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29.5.16

Review: Rescued by Stephanie St. Klaire

by Elisa Hordon

Rescued

So I had been looking for a new romance to sink my teeth into and nothing had really grabbed me lately, I mean I've read some good romances but I was searching for AWESOME, book boyfriend worthy, swoon worthy romance and something a little different as well would be good.

So with my wish list in mind, I was surfing Amazon as I do most days, but I still didn't find anything that grabbed my eye, but then I got a friend request through from a Stephanie St. Klaire, I noticed she was an author and friends with other author friends of mine so I clicked on confirm friend request and OMG I am so glad I did because this is where I found my next new LOVE, yes that’s right LOVE and I'm not just talking about the gorgeous Dawson who stars in Rescued.

I am totally fan girling about Stephanie, seriously what a writer and this one is only her first book now I am just hanging out for book 2. I figure it can only get better from here, but back to the book, Rescued.

Dawson Tayler, EMT, superhero, sparkly fairy and all round gorgeous hunk, you will so get the sparkly fairy reference when you read the book and I highly recommend you go get the book NOW.

Sam Taylor, nurse, mum, best friend, super sweet and super cute with a gentle sassyness about her that comes from a hard upbringing and being fiercely independent.

Neither Dawson nor Sam do relationships, or so they keep telling themselves. Everyone around them in the small town of McKenzie Ridge can see they are perfect for each other, but Sam and Dawson prefer their little world of denial and friendship. So they just keep hanging out together and breakfast after their shifts turns into breakfast every morning, which turns into lunch which then turns into one hot steamy kiss at the park which is all around town in a flash and everyone is still waiting for Sam and Dawson to bite the bullet and admit they are in a relationship.

McKenzie Ridge is a small town where everyone knows everyone's business and when tragedy strikes it hits the whole town hard. With Sam being a nurse and Dawson an EMT they are both on the front line when anything bad happens. But what if one night you were called out and it was someone you loved in a mangled mess of a car, what would you do? How would you handle it? And what if it turns out that the accident wasn't really an accident at all? What if something more sinister was happening and this was only a small part of the puzzle? But no way; this is McKenzie Ridge, small town USA, nothing sinister ever happens, that’s just all for tv and movies, isn't it?

This is one story you need to really read to pick up the subtle hints to something more going on. Stephanie St.Klaire, is such an awesome writer, the way she describes the small town atmosphere and comradery make you want to move right in, The way she describes the people and their feelings makes you feel everything right along with them and when it comes to creating memorable characters who will stay with you long after you have finished reading, well let's just say Stephanie writes exceptional characters, believable characters and characters who feel more like family, you just want to keep reading.

Dawson and Sam's romance is one for the books, I told Stephanie it needed a warning label 'Frequent Cold Showers Required While Reading' and I was not kidding Sam and Dawson sizzle on the pages in a sexy, sweet and endearing way, that just makes you want their happily ever after to come true but will outside forces set to cause harm stop Sam and Dawson's happiness........

Keep an eye out for book 2 in the McKenzie Ridge series out soon.

Buy Rescued at Amazon

Elisa Hordon, reviewerElisa lives on the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia were she spends her days reading, journaling, painting, cooking and home schooling her daughter. She has always been an avid reader, Elisa loves reading many genres of books except horror; her favourite genres would be mystery, romance and paranormal. Elisa also loves pursuing many creative outlets if she is not relaxing with a book she can be found writing, sketching, painting or cooking. Elisa loves to share her obsession with books especially with her family and friends. Reading and reviewing books is a favourite pastime of Elisa’s.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (274 pages)
published: March 2016
ISBN13: 9781530461400
genres: romance, suspense
source: author



Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. A free ebook was provided by the author. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

28.5.16

Doctor Thorne - From Book to Amazon Original

by Donna Huber

Doctor Thorne
Last weekend, while resting my shoulder I checked out the Amazon Original series Doctor Thorne and I wound up binge watching all four episodes.

Julian Fellows (yes, the Julian Fellows that brought us Downtown Abbey) has adapted Anthony Trollope's novel Doctor Thorne, which is part of the Barsetshire Chronicles into a four part series that is currently streaming free for those with Amazon Prime (sign up for Prime now).

Trollope was a contemporary of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and definitely in watching the show I could see similarities. I'll get to those in a minute.

Doctor Thorne is very much like a Victorian-age Downton Abbey. Though there is more emphasis on the relationships of the titled class and the villagers. There is definitely intrigue and scandal to keep you watching this 1850s drama. There is a lot of scheming and secrets among the characters.

