Wednesday, April 16, 2014

FIREFLIES

by P. S. Bartlett
Historical Fantasy


Fireflies

Dr. Owen Whelan and his wife Sarah, both Irish immigrants, have been living the American dream, as well as raising seven bright and expressive children. However, their youngest, Ennis, has since birth, been a bit of a mystery. Ennis was always small, meek and frightfully odd, but there is so much more to him than anyone could have imagined. His sister Teagan grows increasingly suspicious of his behavior, but their mother dismisses her claims, until the day he starts healing people. When Ennis ultimately reveals the gift of sight, he questions his father about visions of his past, including his voyage to America in 1844. Owen prayed he'd never have to share those tragic memories, but he will share them when he realizes he has no choice. Ennis' life may depend on it.

"It was intense. It was raw. It was emotional. It was an all around beautifully touching story. I couldn't get enough of it!"~Amazon reviewer

"I found myself fully invested in the more magical, sacred elements of the story."~Amazon reviewer

"So well written with many quotes or phrases that really spoke to me."~Amazon reviewer




Hope from the Ocean (prequel)

When Owen Whelan revealed his secret, he was set free from a haunting past and an uncertain future for his son, Ennis. However, in order to know the true depths of his heart, Owen must go all the way back to a dirt road on a chilly and bitter spring dawn in Ireland. Behind the locked doors of his memories and hidden beneath shame, hunger and eventually escape, he learns the true meaning of the proverb, “There’s hope from the ocean but none from the grave.” Owen’s journey is one of survival, love, and finding a life of self-respect.

"Spanning time and distance from Ireland to America, this story of love and loss, determination and mystery is captivating."~Amazon reviewer


CIR: How did you go about writing Fireflies and its prequel?
BARTLETT: First, I began seeing Ennis in my mind and the story of his abilities. From there, a kind of amazing thing happened where I sat down to write the story and it just flowed. I had to stop myself though and get deep into the research. I knew the who, what, when, where and why, but it's all the details and subtleties that matter in character driven stories. I don't have flash and robots and dragons to keep you turning pages. You have to feel what I'm trying to convey, and that takes a good deal of love and time to develop. Other than that, strong coffee and lots of lost sleep. 

CIR: What would you compare this book to?  
BARTLETT: To quote one of my reviews, "Somewhere between an Irish Little Women, Little House on the Prairie and its own story. It has the same rustic appeal, with the story relying on the characters to carry it." This review also gives you a good idea of the kind of stories these are: "The Whelans are by and large innocents, in the way the Waltons were. And speaking of classic television, for fans of Highway to Heaven, Touched by an Angel, and Ghost Whisperer [before it went off the rails and become about other things than the unwavering love of the husband and wife despite her abilities] you can’t do any better."

CIR: What would you say makes your books unique?
BARTLETT: I feel both books are unique in that they are stories about life. Yes, there is a paranormal element, but at the core of these books is family, sacrifice, struggle and above all love. What makes them unique is they don't rely on fantastic elements to hold your interest. These characters are as close to your brothers and sisters and friends as you may be able to get in a novel. To me, they are very real and that is the kind of feedback I continuously receive.

CIR: Is there any content that some readers might find questionable despite the overall "clean" feel of the book?
BARTLETT: In Fireflies, the eldest son is in love with a sweet young woman who he has asked to marry him. During their courtship, after a dramatic scene where a family secret is exposed, she turns to him and there is a love scene. There is no detailed or graphic content and the language is not sensual, but the act of intercourse is clearly implied.

CIR: Is there more coming?
BARTLETT: Hopefully yes! Depending on how well Hope From the Ocean is received, I'm planning on doing a series of novellas or an entire sequel of the next chapter in the Whelan family saga.

Learn more about P. S. Bartlett and her writing at her author website.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TALES OF FINIAN JAHNDRA

by Katy Huth  Jones
Middle Grade Fantasy


Leandra's Enchanted Flute

Fourteen-year-old flutist Lee Ann Graves is a survivor--she has beaten cancer. But her greatest battle is yet to come. The Carolina wren who has sung outside her window during the long weeks of chemotherapy reveals himself as Songcatcher. He knows Lee Ann's real name is Leandra, and he transports her and her flute to a magical world that is dying because of a growing world-wide "canker."

Leandra is restored to health and her flute transformed by what magic is left in the world. But as she searches for the source of the canker, the malignant forces take their toll, not only on the land, but on Leandra's physical and mental well-being. With the help of Songcatcher, other bird friends, and a very human prince, Leandra must find a way to heal the land she has come to love before it is too late.

