Thursday, December 14, 2017

Book Feature: The Solicitor by Sean Keefer


Title: THE SOLICITOR
Author: Sean Keefer
Publisher: Four Hounds Creative
Pages: 386
Genre: Mystery


When you make your living fighting for justice, the last place you expect to wake up is behind bars.

Attorney Noah Parks has spent his life keeping people out of jail.  When he’s charged with the murder of a candidate for Charleston County Solicitor he finds himself on the wrong side of the law for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

No longer fighting for others and now relying on the help of the few people he does trust, Noah must fight to clear his name and find the real killer before it’s too late.

His search will lead him through a maze of deceptions, lies, family turmoil and treachery that spans generations.

The Solicitor is set in historic Charleston and the surrounding South Carolina Lowcountry where under the surface things are not always as genteel as they appear.

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Prologue:
The sun’s arrival just as it cleared the horizon had always marked my favorite time of day. It wasn’t unusual to find me at dawn on the Carolina shore gazing to the east in anticipation, the ocean breeze softly brushing my face. The fleeting moments when the first rays of sunlight painted an explosion of color were more than enough to leave me knowing I was fortunate having witnessed it. Those, those were my favorite mornings and anything that followed was a bit less complicated, easier to handle.

I found myself in desperate need of such a morning.

But today there would be only cold concrete.

For the past five days, my sunrise had been a sliver of light crawling across the floor of my jail cell.

At first, I’d looked forward to it, but on the third day I realized I’d need a lot more to get me through the day, otherwise, that mere slice of sun would soon be pushing me into the icy grip of depression.

I’d quickly learned jail had a way of ushering in melancholy, even for the most optimistic. Most everyone inside, even the guards, were simply miserable.

My bail hearing had been a waste of everyone’s time. Accused murders don’t get bail with their first request, sometimes not on the second, if at all. The fact I’m a lawyer wasn’t helping. The last thing a judge wants to do is give the impression that a lawyer, particularly a criminal attorney like me, is entitled to special treatment.

Things change fast. Days earlier, my life, while not perfect, had been good.

I’d taken my girlfriend to the airport to catch a late-night flight to Chicago. She’d recently relocated to Charleston, but was wrapping up her ties to Chicago.

After returning from the airport, I turned on ESPN, eager to hear what the talking heads had to say about the South Carolina Gamecock’s next football game. As was the case for most Gamecock fans, their football season sanity ebbed or flowed with the team’s weekly performance.

It was a cool fall night and the windows were open as I watched TV from bed, my dog at my feet. Both he and I looked up as we heard a car outside–odd for that time of night in our quiet neighborhood.

The sound of the doorbell was even more unexpected, so much so I didn’t immediately get up. Rarely did anyone just drop by, especially near midnight. The second ring was immediately followed by a knock. I got out of bed, pulled on jeans and a T-shirt and went down the stairs. Austin, my Australian Shepherd, was barking and jumping beside me as I unlocked the door. He sat on my command.
I opened the door to the sight of a tall black man in plainclothes with a Charleston Police Department badge on his belt. Three uniformed Charleston County deputy sheriffs flanked him. Three police cars occupied my drive. An unmarked cruiser in the cul-de-sac completed the scene. Thankfully none had their lights on. I shifted my gaze back to the officers. Not a smile among them.

This couldn’t be good, I remember thinking.

 “Noah, how about I come in?” Emmett Gabriel said. He looked me straight in the eyes. We were the same height, just under six feet tall, but the lack of a smile, his badge, and the deputies that flanked him made him feel bigger and much stronger than me.

 I’d heard his voice many times before. At the police station, in his backyard, over a meal, on my back deck, other times through the years but never near midnight with other police officers standing on my front porch.

“Since when have you ever asked permission to come in the house?  What’s wrong?”

“Noah, let’s talk inside?”

I just stood in the doorway. Silent and motionless.

One of the officers behind him coughed, jarring me back to reality.

I stepped to the side. “Sorry, certainly, come in.”

“Wait outside,” Gabriel said to the deputies.

We walked down the short hallway into my living room in silence.

 “Where’s Anna Beth?”

