Letter T The April A to Z Blogging Challenge #AtoZChallenge

April Author Spotlight 2015

Letter ‘T’ is for Terry Tyler, author of Kings and Queens

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Why do I recommend Kings and Queens?

I loved the unique premise of Kings and Queens. It is an original take on the Tudors by transferring them to contemporary England. It was fun working out who the contemporary characters might have been in Tudor England, and watching how the author adapts them and their circumstances to recent times. Terry has chosen a very clever way of exposing her main character, who is denied a point of view in the novel. Various first person narrators, his wives and his best friend, each with their unique voice, tell us all about Henry Lanchester, so that we get to know Henry through the eyes of those closest to him. Another noteworthy aspect is that it brings the reader face to face with the cyclical nature of life, love, and history. People with power, their behaviour, as well as the way those around them regard them, has not changed for centuries. There are also many humorous moments, and twists and turns, making it an entertaining and enjoyable read. A must for lovers of Tudor England and contemporary family sagas.

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What type of reader would enjoy your novel, Terry?

My recent novel Kings and Queens and its sequel, Last Child, have been enjoyed by people (like me!) who are fascinated by the intricacies of human relationships and don’t expect hearts, flowers and happy ever afters; the romantic element in all my books tends to be quite down to earth.   Kings and Queens and Last Child will be up your street if you love to get your teeth into a good family saga, especially if you have any interest in Tudor history, as they’re a modern day reflection of the lives of Henry VIII, his wives and children. However!! Non-history lovers can enjoy both books just as contemporary dramas, or if they would like to know more about the history first there is a link to a blog post, in each book, giving a brief account of the relevant period. I’ve been so grateful for and delighted by the reviews I’ve had for each book – now I’m just hoping I can come  up with the goods for a third one…!

What are you working on now?

I am currently writing another ‘big business and complicated families’ drama, this time based on the Wars of the Roses. This one is slightly different, though, because it’s only based on historical fact rather than being a modern re-telling; I started to write it in the same way as I had Kings and Queens and Last Child but realised, about 30K words in, that it wasn’t working; the story of the Wars of the Roses is too complicated and there were too many aspects that I couldn’t relate to 21st century living, so I had to grit my teeth and start a complete re-write – never a nice thing to face up to.

The story is not related in any way to the previous two; I never intended to write a series. The other difference is that it’s darker, with a psychic element, and a hint of evil occurrences from quite early on. Oh, and last night I thought of a lovely twist for the end, too!

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Question 3. What would you like readers to know about you?

My plan is to move into historical fiction after I’ve finished this book; I have a novel with the preliminary notes written that’s been in my head for about 15 years – I’m a bit scared of all the research needed, though, and I might change my mind if I get another idea for a contemporary novel, but I want to write a post apocalyptic drama, too.

I’d also readers to know that I have a book review blog, on which I review submissions to Rosie Amber’s book review team (I review a couple a month for Rosie) and my own reading choices. I started it because I get so frustrated by the fact that some terrific books receive next to no recognition, then it developed to include the book review team submissions too, though I don’t take in review requests myself.

I have a blog on the UK Arts Directory on which I write articles about self-publishing, here , and a personal blog on which I write about anything that comes into my head! I’m on Twitter and Goodreads. I’m also on Facebook but I don’t use my author page very much.

My Amazon Author Page

Kings and Queens on Amazon.com on Amazon UK

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Please take some time to check out some of the other blogs on the A-Z Challenge. There are plenty of interesting and varied topics.

 

Letter S The April A to Z Blogging Challenge #AtoZChallenge

April Author Spotlight 2015

Letter ‘S’ is for Olga Nuñez Miret, Spanish Translator and author

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Why do I recommend translating your novel into Spanish?

Spanish is spoken by 410 million as a first language and by 90 million speakers as a second language. English has 360 million native speakers and 400 million speakers as a second language. By second language I mean people who speak the language as well as another language fluently. That means that there are almost 1,300 million fluent speakers of English and Spanish. That’s a huge number of people. It’s 300 million speakers more than Mandarin Chinese. (There are also over 600 million speakers of English as a foreign language with varying degrees of competency, but these are not included in the figures I’ve mentioned). It sounds like a good idea to have your book available to a wider audience, but I’ll let Olga tell you all about it, after all, she’s the expert.

