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April 3, 2015

Fear and Loathing in Literature

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions
English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Chris

So my eleven-year-old came to me the other day and said, “I heard about this movie at school called Alien. Can we watch it?”  I said, “Sure—if you don’t mind having nightmares for the next three years.” This is the kid who wanted to walk out of Toy Story 3 near the end.

The best of our cultural media—be it music, film or literature—is that which makes an emotional connection with us. There are the songs that make us feel like dancing, and the movies that make us cry. These are the things that stay with us for days afterwards, making us question and making us think, and sometimes, making us look perpetually over our shoulder.

Fear, oddly, gets a bad rap when it comes to the range of emotions media can invoke in us, second only perhaps to happiness. Oscars go to the tearjerkers, rather than horror or comedy, even though the gut reaction of the audience is no less powerful, or valid. Personally, I’d argue that fear has a longevity that can outlast the most manipulative of tragedies, perhaps because it connects to an older and deeper part of our human nature.
My own relationship with fear-as-entertainment began on my eighth birthday, with my negligent father allowing my friends and I to watch a little horror movie called Friday the 13th (1980). I slept with my back to the wall and the covers over my head for a year afterward. I didn’t touch horror again until I picked up a copy of The Relic (1997), mistakenly thinking it would be an Indiana Jones-style adventure. Then, a strange thing happened: I found the blend of suspense and terror to be not only gut-churningly unpleasant, but somehow thrilling and enjoyable.

I started devouring horror movies, and this soon led to horror novels, the inarguable champion of which is of course Stephen King. King is a mastermind of suspense, and after testing the waters with the relatively mild Hearts in Atlantis I was soon rapidly turning the pages of Carrie, Salem’s Lot, Misery, and more. King has a knack for torturing his characters, mutilating them beyond recognition (both figuratively and literately); Paul Sheldon looses his leg in Misery; Jack Torrance dies in The Shining. I first read Pet Semetary as a new father, and the tale of infant death and ghostly resurrection quite literally made me sick.

But if Stephen King is the Friday the 13th of literature, others represent the more subtle terror of Jaws, or Alien—terror derived from what isn’t shown, rather than what is. In these films the monster’s reveal isn’t half as frightening as the build-up to it. In this regard, the books I remember the most for frightening the living daylights out of me aren’t horror at all. To this day I remember being unable to put down my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird at one in the morning as Jem and Scout walked home in the dark, an unknown terror stalking them through the night. I also remember vividly the black darkness of the staircase of Pip’s London apartment in Great Expectations, where the convict Magwitch is waiting to reveal himself. These were the moments in my young literary life that I realized the true power of words.

Books, of course, have it harder than film. There are no jump scares in writing, and even the best of descriptions can’t compare to the visceral horror of shadows moving in shadow. Yet there are things books can do that film can’t: the internal dialogue of the frightened character is difficult to replicate in film, and of course a writer has the luxury of simply omitting detail for the sake of scaring the reader. Moreover, the writer relies ultimately on the reader’s imagination, which if played right, can be far for terrifying than anything that can be shown on screen.

What books have frightened you the most?


Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above links.

April 2, 2015

Support your favorite blog: Use their affiliate links

by Donna Huber

Blogging is a fun task, but it is a lot of work. Some weeks it is almost like a second job. However, it is a job without a salary. Bloggers blog because they love it, but that doesn't mean they don't want or need a reward for their work.

Rewards come in different ways for different bloggers. For book bloggers, most of our rewards come in the form of free books. While free books are a nice perk, sometimes it just means more work. Also it doesn't pay for the expenses of running a blog.

I have kept my blog expenses minimal, only paying for a domain name. But for those who run a self-hosted Wordpress, there are hosting costs. Giveaways that the blog sponsors are often costly. Most giveaways are sponsored by the author or publisher, but occasionally I sponsor my own. Like the Box of Bookish Delights giveaway (you have entered, right? No, go here to rectify the situation), the books were donated by the author, but all the other bookish goodies were purchased by me.

How do I make this hobby self-sufficient?

It is frowned upon in the book world (at least what I hear from authors) to charge for reviews, though if you look at other product review blogs, many charge an administrative fee (particularly if the product is worth a certain price point, usually $25). As I add more reviewers and have to coordinate review requests for them, the thought of charging a small administrative fee has crossed my mind a time or two. But for now that's not an option.

