Elizabeth Gauffreau is on the Launch Pad!

Elizabeth Gauffreau and her new poetry book, Grief Songs

It’s my great pleasure to welcome Elizabeth Gauffreau to this month’s Launch Pad spot. Like me, you may already be familiar with Liz through her blog, and others of you will know her through her wonderful novel, Telling Sonny, a book I thoroughly enjoyed when I read it earlier this year.

So, let’s find out a little bit more about her. We’ll start with her official author bio:

Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. She holds a BA in English/Writing from Old Dominion University and an MA in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. After a misbegotten stint teaching high school English and Latin, she spent her career in nontraditional higher education.

Her recent literary magazine publications include Woven Tale Press, Dash, Pinyon, Aji, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, and Evening Street Review. Her fiction and poetry have also been featured in several themed anthologies, including Ad Hoc Monadnock, Shifts: An Anthology of Women’s Growth through Change, When Last on the Mountain: The View from Writers over Fifty, Familiar, and Poetry Leaves. Her 2018 debut novel, Telling Sonny, was inspired by a family secret and a lot of research into small-time vaudeville.

Learn more about her work at http://lizgauffreau.com.

Liz lives in Nottingham, New Hampshire with her husband. Their daughter has flown the nest to sunny California.

Grief Songs ~ paperback and ebook

Liz’s new book of poetry, Grief Songs – Poems of Love & Remembrance, is just out. It’s a deeply moving collection of poetry which speaks to an album of her family photographs. I just finished reading it yesterday, such a wonderful bitter-sweet collection, it moved me deeply. You can read my review here.

Now, let me hand over to Liz to tell us about the background to her new release.

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Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Chris. I greatly appreciate it.

I am a fiction writer by training, so I never expected to be releasing a book of poetry, much less a book of poetry written in tanka. However, being a part of our wonderful blogging community for the past several years has given me the inspiration to take my writing in new directions and the courage to publish the results for others to read.

Grief Songs started with the last poem in the collection, “Portland Head Autumnal,” although I had no way of knowing that when I wrote the poem. I had been following Colleen Chesebro’s poetry blog, “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry,” for some time and growing more and more curious to try my hand at syllabic poetry adapted from Japanese, such as haiku and tanka. I wrote “Portland Head Autumnal” as a tanka after a trip to Portland Head Light in Maine on a cold, gray, windy day in September when I could not recall any time I had been to Portland Head when the sky and water were gray, rather than bright blue.

Two months later, my mother died, leaving me the last person in my immediate family. As people do, I turned to the family photograph albums in an attempt to keep my mother with me just a little longer. As part of that process, lines of poetry started coming to me. Tanka seemed the appropriate form to give those lines shape and purpose. In the book, photographs are paired with poems to tell the story of a loving family lost.

Grief is a deeply personal experience, yet it’s an experience many of us have in common, particularly as we get older.  What prompted my decision to go ahead with publishing Grief Songs were readers’ responses to some of the individual poems I shared. The poems prompted fond memories of their own loved ones. For me, striking a responsive chord with a reader’s own experience in any number of different ways is what poetry is all about.

Thanks again, Chris, for featuring Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance on your blog and giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers.

~~~

The blurb

When a loved one dies, the family will often turn to the photograph albums as an act of solace, to keep their loved one with them just a little while longer, Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance arose from that experience. The collection opens with three free verse expressions of raw grief, followed by a series of photographs from the author’s family album, each paired with a poem written in tanka. Taken together, they tell the story of a loving family lost.

Praise for Grief Songs

“A beautiful, personal collection of family photos and poems that express the author’s most inner feelings. Nostalgic and heartfelt, Gauffreau’s poems are written in the Japanese style of tanka, simple,  thoughtful, and full of love. Filled with wonderful memories of the past.” 

~Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review

“Poetry readers willing to walk the road of grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. It’s a very accessible poetic tribute that brings with it something to hold onto–the memories and foundations of past family joys, large and small.”                        

~Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review 

Book Trailer

So lovely, I’ve watched it again and again…

Grief Songs is available in paperback and ebook from all your favourite online bookstores – buy it here

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Liz’s social media links

Website: lizgauffreau.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Gauffreau

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/profile/elizabeth-gauffreau

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/egauffreau

Poets & Writers’ Directory: www.pw.org/node/1079971

Facebook: Facebook.com/ElizabethGauffreau

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/liz-gauffreau

Twitter: twitter.com/LGauffreau

Grief Songs, by Elizabeth Gauffreau, available in paperback and ebook

Jacqui Murray is on the Launch Pad!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome Jacqui Murray to this month’s Launch Pad spot. You may well already be familiar with Jacqui through her blog, WordDreams, others of you will know her through her books. It is Jacqui who introduced me to the wonderful world of prehistoric fiction, a genre I hadn’t heard of before, but now I can tell you, I’m totally hooked!

So, let’s find out a little bit more about her. We’ll start with her official author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction sagaMan vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, is due for release in winter 2022.

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Before we come to Jacqui’s latest book release, let me share what Jacqui as to tell us about her journey into self-publishing and finding her authorial voice.

Finding my Voice – by Jacqui Murray

I have been writing fiction for about 25 years (non-fiction longer, but that’s a different story). When I started, I wanted to write the biography of a prehistoric female – how she survived when experts said she shouldn’t. I took some classes, attended conferences, read a bunch of books, and got excited about writing as a craft. An agent suggested I not write prehistoric fiction because the market was too small so I switched to thrillers. I wrote one, another, both well received but they didn’t sell much. I figured if I was going to write and NOT sell, I might as well write what I wanted so I switched back to prehistoric fiction. My first novel, Born in a Treacherous Time, was rejected over one hundred times but still, I wrote another, Survival of the Fittest. That too was rejected one hundred times (I stopped sending out queries when I received my 100th rejection).  Repeat for two more and then I stopped submitting to traditional publishers. I got whatever message they were sending and decided to self-publish. Yes, I was confused and intimidated, like a web browser with nineteen tabs open, seventeen of them frozen and one with music blasting but I couldn’t tell where it came from.

But none of that mattered. I was in charge of my destiny and that felt good. I peacocked for a while and then went back to work.

Somewhere along the line, I figured out my voice. That was scary at first, putting a book out to the public written the way I wanted but I felt good about what I was writing. I knew the rules, which to follow and which to bend, and understood the importance readers place on how a story is told. In fact, that is as important as rules. By the third book written my way, I began to gain traction and sell enough that I could even call myself a writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some success. A first place in a writing competition. Quarter finals in a national competition. I even had an agent for a while… That’s another story. I’ve tried quitting, but I’m back at it within weeks, like an addict. I know people who quit smoking and their rough period starts when they quit and continues till they die. Is that what being a reformed writer would be: “Hello, my name is Jacqui and it’s been ten days since I edited my last novel.” I get the shakes thinking of that.

If you’re trying to find your voice, here are my suggestions:

  • Know the rules of writing in your genre
  • Talk to professionals in that genre about your writing
  • Then, write the way you want to, with passion and energy. That’s your voice. You’ll find a group of people who like it and that will be good enough.

Someone once said about the death of one particular amazing writer whose stories seemed to be effortless:

Talent on loan from God. Talent returned to God.

When you find your voice, that’s what it feels like, as though someone greater than you is whispering in your ear and you darn well better listen.

~~~

Jacqui’s latest release is Laws of Nature, the second book in her Dawn of Humanity trilogy. I finished reading this only last week, and I recommend it whole-heartedly!

The Blurb

A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.

In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa, the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can’t stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy’s unique group–which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack–but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn’t trust.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

Book information

Title and author: Laws of Nature
Series: Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Editor: The extraordinary Anneli Purchase
Available (print or digital) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU  Kindle India

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Follow Jacqui here!