Often when I watch British shows I like to pick out actors that I know from other shows. While there may have been others, I quickly picked out the actress who played Susan McClare on Downtown Abbey - Phoebe Nicholls.  Her character in Doctor Thorne, the Countess de Courcy, is just as conniving, but not nearly as shrill.

Politics seem to be a prominent topic and two characters are running for office. Though they aren't very worthy candidates. One is a drunkard, but a baronet and the other is not so educated, but apparently has money.

Lady Arabella (played by Rebecca Front, Inspector Lewis) reminded me a bit of Austen's Mrs. Bennett. Apparently estates being in financial trouble is a common theme in English aristocracy and the estate of the Gresham's estate is heavily in debt. Lady Arabella feels it is her children's duty to marry money in order to save their home. Frank Gresham, Sr. is a bit more affable (similar to Mr. Bennett). The daughters side with their mother and hope to marry well. Definitely a few Mary and Edith-worthy moments.

Frank, Jr. on the other hand is in love with the local doctor's niece. While they live comfortably, they are not of the wealth needed to save the estate. There is also the questions surrounding Mary's parentage. Is she really the Doctor's niece or is she his child? He has raised her since she was a baby and he has no wife.

Mary loves Frank, but she also loves the Gresham family and is willing to sacrifice her happiness for the family's good.

There is a ton more about the drunk baronet (he owns most of the Gresham estate) and his son Sir Louie. Sir Louie is very much a Dickensian villian and I foresaw his fate.

I really thought it was a well done series. I haven't read the book, but it definitely made me want to. I hope that there will be more shows from the book series. It was also fun because Julian Fellows does an intro and closing for every episode - reminded me of Masterpiece Theatre's intros, including a red chair and fireplace. I can't remember if Fellows was wearing a smoking jacket.

The ending was priceless and such a satisfying ending for the series. I recommend queuing this show up for a little binge watching. And if you want to pick up the book, it is free on Amazon.

In other book to TV adaptions - Wayward Pines returned to Fox on Wednesday for a second season.

What book to TV adaptions would you recommend?

Donna Huber, founder & publisher. Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. She reads most genres, but her favorite books are psychological thrillers and stories that highlight the survival of the human spirit against unbelievable circumstances.


Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

27.5.16

Review: Luna Tree ~ The Baby Project by Maya Berger

by Susan Roberts

Luna Tree
I don't read a lot of non-fiction and was a bit reluctant to read this memoir by Maya Berger but I am really glad that I did!

Maya takes us on the journey of her life starting as a twenty something student living a carefree life at university and hoping to one day have a successful career and a happy family. Her life at home hadn't been happy and she longed for a future that was totally different. After several bad relationships, she ended up with Luca and they got married. Not too long after their wedding, she started to have terrible back pains that no doctors could diagnose. After numerous doctors, she found out that the pains were caused by an auto-immune disease and she started looking into alternative treatments to ease her pain. Luca was extremely supportive as she tried various treatments and traveled to several countries to see doctors and healers. Even with all the pain and difficulties, she never gave up hope that she would be healed and that she and Luca could have a baby.

This is a beautiful story about a life changing journey to find healing and hope and acceptance. This was a very motivating read and I am definitely glad that I read it.

Buy Luna Tree at Amazon


Start Reading: 



Susan Roberts, reviewer. Susan grew up in the Detroit area but after deciding that city life wasn't for her she moved to North Carolina after college. She and her husband have several acres of land and they enjoy gardening and canning vegetables in the summer. They travel extensively. Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook or Twitter.


Book info
available formats: ebook and print (214 pages)
published: January 2016 by Luna Tree Publishing
ISBN13: 978-1519689856
genres: non-fiction, family, women's growth, memoir
source: free ebook provided by author



Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. A free ebook was provided for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

26.5.16

Kenzie Cox Takes on Shifters in Two New Series

by Elisa Hordon

I love a really good shifter book, I love a great shifter series even more. Kenzie Cox is the new persona for bestselling author Deanna Chase. Deanna writes the awesome Jade Calhoun series which is full of everything witchy you could ever imagine, then there is her ghostly spin off series featuring Pyper Rayne ....... but this blog post is all about Kenzie Cox and her magical shifter series. It's going to be a 2 part series, first up are the wolves..... Yes that's right a family of gorgeous hunks who get themselves in and out of trouble while finding their fated mates along the way... Oh so much fun rolled into these magical short stories and even though they are short stories there is depth to them. They tie into each other well and flow from one to the next.

