29 January, 2016

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Jennifer Renson, #Author of Carousel


*** Special Feature - January 2016 ***



Quick Recap




Meet the Author


My name is Jennifer Renson.
Writing is my passion and I hope to one day make it my full time career. I graduated from Monmouth University with my major in Public Relations/Journalism and a minor in History.
I acquired my Masters Degree in Counselor Education with a New Jersey State Certificate for School Counselor. 
I participate in Open Mic events throughout New Jersey, attend book signings, and when I am not writing poetry/books freelance write for Lost Treasure Magazine covering a variety of topics such Captain Kidd, Cesare Borgia, King Arthur, The Library of Alexandria and Richard III.
My first young adult novel Carousel about the abandoned ride bringing together two young people while the elusive doll maker tries to keep them apart in a alternative Lucca, Italy was released in August 2015 with the prequel The Cottontail in the works. A portion of my endless poetry has been published into three poetry books: Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales, Eo: Go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel and Uncharted.
I’ve had the honor and liberty to meet well known actor and photographer Norman Reedus, the talented Michael Rooker, and the creative minds behind The Lego Movie/21 & 22 Jump Street: Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Not only have I been a extra in Chris Rockwell and The Stickball Social Club’s music video “We Don’t Play To Win” but I’ve been featured in Monmouth University’s Monmouth Magazine and have been on internet radio including 40footholestudio.
I hope to inspire the world with my works and if they make just one person smile, make one day bright, make just bit more of happiness, I feel accomplished!


Contact the Author


Interview with the Author

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
It was during my childhood. I started writing these stories for fun, drawing pictures to accompany them when I realized how much I loved it. I found out being a writer was a actual career and since then it has been my dream to be a professional writer. 

What kind of research goes into your book?
Even though Carousel takes place in an alternative timeline, I wanted to look into the late 1490’s into early 1500’s clothing, names, and environment of Italy. I already had some knowledge of the time period but I wanted to cover my bases just in case to give readers a better visual. In short: think carousels existing in 1492 Italy.     

What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am putting the finishing touches on the prequel to Carousel, titled The Cottontail. Pulse LLC will be publishing this one as well and I look forward to seeing the final product. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 
When I finished Carousel, I felt as though the story wasn’t quite complete.  I was satisfied with the ending however wanted to expand the plot with a suspicion readers were going to want to know more about what happened before Carousel. What was Lucca like before the plague? 
Instead of making it a continuation with Princio and Marian I decided to go with a prequel and introduce two new characters and reveal the origins behind the villain Feletti. It seemed only proper since Carousel began with Feletti. I had his image and character set and wanted the story literally developed around him. Like the title Carousel, The Cottontail is the center of the story and readers will have to find out how when it’s released.     

Name three things that you believe are important to character development?
The three things that I believe are important to character development are:
Effectiveness- How does the character affect you? Are you scared? Inspired? Intrigued? Can you relate to this character? Are you grateful you are not this character? Everyone will experience something different with the character. Point is when the book is done does this character still linger in your thoughts? 
Less is More-Sometimes the less we know and are told about a character provides more depth. Readers are then able to put themselves into the story, interpreting things for themselves. By showing us what a character is or is not is more productive than telling us what the character is or is not.
Heart-As you are reading this story and following the character, you can tell the writer put every inch of themselves into their creation. They are dedicated to their craft and the characters are proof of that. This character was not thrown in for convenience or boredom. Even the minor characters have a reason to be created. Readers are able to see that these are not just characters but actually people in the writer’s eyes.   
  
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to get over it?
Yes I do, not often thankfully. Writer’s block is a living nightmare for writers. It was so prominent that while obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree from Monmouth University I wrote an article about the very subject for The Outlook.  In the past I used to just go through the motions that anything I write down will not suffice and thus avoided writing entirely until it passed. Nowadays I’ve been trying a new tactic which is to write through it anyway.  The last time I had writer’s block was about a month or so ago. I was drawing a blank about how to progress the plot of my story forward pretty much trying to figure out how to connect the important events so that it made sense when I realized I wrote myself into a corner. Instead of stepping away from the material I did some research about minor details I knew I needed to cover at some point anyway and by writing those down I was slowly crawling my way out of the writer’s block hole. Before I knew it by the end of the very same day the writer’s block was gone and on top of that was able to connect the important events.  
People are different, just like books. Try walking away, take your mind away from it. If that doesn’t work, write through it, even if you don’t like what you wrote down. Work through it.  
  
What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
I love the very beginning where you have this idea, you start writing it down and the more time you spend with it, the more excited you become to the point where you could be driving and you are overwhelmed with this sense of accomplishment and pride in yourself thinking of all these new additions to the story. You’re anxious to get to your destination so you can write it down and save it before you forget. The story becomes your own personal obsession. You can’t stop thinking about it. It’s an incredible feeling that I love experiencing over and over that gets better every time.  It never gets old. 

