fiction

Booktique: Intro to an Editor

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As a writer, we often think we are in full command of our language and grammar skills. In many of those instances we are probably strong, but at the same time we’re also not experts in everything. Nor should we be… writers and editors require different tool sets and knowledge. Many of the skills overlap, but there are several differences where it’s always important to find an editor who can help you succeed as an even stronger writer. It’s also important to have someone else read your work other than early beta readers, especially if you are self-published or your publisher doesn’t handle editing.

Stay tuned for another post in the future about the different types of editing, but for now, consider editing the generic term for someone assisting you with writing your novel from style / word choice to punctuation, spelling to proofreading, and story consistency to character development. I connected with a fantastic editor about six months ago shortly after she’d read my first novel, Watching Glass Shatter: Nicki Kuzn of Booktique Editing. It’s been such a fantastic experience that I wanted to share a bit about her so others in need of editing assistance can consider a similar route.

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After publishing Watching Glass Shatter, I’d read through it over a hundred times believing I’d caught every possible proofreading, grammar, or spelling issue before it was published. After seeing a few reviews noting some issues (that I couldn’t find!), I asked Nicki to take a look for me as I was getting ready to update the final version with a few minor fixes before a huge marketing campaign. Nicki quickly read through the novel and sent back a ton of feedback. I had ~40 issues with spelling mistakes, words missing, or incorrect formatting. On top of that, she provided suggestions for improving the language and dialog, too. All her feedback was easily categorized so I knew what was a mistake versus potential issue, style option and choice, or general recommendation.

I made nearly ALL the edits and sent it back for a final review. Nicki found a few more items and really helped polish this novel — the way I should have had it when it first launched. Coming away from that process, I’d learned two things: (1) how/where I tend to make my mistakes (thanks to Nicki’s kindness and how easy it is to work with her) and (2) she was definitely getting my second book once I had a final draft for review. Nicki eventually read Father Figure in early January and worked with me through 3 revisions to finalize the version going to my publisher. She went above and beyond what we initially discussed as the focus areas and amount of time for each one. Nicki is fast, reliable, honest, friendly, and very focused. I always knew our schedule and believed we could build a great partnership in adding the finishing touches to my novel. I can’t wait to work with her again on my third book later this year.

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If you’re in the market for an editor, or even just want to talk to one about the different types of editing or approaches she could take, I encourage you to spend some time on her website reviewing her options, testimonials, and portfolio. Then call or email her to discuss pricing… I’m confident you’ll find it fair. She’s easy to work with, but at the same time doesn’t hesitate to push back a second time when you indicate you don’t want to change something. She provides the reasons why and why not, then lets you make the decision as the content owner. I always knew when it was a required change versus a subjective one.

I also learned how to stop using so many commas… I still am heavy with them, but not as much thanks to Nicki’s guidance and basic rules. Two of the best aspects of working with Nicki include (1) an extremely reasonable price given the level of expertise and energy she brings to the table, and (2) incredibly quick turn-around time. In every round, Nicki delivered sooner than she planned — and sometimes when she’d tell me I’d have everything back in 48 hours, it would be in my mailbox after only 24 hours. It was a writer’s dream because of the efficiency and quality included in the package. You can see more on her Facebook page, link to her site or read some details below to help decide if this is the right path for you.

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About Nicki Kuzn

I spend many hours reading. I was thinking one day (after reading a novel which was not proofed very well) that I could do this with excellent results, thus began Booktique Editing. Since I am a perfectionist, there is nothing more frustrating for me while reading to come across typos, incorrect grammar and punctuation, and incomplete sentences. It is too easy to lose your train of thought, and reading slows down for me when I have to figure out what is actually being said. Also, I am sure there is nothing more frustrating for an author to receive negative comments from reader reviews about errors in their publications. I can fix this for both the author and the reader.

I have made it my goal to ensure that any author/client of mine publishes an error-free book. I usually read a book several times before I return it to the author; I will review it again after the author has gone through my suggested changes. I check for spelling, grammar, typos, punctuation, consistency along with suggested changes to content when I feel they are warranted or necessary.

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Book Review: The Private War of Corporal Henson by E. Michael Helms

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Before I get into my review, I wanted to share with everyone that this author is a blogger many of us have interacted with before. He shares writing advice. He is very supportive of other writers. He shares, tweets and re-blogs content to help market books, posts and thoughts from other people. He’s a solid guy and I’m privileged to be part of his online life… that said, I chose to read his book without him even bringing it up. And my review is completely free and clear of impacts from knowing him. He’s genuine and I thank him for the opportunity to read his work and about parts of his life. If you’re interested in reading more about him, check out his blog and other books. He’s also written a mystery series I can’t wait to get my hands on! But that will be another review later this summer… let’s get to the review on the first book of his I’ve read…

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After noticing the author’s name mentioned a few times on various blogs, then seeing some reviews of his books, I downloaded a copy of The Private War of Corporal Henson by E.Michael Helms. I didn’t realize until I started reading the introduction that this is a follow-up to his first book about life in Vietnam, but I don’t think you need to read them in order, as it’s a bit of a mix: fiction and a semi-autobiographical memoir of his experiences during the war and adjusting to life afterward. I’m not a frequent non-fiction reader, and when I do, war isn’t usually the topic I’d want to learn about; however, I had a good feeling about this author’s work from seeing his blog and social media posts, so I chanced it. I’m glad I did and would give this 4.5 stars. Great work, Mr. Helms.

The novel takes place in the mid 1980s about 20 years after the Vietnam War has ended. Nathan Henson is struggling to live a full life without the past continually haunting him. He’s encouraged to meet up with other veterans and forms a group of guys who support one another through the days and nights. Nathan considers dating again, though he’s somewhat avoided it the last two decades. He and his friends decide how to balance the need for medicinal support, alcohol to calm the nerves, and truthful conversations that bring up a lot of pain. Consider it a coming-of-age journey thirty years later than normal, but that’s meant in a very supportive and honorable way. Nathan, like so many other soldiers, have to figure out how to re-formulate who they are in a world that is no longer the same both personally and globally.

I fully admit I was worried about the flashback scenes. It’s not that I can’t handle the violence or gore, actually rather than opposite — I like reading and seeing it when I know it’s fiction. But emotionally, it’s hard to accept this was a reality for many people in the past and even today. What Nathan endured, as well as his friends, and all the people we probably know in real life, including the author, is horrific… and when I see it in a movie or read about it in a book, it’s too much to handle without taking on some of the pain. So I tend to avoid these types of literature or flicks, but Helms provides the right balance of horror, humor, pain, survival, and support to make reading his story much easier than I’d expected. Whether it’s the right place or not, I feel an intense need to say thank you to the author as well as others in his similar position, for all the energy, effort and time they put into protecting people around the world and in my own country. Thank you, Mr. Helms for both your service and this book.

Nathan as a character is great. He’s well-depicted with both charm and old-school anger / attitude that toes the line of being raw and real, but also frustrating and compelling. I’ve never been thru anything like this, so I’ve no right to judge anyone’s behaviors… yet reading this story opens my eyes to how and why people act or react the way they do. You’re changed coming out of war. And Nathan and his friends deserve the right to take whatever time is needed to figure out their post-war life. It seems simple on the outside… you meet a girl, you fall in love and everything goes away. But that’s not how it is — and Helms’ descriptions, detailed emotions, thorough examples and witty commentary help make that plainly clear to someone on the far outside of the experience. Only a strong writer and someone who’s experienced these events could pull off that task. Kudos to him for making me believe what’s happened in the story and for awakening me to a different reality.

Helms shares a good balance of camaraderie between all the men in the group who meet regularly to discuss their experiences. Each has an opportunity to reflect back on what happened and how they are dealing with it. Sometimes things go well. Sometimes they do not. Each character is vivid. Nathan although not the leader of the group feels like it because he’s sort of narrating the story (not really, but that’s how it seems). He’s a solid guy, and when he has to cancel plans to support a friend, or debates loaning money to one, or we learn about medicine being sold on the side… you understand the bond these men share. You feel the pain when they reveal their stories and what happened to each of them. Who lost a limb and how did they deal with it? Who can’t allow himself to get close to anyone post war? Who has children but no job and can’t support his family? All the things that happen in reality are covered in this story, and as a reader, your heart aches for them.

That said, I also want to kick their ass a few times. Men talk. Sometimes it ‘vulgar’ but that’s the truth and how it happens especially in the 1980s. Helms provides a little of this side of life, too. He doesn’t hold back, but that’s a good thing. It elicited a bit of anger from me, just as it would from someone doing those things in real life around me. He’s got the dialect and voice down. The setting felt very 1980s to me. All good things in a memoir and a piece of fiction.

I’m not gonna lie and say it’s an easy book to get through. War is difficult. The savagery that happens to people in the army or navy is horrendous. You will hear those stories. You will need to put the book down for a few minutes to let it sink in and then somehow flush out of your system before you take on a new story of pain. But it’s well-written, balanced with positivity and humor, and forces you to accept some harsh (that word doesn’t truly do it justice) experiences many people in today’s world aren’t familiar with. Kudos to Helms for successfully pushing me out of my comfort zone on this one.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Father Figure: Early Reviews, Interviews & Book Blitz Marketing

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Father Figure was officially launched for sale on Amazon about three weeks ago. There have been ~20 very positive reviews between Goodreads and Amazon to help promote the book. We will kick off the marketing plans in May. I’m excited to begin sharing them with you…

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Early Blog Reviews

Available Interviews & Marketing

Upcoming Plans

  • Book Blitz: Monday April 30th thru Friday May 4th
    • Q&A Interviews
    • Giveaway
    • Excerpts
    • Other Fun!
  • Download and read for FREE options: Sunday May 6th through Thursday May 10th
  • YouTube Audio / Video: Mid May
  • Blog Tour: Early June

Gratitude

  • Thank you to everyone who has read or reviewed the book in the last few weeks. I am so happy it is going well. I can’t wait to share everything as they post.
  • I am also very appreciative for everyone who has re-blogged or shared these reviews and posts. You help make this even more successful.
  • If you’ve published any posts that I’ve missed or didn’t include here, please let me know. I will keep updating my author website with all the links through end of June when I’m done with the initial marketing phase.

Book Overview

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.

Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.

Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.

Book Review: The Impact of a Single Event by R. L. Prendergast

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In the Fall of 2017, I won The Impact of a Single Event by R.L. Prendergast in a Goodreads Giveaway. I was finally able to make time to read it, and I’m so sorry I waited this long. It was superb! I initially entered the contest because it was about the passing of a journal over a 150+ year period throughout a few different connected families. Writing and genealogy, how could I not love it? At about ~280 pages, it is such an easy-to-read novel, I devoured it in about 3 hours one afternoon.

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Sonia and Richard, a couple in their mid to late 30’s, stop on the road to help victims of a car accident. After the ambulance arrives and carts the couple to the hospital, Sonia and Richard find the journal among the victims’ belongings, then rush to the hospital to drop it all off. From there, the book alternates chapters tracing the lineage of the journal back 6 generations and discussing the impact of it on Sonia and Richard’s current lives. We learn more about what’s going on with Sonia and Richard in their chapters and understand what troubles they face, but we also see how the journal was used by each of the 6 people who’d previously written in it. In the final chapter, Sonia and Richard leave their own imprint when the journal finds its way back to their hands.

Much of the writing style and language in this book is absolutely enchanting. In the first 75%, I found myself turning pages without even realizing how much time had passed by. It was so engaging. When I hit the final chapter, I was less interested only because it became a bit more Eat/Pray/Love journey, which while fascinating, isn’t something I can easily grasp when it’s set in 1860s India. I’m just not familiar enough with the country, religions, or the history, but for the right reader, this will be, I’m certain, a phenomenal journey. That said, it was still beautiful, and if that final chapter (the longest) was more like the rest, I would have given this 5 stars. It was more a case of reader disconnect and not anything the writer had done. It was written well, just hard for me to connect when the main character of that journal entry was hiding in a jungle hoping not to be eaten by a tiger! I tend to prefer something a bit more concrete with just a dose of philosophy.

The way the journal is handed off from person to person is breathtaking. The characters are rich and vibrant. The jump from time periods is virtually effortless. And there’s a great family tree graphic in the beginning to help you understand how everyone’s connected, but in all honesty, it’s not necessary despite how complicated the story can get. And there’s a wonderful surprise at the end which I wasn’t expecting.

It’s a high recommendation from me if you like books to move you and take you on a journey. But you need to be comfortable with missing details, getting in your head, and taking a leap of faith in philosophy. Kudos to the author for one of the most seamlessly written books of this nature I’ve read before.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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Why This Book

I run a monthly poll on the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog via my Book Bucket List. Followers get to choose from a list of the twelve books I own and want to read in the near future. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman was selected as the book I should read in March 2018. I added it to the list because I really enjoyed his novel, Beartown, and thought this was the next logical step. A good friend of mine was interested in reading the novel, too, so we made this a buddy read. I’m so excited to discuss the book as if it’s our own book club.

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Approach & Style

I was going to order the book online, but I found it sitting on the shelf in my apartment building’s library room; how lucky am i? The paperback is 337 pages long and broken into ~40 chapters (not  numbered). Each has a title which explains what might happen in the chapter, and they mostly alternate between what is happening today in Ove’s life in comparison to something connected that occurred in the past. It took me 4 hours to read over a three-day weekend getaway to New Hampshire, but I forced myself to stop at 110 pages each day so it would last longer. It could easily be read in one sitting as it’s that good! The novel’s perspective is focused on Ove, and it is told in third-person omniscient POV. It was published in 2014 but as a Swedish novel, then brilliantly translated into English.

Plot, Characters & Setting

Ove is a 59-year old man who is cantankerous, ornery, difficult, mean and everything else that comes along with the type of men you’d see in the movie “Grumpy Old Men.” It opens with a bit about an iPad that is basically someone we all know (or are — I see my own future in a good 20+ years). But he of course has a heart somewhere, and we spend the entirety of the book seeing little pieces of it as we watch his journey to try to complete a final goal. We meet several of his neighbors and former friends, a few citizens of his community, and some strangers who all have an impact on Ove’s life, but are also touched by the time they spend with Ove.

It’s difficult to summarize more about the book without giving away big pieces of the plot, but it is a story that will make you cry and laugh at the same time on several occasions. Imagine a man you would not want to meet in person slowly tugging at your heart strings because you see and understand all he’s been through that’s turned him into the person we read about today. When you learn what his actual goal is, you’ll be shocked and struggle to accept that you want to support him in it. And when the things he’s always wanted but could never quite have suddenly start appearing in his life, you’ll know you can’t help but love the grumpy old man.

Key Thoughts

Fredrik Backman is hands-down one of my favorite character-building authors. Ove has so many levels to him you will lose count trying to guess what he might do in any given situation. His first reaction will almost always annoy you. His second will irritate you beyond belief… could he really have lost all humanity? But by the third or fourth time he encounters a situation, you see the tides turning. That’s where Backman excels. No matter how harsh he makes someone, the character teeters on the edge until they fall sweepingly into your arms as someone you now love and root for.

Despite reading the reviews and guessing enough of the high-level plot from the descriptions, I was not prepared for all the emotions in this book. The story captures different aspects of life and tries to make sense of them in reverse order. We aren’t reading Ove’s past in any logical format or order. It’s bits and pieces, re-told at appropriate points in his current life. In the opening scenes, he’s yelling at an iPad sales clerk… and we think he’s just an irate older man who can’t ‘get with the times.’ But when you learn everything that led up to it, you’ll find so many new connections. The order of the chapters is brilliant. You know people dislike one another, but not why. You find out way after you think you will, and it makes total sense. An author who can keep that going for 300+ pages is phenomenal.

I kept thinking ‘What if Ove meets the main character from The Five People You Meet in Heaven?’ Would they get along? They’re basically the same person, but completely different. From the plot to the story, the dialogue to the narrative, this book will capture your attention, enthrall your senses, tease you, torture you, and in the end, make you wish there were more. I can’t recommend it enough! You’ll even laugh out loud so often, people will look at you quite funny.

Summary

I am so thrilled with my second Fredrik Backman book that I plan to read all of his remaining works this summer. I have a copy of Beartown 2 which I will read next month, but then it will be My Grandmother Asked me To Tell You She’s Sorry and Britt-Marie was here. There are others, but those are up next on the spring and summer reading lists. I don’t think I could be disappointed as I am addicted to his writing style and storytelling abilities. He’s definitely in my top 10 favorite authors thus far in my reading lifetime.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 343 – Grateful (Author Alert: Russ Towne)

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Grateful: (a) feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Russ Towne

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who he is, what he’s writing, and how to buy his future work. I am pleased to present the very talented Russ Towne. You’ll find out more if you read one of his published books, but as two teasers, read the reviews I’ve already written on his children’s books Wilbur the Duck Who Flew Upside Down and Sir Alex Sleighs a Dragon.

Russ is an incredibly gifted writer and a true gentleman. He and I connected about 4 months ago through a fellow blogger who thought we might want to chat given we both worked in the business world and turned to writing at some point in our careers. We followed one another’s blogs, chatted a bit, then he sent me two of his books (hardcover)! I was so excited when they arrived in the mail. After I read the first one, I brought it with me to visit family in Louisiana and shared it with younger nephews and nieces who will in turn share it with others. I have his second book on my shelf and will show it to friends with kids when they visit me in NYC. His books are beyond creative… they have lessons children can learn in a fun way.

He’s quite prolific as you’ll see below… and I am excited to check out some of his other fiction. Let’s turn today’s blog over to him and see what he has to say…


I began writing my first book when our first grandchild was announced, and released the book about 5 years ago. I now have five grandchildren and have written over six times as many books. I had no idea my first experience as an author would lead to a passion that grabbed me and never let go.

I know this may sound hokey to many, but I creatively go where the whispers of my heart send me, and passion is the fuel that inspires me to fly. If my passion for a project wanes, I set it aside and work on something else for as long as the new one continues to flow freely beneath my creative wings.

I often have several projects at various stages of development. I now have five: Two children’s picture books and three fiction genres for grownups including suspenseful crime drama, a magic/fantasy stories anthology, and comedy crime suspense stories.

I’m a romantic. All of my children’s stories have happy endings and nearly all of my stories for adults do as well. The latter often feature a touch of romance (though they are by no means romance novels as I understand the term.)

I love writing so much that many nights in my sleep I find myself dream-writing, and the dream progresses replaying sequences over and over again until I’m satisfied. Pieces of many of my dreams have ended up in some of my books.

I co-wrote songs for a few years before I began to write books. You can hear several them by typing my name “Russ Towne” into the YouTube search field. My songs are nearly as eclectic as my books.

{Alert Interruption from Jay: I listened to one at a time I needed a lift — it is wonderful}

My current projects include:

  • Mysti Z’s Magical Day children’s picture book scheduled for release February 21, 2018.

 

  • Sunny Saves the Day a children’s picture book scheduled for release February 28, 2018.

 

  • Blood Oaths a fiction anthology of suspenseful crime drama stories scheduled for release March 31, 2018.

 

  • Other projects I’m developing but which aren’t as far along include:

 

  • (Title TBD) an anthology of Magic/Fantasy stories.

 

  • Elm Street Ladies Club stories about a group of little old ladies that get into all kinds of predicaments, part comedy and part crime solvers/suspense.

 

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Author Bio

Russ lives with his wife in Campbell, California, USA. They’ve been married since 1979, have three adult children and five grandchildren. His passions include family, friends, writing and investing. Russ wrote his first book in 2013 when he was fifty-six and has written and published dozens of books that can be found on Amazon.com and elsewhere.

 

Russ delights in seeing the expressions on the faces of young children and their loved ones as they experience his children’s picture, early reader, and chapter books. He enjoys reading his stories in classrooms, schools, libraries, and anywhere young children gather. Russ revels in interacting with youngsters, answering their questions, and inspiring a love within them for the magic of reading and writing.

 

Russ savors experiencing nature, especially near rivers and streams that run through giant redwood groves, and near beautiful beaches. He enjoys watching classic movies, reading, and visiting his tiny fern garden and redwood grove. Russ greatly enjoys managing the investments of Clients of the wealth management firm he founded in 2003.

 

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Key Links

Amazon Author Page

 

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Bibliography

The titles of the books he has written, compiled, and published include:

Books for Young Children:

  •  Sunny Saves the Grumpadinkles
  •  Mysti Z’s Magical Day
  •  Wilbur the Duck Who Flew Upside Down
  •  Sir Alex Sleighs a Dragon
  •  Flora Belle and Dreami Dragon
  •  The Beach that Love Built
  •  A Day in the Shade of a Tickletoe Tree
  •  Zach and the Toad Who Rode a Bull
  •  V. G. and Dexter Dufflebee
  •  Ki-Gra’s REALLY, REALLY BIG Day!
  •  Clyde and Friends
  •  Clyde and Hoozy Whatzadingle
  •  Clyde and I Help a Hippo to Fly
  •  Rusty Bear and Thomas, Too
  •  Clyde and I

Non-Fiction:

  • Honest, Honey, That’s How It Happened
  • Stop Peeing in the Kitty Litter!
  • Slices of Life An anthology of the selected non-fiction stories of several writers.
  • Reflections from the Heart of a Grateful Man

Fiction:

  • It Was Her Eyes A novella
  • Touched Short stories and flash fiction
  • Palpable Imaginings An anthology of stories by several writers in various genres.

 Poetry:

  • Kaleidoscope

 

To see more about Russ Towne on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out his dedicated author page where future content and books will added as he publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Book Review: Still Me by Jojo Moyes

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Why This Book 
I enjoyed the first two books in the ‘Me Before You’ series, then I won the third one, Still Me, by Jojo Moyes, in a Goodreads Giveaway. I was quite excited and nervous, as I adored the first book but thought the second was just decent/good. I am very glad to say this third one is much closer to the first!

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Approach & Style 
I read an advance copy of this ~378 page paperback novel in about 5 hours during a two day period. It goes very quickly as the story is quite intriguing — the writing feels effortlessly natural. It’s broken into ~35 chapters, which makes each about ten pages long. The book is told in first person POV with the perspective focused on Louisa. A few chapters have letters, emails or news articles to help push the story forward. It’s the third in a series and well-worth the read to spend with the brilliance of the characters and the backdrop.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Louisa moves to Park Avenue in NYC to help her friend Nathan who looks after an upper class family. She’ll be a ‘friend’ or ‘assistant’ to Agnes, the younger second-wife of Mr. Gopnik who was mentioned in the second book. There are various other staff in the Gopnik household and apartment building who Louisa interacts with, as well as some new friends she makes in NYC. Lou goes home for Christmas to visit her parents and sister, as well as continues to date Sam, the paramedic, from prior books. The story is about her acclimation to a different kind of life than she had in England, as well as the process to help her figure out who she wants to be. Despite all that’s happened to her, she still has more to learn… I love that about this story! There’s romance, mystery, secrets, friendships, touristy fun, and decisions to make.

Key Thoughts 
Jojo Moyes is a phenomenal storyteller. I adore her characters, settings and scenes. I may be partial as I know a lot of the places in the book since it takes place in NYC; however, even when Lou is just wandering around with no real plot, it’s brilliant writing. The setting is always described in the perfect amount of detail with just enough for my imagination to fill in the blanks.

The characters are very real and familiar. I’ve seen them before in reality and other books, but there’s something special about their dialogue and how they relate to one another in this book. I whipped so fast through Still Me, as I just couldn’t put it down…. you think ‘I’ll just spend 30 minutes before bed,’ then find yourself 200 pages in and ready for more!

Lou’s journey is a combination of the first two books. It takes the reality from the second book with the emotions from the first book, then smashes them together in a final wrapper on discovering what makes Lou ‘still me.’

I can’t say enough good things about this book… I won’t spoil the ending, but that may be the only thing that I was a little ‘eh’ on, in terms of how she ends up relationship-wise. In this book, she struggles with long-distance Sam, meets someone new, and has to figure out what’s right for her. Part of me saw a different ending, but this one still worked. Ultimately, I love Lou… she might be one of my favorite literary characters.

Summary 
I will definitely pick up another Moyes book… after the three in this series, I know she’s an author I will enjoy for many years. I’m grateful to the friend who introduced me to this series. 🙂

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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