Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Next Adventure:

 

On Saturday, April 30th, I'm participating in Middletown Thrall Library's Local Authors and Illustrators Showcase. I started this event in December 2014 and have helped organize it twice since then. This time, 28 local authors and illustrators will participate. 

The Hudson Valley is rich with talent, especially literary talent. This event gives these authors and artists exposure and introduces them to readers who may be looking for something beyond the bestsellers. It's a wonderful opportunity for readers and writers to learn about the publishing process, and to view and purchase books directly from the people who create them.

The list of participants includes: Jan Berlin & Lynda Gerenser, Sandra Bischoff, Andres Bodon, Dawn Bonney, Frances Brown w/a Claire Gem, Kevin Christofora, Catherine Ciocchi, Jennifer Circosta, Terri Del Negro, Christine Der Ohannesian, Elaine Freed Lindenblatt, Jason Gehlert, Adria Gross, Tom Ingrassia, Charles Isaacs, William Lemansky, Alan Lewis, Tracey Lyons, Liz Matis, Bette Lee Meci, Lisa Melville, Phil Murphy, Barbara Reina, ML Stainer, Lisa Vaughn, and Michael Worden. They represent a variety of genres including non-fiction, memoir, general fiction, romance, paranormal, fantasy, thriller, horror, crime, children's, and young adult. To view their bios please visit the event's web page.

The first session (11 AM - 1:00 PM) will feature children's and young adult authors and illustrators. Following this will be a story hour in the children's room featuring several of the authors. The second session (1:30 PM - 4:00 PM) will feature authors writing for adults. Author-donated books will be raffled off to attendees after the event (no need to be present to win!)

The library is located at 11-19 Depot Street, Middletown, New York. Directions are available on the library's website.

Questions? Send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com.

I hope to see you there! Please spread the word and share this post with your book loving friends and family.

Monday, April 25, 2016

New Release Spotlight: Tower Music by Joseph Bertolozzi


This blog is dedicated to authors and publishing but today I'm mixing it up a little bit by introducing my friend Joseph Bertolozzi, a world-renowned musician and composer about to release his long-awaited album Tower Music. His efforts are not unlike those of an author. He heard a muse. It moved him to explore and imagine his idea. He created a plan to bring his idea to life. He confronted and overcame many obstacles. He did not give up. Now he's on the brink of seeing his efforts launched into the music world, to be heard by millions of listeners.


I know Joe as the music director at my church, St. Joseph's in Middletown, New York. He is a wonderful organist and under his leadership our choir performs beautifully. But Joe is more than an organist and choir director; he's also a percussionist and a composer. One day when looking at a poster of the Eiffel Tower he had an epiphany: What kind of music could he create from the sounds of this architectural landmark? Joe knew that such a structure is a living, breathing thing with a life of its own. What if he could harvest its sounds and compose from those sounds? What would that music be like? Thus Tower Music was born, and the full album will be released on April 29th. This project is so unique, innovative, and out there I can't explain it, so watch the video. 
 

TOWER MUSIC / MUSIQUE DE LA TOUR
from the EIFFEL TOWER is available April 29th on Innova Recordings, iTunes, and Amazon.

Joe has authored many albums and compositions including his first architectural endeavor Bridge Music, composed from the sounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge, which connects the cities of Highland and Poughkeepsie, New York. This is another original, out there project. My family and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit the bridge and experience the music ourselves. I don't know what was more exhilarating: walking across the suspension bridge with vehicular traffic whizzing by at top speed, traversing the Hudson River from 135 feet above, or listening to and experiencing Joe's incredible bridge music. Again, this is so unique you have to see it for yourself. 

Watch the New York Times video. 

About Joseph Bertolozzi

Photo: © 2009, Dawn Sela
American composer Joseph Bertolozzi forges a unique identity as a 21st century musician with works ranging from solo gongs to full symphony orchestra to sound-art installations. With increasingly numerous performances across the US and Europe to his credit, his music is performed in concert halls and conservatories, and he himself has played at such diverse venues as The Vatican and The US Tennis Open. His latest explorations in sound have brought him to ‘Tower Music,’ using the Eiffel Tower in Paris itself as his instrument. This project builds upon ‘Bridge Music,’ his “audacious plan” (New York Times) to compose music for a suspension bridge using New York’s Mid Hudson Bridge. These works have brought Bertolozzi sustained international attention. In 2009 his CD “Bridge Music” (Delos) reached #18 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Music Chart. His concert music and theatrical scores have also enjoyed particular success, including “The Contemplation of Bravery,” an official 2002 Bicentennial commission for The United States Military Academy at West Point and his incidental score to “Waiting for Godot” at the 1991 Festival Internationale de CafĂ© Theatre in Nancy, France. He also has a large body of liturgical music for use in both Christian and Jewish worship. Many of his compositions can be heard at JosephBertolozzi.com and The American Music Center. 