Do you know the ending of your books before you finish writing them?
Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. With Carousel, I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to end however while working on The Cottontail I knew exactly how I wanted the ending to play out.   

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
The best piece of advice I have received as a writer is: Never…give…up.  Write, write, write, regardless of what anyone says. You have potential, you have a ambition, a drive to be a famous writer. Do it and never give up! 



Carousel




After living in the countryside for years, Princio returns to his homeland, the tiny yet prosperous Kingdom of Lucca, upon the orders of his dying grandfather. Living alone in the annexed building next to the palace, Princio is discovered by the kingdom’s chief doll maker, Feletti, who purposely withholds his knowledge of Princio’s past in order to gain his trust and friendship. Princio believes Feletti to be a true friend until he meets Marian, a girl with a penchant for cooking and a natural curiosity, and their chance meeting in the kingdom’s carousel sets off a series of events with the potential to change everything. As Princio, Marian, and Feletti’s dark secrets begin to unfurl, their lives slowly come to light.








Book Trailer



Other Books by the Author

"Delightfully Dark", A Collection of Poems and Tales is the first published book of poetry by New Jersey native Jennifer Renson. Readers are invited into unpredictable poetic tales written through vivid characters and colorful settings from the Victorian Era, post apocalyptic Georgia, and the middle of nowhere. While some characters are reunited after unforeseen circumstances others are able to find inner strength, accept changes, and embrace the world around them. Photographs taken from beautiful up state New York accompany this thematic combination of fantasy and reality.

"Eo" latin for "go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel" is N.J native Jennifer Renson's second book of published poetry. Leave your world behind and go on a journey through time and place. In "Eo", we return to post apocalyptic Georgia where we follow a father and his thoughts about his son while a odd radio transmission is broadcasted. Friends follow a circus, as another returns home to the ideal cottage, and a spectator watches a world of creatures from a window in the clouds. Readers enter the minds of several characters in their own worlds, while exploring others. Smell the ocean air, absorb the sun and spend some quality time with the moon. As a special surprise the readers get to add their personal touch to the book. Stuck in traffic? Play a little tic-tac-toe. Traveling to somewhere new? Write it down and paste the pictures. Draw the constellations you feel from the plane window. Turn your daydreams into a poem of your own or two. Whether you travel by plane, train, bus, car, boat, horse, bicycle or foot, you can carry, inspirational and delightful poetry with you.


Welcome to the unknown and unexplored in "Uncharted", Jennifer Renson's third book of poetry. Prepare to dive deep into the thoughts and dreams of several lives from a leader struggling to keep his group alive, to a dark horse deserving of a title, a lovesick London man, a water sprite, a man worthy of being called a Prince, and men of liberty. 

From tale to photograph be immersed in times almost forgotten as you trek through the uncharted roads ahead of your life.  










Book Buy Links
Amazon.com: Carousel, Delightfully Dark, Eo, Uncharted 
Barnes and Noble: Carousel, Delightfully Dark, Eo
GooglePlay: Carousel

Giveaway
PDF Copy of Carousel & PDF Copy of Uncharted - Open Internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

27 January, 2016

#Spotlight :: The Changing Season by Steven Manchester

About the Book:

This was supposed to be a simple summer for Billy: one more lazy expanse of time before college began. He'd fill the hours playing with Jimmy – his canine best buddy – going camping and doing all the things he promised Jimmy they'd do before Billy left. But that was before the accident that shook the entire town. It was before the summer job that turned into something so much more than a way to get a paycheck. And it was before Vicki. This summer was destined to be many things to Billy, things he didn't truly understand until now. But it was definitely not going to be simple.

An enormously touching, richly textured, deeply moving novel of new adulthood, THE CHANGING SEASON is an experience to savor.

Goodreads I Amazon



Read an Excerpt:

