Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Melody of Words

Today, I am happy to introduce
Susan Moore Jordan
and her wonderful novels combining her love of words and music.



Susan Moore Jordan doesn’t just love Opera like a lot of us do. She teaches voice in her private studio, and her students went on to leading schools of music, singing in opera houses and musical theater companies around the world.

Her other love is writing. To no surprise, her words have that lyrical sound evoking the same feelings in her readers as does listening to music for opera lovers.

Susan published her first novel, How I Grew Up, in 2013. 
It is a coming-of-age story based on a high school friend of the author, who suffered a horrific family tragedy a week before she was due to audition for her school’s spring musical production of Carousel.


 "You'll Never Walk Alone." The words from that song in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel held an especially poignant meaning for Melanie Stewart, who went on stage in the leading role of Julie Jordan mere weeks after her parents were victims of a senseless murder, perpetrated by her own sister's troubled husband.



 This was followed by the wonderful Eli's Heart in 2014


This is not just a coming-of-age story, but the rise of ELI LEVIN as a brilliant teenage pianist.
And, like any young man, he falls in love. Life should be perfect. However, Eli was born with a serious heart defect and not expected to live past the age of thirty. Where does such overshadowing leave young Love?

At the beginning of 2015, she published You Are My Song, her third novel.



The nineteen-fifties. Elvis is wearing Blue Suede Shoes.
The Grand Old Opry reigns supreme in Nashville.

But in a small Tennessee town Jamie Logan—a goodhearted young man with a superb tenor voice—stars in his high school's musical theater production and begins an unlikely, almost magical journey that could take him to the pinnacle of the opera world. 

* * *


All of Susan Moore Jordan’s novels are drawn from her life experiences as a voice teacher and stage director and are inspired by real people she encountered in the course of her long career.

Check out Susan’s Author Page at Amazon:
Susan also has a wonderful Blog about—you guessed it—Writing and Music.

Follow her on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/SusanMooreJorda

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Crystal Curse – Reader Reviews


The Crystal Curse
Book 4 
Legends of the Winged Scarab
has been out for a few weeks now.
I'd like to share (okay, gloat about) some comments from readers:

* * *

“There are surprises. No spoilers here, but if you think you can predict this narrative, you will be wrong frequently - and in totally logical ways. … There is magic of a sort, and ancient mysteries are afoot. There is greed and love, mishap and adventure. Again, this is a fun read.”
(Jim Bennett for the KBR Review)
~~~
I would hate to say this is the best book in the series, but it does raise the level of the series; it just keeps getting better.
(Joseph the EvilCyclist)
~~~
 “Ms. Borg is a gifted writer able to truly paint pictures for the mind's eye. Her details illuminate every corner of the imagination and her language and turns of phrase make the text sparkle.
(Dan Diego)
~~~
“The Crystal Curse, now tops them all. Perhaps the fact that I have read the whole series contributes to those feelings. On the other hand, if I had just read this book without all the background, I would still be impressed.
(Jo Cryder - Further, she says) “I'm looking forward to Book 5.
~~~
Already in the works.
Its theme and planned conspiracy action surprises even me.
That’s all I am going to say for now.

You can get your eBook here (with the paperback through Amazon):



Saturday, July 4, 2015

HAPPY FOURTH

Wishing Everyone a Happy (and Safe) Fourth of July


And if you don't like the noise accompanying real fireworks,
there are plenty of sparks flying in the
"Legends of the Winged Scarab."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crystal Bridges Museum, Where Literature Met Art

Most people have no idea of the gem that sprung up in a little Northwest corner of Arkansas. (I know, you are not one of them--but I was, even though I have lived around here now for quite some time.)

Ms. Alice Walton (yes, of the Bentonville Waltons whose empire is known as WalMart), envisioned, created, and at last birthed an art complex so fabulous it easily holds its own among the world's most renowned treasure houses. And what's best about it is that is is exclusively American Art (hence the name).

To pull me out of the house after having slaved over Book 4 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab, The Crystal Curse, friends suggested I join them on the three-hour drive to visit the CRYSTAL BRIDGES Museum of American Art.
(Another "Crystal" -- get it? How providential was that? If I believed in my own fables, I surely would think it was a sign...)

Reproduced under the "Fair Use" law from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art website  http://crystalbridges.org/about/
During my long life, I have traipsed through most of Europe's grand museums, and even worked at the renowned Boston Museum of Fine Arts (did you get that in "Sirocco"?); so one might assume I am a little jaded.

