Tuesday Talk with… author Ann Harrison-Barnes

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Thank you for spending a little time with us here on the blog today, Ann!

You’re quite welcome, I’m excited to be here.

Where are you from?

I am from Rochelle, GA.

Married with children, pets, or annoying roommates?

To be honest, I’m separated from my husband after being verbally and emotionally abused for the second time. I have one daughter from the marriage with my first husband, no pets, though I did have a guide dog several years ago.

I can’t imagine what that was like for you, but I admire and applaud your courage.

Are family and friends supportive of your writing?

Somewhat, though I get more support from my writing friends.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I am self-published after working with a print on demand publisher, who didn’t pan out.

Are you a full-time writer or do you also work outside the home?

I am a full-time writer, both as an author, marketing my own work and as a professional freelance writer.

How long have you been a writer?

All Total, I’ve been a writer for over 8 years.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

A year and a half.

What’s the easiest part of storytelling for you? The most difficult?

The easiest part of storytelling for me is the part when I can get in my zone and let the words flow. The hardest part is when I get ready to get into that zone and my muse decides to bail out on me. LOL

Have you held or attended any book signings for your work?

Yes, I had a book signing in Atlanta on October 26th.

Pantser or Plotter?

A little in between, I plot a little, then I pants a bit and finally, I go back and layer more into the parts of the story I’ve already written. Some people call this onioning.

Introvert or Extrovert?

Somewhat of an introvert. I’m private when it comes to releasing my emotions, Yet, when I’m around family or talking with friends, I’ll gladly have a conversation.

Have you ever taken the NaNoWriMo Challenge?

Yes, I have taken it every year since 2014. Although I won once, I still love the thrill of attempting to write 50k in 30 days and talking to other writers.

Do you belong to any writing or critique groups?

I do, I am a member of Behind Our Eyes, the organization for writers with disabilities. I am also on several writing and author groups on Facebook.

Finish the sentence, “Some days I hate writing because ____________.”

Some days I hate writing, because I don’t know what to write.

I’m not yet familiar with your work, Ann, what’s your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?

I write in more than one genre. I have infused three of my books with Christian fiction, mystery and suspense, and I’ve even thrown in a little romance when the characters lead me down that path. I have published a children’s book with adventure and mystery as well.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

I love Christian fiction, cozy mystery, some memoirs and romantic suspense.

What are you reading now?

I’m in the middle of a Christian romance called Finding Joy and I’m listening to an audio book called The Christmas Star.

Favorite beverage to read with?

Coffee or Peppermint Tea.

Where do you get the most writing done?

I get the most writing done for now, sitting at the table in my parents’ camper. However, writing isn’t just sitting down at the computer and typing on the keyboard. I also get most of my brainstorming done out on the front porch when it’s warm outside.

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

Unfortunately, no.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I don’t think as a writer I could totally live without social media, but I am more addicted to blogging than Facebook or Twitter.

If you could change one thing in your writing journey thus far, what would it be?

Trying not to be so comma happy. LOL! I find that when I write, I like to place commas everywhere and make longer sentences than usual. However, when I edit, those commas come out and I write short sentences.

What’s the inspiration behind your latest release? Who’s your favorite character?

There are quite a few sources of inspiration for A Journey of Faith: A Stepping Stones Mystery. First of all, I was inspired by the dreams I had of climbing after getting separated from my first husband and working on getting my divorce. The second is a song called A Good Rain by Dan Seals (written by Charlie Black and Jenny Yates).

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

This song was the inspiration for the following excerpt, from a scene in Chapter nine, where Jim Peabody tells Becca Martin about how he lost his farm.

EXCERPT

“Well howdy their Bill, I ain’t seen you in a coon’s age. Jim Peabody, where in tar nation have you been and what took you so long to get back. It’s long past supper time! I was about to come out lookin’ for you.”