Connect with Joseph Bertolozzi
Website
Tower Music
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube





Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Happy Tenth Anniversary RSI's! (Just Kidding About the Happy Part)

photo by vladimir floyd via adobe stock photo
Today, April 20, 2016, marks the ten year anniversary of my disability and the "injury" that caused it. This was no clear cut accident with indisputable proof. No, this was the result of cumulative injury over a series of weeks and most likely months that added up to three surgeries, years of physical therapy, medications, and holistic therapies, and the loss of one terrific job. And chronic, unrelenting, soul sapping pain.

Most people are happily oblivious to the fact that computers are dangerous things. In fact, most of us spend hours each day parked in front of one for our jobs, and in the evening spend hours more keyboarding for leisure (or more work.) Without proper ergonomics and adequate rest breaks, excessive keyboarding can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, bursitis, tendinitis, neck pain, headaches, and other discomforts. This includes keyboarding on tablets and smartphones too, which add their own unique set of injuries, such as text neck and text thumb. These maladies can become chronic. The pain may never go away. In my case, it hasn't.

I celebrated the tenth anniversary of the discovery of my RSIs with an MRI of my neck. Yes, ten years later I am still doctoring, exploring, and searching for answers on how to treat these injuries and regain the parts of my life they robbed from me. 
 
Never take for granted the ability to work at a computer station for hours and walk away without pain. If you do experience pain, listen. It's a warning that something is not right. It's easier to rest and repair RSIs when they're acute than to manage them once they become chronic. See your doctor. Obtain an ergonomic evaluation. Read up on the subject. Figure out what you're doing wrong. Go for a massage. See the chiropractor. Get some physical therapy. All of these measures can help. Don't ignore it! Otherwise you too may be celebrating a ten year anniversary with pain in an MRI suite (did I mention I hate MRIs?) 
 
To learn more about my life with RSIs please visit:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

New Release Spotlight: Forsaking All Others, Historical Christian Romance by Kari Trumbo

Rose dreamed of leaving the Sioux reservation in Santee, NE. Now, faced with the wide world, she must decide if she is truly ready to strike out on her own and take the risk. Rose has fought against the painful abuse of her father and the loneliness of a mother long-dead of a white man’s sickness. When Pete offers her the chance to escape to a new life, she must take it or marry into the same abuse she’s lived for so long. Pete has always helped Rose from the shadows. Being half-white, he’s had to. He has loved Rose for as long as he can remember, but he must prove his worth to her by helping her to freedom and safety. Pete must compete for the right to take Rose to Kansas but his young and impetuous heart steers him wrong. In shame, he abandons Rose, but can never leave her care completely to someone else. When they finally make it to Kansas, Pete comes out of the shadows once again. Once within the safety of a Kansas ranch, can Rose forgive Pete for leaving her? Will Pete remain the brooding half-blood from the reservation, or grow into the man Rose needs him to be?

 
Excerpt

“Pete.” She shook him. “Wake up, something’s out there.” 
 
 
Pete’s eyes opened to narrow slits and he looked at her, sleep still in complete control of him. She shook him again as an ominous groaning sound came from the other side of the rock. Looking up, she caught sight of a huge furry head with a brown muzzle and black nose. A great paw with massive claws came over the top of the rocks. She heard it snort as it sniffed the air. Her eyes flew wide open and she couldn’t control her gasping breaths.
 
Pete sat upright, fully awake now. He grabbed for his pack lying next to hers by the far rock wall, and banged their spoon against a cook pot. The bear looked down at him with inquisitive, almost sad-looking eyes. It climbed onto the rock above them and stared down, its sides expanding and contracting as if this was nothing new, like it woke humans every day.
 
“Rose,” he whispered, “whatever you do, don’t run. You can’t outrun it, do you hear me?” He didn’t look away from the bear. Banging on the pot with increasing speed, he had no effect on the massive, hairy beast.
 
The bear climbed down into their small enclosure. Rose held her breath. She wanted to run more than breathe. Pete gave her a look that told her to stay put. She scooted on her backside as far away from the bear as she could, until her back hit the rock and she was trapped. It sniffed the air again and grabbed for Rose’s pack, which carried the little food she’d scraped together for their trip. The invader turned around, climbed back over the rock and she heard it splash into the river and wade downstream.
 
She sat with her mouth open and tried to get her breathing under control.
 
“Well, that was quite a start to our trip,” Pete mumbled as he shoved the pan back into his bag. “We’ll need to find breakfast, since ours is now gone.”
 
