Friday, May 31, 2013

Amazing, Bold...and Chilling! Finalist in Three Fiction Categories for 2013 International Latino Book Awards, by Cecilia Velastegui!

English: Peru Machu Picchu
English: Peru Machu Picchu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"That is exactly what they do. They go online and they beg for men to meet them and to screw them. These
women have everything the rest of the world wants. They
are attractive, they are educated, they are well-fed, they
can buy whatever they like, but they cannot find a man.
Why do you suppose that is?
"Illapa, Inca god, should I answer or not?
"Go ahead, idiot!
"Their men are like me, they are not potent. Are their
rods limp?"
"A stupid answer, Choque. No, their men are potent and
even those who aren't take pills that make them rock

Illapa: Incan God of Thunder
"That was the mountain apu's
message: silence or you will
die. Be silent and learn from
us. Through her silence, she
could truly listen to the
Andean deities..."

Missing in Machu Picchu
Free E-book download June 24 to July 7, 2013
By Cecilia Velastegui
International Latino Book Award Author
"Taki would rather see her mallqui entombed forever in his native grotto, with its god-awful smelling bats than reside in the hygienic laboratory of a soulless institution abroad. She had lived long enough to remember that the treasures of Machu Picchu and the Andes had been pilfered or destroyed by foreign conquerors. First the Spanish arrived and burned all the mallquis they could find in the realm, knowing full well that for the Incas there was no greater death than to be burned, even if one was already a mummified corpse. Then Bingham arrived in 1911 with visions of his own type of conquest. When he saw the great carvd niches within a wall in Machu Picchu, he knew that the important mummies had been installed there to rest. He forced men to dig up their own ancestors in search of the perfect Inca emperor mummy to take back to New York, but all he found were the remains of numerous female mummies. The imperial ancestors had been carried away by the faithful, never to be found. Always the great promoter, spindly-legs Bingham had decided that the skeletal remains of the women must have been those of the Brides of the Sun. The imaged sexual hijinks of one Inca king and hundreds of young virgins would sell lots of newspapers back in United States.

Although placed in the psychological suspense genre, those of you who look for historical novels should certainly considered Missing in Machu Picchu. I was fortunate to be given a hard cover version and I must tell you that it is simply beautiful! The inside cover provides a two-page spread of the mountains and the city as well as many historical black and white drawings shown in the book trailer. There is also an extensive Glossary and Bibliography, as well as a section for Book Clubs. I will certainly be pleased to pass this onto our local library for its collection!

Now I have to admit that I was just a bit turned off at first because of the inclusion of online dating, which didn't seem to fit such an epic story; however, I must assure you that the topic was really incidental to the issue of women's lives--lives that have been spent in college and then into many years as they built their careers, only then to find themselves unhappy and "resorting" to online dating. The novel not only covers the pitfalls of that type of dating, but, more importantly, explores the inner turmoil each of the women are going through.

"stood laughing at the four cowering women who
thought they could dictate a revelation, who thought
personal transformation could be ordered online and
paid for like an overnight delivery.
"One step at a time, that is how you will be transformed.
he lectured them. "Just as you arrived at this point by
taking one painful step along the precarious path, by
hiking on my Inca Illapa Trail, that is how you will
untether yourself from all your online addictions and
your psychotic disorders."
"...gazed out at the black night, unsure of what he was
going to say or do next. The one thing he did know was
that he had not broken the women down sufficiently
to command them to do his bidding--in particular, the
very cruitical next step--so he backed off. He had until
dawn to brainwash these Ivy League women, so he
decided to punish and reward them, to pit them one
against the other, to make love to them and to beat them
down in order to make them draw blood. Then and only
then would they be ready to commence the sacred
procession to the peak..."
But what they went through on that trip was unlike anything you could imagine... 

The purpose of the trip was to burn an effigy representing all of the "crazies" they had met through online dating. But the whole thing, the trip, was a sham...

The tour guide was a man with whom most of the women had been intimate--to say he was a con man was the least awful thing that could be used to describe him...

But their trip had been foreseen...

Images of these women, walking up the mountain, falling off the edges, had driven Taki nearly mad as she tried to understand...

Taki was a seer and keeper of the Mallqui, one of the Incan ancestors that were still buried in the secret coves, and not yet found by those who would steal the mummies and sell them to make money--never considering the desecration of those graves.

Taki and Koyam, her friend and protector were now 70, sometimes weak with old age, only to be revived by spirits when needed. Taki had helped and blessed many who came, while Koyam was the one who chased or beat those who would do harm to Taki. If they had not known of these women, they would have died...