A feeling of panic ran through me as he asked about my girlfriend.

“Is she okay?”

“As far as I know. She not here?”

“No.
Chicago trip.”

The feeling of panic faded to one of wonder, wondering why at midnight a detective I knew was standing, unannounced, in my living room while three other anxious officers were staged on my front porch. I asked why he was here. Wonder quickly faded with the next words I heard.

 “The officers outside have a warrant for your arrest.”

Having never been one to miss the obvious, I remember uttering my insightful reply, “A warrant?”

“Yes, for the murder of Andrew Stephens.




While growing up in South Carolina, Sean didn't realize it, but he was absorbing the styles, mannerisms, idiosyncrasies, dialects and the culture of his home.   Add to this the time he spent traveling the other Carolina for school and then North America for work, he collected a vast array of experiences and observations from which to draw upon and bring together in his writing.

After studying law in North Carolina, Sean settled in Charleston, South Carolina and instantly became enamored with the people as well as the city.  

One day he started writing and the words, generally, kept flowing. A page became a chapter which ultimately became a book known as The Trust.  After this the process started again and TheSolicitor was the end result. Hopefully, if you are reading this you either have, or soon will have, your very own copy of one or both.   

The experience of taking two novels from conceptualization to print has been one of frustration peppered with increasing amounts of reward.  Each step from the first words hitting the page to ultimately holding a book in hand has been a personal reward.

When Sean is not writing he practices Family Law and works as a Domestic Mediator and lives with his Wife and an ever-expanding pack of rescue canines – the current count is 4.  As well, Sean can frequently be found wandering the lowcountry of South Carolina with his camera, playing guitar in assorted venues around Charleston or exploring the underwater world of the southeast.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Feature: Stairway to Paradise by Nadia Natali




Title: STAIRWAY TO PARADISE: GROWING UP GERSHWIN
Author: Nadia Natali
Publisher: RareBird Books
Pages: 304
Genre: Memoir
Growing up as Frankie Gershwin's daughter, the sister of George and Ira Gershwin, was quite a challenge. I didn't have the perspective to realize that so much unhappiness in a family was out of the ordinary. But I knew something was off. My mother was often depressed and my father was tyrannical and scary, one never knew when he would blow up. I learned early on that I had to be the cheery one, the one to fix the problems. Both sides of my family were famous; the Gershwin side and my father who invented color film. But even though there was more than enough recognition, money and parties I understood that wasn't what made people happy.

As a young adult adrift and depressed I broke from that unsatisfactory life by marrying Enrico Natali, a photographer, deeply immersed in his own questions about life. We moved into the wilderness away from what we considered as the dysfunction of society. That’s when we discovered that life had other kinds of challenges: flood, fire, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears. We lived in a teepee for more than four years while building a house. Curiously my mother never commented on my life choice. She must have realized on some level that her own life was less than satisfactory.

Enrico had developed a serious meditation practice that had become a kind of ground for him. As for me I danced. Understanding the somatic, the inner body experience, became my way to shift the inner story.

We raised and homeschooled our three children. I taught them to read, Enrico taught them math. The kids ran free, happy, always engaged, making things, and discovering. We were so sure we were doing the right thing. However, we didn't have a clue how they would make the transition to the so-called ‘real world’. The children thrived until they became teenagers. They then wanted out. Everything fell apart for them and for Enrico and me. Our lives were turned upside down, our paradise lost. There was tragedy: our son lost his life while attempting to cross our river during a fierce storm. Later I was further challenged by advanced breast cancer.

It was during these times that I delved deeply into the somatic recesses of myself. I began to find my own voice, a long learning process. I emerged with a profound trust in my own authority. It became clear that everyone has to find his or her way through layers of inauthenticity, where a deep knowing can develop. And I came to see that is the best anyone can offer to the world.

Enrico and I still live in the wilds of the Lost Padres National Forest, a paradise with many steps going up and down, a life I would not change.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook. 
           
Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.

DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.

Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Book Feature: Constitutional Renaissance by Richard Monts






Title: Constitutional Renaissance
Author: Richard Monts
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Political Science/Government
Format: Ebook
Have you had enough? When will the United States government stop growing? All constitutionally enumerated activities should have been in place long ago. There should be no more expansion in scope, yet there is. What we have now is an overbearing out-of-control central government—expanding far beyond constitutional limits—imposing on member states’ sovereignty. The result is a reduction in competition among states, a stifling business environment, and citizens and businesses suffering under complex taxation and regulations. On top of that, a litigious environment depresses economic activity further. There is an alternative! This book presents one that is very business friendly, establishes competition among the states, and provides a positive environment for the individual to strive for their potential while honoring the genius of the Constitution.
Mr. Monts has been concerned about continued expansion of the United States government since the Kennedy administration. He deferred to others, constitutional and legal experts galore, for the correct interpretation of the Constitution. He assumed they were right. During the Affordable Care Act discussions, he had heard enough. He determined to answer two questions to his own satisfaction. First, what is the role of the United States government? Second, what is the best environment for the individual to realize their own potential? After reading the Constitution and other contemporary writings, using his own common sense, putting intellectual integrity and honesty before ideology, ignoring case law, using correct meanings of critical words, he had his answers. The results are in this book.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Feature: Yesterday Is Never Gone by Ilona Salley






Title: Yesterday is Never Gone
Author: Ilona Sally
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Thriller/Crime
Format: Ebook
Niki is no stranger to horrific personal challenges. As a child, she bravely endured abandonment by her father. While in her teens, she witnessed her mother’s murder and the abduction and presumed death of her only sibling. Although her secrets have always been carefully cloaked from others, they have shaped her personality more than she would like to admit. But with a past as terrible as hers, how can Niki ever hope for a bright future? Years later, Niki is a dedicated profiler in a criminal investigation agency with no idea her life is about to change exponentially. One day, through a quirky twist of fate, she receives startling news that her sister, Inge, is alive. As a driving force compels Niki to search for her, she embarks on a quest that takes her through cities and wilderness on two continents. She encounters difficult decisions, threatening mobsters, near-death experiences, and romance, yet nothing deters her from reaching her goal—not even a gruesome discovery about her father. But Niki is about to discover that things are never what they seem to be. In this thrilling tale, deception and inner turmoil hamper a young woman’s journey toward a new reality as she attempts to reconcile her past and find the truth.
Ilona Salley emigrated from Germany to Toronto, Canada, with her family when she was three. Throughout her life, her interests have included squash, skiing, wood carving, literature, art, and languages. Her fascination with architecture and archaeology has led her to travel in search of ancient places and artifacts. After a long career as an educator, she expanded her horizons by teaching in England and China. Now, she spends part of each year in Fort Myers, Florida.

Monday, November 20
Review From Here
Literal Exposure

Tuesday, November 21
The Writers Life
A Title Wave

Wednesday, November 22
A Book Lover
Born to Read Books

Thursday, November 23
T's Stuff
Mythical Books

Friday, November 24
My Bookish Pleasures
Inkslinger's Opus

Monday, November 27
All Inclusive Retort
Indie Wish List

Tuesday, November 28
Bent Over Bookwords
Lover of Literature

Wednesday, November 29
The Book Czar
The Book Refuge

Thursday, November 30
The Hype and the Hoopla
The Revolving Bookshelf

Friday, December 1
Voodoo Princess
Write and Take Flight

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Feature: The Silver Horn Echoes by Michael Eging and Steve Arnold




Title: The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland
Author: Michael Eging and Steve Arnold
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Ebook
The Dark Ages—a time of great turmoil and the collision of empires! 

As the Frank kingdom prepares for war, Roland, young heir to the Breton March, has been relegated to guard duty until a foreign emissary entrusts him with vital word of a new threat to the kingdom. Now Roland must embark on a risky journey to save all he loves from swift destruction. 

And yet while facing down merciless enemies, he must also reveal the hand of a murderer who even now stalks the halls of power and threatens to pull apart a kingdom reborn under the greatest of medieval kings, the remarkable Charlemagne. 

