Who’s That Indie Author? Gina Briganti

Author name:  Gina Briganti

Bio: Gina Briganti writes paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance in north Texas. Her constant companion is a special soul who masquerades as a dog.

Genre:  Fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi romance

BookDeep in the Dreaming

When did you begin your writing career?  I started entering short story contests in 2005. My first novel, The Dreaming, was published in 2010.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  I’m a planner who gives myself room to go off on an unplanned tangent if that’s where the story wants to go. Some of the best scenes I’ve written were from steam of consciousness writing sprints.

What’s your working style – morning or late-night writer?  In ideal conditions the first two hours of my work day are spent writing so my freshest thoughts end up on the page.

Do you work at a computer or write long-hand?  Mostly with the computer, but if inspiration strikes I will type notes to myself and e-mail if I’m waiting in the car, or jot a few lines down on a random piece of paper.

What gets those words flowing, coffee or tea?  Water. It’s my elixir of life.

Favorite book:  Will a favorite series do? I’ve had Nora Roberts Key trilogy on my keeper shelf forever and I will take it out and sink into the awesomeness when I’m craving the mastery she showed in those books.

Favorite movie:  One I can’t get enough of is Chocolat. Sigh-worthy romance and Johnny Depp!

Favorite musician:  Walk Off The Earth. I am a total WOTEling.

Links:
Blog: ginabriganti.com
Facebook: @ginabrigantiauthor
YouTube: Gina Briganti
Instagram: ginabriganti
Goodreads: Gina Briganti

Awards/special recognition:  None yet for writing, but I’m working on it!


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

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On YouTube today – walking and listening to audiobooks

Hi Everybody!

Today on YouTube I’m taking a walk and talking about audiobooks. Check out my video here:

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Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Transcription
by
Kate Atkinson

Rating:

Juliet Armstrong is eighteen years old when signs up with the MI5, a department of Britain’s Security Service, to help fight the infiltration of German and Fascist sympathizers. It’s 1940 and her job is to transcribe the secretly recorded conversations of informants who think they are meeting with a German Nazi. Agents have rented two London apartments and installed recording devices in a shared wall. In one apartment, Godfrey Toby poses as the German. In the other apartment are Juliet, Toby’s handler and a technician, recording, transcribing and writing reports.

Soon, in addition to transcribing, Juliet takes on an alias and heads out to the Russian Tea House to befriend an English matron whose husband is in prison for being a Nazi sympathizer. Juliet must get information about the Right Club, a group of powerful sympathizers and get her hands on the club’s Red Book of members.

That’s the set-up of Transcription, a sort of light historical spy novel, in which Juliet moves among agents and counteragents, never completely sure who’s on what side and leaving the reader to guess.

The story jumps between 1940 and 1950, where Juliet works at Schools Broadcasting, part of the British Broadcasting House. Something happened in 1940 that has caused Juliet’s group of spies to scatter and her secret past begins to haunt her when she sees the enigmatic Toby walking down the street. She will soon confront others from her spy days and try to make sense of her involvement during the war.

I was looking forward to reading this book because of how much I loved Life After Life and A God in Ruins, but I did not like the story as much. There were too many characters to keep track of and the complicated plot did not hold my attention, despite the story’s sometimes light and farcical tone. I kept waiting for something more to happen. I liked reading about the Security Service, however, and imagining the life of secret agents. I also enjoyed the author’s writing style, which is full of meaningful phrases that tie the story and characters together. That is also the author’s style in Life After Life and A God in Ruins.

I especially liked when Atkinson used one of my favorite lines from Life After Life, “You’d better come in,” spoken several times in that story when trouble arrives at the door. At two different times in Transcription, Juliet says the same thing. I love that kind of dialogue. I only hope I could be so calm! But I just didn’t care much about what happened in Transcription. Maybe it’s because Juliet’s character is hard to know and the mystery that surrounds her a little silly, leaving me to wonder if that’s what the author intended. I couldn’t decide, so I’m calling this one just an okay read.

If you haven’t read Life After Life or A God in Ruins, read those before you try this one. They are excellent. Then you can decide.

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This weekend’s read: Transcription by Kate Atkinson

I started a new Kate Atkinson book this week: Transcription. Atkinson is an award-winning and bestselling author of ten books, including my all-time favorite, Life After Life and the equally great companion novel, A God in Ruins.

Transcription is the story of a young woman who works for Britain’s secret service during World War II. At eighteen, her job is to transcribe secretly recorded conversations of British Fascist sympathizers. Ten years later, she meets players from her past and faces new dangers.

Atkinson’s books demand careful reading, but the reward of sinking into stories with complex characters and ideas is great. And with Transcription, I’m enjoying learning about a part of World War II history that I didn’t know. I’m looking forward to digging more into this story over the weekend and I get to do it with this beautiful hard cover copy, signed by Atkinson (thanks for the loan, F!).