How that occurs on those winding secret paths on which those women were taken is so chilling that it will sometimes stun readers as they, too, see and learn of what had happened at Machu Picchu in the ancient past...

And how and what a psychopath was planning to do in order to bring back those days...

The more I read, the more this book spoke boldly of what rich and powerful people have done to destroy the culture, the artifacts, and even the dead of those that lived in the past. The author also speaks boldly about how women have chosen to live lives that sometimes prove to be totally different from what they would have wanted. At first, I felt it was a little too stereotypical, but ultimately, as each woman's story is shared, some will find their own story. If not, they will find they can be content with what has happened in their own lives.

Velastequi also has attacked the atrocities of selling babies, children and women. again amazingly merging many important issues into a novel that does not bogged down with the magnitude of the information shared. My most favorite characters were the two older women who, even in their later years, never gave up responding to the guidance provided by their ancestors... May we all learn such respect with wisdom available to us... Highly recommended for many reasons...


Cecilia Velástegui is the International Latino Book Award winning author of the psychological thrillers with historical intrigue:Traces of Bliss and Gathering the Indigo Maidens. She was selected on the 2012 Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club in partnership with the Association of American Publishers.
Velástegui was born high up in the Andes Mountains in Quito, Ecuador, where she spent her childhood. Although she now lives at sea level in Monarch Beach, California, she has two friendly pet alpacas. Velástegui was raised in California and France, and has traveled extensively in over 50 countries. She received her graduate degree from the University of Southern California, and speaks four languages. She serves on the board of directors of several cultural and educational institutions.
Velástegui donates a portion of the proceeds of her novels to fight human trafficking, the underlying theme of her novels.
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stella Comes to Tell Children and Adults About Her Trip To Spain!

"My name is Stella. I’m a Cocker Spaniel and I love to play. I wagged my tail and looked at her with sad eyes hoping that she would take me out. “Do you want to go out, Stella?” asked my master. “Bark, bark, bark,” yes please. I responded wagging my tail frantically. “Ok then, let’s go! I was finally outside running after Vilma. She didn’t notice me so I decided to call out to her. “Bark, bark, bark!” Vilma wait for me, I said to her. She turned around and wagged her tail as she saw me running towards her. “Hi Vilma,” I said. Vilma was female like me. She had white fur with a few tan coloured spots on her chest. She had lovely brown eyes. “Hi Stella,” she said. “Hey, do you like my new collar?” Vilma asked me. It was a pink collar with sparkly white stones. “It’s beautiful!” I said. “Oh, I hear my master calling me. I have to go but let’s try to meet again later.” “Ok, I’ll see you later,” said Vilma. My master took me for a walk in the park near our house. The park was full of birds and it was a good place to meet friends..."

¡Hola! ¡Stella!

 (Stella - Lovable 

Cocker Spaniel Travels)

By G. R. Calcagni

Is your dog an important part of your family? Do your children love having him or her around--perhaps even to travel with you? Then you just might want them to meet Stella!

When Stella was old enough to start traveling with the family, she decided to write books to share with other children and, hopefully, their own friends! Stella lives in Italy, but their first trip will take them to Spain! She's so excited to be able to tell you about her trip! Oh yes, first... Hola, Stella!

Hi! I'm so happy to visit! I travel with my Master, the pack leader and two pups! These animals walk on just two legs so they are much taller than me, but they always want me close! Especially when we travel... Please be sure you always stay close to your family when you are outside too!

And would you believe we go in a moving house! Yes, the pack leader does what is called driving and my master sits in the navigator seat(? - I'm not sure what that means 'cause most of the time she just sits there and sometimes lets me sit on her lap!)

Once we got there, the pups pulled out a lot of cloth and strings and stuff and I was amazed to see what happened to it! Pretty Soon, there was a little house, called a tent, and we went in to take a nap!