Another way to raise funds are through ads. Girl Who Reads displays Google Ads and I do earn a few cents a day, more if the ad is clicked on. But Google has a high threshold before sending the funds - $100. I haven't reached that threshold yet. Many blogs use ads, either Google or similar program or they offer ad space to authors. Ads add clutter and if not laid out well on a blog, they can be distracting. I don't think my current layout is good for more ads than the Google ones. One day I may offer ad space.

Finally, an option that can be a great source of monetary rewards for a book blogger is affiliate links. They are great, because readers often already use the sites that bloggers have affiliated with. For instance, Girl Who Reads is an Amazon affiliate. Every time someone uses an Amazon link found on this blog to make a purchase at Amazon, it doesn't have to be for the advertised product even, a small commission is earned, usually 4 - 6 % of the purchase price. I use the money earned to pay for the domain and giveaways. I also reward my regular contributors whenever I can.

If you are a blogger who is wanting to earn a little money to help offset the costs of blogging, I recommend using affiliate links. Amazon is not the only company that offers such a program. Smashwords has a program, but you only earn a commission if the book the link is for is purchased. Barnes and Noble uses a third party company to administer their program and the application is lengthy. Amazon's affiliate program is great and you can easily sign up for every Amazon store (you do have to sign up for each country's affiliate program to earn commissions from the other stores). I think the best thing about the Amazon program is that it doesn't matter what the customer buys as long as they go through an affiliate link.

When I make purchases at Amazon, I always visit a blog I enjoy first and find an affiliate link to click on to take me to Amazon before starting my shopping. I like knowing I'm supporting other blogs. If you are a blog reader and have wondered how you could show your appreciation, consider using the affiliate links before you shop.

April 1, 2015

New Releases: April 2015

The weather is starting to warm, which means there will soon be lazy days laying in a hammock with a good book. Who cares about spring cleaning? You need to get your reading list ready and here are some great new releases coming out this month just waiting for you to discover them.


When I'm Gone
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines comes the next new adult novel in the Rosemary Beach series, in which we meet Mase, a Texas heartthrob first introduced in Take a Chance who comes to Rosemary Beach to stir things up.

I had an urge to fix all her problems. Which was stupid. She was doing fine without me. But something about those big eyes…

Mase Colt-Manning has always preferred his humble life as a Texas rancher to his birthright as the son of a legendary rock star. In fact, he rarely visits his father’s rarefied world in Rosemary Beach, especially if it means bunking at his vile half-sister Nan’s house—until one visit leads to a chance encounter with a young, gorgeous house maid who awakens him with her off-key but spirited imitation of a country music star…

Reese Ellis finally has her freedom. After escaping a lifetime of abuse from her parents and classmates for an undiagnosed learning disorder, she seizes the opportunity to be a house maid to some of the richest families in Rosemary Beach. But her job is in jeopardy when she causes an accident at the home of her most important client, Nan Dillon. When a hot, half-naked stranger with a cowboy’s swagger comes to her rescue, she’s intrigued—then afraid once he shows his own interest. Reese has never met a trustworthy man in her life. Will Mase be any different?

Available April 7
Buy When I'm Gone at Amazon




The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things
Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…

Available April 7
Buy The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things at Amazon



French Coast
Serena has the job she's always dreamed of and Chase, the man her heart never dared to. As a new editor at Vogue, she bags the biggest interview of the year with Yvette Renault, the infamous former editor of French Vogue, in The Carlton-InterContinental Hotel during the Cannes Film Festival. She eagerly jets off to France while Chase stays home, working with her father, a former senator, on his upcoming mayoral campaign.

Everything feels unbelievably perfect...until it doesn't. The hotel loses her reservation hours before her big interview. Serena fears that she'll have to go home without her story, but then she meets Zoe, a quirky young woman staying in the suite below Yvette’s who invites Serena to stay with her. Serena is grateful for her mysterious roommate's generosity, but it seems that there's more to her story than meets the eye. To make matters worse, soon after arriving in Cannes, Serena learns a shocking secret about her parents' marriage, and it isn't long before she begins to question her own relationship.With her deadline looming and pressure mounting, Serena will have to use her investigative journalism skills, new
friendships, and a little luck to get her life and love back on track. Fast paced and impeccably written,
French Coast will draw readers in to the intoxicating world of the Cote D'Azur. Hughes' beautiful prose and sense imagery bring the food, fashion, and feel of the ocean to life in this audacious new novel.

