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Showing posts with label JaneLebak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JaneLebak. Show all posts

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Cracked An Anthology of Eggsellent Chicken Stories - Edited by Bokerah Brumley

Cracked
An Anthology of Eggsellent Chicken Stories
Kydala Publishing, Inc.
ASIN B08H5W48ZH
 

I picked this up for three main reasons. First the concept really intrigued me. And I also picked this up because I am a big fan of two of the contributors. I have read and reviewed several works by both Karina Fabian and Jane Lebak. And finally, I love anthologies because I usually find an author or two to add to my reading list. The anthology did not disappoint. The description of the book is:

“Chickens Land on Mars...
But what happens when authors have too much free time on their hands?
A challenge. Craft a story featuring our favorite feathered raptors: the CHICKEN. B'gawk! Twenty authors deliver in some unexpected ways and live to crow about it. From chickens in space to cozy murder mystery farm yards to schools of magickal thought... Includes guardian angels, chicken shifters, aliens, and feathered matchmakers, Maybe even a non-fiction adventure or two... and more! These amazing chickens come from the minds of twenty cooped-up authors on the edge of cracking... Read CRACKED: An Anthology of Eggsellent Chicken Stories.”

The twenty contributors are:

J. A Campanile 
Clair W. Kiernan 
David Millican 

I checked and other than the two contributors I was aware of I do not believe I have read anything from the 18 other authors. But this was a great collection of stories. To be honest when I read an anthology, I expect a few duds, but all the eggs in the basket were viable, and several have inspired me to look further into the works of the authors. The editor, Bokerah Brumley contributed three stories and book ends the collection. Both Grace Bridges and Karina Fabian have two contributions. 

And the 24 stories are:

Martian Chicken Man 
Frozen Chicken Master
Spacer Williams’ Chicken 
A Murder Most Fowl 
A Chicken for Miss Cuthbert 
Things with Wings 
Stray Thoughts 
Inspection Report 
Field Trip Chicken 
The Chicken of Doom 
Clucking in the Dark 
The Great Chicken Escape 
Chickening Out 
Motherclucker 
It Clucked 
PŪKEKO: The Blue Swamp Hen 
A Few Good Hens 
Home Improvements 
Barn Wars 
Chicken Dance A
Free Range 
Korion the Unclean 
The Great Chicken Escapade 
Chicken Magic

Some of these stories are more series than others. And some tie to other works. Both of Fabian’s offerings tie to different series she has written. And Lebak’s links to her Archangel series. A few of the stories are more of a hard science fiction. One almost Aliens like. A few made me laugh out loud. And all entertained. I was very surprised by the story of a chicken shifter, and her soul mate. It really made me smile. And the Field Trip Chicken. And chicken’s going up ladders in low gravity will surprise you. And I would love to see L. Jagi Lamplight’s Frozen Chicken Master expanded into a full-length story. I want to know what happens with the young man in the story next. 

After each story is an author’s biography. And an overview of their other works and links to their sites (for most of them). Everything you need to pursue a few or many of the authors who pique your interest.

A fantastic collection of stories. And who would have guessed Chickens for September of 2020, but this collection pulls it off. A great collection of stories to amuse, entertain and maybe even frighten. So, crack the cover and give this anthology a try. There are some wonderful tails, I mean tales. 

Note: For review of other stories by Karina Fabian and Jane Lebak follow the links.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Top Ten Fiction Books 2019

Top Ten Fiction Books 2019

This year was a banner year, I read 392 books. The most since I started keeping track. The year by the numbers:

392 Books Read
311 Books read for the first time.
204 received 5/5 Stars.
194 Non-Fiction
198 Fiction

Here are my top ten fiction books of 2019. of special note the first two authors, I have read nearly all their books this year. I was greatly impressed and addicted to the works of both Fioreall de Maria, Roger Thomas and Gordon Korman. So some of my top 10 selections are authors, and their books that received 5/5 stars.

Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. Books by Fiorella de Maria
          Father Gabriel Mysteries:
2. Books by Roger Thomas
          Under the Watchful Sky Series:
3. Tortured Soul - Theresa Linden 
4. Brave Hearts Series - Kathryn Griffin Swegart 
5. Gifts: Visible & Invisible - Catholic Teen Books Anthology
6. The Hive - Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden 
7. Books by Gordon Korman
8. With Two Eyes Into Gehenna - Jane Lebak
9. Dragon Assassin - Arthur Slade
10. unSPARKed books by Corinna Turner

Bonus:
11. All in Good Time - Carolyn Astfalk 
12. For Eden's Sake - T.M. Gaouette
13. The Attic Saint - Tim Drake and Theodore Schluenderfritz  

My reading has been up over each of the last few years. Which I attribute in part to Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now, removing all games but 1 brain game from my devices. And I now commute to work on a bus and read on the bus every day. It was not easy narrowing this down to a top 10, but the above list is what I came up with.

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are sometimes in the bonus section. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list.  


Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011
 

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
 
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
... 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

392 - 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996




Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Hunger A Texas Gothic Romance - Jane Lebak and Elissa Strati

Hunger: A Texas Gothic Romance
Jane Lebak
Elissa Strati 
ASIN B07JZPKNFD


I have read many of the books by Jane Lebak and came across this little volume. I picked up and read it while in the house alone on Halloween. It was a wonderful read for All Hollows Eve. And to be honest is very different than anything else I have read by Lebak. 

This short story is a blast of a read. Sarah is stuck in her job as a waitress. If she leaves people will die. And there has already been more death than she wants to be responsible for. The story is told in part going back and forth from the present to the past. Sarah feels that she can’t leave town. And she now there is someone who interests her. When a stranger shows up at the diner one day he can not only see the creature, the monster, or the demon, be he has a trick for distracting it, and shares a secret of how to finally get rid of it.

It is the story of a young woman, who was abused as she grew up, and her mother was a battered wife. When one night something it let loose from a crate in the earth it latches onto her. And her life is never the same. Slowly she gave up her dreams and hopes. But maybe there is a chance, and that new hope twists the tale in a new way.

A fun short story. An intriguing read. And so worth the price. So, pick it up and give it a try. It is a haunted tale with a surprise ending. But I will warn you. The story leaves you wondering what happens to Sarah next. And also who the old man is and more about his story.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!


Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Relic of His Heart
With Two Eyes Into Gehenna
Rain in Hell
Hunger
...

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:

0.5 Upsie-Daisy
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Forever And For Keeps


Books as Maddie Evans:

Sweet Grove:
1.0 Love's Highway
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

...

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis

...

Contributed to:
...

Author profile and interview with Jane Lebak.

Books by Elissa Strati:
Hanson Family Saga:
Love's Odds
Love's Sweet Memories
Love's Laird
Love's Battle


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Rain in Hell A Short Story - Jane Lebak

Rain in Hell
A Short Story
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

eISBN 9781942133285
ASIN B07JGNSJYM


This is the 16th story by Jane Lebak I have read in just over a year. And this is an incredibly powerful short story. It deals with issues of forgiveness, anger, resentment, and overcoming hurts from the past. As a fictional story it is a deeply moving read. But when you read the authors note at the end it becomes even more powerful. The main character is protestant, and her close friend is Catholic. They do bible study together. They support and encourage each other. 

Six years before the events in the story a young woman during her first pregnancy is told her baby is not viable. The Doctor, and Olivia Thackeray insists she terminate the pregnancy. The Dr. even schedules the procedure against the women’s wishes. And calls her on the day of berating and harassing her. Then six years later the Doctor walks into her church. 

This event even triggers a near panic attack. She even goes so far as to state: “If I get to Heaven and find her there, I’d rather be in Hell.”. But with the prayers and guidance of her best friend and her husband she soon realizes God has a plan and part of that plan is dealing with this hurt from the past. 

This is an excellent story about learning to forgive and going beyond just words, to really wanting the best and healing for the person who hurt you.

It is a deeply moving read it is very well written. And I give it a very solid 5/5 stars. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!


Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Relic of His Heart
With Two Eyes Into Gehenna
Rain in Hell
Hunger
...

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:

0.5 Upsie-Daisy
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Forever And For Keeps


Books as Maddie Evans:

Sweet Grove:
1.0 Love's Highway
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

...

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis

...

Contributed to:

Author profile and interview with Jane Lebak.









Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Author Profile and Interview with Jane Lebak

Author Profile and Interview with Jane Lebak


Over the last year I have read 15 novels or published short stories by Jane Lebak. Her series are as different as they can be, from a young woman who interacts with her guardian angel, to warrior nuns in the service of the pope, and a priest father Jay, who is a veteran and former gang member. I have yet to read a book from her I did not completely enjoy, even some in genres I do not typically read, and have never really read before. Jane took some time from her writing, reading, running, and raising a family to answer 20 questions for the readers here at Book Reviews and More. So here in her own words is Jane. 

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you nurture that dream?

I wrote my first book when I was three years old. My mother saved this masterpiece, if you can believe it. She used to bring home big sheaves of green-bar computer paper from her job, so I stapled a bunch together and used a magenta crayon to write a harrowing tale called “The Creechur.” The creature looked like a big magenta squiggle. My art never got better, so I worked on the storytelling instead.

2. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors to your early success?

My parents, definitely. My father is a reader and used to bring me books at random. Nowadays I can identify that as an intermittent reinforcement schedule, but I think he was just buying me books when he happened to be in Waldenbooks. When I started writing stories, he’d read them and encourage me. He knew when to push me to tackle the next level up. My mother signed me up for classes, and she read a lot of awful early drafts too and discussed the characters and the story, giving me pointers on where things just weren’t likeable.

3. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

I started college as a natural resources major, so I’d like to think I would have become a park ranger or a land resource manager. Maybe I could have awakened every morning in a cabin with a wood-burning stove, and some mornings I’d be calling in to my boss saying, “I’ll be late for work this morning. There are three brown bears in the driveway.”

4. How many drafts or major revisions are part of your writing process, and what is your goal or timeline for each?

When I was in high school and college, I did two books a year on a consistent basis. Three months to write and edit, then three months of reading and recharging. After having kids, that slowed down significantly. In 2005 and 2006, I did National Novel Writing Month, and although I “won” both times by writing fifty thousand words in thirty days, that pace was too hard for me. It burned me out. 

By 2014 I was able to sustain that pace without trouble, and this year I’ve been writing a series where I regularly top three thousand words a day. These books are seventy-five thousand words apiece, and in April for Camp Nanowrimo I actually did an 83,000 word book in 27 days. (Which I then whittled down to 78K, and now it’s back at 80K. The writer giveth, and the writer taketh away.)

Edits are a different breed because each book requires different work. I’ve gotten faster at those, too, though. Plus I’ve learned to avoid issues that require vast rewrites (or entire rewrites). I could probably get back to doing a book every three months if necessary.

5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

First, we have a question. What if? What if a guardian angel murdered the child he had vowed to protect? What if you had an order of assassin nuns? What if that story my Aunt Gracie told me had actually happened?

Then we have a character. He’s brazen but plagued by shame he won’t admit. She’s protecting himself by building up walls of rules and numbers around herself. He’s been injured in such a way that the life he thought he’d have is impossible to achieve, but because of that, he found a much better way of living.

Usually there are two or three characters who come into being at about the same time. Once I’ve got the characters in play, we start coming up with the story’s “tent poles.” Those are the pivotal moments I can see in my head right from the start. Father Joe playing basketball with the gang members, for example, or Kevin finding a tree bent double under the snow. The tent poles don’t always make it all the way through the process, but I do try to keep them around.

I use Blake Snyder’s sixteen “beats” from Save the Cat to create a loose outline, and once I know the first three chapters, I start writing.


6. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

Not anymore, no. Nowadays I find I crave silence to write, probably because of the kids. I used to write with music on all the time. Some scenes are inextricably linked with the songs I listened to while writing, too. There’s a violent chapter in Seven Archangels: Annihilation where I know I was listening to a Styx playlist, but I didn’t hear even one word of it because I was so absorbed in writing that scene.

Sometimes I’ll create a playlist for a novel after finishing it, though. Two of my books actually have (or will have) that tucked in at the back.

7. One of the greatest strengths in your books are the characters, they are so solid and believable. The characters you create, are they reflections of people you know, composites of different people you know or entirely your creations?

Thank you! In general, no, I try not to base characters on people I know. 

People who listen to me blather about my stories will usually stop me and say, “You act like these people are real.” I’ve had characters refuse to do the thing I want, or surprise me by suggesting something that is totally in character but derails the story. I’ve met people who look just like my characters and been in awe just standing near them.

And then there are the characters who surprise me midstream during the writing because I thought all along that their situation was this one specific thing, and then it turns out they snuck something past me—and their actual situation is very different. That always leaves me stunned because I thought (laughably) that I was in charge here. Clearly I’m not.

I will shamelessly steal situations from people I know. (All those broken down car stories in Honest and for True had to come from somewhere! Plus Max’s dreadful grandmother is a spectacular combination of all the worst rides I gave when transporting the elderly to doctor appointments in my old city.) But in general, I try not to steal the people. Real people are so complex that the character would have to depart from the person eventually anyhow, or they’d seem like they were acting out of character.

8.Your series are drastically different from Father Jay, Archangels, and Bucky and Lee. With all the series and stand-alone books, you have some incredible characters. Which is your favorite character to write and why?

Oh, gosh. That’s a hard one. 

I love my version of the Archangel Gabriel. Martin and Tessa in Relic of His Heart were an absolute blast to write because of the way they took off when they started bantering. We’re never in Martin’s head, not really, and I think that was a shame, but what can you do? Lee and Bucky are a fun combination to write as well because of the shameless puns and the free-wheeling conversation. 

Lee is a lot of fun to write because whenever I’m not sure what she would do, I think of what I would do. And then I have her do exactly the opposite. That’s gotten me out of a few jams with her.

Tabris was…Tabris was lightning in a bottle. I loved his character with an intensity I never expected. He grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. I actually tried not to write his story for three months straight, but it never left my head until finally I just picked up a notebook and started pouring it out. During finals week. Right, just when you want to start writing thousands of words a day. (I got all As, though, so that’s good…?)

9. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated, "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

I try to leave the characters in a place where they’re better able to overcome the next major crisis that comes along. The characters who are in a series, I would like to follow up. The characters from stand-alones aren’t something I tend to follow up on. I tried once to come up with another story for Tabris, for example, but I couldn’t do that unless I undid some of the things he’d learned the first time around. It’s not worth it.

I heard a great explanation for why some sequels fail. Lousy stories have people take a bunch of characters and stick them together and see what happens. Good stories have a story question and a theme and a number of interesting characters who support the theme and function together to answer the story question. Then to make up the sequel to the great story, you….take that bunch of characters and see what happens. 

When a story ends with everyone in a better place, I tend not to want to mess that up again. THIS was the biggest story in their lives. Fifty years from now, when they’re telling someone about when everything changed for them, THIS should be the story they tell.

10. Is there a chance we will see another Father Jay story? If so is there a planned street date?

I would love to get another one out there this Christmas. I’ve got ideas and some tent poles, but, alas, what I’m missing is a plot. If Jay wants to tell me what he’d like to do, I’m all ears.

11. What books are currently in progress for you? Writing, researching, planning or even just ideas that you would like to work on?

My current project is a trilogy of three sweet romances that will be released under my pen name, Maddie Evans. After that, I’ve got another Seven Archangels story brewing in the back of my mind that I think will be really fun. I’ve got a couple of tent poles for that one already, but I don’t even know which angels would take center stage. 

