Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Things You Learn on a Journey…

Crossing on the Paris is the debut novel by Dana Gynther.  Thank you to Simon and Schuster for a copy to review.  She brings a story of three womens’ journey from three different classes.  The Paris is an actual ship that sailed the seas in the early 1900s.  How many of you remember the movie Titanic?  No, I am not talking about a sinking ship which does not happen in this story.  The film Titanic illustrated so well the class restrictions in the story.


Three women have a plan for the journey on the Paris.  Vera hopes that by leaving on the Paris her longtime companion might stop her, and choose to spend out the rest of her days together.   Did I mention that she is first class? But will he?  Who are these other women she keeps running into?  Constance Stone is coming back from trying to convince her sister that she should come home and help in the care of their mother.  Constance journeys in second class. How successful will she be?  How can she occupy herself on the journey back?  The third woman in third class is Julie Vernet who is working on the Paris as a stirrage maid.  She has great dreams of actually working on one of the ships that come into the port town of Le Havre.  Will it be everything she hopes?  Will these three women meet?

My Thoughts: 

I liked Crossing on the Paris.  It is the journey of these three women that keeps the story interesting.   The author compels you to continue through story switching seamlessly between each woman’s story.   I felt a great deal of compassion for the character of Julie Vernet and her story.   I felt so bad for all of them.  It is amazing how conflicts can lead to great character and perseverance. 

The historical setting for this novel is set in 1921.  The actual Paris set sail in 1913 according to the author’s notes.  She changed the setting slightly for her story.  It still works to tell the stories of Vera, Constance, and Julie.



Please visit Dana on her Facebook page and her Website.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Tenacious Bird Gets the Worm

A multipublished author friend of mine told me years ago, “The only thing separating me from my unpublished writer friends is persistence.” She began her career writing True Confessions articles for pulp magazines, and now, nine novels and one Pulitzer Prize submission later, she is an established, respected author of literary fiction.
When she told me this, I was just beginning to write full-length fiction, at the foot of the mountain that is the usual path to publication, and I remember thinking, Persistence? I can do that all day long. I finished my first manuscript and submitted diligently to agents, ready for them to snap it up and launch me into my new career.
All of them passed.
Undaunted, I put that manuscript  away and started over—and over and over and over—on the manuscript that eventually became The Breakup Doctor.
When I felt I had finally “found” the story (oh, the many joys of pantsing), I began submitting it to agents—to a great deal of indifference and one or two kind and encouraging responses. To cheer myself in the face of dozens of rejection letters, I began making poetry of them, as my submission list approached the triple digits:
Sometimes we must pass on books, 
(even very good books,)
which are either out of our range or
 require an amount of attention we feel 
unable to provide.   
Thanks  for reaching out, and for waiting patiently for a response.
 While this sounds interesting, I'm afraid it's not for me.  
 So it's with regrets that I'm going to pass.  

At submission #100, still with no offer of representation, I decided that this second manuscript would join the first in a drawer. I had been greatly persistent, but it was time to admit that this one wasn’t going anywhere.
“Don’t give up,” one of my critique partners said. “Send out a few more.”
And because I used to be an actor, and had my delicate ego thickly calloused by those many years of rejection, I did. And lo and behold, on query #113 I received an offer of representation from my current agent. She loved the story and the concept, and enthusiastically began shopping it around to publishers. We got fantastic feedback—notes so flattering that in all the flowery words, I almost missed the fact that no one was actually offering for the book. Not one publisher.
Reluctantly, my agent and I retired the manuscript while I kept working on another one. Persistence had become my middle name, my battle cry, the Band-Aid over the wounds of rejection.
After I finished that story, I took another look at Breakup Doctor—this time with the objectivity some distance had offered me, and I reworked it to something pretty close to its present form. I’d never been able to get the story and the characters out of my head, and I’d decided to get it out in the world myself.
I told my agent of my extensive revisions of the story, and my plans to self-publish it, and—never having stopped believing in the story—she immediately asked, “Will you give me one more crack at trying to sell it first?”
Well, yes. Of course. If you are lucky enough to find an agent with the same overdeveloped persistence gland you have nurtured in yourself, you give her carte blanche to plow full steam ahead at all times.
And she shopped it. Again. And we got the kindest, most flattering of rejections. Again.
Until we didn’t. Three years after she’d first signed me on the merits of this story, my agent sold the book as a series of three to Henery Press, a relatively new but reputable publisher that has come onto the pub scene like a lion.
Did I catapult to the top of the bestseller lists? Not yet. Did Hollywood come clamoring for the movie rights? I’m sure they’re on their way.
But meanwhile, I have another story to write, and my agent and I are going to shop that sucker around pretty hard while we keep working with the Breakup Doctor trilogy.
Because if I never become the J. K Rowling of chick lit, I have decided . . . it will never be for lack of persistence.

Phoebe Fox has been a contributor and regular columnist for a number of national, regional, and local publications, and is currently a regular guest blogger on relationships for the Huffington Post. She's been a movie, theater, and book reviewer; a screenwriter; an actress; and a game show host; and has even been known to help with homework revisions for nieces and nephews. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two excellent dogs.
Visit at her website, and you’ll find The Breakup Doctor on Amazon , and everywhere books are sold.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Do Predictions Really Come True?

Welcome to the Gypsy Moon!  This is one of the few remaining novels in the House of Winslow Series by Gilbert Morris.    This story focuses on the life of Gabrielle Winslow also known as Gabby.

Gabby is on top of the world! She has a date with one of the most popular boys at school.  As the date draws to a close her date brings her to a popular park near their homes.  A band of gypsies are there and they are invited to share in the activities.   Gabby meets Jana an older gypsy who is a Christ follower.  She tells Gabby’s fortune about who her true love will eventually be.  Her words repeat through Gabby’s head as the years go by.  Since this the earlier date she has become a doctor and gone to live with her aunt Liza and her uncle Dalton.     There have been many men in her life but none who meet Jana’s standards.  Her Uncle Dalton is invited to work at the University of Berlin and he makes a discovery. It might help the war efforts.  Germany desperately wants him to stay and finish his work.  Enter Dai Bando an English spy who has to seek help from Gabby to rescue her aunt and uncle.  Will he convince her that he can help?  Will Gabby make it safely out of Germany?

My Thoughts: 

Did Gilbert Morris come up with another winner?  The answer is yes.  This novel included some interesting historical characters from Josephine Hellinger to Adolf Hitler and his Nazis.  I felt that Gabby’s story had so many twists and turns that it kept me interested throughout the novel. 

The novel is actually set in Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Germany.    The only part of the novel that wasn’t my cup of tea is how the story meandered in places.


Please visit Gilbert on his Twitter and his Website.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

In My Mailbox: Decatur Book Festival August 31, 2014

Good evening!  Well the festival is over!  I had a great time! I even got to meet Lauren Clark in person.  Had a great time seeing Mary Kay Andrews, Patti Callahan Henry, Zoe Fishman, Stephanie Evanovich, Karen Joy Fowler (extremely entertaining!),Wendy Wax, and Randy Susan Meyers.  

So without further ado here is the mailbox: 

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyer

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

Driving Lessons by Zoe Fishman

The Unexpected Waltz by Kim Wright

I hope you all enjoy the holiday and share what you are reading!

I am reading: