We’re thrilled to bring you this exceptional literary novel by Claudette C. Jeffrey: The Color of Life.
The Color of Life is ‘coming-of-age’ at its finest. This second book in the Claire Soublet series gathers the thread of recent American history to spin the tale of Sera, a woman of color who ‘passes for white’ in New Orleans.
When 23 year-old Claire Soublet arrives in New York City to begin her new life, she has no idea that after only four days a situation will arise forcing her to return to New Orleans. Growing up mired in years of hardship and being abandoned by family through death and disinterest, she manages to scratch and claw her way out of that life. And, in the process, she earns a college education.
Back in New Orleans and not ready to succumb to her old way of life, she enlists the help of her high school friend. They devise a plan to, once again, get Claire out of her hometown. With their new-found relationship, they return to New York together.
Claudette Carrida Jeffrey, a native New Orleanian, is a retired teacher who lives in Northern California. The Color of Life is her second installment in a four-book series.
Book one, A Brown Paper Bag and A Fine Tooth Comb (2012), begins the coming of age story of Claire Soublet, a young Creole of Color growing up in 1940s and 50s New Orleans.
~by Donna Carrick, Carrick Publishing
Mary Jo Melendez is back. The protagonist of Muddlin’ Through takes a permanent security job in the Silicon Valley after bouncing across the U.S. through temp jobs.
Her future isn’t all bright, though, as she discovers she has a stalker. Moreover, two teams of agents, U.S. and Russian, are in hot pursuit.
She hires a PI for surveillance and protection who becomes a new love interest. The two match wits against her pursuers.
Will this ex-USN Master-at-Arms survive this time?
After the 2013 release of The Golden Years of Virginia Morgan, I asked Steven how he could manage to create and develop such strong, believable and likable female protagonists.
To paraphrase his answer: It all comes down to life experience. I’ve been blessed to surround myself with strong, intelligent women. Their ideas and attitudes find their way into my female characters.
It’s clear to the casual reader that Steve brings a great deal of his own intelligence and human understanding to his novels and short stories. From characters as diverse as “Chen and Castilblanco”, to DHS Agent Ashley Scott, to our mystery heroine Mary Jo Melendez, “believable” and “likable” are the labels that fit across the board.
Buy it, read it, and grow to love Mary Jo!
Cover art by Sara Carrick
To learn more about the works of Steven M. Moore, or any of our Carrick Publishing authors, don’t hesitate to contact us at:
Effective Thursday, June 12, 2014, we’ll begin accepting submissions for our second Excerpt Flight Deck Anthology, EFD2. Now the fun can begin for active members of the Excerpt Flight Deck FaceBook group:
This collection will include short Crime Fiction stories between 800 and 6,000 words in length.
Each installment will be footnoted with an author photo, brief bio, a link to the Amazon author page and/or website link, and an editor’s note about the author’s use of genre.
This ambitious project is possible thanks to the experience Carrick Publishing has acquired through our own literary endeavors and the work we’ve done for our Associated Authors .
This exciting opportunity will be open at no cost to EFD group members only.
1- Author must be an active member of the FaceBook group “Excerpt Flight Deck for Readers and Authors”, hosted by Donna & Alex Carrick of Carrick Publishing. If you are not already a member, please join prior to submitting your story.
2- Submission must be previously unpublished in e-book or electronic format.
3- Author must possess full copyright and must be the author of the work. Public domain work is not eligible.
4- Carrick Publishing will be granted exclusive copyright for publication and e-publication of the work. This exclusive copyright will remain in effect for 2 years after the date of publication of the anthology. In other words, the author will not publish or e-publish or cause the submitted work to be published or e-published elsewhere.
2 years after the publication of the anthology, copyright will revert to the author and will then be shared by Carrick Publishing and the author.
This is critical to ensure we comply with Amazon Kindle’s strict copyright policies. Also, from time to time we may enroll the anthology in KDP Select to ensure broadest exposure. This means it must not be available anywhere else in e-Format.
Once the two-year period has expired, the author will be free to re-publish the work in print or electronically.
5- Each contributing author will receive an equal share of the Net Royalty Earned. Carrick Publishing will retain 50% of that Net Royalty Earned. The balance will be distributed to contributing authors when received by Carrick Publishing.
In addition, each author will receive exposure via Kindle links within the ebook, as well as being offered exposure at our site as an “Associated Author” for not less than one year following the anthology publication date.
The author will also receive full credit as author on the Amazon Kindle selling page, or any other selling page associated with the Anthology.