Available April 7
Buy French Coast at Amazon


When You Leave
Cass is positive that the people she cares about most will eventually leave her. Her father is gone, her mother doesn’t notice Cass exists, and her best friend’s battle with cancer was too close of a call. So when she begins her year at a wealthy new private school, Cass’s plan is to suffer through it in anonymity.

However, when her cute locker neighbor, Cooper, shows an undeniable attraction toward Cass, keeping him at a safe distance isn’t easy. Even though her Frogtown skater world and his do-gooder preppy one are so different, Cass and Cooper somehow mesh. And once Cass lets her guard down, Cooper is mysteriously murdered—thus proving her original theory.

When Cass’s close friend is suspected as the killer, she isn’t sure who she can trust anymore. Between investigating Cooper’s murder and trying to understand what she really meant to him, will Cass even find what she is looking for?

Monica Ropal’s tension-filled and emotionally-charged YA debut explores the issues of an outsider looking in, and her desperation to find the impossible answers. Why do people leave? And who will be next?

Available April 7
Buy When You Leave at Amazon


Chasing Sunset
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes the second novel in a brand-new series about divine intervention and the trials and triumphs of life the dramatic story of a woman desperate to find deeper meaning in her life.

Growing up in a comfortable home, Mary Catherine wanted for nothing. Though she loves her wealthy parents, their lifestyle never appealed to her. Instead, Mary Catherine pursues meaning through charity work, giving away a part of herself but never giving away her heart.

Mary Catherine lives in Los Angeles with her roommate, Sami, and volunteers at a local youth center with coach Tyler Ames and LA Dodger Marcus Dillinger. Despite Mary Catherine's intention to stay single, she finds herself drawing close to Marcus, and their budding romance offers an exciting life she never dreamed of. That is, until she receives devastating news from her doctor. News that alters her future and forces her to make a rash decision.

Inspirational and moving, Chasing Sunsets is the story of one woman's deep longings of the soul, and the sacrifices she's willing to make in search of healing.

Available April 7
Buy Chasing Sunsets at Amazon


Very Good Lives
J.K. Rowling, one of the world's most inspiring writers, shares her wisdom and advice.

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, VERY GOOD LIVES presents J.K. Rowling's words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world famous author addresses some of life's most important questions with acuity and emotional force.

Sales of VERY GOOD LIVES will benefit both Lumos, a charity organization founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University.


Available April 14
Buy Very Good Lives at Amazon


Space Taxi
Archie Morningstar's dad drives a taxi through outer space! And with the help of a talking cat named Pockets, Archie and his dad help fight crime across the universe.

In the third book in the series, Archie, his dad, and Pockets visit a planet that resembles medieval Earth in every way but its inhabitants, who have rainbow colored hair and extra eyes. To beat the evil organization B.U.R.P., the trio must disguise themselves as aliens and rescue a princess! When Archie must act on his own, can he find the courage to save the day?

Available April 14
Buy Space Taxi at Amazon





Ollie, Ollie, Hex'n Free
In the matter of a week Selene Warren will either have everything she has ever wanted or lose it all. Married to the man she loves with a child on the way, life should be going as planned. But as the election and her due date draw near, a dark witch rises up and threatens Selene’s happiness.
The evil spirit possessing Jessica has made its move against them. Coming after Selene in public way, they can no longer keep the past hidden from the fae even if it means losing the election. Riddled with doubt and flagging strength, she will have to depend on her friends to defeat the witch—or not only will she lose her life, but her child as well.

Available April 15
Buy Ollie, Ollie Hex'n Free at Amazon





Taken
Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She has enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator and former cop Matthew Dane to help her navigate her reentry into society, she quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. For one thing, her brother is the leading candidate in the race for Illinois governor, and news of her escape will create a media frenzy. For another, the ransom her family reportedly paid years earlier appears to have been a scam; no one knows what happened to the money. And then there’s the fact that Shannon’s escape involved faking her own death. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

Available April 28
Buy Taken at Amazon


Perfect Match
An injured ex-athlete discovers that giving up on the game of life is not an option...

As far as former NFL star Jake Masters is concerned, dreams are risky propositions. Years ago he came achingly close to achieving his ambition of playing in the Super Bowl--before a spinal injury ended his career. Confined to a wheelchair, unwilling to take a chance on another risky surgery that could restore his mobility, Jake now stays cocooned behind the imposing gates of his lavish home.

