characters I’d like think the story is set at a fast pace and the reader will enjoy travelling to London, Oman, Poland and Russia to follow what happens.

Which established writers do you enjoy reading and feel have perhaps contributed to your style?

I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Crichton and Ian Fleming who created James Bond. Lately I’ve been reading some of the Kurt Wallander novels by Henning Mankell which are fantastic and I also enjoy reading Robert Harris’s novels with ‘The Ghost’ being one I really enjoyed. I recently saw an interview with Lee Child on BBC Breakfast about how he got started which was really interesting so I’m currently reading the first Jack Reacher novel ‘Killing Floor’ which I would recommend.

A lot of authors set themselves certain daily or weekly goals in regards to number of pages or words written. Do you take this approach to your writing?

That may well be an effective way of writing but I’ve always found I need to get into the right frame of mind first which often comes through music which in turn starts the thinking process of story lines and in particular scenes from a story. I tend to be quite visual and whilst listening to music or watching a film or some TV I will ‘see’ a scene played out in my mind and will need to write that down or even write that scene as soon as I can. Once I’ve started writing in that way I then tend to carry on from there. I find this gives me more of a quality output rather than setting myself a target which in the past when I’ve done that I’ve found doesn’t produce my best work.

What do you find to be the hardest part about writing and what is the most rewarding aspect?

I’ve found that the research can be quite challenging sometimes and there have been occasions where I’ve tried to be too clever and backed myself into a corner in terms of the stories development so planning it out is important. In terms of what’s rewarding, when I’m in full flow and making progress on a particular storyline I just enjoy every minute of it. I really care about these characters and to try and explain their emotions I do my best to mentally put myself in their shoes as much as I can and feel what they feel. What’s been great is I have received feedback from some of my readers and seeing that they enjoyed it as well.

What are you working on currently?

I’ve started work on the next novel in the series, Rogue Retrieval which starts with a dramatic and emotional scene and then goes back on itself so the reader can follow the events and find out how that first scene came about. I’m also working on three short stories that I plan to publish on Amazon as a short story collection. These stories follow immediately after ‘Underground Murmurs’ and focus on some of the lesser characters but still feature the main ones too. It’s been a lot of fun returning these characters to find out what happens next. . . .


So there you have it readers! Some interesting reading about some new fine authors and their fantastic books and novels. Please visit my “Month of July Hot Book Picks List” page here on my blog to find where you can purchase these excellent reads. Most are available online now on Amazon Books, and Barnes & Noble as well. I hope you all have a Fun, Safe and Exciting 4th of July!

God Bless you and America,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
“Lyon Book and Social Media Promotions”