6- Carrick Publishing will retain this shared copyright and will be free to reproduce the work in other formats down the road if so desired, including but not limited to e-Pub edition, print or audiobook. Author will continue to receive full credit each time the work appears in any format.
7- Crime Fiction Short Stories are welcome for submission. Canadian publishing laws will prevail. (No hate literature or material of an extremely offensive nature will be considered.)
For purposes of this anthology we ask that you eliminate all ultra-violence and explicit sex from your submission. The editors will employ their discretion regarding such issues as strong language.
8- To ensure a high quality product for readers, Carrick Publishing will reserve the right to copy-edit as needed.
9- Size of entries:
Short-Stories: Crime fiction — maximum 6000 words.
HOW TO SUBMIT:
Send your submission in Word doc format to CarrickPublishing @ rogers . com . (Remember to remove all spaces.)
In the subject line say: EFD2 — EXCERPT FLIGHT DECK SUBMISSION
We will be reviewing all submissions in August and will get back to you at that time.
Thank you in advance for participating! We can’t wait to see what you’ve got.
Our very best regards,
Donna & Alex Carrick
Some exciting news to share with you all today:
The Short-List nominees for the prestigious Arthur Ellis Awards (Crime Writers of Canada) were announced last night.
I was thrilled and honoured to learn that my story Watermelon Weekend from our crime anthology THIRTEEN was short-listed in the Best Short Story category, along with fellow THIRTEEN contributor Sylvia Maultash Warsh for her story The Emerald Skull. ( Carrick Publishing , 2013)
Congratulations to nominees in all categories, especially to yet another fellow-contributor, Melodie Campbell, whose book The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books) was short-listed for Best Novella!
One of this century’s masters of literature, Barbara Kingsolver, (The Poisonwood Bible, Harper-Collins, 1998) has this to say about the art of fiction: “The writing of fiction is a dance between truth and invention.”
There are those purists in the literary industry who insist on fact above all — who will brook no deviation from absolute accuracy in all description.
They will go to great lengths to ensure that every detail is verifiable. As readers, they will call out an author on the most marginal error. As writers, they may be prone to bombard the reader with well-documented descriptions of this or that, sometimes to the detriment of their tale.
And there are others, as we well know, who blithely throw the truth out the window, determined never to let the facts get in the way of a good story. These authors can make for a fun read, but will sometimes burden a reader’s patience with their complete disregard for credibility.
There are arguments to be made on both sides of the dance floor, but, as with most things, the real artistry of fiction can be found somewhere in the middle, dipping and weaving to the music of the imagination, cleaving to the truth, but not rigidly. Holding it like a lover, one who must be allowed the occasional leaway so as not to feel smothered.
The truth will dance willingly with us, if we writers are prepared to court it. But it is not an easy sweetheart — there is effort involved in all worthy research.
In the on-going creative dance of truth and invention, the imagination should at all times lead, but it should not be forced to dance alone.
As a psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist, I hear the following three complaints most often in my practice:
1. I can’t sleep.
2. My mind won’t stop racing.
3. Why is this anxiety/depression/sleep problem happening to me?
I address the first two a lot. The third one doesn’t come up quite as often because people, being naturally curious about themselves and their own lives and minds, usually have a good idea of how their sleep problems started. However, when I ask if they can think of what kicked off their insomnia, about ten to twenty percent of patients frown, wrinkle their noses, and eventually admit they can’t say why or give some vague answer like “stress, but my life has always been stressful, so I’m not sure that’s it.” Some are very distressed that they can’t figure out the origin of the problem because, as human beings, we like to have explanations. Knowing why gives us a sense of control.
According to writing professionals, people love mysteries because it’s fun to play along with the detective to solve the puzzle, they like to know about why the murderers did what they did, and it’s a safe way to satisfy the thrill-seeker in all of us. They satisfy us on a deeper level when justice is served, and everything turns out, if not okay, then as okay as they’re going to be in a satisfying way. The appeal of mysteries goes beyond the good/evil story, though. I also believe they give us a safe place to explore the question of why bad stuff happens.
The mystery at the heart of the plot of my debut novel The Mountain’s Shadow, which was released October 1 by Samhain Publishing, is what happened to the main character’s grandfather and why, but the broader issue faced by the heroine Joanie Fisher, a behavioral health researcher who has just lost her job, is, “Why did all this awful stuff happen to me?” Isn’t this a question we all face at some point?
