Book News August 2018

august 2018

Summer reading always feels special

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go find 2

 

I have a challenge for the writers in the group.

Recently, I was asked by Flathead Living to submit an excerpt from my book, Go Find which will be released October 2, 2018 by Blackstone Publishing.

Flathead Living didn’t want a synopsis but 200-words or less excerpt that captures the flavor, my voice, my writing style, and essences of my memoir.

This is a great challenge to all of us as writers. What or where is that paragraph in your writing project that sums up what you are trying to communicate? If you had to send the NYT’s 100 words that reveals your writing chops and story line, what would you say? Is it in your current document? I challenge all of you to look for it and write it down and send it to me. I’d love to read it.

For me, my a-ha moment happened when I was three years into writing my memoir. I hadn’t quite linked up the big story line and still felt a little lost in the process. I was on the phone with Poodle Lady, my mentor, BFF, and character in my book. She was training a white standard Poodle in Aspen, Colorado when I met her.  I blurted out to her, “How come it’s easier for me to jump out of the side of a helicopter to look for a dead guy with my avalanche dog than it is to talk to my husband about our relationship?”

Boom! I finally said those words I hadn’t been able to get out for years. Shame, guilt, and relief flooded through me in that moment.

Finding courage to express my feelings on the page was and still is a process. It took ten years to sort out what I was trying to convey to my readers and to myself. I am blessed to have a supportive writing community in the Flathead Valley. I hope you enjoy this 248-word excerpt.

In the next newsletter, I will tell you what my literary agent Bob thought my memoir was about after he read it twice.

Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost—And Myself by Susan Purvis

Excerpt from Chapter 1—Last Ditch Effort

13, 000’ Whitehouse Mountain

Ouray, Colorado. 2005

Yanking off my helmet with one hand, I pin Tasha, my black Lab into my lap with the other. The deafening roar of the engine makes giving verbal commands to Tasha impossible. I rely on our years of communicating through eye contact and hand signals to show her when to exit.

“You’re going to have to jump!” the pilot shouts at me.

“Jump?” I worry about Tasha’s distended abdomen. She could rupture her gut if she lands on her belly. Then I remember the raspy plea of Ed Jones, the uncle of the missing man. “I’m not leaving Colorado until all my family members are accounted for. I’ve been scouring these mountains for over thirty days.” Ed’s desperation had convinced me I had to come. We’re his last hope. Ten years ago, when I blindly launched into this volunteer search-dog career, I promised I would never leave anyone behind. I’ve kept my word … so far.

The helicopter shudders. I clutch the handle and, for an instant, I question what I am doing here. My husband’s pissed. He told me not to come, tried to order me not to get on the chopper. Yet here I am, in the path of an avalanche, risking Tasha’s life and my own. Somehow, I find it easier to jump out of a helicopter than to talk to my husband about our relationship. Is my ego driving this? My promise to the family? Or is it that I have something to prove?

Namaste,

Susan Purvis, Author, Educator, Explorer

susan@susanpurvis.com

www.susanpurvis.com to read more about Go Find. Over 30 book reviews are posted including New York Times bestselling author, Sebastian Junger.

Go Find will be released October 2, 2018

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Join authors Angie Abdou, Sue Purvis, Jan Redford, Kate Harris, and Bernadette McDonald as they discuss challenges when writing about their personal experiences with wild places and how women’s narrative can connect people to the landscape. This session will be moderated by Marni Jackson, faculty for the Banff Mountain and Wilderness Writing program.

Date:           Saturday, November 03, 2018
Time:          4:00 PM
Location:   Kinnear Centre 2nd Floor #203, Banff, Alberta, Canada
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A Redo On A Backlist Book

I have been reading that one way to boost sales of a backlist book is to change the cover and work on a new blurb. Ratham Creek has been lagging in sales and new reviews so I am following the advice and we’ll see if the people in the know are right. Here is a peek at the new look with the help of Karri Klawiter, my cover designer and writer friends, Deb and Ann, who are always willing to edit and proof my many typos and awkward sentences.

 

New Cover

 

 

Ratham Creek, a woman-in-jeopardy thriller

Arianne Hollis figures tossing a rose in her husband’s grave is the worst of all endings. Then reality sets in when she is forced to sell their home and used up her savings to clear his debts. To escape and come to terms with her future, she moves into an isolated cabin along Ratham Creek. In the quiet Montana setting and with a new job in the nearby small town, Arianne begins to recover. She meets Ross Ferrell, a handsome lonely member of the clannish mountain people. He slowly wins her love, but a deadly family feud erupts among rival groups living along the creek. Arianne can’t understand the violence that runs deep in Ross and his family. He cannot abandon them. Then Arianne becomes a target. Can she avoid the same vengeance that’s corrupting the clan? Can she save him and their relationship?