But his twin sister, Beth, has no intention of letting him languish there forever. After years of flitting from one failed business idea to another, all fueled by Jake's generosity, she now owns a highly lucrative matchmaking service. And she's gifting the business to Jake--whether he likes it or not--while she follows her dreams of making it as a singer in Nashville.

Though Jake had plenty of women falling all over him at the peak of his success, he knows nothing about matchmaking. He's willing to try for his sister's sake, and it's soon clear that he needs an assistant. Enter Gracie Sweet, whose slender frame belies a take-no-charge toughness that would put any linebacker to shame. Grace begins by revamping the business and soon she's overhauling Jake's entire life--and to his huge surprise, Jake's enjoying it. But when their clients become victims of theft, Gracie and Jake must reconcile their very different outlooks if they're to have any chance of saving the business...and if Jake is to make another play for the life he thought he lost...

Available April 28
Buy Perfect Match at Amazon


Graceful
An exciting new story in the bestselling Willow Falls series from Wendy Mass!

Angelina D'Angelo has left town to see the world. It's now Grace's turn to use her magic to protect the people of Willow Falls, and she is up to the challenge. This is her destiny, after all. But destiny is a funny thing-it doesn't always behave the way you'd expect it to.

Mysterious postcards from Angelina begin showing up in the mail, Grace's parents are freaking out with worry, and something BIG is coming to town that will affect everybody who lives there. But all Grace is powerful enough to do is turn leftover meatloaf into pizza.

Fortunately, she's not alone. She has Team Grace on her side! Amanda, Leo, Rory, Tara, David, and Connor know a thing or two about magic and how it works. But none of them are prepared for what's coming, and none of them know how to stop it. Life in Willow Falls is about to change forever.

Available April 28
Buy Graceful at Amazon


Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above links.

March 31, 2015

Review: King Callie by B. Lynch

by Claire Rees

King Callie
Circumstances
King Rionn is dying and the castle are scrambling to find a cure. If he dies then the queen and the children lose their titles and will be forced to move.  Valric leaves on a quest to find a special flower he has been told will cure his father but not all goes to plan.  The next king will be the person who is able to put together and handle a special axe, the peacebringer, as if it is as light as a feather and even though it has been done this way for centuries there is to be a huge battle for power and many lives will be lost.

Characters
King Rionn and his wife wife Queen Sophine. The king is gravely ill and does not have long left to live. Queen Sophine, the loving, doting wife, always the lady.

Their children Valric who is hotheaded, angry and violent and doesn’t think before he acts and this often gets him into trouble.

Eliya is calm and sensible and currently betrothed to prince from another place.

Finally Caliandra, has been heartbroken by her betrothed and with her father dying she is struggling to remain calm and lady like. She is very stubborn and often gains the disapproval of her mother.

Royth, the palace seer who has true visions.

Kells the captain of the guard, a strong loyal fighter whose wife Ostre has a wandering eye.

Marrol The kings best friend and a minister.

What I Loved 
The writing style is very descriptive and I enjoyed the ‘feel’ of what it would be like to live in these times. I enjoyed the storyline and was intrigued by the lengths some of the characters would go to to gain power. My favourite bit would be the strength of the female characters. Even in the face of danger they held their heads up high and never let their strength waiver.

Genre
Teen and YA, Science fiction/Fantasy

The author is offering a pre-order contest. Get the details here: http://www.blynchbooks.com/king-Callie-preorder-contest/#more-81


Buy King Callie at Amazon


Book info:
available formats: ebook
published: April 2015 by Naeb's Coil Press
genre: fantasy
audience: young adult
source: author
read: March 2015


Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. A free ebook was provided for this review.

March 30, 2015

Meet author Jay Richards

What made you want to write a book after decades working as a forensic psychologist? 

Actually, I tinkered around with writing fiction for decades.  I say tinker, but I was deadly serious about it.  Sometimes too serious to open up and create without perpetual, harsh self-criticism.  At some point, I decided to act on the old injunction “Physician, heal thyself.”  I stepped away from my perfectionism and got down to work.


How have your experiences shaped you as a writer?

My work as a forensic psychologist involves evaluating and treating dangerous people with mental disorders.  I am always aware that the stakes are high in this work.  A risk assessment that is off target or a serious misstep in therapy can obstruct the patient’s progress, expose others to unnecessary risk of violence, or lead to my being assaulted.

Doing intensive forensic assessment and forensic therapy with dangerous people required me to spend long periods of silence across the table from my patients. At times these extended silences were filled with an empty void. But at other times, they were pregnant with something (terrible or fragile) with momentum, something that wanted to emerge and take its chances in the external world of speech and action.  This work has given me license to be nosy about people at a very deep level, at a level of deep wonder about how people experience life.