This is what Kenzie Cox has to say about Shifters
"The best thing about shifters is their hearts. When one falls for his heroine he falls hard, and it's fun to watch him come to terms with that."



Wolves of the Rising Sun

When it comes to wolf mating season girls better watch out or you just might find yourself the prey of a gorgeous sexy man who can shift into a wolf, hmmmm I'm not convinced that would be a bad thing ..lol


Jace
Jace

First up we have Jace, sexy gorgeous misunderstood....lol
Jace Riveaux, gorgeous, sexy and dangerous, is someone Skye Michaels should definitely stay away from, but she finds that an impossible task. Especially as Skye is trying to hide from the world and Jace has secrets of his own but their worlds are about to collide in more ways than one. Get set for the beginning of an exciting new adventure into a shifter world, Jace and Skye's story sets the scene for the rest of the wonderful stories in this series. I highly recommend reading then in order from Jace through to Wren. You will get a true love of wolves and how they will do anything to protect their family and especially their mate.

Buy Jace at Amazon


Aiden

Aiden
I love the way the books describe the scene: you really feel like you’re in the Bayou. So much so, you can swat at mosquitoes while your reading...lol Aiden and Rayna Vincent know a quick fling is wrong especially when Rayna is Aiden’s brother Luc's best friend. Plus the three brothers have always treated Rayna like a sister, but Aiden and Rayna just can't stay away from each other no matter how hard they try which is not that hard at all....lol Aiden does not do relationships but there is something different about Rayna, Aiden has tried to ignore the pull he feels toward his brother's best friend, but he just cannot stay away from her any longer. On top of them hiding their non-relationship someone torches the brothers' bar. Are the wolf hunters back? Does this have anything to do with Rayna? Is she in trouble? Is there other trouble for the brothers? Well if there is the brothers will sort it even if they have to bring in their cousins to help. This is what wolves do they protect what is their own no matter the cost.

Buy Aiden at Amazon


Luc

Luc
Luc Rivaeux meets Arianna Simms through his brother's mate Skye. Arianna is a model and Skye's best friend. She is also drop dead gorgeous, only in the bayou for a few weeks and the perfect woman for Luc to lose himself in for a short time. Arianna and Luc both have things in their past they want to keep buried. Arianna wants to forget all about her drug dealing family, while Luc wants to forget the scars left behind by his mother’s abandonment. So the two try to lose themselves in each other thinking it would just be a fun holiday fling but when wolf hunters threaten the Riveaux clan again they bring their cousins into the mix to help and Arianna calls in her brother Smoke for help. Amidst all of this adventure Luc and Arianna find more between themselves than either of them bargained for.

Buy Luc at Amazon


Craved

Craved
Craved is the 4th book in this series and it ties everything together for me. Devon Michelson aka 'Smoke" is a hacker extraordinaire who we met in the last book. He is also Arianna's brother and Craved is his story about how even after 5yrs of not being near the woman he has always loved, that love never dies and when she walks back into his life the craving he feels for her gets stronger by the second. Scarlett Jacobs needs help and she needs it fast. What Scarlett didn't expect was where the help she needed would come from: the one man she has never forgotten but sometimes wishes she could.

Buy Craved at Amazon


Silas

Silas
Silas Davenne promised his mother 6 years ago he would keep sweet innocent Hanna Valentine away from his dangerous shifter life, that promise is getting harder and harder to keep when Silas is drawn to Hanna like a moth to a flame and Hanna is seriously over waiting for Silas to come to her, but could she be biting off more than she can chew.

Silas's story was all kinds of tragic, suspenseful and ultimately fated from the beginning to the point he wasn't given a choice, not that he didn't want Hanna he clearly did but he would have preferred a different story I think and I love that we got to see behind Silas's tough exterior.

Buy Silas at Amazon


DarienDarien

Darien Davenne, what can I say? It really sucks to be a gentleman at times when all a guy wants is the girl he knows he shouldn't touch...lol Thea Johnson has been through hell after being kidnapped. All she wants now is time to recover. Oh and Darien. She really wants Darien but there is so much going on in her world she knows she should get herself together before she starts anything. It's just so hard to stay away when he is right there protecting her.