The older puppy was telling the younger one what to do. “Ali, pull the sheet so that we open it up and lay it flat on the ground,” she said. “Ok, now extend one of the sticks so that we can slide it through one of the slits in the sheet,” she continued. 
I watched as they extended all three sticks and then slid them through the first sheet. “Ok, now we need to each take one end of each stick and place it in the ring at the edge of the sheet,” she explained. Soon they had the ends of each of the three sticks inserted into the rings. The tent was up. I went closer to get a better look. 
“Stella, watch out. We’re not finished yet,” said the older puppy. I sat and continued to watch them. They took some of the metal pegs and with another tool they called hammer, they hit the metals peg into the ground. Then they opened the second sheet and placed it on top of the tent. This sheet had strings attached which they pulled and fastened to the ground with more metal pegs. They stood back and looked. “That wasn’t too bad,” said Megan. 
The tent was long and tall. Meg grabbed an end of the tent and opened the mouth. She stepped inside. Ali then stepped inside and I followed. Wow! It was big inside. Meg, who was a tall puppy, could stand inside. She went to one side and opened the mouth which lead to another room. “Ali, now we need to get the mattresses and inflate them,” Meg said. Ali went outside and I followed her to see what this mattress was. Ali walked back to the big white box and pulled out two boxes and another strange looking stick. She took these back to the tent and they pulled out from each box other sheets. They then connected the stick to a little hole on each sheet. Then as they held the stick upright, they kept it from moving with their feet and pulled the stick up. Then they pushed it down. 
Then they pushed it up again and then down. They did this several times and all of a sudden the sheet was taking another form. It was growing. I couldn’t explain what was happening but the sheet became bigger and bigger. It was almost as tall as me! 
When they finished with the first sheet they did the same with the second sheet. Then they each took one of these mattresses and brought them into the tent. “Ah, now we can relax,” Meg said laughing as she and Ali threw themselves down on these sheets. I moved closer and as I was within reach of Ali, she grabbed me and said, “Amore, come and try Ali’s bed.” Soon they were fast asleep. I closed my eyes and listened to the noises outside.

We were now in Barcellona at a
 place called La Rambla and
 there were so many strange 
and wonderful smells! And I even
got to eat some of them!

Anyway, off we went! I have a lot of friends who I talk about in my book; but this time I have too much to tell you about where we went and, oh, my, was I scared one time when I heard barking but all I could see was a great big box! It was spooky! A lot of animals around me were laughing like they do, but, I did not feel like laughing, I can tell you!
That was probably one of the highlights of my trip, 'cause you know it's fun to be scared, especially when you're with your family!

There are so many other things I was setting along with my family that I had never seen before. Some were so big that I couldn't even see the whole La Sagrada Familia. My master and her pups would go inside some of these places while the pack leader stay outside with me. I guess he wanted them to see the most stuff and wanted them to enjoy what they called a vacation...

And it was really great fun...but, honestly, I was quite glad to be home again... 
But don't forget that I've told you alllllllll about our trip--practically every little thing we did, including how the pups washed dishes after we ate!

So, I'm so happy to have the opportunity to visit here at Book Reader's Heaven. I hope you liked my stories enough to want to know more, 'cause we'll be traveling again soon!

Oh, yes, I'm supposed to tell you that my book is BRH recommended for children and their families too!


My Master is C. R. Calcagni
I brought these pictures over from my Facebook site! Find Me There!
Also on Book Blogs

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Carole Nelson Douglas's Midnight Louie in Cat In An Ultramarine Scheme - NOT Just Another Review...

Ma Barker leads a feral cat gang!
"You two roadkill bums can forget
drooling over anything you see," Ma
Barker growls. "This is my gang's 
territory and you are trespassing. I
can scar your behinds with my initials
and give you a sex-change operation
before either one of your drifters can
muster a rusty shiv..."

Three O'Clock Louie...
"Did I sire something with kitty litter
for brains? With the eyesight of a bat?
The mental acuity of a hedgehog? The
arrogance of a hedge-fund manager?
Great Bast, help me boy. You are a
detective like I am a Fig Newton!
Open your eyes and your mind..."

"Elder Care is Such a Drag..."
Meet the Family!
The Cat Pack...
Midnight Louie Star Character!
"Great Bast, son! You sound like one of
those boring talking human heads on the
nightly news. Forget the philosophy.
When do I lose the loser? I already gave
him the first heave-ho ages ago.
"It is trying to hear one's sire discussed
in such scathing terms. I fluff up my
ruff and get to the point... Ma..."

Cat in an Ultramarine Scheme
Midnight Louie! I'm so happy to have you visit today! And you have all of your family with you in this complex mystery by Carole Nelson Douglas. Can't wait to hear more about it! Give us all the inside scoop about Temple, especially... will she ever get with just one man?!!!
Maybe Daughter--Midnight Louise
"Hurry up, Pops." Miss Louise is nagging
from ahead of me, like Charlie Chan's
number-one son.
"Fact is, I cannot...!
"Fine for a sylph like Miss Midnight
Louise through when she is all of nine
pounds soaking wet..."