“He’s all right, Miss Mary. I found him stuck in a snow drift drowning’ his sorrows in the snow. Now don’t you worry your pretty head none, I brought him home in one piece.” Bill guided Jim to the front door.

“Well I’m glad he’s home safe. I kept supper hot for ya. You go in, get your coat off and sit by the fire. I’ll get your supper in a minute. Hey Bill, why don’t you come in for a bite to eat and a hot cup of coffee?”

“I’d love to Miss Mary, but I got to head on to the house for the misses will have supper waitin’ for me too.” Bill climbed back onto his snow plow.

Well, you tell Miss Lola I said hello and I want her fried apple pie recipe.”

“I sure will do it. You all have a good night, ya hear?” Bill pulled away from the house as Mary closed the door behind her.

The next few days passed in a haze for Jim Peabody as snow continued to cover the land. On Friday, the banker swooshed up the driveway in his souped-up snowmobile. “Howdy Jim, I am here to collect the property taxes on your land.”

“Here’s $200 of it. I have tried to ask for jobs, sell the land or anything to get the rest but nothing doin’ in this snow.” Jim sagged against the door frame. “Ya might as well come in out of the cold.”

The banker stepped inside the house. “You were supposed to have the money by today. Not next spring, today Peabody.

“Now listen here Mr. Hotshot banker, you try making money off of land that got hit by the drought and is now snowed under til God only knows when and then tell me that you can get blood out of a dried-up turnip. Ain’t you got any heart man?”

“I don’t need blood, just the money you owe me. Ya hear?”

“Now wait just a minute young man, my husband like to froze to death getting stuck in a snow drift a few days ago from goin’ out and looking for any type of work to do just to keep a roof over our heads.” Connor never treated us like no accounts. We worked hard to get where we are today and I don’t appreciate your attitude, Mr. Billings.”

“I don’t give a rip what your husband did or didn’t do young lady. I own this branch of the Mid-South Bank and I aim to get every penny we’re owed from this and other pieces of land in these parts. I’ve looked at Connor’s records when my firm bought this bank and I see now just why the bank couldn’t earn any money, because the previous owner took food and other goods produced by you farmers instead of cold hard cash. I intend to make this bank earn a profit.”

“Well mister big shot, you’ll lose customers and your branch will shut down in a heartbeat because around here, people don’t have all that profit you keep talkin’ about.” Jim stamped his foot in anger.

“You, young man, need to watch your mouth. I’m sure your mama raised you better’n to talk to upstanding folks like us in that manner. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” Mary clenched her fists at her sides.

“Ma’am, we’re not talking about my mother. We’re talking about my money that your husband owes on this farm. You have 24 hours to come up with the other 500 dollars to pay off the debt you owe or you can pack up your stuff and get out. That’s the bottom line, in a nutshell.” The banker stormed out the door and drove away in his fancy snowmobile.

My favorite character is Becca Martin, because I felt as if she pulled me into her story. At times I saw the scenes playing out in my head like a movie, and at other times, she started taking her journey and beckoning me to follow her.

What’s your next project or release?

I have two projects in the works. One is called Journey to the Mountaintop, which is the sequel to A Journey of Faith. The other is called The Accessibility of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing: Uploading Your Manuscript in Four Simple Steps. This book was written to help aspiring authors with and without visual impairments self-publish their own books after getting them edited, formatted and getting covers made for them.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

As a matter of fact, I do. I have quite a bit, but to keep it short, I would like to advise aspiring authors to join writing or critique groups either on a local level or on line. Also, I don’t care what you write, but write and write often, even if you don’t write every day. Writing as often as you can will inevitably help you improve your craft.

Thank you, Ann! Much success to you!

Thanks for having me.

Look for Ann around the Internet!

Website   Electric Eclectic Books Website    Electric Eclectic Books  

Facebook   Twitter   Amazon Author Page

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(Ann is also published as Ann Harrison and Ann Barnes)

Ann’s latest release is A Journey of Faith: A Stepping Stones Mystery.

