Book Club Mom’s Author Update: Giselle Roeder

Author name: Giselle Roeder

Genre: History/Memoir

Book: My Trilogy : The Nine Lives of Gila
We Don’t Talk About That
Flight Into The Unknown
Set Sail for Life After 50

News: My Trilogy: The Nine Lives of Gila

Gila – me, had an idyllic childhood on a small farm up to the beginning of WWII. I lived my first ten years under the Nazis; nothing much happened in our little world. When my aunt from Berlin came after the bombing to ask for cow manure to grow tomatoes on her balcony, I realized that ‘war’ was real. The first escapees arriving from East Prussia talked about the Russians following them, burning, plundering and raping. Evacuees from Berlin told how the flames from phosphor bombs burned people to death. The Russian army arrived in February 1945; I watched horrible atrocities. When the Russians left, the Polish army came and evicted us. We had 10 minutes to get out of our house. With thousands of people, we walked weeks towards the Oder river, the new border of Germany-Poland. No idea where to go, sleeping under the stars, even surviving diphtheria, and a few months later, typhoid fever.

For the next ten years, I grew up a teenager in East Germany. I had to fight for my education but succeeded in becoming a Physical Education teacher. I had not joined the Communist Party, mandatory for teachers. My principal insisted – unless I ‘sleep’ with him or report me. My dad advised me to escape to West Germany. My east education meant nothing in the west; I started from zero. An unwanted affair with a person in power almost drove me to suicide. I longed to get away, get out of Germany. Away from a stalker. I covered the first thirty years in my memoir, We Don’t Talk About That.

Through an advert, I started corresponding with a Canadian man with a child in Vancouver. His well-to-do German parents smartly manipulated me into marrying him before I knew him. Just weeks after arriving in Canada, I had a rude awakening. With limited English and all my earthly belongings in a container on the high seas, I had no chance to leave. After many trials and tribulations, I was successful in business and a welcome guest on radio stations across North America. Flight Into The Unknown is the story of my immigration.

Now I’m busy writing the finale to my adventurous life, Set Sail for Life After 50.

Website/blog link:

Are you working on a new book? Have you won an award or a writing contest? Did you just update your website? Maybe you just want to tell readers about an experience you’ve had. Book Club Mom’s Author Update is a great way to share news and information about you and your books.

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Open to all authors – self-published, indie, big-time and anything in between. Author submissions are limited to one per author in a six-month period.

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Who’s That Indie Author? Eileen Stephenson

Author name: Eileen Stephenson

Genre:  Historical Fiction and History

Books: Tales of Byzantium, Imperial Passions – The Porta Aurea, and Byzantine History in the 11th Century – A Brief Introduction

What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I grew up loving history and stories about far off places, and I had a dream about being a writer, but could not decide what to write about. Eventually, I got into a day job in finance, married and had three daughters before I found my subjects – Anna Dalassena and the Byzantines.

How do you balance your work with other demands? I still have a day job so the time I can devote to writing is limited to nights and weekends (when family needs don’t interfere). I will be leaving the day job this summer and I’m already working on a schedule to increase my productivity.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life:  When I attended my first Historical Novel Society Conference in London in 2012 and realized that I had finally found my people.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  I write about historical people and the events they lived through, so planning is critical. However, you can’t plan everything!

Could you write in a café with people around? No, I can’t even write with music playing. Silence is golden.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it? Not that ambitious!

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now? Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander is my favorite for entertainment, while John Julius Norwich’s A Short History of Byzantium is my favorite for inspiration. I just finished Philippa Gregory’s first novel, Wideacre, so trying to decide on the next book now. 

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?  I prefer eReaders for fiction and entertainment. Paper of any kind for research material.

Do you think print books will always be around? Yes.

Would you ever read a book on your phone? Only when desperate due to my chronic case of abibliophobia (fear of being without books).

What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? The day job keeps me tethered with an iPhone, so I think that’s what I’ll always use.

How long could you go without checking your phone? Let’s not go into that. I’m working on it.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening? Yes, my daily commute is crazy; I’ve kept my sanity with audiobooks.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform?  I am on Facebook and Twitter and love them both. The people fascinated with Byzantine history are all over the world. Social media has connected me to them and helped me find many of my readers.

Website and social media links:
Twitter: @Byzyeileen
Facebook: Eileen Stephenson

Awards/special recognition: All of my books have been awarded the Indie/B.R.A.G. gold medallion. Imperial Passions – The Porta Aurea has been recommended by Discovering Diamonds – Independent Reviews of the Best in Historical Fiction. Imperial Passions – The Porta Aurea was a semi-finalist for the Chaucer Book Awards by Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media.

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!

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Who’s That Indie Author? Giselle Roeder

Author name:  Giselle Roeder

Genre:  Health, History, Memoir

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

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 for a bio template and other details.

