DECEMBER 2016 E-BOOK GIVEAWAY – HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR HEROES?

 

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How do you like your heroes? Strong? Brooding? Funny? A bad boy with a good heart? Sensitive? Manipulative? Damaged? Troubled? With or without fangs?

Heroes come in all types of packages; sometimes the wrapper is shiny and new, while other times, it’s tarnished and torn, and bears a few scars.  This December, it’s all about heroes, and in order to kick off the celebration I am offering you a chance to win a free e-book written by yours truly.  A Christmas present from me to you.

HOW TO WIN:  Simply enter a comment below telling me what you like in a hero, OR, tell me who your favorite book hero is.  

CONTEST ENDS –  Dec. 15, 2016 at midnight US Eastern time

5 Lucky Winners will be chosen at random. If selected as the winner, you can choose from one of four e-books listed below made available to you either through Amazon Kindle USA or Smashwords:  

DECEMBER E-BOOK GIVEAWAY

SO COME ON! TELL ME WHAT FLOATS YOUR BOAT, TICKLES YOUR FANCY, OR MAKES YOU SWOON!

LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO ENTER TO WIN.

**Photo top left courtesy of dreamstime.com**

 

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner – review

I read this memoir in two sittings. Held captive by Ruth Wariner’s words, I found that I could not put the book down until I’d read the final page. To say that I enjoyed the book would trivialize its content-but the author’s telling of growing up in a polygamist community had me spellbound.

The Sound of Gravel is a touching story that depicts poverty, isolation, tragedy, and heartache. It’s a story of love, hate, determination and the unbreakable bond that tethers Ruthie to her brothers and sisters – as well as her resolve to keep them all safe.

This was a tumultuous and fascinating read…and one that I will think about for months to come.

A solid 5+ stars

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Belinda G. Buchanan, Tragedy at Silver Creek

I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the wonderful Berneta Haynes from the Waking Writer.

Waking Writer

What have you written so far?

I have written four novels to date.  My first one, After All Is Said And Done, was born out of the incessant need to create a story about two couples who worked together that had an affair, resulting in a pregnancy.  So many times, we see the immediate results of infidelity, but not the long-term effects.  I wanted to follow these four individuals for two years in their lives in order to depict the devastating ramifications that adultery can have on a marriage.

The Monster of Silver Creek is my sophomore novel and is a mystery about a troubled police chief trying to stop a serial killer.

I like to write stories that deal with real issues, such as alcoholism, abuse, and mental illness.  Seasons of Darkness was my third novel to be published and follows a lonely young man as he tries…

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SALUTE TO DRAMATIC BLACK & WHITE FILMS PART II – “JOHNNY BELINDA”

A few weeks ago, I had some major downtime in the way of a hurt back and had begrudgingly relegated myself to the recliner. Now, let me just be clear that I don’t mind vegetating in front of the TV one bit, it was just that this particular day I had A LOT to do. So while I was moaning about my plight to anyone who would listen (not that my children ever would) I came across a title on the DirectTV guide called Johnny Belinda. I stopped immediately-mainly because it had my name in it and you just don’t see it that often in print. Having liked what I read in the description and seeing that it was about to start, I typed in the numbers for the TCM channel and settled farther into the chair.

For the next 103 minutes, I don’t believe I spoke, breathed, or moved. It was that good.

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Lew Ayres, Jane Wyman, Charles Bickford in Johnny Belinda

With a battered seaside village in Nova Scotia serving as the backdrop, the film opens with the new doctor in town (played wonderfully by Lew Ayres) being called out to the farm of Black McDonald (played here by Charles Bickford) to help deliver a breech calf since there are no veterinarians.  While there, Dr. Richardson (Ayres) discovers that McDonald’s daughter, Belinda (played by Jane Wyman), is a nineteen-year-old deaf mute. He goes on to learn that Belinda’s mother died giving birth to her and as sad as the situation is, Black McDonald does not have time to deal with a “dumb” daughter; he has a farm to run, and with only Belinda and his indifferent sister (Agnes Moorehead) to help him, he’s barely making ends meet.

Belinda spends a lonely existence working on the farm, finding simple pleasure in her chores and doing what her father needs her to do by watching his hurried and gruff hand gestures.

A few days later, Dr. Richardson returns with a book on sign language that he gives to Belinda. Over the next few weeks, he pays many, many visits to the farm, helping Belinda learn the signs. When Richardson gives her father a demonstration of what she’s learned, he’s astounded by the fact that Belinda can understand at all, let alone communicate with them. Crusty Black McDonald nearly breaks into tears when she signs the word for father to him.

The lessons continue, and over the course of time, you can start to see Belinda’s unspoken affection she carries for Dr. Richardson, the man who changed her life.