A Journey of Faith cover

Twenty-eight year old Becca Martin witnessed a tragic accident at the age of twelve. Sixteen years later, she embarks upon a journey that she believes has somehow been chosen for her by God. During this journey, she hears a voice in the back of her mind crying, God help me!, as memories she didn’t understand as a child begin to resurface in her nightmares and during the journey itself. Was this tragedy a freak accident, or is there more to the incident that meets the eye? Can Becca conquer her fear of mountain climbing while she embarks upon this journey?

The owner of Sweet Water State Park calls Zac Johnson and Jason Miller of the Tensiltown Police to investigate various incidents out on the bike and foot paths. During their investigation, Jason meets Becca along her journey and they both feel strongly drawn to each other. She longs to help the police of this small village investigate these incidents, but in order to do so, she must face her fear of climbing the rocks at Sweet Water Park, while caring for her ailing aunt and helping her uncle to run the diner.

Jason vows to stay close beside her every step of the way, but can she fully trust him and the girl in the white robe that seems to pop up out of nowhere when trouble arises? Who is the real bad guy? How does God reveal what happened on that unforgettable day on the rocks with her family? Does the memory of the incident help the police solve this rock climbing mystery? Find out more as the author pulls you into the first novel in her spine-tingling, heart-warming Stepping Stones mystery series.

Amazon

Other books by Ann

Inner Vision cover

 

Inner Vision: An Electric Eclectic Book

Amazon

 

 

Stories Outside the Box cover

 

Stories Outside the Box

Amazon

 

 

Maggie's Gravy Train cover

Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure: An Electric Eclectic Book

Amazon

 

 

Ann is also included in the following anthologies:

Awethology Light cover

Awethology Light

Amazon

 

 

 

December Awethology cover

 

The December Awethology light volume

Amazon

 

 

Gems cover

 

Gems of Strength

Amazon

 

 

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Ann’s Interviews

Noreen Lace  Campbell’s World  PBS Blog   Books & Motivation  Branco Events

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#Review “The Forgotten Children” by Isabella Muir

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4/5 Stars!

Forgotten Children deals with the loss of children on several levels through varying circumstances.

Little more than a child herself, Emily Carpenter gives birth at sixteen and is forced to give her son up for adoption.

Consumed with grief and feeling betrayed by her parents, Emily runs away and begins a new life on her own, and consequentially, the Carpenters lose their daughter.

Though she moves on, Emily never forgot about her child. I would go as far to say that even though she becomes a successful author of children’s books, Emily suffers from recurring depression for nearly twenty years.

Another devastating loss sets Emily on the path to search for the son she was forced to give up.

Best friend Geraldine (Gee) has been friend, family and support network to Emily for twenty years and continues to have her back…and tell her things Emily may not want to hear. Gee’s past is no less painful and tragic as Emily’s, but that doesn’t stop her from always helping Emily to make peace with the past and move forward… something Gee, herself will never do.

During her search to find peace and her son Emily meets Walter and Patrick, two very different young men battling demons from the past of their own and she could be the link to their unanswered question, and a young widow and her son provide a much-needed emotional grounding for the distracted author.

But Emily’s biggest obstacle is her mother, Florence Carpenter. After two awkward visits, Emily knows her mother has the information she needs to find her son. But anger and bitter hatred of her mother and her religious fanaticism have festered inside Emily for two decades and I didn’t see her reconciling with her mother anytime in this life. However, when Florence explains why she insisted Emily give her son up, Emily realizes she’s been wrong about a lot of things. Nice plot twist.

Her hope for finding the child she named Thomas is snatched away when Emily learns he could be anywhere on the planet because of an unspoken practice Britain used to empty its orphanages. She accepts that Thomas is lost to her but channels her heartbreak into helping others find lost family… which goes full circle and opens up possibilities for Emily’s search to continue.

