Spotlight: The Tale of the Taconic Mountains

tac Title: The Tale of the Taconic Mountains
Author: Mike Romeling
Genre: Suspense / Occult

Synopsis:
Everyone had an agenda and it just seemed like coincidence—and of little consequence—that they happened to end up in the small town of Cedar Falls nestled at the base of Bakers Mountain, deep in the ancient Taconic Mountain range. Completely involved, even obsessed, with their own pursuits, it was hardly surprising the visitors would be unaware of older agendas both within the dying town and up in the forests and ridges of the mountain looming above.

There was the discontented novelist fleeing his job and his family, hoping to regain his mojo with a young girlfriend and a new book; a mother in search of her long-estranged daughter, but finding first an unlikely romance with the proprietor who loved his failing bowling establishment like a child—at least when he wasn’t making plans to burn it down for the insurance; a soap opera queen who thought she was stopping by for a simple PR gig for the PETA folks when the town was plagued by thousands of bats in search of a new home. Instead found herself revisiting Gretchen Foley, the frightened disturbed child she had been before emerging as the famous Amber Steele.

There were the two Native American friends who came to climb the mountain in search of the fabled quartz Spirit Stones of their Mohican ancestors, the young man who wanted to retrace the steps of his grandfather who once lived along the river that flowed through town. But instead he would come to grief and need to be carried down the mountain by the mysterious and seemingly ageless Boudine sisters who had led secluded lives high on the mountain as long as anyone could remember. Few knew where these strange women had their cabin, but the dying Randle Marsh did, and it was said that he visited the sisters often; was he trying to live on endlessly as dark rumors suggested the sisters did? The rustic Wayne Funt knew where they lived too, but he would leave them strictly alone until he and his dog Duke played a major role in the mayhem that broke out during the raging Christmas snowstorm that buried the town and the mountain.

This collision of clashing agendas was presided over by a sheriff who did the best he could to navigate a safe landing for as many as he could who shared the wild ride on this memorable, often frightening year. And if the result could often be laced with humor and absurdity, it was always tempered—sometimes tragically—with what has always been true: sometimes, deep in the heart of the New England mountains, there are things going on, things both lighter than air and darker than starless night.

mikeAbout Mike
Mike is a freelance writer and singer-songwriter from upstate New York. His first novel “Tale of the Taconic Mountains” was released in 2012. He lives−and often rambles through−the very mountains where the novel is placed. But since writing it, he takes care to return home before scary darkness falls.

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Spotlight: The River of No Return

river Title: The River of No Return
Author: Bee Ridgway
Genre: Historical Fiction / Time Travel (Science Fiction)
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Adult

Synopsis:
“You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.” Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life’s advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild’s enemies and to find something called the Talisman.

In 1815, Julia Percy mourns the death of her beloved grandfather, an earl who could play with time. On his deathbed he whispers in her ear: “Pretend!” Pretend what? When Nick returns home as if from the dead, older than he should be and battle scarred, Julia begins to suspect that her very life depends upon the secrets Grandfather never told her. Soon enough Julia and Nick are caught up in an adventure that stretches up and down the river of time. As their knowledge of the Guild and their feelings for each other grow, the fate of the future itself is hanging in the balance.

breeAbout Bee
I was raised in Massachusetts, then drifted around from here to there until I finally came to rest in Philadelphia. I teach American literature at Bryn Mawr College, and for fun I read, write, read, cook, read, walk all over my beautiful and dirty city, read . . . THE RIVER OF NO RETURN is my first novel, and the experience of writing it was so overwhelmingly fun that I’m roaring ahead on the sequel.

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Spotlight: Leave of Absence

9781592998838 cov.indd Title: Leave of Absence
Author: Tanya J. Peterson
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: April 01, 2013
Publisher: Inkwater Press

Synopsis:
“Each substance of a grief has twenty shadows.” — William Shakespeare

Hollywood has stereotyped the schizophrenic. Prepare for your perceptions to be shattered. Penelope Baker grapples with schizophrenia. She has suffered losses, and her grief has deep and numerous shadows. Oliver Graham, utterly bereft, wrestles with guilt. He has suffered losses, and his grief has deep and numerous shadows. Leave of Absence unveils the complexity—and the humanity—underlying psychological struggles.

When Oliver Graham’s suicide attempt fails, he is admitted to Airhaven Behavioral Health Center. Unable to cope with the traumatic loss of his beloved wife and son, he finds a single thread of attachment to life in Penelope, a fellow patient wrestling with schizophrenia’s devastating impact on her once happy and successful life. They both struggle to discover a reason to live while Penelope’s fiance William strives to convince her that she is worth loving. As Oliver and Penelope try to achieve emotional stability, face others who have been part of their lives, and function in the “real world,” they discover that human connection may be reason enough to go on.

Written with extraordinary perception into the thought processes of those dealing with mental illness, Leave of Absence is perfect for readers seeking an empathic depiction of grief, loss, and schizophrenia. It has a place in the classrooms of counselor-educators, among support groups for those with mental illness and for their caregivers, and in the home of anyone who has ever experienced human suffering and healing.

