Archives for posts with tag: Memoirs

Hi all:

As you know on Fridays I  usually bring you guest authors or new books. Today, I go one better and I’ll do both. I read about my guest today, Lorna Lee, in one of the blogs I follow, and found her spontaneous, fascinating, and refreshingly honest. She confessed that although she enjoys writing and sharing her thoughts in her blog, she hasn’t explored social media and is relying on word-of-mouth to get her book to the attention of the readers. I though you’d like to meet her and when I contacted her, she kindly agreed to share some information about herself and her books.

And without further ado, I leave you with Lorna Lee!

Author Lorna Earl

Author Lorna Lee

In her former life as a sociology professor, Lorna published many academic and research papers. Creative writing is a new path taken since her premature disability retirement in 2006 due to Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.

Never Turn Back is her second book and first novel. Her first book is a memoir entitled How Was I Supposed to Know? That book was awarded Best Memoir, 2012 by the Adirondack Writing Center in their Annual Literary Award Contest. In 2010, she was a finalist in the memoir genre of the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contest with her short story, Monkey Business.

Lorna currently lives with the man of her dreams and the dog of her dreams in the home of her dreams in the Portland, Oregon area. She keeps herself busy by writing, quilting, walking, meditating, and blogging.

To find out more about Lorna and her current shenanigans, visit her blog, lornasvoice.com. She can be contacted via a page on her blog dedicated to this novel.

And here, her new book:

Never Turn Back by Lorna Earl

Never Turn Back by Lorna Earl

Meri Vaarsara had a dream and something to prove. She also had incredibly bad fortune and even worse timing.

Her dream was to become a famous fashion designer in Paris, a dream born from a need to prove herself worthy of love and a happy life, something her stern Finnish mother never fostered but her seafaring father always knew was hers for the taking. So at the tender age of sixteen, Meri left the security of her family and her home for a country where she didn’t speak the language and she didn’t know a soul.

Paris in the late 1920s was not friendly to immigrants, even those with extraordinary talents. Forced to find work as a domestic, Meri forged ahead through turns of fate and misfortune as Paris braced for Hitler’s invasion. By choice, Meri becomes a single mother caring for her half-Jewish daughter throughout the occupation of France. Once the war was over, she used her feminine wiles to find her way to America, the land of milk and honey, with the hope of finally being able to work as a designer in a New York fashion house. But that too was not to be, until fate and a kind stranger stepped in to help.

What Readers Should Know

The “bones” of this story are real. What happens in the story happened to real people. I simply didn’t know all the details that linked all the events, so I had to make up a great deal of the narrative to form a story that flowed. I changed names and places in America to protect the privacy of my family, mostly my mother (who for some reason doesn’t want to be famous).

Where You Can Buy the Book

Amazon. com for U.S. customers

Amazon.co.uk for customers in the U.K.

Amazon,fr for customers in France

And here a few reviews by some very discerning pens:

Never Turn Back by Lorna Lee is the remarkable journey of Meri, a young Finnish woman through the 20th century.
Brought up by a critical mother and a mostly absent but philosophically minded father in the quiet Finnish countryside Meri dreams of bigger things and she leaves for Paris soon after the Civil War and WW1, to pursue a career in Fashion abroad.
Immigrant life in its harsh reality falls short of her expectations, but she proves determined to keep going. Her life is a series of choices, of exploiting and being exploited, friends and foes. An impressive life story, a loving tribute to a strong woman and a masterful illustration of life’s many obstacles on a war torn continent.
Woven into the narrative are great details about the historical setting and the times. The book covers a lot of ground, geographically and historically, and focuses on many different aspects of Meri’s life as she grows as a person and as her life and priorities change: Her ambitions, her ideas, old and new emotional scars. The book is a moving and enlightening journey.
Meri is a fascinating character and her story demonstrates the element of chance and faith excellently. She stayed with me long after I had finished reading this remarkable book.” Review by Christoph Fischer, author of The Three Nations Trilogy (historical fiction novels), Time to Let Go, and Conditions.

“Dreaming of becoming a famous designer, the protagonist, Meri, burns through on the page in a once vibrant Paris bracing for Hitler’s invasion. Faced with a pregnancy by a Jewish man, Meri is intent on keeping the secret and surviving at all costs in an increasingly hostile environment. Never Turn Back is a captivating narrative, a metaphor for the longing and conviction of youth that surmounts horrors and tragedies. In one heart-wrenching turn after another the brilliant writing of Lorna Earl weaves a compelling tale—based on real people—that glues the reader to the page and keeps the imagery of this story in our minds, and hearts, for days after the last page is shut.” Review by Paulette Mahurin, author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and His Name was Ben.

Thanks so much to Lorna Lee for this her first visit to my blog (I hope there will be many more) , thanks to all of your for reading, and you know the drill, like, comment, share, and don’t forget to CLICK!