Then, one evening, things suddenly take a violent turn for the worse as Belinda is brutally attacked by a drunken Locky McCormick, and her resulting pregnancy causes a scandal to erupt placing Dr. Richardson’s job in jeopardy.

I’m going to stop right there, because the rest of what happens needs to be seen by you, the viewer, and not dictated by me.

Johnny Belinda was released by Warner Bros. in 1948 and was directed by Jean Negulesco. Early on, the studio was worried how a movie could be made in which the main character does not speak. Regretting their decision, Warner Bros. let Johnny Belinda sit on the shelf for nearly a year after production wrapped. When it was finally released, it opened to rave reviews and critical praise; cashing in at the box office with earnings of over 4 million, it became the fifth highest grossing movie for that year.  Jane Wyman, who was thirty and in the throes of marital turmoil with husband Ronald Reagan while filming, is absolutely brilliant in her portrayal of Belinda.  She conveys Belinda’s plight with a sensitivity and a subtlety that is unmatched, and her performance won her the Oscar for Best Actress.

Johnny Belinda is a timeless classic; it’s a movie that stirs all of one’s emotions: pity, happiness, outrage, tears…it’s all there.  And when the credits rolled, I found myself wanting to watch it again…and I did.

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Jane Wyman

*Trivia fact* – Because Wyman didn’t have a problem with her hearing, she felt that she was lacking a certain realism in her expression, so she wore wax ear plugs to blot out the noise.

Belinda G. Buchanan is a writer of Women’s Fiction & Mystery . Her books include, After All Is Said And Done: a Novel of Infidelity, Healing, & Forgiveness, Seasons of Darkness, The Monster of Silver Creek, and the recently released, Tragedy at Silver Creek. Married for twenty-five years to her soulmate, she is the mother of two sons, (one who loves her unconditionally, and one who loves her only when not in public), and a menagerie of animals.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Belinda G. Buchanan

I had the pleasure of being featured on Susan Leigh Noble’s blog yesterday.

Into Another World

Today, I welcome author Belinda G. Buchanan to my blog. In September 2015, she released a stand-alone sequel to her mystery/thriller, The Monster of Silver Creek. Here is an excerpt from her latest – Tragedy at Silver Creek.

Excerpt -Chapter One

Cheryl Collins breathed sporadically through her mouth and nose, trying, without success, to ease the contraction that was currently slicing through her body.

“You’re doing great, Cheryl.”

Grimacing, she looked between her parted knees at Dr. Jensen, whose gloved hands were resting against the innermost part of her thighs, as he studied the fetal monitor beside his shoulder.  Two nurses—one, a thin redhead with a diamond stud protruding from the fold in her chin, and the other, an older, frumpy brunette with a dour expression—stood on either side of him, staring at her nether region.

Cheryl closed her eyes, wishing that the intimate act of giving birth did…

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Here is my interview with Belinda G. Buchanan

I am honored to have been interviewed by the amazing Fiona McVie on her blog today.

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Name Belinda G. Buchanan

Age Wise enough not to answer

Where are you from Kentucky, USA

A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc

I was born in Owensboro, Kentucky and am the youngest of four girls, beating out my twin sister for the title by a scant two minutes.  A self-proclaimed introvert growing up, I spent my youth making dollhouses for my cardboard figurines to act out the drama I’d created for them.  I met my husband on a blind date, and this past June we celebrated our 25th anniversary.  After having spent fifteen years working in export/transportation, I am now a stay at home mom to two boys (one who loves me unconditionally, and one who loves me only when we’re not in public).

Fiona: Tell us your latest news? 

I recently published my fourth novel, Tragedy at Silver Creek in September.


Fiona: When and…

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TRAGEDY AT SILVER CREEK

NEW RELEASE!  TRAGEDY AT SILVER CREEK IS LIVE!!!

Guilt is a powerful thing, and former deputy Jack Collins is mired in it.  Unable to forget the events that have taken place in the town he was sworn to protect, he feels as if he is slowly drowning as he tries to cope with the aftermath of a serial killer’s reign of terror, as well as his new—and unwanted—job as chief of police. 

When the body of a young woman, having the same puncture wounds as the serial killer’s previous victims, is discovered, Jack must determine if this is a copycat crime or the work of a possible accomplice—either of which—could put the killer’s only surviving victim in grave danger.

As Jack delves deeper into the murder, his vow to keep the victim safe, combined with the secret he’s been harboring, begins to take its toll.  His sudden inability to confide in his wife, Cheryl, causes their home, which was once a haven for him, to become just another source of tension.

An overzealous news team, a threat from his not so distant past, and a mayor who wants the murder swept under the rug, only add to the pressure surrounding Jack as he struggles to do what’s right in this riveting, stand-alone sequel to The Monster of Silver Creek.

