Meet This Week's Author

 

Meet This Week's Author 
 

Never Read Em?
Jack London
5/28/2016
 

Here are some interested facts about Jack London:

John Griffith Chaney in San Francisco, CA on January 12, 1876 and died November 22, 1916 in Glen Ellen CA.

He worked as a journalist before becoming a novelist.

His mother Flora Wellman worked as a music teacher and spiritualist claiming to channel the spirit of a Sauk chief Black Hawk.

His father as the astrologist William Chaney.

In 1889, London worked 12 to 18 hours a day at a canner at age 13.

He then borrowed money to purchase a sloop to become an oyster pirate, but only after a few months he was forced to quit after his sloop was damaged beyond repair.

In 1893, he signed onto a sealing schooner and went to Japan.

In 1897, London and his sister’s husband sailed north to join the Klondike Gold Rush where he developed scurvy and lost his four front teeth.

In 1898, London had his first story “To the Man On Trail” published in the magazine The Overly Monthly.

In 1903, he sold “The Call of the Wild” to The Saturday Evening Post for $750 and the book rights to Macmillan for $2000.

He was a war correspondent in 1904 and was assigned to Japan for the Russo-Japanese War. There he was arrested three times by the Japanese because he was getting to close to the war front.

He bought and tried to run a ranch called Beauty Ranch from 1905-1916. It was a financial failure. He spent over $2 million dollars in today’s money on the ranch.

At the time of his death London suffered from dysentery, late-stage alcoholism, uremia, and was taking morphine for extreme pain.

 
Robert Frost
5/15/2016
 

Here are some interesting facts about Robert Frost:

Robert Lee Frost was born in San Francisco, CA on March 26, 1874. He died January 29, 1963 in Boston, Massachusetts from complication from prostate surgery.

Frost graduated from Lawrence High School in 1892.

His first poem was published in his high school newspaper.

He sold his first poem in 1894, “My Butterfly. An Elegy” in an edition of New York Independent for $15 or $410 today.

He married Elinot Miriam White in December, 1895. They had six children.

He attended Harvard University from 1897 to 1899, but left voluntarily due to illness.

He won four Pulitzer Prizes, the first in 1924, for the book “New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes.”

His other three Pulitzers were for “Collected Poems” in 1931, “A Further Range” in 1937, and “A Witness Tree” in 1943.

For over 40 years he spent almost every summer and fall teaching at the Bread Loaf School of English of Middlebury College, at the mountain campus at Ripton, Vermont.

He earned honorary degrees from Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, and two from Dartmouth College.

He was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal in 1960.

He read his poem “The Gift Outright” at the inauguration of President Kennedy in 1961.

 
Louis L'Amour
4/30/2016
 

Here are some interested facts about the author Louis L’Amour:

Louis Dearborn Lamoore was born in Jamestown, North Dakota, in 1908 and was the seventh child.

His father was, Dr. Louis Charles LaMoore, and was a large-animal veterinarian who arrived in the Dakota Territory in 1882.

As a child he and his family worked as cattle skinners, hay balers, miners, and lumberjacks all across the Southwest and West.

As an adult he worked as a mine assessor, professional boxer, and merchant seaman.

Over his lifetime he visited all the Western states along with England, Japan, and China. Borneo, the Dutch East Indies, Arabia, Egypt, and Panama.

He changed his name to Louis L’Amour when he decided to pursue a career as a writer, but the over the course of his career he used several pen names like Jim Mayo and Tex Burns.

He started his career getting short stories published in pulp magazines.

During WW II he served in the US Army as a Lieutenant with the 3622nd Quartermaster Truck Company.

Even though he is most famous for Westerns, L’Amour has written non-fiction, historical fiction, contemporary thrillers, and Science Fiction.

He has over 100 novels and 250 short stories published.

Several of his books have been made into films including Hondo, Crossfire Trail, and numerous movies based on his western Sackett series.

 
Gore Vidal
4/17/2016
 
Here are some fun and fascinating facts about the historical and political writer Gore Vidal:

Gore Vidal was born Eugene Louis Vidal on October 3, 1925 at West Point, New York.

Gore was born at the West Point cadet hospital because his father, first lieutenant Eugene Luther Vidal, was the first aeronautics instructor of the military academy.

Gore's maternal grandfather, Thomas Pryor Gore, served as a United States senator from Oklahoma from 1907 to 1921 and then again from 1931 to 1937.

Gore ran for elected office twice as a Democratic candidate losing both times in the primaries.

Gore ran for the US House of Representatives in New York in 1960 and the he ran for the Senate in 1982 in California.

Gore's father was the director of the Commerce Department's Bureau of Air Commerce during the Roosevelt Administration from 1933 to 1937.

Gore's father was also reported to be the great love of Amelia Earhart.

His mother, Nina Gore, divorced his father in 1935. She reportedly had a long off and on affair with the actor Clark Gable.

Gore's first published novel was “Williwaw”, men at war story inspired by his Alaskan Harbor Detachment duty during the Second World War.

His second novel published in 1948, “The City and the Pillar,” caused an uproar because of its depiction of the protagonist coming to terms with his homosexuality.

Gore wrote a seven book historical novel series related to the national politics.

The seven books in the series include: “Burr”, “1876”, “Lincoln”, “Empire”, “Hollywood”, “Washington D.C.”, and “The Golden Age.”

Gore was also produced numerous nonfiction books covering mostly politics and power.

Gore was also a script doctor for films. He worked on the script for “Ben-Hur.”

Gore had a partner, Howard Austen for 53 years, from 1950 until Howard's death in 2003.

On July 31, 2012 at the age of 86 Gore died of pneumonia at his home in Hollywood Hills, CA.

 
 
Jane Austen4/3/2016
 
Here are some fun and fascinating facts about a pioneer in the romance genre Jane Austen.

Jane was born December 16, 1775 in Steventon Rectory, Hampshire England.

Mary's father, George Austen, served as the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon Hampshire, and a nearby village.

Jane had six brothers and one sister.

She was primarily educated by her father and older brothers.

Jane and her sister, Cassandra, both died never married.

Jane lived most of her life close to her family. Living with her parents well into adulthood.

Only 160 of the estimated 3,000 letters wrote during her lifetime survive.

Her sister burned most of the letters.

Both her and her sister caught typhus when they were young girls and Jane nearly died.

It is believed at early as 1787 at the age of 12 Jane began to write poems, stories, and plays for her own and her family's amusement.

Mary read most of her work in front of her family as she worked on her novels getting feedback and making changes following their suggestions.

In December 1802, Austen received her only proposal of marriage from Harris Bigg-Wither.

Mary originally accepted the offer for financial reasons, but the next day after thinking about it she withdrew her acceptance.

Many of her novels she wrote in the late 1700's, but they were not published until the 1810's.

Her first novel published was “Sense and Sensibility” in 1811.

Mary died July 18, 1817 at the age of 41 from an unknown disease after being ill for a year.

Possible causes of death include Addison's disease, Hodgkin's lymphoma, bovine tuberculosis, and Brill-Zinsser disease.

Well after Mary's death her novels did not become popular until the 1900's.

 
Mary Shelley
3/19/2016
 
Here are some fun and fascinating facts about the creator of Frankenstein herself Mary Shelley:

 

Mary Shelley was born as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in Somers, London in 1797.

Her mother the feminist philosopher, Mary Wollstonecraft, died shortly after Mary's birth.

Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin.

In 1814, Mary began a romance with a political follower of her father's Percy Bysshe Shelley. He was married at the time.

They married in late 1816, after Percy's wife Harriet committed suicide.

Between 1814 and 1819 Mary had four children. Three died as infants and only one, Percy Florence Shelly, survived to adulthood.

In 1816 when Mary and Percy spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland Mary came up with the idea for the novel “Frankenstein”.

Mary intended “Frankenstein” to be only a short story when she began writing it.

Mary's husband drowned in a boating accident in 1822.

Mary wrote two historical novels “Valperga” in 1823 and “Perkin Warbeck” in 1830.

Mary wrote an apocalyptic novel “The Last Man” in 1826.

Mary was an accomplished editor. She edited many of her late husband's poetry into collections that were very successful both commercial and critical successes.

Mary Shelley died of a brain tumor February, 1 1851 at the age of 53.

 
Ernest Hemingway
3/6/2016
 

Here are some fun and fascinating facts about the famous writer Ernest Hemingway.

He was born July 21, 1899 in Oak Park Illinois and died July 2, 1961 in Ketchum Idaho from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

He produced most of his work between the mid 1920’s and mid 1950’s.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works while he was alive.

Posthumously three novels, for short story collections, and three non-fiction works were published under his name.

He was a World War I ambulance driver.

He had four wives.

In 1952 while in Africa he was almost killed twice in plane crashes.

He lived part of the time in Cuba in the 1940’s and 50’s.

He was forced to learn the cello when he was a child.

When he was a child his family owned a summer home called Windemere on Walloon Lake, near Petoskey, Michigan.

He was seriously wounded by mortar fire and sustained severe shrapnel wounds to both legs in WW I.

He worked as a journalist and foreign correspondent in Paris, France, during the Spanish Civil War in 1937, and in Europe in WW II.

He was present at the Normandy landings in WW II.

He committed suicide with his “favorite” shotgun.

His father also committed suicide in 1928.

Both Ernest and his father had the genetic disease hemochromatosis which the inability to metabolize iron culminates in mental and physical deterioration.

His granddaughter Margaux Hemingway committed suicide in 1996 making her the fifth person in four generations of her family to commit suicide.

He described his writing style as the Iceberg Theory: the facts float above the water, the supporting structure and symbolism operating out of sigh
 
Edgar Allen Poe
2/20/2016
 
Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe in Boston, on January 19, 1809. He was the second child of an English-born actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and actor David Poe. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. Thus orphaned, the child was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia. Poe attended school in Europe for most of his childhood and returned back to Virginia in 1820. Poe attended the University of Virginia for one semester in 1826, but left due to lack of money. Poe enlisted in the Army in 1827 under an assumed name claiming he was 22 and not just 18. It was when he was in the army that his publishing career began with an anonymous collection of poems titled, Tamerlane and Other Poems. The poems were credited only to "a Bostonian.”

Soon after Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for various literary journals and periodicals as a literary critic. During this time Poe lived in several different cities including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. While he was living in Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845 Poe published probably his most famous poem, "The Raven.” His wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. On October 3, 1849, at age 40, Poe was found in the streets of Baltimore delirious wearing somebody else's clothing. He was taken to the local hospital, but he never regained his senses and he died four days later. To this day the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.

Besides being a writer Poe was also an editor and literary critic working for numerous publications throughout his lifetime. That being said Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. Poe is credited as one of the country's earliest authors of the short story. He is also given credit for being the inventor of the detective fiction genre and making great contributions to the science fiction genre. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a life of near poverty at times.