12. When reading With Two Eyes Into Gehenna, I could not help but think about Vatican II, and rumors about Pope John Paul I. Could you picture the Catherinite nuns in a post Vatican II church? What would their main mission be?

The Church and the world have both changed so much that I don’t think we could have Catherinites in modern day. They’d be full-on ninjas nowadays, of course, rather than cobbling together interesting martial arts techniques from here and there. Sister Lena would be a sixth degree black who also ran marathons. 

But since my nuns only execute heretics, and the Church has changed her opinion on whether heresies deserve death, they’d have to be more about infiltration and stealth.

I hadn’t thought about Pope John Paul I being sentenced for heresy… Wow, I just went down that Google rabbit hole. That would have been fun. I would have combined all the conspiracy theories into one big conspiracy theory! 

I did grow up with my conspiracy-theorist relatives telling me that Pope Paul VI had been kidnapped and replaced with a doppleganger. (“Look, his eyebrow is a little bit curved in this photo, whereas it’s flat in this one!”) Yes, that’s part of the “prophecies” of Our Lady of Bayside. Of course it was. 

13. All of your books are available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of eBooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

I think ebooks are a great thing, and I like reading them just as much as paper books. It’s unfortunate that people steal ebooks with illegal downloads, especially when there are so many legitimate ways to get books for free!

The thing that annoys me more is when someone purchases an Amazon book, reads it, and returns it for a refund. When they go through your entire catalog one book at a time, reading and returning, I feel like Amazon needs to crack down on them. Maybe after you read 80% of the book, it should no longer be returnable. But Amazon never asked me what I think of their policies. I’m sure they don’t like losing money.

14. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so are have someone do so for you?

No. I don’t feel it would be worth it at this time.

15. Are there any plans for translated editions of your book?

Not right now, unfortunately. If I were to expand into new territory, it would be to do more audio books.

16. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

That is exactly the value of a university education! College in the US has become the equivalent of high school in many respects, as if they’re just preparing you for a job. College should be about learning to analyze, exposing oneself to new ideas, and learning to debate ideas based on their merits. 

When my son enrolled at Fordham, they had planned most of his first four semesters around what they call “the core.” They taught them ancient history, ancient philosophy, ancient art and music, and ancient literature. The kid was majoring in math and computer science, but the core was the same for everyone. The next semester dealt with medieval history, literature, philosophy, art, and music. And so on up until modern times. The intention was to expose students to ways of looking at the world that they wouldn’t get if they treated college as a trade school.

17. Who were some of your favorite authors or books in your youth?

Diana Wynne Jones, Walter Farley, Marguerite Henry. Watership Down. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. CJ Cherryh. Tanith Lee. Stanislaw Lem. CS Lewis.

18. Who are some of your favorite authors or books now?

I still love Diana Wynne Jones, and I periodically re-read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I haven’t been systematically reading through any particular authors lately, which is kind of a shame. I love the books of Karina Fabian and LS King, and I’ve read all but one of Normandie Fischer’s books. 

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Johnson’s Guide to Better Shipbuilding, and nine books about carpentry, sail-making, navigation, and farming for beginners?

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?

The advice I gave my daughter was Betsy Lerner’s advice from “The Forest for the Trees.” To wit, if anything else will make you happy, anything at all, do that instead.

I actually blogged it:  
"But I hungered to tell her, don’t do it. Don’t give your heart to people that no one else will ever meet. Don’t look into the depths of someone else’s soul and love them so hard it hurts, and then put them into untenable positions where they have to make impossible choices. Don’t forge an entire person only to take him apart and put him back together again, while you’re rooting for him the whole time."
My current advice is a little different, though. It still hurts to write, but you no longer need to pander directly to editors who are looking for books that feed the widest possible audiences.

Independent publishing opened up a world of opportunity for writers that means you can find an audience even if you’re appealing to a niche market. None of my books are going to have widespread appeal, for example, because they’re all kind of off-beat. They’re good, but how do you market Gehenna? My agent had no luck placing my books because after you write enough weird things, you become an unsellable product. 

