What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
It’d be overlooking the Eiffel Tower and would have an inspirational quote on the wall, a chic, white leather couch, and a Frappuccino maker!
What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?
I hate when people give me ideas for stories because they’re usually pretty offbeat and aren’t suited to my style. I appreciate it, though, when others encourage me not to quit and when my mentors offer suggestions about plot twists.
In your own words, what is love?
I expressed that in my newest novel, Forgetting My Way Back to You. It’s living through and reflecting on the bad moments but wanting to be together, regardless. There are always problems, and relationships end because of them. It’s easy to give up on a fleeting feeling, but that isn’t the case with real love.
Does blogging help you to write?
It does keep my creative processes flowing and keeps me in shape, I suppose, but it takes away a lot of time from my usual writing. I guess it’s a love/hate relationship.
Blogging does take a lot of time. I get it. What kind of music do you like?
I enjoy almost everything from oldies to pop to (some) country.
In your own words, what is humility?
Humility is accepting that you’re flawed. You can still be proud of your abilities, but you have to recognize that others can and will be better. I think it’s also realizing that your ways and opinions aren’t law.
I dig it. Would you like to have children?
Yes, because they’re fun, genuine, and change your outlook on life.
Awwue. Right? Why is writing important to you?
Writing gives me freedom. Having Cerebral Palsy, there aren’t many things I can do on my own, but writing is one exception. Every idea and keystroke is mine alone—unless I’m on a deadline and need help typing. Plus, I’m free to create plot lines without being barred by reality.
That cover is so fun looking! What genre do you write in, why?
Though I’ve written love stories, I mainly write mysteries. I enjoy sculpting different twists and turns to make readers keep guessing. That said, almost all my mysteries have a romantic element to them because I “love love!” ♥
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
I’m a big baseball fan, and I also love shoes.
Thank you Karina for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. Her debut novel, Husband in Hiding came out in 2015 and was well-received by readers. Her second, Forgetting My Way Back to You, was released in October 2018 by Vinspire Publishing and has been praised by reviewers. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!
*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author some time ago. This review is long overdo.*
This is my second read from this author. I absolutely loved COEDand you can find my five-star review of that book here. I enjoy Fant’s writing style and how his characters always remind me of real people (which if you’ve been following my reviews long enough you know that’s my most favorite thing about books, good characterization and dialogue that sounds like real communication between people.)
On September 3, 2001 , Dallas gets a call from his friend Kevin inviting him to a BBQ during Labor Day Weekend. At the house Dallas meets Kevin’s sister Thena. Kevin and his wife Jasmine are trying to hook Dallas up with her. Everything seems normal at first, until Dallas wakes the next day to the same phone call from Kevin, the same invitation to his BBQ, the meeting of Thena and the same series of events from the previous night. That’s because it’s September 3rd again, 2001, and it will be for the better part of the book. Each September 3rd runs through September 11th and then Dallas wakes up to September 3rd again. The loops involve similar but different outcomes, playing on Dallas mind until he realizes he is stuck in a time loop.
What I loved most about this book was the Final Destination type clues sprinkled about. If you haven’t seen the Final Destination movie series then you’ve seriously been living under a rock. Briefly, the movie released in 2000 and is a supernatural horror movie about a young man named Alex who experiences a premonition of a plane exploding and killing everyone on it. After insisting everyone exists the plane, several people do and shortly afterward watch the plane explode just as Alex saw in his vision. Throughout the movie the characters will experience coincidences and DejaVu associated with the coming of their own deaths. So yea, this book is kinda like that but without the gory deaths.
In Fant’s Darkest Loop, I loved how something would happen in one loop and then the author would take us to a loop that gives us the same events from a different perspective. Like how Dallas smells the scent of a woman on his sheets and meets a woman the next day with the same scent. They are just meeting but have already met and been together. The series of coincidences and Déjà vu keeps you on the edge of your seat, especially since Dallas is trying to figure things out just as the reader is. This book also reminds me of Premonition , the movie starring Sandra Bullock.