I highly recommend Life After Life and A God in Ruins. Click below to check out my reviews.

Life After Life
A God in Ruins

What are you reading this weekend?

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On YouTube today – self-publishing – here’s how we did it!

Hi Everybody!

Today on YouTube I’m talking about my experiences with self-publishing. There are so many ways to get your books in print. Here’s what we did:

What are your experiences with self-publishing? What would you do differently?

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Who’s That Indie Author? Giselle Roeder

Author name:  Giselle Roeder

Genre:  Health, History, Memoir

Books:
Healing with Water, Kneipp-Hydrotherapy at Home
Sauna – The Hottest Way to Good Health
We Don’t Talk About That – An Amazing Story of Survival/WWII
Forget Me Not, A Bouquet of Stories, Thoughts and Memories
Ein Mensch von Gestern – Heute – a German poetry book

 

   

When did you begin your writing career?  Probably already in Grade 3; I loved writing essays while everybody else hated it. As a young adult, I wrote about our kayak races, results and stories for a newspaper. As a young mother, I had a newspaper column about healthy living and exercise. I also wrote articles about alternative health, the benefits of exercise and skin care for several health magazines.

In 2000, Healing with Water, Kneipp-Hydrotherapy at Home was published, a year later, Sauna – The Hottest Way to Good Health, and my memoir, We Don’t Talk About That, followed in 2014. It is a true story about the horrors happening in the war, the Russian invasion of Germany, rape, murder, hunger, disease and surviving against all the odds. Forget Me Not is a collection of short stories about people who greatly influenced my life. The German (happy!) poetry book was written during a respite from my serious writing. Right now I am working on the sequel to We Don’t Talk About That and I plan to publish it later this year.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  I am a planner. I seem to be quiet or even moody and explain “I am pregnant with my new book.” My thoughts follow me into my dreams.

What’s your working style – morning or late-night writer?  Afternoons, and I get better at night without interruptions.

Do you work at a computer or write long-hand? Mainly computer. Long-hand when a thought hits me, and I am not at home. Always carry a pen and paper.

What gets those words flowing, coffee or tea? Neither. I love water with some apple juice mixed in to give it a bit of taste. Sometimes fresh lemon.

Favorite book:  Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Plus many other writers. My favorite modern books are Lyn Alexander’s The Schellendorf Series, covering the time from before WWI to after WWII.

Favorite movieDr. Zhivago

Favorite musician:  Beethoven

Links:
Website: giselleroeder.com
Facebook: @WeDontTalkAboutThat
Twitter: @GiselleRoeder1
LinkedIn: Gisselle Roeder

Awards/special recognition:  Honorary Master Herbalist


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Sweetness by Jeff Pearlman – thoughts on NFL legend Walter Payton by Austin Vitelli

I like when I read a book and feel the need to discuss it, but I mostly cover fiction and fiction book reviews tend to stick to what’s on the pages, with commentary about characters, plot, writing style, etc. It’s harder to find opinion pieces that take the subject of a book to the next level, but biographies are a great way for readers to develop and share ideas about a person’s life story.

Today I’m sharing a post by Austin Vitelli about the life of NFL legend Walter Payton. He wrote it after reading Sweetness by Jeff Pearlman, a biography about Payton. If you’re not a football fan, you may not know the name, but Walter Payton is the namesake of the annual NFL Man of the Year award. Each year, the NFL honors a player “for his excellence on and off the field. The award was established in 1970. It was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community.”

Vitelli writes,

One thing I struggled with throughout the book was weighing the good and bad in Payton’s life. Payton was likely one of the nicest and most genuinely caring NFL players ever. But he also made lots of questionable decisions that seemingly get left out in many people’s stories of him.

Click here to read the rest of Vitelli’s thoughts on Walter Payton’s life and career. And visit austinvitelli.com for more about Austin’s career in journalism and editing.


Like sports biographies? Check out Gunslinger by Jeff Pearlman
and this Q&A with the author.


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On vocabulary, words both big and small…

Image: Pixabay

As yet another child of mine looks towards taking the SATs, my mind shoots in the direction of vocabulary. I’m not a big-word person. I prefer to make my point in simple sentences. Maybe it has to do with raising children and directing them through the maze of good and bad behavior, but I think kids, and people, respond better to a simpler vocabulary. There’s no question in my mind that the phrase, “that’s no good,” used hundreds of times a day when our children were little, works a lot better than, “your activities here will have a detrimental effect on your immediate surroundings and will guarantee you confinement on the upper level of our abode.” Believe me, maybe that child would have scored a perfect SAT years later if I had talked like that. But the little boy ready to throw the Hot Wheels car across the room would never have waited for me to spit that out, and I would have been assessing the ding in the wall or the fast-growing bump on a brother’s head.