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Best nonfiction reads of 2018

Image: Pixabay

Holiday shopping can be stressful and books are good options, but only if you know they’re good! Here are five of my favorite nonfiction reads of 2018. Maybe one of these will be just right for your friends or family.

Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder by Claudia Kalb – Charles Darwin was a worrier, Fyodor Dostoevsky was a compulsive gambler, and Howard Hughes had OCD. Was Andy Warhol a hoarder or simply a collector? Was Albert Einstein autistic or just focused? In this excellent collection of mini biographies, Claudia Kalb looks at twelve famous personalities and explains their known or likely battles with mental illness.

David Bowie – A Life by Dylan Jones – The story of rock legend David Bowie, who hit the scene in the 1960s and for decades delivered music, art, film and stage performances through ever-changing personas. A compilation of interviews and quotes from nearly two hundred people describing Bowie’s career. It is a terrific view into a complicated and private person.

Educated – A Memoir by Tara Westover – a young woman’s fascinating memoir about being raised in isolation by survivalist parents, tolerating her father’s mental illness and a brother’s abuse, and ultimately breaking free. Westover taught herself enough math and grammar to take the SATs and go to college, first at Brigham Young University. She later studied at Cambridge University and earned her PhD at Harvard.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann – a true-crime account of a shameful period of American history in which members of the Osage tribe were murdered for the headrights to oil-rich land on their reservation in Oklahoma. David Grann tells this shocking story, including the investigation of the murders led by J. Edgar Hoover’s newly-formed Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – Excellent memoir about being different. Through a rambling, often irreverent and always hilarious “where is this story going?” narration, with plenty of colorful vocabulary, Lawson tells you about her childhood, depression, anxiety and illness, her family, early jobs, marriage, motherhood and how she became a blogger and writer.

What are your favorite nonfiction reads of 2018?

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Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Mayflower picMayflower
Nathaniel Philbrick


Do you think you know all about the Mayflower? Check out Nathaniel Philbrick’s comprehensive and scholarly account that begins with Mayflower’s voyage in 1620 and ends with the conclusion of King Philip’s War in 1676. These 102 Separatists and Non-Separatists struggled to survive when they arrived in Plymouth and did anything they could to keep from starving or freezing to death. Made up of printers and weavers and other tradesmen, women and children, they were woefully unprepared for the desperate conditions that killed nearly half of them in the first year.

I think Philbrick’s goal in this book is to dispel the comfortable myth of the harmonious relationship between settlers and native Americans, happily sitting at a Thanksgiving table. He tells a much more complicated story of the knotty relationships between the original settlers and their neighboring Indian tribes, who had their own dynamics and conflicts between tribal leaders to manage.

The obvious question is just how did it happen that all the Indians’ land was transferred over to the settlers? An ultimately colossal problem and tragedy, it started with a small act, a trade that seemed fair at the time and was agreeable to both sides. Subsequent trading of land for guns and other English goods also seemed fair to the Indians and the English and Philbrick works to explain how that trading system went terribly bad.

There are many players in this time period, most notably William Bradford, William Brewster, Captain Miles Standish, the Winslows, Massasoit and his sons Alexander and Philip, later known as King Philip. I liked reading about the early political and strategic maneuvering between the English settlers and with the native American tribes. The period of relative peace during these early times was the most interesting to me because it showed the progress and development of communities. Being an Easterner, I also liked thinking about what the land and shorelines were like in New England so many years ago.

Philbrick explains in great detail the events leading up to King Philip’s War and the horribly violent acts committed by both armies. It was also interesting reading about the battles during this war, whose English leaders included Benjamin Church, Major William Bradford and James Cudworth.  There were many confusing alliances between the English and some “friendly” Indian tribes and there were also forced alliances between some Indian leaders, some of whom were women. Philbrick explains the many superior fighting strategies used by the Indians in the forests and swamps.  An ingenious Indian fort built in a Rhode Island swamp shows what shrewd fighters and defenders the Native Americans were during this time.

An excellent and informative read. I started out knowing the basic facts of how America began, and how native Americans taught the settlers how to grown corn and how to use fish as a fertilizer.  Now I know more and the story is a lot more complicated!

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Check out another interesting book by Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea.  Click here to read my review.
In the Heart of the Sea

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick – preview

Mayflower pic

It’s my month to host Book Club, and I’ve selected Mayflower- A Story of Courage, Community, and War, by Nathaniel Philbrick. Published in 2006, Philbrick writes about the Mayflower’s voyage to America and the settlement of Plymouth Colony. In 2006, The New York Times Book Review selected Mayflower as One of the 10 Best Books of the Year. I am looking forward to reading a story that all Americans know, but seldom to the degree of detail and imagination presented here.