Well, let me tell you: Crystal Bridges can not only hold it's own but, in my and every one else's book, it is right up there with the most prestigious collections. However, what impressed me personally the most was the modern architecture blending into a seemingly natural setting. Soaring ceilings, concave and convex beams defying gravity as glass and steel melded into each other, the vista tumbling down into the pool.

Walking trails encircle the acreage leading you through a soothingly natural and seemingly monochromatic landscape. But don't be deceived. The work to produce this serenity must have been monumental. Stone slabs of almost ancient Egyptian proportions line the easy walkways, suddenly thrusting you upon babbling brooks. A closer look through the foliage reveals the bronze sculpture of a fat and quite contented pig; then a bear exposes his enormous backside as he munches on a salmon.

Despite its grandeur and splendor, Ms. Walton not only gave the Crystal Bridges collection, its buildings and grounds, together with its enormous upkeep, to art-lovers, but she declared it "Admission-Free." Permanently! We saw seven-year old kids on a field trip with their teacher, young people with babies, families who might think twice about visiting "a museum" where the admission fee exceeded their weekly food budget.

Art and Literature cannot sprout from the dust of hunger or neglect. Young souls must be exposed to them, they must be taught. CRYSTAL BRIDGES is Ms. Alice Walton's and the participating donors' gift to imbuing future generations with the seeds of their own culture.

Now, do yourself a favor and visit the beautiful website of Crystal Bridges. You may want to schedule a trip to Bentonville.
http://crystalbridges.org/about/


KHAMSIN - Deeply Discounted

To show my appreciation to my readers -
especially those of you who read
SIROCCO and AFTER the CATACLYSM -

I have

DEEPLY DISCOUNTED

KHAMSIN, The Devil Wind of The Nile,
Book 1
Legends of the Winged Scarab

down to $0.99 from $4.99
(you save $4.00)


But it's only good through the end of June

The Book also got a new Cover.



     This is a sprawling saga about Ancient Egypt. Hence, woven into the multi-layered action are the ancient times, the land, its people, the Nile and that devastating devil wind, the khamsin.
     Besides enjoying the drama of warfare, court intrigue, forbidden love and, lastly, hope for eventual redemption of an ancient ba, a sinner's soul, readers might even learn a few things they didn't know.
     And it all happened 5000 years ago.


Links to Buy:



Amazon-US
Amazon-UK
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes (Apple)

And if you want to add your review also on Goodreads:




Friday, June 12, 2015

The Birth of a (print) Book

    As far as book-births go, preparing THE CRYSTAL CURSE for its print version was a breech birth! Or -- in Edvard Munch's rendition -- it was a SCREAM.
    You’d think after the lot I had done before, it should have been a piece of cake…well, sometimes the best bakers forget the yeast…maybe it was “the curse.”
   However, at last, The Crystal Curse is now UP and running (I am just waiting for the “Look Inside” to appear on both Kindle and Print versions); and KHAMSIN (in its drastically reduced state) is already selling well. With the upcoming promotions through BookGorilla and ENT, I am hoping for “hot cakes.” (What is it with these bakery metaphors today?)
    If formatting for Kindle, the Nook and iTunes are different animals with bookmarks and hyperlinks, this print version turned out to be as cursed as El Hanash, the crystal snake.
    Sized at 6x9, different font, different line spacing, mirror-margins, correct pagination – the computer’s page 1 doesn’t start at the book’s Page 1, alternating headers, main Parts must start at the odd page—you get the idea. I had wrestled and tweaked for the last two days.
    Finally, I was happy with it and uploaded the print manuscript to CreateSpace, Amazon’s Print-on-Demand arm. One last check on their screen: Oops, a tiny mistake. Three asterisks to denote a scene change were not centered…Corrected my manuscript; clicked SAVE so I could re-upload.
    “No can do,” the computer said.
    “What! Give me a break!” (Or "kak," as Cornelius, the South African in The Crystal Curse, would have said.)
    “There may be a problem with your hardware,” the (fairly new) computer blared (just so I would get it). I did. When I finally managed to open my document, it had turned into complete gobble-di-gook. No recovery. If my house had more than one story, I might have jumped out the window.
Instead, I contacted the good people at CreateSpace.
    “Boo-hoo-hoo. Can you PLEASE e-mail the Word version I just uploaded back to me?”
    “No can do.”
    “Boo-hoo-hoo.” (Or "mat" as Alexei, the Russian in The Crystal Curse, would have hissed.)
    “Don’t cry, lady. I can make it so you can down-load it yourself from your dashboard. Will that work for you?”
    “You bet-cha!” (CreateSpace has not let me down yet when I boo-hoo-hooed before with one or two other problems—always my own doing).
    I dried my tears and saved the darn thing six times all over the place. Usually, when I make corrections/changes, I save that version as a new (dated) document. But for three asterisks? Who knew?
    I sure will - for Book 5!
* * * (those were the culprits)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

