August 21, 2016

North Dakota Reads



My neighboring North Dakota has many authors…it’s also one of the hardest states to fill on my blog so, instead of someone volunteering for the main post, I found this pretty cool website cruising information about the state.
I was pretty impressed and you’ll want to take a look http://www.readnd.org

Welcome to Read North Dakota!
Discover our state's literary heritage and find out about 
upcoming book-related events

North Dakota Literature

The partners of Read North Dakota have researched and evaluated books written in and about North Dakota, but we are eager recognize writers who missed our attention. 

Read North Dakota
418 E. Broadway, Suite 8
Bismarck, ND 58502-2191

 Here’s a call out to all North Dakota Writing Professionals—contact me to fill this spot in 2017.  Have a great day and enjoy the ND view!


(All info downloaded from http://www.readnd.org)

August 14, 2016

Lights, Camera, Action! with Award Winning Author, Lynn Chandler Willis



When you think of North Carolina, the desolate beauty of the famous Outer Banks may come to mind. Or the breathtaking Biltmore House, which is America's largest private home. Or the college basketball rivalries of the Duke Blue Devils and the UNC Tarheels. Or perhaps you think of tobacco, manufacturing, furniture...all of these things are a big part of what attracts people to our state.

Yet, we're about so much more. For instance, did you know North Carolina is a haven for movie and television production? So much so, Wilmington, NC has been called “Hollywood East.”

Enticed by the variety of scenery from rugged mountains to the west and quaint coastal towns to the east, several production companies have east-coast offices and studios in and around Wilmington. The largest, EUE Screen Gems Studios, is the largest studio east of California. Boasting space for five productions at the same time, the studio is situated on a 50-are tract and has an estimated 700 crew members to accommodate any size production's needs. Some of the companies that have used the facilities include Warner Bros. Pictures, HBO, Paramount-Vantage, NBC Universal, Warner Bros. Television, ABC Studios, and Alcon Entertainment. And yes, the studio gives tours!
 
Television shows like One Tree Hill, Matlock, Eastbound & Down, Dawson's Creek, Surface, Under the Dome, Secrets and Lies, Sleepy Hollow, Homeland, and Revolution to name a few used Wilmington as their backdrop.

And the movies! Wow—there have been some blockbuster titles shot in the ol' Tarheel state. Like The Hunger Games, Iron Man 3, Dirty Dancing, Forrest Gump, The Color Purple, Tammy, The Conjuring, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Safe Haven, The Longest Ride, The Choice, Last of the Mohicans, The Patriot, Bull Durham, and soooo many more. To date, North Carolina has been the setting for over 800 television and movie productions.

When you're visiting North Carolina, you don't have to sit the bench and wait to catch the movie on the big screen or the show on the television. Several casting agencies listed with the North Carolina Film Commission and the Wilmington Film Commission are always looking for extras.
 
While you're visiting the television show and film sets in our great state, whether it's in the mountains along the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway or along the coast, there are a couple laws you should always keep in mind to avoid turning your dream stay into a not-so-pleasurable experience.
  • It’s illegal to practice as a professional psychic or fortune-teller. But it's okay if you're only an amateur.
  • Visiting the dead after midnight is against the law. Graveyards are not included in North Carolina's hopping nightlife.
  • Bingo games can not last five hours or longer, and no alcohol can be served. Do not play bingo and drink.
  • If a man and woman who aren't married go to a hotel and register themselves as married, they are then according to state law, married. Congratulations!    
  • It's against the law to sing off key. If you're going to sing, make it good.
  • Elephants may not be used to plow cotton fields. So now you know.

If you're planning a trip to our state, check out the North Carolina Film Commission's website. They usually have a listing of movies and television shows in production. You don't have to go to Hollywood to catch a “star” sighting. There's plenty right here in the Tarheel State.
 