Leave of Absence Trailer

Where to Purchase Leave of Absence:
Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Barnes & Noble (paperback)

5834270
About Tanya
I’m intrigued by the human experience, which is probably the reason I decided to earn degrees in education and in counseling. I enjoy working with people and helping them empower themselves to make their lives great, and I sincerely appreciate those who have helped me through my own challenges in this human experience (I’ve experienced counseling from both sides of the proverbial couch). I’ve worked at a school for homeless and runaway adolescents and in traditional schools as well. I also love to write, and I enjoy creating stories about the human experience.

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Twitter: tanyajpeterson1
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Spotlight: The Ashford Affair

ashford Title: The Ashford Affair
Author: Lauren Willig
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 09, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis:
As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie’s ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . . .

What follows is a potent story that spans generations and continents, bringing an Out of Africa feel to a Downton Abbey cast of unforgettable characters. From the inner circles of WWI-era British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl.

14469About Lauren
Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association’s annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in English History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her “Pink Carnation” series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time

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Spotlight: The Photo Traveler

phototravel Title: The Photo Traveler
Author: Arthur J. Gonzalez
Genre: YA / Science Fiction

Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father.

Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his “family.”

Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.

When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it.

He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!

His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials. Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love.

For Gavin Hillstone, life will never be the same.

Where to Purchase The Photo Traveler:

Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble | eBookpie | Kobo | Smashwords

ajgAbout Arthur
THE PHOTO TRAVELER is young adult author Arthur J. Gonzalez’s first novel. Arthur was born and raised in Miami surrounded by his loud Cuban family. He graduated from the University of Florida, where he acquired his coffee obsession and his chocolate hoarding antics. He’s the proud father of one baby girl, Sookie–his miniature schnoodle dog. Arthur is a self-professed goofball who spends 98% of his life laughing. He’s now working on his second novel.

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Twitter: arthurjgonzalez
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An Open Letter to Jane Austen

Alyssa Goodnight and Stiletto Storytime teamed up to host a Pride & Prejudice 200th Anniversary Party Hop. There are over 70 blogs participating and I encourage everyone to check out the participants since each post will be slightly different and a few are hosting giveaways as well! How do you plan to celebrate the occasion?


Dear Jane:

Congratulations! Today marks 200 years of Pride and Prejudice‘s publication. 200 years in which girls have fallen in love with Darcy and wishing we had our own. Generations of women have formed friendships because of their love for the book. Mothers and daughters bond over discussions and of course seeing the adaptations. One cannot forget the first time we read Pride and Prejudice nor can we forget our very first screen Darcy (mine is Laurence Olivier).

A lot has changed socially since your book’s publication. Women attend university and have the right to vote. Single women no longer have to rely on their male family members to provide for them since we now can earn our own living and depend solely on ourselves. Family members still pester a few regarding marriage, but it is acceptable to remain single should our own Mr. Darcy never arrive. Although some women still do marry for money, a majority of women in today’s society marry for love. It is also acceptable to set up our own household and live alone as well as travel alone.

Pride and Prejudice has sold over 20 million copies since its initial publication. It’s been adapted for stage, film, and even television. You’re probably wondering what film or television is and this is the best I can describe it: think of it as a play, but instead of a stationary stage, there are moving pieces. These pieces are recorded frame by frame to create a moving picture. Pride and Prejudice also has inspired authors to write their own version based on your plot.

My favorite Pride and Prejudice television / film adaptation is the Andrew Davies production of 1995. It stars Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. It also inspired the Lost in Austen adaptation to feature the famous lake scene from the 1995 version, where Amanda asks Mr. Darcy to emerge himself in the water as Colin Firth had done.

These adaptations also expand on Darcy’s proposal since you didn’t actually give us his entire speech. I really like the 1995 proposal:

In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. In declaring myself thus I’m fully aware that I will be going expressly against the wishes of my family, my friends, and, I hardly need add, my own better judgment. The relative situation of our families is such that any alliance between us must be regarded as a highly reprehensible connection. Indeed, as a rational man I cannot but regard it as such myself, but it cannot be helped. Almost from the earliest moments of our acquaintance I have come to feel for you a passionate admiration and regard, which despite my struggles has overcome every rational objection, and I beg you, most fervently, to relieve my suffering and consent to be my wife.

We learned a lot from Pride and Prejudice. You taught us to stand up for ourselves and our beliefs. Family members may embarrass us on occasion, but they are still family. Things may look dire and we think we’ll never recover from a situation, but in the end we are stronger than we think we are and do recover. You also taught us to never settle for a Mr. Collins.
That there are always two sides to a story and even the most dashing man may have an ulterior motive. Through you we learned, that first impressions aren’t always what they seem and it is okay to change your mind. Most importantly you taught us, that he’s worth waiting for. When we finally meet our Darcy, he will do anything to make us happy even if involves facing his own past and knowing it is humiliating to him.

We owe a lot to you Jane. I do wish you could see the influence of not only Pride and Prejudice, but of all your books in our society. You should be proud of your accomplishment and how I wish I could turn back time and inform you not to sell your copyright, but alas that is not possible.

Thank you. Thank you for giving us a beautiful story; for the lessons learned and for the friendships formed.

Yours very affectionately,
Jessica