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Archive for the ‘Historical Fiction’ Category

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Karen Ingalls (Ovarian Cancer Survivor/Memoir & Novelist)


Our guest today is Karen Ingalls, author of Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. I can’t wait to find out more about the author and her memoir and get a sneak peek into her (historical fiction) novels too. Time to MEET THE AUTHOR! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

It’s a pleasure having you with us today, Karen. First, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a senior season writer, who had been writing for most of my life. I did not seek publication until 2012. I am a retired nurse with a master’s degree in human development and psychology. I live on a beautiful lake in central Florida where I enjoy golfing, gardening, and fishing year-round.

I am a nine-year ovarian cancer survivor from which most people do not survive more than five years. Since my diagnosis, I have dedicated my life to bringing the message about this lesser known cancer to women around the world. I give presentations, set up support groups, write articles, wrote an award-winning book, and two weekly blogs:

How about your family?

I’m a native Californian, who was raised in a dysfunctional family from which I escaped when I went to college in Boulder, Colorado. I have since lived in Waconia and St. Paul, Minnesota and more recently here in Tavares, Florida.

I have three grown sons, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandson. My husband is my rock, caregiver, and lover. We have been married thirty-years after each of us went through a divorce.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you generally do?  

I have been writing since I was a preteen, but kept my poetry and short stories a secret. Due to the dysfunctional family situation, I did not trust to share my writings with anyone. My first published book was in 2012. It is a non-fiction, memoir. My two novels are written about family and social issues.

I have always journaled and after I was diagnosed with the cancer, a close friend encouraged me to get the journal published. In 2012, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir was published and won two awards. I dedicate all proceeds to gynecologic cancer research.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your memoir? 

Though it is a book specifically about my journey with ovarian cancer, it is a book to which anyone with any type of cancer or terminal disease could relate. Our emotions, tests, drug effects, bodily changes, and support/caregiver system are similar.

What prompted you to write “Outshine”?

When I was diagnosed, there were very few books available about this particular cancer. The internet had many sites, but many were either too medically technical or written by a lay person whose statements were often inaccurate, unfounded, or prejudicial.

I was hoping that my book would give women important information about ovarian cancer, share my experiences so they might be better prepared, and to offer hope and inspiration. I believe that no matter what challenge we might face, we are to learn and become better people from it.

Do you have a favorite line from OUTSHINE? 

“I have learned that any rain that falls in my life is just droplets, and it’s up to me whether I will let those droplets flood away my spirit. Sometimes we need to build up levees through more prayer, erect dams for permanent changes so the soul can grow, do a dance to pray for more sun to heal any wounds, or just take an umbrella to give temporary protection as we build up our strength and will.”

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Writing the book was “easy,” it was the editing that was the hardest part. My editor was wonderful to work with and I cannot thank her enough for all she did to make my book a well-edited one.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

I do many speaking engagements locally and now more recently, nationally. I never charge for my presentations because I do not want to be denied the opportunity to spread the word because of a fee. My talks are in front of large and small groups; service organizations, churches, women’s groups, and neighborhood gatherings. My audience has included men and women, nurses, pharmacists, and community leaders.

For absolute fun and to get away from the seriousness of cancer, I play golf 1-2 times a week, belong to a card club, women’s group, and love to escape with a good book. Meditation and laughter are two very important things I do as often as possible.

Tell us about your novels.

My first novel, Novy’s Son, the Selfish Genius is based on a true story of one man’s life-long attempt to receive unconditional love from his father. In the 1980’s Robert Bly wrote “The Iron John” which prompted me to write about how one father put too many demands and expectations on one son, who did not know how to pass on the Iron John teachings to his son. This is a common social problem.

Davida: Mistress & Model of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is based on the true story of America’s premier sculptor in the late nineteenth century and his love affair with his model. They never married but their love lasted for twenty-five years from which they had one son. Saint-Gaudens is most famous for the $20 gold piece. He is my great-grandfather and Davida is my great-grandmother. My grandfather lived in shame his entire life as a “bastard” and my intention is to remove the stigma from him.

Where can readers find your books?

                My books are all available on amazon. Here are the links:

http://www.amazon.com/Outshine-An-Ovarian-Cancer-Memoir/dp/1592984622

http://www.amazon.com/Novys-Son-The-Selfish-Genius/dp/B01B02VQY

http://www.amazon.com/Davida-Model-Mistress-Augustus-Saint-Gaudens/dp/1530397871

What’s next for Karen Ingalls?