Ah, and from tomorrow I’ll be taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a challenge to write the draft of a novel (at least 50000 words) in 30 days. I hope I’ll still have the time to share new books with you, but might also reblog some favourites, or just talk about the process. And if you don’t see me very often, I’ll just be writing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Thanks to Cate Russell-Cole from http://cateartios.wordpress.com/ for the image

Thanks to Cate Russell-Cole from http://cateartios.wordpress.com/ for the image

Hello:
I bring you two of my recent reviews. One is of Simon Okill’s novel. If you remember he was my guest not too long ago and one of the writers from the group ASMSG. Now I’ve had a chance to read his book and I thought I’d bring you my review and of course a link to his novel. The other is the review of a Vietnam Veteran’s Memoirs. I met Mack Payne through social media a few months back when he was in the process of reviewing his memoirs and he kindly offered to send me a copy when it was ready. Now it’s available in Amazon and I can say that it was worth the wait.

I hope you enjoy the reviews, they convince you to read the books and don’t forget to CLICK!

Bigfoot
Nobody Loves a Bigfoot Like a Bigfoot Babe by Simon Okill
Movie waiting to happen
I am not a genre reader. I don’t read a particular type of novel (or even only fiction, although it is my predilection) exclusively and I normally see what tickles my fancy at the time of choosing a book, although once decided I’ll usually stick to it.
I like comedies and humour but rarely buy books that are exclusively humour. I probably watch more comedy films than I read comedy novels.
One thing that struck me as soon as I started reading Simon Okill’s new novel was how much it felt like a film. From the establishing of the setting (‘Big Beaver’) and the characters (female sheriff still pining for the boyfriend of her youth who upped and left for unknown reasons, large donut eating deputies, lascivious female bartender, Native American chief with wise sayings, hunters and crackpots) in the first few pages you feel as if you’d walked into Big Beaver and are an observer (when not a full participant. I must say I sometimes thought I could smell the Bigfoot) in all the shenanigans taking place. It made sense when I read that Mr Okill had written a number of scripts. He has a knack for it, that’s for sure.
You have a mysteriously disappeared youth (that like Peter and the wolf had pretended to be abducted so many times that nobody believes he’s gone missing), bizarre crimes (Bigfoot breaking and entering to have a bath), FBI investigating team (hot female agent and the return of the Big Beaver prodigal son) and some set pieces you’ll never forget (alien abduction by Swedish looking and lusty aliens from the planet Abba).
And of course, you have the Bigfoot. Although narrated in the third person this is an omniscient narrator who gets in the heads of all character, including the Bigfoot. If the human characters keep defeating your expectations (they’re all familiar types but keep surprising you), the Bigfoot are (at least to me) completely unexpected. Loveable and horny, civilised and wild, they are not far from the noble savage ideal…only a bit hairier.
If you like raunchy comedies, don’t mind adult content (with a difference), and long to submerge yourself in an unexpected world you’ll feel right at home in Nobody Loves a Bigfoot. Imagine ‘American Pie’ or ‘There’s something about Mary’ in a small mountain-town setting, with Bigfoot, and you might get a vague idea of what the book is about. If you fancy that image and like cracking endings, what are you waiting for? Go on and buy the book!

Available in Kindle Edition here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AAL9UB4/

And in paperback here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1938985036/

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Vietnam Veteran Memoirs. A Book of Miracles. The Adventures of a Florida Flatlander in Vietnam. Mack W. Payne
Genial war adventures without the drama.
I must say from the start that I met the author in a social networking site and he was offering his then work-in-progress novel to people who might be interested. Having completed a degree in American Studies and being fascinated by the US involvement in Vietnam this was an offer I could hardly refuse. When I got the book I can say it was a welcome and refreshing surprise. Although I don’t know Mr Payne personally, after reading his memoirs I felt as if I had met the man himself. What comes across strongly throughout the book is the author. He explains in the introduction that he had not thought about writing a book on that period of his life until he gave a speech at a Toastmasters club and he decided to talk about his experience of his two tours in Vietnam, in part to dispel the myth that everybody who had been in Vietnam had been `screwed’ as he puts it. The speech was a big success and people kept asking him for more.
The origin of the book is clearly reflected in its pages, because you can nearly hear Mr Payne talking. It is written in a straight forward, colloquial style, peppered with anecdotes and full of personality. This is neither a critical in depth analysis of the US intervention in Vietnam, nor a factual and neutral account. This is Mr Payne’s narration of his experience and adventures during his two tours in Vietnam, and he does not shy away from offering his opinion on peers, operations, celebrities, news…You might agree or disagree with him, but I get the sense that although he believes everybody is entitled to an opinion, he won’t change his easily.
Mr Payne thanks his guardian angel (Gabriel) for surviving his two tours, acknowledges the losses with regret, portrays funny and scary episodes that deserve several movies, and tells the story of a tenacious and stubborn young man who knew what he wanted and got it through sheer determination and bloody-mindedness. His eyesight wasn’t fantastic but he managed to get into pilot training. He wanted to fly Cobra helicopters and he did. There are touching (although understated) moments, and instances of self-discovery, but the author does not dwell on them. There is no romanticizing the experience and no dramatization either. You are there to do a job, your duty, and you then move on.
I recommend this book to anybody who is looking for a personal account of the Vietnam experience and is happy to read an unusual, but not less valuable, take on events. `Vietnam Veteran Memoirs’ proved an unexpected read for me. I will never forget some of the vignettes he narrates, and I definitely will never forget Mr Payne.

Available in Kindle Edition here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CG4HREA/

And in Paperback here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1482581957/

A.J.Lyndon

English Civil War historical novelist

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