Tuesday, September 27, 2022
#BookReview of the Adventures of Tandi the Toucan
Friday, September 23, 2022
#AuthorInterview with Jill George, author of The Light Among Us: The Story of Elizabeth Carne, Cornwall
|Author Jill George|
GEORGE: When someone logically determines the best course of action is exactly opposite of what the majority thinks and oh, by the way, you have no opinion. You aren’t allowed to have an opinion. And to write books about it? Incredible. So my vote is for Elizabeth’s work on reducing the class system and improving inclusion of the lower classes. Imagine how resistant men were to that idea, how laughable they thought it was! Yes, J.S. Mill fought for inclusion of women, but even he was rejected time and again. The confidence of will to put herself forward in that fashion and to have the foresight to think through and write about factors driving the need for social inclusion is just remarkable to me. She developed a road map for society that most of society did not follow. Think about where we would be as a world if society had followed her roadmap, her logic, her recommendations. We would be richer in every way.
Thursday, September 22, 2022
#BookReview - The Garden by Robin Strong
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
#BookReview of Don't Look Back: A Mack & M Mystery by Stephen Winn
Don’t Look Back: A Mack & M Mystery
By: Stephen Winn
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: October 2022
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: September 19, 2022
Stephen Winn pens a winning formula of intrigue, murder, mystery, and who-done-it in his latest Mack & M Mystery Series, Don’t Look Back.
Mackenzie (Mack) Sampson is a relatively successful private investigator. A few years back, he was an even greater detective with Boston Homicide. Detective Nik Lewis, Mack’s boss, used to think as much at one time. That was until Mack screwed up royally by not only showing up drunk to a crime scene but compromising the evidence as well. There were no more ‘get out of jail free’ cards for Mack and Detective Lewis told him that when he fired him on the spot that fateful day.
Fast-forward a few years later and Mack is doing ‘okay’ but the reality is if he doesn’t pull in new business soon, it won’t be long before the doors to his business close permanently. Mack reminisces back to that time when the love of his life Jamie was still alive and how he got to where he is now. Back then, his feet were planted firmly on the ground and he and Janie were destined to live happily ever after until a devastating car accident took Jamie away from him. That’s when alcohol and prescription drugs set up permanent residency in Mack’s life that eventually ruined his professional life as a detective with Boston Homicide. A few years later, he opens his private investigation firm. However, business has been less than great and Mack is worried about yet another devastating closure in his book of life.
Hope shines bright when one least expects it and such is the case for Mack. It seems a body is found in the trunk of an abandoned vehicle outside one of the local watering holes. The car, however, isn’t your typical ‘beater.’ Rather it is a Bently and it just so happens to belong to Bill Stewart, esteemed partner of John Whiting in the successful Royal Ransom import business. John smells a rate and doesn’t trust the local law enforcement to get to the bottom of what really happened to his partner. It’s a win-win situation for both John Whiting and Mack the day he walks through the doors of Mack’s business. For Whiting, the prospect of getting to the truth and for Mack, the offer of $100,000 to keep his business doors open to see another day. What Mack doesn’t know is this God-sent pay day is going to lead him down some very interesting paths before he can stamp the file ‘case closed.’
Stephen Winn knows how to spin a captivating murder mystery. His old school style writing has the allure of ‘gum shoe’ detective nuance sprinkled throughout. Main character Mackenzie Sampson is a guy’s guy and there is an affectionate twist throughout the way Mr. Winn shares the spotlight when showcasing the relationship between Mack and his beloved dog ‘Woof.’ While Winn doesn’t come right out and paint character Mack as a full-blown alcoholic, there are subtleties throughout the read toward Mack’s struggle with alcohol and prescription drugs and his personal reasoning of why it’s okay for him to do so: "...Alcohol hadn’t eased the repetitive anxiety attacks, so he also began popping Xanax like candy. His two growing addictions ended up ruining his professional life—a stellar career with Boston Homicide..." Winn has blended a diverse cast of characters among Mack’s firm with Paula (‘Paul’), M and himself who are likened to a group of misfits who are conversely quite good at their respective contributions. Paula is the office administrator and it’s clear she is the glue. M is the martial arts ‘enforcer’ who keeps things safe in his stealth way and Mack is the charisma who can land the business. The pace is at a great clip from start to finish and the dialogue is credible. Simply put, Mr. Winn has crafted an engaging read and I can only hope he is working on the next in this detective series.