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Why should authors have their work translated into Spanish, Olga?

Spanish is the second most widely spoken language after Mandarin with 404 million native speakers. Although many might read in other languages, most people who read for pleasure prefer to read in their own language and therefore the potential market for books in Spanish is very large. I also think it adds to the portfolio of an author and also opens up the opportunities to engage with a new group not only of readers but also of writers.

Olga A Journey to Happiness

Which books have you translated recently? What are you working on now?

I have recently translated A Journey to Happiness from Spanish to English. This novel is a spiritual journey to Buddhism by bestselling Spanish author Paloma Caral. At the moment I’m editing a thriller translated to Spanish (Estrecho Mortal by Bob McDermott) and I’m also completing the translation of the last novel in my YA trilogy Angelic Business.

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Which are the challenges you face when translating a novel?

Sometimes the book might be about subjects I’m not very familiar with and they require a good deal of research (I’ve translated books about the Incas, books looking at the history of the Vatican, and currently the book I’m editing is set in the world of international shipping business, so nautical terms are a must!), sometimes there might be issues of localization (do we want to use local names, are there terms or things that don’t apply or concepts that are unlikely to be understood)… A degree of interpretation of the original is required although luckily I can contact the authors for clarification if I need to. I try to do a quick draft and then re-read the translation and make sure it “sounds” right. Ah, if I spot the odd typo in the original I’ll report back (never enough eyes!).

Olga

What would you like readers to know about you?

I’m from Barcelona and have lived in the UK for over 20 years. I love books and have written since I was very young. After studying Medicine and specializing in Psychiatry I could not resist spending more time with books and completed a BA in American Literature and a PhD on the same subject (also writing about films). Once I discovered self-publishing, it seemed natural to me to publish my books both in Spanish and English as I have always written in both and I find translating a great way to get to deeply understand other people’s writing and books. And it’s also a good way to edit my originals. Partly for personal interest and also as a psychiatrist I love interesting and challenging characters.

How can we find out more or contact you?

My website

My Amazon author page

I have a Twitter account: @OlgaNM7

My blog

I also have a Facebook authorpage

My Goodreads author page.

G+ 

Pinterest

Wattpad

 

Please take some time to check out some of the other blogs on the A-Z Challenge. There are plenty of interesting and varied topics.

Letter R The April A to Z Blogging Challenge #AtoZChallenge

April Author Spotlight 2015

Letter ‘R’ is for Jo Robinson, author of African Me & Satellite TV

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Why do I recommend African Me & Satellite TV?

Where to begin telling you why I loved African Me & Satellite TV? Perhaps because it’s the only novel which has brought a tear to my eye, or perhaps because Jo has summarised the heart-wrenching story of Africa, or even more of Colonisation, in a beautiful and moving novel.

In the true Postcolonial style, like Lessing or Gordimer, Jo gives a voice to the minor character in her novel, because she knows that real history is not made up of the names of Kings and Queens, but of the names of anonymous, apparently secondary, previously unseen and unheard characters, like Christopher, a seemingly mentally retarded gardener, who acts as a catalyst for the moral awakening of Suzette, and her whole town.

I suffered as I read about the lies, repression, silence, hatred, racism, intolerance, and worst of all indifference, until Suzette realises that when injustice reigns, happiness is impossible because, as she reminds her neighbours, ‘he who allows oppression shares the crime.’ However, realisation and compassion will not come easily, many human and emotional sacrifices are to be made, as black and white South Africans are able to understand and forgive, although Suzette reminds us that, ‘not everything is forgivable.’

This novel is about empowerment, redemption, positive action, and second opportunities. Christopher’s childhood friend, Terry, reminds us that, ‘if we’d all been pacifists we’d probably still be slaves.’ Although the ending is optimistic, the reader is aware that there are many people missing at the funeral, many of them who would prefer the injustice to continue. In fact, the battle for justice has only just begun.