THE CRYSTAL CURSE

JUST PUBLISHED:



* * *
Read the First Reader Review here -
(with an interesting observation about Amazon's "algorithms"
that sensor reader reviews)

http://devilwinds.blogspot.com/p/review-my-books.html

* * *
Excerpt

     When they reached the door to Lorenzo’s ill-gotten treasure stash Jonathan turned and smiled at his guard while poking a finger at his own chest. “Jonathan.” Putting on his best boyish grin, he motioned the plodding man to follow him in. When the man shook his head, he pointed again at his chest, “Jonathan,” and then added, “Your mother’s a whore.”
     After what felt like forever, the pardoned killer from Isla Margarita shrugged his shoulders and nodded receiving a grateful thumbs-up in return. …
… Despite her delight of seeing her husband come in Naunet looked up from her notes and calmly waited until Jonathan reached her desk.
   “How nice to see you,” she said. A quick sideways glance at B. Stiff hunkered down on one of the packing grates warned Jonathan they were not alone.
   “I just wondered how you were getting along. Anything on these tablets about Crete?” Jonathan asked emphasizing the last word.
     “I gleaned some hints about it,” Naunet answered with slightly arched eyebrows. “Though definitely not Minoan.”
     “I remember something from the Book of Samuel.” Again Jonathan pronounced the last word slowly. “It spoke about hope being afloat. Or, as we say in Spanish,” he grinned as if he were saying something funny, “La esperanza está a flote.”
     Naunet stared at her husband guessing more than seeing him nod. She ventured, “I don’t think Samuel wrote anything about Crete. As I recall, he wrote about the Arc.”
     “Good old Samuel,” Jonathan nodded, this time openly. “It is possible he followed the Arc to Crete.” He saw Naunet’s eyes grow wide and answered her unspoken question with another slight nod.
     “What are you two blabbing about?” B. Stiff was working his way toward them when the ship suddenly lurched forward. …
     The sudden movement threw B. Stiff off balance. To prevent from brushing against a large painting to his left, the little man grabbed onto the nearest handhold. It turned out to be the protruding penis of one of the prone Greek statuary he was supposed to be looking after—besides spying on Naunet. With an audible crack, the shiny marble phallus detached itself from its curly base.
     “Oops,” Jonathan grinned, “I guess even the magic of your name won’t put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.” …
     “You clumsy oaf!”
     None of them had heard Jabari slide into the huge room. “What have you done! This is a priceless relic!”
     The look on the man’s face as he held the ancient artifact at arm’s length was priceless in itself and both Jonathan and Naunet tried hard not to burst out laughing.
     Jabari, on the other hand, found no humor in the situation and continued to berate the man. As with his former self, Dr. Jabari El-Masri’s explosive anger produced the desired effect. The grinning guard had just time enough to step aside as a terrified B. Stiff, clutching his precious penis, yanked the door open and fled out into the corridor.
   Jabari motioned to the Wilkinses. “What a lucky break, if you pardon the pun.” He bent over Naunet’s desk pretending to look at some of the photographs. “We need to talk. As you know, we are all in the same boat …”
     “No kidding,” Jonathan challenged.
     “We need to trust each other and exchange ideas how we can survive this ordeal together.”
     “Sure we do.” Jonathan’s sarcasm was not lost on Jabari who chose to ignore it.
     “I mean it, Jonathan.” He waved an impatient hand at the handsome American wondering how best to tell them what was on his mind. “We need to trust and help each other, and protect each other’s back. You have to back me up.”
“Against any wall in particular?” Whatever scheme the Egyptian had in mind, Jonathan was not ready to let him off so easily.
“Jonathan! We don’t have time for your jokes. I beg you. Please, both of you, listen to me.” …
“It’s about Crete.” Jabari said. “Or rather what I told Lorenzo about the Ideon Cave.”
“Are we back to your belief you sprung from Zeus’s loins?”
“Jonathan, this is serious. And, no, I did not tell him about that. Well, not all of it, anyway.” Jabari turned to Naunet. “It’s about the crystal you wore around your neck when you boarded this ship.”
“I would hardly put it that way, Jabari. I didn’t exactly board this crate voluntarily,” Naunet snapped.
“I am truly sorry, my dear. But tell me. Do you recall anything special about the crystal when you handled it? Perhaps when you touched it for the first time?” …
She decided not to say anything until she found out what Jabari was up to. “Special? In what way?”
“Perhaps peculiar would be a better word. A certain property. A strong light or a variance in temperature.” Jabari too was testing the waters before giving too much away.
“I think you better let us know what you have in mind. No telling how long we’ll be left alone in here.” Jonathan glanced at the guard leaning against the door. He gave the man one of his thumbs-up and called out, “Your mother’s a whore.”
