Who’s That Indie Author? K. Blanton Brenner

Author Name: K. Blanton Brenner

Genre: Family Saga

Books: Appaloosa Sky published December 2019. Trinity Rivers Trilogy will be published by the end of September 2021.

Bio: I grew up in North Texas in a large, extended family that raised horses and holy hell. Living in Chicago, I co-founded a Montessori School for children who are deaf. My husband, Tom (a gerontologist) and I created the Montessori Method for positive dementia care for people living with dementia and we’ve co-written and published two books on our work.

What got you started as a writer? When I was in second grade a substitute teacher asked the class to write a story about Christmas. I wrote about an angel who came down to earth to help children create a Christmas play. The teacher called me up to her desk and said, “You are a wonderful writer!” And the seed was planted.

What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? When I was 13 years old, my parents (stalwarts of our small town) split up. My entire world was turned upside down and inside out. I learned from that experience that we humans are resilient and can survive heartbreak and loss. My books are stories of families who are seeking resolution and grace.

Have you ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? If so, how many times and what was your experience? No

What advice would you give a new indie author hoping to publish a book? Tight rope walkers learn to walk the rope by practicing this skill over and over and taking more and more risks. It’s the same for writers: we have to keep writing and writing and learning to take the risks necessary to create our stories.

What has been the biggest challenge for you during Covid? As with almost everyone, I missed being with our children and grandchildren. It has been heartbreaking to learn about so many people becoming desperately ill and so many dying. How will we honor them? How will we remember them?

What are you reading right now? Let the People Pick the President by Jesse Wegman and re-reading Barbara Pym’s books in chronological order.

Would you rather laugh or cry over a book? I love that rare book that makes me both laugh and cry. P.G. Wodehouse is my go-to guy when I’m feeling discouraged or down. My husband was reading one of his books aloud to me as we were waiting for me to go into surgery for uterine cancer. The medical staff was a bit shocked to hear me laughing while hooked up to IV’s lying on a gurney.

Have you ever climbed a tree to read a book? No, but I did read books while lying on the back of my horse as she wandered around the pasture. When Star got tired of me, she’d shake herself and off I’d come.

Have you ever dropped a book in the tub, in a pool or in the ocean? OMG! I was in the bathtub reading How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill and somehow the book slipped out of my hands into the water. I was stupid enough to tell him this story at a book signing. Mr. Cahill looked up at me and said, “I don’t approve of people reading my books in the bathtub.” YIKES!  

Could you live in a tiny house? I do live in a small house, the ground level apartment of a two flat in Chicago. It’s about 850 sq. ft. We raised our children here and have had some great parties and gave lodging and meals to rock and roll bands overnight in this little place. (We have a lot of musicians in our family.)

What are the small things that make you happy? I grew up with the enormous Texas sky. Clouds chasing the sun kind of days make me very happy as do the flowers in our garden, listening to a child who is deaf read for the first time, my husband reaching out to me in the night.

Website and social media links: Working on a website. I have an author’s page on Facebook and an author’s page on Amazon.


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

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

Books set in Australia

Wow, I hadn’t realized until recently just how many books I’ve read that are set in Australia! Here’s what I’ve read. Can you add to this list?

Alone – Lost Overboard in the Indian Ocean – Brett Archibald

The Dry by Jane Harper

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty


Check out these lists for additional books set in Australia:

Goodreads – Best Books Set in Australia

Tale_Away – Books Set In Australia: Australian Novels

Crime Reads – 10 Essential Australian Novels


For even more, visit my post More books set in Australia here.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Who’s That Indie Author? Bruce W. Bishop

Author Name: Bruce W. Bishop

Genre: Historical Fiction / Family Saga

Book: Unconventional Daughters

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? Thank you for asking! Yes, I am, and I still occasionally write freelance articles.

Favorite authors/books: Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findlay, Tom Harpur, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, On Writing by Stephen King

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? The first time I imagined becoming a ‘real’ journalist was when I was my high school’s newspaper editor in the mid-1970s. I later sold articles to local and city newspapers which gave me more confidence to continue the craft. But it wasn’t until I became the president of the Travel Media Association of Canada and seeing my byline in national newspapers that I felt I was a bona fide, legitimate writer.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I haven’t kept a journal for many years but I normally use a travel diary if I am away for a week or longer.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: I was directly involved with a national writers’ organization, as mentioned above, for some time, and it was one of the most fascinating and enjoyable periods of my life.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? I suppose as is typical with many Geminis, I do both! But I tend to be up with the sun in the warmer months. I don’t think I do my best writing late at night.