Do not read this book if you’re not prepared to feel torn apart and then stitched back to hopefulness. Do not read this book if you want a light and easy read. Do not read this book if you don’t care about injustice, freedom, discrimination, or cruelty. This book is for people who still have hope in making the world a better place. Do you?

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What is African Me & Satellite TV about, Jo?

African Me & Satellite TV is about standing up for what you believe in, and speaking out against injustice. It’s about a woman who has lived in fear of others finding out what she truly believes – especially her own family, because she has some very well hidden but powerful beliefs. She lets life pass her by rather than rocking the boat, the same way that most of us do on one thing or another. We let things go. We look away from the pain of others rather than face the wrath of the majority. Something happens in this story though that leaves Suzette no other path, and she finally finds the courage to do the right thing.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on finishing at least two of the books in my Shadow People series which I plan on publishing at exactly the same time, as well as three non-fiction books. I love to write mainstream fiction as with African Me, but I also write other genres. The Shadow People series probably covers a couple of genres just on its own. As well as aliens including dragons, water dwellers and a race of sentients that resemble giant Earth chickens, it encompasses many things from spirituality to angels, demons, and ancient legends. The multiverse has reached a tipping point where evil must be stopped from being the major force in it if all is not to be lost forever. A small group of people join forces with others, including the mysterious living spaceships – the Vimana, and an equally mysterious group of angelic beings.

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What would you like readers to know about you?

I’ve been a writer for much, much longer than I realised. I wrote courses and put together brochures, and translated and typed stories for others for a while. Even as I wrote the first paragraph of African Me & Satellite TV, which was the first fiction I ever wrote, I still believed that to be a writer you had to be taught – go to college and learn it. I was wrong though. Writers just are. From the books that they read, and the fiction that has probably always played out in their head way before they scribbled their first word. As well as writing I also love a bit of art. I’m well aware that I’m not as good at painting and sketching as “proper” artists, but lately having discovered the joy of digital art and photography (also not as good as the “propers”), I’ve discovered a brand new love of cover design. What more could I ask for than books and their covers? I’m probably seen as eccentric by those around me, apart from my feathered horde of two parrots and two weaver birds, who just see me as theirs.

How can we find out more or contact you?

Global link for African Me & Satellite

My Blog

Find me on Google+

Find me on Goodreads

My Twitter

My Amazon Author Page

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Please take some time to check out some of the other blogs on the A-Z Challenge. There are plenty of interesting and varied topics.

 

 

Letter Q The April A to Z Blogging Challenge #AtoZChallenge and Follower 300

Letter ‘Q’ is for the Quest for Followers and my Celebration of Follower Number 300

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April Author Spotlight 2015 Karen Long, author of The Safe Word

I started blogging regularly last May, 2014. A few weeks ago, when I realized my number of followers was close to 300, I decided I’d celebrate such a special occasion with a spotlight on the blogger.

Karen Long became my Follower 300, and it so happens that she’s an author, so today the Author Spotlight is for Karen, Author of The Safe Word and The Vault.

As this happened a couple of days ago, it’s the only novel in the A to Z Blogging Challenge I haven’t read yet (although I’ve started and I’ll be writing a review once I finish reading), so I’ll let Karen do all of the talking about her novel.

Safe Word

What is The Safe Word about?

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.

Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

What type of reader would like to read it?

I’d say The Safe Word is considered to be quite dark crime fiction, probably closer in taste to Mo Hayder, Thomas Harris and Jo Nesbo than Agatha Christie. I have a strong but troubled female protagonist, whose tendency to indulge in less than safe sexual practices adds to the conflict surrounding her. I love a good twist and believe that great plotting is the secret to a good read, as are complex and believable characters. The first two novels in The Eleanor Raven series are less ‘who’ and more ‘whydunnit’. Exploring the psychopathic mind is a big part of my writing, though ‘The Cold Room’, which I’m writing at the moment, is all about the ‘who’.