Loss, forgiveness, and acceptance are well-handled themes throughout the story. Some people are forgiven and accepted, others not so much. But Mark, Emily’s boyfriend deserved better than what he got. I felt Emily was selfish and cold to simply walk away. Another loss compounded Emily’s already fragile mind and would eventually propel her forward, but Mark lost something too and Emily pushed his feelings aside all too easily and that half-assed letter she later wrote was too little, too late. And did she even mail it?

Engrossing and emotional read. It was hard enough reading how the loss of a child affected each character, but learning of a country’s horrid, heartless disposal of children entrusted into its care for economic reasons, and the abuse and suffering those children endured was heartbreaking. It’s not an easy read, but it is a compelling one and I do recommend it.

Enjoy!

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A woman’s search to find her son uncovers the shocking truth about one of Britain’s darkest periods

Struggling with the demons of her past, Emily is a children’s author with a dark secret, and a guilt that threatens to consume her.  For twenty years she has lived in Brighton, England, trying to forget the day they took her baby from her, just hours after he was born.  But now, in the summer of 1987, she decides to begin the search for her son.

Emily takes refuge in a small town on the Isle of Anglesey to plan the search, where she meets Walter, a gentle stranger, who helps her with his words of wisdom and kindness.  But it is when she decides to return home to Hastings, that she really has to face her demons.

Estranged from her parents when she was just sixteen, Emily is shocked by what her mother has to tell her about events that occurred before Emily was even born.

Beside her, throughout her search, is Emily’s beautiful Irish friend, Geraldine, recovering from her own sad experiences.  Together they uncover a truth that shocks them all.

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The Forgotten Children draws the reader into lives affected by narrow-minded beliefs and blinkered thinking at the highest level. Children who weren’t allowed to be born, children who were abandoned, and children who were taken, forced to lead a life thousands of miles away from everyone and everything they knew – leaving scars that may never heal.

At its heart, The Forgotten Children is a story of survival, but the journey that Emily has to take is painful.  Even more so because she knows it was allowed to happen by individuals, religions and governments, who should have known better.

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Purchase Links

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#BlogTour “The Forgotten Children” by Isabella Muir

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coverA woman’s search to find her son uncovers the shocking truth about one of Britain’s darkest periods

Struggling with the demons of her past, Emily is a children’s author with a dark secret, and a guilt that threatens to consume her.  For twenty years she has lived in Brighton, England, trying to forget the day they took her baby from her, just hours after he was born.  But now, in the summer of 1987, she decides to begin the search for her son.

Emily takes refuge in a small town on the Isle of Anglesey to plan the search, where she meets Walter, a gentle stranger, who helps her with his words of wisdom and kindness.  But it is when she decides to return home to Hastings, that she really has to face her demons.

Estranged from her parents when she was just sixteen, Emily is shocked by what her mother has to tell her about events that occurred before Emily was even born.

Beside her, throughout her search, is Emily’s beautiful Irish friend, Geraldine, recovering from her own sad experiences.  Together they uncover a truth that shocks them all.

 ~~~

The Forgotten Children draws the reader into lives affected by narrow-minded beliefs and blinkered thinking at the highest level. Children who weren’t allowed to be born, children who were abandoned, and children who were taken, forced to lead a life thousands of miles away from everyone and everything they knew – leaving scars that may never heal.

At its heart, The Forgotten Children is a story of survival, but the journey that Emily has to take is painful.  Even more so because she knows it was allowed to happen by individuals, religions and governments, who should have known better.

~~~

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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Author Bio – Isabella Muir has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working Isabella Muirfor twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

As well as her newest title, The Forgotten Children, Isabella is the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series.  These Agatha Christie style stories are set in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Social Media Links

Facebook   Twitter   Website

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“Blood & Water” by Katie O’Rourke

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Blood & Water

by Katie O’Rourke

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Family Life

99¢ at time of posting!

Tucson, Arizona is a place for runaways. Everyone came from somewhere else and has a story about what they left behind.