The only thing I did not like very much is the ending. The anticipation and tension was so well done that I was not as impressed with the revelation toward the end of the book. Things got weird…I mean more weird than usual for this book and while weird can be good, I felt the author drifted and the whole reason behind the loop was not as satisfying for me as I had hoped. Otherwise, definitely a five-star read.
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Authenticity / Believable: 3.5/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Unfortunately, it looks like The Darkest Loop is out of print on Amazon. I do recommend you follow this author though and check out his other books. I recommend COED, linked above.
About the book:
Dallas Anderson is stuck in a time loop that repeats Labor Day 2001 to September 11, 2001. He thinks he must prevent the terrorist attacks to break the loop. But each loop challenges that theory, igniting a fiery romance between him and his best friend’s sister and exposing the dark truth behind Déjà vu.
About the author:
James Fant is an award winning author who lives in Charleston, SC with his lovely wife and two hilarious children. He received a degree in biology from College of Charleston and a master’s in business administration from Charleston Southern University. His love for literature was forged by the works of Eric Jerome Dickey, Walter Mosely, and Stephen King. He also finds inspiration from screenwriters Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin and Kurt Sutter. Literally, James has always been drawn to intelligent yet imperfect characters and he writes novels with them in mind.
Got a book* for me? Learn more about my Book Reviews Here.
*Books are read in the order they are received. The sooner you get your order in, the sooner I can get to your book and get your review published.
Don’t you just love being surprised by new reviews? Yes! I am Soul has a new review and it is just in time for the next signing. If you are in Georgia and have not yet grabbed a signed, paperback copy of this book, I’ll be at the Nubian Bookstore on Friday, April 12th in Morrow, GA. The signing will take place from 5-8:00p Eastern Standard Time. This means you good people can stop through on your way home from work. See how I consider you fam? Lol
Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Dana Kearney. Welcome to the PBS Blog. Let’s get started!
What was you childhood dream?
My childhood dream was to be a doctor. Then I realized hospitals and sick people scare me. So I had to find something else to be and I always loved writing.
Cool. In your own words, what is love?
Love is a connection that you cannot describe. It is so powerful when you feel it you know because you have never felt it before. It is a part of the air you breathe. It is unconditional. Love has been around since the beginning of time. Love lasts through the universe and galaxies. It is a selfless feeling that transforms you into your highest self. Love is when frequencies align, your life is complete, and the passion is at its peak. Love is when you see stars in their eyes. Love is balance with the universe.
Okaay Dana. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
A trip around the world would be the most exciting to go on. You could travel many different ways and see so many historic sites.
I love that. Who is your favorite writer?
My favorite writer is Zora Neale Hurston. Her stories transcend, time, space and culture. She takes us through two worlds where some of us live. She describes a time that has passed, but it is also infinite. She gives our lives space, meaning, love, and divinity.
What kind of music do you like?
I like rhythm and blues, hip-hop, pop, old school music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Sometimes I pick whatever makes me escape into another place and other times I pick what resonates with current moments in time.
Nice. Dana, define racism.
Racism is the power to negatively impact millions of lives through housing, employment, and natural resources based on race.
Nicely put. What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?
My favorite movie is Gladiator. I love stories of Ancient Times. I love how the actors bring you into the story. They make you root for one over the other. Behind all the backstabbing and treachery it is a love story and a father trying to return home after he avenges his family.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult part about being a writer is getting your thoughts into a familiar structure. The most exciting part is giving your perspective on life.
What does that mean, getting your thoughts into a familiar structure?
Putting my thoughts into a format that people are comfortable with. As your thoughts come out they may not be organized or naturally flow.
Ahh. Got it. That’s true. Is there anything you don’t you like about yourself?
I don’t like my need for perfection. It stresses me out but I still strive for perfection.
Life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again. What is your best advice for reducing stress?
My best advice for reducing stress is take care of yourself. Do what makes you happy. Take time to meditate or pray. Take time to do your favorite things. Take care of yourself.
I love it.
Thank you Dana for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Dana Kearney was raised in Oakland, CA and graduated from the University of California Davis. Dana was a public school educator for ten years. She loves to read, write, swim, teach, and travel. Dana still lives in California and is currently working on Diamonds or Light? Part II
Today, I’d like to welcome Trish Hubschman. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
I’m Trish Hubschman. I live on Long Island, NY.