By Carole Nelson Douglas

"The Circle Ritz, like all fifties-vintage construction, was
cramped by modern room-size standards, especially in the
tiny, tile-lined bathrooms, only a bathtub wide, both of them.
Still, Temple loved her petite living quarters. It was like living
in a luxurious dollhouse surviving past its time. The thought of
forsaking it for another place, for a freestanding house, made
her a little sad...
"Maybe Temple was finally growing up, not just getting older
and wiser.
"She scratched Louie's tummy until he yawned to display his
vast pink maw lined with white teech and started purring
like a Volkswagen motor.
"Nobody who knew her would reject her..."
You know, I don't like to brag, but I've been around the cat mystery circuit for quite some time and I've even had to start my own PI biz...

Yeah, my yet-to-be-accepted daughter and I work together in the investigations, but I've not yet been willing to claim her as daughter and full partner. After all, she's the one doing the claiming and who knows where she came from? If you know anything about we cats, and Midnight Louie in particular, you know we've had our share of fun, but mostly my choices have gone toward the more exotic dames, if you've read us before, you know who I mean! And I have no real interest in seeing the opposite of "me" when I'm lookin' for a little lovin'...ya' know!

Yep! I'm still living at the Circle Ritz with my main gal Temple. Guess what? She's engaged to be married! But I'm still holding my breath. Max had disappeared again and was thought to be dead. But then, during this story, she learned that he may not be dead, and she went out into the dangerous club, the Neon Nightmare, where it is known the Synth headquarters are probably located! Alone!

But, of course, she wasn't alone for long... When she thinks she's going through spider webs, tickling her legs, you would think, by now, after all these years, that she would automatically think of cat fur rather than spiders, don't you think?!! And a good thing we got there to get her out of a dangerous situation!
Anyway, if you're reading this novel, you're probably a fan, right?! Thanks so much for following us 'cause I was thinking today that our stories, our lives were getting very complicated, if you don't already know us. So, just to bring you a little background. Temple Barr is the main character, my roomie, who is a PR rep for a local luxury Las Vegas hotel. She's been in love on again and off with two guys--a magician and an ex-priest! Imagine... Neither one are in town at the moment, so that's why I called in assistance because so much is happening... 

Her "fiance" is just out of town working, but Max was really hurt in that accident you've probably read about! Main thing now is that he has amnesia and is now in Ireland, following the roots of Kitty the Cutter...Yikes! Is she really dead?!

See I told ya, you really need to become our fans to get to know all of us...but, really, each story has a main murder mystery so you'll still have fun trying to solve the case--or in this story, cases! 

The first body was found by my ole man and would you believe that they had a pic of him saying he was a cannibal and was chewing on the body...NOT! Besides it was only the leg bones sticking up because the feet had been places in concrete for burial in the lake...Yep, that was a very cold case from the old days when the mob was in town...He'd been living with the Glory Hole Gang at the Three O'Clock Restaurant, named for him, but the lake dried up...literally...and that's when the local cats found the...legs... 

Then they found the magician in the underground vault? Who knew who he was, except that he was probably part of the Synth, the local magicians group... but why would they put a body in the vault? But while that investigation is going on, let me tell you what my Miss Temple and her bosses are up to! They're building a Mob Museum and an underground "Chunnel of Crime" that will connect two hotels and not only use old movies, but will center in on the local crime bosses like the Glory Hole Gang, who will have their own restaurant (Cool, right?) and our local ghost in residence, Jersey Joe Jackson! There's lots more being planned which you'll have fun visualizing, especially on the test ride in the Chunnel! Why, the old Pack Rat started with Frank and Humphrey Bogart, who were always chummy with the crime lords...

Now I just had to sit back and enjoy the climax (and surprise) at the end! Because my Miss Temple didn't have a clue about what was going to happen in either situation! And that's saying something because she's always the one who is involved in solving the murders. Her face in the Chunnel Car was just too much to keep me from laughing, even though everything was so noisy and we were in the midst of nailing the killer! Seriously, when somebody gets something over on my Miss Temple, you just know that it's an exciting event.
But, heck, all I could think about when she got that final call... Here we go again...

Hope you enjoyed meeting my family...Ma's a little off-color being out with her gang, but if everything the Fontana Family has planned goes right, then we'll be seeing a lot more of what you might call, The Cat Pack... Hey, Everybody! Thanks for stopping by...and maybe we'll be back at Book Reader's Heaven sometime in the future! Until then, check me out anywhere you see the name, Carole Nelson Douglas...and my special page at the end of each novel!