That’s not to say I don’t appreciate big or unusual words when they really serve to make a point. I like a challenging crossword puzzle and know that having a broad vocabulary will absolutely help kids do well in school and on those oh-so-important SATs. But knowing the words and using them in everyday life are two different things.

I wrote a paper in college and, in an effort to jazz it up, I sat with a Thesaurus and looked up what I thought were some good substitute words. Instead of “fancy,” I decided to use the word “rococo,” having no idea I was suddenly talking about an 18th-century European style of art and architecture. I felt pretty good about my paper until I got it back with a stinging comment in the margin. Of course, I neither knew the word “rococo” nor understood how to use it, so I deserved being called out.

A few years ago, I helped another son memorize vocabulary for the SATs. Over and over, we practiced. We laughed over a lot of the words and how they would never make it into everyday conversation, especially when we got to the word, “jingoism.” Or so we thought. How would a person work that into a discussion? A few weeks later, to our disbelief, we heard a well-known sports analyst slip it into a debate he was having with another well-known analyst…for effect. But the analyst was not even close to talking about extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy. He was using the word to impress. And we caught it! I’m not sure jingoism came up on the SATs that year, but it didn’t matter. The result? Word definition permanently etched.

As for me speaking rococo, ever again, don’t count on it, but that doesn’t rule out using it on the Scrabble board!

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The Widow by Fiona Barton

The Widow
by
Fiona Barton

Rating:

Jean Taylor discovers a new freedom when her husband suddenly dies. Now a widow, maybe she can reveal the dark secrets they have kept. The press wants to know her story—can she trust the reporters who have camped outside her door?

When they first marry, Glen seems like the perfect husband, but he slowly reveals a controlling nature, first in how they set up their house, and later in how they live their lives. As a young bride, she yields to Glen’s directions. But the game changes when the police come to their door asking Glen about the disappearance of a two-year-old girl.

At Glen’s urging, Jean embraces the phrase “stand by your man” and she’s good at it. She doesn’t know what she’s hiding, but she wants to believe him.

Glen tells her,

This is a terrible mistake, but we mustn’t let it ruin our lives. We need to stay strong until the truth comes out. Do you think you can do that?”

And she replies,

Of course I can. We can be strong for each other. I love you, Glen.”

That’s her mantra, until a few of the secrets surface.

The Widow is a suspense novel and psychological study about the horrifying secrets of an offender living in plain sight. It’s also a look at family and the strains of a childless marriage. The story is balanced by the police investigation, led by an obsessed Detective Inspector Bob Sparkes, and includes a look into the procedures, power struggles and politics in his department. In addition, Fiona Barton has used her journalism experience to show how reporters and newspapers write their stories, the tricks they use to get people to talk, and their strategies to steal stories from each other.

The Widow is a fast read, with a couple twists, but a fairly predictable finish. Reviews have compared it to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, but I would put it on a tier below those engrossing thrillers. Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing how Jean handled the truth and thought the author did a good job describing Jean’s predicament.

I recommend The Widow to readers who enjoy a quick suspense novel and stories about secrets.

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Book Club Mom’s February recap – a month of blog posts

February was both cold and icy in my world! Image: Pixabay

Phew! February was a short and busy month, both here and out in the world. I’m sure it’s the same for all of you. I try to visit as many blogs as possible, but sometimes I run out of time. Some of the bloggers I follow post weekly or monthly summaries and I’ve always found that helpful because I don’t like to miss out!

So here’s an “ICYMI” summary of what went down in February at Book Club Mom. Click on the links to visit each post.


Book Reviews – I don’t always power through books, but I do try to read one book a week. That’s about all I can handle. Here’s what I read this month:

Feb 2: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Feb 11: The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi
Feb 19: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Feb 25: Leaving the Beach by Mary Rowen


I enjoy meeting indie authors and learning about their books and lives. I aim for one feature a week. Keep those requests for profiles coming!

From left to right, HL Carpenter, Pamela S. Wight, Kathleen Jowitt

Feb 7: HL Carpenter
Feb 15: Pamela S. Wight
Feb 24: Kathleen Jowitt


General Interest – I have a lot of fun thinking about book trends and book related ideas. And because I work in a library, I’m surrounded by books and often get the scoop on what’s new from my work friends.

Feb 4: Litsy – have you heard about this social media app for book lovers?
Feb: 12: When “silent” characters find their voices
Feb 18: The characters you love to hate: the role of the villain in stories
Feb 19: New York Books – the list is growing!
Feb 20: Book Talk – Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer
Feb 26: Books with double titles – am I seeing things?


On YouTube – I’m still experimenting with ideas and settings. I’m working on a “field trip” video for next month, but I’m waiting for the weather to improve. So these two posts are from my couch:

Feb 16:  Books my kids loved – I can’t let go of them!
Feb 27:  Love of reading can come at any age!


It was a good month here and out in my other world. I hope you had a good one too!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!