The beach was nearly deserted. After erecting their tent and establishing a cozy campsite, Jimmy trotted to the water. As Billy looked on, the silver-faced mutt walked in slowly—like an old man easing himself into a warm bath—the reckless abandon he’d once been known for completely gone.
Jimmy swam for a bit before sitting in the shallows with the water line at his chest.
Billy waded in and took a seat beside him where they sat for a long while, looking out onto the horizon. While the tide gently lapped at their chests, Billy wrapped his arm around Jimmy’s shoulder. “This is the life,” he whispered.
A seagull landed on the sand a few feet from them. Jimmy just sat there, watching the squawking bird with mild interest. “You must be tired, Jimmy. Back in the day, you would have chased that vulture until you collapsed.”
Jimmy stood and took chase, but it was a haphazard effort.
“Half-stepper,” Billy teased the dog and stood to go for a walk and dry off.
As they strolled along the coastline, Jimmy shook the salt water from his coat. He also took breaks, long breaks, acting like he was exploring.
“I know you’re stalling,” Billy told him, “and it’s okay.” At least your spirit’s still willing, Billy thought, getting choked up.
When Jimmy slowed even more, Billy headed for the campsite. The sea grasses had lost their summer hue and were now brittle, snapping in half as Billy and Jimmy walked through the abandoned dunes.
They reached camp and sat together again where Billy discovered that the pads on Jimmy’s paws were dry and cracked. One was even bleeding, which Jimmy licked for some time. Billy pulled the big moose into his lap. “Too many miles on those old tires, huh?” he whispered, before noticing the patch of missing fur on the mutt’s hind quarter—a souvenir from a vicious fight he’d won in his glory days. A mean stray had swaggered into the backyard looking for trouble. Unwilling to let it go, Jimmy gave the growling stranger all the trouble he could handle. That one battle scar had been rubbed and patted thousands of times throughout the years, the family being forever grateful for Jimmy’s sacrificial love and fearless devotion. As they sat side-by-side, Billy rubbed it again.
Resting his head in Billy’s lap, Jimmy’s eyes squinted while he enjoyed the heavy scratching.
Billy worked his hand up the old dog’s body, stroking Jimmy’s head and kneading the scruff of his neck. “I love you, buddy,” he said. “You know that, right?”
Jimmy licked Billy’s hand.
“And I need to go away pretty soon…to college.”
Jimmy licked him again.
“The last thing in the world I want is to leave you, but I…” Billy stopped from going any further. A wave of tears was waiting to break on the shore just behind his eyes.
As though Jimmy understood, he nestled deeper into Billy’s lap and began giving Billy’s hand a thorough bath.
With his free hand, Billy rubbed Jimmy’s chest up and down—fast and hard—exactly the way the old mutt liked it. As he did, he looked up and noticed a bank of even darker clouds had gathered above. “Looks like rain,” he told Jimmy. “Hopefully, there’s no thunder.”
They napped in the tent, Jimmy appearing much less worried about his nails on the air mattress than Billy. They curled up together, the rain pitter-pattering on the light canvas above. “It’s just a shower,” Billy told him. As good a guess as any meteorologist would make, Billy thought, though it doesn’t matter either way. As they began to nod off in each other’s arms, Jimmy snored peacefully. Billy stared at his best friend’s face, studying every nook and cranny—memorizing every crease and line. But it was silly. He knew Jimmy’s face better than his own. And I’m going to miss it something awful, he thought, swallowing back the lump in his throat. While the rain picked up and began thumping on the tent’s roof, Billy closed his eyes.

When they awoke from their afternoon siesta, Jimmy stood on the wobbly air mattress and yipped in pain. Once the sound of playful banter, Billy knew it was from pain now. “You okay?” he asked, massaging the dog’s haunches and working out the knots as he’d watched Arlene do many times. “Feel better now?” he asked, stopping.
Jimmy reached up with his right paw and scratched Billy’s hand, gesturing that he continue.
After a few more minutes, Billy stopped again. “Better?” he asked.
Jimmy licked Billy’s face once before slowly stepping off the jelly-like mattress.
Billy hurried to throw two baby aspirin into a glob of peanut butter and fed it to the mutt.
When they came out of hibernation, the air was cool and fresh. The trees glistened from the rain. Billy looked up. The clouds had dispersed, leaving behind the last of the day’s light.
The sunset was a palate of coral pinks and greens, with swirls of purple brushed in. The light softened—like the ambiance of an expensive romantic dinner, before fading into the distance and becoming twilight. There was a giant pause, as if the world collectively exhaled after filing another day into the history books. Billy and Jimmy sat together on a sturdy fold-out chair, silently sharing the magic. Billy took a deep breath and sighed.
Jimmy did the same.
Billy laughed. “Copycat,” he whispered.
The beach had always been the place where Jimmy was free to romp and roam—to explore. And each year he did just that. But not this year. Jimmy nuzzled into Billy’s lap again, where he awaited the attention Billy had always showered on him.
“You’re a good boy,” Billy whispered, as he scratched the gentle canine under his chin. He shook his head. “Although you haven’t been a boy for a long time.”
In what seemed like minutes, a million flickering stars covered the dark sky. Billy and Jimmy got up to take another stroll. They walked a few feet when they happened upon a giant puddle. Moonlight was trapped in the puddle, along with Billy and Jimmy’s reflections—the two of them standing knee to shoulder. While Billy smiled, Jimmy bent at the water’s edge and began to drink, sending ripples through the portrait. “Don’t drink that, Jimmy,” Billy scolded him. “You have fresh water back in the tent.”
Jimmy paid him no mind and kept lapping loudly, slobbering all over himself and depositing an equal amount of back wash.
Billy shook his head. “Whatever, it’s your stomach.”
They made it down to the water’s edge again and stood together in the silence for a long, long while. It was as though neither of them wanted the night to end, as though both of them needed more time together. Billy closed his eyes and listened to the tide. The ebb and flow was constant but random, like surround sound lapping the shore on the left, right and center.