Midnight Louie

Carole Nelson Douglas is the author of the bestselling Midnight Louis series, which includes Cat in an Ultramarine Scheme, Cat in a Topaz Tango, Cat in a Sapphire Slipper, and many more. She is also the author of a series of historical suspense novels featuring Irene Adler, the only women ever to have "outwitted" Sherlock Holmes. Douglas resides in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Talanov Insider News! Heeeeeeee's Coming Soon! Want to Be an Insider Too! Sign Up Now!
Now Under Construction!

Want to be a Talanov Insider?

Author James Houston Turner announces that the new Talanov website ( is coming soon. Included on the site will be a list of quotes made by various readers, authors and bloggers. The quotes will be about Talanov himself rather than a specific book, so if you would like to submit a comment for inclusion, please email it to me or post it on Talanov's Facebook page, which you can do by clicking HERE.
Here are some examples of comments already made: "Dark, sexy hero for the new millennium" (national bestselling author, Jordan Dane); "The most memorable character we've come to know" (Ehsan Ehsani, The Mystery Tribune);"Sexy ... dangerous ... tantalizing" (Abigail Ortlieb); "A modern-day knight" (Daniel Cann); "A wonderful character"(Rick Koster, The Dallas Morning News); "Bond meets Bourne" (John Solomon, Chopin vodka); "Aleksandr Talanov can eat crackers in my bed anytime" (Gloria Foster).
I would love to add your quote to this list, so please reflect on your impressions of our guy and either post or send me a comment.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Beatles Last Album Molded Around Family Saga by Chad Gayle... "Awesome!"

..."But for now, now that the song is ending, it's enough to nurture what she has,
the memories that will always be hers.
"It's enough to let it be."

Let It Be
Chad Gayle

Even if this novel is not based somewhat on an actual family, readers will feel that it is... Primarily written by the mother, although both the daughter and son take over as well. For instance the daughter opens the novel with a...simple?...fact...
"When my brother was ten years old, he almost killed a man..."
 It is never easy to decide to proceed with a divorce, even if you have an abusive husband. Most times it's about the children and how it will affect them.

It was no different for Michelle when she filed for divorce and moved to a home near her brother. 

It was the year that The Beatles' last album came out. Michelle had fallen in love with their music, even though she could only afford that one album, which she played all the time...

But when her husband lost his job, he pawned many of Michelle's personal belongings, including that album...

"One After 909" reminded me of their situation since Bill was the type of abuser that could be very nice, apologize, ask forgiveness, be much more involved...and then would go back to his old habits. Michelle had left one other time, but had not taken the kids. Bill told Joseph that this was just like the other time, that Michelle would come back to him and they would be together again...

"There's a track on Let It Be called "One After 909," a groovy tune about a guy who's trying to get with a girl that's on a train he can't seem to catch. To a thirteen-year-old girl like me, it seemed like a cool number, even though it was old news, and I had fun with it whenever it was on; I thought it was a great song. Joseph hated it, however; for my little brother, "One after 909" was a meaningless, worthless lyric that wasn't about anything, that was nothing but a ruse, and he was willing to argue this point for hours, which should tell you something about my brother. He was a smart kid, but he was a smart kid who could be ruthlessly stubborn when he was convinced that he was right and that someone else was wrong...

And that is part of the reason he got into big trouble...

"Get back, you stupid turd!" she shouts.
"I call Joseph's name and he stomps into my room, muttering to himself.
"What happened?"
"He shoves his hands in his pockets. "Pam kicked me."
"Why did she do that?"
"Because I pushed her..."
"Bill used to spank them whenever there was any punching or kicking, regardless of who punched or kicked first. That always bothered me, but I couldn't say anything about it; if I did, he told me that I didn't know how to discipline the kids..."

Joseph was very interested in all things related to astronomy, as well as art. His mother would take him to the library to get him the adult books that he would study and then draw...But he loved his father and he wanted the family to stay together, or, if it didn't, his father talked to him about living with him... He talked to him many times, asking questions to keep up with the family events...and more...He was also calling Michelle at work for which she'd gotten in trouble. Her boss was quite demonstrative in explaining how to just hang up whenever he

 "Now, I realize that some of the women who work here are going to go to the powder room every fifteen minutes, but I can allow that. And I can excuse some of the others for spending half an hour of each and every morning gossiping like a lot of chickens in a henhouse...But what I cannot abide, what I will not stand for, are women who make personal calls from this building while the salesmen up are doing their damnedest to make the sales that pay your wages. The first tear rolls down my cheek... "My husband, sir. My ex-husband." I try holding my breath, but it doesn't help; I hate myself for letting this happen, for crying like a child...I've asked him to stop calling me. I tell him every time, Mr. Maxwell...
"So it's his fault? Is that what you're saying?"  Of course it's his fault. I want to get up on the desk and say this over and over again, proclaiming it to the world, but I only shake my head...