 

Artists and the Marketplace

By Karen Wills                                    

gypsey woman

Gypsy Woman Holding Baby

“Works of art are the product of a complicated system of social interaction between artists, patrons, critics, and a public that is as broad as possible, all influencing each other in their assessments and behavior.”  Doris Krystof

Krystof wrote this in her book about the life and work of the painter Modigliani. It may hold true for writers as well. Most of us don’t write in a vacuum. Patrons might appear in the form of scholarships, academic writing programs, or advances from publishers. Our critics may begin with family members, critique groups, agents and editors who listen to our pitches, publishers, and eventually a publishing house’s developmental and copy editors.

Most important is that broad-as-possible public. Once a book is released, as authors we’re to make our book, and ourselves, well known. Our efforts may come in the forms of advertising. I ran an ad in Montana: The Magazine of Western History since River with No Bridge is a historical novel set in Montana. I sent out a press release that resulted in an interview. I’ll be signing books at the Montana Book and Toy Company in Helena on September 16, and making a presentation at Helena’s Lewis and Clark Library the following day. I’ve placed the book with local booksellers. And I try to contact book clubs like my own. Book clubs tend to be democratic. They’re the broadest possible public because members often choose from varied genres. I love book clubs.

All that said, once a book is released into the world, it takes on a life of its own, like a grown child. Critics influence the public. The public influences modern day patrons, and an author begins the next book, mindful of results of the assessments and behaviors of all involved in the last novel’s reception. Of course, some of the greatest writers (think Emily Dickinson)  and artists like Modigliani worked according to a brilliant inner vision, connecting to a divine mystery that didn’t bring them fame and wealth, but made their work immortal. And us, the broad public, the richer for it.         

htts://karenwills.com                                                 river with no bridge

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August Book News

august on the flathead

August on the Flathead

Fifteen Years of Lies FINAL EBOOK COVER

ANN MINNETT: I’m happy to announce the publication of my third novel of Domestic Suspense, Fifteen Years of Lies.

From the back cover:

Beautiful Whitefish, Montana serves as the setting for Fifteen Years of Lies, yet the story could occur anywhere people go to escape and in any family struggling to keep secrets. Parents of teenagers will relate to a mother’s fears for her son as his rebellion leads to violence.

Fifteen Years of Lies goes beyond the timely issue of sexual assault on campus to lay bare the aftermath of rape and its effects on the survivor, the child, loved ones, and even the rapist. Experience the raw emotions of past injustice and imminent threat when a suspected rapist believes he has found his victim and his son.

How far will the three women go to protect Zane from the truth?

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caseys

Book Reading and Signing with Marlette Bess Saturday, August 19, 2017 5pm – 7pm Casey’s, Downtown Whitefish 

MARLETTE BESS: WAYNE DINGO WAY (37) an attorney from Seattle took a leave of absence from his firm to care for his dying father in Whitefish, Montana. He was having a conversation with WAYNE WAY, his father, about where his life was headed when his father’s eyes rolled back into his head, he took his last breath and he died. Dingo was stunned – they had just been talking a moment before and now he was gone. Dingo gently closed his father’s eyes and kissed his forehead, stood up, grabbed his ski parka and headed for the front door. Dingo was in shock as he pulled his beanie down over his blond curly locks. He opened the door to a slap of bitter cold as he hustled his 6 foot 2 frame down the path.

The snow and ice on the sidewalk reminded him to take it easy as he walked toward downtown. Feeling the need to drown his sorrows, he found himself outside of Casey’s bar. He opened the door and entered the bar and walked to the only seat open at the bar that was next to a beautiful brunette with the most striking blackish/blue eyes, BERNADETTE LUCAS. Bernadette (35) was a free-lance physical therapist who had finished with a patient at the hospital and didn’t want to go be alone at home.

Dingo asked Bernadette if she would toast his father who just died. She introduced herself and seeing the pain in his eyes she agreed to the drink. He looked at her and could see her lonely beauty. After a couple of beers and three shots of tequila, she walked him home with her dog Hairy tagging along behind. On the cold walk home, Dingo kissed her – a kiss that not only curled her toes but made her body explode with heat.

When Dingo and Bernadette got to Dingo’s dad’s quaint, little house, Dingo passed out on the couch. Bernadette wandered around the house to find a blanket for Dingo and found his father dead in one of the bedrooms. Not exactly knowing what to do, she called her long-time friend at the police department Detective SAM MCDONALD to help with the body. Sam had the body picked up and they helped Dingo into bed.

Bernadette stayed with Dingo that night and even slept in his bed between the sheet and comforter to keep her distance. In the morning, being more himself, Dingo looked at Bernadette and wanted her immediately. The chemistry of longing, loneliness and desire lead them to each other discovering both themselves and the each. Once they had sex the only thing they wanted was more of each other.