The guard nodded happily before going back to looking bored.
“I beg your pardon!” Jabari stiffened.
“Just making sure the guy doesn’t understand English,” Jonathan grinned, not altogether displeased with himself despite Naunet’s quiet ‘Jon!’  …
* * *
For once, Jonathan itched to get back to the tunnel to tell Bill about the new developments.  Before he did so, he felt the need for fresh air. He had always done his best thinking staring out at the sea. Through sign language he made his ever-present burly guard understand. Once outside, he leaned over railing and gulped salt air into his lungs. It took him a moment to feel the guard behind him standing so close they almost touched. Good God, don’t tell me this prison rat has designs on me. He turned to get his rear end out of its danger zone.
Now, the two were face to face and the guard poked him hard in the chest. “Jonathan!” Then the man touched his own chest. “Vergil.”
“Vergil. Well, what do you know. The man has a name,” Jonathan grinned. As pleasantly as possible he added, “And your mother’s still a whore.”
The guard grinned back. “That maybe so. But next time I’ll throw you overboard.”
If there was ever an oh-shit moment, this was it. Jonathan was so shocked to hear an unmistakable New York accent all he could manage was, “Brooklyn?”
“The Bronx.” Vergil was obviously enjoying the moment.
Not for the first time, Jonathan noticed the height of the man, unusual for someone he had taken as a native Venezuelan; still, there was a swarthy Latin look about him.
“So why were you in a Venezuelan prison?”
The man’s lips stretched into a wide grin. “For raping my mother.”
Jonathan pushed himself away from the railing and inched his back against the peeling superstructure. “Shit, man. You might have told me.”
”That I’m a rapist? Or that I know what’s going on?”
“Preferably both. By the way, what is going on?” It was worth a try. Anything to stave off real or imagined attention from a sex-starved jailbird.
“You’ll find out.” The man put his dinner-plate hands on Jonathan’s shoulders and spun him around as if he were a child’s dreydel. Sphincter-clenching time again! To Jonathan’s relief, his guard laughed, “Relax, man. I only do women. Besides, we wouldn’t have time to enjoy it. I need to get you back to your tunnel before we both get in trouble.”
When they reached the vault, the guard ratcheted the lock. Before he pulled the heavy door open he stabbed a hard finger into Jonathan’s chest. “Jonathan,” he grinned and nodded in the imbecilic way he used to. “You were right. My mother was a whore. From Puerto Rico. Perhaps that’s why she named me Vergil. She told me it means rod bearer. I am sure her interpretation and mine are quite different.” He gave his hips a couple of forward thrusts. “But I didn’t rape her. Lucky for me, she died before I got interested in sex.”
“That’s comforting,” Jonathan coughed. “So, what were you in for, really?”
“You could call it bad timing. Being too impatient.”
Was there a wink? Jonathan couldn’t be sure.
“We were getting so good at stealing, me and my buddies got sloppy. That’s how we wound up in that shithole of a jail.”
Jonathan tried to figure out why Lorenzo might have had this guy released from Isla Margarita’s notorious San Antonio prison. He decided to take a stab at it. “So, you were stealing art for Lorenzo?”
“No, man,” Vergil laughed. “We let him think we were ruthless killers. Well, sometimes, you could say we were. He hired the lot of us.”
The man stepped again uncomfortably close toward Jonathan who expected anything but what came next.
“We weren’t stealing art. We were stealing ships. Containers, trawlers, yachts, even a tanker or two. Twenty-five years we got, for what their crappy court called piracy on the high seas. And here we are, stuck on another stinking rats nest without women.” A disturbing gleam stole into the man’s eyes. “Say, how would you consider giving your new friend a break?”
“Afraid I don’t do men,” Jonathan said through his teeth.
The guard broke into laughter as if he had just heard a great joke. “Not you, dummy. I was thinking of your woman.”
It took all of Jonathan’s willpower not to hit the insolent bastard in the face. Instead, he gave the door such a violent push that he literally tumbled into the ballast tunnel. Half embarrassed and five times as furious, he shoved the heavy steel shut with his foot slamming it into the guard’s face. At least, the swine had the decency not to follow.
Bill stood in front of their work table delicately filing away at something he kept turning around in his hand. Jonathan assumed it was a new thick bolt for the metal frames. As he went closer he saw it was B. Stiff’s guillotined piece of marble. At that instant, what had just transpired outside the tunnel hit him squarely in the nuts.
“God-damn-it, Bill! Stop playing with your dick! We’re sitting on a powder keg here.”
The imperturbable Dr. William Jefferson Browning gently laid the exquisite penis down. He then carefully positioned his flat file in front so it would not roll off the table. Looking over the rim of his bifocals he put an arm around his younger colleague’s shoulders.
“In that case, my friend, I strongly suggest you get a longer fuse.”
* * *