This is great writing practice, learning how to sit with powerful emotion—those of your own, those of your patient (or character)—while you work to open up a space for something new. Of course, the exotic, often perplexing personalities I have encountered in this work have contributed to some of my characters, but the experience of sitting with them has informed everything else.

Another experience that shapes my writing is a persistent sense of justice that I’ve had my whole life. Ever since I was a child, I’ve sometimes felt an intense sense that something unfair or unjust was happening to me or others and that no one would listen. This often led me to writing letters to my parents, teachers, and romantic interests that I was usually wise enough not to send. Writing those letters was cathartic, but they would sometimes become more than self-solace and take off on wings of their own.  I would then see my personal complaint as experiential ore for poetry and fiction, stuff that I could refine into something valuable to others through character, story and self-reflective language.

The themes and character development of my fiction parallel this personal process.  Key characters often have a poignant awareness of injustice that sparked them to action.  Many characters—including some of the criminals—long for completion through a performance or exchange, but the experience continually eludes them until an injustice is addressed.


What does a forensic psychologist do?

Forensic psychologists practice psychology in legal contexts.  They perform evaluations to answer psycho-legal questions, like: Is a defendant psychologically fit (competent) to participate in a trial? Was their crime a result of the person’s mental illness impairing their ability to know what they were doing or that the act was wrong or illegal?  How likely is it that a sexual offender or domestic violence perpetrator will repeat these kinds of crimes?  Forensic psychologists also provide forensic treatment.  This is similar to clinical treatment for mental disorders or problem behaviors, but the focus is on preventing the recurrence of dangerous behavior.


Silhouette of Virtue
What made you decide to write fiction in particular?

I decided to write fiction largely because I believed I had an aptitude for it and that this capacity, or talent, came with a responsibility.  It’s similar to how the responsibility to stand witness comes from having been present for a significant event and having some degree of unique knowledge about it.

I believe that fiction, like all the arts, is a mode of knowledge. It is valuable because it allows us to feel and perceive in new ways. Those new points of view are often introduced to us by characters who are unlike the people we know in our own lives. And if the characters are familiar to us, we get a more intimate look at them. Fiction brings us “inside” these characters and shows us what the world looks like from their perspective.

Fiction is the one creative art that gives us this inside perspective through language. It is not exact knowledge. It’s more like the kind of knowledge you acquire by intensely playing a game until you dissolve into the flow of the game.  There is no substitute for fiction, although you don’t need it to live. It doesn’t bake bread, it opens hearts and minds.


What inspired the plot for Silhouette of Virtue?

The plot is loosely based on a series of sexual assaults that actually occurred on the campus of a Midwestern university that I attended in the mid-70s.  In the real case, a popular African-American graduate student was accused of being involved in the crimes. Early on, I viewed these happenings as having cultural significance, especially in regard to how it forced students into two camps, one that viewed the charges as racially motivated, and the other that insisted that race had nothing to do with his being a suspect.  I observed these events from the fringes, and after I left the university town I got only fragmented glimpses as the chain of events played out over several years.  There was no internet and the local papers buried the story. I had no way to follow it closely. As a result, my imagination was given considerable rein.  I bumped up the ante by accelerating the pace of events and by making the both the accused man and the amateur sleuth who tries to find the truth African Americans on the university faculty.


How did people you’ve met in your years of work shape the characters for the book?

In his poem “Little Gidding,” T.S. Eliot writes of a poet who meets “a familiar compound ghost, both intimate and unidentifiable.” I consider the characters in my book combinations of real and imagined people. One of the criminals in the novel is a combination of a close childhood friend, a sadistic patient I had in a therapy group in a forensic hospital, and a black Trickster-figure character (Skeeter) from John Updike’s  Rabbit Redux. There’s also a character (with a nod to Superman’s Lex Luther) who uses his authority to mastermind crimes that is based on an eminent scientist who tries to hide his mean streak. The protagonist and sleuth, Dr. Nathan Rivers, is the admixture of a perpetual grad student in philosophy who had a noble and compassionate soul, and my impressions of several African American poets, whom I’ve never met in person. And, oh yes, I shouldn’t forget, a good pinch of  Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes in the 1939 film Hound of the Baskervilles.


Do you have plans to write another book soon?