Delilah arrives on her brother’s doorstep with a secret. She hasn’t seen him in five years. He ran away from their family long ago for reasons no one talks about and she still doesn’t understand. The stress of raising his teenage daughter alone sometimes makes David envious of his deliberately childless friends, Tim and Sara, but they’re runaways too, harboring secrets of their own. Blood & Water tells their stories and traces the deep connections between this unlikely group of friends.

This novel is about family, in its various manifestations: the one you’re born into, the one you choose and the one you create.

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#Review “The Last Weekend of the Summer” by Peter Murphy

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4/5 Stars

Most families pile their skeletons into a dark closet and bar the door against prying eyes. In The Last Weekend of the Summer, each family member has their own personal closet. There is some awareness to what each has hidden, but no one is opening doors and sharing… until the last weekend of the summer.

Weekends at the lake aren’t new, but wanting to settle issues and cast out demons, family matriarch, Gloria, doesn’t tell her family the depth and meaning this weekend holds until they arrive. Her disclosure sets off a wave of drama, but that’s nothing new for this family.

Mary is Gloria’s former daughter-in-law and mother to Gloria’s three adult grandchildren. She is also the reigning drama queen. Since before her marriage to Gloria’s son, Jake, ended in divorce, she’s played the put-upon victim. After the divorce, it only grew worse, and she raised her children in a toxic environment of her own self-pity and denial which is directly responsible for the personality traits and flaws they possess as adults.

Johnnie, the oldest, is the family peacemaker, always trying to keep the hot-pot between his mother and two sisters from boiling over.

Rosemary aka Rosebud aka Buddy hates her father for leaving and always defends her mother… even when she doesn’t agree with her. Buddy is also emulating her mother’s behavior and it’s creating conflict in her marriage.

Youngest, C.C., is the wild child who’s quick to act out or throw a tantrum and was conflicted about her sexuality.

This group is dysfunction at its best. There has been so much left unsaid and so much bad behavior allowed over the years, I wondered why they even bothered to get together at all.

And it showed no signs of ending.

Buddy wants to move Mary into their home and is hellbent on getting hubs, Norm, to agree. Norm wants no part of it, but when did he ever get what he wanted?

Carol, Johnnie’s wife, is the bright spot in this read for me.

She fits into the family dysfunction, but only because it suits her. She could be a shrew like Buddy, but that’s not who she is. Carol and Johnnie have a good, solid marriage, and she endures what she must out of love and support of him… and indirectly, Gloria.

Carol knows when to push and when to ease up, but she’s not afraid of calling any of them out on their crap.

Poor Norm ends up as the family fall guy and Buddy’s favorite target. He can do nothing right in her eyes and she never fails to let him know it.

But every man has his limits.

C.C. has always felt out-of-sync in her family, and life. Even after she accepts her true sexuality, C.C. doesn’t grow up because she feels she has to rebel at the unspoken disapproval of her family.

Not a group I’d want to be stuck with for a weekend, but Gloria feels she must do what she can to atone for her part in the family’s issues.

Jake’s arrival is the stick of dynamite needed to blow the years of closed mouths, secrets, and denials wide open and get honest communication started. Even if it hadn’t helped the adults, Buddy and Norm’s two young boys and Johnnie and Carol’s two teens could have fallen into similar patterns of behavior without open discussion. Susie and Joey, the teens, are already aware of tension and riffs… and at times, show more maturity and wisdom than some adults.

I felt bad for Jake and wonder if there was ever a time he could have changed directions. Gloria is sure she missed opportunities.

While abrupt, I felt the ending was fitting for those involved. But before that, there are still a few too many loose ends for me. I don’t need unicorns and rainbows, or even closure, just more direction.

The Last Weekend of the Summer is a unique look into the dynamics of one family and how attempts to keep the peace can be as destructive as lies and unspoken truths. Readers are sure to see something of themselves, or their families, in this read.

Enjoy!