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What are you working on now?

I’m balancing writing a screenplay with book three in the Eleanor Raven series, The Cold Room and hoping it’ll be ready for publication in the summer. I also write a weekly blog about my life and my interest in forensic matters. I’m a big fan of authenticity, so if my character has a fight, I go and learn how hard it is and how much it hurts (a lot!). Eleanor Raven uses a Glock .19 and I have to learn how to take one apart, reload and shoot it. It’s all great fun but essential if you want a reader to stay hooked. It really matters that my descriptions of a post mortem are accurate, so not only do I read and study a lot I make sure that I go watch and experience as much as possible.

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What would you like readers to know about you?

I was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During my teaching years I studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in my writing. My husband films all over the world, so a great deal of my time is spent abroad, where I indulge my love of wildlife. I’m a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family and have dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens. I’m due to take possession of a baby female raccoon in the next three weeks.

How can we know more or contact you?

 Amazon UK The Safe Word  

Amazon US The Safe Word

Amazon author page  

My Facebook 

My Blog

My Website 

Find me on Goodreads

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Please take some time to check out some of the other blogs on the A-Z Challenge. There are plenty of interesting and varied topics.

 

Letter P The April A to Z Blogging Challenge #AtoZChallenge

April Author Spotlight 2015

Letter ‘P’ is for Dominic Piper, author of Kiss Me When I’m Dead

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Why do I recommend Kiss Me When I’m Dead?

Kiss Me When I’m Dead is a contemporary detective novel narrated in the first person, present tense, stream-of-consciousness style, by witty and shrewd Daniel Beckett, in the classic style of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.

The use of language is so skilled that every single paragraph, page, and chapter moves the story on, or tells us something about Beckett and the array of characters who come to life. Nothing is wasted, every word kept me alert, as I was literally immersed into Beckett’s mind, and rushed around London, encountering an eclectic array of unconventional, and often larger than life, characters. There were times I thought I was living inside a comic, others it was like watching a film by Howard Hawks, except often it was more like Tarantino, with plenty of action and sex, although neither is graphic, which I was grateful for.

Finally, the plot is full of twists and turns, most of which I didn’t even suspect. I  didn’t realise how perfect the title of the novel was until I read the last chapter. Kiss Me When I’m Dead is a fun and exciting ride. I loved it!

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What kind of reader would like Kiss Me When I’m Dead, Dominic?

Kiss Me When I’m Dead seems to attract the attention and appreciation of people who would never usually read a detective novel of any sort. They are surprised by the wit and particularly the personality of the main character, womanising private detective Daniel Beckett. But Beckett’s womanising is not of the sleazy, alpha-male variety and I think this is why many female readers like the novel and like him. Beckett, as a person, is quite a mystery and reveals nothing about himself. He has a skill set that alludes to an unusual, possibly sinister past. What that past may be is left up to the reader to decide, though there are clues everywhere. One review mentioned that the novel was ‘beautifully written’, which I was pleased to see. I take care over the words I use and try to put interesting pictures in the readers’ minds.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently writing the second novel featuring Daniel Beckett. This doesn’t have a title yet, as that’s usually the last thing I think of. I keep having to check back to the first novel to get various details of Beckett’s life consistent. That was a problem I didn’t face with the first one as it was all new. I’ve drawn a couple of flow charts detailing the plot, but I rarely stick to it. It’s more interesting for me if I don’t really know what’s going to happen. Often, some random event or comment will take the plot in a totally new direction. This is what happened when I was writing Kiss We When I’m Dead. It’s tempting to make a follow-up a kind of ‘part two’ of the first one, particularly when it’s been critically acclaimed, but I hope I’m avoiding that. I’m starting out of the window a lot.

Dominic

What would you like readers to know about you?