How do you get over a writing slump? It’s funny, but I was talking about this with my brother recently. I don’t normally refer to this as a ‘writer’s block’ (or slump) but more of a ‘writer’s fear’. In other words, will I be able to write something that people actually want to read? When I put myself in the reader’s shoes, I don’t want to disappoint and I want to entertain and/or enlighten, if I possibly can.  

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Dialogue, for sure. This may harken back to my college days and courses in film theory and screenwriting.

What are you working on now? It’s an interlinked novel with Unconventional Daughters, which I’m calling Unrepentant Sons. One won’t have to have read Daughters in order to enjoy Sons, but some of the characters from the first novel are in the second. It also takes place in the same time period as when the first book finishes (mid-1930s).

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Just do it! It is one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it was the pandemic lockdown that really convinced me to do so. We have such a finite time on earth, and living in a period of major societal and economic change should be enough to convince anyone to at least attempt to write and publish.  Initially, for at least three months, I researched the traditional publishing route, including how to get a literary agent. Then I decided to go the independent route because I didn’t want to waste any more time seeing my novel published, and to me, that’s a big “pro” with self-publishing.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? No, I don’t. I wish I could devote more time for leisure reading and perhaps listening to podcasts. Podcasting is a wonderful medium we could not have envisioned thirty years ago.

Favorite escape:  A deserted beach, anywhere.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea?  I’ve heard of it, but haven’t tried it yet. Is it savory or sweet? I usually prefer dry or bitter to sweet.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? Pillows, for sure, to barricade myself before a good movie!

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? If I had to do either of the three, I guess I would choose raking leaves, which I did a lot in my past. Living in a city apartment now gives me the freedom not to have rake, shovel or weed!

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? I’ve tried homemade with fabric, a heavy-duty one that smothers, and finally chose to only use the disposable ones.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: I’m almost afraid to say that there hasn’t been a writing challenge during the pandemic because I have accomplished more since its beginning than in the previous couple of years. I consider myself to be very fortunate in this regard.

Website and social media links:
Website: brucebishopauthor.com
Facebook: @bbishop.writer · Author
Twitter: @Bruce_W_Bishop
Instagram: bruceinhali
Goodreads: Bruce W Bishop
YouTube: Bruce Bishop_Canada


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

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

The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

the shoemaker's pic
The Shoemaker’s Wife

by
Adriana Trigiani

Rating:

I liked this family saga of immigration, near-misses in love and brushes with greatness, with the appropriate doses of disappointment and sadness. It is a light and entertaining read. I enjoyed reading about Italy at the turn of the century and life in the Italian Alps. The author does a nice job bringing the main characters to life.

I think the author’s strengths lie in the story’s initial setting and characters. Her early descriptions of Ciro, Eduardo and their mother are moving. In addition, Trigiani’s descriptions of the Ravanelli family show warmth and devotion. It is the foundation of a really great story.

I think the story slows down considerably once the characters move to New York. And with that, the plot begins to take on unrealistic coincidences and the characters assume superhuman qualities. It’s incredible that Enza has time to sew all her clothes, and very fashionable ones too, while she is working day and night for the Buffa family. And it’s quite astonishing that one day she is hired as a seamstress for the Metropolitan Opera House, and within days she is Caruso’s expert costume designer and cooking gnocchi for him and his cast!

I also think the introduction of historical figures makes the story stiff and the dialogue slow, maybe because the author has to rely on actual events and personalities that do not blend as smoothly with the fictional characters.

Ciro’s success as a shoemaker and his assimilation into New York life move at a believable pace. I enjoyed this part of the story much more. Despite the unlikely nature of meeting Enza on her wedding day, we all know it is coming and accept the feel-good moment.

This is a long book, full of descriptions and similes and metaphors and would have been better if the author had held back on these. One description particularly stuck with me as forced: “The crisp autumn air was cold and sweet, like vanilla smoke.” I am not sure what that means. The author’s description of a train leaving, “watching until the silver train disappeared like a sewing needle into thick wool,” seems contrived. It also bothered me to read a letter from Ciro to Eduardo in which Ciro, who is portrayed as a simple character, claims he is not good at describing things, and then goes on to write a highly descriptive passage, full of big words.

Some other parts I like include Ciro’s relationship with Sister Teresa at the San Nicola Convent. I also like how Ciro is accepted for who he is at the convent, and how the nuns do not force him to be a believer.

An entertaining read and a great way to escape to another time and place!

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