NARRATOR J BRUCE MCRELL IS A FULL-TIMER WHO LOVES LIFE ON THE OPEN ROAD (Meet The Voice Behind The Monster of Silver Creek)

Finding the perfect voice to narrate your audiobook sounds like a simple task, right? I mean, after all, it’s just someone reading your words. As a newcomer to the audiobook scene, I quickly realized how wrong I was. A narrator must be able to convert your words into a mental portrait, enabling the listener to see the characters, as well as their settings, and he must do this entirely using nothing but his voice.

J Bruce McRell IS that narrator. His voice is like none other I have ever come across, and he has done an outstanding job of bringing my characters in The The Monster of Silver Creek Audiobook VersionMonster of Silver Creek to life. I had the pleasure of working with him closely for several months and found him not only to be extremely professional, but respectful to my wishes as well. J put his heart and soul into narrating my book, as his desire to make it great matched, if not surpassed my own.  As an author, I hear the words in my head as I write them down, and J nailed every breath, and every gesture, that my characters made, as well as captured every inflection in their voices.  Not an easy task, I assure you.  If you click on the cover image on the left, you can listen to the five-minute sample that J produced for the audiobook and hear for yourself what the voice of a great narrator sounds like.

During his work on my book, I discovered that he brings new meaning to the phrase, “Mobile Office.” Below is my off the cuff interview I had with him regarding the aforementioned subject, as well as how he came to be a narrator.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family, J.J Bruce McRell Narrator of Audiobooks
My wife and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary. We are a blended family. I brought four girls, she brought three boys to the union. And we just celebrated grandchild number nine. We were both born in Massachusetts, me in Boston, she in Worcester.

Being a narrator is a tough market to crack. Can you tell me why, and how, you came to be one?
I have 25 years experience as a radio announcer, and 19 years as an electronic media writer/producer for an advertising agency in the Boston area. Back in the day, I’d go from agency to agency looking for work as a voice talent. That taught me the discipline of the audition process, which is how I’ve connected with authors seeking to create audio versions of their work.

What are some of your credits?
I’ve always looked for books that match my style. I consider myself a fairly straightforward announcer from anywhere USA. I’ve recorded non-fiction and fiction works and have enjoyed bringing these books to life.

About 5 years ago, you and your wife made a life-changing decision. What led you to that choice?
When my wife Paula and I first started dating, we talked about someday traveling this country in an RV. Through our married life, we enjoyed camping, first in tents, then a pop-up, then a travel trailer, and then back to tenting. When I decided to retire from full-time agency work, we decided it was time to start living the dream. With six months to retirement, we bought a motorhome and cleaned out our house of everything we couldn’t take with us.

How did you decide what type of RV to buy? What were some of the amenities you were wanting, and did you do a lot of research before purchasing?Georgetown XL 36-foot Class A motorhome
We opted for a 36-foot Class A motorhome which gave us a good amount of kitchen space to cook our own meals. And we also liked towing our Honda Civic Hybrid along to do exploring once we were parked. My wife scoured floor plans for a decent amount of closet space as well. We found our first motorhome in Pennsylvania after some serious online research.

When you pulled out of your driveway for what would be the last time, did you think to yourself, ‘What the heck am I doing?’
I retired from agency work on 3 Dec 2010. We hit the road one week later with a huge winter storm bearing down on us. We traveled from Boston down the East Coast trying to outrun the winter weather. The last sleet and snow we saw was in Fayetteville, NC, and we slowed down when we got to Jacksonville, FL where we left the sub-freezing temperatures behind. Wearing a t-shirt in the middle of winter made it all worthwhile.

Any regrets?
I wish I’d remembered to unplug the motorhome when we left a park outside Philadelphia in 2012. No damage done, and it’s part of the learning experience. And I thank the kind people in the park who waved at me to let me know I was dragging my power cord.

What is the best part of living life on the open road?
We love seeing new places, discovering historic downtowns, and fascinating back roads. One of our continuing enjoyments is dining al fresco any time of the year. It’s a special community of travelers – some working, some retired, all friendly and there to help or just chat.

J Bruce McRell - Narrator of audiobooks, including The Monster of Silver CreekDo you have a plan mapped out for where you’re going next, or do you just go where the road takes you?
Although we traveled way too much in the first couple of years, moving from place to place twice a week, we’ve slowed down, opting to spend at least a week and up to a month in one spot. We make our plans a week at a time usually, except for the big summer holidays when you have to book well in advance to find a good spot. As always, our plans are written in Jello.