That’s a good question. Whenever I’m reading books, I prefer to know nothing about the author as I don’t think it’s important. I’m aware that many authors write about themselves and their own experiences, but I’m not one of those. There’s been a boom in indie publishing since it became easier to do, and I often notice that a lot of indie writers are writing about personal issues that are often mentioned in their biographies. I don’t think I’d ever do that as I don’t think it exercises the imagination enough. Part of the fun of writing for me is making huge imaginative leaps into worlds that you have no experience of and hopefully those leaps will excite and stimulate the reader.

How can we find out more or contact you?

Dominic Piper on Twitter: @DominicPiper1

Dominic Piper on Facebook: Dominic Piper

Dominic Piper Amazon Author Page:

Kiss Me When I’m Dead on Amazon US and Amazon UK

 

Please take some time to check out some of the other blogs on the A-Z Challenge. There are plenty of interesting and varied topics.

Letter O The April A to Z Blogging Challenge #AtoZChallenge

April Author Spotlight 2015

Letter ‘O’ is for Lara Ormiston, author of Unequal Affections

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Why do I recommend Unequal Affections?

When I finished reading Unequal Affections, I felt as if I had been transported through a time-tunnel to Longbourn and Pemberley and into Elizabeth and Darcy’s lives two hundred years ago. I had been an invisible visitor, observing them both throughout their month of courting. I loved the way Lara Ormiston gets inside both their minds equally, something I always miss in Austen. I felt I knew them, and understood their reasons and motivations perfectly.

Unequal Affections is one of the most beautiful, engrossing, and haunting books I’ve read. It’s clever, original and enthralling, and I relished every chapter, every page, and every word, and I’ll no doubt be reading it again, because it’s a book to be savoured slowly and repeatedly. Absorbing reading if you’re in a romantic mood.

By the way, I’m begging for a sequel. I hope Lara S. Ormiston writes one, because I need to go back and see how they coped with the challenges their marriage would no doubt face.

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What kind of readers would enjoy Unequal Affections, Lara?

I think my book would appeal to anyone who enjoys character-driven romances, and in particular anyone who loves period stories—and of course, Jane Austin fans! It’s a character study, really, that focuses on attitudes toward love and marriage, in the early 19th century but now too. People were more practical about marriage then, but questions of physical and emotional intimacy are just as complicated as they are now. Among other things, it asks: how far will the desire to love someone take you? What does it mean to truly love? How can you begin to build a life and relationship with someone you don’t really know?

What are you working on now?

I am working on way too many books! I have a hard time focusing on just one project, with the result that I can write a lot and still not get much of anything finished. I’ve never been a very quick writer, either. I think a lot and write a little most of the time. The next thing I hope to publish is a volume of humorous short stories and novellas featuring the cast of Pride and Prejudice. I’m very fond of writing comedy, and Austin’s characters provide all sorts of possibilities for the inventive writer. The stories in question range from a few thousand words to almost 40,000, and all of them are very funny.

Lara

What would you like readers to know about you?

That I’m a Christian. While I don’t always write directly about faith or religion, the things I believe definitely form the philosophical basis for all the ideas that permeate my writing. Someday I hope I will be able to write a truly Christian novel, but in the meantime, I enjoy writing about both some of wonderful things that God created and put in human hearts, such as love, laughter, imagination, courage, honor and beauty.

How can we find out more or contact you?

My Facebook

My Blog (not very active, but has lots of my shorter stories):

Find me on Goodreads

Unequal Affections on Amazon.com 

Unequal Affections on Amazon UK

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Please take some time to check out some of the other blogs on the A-Z Challenge. There are plenty of interesting and varied topics.

Letter N The April A to Z Blogging Challenge #AtoZChallenge

April Author Spotlight 2015

Letter ‘N’ is for Noelle Granger author of Death on a Red Canvas Chair and Death in a Dacron Sail

N

Why do I recommend Death on a Red Canvas Chair and Death in a Dacron Sail?

