Friday, June 24, 2016

Interview with Author A.K. Driggs

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with A.K. Driggs, author of Abandoned in Search of Rainbows

FQ: Can you tell readers the difficulties an author has when writing the story of their own life? Does ego get in the way? Is it painful to go down memory lane?

DRIGGS: For me ego never entered into it. It took me over forty years to be willing to do this project even with years of people asking me to do so. In the middle of the night I was awakened with a little voice whispering in my ear. “It’s time. you must write the story of your life. People need hope. Don’t stress. Don’t worry. You can do it.” At times it was painful to go down memory lane. I was amazed at how much I did remember in detail by just sitting quietly in my little writing room with my two dogs next to me supporting me all the way. I just asked for help inwardly to bring it all back. I re-lived the many conversations I had with mom and dad over the years and the many stories over the years I’ve shared with close friends.

FQ: Is there a bio of someone you particularly admire with a life story that inspires you? If so, who would that be and why?

Author A.K. Driggs

DRIGGS: Barbra Streisand and Karen Carpenter had a huge impact on me. Barbra Streisand because she had challenges as a young gal growing up within her family and self esteem issues. She overcame all of that with the gift of her voice. She overcame Hollywoods negative feedback about the movies she made, and she continues to thrive and give to millions through her voice and movies. Karen Carpenter and The Carpenters showed me how to implement harmonies (like colors of the Rainbow) each voice, each color one on top of the other by simply “overdubbing” your voice. Everything about the Carpenters impacted my life and journey with my music. I was heartbroken when Karen couldn’t overcome her battle with Bulimia and Anorexia. To this day I cry every time I hear her voice, yet she still has a positive impact on everyone who listens to her and Richard's music today. I always said as long as I’m alive, Karen will live through me.

FQ: Please tell readers a little about your music. Can they pick up your recordings somewhere?

DRIGGS: In the book it outlines the struggles, abandonment and betrayals that went along with me trying to do what I loved most, sing. I wanted to make records and continue healing people with my music. I saw the wonderful outcomes when I’d sing in public. I thought being a recording artist was the logical next step. I had a 45rpm record out all over the country for a while. Ja Vas Lu blu and Spotlight Routine. It did well with the DJ’s but unfortunately there was no LP (album) to back it up. Now however, with the new world of digital download and my ability to produce my own CD’s I have compiled all of my original music with me doing all vocals and harmonies and playing my guitar. The album is called Journey Through the Years by A. K. Driggs. This album has twelve songs on it from the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s and the most recent song called "I Found The Rainbow," written and recorded when I finished the book. It is available in digital download through:


Apple iTunes

Amazon

CDbaby


Or you can go to my website: www.abandonedinsearchofrainbows.com and order the Vinyl Hard copy CD. There are also links to the each site if you want to download.



FQ: Along those same lines, what is the most important facet of music for you? Do the poetic words of the songs just come?

DRIGGS: While the words are extremely important, the music and it’s ability to wrap its tones around you is the most important thing to me. The subtle overtones and harmonics is what thrills me the most. I have to be inspired, moved in some way for the words and music to come. When finishing my book, Abandoned in Search of Rainbows, I was overcome with emotion and suddenly the words and music flowed from me. The entire song was done in thirty minutes. It is the story of my life yet anyone can relate to it as though it were their story. I went into the local recording studio here in Hawaii and recorded with live musicians. I did all the vocals and played guitar as well. This was the first time I was back in a recoding studio since the 1990’s. What a thrill.

FQ: Is there another tale, perhaps a fictional one that may be in the works for you in the future?

DRIGGS: At this time there is not. That is not to say I won’t write one. At this time I’m focusing on getting this book and music out to the world. A portion of the proceeds of the book and music goes to, ocean, marine, animal and land conservation causes in the USA and globally. I would love to write another book down the road.



FQ: Was this book cathartic in any way for you? Did putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard, I should say) help you in any way?

DRIGGS: Yes it was. By re-living all the happy and sad times, it allowed me to realize how far I have come. It also gave me the awareness that when something happens in my life that pushes an old engram or button, I’m aware of the emotion and am more able to deal with it. The purpose of writing this book was truly to help others. The responses I’m getting from people who have read the book shows it’s doing just that. For that I am fulfilled.

FQ: You certainly know your own stories by heart, as you tell readers in the beginning of the book, but was there something you ran across that you did not remember from the past? (Sometimes an author is just writing away and ‘something’ will enter the memory that has been lost or buried over time, so I wonder if that particular ‘moment’ might have happened for you?)

