Jennifer Neri's Blog

Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur. Henry Miller


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There are some things we return to over and over no matter what age we are. It’s our comfort, our go tos, our ahhh time.

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(photo credit: http://littleulvar.deviantart.com/art/cozy-350285009)

At the top of my list of comfort activities is reading Gay Gavriel Kay. I’ve been saving his latest novel for a time when I really needed it, and that time arrived a couple of days ago.

As a child I believed in magic and secret groves and fairies and witches and warlocks and lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

I still do.

And when I read Kay I’m reminded of that.

His latest novel, River of Stars, is mesmerizing.

River_of_Stars

I devour novels, about every 3 days I’m reading something new. 7 days if it’s long or requires me to be gentle with it. This one will be a much much longer read. More like how I eat chocolate. I savour tiny morsels; a chocolate can last months (literally!) often until my husband can’t take it anymore and eats it when I’m not looking.

I can feel the dedication that Kay put into River of Stars, each sentence is like a breath.

As a writer, I’m astounded by his story telling capabilities.

This story is told across people in time, rather than across time itself. There are characters we meet only briefly, being in their POV for a couple of pages and no more, never to return again. And yet, there is no frustration in this, no sense of being cheated, because we have witnessed the character’s defining moment in the story and there is no need for more from them. They have shifted the current, and that was all they needed to do.

I don’t underline prose in my books. I don’t fold pages. I was tempted to do so, but realized I would highlight too much to be of any benefit. This is one I’ll return to again and again, if only to hear the lyrics within its pages.

Do you have a go-to author or novel(s)?


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A Book Give-Away!!!!!

Linda Cassidy Lewis is having a five-day e-book give-away, with a winner each day! Winners can choose from either of her two published books in a series. There’s still two days left for you to win one these fantastic books–you may be the lucky one!!!

Reposted from her blog:

All right, we’re now on Day 4 of my end-of-May giveaway extravaganza! I’m giving away ONE eBOOK EACH DAY for five days. Winners get a choice between The Brevity of Roses or its sequel An Illusion of Trust.

brevwidget2Don’t despair if you entered yesterday, or the last three days, but didn’t win. You have two more chances because it’s a new giveaway each day. If you don’t win today, you can enter again tomorrow! And if you win today, you can enter tomorrow to try for the other book.

IMPORTANT: Since these are five separate contests, you must follow the entry instructions each day you want to be entered in the drawing. Entries DO NOT carry over to the next contest.

All eBooks are in the Kindle format, but you don’t have to own a Kindle to read them. The FREE Kindle app is available for every major smartphone, tablet, and computer.

AIT_widgetSo, how do you enter? You enter by clicking one of those social media icons below to share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. And then leave a comment here to let me know where you shared.

Each day’s entry period runs from midnight to midnight (PST) and Random.org will chose the winners.

READY … SET … GO and good luck!

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A lucky coin

I’ll share a little story I found unexpectedly in a book that Santa delivered to my daughter this year:

 

Our story began over a century ago when seventeen-year-old Egmont Harald Peterson found a coin in the street. 

coin

 

He was on his way to buy a flyswatter, a small hand-operated printing machine that he then set up in his tiny apartment.

The coin brought him such good luck that today Egmont has offices in over 30 countries around the world. And that lucky coin in still kept at the company’s head office in Denmark.

 

This little success story was stuck in among the publication credits of a gorgeous children’s book entitled, A Flower in the Snow, a story about the joys of discovery, its loss, and re-discovery.

 

Sometimes it pays to read publication credits :).a flower in the snow

 

A flower in the snow.

A lucky coin.

I wish you each find your own in the New Year, and always.


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Free e-book Today Only

In case you missed it–today is the LAST DAY to download Dead Bishops Don’t Lie for FREE.

I was at the launch at Chapters over the weekend, and there was quite a crowd gathered around Andre–it was wonderful to see the support and interest in his work! The thriller has gotten a lot of press and excellent reviews. Go get it while you can! 