Most people know Poe from his horror or gothic writings, but Poe also wrote satires, humorous tales, and hoaxes. He was one of the first authors to write geared towards mass marketing his work. Many of his writings dealt with death and the dark side of human nature. His works were more popular in Europe than they were in the United States, but he did find some success on occasion with his stories and being a literary critic. It would appear that he is more popular today in the US than he was when he was alive. In fact the Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Allen award for distinguished work in the mystery genre.

Authors that are similar to Poe include Robert Frost, Ralph Emerson, HG Wells, Washington Irving, Plato, Arthur Doyle, and Emily Dickinson.

So if you are looking for a good mystery that takes you back in time to the early 19th century where the world was dark and shrouded in mystery. Or if you are looking to read poems that give you a chill, you should give Poe a try. You might just find yourself afraid not only to turn out the light, but swearing you will never read Poe never more.

 
Charles Dickens
2/6/2016
 
Charles Dickens was born in February 1812 in Landport, Hampshire, England and is regarded as one of the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. During his lifetime he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, wrote a plethora of letters, and campaigned nonstop for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.
 
Dickens early childhood was uneventful, but that soon changed at age eleven when Dickens was forced to leave school to work in a factory while his father and the rest of his family were incarcerated in a debtors' prison for a few months. The struggles he was forced to endure while his family was in prison left a lasting impression on Dickens. He was shocked at the injustices many workers at the time were forced to endure.
 
In 1833, Dickens began his writing career as a journalist covering Britain’s House of Commons. He soon moved on to writing stories in installments published in newspapers and magazine. This was a common way for publishing stories at the time. The stories were accompanied by illustrations and Dickens's first successful story was in 1836 with the serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. He then moved on to one of his most well-known works “Oliver Twist” with the final installment published in 1838. This instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction and modify his plot and character development based on such feedback.
 
Dickens was regarded as a literary super star of his age and within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humor, satire, and acute observation of character and society. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, was extremely popular when it was first released and still is today with adaptations from all corners of the world in almost every artistic genre, including film and television. Two other works Oliver Twist and Great Expectations have also been adapted numerous times as well. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best-known work of historical fiction.
 
His short stories along with many of his other novels and even his letters conjure up images and life of early Victorian London. Dickens's writings have been praised for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterizations, and social criticism. However, Dickens critics, who are few and far between, have state his characters lack depth and there is too much sentimentalism. Dickens work is so popular that the term “Dickensian” is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or unsafe working conditions.
 
Authors who have a similar writing style to Dickens include Walter Scott, Truman Capote, Elizabeth Gaskell, Leo Tolstoy, Washington Irving, Thomas Hardy, and O. Henry
 
If you are interested in reading classic stories of what life was like in the early 19th century in England and the struggles, the hardships, but the hope people had back then, you should give Charles Dickens a try. His stories will inspire you while taking you back to a place where the human spirit was tested by the world’s cruelty, but at the same time triumphant by mankind’s resolve to carry on and win at the end of the day.
 
Mark Twain
1/23/16
 
Samuel Langhorne Clemens or Mark Twain as he is better known was born November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, and died April 21, 1910 in Reddington, Connecticut. He was the sixth of seven children, but only three of his siblings survived childhood. When he was four, Twain's family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a port town on the Mississippi River, which was Twain’s inspiration for the fictional town of St. Petersburg found in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In 1847, when Twain was 11, his father, an attorney and judge, died of pneumonia. The next year Twain left school after the fifth grade to become a printer's apprentice. In 1851, he began working as a typesetter and contributor of articles and humorous sketches for the Hannibal Journal, a newspaper Orion owned. When he was 18, he left Hannibal and worked as a printer in New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join his brother Orion in Nevada to try his hand at mining. He was not successful at this enterprise.
 
In February 1870, Twain married Olivia Langdon, a woman who came from a wealthy and liberal family. The couple lived for most of their time together in Connecticut. They had one son who died at 19 months and three daughters. The couple's marriage lasted 34 years, until Olivia's death in 1904.
 
Over his life time Twain became very active in anti-imperialist movements, fighting for civil rights, and pro-union movements. Twain was also a huge advocate for advances in science and technology and how they could improve the world. Unfortunately, Twain was not financially savvy investing in many new inventions and businesses that were failures including a failed typesetting machine and a publishing house. And even though he made a small fortune through his writings and speaking engagements he and his family at times lived almost in poverty.
 
Twain began his career writing light, humorous verse, but eventually he moved on to writing about the darker sides of mankind. His first widely published work was in 1865 was called “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” It was published in the New York Sunday Press and garnered worldwide attention. He continued writing short stories and about his travels throughout his career, but he is probably best known for “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” published 1876 and it’s offshoot story “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” published in 1884 in the UK and 1885 in the US. Both stories follow the adventures of young boys discovering the good and bad of the world outside their small rural communities. A complete list of all of Twain’s works is nearly impossible due to the amount of his writings that include articles in newspapers, magazines, speeches, lectures, and the fact he also used several different pen names in his career besides Mark Twain, including Josh and Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass.
 
If you are a fan of classic tales of world exploration and family intrigue and such literary greats as Charles Dickens, Aesop, Walter Scott, William Shakespeare, or Earnest Hemingway you should give Mark Twain a try. You will find his stories and tales just as engrossing and thrilling as these and other historically great authors.
 
So if you are looking to read and experience how life was like back in the 19th century and discover the good and bad of people give Mark Twain a try and become entranced with the lives and settings of his unique and unforgettable characters as they discover the best and worst of the world and the people and places in it.
 
CJ Box
1/9/2016
 

Charles James (C.J.) Box, Jr. was born in Wyoming and has lived out West his whole life.  He is a graduate of the University of Denver.  His first job was as a reporter for a small town in Wyoming, but he has also worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, editor, and until just a few years ago he owned an international tourism marketing firm for 24 years with his wife Laurie.  To say Box is an avid outdoorsman would be understatement.  Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He also has served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.  Today Box and his wife live outside of Cheyenne, WY with their three daughters Molly, Becky and Roxanne.

Box has always had an interest in writing. All through high school and college he worked on student newspapers. His first job was working for a small weekly newspaper in Wyoming.  Box is most famous for his bestselling Joe Picket series, but he also has found success writing stand-alone novels.  The Picket series revolves around the title character Joe Picket, a Wyoming game warden.  There are currently 13 novels in the series with the 14th, “Off the Grid”, set to be released in early 2016.  Box did not find success quickly.  The first Joe Picket novel, “Open Season,” was published in 2001 after Joe and his agent had been shopping it around to publishers for over 5 years.  After its release the novel was praised by critics and Box was on his way to becoming a bestselling author.  Box’s writing life is a family business as his wife and kids provide feedback and editing before he submits his work to publishers.

Real world experiences provide the background for Joe Picket novels and they are set in real time.  Box writes one every year and that time passage also occurs in his novels so characters continue to grow from book to book as time passes.  Along with battling poachers Joe Picket has taken on environmental terrorists, rogue federal land managers, animal mutilators, crazed cowboy hitmen, corrupt bureaucrats, homicidal animal rights advocates, and violent dysfunctional families.  Box is proud of the fact that his readers are able to connect with Joe as Joe is not a typical hero.  Joe’s happily married with a family and he makes mistakes.  Box says that makes him human and more real to his readers.

Box’s newest novel “Badlands” published in August 2015, is not a Joe Picket novel, but instead is a follow up to last summer’s thriller, “The Highway.” It brings back the character Cassie Dewell, a deputy sheriff who has moved from Montana to a shale oil boomtown in North Dakota.  She still tracking the serial killer, the Lizard King and now must also deal with biker gangs, drugs, and a murder witnessed by a twelve year old suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome.  The next Joe Picket novel “Off the Grid” will be released in early 2016.  It will follow Joe as he tries and save a friend from a domestic terror cell and the elite special ops group that hired him to take it down.

Authors similar to Box include Craig Johnson, Steve Hamilton, Michael Koryta, Dana Stabenow, Thomas Perry, William Kent Krueger, and John Hart.

So if you are looking for a real guy trying to do the right thing no matter the cost against the backdrop of the wilds of the modern West, you should give CJ Box a try and follow a tenacious man try to bring justice to the wild west of today.

 

 

 
Sandra Brown
12/26/2015
 

Sandra Brown was in born March, 1948 in Waco, Texas.  She was raised in Fort Worth, TX. After graduating high school she went to Texas Christian University and majored in English, but left before she graduated in 1968 to marry her husband, Michael Brown who was a former television news anchor and award-winning documentarian of Dust to Dust.  Sandra soon found a job as a weathercaster at a local station in Tyler, TX and then returned to the Dallas-Fort Wort area where she became a reporter for WFAA.  It wasn’t until 1981 when Sandra started her writing career when her husband dared her to after she was fired from her reporter job.  Over the past 35 years, she has published nearly 70 novels and had more than 50 New York Times bestsellers.  And in 2008, she was presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters from TCU.  Today she lives in Arlington, TX with her husband.

Sandra is involved in many charity organizations including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, her brother-in-law died from ALS, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and their fight against breast cancer, Happy Hill Farm Academy to help children at risk, and many literacy advocacy groups.  And when she’s not writing she also pursues several hobbies, which include watching movies, traveling, reading, and hosting get-togethers with family and friends.

Her first book “Love’s Encore” was published in 1981 under the pen name Rachel Ryan.  She has written under two other pen names in her career including Laura Jordan and Erin St. Claire.  She had to this because she was writing for several different publishers at the same time.  Today she only writes under Sandra Brown.  Sandra writes several series and single titles in both romance and thriller suspense.  Some of her more popular series include “Texas Tyler Family” and “Mason Sisters.”  Her latest book “Friction” was released in 2015 and follows a Texas Ranger as he fights to keep his daughter, clean up his reputation, and track down a killer and the female judge caught in the middle of the quest.

Sandra writes one book a year because she says she wants to give the story justice by taking the time to develop and research the story idea and characters.  All of her characters and stories are from her own imagination and not based on any real life people or experiences she has had.  The characters are unique unto themselves and her stories are either gripping for her suspense novels or extremely endearing for her romance novels.  Both genres’ characters are real world people and grounded letting readers connect with them on a personal level.  Her plots can be complex, but always entertaining and real page turners.  Her stories are always peppered with memorable moments and plot twists that can take a story a completely different direction than what a reader would suspect.

Authors that are similar to Sandra Brown are Anne Stuart, Linda Howard, Beverly Barton, Lisa Jackson, Karen Robards, Tami, Hoag, and Kay Hooper.

So if you are looking for a thriller that will keep you glued to the book’s pages or a romance that will make you believe in true love again you should give Sandra Brown a try because no matter what genre you choose you will experience read about remarkable characters and an unforgettable story.

 
Sheryl Woods
12/13/2015
 

Sherryl Woods is an author with more than 100 romance and mystery novels to her credit.  She grew up in Virginia and she graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism.  She spent the next ten years as a journalist with most of those years working as a television critic for newspapers in Ohio and Florida.  She also worked as a coordinator for a motivational program for the more than 8,000 employees at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center.  She has lived in numerous states in her lifetime including Ohio, Florida, and California. Today she divides her time between Key Biscayne, Florida and Colonial Beach, Virginia.  When she isn't writing or reading, Sherryl pursues and follows many of her other interests including gardening, tennis, theater, and ballet.  She also is a huge fan of baseball and loves the movie “Bull Durham.”