Home wasn't any better because Michelle had to leave Pam in charge after school and when she had to leave for a short time. Joseph was getting upset, especially when Pam made a friend and spent more time with her. But then when Bill was due to pick them up, it really started and before long Bill had punched Michelle in the stomach...and more...

"Then I hear Bill's voice behind me, and I turn around as he comes through the gate.
"I've had it with you, you crazy bitch."
"He punches me in the stomach, hard, and I fall. I watch him stretch over me as he blots out the sky. I can't see his hands, but he's pressing down on me, and he has me pinned to the ground. He's crushing me, and I grab at the earth, but all I can find is mud that I dig through with frantic fingers. I reach out for the face that I hate, smearing wet silt over his nose, his round cheeks, and this his hands are at my throat, squeezing my throat so hard that I have to cough but can't."
"The outline of his face begins to blur..."
While, at the same time, Michelle had started dating Dan...who was the sales manager where she worked...

But Bill had quite a different plan for Michelle...and he was quite willing to involved his son...

The totally surprising ending of this novel is one that could not easily be projected. The first page gave us a hint, but I never picked up on what that could mean. And in the end, Michelle could only say...Let It Be...

Beatles Fans? A must-read recommendation! For me, there were a number of these songs I had never heard. I was able to totally get into the book and, only later, added the music. So don't worry if you, too, don't recognize the song/chapter headings. The mother's love of the music is an integral part, but the story line will have totally pulled readers in so that those who don't know the music will not miss understanding the novel. Still, I hope that including the vids will help you enjoy this extraordinary story of a family who more... all wrapped up in music...


About this author

Chad Gayle is a photographer and writer who has written for literary journals, trade publications, 
and newspapers. Previously, Chad worked for Poetry Magazine in Chicago and taught English 
at several colleges including Texas A&M University. 

Born in Texas, Chad lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and two children; Let It Be is his debut novel.
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Injustice Can Be Found Anywhere! Cindi Gale's Debut Novel Speaks for the Accused...

"Lars took my lunchbox, scouted the land around the violet patch, and pushed our lunches past some grass into a crack in the ground. It was a good refrigerator, and shaded too. Finally we were free, like when the teacher released us at the door to the blacktop and recess was officially started. We could run full speed to the monkey bars, swings, or kickball field.
"Beat ya there."
"I barely noticed my winter-soft feet meeting the prickly rocks and thistles, racing down the bank to the soft soil at the water's edge. Lars squatted and balanced on the balls of his feet. His hands were already reaching for rocks. His long, blond hair fell forward hiding his eyes, but I knew they were investigating. He'd talked Mom into letting him grow his hair, because he was into The Byrds. He played their record over and over on the player in the den, because of "Turn! Turn! Turn!" being his favorite song. I liked it too...
"How do fish get here?"

current finalist in the International Women of Faith Writing Contest.

By Cindi Gale

Sometimes the blurb for a book, while enticing, does not really tell you what a book is about... In this case, it is so much more... For one thing, it is written in first person, Kirsten Nyberg is really the main character, and we find it is more her story and responses to what happened to her family. I think this is important to know upfront. It allows readers to begin to perceive that what happens to one individual in a family, or even a community, can ultimately lead to results that could not have been imagined--good...or bad...results...

The story begins with a poem called Reap... I must admit that the idea that came to mind was the phrase often used: "Reap What You Sow" which is referred to in a number of Bible admonitions. But in today's world, we have found that, in our own lives, sometimes that just might not prove to be true. Sometimes what happens to us is not something that we would ever set out to sow...

Lars, Kirsten's brother, obviously would never have planned what happened. At the same time, we know that many others have actually performed what Lars was accused of. Can we ever know what is the truth? Do we accept what we are told as truth?