For Roland to become the champion his kingdom needs, he must survive war, intrigue and betrayal. The Silver Horn Echoes pays homage to "La Chanson de Roland" by revisiting an age of intrigue and honor, and a fateful decision in the shadows of a lonely mountain pass—Roncevaux!


Michael Eging is co-author of Annwyn’s Blood, as well as a screenwriter and partner at Filibuster Filmworks. He and his wife have five children and live in Virginia. Steve Arnold lives in Ohio with his wife and kids. Besides co-authoring Annwyn’s Blood, he has corroborated on everything from short stories to screenplays for Filibuster Filmworks.



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Friday, November 24, 2017

Book Feature: Lydie of Peruwelz by Richard Burack, SR., MD






Title: Lydie of Peruwelz
Author: Richard Burack, Sr., MD
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Ebook
In 1839, Lydie Fougnies, 20 years old, is attractive, refined, and educated. Her father is a well-to-do businessman. She meets Felippe Van Hendryk, single child of wealthy aristocrats. They fall in love and a two-year chaste affair leads to talk of marriage. However, his class-conscious, bigoted mother severs their relationship because Lydie is not from high society. Unhappy Felippe is sent to university in Switzerland where he marries, and divorces, the wanton daughter of a wealthy Swiss banker. Lydie is angry and resentful. She is a victim of emotion and, bent on revenge, she cannot think rationally. Believing she can wreak revenge on Mme Van Hendryk by proving her worth only if she belongs to the aristocracy, she directs her attention to Count Hippolyte de Bocarmé, a farmer who lives in a dreary, desolate 16th century chateau. Unschooled and crude, his size and strength seduce her. Certain that the rustic, prodigal son of a fine family can easily be led to the altar, she mentors him in reading, writing, and manners. Never does she suspect that he’s a conscienceless psychopathic felon. He conceals his craving to know her sexually, and plans to steal her family’s fortune.
Richard Burack has a BA from the University of Wisconsin and an MD from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He served as a Medical Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard in the Pacific Theater during the Korean War. In 1960 he was appointed to the pharmacology faculty at Harvard Medical School, and later practiced internal medicine before embarking on a career as a medical director for two U.S. non-pharmaceutical corporations. In retirement, he was a part-time physician at a charity hospital in St. Lucia and has devoted himself to writing. In 1967, Dr. Burack published The Handbook of Prescription Drugs, alerting doctors and the public to the availability of less costly generic medications. Fifty years later, the public buys the majority of its prescription drugs as “generics.” He and his wife, Mary, reside in New Hampshire. They have five children and ten grandchildren.

Interview with David Penny, author of Evolution Now







Publication Date: March 27, 2017
Publisher: XLibrisNZ
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 229
Genre: Science
Tour Dates: August 14-25

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This is a very Popperian approach to evolutionary study. Karl Popper was a philosopher of science, who took science very seriously, and had a profound influence on the chemists and zoologists where I did my undergraduate degree. The book starts from about 1600, when people accepted that life continued to arise “naturally,” and then moves to the pre-evolutionary concept of the fixity of species. Darwin started as a geologist in the Hutton-Lyell tradition and quickly became convinced that current causes were sufficient to explain geology, and he then moved to biology. I gave an account of his theory in some detail. However, there is also an update on what we have learned since Darwin. This is followed by a chapter on human evolution, especially human speech and the Out of Africa theory. This is followed by two chapters on beliefs that maybe incorrect (one of which is the extinction of dinosaurs from the extraterrestrial impact at the K-Pg boundary—maybe incorrect). The other is the direction of change between eukaryotes (which have a true nucleus) and akaryotes (without a true nucleus). The book finishes with a section on what is left for the future. In good Popperian style, there is a lot left for us to discover!






What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Finding the time to write it.

Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?

Hmmm...maybe the bit early on about how todays 'believers' would have been heretics initially -sorry I don't have copy with me. 

What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?

We are still learning.

I have heard it said that in order to be a good writer you have to be a good reader as well. Do you find this to be true?

Yes, I have read many books about the history of ideas. 





David Penny is a 'Distinguished Professor' at a New Zealand University, and has a PhD from Yale University. He is a New Zealander by birth.