 Her first book, “Restoring Love,” was published in 1982 by Dell Candlelight Ecstasy under the pen name of Suzanne Sherrill. Her second book, “Sand Castles,” she used a different pen name of Alexandra Kirk and it too was published 1982 by Bantam. She started to use her own name when she switched publishers to the Second Chance at Love line at Berkley Publishing. Within four years of her first novel Cherryl began writing full-time and also started her long career at Silhouette Books with “Not at Eight, Darling,” a story set in the world of television, which she knew all too well from her journalism days.  In addition to her more than seventy-five romances she has written thirteen mysteries with nine in the Amanda Roberts series and four in the Molly DeWitt series. Her latest book is the thirteenth book in one of her most popular series “Chesapeake Shores.” The new book called “Willow Brook Road” follows Carrie Winters after she returns home from getting her fashion career destroyed in Europe and her heart broken. But, a chance meeting with the new guy in town might just solve her career and love life problems.  The Chesapeake Shores” series is so popular the Hallmark Channel began production in September 2015 of a movie based on the series with the possibility of making it into a regular weekly series.  Other popular series of Sherryl's include “The Sweet Magnolias” and “The Vows” series. 

Sherryl has said when she first began to write fiction she found it hard because she was so use to writing based on facts and quotes from her newspaper days.  However, once she learned to use her imagination there was no stopping her as she has written over 100 novels in twenty plus years of writing.  Even though she uses her imagination to make up characters, stories, and whole communities all of her stories are grounded in reality so her readers can not only relate to the characters but the stories themselves.  She loves to hear it when readers tell her that they had been through exactly the same thing themselves and they felt really connected to the character.  And the heroines in her stories typically not only survive they thrive and became role models for many girls and young women.

Authors similar to Sherryl Woods include Mariah Stewart, Emily March, Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs, and Robyn Carr.

So if you are looking for a good book with a little bit of romance or a little bit of mystery and the characters are so real they could be your neighbors and the stories are so personal that you feel what the characters feel you should give Sherryl Woods a try.  You just might find yourself where everything is new, but you feel like you are there with the characters as they face the challenges of living and loving.
 
 
 
Michael Connelly
11/28/2015
 

Michael Connelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in July 1956.  His mother was a fan of crime fiction and first introduced him to mystery novels when he was a kid. When Connelly was 12 his family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and he attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Four years later Connelly witnessed a man throw a gun into a hedge.  He reported it to the police, but the suspect had gotten away.  The experience left an impression on Connelly and the life and work of the police.  After high school Connelly attended the University of Florida in Gainesville as a building construction major.   His grades were not good, but after watching the film “The Long Goodbye” based on Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name Connelly went home and read all of Chandler's works featuring detective Philip Marlowe.  Soon after, he switched majors to journalism with a minor in creative writing.

After graduating from the University of Florida in 1980, Connelly got a job as a crime beat writer at the Daytona Beach News Journal and then at the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel in 1981. In 1984, Connelly married Linda McCaleb who he met at college. In 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of the 1985 Delta Flight 191 plane crash, which story earned Connelly a place as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  From there Connelly got a job as a crime reporter at the Los Angeles Times and moved to California in 1987.  In 2001, Connelly left California for Tampa Bay, Florida, together with his wife and daughter, so that both he and his wife could be closer to their families.

After three years at the Los Angeles Times, Connelly wrote his first published novel, “The Black Echo.” It was published in 1992.  The book is partially based on a true crime and featured Connelly's primary recurring character, Los Angeles Police Department Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch.  Connelly named Bosch after the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, known for his paintings full of sin and redemption. Connelly went on to write three more novels about Detective Bosch — The Black Ice (1993), The Concrete Blonde (1994), and The Last Coyote (1995) — before quitting his job as a reporter to write full-time.

Connelly has written over twenty novels, but is most famous for his two series, the police detective “Bosch” series and the defense attorney “Mickey Haller” series, who happens to be Bosch’s half-brother.  Many of the characters that appear in his other series and standalone novels make appearances in his other novels.  Some appearing five or six years later after they were already introduced.  His latest novel “The Crossing” released in November, 2015 follows Harry Bosch as he teams up with Mickey Haller as they try and prove the innocence of Micky’s client and a possible police cover up.    Currently Connelly is helping produce a TV series based on the Bosch character airing on Amazon Prime.

Authors similar to Connelly include Robert Crais, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, John Connolly, John Sandford, Lee Child, and Jeffery Deaver.

The majority of Connelly’s books take place in LA with cops, reporters, and lawyers fighting the good fight trying to bring justice to a sometimes broken system.  His characters are not perfect, but they are noble and try and do the right thing no matter the cost.  His books are action packed and the settings are broad and wide taking readers to the grittiest parts of LA to the high end courtrooms of LA.  The stories are full of twists and turns as they character fight the good fight in a city full of corrupts and evil men.  So if you like to cheer for the underdog and want to be kept on the edge of your seat give Michael Connelly a try and experience the world of law and crime from characters that are not perfect, but fight for justice for all.

 
 
Meg Cabot
11/14/2015
 

Meg Cabot (born as Meggin Patricia Cabot) was born February, 1967 in Bloomington, Indiana.  She always liked to write since an early age and while she was in her teens she thought about majoring in creative writing, but was talked out of it by a random guy she met at a party when she was just 16. He was a creative writing major himself and told her if she wanted to continue to enjoy writing she shouldn't bother majoring in it because it would suck the joy right out of it.  So instead she focused on drawing and attended and graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in fine arts.  Soon after graduating she moved to New York City with the goal of becoming an illustrator.  However, shortly after arriving she began working as an assistant manager of the freshman dormitory at New York University and never fully pursued an illustrator career.  While in New York she ran into that “guy” from the party.  That guy was financial writer and poet Benjamin D. Egnatz and the two of them were married on April 1, 1993. Their wedding on April Fool's Day was a deliberate play on her husband's belief that only fools get married in the first place. The two are still married to this day and they split their time between New York, Key West, and Bloomington.  They have no children, but Meg does have two cats, Henrietta (a one-eyed cat) and Gem.

While Meg isn't writing she is highly active in charity work.  Meg has teamed with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Starlight Children's Foundation to mentor seriously and terminally ill children.  She also contributes many of her proceeds from selling certain books to various charities including Greenpeace, New York Public Libraries, Reading is Fundamental, and the UN Refugee Agency.

Meg started writing at the very early age of seven.  Her first story was called “Benny the Puppy” and told the tale of how Benny's entire family dies in a freak prairie tornado.  Since then her stories have taken on a more upbeat theme and her first novel was published in 1998 called “Roses Grow Wild.”  It was a historical romance novel and was published under one of Meg's pen names Patricia Cabot.  Since then Meg has used several other pen names including Jenny Carroll.  She used these names in the past because early in her career she was working for three different publishers and couldn't use the same name with all three.   Today publishes all her books under Meg Cabot.  Meg's latest book will be released in February 2016 and will be the latest installment in her “Mediator” series.

Meg has written over 80 books that cross several different genres including children, young adult, romance, and mystery.  She is probably most famous for her many teen series including the “Princess Diaries” and “Mediator”. Other series she has written include the “1-800-WHERE-R-U” series, “All-American Girl,” and the “Airhead” trilogy.   Many of her books have been adapted to either films or TV including two “Princess Diaries” films for Disney and the series“1-800-WHERE-R-U” which was made into a Lifetime TV series called “Missing.”

Meg's books can be summarized as mostly “comfort reads.”  They are usually pretty light-hearted with humor and a feel good attitude and a happy ending.  Critics like to say she is a master of entertaining and amusing her readers.  Although the majority of her books are geared towards teens adults enjoy her story telling and the interesting and memorable characters.  Other authors with a similar style to Meg include Stacey Kade, Sarah Mason, Megan Shull, Wendy Markham, and Heather Webber.

So if you are looking to spend a lighthearted afternoon or would like to finish your day with an uplifting and humorous story give Meg Cabot a try and find out why people who need a pick me up pick up one of  her books.

 
Susan Cooper
10/31/2015
 

Susan Cooper was born in 1935 in Burnham, Buckinghamshire.  Her father worked for many years for the Great Western Railway. Her mother was a teacher and became deputy head of a large school. She has a younger brother Roderick who is also a writer.  Susan grew up in Buckinghamshire and did not move until she was twenty-on when her parents moved to her grandmother's village of Aberdovey in Wales. She attended Slough High School and then earned an English degree from the University of Oxford.  While she was at Oxford she became the first woman to edit the undergraduate newspaper Cherwell. 

 

Her first job after graduating was as a reporter for The London Sunday Times where she worked with Ian Fleming just as he started work on his James Bond novels.  In her spare time she too wrote while working at the paper.  She wrote novels, plays, and children books and during that time she started to work on her most famous series “The Dark Is Rising.”  She also finished her debut novel, the science fiction “Mandrake,” published in 1964.

 

While working at the paper Susan spent four months in United States doing research, which eventually led her to move to the US in 1963.  She soon married Nicholas J. Grant, a professor of Metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nineteen years her senior and a widower with three teenage children.  The married couple had two children of their own and in 1966 Susan made the decision to become a full-time writer focusing on her “The Dark Is Rising” series and the semi-autobiographical story  “Dawn of Fear” published in 1970.  The  novel was based on her childhood experiences of the Second World War.

 

In 1983, both of her parents died and her marriage ended .  She continued to write and live in the United States.  In July 1996, she married the Canadian-American actor and sometime co-author, Hume Cronyn, the widower of Jessica Tandy.  The two remained married until his death in June 2003.

Today Susan lives in Marshfield, Massachusetts and continues to write.

 

Susan began writing in her childhood, but did not pursue it as a career until she went to college and worked for the college newspaper.  Her first novel was published in 1964 and was called “Mandrake.”  It was a science fiction story set in England and was about the end of the civilization in the year 1980.  She has gone on to write many novels, children books, screenplays and plays.  She is most famous for her contemporary fantasy series “Dark is Rising” set in England  and Wales and mixes British mythology and Welsh folk heroes. 

 

No matter what genre or audience Susan is writing for the vast majority of Susan's books feature a struggle between light and dark and goodness and evil.  Her novels are typically set in the somewhere in Europe and feature some link European mythology.  There are strong distinctions between her heroes and villains.  Her heroes have strong moral convictions and fight for truth and justice.  The villains are set on destroying and taking over the world. 

 

There are several authors that write similar to Susan's writing style and fantasy genre.  They include Alan Garner, Nancy Bond, Edward Eager, Nancy Willard, Ruth Sawyer, and Joan Aiken.

 

If you are a fan of mythology and folklore and like heroes trying to save the world from wicked villains in fantasy worlds set in the countrysides of England and Wales you should give Susan Cooper a try.  Her writing style will transport you to a time when where light battles dark, ordinary folks become heroes and in the end the good always wins.

