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Response To A Challenge: Review Of Fried Windows

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From time to time I review things. Novels, music, concerts, plays and a few off the wall experiences have been fair game in the past. But I have never officially, publicly reviewed any of my own work, until now. I’m doing this on a dare, in response to a personal challenge. I will not post this review of Fried Windows anywhere like Goodreads, Amazon or anywhere else for fear of someone assuming I’m more vain than perhaps I am. I humbly submit this only because I think it might be enlightening to hear the author’s thoughts.

Of course, I’ve read Fried Windows – so many times I’ve lost count, not that I was really trying to keep track. I dare say I have read it more than anyone else ever will. I’ve read previous versions no one else has seen save for a few beta readers. I know what was deleted during the final edits and where the skeletons are hidden. What was removed and replaced in prior revisions now exists only in my memory of the original story. Also, what  triggered the creative process that resulted in the original draft is part of the story of my recent life. I’ve shared some of these insights in the past, of how I left a bad situation that was killing me and on the way produced a novel. But I have never given the work a formal, critical review.

Here goes:

Fried Windows (In A Light White Sauce) by Elgon Williams is urban fantasy meshed with various other genres including mystery and science fiction. The result is entertaining though the plot, at times, becomes complicated and twisted as the storyteller fuses the various element together and have it make some modicum of sense. Then again, does fantasy need to make sense?

Strawb is the standout supporting character. Her eccentricities are the glue that binds the amalgam, giving necessary cohesion to the storyline. Without her presence Brent, the hero, would drift aimlessly through a fantasy world he barely recalls, bouncing from one experience to the next while trying to piece together the puzzle he made of Lucy’s life.

Lucy is as an innocent child at times. After all, she is disconnected from any real world underpinnings.  This allows her to be free but she also laments what she knows is no longer within her. Brent is as attracted to her as he ever was as a child when she was his imaginary friend. But within his Carlos persona, Brent finds the desire to stay with her in the Inworld nearly irresistible. In the course of remembering things from the past Brent/Carlos realizes he was at least complicit and possibly responsible for what changed  Lucy and why she is trapped in only one world. In the process he appreciates that what he did as well as what he did not do now exposes his real world children to fates similar to Lucy’s.

Despite the seriousness underlying everything, Fried Windows was always intended to be a lot of fun. What if someone offered you a special gift of reconnecting with childhood? It’s a fantasy that perhaps we have all permitted. In a world of mortgages, car payments, bills and responsibilities, what sane person hasn’t wanted to escape for a while? In the background, as Brent experiences being a kid again it alters him. A lot of what he does seems crazy – even to himself. As readers we are left to question what is real and what is not about this curios man and his strange story. What did the mysterious organization called The Program do to him? How much responsibility do they bear for Brent’s apparently tenuous grasp on reality?

At one level we might just as well accept that Brent is bonkers and leave it at that as we go along for the ride of a lifetime. But the possibility that he is not, that what he perceives is a veiled reality that the rest of us ignore, opens endless opportunities for us to explore. And as a writer, exploring unbridled imagination is a way to find artistic expression.

I won’t give any overall star rating to my own work. I find the awarding of stars counter productive, anyway. How can one equate the works of two different authors and determine that both being excellent deserve the same rating. Also, as a reader, there are stories I like better than others but that does not diminish the effort that went into creating the story. No doubt some will find areas that could be improved in Fried Windows. Each of us might write this story differently. But I feel the book does its job, establishing the foundation for what is yet to come as the real world learns more about Brent Woods and his multiple layered fantasy universe.

There, was that so hard? At the risk of seeming self-aggrandizing, I am posting this review. If it comes off as self-promotion, so be it. I would have never written Fried Windows if I did not intend for others to read it. Certainly, I would have never gone through the extended process of publishing it if I did not believe in the story. Whether you buy it as an eBook or paperback, rent it, borrow it or whatever, I hope you enjoy the experience of reading it. I also hope you learn not to assume things about the nature around you. What we believe in is a matter perspective and perception, after all.