Part of my heroine’s struggle is that the answer lies in her own genetics, and the disorder she’s been researching takes on a frightening personal significance. Some might argue that this was a convenient happenstance for the purpose of story, but it grew out of experience. We had a running joke in graduate school that we study what we struggle with, so, for example, those of us on the alcohol research team had latent drinking problems. We didn’t, at least not any more than your average psychology graduate student, but you can bet it was something I thought about. I suspect that a lot of us who go into psychology wonder at times if we did it to fix something we don’t like about ourselves.*
In mystery novels, one of the fun parts is figuring out the motivation of the villain. My favorite villains are the ones whose reasons for killing, robbing, or other illegal behavior go beyond monetary gain or pure badness. Sure, sociopaths are interesting – to a point – and they can be very entertaining when matched up against their polar opposite (e.g., Holmes and Moriarty as portrayed in the recent BBC series Sherlock – sorry, but it’s been ages since I read the books, and I don’t remember if Conan Doyle explained Moriarty’s backstory), but for me, again, it’s got to go beyond pure good vs. evil. Even the definition is up for debate, as is explained in the book I’m currently reading, Humanity’s Dark Side: Evil, Destructive Experience and Psychotherapy. One of the questions the chapter authors keep coming back to is whether evil is just fundamentally present in some people, or if it arises from other circumstances. Several argue the latter, that people do “evil” things because of how they were raised, genetic history or biological factors, previous learning or other experiences, or societal circumstances.
So there’s another reason to enjoy mysteries: it’s hard to acknowledge the parts of ourselves that predispose us to end up in troublesome situations, but it’s fun to explore them in others. Whether it’s the genetics that make us likely to develop some sort of disorder or the mistakes parents made, we all have to face the origins of our own bad behaviors – and we all have some, although hopefully not at mystery villain level – at some point, or at least try to, and decide how to deal with it.
This brings me back to my heroine. She has to embrace, not fight against or avoid, what she is and what she learned from her past life as a researcher to rescue herself and her friends from a potentially deadly situation. She also has to face the consequences of some bad behavior in her past that eventually ended her up in her current situation. Since the big villain in the book doesn’t get revealed until the very end, I won’t tell you what that entities’ motivation is, but the apparent villain’s reasons for his actions have both evil and redemptive qualities.
So why do people enjoy mysteries? They give us a safe space to explore the questions of why bad things happen and how people overcome both external and internal factors to deal with their challenges. Who knows? Maybe thinking about what we identify with in these stories can point out areas we need to explore in ourselves, which may then lead us to some helpful explanations and growth.
* If this is the case, don’t go into psychology, just seek out your own therapy. Trust me, it’s less expensive and a lot less effort to face whatever it is than to avoid it by trying to fix it in others.
She became a clinical psychologist because she’s fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn’t stop writing fiction. The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication.
By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she’s been told, is a good number of each.
Some mistakes can literally come back to bite you.
The Lycanthropy Files, Book 1
First it was ADD. Then pediatric bipolar. Now the hot behavioral disorder in children is CLS, or Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome. Public health researcher Joanie Fisher was closing in on the cause in hopes of finding a treatment until a lab fire and an affair with her boss left her without a job.
When her grandfather leaves her his multimillion-dollar estate in the Ozarks, though, she figures her luck is turning around. Except her inheritance comes with complications: town children who disappear during full moons, an irresistible butler, and a pack of werewolves who can’t seem to decide whether to frighten her or flirt with her.
Joanie’s research is the key to unraveling the mysteries of Wolfsbane Manor. However, resuming her work means facing painful truths about her childhood, which could result in the loss of love, friendship, and the only true family she has left.
Warning: Some sexy scenes, although nothing explicit, and adult language. Also alcohol consumption and food descriptions that may wreck your diet.
Good news, Anthology fans! The first in our Carrick Publishing series of anthologies, EFD1: Starship Goodwords, is coming to Print!
The expected release date is October 30. Stay tuned for availability news!
Carrick Publishing is pleased to present: EFD1: Starship Goodwords, the first in a series of cross-genre anthologies brought to you by editors and contributing authors Donna and Alex Carrick.
This collection includes: Mystery, Crime, Flash Fiction, Poetry, Literary, Paranormal, Science Fiction and Humor.
There’s something for every reader in this exceptional sampling of today’s authors.