 

FREE KINDLE THRILLER : André K. Baby, former Crown prosecutor and international business lawyer is offering his thriller “Dead Bishops Don’t Lie” FREE on Tuesday October 23rd and Wednesday October 24th. Based on historical facts, “Dead Bishops Don’t Lie” takes you to the dark side of Vatican politics, where an explosive, secret pact must remain buried forever. Before this truth is revealed, The Church will do everything to suppress it. Read it before they do!!

The reviews:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to any aficionado of smart thrillers. L.D. Douglas

The plot is a marvelous story that kept me engaged and caring about what happens next.

Peter K.

  The intrigue is layered and well done.

Deacon Pete  |

 

“…What makes Baby’s writing so strong and believable is that, as a former 

prosecutor, he insists on testing every link in the chain of evidence… I made the mistake of cracking open the book on a Friday evening. I finished it Sunday at the expense of a briefcase full of work I’d brought home…”—
Jim Duff, Editor, The Hudson Gazette

 

For more information, see his website at http://www.andrekbaby.com/

 

 

 

 


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Where did that come from?

When I first began this blog one of things that often came up was where stories come from. So many interesting ideas and theories were proposed. Too many to name, but things as simple as observation and as complex as genetic memory came up. Lately, it’s been on my mind again–maybe because I read this post here, by Pat–so I thought I’d bring it up, have a little fun!

One of things one of us mentioned was along the lines of this: that stories are threads out there, threads that we walk into without even realizing. I kind of imagine them like dandelion fluff, exploding, floating and landing and germinating in an endless cycle.

Many many agreed with this feeling. Stories, people, places, they just pop into our head and demand to be written. The problem is most of the time we need to ignore these stories due to time constraints. We pick and choose, listening to the strongest tale, the one that only we can tell, and let the others drift away for someone else to grab.

So, last night after I did my 30 minutes of editing, I watched Big Bang Theory–laughed–said goodnight to hubby and went to bed. I can’t fall asleep without reading, so I read the latest silliness (more on that another day) I have downloaded and fell asleep after reading this: One of the MC’s husband was shot and killed in an armed robbery at a corner store. The story was given to us by a neighbor explaining that the only person she knows who was ever killed was the father of X who goes to preschool with her son.

This morning my son comes to me and says he had a bad dream in the night. He’s still young, his nightmares usually involve people breaking his Lego and whatnot. I asked him to tell me about it. He said this: I was in the grocery store with dad and there was a robber and he started to shoot and because I was holding dad’s hand he got shot instead of me.

So there you have it folks.

Are stories floating around out there waiting for us to grab them?

 


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E-book giveaway on Kindle Select

Get the thriller Dead Bishops Don’t Lie, by André K. Baby FREE on Amazon Kindle Select Giveaway TODAY October 9th, tomorrow Oct 10th, and October 23 & 24.

Based on historical events, “Dead Bishops Don’t Lie” draws the reader to the dark side of Vatican politics, where unbridled ambition leads to treachery, revenge and murder.
In early May 2005, the gruesome murders of two archbishops , one in Switzerland, the other in Italy, trigger a worldwide shockwave of indignation and outrage .
Baffled by these ostensibly related crimes and fearing more assassinations, the Swiss and Italian police call Interpol for help. Thierry Dulac, a caustic investigator with an enviable track record, gets the nod.
Dulac’s search for the killers takes him from the hushed corridors of the Vatican and the quiet luxury of a British Marchioness’s château, to the dank prison cells of Moscow’s infamous Lubyanka prison. Struggling through personal trauma and finally piercing the Vatican Curia’s notorious Code of Silence, Dulac uncovers an astounding, unlikely conspiracy of dirty money, blackmail and state-backed terrorism. He’s just realized the enormity of what he’s discovered when a hit-man strafes the windshield of his Renault…
The reviews: “… A lightning-paced thriller. I can’t wait to read the sequel…” Norbert Spehner.
“. The book’s pages will burn your fingers…” Richard Migneault.