 
 
Clive Cussler
10/17/2015
 

Clive Cussler was born in July, 1931 in Aurora, Illinois.  He grew up in Alhambra, California and earned the rank of Eagle Scout when he was 14. After graduating from high school he went to Pasadena City College for two years before enlisting in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. While serving he was promoted to Sergeant and worked as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS).  After being discharged Clive Cussler married Barbara Knight in 1955.  They were married for almost fifty years before Barbara died in 2003. The couple had three children Teri, Dirk, and Dayna.

Cussler’s first job after being discharged was working at an advertising agency as a copywriter and then a creative director.  Cussler produced radio and television commercials.  Many of his productions won international awards including an award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.  Following the publication in 1996 of Cussler's first nonfiction work, “TheSeaHunters”, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree in 1997 by the Board of Governors of the State University of New York Maritime College who accepted the work in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis.  

Cussler is the founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), a non-profit organization with the same name as the fictional government agency that employs Dirk Pitt.  NUMA has discovered over 60 historically significant underwater wreck sites. After verifying their finds, NUMA turns the rights to the artifacts over to non-profits, universities, or government entities all over the world. In 2002 Cussler was awarded the Naval Heritage Award from the U S Navy Memorial Foundation for his efforts in the area of marine exploration.  Cussler is also a member of the Explorers Club of New York, the Royal Geographic Society in London, and the American Society of Oceanographers.

Today, Cussler divides his time between the mountains of Colorado and the deserts of Arizona.

Clive Cussler began his writing career in 1965.  His wife was working at night at the time and after putting the kids to bed he had nothing to do so he decided to write.  His first book was published in 1973 called the Mediterranean Caper and featured his most famous character Dirk Pitt.  Piss is a marine engineer, government agent and adventurer. The Dirk Pitt novels frequently take on an alternative history perspective and are usually a blend of high adventure and high technology with diabolical villains, lost ships, beautiful women, and sunken treasure.  Cussler’s books feature sometimes beyond belief spectacles and outlandish plot devices with almost anything goes and anything is possible undertone. 

Cussler mainly writes fiction stories in five main series, “Dirk Pitt Adventures,”  “The NUMA Files,”  “The Oregon Files,” “The Isaac Bell Adventures,” and “The Fargo Adventures.”  He also writes children’s books and non-fiction books.  His non-fiction books mostly detail the discoveries he and the team at NUMA have made on the high seas.

Similar authors to Cussler include Patrick Robinson, Dale Brown, Stephen Coonts, James Rollins, Jack Higgins, Jules Verne, and Tom Clancy.

So if you are looking for adventure on the high seas with bigger than life characters and heart pounding excitement as characters face life and death situations and battle super villains, you should give Cussler a try.

 
Beverly Lewis
10/3/2015
 

Beverly Lewis was born Beverly Marie Jones in the heart of Amish country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She began her artistic career with piano lessons at age four and at the age of five she made up lyrics to the "little fingers" piano pieces she learned and she started writing at the early age of age of nine with short stories and poetry. Her first manuscript was a semi-autobiographical story about a young girl whose parents can no longer afford to give her piano lessons. The manuscript was 77 pages long and titled "She Shall Have Music."  She went to Evangel University and became a schoolteacher.  Beverly is married to David Lewis and they have three grown children and three grandchildren and they live in Colorado.

Even though Beverly began writing at an early age she did not pursue it as a career until her own children were well into middle school.  Her first work was published in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book was published in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans, later retitled Big Bad Beans and it is book #22 in the popular Cul-de-Sac Kids series of chapter books. In 1997, Beverly began her adult fiction writing career with her first book in the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, with The Shunning.  The story is a suspenseful tale of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. 

Beverly has gone onto to write over 80 more children and adult books with her adult books focusing mostly on Anabaptist heritage and the Old Order Amish.  She mainly focuses on writing series, with her latest series being “Home to Hickory Hollow Series.”  Her latest book The “Photograph” is coming out in September 2015 and focuses on Eva Esch and her sisters as they face the predicament of either finding husbands or being shipped off to live in Indiana with an elderly aunt.

Beverly's fans describe how her books have touched their hears and created curiosity about the Old Ways of the Amish and their simpler life and return to traditional values in the mainstream society in today's impersonal, high-tech lifestyle. Her character-driven novels focus on people who are searching for universal truths just as many of her readers are.  Her books offer a faith-based solution to the problems of the human condition.

Several other authors whose stories are also prominently faith-based include Cindy Woodsmall, Suzanne Fisher, Beth Wiseman, Dale Cramer, Lori Copeland, and Lynn Austin.

So if you are looking to read heartfelt stories about strong characters living, surviving, and loving in simpler times and places you should give Beverly Lewis a try and experience a life where people and their lives are the most important things in life.

 
 
Orson Scott Card
9/20/2015
 

Orson Scott Card was born August 24, 1951 in Richland, Washington, and grew up in Santa Clara, California as well as Mesa, Arizona and Orem, Utah. He is a decedent of Brigham Young one of the founders of the Mormon Church.  He attended Millikin Elementary growing up in Santa Clara and was a ferocious reader.  At eight years old he read “The Prince and the Pauper” and several other classic novels as well as history books including “The Rise and fall of the Third Reich” when he was 10. 

 

When Card was 16 his family moved to Orem where he graduated from high school and attended BYU. He began his college career as an archeology major, but soon switched to theater. He and his family belonged to the LDS church and Card left for Brazil for a two year mission only a few credits short of graduating.  After completing his mission work Card returned and completed his bachelor's degree in theater. 

 

After graduating Card formed his own theater company and found a job as a copy editor at the BYU press.  After two seasons due to financial reasons card had to shut the company down.  He began writing science fiction to supplement his income and took a job as staff editor at the magazine The Ensign, which is the official magazine of the LDS church.

 

In May of 1977 Card got married to Kristine Allen and soon had their first child in 1978.  Card found success writing and quit his job at the magazine to pursue is writing career full time.  He went on to earn a master's degree in English from University of Utah in 1981.  When the income from his writing dried up briefly he, his wife, and their child moved to Greensboro, NC so card work for the magazine Compute!  But, shortly after arriving Card quit the magazine because he found other work writing more books and other magazines including the Rhinoceros Times.  He and his wife had three more children and today the couple still call Greensboro home and Card is professor of English at Southern Virginia University.

 

Card began his writing career writing plays in college.  He soon moved onto writing short stories and then eventually onto writing science fiction novels.  His first novel and probably most popular novel  “Ender's Game” was published in 1985 and follows the story of a boy being trained to fight an upcoming battle with aliens.  The book's sequel “Speaker of the Dead” was published in 1986.  Card has since written numerous science fiction books, but he also had branched out into many other different genres as well, including non-fiction, fiction, young adult, children, poetry, screenplays, and video games.  His latest novel “Earth Awakens,” published in 2014, is book two of the prequel series “The First FormicWar” taking place before “Enders Game.”  It follows the story of the aliens’ first contact with Earth and the men and women trying to mobilize the Earth to the threat before it's too late.

 

Card's imagination and writing style allow readers to be taken away from their day to day lives and visit places and experience events that they themselves could only dream of.  His vivid details of settings and character descriptions are well known and really allow readers to feel as if they are in the stories themselves right alongside the characters.  Other authors that write similar to Card include Jack McDevitt, Dan Simmons, Brian Herbert, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, Pat Murphy, and Larry Niven.

 

So if you are looking to get away for a while to another world or to another time you should give Orson Card a try.  His stories will take you to places far far away to unknown galaxies or just take you different ages where you can see what the future may hold or what the past may have held.

 

 
Robyn Carr
9/5/2015
 

Robyn Carr is a best-selling author who never intended to become a writer.  She instead wanted to be a nurse, but never had the opportunity to pursue it as she married her high school sweetheart, Jim, just weeks before he left for the US Air Force to become a helicopter pilot.   It was during the Vietnam War and Carr followed her new husband from base to base and with very little time at any one place she was unable to pursue her nursing career. With her husband working long hours and traveling a lot Robyn spent her time reading.  And when she was ordered to stay off her feet during a difficult pregnancy required her to be off of her feet her neighbor got her hooked on romance novels to distract herself.   She soon decided to write her own novels.

Today Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, NV.  They enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their son and daughter are grown and they are enjoying their days as grandparents.  Carr hosts monthly "Carr Chats" at the Paseo Verde Library in Henderson, Nevada where she interviews other authors.

The books Robyn read when she was ordered off her feet were historical romance, so she decided that was what she would write as well. She did not pursue any writing training and dove right in.  She attended a writers’ conference with her third manuscript in 1976 and was told she go home and find something to do for which she had talent.   That manuscript eventually became her first published novel Chelyne in 1980. 

For the first fifteen years of her career she wrote romance, the early books of which were all historical, but later included contemporaries.   And after about twenty years she began writing series with her first being “The Grace Valley” series in 2001.  She then moved on to the “Virgin River” series and now her newest series “Thunder Point”, with the latest edition in the series “Wildest Dreams” due out in August of 2015.  The book follows a professional triathlete trying to find a quiet place to live and train, but when he arrives at Thunder Point he is drawn into a battle between a mother and son and he soon realizes he might have actually found a family he always wanted.  Robyn has also tried her hand at several other genres including a thriller, nonfiction, short story, and screenwriting.

All of Robyn’s books feature strong women, no matter where or when they live.   Over the years she has developed her own brand of women’s fiction that tackle real women’s issues while still providing moments of humor while dealing with real issues in a realistic manner.   Also it has been said that her settings are so richly drawn they function like characters.  But no matter where her books take place they will make readers fall in love with a small town filled with characters and stories they will find both entertaining and heartwarming.

If you like any of the following authors you should giver Robyn Carr a try:  Susan Mallery, Jane Graves, Addison Fox, Emily March, Catherine Anderson, Sherryl Woods, and Debbie Macomber.

So if you are looking for books that blend romance with women’s fiction, while tackling sensitive women issues, such as domestic violence, in a heartwarming, thoughtful, and with an occasional humorous moment you should give Robyn Carr a try and fall in love not only with the story, but with the characters and the small towns they live in.

 
Sebastian Junger
8/23/2015

Sebastian Junger was born in Belmont, Massachusetts in January 1962.  His father was a painter and his mother a physicist.  His father was born in Germany and migrated to the United States during World War II because his own father had been Jewish.  As a child Junger grew up in the neighborhood of the Boston Strangler, which later in life influenced him into writing one of his books specifically about the Boston Strangler and suggest it's possible the wrong man was convicted of the crimes.  Also as a child Junger was interested in dangerous situations where people lived and worked.  Later in life this led Junger to pursue the profession as a high-climber for tree removal companies.  But after a chainsaw injury he thought better of it and instead decided to focus on journalism and telling stories about people with dangerous jobs. 