What was your childhood dream?
Since sixth grade, 40 plus years ago, I wanted to be a published author.
Awesome. What skill would you like to master?
I’m not very good at navigating websites and blogs. That seems important in this business. I have to learn how to get around them better.
No worries. If you have the means, you can pay someone to do that for you ;-). Trish, what’s your favorite food?
Same as everyone else’s – – pizza and cheeseburgers.
Ha! Pizza is my husband’s fav. Let’s talk about writing a bit. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
The first Tracy Gayle mystery novel, The Fire, was published in 2015.
What was that like? Must have been exciting!
I published with America Star Books. They were free. I didn’t have any involvement in it. This book Stiff Competition means more to me. I was part of the whole process.
I’ve been married 27 years this coming March.
Congratulations! What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?
I don’t watch TV in this century. In the 70s I did. My favorite show was Little House on the Prairie. I grew up with Laura Ingalls.
And what are some advantages, in your opinion, of eliminating television? What can we learn?
TV in the past was better, the shows, for one. The visual and sound quality were better in the past too. I’m hearing and visually impaired. It’s worse now than it was, but today’s TV turns me off, so I don’t bother trying.
Got it. Trish, why is writing important to you?
It’s a big part of me that makes me feel whole. As a hearing impaired person, writing is the best way for me to communicate and express myself.
Beautiful. What genre do you write in, why?
For novels, romantic suspense. I love, love. The mystery part makes it more fun. In short stories, I write all genres.
Trish, thank you for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Trish Hubschman has published three books with America Star Books: a short story collection of time travel and romance stories called Through Time and the first two books in the Tracy Gayle/Danny Tide series: The Fire and Unlucky Break. Trish attended college at Long Island University’s Southampton campus, earning a BA degree in English with an emphasis in writing. She lives on Long Island with her husband and two dogs.
About the Book.
America’s favorite rock band, Tidalwave, is playing the Miss America pageant. Band leader Danny Tide is emceeing the event. All is going according to schedule. The judges have picked the 10 semi–finalists. Suddenly, everything comes to a halt. Miss New Jersey is missing. Nobody knows what happened to her or where she is. Danny calls his longtime PI friend, Tracy Gayle, and asks her to come down to Atlantic City to help figure things out. In need of her best friend for personal support and eager to get to another case, Tracy agrees. There’s an all–out search of the hotels on the boardwalk. They find Miss New Jersey, but it’s not good. Her kidnapping leads to another assault and murder. The big star and the lady PI work together on this one, so that the Miss America pageant can continue as usual.
Today, I’d like to welcome Sophia Tsegaye to the blog. Welcome! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Sophia Tsegaye; I am an Ethiopian American living in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ethiopia in the house. What was it like transitioning from Ethiopia to America? Any major adjustments?
I arrived in America as a newlywed, and my husband and I had to adjust to the cultural difference at first, with the help of my sister. And soon our neighbors and co-workers led us through our new lifestyle. One of the adjustments was being away from my parents and extended family members.
The other adjustment was the difference between American and Ethiopian calendar. Ethiopia uses Julian Calendar and is 7 and a half or 8 years behind the American Calendar. Ethiopia has 13 months (12 months of 30 days each, and one month of 5 or 6 days).
Now as a family, we celebrate both cultures. My children have learned to embrace the diversity in the family. In short, we have two New Years, two Christmases, two Easters and the like.
Wow, I didn’t know that about the calendar difference. This is why I yearn so much to travel outside the country!
When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I published my first book “She Is My Mommy!” in March 2019 through CreateSpace. Holding my book for the first time was rewarding. Carrying a task to completion was my first goal, and I felt fulfilled. It has kindled the desire and the strength to go forward with my second book. And now I am working on my third one.
Congratulations! Amazing feeling right? Are you married Sophia? Got a boo somewhere?
I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband for the last fifteen years.
Yes. I have three awesome boys, ages 14, 12 and 3.
Beautiful. What do you wish you knew more about?