The night grew cold, real cold for the time of year. Billy was surprised he and Jimmy couldn’t see their breath. The drop in temperature was significant, reminding Billy once again that summer was quickly coming to an end. It was a cold slap to the face—literally. I’m moving away in just a week, he thought. One week! He looked down at Jimmy, glad that his furry friend had no concept or fear of time.
Billy built a campfire, which wasn’t easy considering that everything was still damp from the rain shower. But sitting by a campfire had always been his and Jimmy’s thing, the perfect atmosphere to spend quality time together, so he worked hard to get the fire going.
They sat together in silence for a long time, hypnotized by the swaying flames and the rhythm of the rolling tide. When it was time to turn in for the night, Jimmy licked his paw, running it across his face for the day’s final bath. They both stood and stretched, leaving behind a handful of glowing embers and heading for the tent.
Kneeling beside the air mattress, Billy said his prayers. As he crawled in beside Jimmy, he left on the battery-operated lantern for his timid, four-legged friend, knowing that two D cell batteries would be killed in the process.
While Jimmy snored, Billy watched as their silhouettes moved randomly on the ceiling of the tent. He locked onto them, hypnotized by the shadows dancing above. His eyes grew heavy and he yawned. Within seconds, the shadows grew smaller until they disappeared.

Billy watched Jimmy—as a puppy—crying because the bedspread was covering his eyes. Jimmy’s claustrophobic, he realized. “It’s play time,” he told the dog, tricking Jimmy into thinking they were going to horse around. The garden hose and bottle of dog shampoo, however, made the smart dog whimper. Billy laughed. When he looked back, Jimmy was stretched out flat on his belly, all four legs pin straight like he’d been strapped to the torturer’s rack. Billy did a double-take and Jimmy was wearing the cone of shame so he didn’t bite at his stitches after being neutered. Poor guy, Billy thought, and then yelled at the dog after he’d torn a pillow to shreds. In the next scene, an older Jimmy chomped on ice cubes, spraying them everywhere like a broken snow cone machine. And then they were fishing, both of them young again. Jimmy whined as he watched the small perch swim in circles in the bucket. He placed his paw on the lip of the pail, pulling it to him and dumping the flopping fish into the grass—in some sad attempt at freeing the prisoners. Billy laughed again and a moment later, he was watching on in horror as Sophie dressed the poor dog in some ridiculous outfit for one of her lively tea parties. Sophie played with Jimmy’s ears, his paws, his tail; the mutt just lay there, as if he understood it was the price he had to pay for free meals. Jimmy’s the ultimate pilot fish. Billy shook his head, while a water sprinkler soaked the summer grass and Jimmy exhibited another example of his terrible drinking habits. Billy could see himself falling out the tree in the backyard and grabbing his arm; the pain was mind numbing. While he healed, Jimmy never left his side. Billy then looked down to find that his cast was gone. He looked up again and Jimmy was smiling at him, his teeth covered in tartar build-up. “Have you been kissing a skunk?” he teased the dog. “You have a bad case of gingivitis, buddy…or is it halitosis?” Billy passed the groomer’s window and noticed that he’d grown tall. Jimmy was beyond ecstatic to see him; his nails had been clipped, his fur trimmed but his eyes were as wide as two chocolate pies. “What did she do to you, boy?” Billy teased the frightened dog.

Billy awoke, panting like a dog himself. He looked over at his tent mate, who was still snoring peacefully on the air mattress. “Oh Jimmy,” he muttered and wrapped his arm around the drooling heap.
Billy shook the cobwebs from his head and tried to make sense of it all. It was just a dream, he realized. Fragmented and confused in time and context, he’d dreamed about Jimmy. There were glimpses of the past and present merged together, as though Jimmy’s life had been thrown into a blender and Billy was enjoying each experience with him a second time. He pushed himself closer to Jimmy until he could feel the rise and fall of the dog’s breathing. “I love you so much, buddy,” he whispered, before falling back to sleep.


About the Author:
Steven Manchester is the author of four #1 bestsellers: Twelve Months, The Rockin' Chair, Pressed Pennies and Gooseberry Island. His long-anticipated novel, The Changing Season, is currently available for pre-order. Steve is also the author of the award-winning novel, Goodnight, Brian. He has written A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), Wilbur Avenue (novelette), Just in Time (novelette) and The Thursday Night Club (novella), while his work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series and he is the produced playwright of Three Shoeboxes. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or their four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing.





22 January, 2016

#SpecialFeature :: What the readers have to say about Carousel!