DRIGGS: I couldn’t possibly put down every incident and every situation as I didn’t want to loose my reader. I had to pull from my life the most important compelling scenes and experiences that I felt would have the most impact. While there were some things I remembered, I chose to not put them in the book as they were not really relevant to the overall purpose of the book. I feel I did capture all the most powerful and moving moments.

FQ: What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

DRIGGS: From my dad. 1. Always tell the truth. 2. Always give 100% to whatever you do. 3. Always have Health Insurance.

FQ: If you could have lunch with one artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

DRIGGS: Barbra Streisand. She went through a lot of heartache and emotional suffering as a child within her family and growing up. I would love to sit and talk to her on many levels.

To learn more about Abandoned in Search of Rainbows please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.





















#BookReview - Abandoned in Search of Rainbows


Abandoned in Search of Rainbows

By: A.K. Driggs
Publisher: Book Publishers Network
Publication Date: September 2015
ISBN: 978-1-940598-77-2
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: June 22, 2016

There are some authors out there, and yes, readers will agree, who should not write their life stories. This, however, is not one of those authors.

Just think...from the very beginning, as a baby left inside a brown paper bag, on a toilet seat of all places, this author has been on a one-of-a-kind, completely unique path. Now, a beginning like that could spell a dark, perhaps even dangerous future for a child. But in A.K. Drigg’s life, any darkness would eventually be overcome by her talent, her heart and her passion. No, she is not a psychic who can see in vivid color the Ancient World (readers have run across those in the past). What A.K. can do, however, is heal and help all living creatures with the amazing power of her voice. Her singing...her songs, her poetic words actually create light in lives that need just that.

As readers walk along the path with A.K., looking at oddities that somehow, after the chapter comes to an end, make complete sense, they discover A.K. communicating with animals, building a loving and supportive relationship with her adoptive family, fighting cancer, as well as using her voice in both the phone-sex industry and as a musical prodigy.

When Act I begins, in present day, she is taking her mother to a place where she truly wants her to be happy – a condo in Vegas. While in the car on the road, A.K. and her mom get into a conversation that leads down memory lane. And when the memories begin to flow, the reader finds themselves in the frigid, gloomy New York State winter of 1954. Baby Jane, found in the restroom of a local restaurant and bar, makes headlines and is adopted by the Driggs family. Her mother, Elizabeth L. Driggs, is a wonderful woman who loves Baby Jane and she and her husband anoint her with the name, Ann Kimberly Driggs. She and her husband not only adopt Ann; they have also adopted a young boy named Chip who becomes the older brother that A.K. immediately looks up to.

The years following highlight a path filled with a rainbow of color. Dark days are lived with the author, as well as bright, positive moments in time when she discovers that her voice is a blessing. Readers will love this family; the heartfelt and true emotion that this Driggs group share is monumental and lasting. And dealing with everything from how hard it is to lose a pet to how on earth you find/define yourself when a large part of your own history is simply not there, is riveting. Life, love, finding a mate to care for with your heart and soul, and expressing beauty and power through music – this book has a story with so many tales that every reader will find something they can definitely relate to.

And, in the end, it’s so nice to know that even an odd beginning can lead to an amazing Act II.

Quill says: Offering the perfect balance of positive and negative – the two real sides of life’s coin – this is a story you won’t soon forget.

READ THE INTERVIEW!








#BookReview - Angels, Angels, Everywhere


Angels, Angels, Everywhere

By: Michelle Beber
Illustrated By: Susan Shorter
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication Date: October 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4525-1894-7
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: June 22, 2016

When things go wrong...When life gets upsetting, difficult to deal with, or when you just experience a day that goes haywire and you need to feel love, angels are the perfect friends to ask for help.

I want to begin with the fact that this is a children’s book full of heart. It shows each child in the world what it feels like to have a special friend who always calls out: “You’re Number 1!” when the child achieves a goal. It shows children how to stay calm in the face of a bad moment in life and call upon the group that literally is always watching out for them, over them, and standing behind them when they need support.

Many people have stated that when you believe in angels anything is possible, and then (like this particular author) those same people went on to achieve their goals. A completely non-denominational book, this title is truly a book of rhyme, color, reason, love and fun that offers a learning experience and also a look at how good life can be when the “winged ones” are a part of it.
Having a book that actually uplifts you in a world that seems to grow so dark at times that most do not want to get out of bed, is a real blessing. The author has done a great job focusing on a very basic message that still, to this day, hits home in a big way. Angels are everywhere. Whether you are talking about angels here or angels “there” (wherever your “there” might be), all they want to do is share their love. They want to calm you when you’re scared, hug you when you’re sad, and basically be the best friend you can ever have. This book does a lovely job of driving that message home, and the illustrations are offered by a talented hand with a love for vibrant color that makes this a book you will want to keep on your child’s bookshelves for a good, long time to come.

