So much fun! Family portraits are really the hit! Take a look at our Canine friends! Can you imagine getting your own children to pose so gracefully? Yes, you can embed your Facebook posts to your website!  Not really a new feature – but one that people don’t know about!   Post by Jon Michael Riley.   Holiday time is portrait time!  What fun to include your canine friends and family!

Authors! What a unique and different group of people we are!  Let me introduce you to CJ Lyons . .   The following excerpts have been Taken from her website. Let’s talk a bit about CJ Lyons . . . . She was a pediatric ER doc who turned suspense/thriller author.  CJ Lyons grew up in the mountains of central Pennsylvania, the heart of the rust belt, and lived there until she left home at 17 to go to college in North Carolina. Then it was on to Florida for med school and back to Pennsylvania for her pediatric residency at Childrens’ Hospital of Pittsburgh. For CJ, writing stories was a way of dealing with the “real world.”  It was just who she was, she never thought that one day she would be publishing her stories or much less create a career out of it!  Until her “Internship” in Pittsburg.  That’s […]

Remembering my parents during the 1950s, pre-civil-rights era . . . I am revising a novel, a dark coming-of-age story in a small Southern mill town in 1960, the pivotal year of the Greensboro sit-ins. It is a manuscript I had not looked at in a long time. Naturally I had forgotten some of the more interesting parts, but the one thing that became evident with every page and chapter, is the fact that much of the story reflects what my parents did to help their African-American friends in the 1950s. In reflecting back on my parents, I now realize they were undercover civil rights workers. They never made a big deal about anything they did, in fear that their peer group—white middle-class, small-town people, largely white segregationists—would notice and become immediately angry, threatened, belligerent, or, even worse, take revenge on the families my parents were helping. A saying in […]

Taking a second look . . . While waiting for the Photo Shoot manuscript to come back from an editor, I had this intuition that I needed to take another look—a second look, so to speak—at my first novel, one I had set aside prior to 2010. This was a story that I’d worked on for well over five years, maybe more. It is a story that is laced with fact, things there happened: the characters are all real people, their names changed to protect everyone guilty of the horrible as well as wonderful things they did. And because of this, I have always felt passionate about Searching for Cool, Praying for Heat, a novel of 1960 in a Southern mill town. I approached this second look with some fear. I worried that I’d find: The writing trite The style obvious or clunky The story line garbled The characters flat […]

Ah, yes… dreams….   For me, they tend to fall squarely into three distinct categories… The idyllic future Frustrating past Or churning present. Based on my background as a photographer, you might think (well, I’d think) my new work, writing novels inspired by present-day events, would inspire a dream life that would be working on intricacies of the next novel about our hero, photographer Channey Moran. How is he going to circumvent the electric power company’s armed-and-dangerous security squad while attempting to photograph gray rivulets of goo leaking form a coal ash pond during torrential rains. But no . . . . Today, I awoke from a most frustrating dream that springs directly from my active past life…a photo shoot going awry. In my dream, I’m photographing some VIP with ONE chance—one shot—to get it right. I have no lighting equipment, only a small square of reflective board typically used […]

Not very often does a small detail of an important piece of history walk right in front of me. But it happened this past week. A little background: Michael Collins is a huge hero to many in Ireland, because he and his small group of comrades almost single handedly defeated the British Empire in Ireland between 1918 and 1921. Liam Neeson starred in a film entitled “Michael Collins” in 1996. Most Americans might find the story impenetrable, but that is part of the charm of that particular period in Irish history. One of the dramatic highlights of that film is the playing out of what is called Bloody Sunday, that occurred on Sunday, Nov. 21, 1920. Michael Collins had assembled a Squad of twelve men, who worked undercover to thwart British MI5 agents who were all over Dublin. The Squad became known as The Apostles and on Bloody Sunday they […]

Dear Readers, Work now progresses into the final edit stage on Photo Shoot, the sequel to Dream the Dawn. It is a longer and more complex story, so the editing has taken more time.   I’ll get it printed out next week and sent to a wonderful New York editor who has offered to do this for me. While I’m waiting for her to go through it, I’ll begin figuring out a cover. I’ve already been thinking about what it should be, studying book covers that have grabbed my attention without using the cliches that you so often see in bookstores and online.   It IS a challenge, especially when the subject encompasses a yacht sailing across the Indian Ocean, Somali pirates, New York photographer, Channey Moran and company in New York, with Paris and Belfast being two other locations before everyone ends up in the Somali desert.   Meanwhile, Dream the […]

What is IndieBound? A product of ongoing collaborations between the independent bookstore members of the American Booksellers Association, IndieBound is all about independent bookstores and the power of “local first” shopping. Locally owned independent businesses pump money back into the their communities by way of taxes, payrolls and purchases. That means more money for sound schools, green parks, strong police and fire departments, and smooth roads, all in your neighborhood. Independent bookstores have always occupied a special place in communities. There, you can just be, learn openly, share freely, be inspired, and breathe deeply. Through IndieBound—and the Indie Next List flyers and Indie Bestseller Lists—readers find trusted bookseller curated reading options, newly discovered writers, and a real choice for buying. Your local bookstore is a great place to gather.  Learn about new authors, join a book club, be involved in Author showcases and book signings!  Taking your youngster to the […]

For those of you who find ancient sites fascinating, particularly if they are Irish, and well over a “Thousand Years Old”, and occupy a tiny rock shelf on an uninhabited island the shape of a pyramid, I’d like to point out a “Remarkable book by the late English author, Geoffrey Moorhouse (1931-2009). Published in 1997, Sun Dancing is a marvelous imaginative story about what life might have been like for the monks who began a monastery on Skellig Michael in the 6th century AD.  The ancient Skellig chaps never left any written records so historians can only loosely surmise what and when. That’s why Moorhouse’s book is such a good read. It is like history conveyed by a vivid storyteller and gifted writer. Here is the first half of one paragraph from his introduction: As I climbed the path winding up to the ancient constructions near the top of the […]

I’ve been working on Dream the Dawn for a long time…but not near as long as the Irish “Shell-to-Sea” Environmental protest that the book is based on. All that began back in 2000 and gradually the implications of the Corrib Gas pipeline in County Mayo kept showing up in the Irish Echo and Irish Voice newspapers that I subscribe to. So there was a long history of that issue before I began outlining, in 2007, a possible story based on what was going on there. The first thing I decided was to have a New York photographer as a main character. And he (I didn’t have a name yet) was going to get into a hornets nest of trouble. That’s all I knew at the time. Then a visual image came to me, a particularly vivid image of a woman (I had no idea who she was) hauling my main […]