I’m playing with the elements of what may become a sequel to Silhouette of Virtue. It would feature the philosophical sleuth from the first novel, Dr. Nathan Rivers, but in a totally different setting, and perhaps even a different era. I would like that book to have some of the adventure, suspense, detective themes, and investigation of racial and sexual identity (as well as wry humor and parody) that are in Silhouette.

I also have a book in progress. It’s a Bildungsroman along the lines of Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man and Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, and portrays a kind of coming of age story over the course of a decade and which also captures the tone of culture and society during that passage. The story is set in both America and Africa, and is inspired by my travels in Nigeria during my own coming of age (mid twenties) and my brief friendship with novelist Leon Forrest. Forrest was a writer who was deeply African American and also somehow African in his sensibility, which was more like that of a lyrical epic poet or African praise singer.  Remembering and thinking about him gives me hope that I can pull together something that covers all this territory in an interesting way.


What’s one thing you want people to take away as a message from your book?

A suspense novel tells the story of a mystery about the identity and whereabouts of evildoers.  The most important clues are in the aberrant or flawed personalities of the criminals, which are always partially revealed and partially concealed in the crimes they commit.  The big message of the Silhouette of Virtue, like many detective mystery stories, is that by trying to untangle a mystery like this, we readers learn more about the mystery that is all around us and within us and others.  In other words, the take home message is that the real world all around us is a terrifying, beautiful, and mysterious place and we are part and parcel of that world.


In Silhouette, does your protagonist, Dr. Nathan Rivers, pretty much reflect your own view of the world and how it operates?

Yes, I think so, but he acts on that worldview more consistently and courageously than I can.  He’s a lot less worried about making big mistakes. Like Rivers, I’ve always been drawn to people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and complexities of all kinds. Also, I’ve always wanted to understand what it means to lead a well-lived life, which is a central motive that drives Rivers in the book. Finally, as a black man myself, I share with Rivers the “double-consciousness” that African Americans often develop as being in the American society, but not of it in many ways. This dual identity frees me, like Rivers, to look at America from “the outside” and propose something that I believe is ultimately more American.


Buy Silhouette of Virtue by Amazon


About the Author
JAY RICHARDS, PhD is a forensic psychologist whose specialty is the evaluation and treatment of violent offenders, such as homicide perpetrators, mentally ill killers, and sexually violent predators. In the field of criminal psychology, he is known for ground-breaking research, innovative and provocative theoretical papers, and evocative and insightful case studies of psychopaths and other mentally disordered offenders.
Dr. Richards’ early clinical experience was gained during National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) pre and post-doctoral fellowships in clinical psychology at the federal psychiatric hospital in Washington DC that was then responsible for mentally ill persons determined to be dangerous to the president, or other persons protected by the Secret Service. A decade later, he was retained as an expert by the US Marshals to review adequacy of treatment received by White House cases and the degree of continuing risk for violence that would be posed, if they were released from confinement. He was the director for Behavioral Sciences at the Patuxent Institution in Maryland, a treatment program for offenders with mental abnormalities or emotional imbalances. He was the director of Special Commitment Center, a facility for Sexually Violent Predators located on McNeil Island, Washington, once the site of the federal prison that predated Alcatraz as America’s first island prison. Dr. Richards is affiliated with the Criminal Justice Department at Seattle University where he teaches courses on topics such as the nature and implications of severe psychopathy and understanding and managing dangerous offenders. As part of his affiliation with the University of Washington, he chairs a panel of professionals charged with reviewing the risk posed to public safety by the possible release of patients held involuntarily in psychiatric hospitals because of their history of criminal offenses and active mental illness.

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made through the above link. The views, opinions, and views of guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.

March 29, 2015

Box of Bookish Delights #Giveaway

Everyone likes surprises, right? Just think you could come home to a box full of bookish delights waiting on your doorstep. Wouldn't that make a long day better? Enter the rafflecopter below for you chance to win this box of bookish delights (value: $50) all picked out by your favorite Girl Who Reads, Donna. I may have gotten some ideas from Book Riot's Book Fetish columns.



After the winner is chosen I'll reveal what is in the box, but I'll give you two hints:

Hint #1 It contains 2 signed paperbacks
Hint #2 Everything in the box is family friendly.

Curious? Then enter here:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't want to take chance? You can buy your own box for $50 while supplies last (international residents should add $10 for shipping).

If you are an author and would like to sponsor a future box of bookish delights, please contact Donna (at) girl-who-reads.com

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