Quill says: Inspirational, uplifting and hits just the right subjects for kids (and adults) who need and want to catch a glimpse of their best-winged friend.





Thursday, June 23, 2016

#5PeculiarYears Tote Giveaway! @quirkbooks




To celebrate the five-year anniversary of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Quirk Books has given us TWO neat totes for a giveaway!

Front of tote


Back of tote


How to enter: simply send an email to us at: info@featheredquill.com with the subject line 5PeculiarYears.  The body of the email needs to have your name and mailing address.  (U.S. addresses only) That's it!  We'll pick two winners Monday morning at 9 a.m. est.  Good luck!!!


In addition, Quirk is running a contest for fans of the series over at http://www.quirkbooks.com/5PeculiarYears. All you need to do is submit your Miss Peregrine fan art, cosplay, shelfies, or selfies to be entered to win a number of prizes. Feel free to enter the contest yourself using #5PeculiarYears and share the news with your friends/followers.
Can you believe it's already been #5PeculiarYears ???  And there's a movie coming out this September!!! 




Monday, June 20, 2016

#BookReview - The Memory of Lemon


The Memory of Lemon

By: Judith Fertig
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 2016
ISBN: 9780425277959
Reviewed by: Diana Hettinger
Review Date: June 18, 2016

Claire “Neely” is the owner of Rainbow Cake Bakery in Millcreek Valley, Ohio. As a top wedding professional, she has seen it all and has been able to deal with even the toughest of brides, thanks to her ability to identify with people based on flavors. Neely is able to pair these flavors with memories of the bride in order to create a completely personalized wedding cake that gives the bride exactly what she wants. Up until now, that is. A bride and her mother come into a cake tasting at total odds with each other and it is clear that what the bride wants and what her mother wants are two completely different things. Neely has to dig deep and decipher this family’s history in order to come up with a flavor that will enhance this wedding and make everyone happy. Neely knows exactly what the bride wants, but can she please her mother?

While she is trying to solve this mystery, she is also trying to solve the puzzle of her own past while moving on to her future. Her father, a Vietnam war veteran, left her when she was young, her grandmother’s memory is failing her, and she is struggling to get her unfaithful and famous husband, Luke, to sign divorce papers so that she can finally be with Ben, her old best friend and newfound love. It seems that just about everything wants to get in the way of her happiness, but in order for her to be happy and move on, she needs to learn about and face her past.

The Memory of Lemon has a nice, light reading feel that makes this book easy to read within a few days time or even in one sitting. How the desserts are described will not only make you crave sweets but literally taste them. The way this is written makes you contemplate what flavors identify with your own past and what flavors make you think of certain events that have happened and how they make you feel. It is easy to identify with Fertig’s characters and put yourself in their shoes and try to understand why they are the way they are and why they did what they did. This book makes you see that a little bit of passion, love, and flavor can go a long way.

Quill says: The Memory of Lemon is a fun and light read that is perfectly paired with a front porch and lemonade.




Friday, June 17, 2016

#BookReview - Crowning Glory @stacyharshman


Crowning Glory: An Experiment in Self-Discovery Through Disguise

By: Stacy Harshman
Publisher: Andarina Publishing
Publication Date: June 26, 2016
ISBN: 978-0997368819
Reviewed by: Anita Lock
Date: June 18, 2016

A social experiment unexpectedly initiates a profound healing journey in Harshman's eye-opening memoir.

Diagnosed bipolar, suffering from depression, and constantly dealing with panic attacks, thirty-three-year-old Stacy Harshman is fed up with five months of unfulfilled private therapy. In a moment of desperation to escape from her dismal mental and emotional state, Stacy purchases a red wig unaware that the hairpiece will dramatically change her life. Donning the stunning "Showgirl" as she prances throughout New York City, Stacy feels empowered as complete strangers feed her with flattering responses. Impressed by the transformation from her mousy-looking hair to her styled do, Stacy wonders if people's reactions would be the same if she had a different colored hair. That thought turns into a five-week/six-days-a-week social experiment appropriately named Crowning Glory and the topic of Stacy's memoir.

Stacy hires a gal she dubs Agent Thorn to observe and record people's responses. Going undercover and assuming a new life each week, Stacy documents her external (interactions with public) and internal (how she feels) experiences. Pretty much keeping to the same "diverse settings and Manhattan neighborhoods," Stacy transforms into red-haired Kali Amsterdam during the first week. The raven-haired Nada Jolie, the blonde Raya Mer, and the brunette Paula Isla follow on weeks two thru four. Lastly on week five, Stacy makes her rounds simply as herself with the hair from her own head. Through ups and downs and sexual encounters with cyberdates, the over two-hundred-hour experiment has its way with morphing and reshaping Stacy—ultimately building up her self-confidence.