Buy Darien at Amazon


Wren

Wren
Wren Davenne and Bella Stone spent a couple of hot steamy nights together and then Bella disappointed. With Bella MIA, Wren realises his feelings for Bella may run deeper than he originally thought. Those feelings are confirmed even more when she comes back into his life and someone is threatening her life, now there is nothing Wren won't do for his woman.

Buy Wren at Amazon








Black Bear Outlaws



Now we meet the Bears who having Mating Fever on the brain. Even if it's not what they start out to do, finding their fated mates is just that, fated. So why fight it? It would be too easy to just give into it....lol and Bear Shifters are not cuddly teddy bears at all. They are all alpha male with hard edges and soft hearts all rolled into one sexy package.

Cyrus, Chase and Cole Doucet were raised to be bad boys through and through, but once they got away from their father they decided to go straight and live a better life. So the brothers started Black Bear Outlaw Security together. They take on the tough cases the police can't solve and they protect the people who hire them.

Cyrus

Cyrus
Cyrus Doucet has been in love with the girl next door his whole life, but she is also the one girl who has never wanted him, or so he thought.

Claire Erickson has always lived on the straight and narrow, now she finds herself in trouble and the only man she can turn to is the one guy she has been crushing on since she was a kid but he never noticed her, or did he?

Cyrus and Claire have been hiding their feelings from one another for so long now it's a wonder they will ever get it together, but then fate always gets his way and if Cyrus and Claire are fated mates there will be no stopping the collision their lives will take together.

Buy Cyrus at Amazon


Chase

Chase
Chase Doucet has found his woman and he is not going to let anything stand in the way of him claiming his mate. He realises Katherine has just left a bad relationship but the mating fever is so strong he is not sure he can hold back and wait for her when his bear wants her so badly.

Katherine Craig has just left a bad relationship behind her and now she finds herself falling for another man so quickly it makes her head spin. But can she put aside all her fears and trust Chase Doucet or is Katherine making another mistake? Katherine also has a big secret; one that she thinks may make all the difference to her life. She is just not sure she can trust her secret to Chase.

Buy Chase at Amazon



Cole

Cole
Cole Doucet has a job to do: guard the body of Amberly Mathews, the gorgeous actress who is also a bear shifter and as it turns out Cole's fated mate. So how can he be her body guard and keep his distance at the same time? The sexual tension between the two has sparked since the day they met but Cole is a professional and he won't let his lust for Amberly get in the way of keeping her safe.

Amberly Mathews has sworn off men. She has had enough of this crazy stalker and she has had enough of the gorgeous Cole Doucet bossing her around...lol even if she is paying him to keep her safe.

Amberly just wants her life back. She wants to get back to her career and be a bigger star than she already is. Or does she?

Taking a forced vacation while she is being stalked brings Amberly back home to a place long forgotten and memories she left behind. Now she also has the sexy, sweet, gorgeous Cole Doucet taking control of her life to keep her safe. She is going nuts, but it's not just the close confines and not being able to get any peace with Cole guarding her. It's the sexual attraction she is having trouble not acting on, because nothing, no man is stopping her from getting back to her career. Or could she possibly have both a family she has only ever dreamed of and a career she is not really sure she wants as much anymore?

Buy Cole at Amazon

Keep a look out for Kenzie Cox's new shifter series 'Dragons of Decatur', set in Louisiana I can guarantee this will be a must read.



Elisa Hordon, reviewerElisa lives on the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia were she spends her days reading, journaling, painting, cooking and home schooling her daughter. She has always been an avid reader, Elisa loves reading many genres of books except horror; her favourite genres would be mystery, romance and paranormal. Elisa also loves pursuing many creative outlets if she is not relaxing with a book she can be found writing, sketching, painting or cooking. Elisa loves to share her obsession with books especially with her family and friends. Reading and reviewing books is a favourite pastime of Elisa’s.

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

25.5.16

Elena Who And What The Heck Is A Neapolitan Novel?

by Kathleen Barker



When I first stumbled across a mention of Italian author Elena Ferrante, I wondered what she had written to be crowned one of Italy's most renowned novelists.

I heartily agreed with an article in "The Economist", which called her "the best contemporary novelist you've never heard of."

Her series of Neapolitan Novels begins with My Brilliant Friend, the first in the multi-volume set.  I was intrigued as I have a deep love for Italy and its people.  And, at the risk of sounding shallow, I liked the cover art.

