Monday, June 13, 2016

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

Funny GirlFunny Girl by Nick Hornby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Funny Girl is a light, fun read about the production of a BBC comedy in the sixties. The focus is on the lives of the writers, producer, and actors of this fictional show: Barbara (and Jim). Very few scenes from the show are described, reminding me of the structure of the popular TV show 30 Rock.

The main character in the novel is an actress named Barbara whose agent convinces her to change her name to Sophie and is then cast to play a character named Barbara. This name shift seems to tie in with the way the TV actors begin to confuse the lives of their characters with their own, off camera lives. When I first saw the name of this novel and discovered it is about an actress named Barbara, I thought it would be about Barbara Streisand. It's not, unless there are some additional parallels I didn't catch.

Although Funny Girl is a light read, it touches on some serious subjects. Here's a quote from the wife of one of the writers, a bisexual man who is having some issues with his decision to lead a heterosexual life:

“It's funny, sex,” she said. “It's a little thing, like a glass of water is a little thing, or something that falls off a car and only costs a couple of bob to replace. It's only a little thing, but nothing works without it.”

One of the subplots of this novel is about the definition of success, specifically the difference between fame and serious art. I enjoyed Hornby's opinion on this subject and I agree with him, mostly.

However, it is the characters that I enjoyed the most. Barbara/Sophie thinks in a simple way that makes a great deal of sense. I loved that about her and I loved her relationships with her family and with her coworkers.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Rachael Tamayo, author of the new novel Chase Me due out soon from Solstice Publishing

I'm taking a break from my book reviews this week to write about a new friend, author Rachael Tamayo. Her novel Chase Me is coming out soon with Solstice Publishing. I'm looking forward to reading it along with the other books she's working on.

Rachael Tamayo

1. Tell Us a little about yourself.

My name is Rachael Tamayo. I’ve been married for 12 years and have a 3 year old son. I’ve lived in Texas all my life (dang it’s hot here!) and I’ve been writing off and on since childhood. I’ve always wanted to be an author. My mom loved to write too, but was too scared to go anywhere with it. I think it’s in my blood!

2. Is Writing your full time profession, or do you have a "day job?"

My dream is to be able to write full time, but as of right now, I am a police dispatcher and 911 operator. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and have won a few awards including Telecommunicator of the Year for my local department. I was nominated for the APCO/NENA Telecommunicator of the Year a few years back, and was honored even though I didn’t win. I write in my spare time. So when I’m not chasing a 3 year old, being a wife, working, doing Mom stuff and chores, I’m probably writing.

3. What is your book about?

 Glad you asked! Chase Me, book one in the romantic series, Friend-Zone. Adrienne Lawrence loves her friends. It seems, however, that she doesn’t get along with her family as well. One hot Texas summer, Adrienne manages to fall headfirst over her own big mouth when she lies to her Mom about a long term boyfriend in efforts to squelch her Mom’s nasty comments about having a date for a family wedding. Clint Montgomery, one of her best friends, kindly steps in agreeing to play the part of the devoted boyfriend during a week-long venue wedding across the country. After a week of pretend kisses and smoldering looks, the lines between what is fake and what is real seem to become fuzzy. The only problem is, Adrienne doesn’t want to become one of the women that Clint leaves in his wake, but fighting what she’s feeling is becoming almost impossible. Chase me is in the editing process and will be released later this year.

4. What is your current project?

I’ve been editing books two and three In the Friend-Zone series. I’m currently drafting a new book, called Crazy Love. It’s a stand alone romantic suspense. Emily Bronte is a young Pharmacist that has an over enthusiastic customer, Noah Burrell. He comes to see her every day at work and gives her the creeps every time she see’s him. Then there is Isaiah Penrose. He’s a detective for a local police department and the duo (Isaiah and Emily) had an unforgettable one night stand months before that neither of them forget. When they cross paths again, things heat up rapidly. Unfortunately, things with Noah start to get freaky weird and it becomes a scary game of life and death.

5. What is your process?

Does your mood/location have to be specific or can you write anywhere and anytime? I can write anyplace, anytime. I can write in my phone, in downtime at work, at home, anywhere. I do get inspired by music a lot. If I hear the right song, it sends my imagination into overdrive and feeds my creativity.

6. What do you read?

I read a few different Things. I’ve been known to read Young Adult, Crime novels, mysteries, Romance, Thrillers, and a Paranormal here and there.

7. Whats the last book you read?

The last book I read was Hearts in Darkness, by Laura Kaye. It’s a Romance, Novellette, and it’s a sweet and sexy story of a guy and a girl that get trapped in an elevator in the dark together for hours. I just started to read The Girl in the Ice, by Robert Bryndza, a Serial Killer thriller.

8. How can readers find you?
My website and blog:




Google + :

9. Where can people buy your books?

Stay tuned for details. My short story, The Stones is coming out June 21 in the Solstice Publishing’s Summer Anthology. Check my pages above for details on release and for links.

10. Anything you'd like to add?

For aspiring authors, don’t give up. Keep writing. Keep revising. Keep getting that feedback from your critique groups and beta readers, even if it hurts. It makes you better. Everything you write makes you better. Don’t give up.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Oil and Marble by Stephanie Storey

Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and MichelangeloOil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo by Stephanie Storey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I met Stephanie Storey at a lecture she gave in Winston-Salem, NC. The focus of her talk was research for historical fiction, but she also spoke about other aspects of her writing. When she was done I was impressed enough to buy Oil and Marble. And now that I've read the novel, I'm even more impressed.

This is a story about Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, set when they were both living and working in Florence. It is, in Storey's own words, “unapologetically a work of fiction.” But in my opinion, historical fiction is more accurate than straight history. Both require accuracy concerning known facts, but a good work of fiction goes a step further by capturing human emotion. And Oil and Marble isn't just good. It's wonderful.

This was the time when Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa and Michaelangelo chiseled his David. Leonardo was a master, older than Michaelangelo, so his reputation was established, while Michaelangelo had complete the Pieta and was trying to build on the reputation that work had brought him. Despite the fact that they were at different points in their careers, they were rivals and both experienced the crazy mix of admiration and jealousy that comes when one artist studies the work of another.

As I expected the novel was about the love of art, but there were many themes running through it. Leonardo was concerned with various aspects of his career. He was an engineer as well as an artist, so he worked on other projects. Most of those related to military threats, particularly from the neighboring city of Pisa. And he also had an interesting relationship with Lisa del Giocondo, the model for the Mona Lisa. Meanwhile, Michaelangelo was concerned about his family. He had brothers who depended on his ability to earn money and a father who wasn't happy with his choice to be a sculptor. He was constantly torn between his artistic drive and his love for his family.

In Oil and Marble the stories of Leonardo run side by side, constantly veering over to interfere with one another, but also keeping their independence. I expect that is what the real lives of these two artists were like in the sixteenth century. The book has romance, ambition, and consistent action. It's a great way to study history or to just get lost in a good story.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions

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