"We'd known Rayann Stone all our lives. Our
family and the Stones attended the same church and
lived in the same school district. Lars was the oldest.
Rayann was two years younger than Lars and a year
older than me.
"Because we were in separate grades, we seldom
saw each other at school. We were regularly
together at church, attending Sunday school every
week, summer Bible sessions and camps, and,
since seveth grade, monthly youth group events.
Somewhere we have a home video of Rayann standing
between Lars and me, singing "Jesus Loves Me"
in the preschool choir, as adoring adults cooed and
chuckled at our innocent exuberance...

"My objective was to comprehend Rayann's capacity to
accuse Lars of such a horrible act and her parents'
willingness to believe her and press charges against
him. My life experiences with people this degenerate
were limited to characters in novels and movies...
I was hoping to understand the mysteries of another
person's thinking and behaviors, and there was no
teacher or book to enlighten me...
Lars and Kirsten were very close in their early years. Kirsten looked up to her big brother and he had done much to earn her trust, loyalty and love...

When the time came, she knew there was no way--just no way that Lars had done what he was accused of by a school mate and member of their church... Rayann was pregnant and had pointed her finger at Lars!

Then she had lost the baby so that nothing could be done to prove, biologically, that Lars was innocent...

Two members of one church...
Two students at one school...
Two families in the same community...

One was blamed...
One was named innocent, though guilty

This is the event...

That ruined the lives of an innocent family...

Or did it?

Can something that happens to you over which you have no control ultimately be for the good? Yes, but there is much pain, anger, and suffering along the way. This is what Kirsten shares with us...and in doing so, many readers will find things that they, too, have experienced. I did... Did I get to the point where Kirsten's relationship with God became more personal and spiritual... Sometimes I have... I keep trying...

And this book, I believe, is just another way God provides for us to keep on trying to find Him in all things that happen. Does it matter to us whether Rayann was exposed? We all cry, yes! We watch television and cry out for justice, automatically believing that the accused is guilty... Sometimes they are not; we never really know for sure, do we?

But will whatever happens actually take away the sting that made Lars leave the church, leave his home? Does it help that his entire family was tremendously hurt by the people of their community, their church--by the remarks that were made?

Does it matter that whatever has happened to you also be exposed? I find as I get older that I expect justice much more than I did in my earlier life...I keep hoping for it as well...

I could tell you the good parts about this book, but I'm not going to. I've given you the essential issues that will be covered. It is not often I would say that a book is inspired. I believe this one is and that each reader will find in this book what it is that God wants them to find.

Cindi...If this is a story based upon some truth, may God continue to be with you and your family in all things...


About the Author

Cindi Gale graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, with a BA in Psychology. Following graduate school at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota she worked as a physical therapist, most recently with children in the school setting. She lives in northwestern Illinois, not far from the family farm where she grew up, and is the mother of two sons. Threatbare is Cindi Gale's first novel. Write:

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Have You Ever Busked? Free Today/Tomorrow! Mary Rowen's Contemporary Drama, Living by Ear, Will Hit Lives of Many Women!
September, 1992
"The JFK Jr. lookalike in my morning rush-hour audience is impossible to ignore. He's got that same square cin, those same square shoulders, that dark, combed-back hair. And every time I glance in his direction, he's looking back at me with eyes the exact same shade of blue as his Brooks Brothers shirt. Not my type, but holy shit, he's cute.
"If Gina were here, she'd tell me to win. According to Gina, winking's a busker's secret weapon; she says a good wink can convert the dollar bill a yuppie was about to drop into your guitar case into a five, or even a ten. She claims it startles them and makes them feel guilty about their wealth. But I've never winked. I don't want people supporting me out of guilt. I'm a better musician than that. So I keep both eyes wide open and finish my song. It's a work in progress right now, a ballad about some whose true love has moved away, and it's getting pretty good audience response.  My best songs are autobiographical...
"Hey there." Startled, I glance over my shoulder and there he is. Up close, he looks a little less like a Kennedy, but he's still very handsome.
"Oh, Um, hi." He must be a religious recruiter. People in my profession get invited to churches all the time. He's wearing a small gold signet ring, and his fingernails are very clean.
"You're too good for street corners," he says. "You should be on the radio, o MTV, or both. You should make a record."
"Hmmm. Religious recruiters don't normally talk about stuff like that, so maybe he's a music executive. And I'm not interested in going commercial. I mean, I've considered it, but every time I hear Gina's poem called "Busk," I remember what I was born to do.
Busk because you're feral.
Squeal, Shriek, Moan.
Your currency is joy and you buy and spend freely
Earth is infected with criminals and caged animals
but you're peaceful.
You're wild.
And you are immune.
Your wings are wide. Your mouth, hungry but free."