Lynn Chandler Willis has worked in the corporate world, the television industry, and owned a small-town newspaper (much like Ava Logan). She's lived in North Carolina her entire life and can't imagine living anywhere else. Her novel, Shamus-Award finalist, Wink of an Eye, (Minotaur, 2014) won the SMP/PWA Best 1st P.I. Novel competition, making her the first woman in a decade to win the national contest. Her debut novel, The Rising, (Harbourlight, 2013) won the Grace Award for Excellence in Faith-based Fiction. Tell Me No Lies is the first title in the Ava Logan Mystery Series with Henery Press.

Lynn Chandler offers an exclusive ARC of Tell Me No Lies (Henery Press, February 2017) ** ARC will be sent as soon as it's available, around October.  Leave a comment here to win!

August 7, 2016

Petite Meets Street: Nurses' Rounds in New York City Join Carole Ann Moleti



The last few times I had the honor of posting about New York I focused on the more rural upstate regions. This time, I've decided to take you on a tour of an often-misunderstood part of New York City's five boroughs: The Bronx, my hometown.  

The borough bears little resemblance to the area named after Jonas Bronck, who settled in what is now the Mott Haven section just off the East River circa 1640. Hence the capitalization, since it was said one was going to The Broncks' (meaning a bucolic, riverside cabin and surrounding farmland and forest).

Beautiful WPA murals adorn the walls of the former Dollar Saving Bank (now Apple Bank) in Parkchester, one of which depicts the signing of a 1642 peace treaty at Bronck's homestead between Dutch authorities and the Weckquaeskeek Sachems, Ranaqua, and Tackamuck Native Americans. One only has to stroll through some of the borough's many parks, such as Shoelace Park along the Bronx River, to recreate how it once looked.


 
According to Wikipedia, Bronck's River, splits the modern borough in two. The extension of the Number 6 subway in the early twentieth century spurred rapid development. Immigrants moved uptown and made themselves comfortable surrounded by those who spoke their languages, sold familiar foods, and continued traditions and customs. Vestiges remain such as Little Italy of The Bronx on Arthur Avenue, and the largely Puerto Rican and Dominican neighborhoods in the South Bronx that abut Spanish Harlem across the river in Upper Manhattan.

In the 1960's, over development turned large sections of The Bronx from a rural escape for New Yorkers fleeing the tenements of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn into a ravaged wasteland. The infamous city planner Robert Moses, who many credit with the destruction of the borough, used eminent domain to forcibly remove thousands of residents from their homes to build roads and bridges that carved neighborhoods into pieces, preventing easy passage along major thoroughfares.

An epidemic of arson in the 1970s and 1980s, perpetrated by landlords faced with empty apartments, crumbling buildings, lower property values, and too few tenants resulted in soot blackened hulks of buildings that stretched for blocks and blocks interspersed with rubble strewn lots home to more stray dogs and cats then people. It was then that I began my career as a nurse and midwife in the very same neighborhood that my great-grandmother practiced as a home birth midwife circa 1911.

These days, I make my rounds between two points along streetscapes cluttered with cars on the sidewalks awaiting body work, junk yard dogs, graffiti and gang signals, under the NYC oxymoron: elevated subway tracks (The "El"). My heart smiles when the trains clatter by, steel wheels screeching. I recall being in my grandparent's third floor railroad apartment, eye level with the tracks, watching sparks fly in the night like shooting stars. City kids grow up with noise and grit and grime; it seeps into our bodies, we breathe it deep into our lungs, and it changes the way we view life. I love being out and about, and no matter where else I have lived or worked, always find my way back to the old neighborhoods where happy memories linger on every street corner.

The smell of curry and kabobs is in the air. I buy fruit from Green Carts to take home to my family. I speak Spanish, understand French and Haitian Creole, and marvel in the colors of beautifully draped saris and African tribal dress. There are bright smiles, loud horns, and way too much traffic in the teeming streets lined with vendors. Instead of blackened shells with flowerpots painted on the boarded up windows that sanitized the situation, refurbished pre war buildings and newer, homestead housing are proudly maintained.

Fort Apache, the police station that once stood alone amidst rubble-strewn lots, is now surrounded by single-family homes on tree lined streets. In the summer, tar beaches spring up around local fire hydrants.