Amazon Author Page:          www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                      https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram/jacquimurraywriter

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

Paul English is on the Launch Pad!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome Paul English to this month’s Launch Pad spot!

Paul lives just up the road from me in Somerset West in the beautiful Western Cape of South Africa. You might remember him from the book signing we co-hosted back in 2019. It’s such a pleasure to have a fellow author close by with whom to exchange ideas and discuss the ups and downs of a writer’s life, although much of this has had to be virtual over the past year or so of lockdowns.

Paul’s an ardent superhero and sci-fi fan and has a love for mysteries, all of which has contributed to the writing of his novels. Originally inspired to create his first superhero character by watching an interview with the late great Stan Lee, Paul is an encyclopaedia of knowledge concerning anything and everything related to Marvel and DC comics. Paul’s also a keen follower of pro-wrestling and enjoys dabbling in drawing his own comic books and writing the stories. You can find him blogging about his writing and his books on his blog, Backroom Bulletin.

Paul’s book, Scorched Earth: Arrival was released earlier this year and he’s here to tell us about it. Take it away, Paul!

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Thank you for having me on your blog today Chris, I’m excited to tell you about my latest book which is the start of my Scorched Earth trilogy.

Scorched Earth: Arrival is the seventh book in the Fire Angel Universe, the new superhero universe which I created when I started my writing and publishing journey. Once I’d introduced several compelling characters over the course of my previous Fire Angel books, I decided it was time for all these characters to come together, and what better time for superheroes to meet than during an invasion from an alien empire? Given the fact I’m a science fiction fan it seemed the obvious choice and hence the Scorched Earth trilogy came into being. This first book deals with the arrival of a powerful alien force, an empire bent on the invasion of yet another planet: Earth.

Writing the Fire Angel series has been really enjoyable, although each book has come with its own set of challenges. The Scorched Earth trilogy is proving no different. I’m currently nearing the completion of the second book, Scorched Earth: Takeover, so keep an eye out for that when it comes out.

The Blurb

The Earth is being invaded. A hero falls.

As a ruthless alien empire sets its sights on Earth, the time has come for courageous people to step up and defend the world.

When Project: Guardian’s leader, Kat Palmer goes AWOL, Randy Wilson is next in line to lead the clandestine government task force against the most serious threat the human race has ever faced.

And now, when both the military and the police have their backs against the wall, humanity needs new heroes too. Alexandra Grant answers the call, not only to save others, but to redeem herself for condemning the superhuman, Fire Angel.

Meanwhile, the members of the underground Society of Science, are working against the clock to find a chink in the invaders’ armor and stop them before it’s too late.

So begins the war for humanity’s freedom…

~~~

Discover more of Paul English’s books on Amazon

Read them in order:

Fire Angel: Genesis

Fire Angel: Turning Point

Fade: Shadows of the Past

Fire Angel: Igniting the Spark

Family Portrait: A Fade Spin-Off

Scorched Earth: Arrival

~~~

Here are Paul’s social media links. Pop over and say hi!

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FireAngelUniverse

Blog: https://backroombulletin.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FireAngeluni

Pinterest: https://za.pinterest.com/AuthorPaulenglish/fire-angel-universe

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Paul-English/e/B07YSP6B41

Jude Itakali is on the Launch Pad!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome Jude Itakali to this month’s Launch Pad spot. Many of you will already be familiar with Jude through his blog, Tales Told Different, but let’s find out a little bit more about him from his author bio.

Jude was born and lives in Kampala, Uganda, and when not being an athlete on the rugby field, or crunching down numbers on a computer for work, he delicately pens the epiphanies from life and its different relationships and encounters.

He writes about all sorts of topics, finding a way to relate them with each other because no one theme exists in a vacuum.

Empathy is sometimes considered a gift, and Jude has it in abundance.

Jude has recently released his first book, Crossroads (Winds of Love) – a collection of poetry, prose and short stories. Here he is to tell us all about it. Take it away, Jude!

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Thank you for inviting me onto your blog today, Chris. I’m excited to tell you all about my book, which is entitled Crossroads (Winds of Love).

This is my debut publication and I used poetry because of its ability to touch a variety of people in a variety of ways. I admire the creativity it gives and the outlet of emotions that might otherwise fester within. The ability to exercise the breadth of language to pass on a message has always captivated me because it touches and evokes much deeper than plain words.

CROSSROADS (Winds of love) is a collection of poems, prose, and short stories written in verse. Many times, romantic love is depicted as a formula: advice on ways in which to get the best out of love. In my time and experience through many kinds of love, some my own, many from the people closest to me, and a few from the world testimonies and stories, I have come to understand that each situation is different, and not all advice is applicable for everyone. Love is not bound by rules, and in most cases, it does not make sense.

I wrote and compiled these poems and stories to show multiple aspects of love, to show the reader that they are not alone, that they should not be judged, and even though love’s pleasures may come with even greater pains, that in the end, the power to change it or discover it in its best form, lies within us.

This precious gem of a book has poetry in structured forms including, but not limited to sonnets, haiku, etheree, tanka, cinquain, shadorma, and many more. It also contains free verse poetry and a splattering of short stories. It takes us on an adventure through longing, intimacy, heartbreak and healing.

Click here for some of my latest reviews and some short extracts from the book.

The Blurb

In the corridors of love,
At the crossroads of loneliness,
We stand at our most vulnerable.
As the winds of love swirl, we are often ill-prepared for the portends and promises they carry;
The longing, fear, and deception.
The intimacy, and the horrors of heartbreak.
But also the hope, renewal and strength from the trials we have survived.

May these poems, prose and short stories touch each in their own particular way,
And bring us all perspective, compassion, hope and ultimately;
Love!

Find it on Amazon in ebook and paperback: USA ~ UK ~ IND ~ AUS ~ CAN ~ ESP ~ Rest of the World

If it’s available in your region, I’d recommend you order a paperback copy – so much better for poetry.

My copy arrived just a few days ago.

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Follow Jude here!

Goodreads: Goodreads Author Jude Kirya Itakali 
Blog: WordPress – Tales Told Different
Facebook:  Kirya Itakali Jude
Twitter:  @jude_clutch 
Instagram: judeitakali

Contact him on email: judekirya37@gmail.com

Lizzie Chantree is on the Launch Pad!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome international best-selling author, Lizzie Chantree to the first of my Launch Pad spots!

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor, running a popular networking hour on social media, CreativeBizHour, where creatives can support to each other.

This week I picked up a copy of Lizzie’s Networking for Writers. What a useful little book it is, containing lots of useful tips for any author navigating their way though the minefields of marketing and social media.