 

Junger graduated from Concord Academy in 1980 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in cultural anthropology in 1984.  He soon went to work as a journalist and film producer and through the years he has been many things including author, film producer, contributing editor to Vanity Fair, a reporter, and radio correspondent covering stories around the world. 

 

Today Junger is divorced and lives in New York City and Cape Cod.  He is a strong advocate for veterans, the military and other professions that put people in harm’s way as they help others.  In 1998, he established The Perfect Storm Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities for children of people in the maritime professions.

 

Junger's first book “A Death in Belmont” was published in 2006 and focuseson the rape-murder of Bessie Goldberg in Junger's hometown in the spring of 1963. Although a different man was convicted, Junger raises the possibility that the real killer was Albert DeSalvo, who eventually confessed to committing several Strangler murders, but not Goldberg's.  In his book Junger raised the possibility that the man that was convicted was founded on circumstantial evidence, and in part on racism.

 

His second book, “The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea,”  was published in 1997, and it recounts the tale of a “perfect storm” and the loss of the fishing boat Andrea Gail off the coast of Nova Scotia and its six crew members.  In 2000, the book was made into a film of the same name starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.  Junger's other books include “Fire,” which is a collection of articles about dangerous regions and jobs throughout the world and “War,” an account of Junger's time in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008.  Junger has also produced several films about the military personal and conflicts throughout the world including the documentaries about the Afghan war, “Restrepo,” “Korengal,” and “The Last Patrol.”

 

Junger has been called the new “Hemingway” as he books focus on non-fiction adventure stories.   With his writing Junger is able to take you to the places he is writing about and to make the readers feel what the men and women in his stories must have been feeling at the time.  His descriptions are intense and his story telling inspired and adventurous.  Author similar to Junger include Seth G. Jones, Dick Lehr, Doug Stanton, Dakota Meyer, and Linda Greenlaw.

 

So if you are looking to read about real life people in deadly real life situations risking it all to try to make a living or trying to save lives, you should give Junger a try and be sucked into the lives of people who are not afraid to risk their lives to live their lives and to save lives.

 
Jackie Collins
8/09/2015
 

Jackie Collins was born in Hampstead, London in 1937.  Her father was a famous theatrical agent whose clients included Shirley Bassey, The Beatles and Tom Jones.  Jackie’s older sister is the actress Joan Collins and she also has a younger brother, Bill.  Jackie attended the all girls’ school Francis Holland School in London, but she was expelled from the school at age 15 for truancy, smoking, and selling copies of her own book of dirty limericks.  For a short time Jackie was a stage singer before following her sister to acting roles in a series of British B movies in the 1950s. She gave up her acting career after appearing in the 1960’s ITC television series “Danger Man” and “The Saint.”

Collins married her first husband, Wallace Austin, in 1960, but they were soon divorced 1964 after having one daughter, Tracy, in 1961.  In 1965, Collins married Oscar Lerman, an art gallery and night club owner.   Collins and Oscar had two daughters, Tiffany born 1967 and Rory born two years later.  In the early 1980’s Jackie and her family moved to LA where Oscar died in 1992 from prostate cancer.  In 1994, Collins became engaged to Los Angeles business executive Frank Calcagnini.  Unfortunately, Frank died in 1998 from a brain tumor before the two were married.  Jackie is still currently living in LA.

Jackie Collins is one of the world’s top-selling novelists.  There have been over 500 million copies of her books sold worldwide with thirty of her novels making the New York Times Bestsellers list.  She began her prolific writing career when she was a teenager.  She would write steamy stories and sell them to her classmates.  Collins' first novel, “The World is Full of Married Men” was published in 1968. It was banned in Australia and South Africa for its sexual content.  This banning actually increased sales in the US and the UK. In 1978, Jackie tried her hand at screenwriting with the screenplay for the 1978 film version of her 1969 novel “The Stud” starring her sister Joan.  Jackie has written several other screenplays for television miniseries based on her books and she even briefly had a TV talk show “Jackie Collins’ Hollywood” in 1998.

Besides writing standalone romance novels Jackie has two very popular series, “Hollywood” and the “Santangelo” series.  Her latest novel published in 2013 is actually a prequel to the Santangelo series as it chronicles the teenage years of the main character in the series Lucky and her brother Dario.  Jackie’s latest book released in 2014 is actually a cookbook called, “The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook” based on the food creations of the character Lucky.

Jackie’s romance novels have been described as scandalous to say the least.  Her graphic descriptions and philandering characters have been chastised by many a critic.  But, those steamy sex scenes and outrageous behavior is what people love about her stories.  Although there aren’t any authors that can match Jackie’s talent for writing intimate relationships between adults there are some who do have similar styles without the raunchiness found in some of Jackie’s books.   So if you can’t wait for Jackie’s next steamy novel you might want to give these authors a try: Judith Krantz, Joan Collins, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Judith Michael, and Elizabeth Lowell.

So if you are looking for characters who aren’t afraid to take their clothes off for a night of passion and plots that twist and turn as characters stab each other in the back looking for love and money you might just want to give Jackie a try.  She’ll leave you breathless and maybe even a little embarrassed.

 
Judy Blume
7/26/2015
 

Judy Blume (born Judith Sussman) was born in February, 1938 and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey with her Jewish family.  Her dad was a dentist and her mother a homemaker.  She has one older brother, David and she recalls she spent her childhood making up stories inside of her head, but never actually writing them down.  She graduated from Battin High School in 1956 and enrolled in Boston University, but during her first semester she was diagnosed with mononucleosis.  After taking some time off she graduated from New York University in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in Education.

 

In August of 1959, Judy married John M. Blume, who she met while a student at New York University. He went on to become a lawyer and Judy stayed home with their two kids before she began her writing career when the kids started preschool.  The marriage didn't last and they divorced 1976.  Judy soon married   Judy married her second husband later that year, Thomas A. Kitchens, a physicist who she met while she was separated from her first husband.  They moved to New Mexico for Kitchens' work, but soon were divorced in 1978.   Judy stayed single for the next nine years before she married her third husband George Cooper, a former law professor turned non-fiction writer. Blume and Cooper were married in 1987.  Today the Judy and her husband live in Key West, FL.  Along with her early diagnosis of mononucleosis in her first year of college, Judy has also been diagnosed with cervical cancer in the mid 90's and breast cancer in 2012.

 

Throughout Blume's career she has advocated for organizations that support intellectual freedom and helping protect the freedom to read.  She herself has been at the center of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980's.  Today Judy is a member of the National Coalition Against Censorship, she is the founder and trustee of a charitable and education foundation, called The Kids Fund, and she serves on the board for the Author's Guild; the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; the Key West Literary Seminar; and the National Coalition Against Censorship.

 

Judy began writing when her children were attending preschool and she published her first book, “The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo,” in 1969. The following ten years she had thirteen more books published, including some of her most popular books, such as  “Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret” in 1970, “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” in 1972, and “Blubber” in 1974.  Judy then decided to switch gears and made her way into adult literature with the bestselling and award-winning book “Wifey” in 1978.  She has written three other adult bestselling novels including, “Smart Women” in 1983, “Summer Sisters” in 1998, and her latest novel “In the Unlikely Event,” which tells the story of a woman returning to her hometown after thirty-five years and remembering the tragedies and life she left behind and the hope and happiness the future may hold.

 

Judy is known for her remarkable story telling that draws readers in and gives them a feeling that they are actually there in the story.  Her characters are unique and unforgettable who learn how to cope with loss while hanging on and relishing the good times and still going forward and facing the world head on.

 

Authors who are similar to Judy include Patricia Gaffney, Melvin Burgess, Beverly Cleary, Lois Lowry, Kristen Tracy, Chris Crutchner, and Francine Pascal.

 

So if you are looking for an inspirational book to enjoy on your own or a book you can read to your kids that will help teach them perseverance in the face of hard times you should give Judy a try.  Both you and your kids will find that even if life deals you a blow it can get better if you keep driving forward and have hope in your heart.

 
JK Rowling
7/12/2015

Joanne "Jo" Rowling, otherwise known as J. K. Rowling or Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, the best-selling book series in history and the second highest-grossing film series in history.

 

Joanne Rowling was born in July 1965 in Yate, England and grew up in Chepstow, where she went to Wyedean Comprehensive.  As a child, Rowling often wrote fantasy stories which she frequently read to her sister.  Joanne has said that her teenage years were unhappy due to her mother's multiple scleroses and a disagreeable relationship with her father.   In 1982, Rowling took the entrance exams for Oxford University, but was not accepted.  She then read for a BA in French and Classics at the University of Exeter.  Rowling graduated from Exeter in 1986 and moved to London to work as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International.   In 1990, while she was on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London, the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school for wizards popped in her head and that was the beginning of Harry Potter and over the next five years she outlined the plots for each book and began writing the first novel.

 

After seeing an advertisement in the newspaper The Guardian, Rowling moved to Porto in Portugal to teach English as a foreign language where she taught at night and wrote during the day.  While she was there she met her first husband Jorge Arantes, a television journalist.  They married in October 1992 and had a daughter together before separating in November 1993 and eventually divorcing in 1994. 

 

In December of that 1993 Rowling and her daughter moved to Edinburgh, Scotland so she could be near to her sister.   In 1995, Rowling finished her manuscript for “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone” on an old manual typewriter while living off state subsidies.  The book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was published in 1997 with six sequels in the series following with the last “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” published in 2007.  She used the name JK Rowling (“K”, for Kathleen, her paternal grandmother’s name) because her publisher believed that a woman’s name would not appeal to the target audience of young boys.  In December 2001, Rowling re-married Neil Michael Murray and she now lives in Edinburgh with her husband and three children.

 

When Rowling is not writing she is spends her time working with and on many different charities. In 2000, Rowling established the Volant Charitable Trust, which fights to combat poverty and social inequality. The fund also gives to organizations that aid children, one parent families, and multiple sclerosis research.  Rowling also is an active member of the charity Gingerbread whose focus is on helping single parents and she has worked with Sarah Brown to write a book of children's stories to aid One Parent Families.  She also has contributed money and support for several other charities money and support for research and treatment of multiple sclerosis, from which her mother suffered before her death in 1990.

 

Although Rowling may be best known for Harry Potter she has also written several adult fiction novels as well, the first being “The Casual Vacancy” in  2012.  In 2013, “The Cuckoo's Calling” a detective story in which private investigator Cormoran Strike unravels the supposed suicide of a supermodel, was published as the “début novel” of author Robert Galbraith, who the publisher described as a former plainclothes Royal Military Police investigator who had left in 2003 to work in the civilian security industry.  In truth it was a pen name for Rowling and the second novel of the series “The Silkworm” was published in 2014 and the latest “Career of Evil” will be released in October of 2015.  Rowling also continues to work on Harry Potter through her website Pottermore and a new film series to be released in the future taking place 70 years before the original series.

 

If you are a fan of any of these authors you might want to give Rowling a try:  Diana Wynne Jones, Mary Hoffman, Lloyd Alexander, Jenny Nimmo, Brandon Mull, Richelle Mead, Lemony Snicket, or Rick Riordan.

