It’s a cold and snowy day here at home, but the following warms me down to my toes.
I’m thrilled to see another powerful 5-star review on Amazon for Calmer Secrets!
Take a look:
“Calmer Secrets is a fascinating and mature, well-written second look into the lives of the Cross girls which takes place some four or five years after the events of the first book. The time gap and the substantial content in each novel support Jennifer Perry’s decision to split this story into two books.
Samantha is all grown up, Ben is gone, and against her self-centred, irritating sister’s advice she tumbles into a relationship with old friend Kalen – who has turned into a hot rocker. Their mother continues to wrestle with her issues, and the charming Henry, Veronica’s four-year old boy, is Samantha’s darling. The scene is set for a gritty, realistically told and engrossing unravelling of events, and old secrets, which will change everyone’s lives.
The gripping story kept me helplessly reading on, late into the night. Hints are dropped, with a thud, or a tickle of the mind, and I yelled at Samantha not to be such a fool, at Ronnie for her attitude, at Kalen, at Ben, at Darlene, at Cash… the only one I didn’t yell at was little Henry.
*Much* is explained as the final secrets are revealed and the ends of the story are resolved, and one begins to understand the complexity and depth of these beautifully crafted characters.
This is an excellent novel of family, love, and the damage that secrets can do. Highly recommended, but you have to read the first book first. Together, they make an epic story of ordinary life.”
Annika Perry – no relation to yours truly – is a writer, wife and mother who was born in Sweden and lives in the UK. She is busy finalizing edits on her first short story collection, and is also working on the last edits for her debut novel, Island Girl.
From her About page:
“Writing has been a passion since childhood although it is only in the past year that I have seriously started to write fiction.
In Spring 2014 I won First Prize in the Writing Magazine Short Story Competition which was a joy. Furthermore, I was short-listed for Inktears Short Story Competition in 2014.”
I’ve highlighted the following post of Annika’s where she shares the highs and lows, as well as the distractions, of the editing process. For example, how does a breakfast bowl end up in the bathroom? Check it out:
As anyone who follows me regularly can attest, I don’t use this blog too often for shameless self-promotion of my novels.
Please allow me to make an exception for today.
I am on Cloud Nine since Wednesday, when my debut book Calmer Girls peaked at Number One on the Amazon Canada Bestseller list for Teen Fiction, specifically in the Kindle Store categories of Teen Pregnancy, as well as a peak at Number Two for Dating & Intimacy.
What a nice feeling to hit those numbers. Thank you, Canada.
“And he glanced at the backs of the books, with an awakened curiosity that went below the binding. No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.” ― Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend
“From a novelist’s perspective, the Sixties, itself, is like a character – so rich was that period as a decade of change.” ~ Connie Lacy
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Connie Lacy to my blog as a special guest. I hope, dear friends and followers, those of you who read or write fiction would kindly say hi or leave a comment for her below.
Connie writes speculative fiction, climate fiction and magical realism, all with a dollop of romance. Having worked for many years as a radio reporter and news anchor, her experience as a journalist shows up in some of her novels.
Connie’s post today is about 1960s music, stemming from her research for her latest novel due out this fall. I am a huge fan of the music from that era, so I jumped at the chance to share it with you. Take it away, Connie!
The 1960s – when social consciousness hit the airwaves
When you think of music of the 1960s, what pops into your mind? The Twist by Chubby Checker? Ricky Nelson’s Hello, Mary Lou? Maybe it’s Come Together by the Beatles, or Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone. All of those songs were popular in the 1960s. But the first two were in the early sixties. Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone hit the charts in 1965 and Come Together was released in 1969. Needless to say, the volatile decade of the 1960s saw a huge transformation in the music everyone heard on the radio. Looking back, the first few years of that decade seem like a continuation of the 1950s, while the middle and late sixties come across as a new era with a more complex sensibility.
I’ve been re-listening to some of those songs as I write my latest novel which comes out this fall. The story is set in 1966-67 as musical tastes underwent a tectonic shift. It’s surprising now to think that the actual top forty playlist as my novel opens in September of 1966 included such varied songs as: Sunshine Superman by Donovan, Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett and Stevie Wonder’s version of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind, all in the top ten. Then at #11 was Wouldn’t it Be Nice by The Beach Boys and #12 was Lil Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.
The Sixties, of course, was a time of great social upheaval, with opposition mounting to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement gaining momentum, growing demands by women for equal opportunities, and the gay rights movement picking up steam. The music we listened to incorporated or reflected growing social consciousness. Some popular songs were overt political statements. It’s amazing when you realize we went from Brian Hyland’s 1960 hit, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, to James Brown’s Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud in 1968… and from 1961’s My Boomerang Won’t Come Back by Charlie Drake to Barry McGuire’s 1965 anti-war anthem, Eve of Destruction.
This musical evolution took us from silly novelty songs like 1962’s Monster Mash to 1965’s My Generation by The Who – a teen rebellion anthem if there ever was one. But the airwaves were also filled with anti-war songs. Think Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Peace Train by Cat Stevens, Universal Soldier by Donovan and the very powerful War by Edwin Starr – “War, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” There were songs calling for equal treatment of black Americans such as A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke and Southern Man by Neil Young. There were also songs that became anthems for women, like Aretha Franklin’s Respect, Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me, and on the Country and Western side, there was Dolly Parton’s 1968 hit, Just Because I’m a Woman.
From a novelist’s perspective, the Sixties, itself, is like a character – so rich was that period as a decade of change. Our country was undergoing a dramatic transformation and our music was changing as well. What a gift for me as a writer. And I make use of popular songs the characters listen to in my novel to help create that Sixties vibe.
July is over! Whaaa?
Can you believe how quickly it whizzed by?
This month is shaping up to be
another busy one for yours truly.
First, there’s this:
I am honoured to be making three appearances during this Author Tour.
Getting to rub shoulders with the literary talent in our fair province is a huge part of the fun. Do drop by our libraries if you’re in Gander or Clarenville on these above dates, or if you’re in St. John’s for the Grand Finale. (More about the finale later)
I will also be busy with my two grandkids + one little friend, who are coming tomorrow for a week-long stay here on Perry’s Point.
And then there’s work on the new novel in between all of this, not to mention all those chances to soak up more summer.
I’m running an Amazon Countdown Deal
for Calmer Secrets from
August 2nd to August 9th.
Score a Kindle copy
of this sequel to Calmer Girls
at a discount on Amazon.com
D. Wallace Peach (aka Diana) is a delightful blogger and fantasy writer that I’ve discovered only recently and am now following.
From her Myths of the Mirror blog About page:
“I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show.
Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit.
Tolkien … literally changed my life.”
Seeing as I’m taking a short break from my own blog for the next couple of weeks, I’m highlighting a timely post of Diana’s today where she asks: “How does anyone keep up with blogging and not burn out?” Check out the useful tips and tricks she shares in the link below.
Come visit me over at Jill Weatherholt’s blog today. Jill is a friend and a fellow author/blogger who writes delightful stories about love, friendship and forgiveness, and she has graciously invited me to take part in her Summer Spotlight series.
As it happens, there are just a few days left to snap up Calmer Girls on Kindle for only 99¢, and you can get the link at Jill’s place. Please drop by with a comment when you get a chance, and I will chat with you later this afternoon when I get home. I look forward to seeing you there.