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The Last Weekend Of The Summer by Peter Murphy cover

Synopsis:

They have been coming to their grandmother Gloria’s lake cottage since they were babies. Now Johnnie and Buddy have families of their own and C.C. has a life full of adult drama and adventure. And this trip – the only stated purpose of which is to bring the family together for the last weekend of the summer – seems full of portent. Gloria has been hinting that there’s more on the agenda than grilling and swimming, and when the three siblings learn that their estranged father will also be in attendance, it becomes clear that this weekend will have implications that last far beyond the final days of the season.

A touching, incisive view into the dynamics of a family on the verge of change and filled with characters both distinctive and utterly relatable, THE LAST WEEKEND OF THE SUMMER is a rich, lyrical reading experience that will resonate in your heart.

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Book Details

Genre: Literary Fiction

Published by: The Story Plant

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Number of Pages: 224

ISBN: 1611882575 (ISBN13: 9781611882575)

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

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#BookTour “The Last Weekend of the Summer” by Peter Murphy

by Peter Murphy
on Tour September 1 – October 31, 2018

The Last Weekend Of The Summer by Peter Murphy cover

Synopsis:

They have been coming to their grandmother Gloria’s lake cottage since they were babies. Now Johnnie and Buddy have families of their own and C.C. has a life full of adult drama and adventure. And this trip – the only stated purpose of which is to bring the family together for the last weekend of the summer – seems full of portent. Gloria has been hinting that there’s more on the agenda than grilling and swimming, and when the three siblings learn that their estranged father will also be in attendance, it becomes clear that this weekend will have implications that last far beyond the final days of the season.