I am working on a third novel which will complete the trilogy. I plan to continue to blog twice a week.  I welcome guest posts anytime. I plan to contribute more to Rave Reviews Book Club and RWISA (Rave Writers International Society of Authors). My dedication to spreading the word about ovarian cancer, be available to those in need of support, and to do whatever I can is my top priority.

Thank you, Bette for having me on your blog. I appreciate your support.

Thanks so much for coming to share your story with us, Karen.

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for joining us today. I invite you to chat with Karen in the comment section below. Don’t forget to grab one of her books on Amazon and get ready to enjoy a great read. I’m currently reading Karen Ingalls’s novel Novy’s Son, the Selfish Genius—a fascinating and beautifully written story.

Happy Reading!

Bette A. Stevens

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Mark Twain’s Use Of The N-Word In Huckleberry Finn


Mark Twain knew what he was doing! Find out more in this must-read article. ~Bette A. Stevens

Excerpt: “Bullying is an epidemic in schools. Analyzing all the harmful aspects of dehumanization by use of slurs of all kinds, and the crushing results such labe[l]ling has on its victim(s), seems a critical topic to explore in the classroom. If you care about the next generation, don’t take the expeditious and therefore cowardly way out by refusing to acknowledge such evils exist, dedicate yourself to teaching our children why something is wrong. Erasing words from a book won’t erase from any heart the poison those words reveal, only education and understanding can do that…”

Growing Up Stupid

Huck and Jim On Raft

If you remove uncomfortable words from literature, you remove the heart of the entire reason for their use. Mark Twain was a masterful wordsmith who chose his words carefully, and he didn’t live in a vacuum, he understood the negative charge the N-word carried, even back then. Inclusion of the dehumanizing N-word sharply contrasts the reality of who Jim actually was, a kind, caring, noble human being, of higher character than most of the self-important whites he and Huck encountered. That one despicable word spoke volumes, both about those using it, how they used it and the reason they used it, as well as how Jim reacted to the use of it during different interactions, weighted by the motives and actions of the one using that word.

Despots know, and use the brutal tactic of labelling to conquer and rule, whether thousands of years ago or today, its effectiveness hasn’t…

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#RRBC Author Laura Libricz Talks About Self-publishing


Meet Laura Libricz

10 Things I learned About #publishing

 

  1. Why did you choose to publish as an Indie Author?

The Indie publishing experience thrilled me because I saw a way to get my writing into readers’ hands and have control over the content and the look of the finished product.

2. What obstacles have you encountered?

I released The Master and the Maid prematurely in 2012. I did have the manuscript professionally formatted. That wasn’t the problem. The novel was also professionally edited but the editor and I were not a good fit. The book wasn’t all that it could have been. I was not happy with it at all.

3. How did you overcome those challenges?

These days, independent publishing has lots of different facets. I was very lucky to meet up with an independent small publisher. I extensively restructured and rewrote The Master and the Maid and we rereleased it with a new cover in 2016. Bathsheba Monk’s editing process has given me lots more confidence in the project. We both want this project to go in the same direction.

4. What has been the highlight of this journey?

The highlight of this journey is that I have finally made the room in my life to work steadily and progress in my writing. All of us are familiar with real life getting in the way of our writing but often real life has to take the priority. My writing has moved up to new levels and I am very excited that we have now released The Soldier’s Return.

5. What would you like to see in the future for Indie Authors?

Over the last ten years, indie authors have slowly lost that unprofessional connotation. It’s great to see indie authors get the recognition and the respect they deserve. We must continue to work for that by keeping our standards high. Our work must have a high quality, a proper professional edit and proper formatting. This greatly influences the value of the product. We must strive to offer a quality product for a price that reflects the true amount of work involved.

6. Any tips for someone considering going Indie vs Traditional Publishing?

When a writer begins the journey by writing that book, it is always useful to research agents and publishers, learn about the industry, write those query letters and send them around. In the meantime, research in the indie world is just as useful. No matter which way the road turns, it’s going to be a marathon not a sprint.

7. Have you found any online book clubs to help you on your journey?

I’ve found a few different ones and they are all great. The one I have really found a home in is the RRBC. Since I’ve been in the RRBC, my online author platform has built to a level I could have never done by myself. There’s a lot of great members and even though we live all over the world, we are so close via the internet. I am also now a part of the RWISA https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/ team, writers who are dedicated to the excellence of our craft. It is an honor to be a member of RWISA.

8. How do you think the club will benefit authors?

Indie authors writing genre fiction and non-fiction will have great exposure and support through the RRBC. The concept of ‘Pay it Forward,’ and promoting our fellow members is a great concept and it works.