For some reason, I have been ensnared by multi-volume novels of late (such as Outlander and Poldark) so I decided to flip a coin.  After all, unlike the other two series, this one only has four books.
Set in the 1950's  near Naples, Italy, Ferrante tells the story of two young girls, Lila and Elena. Translated from the original Italian, it was not an easy book to read.  Even the best of translators cannot precisely duplicate the lilt and flow of the author's language.  My grammatical background did battle with the occasional run-on or incomplete sentence.  I had to force myself to chalk it up to artistic license. 

The story is deeply personal, often violent, and I felt that Ferrante's goal was to reach through the page and slap me, reminding me that this was her story to tell, not necessarily one that I would love to hear.  As I moved through the first hundred pages, I was irritated by the ever-shifting friendship of these girls as they matured.  Yet I was drawn back, wanting to know how they could possibly remain friends   The author captures the insecurities of girlhood in a male-dominated culture surrounded by grinding poverty with the honesty of first-hand experience. 

Though I fought valiantly to dislike this book, the characters repeatedly sucked me back in with their raw, honest descriptiveness.  I knew I could walk down any poor street in Naples and run into each and every one of them.  Damn it, now I'm going to have to buy book two, The  Story of a New Name.

Buy My Brilliant Friend at Amazon


Kathleen Barker, features writer. Kathleen was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. A graduate of Blessed Sacrament, the Institute of Notre Dame and Towson University, she spent twenty years as the much-traveled wife of a Navy pilot and has three children. While working for a Fortune 500 insurance company in New Orleans, she wrote feature and human interest articles for their magazine and received the Field Reporter of the Year award. After Hurricane Katrina, she returned to her beloved state of Maryland where she started work on "The Charm City Chronicles". All four volumes, "Ednor Scardens", "The Body War", "The Hurting Year", and "On Gabriel's Wings" are available in Amazon's Kindle store.


Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

24.5.16

Looking for a Good Laugh? Then Look No Further

by Donna Huber


You just know it's going to be a bad day when you open an envelope filled with glitter. That shit gets everywhere.



I love The Hitwoman series and I always look forward to joining Maggie and the gang on a wacky adventure. It is escapism reading at its best.

As usual I found myself behind and having to play catch up, but it made for an awesome weekend because I got to read The Hitwoman and the Chubby Cherub and then jump immediately into The Hitwoman and the Mother Load. 

If you have read my last couple of reviews of the books in this series, you know that I've thought Maggie has really been growing up. And definitely in this book we see the growth, though it isn't without a struggle.

I'm glad that I was able to read the two books back to back. Typically the books are fairly stand alone with some overarching plot lines. However, this one felt a bit more like a serial. But there were still plenty of laughs and I'm happy that Maggie is finally figuring things out with Patrick.

Buy The Hitwoman and the Chubby Cherub at Amazon



The Hitwoman and the Mother Load
You know it's going to be a bad day when the only weapon you have to defend yourself with is a rubber chicken.






So I finished the Chubby Cherub on a Friday night and I knew I had The Hitwoman and the Mother Load waiting for me. I knew if I started it I wouldn't put it down and I would wind up being up all night. So I tried very hard to be good and got myself ready for bed. My Nook needed to be charged so I plugged it in on my night stand. And it mocked me. So like the reading addict that I am I told myself I would just read the first chapter. The Chubby Cherub did end on a cliff hanger after all.

Thankfully my Nook really did need to be charged and I only got to read a little bit before it died, otherwise I would have been up all night. And I had places to go on Saturday.

I have loved all of the Hitwoman books, but I think this one had me laughing harder than all the rest.

Saturday morning I went to the Jaemor Farms store and I couldn't help but pick up a few items to snack on which I thought perfectly complemented my plan for Saturday night reading.


I settled in for my night with some Maggie approved garlic stuffed olives, summer sausage and cheese. (From the pitiful looks that my dog Charlie was giving me, I'm sure my snacks where Dee Dee approved too!)

Towards the end of the story though I was wishing I had not gorged myself so much as I was laughing so hard I thought I might throw up. Seriously, I can't remember ever laughing so hysterically from a book before. Really, J. B. Lynn outdid herself with doctor scene. I had to put my Nook down so I could hold my stomach and wipe my eyes. It took several tries at calming myself. I would think I was good, but then I would pick the book up and barely read a word before I just died laughing.

It was that hysterical kind of laughing that when you are done you wonder if it was really that funny or if you are a bit slaphappy. So please go read this book and then come back and tell me if you found it at least half as funny as I did.