 

So is you are interested in magical worlds filled with wizards and fantastical creatures or worlds filled with detectives, mystery, and intrigue give JK Rowling a try and be drawn into fantastic worlds where a boy wizard can save the day or a detective can bring justice to the world.

 
 
Tess Gerritsen
6/27/2015

 

Terry (Tess) Gerritsen was born in June1953 to a Chinese immigrant and a Chinese-American seafood chef. She grew up in San Diego, California and dreamed of writing her own Nancy Drew novels, but her parents were not real keen on the idea of her being an author.  So instead Tess pursued a career in medicine and in 1975, she graduated from Stanford University with a BA in anthropology and went on to study medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.  She graduated with her medical degree in 1979 and went to work as a physician in Honolulu, Hawaii.  She married a fellow physician Jacob Gerritsen and while on maternity leave with her first son she entered a statewide short story contest in the magazine “Honolulu”. Her story, "On Choosing the Right Crack Seed," won first prize and she won $500.  The story was about a young male reflecting on his difficult relationship with his mother. Tess has said the story helped her deal with her own childhood troubles, including the repeated suicide attempts of her mother.  After her win Tess decided to pursue a writing career and she had her first novel published in 1987, “Call After Midnight.”  It was a romantic thriller and also led her to change her name from Terry to Tess because she believed it sounded more feminine and would gel better with the romance novels she planned on writing. 

After eight more romantic suspense thrillers Tess moved on to medical thrillers and eventually crime thrillers.  Her books have sold over twenty-five million copies worldwide with numerous titles landing on the New York Times bestseller list.  She currently lives in Camden, Maine with her husband and they have two sons.  She enjoys writing about the business of writing on her blog and website and the mystery writer's site Murderati.com.  She enjoys gardening and playing the fiddle during her free time.

Tess started her writing career with romance novels because she enjoyed reading them while working as a doctor.  After writing two romantic thriller novels that did not sell Tess found success with her third attempt, “Call After Midnight”, which she sold to the publisher Harlequin Intrigue in 1986.  It was published a year later in 1987.  Tess went on to write eight more romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue and Harper Paperbacks.  In 1996, Tess decided on a change of genre and she wrote her first medical thriller, “Harvest.”  The novel delved into the seedy underworld of the illegal harvesting and sale of organs on the black market.  Tess went on to write three more bestselling medical thrillers before moving on to yet another genre the crime thriller.  In 2001,  “The Surgeon”, was published and it introduced to the world the homicide detective Jane Rizzoli.   Even though Rizzoli was only a secondary character in the novel, the detective has been the central character of nine more novels along with the character's good friend medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles.  The latest Rizzoli and Isles book “Die Again”, was published in December 2015 and followed the duo as they tried to solve the murder of a world famous big game hunter in Boston and the possible link to several other gruesome murders across the country and in Africa.  The popularity of the book series has led to a TV series called  “Rizzoli & Isles” that airs on TNT.  The TV series is not Tess's first foray into television.  She also wrote a screenplay called “Adrift”, which eventually was made into a CBS movie of the week in 1993 starring Kate Jackson.  Along with the Rizzoli and Isles book series Tess also writes standalone thrillers with the next one “Playing With Fire” scheduled to be released in October 2015.

Tess’s books have been called pulse-pounding fun.  They keep the reader on the edge of their seats with the suspense they provide, yet the characters are down to earth and provide a way for readers to forget about the sometimes horrific crimes that occur in her books....if only for a few pages before the next brilliant twist occurs and they are rocketed back into a blood pounding fast paced race to find the killer or killers before they strike again.

If you like any of the following authors you just might like Tess Gerritsen:  Tami Hoag, Kathy Reichs, Chris Cater, Karin Slaughter, Alex Kava, Lisa Gardner, or Robin Cook.  But, if you don't you still might want to give Tess a try.  Her books are well written, easy to follow, and guaranteed to keep you glued to the pages as you rush to read what will happen next.

 
RA Salvatore
6/13/2015
 

Robert Anthony Salvatore (pen name RA Salvatore) was born in January 1959 in Leominster, Massachusetts.  He is the youngest of five children and a graduate of Leominster High School.  After graduating he went to Fitchburg State College in MA where he planned on studying computer science.  But, after receiving the book “Lord of the Rings” as a Christmas present his sophomore year he switched majors and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications/Media from Fitchburg  in 1981.  He went back the following year and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English.  Before taking up writing full-time in 1982, he worked as a bouncer and contributes his fierce and vividly described battle scenes to his time as a bouncer.

 

Robert still resides in MA and lives there with his wife Diane and their three children.  They have numerous pets including three Japanese Chins and four cats including.  In his free time Robert likes

to take walks, hitting the gym, and coaching/playing on a fun-league softball team.  Robert is an active member of his community and is on the board of trustees at the local library in Leominster, Massachusetts.  He is active with the American Library Association giving speeches at various conferences.  In the fall of 1997, his letters, manuscripts, and other professional papers were donated to the R.A. Salvatore Library at Fitchburg State University.

 

Robert started his fantasy writing career in 1982 when he began working on a manuscript called “Echoes of the Fourth Magic.”  After finishing the book in 1987 and sending it to the publisher TSR he was invited to audition to write the second book of the “Forgotten Realms” series.  He won and was contracted to write the book  “The Crystal Shard” it was released in 1988.  Since then Robert has gone on to write numerous stories and series that take place in the “Forgotten Realms” universe including many stories featuring Drizzt Do'Urden, a dark elf that left his dark world to fight for justice in the “Forgotten Realms” world.  Another popular universe Robert has written is the Star Wars universe where he has written two books including the controversial book “Vector Prime” where the character Chewie is killed.  Contrary what many believe it was not Robert's idea to kill the character.  It was Lucasfilm Ltd. that told him the character needed to be eliminated.  Robert also has written several other series of his own creation including the very popular “The Demon Wars Saga.”  In addition to writing novels Robert has written for video games, graphic novels, comics, and has had numerous short stories published.

 

Robert's latest book was released in March, 2015 titled “Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf” and is book three of the Companions Codex miniseries.  The story focuses on Dritzzt Do’Urden and the continuing war with the Orcs, who appear to have the upper hand with two dragons on their side as they threaten to overrun both Dwarven and Elvish settlements.

 

Robert is a fantasy writer known for his very realistic and sometimes brutal action and adventure sequences.  The fighting in his stories can be graphic at times, but it lends to the realistic nature of his stories that take place in other worlds and not of our own.  His writing talent also includes the ability to create characters that have humanistic traits even in those characters that are worlds apart from even being considered human in appearance.  The good versus evil stories are gripping with unexpected twists when alliances between friend and foe can turn with the ebb and flow of the ever changing and beautifully crafted and mind bending fantasy worlds of Robert's.

 

There are few writers with Robert's gift of bringing new and undiscovered worlds to life, but some that due come close include Kate Novak, Richard Baker, Lisa Smedman, Troy Denning, and Douglas Niles.

 

So if you are looking for adventure in a world not our own filled with fantastical creatures fighting, living, and dying for humanistic causes and beliefs give RA Salvatore a try and you will discover worlds that are very different than our own, but still much the same.

 
Jeffrey Deaver
5/30/15

Jeffrey Deaver was born outside in Glen Ellyn, Illinois near Chicago in May 1950. He has a bachelor degree with a major in journalism from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University.  During his life he has worked as a journalist, a folksinger, and a corporate attorney before becoming a bestselling author. He has a sister who is also an author of young adult novels, Julie Reece Deaver.  In his free time Jeff likes to speak at conferences and festivals about books, literacy, and writing in general.  He is also a cook and loves to have dinner parties with some unusual themes, such as Roman medieval. 

 

Jeff has said he has always wanted to be an author and even wrote his first book at age eleven.  He has written over thirty novels, three short story collections, and a nonfiction law book.  Jeff's novels are suspense filled fast paced stories that usual only cover a very short time frame of only hours or days.  Even though most of his stories are plot driven, he is able to present the human side of his characters and include human issues into the stories.  The stories feature strong and sometimes flawed heroes, deranged bad guys and are full of surprising twists and turns with oodles of cliffhangers.  His books explore the psychology of crime and crime detection with insights into not only the hero’s minds, but the villains as well.  There is also a great deal of forensics and standard police work that go into his books to make thrilling crime stories that you just can't put down.

 

To come up with ideas for his novels Jeff does not peruse the news headlines.  Instead he spends his time in a dark room thinking of stories and characters that would fit into a typical Jeffrey Deaver novel. After coming up with a story he likes he then spends about eight months researching and outlining his book.  When he is ready to begin writing he will sit in a dark room and picture the scene he is about to write.  Once he has it, he closes his eyes and begins touch typing the scene.  He then goes on to revise his novels twenty to thirty times before he even sends in his manuscript to his publisher.  He has never taken any writing classes and believes the best way to learn to write is to study the work of other writers that you like.

 

Jeffrey primarily writes two thriller series.  The first and most popular series is the “Lincoln Rhyme” series featuring a quadriplegic New York detective and the other “Kathryn Dance” series featuring Dance as an agent with the California Bureau of Investigation.  His latest novel “Solitude Creek” released in May 2015 is the fourth in the Dance series and has Dance investigating a possible serial killer that uses panic and the chaos it creates to kill people.

 

If you are a fan of any of these thrilling crime writing authors Jonathon Kellerman, Boris Starling, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Tess Gerritsen, Karin Slaughter, or Jefferson Bass you should give Jeffrey Deaver a try.  His psychologically in depth novels with plenty of plot twists and carnage will provide you with a roller coaster thrill ride where you aren't quite sure who you are rooting for in the end, the hero or the villain.

 
JA Jance
 
5/17/2015

 

Judith Ann Jance (JA Jance) was born in South Dakota in 1944 and raised in Bisbee, AZ.   As a second-grader Jance was introduced to Frank Baum’s “Wizard of Oz” series and from that moment on she knew she wanted to be a writer.  She graduated from Bisbee High School in 1962, and received an academic scholarship that made her the first person in her family to attend a four year college.  She graduated in 1966 with a degree in English and Secondary Education from the University of Arizona. While in college she tried to pursue her writing career by taking a creative writing class, but the professor refused her entry into the class due to her gender because women weren't writers, they were “teachers or nurses.”  While in college she married an alcoholic and in 1968 he forbade her from writing because there was only room for one writer in the family and that would be him.  In the end nothing he ever wrote was published.  However, she continued to write poetry in secret, but never seriously perused a writing career until much later in life.

 

In 1970 Jance received her Master’s in Education and in Library Science.   Shetaught high school English at Tucson’s Pueblo High School for two years and was a K-12 librarian at Indian Oasis School District in Sells, Arizona for five years.  After 18 years of marriage she divorced her first husband in 1980 and took their two children to Seattle, WA and sold insurance to make a living.  Her ex-husband died three years after the divorce from his alcoholism.  Jance met her second husband Bill at a widowed retreat sponsored by a group called WICS (Widowed Information Consultation Services) in June of 1985. His wife had died of breast cancer two years earlier.  Six months after meeting Bill the couple married.  Bill is an engineer and has three adult children from his previous marriage.  The couple now lives part of the year in Arizona and part of the year in Seattle.

 

Jance is in involved in various charities.  While she is on tour for book signings she asks the bookstores to donate a percentage of their earnings from her appearances to various causes.  Through this charity work over the past ten years she has raised over $250,000 for charities.  She has also raises money by hosting events where people can bid/donate money to appear in her books.

 

Jance began pursuing a writing career in 1982 when she wrote a fictionalized version about a series of murders that occurred in Tucson, AZ in 1970.  The book was 1200 pages long and was never published.  Her agent suggested she pursue writing fiction and in 1985 her first novel was published called “Until Proven Guilty.”  She used the pen name “JA Jance” because the publisher believed if she used her real name (Judith Ann) nobody would read a book with a woman author writing about a male detective.  The book was the first of her very popular Detective Beaumont series.  There are twenty-two books in series and they focus on retired Seattle police officer JP Beaumont and his pursuit of justice across the US solving murders.  Jance also writes two other series; the Ali Reynolds series set in Sedona, AZ and Joanna Brady books set in southeastern AZ.  She has also written four thrillers and a book of poetry. 

 

Jance is a muder/mystery novelist.  When writing her books she does not use an outline and she works from backwards through the book.  She knows who the victim or victims are and then writes to find out who the killer or killers are.  She like her readers does not know who the guilty party is until she finishes the book.  Her books are filled with twists and turns and full of surprises.  They can be dark at times as Jance delves into the minds of the murderers.  Her characters in her books are believable and are not immune from devastating personal events happening to them including death of love ones.  Many of her characters settings are based on people she knows and places she's been.

 

If you like the authors Margaret Coel, Sara Paretsky, Marcia Muller, RA Robinson, Nevada Barr, Robert Parker, or Dana Stabenow you might also like JA Jance because she too possesses the ability to suck readers in to a suspense filled world where danger and mystery lurk around every corner.

 
 
Jonathon Kellerman
 
5/3/2015
 

Jonathan Kellerman was born in 1949, in York City to an aerospace engineer/inventor father and a dancer/office manager mother. When he was still young the family moved to LA where he grew up.  He worked his way through college as a cartoonist, illustrator, journalist, editor, and guitar instructor until he received his BA in psychology from UCLA in 1971. He enrolled in a PhD program in clinical psychology at the University of Southern California and received his PhD in 1974 at the age of twenty-four. His doctoral research was on attribution of blame for childhood psychopathology and he published a scientific paper on that topic at the age of twenty-two. In 1975, Jonathan was asked by the USC hospital to research the psychological effects of extreme isolation on children with cancer and to coordinate the care of the children and their families.  From this research the hospital established the Psychosocial Program, a Division of Oncology in 1977.  It was the first in the world that approached the emotional aspects of pediatric cancer.  He was a practicing psychologist until he gave up his practice in 1987 to focus on his writing career.

Jonathan Kellerman currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife of close to forty years Faye Kellerman also a bestselling crime writer.  She has a degree in theoretical math and a doctorate in dentistry.   He is currently a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine.  The have four children with the oldest, Jesse Kellerman, a bestselling novelist and an award-winning playwright. Their youngest, Aliza Kellerman, co-wrote a young adult novel “Prism” with Faye in 2009.

Jonathan’s first book was published in 1980 and was a nonfiction book titled “Psychological Aspects of Childhood Cancer.”  It was an accumulation of his experiences from his cancer research and working with the children at the hospital.  He also published a book for parents in 1981, “Helping the Fearful Child.”  His first novel was published in 1985 called “When the Bough Breaks” and it's the first in his bestselling series based on the character Alex Delaware, a child psychologist who consults for the police and is assisted in his investigations by LAPD detective Milo Sturgis.  Milo is unique because he was one of the first openly gay characters to be featured in a crime fiction series.  “When the Bough Breaks” was adapted into a very successful TV movie starring Ted Danson in1986.  Kellerman has gone on to write twenty-nine more books in the Delaware series with the latest “Motive” published in 2015.  “Motive” follows Delaware and Milo track down a possible serial killer that might be linked to an unsolved murder from Milo's past.  Jonathan has written several standalone novels including several with his wife and one with his son.  He has written and illustrated two children books and has written several other nonfiction books including one about guitars, which he collects and loves to play.  He draws and paints in his spare time and is an advocate for mentally ill patients and that released patients should not only receive medication, but counseling and psychotherapy as well.

Jonathan Kellerman has been writing since he was nine years old.  He used it as a form of expression early on and did not really fully embrace it as a career until after his third novel was published in 1987 when he gave up his psychology practice to pursue it full time.  His books are crime fiction with an element of mystery.  This combination keeps readers' noses glued to the pages to find out what happens next.  He adds life and death situations to his novels to add intensity to his stories and to keep the reader engaged and on the edge of their seat.  His novels do contain elements of complicated forensic science, but the characters themselves are down to earth and everyday people that readers can easily relate to. 

If you like Jonathan Kellerman you may also like Faye Kellerman, Linda Fairstein, John Lescroart, John Sandford, Michael Palmer, Steve Martini, Nevada Barr, or Tami Hoag.

If you find yourself in the mood for a good book that is gripping, filled with intrigue and relentless characters that will go the end of earth to find the bad guys while using the latest in forensic science you should give Jonathan Kellerman a try.  His books will give you an inside look at how good police work and doggedly determination can bring evil to justice and peace to the unfortunate victims and their families.

 
 
 
 
 
Terry Pratchett
 
4/19/2015
 

Terry Pratchett was born in April 1948, in Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, England.   He attended High Wycombe Technical High School where he was a key member of the debating society and wrote stories for the school magazine.   Pratchett was not the best of students and credited his education more to the local library.  His early interests included astronomy and he wanted to be an astronomer, but lacked the mathematical disposition to pursue it.  He also had an interest in reading science fiction and attended science fiction conventions, but stopped when he got his first job a few years later. 

 

His initial career choice was journalism and he left school at 17 in 1965 to start working for the Bucks Free Press.   In 1968 Terry married and the couple moved to Rowberrow, Somerset, in 1970.  The couple had a daughter in 1976, Rhianna, who is also a writer.  In 2007, Pratchett was misdiagnosed as having had a minor stroke a few years earlier, which doctors thought had damaged the right side of his brain and affecting his motor skills, but not his ability to write.  In December 2007, Terry announced he had been newly diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, which had been responsible for the "stroke". He had a rare form of the disease called posterior cortical atrophy in which areas at the back of the brain begin to shrink and shrivel.  After his diagnosis Terry became active in finding a cure for the disease by donating money and becoming involved in a documentary about the disease.   In 2009, Terry was knighted in the Queen's New Year Honours for services to literature.  Terry died at his home on March 12, 2015 from his Alzheimer's despite his previous discussion of suicide.

 

Terry was a huge computer buff and was one of the first authors to embrace the technology and use it write books and keep in contact with his readers via the Internet.  He also loved to play video games and helped convert many of his own stories into various computer games.  His love of astronomy continued on into adulthood and he also loved natural history and he owned a greenhouse full of carnivorous plants.

 

Pratchett published his first short story entitled "Business Rivals" in the High Wycombe Technical School magazine in 1962. "The Hades Business" which was published in the school magazine when he was 13 was published commercially when he was 15.  Terry's first novel “The Carpet People” was published in 1971.  He followed it with the science fiction novels “The Dark Side of the Sun” and “Strata.”  The first Discworld series novel and what he is most recognized for was, “The Colour of Magic.”  It was published in1983.  Pratchett gave up working as a journalist to make his living through writing novels in 1987, after finishing the fourth Discworld novel “Mort.”

 

Although early on Terry wrote for the sci-fi and horror genres, later on, Pratchett focused almost entirely on fantasy for both adults and children.  Pratchett began writing the Discworld series in 1983 to have fun with some modern day clichés.  The stories are humorous and often include a satirical sequence of stories set in the colorful fantasy Discworld universe. The series contains various story arcs and a number of free-standing stories. but all take place in the mysterious Discworld.

 

Pratchett is known for a distinctive writing style.  For example he used footnotes, which usually involved a comic departure from the narrative and sometimes had footnotes of their own.  And he had a tendency to avoid using chapters.  Characters, place names, and titles in his books often contain puns and culture references.

 

The last two of Terry's novels will be published in 2015. A young adult novel called “The Shepherd’s Crown,” which will take place in Discworld and be the 41st and final book in the series.  And the other book “The Long Utopia”, the fourth in his science fiction series The Long Earth, which is set in a universe with an infinite number of parallel Earths which characters, can travel between.

Authors who write fantasy and have the same vivid imagination as Terry include Robert Rankin, David Langford, Mervyn Peake, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, and Diana Wynne Jones.

So if you are looking for a tongue-in-cheek and entertaining story filled with satire and cultural references in a world not like our own give the late great Terry Pratchett a try and be taken to worlds where the fun and action never stops and you can see our own world in a very different and humorous light.

 

 

Patricia Cornwell

4/5/2015

Patricia Cornwell was born in Miami, Florida in June of 1956.  She is related to author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe.   Her father Sam Daniels was one of the leading appellate lawyers in the US and served as a law clerk to the Supreme Court.  Pat grew up in a troubled family as she suffered emotional abuse from her father, who eventually walked out on the family on Christmas Day 1961.   When the family moved  to Montreat, North Carolina that same year her mother was hospitalized for depression and Pat and her brothers were placed in the foster care system.  Pat went on to attend  Davidson College in North Carolina where she graduated with a B.A. in English in 1979.

In 1980, she married one of her English professors, Charles L. Cornwell, who was 17 years older than she was.  In 1989, the couple separated and eventually divorced.  In 1991 Pat began a two year affair with a married female FBI agent Margo Bennett after meeting her at the FBI Academy in Quantico where Pat was conducting research for her writing.  In 1996, the affair was made public after Margo's estranged husband, also an FBI agent, was arrested for and eventually convicted of attempted murder of his wife. In 2005, Pat  married Staci Ann Gruber, an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard University and the couple currently live in Massachusetts.

Not only has Pat lived a troubled personal life she has had some legal trouble as well.  In1993, Pat crashed her Mercedes-Benz and was convicted of drunk driving and sentenced to twenty-eight days in a treatment center.   In 2000, author Leslie Sachs claimed there were similarities between his novel “The Virginia Ghost Murders” and Pat's “The Last Precinct” and accused Pat of plagiarism.  Eventually Pat was cleared of all charges and in 2007 Pat was awarded $38,000 to cover legal fees for defending herself against Sachs's charges.  Pat also had trouble with a management firm she hired in 2004 to oversee her financial matters and her company, Conrwell Enterintertainment Inc.  The firm had been stealing tens of millions of dollars from her over a several year period and in 2013 Pat was awarded $51 million dollars after suing the management company for $100 million. 