Lizzie’s novels are full of friendship and laughter, and are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Lizzie has a new book out and she can’t wait to tell us all about it. Take it away, Lizzie!

~~~

Thank you for inviting me onto your blog today Chris. I’m excited to tell you all about my latest book, which is called Shh… It’s Our Secret.

The story is about a woman called Violet, who has lots of insecurities since losing her parents at a young age. Violet has been looked after by her older sister, but feels that the local community around the café that she runs, have become her surrogate family.

The café that Violet works in is very run down, but she can see it’s potential. Unfortunately the current owner, who is also her boyfriend, does not see things her way. Violet has a secret that could help the local community and her makeshift family, but first she has to pluck up the courage to leave a man who doesn’t appreciate her, rebuild her confidence and find her voice. Can someone who shies from the limelight, step out of the shadows and show the world how incredible she really is?

The Blurb

Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.

Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.

When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidently discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered.

Find it on Amazon: Shh… It’s Our Secret

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Discover more of Lizzie Chantry’s books

The Little Ice Cream Shop by the Sea

Networking for writers

If You Love Me, I’m Yours

Ninja School Mum

Babe Driven

Love’s Child 

Finding Gina

Shh… It’s Our Secret

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Lizzie is all over Social Media. Catch up with her here!

Website: www.lizziechantree.com

Author page: www.viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Twitter: twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LizzieChantree

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

FB Groups: www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzie-chantree

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/lizziechantreeauthor

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnCop-RlAcGqggZG3JfE-Mw

You still have to sell!

Writers, we love to write, don’t we? That’s the best, even if NaNoWriMo can make us a little jittery (I know I had a wobble last week). But if you’re a writer, or an artist or creative of any kind, you know how wonderful it feels to be in the zone.

The converse of this: you still have to sell. 

For indie authors, it’s all down to us.

This is why friend and fellow author, Paul English and I were selling our books at the local car boot sale last Saturday. My husband Cliff was there too with his some of his lovely artworks. He’s a very important member of the team as he has the transport (that’s his bakkie in the background) and the tables and the all-important awning were borrowed from his school.

I have to tell you, it was not a great success. I sold a copy of ‘The Silver Locket’ very early on, but that was it! No other sales of anything! A couple of sniffs… and a couple of people said they’d come back next time. And there will be a next time, in two weeks.

I mean, who wouldn’t want a lovely book for a Christmas present?

Ah well, there’s always next time.

Meanwhile I’m planning some Black Friday and holiday offers – stay tuned out there!

Book Signing and Sales

Here we are, Friday evening at our Book Launch Party! 

Wonderful local wine and people enjoying the atmosphere.

A few of the pics from the Q and A session after Paul and I had told everyone about our books, with local authors Natasha Anders and Rae Rivers, and cover designers and illustrators Cliff Davies and Theresa Wilds.

The photos were taken by my good friend and photographer, Laurette van der Merwe. Find her here Laurette’s Photography and here Laurette’s Fine Art Photography and Artwork. Our launch was held at Chelsea Cafe who’d stoked up the fire and made us delicious soup to keep us going over the evening.

Paul and I both sold. We didn’t sell out, but we did do well. Our book links are here.

A good night all round, and nicely capped off the following evening by Liverpool Football Club’s victory in the European Cup. I’m sure Bob and Gary would’ve been in the crowd.

They’re singing our song again!

Busy

Sorry-For-The-Delay lunasonline

A Nick in Time” will return next week with Chapter 27.

Sorry about that, but we’re busy with our book launch! Woo-hoo!

A Virtual Book Launch

GENERAL INVITATION

Well, Paul and I would love for you all to join us on Friday evening. And I’m sure that if time and money were no object, you’d hop on the next plane to join us, or if we rigged up a time machine, or a worm-hole perhaps? 

But you can come in your imaginations, so cue the cool jazz background music and stoke up the fire (remember it’s winter here), grab a glass of something nice and take a look at what we have on offer.


We have some book-related items:

Paul has some stunning cards based on the characters from his Fire Angel Universe. You can imagine the feisty female characters they are!

Fire Angel herself on the left, and Fade from his just-published novel on the right

Paul English characters
Artwork by Lisa Malherbe

And I have some framed limited edition prints created by my husband and based on the artwork for ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone‘ – cool huh?

Limited edition prints of YNWA artwork by Cliff Davies
Artwork by Cliff Davies


And, of course, our books. New and back catalogue.

Novels by Paul English

3 x covers

Fade Shadow of the Past – ebook and paperback on Amazon and Smashwords

Fire Angel Genesis – ebook and paperback on Amazon and Smashwords

Fire Angel Turning Point – paper backavailable from the author (soon to be online)


Novels by Chris Hall

Chris Hall books

You can find all the links to order here.


Read and Review Indie Authors

We’ll let you know how we got on after all the excitement has died down.