Growing up, one of my many challenges was speaking up. Both in Middle and High school, I was known for being timid and introvert. It continued well into my graduate class. For example, I would know the answer to a question, or want to voice my opinion, but could not make myself to say something. It was like being present and absent at the same time.
Later on, I realize that the only thing that was holding from communicating was the fear of making mistakes.
Now, I know that making mistakes is all right, you learn from them and move forward.
I can relate for sure. What small things makes you life easier? What makes it difficult?
Living a simple life, being grateful and exercising kindness make my life easier. I try to see the positive in people. I believe that it is wise to listen to your conscious before you speak. We often forget that a calmer tone conveys a message more effectively. I think that we all have the choice to decide whether to make our life easy or difficult. It is a choice we need to make every day. If you always feel you are a victim and everybody is onto you, then you will remain a victim of your own conscious.
If you do not control your temper, you will be treated as the perpetrator even if you are on the right.
If you are not kind, then you will miss the heart-warming reward that you get from it.
I love that Sophia. Wise words. Let’s get back to writing a bit. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult thing as a writer is writer’s block.
The most exciting thing is when you are in that creative zone, and you have no control over your writing.
Why is writing important to you?
When I write, I let myself go to places I have not visited for a long time. I navigate through my thought and dig deep into the desire to correct the wrong, to encourage the weak, to give a voice to the timid, and the like.
I want to show the reader that she or he is not alone in any circumstance. Happiness, fear, triumph, sadness, friendliness, and depression are a part of life. Therefore, what we need to do is find a way to fix the problem. In my books, I encourage children to learn to ask for help.
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
I love making pieces of jewelry and cooking.
You’re a children’s author. What do you think of the bullying in our schools?
Unfortunately, bullying is a real and dangerous issue. I try to focus on this issue in my books and demonstrate the effects it can bring.
My boys have experienced bullying, and I have also heard of various incidents in the school. I have seen firsthand how bullying can break the spirit of a fun loving and active child.
As a parent, we should teach our kids empathy at an early age. If we see our child push another child, we should be able to explain that it is wrong.
We have to encourage our kids to communicate with us, or the school personnel if they feel unsafe or overwhelmed. Schools have councilors, and they should use these resources.
And I urge parents to listen to their kids. If a kid voices concern then parents should intervene immediately.
If you could, would you visit the past?
Yes, I would visit the past if I could. Would I give some advice to my young self and try to change the past? I do not think so, because those experiences made me the person I am today.
Precisely. What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to trust her instinct and be comfortable in her own skin. And of course, tell her to take it easy, enjoy life, and laugh more.
Thank you Sophia for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.
Sophia E Tsegaye, is a stay-at-home mom, with three boys who keep her busy. She’s a children’s book writer, living in Cincinnati, Ohio.
From the Author:
I enjoy listening to what happens in school. Every day, my boys will come home with new stories, but unfortunately, not all are pleasant. I use their stories as a learning experience, and I guess this is how my books were born.
Many little kids are fascinated by school buses and animals. Hence I chose to have a school bus and animals as the characters.
There are different approaches to explain to kids about being unique, being different and being accommodating, so I try to bring these issues through my books.
The first book “She Is My Mommy!” is about transracial adoption, and the second book “Your Jokes Are Not Funny!” is about bullying.
Kids can be simple and yet complex. They ask us complex questions and are satisfied with the simplest explanation.
I believe in teaching kids empathy at a tender age.
Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to David Davis. Let’s get started!
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is David R. Davis (My dad didn’t think I would learn to spell, so he basically made it easier for me to remember). I live in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. I do love the desert and do not miss the snowy Minnesota winters.
Ha! That’s funny about your dad. What job do you think you’d be really good at?
I loved my career as a social worker and therapist. I never made a lot of money, but I trust I added value to life. I know I added to mine and I hope that I added it to some others. I take a quote from Teilhard de Chardin – “Each of us must do one small thing in a great way. Each must weave one stitch in the magnificent tapestry of life.” I believe I added my one stitch.
Awesome. In your own words, what is humility?
Humility is the older Hispanic man that nods gratefully when he’s told he has grown beautiful flowers. Humility is the coyote on the desert trail that stops to look at me and then confidently trots away. Humility is the Vietnam vet standing on the corner asking that I might give him a dollar.