Besides being a best selling author and expert in forensics Pat is involved in numerous other activities.  She co-founded the National Forensic Academy and created a Chair in Organic Science at Harvard. She appears as a forensic consultant on CNN and serves as a member of Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council.  She’s helped fund an ICU at Cornell’s Animal Hospital, the scientific study of a Confederate submarine, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown, law enforcement charities, and various scholarships and literacy programs.

Pat's writing career began in1979 when she started working as a reporter for “The Charlotte Observer.”  She would write about anything and everything and soon was covering the crime beat. In 1984, she took a job at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia and worked there for six years as a technical writer and a computer analyst. In 1990, her first novel “Postmortem” was published and it was the first in her her very successful Scarpetta series.  The Scarpetta series follows medical examiner Kay Scarpetta along with her tech-savvy niece Lucy and fellow investigator Pete Marino.  The Scarpetta novels include a great deal of detail on forensic science with some action scenes as Kay and her colleagues solve various murders mostly in Richmond, VA. There are currently twenty-two novels in the series with the next one “Depraved Heart” due out in November of 2015.  This story will follow Kay as she tries to unravel a series of mysterious videos of her niece Lucy along with solving the death of a Hollywood mogul's daughter.

Pat's literary career also includes a book about Jack the Ripper’s identity, two cookbooks (Food to Die For and Scarpetta’s Winter Table), a children’s book (Life’s Little Fable), and a biography of Ruth Graham. She’s also writes two other series one based on an upstart Boston detective and another that follows an enterprising Charlotte, North Carolina reporter.

Pat’s books have sold some 100 million copies with twenty-six appearing on New York Times Best Selling list.  Her books are well known for unsuspecting twists, tension filled drama, and the latest in forensic science.  Her novels generally end with suspense filled action scenes as Scarpetta and her colleagues solve the murder and confront the killer. Authors similar to Pat include Faye Kellerman, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffery Deaver, Kathy Reichs, John Sanford, and Tami Hoag.

So if you are looking for mystery and intrigue along with some action and loads of forensic detail and science check out Patricia Cornwell and enter a world of high tech forensic detective work that will leave you amazed, a little bit smarter, and definitely entertained.

 

 

Ridley Pearson

4/1/2015

Ridley Pearson was born in March, 1953 in Glen Clove, NY.   Pearson was raised by his parents in Riverside, Connecticut along with his siblings, Bradbury and Wendy. He went to public school and then went to attend college at the University of Kansas and Brown University. He currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife, Marcelle, and their two daughters Paige and Storey.[1]

Ridley started his professional writing career as a singer/songwriter in a rock band and spent a decade on the road playing gigs in clubs and at colleges. He is a founding member of The Rockbottom Remainders, an all-author '60s rock and roll band that featured Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, Scott Turow, Greg Isles, Roy Blount, Jr. and on occasion Stephen King.  The band broke up in June 2012.

 

Ridley and Dave Barry have also collaborated on a series of novels that explain the beginnings of Peter Pan, the first “Peter and the Starcatchers” spent 47 weeks on the New York Times Children's Bestseller List.  It was later adapted into a play and went on to win five Tony Awards.  The two have written four other Peter Pan related stories.  Ridley also writes a children series set inside Disney theme parks called “The Kingdom Keepers.”  The stories are about five teenagers inside the Disney World who battle various Disney villains to keep the parks safe.  There are eight books in the series with the latest released, “The Syndrome,” in March 2015.  The story features Fairlies Amanda, Jess and Mattie as they attempt to find fellow Keeper Finn who has gone missing.

Ridley has also written numerous adult novel series, including the Walt Flemming series and Bolt Matthews series.  His first novel was published in 1985 called “Never Look Back.”  He has written over twenty adult novels and some of his writings have actually helped and stirred up controversy in real life.  His 1988 novel, “Undercurrents,” helped a Washington state prosecuting attorney solve a real-life homicide by referring to research methods used in the book. The attorney contacted the oceanographer mentioned in the book's acknowledgment page and the oceanographer identified a tidal flow and a "window of time" essential to the case.  The oceanographer went on to serve as an expert witness in the case and help convict the victim's husband of murder.  The 1995 novel, “Chain of Evidence,” which brought up the possibility of a crime gene, was the focus of a genetics conference later that same year and caused a controversy that made national news.  His latest adult novel, “The Red Room” was published in 2014 and is part of the John Knox/Grace Chu series.

 

 Ridley Pearson's novels span across man different genre from serial killers to Walt Disneyland. With an emphasis on engaging the reader and delivering white knuckle suspense both his crime stories and children novels have earned him a reputation for detailed research and nail biting stories. His reputation for stories that grip the imagination, feature high-tech crime and forensic detail have led to numerous best sellers and millions of fans both young and old.  So if you have a desire to be sucked into a world of espionage and mystery or if you or your children want to experience a world filled with beloved Disney characters as they battle evil try Ridley Pearson and become just one of many that find his stories to be bone chillingly good. 

 

James Patterson
8/18/14
 
Meet this week's author James Patterson.  Now he's a man most people have at least heard of if not by reading one of his books then by watching a film or television movie based on one of his books.  He's the world's best-selling author since 2001 and to say Mr. Patterson is a prolific writer would be an understatement.  He publishes at least three books a year and has published up to thirteen in one year.  His writing talent spreads across several different genres including romance, young adult, and children, but the majority of his books are mystery/thriller novels.  He has written almost one hundred novels since 1976 and has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times Best Selling Novels.  He holds the NY Times record and Guinness World record for the most best-selling hardcover fiction titles by a single author with seventy-six.  His novels account for one out of every seventeen hard cover books sold in the U.S.  
 
James Patterson was born in Newburgh, NY in 1947.  He currently lives in Florida with his family.  He graduated from Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in English from Vanderbilt University.  After he graduated he found employment in advertising and retired in 1996 to focus on writing.  His first novel was published in 1976 called “The Thomas Berryman Number.”  The story is about a reporter named Ochs James and his pursuit of the assassin named Thomas Berryman.  Since then he has written almost one hundred novels with seventy-six best sellers.  He is the author of numerous book series including the very popular “Alex Cross” series featuring Alex Cross as a former DC police and FBI employer who now works as a private psychologist and government consultant.  Other popular series include the “Woman's Murder Club” featuring a group of women solving crimes in San Francisco and the “Michael Bennet” series about a NYPD detective.  Along with these adult series Mr. Patterson also writes several young adult and children series including the best-selling “Maximum Ride” series about six teenagers who are human bird hybrids.  The series focuses on these extraordinary teenagers’ adventures of trying to stay alive and save the world.  His foray into children stories has been just as successful with many of his titles appearing on the NY Times best-selling children book list including the books “I Funny” and “My Brother is a Big Fat Liar.”  
 
His latest novel “Invisible” published in July tells the story of a FBI researcher named Emily Dockery and her quest to solve her sister's murder.  But, to do that she has to convince the FBI there is a sadistic serial killer on the loose hiding his horrific crimes with fire as he kills dozens of victims across the country.  The book has received good reviews and has been described as a “breakneck-paced thriller that will keep you holding your breath until the final, astonishing pages.”  He also has five more books scheduled to be released this year including a new Alex Cross book and two children books.
 
If you have not read any of Patterson's books perhaps you have watched them as a few of Patterson's books have been made into feature films including the very popular book series “Alex Cross.”  Morgan Freeman played the part of Alex Cross in “Kiss the Girls” in 1997 and “Along Came a Spider” in 2001.  Tyler Perry took over the role in 2012 for the feature film called “Alex Cross.”  Several of his books have also been made into successful TV movies with the latest being “Sunday's at Tiffany's” in 2010 starring Alyssa Milano and Stockard Channing.
 
Along with his writing career James Patterson is also very active in organizations attempting to make books more available to children and adults.  He has donated over 200,000 books to soldiers at home and overseas and thousands of books to schools in Florida, New York, and California.  He is also very passionate about promoting books to children and getting them interested in reading.  His award winning website www.readkiddoread.com is designed to help parents, teachers, and libraries by providing book reviews and recommendations on books that will get children excited about reading.  He has also helped college students by setting up teacher education scholarships and book buying programs that help students pay for college text books.
 
James Patterson's books tend to be a combination of mystery-thriller-crime stories with a little romance thrown in there.  His stories are characterized as fast paced with short chapters and engrossing plots.  He has a conversational writing style that grabs the reader's attention early on and drawing them in and then leaving them with the urge of having to know what is going to happen next.  He's said when he writes he tries to leave out the parts people skip when they are reading a book and he tries to write stories the way someone would tell a story.  He prefers the short chapter style because it keeps the reader's attention and moves the story along at a fast pace.  In his adult novels the violence can be graphic at times and hard to read for some.  However, he does tend to give the reader insight into both the heroes and the villains of the stories giving the reader a better understanding of the character's motives and an easier time connecting with the characters.  Some say his children books can be a little too high brow for their intended audience, but the stories are attention grabbers with very likable characters and the children can easily connect with the stories and the characters.  
 
Like other leading figures in their respected fields James Patterson has his critics and supporters.  Critics claim that recently he is more interested in the number of books he puts out in a year than the quality.  They say his stories are formulaic as he writes more and more with co-authors.  Supporters say by writing with co-authors he has been able to expand to other genre and his books are still filled with just as many twists and turns as they had in the past.  They also are ecstatic he publishes so many titles a year allowing them to read one of his new books almost monthly instead of having to wait months or years to read a new book by him, which is typical of most authors.  
 
Locally James Patterson is very popular.  The Mason County Library will typically have on hand six copies of his latest novel available for check out and still there will be a waiting list to read it of up to forty people.  The vast majority of opinions expressed in the reading review surveys found in his books give the books high marks.  Most say the books are great and they love the story.  Some direct quotes include, “Another spectacular, can't put down book” and “Good, easy to read and enjoy.”  However, there are a few that do say the books are “brutal for the sake of being brutal” and “a step down from the others.”  So as you see there are both critics and supporters locally as well.  But, the supporters far outnumber the critics and the number of new people starting to read him appears to be far greater than the number the people that have stopped reading him.
 
As you know no two authors are the same.  Each having their own unique style of storytelling.  However, there are several authors that write very similar to James Patterson.  They include Stephan J. Cannell, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, and John Sanford.  If you happen to like one of these authors chances are you will enjoy reading James Patterson and vice versa.
 
As you can see James Patterson is a man with a writing talent that spreads across many genres.  People of all ages and backgrounds read and enjoy his stories making him one of the best-selling authors of all time.  So if you like fast-paced heart pounding thrillers or tear jerker romances or want to spend some quality time with your kids reading a laugh out loud children book give James Patterson a try and join the millions of people who have met and now can't wait to read his next heart pounding adventure.
 
Next week meet Janet Evanovich.  A best-selling author of more than 50 books and the popular Plum detective series.   Her books have been described from hilarious and to nail biting.  If you are interested in learning more about her please come back next week for another edition of “Never Read Em.”
 

 

 

 

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