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Review: My GRL by John W. Howell

My GRL by John W. Howell

 

About the book

John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly-purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

My Review

John Cannon takes a break from his job and moves to a little coastal town where the biggest decision he needs to make is whether to buy a boat or not.

Sounds Idyllic.

Little does he know it will be a decision that will change his life. The boat will soon become the least of his problems.

John W. Howell has written a terrific book in My GRL. Full of action and suspense, there is a definite James Bond feel – if James Bond was a lawyer rather than a trained secret agent. Poor John Cannon. His bravery comes from a need to do what’s right. It’s an honorable intention. All he wants is a relaxing time out from the intensity of his high powered legal job, and instead he finds himself in the middle of a terrorist plot.

My GRL is a great read if you want to escape into a good book.

John (the author) has created well-rounded characters and a believable real-feel setting. You can’t help but feel for poor Cannon – caught in a net with the ends growing ever tighter and no matter what move he makes, it looks like it can only get worse.

I really enjoyed My GRL and am looking forward to the next in the series!

I will remember (Friday Fictioneers)

broken-face-liz-1

Have you ever pictured yourself the night after? Lying in a ditch, face aching after a bar fight and dreading the rising sun?

How could I feel anything, let alone image it? I hear you ask.

I would snort if I could. Synthetic skin should not feel pain, it should not feel anything. The algorithms are just a series of ones and zeros, right?

What if I told you I feel everything?

And I still do.

 

My head survived. I am still functional. My visual receptors recorded every second of the attack. I have his face.

I will remember.

 

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

I’m not the only one this image disturbs this week am I? I see nightmare’s in my future tonight. 

Word count: 100

 

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

The bad idea (Friday Fictioneers)

mystery-chair-ted-strutz

Okay, so… it hadn’t been the smartest plan… or even a clever one.

 

Okay, it was a really bad plan.

A really, really bad plan.

…But after a few cans, everything sounds feasible, right?

Mick had the boat. Robbie had the rope. Jonno had snow skis in the back of his ute.

And me… I had a chair.

For about sixty seconds it worked.

 

Robbie went first. His gleeful shouting was infectious. “Wooooooo it works, it works!”

Then…

He sank. Straight down. Then he went under.

Coughing and spluttering, he surfaced in moments.

 

We soothed our sorrows with another beer.

 

Word count: 100

This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Author Interview: Rebecca Carpenter

This is the fifth interview in my series of Author Interviews.

Pull up a chair, sit back and relax. Enjoy reading.

Introducing Rebecca Carpenter, author of Butterfly Bones.

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image

Walking around the woods on an overcast day I come across the most amazing sight. It’s a tree but not a tree. The leaves move. They… flutter. In a burst of movement, hundreds of butterflies take flight. I watch in awe. Closing my eyes, I listen to the sound. When the butterflies disappear, I find a table. There’s a driveway just past the table leading off into the distance. Probably leads to a house. Probably. Footsteps sound behind me.

Hi Rebecca, it’s so good of you to give me a little of your time. First up, tell me a bit about yourself.

I live in Grand Junction, Colorado (western slope) with my husband and two dogs, Pinny, a miniature pincer, and Lexi, a sweet black lab that is my husband’s diabetic alert service dog. I have two grown children and four amazing grandkids, with the fifth in the oven. I own and run a large childcare center, as well as teach the prekindergarten class, which is awesome, because I have a captive audience to share my love of books with. I work part-time as a copy editor for Kate Foster Professional Editorial Services and also intern for her small press, Lakewater Press. In my limited spare time, I love to spend time in the mountains, hike, read, and watch movies. Love stories and zombie movies are my favorite.

Eeeep! Zombie’s scare me. Ahem, now, tell me about your writing…

What age were you when you started?

I was in the third grade when I knew I was a writer. It started with winning a poetry contest and bloomed from there. But as early as I can remember, I loved to write stories, poems, song lyrics, and I was an avid journal writer. Especially when it came to boys, lol.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

How does a whale know when to go up for air? It’s instinct—part of my DNA. I love language, words, and English was and still is my favorite subject. I don’t see writing as a hobby but rather a talent that I was blessed with. And like all talents, I can choose to develop it through practice and studies, or I can ignore it and never learn what my true potential can be.

What was your favourite book as a child and why?

My favorite book as a child was Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. My father read it to me and my siblings when I was five. I can still remember Dad’s quivering tone as the protagonist, Little Willy, picked up his dead dog, Searchlight, and carried her across the finish line of an Iditarod sled race. Consumed in emotion, Dad became too choked up to continue. Between the powerful scene and seeing my father cry for the first time, it was at that moment that I understood books were magical. If a story could make the strongest man I know cry, there was no limit to what a good book could do. Growing up, The Little House on the Prairie books and The Box Car Kids series were read over and over. And I have to mention the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Mysteries. I guess I’ve always been a sucker for a great mystery/thriller.

Wow, your dad sounds amazing! And hey, I love Nancy, Joe and Frank too! So, favourite book as an adult and why?

