British Author JT Crowley is talking books with international authors online and on screen. These video chats will reveal the stories and characters as they are built from the ground up. Join JT and his guests to take the journey of engaging audiences through writing and story-telling.
Hickory Doc’s Tales by Linda Harkey
Linda Harkey is a children’s author from New Mexico in the US, she lives with her husband Michael a retired surgical pathologist and their hunting dogs. Linda has lived with hunting dogs for most of her life as well as working closely with children, actively encouraging them to read. It was a combination of both these aspects of her life that ultimately led her to write the brilliant eclectic collection of five books all under the guise of Hickory Doc’s Tales.
The stories are based around a pack of hunting dogs’ humorous adventures as they go about their daily activities with their owner endearingly referred to as ‘The Great One.’ Doc, the main character whose official name is Chicoree’s Hickory Doc is the old, wise leader of the pack of German Shorthaired Pointers who live at The Lazy Dog Hacienda Kennels on Shorthair Boulevard, Oklahoma, USA. The other pack members are, Zeke, Rush, Patch, Sadie, Rocky, Deacon and not forgetting Newt the Labrador Retriever. My favourite characters are Zeke, Doc’s annoying younger brother who thinks he’s a cut above the others with his ticked coloured coat, and Deacon the three-legged dog with a penchant for eating book bindings.
The stories are funny, outrageous and seeing the characters beautifully illustrated as well; I only wish that they were available when I was 5-9 years old. This endearing, but mischievous bunch of bohemian doggy characters are up to their old tricks as they flush out the quail birds. Linda has cunningly managed to integrate Doc and his pack with Willie the crow, Pete the porcupine and B J the retired quarter horse.
The books are simply magical, well worth a read especially for youngsters transitioning to chaptered stories. Great books for kids with vivid imaginations.
God’s Plan by Salty Yeom
Salty Yeom’s debut book God’s Plan you might perceive as a book coming from a different angle pertaining to certain religious theories. I wouldn’t go as far as to say his views are radical, but they are certainly thought-provoking, so to any erudite reader who likes a provocative book around religious ideologies then this is the book for you to analyze, and maybe challenge the author’s viewpoints.
The book touches on the current pandemic that over the last eighteen months or so has besieged the world in so many ways. Is the pandemic part of God’s plan as a sign of judgement on mankind or is it a menacing virus that has wreaked havoc across the globe with no intervention from a higher so-called being. Religion, whether you’re a fully committed believer through whatever denomination you follow to someone who has no religious inclinations, dominates our everyday lives. Salty Yeom I would say has some strong views here, which when I first chatted to him struck me as odd, particularly when you discover he comes from a scientific and mathematical background subjects in which he teaches young students in Daegu, South Korea where he lives. My conception of scientists is that they find it hard to accept the bible’s version of man’s origin for they usually want, evidence, proof so to speak rather than just believing, so for me Salty appears to have broken the mould here which for me is slightly odd.
When the pandemic first broke out in South Korea Salty lost his job, facing uncertainty he turned to prayer, forty days later he received a message from God to write his book about the current pandemic that has disrupted our lives.
It’s an intriguing read with interesting viewpoints, so go and have a look.
Katie, A New Chapter by Lisa Billingham
This book, imaginatively written reveals and touches on some of the issues the author herself has gone through both in her professional life and that of her personal life. The characters are brilliantly interwoven to reflect the multi-layered storylines that are going on in this debut novel, ‘Katie, A New Chapter,’ which is set in Britain in the early nineteen nineties over a twenty-one-month period.
Katie is the main protagonist, who as a young woman has had to deal with issues that no woman at her tender age would dream of having to face let alone coming to terms with. Abuse both physically and mentally from past and present relationships, along with depression and anxiety issues have left her scarred leaving her no option but to seek professional counselling. Add to that having to go through a hysterectomy due to stage four endometriosis with the early onset of the menopause and all that entails, demonstrates that this is a young woman struggling to cope with life, but despite the odds being stacked against her, she forges a new chapter in life for herself. Hence the title, ’Katie, A New Chapter.’
Relationships can be complex and what Katie initially sees in John quickly evaporates as the darker, deeper side of his past manifests itself, highlighting drink addictions associated with violent behavioural patterns as well as sexual identity issues. Katie’s loose liaison with Tom is equally as interesting as she comes to realise all his womanising is an attempt to disguise a past hurtful relationship. But what of Michael the young bar person she works with, why does he want to meddle in her relationships? And who was behind Jack’s vicious attack and why?