Death on a Red Canvas Chair is book one of the Rhe Brewster Mysteries. I was drawn into the novel immediately, from scene one when the body is unexpectedly found on the playing fields, and it was a pleasure to read, due to the well-written, vivid, and flowing language. Rhe is an unlikely and loveable heroine. She’s a hard-working nurse, police consultant, loving mother, supportive wife, and good friend. She’s the best friend or neighbour we’d all love to have. Sounds like a boring heroine, well, Rhe is anything but boring! Although she is highly regarded professionally, on a personal level, she struggles with important issues, and there are plenty of exciting moments to keep you on the edge of your seat, in a plot which is carefully woven with plenty of twists and turns!

Our heroine has first-hand knowledge of forensics, so at times, reading is like watching an episode of CSI, but Rhe is also prepared to work outside the lab, and put her life at risk confronting the bad guys, in action-packed scenes.

The second book in the series, Death in a Dacron Sail, is even better. Rhe is all set to solve another complex mystery, yet I was hooked by Rhe’s character and her personal conflicts.

You’ll love them both if you enjoy cosy, yet exciting, crime mystery, with masterful plots and great character development.

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What is Death in a Dacron Sail about, Noelle?

On an icy February morning, Rhe Brewster, an emergency room nurse with a nose for investigation, is called to a dock in the harbor of the small coastal town of Pequod, Maine. A consultant to the Pequod Police Department, Rhe is responding to a discovery by one of the local lobstermen: a finger caught in one of his traps. Thus starts the second book in the Rhe Brewster Mystery series.

The subsequent finding of the body of a young girl, wrapped in a sail and without a finger, sends the investigation into high gear and reveals the existence of three other missing girls of the same age, plus a childhood friend of Rhe’s. Battered by increasingly vitriolic objections from her husband, the pregnant Rhe continues her search, dealing with unexpected obstacles and ultimately facing the challenge of crossing an enormous frozen bog to save herself. Will she survive? Is the kidnapper someone she knows? In Death in a Dacron Sail, Rhe’s nerves and endurance are put to the test as the kidnapper’s action hits closer to home.

Rhe Brewster is a different kind of sleuth – a wife, mother, and emergency room nurse, juggling all of her roles, this time while pregnant. She’s snarky and tends to leap before she looks, which makes for a lot of excitement. While this book is mainly a cozy – set in a defined locale, with no sex and little gore – it should appeal to women from 18-90, mystery readers, and believe it or not, men. I’ve had a number of men read my first book and report they enjoyed it!

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What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on my third book in this series, Death by Pumpkin. I promise even more excitement and interesting things. The research for this book has involved cranes, small planes, firearms training and large pumpkins. You’ll have to wait to see how I weave all this together.

I am also doing the groundwork for a book of historical fiction, based on the life of Mary Allerton, the longest surviving Pilgrim who made the trip to the New World on the Mayflower. I’ll be back in my hometown of Plymouth, MA, to do more this summer.

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What would you like readers to know about you?

Rhe and I have a lot of things in common. We both like to sail, work at cooking, and enjoy a lot of day to day interpersonal contacts. This latter took a hit when I retired, but I’ve conquered the solitary activity of writing with blogging, critique groups and interviews for my research. I’d like to think that teaching anatomy for 40 years and earning my EMT license has given me enough knowledge to make Rhe’s career real and to provide a basis for some of the forensics in my books.

Other than that, I am not happy unless I’m in or on the water (swimming and sailing), the beach is my happiest place in the world, pizza is my favorite food, and I love to travel. My husband and I go to Maine in August each year because Maine in August is spectacular. Of course we love lobsters and Maine blueberries, but there is a lot to explore there and I’ve used information garnered there in my books and this year for the A-Z Blog Challenge. We did hit Maine in February last year for more research, and I’m not sure I’ll repeat the adventure. Brrrr….

How can we find out more or contact you?

My blog

My Face book

My Author Facebook

Twitter account: @rhebrewster

Amazon US for Death in a Red Canvas Chair

Amazon UK for Death in a Red Canvas Chair

Amazon US for Death in a Dacron Sail

Amazon UK for Death in a Dacron Sail

Goodreads

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Please take some time to check out some of the other blogs on the A-Z Challenge. There are plenty of interesting and varied topics.