Contributors by Genre:
Foreword: Donna Carrick
Crime Fiction: Catherine Astolfo, Family Recipe
Crime Fiction: Donna Carrick, Corner Store
Crime Fiction: Alexander Galant, Remember Me
Crime Fiction: Joan, O’Callaghan, Stooping to Conquer
Flash Fiction/Crime: M.H. Callway, Incompetence Kills
Flash Fiction/Crime: Sylvia Maultash Warsh, Family Values
Flash Fiction/Literary: Kathleen Bjoran, Giving Thanks
Flash Fiction/Literary/Humor: Melodie Campbell, The Battle of Beavercoat
Poetry: A.C. Cargill, Treasures in the Attic
Poetry: Rosalind Croucher, Dance
Poetry: Sheila Jeffries, Finding Calm
Poetry: Michael C. Slater, Murmur
Persuasive Article: Paulissa Kipp, Fostering Humanity Manifesto
Literary Fiction: Melanie Robertson-King, Cole’s Notes
Literary Fiction: Tracy L. Ward, Running Parallel
Paranormal/Fantasy: Susan M. Botich, The Minstrel’s Spell
Paranormal/Horror: Dayna Leigh Cheser, The Legend of Corkscrew Swamp
Paranormal/Horror: Troy Lambert, The Mighty Pen
Paranormal/Science Fiction/Humour: Ira Nayman, The Predator’s Prerogative
Humor/Fiction: Alex Carrick, My Wife and I Argue over our Travel Plans (Hey, I’m not Cheap but…)
Humor/Anecdote: John Thompson, “Oh, Okay, and the Good Soldier Schweik”
Excerpt from Family Recipe by Catherine Astolfo
Years after Pom-Pom disappeared, the trunk arrived at my door.
That afternoon I had Skyped the girls—young women, really—who, I can tell, I’m not stupid, are a little frustrated that their mother is still hovering. Their faces satellited in and out of the screen, frozen in cyberspace from time to time, but even through the cosmos I could feel the impatience. After two thoroughly dissatisfying conversations from different parts of the world, I went out and stood on the front porch, shivering, sneaking my last—once again—cigarette. I didn’t want any of my coats to give me away by soaking in the smell, so I was freezing to death as I inhaled the final (I swore it was) blessed smoke.
Just as I sucked out the last possible drop of nicotine, a delivery truck slid its way into the fortunately empty driveway and skidded to a halt. At first the cargo resembled a small coffin and I was not sure it was for me. But my formal title was clearly marked on top and once I’d proven my identity to the pimpled delivery boy, he left it in my front hall.
I tried twice to break open the thin wooden bars and façade in which the trunk had been delivered. Deciding to use something more efficient than my hands, I stopped by the bar, filled my glass with vodka and orange juice (the juice because it was still early), and proceeded to the garage. There I found a crowbar, an item I hadn’t known existed in the house of a politician whose hands, to my knowledge, had never even held a hammer. Back at the carton, I hacked away at the veneer until I uncovered a deep brown chest.
Exquisite engravings graced every face of the rectangular box. Beautiful figures in long sinuous gowns, male and female, danced through carved gardens from panel to panel. Their faces were slightly oriental, long hair flowing over shoulders or twisted into buns. Flowers, vines and stems intertwined over the lid and corners. An upturned brass handle, sealed with a rusty combination lock, grinned invitingly. The little trunk stood proudly on four brass claws.
Astonished by the craftsmanship of the trunk, but curious about the contents, I returned to the garage. I once more hunched over with a tool in one hand and a newly refreshed drink in the other. The pliers would not normally be strong enough to crack a lock, but this one was old and rusty and snapped after only a few minutes of muscled determination. A cloud of dust sprang into the air as I lifted the lid, forcing me to gulp quite a lot of my screwdriver in defense.
I got down on my knees and peered into the depths of the chest. It appeared to be mostly empty. A shoebox, a bunch of letters bound together with a withered elastic band, and an old photo album were its only contents. I went for the photos first. New drink in hand, I carried it to my reading chair, switched on the light, and opened it to the first page. And there, in the small black and white images, was my grandfather.
Whether you’re in the market for a great e-book on corporate survival, like Suits And Ladders, by Suzen Fromstein, or a gripping literary thriller for the sunny summer days ahead, chances are you’ve encountered Best-Seller Rankings within the Amazon book and e-book retail machine.
How important are those rankings, really?
The answer to that question will almost certainly depend on who you ask, as experiences will vary given genre and the popularity of the author.
I believe the position of a book or e-book within its category is important, both for readers and for authors.
From my perspective as a reader, while a high ranking won’t guarantee I’ll enjoy the book, it does at least position the title where I can see it — on the category’s best-selling page at Amazon.