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#FriedWindows #ElgonWilliams #author #NewReleaseBooks #MustReadBooks #Writing #BookReview

 

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Persona Non Grata by Stephen J. Stirling Is Refreshingly Engaging

Persona Non Grata Cover

Stephen J. Stirling had penning an exciting, fast-paced, refreshingly engaging read that is topical, blending both religious dogma and current events. Although set in a fictitious version of Crimea, not the one you’ll find on any map, the political intrigue rings true enough in a captivating, suspense-filled tale.

Paladin Smith, the story’s unlikely hero, is a high school history teacher and devout follower of the Mormon faith who starts each day teaching a seminary class to teens, just as he did many several years ago when he has Victoria (Toria) Grant in his class. After he saves her from date rape her uncle misreads his interest in her forces him to leave town. Now that adversary from his past returns as a Congressman who needs Paladin’s help to save Toria. The strength of his faith is tested as the strange mission requires Paladin to travel 6,000 miles and do something well beyond anything he has ever done – perhaps something he never dreamed was possible. In the process he relies on the inner strength of his faith and receives an opportunity to save more than one life and also change the world.

I particularly enjoyed the way Stirling casts his Paladin into the political intrigue. At first everyone assumes he is a special envoy from the US but then, as he true identity come into focus he becomes an officially unwelcome person, hence the title of the book.

There is a powerful message of hope contained in Stirling’s words and it is delivered along with page-turning action and steadily building suspense to a climax that comes as a surprise after all the underhanded chicanery going on in the background. The reading experience is enjoyable and a distinct change from recent fare.

To buy on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/nxcp8zk

#suspense #PolicticalIntrigue #novel #Mormon #StephenJStirling, #MustReadBooks

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Interview With Regina West, Author of The Long Way Home

Regina West

Regina West is a romance and erotica novelist who signed with Pandamoon Publishing last year. She is a mother of two boys, plays classical guitar, lives in Lakewood, Colorado and is a huge fan of chocolate. I asked her a few questions and this is how it went.

Her first novel, The Long Way Home is due out in a couple of weeks. (See review posted July 11, 2014). Earlier this year she and I talked about her upcoming novel and her life in the Rocky Mountain state.

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Elgon – Imagine for a moment that you’re a famous, bestselling author. They’re making a movie out of your most recent book. What do you do next to top that you’ve already achieved?

Regina West – I gotta say…if that happens, I doubt I’ll bother topping it.  I’d keep writing, sure, but I’d spend an inordinate amount of time rolling around naked in my piles of money while sipping umbrella drinks at my beach house in Tahiti.

EW – Creative people tend to be spontaneous. In particular, most people think that writers are at least a little crazy. Tell us the most unusual thing you have done in your real life that doesn’t directly relate to writing.

RW – I am way too much of a control freak to be spontaneous.  Crazy, yes.  Spontaneous, not so much.  I suppose the most unusual thing I’ve done was go-kart racing.  Most of the time, I was the only girl racing, and, believe it or not, I was good at it.  Not many women have that claim to fame.  I tend to think of myself as a NASCAR driver – driving too fast, doing fishtails in empty parking lots. Just ask the Colorado Highway Patrol.

EW – Creativity comes in many ways – for example, painting, photography, sculpture, music and theater. What other things do you do or have you done that are examples of using your imagination or other artistic talents?

RW – As a child, I took dance lessons for many years and spent a great deal of my spare time choreographing routines.  Even now, if I hear a catchy song on the radio, I can envision dance steps in my head.  In adulthood, I began taking classical guitar lessons and fell in love with that, but, unfortunately, with all the other things going on in my life, I’ve had to put it down for now.  I truly miss making music.

EW – Where do you see yourself at this moment in your life had you never decided to write a book?

RW – I think I’d be right where I am now.  Writing is a lovely, all-encompassing experience, but the pay sucks.  So, for the most part, I think I’d still be working full-time, spending time with my kids, and generally growing as a person.  I’d probably spend far less time on social media, though.