And there are some really big moments that longtime readers will be so happy about. Though I'm a bit worry about what will happen to Maggie. And is Ms. Whitehat's organization good or bad.

Buy The Hitwoman and the Mother Load at Amazon


Donna Huber, founder & publisher. Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. She reads most genre, but her favorite books are psychological thrillers and stories that highlight the survival of the human spirit against unbelievable circumstances. 




Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. A free ebook of The Hitwoman and the Mother Load was provided for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

23.5.16

Michael Landweber on Character Development #MondayBlogs



When people ask me about character development in my books, I am at a bit of a loss to explain my process, which is sometimes mysterious even to me. My characters are people, and people are generally unpredictable and occasionally uncooperative. Of all the aspects of my writing, I feel that I have the least control over my characters. Sometimes we have a partnership in the crafting of the story. Sometimes they just flat out control me.

Thursday 1:17 pm
Let me back up. When I start a project, it is always with the idea. Usually, a premise – simple, but odd – pops into my head. For my debut novel, We, a person travels back in time where that person is trapped inside the brain of his or her younger self. My new novel, Thursday 1:17 p.m., also was concept first – time stops and only one person is left moving. In both of these cases, I knew that there was a main character, but that was it. That person didn’t even have a gender. Forget about names – those come way later.

Before I know my main character, I have to meet the candidates. This is a little like mingling at a cocktail party in my brain. All these different possible characters are there vying for my attention. In real life I’m really bad at navigating social situations like this. Somehow that translates to my imagination too. Choosing characters should be like a casting call for a movie. I should be auditioning actors and picking the right one based on a confidence stemming from knowing who I’m looking for. Instead, I sort of flail around for a while, hoping to bump into the right character. Like in real life, sometimes I forget to ask them the right questions. Or I have trouble hearing what they are trying to tell me. Sometimes I just stand quietly in the corner and hope someone comes to talk to me.

At the genesis of a project, that cocktail party can be a little chaotic. I get snippets of characters’ lives. You say your mother was a hoarder? Interesting. You’re an astronaut? That could work. Or not. Seventh son of a seventh son? Yeah, maybe a little too scary for this book, but thanks for coming. Everyone in the room is an amalgamation of demographics and quirks and family histories, none of which seem quite right for what I want to write.

Eventually, the room thins out and I’m left with just a few options. Some of them have picked up characteristics of suitors who left something behind. Eventually all that detritus gels into a single person, hopefully fully formed. That’s the character that moves on to the novel or the story, working with me to craft a cohesive story.

The problem is that sometimes it is the wrong character.

That’s what happened with the early drafts of Thursday 1:17 p.m. The premise of time stopping naturally is going to lead to a certain degree of loneliness and alienation for the solitary character who isn’t stuck. The original character was an early twenty-something recent college grad. He didn’t seem to have any friends. I didn’t really know his family. He didn’t have any discernible goals for the future. And since he was a first-person narrator, I wasn’t even sure what his name was. At the time, all of this seemed OK for a character who was stuck in a world where time stopped. Unfortunately, starting with a character so disconnected even before time stopped led naturally from isolation to madness to some very unfortunate serial killer like behavior.

I had to let him go and start over.

That’s when my eventual narrator, Duck, wandered by. He was a seventeen year old whose birthday was the day after time stopped. He was literally being denied the opportunity to become an adult. He told me about his family – a sad story but a poignant one. Duck had friends. He had an unrequited crush on a girl. And everything he was telling me fit perfectly with the story that I wanted to tell.

That’s my secret of character development. For me, it’s not about knowing every detail about a character’s life. It may be important to know a character’s favorite color, but most likely it isn’t. What’s important is that the character helps me figure out the story I want to tell. In Thursday 1:17 p.m., Duck wouldn’t let me write something that wasn’t something he would do. I know it sounds a little crazy to talk about my characters as real people who discuss plot points with me, but that’s how it feels when I write. That initial awkward cocktail party leads to some lasting friendships.

OK, you’re right, I need to get out more and talk to some real people. But first let me write another chapter of my next book.

Buy Thursday 1:17 pm at Amazon


About the author:


Michael Landweber lives and writes in Washington, DC. His short stories have appeared in literary magazines such as Gargoyle, Fourteen Hills, Fugue, Barrelhouse and American Literary Review. He is an Associate Editor at Potomac Review and a contributor to Washington Independent Review of Books. Michael has a soft spot for movies about talking animals and does not believe he would survive the zombie apocalypse. His first novel We was published in 2013.





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