It is astounding how one comment can have a negative effect on a person's life. During her childhood, Harshman internalized a family member's statement about her hair. Harshman concluded that she's ugly—a nagging stigma that stayed with her into her early adult years, and thus the attraction to full-bodied and eye-catching colored wigs. Almost ten years have passed since the Crowning Glory experiment. Certainly, Harshman is not the same person that she was back then. The wacky and wild five plus weeks definitely pushed her closer to accepting herself—something that professional therapy couldn't nail down. As Harshman aptly confirms, "It was as though I had been growing a real-me seed inside a wig-covered greenhouse."

Harshman's one-of-a-kind life changing story is nothing less than compelling. A balanced combination of journal entry, storytelling, and background history, Harshman's writing style is direct and at times visceral. Harshman leaves no stone unturned in her desperate attempts to escape her lackluster introverted lifestyle with her present boyfriend. While capturing times when she succumbs to panic attacks and grapples with uncomfortable as well as unsuccessful sexual escapades, Harshman also incorporates plenty of hilariously awkward and embarrassing moments. Such highlights include her wig hair getting caught in the subway doors, a price tag stuck on the seat of her pants at a popular hipster bar, and a psychic reading with Mama Marie—just to list a few.
Today, the multi-talented Harshman is quite the entrepreneur. Taking all her challenging and creative circumstances and turning them into something beautiful, Harshman's musical talent has produced six albums. Her passion for color led her to not only become an artist, but also to launch Andarina Designs, a custom lighting design company.

Quill says: Crowning Glory is not only entertaining, but also a powerfully positive read.

For more information on Crowning Glory: An Experiment in Self-Discovery Through Disguise, please visit the book's website at: www.crowningglorybook.com








Thursday, June 16, 2016

Interview with Author S. Marriott Cook

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Diane Lunsford is talking with S. Marriott Cook, author of A Home for Abigail: Everyone Needs a Forever Home

FQ: I enjoyed the tremendous kindness you portrayed when telling Abigail’s story. What is your worst experience with a person who has that preconceived notion of how vicious pit bulls are?

COOK: Once when I took Abby to a mall, two policemen stopped me, telling me I could not walk Abby there. I asked Abby to “sit,” then asked them to pet her. She was so sweet and calm; they let us continue walking. Many people and children loved petting her when we went places.

FQ: Your illustrations are beautiful. Which came to you more naturally during the process of developing A Home for Abigail, the writing or the illustrations?

COOK: Oh my, the illustrations, without a doubt. I love to paint, as you can see there are over sixty illustrations in the book. Writing the story proved trickier making sure all the events were true. Abby was dumped the day she had puppies, I was taking her to be boarded and decided to take her home, Mr. Buns thumped and Coco came in the see her. Abby fed the ducks with us every day. Newsie did follow us home after we got Abby and all the rest of Abby’s adventures in the book are true. Well, she and the cats didn’t wait up for Santa.

Meet Abby!

FQ: I’m assuming you had many pets growing up. Please share a fond memory of one of them.

COOK: I recall teaching Frieda, our dog, to climb the steps to my slide-down, where she spent many hours watching what was going on in the neighborhood.

FQ: You say this is based on a true story. Did you ever find the person who abandoned Abigail and if not, how would you handle the encounter if you ever did?




COOK: Since Abby was most likely dumped, we never found anyone claiming her. We really looked, as you can tell from the book, we really didn’t think we wanted her at all. If someone had lost a dog and claimed her, we would have gladly returned her.

FQ: I love the interaction between Abigail and the cats. In our family, we have a dog and two cats. The two cats are polar opposites and our dog always seems to migrate to the cat who could care less about him. Do you suppose they have a mission to be loved no matter what and why do you suppose this is?

COOK: I agree, dogs like to be accepted by all. I think it’s because they are pack animals. Although, unlike your dog, Abby pretty much left Coco alone...she was a toot. Abby was great with Chloe and Gus, and of course, Mr. Buns was her best friend!



FQ: With the thousands upon thousands of animals abused, abandoned and simply mistreated, do you ever find it is too difficult to continue with the cause? What gets you over that moment?

COOK: You just have to remember you can’t change the whole world, but you can change the whole world for the pet that you adopt.

FQ: It was a pleasure to read A Home for Abigail. Is there another project in the works and if so, would you care to share?

COOK: Yes, I have finished the manuscripts for two other books. I am working on the illustrations now.



To learn more about A Home for Abigail: Everyone Needs a Forever Home please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.