A touching, incisive view into the dynamics of a family on the verge of change and filled with characters both distinctive and utterly relatable, THE LAST WEEKEND OF THE SUMMER is a rich, lyrical reading experience that will resonate in your heart.

~~~

Book Details

Genre: Literary Fiction

Published by: The Story Plant

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Number of Pages: 224

ISBN: 1611882575 (ISBN13: 9781611882575)

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

As the truck slithered to a halt on the gravel road, Susie and Joey took off. It was one of their cottage rituals, running to Gloria who stood waving from the veranda. For the last few years, Joey had let Susie win but had always made it look like he was running as fast as he could. Johnnie and Carol sat back and watched. They always gave the kids a few moments with Gloria before they joined them.

“So, what’s really going on?” Carol asked without looking over at him.

“What do you mean?”

“There’s a little dark cloud hovering over your head.”

“Damn. I was hoping you wouldn’t notice it.”

“Come on, out with it.”

“Dad’s coming too. He’s coming sometime Saturday morning.”

“Does your mother know?”

“I don’t think so. Gloria wanted to break the news to everyone at the same time.”

“Oh dear, so Buddy doesn’t know yet?”

“No, and there’s more.”

There always was with his family, but Carol didn’t say that. Instead, she just sat for a moment taking it all in. And when he was finished, she squeezed his hand and leaned across to kiss his cheek. “I’m so sorry to hear that. Are you going to be okay?”

“Don’t worry about me; I’ll be fine. And we’re all going to have a great time, no matter what.” He smiled and winked at her. “Ready?”

“Showtime,” she smiled back, and she got out and walked towards the veranda. She knew what he was doing; he was getting himself ready for another weekend of enabling his sisters and his mother. She wished he wouldn’t, but there was no point in saying that. Instead, she’d be as loving and supportive as he needed her to be. It was how they dealt with life—along with having a laugh at themselves. “And stop checking out my ass,” she called over her shoulder as she went.

“Better yours than someone else’s,” Gloria laughed as she slowly descended the stairs from the veranda and kissed Carol’s cheek. She still had the most remarkable hearing. “That was something my Harry always used to say.”

“Really, Gloria, I wouldn’t have thought stuff like that would have been a problem for you guys.”

“He was blind, Carol, but he was still a man.”

Carol pretended to look shocked, but Gloria carried on as if she didn’t notice. “But you have nothing to worry about. Johnnie’s still madly in love with you, isn’t he, dear?” Gloria had a twinkle in her eye.

“Of course he is. And I’m still crazy about him—just don’t tell him.”

“I hope so, dear, because I put you two in the east room. I know it’s your favorite.”

“Thanks,” Carol took the old, brittle woman into her arms. “And are you okay, Gloria?”

“Of course I am. Why would you ask such a thing?” But she stayed in Carol’s arms for a little while longer.

“What are you two plotting?” Johnnie asked as he struggled up with their bags. “And don’t worry about me—I’ll just lug everybody’s stuff by myself.”

“And, well, you should,” Gloria reached up and kissed him, and hugged him as tight as her frail old arms would allow. “Your poor wife and children are here for a rest, so don’t be selfish and go around spoiling everything.

“So,” Gloria asked after Carol had gone to settle the kids into the new rooms over the boathouse. “Have you talked with your father?” She waited at the bottom step for Johnnie to take her by the elbow. She could have made it on her own, but she knew he liked to behave like a gentleman.

“Yes, and I hope he knows what he’s doing. It might be asking a bit too much.”

“Not of you, dear, surely?”

“No, I’m okay with it all, and I really want this to work out—for everyone. I was a bit torn up when I first heard, but it’s settled in now and, well, you know . . .”

“Yes, Johnnie, I do.” She smiled up at him and reached up to stroke his cheek. It always reminded her of Harry’s—at least his good side. “Being family means having to go through things like this, and we will all get to play our parts. Hopefully C.C.’s new love interest will provide enough distraction for your mother.”

She paused when they got to the top step and looked up at him for a moment as if she was about to say something else but changed her mind.

“What is it, Gloria? What other secrets are you keeping from me?”

“Far too many for what little time we have left. Now let’s go inside. I have some nice cold beer in the fridge. You might need some fortification before your mother gets here.”

Excerpt from The Last Weekend Of The Summer by Peter Murphy. Copyright © 2018 by The Story Plant. Reproduced with permission from The Story Plant. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

The Last Weekend Of The Summer by Peter Murphy author

Peter Murphy was born in Killarney where he spent his first three years before his family had to move to Dublin. Growing up in the verdant braes of Templeogue, Peter was schooled by the De La Salle brothers in Churchtown where he played rugby for “The Wine and Gold.” He also played football (soccer) in secret! After that, he graduated and studied the Humanities in Grogan’s under the guidance of Scot’s corner and the bar staff, Paddy, Tommy and Sean. Murphy financed his education by working summers on the buildings sites of London. He also tramped the roads of Europe playing music and living without a care in the world.

But his move to Canada changed all of that. He only came over for a while and ended up living there for more than thirty years. He took a day job and played music in the bars at night until the demands of family life intervened. Having raised his children and packed them off to university, Murphy answered the long-ignored internal voice and began to write. He has published five novels so far and has begun work on a new one. Nowadays, he lives in beautiful Lisbon with his wife Eduarda and their well-read dog, Baxter.