Ah, but when you can market directly to readers, you’re no longer unsellable. You’ll find the readers who like angels and clever women (and angels having to deal with clever women,) and those readers will follow you through the occasional book about relic-hunting or a priest and his agnostic brother. 

So my newer advice would be to get as good as you can in the craft. Write without worrying about being able to publish it. Don’t worry about the market because the market is only the driving force for traditional publishing. Traditional publishers are looking for the dozen or so books every year that will sell fifty thousand copies. But you? You can be quite happy selling a thousand copies. Or a hundred copies. You will have time to nurture your talent and develop an audience. 

Set your own definition of success. Turn out a quality story where all the characters are fully-realized. Write characters you love and put them in situations where you find yourself thinking about them when you’re driving or washing the dishes. At some point in time, when you’re talking about any of your characters, you should find yourself on the verge of saying, “I love him,” or “I love when she does that.” 

Make the writing an adventure rather than a job. Play with it and have fun. People will be able to tell, and they’ll love your characters for the same reasons you do.

Jane thank you for taking the time to answer the questions for the readers here. I know I eagerly look forward to your future works and encourage my readers and those who stumble across this interview to give your books a try, I am certain there is something for all readers! 

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Relic of His Heart
With Two Eyes Into Gehenna
Rain in Hell
Hunger
...

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:

0.5 Upsie-Daisy
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Forever And For Keeps


Books as Maddie Evans:

Sweet Grove:
1.0 Love's Highway
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

...

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis

...

Contributed to:

Author profile and interview with Jane Lebak.









Wednesday, 17 April 2019

An Arrow In Flight - Jane Lebak - Seven Angels Book 1

An Arrow In Flight
Seven Archangels Book 1
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

ISBN 9781942133032
eISBN 9781942133148
ASIN B00P8AXAYA


I have read 15 books or published short stories by Jane Lebak in just under a year. But this is the first novel I have read in the Seven Archangels series. And what an incredible read it is. Some fiction that I read is just simple entertainment. This book on the other hand will make you think, will cause you to reflect and now almost 2 weeks after finishing the book I am still thinking about this story. Lebak’s examination of the lives of angels is incredible. I do not know if Lebak has been divinely inspired in writing these books. But they have caused me to reflect upon angels far more. And to be praying the Saint Michael and guardian angel prayers far far more often. 

This novel is a series of events and stories that span time, space, and overlaps with biblical events. The sections in the book are:

Heartless City 1415 BC
Holiday 1236 BC
Stones 1015 BC
In Carnation 973 BC
Pomegranate 960 BC
A Fish Story 637 BC
Irin 614 BC
Wanderer 593 BC, 
Shepherd
Farmer
Teacher
Children In Hell 576 BC
The Epilogue 3 BC and Year Eighteen

Reading this story will stir something visceral in the readers. If you are a person of faith, a Christian or a Catholic there is so much to appreciate and that will resonate with you. If you are not it might stir things you are not aware of. The presentation of the spiritual battles. The story spans from events at Sodom and Gomorrah through to the early life of Christ. The interactions between angels and humans, and angels and fallen angels is captured in a stunning fashion. 

Lebak does an amazing job of representing angels. The friendships and relationships between angles, and the different orders of angels. Also her portrayal of angels and their work for humans, is moving to read.

It has been a long time since I was a bright eyed 19 year old in my second year in university and leading a spiritual warfare prayer meeting weekday mornings at 630am. Over the years as my faith became more and more academic spiritual warfare interests have waxed and waned. But this fictional novel has stoked my prayer life. And it has left me desperate for book two. An excellent speculative fiction novel. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Relic of His Heart
With Two Eyes Into Gehenna
Rain in Hell
Hunger
...

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:

0.5 Upsie-Daisy
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Forever And For Keeps


Rails of Sweet Grove:
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis

...

Contributed to:

Author profile and interview with Jane Lebak.