Purchase Forsaking All Others
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About the Author
Kari Trumbo is a writer of Christian Historical Romance and a stay-at-home mom to four vibrant children. She does freelance developmental editing and blogging. When she isn't writing or editing, she homeschools her children and pretends to keep up with them. Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing with the worship team, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband of eighteen years, two daughters, two sons, and four cats. 
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Clean Reads Countdown Blitz: R.S. McCoy's Paranormal Sparks, Book One in the Sparks Saga

The third and last book I'm spotlighting in the Spring Clean Reads Countdown Blitz is Rachel McCoy's Sparks, Book One in the Sparks Saga.  Rachel is a Texan living in New Jersey. Between binge watching MTV reality shows and baking gluten free treats, she writes paranormal fantasy and science fiction novels. She is the self-published author of the Sparks Saga trilogy as well as numerous short stories, some of which now reside in anthologies. Back when she lived in the real world, Rachel earned a degree in marine biology, which contributed to her die-hard love of manta rays.    
 
“Everyone in the world has a Spark, a light inside that guides them, keeps them alive.” 

Starting school is supposed to be a fun and exciting time for any new student. But for Lark, a skilled archer and fledgling mind-reader, it’s a creative form of torture. Locked in rooms and hallways with both friends and enemies, bombarded by the thoughts and feelings of his peers, Lark is a prisoner.

On a quest to master his Spark, Lark’s mentor–his one ally–is anything but helpful. What Lark fails to realize is the value of his rare ability, and just how far some are willing to go to have control of him.

 Exerpt:

Wearing only my loose brown pants, I crawled into the most comfortable bed I had ever known and sank into the soft, down pillows. I had just started to drift off when I heard a knock at the door. I’m going to kill Avis.

“What do you—” I started until I realized it wasn’t Avis. It was a stunning blonde with blue eyes. Khea.

“I’m sorry to wake you. I just—I had to see you.” Her arms moved to wrap around my waist and hold me tight as I questioned if I was really sleeping or not.

“Uh, do you want to come in?” We both knew the rules about being in someone else’s room after hours, so I pulled her in and sat down on the edge of the bed, still a little surprised she was there.

In the dim light, her hair looked a little darker, but her face was still sweet and there was no denying that the last two years had done her well. Who would have thought such a beautiful, young woman would come from that skinny, little girl in Lagodon?

“How’d you know I was back?” I asked her, trying to appear less tired or shocked than I was.

“A friend told me.”

“I didn’t think you—” Cared? It wasn’t the right word, but I was beyond amazed that she was interested in my whereabouts. I hadn’t seen her since that night at the Moonwater, and it had changed everything for me since then. But for her, I wasn’t aware that she had been affected in any way.

“Ride with me tomorrow?”

“Uh, yeah, of course.” It was a struggle to cover how little I wanted to wait. I would have given anything to have her stay.

Purchase Sparks

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To connect with RS McCoy (or swap recipes), visit her on her website or check out her Facebook page. You can also join her newsletter to receive release updates, free stories, and bonus extras.

About the Author:

I started writing in the spring of 2013. In the fall of 2012, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and underwent several months of treatment. It was a struggle but I made it through. Then, in April 2013, I received that phone call no cancer patient wants to hear: they found another mass in my neck and I needed to come in for more tests. I thought I made it through my initial treatment as well as could be expected, but this single phone call completely blew me apart. I was angry. I was scared. I had a new baby that I didn't want to leave without a mom. I had a ton of emotions going on and I really struggled to relay them in an articulate and meaningful way. My husband had been encouraging me to write for a while, so the afternoon of that phone call, I went home, and I wrote a short story on a few pages of computer paper. For a few minutes, my head was clear and when I was done, I'd transformed all my negative energy into a positive product. I've been writing ever since! (And the phone call ended up being a false alarm! I've been cancer free for three and half years!)

I'm currently working on my Alder Tales series. This series is my paranormal romance spin on classic fairy tales. The first book, Blossom and the Beast (retelling of Beauty and the Beast) will be out at the end of May. I'm currently writing the second book, Raene and the Three Bears (Goldilocks and the Three Bears) to come out later this year. The books in this series take place in Seraphine, a post-apocalyptic realm in modern day Europe. At eighteen, citizens of Seraphine learn their totem animal, and for the rest of their life, they can transform into that animal at will. It's been a lot of fun to write characters and incorporate animal traits into their personality. In the second book, Raene has a tiger totem, and it comes out in her quiet elegance and fiery temper. She definitely has some claws!

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spring Clean Reads Countdown Blitz: E.B. Wheeler's Historical Paranormal The Haunting of Springett Hall



The second book I'm spotlighting in the Spring Clean Reads Countdown Blitz is E.B. Wheeler's The Haunting of Springett Hall. Wheeler grew up in Georgia and California. She attended BYU, majoring in history with an English minor, and earned graduate degrees in history and landscape architecture from Utah State University. She's the award-winning author of several short stories, magazine articles, and scripts for educational software programs. She lives in the mountains of Utah with her husband, daughters, various pets, and as many antique roses as she can cram into her yard. If she had spare time, she would spend it playing harp and hammered dulcimer, gardening, hiking, shooting archery, knitting, and reading.