Insert Images of Fort Apache and kids under the fire hydrants.

From this, I unearth ample story ideas for my memoirs and urban fantasies. The Ultimate Test is a mélange of real life stories with a magical twist. Excerpts of my novel Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams have been featured in Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance and Beltane: Ten Tales of Magic. Segments of my memoir, which chronicles my career as a public health professional in The Bronx, Harlem and Washington Heights, have appeared in This Path, and two volumes of the Thanksgiving to Christmas anthologies. 
For some free reads check out Concrete  http://www.noneuclideancafe.com/issues/vol3_issue2_WinterSpring2008/moleti.htm

Going on Pointe  http://www.noneuclideancafe.com/issues/vol2_issue4_Summer2007/moleti.htm



Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women's issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.

Carole's work has appeared in a variety of literary and speculative fiction venues. The first two books in her Unfinished Business series of paranormal romances are now available, and the third is forthcoming. Her urban fantasy short stories are featured in several of the Ten Tales anthologies.

Carol offers an ebook copy of either her urban fantasy short  The Ultimate Test or a Ten Tales anthology that features her stories (winner's choice). Comment here for a chance to win. 
Excerpts of Carole's memoir, Someday I'm Going to Write a Book: Diary of an Urban Missionary range from the sweet and inspirational in the award winning Shifts Anthology   https://www.amazon.com/Shifts-Anthology-Womens-Growth-Through/dp/0989960919A Quilt of Holidays to the edgy and irreverent in Not Your Mother's Book: On Being a Woman.

Amazon Author Page Link:
(Info provided by author)

July 31, 2016

Yes, New Mexico actually IS in the United States! Patricia Wood



Since I was born in Texas and lived my early years there, I already knew our nearest neighbor to the west was the state of New Mexico. I hadn’t been there, however, until I passed through in 1950 with my family on our way to live in California. Little did I know that a mere six months later, my father’s job would send us to live in The Land of Enchantment. 

Traversing the southern part of New Mexico in the dead of winter was quite a different story than arriving at the end of June 1951, in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave. Albuquerque, which was located (and still is, for that matter) in the northern half of the state, was to be our new home. Having become acclimated to the mild weather in the San Diego area of California, arriving to 105 degree heat in Albuquerque that day was a sizzling experience. Not only was it hot, but our new hometown was experiencing the infamous “drought of the 1950s.” No rain, for months at a time, only to be drenched the next year by the monsoons of middle summer. 

But not until I traveled to Indianapolis about five years later did I have occasion to experience the first of my adventures as a “foreigner” to my fellow Americans. That’s when I discovered the tendencies of some citizens in the rest of the country to see the words “New Mexico” on our name tags, and automatically assume we neither spoke English, nor were United States citizens. I could only wonder if these folks had slept through geography classes in elementary school!

Perhaps in today’s world—especially since the advent of television’s “Breaking Bad” series—New Mexico, and Albuquerque in particular, are more on the map for the rest of the country.  But if that’s all you know about us, you’re missing out on some amazing country and it’s fantastic people.

Most of us learned in grade school that the first settlement in the New World—also known as America—was Jamestown, Virginia in 1620. That was, however, the first English settlement. The Spaniards approached the United States from the south, through Mexico in the 1500s. By 1610, Santa Fe was a Spanish settlement in what is now New Mexico. The first royal governor of Nuevo Mexico, Pedro de Peralta, received instructions dated March 30, 1609, to establish a new town to serve as the capital of New Mexico. As early as 1605, some settlement had already taken place in that general area.

I get the impression that in those days, the settlers from England and Germany coming to the eastern coast of America didn’t pay much attention to what the Spanish were up to in the Southwest. It was a big country after all, and there was no telephone, no telegraph, and no internet to keep them informed. That’s probably why news of New Mexico becoming the 47th state in 1912 failed to impress most people, a fact that’s true even to this day.