Okaayy David. I like that. Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite author(s) Without doubt, are Cormac McCarthy and John Steinbeck. McCarthy has written very brutal books in a beautiful way. The Road creates almost perfect imagery. One can read his words and shiver with the desolation created. His sparse dialogue is magical. John Steinbeck wrote incredible characters. Even his lesser known books like Sweet Thursday bring to life a wonderful cast of ordinary people. I try to write and love character driven stories. Steinbeck is the gold standard for this type of writing.
What kind of music do you like?
I was raised on rock and was a rock drummer when I was fifteen. Now I listen almost exclusively to Jazz and Blues. Coltrane’s Dear Lord and Miles Davis’ So What, take me to new places no matter how many times I hear them. Hound Dog Taylor once said “When I die, they’ll say I couldn’t play shit, but I sure made it sound good.” Truer words were never spoken. No matter how good or how bad I feel, The Dog’s music makes me feel better. That’s the magic of Blues.
Let’s talk about writing a bit. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I published Running In, Walking Out in 2017. I draw upon what one reviewer said to answer how it made me feel. They said , “The character Sara made me want her to be my friend.” As I said previously, I love character driven stories. If one of my characters made a reader want her as a real life friend, maybe I accomplished a bit of my ultimate goal.
Excellent. What do you wish you knew more about?
Things I’m learning right now. I volunteer at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. I play with stingrays and snakes. I love it and I’m fascinated about all things desert (Animals, Plants & Desert Ecology). Also I must learn more about climate change. If we do nothing more than we’re doing, there will be no more of anything. It is my responsibility to do what I can, “To weave my one stitch.”
Stingrays and snakes! David no! Lol. What do you think of the world we live in?
It’s difficult to be an optimist and yet I must be. My dad was a marine in WWII, I was a combat medic in Vietnam. No one alive today has ever seen one day of life where there is no war raging somewhere on our planet. I will not quietly accept the hatred and division I see in our country today. There is nothing to be gained and everything to be lost if we take the position that “If you’re different, I don’t trust you.” We need every human.
What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?
I list two. A book some would say is a children’s book. I say it teaches every lesson we need to know in life. The Little Prince By Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Also On Happiness by Teilhard De Chardin. It says we all need to find something in life greater than ourselves. I have to agree.
In your own words, what is truth?
A difficult question for sure. Truth is what is, not what we want it to be. I once read that belief is what we want something to be, faith is trust that what is, is what should be. I would add, I read an interview with a professor of ethics once and he said something like this, “We don’t need to teach ethics, we need to practice ethics.” I borrow that to say we know what truth is, we just need to practice it.
What city or country would you choose to represent you?
Edinburgh, Scotland for sure. The country of Scotland has been one of great historic turmoil, yet I’ve never seen a people with a more friendly and accepting nature. Everyone I met in the beautiful city was friendly, funny and helpful. How could anyone want to be more than that?
Are you a spiritual person David?
When I need to think, to relax, to create, I hike the Sonoran Desert. I trust that when I do, I will get what I need. When I see a Harris’ hawk flying, a tiny pincushion cactus blooming in bone dry rock or a 200 year old saguaro cactus standing majestically, I know there is something working that’s greater than me. I have no name for it, but I know it’s there.
You have a way with words David! Readers, are you getting this? What advice would you give your younger self?
Always be kinder than is necessary. Money and possessions don’t make you happier, no matter what the seller tells you. Only you can make yourself happier, it’s already something you have.
Thank you David for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Davis was born in Texas and raised as a military brat. He served as a medic with the 101st. Airborne Division in Vietnam. After graduate school, David worked as a social worker and therapist for thirty-five years. He’s never had any regrets regarding his career choice. He now lives in wonderful Tucson, AZ, having moved from cold St. Paul, MN.
David spends his days writing, volunteering at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum where he gets to play with snakes, turtles, and stingrays. He weekly hikes the desert where he finds beauty, peace, and inspiration. He also belongs to the Oro Valley Writers Forum, a wonderful group of writers. He has indie published two novels, Running In, Walking Out and The Unusual Man.