*** Special Feature - January 2016 ***



Meet the Author


My name is Jennifer Renson.
Writing is my passion and I hope to one day make it my full time career. I graduated from Monmouth University with my major in Public Relations/Journalism and a minor in History.
I acquired my Masters Degree in Counselor Education with a New Jersey State Certificate for School Counselor. 
I participate in Open Mic events throughout New Jersey, attend book signings, and when I am not writing poetry/books freelance write for Lost Treasure Magazine covering a variety of topics such Captain Kidd, Cesare Borgia, King Arthur, The Library of Alexandria and Richard III.
My first young adult novel Carousel about the abandoned ride bringing together two young people while the elusive doll maker tries to keep them apart in a alternative Lucca, Italy was released in August 2015 with the prequel The Cottontail in the works. A portion of my endless poetry has been published into three poetry books: Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales, Eo: Go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel and Uncharted.
I’ve had the honor and liberty to meet well known actor and photographer Norman Reedus, the talented Michael Rooker, and the creative minds behind The Lego Movie/21 & 22 Jump Street: Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Not only have I been a extra in Chris Rockwell and The Stickball Social Club’s music video “We Don’t Play To Win” but I’ve been featured in Monmouth University’s Monmouth Magazine and have been on internet radio including 40footholestudio.
I hope to inspire the world with my works and if they make just one person smile, make one day bright, make just bit more of happiness, I feel accomplished!


Contact the Author


Carousel




After living in the countryside for years, Princio returns to his homeland, the tiny yet prosperous Kingdom of Lucca, upon the orders of his dying grandfather. Living alone in the annexed building next to the palace, Princio is discovered by the kingdom’s chief doll maker, Feletti, who purposely withholds his knowledge of Princio’s past in order to gain his trust and friendship. Princio believes Feletti to be a true friend until he meets Marian, a girl with a penchant for cooking and a natural curiosity, and their chance meeting in the kingdom’s carousel sets off a series of events with the potential to change everything. As Princio, Marian, and Feletti’s dark secrets begin to unfurl, their lives slowly come to light.








Reviews for Carousel

On Amazon.com:
"It is a fantasy with just a touch of terror. There are a supernatural bad guy, a handsome prince and a beautiful maiden. While quite a bit of the development is foreshadowed, the happy ending is very satisfying."
"I came across this book while looking for something new and interesting to read. The cover was the first thing to stand out and grab my attention and let me tell you this story did not disappoint! Captivating, a little scary, and something I hope gains a lot of momentum soon! Very addictive and worth rereading! I look forward to reading more books by Jennifer!"

On Barnes and Noble:
"Jennifer Renson’s Carousel has a curious, dark and mystical theme that reels you into reading the book. She has created an unusual plot that brought out clear visuals of the moderately paced sequence of events, which were suspenseful. The writing is very structured, giving good details of the events, and emotional uncertainties of the characters with regard to their odd situations."

On Google Play:
"Imaginative, engaging, worth re-reading over and over. Different in all the right ways. Would recommend to anyone who wants to read something different, to take them away from the world they know and place them in a alternative Lucca, Italy. Look forward to reading more books by Jennifer."

On Google Books:
"Captivating is how I would describe this suspenseful, fairy tale kind of story that is unlike most literature out these days. Where most stories fall into the long trilogies or 800 page epics, Carousel takes you into this alternate Lucca, Italy that you cannot help but feel enchanted by. 
I came across this book while searching for something to read during the holidays and thanks to other reviews online and online interviews with the author herself, I decided to read it."
"The location of the story which from what I've heard is a alternative Lucca, Italy is a interesting choice. You can tell it is Italy by some of the names of other characters, the lifestyle of the people, and some of the styles of the clothing they wear. The story isn't far fetched and never came off old, rehashed or overdone like most of the popular books seem to fall into. Its entirely new, creative, and at times a little scary in a suspenseful, fairy tale kind of way!"




Book Trailer



Other Books by the Author

"Delightfully Dark", A Collection of Poems and Tales is the first published book of poetry by New Jersey native Jennifer Renson. Readers are invited into unpredictable poetic tales written through vivid characters and colorful settings from the Victorian Era, post apocalyptic Georgia, and the middle of nowhere. While some characters are reunited after unforeseen circumstances others are able to find inner strength, accept changes, and embrace the world around them. Photographs taken from beautiful up state New York accompany this thematic combination of fantasy and reality.

"Eo" latin for "go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel" is N.J native Jennifer Renson's second book of published poetry. Leave your world behind and go on a journey through time and place. In "Eo", we return to post apocalyptic Georgia where we follow a father and his thoughts about his son while a odd radio transmission is broadcasted. Friends follow a circus, as another returns home to the ideal cottage, and a spectator watches a world of creatures from a window in the clouds. Readers enter the minds of several characters in their own worlds, while exploring others. Smell the ocean air, absorb the sun and spend some quality time with the moon. As a special surprise the readers get to add their personal touch to the book. Stuck in traffic? Play a little tic-tac-toe. Traveling to somewhere new? Write it down and paste the pictures. Draw the constellations you feel from the plane window. Turn your daydreams into a poem of your own or two. Whether you travel by plane, train, bus, car, boat, horse, bicycle or foot, you can carry, inspirational and delightful poetry with you.


Welcome to the unknown and unexplored in "Uncharted", Jennifer Renson's third book of poetry. Prepare to dive deep into the thoughts and dreams of several lives from a leader struggling to keep his group alive, to a dark horse deserving of a title, a lovesick London man, a water sprite, a man worthy of being called a Prince, and men of liberty. 

From tale to photograph be immersed in times almost forgotten as you trek through the uncharted roads ahead of your life.  










Book Buy Links
Amazon.com: Carousel, Delightfully Dark, Eo, Uncharted 
Barnes and Noble: Carousel, Delightfully Dark, Eo
GooglePlay: Carousel

Giveaway
PDF Copy of Carousel & PDF Copy of Uncharted - Open Internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 January, 2016

#BookReview :: The Reengineers by Indu Muralidharan

Chinmay Narayan is plotting to kill himself. He is a misfit at school, his parents are about to divorce and the love of his life doesn’t know he exists. It seems pointless to go on with such a dysfunctional life. But before he gets anywhere with that plan, Chinmay and his friends, Anu and Sabi, stumble into the eerie world of Conchpore through a portal in Uncle RK’s library. 

They find themselves in The Seeker’s School, where you can buy spiritual courses that will bring you enlightenment. While the seekers seem unaware that there is anything amiss, Chinmay and his friends stumble upon a strange and sinister plot that the teachers and students are caught up in. The three youngsters suddenly find themselves in danger, and their only hope is the charismatic Siddharth, an old student of the school who has come to visit. Chinmay discovers that Siddharth is seeking catharsis from his dark past by writing a book—a book with Chinmay as the protagonist. He realizes that his own story is a mirror image of Siddharth’s, which leads to a moment of reckoning for him: can he become the author of his own life?

Set in Madras in the early nineties, The Reengineers dispels the boundaries between fiction and reality to tell a tale that is as much a coming-of-age story as it is an inspiring narrative of self-empowerment and spiritual growth.


The blurb of the book somehow reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia. It is probably because of the mention of a secret portal hidden in a library that takes you to a different world on the whole. So, when the author approached me, I immediately agreed to read and review the book. 

Chinmay Narayan, our protagonist, feels like a misfit in his own life. He feels depressed and that his life is out of control what with him being overwhelmed by a dysfunctional family and unrequited love. A chance accident leads him to discover a whole new world in Conchpore along with his friends Anurag and Sabarmati. It proves to be a turning point in his life - new place, new people and new rules. But something is definitely not right, but what can Chinmay do about it? How does one get back to the real world? And would Chinmay want to go back? And what does the mysterious Siddharth have to do with anything?

After a somewhat slow start the book picks up the pace as Chinmay and his friends discover Conchpore. Soon we meet a myriad of characters who build up the story to its apex with their inputs. But in the end it is Siddharth and Chinmay who stand out the most. Their characters are eerily similar yet so different at the same time. Chinmay turned out to be a character who is easy to relate to and felt very real. His story probably reflects many true life stories. His issues were real issues and while some people may roll their eyes at them, I know that at that age, many of us have felt in the same way. Things that were not that important felt life like altering experiences while we overlooked a lot of what were actually life changing events and did not realize it till much later. Anurag and Sabarmati makes for ideal sidekicks on an adventure like this, though I did wish for more depth in them.

Chunmay’s journey through the novel – his realizations and process of self discovery, is really what this book is all about. It was endearing to see him finally grow up, out of his shell and really see himself and his life for what they really are. The fact that this is the author’s debut work brings me hope as she has selected a premise that is not too heavy yet is very real. The book could have done with another round of editing as the language did seem to slip at a few points. But nothing too serious to take away much from the reading experience.

If you are bored of reading the same run-of-the-mill romance that couple of authors seem to be churning out every few months, do give this one a try. It will not be a life changing experience, but it will probably prove to be a good change.


Review Copy received from the Author

19 January, 2016

#BookReview :: Echo Burning (Jack Reacher #5) by Lee Child

Reacher is hitching through the heat of West Texas and getting desperate for a ride. The last thing he's worried about is exactly who picks him up.
She's called Carmen. She's a good-looking young woman, she has a beautiful little girl . . . and she has married into the wrong family. They're called the Greers. They're a bitter and miserly clan, and they've made her life a living hell. Worse, her monster of a husband is soon due out of prison. So she needs protection, and she needs it now.

Lawyers can't help. Cops can't be trusted. So Reacher goes home with her to the lonely ranch where nothing is as it seems and where evil swirls around them like dust in a storm. Within days, Carmen's husband is dead-and simmering secrets send Echo, Texas, up in flames.

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Reacher is hitchhiking through Texas and he is looking for a ride. That’s very typical of Reacher. As an ex-MP, standing 6’5’’ tall he can take care of himself. But this time around the person who gives him a ride is in need of protection. Carmen’s husband is due to be released from prison and there is no one she can turn to for protection, except maybe to the stranger she picks up on the way. Is everything as it seems? Well, we all know that it never is! So what is it that Reacher gets himself involved in?

Jack Reacher never ceases to amaze me. When things felt a bit fishy, I was wondering why Reacher was taking everything at its face value. No shocker that he caught up to it all just in time… It is a wonder to see his mind working, really. I mean I obviously love it when he gets on the offence and obliterates his opponent with a well-timed punch or when he gets behind a gun. But the way his calculative mind works is equally good. And with mercenaries on the loose, Reacher needs all his skills at his best displaying how capable he is even when he is caught off-guard for a moment. And can I just say it outright that I didn’t like Carmen at all?!! That whole family seemed dodgy. Jack Reacher series has always been more about the thrills than the mystery. In most stories it is easy to spot the perpetrators, not that Lee Child hasn’t sent me off on a wild goose chase once in a while, but in this book it was particularly easy to spot the perpetrator. But that doesn’t take much away from the reading experience as the plot has the readers all wired up to find out how Reacher will ‘handle’ things.

Not my favourite Reacher story… But it is good!



18 January, 2016

#BookReview :: In The Shadows of Death by Sourabh Mukherjee


Sheetal Mehra, HR executive with Crescent Technologies, is found murdered in the toilet of a Kolkata hotel after an office party. ACP Agni Mitra finds out about her adulterous ways as he starts investigating into the murder. The miffed husband, a lecherous boss, one of her many jilted admirers – anyone could have killed her. The investigation is stuck in myriad perplexing questions when the murder of Meenakshi Menon, a Director with Altius Finance, hits the headlines. As more murders rock the city, it is not too long before the battle of wits with his unseen adversary turns personal for Agni. A ruthless killer walking the rain-washed streets of Kolkata. A detective battling storms brewing in his private life. Human relations infested with deceit. A generation struggling to cope with fast-changing ambitions and desires. In the Shadows of Death is a gripping page-turner with a heart-rending emotional core. 


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Kolkata is my hometown and I am always eager to read books set there. It makes me feel closer to Kolkata, no matter where I am. And when a mystery book is set in Kolkata, it is like the icing on the cake. 

When Sheetal Mehra is found murdered in a hotel, it was a straightforward murder case that Agni Mitra had to solve. Soon enough Sheetal’s adulterous life is uncovered giving Agni quite a few suspects – the husband, the boss and a number of jilted lovers. Then a second body turns up and things are not so straightforward any more. When a third body turns up, one thing is clear – there is a serial killer on the loose. Or is it? What is the connection between the victims? Is the killer a psychopath on the loose who kills for fun or is he targeting specific people? And why is the killer making it so personal for Agni?

The protagonist is the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Agni Mitra. He along with his team takes on the responsibility of solving these murders. But it is not easy, especially for Agni Mitra. On one hand, the killer is meticulous in his methods giving the authorities very little to work with. On the other hand things are too close to home for Agni. The author has done a really good job of building up the character of Agni Mitra and for most parts I found that I liked the guy. But there was something (that I cannot put my fingers on) missing from his personality. I wished for a little more of ‘x-factor’ in him. It is the antagonist that the author has done a perfect job with. I couldn’t tell if I actually wanted the culprit to be caught or not for reasons that I cannot divulge in fear of spoiling the story for you. The plot of the story is well laid out. It is not a complex one but the author has managed to keep things entertaining by throwing in quite a few red herrings. Plus there is the factor of the author indulging his readers to take a second look at the modern urban lifestyle and relationship. The definitions have changed without us really realizing and not all changes are for good. The complexities of relationships have become more complex with time.

Overall, Sourabh Mukherjee definitely has a winner here. It is not perfect in every way but it is a really good one.


Review Copy received from Srishti Publishers


15 January, 2016

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - How Carousel came to be by Jennifer Renson


*** Special Feature - January 2016 ***



Meet the Author


My name is Jennifer Renson.
Writing is my passion and I hope to one day make it my full time career. I graduated from Monmouth University with my major in Public Relations/Journalism and a minor in History.
I acquired my Masters Degree in Counselor Education with a New Jersey State Certificate for School Counselor. 
I participate in Open Mic events throughout New Jersey, attend book signings, and when I am not writing poetry/books freelance write for Lost Treasure Magazine covering a variety of topics such Captain Kidd, Cesare Borgia, King Arthur, The Library of Alexandria and Richard III.
My first young adult novel Carousel about the abandoned ride bringing together two young people while the elusive doll maker tries to keep them apart in a alternative Lucca, Italy was released in August 2015 with the prequel The Cottontail in the works. A portion of my endless poetry has been published into three poetry books: Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales, Eo: Go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel and Uncharted.
I’ve had the honor and liberty to meet well known actor and photographer Norman Reedus, the talented Michael Rooker, and the creative minds behind The Lego Movie/21 & 22 Jump Street: Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Not only have I been a extra in Chris Rockwell and The Stickball Social Club’s music video “We Don’t Play To Win” but I’ve been featured in Monmouth University’s Monmouth Magazine and have been on internet radio including 40footholestudio.
I hope to inspire the world with my works and if they make just one person smile, make one day bright, make just bit more of happiness, I feel accomplished!