Quill says: Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, Don’t Look Back will throw you a curve ball when you least expected it!
For more information on Don’t Look Back, a Mack & M Mystery, please visit the author's website at: www.stephenwinn.com.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
#BookReview - Late in the Day by Brett Shapiro
Monday, September 19, 2022
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This Month's Book Giveaway Book - Have you entered yet?
This month's book giveaway. Have you entered yet?
(scroll to bottom of our main page to enter)
Sunday, September 18, 2022
#AuthorInterview with Jacek Waliszewski, author of Air Boat
Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Holly Connors is talking with Jacek Waliszewski, author of Air Boat: Love is an Adventure.
FQ: First, thank you for your service!
And now for the questions. First, I’m sure you get asked this a lot, but I have to know...how does a Green Beret turn author and start writing romance novels? I suspect most people would think you’d write tough guy/action/mystery type books.
WALISZEWSKI: I’m a romantic at heart, and a book worm as well. Also, a Green Beret is slightly different than ‘all the other’ Special Operators. We are all taught another language, we often live with and next to our partners, and our greatest weapons aren’t our guns, rather, our skills as Warrior Diplomats. A great example of this is that on this last (and final) mission to Afghanistan, we were direct personal advisors to the last Special Operations General of Afghanistan – Sami Sadat – This relationship is captured viscerally by National Geographic in the movie Retrograde, which was directed by Matt Heineman and just debuted in Telluride, the Zurich film festival, as well as a few others. Here’s the teaser link www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeCEhBvfgOc (For reference, I am the ‘bearded guy’ seen in the first 12 seconds.)
Suffice to say, my experiences that directly or indirectly influence my writing are going to be rooted in all aspects of life, and love, romance, and adventure are going to be critical aspects of that, especially to a hopeless romantic like myself.
FQ: Is it true that you wrote Air Boat while stationed overseas? If so, would you tell our readers how that happened?
WALISZEWSKI: Absolutely. I started writing Air Boat while in Afghanistan in 2021. I was on the last SF team (12 Green Beret’s) in Helmand, Afghanistan. In those last few months, our stress levels were through the roof because we didn’t know how it would turn out (Were we evacuating? Were we staying behind and fighting? Are we going to hold out like the Alamo against the Taliban?)
To top it off, a 20-year war was ending all around us and it was mind blowing.
In the midst of this, I found myself walking through a very post-apocalyptic landscape of buildings, roads, and memories, some not ones I wanted to particularly revisit. So I wanted to read something, that could distract me fully.
I found (read: I broke into) an old abandoned USO library, and looked through all their dusty books, some looking as if they’d never been read before, others holding onto whatever glue hadn’t dried out in the multiple 120F summers they had spent there. I would pick up a book, read the first page, and put it down. Pick up another book, read the first paragraph, and put it down. I’d try to start in the middle of a different book, but it didn’t work for me either. Nothing resonated. The books were too stereotypical, or they were too fantastic, or they were too romantic, or too predictable. I couldn’t believe them, let alone find the time to absorb from them what their author had wanted me to discover. In short, I couldn’t let the book do what a book was supposed to do - to tell a story that would serve as a time machine to another world or place in history. (I hope I’ve painted the picture of where I was when I was trying to find a book to read, no doubt the reason I couldn’t find one!)
So what did I do? I started writing the book I wanted to read. To make a long story long, that was the genesis of Air Boat. A frustrated Green Beret, in the heart of Afghanistan, seeking a place to escape to, where love and friendships are paramount, and adventure is never too far behind.
FQ: Have any of your military buddies read the book? What has been their reaction?
WALISZEWSKI: Several of the guys I work with have bought it - they told me they bought it for their wives or girlfriends - but in private, they tell me that they also read it after their significant others had, and really liked it. I won’t tell you their names, but I assure you it’s been a few very macho men – ha! Also, when I was writing it in Afghanistan, I shared the story with my guys in between when we were working, and the next day, we’d be in the middle of a meeting or operation, there’d be a lull, and they’d turn and ask me, “So what is Luke up to?” or, “What’s Saint getting into today?” and I realized that I wasn’t only creating a time machine for me, but also for the guys I was with.