This is a great read all chronologically set out.
Didn’t Anyone Ever Tell You? It’s All A Game! by Andrew Mullaney
Didn’t Anyone Ever Tell You? It’s All A Game! is Andrew Mullaney’s powerful and thought-provoking debut non-fiction book about surviving and sometimes winning at life. He brilliantly compares life’s journey to that of a game of snakes and ladders, to which so many of us can identify with.
This book represents a lifetime’s work, right from Andy’s childhood as an only child where he experienced bullying in school and overwhelming pressure to succeed in life, which at times took him to the brink of his mindset, almost to the point of breaking down. Pressure comes in a variety of formats and directions that affect our confidence and ability to manage our everyday lives, be that our mental health, well-being and overall approach to conducting ourselves in public. So, to have someone to mentor us, to talk to us about how to manage our successes as well as our failures can be invaluable, both in our personal and professional lives. This is what Andy’s first book is all about, mentoring… to survive and sometimes win at life.
Through a series of anecdotes, famous quotes and chats with different people (including those who face challenges, disability and addiction), Andy’s book covers a lifetime of experiences, from childhood through to the present day. With a constant theme of professional and practical advice, you the reader can savour your victories, identify any development areas and learn from every aspect of life as you consciously go about achieving your goals. Of course, we all know that one person’s success is different to another, and Andy helps you to respect and accept that everyone has a different outlook on life.
So, let’s enjoy climbing up the ladders and avoiding the snakes, ‘Didn’t Anyone Tell You? It’s All A Game!’ It’s a great read.
The Time Stealers with Clockworks and Time Wraiths by Dr Penny Clauss
Dr Penny Clauss known as P.Clauss in the writing fraternity, is a veterinary surgeon from Dallas, Texas. As a child she loved reading books, so much so she would create stories in her head but keep them there, thinking no one would be interested in her tales. How wrong she was. It wasn’t until years later that with encouragement from her husband David, a clockwork master, that she finally plucked up the courage to publish her writings. Let’s just say thank goodness she did, for her books are beautifully manuscripted with intriguing and at times spine-tingling thoughts and storylines.
Penny has dipped her toe into various genres from illustrated children’s stories, to Christian devotionals, and lately science fiction stroke dark fantasy.
Her latest books ‘Time Keeper’s Chronicles’ and ‘Hope Eternal’ are part of a trilogy under the umbrella of ‘Time Stealers’. The third book is yet to be revealed.
Time Stealers trilogy introduces you to clockwork clocks and mythical dark beings called time wraiths.
Grant Stone the main protagonist owns a clock shop that sells an array of clocks, small cottage clocks to magnificent grandfather clocks. However, some of the clocks are home to mythical shadowy time wraiths that can manipulate time, and control events. The Gustav Becker wall clock behind the counter is home to one such being. Some time wraiths are harmful others are not, but as long as the clocks keep running the shadowy beings generally stay within their casings, but not always. Grant Stone is part of a loose-knit society of time keepers that can see and communicate with these mysterious black wispy beings. They do their best to keep the perception of time in check from the time stealers who want to control time for their own evil misdoings?
David Mammina on Talking Books
This week I’m talking to David V Mammina, an award-winning dark fantasy, indie author from Long Island, New York, US. He joins Talking Books this week for a lively conversation about inspiration, drama and the creative process. His books include, The Angels of Resistance, Protector of Children and Redeem the Knight trilogy to name but a few.David has been writing for many years considering his relatively young age. He currently teaches history to middle-grade students something he’s passionate about just like his writing. Having talked to David on numerous occasions I get the real sense that he believes writing is a craft, a living spirit that kind of buries itself into the heart, mind, and soul of the reader.
Chatting to David and researching his books has been a wonderful experience for me, I can see and feel the dark fantasy genre he loves so much coming through his writing.
When you read his books you get a real sense of the post-apocalypse era as well as the present. His deep thinking as to what life would be like after such a devastating event has taken place, a happening that sees the fundamental core of earth’s make-up collapse with devastating consequences is far reaching and intriguing. But what is equally curious when he’s in the present day mode as in his prologue to The Angels of Resistance, he talks about super plagues, fast-spreading and immune to all vaccines. How poignant a topic with what’s going on in the world today. I asked him was he physic, “ unfortunately not,” he replied. His book The Angels of Resistance is dedicated to his brother Joseph for who he never had the honour to meet in person, I asked David about this in the interview and if you listen you’ll hear him candidly opening up about his brother, the brother he never met and why.