Living by Ear
By Mary Rowen

Over the last several years, I've been amazed at the number of television shows offering "big bucks" for performers, but even more by the quality of many of these individuals! In this period of reality television, it seems corporations are supporting where bottom line results will also mean sales for them.

But in the past, those who had talent had only their own hometown areas in which to seek recognition...

And...I want to quickly point out that this novel, though related to music, is easily comparable to any woman who has placed her own career plans on hold while she supports her husband and family... That grabbed more of you, didn't it? When I was a supervisor, I often wondered how my female employees could handle their high-stressed jobs as well as providing for their families. In fact, many did not. From one point or another, things had to be left undone or the woman would be on medication to deal with the stress. Some were...

But what if your husband, and even your children, had no interest in supporting your career? Too involved in what was important to their own lives?
Chrissy had been in love with Curt--was it just because they sung together out there on the streets? Or was it his beautiful body, their intimacy?

She was shocked when he announced he was leaving, moving. She hardened her heart, because he'd not once said anything about them, about his leaving her...about...her...

So when he was leaving, she walked out the door, even while he was saying that he loved her...and couldn't go back...

But many nights, as she was alone in bed, waiting for her husband, she would remember Curt and remember how they were together...

She didn't know, really, why she had married Jon...She loved Max and Lucy and was thankful for her children, but when Jon had cheated on her, had become, perhaps an alcoholic, out of control, even though he claimed to want to run for the Senate, she had begun looking back, back to when she was living by ear, playing her songs, being free, independent and happy...

What had happened to Jon's promises?

Jon met her as a busker, with her hippie-like clothes and her multi-colored hair. He even asked her out and took her to a fancy restaurant for dinner that night, not caring that many people watched the unlikely couple. He was a rich lawyer, working hard to make partner, and was already planning for running for the Senate. While he had told her he had connections to help with her career, it never had happened. Each time Jon would logically present the issues of the kids, his upward career moves which forced him to work long hours...on and on...

Chris had lost all of her street friends or could never make connections since Jon had purchased a large home in suburbia... And there weren't even neighbors close enough to make new friends...

Now even the kids had their own lives and friends. She had tried to work with Jon to cover home issues and she would begin short periods of busking. It never happened for one reason or another...Now she was afraid she wouldn't be able to do it! And she was going to sneak out without telling anybody else!

My heart's pounding so hard under my blouse that the fabric's vibrating. Originally, I'd considered wearing my old busker bellbottoms and tie-dyed t-shirt, but I think I'd feel like I was in costume, and Halloween's still two weeks away. Besides, I don't want to call any more attention to myself than I have to. As much as a forty-six year-old busker can, I want to blend into the subway scene today. So I've settled on a pair of comfortable Seven jeans and a fitted navy blue blouse from the Gap.
"I buckle up my guitar case and think about the four songs I practiced yesterday while the kids were in school. "You've Got a Friend" by Carole King, The Beatles' "Yesterday," "Dean Flowers" by the Rolling Stones, and "Box of Rain" by the Grateful Dead, which used to be Andi's favorite. I've played all of those tunes hundreds--maybe thousands--of times; they're standards for me, like "Maggie May" is for Rod Stewart, and "Allison is for Elvis Costello. None of them should give me the slightest bit of trouble.
"So why am I so scared? Why am I shaking? I'm going out there to play guitar and sing a few cover songs. That's it. No big deal...
"Then I see her: a woman I recognize from around town..."

Having never married, it is hard for me to understand, even though I've seen other women do it, how a woman can find herself so very alone, even while married. Chris' story may be totally unlike your life, or it could be very much like yours. What it will be, though, is a reflection of what happens when a woman totally leaves her former life behind when she enters into marriage...

What amazed me was what happened when Chris began planning for a divorce...and his later...confession.


But Mary Rowen wasn't going to allow this to have a, perhaps, "real-life" ending. What she did gives us was a wonderful final ending that I wasn't too surprised at...but which provided a totally lovely experience as I closed Living by Ear... Readers, you'll know who you are... And if it's you? Get this Book and find yourself again! Even if it is only by happily spending time reading Mary Rowen's Debut...


Mary Rowen grew up in the Massachusetts Merrimack Valley and is a graduate of Providence College. She has worked as a teacher, writer, salesperson, and political canvasser. She lives in the Boston area with her husband, children, and cats. Living by Ear is her first novel.

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