Alright folks! Only one week until Christmas, and I know some of you haven’t finished shopping yet. And for those of you who have “finished” shopping, are you really sure you’ve bought your loved ones enough books this year? Books are a gift that keeps on giving long after the paper and boxes are ripped apart, and quite frankly, I try to buy at least two for every person on my list. The trick is making sure my brother opens his books last, because once he has them, he completely ignores the rest of us until brunch.
Personally, I had two books out this year that I’m very proud of. I’ll share about each of them below, but first, I want to offer all the authors out there the chance to promote yourselves in the comments today. If you’ve written a book and it’s available for purchase, please feel free to let other readers know about. I get so many requests from people who would like me to review their books, and unfortunately, I just don’t have enough hours in the day to do so. That being said, every time I see one of those emails, I’m proud to know that writers are getting the word out about their own work. It’s a tough part of the job (certainly not my favorite), but if we don’t toot our own horns, chances are, no one else will do it for us. (Unless you’ve hit it big. Or you’re about to hit it big. In that case, congratulations! Kirkus or the New York Times will probably do the work for you! For the rest of us though…) If you would like to share your book, please be sure to include information on how readers can purchase it and a brief description of the work.
Circ, the first Ten To One novel, is written by Simon Fairbanks, Maria Mankin, Yasmin Ali, Jason Holloway, Livia Akstein Vioto, Luke Beddow, Danielle Rose Bentley, William Thirsk-Gaskill, Sue Barsby and Giselle Thompson.
Razvan Popescu lives in a flat overlooking the seaside town of Skegness. He keeps himself to himself and few know the man at all. Even fewer know his past, which he has tried to leave behind in the Romanian woods.
But when a tattooed man is found murdered on the beach, it is clear that some of that past has followed him to this tacky seaside town. As battle erupts within the criminal fraternity, dark forces gather around the town and Popescu’s acquaintances find themselves dragged into a world of violence, fire and fairy tales.
One thing is certain: the circus has come to town.
The premise of the project was that as a group we would produce eleven chapters, each of us writing a section of each from the perspective of a single character. The catch is that after a chapter was written, we would post them on Facebook, and the audience (and a panel of judges) would vote. The character with the fewest votes (combined with the lowest judges score) was eliminated after each round (hence the name “Ten to One”). I came in second, and with my friend Simon, had the privilege of bringing the book to its conclusion.
My character, Nell, is a young widow trying to escape her past who has recently moved to Skegness (a small, dingy seaside town in England) from Virginia to live with her aunt and waitress at a chip shop. She’s an amateur boxer and a former EMT who has gotten mixed up with murder and mayhem through the thugs running her gym (and an illegal fight club), and while her situation is getting messier, the lives of those around her, including her only real friends in town – a sword swallower and a dangerous mafia wannabe – are falling apart.
We spent almost two years bringing this book to life, and I am smitten with how it turned out. There were some dark times during editing, but the end result is a thrilling adventure that turns the disparate talents of ten writers into something special. If you’d like to buy it in paperback or on kindle, it’s available on Amazon.
The Shakespeare Reader and Other Christmas Tales, by Maren C. Tirabassi, edited by yours truly, is a much more holiday-friendly book. Although I didn’t write this one, I spent so many (so. many.) hours working on it that I feel comfortable sharing it here and encouraging any of you who love Shakespeare, or Christmas, or short stories about Shakespearean Christmas adaptations to check it out.
“The Shakespeare Reader and Other Christmas Tales” is a romp through Shakespeare with holiday settings, but don’t expect to guess how the three stories end.
“The Dark Ride” follows the wife of a retired high school English teacher who tries to make a go of a Shakespeare-themed amusement park in rural New Hampshire. “Enter Friar, Stage Left” is a contemporary re-telling of Romeo and Juliet from the clergy perspective. “The Shakespeare Reader” introduces Ben, who fancies himself a sleuth based on how he recognizes the Shakespearean plots underlying the comings and goings of his Harvard Square neighbors.
This is Tirabassi’s eighteenth book, and it plays to many of her strengths. It combines her warm family friendly sense of humor, her expertise on all things Shakespeare, and her gift for turning a short story into the best way to spend a snowy afternoon by the fire. If you’d like to buy it in paperback or on kindle, it’s available on Amazon.
Now it’s your turn. I know I still have a few people to shop for, and I very much hope to get some ideas from all of you…