Eighteen-year-old Lucy doesn't know why she's haunting Springett Hall in Victorian England. All she remembers of her life is that she was trying to fix a terrible mistake. Now, a necromancer's plans threaten everyone in the house--living and dead--and her only hope of stopping him is enlisting the help of a servant named Philip--the one living person who can see her. But as Lucy delves into the mystery surrounding her death, she realizes Philip may have secrets of his own.
Excerpt

“Sunset,” Philip hissed.

A breeze stirred, whirling the dust into a funnel that glittered in the last light of day. How could something so beautiful exist in a place so foul? I glanced at Philip, hoping to share the moment, but his face was buried in his sleeve.

“Mr. Ketley?”

“It stinks, like sulfur and rotting meat.”

A rat dashed out of a dim corner and fled for the library.

The colors faded and the dust turned gray. The twirling breeze centered over the altar. The darkness beat like a pulse, flashing a black so deep it stung my eyes. I couldn’t imagine Philip not noticing it, but he scrambled to gather the papers from the floor and Sir Jason’s desk.

Dark mist materialized in the silver outline, thickening with each pulse, until the air in the circle roiled with black fog.

“Mr. Ketley!”
He glanced at the circle and swore. “Get out!” Scooping another armful of papers, he fled the room.

The black fog bubbled like a pot coming to a boil.

I hurried after Philip, grasping to pull the bookcase shut behind me. My hands slipped through. I covered my mouth, helpless to do anything against the darkness building within the circle.




Q & A with E. B. Wheeler

1. When did you start writing, and was there a specific event or person who influenced you to become an author?

I've been writing as long as I can remember, and I'm sure it helped that my parents read to me and sometimes made up their own bedtime stories (often with input from us kids), but I think it was Lloyd Alexander who made me want to write seriously. As a kid, I sent a letter telling him how much his books inspired me, and he wrote a really encouraging note back. I decided then I wanted to be like him (I'm still working on it).

2. Are you currently working on a project, and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

I have a couple of projects in the works. My Renaissance historical fiction, Born to Treason, comes out in May, and I'm co-authoring a World War I novel, No Peace with the Dawn, scheduled for release in November. I have a Victorian fantasy about a group of outcasts fighting the Faerie Queen that's out on submission now, and a book about a treasure hunt making its way out of the rough draft stage.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

New Release Spotlight: A Beautiful Wreck, Book 2 in CeeCee James Wrecked and Yours Second Chance Trilogy

The Wrecked and Yours Second Chance Trilogy is now complete with book three, A Beautiful Wreck. Written to be a stand alone, this sweet romance is all about hope restored. Gorgeous cover, don't you think?

Her love may heal him, but his secret may destroy her. 
 

One terrifying, emotional mission to return a family heirloom sends Cassie on an unexpected search for the person she never knew she needed.

Luke is tough, strong, and was once the best cop in town. Until the mob took away the one person he ever wanted. Now he’s trapped in fear over the man he’s become.

Cassie wants to bring him redemption, but fears she will never open her heart again.Each is the only one who can understand the other. If they’d just let their walls down.

Purchase on Amazon

About the Author


CeeCee James is a wife, mom, owner of two mini-dashchunds, writer, and watercolor artist. Most of all, she is a survivor. The story about overcoming strife is one that resonates with her. She lived it herself. An advocate for adult survivors of child abuse, her Ghost No More series is her true story of surviving and healing from childhood trauma.

Her fictional series, Wrecked and Yours, is about love, secrets and navigating life. It's romantic, uncertain and messy, like life often is. It's describes their season to make a choice, "look at life honestly and deal with it, or continue to run away." CeeCee absolutely loved writing it, and hopes it resonates with you because everyone has an important story of what they've overcome.

Follow CeeCee James
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More about the Author

My journey as an author first started as a child who loved to read. Growing up in a household that was often painful, in and out of foster care, I made my escape in several favorite books, who continue to be favorites to this day.

My first favorite that is near and dear to my heart is the James Herriot All Creatures Great and Small series. Those four books made me laugh, cry, and feel like there was a place of goodness and hope still in this word that set me on my own personal journey to find that place. He was an amazing author.

My second favorite books are the C.S. Lewis series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Yes! Still a favorite. It was here I saw other kids escape to new lands, and I lived vicariously through them. They reminded me to be brave, and continue to look for the beauty and whimsy in the world. I adored reading them out loud to my own children, over cups of hot cocoa.

As an adult, my favorites have gone far and wide. But nothing has yet measured up to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. His world building skills continue to hold me in awe.

These books have influenced my own writing, which centers on the main characters emotional journey. I try to drop in whimsy, and beautiful moments that are all around us all the time. Thanks for letting me share!

CeeCee James