Lawyer and author André K. Baby has mined the wealth of his rich legal experience as a Crown prosecutor and international business lawyer, to forge the plot and characters of his religious thriller, “Dead Bishops Don’t Lie”.
Its stand-alone sequel, “The Jewish Pope”, will be launched in early 2013.

 

 


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Anytime, anywhere, anyplace, read!

According to my mom I was reading at two years-old. Now that I’ve had three children, I’m not sure I believe her. But one thing I’m quite certain about is that I was holding a book in my hands most of the time. When I began reading them is up for debate!

I read to my first child all the time. To my second as well. To my third…not as much. It’s something I try to squeeze in, but don’t often succeed at. Just the word squeeze makes me flinch. Reading shouldn’t be squeezed in, it should be enjoyed, treasured.

There are a million reasons why I don’t read as much to my third child. [My older children take music lessons and we practice everyday. They are both athletic, my son is on a competitive swim team, my daughter is a gymnast. Um, I forgot about the daily homework, which in an immersion program is very heavy. And then there's the daily household duties. So my poor little two-year old gets left to entertain himself much more than his sibling ever had to. This is not a bad thing, he's much more independent in some ways (in others not at all!), and he's become very good at getting into things he's not supposed to.]

But there will always be reasons.

Fostering a love of literature in my children is very important to me. I think it’s one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. I’m a writer after all, it’s my greatest passion. But the kids don’t see my process, and they are too young to understand it. All they see is mommy on the computer.

The other day I heard myself thinking, well, it’s okay that I don’t read to my toddler so often, he’ll either like books or he won’t.

Yesterday when it was just me and my eldest in the car he said: “I love reading. I love books. I have to read everyday. I can’t fall asleep if I don’t read.”

“Me too,” I said.

“Even when my eyes are so tired I can’t see properly, I’ll read,” he said.

“Me too,” I said, and laughed. I know that feeling so well, of struggling to keep my eyes open just to turn the page, and then another, and another.

“You fell asleep next to me every night for five years watching me read,” I continued. (yes it took that long before he was able to put himself to sleep. First child–what can I say?)

And that’s when it struck me. Sure, my two-year old may naturally gravitate towards books, but it’s my job as his mom to show him how important they are. How they are an integral part of our daily lives. We learn by example, and this is one example I don’t want to bypass.

If bedtime comes upon us too quickly, I’ll read after school, before diner, after diner. It doesn’t matter when a book is read. So long as it’s read.

 

How about you:

Do/did you read to your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or any other little ones in your life?

And how important is reading to you? Is it something you do daily, or sporadically?

(*image taken from children’s colouring website: http://coloringtown.com/children-coloring-pages/)


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an unexpected consequence of e-readers

 

I didn’t want an e-reader. I mean I really really really didn’t want an e-reader. I would read paper books only. And that was that.

Until I bought an iPad. Then I discovered how easy it is to read with a reader. And how wonderful it is to have books available all the time. Heck, my library even lends e-books! I discovered how comfortable it is to read curled up half hidden under the blankets with the lights off–reading in the dark!!! Who would have thought? My inner child was smiling in delight!

But I noticed something the other day when I was looking for my next book to read: I’ve become fussy. All of a sudden I can sample an endless supply of books without doing any work at all. I don’t have to go the bookstore or the library. I don’t have to spend hours looking at titles and reading the flaps and the first pages and decide if I want to bring something home or return it to the shelf. I don’t have google reviews and decide if I want to add the book to my cart.

I can read a few pages without any sort of commitment at all.

I noticed this, and I noticed that I would literally read a line or two sometimes and delete the sample. Sometimes a paragraph. Most of the time not even a page.

This wasn’t a conscious decision. And this is certainly not something I would have done before. Read one line and give up on the book? Never. And yet, here I am doing it.

As a writer, I questioned myself: What kept me reading past those first lines? And more importantly, why didn’t I keep reading?

The answer was that I wanted immediacy. I wanted to be brought into a situation right of the bat. If there was descriptive prose, it had to be linked to something or someone. It couldn’t be words for the sake of beauty alone. So, not only have I become a fussy reader, I’ve become an impatient one. I don’t want to sift through pages and paragraphs to get to the story, I want to be in it with the very first word.