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

THE CRYSTAL CURSE

Cover Reveal:

The Crystal Curse

Book 4 - Legends of the Winged Scarab

(scheduled for publication in June)



Prologue

Deep beneath Hawara, a site near the Fayum Oasis, there sleeps an enormous complex known as The Lost Labyrinth of Egypt. While the mysterious compound is said to have once been comprised of over three thousand rooms, the origins of this ancient palace are shrouded in the mist of time. Some believe its builders came from an ancient civilization and those ruins predate Egypt’s earliest cultural awakening by several millennia.
     Swirling on the winds of the khamsin are the legends about a mythical beast living deep within these tunnels. As the dunes shift under the capricious updrafts, the remnants of a chamber might be laid bare only to be reburied by yet another layer of sand.
     A few even tell of wondrous crystals growing within this complex, insisting that gold and precious stones await those who brave the stifling maze. For a brief moment, awestruck whispers turn into speculation. But thoughts of plunder are quickly doused as the legends warn:
No one escapes the crushing coils
of El-Hanash, the Crystal Snake.
For such is The Crystal Curse.

* * *


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Christoph Fischer’s Newest Novel

Cover Reveal
 


Writer Christoph Fischer has turned Gambler!
At least, with his newest novel

Coming June 1, 2015
  
THE GAMBLERS
Ben is an insecure accountant obsessed with statistics, gambling and beating the odds. When he wins sixty-four million in the lottery he finds himself challenged by the possibilities that his new wealth brings.

He soon falls under the influence of charismatic Russian gambler Mirco, whom he meets on a holiday in New York. He also falls in love with a stewardess, Wendy, but now that Ben’s rich he finds it hard to trust anyone. As both relationships become more dubious, Ben needs to make some difficult decisions and figure out who’s really his friend and who’s just in it for the money.
Look for The Gamblers on June 1st

The book is available on Pre-Sale now on  Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TheGamblers

Reading Fischer's Books is one Gamble that'll make you a Winner!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kay Hadashi’s Hawaiian Island Breezes


Back in 2013, I introduced Kay Hadashi’s start of a new historical thriller series of Old Japan.

Kay tells me that Bugeisha Dreams has since evolved into a
stand-alone book with a new cover.




However, Kay’s delightful heroine, June Kato, was much too good to let go. Kay came up with the new Island Breeze Series. These novellas follow June in her transition from top LA neurosurgeon to Maui transplant (no pun intended I am sure as June Kato is, after all, a neurosurgeon).
     Among tropical flowers and old legends, June finds a husband and starts a family. Of course, nothing is ever simple for this exotic beauty; she finds life on the tropical island of Maui comes with a price. Even though her life has become simpler in some ways, there is plenty of adventure around orchids and pineapple plants, and Pele, the fiery goddess of Haleakala.
     The stories include Hawaiian legends (and maybe a few ghosts), promising to be smashing hits with Kay’s readers who, I think, will be as fascinated by these exotic fables as I am.


Kay has written many other exciting novels, novellas and short story collections.
Check them out here: