Review: Language of Love by V.L. Locey

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 00.33.09I stumbled upon Language of Love just when I was feeling homesick for my hometown of Philadelphia. I love hockey–I’ve been a Philadelphia Flyers fan since I was a kid–so discovering the To Love a Wildcat series was a stroke of luck. It’s set in Philadelphia and revolves around the fictional hockey team, the Philadelphia Wildcats.

Language of Love chronicles what happens when Marguerite, the deaf daughter of the team’s owner, falls in love with Petro, the latest addition to the team whose limited grasp of English and fiery temperament have put him at odds with the team. Their physical attraction to one another is white-hot–this is one sexy book–and sex becomes one of the ways Marguerite and Petro communicate with other another. As the summer progresses, we get an interesting view into their relationship and the problems these two face–Petro’s drinking problem, Marguerite’s trying to figure out if she should get a cochlear implant so that she could hear his voice or if she should say no to it in order to be a role model for the deaf children she teaches–someone who can show them they can live in a hearing world without feeling like they do not belong–and of course there is relationship drama thanks to disapproving friends and family.

The twists in Marguerite and Petro’s love story give Language of Love a great edge. It’s not often one gets a chance to read a romance featuring a deaf heroine and this novel gives great insight into what it’s like to be deaf in a hearing world, how one navigates communicating and dealing with societal pressure. And of course having a sexy Russian hockey player like Petro is a definite bonus.

Though this was book 5, it was the first book I read in the series and I was able to follow the storyline without any problems. Going to delve into more books in the To Love a Wildcat series. Highly recommended!

My rating?

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Blog Tour: Sins of the Father by Thelonius Legend

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10 Random Facts – Get to Know Thelonius Legend 

  1.  I’m the 2nd oldest of five kids.
  2.  I once held a meet record for the bench-press and dead-lift total. (If I tell you my totals I have to kill you.)
  3. I come from a working class family (OK we was po, not poor, but po!) and I was the first one to go to college.
  4. A girl once broke up with me because she said I read too much. (She tried to friend me on Facebook a few years back and she was, say it with me… DENIED!)
  5. I once sparred with ex-world champion William Joppy (have never had less fun in the boxing ring). Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still see the punches coming.
  6. Mild mannered IT consultant by day and did some work for a small organization called the IRS. One of my most famous or rather infamous applications while there was the Where’s My Refund link. (Don’t act like you don’t know what that is!)
  7. One of my pet peeves is reading terribly choreographed fight scenes. Fight scenes that make absolutely no sense logistically or stylistically. Drives me crazy.
  8. I can smoke ribs like no-ones business. No, I’m serious–I am really good at making ribs.
  9. When I was in college me and my buddies would have a big home cooked meal every Sunday and then each of us would take 100 pennies to the $1 movies show. The movie people hated but what can you do–it’s legal tender.
  10. The first book I remember reading and still love is the Purple Crayon.

Sins of the FatherAbout the Book

This was going to be a special year for the Parker sisters. Eve was going to dominate in the classroom and on the basketball court.

Gwen was going to make the starting five and go down in history as the greatest prankster ever. Ana was going to do as little as possible.

But without warning, all three sisters gain extraordinary abilities that defy science… powers that come with a cost. Now all they want to do is make it through the school year without drawing any undue attention, while racing to find a cure before the side effects of their new abilities kill them. Eve’s temperament, Gwen’s fondness for pranks, and Ana’s predilection for money, however, are challenges they must overcome to achieve their goals. Because if they can’t, they’re dead…

Book Links

Amazon: Purchase Link

Barnes & Noble: Purchase Link

Goodreads: Connect about it on Goodreads!

Book Depository: Pick up internationally!

 

TLAbout the Author

IT Professional by day, but by night I use my pen and pad as a canvas to explore questions of race, identity, privilege and class in a science fiction setting. Eclectic reader with a fondness for the classics and first generation Hip Hop snob. Don’t start none won’t be none! Philadelphia Eagles football fanatic and I also enjoy MMA from the safety of my couch. On the weekends you can find me wine drinking, rock climbing, fishing, or being an unpaid chauffeur to my daughters’ activities. Also I’m a snark purveyor and been making with the funny since it was called the ‘Dozens’. Get at me!

 

Connect with Thelonius Legend

Website: Official Blog

Facebook: Sins of The Father Page

Twitter: @TheLegendBooks

Goodreads: Author Profile

 

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Interview: Getting to know Tia Kelly

A few weeks ago, I discovered indie writer Tia Kelly via another fellow writer, Nia Forrester. I’d just finished reading Nia’s novel, Mistress, which I loved, and was waiting for her next book, Wife, to come out. Then Nia shared a post on her blog about Tia Kelly and her latest novel, Taste for Love, and it sounded like it was right up my alley–and it most definitely was.

So without further ado, let’s get to know Tia Kelly!

10364484_215119008697142_832864325_nWhen did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved reading and enjoyed the creative side of story telling. I guess it’s in my bloodline and I’ve always known the passion existed.

How would you describe your writing for people who’ve never read your work before? And which book would you recommend they start with?
I am a contemporary fiction writer. My novels have elements of realism and romance, but I love to explore characters lives…. one moment at a time. I would recommend The Love Sessions to become familiar with my work.

How would you describe your writing process?
That’s a hard one. The writing process for me changes with each novel. It all depends on what my characters lead me to do and I will follow wherever they want me to go. Chances are I will play with a few ideas in my head just to get the characters talking. Then I will either just start writing or jot down a very loose outline. I hate to even call it an outline. From there, anything goes.

When did you decide you wanted to self-publish your writing?
A wonderful author suggested it a few times and I was always afraid to give it a try. One day, I uploaded Love’s Rebound just to get reader’s feedback using Amazon as a pseudo-online writing class and haven’t looked back since.

What would you say are the most important lessons you’ve learned since you began publishing your writing?
Patience. I sometimes struggle with patience in my every day life, but it’s something I am getting better with thanks to writing. I had to learn that I need to give a story time to grow before it hits the pages… patience in the process of seeing it evolve while I write it… extreme patience when I get excited to write or release the next one. Learning how to give my story time to breathe… Patience would be one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned so far.

One of the aspects of your writing that I really admire is how your characters come across as real, flawed and not necessarily perfect. How do you go about creating characters? Do they come to you fully formed, or is it a long process in creating each nuance?

Thank you. I just want to write real life, especially with love. I am an unapologetic people watcher. I observe and listen to everything. I watch mannerisms, I listen to tone, I try to get all of my senses involved so when I write those elements are translated to the characters I see playing the scenes out. Usually these characters whisper softly, hinting about what they have the potential to become. Then out of the blue they show up ready to go, literally taking me by the hand and jumping into the story with me.

A lot of writers complain about finding a good balance between “real life” and writing time. How do you manage the delicate balance?

I haven’t figured that out yet, but when I do I’ll be sure to let you know. I write all the time, especially in my head. Writing rarely takes time off and pushes it’s way into my real life.

What’s next for you now that Taste for Love is live? Have you already started working on your next book? If so, could you tell us about it?
I am working on a few things right now. The one I can talk about is the next novel in the Wilkersons in Love series. Jeremy Wilkerson is content with his life and has no desire to fall in love again in Ready for Love. This novel features Alejandra, Javier Fernandez’s sister from my novella, Yours.

Tia’s Taste for Love Playlist

Philadelphia plays a big role in your latest release, Taste for Love (which pleases me as a transplanted Philly girl). Tell us why Philadelphia ended up being the setting for Taste for Love, and what is it that is so special about Philly that non-natives just don’t understand?
Philadelphia is just a great city. Perfect location for so many other things outside of the city, too. Taste for Love ended up in Philadelphia because that’s where the entire series takes place. It’s where a few of the characters play professional sports, which is perfect since Philadelphia is such a big sports town. My next novel, Ready for Love, is about Jeremy Wilkerson and he works with renewable energy. Philadelphia plays a big part in the country’s renewable energy market, too. It’s just a great city and one of my favorite places. It just felt right to use it as the setting for a few of my novels.

What advice would you give to young writers who are just starting out?
Just keep writing and never stop. And read!

Many thanks to Tia for taking the time to answer my questions! Interested in finding out more about her writing? Check out her Amazon Author Page for a list of all her available titles. 

The only thing that helps at times like this is buying books

It’s been a crazy two weeks. There is a lot going on at work, which means I am exhausted physically and mentally when I come home. And this is affecting my writing time. I wake up too tired to write. I come home too tired to write. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to read other people’s work instead but I find myself falling asleep on the sofa–not because the books are boring, but because I am tired. Ah well, at least I have Matera and my vacation in the US to look forward to in the coming weeks.

Anyway, I indulged in a little retail therapy and this is what I bought:

ImageMo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Ben Greenman

I had to get this. Questlove and I come from the same town, my beloved Philadelphia. We both come from West Philly. We’re both creative–he’s a musical genius, I’m a writer. Really, it’s a wonder our paths haven’t crossed yet. 😉 But seriously, I am always drawn to books and movies set in my hometown. And since I am a Roots fan and I have always liked Questlove, I knew I needed to get a copy of his memoir. And then a few months ago, Nick Hornby was talking about Questlove’s memoir and I was even more intrigued. It wasn’t available yet and when I tried to preorder it here in Stockholm, I was met with blank stares from  bookstore staff. Of course, after I finally ordered it from Amazon UK, then every online bookstore in Sweden suddenly decided they could stock it as well. I don’t care. I have it now and the cover looks great. I’ve already sneaked a peek at a few pages and this is definitely my kind of book.

I haven’t started reading Mo’ Meta Blues yet but it is the next book on my To Read List. Maybe I will save it as something to read while I am in Philly and then give to my oldest niece as a source of inspiration. I want her to see that there is more to the world than the confines of our old neighborhood.

ImageThe other book I ended up buying is not new but I didn’t want to read it when everyone else was reading it because I really, really hate when other people see you’re reading the same book and then they feel compelled to inadvertently spoil it for you. So which book is it? Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I love a good mystery/thriller and I wanted to be able to read this without everyone else a) trying to convince me it was godhead, b) wanting to discuss it and reveal spoilers, c) wanting to talk about which Hollywood A-listers should play Nick and Amy. Luckily the Gone Girl hype in Stockholm has died down. I think everyone has found a new novel to gush about. I started reading it on Thursday and it’s as good as everyone assured me it was. I’ve decided I need to Gillian Flynn’s other novels (Dark Places and Sharp Objects) as well, so they are also on the To Read List for this autumn/winter. And what could be better to read in Stockholm–that city where the winter cloud cover is so thick you nearly forget there is a thing called the sun–than really tight mystery novels that play tricks with your mind? 🙂

So I think I am set for a few weeks. I am editing Maybe Baby again after making changes suggested by a beta reader. I’m also beta reading a friend’s novel. And I have to wait and see what the future has in store for me. If all else fails, at least I have my writing, Nanowrimo and my gorgeous husband. 🙂

Happy reading (and writing)!

My writing escapes

Tomorrow I’m going on well-deserved vacation. My husband and I are going to Italy, where we’ll celebrate his 44th birthday. While there, I will do what I always do–write.  And this made me think of great places to go when you want to write. I thought I’d share my list of favorites with you.

The Museum District Bed and Breakfast in Richmond, Virginia. Whenever Tord and I head to Richmond to meet friends, we stay here. Anna, the proprietor, is a lovely woman who goes out of her way to make you feel at home. Sitting in her garden or on the front porch, reading or writing is one of my favorite things to do while in Richmond. 

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Main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia at Parkway Central

The main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. When I was in high school and college, this was where I hid from the world (and the abysmal summer heat and humidity). I studied, I wrote, I dreamed in this perfect temple of the written word. Even now, if I am on my own in Philly, I end up at the Free Library and I write in one of the reading rooms before heading off for a cup of coffee.

La Colombe Coffee near Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. Another place where I end up when I am in Philly. I like sitting by the window and watching people go by as I eat a solitary late lunch or afternoon snack and imbibe coffee. The baristas are friendly, and it’s a great place for people-watching. 

ImageVittorio Veneto Caffè in Matera, Italy. I usually end up here when I am in Matera for the Women’s Fiction Festival or the Brainstorming at the Spa. The guys who work here are super-friendly and they always make sure I can have a table where I can write. It’s also a great location for watching Italians on their evening stroll. Order a glass of white wine and they’ll bring out a tray of snacks and a bottle of sparkling water for you. Perfect when you aren’t hungry enough for dinner but you’re feeling a little peckish.

Caserma Carina in Mogliano, Italy. This place is so relaxing that Tord and I are heading there for the third time. I get so much writing done here and last year I read five books in 10 days. Beautiful views, lovely hosts, great food and wine. What more could we ask for? 🙂

What about you? When you’re in the mood for a lovely place to read or write, where do you go?

 

 

Check out Xio Axelrod–another writer from Philly–and Starstruck

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Xio Axelrod, the author of Starstruck

I found out a week or two ago that one of my friends from Philly (we’ve known each other since elementary school) has written a serialized novel. She’s been posting chapter-by-chapter on her blog. The story is called Starstruck and I started reading it mid-last week. I love a good love story, so it’s right up my alley.

Xio’s amazing–she has a beautiful voice, she’s super-talented and she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Go and check it out and show Xio some writerly love! 🙂 You can find Starstruck here.

Happy reading (and writing)!

Happy Mother’s Day, Barbs!

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My mom, Barbara Golden

I don’t usually write about my mom here but I thought it was a good idea since it is Mother’s Day. My mom and I don’t see each other so often since I live in Sweden and she is still in Philadelphia. But once or twice a year, when I am in Philly, I drive her crazy with telling her what to do (like take more walks since her doctor said she should) and she drives me crazy by hovering when I try to cook dinner for her. We bicker with one another but we know we love each other.

When I first told my mom I wanted to be a writer, she thought I meant I wanted to be a journalist. Heck, I thought I wanted to be a journalist too. I thought I could be a clever news reporter by day and a novelist by night. When I was in high school, I won the chance to take part in a semester-long journalism workshop at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. While it was interesting, I realized I didn’t want to be a reporter. I wanted to be novelist. My mom (and my dad) wanted me to have a job with a steady income–I think she really wanted me to be an accountant or a lawyer. But I didn’t have a head for numbers and I thought courtroom antics were boring. Plus, I had this aversion to having to represent anyone I thought was guilty. And when I was in college, everyone I knew in law school always looked miserable. I didn’t want to be miserable. I wanted to be happy writing short stories and novels.

So when I told my mother I was going to graduate school to study creative writing, she was a little concerned. How would I support myself once I graduated? Would I be able to find a job that would pay enough to cover my student loans? While she tried to get me to see reason, she didn’t try to force me into something that wouldn’t make me happy. I think she realized that sending me to a high school that specialized in engineering and science was a big mistake since I didn’t understand anything while I was there. I am still amazed I graduated with as good of grades as I received. I felt lost the entire time.

My mom grew up in Smithfield, Virginia and moved to Philadelphia when she was a teenager. She didn’t get a chance to go to college until she was older and had already raised three kids. My granddad was a bit old school and didn’t believe in paying for his oldest daughter to go to college. He thought she would just drop out and get married. But going to college was always important to my mom, and she encouraged all of us to go–she didn’t want us to be stuck like a lot of other kids in similar situations. She wanted us to see the world and to experience new things. I watched her studying for her courses and it increased my interest in going to college. So–even if I didn’t always tell her this–she was a role model for me. I saw how she worked during the day and went to school in the evening, and I knew I could study too. I knew I could do whatever it took to get an education.

I never used to let my mom read the stories I wrote. I thought she would be shocked or angry about anything I wrote, especially since whatever was going on in my life usually ended up in my fiction. And my mom is more conservative than I am. But when she read my graduate thesis, she didn’t raise an eyebrow at the stories–not even the ones that were a little graphic. She just told me how proud she was of me. And that made me feel like I was doing the right thing.

So I hope my mom is having an awesome Mother’s Day in Philadelphia. I’m pretty sure my brother and sister have done something nice for her. I will treat Barbs to something nice when I am next in Philadelphia. I keep telling her that Tord and I are going to take her away from everything for a few days. Maybe we’ll actually succeed this time. 🙂

Love you, Mom! 🙂

Review: Gayle Forman’s Just One Day

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Cover of Gayle Forman’s Just One Day

I was in the mood for a romantic book that wasn’t a romance. At first, I thought I wanted some chick lit or women’s fiction but then I stumbled upon Gayle Forman’s Just One Day and it struck a nostalgic chord in me. I bought it on a whim and don’t regret it.

Just One Day is a new adult novel that revolves around good girl Allyson’s journey to finding herself and love lost. Everything starts in England–just before her freshman year at Harvard starts–when Allyson and her best friend Melanie decide to check out an underground performance of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. That’s when Allyson first catches sight of Willem de Ruiter, a free-spirited young Dutch actor. Sparks fly and, on a whim, Allyson decides to go to Paris with Willem. During their time together, she blossoms, becoming Lulu–a more laid-back and adventurous version of herself as Willem encourages her to stop following a plan that was never hers to begin with. But nothing goes as smoothly as Allyson hopes. Willem’s good looks mean that she is under the constant scrutiny of other young women who are attracted to him and there are the inevitable meetings with girls from his past. But along the way, Allyson learns to let go and to let herself experience life and love without the suffocating boundaries set up by her parents. But just as quickly as they meet, a misunderstanding tears them apart and Allyson eventually returns to the confines of her life in the US, wondering if that one day with Willem meant as much to him as it has to her and if she can ever find him again.

While I was reading Just One Day, I was reminded of the movie Before Sunrise. There is the chance meeting in an unexpected setting, the American falling in love with the European, and the limited time they have together. But that’s where the similarities end. Forman has written a story that is in itself like the Shakespearean plays Allyson studies–where no one is quite what they seem. Willem is charming and frustrating and, according to Allyson, too beautiful for her. And  Allyson, insecure and overprotected, becomes the woman she wants to be as they explore the beauty…and sometimes the dangers…of Paris.

I loved reading Just One Day. I thought it was an elegantly written novel with beautiful descriptions of Paris and Utrecht and scenes set in Philadelphia that made me just a tad bit homesick. 🙂 The characters are three-dimensional and come to life, making you care about them and cheer for them. The sequel to Just One Day, told from Willem’s point of view and called Just One Year, is coming soon, and I can’t wait to read it.

My take on it? 5 stars.

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The Melanie Chronicles is live on amazon.com now!

Yup, that's from amazon.com...

So now it’s official: the print version of The Melanie Chronicles is live on Amazon. You can find it here and it’s only $3.99 + shipping. A few people asked me why I was doing a print version when it’s already available as an e-book. Well, not everyone has or wants an e-reader. My mother is one of those people. She isn’t interested in e-readers at all–despite all my efforts to convince her of the joy that is Kindle. When I was in Philadelphia in February, we had a conversation that went something like this…

Me: Mom, I’ve published my collection of short stories now.

Mom: Oh, good! Where is it?

Me: It’s an e-book, so it’s on my Kindle. (Show my mother the ebook.)

Mom: But where’s the book?

Me: On the Kindle. See? Right there… (Show her the cover, etc on the Kindle.)

Mom: That’s so nice, honey, but I want a real book. Can’t you print one for me? You know I don’t like these techno-thingies.

I should also add that my mother doesn’t read the email I send her unless I call her first and tell her I’ve sent her an email. She’s not very into computers. She won’t even buy anything online if she can help it.

Anyway, several of my friends have also said they want to read my book but don’t have an e-reader and don’t like reading books on their computers. Plus, I am one of those people who loves my e-reader but still loves the thrill I get from having print books.

So for any of you who are like me and still like print books or if you’re like my mom and you don’t like techno-thingies, the wait is over–the book is now officially live on amazon.com. You can also order it from my CreateSpace mini-store.

That’s it for now! I am trying to finish A Little Night Music and Another Cup of Love, plus the revision/editing of Snowbound so you can have even more from me to read .

For my father…

My dad, George Golden, back in the day...

Just wanted to let you know that I won’t be posting for a week or two due to a family emergency. My father died this week and I am heading to Philadelphia on Tuesday morning to be with my family for his funeral.

My dad was a former Marine who served two tours in Vietnam. He could be the most infuriating man in the world and yet he was generous to a fault. Before he became ill, he was a very active man who didn’t like sitting still very long but loved to sleep in at the weekends. He used to say it was better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission…but he hated it when I practiced what he preached. When I told him I wanted to be a writer, he said I should be a lawyer or a doctor. But when I was accepted into VCU’s MFA program he was pleased as punch.

We didn’t always have the best relationship but maybe it was because I was (and still am) just as stubborn and opinionated as he was. In the last years of his life my dad was stricken with premature dementia. He’d begun to forget who we were, he’d lost his ability to speak due to a stroke, he’d lost a leg to diabetes. When I was with him, I could sometimes feel the anger in him. He didn’t like losing control of his life. But every now and then he would smile and everything seemed okay again.

One of my favorite memories of my dad is when he would sing his favorite songs on a Sunday night while listening to the Golden Oldies on the radio. He and my mom would dance around the living room and it was like getting a glimpse of when they first fell in love.

So the next week or so will be devoted to being with my family in Philadelphia and putting my dad to rest. And this post is dedicated to my father’s memory.

GEORGE NOCHO GOLDEN

26 AUGUST 1939 – 15 FEBRUARY 2012