9. Will you encourage your friends to join the club?

Of course, I would! RRBC authors (g)row together!

10. Rave Reviews Book Club has a mission to help Indie Authors get reviews. Why are reviews so important to an author?

Authors need reviews to help us get noticed and help boost our rankings. Peer reviews from other authors are important to give us credibility and a large quantity of reviews from consumers are important to get us noticed. The members of the RRBC are also reviewers. The club’s goal is to profile, promote and propel our fellow authors via book sales, honest reviews and name recognition. Go over and have a look at the club’s website and see for yourself!  https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/book-club-faq-frequently-asked-questions/

Laura Libricz’s Media Kit (Pictures, Book Covers, Links, Bios, Book Blurbs)

https://lauralibriczblog.wordpress.com/about/

About the Author

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.

Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.

WHERE TO FIND LAURA LIBRICZ ON THE WEB:

 

“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

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Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Paulette Mahurin, Teagan Riordain Geneviene, Bette A. Stevens and Jena C. Henry


Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

We have a full house today with four authors celebrating recent reviews for their work.. fantastic.

The first book to be updated today is set in one of the darkest times in our modern history. There are still people alive who remember this time in their lives all to well. But they are few and it is up to the storytellers to keep their memories alive. The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin

51sem6psgll-_uy250_About the book

One of the darkest times in human history was the insane design and execution to rid the world of Jews and “undesirables.” At the hands of the powerful evil madman Adolf Hitler, families were ripped apart and millions were slaughtered. Persecution, torture, devastation, and enduring the unthinkable remained for those who lived.

This is the story of one woman who lived to tell her story. This is a narrative of how a young beautiful…

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#Book review – Dog Bone Soup by Bette A. Stevens


Robbie's inspiration

Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer's Journey

What Amazon says

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

My review

In preparing to write this review, I read a couple of other reviews of this book on Amazon and Goodreads. I was interested to note one comment that likened this book to The…

View original post 435 more words

Pure Trash – Book Review


New review for PURE TRASH…

Dawn Delivers

Here’s another little review for a recent read – and this time I would like to tell you about
PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction) Short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A Stevens

Blurb: It’s PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/short story), a Compelling Prequel to the novel TrashDOG BONE SOUP. The year is 1955. Remember the Good Old Days? You know, the 1950s and ‘60s, when America was flying high. The All American Family lived a life filled with hopes and dreams and life’s necessities too. Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American Boomer Boy. No, Shawn is a poor boy. He can’t join Boy Scouts or sports teams. There’s not even enough money for necessities. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for that. But when chores are done, there’s always fishing!
In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to…

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Another 5✰ Review for DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens


Poignant and Inspiring!

Dog Bone Soup by Bette A. Stevens is not just the story of Shawn and his struggle to get a decent life, it is a family saga of adventures, sacrifices, togetherness and resilience. It is inspiring as well as poignant, a rare combination to create. Henrietta emerges to be a wonderful mother, giving all the care and attention to her kids though she had zero moral support from her self-centered and alcoholic husband, more interested in watching T.V. than looking after his own children.

The story is set in the 50’s when moccasins could be freely used to discipline children! Despite the challenges of poverty and meagre food, nobody has any complaints except Mr.Daniels. Life was hard and Shawn being the eldest in the family suffers the most yet he stands like a rock when he is old enough to handle his father’s violence.

A streak of thin light shimmers throughout the story, assuring the reader that struggles bring the best out of us. The hope never dies, as kind people keep trickling in to provide work and life-time lessons to Shawn and Willie. Characterisation has been handled very well and one person who stands out is Mrs Ashley, an old lady with the heart of gold, a book lover who fed the poor boys, read stories to them and even taught them how to use a typewriter when they accompanied their uncle to help in cutting the trees.

This book is relevant for the present generation for two reasons—one it acquaints them with history and the way people strived to wriggle out of domestic violence, lack of love and tough situations. Two, how comfortable life is today for children with no fear of moccasins! ~Balroop Singh, author

This review is from: DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction/Ages 11-Adult): A Boomer’s Journey (Kindle Edition)

  • Take a ‘Look Inside’ and grab a copy of DOG BONE SOUP (available in paperback $10.99 and eBook $3.99 OR purchase paperback and download eBook version for #FREE) at YOUR AMAZON today http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ

  • Find out more about Maine author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens and check out her books (children’s literature, children’s activity book and fiction for ages 10-adult) at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

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