Dingo and Bernadette were engaged shortly after they met. While still riding on the high of the engagement, they returned home to find more Dingo’s sister took her own life causing much pain and heartache. Tragedy did not end there for the couple, they soon discovered Dingo sister’s husband had killed himself and their children. The budding relationship grew with the highs of sex, lust and love and the depths of hell with the mounting pain of loss.

Dingo and Bernadette had two wedding ceremonies –  one for themselves in Las Vegas and a second time for friends and family in Whitefish. Bernadette’s terminally ill father attended the wedding and died that night leaving her with money and a whole lot of undiscovered secrets.

The two lovers honeymooned in Australia where Bernadette was forced to face her own demons straining the trip. After having a nightmare reliving when she was raped in Central Park, she woke flailing, catching Dingo’s cheek with her fingernail, sending him to the hospital. When he went into surgery, she went into a tailspin not returning to the hospital for hours. She was lost in her confusion and when Dingo awoke, he thought she left him. When he healed they went back to honeymooning and they talked through her trauma regaining the closeness they lost from her nightmare.

The unthinkable happened in the third month of their honeymoon.  Sam, Bernadette’s best friend back in Whitefish, was shot in the line of duty. Bernadette and Dingo took a marathon of flights to get back to the United States only to find Sam sitting up in the ICU after having his ventilator removed. Bernadette doted on Sam to the exclusion of everyone else, especially Dingo. But once again, Bernadette pulled herself together to be with Dingo and returning to their new home in Seattle shortly after.

Dingo and Bernadette went on a trip of discovery to her father’s hunting lodge is Krakow, Poland. She discovered that he was a deeply complicated man who lived his life collecting erotic art and engineering bridges around the world. After they left to go skiing in Davos, Switzerland with Sam and Dingo’s aunt, Bernadette had to decide out what she want to do with her father’s lodge, his erotic art collection. She also had to decide how she was going to build a new life in Seattle with the handsomest lawyer in all of the city? Dingo had to figure out how to stop being a workaholic and fit in time to love Bernadette down to her very soul.

Dingo wanted this new relationship with Bernadette to thrive but he wondered if he could overcome his bone breaking pain. With his family gone, Bernadette understood loss and pain from her most recent tragedies. Could she comfort and love him through this ordeal while trying to handle her own terrifying calamity?

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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Congratulations to Ann and Marlette! Sending a new book into the world is such a wonderful and terrifying thing!

leslie

Join me at the Bigfork Festival of the Arts, in the village aka downtown Bigfork, on Sat and Sun, August 4-5, between 9 am and 4:30 pm. I’ll be one of more than 150 artists with

 

booths, talking and signing mysteries, including TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, my newest Food Lovers’ Village Mystery. (I call my village “Jewel Bay,” but you aren’t fooled, are you?) Food and drink vendors will join us, and musicians will play open air — including Don Beans, aka my Mr. Right. See you there!

           

Move Over, Southern Writers

By  Karen Wills

Since my roomy at the Historical Novel Society 2017 North American Conference, Janice McCaffrey, has written about sessions she attended, I’ll continue the thread.

Libbie Hawker, a young writer I admire both for her talent and prodigious output, was to moderate a panel discussion listed as Historical Fiction through a Pacific Northwest Lens. Emphasis was on the region as our last frontier.  pacific nw

Since NW Montana as part of the Inland Northwest is a sort of cousin to the Pacific Northwest states only without a coastline, I decided to attend. A former member of Kalispell’s Authors of the Flathead, Janet Fisher (A Place of her Own, and The Shifting Winds) presence on the panel became another incentive. Additional speakers were Kirby Larson (Hattie Big Sky, the Audacity Jones series, and others), and Janet L. Oakley (Tree Soldier, Timber Rose, and Mist-Shi-Mus).

Panelists first addressed how curiosity about their region determines what they write. It also leads to sources chosen for research. These include Metzger maps, documents such as deeds, historical societies, old letters, and professional historians to interview. The list also included early regional newspapers. As an aside, Oakley reminded us when we’re researching online, to look for sites ending in edu or org. Also, in order to save later grief, for every source record its date and where you found it.

Kirby Larson also spoke to the special temptations of using everything you’ve found in research. She once wrote an entire chapter on how to bake bread in a wood stove. As Janet Fisher said, of historical fiction, “The background is the brush strokes. Give a sense of your era without going into great detail.”

When asked about writing about minority populations, such as the Japanese Americans interred during WWII, panelists agreed on very minimal use of offensive racist terms. Writers need to be realistic about the era being covered, while still recognizing twenty-first century sensibilities.

The panel surprised us by expressing a desire to have the vibrant group of Pacific Northwest novelists become as recognizable and distinct by region as the Southern writers, think Truman Capote or Harper Lee. I caught up with Libby later, and suggested us Inland Northwesters be included.

river with no bridge

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kindle

https://karenwills.com 

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