It’s also probably one reason J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “Father of the Atomic Bomb,” selected Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1942 as the site for the weapons laboratory to develop the Manhatten Project. It was located in a remote mountain setting, easily protected from prying eyes. When the bombs were ready for testing, White Sands, New Mexico provided Trinity Site—tucked away from most of the population—to detonate those devices.

After the automobile became popular, early travelers along the roads crisscrossing America became aware of the awe inspiring Carlsbad Caverns in southeastern New Mexico. But the notion still stuck that New Mexico was part of another country. When the U.S. Highway system commissioned U.S. Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1926, New Mexico became even more known to travelers.  While its earlier alignment took the highway through a more northerly “ramble” which included Santa Fe and Las Vegas, NM (yes, we have a Las Vegas in New Mexico—much older than the one in Nevada), it entered and left Albuquerque along a north/south route. Later, in 1937, it was realigned and became more of a straight line through Albuquerque’s main street, going east and west. Constructon of Interstate 40 began in 1957, and eventually Route 66 was decomissioned. It remains as a ghost highway today, still accessible in many spots. 

New Mexico has spectacular scenery, and numerous mountains dotting the landscape. You can ski in the morning in the mountains, and have a picnic in a park in the city in the afternoon. There are artist colonies in Santa Fe, Taos, and other areas of the state. Georgia O’Keefe chose the small town of Abique to practice her art. Other artists such as Peter Hurd, and Wilson Hurley found their own inspiration here. New Mexico is or was home to a number of well-known writers, including the late Tony Hillerman. Today George R.R. Martin is a fixture in Santa Fe, and Anne Hillerman, Tony’s daughter, keeps the writing tradition of her father going by picking up the torch and continuing her own interpretation of the Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee novels set on the Navajo Reservation. We are also proud to be the home of other famous authors Max Evans and N. Scott Momaday. Even writers Willa Cather and D.H. Lawrence spent time in New Mexico  in the 1920s.

New Mexico has her very own Centennial Author in the person of Don Bullis. Bullis was designated for that job in 2011, and wrote an amazing book, New Mexico Biographies, just in time for our 100th Birthday party in 2012. To learn more about the history of New Mexico, that’s the reference tool you need.
If your interests are extra terrestrial, take a tour of Roswell, New Mexico, another town which brought New Mexico to the attention of the outside world in 1947. They even have their own UFO Museum for your enjoyment. 

We also have our share of outlaws, the most famous being Billy the Kid. His final resting place can be found in De Baca County, not very far from where he met his end in Fort Sumner at the hand of Sheriff Pat Garrett.
If you love visiting museums, New Mexico has a plethora of those. From the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamagordo, NM to the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque. From Spaceport America outside Truth or Consequences, NM (now there’s a story!) to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum of Art in Santa Fe. There’s even the New Mexico History Museum located on the historic Santa Fe Plaza.

So here’s your invitation to come see New Mexico. And, if you are an American citizen, you won’t even need a passport.
I’m offering readers who comment on this post a choice between a copy of The Easter Egg Murder or one of Murder on Sagebrush. Please indicate your preference in your comment and leave contact info. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator. I look forward to your comments.

Patricia Smith Wood, aka, “Pat” says she seriously focused on writing mysteries shortly before the beginning of her second childhood—that period in a person’s life after retirement and before senility sets in for good. Her childhood as an “FBI Brat” gave her unusual insight into the lives of crime fighters, detectives, and spies. She spent a period of her early working life employed at the FBI, often taking dictation from her own father in the course of a day’s work.

From her teenage years she was hooked on mysteries in all forms: books, movies, television shows, and newspaper accounts. This led to her first mystery, The Easter Egg Murder, published in February 2013 by Aakenbaaken & Kent. It was a finalist in the 2013 NM/AZ Book Awards in the categories of Best Mystery and Best First Book.

Her second mystery in the series, Murder on Sagebrush Lane, a mixture of murder, mistaken identity, theft of government secrets, and blackmail, has been entered in the 2016 NM/AZ Book Awards. Murder on Frequency, the third in the series, is currently evolving.

Visit me to learn more: www.patriciasmithwood.com