Category Archives: Books

Free Fiction Friday: Once Upon a Time

Like retellings, adaptations, and original fairy tales? Then you’ll want to check out this giveaway. So many great books, so many amazing covers.

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Weekly writing check-in: back again

I was offline for a bit. And now? Here I am! Back again.

I’m working my way through the paper edits of The Trouble with Necromancers. I’ve forgotten how much I like editing on paper. It’s so tactile.

In Coffee and Ghosts news, I have all the large print editions available. You can find them most easily on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Not only that, The Complete Coffee and Ghosts is now live on all vendors (and in print).

You may have noticed that I didn’t do a launch for this box set. My goal is to (hopefully, eventually) snag a BookBub featured deal on the set. But for now, it’s selling quite well on Barnes and Noble.

Also? I took the plunge (again) and signed up for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. So. Very. Excited.

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Free Fiction Friday: Portals into New Worlds (science fiction and fantasy series starters)

Another terrific giveaway courtesy of author Patty Jansen and Ebookaroo.  If you’re looking for a new series, this giveaway is the place to start. Try out one, try out several.

Happy reading!

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Review: Courageous Women of the Vietnam War: Medics, Journalists, Survivors, and More

Vietnam is like a huge jigsaw puzzle where none of the pieces fit.

~ Ba Rose: My Years in Vietnam, 1968 – 1971

Courageous Women of the Vietnam War: Medics, Journalists, Survivors, and More*

From the publisher:

One of just a handful of women reporting on the Vietnam War, Kate Webb was captured by North Vietnamese troops and presumed dead—until she emerged from the jungle waving a piece of white parachute material after 23 days in captivity. Le Ly Hayslip enjoyed a peaceful early childhood in a Vietnamese farming village before war changed her life forever. Brutalized by all sides, she escaped to the United States, where she eventually founded two humanitarian organizations. Lynda Van Devanter was an idealistic young nurse in 1969 when a plane carrying her and 350 men landed in South Vietnam. Her harrowing experiences working in a combat zone hospital would later serve as inspiration for the TV series China Beach.

In these pages readers meet these and other brave women and girls who served in life-threatening roles as medics, journalists, resisters, and revolutionaries in the conflict in Vietnam. Author Kathryn J. Atwood presents a clear introduction to each of five chronological sections, guiding readers through the social and political turmoil that spanned two decades and the tenure of five US presidents. Each woman’s story unfolds in a suspenseful, engaging way, incorporating plentiful original source materials, quotes, and photographs. Resources for further study, source notes and a bibliography, and a helpful map and glossary round out this exploration of one of modern history’s most divisive wars, making it an invaluable addition to any student’s or history buff’s bookshelf.

This book by Kathryn Atwood is part of the Women of Action series from Chicago Review Press.

Although I was very young at the time, I remember the Vietnam war. But I have a child’s memory of that war. We never learned about it in school because it wasn’t quite history yet. Certainly, we knew all about it, right?

Well, perhaps. Perhaps not. As I said, my view of it is filtered, just as my view of Desert Storm will always be filtered through the lens of riding in an M577 tracked vehicle, a pair of headphones on my head, as we bounced up and over the berm between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. What was everyone else doing? I have no idea.

I may never fill in those gaps, but I was amazed at how much I learned about the Vietnam war. One of the things I appreciated about this book was how it was organized into five parts. Each part covered significant events taking place during those years with corresponding stories:

  • Part 1 1945-1956: Ho Chi Minh’s Revolution
    Women’s stories: Xuan Phuong and Geneviève de Galard
  • Part II 1957-1964: Ngo Dinh Diem’s Civil War
    Women’s Stories: Le Ly Hayslip and Bobbi Hovis
  • Part III 1965-1968: Lyndon B. Johnson’s American War
    Women’s stories: Kay Wilhelmy Bauer, Jurate Kazickas, and Iris Mary Roser
  • Part IV 1969-1970: Richard M. Nixon’s “Peace”
    Women’s stories: Anne Koch, Dang Thuy Tram, and Lynda Van Devanter
  • Part V 1971-1975: Endings and Beginnings
    Women’s stories: Kate Webb, Joan Baez, Tracy Wood, and Kim Phuc

Reading the history in parts, followed by each woman’s story, allowed me to really get a sense for not only the big picture but how these big events impacted the lives of everyday women, from all walks of life and all sides of the conflict.

The prose is, as always with Kathryn’s books, accessible and a pleasure to read. Technically this is a young adult nonfiction book, but it’s such a great resource for anyone: writer, student, teacher, homeschooler, historian. Like other books in the series, this one includes extensive notes, bibliography, and one of my favorite features: the Learn More section at the end of each woman’s story.

You can purchase the book at many online retailers or directly from the publisher.

* I received a review copy of this book from Chicago Review Press.

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(Almost) Free Fiction Friday: The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath

And the military-themed streak continues! This week, you can download my young adult novel, The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath, for just 99 cents.

But hurry! It’s only going to be 99 cents for a few more days.

Secrets—like war—have their own casualties.

MacKenna’s mother died when MacKenna was a baby, a casualty of the first Gulf War. Now seventeen, MacKenna has spent her life navigating the minefield of her dad’s moods, certain of one thing: she is destined to follow in her mother’s combat boots. But when she pursues an ROTC scholarship, she finds herself at war before even enlisting.

Her father forbids her from joining the military, inexplicable considering he’d raised her to be a “warrior princess.” MacKenna turns to her grandmother—who arms her with an ammo crate containing her mother’s personal effects from the war. Hidden in the crate’s false bottom is a journal, one her mom stashed there hours before her death.

While MacKenna untangles the secrets of her parents’ tragic love story, her own life unravels. Dad’s behavior becomes erratic, her best friend grows distant and even hostile, and a boy from her past returns—with a life-threatening secret of his own.

If ever a girl needed her mother, it’s now.

The pen might be mightier than the sword, but are a mother’s words strong enough to slice through years of hidden pain? Can those words reach through the battlefields of the past to change MacKenna’s future?

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Free Fiction Friday: The Worlds of War

 

Continuing with the military theme this week. If you like fiction that takes place during the World Wars, check out this giveaway from some very talented historical authors.

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Free Fiction Friday: Ambassador 1: Seeing Red

Looking for a new series to try? Like Science Fiction?

Consider author Patty Jansen’s Ambassador 1: Seeing Red, now free everywhere.

Would you betray Earth to save it?

24 October 2114: the day that shocked the world.

Young diplomat Cory Wilson narrowly escapes death in the assassination of President Sirkonen. No one claims responsibility but there is no doubt that the attack is extraterrestrial.

Cory was meant to start work as a representative to gamra, the alien organisation that governs the FTL transport network, but now his new job may well be scrapped in anger.

Worse, as Earth uses military force to stop any extraterrestrials coming or leaving, as 200,000 extraterrestrial humans are trapped on Earth, as the largest army in the galaxy prepares to free them by force, only Cory has the experience, language skills and contacts to solve the crime.

But he’s broke, out of a job and a long way from Earth.

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