FQ: The chapter where we go back in time and see Luke returning home to an empty house was so sad. Was that a hard chapter to write?
WALISZEWSKI: This was a difficult story, yes. In part because I combined two true stories to write it. One was mine, where I came home early from a deployment and no one was home when I got back (my phone had broken and circumstance dictated that I didn’t have a spare key) and another friend of mine, who came home and his fiancé had left him. He and I shared a few poignant moments and points of honesty over this, and when I asked if I could combine elements of his real life and mine to help explain what it sometimes feels like when you come home to a different world, where no one remembers your name or they care more about things like bake sales and HOA dues, he immediately said yes. But what’s more important, perhaps, is that ‘bearded guy’s return’ chapter wasn’t just a subset of my story or experience, but a lot of the guys with whom I work with, and it seems to have resonated.
FQ: How much of Jacek is in Luke? Or perhaps he is based on a friend or an amalgamation of several friends?
WALISZEWSKI: I work with a lot of phenomenal GBs that I admire and look up to. At first, I really drew on their characteristics, but then Luke (and Stella and Saint) became real people. I would get lost in their story and I wanted to do right by them. At a certain point the book was no longer about me telling a story in a book, it was about Luke and Stella getting their story out in the world. And there at the end, when Luke had to commit and make such a hard decision, I would be lying if I didn’t shed a tear knowing that I was responsible for creating that world.
FQ: The chapter where Luke is planning on returning Saint but does all he can to put off the inevitable was heartbreaking. I found myself hoping Luke decided to keep Saint and I think, for me, that’s when Luke really came to life and I really cared about him. Was that the plan? To show Luke’s gentle side?
WALISZEWSKI: I wrote from a place of honesty. Luke is a man who wants to do right by the world, even if there is a significant degree of personal sacrifice. Saint represents the one good thing Luke has found since coming back; a quiet understanding between the two, one of respect and love. So for Luke to have to choose between doing the right thing, and sacrificing himself just one more time, was critically important to showing him to be as human as all of us are. I wrote it in a way that I knew I would feel, a disjointed frustration between right and wrong, and I’m glad that the struggle felt real to you because it was very real to Luke.
FQ: I love the way you describe certain minor characters by a trait or clothing item - “The Bearded Man,” “Hat-Bro” - did these names just pop up as you wrote or were you thinking of trying something unique to define these characters?
WALISZEWSKI: Ha! Yes! (I’m laughing). This is my personal adaptation. I’ve travelled the world (4 continents, 40 countries) and worked with thousands of people from so many cultures in my time as a Green Beret. We (the collective GB community) often times find ourselves around a campfire or table retelling stories with our friends and family, and due to time and distance, we’ve sometimes forget what the person’s name was in the adventure we had just experienced, but we rarely forget them. So we give them nicknames, sometimes to continue the story, other times to exaggerate a particular characteristic. As I was writing Air Boat, when a character or a person who was worthy of mention came into Luke or Stella’s life, I found myself wanting to highlight them for the reader, but not necessarily distract the reader with anything more.
FQ: I’m guessing by the section where Luke meets the Russian ladies that like Luke, you too speak some Russian. I enjoyed that encounter as I too, know some Russian and so, found it fun to read/translate. Are you fluent? How many languages do you speak?
WALISZEWSKI: I was as fluent as I ever was when I lived in Eastern Europe for several years, and while I maintain some proficiency, it usually takes me a week or two to warm up my language skills. Right now I’m pretty good at Polish, still ok at Russian, and for a while I could speak Ukrainian pretty well. When I lived in Germany, my German was pretty solid, and when I was in Africa, after six months, my French was enough to get me into trouble and my Swahili was enough to get me out of it.