I have several. I love the classics. Little Women will always have a special place in my heart, as well as Great Expectations. As for books today, I know a lot of people hate it, but Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is what got the ball rolling for me to finally become serious about writing. I read the whole thing in less than two days and couldn’t wait to read it again. I loved the romantic triangle but was always on team Edward. Defending Jacob by William Landay is my favorite mystery/thriller. Talk about a shocking end! I also read anything about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and am a sucker for true crime.

Tell me a bit about Butterfly Bones? How did you come up with the idea?

I came up with the idea from a song called “Caterpillar” by The Cure. But it started as a horror novel with the protagonist getting revenge on her tormentors. But Bethany, the main character, had her own ideas about what she wanted the book to be about. So I listened and The Caterpillar Girl came to life—a story about love and loss with a strong bullying sub-plot. After Lakewater Press acquired The Caterpillar Girl, the editor recommended a name change, and Butterfly Bones was born.

Tell me about Bethany? Was her story based on anyone you know?

Bethany was born purely from my imagination. I did recall my own experiences as a teenager and how certain girls made me feel to help set the tone, but other than that, she isn’t based on anyone I know. Although I do have a sister who I could totally hear saying some of Bethany’s smart-aleck remarks. And since I have four sisters, I’ll let them guess as to which one it could be.

Hahahaha! Wow four, I only have one and that is plenty! J

Why did you feel you needed to tell Bethany’s story?

I am going to give you my quote from my press release, as I think it says how I feel best.

“Bullying is a real problem within our society, one that is all too often overlooked or written off as not that big of a deal.

“What I hope Butterfly Bones will achieve for readers is first and foremost to help them experience Bethany’s life—what it’s like to be bullied, to feel like you have no one to turn to for help, and the roller coaster of emotions that teens go through, especially with physical self-esteem and peer acceptance.

“I want readers to understand her wants and needs and to experience her giddiness and heartbreak over her first crush, as well as her resilience to withstand the relentless bullying at the hands of school mates until she’s finally broken.”

And as I said before, Bethany pushed me to tell this story—her story.

Have you always wanted to write contemporary science fiction Young Adult fiction?

I love young adult fiction. I think it has the best stories, and I find myself relating to it more than any other age category. Contemporary is definitely more my forte, but if a story presents itself in another genre, I’ll write it. I don’t know if I would attempt any science fiction that wasn’t character-driven soft science fiction, but one never knows. I also write scary stories, middle grade, picture books, and screen plays.

What is your writing process?

I pen my ideas and then plot. But I only use the plotline as a loose guideline to keep me on track because the story always changes—always! And some of my best scenes have come from beyond the plotline—from a galaxy far, far away—or something I call my overactive brain.

How long did it take you to write Butterfly Bones?

A year to pen it, but it took about five years of revisions before it was ready for publication. I would say that was my biggest mistake as a new writer—submitting before the book was ready. Needless to say, I received a handful of rejections which were hard to swallow but taught me how to create a strong story.

I understand this is a series? What are your plans for book two? How is that going?

For early readers and reviewers of Butterfly Bones, they received a version of the book with a different ending than what was published. So for readers who purchased the book, the ending happens much sooner than in the ARC. So all the early readers know the horrible secret which will be revealed now in book two. Due to not wanting to give these readers the same book, I changed much of the story—all except the shocking twist—but the storyline has changed enough that those early readers won’t recognize it.

Book two is 1/3 finished. This one has its own unique dynamics as I’m telling it from multiple POV, and one character is told in free verse due to “special circumstances” which can’t be divulged. Bethany learns things about her father which make her question everything she thought she knew about her family, and new health concerns arise for her. But the worst part is she can’t reach Jeremiah—like he disappeared from the earth. She’ll put everything on the line to find him and let him finally know her true feelings for him. But nature isn’t finished with her yet.

Gosh, that sounds gripping. I’m hooked… *drums fingers on the table top* Well… hurry up! J

What else have you written? I understand you have written a book titled The Total Deconstruction of Chloe Wilson, tell us about that?

The Total Deconstruction of Chloe Wilson is my first book, a memoir about my teen pregnancy at the age of fifteen. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever written—especially since I had to relive some pretty horrible moments in my life. But it was a story I felt needed to be told—especially for teen girls of today. The book deals with self-esteem issues, teen suicide, and my journey through teen pregnancy.

Bullies and being bullied are strong themes in Butterfly Bones? Why is this issue so important to you?

I’m an early childhood educator, mother, and grandmother. I see bullying every day. It’s a serious problem in our society, and I can’t stress enough how damaging bullying is to the individual experiencing it. We have to stop acting like it’s no big deal—a part of growing up that requires the child to “grow a thicker skin” instead of teaching respect and kindness. My daughter was bullied to the point that she became suicidal and had battled with low self-esteem and confidence issues ever since. We have to be better than that as a people and treat bullying as the plague that it is—damaging and destructive to our youth.

I totally agree!

What advice would you give to a teenager who is being bullied?