EW – Family and relationships are important in peoples’ lives. So, it is little surprise that there are relationships between characters in books. How closely do the interactions in your books mirror your real life?

RW – Well, I write romance, so I take the sexual tension everyday real-life people might feel and ramp it up about a thousand notches.  That said, there are bits and pieces of me and people I’ve known in all the characters I’ve ever created, so the interactions are similar, albeit far more dramatic.

A prime example from The Long Way Home is when my introverted main character, Twilah, meets her future best friend, Victoria.  Victoria is bold, outgoing, and has nothing to lose, which chafes against Twilah’s more cautious nature, so her first reaction is an odd mixture of curiosity and mistrust.  I’ve had the same initial response to my extroverted friends.  It can take a long while for someone who spends a lot of time hiding behind her personal inner walls to understand someone with no walls at all, but once the trust is built, these two opposites become inseparable pieces of a puzzle.

Many thanks to Regina West for taking the time to answer a few questions.  The Long Way Home, her first novel, will be released through Pandamoon Publishing on July 30, 2014.

About The Long Way Home:

Forty-two-year-old Twilah Dunn has it all – a thriving ad agency in Los Angeles she shares with her business partner who is also her fiancé. But one phone call changes everything and leaves Twilah with a dead father, a cheating fiancé, and a score to settle.

She returns to her small hometown in North Carolina determined to sell her father’s horse farm and use the money to buy her business out from under her cheating fiancé, but her plans change when she sees the farm’s dilapidated state. She can’t bear the thought of leaving it that way.

Against all reason, she trades her fast-paced, high-stakes city life for a down-home, country one to restore her childhood home to its former glory. But she knows she can’t do it alone.

She hires sexy, forty-something cowboy Aidan Perry to help her do it. Soon, she can’t keep her mind or her hands off him, but rumors of his dark past loom. Besides, she’s been burned before by mixing business with pleasure.

Will Twilah push through her fear and let herself love Aidan? Will his mysterious past prove too dangerous? Has she really left Los Angeles behind? For some, the way to happiness is the long, winding road home.

Contact Ms West on her website or the social media links below:

Blog: http://www.reginawest.com

Twitter: @ginawestauthor

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reginawestromanceauthor

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7223916.Regina_West

You can also learn more about her book at:

http://pandamoonpublishing.com/pandamoon/reginawest.html

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#TheLongWayHome #ReginaWest #NewReleaseBooks #MustReadBooks #PandamoonPublishing #writing #NewAuthor #Colorado

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Put off that beach trip… Review of Regina West’s The Long Way Home

My advice: put a hold on the beach trip until your copy of Regina West’s new novel arrives. The Long Way Home is this summer’s must read. But you don’t have long to wait. It’s due out at the end of the July in eBook and paperback.

Twilah Dunn is a partner in a successful, LA-based, advertising firm. In fact, her ideas and skill with the clients has made the firm what it is. But one day her comfortable life is turned upside-down. She receives a phone call from her old hometown. Her father with whom she did not have the best of relationships has died. She goes to the house she shares with her fiancé needing comfort from him but instead catches him in bed cheating on her with her best friend. Suddenly, her trip back to her North Carolina roots to settle her father’s final affairs takes on a completely new purpose. In the process of getting away from her present she discovers a new potential for a future she never expected.

Although The Long Way Home is a romance in every sense, it is also about relationships. This well-crafted love story brings together two people whose pasts have all but defeated them. Drawn to one another by circumstance as well as mutual need, Twilah Dunn and Aidan Perry discover deeper connections to the people of a small Southern town and the land of her ancestors as the two of them address intense desires for one another.

The book is introduces us to memorable characters and through realistic dialogue. The pacing effectively delivers the combination of mystery and suspense along with the steamy bits you expect from the genre. The result holds undivided attention from start to conclusion. Regina West distinguishes herself as a storyteller, creating a compelling tale about friendships and family where traditional small town values collide with reality of the modern life.

Regina West

#mustreadbooks #bookreview #newreleasebooks #TheLongWayHome #ReginaWest, #newauthor