"Beautiful imagery, thoughtful message." ~Amazon reviewer

"Vivid scenes of the physical and emotional battle faced by all chemo patients, which can only be described by a cancer survivor."~Amazon reviewer

"The character of Leandra is so well drawn, I felt as if I were right there in the room with her."~Amazon reviewer




Return to Finian Jahndra

Four years after saving the magical land of Finian Jahndra, Leandra's cancer has returned and the prognosis is grim. At Songcatcher's request, Leandra returns to help her bird friends and Prince Aspen repel an invading army. But something is terribly wrong--her flute has no magic and her health is not restored. Despite heartbreaking losses, a series of perplexing mysteries, and the exhaustion of her advancing illness, Leandra must find a way to rally the birds and humans of Finian Jahndra to meet a much greater and deadly force before the magic dies forever.


CIR: What inspired you to write a fantasy about a little girl with cancer?
JONES: A Carolina wren DID sing outside my window the spring I underwent chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2005. As a music teacher, I was trying to figure out how to write the story of Mozart's Magic Flute opera to make it accessible for children when the Carolina wren suddenly became a character by the name of Songcatcher and needed an entirely different story. 

CIR: What do you hope readers will get out of this book? 
JONES: Since cancer touches almost everyone, either from personal experience or because a loved one has battled it, I hope readers will not only share an adventure with Leandra and Songcatcher but also understand a little bit better what a cancer patient experiences, especially the roller coaster of emotions. I also hope they will want to learn more about birds, as I tried to make the characters' personalities match each bird species.

CIR: Since you are writing from the experience of your own fight with cancer, are any of the characters like you or someone you know? 
JONES: Leandra has the fierce determination of one of my former flute students with cystic fibrosis, who came to me in seventh grade wanting to learn how to play the flute, even though her doctor told her she wouldn't be able to blow (because of the excessive mucus CF produces in the lungs). She not only learned to play flute very well, she had a double lung transplant and is now thriving. Both these gritty young women are my heroes.

CIR: What makes your book unique? 
JONES: There are other books about teens with cancer (notably John Green's The Fault in Our Stars), but I don't know of any others written as both a fantasy adventure and an allegory of the cancer experience.

CIR: Given the basis of the story, is there more coming? 
JONES: I intended for Leandra's Enchanted Flute to be a stand-alone title, but my original editor with Cool Well Press (now out of business) asked if I would write a sequel. After I wrote the sequel she said I needed another book to show what happens next. So I am currently incubating a third book which will be written from Prince Aspen's point of view. If there is a demand for it, I'll lay aside the series I'm currently writing and work on Aspen's tale.

Learn more about Katy Huth Jones at her author website.

Monday, April 14, 2014

WHY MOMMY LOVES SERIES

by Janét Aizenstros
Children's Literature, Illustrated

Why Mommy Loves the Rain


Find the delicate balance a mommypreneur keeps between quality time with her children and great success. Who says a powerful businesswoman has no time to play, bake or cuddle?





Why Mommy Loves the Snow

Follow the the trio through a day filled with wintery fun. Building snowmen, sledding and getting cozy after a chilly day is sheer mommylicious bliss. Braving the frosty days of winter has never been this fun!






Why Mommy Loves the Sun

Janét and her two boys spend a family day at the beach. Ordinary sun and sand activities are transformed into colourful adventures filled with picnic lunches, kite flying and fishing.



CIR: What inspired this series?
AIZENSTROS: After my oldest son was diagnosed with a mild learning disability and ADD, I decided to create stories that would allow him to become engaged more easily.  Reading is no longer a bother to him.  Also, I created stories around the memories of my children to leave a lasting impression, so they can pass on the legacy to future generations. These are my stories, through my publishing company (LOVE + Lifestyle Media Group) I wanted to provide women with the opportunity to create and share their memories with their children too.
 
CIR: What a great idea.  How did you go about writing the books?
AIZENSTROS: I started reminiscing about the memories of my children, all the fun things we did together, then I just started typing-- and here we are today, 3 books later.

CIR: What do you hope families will get out of reading these stories together?
AIZENSTROS:  I want readers to feel that this story is sweet and simple for a 0-5 year old child that is learning to read.  It reinforces the story of all the things moms love to do with their little ones.

CIR: Is the Mommy in the story you?
AIZENSTROS:  These stories are based off of the memories I shared with my children.  The main character is a woman who is a busy career-oriented mom that still makes time to play. As you go through the book you can see how she is always doing things with them to ensure they are still a part of life even when business calls.

CIR: What makes your book unique?
AIZENSTROS: There is a fashionable flair to the book that women can appreciate, and young children will love the imagery.

CIR: Is there more coming? 
AIZENSTROS: This series will continue for as long as my children and I evolve together. There so many more Why Mommy Loves stories to come. Stay Tuned.