The take away message here is this: Writers, if we thought those first lines were important, e-readers have made them even more so.


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Dead Bishops Don’t Lie

Did the title get your attention?

It certainly did mine!

The e-book, written by André K. Baby, is available at Amazon.

Directly from the blurb:

Based in part on real events, André K. Baby’s well-researched “Dead Bishops Don’t Lie” draws the reader to the dark side of Vatican politics, where jealousy and unbridled ambition can lead to treachery, and murder.
Within the space of a week, two Archbishops are found crucified, one in Switzerland, the other in Italy. Baffled by these ostensibly related crimes and fearing more assassinations, the Swiss and Italian police call Interpol for help. Thierry Dulac, a caustic investigator with an enviable track record, gets the nod.
Follow inspector Thierry Dulac’s search for the killers, from the hushed corridors of the Vatican and the quiet luxury of a British Marchioness’s château, to the dank prison cells of Moscow’s infamous Lubyanka prison. Struggling through personal trauma, Dulac uncovers an astounding, unlikely conspiracy of dirty money, blackmail and state-backed terrorism. He’s just realized the enormity of what he’s discovered when a hit-man strafes the windshield of his Renault…
The reviews: “… A lightning-paced thriller. I can’t wait to read the sequel…” Norbert Spehner.
“Mind-blowing. The book’s pages will burn your fingers…” Richard Migneault.

André K. Baby is a Montreal-born lawyer and author. He’s mined the wealth of his rich legal experience first as a Crown prosecutor and later as an international business lawyer, to help forge the plot and characters of his first thriller, “Dead Bishops Don’t Lie”.
Its stand-alone sequel, “The Jewish Pope”, will be launched this summer.

André is a member of my critique group and he was a guest here last year when his first novel was published in french. He’ll be back soon to talk about this novel, so stay tuned!


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Read, read, read — It’s your job!

I’ve been editing. And I’m at a point where it’s a slow process. I feel like me and my novel are trying to outdo each other, and I’m trying to see what it’s hiding, and it’s waiting for me to do something…

Which leaves me sitting and staring and thinking, but I’m pretty sure I’m outwitting my novel, and I’m going to win and have it all fixed up, I’m certain of it!

In the midst of all this slowness, I’m reading. I read all the time, usually at bed time, but now I’m filling up day time hours reading as well. I’m not procrastinating with my writing, I’m just not rushing and making more of a muck with it.

I haven’t consciously been reading across genres, but now that I realize I have been I’ll try to make more of a point of doing so. Of exploring genres I would not normally gravitate towards. I’ve also been reading more than one novel at a time (which is something I never do, unless I’m reading non-fiction).

In the last short while I’ve read, or begun:

fantasy, Sharon Shin, the first in the Twelve Houses series (I really liked it – anything to do with magic and I’m pretty much hooked). I liked it so much that I’ve begun the second in the series!

chick-lit, Cecelia Ahern, The Time of my LIfe. (pure turn off brain time. I need it on occasion)

The Help. not sure what genre that is – can I just call it fiction? I love it so far, the voice is amazing.

Cathryn Grant’s, Madison novellas. These books have their own genre: suburban noir. Madison is quirky and great and really fun to read!

The First Five Pages: writing book. It’s been a while since I’ve a writing book, and I read pertinent sections. A little refresher.

I think I’ll have to begin exploring horror – something I haven’t done in years. And it’s also been ages since I’ve read pure sci-fi.

When I first starting writing not that many years ago the advice I heard over and over was read the genre you’re writing. Recently, I’ve noticed a shift, now we’re being told to read cross-genre.

Personally, I learn different things from the various genres. YA teaches me a lot about characterization. Thriller teaches me about pace and plotting, and also about withholding and dispensing info. Romance teaches me about relationships and persona authenticity. Historical fiction teaches me about scene-setting and description. Fantasy about detail. And on and on and on. And usually I’ll get a lot more than that out of each individual novel.

How about you: do you read cross genre? And does your reading affect your writing?

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