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Connect with Peter at:
peterdmurphy.com
Twitter – PeterD_Murphy
Facebook – PeterDMurphyAuthor

 

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#GuestPost Peter Murphy, author of “The Last Weekend of the Summer”

Peter Murphy

What I have learned so far.

Back when I was a child, I spent time in various parts of rural Ireland. Along with beautiful vistas and cultural oddities there was one thing that always comes back to me. When you met a stranger on the road, you stopped to talk. And there was a time-honored ritual to it. You began with comments on the weather.

It was explained to me that in that, one could learn much of the person they were speaking with; those who focused on the far away clouds on a bright morning, those who saw the little patch of blue sky above the rain, those who knew the value of rain for the crops, those who suffered the heat and cold as part of the great mechanism that was the physical world we inhabited but barely understood.

I grew fascinated with it all and by my early teens, began to experiment with boundaries. I was from the city so the rurals allowed me latitude with a certain sympathy. City dwellers, back then, were more to be pitied than scorned. I would ignore the invitation to talk about the weather and raise the more delicate matters of what, why, and where. Often that ended conversations abruptly as the rural stranger would bid me a good day and wobble off on a bicycle with a few backward glances.

Later, when I was old enough to venture into public houses, I encountered another version of the dialogue dance. Back then, country pubs were places for social gatherings and not always places for excess. Especially during the daytime when people would pop in for a quiet drink—not unlike stopping for a coffee. Farmers, who began their days early and worked late, would often have a lull in the middle of the day and as most of the pubs in rural Ireland also functioned as stores, could enjoy a mini-break while picking up a few essentials. Naturally, if a neighbor happened by there was an opportunity to talk about the weather, the price of livestock, the sad state of the nation, and whatever else might be topical.

It was all very civilized, but like most routines it often needed a bit of enlivenment. Radios and television had not yet intruded on these sanctuaries and the only phone was kept in a booth on the main street. It was down to the storyteller to create diversion.

The best storytellers were those who could read their audience. A quiet afternoon was like a matinee and was best suited to a subtle, controlled approach. Bustling, full-bodied, animated performances were better suited to raucous evenings when a fiddler might pass by. Afternoon conversation had to be engaging, but not so much as to keep the farmer too long as the evening’s chores could not be ignored.

Sitting off in a corner, speaking only when spoken to, politely but succinctly, I could sit back and take mental notes. It was story-telling in its old and time-honored form and something I try to be mindful of when I write.

Peter Murphy3While the storyteller has the advantage of direct access to the audience—not unlike an actor or a musician—many of the skills are transferable and for the benefit of my own understanding as they relate to writing, I have grouped them as follows:

A good storyteller can quickly gauge his/her audience with aforementioned comments of topical relevance and carefully absorb responses both verbal and physical. From there, it is a matter of drawing the audience along with relatable but not personal observations and before long the teller can spin a yarn for the enjoyment of all.

For writers, they must rely totally on instinct as to how a reader might be responding and the importance of the opening line, paragraph, or page cannot be overstated. Many readers talk about being “grabbed” by a book and this is what they are referring to.
There was a time when writers could get away with a slow start, but as the world gets faster and faster, the pressure is on from the get go.

I once heard someone say that there is nothing worse than a talker who loves the sound of their own voice and while some writers can overindulge in the minutia of detail, most of us have to find the balance. Sometimes we get it just right. Other times . . . not so much. Naturally those elements of detail that resonate with the writer are likely to be more adorned, but staying on plot is vital.Peter Murphy1

Writers, like all storytellers, must quickly establish credibility with their audience. And it must be done without burdening them with all that you know about the topic. Academics can use footnotes and references, but storytellers must rely solely on the use of language. “Finding you voice,” is a term beginning writers often hear. It must be confident and assured and it must ring true.

Where a live performer can “read” their audience, a writer has to go on instinct—and the opinion of a good editor. It is a trial and error thing and the better way usually becomes most apparent only after the book is published. Writing more books is key, and hoping that you haven’t lost your audience along the way.

While novels can serve many functions; inspiring, inciting, revealing, etc., in the more troubled times many people look for warm comfort. Novels should resonate and have relevance, but they must also entertain and reward the reader. It is no small task and one that can only be learned through a trial and error process. In that, insightful feedback from readers is of vital importance.

So, as I learn to apply all that I have observed from storytellers, I realize what a wonderful journey writing really is.

Peter

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Last Weekend cover

The Last Weekend of the Summer

by Peter D. Murphy

Genre: Literary Fiction

Published by: The Story Plant

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Number of Pages: 224

ISBN: 1611882575 (ISBN13: 9781611882575)

Amazon   |   B & N   |   iBooks   |   Kobo   |   Indigo   |   IndieBound

 

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