This alone is worth the effort of trying to manage your book’s rankings. I value it as advertising for my books. If a reader is searching for a Literary Thriller by a Canadian author, I like to believe they may discover The First Excellence thanks to it’s current placement at the top of the Kindle World Literature/Canadian list.
From my point of view as an author, I’d naturally ask: Do rankings have a tangible value in terms of sales?
Again, this will depend largely on genre and the author’s existing name-recognition. From my own experience, there is a value in achieving a sales position within an on-line retail site like Amazon.
The rankings become, for want of a better phrase, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
An increase in sales will produce the desired lift in your book’s rankings.
A rise in rankings will cause your title to be displayed in the Best-Selling pages, which is valuable free advertising for your book. This will usually result in a bump in sales.
And so it goes.
But how do we achieve that initial increase in sales?
Lesser-known or Indie authors face this dilemna daily. Sadly, there is no easy answer.
However, I can tell you with some assurance that “name recognition” is the key. For those of us blazing our trails without the benefit of traditional publishers and media assistance, the path is not an easy one.
In the final analysis, each of us has to be prepared to answer one question: How badly do we want to reach readers?
If getting our work into appreciative hands and minds, whether in print or e-book format, is something we are determined to accomplish, then building an effective Author Platform can help.
Donna Carrick speaks and blogs on the topics of Social Media for Authors, e-Publishing, and Independent Publishing.
Her Literary Thrillers can be found at her Amazon Author Page.
One of the greatest benefits of being an Independent e-Publisher is enjoying the opportunity to meet a myriad of talented writers. Such is the case with my friend and fellow-author Steven M. Moore, creator of the Chen and Castiblanco Detective Series.
In his latest e-novel, Teeter-Totter between Lust and Murder, (Carrick Publishing, 2013) Steve continues the saga of your two favorite detectives as they and their companions fight the corrupting influence of the illegal weapons trade.
When Detective Chen is arrested for the murder of a senator in circumstances that seem to leave no doubt of her guilt, her partner Castilblanco helps prove her innocence.
One of the things I love about Steve’s writing is the sheer intelligence he brings to the page. His stories are action-packed and human. They feature a unique view of our world today, and an understanding of the challenges that might lie ahead, should our species survive the coming decades.
In particular, his thoughtful and thought-provoking style lends itself well to the development of female characters. We saw this most sharply in The Golden Years of Virginia Morgan. (Carrick Publishing 2013)
In Teeter-Totter between Lust and Murder, we see through Chen’s eyes the struggle to maintain dignity in the face of dangerous, deeply personal and embarrassing circumstances.
I asked Steve how he has been able to so adeptly portray his female lead characters.
My question: How are you able to incorporate the female POV with such skill?
Steve’s answer: I lost my first wife in a car accident and later married again, so I had the opportunity to know very well two strong and intelligent women.
Part of the long answer: Much is revealed in my analyses on “Female Characters” (two blog posts), but I’m a people-watcher, and I watch men, women, and children. I have had many working relationships with strong and intelligent women too (you and Sara included).
Although I believe that the adage “Write what you know” is mostly bad advice (think sci-fi, for example, or most any fiction, for that matter), your characters can come to life if you incorporate what you know about the infinite variation in human beings.
Hmmmm…. Human beings… Well said, Steve. I agree whole-heartedly: any story can come to life when we, as writers, pay attention to the human element. The simplest plot can take on layers of complexity, and can give us cause to think long after we’ve turned the final page.
Such is the life’s work of Steven M. Moore, an author who deserves to be widely-read.
If you haven’t yet discovered this treasure of today’s Independent Literary world, pay a visit to his Author Page today.
Tell him Donna sent you!
Born in California, Steve Moore reversed the adage “Go west, young man,” spending twelve years in South America and seeing some of the world before settling in the Northeast U.S. His travels provided him opportunity to study the people and cultures often portrayed in his work while his scientific background helps make the creations of his imagination seem all the more real
He has specialized in socially relevant science fiction that bridges thriller, suspense, and sci-fi genres. He now dedicates full time to writing with nine adult novels and a novel for young adults–all are sci-fi thrillers. A short story collection is also available.
For a more extensive bio, visit him at his website http://stevenmmoore.com where you will also find an active blog containing op-ed, reviews, interviews, and comments on the writing life, as well as short stories to stimulate your imagination.
Cover Art for Teeter-Totter between Lust and Murder and The Golden Years of Virginia Morgan by Sara Carrick.