Contact the Author


Carousel




After living in the countryside for years, Princio returns to his homeland, the tiny yet prosperous Kingdom of Lucca, upon the orders of his dying grandfather. Living alone in the annexed building next to the palace, Princio is discovered by the kingdom’s chief doll maker, Feletti, who purposely withholds his knowledge of Princio’s past in order to gain his trust and friendship. Princio believes Feletti to be a true friend until he meets Marian, a girl with a penchant for cooking and a natural curiosity, and their chance meeting in the kingdom’s carousel sets off a series of events with the potential to change everything. As Princio, Marian, and Feletti’s dark secrets begin to unfurl, their lives slowly come to light.








How Carousel came to be!


   Carousel began with the villain Feletti. He was the first person I imagined and developed knowing he was going to be the bad guy and having some involvement with doll making. I knew that using dolls in a scary/suspense/fairy tale way had been used before so I wanted to take what people would expect and change it.

    Most stories I write/imagine follow this sort of young adult fictional style usually taking place in a real time period where even though these are fictional characters each one probably represents either yourself or someone you may know or have encountered.

    Carousel takes places in a alternative Lucca, Italy. Think carousels existing in the late 1400's to early 1500's. The reason I chose a carousel as the centerfold for bringing together all the characters is because it represented something innocent and enchanting. It was my favorite ride as a child and has this powerful essence to it, as though we enter a magical world for just a moment each time we ride it.

    Marian and her brother Placido were the next characters I developed, knowing that I wanted to connect her to Feletti for the big reveal towards the end of the story. Following this theme of innocence and enchantment I wandered Marian to be the living definition of those words having a natural talent for cooking. Princio was the last character and somewhat the hardest to write because of his backstory. I had to make him discover this inner strength he never knew he had. I had to make him grow in a world he never knew, rediscovering himself and relearning everything that was taught to him by his grandfather.

    Princio spent most of his life living in the countryside with his grandfather and no one else. When his grandfather tells him to return to where he was born upon his death but to never show his face Princio becomes secluded and unaware of what the world can be. Sometimes it can be dark and horrid and other times it can be beautiful and kind. He had to learn the difference between the two and make his own path, even if that meant he didn't have to do it alone.          

    Taking all of this and writing a story that I imagined someone like Tim Burton would enjoy reading Carousel, became the result. I had entered a contest through Pulse LLC. They wanted young adult novels submitted and the winner would have their story published. Carousel was already done for a year and I wanted to get my career off the ground. Little did I know they chose my story and here it is today for the world to read.

     It's suspenseful, sometimes scary, unique and above all different. This is a different kind of story than most that people are reading and writing. I am proud of this work and am glad to say that the prequel to this tale The Cottontail is in the works through the same publishing company. If mysterious doll makers, alternative timelines and whimsical old palaces are something you enjoy, pick this is, give it a try. You won't be disappointed.




Book Trailer



Other Books by the Author

"Delightfully Dark", A Collection of Poems and Tales is the first published book of poetry by New Jersey native Jennifer Renson. Readers are invited into unpredictable poetic tales written through vivid characters and colorful settings from the Victorian Era, post apocalyptic Georgia, and the middle of nowhere. While some characters are reunited after unforeseen circumstances others are able to find inner strength, accept changes, and embrace the world around them. Photographs taken from beautiful up state New York accompany this thematic combination of fantasy and reality.

"Eo" latin for "go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel" is N.J native Jennifer Renson's second book of published poetry. Leave your world behind and go on a journey through time and place. In "Eo", we return to post apocalyptic Georgia where we follow a father and his thoughts about his son while a odd radio transmission is broadcasted. Friends follow a circus, as another returns home to the ideal cottage, and a spectator watches a world of creatures from a window in the clouds. Readers enter the minds of several characters in their own worlds, while exploring others. Smell the ocean air, absorb the sun and spend some quality time with the moon. As a special surprise the readers get to add their personal touch to the book. Stuck in traffic? Play a little tic-tac-toe. Traveling to somewhere new? Write it down and paste the pictures. Draw the constellations you feel from the plane window. Turn your daydreams into a poem of your own or two. Whether you travel by plane, train, bus, car, boat, horse, bicycle or foot, you can carry, inspirational and delightful poetry with you.


Welcome to the unknown and unexplored in "Uncharted", Jennifer Renson's third book of poetry. Prepare to dive deep into the thoughts and dreams of several lives from a leader struggling to keep his group alive, to a dark horse deserving of a title, a lovesick London man, a water sprite, a man worthy of being called a Prince, and men of liberty. 

From tale to photograph be immersed in times almost forgotten as you trek through the uncharted roads ahead of your life.  










Book Buy Links
Amazon.com: Carousel, Delightfully Dark, Eo, Uncharted 
Barnes and Noble: Carousel, Delightfully Dark, Eo
GooglePlay: Carousel

Giveaway
PDF Copy of Carousel & PDF Copy of Uncharted - Open Internationally

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