I’d encourage them to tell an adult. If they don’t listen, tell someone else. Keep telling someone until they help you. And I would advise the person being bullied that it’s not their fault. Bullying is typically done by people who themselves are bullied or have low self-esteem and want to make themselves feel better. Bottom line, get help.

What advice would you give the bully?

This one is a little harder. Bullies typically don’t care if they hurt other people’s feelings or even if they harm them physically. But I think I would tell them that they have worth, just as much as anyone, and they don’t need to put other people down to feel better about themselves.

What advice would you give to the families of a child who has/is being bullied?

Get help. Counseling for the individual and family is always a good idea. Talk openly with your children and know what’s going on in their lives. Be proactive and involved in their lives.

Childhood illness is also a strong theme in Butterfly Bones, tell us more about that? Why did that resonate so strongly with you?

I wanted Bethany to have a physical ailment which made her an easy target for bullies, as is the case in real life. And I needed a disorder which challenged Bethany but didn’t define her. The plot called for a sick/dying child who would be helped by butterfly DNA. But even after she was cured, her healthy body didn’t equate to self-esteem. We have to find self-esteem deep within ourselves, no matter what kind of physical ailments we do or don’t have. Bethany wanted to be accepted when she didn’t accept herself.

You want children to realize their inner strength and inner beauty? Why is this important for you?

Because like most teens, it took me a long time to recognize my own worth, and I looked to fill the void with affection from boys. I don’t want other teens to experience what I did—I want them to be smarter, stronger. And each one of us is so important with talents and gifts to share with the world. Inner beauty and strength is true beauty and strength. Jeremiah recognized it in Bethany well before she did in herself. I can only hope we all have a Jeremiah in our lives.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?

Do it! Learn all you can about the craft of writing. Join critique groups. Join professional writing organizations. Read lots of books in the genre you want to write. Ask questions. Buy books on writing. And just write. Do it for yourself, no matter what your end goals are.

Thank you Rebecca, it has been so good to talk to you. I cannot wait to read book two!!

Fluttering sounds again above our heads. A glance up. The sky has become a bright blue expanse that seems to flow forever. When did the sun come out? The butterflies are returning I think. I decide to leave before they settle back to their home. Gosh, I feel tired though. My skin tingles.

 

About Butterfly Bones

At birth, Bethany Keatley was diagnosed with a rare bone disease and sent home from the hospital to die. Despite losing her mother to cancer before she turned two, Bethany defeated her prognosis and now, at fifteen, with hindered growth making her appear ten years old, she is alive and well thanks to the hormone injections which her scientist father developed.

But if growing up isn’t hard enough already, being small makes her a target and a social outcast. The only way she’s been able to escape her high school tormenters so far is by working hard, achieving good grades, and through her unusual friendship with star football player Jeremiah Wright. That is until a misunderstanding with new girl Zoey Margold. Beautiful and brazen, Zoey and her followers make it their focus to break Bethany.

Yet dealing with the bullies becomes the least of Bethany’s worries. The mice on which her dad tests the butterfly hormone are showing side effects no one saw coming and now her plan to leave the small minded town of Springs, Georgia and become a scientist has all but shattered. Her world becomes a prison and her existence a life sentence.

But nature has her own plans for Bethany.

 

You can read my Review of Butterfly Bones here

 

You can find Rebecca at the following…

www.thecaterpillargirl.wordpress.com

Twitter handle: @Carpenterwrites

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008366882974

If you haven’t done it yet, you should buy Butterfly Bones (Metamorphosis)

https://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Bones-Metamorphosis-Rebecca-Carpenter/dp/0994451172/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484193252&sr=8-1&keywords=butterfly+bones+rebecca+carpenter

 

Breathe in (Friday Fictioneers)

roger-bultot-flower

Watering the dying flowers seems like a waste of time. Standing here, at the window, I look out on a sigh. I’m not sure why I bother.

Another day dawns and in moments I will out there again, repeating the same motions over and over to no end and no avail. I breathe out and glance once more through the dirty glass.

Breathe in, breathe out.

I grab my bag. A flash of green catches my eye. Damn. Don’t forget the manuscript. I’m editing on the train again.

I stuff it in my bag and race out into the dawn.

 

word count: 100

This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

read more!

 

 

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Published short story!

I am very excited to announce I have another published short story out!!

go to

http://www.antisf.com/the-stories/trust-is-a-hand-full-of-sand

to read Trust is a hand full of sand

 

or www.antisf.com

for all the rest!

 

 

Time is fluid (Friday Fictioneers)

al_forbes

The evidence, they claimed, was there for all to see. Paraded along the main road, trussed up like a turkey.

“Proof of time travel.”

I looked on, amused. It’s a hoax. Why bring back a car and not the driver? And why go into the past?

I stood with the crowds, watching the parade. I wanted to be there, to be seen to be there. I grinned into numerous phones before glancing at my T-Turner. Strapped to my wrist and hidden beneath my sleeve, it was my only way home. The seconds counted down, flashing red. Woops… time to go.

 

This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt

I’m a little later than usual today (headache!)

word count: 100

 

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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