Describe a typical day for you.
I have always risen early, usually around 5 AM. After checking emails and catching up with news and weather, we use every other day for checking out the area, looking for historic sites, jaw-dropping vistas, and a good local cafe. We also like to hang in and enjoy the campground, relaxing with a good book, Facetiming with grandkids, taking walks to explore the area.

Did you have to make any modifications to your RV to outfit your recording studio?J Bruce McRell Narrating from his RV Motorhome
Motorhomes are generally cozy which provides a quiet environment for recording – if you’re not right off the Interstate. When properly set up, it’s like a rolling studio. We always look for parks that have good wifi service as well as a good Verizon signal so we can stay in touch.

What do you enjoy most about being a narrator?
I’ve always enjoyed a measure of autonomy in my work. Narrating allows a disciplined person to set a comfortable schedule of recording and editing to meet an author’s schedule.

Do you, yourself, like to listen to audiobooks? If so, do you listen to them while driving in your RV? What are your favorite types to listen to? (Mystery, science fiction, etc.)
I enjoy fiction, usually action/adventure/crime works. Because of the concentration required driving an RV while towing a car, I stick to music when we’re rolling. My wife and I share the driving.

5 years ago, did you ever think you would be where you are now?
I’m amazed that we’re now in our fifth year of RVing. It’s been time well spent, having made memories and friends in all directions. We’ve discovered places we really like and some not so much. Right now, we’re discovering California with plans to head east to New England when weather permits.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Having only scratched the surface so far, we anticipate still wandering and discovering this great land five years from now. But our pace will be slower. We’ve learned this is not a race from sea to sea.

I hope you take the time to give a listen to the sample.  I promise that you will be wowed by J’s performance. The Monster of Silver Creek audiobook version is available for download at Audible.com, Amazon, & itunes.  If you are an author and are interested in having J narrate your audiobook, you can contact him via email at jbrucemagon@yahoo.com

~Note: Belinda G. Buchanan is an author of edgy women’s fiction, & mystery romance. Books include: After All Is Said And Done: a Novel of Infidelity, Healing & Forgiveness, Seasons of Darkness, and the previously mentioned The Monster of Silver Creek.  

All are available in Paperback and e-book from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, itunes, and Kobo.

Saying Goodbye to Edward Herrmann

Tribue to actor Edward Herrmann

Tribue to actor Edward Herrmann

Last week, the television and movie industry lost one of their greatest assets. Moviegoers and fans lost their friend. Edward Herrmann passed away New Years Eve at the tender age of 71 after a battle with brain cancer.

Generally described by those who knew him, Mr. Herrmann was kind, considerate, and scholarly. I cannot attest to any of those things as I did not know him personally, but I do know the way he made me feel when I watched him on the screen.  Mr. Herrmann brought an undeniable magnetism and charm to his roles, whether he was playing a villain (like the evil Max in Lost Boys) or the stern, but empathetic grandfather, Richard Gilmore, in Gilmore Girls, or a morally conflicted father in the movie The Face on the Milk Carton.

The first time I ever saw him on screen, I was twelve. My mom had taken my sister and I to see The North Avenue Irregulars. I was immediately smitten and touched by Mr. Herrmann’s performance as a widowed pastor with two young children.  Since that day, I have been a fan (and quiet stalker) of his work.

His role in Gilmore Girls solidified him as a household name and his turns in films and television such as Father McCabe in St. Elsewhere (remember him talking to a young Dr. Donald Westphall while indisposed in the restroom?), Graham Sherbourne in Big Business, Harrison Beecher in Oz, and Lionel Deerfield in The Good Wife showed just how prolific and talented he was.

During his career, he made too many films and movies to name, but there are two to me that particularly stand out. The first one was a made for TV movie called Sweet Poison. He plays a hapless man on the way to a funeral with his wife who gets taken hostage by a convict on the run.  Although, he usually comes across as intimidating, Mr. Herrmann brought an intense vulnerability to this role.  His expression as he is tied up while the convict has his way with his wife is forever burned in my memory.  But all is not as it would seem, and as the plot unfolds, so does his relationship with his wife. If you haven’t seen this movie, I strongly recommend that you do.

The second most favorite movie I saw him in was Overboard.  He played the arrogant and narcissistic husband of Goldie Hawn to perfection. To quote him in the film, “I’m so virile, I’m so great!”…and he was.

He will be greatly missed, and Hollywood is a little darker because of it.

What are some of your favorite Edward Herrmann movies?

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Belinda G. Buchanan is a writer of Women’s Fiction & Mystery Romance. Her books include, After All Is Said And Done: a Novel of Infidelity, Healing, & Forgiveness, Seasons of Darkness, and The Monster of Silver Creek. Married for twenty-five years to her soulmate, she is the mother of two sons, (one who loves her unconditionally, and one who loves her only when not in public), and a menagerie of animals.

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