FQ: On your website, you mention being the son of Leszek Waliszewski, one of the original founders of the Solidarnosc movement in Poland. I understand you were only months old and yet helped with the movement. Do you recall stories from your father or anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
WALISZEWSKI: This is such a deep question and thank you for asking it. I had always been told about how my mom hid propaganda papers in my diaper and hoped I wouldn’t pee on them, and how my dad saw me for the first time after spending six months in prison. He relayed the story to me how his fellow Solidarnosc aka Solidarity members were so happy to see me they tore up some bed sheets and made a ‘prison’ birth certificate that I still have to this day. As I grew up more, he would tell me how he and Lech Walensa started working together, how he got arrested at the train station, about meeting Regan and briefing US Congress. My dad and mom are huge inspirations for standing up for what they thought was right, and restarting a life in America as immigrants with just two suitcases, two kids, a handful of dollars, and no English skills. Their struggles and sacrifices helped shape me to be who I am today, and I can never fully express my gratitude for their sacrifices.
FQ: What’s next for writing projects? Will we meet Luke and Stella again? (Please say yes!)
WALISZEWSKI: Glad you ask! While Stella doesn’t play a part in my next book, Luke and Kyle do. I’m halfway done with the Edge of Texas, where we follow Owen and Dakota through their romantic adventure. Owen is easy going but always planning, and Dakota is a journalist trying to gain inside access into US Special Operations in the middle east. Everyone’s plans are going great until Syria collapses in civil war, and Owen and Dakota have to work together to escape.
#BookReview of Air Boat: Love is in Adventure
Air Boat: Love is an Adventure
By: Jacek Waliszewski
Publication Date: July 2022
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: September 16, 2022
A retired Green Beret with a somewhat mysterious past, a strong-willed woman who loves to fly, and an adorable three-legged Husky with a penchant for roaming set the stage for debut author Jacek Waliszewski's unique romance Air Boat.
Luke is an ex-Green Beret who has attempted to leave his past behind and make a new life in the woods of Montana. He lives alone in a house that he is slowly fixing up, and spends his free time fishing on a nearby lake. We first meet Luke as he settles in for a quiet morning of fishing. The lake is quiet except for the sounds of a nearby flock of geese. But the quiet is soon destroyed by a low-flying air boat. As the plane gets close, the geese panic and fly - right toward the plane. In order to avoid the birds, the pilot is forced to immediately dive toward the water...and Luke. The young man jumps into the water, flipping his kayak and losing his favorite fishing rod in the process. Yes, Luke is very upset.
Back at his cabin, Luke soon meets a lost dog - a three-legged husky, that, according to his collar, goes by the name of Saint. Perhaps Luke realizes just how lonely he is when he starts to plan a life with the sweet dog, buying food and a dog bed for his new buddy. But Saint's owners have posted flyers about the dog all over town and when Luke's friend hands him one of the lost dog flyers, Luke decides to do the right thing and return Saint to his rightful owners.
Arriving at Saint's home to return the dog, Luke meets Pierce and his wife Barbara. The military man agrees to stay for dinner as a "thank you" for finding and returning their dog, and soon meets the couple's daughter Stella. Things look promising until Luke discovers that Stella was the pilot of the plane that almost hit him. So much for sparks flying. But perhaps things will turn-around thanks to Saint, some flying lessons, and a trip to Minnesota...
Air Boat is one of those very enjoyable romance novels that quickly grabs you and before you know it, you've finished reading. While the writing was a bit stiff in the first few chapters, the author soon finds his stride and the story really takes off. Luke was an interesting character - he definitely had walls built around him, and whether those walls will come down thanks to Stella will keep readers guessing. Stella, in contrast to many woman portrayed in romance novels, was a very strong woman who didn't need a man to make her complete. There are some tense moments and events that will emote feelings of excitement, anticipation and a comment of "I did not see that coming." Kudos to Jacek Waliszewski for entering the highly competitive romance genre with a debut that should help establish him as an author to watch.
Quill says: Romance, suspense, and a few unexpected twists and turns makes Air Boata very satisfying read.
For more information on Air Boat: Love is an Adventure, please visit the author's Instagram page or his website.
Friday, September 16, 2022
#BookReview - He Wears a Blue Bonnet by John Orton
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
#AuthorInterview with Tom Bisogno, author of Siena My Love
Monday, September 12, 2022
#BookReview of Annihilation (Gehenna, Book 2) by Kaylin McFarren
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Check Out Kindlepreneur
Hey authors! Looking for some help with your marketing? Check out Kindlepreneur - it's a great site full of useful information for authors looking for ways to get their books seen/purchased.