The House Blog Tour – Win a FREE Kindle!

About the Book

On receiving the very thing she wants—a divorce and the power to sell their house—over which they have fought the past year—Anna Manning learns that Edward, her soon-to-be ex-husband is dying from cancer.

A faithful wife for three decades, and stay-at-home mother of four children, Anna endured Edward’s constant absence due to travel for his international real estate firm and numerous extra-marital affairs. With their children now adults, Edward has less than six months, possibly three, to live.

Anna takes him home to die in the house she has fought so vigorously to sell. But letting go of someone who has caused so much pain in your life doesn’t come easily. Edward has changed. There are Anna and Edward’s four children, three of whom who are married and struggling to endow their families with meaning and purpose.

News of Edward’s terminal illness provokes her to understand the present, rooted in a wellspring of the past and pouring into a future without him.

The House shows what happens when one adopts the belief that: All hold regret and are seeking forgiveness. Our salvation rests in the hands of others—most particularly the ones we love, and who have treated us wrongly.

So Anjuelle, what inspired you to base The House on a gray area of life (i.e. Anna’s dilemma)?

I wrote The House as a result of taking a writing class entitled, Story Basics. Having earned my MFA in Creative Writing I was scheduled to teach the class in a masters level writing programs. My experience as a student in the class served as training for me to teach it.

The main primer for the class, Story Basics, is Writing for Story by Jon Franklin, a Pulitzer Prize Winning Essayist. In Writing for Story, Franklin addresses the importance of career writers learning to develop an outline or blueprint for writing their fiction.

Upon graduating my MFA program I began exploring various ways and methods for planning out my stories and novels, but that also left enough undiscovered territory that I gained even more excitement to write the story. I wanted to develop or find an outline that fueled my desire to write, not take it away with planning to point of leaving no mystery.

The Franklin Outline as explained in Writing For Story did that for me. A requirement of the class is to use Franklin’s Outline or some variation thereof to plan a story or novel and then write the story or beginning of the novel, about 10,000 words.

I had intended to write a short story. Focusing on craft allowed me to enter that gray area of life that I love to explore.

What is the underlying message tucked away in The House?

The underlying theme of The House is that all of us hold regret for one action or another that we have committed. And if given the chance we would change or alter that action or make another choice. As such we are all seeking forgiveness.

All of us have injured someone. And all of us have experienced emotional hurt. And yet ultimately our salvation, our ability to transcend the wounds and turmoil of this life rest in the co-creative hands of others and ourselves in our ability to seek atonement for the wrongs we have committed, particularly to those we love and who love us, and in our ability to forgive.

The House is a work of Women’s Fiction that explores the life of Anna Manning when on receiving the divorce she has requested and the opportunity to see their home, she learns that her husband of over 3 decades is dying.

I hope that in reading The House readers will gain a glimpse of how we are all wounded and injured by life, and how each of us holds the key to another’s healing. And that by granting love, acceptance and forgiveness to those whom we love the most and who love us, we lay the ground work for our own hearts to mend.

I emphasize loving those who are closest to us, because I thoroughly believe that “charity does begin at home”.

If we cannot love those with whom we sleep, and whose faces we behold upon opening our eyes and before we leave home for the day, we have no hope of accepting and respecting others we encounter at work and beyond the scope of family.

I can only hope that readers will gain a glimpse of not so much what and who we are presently, but be provoked to inspect the integrity of the intent of our hearts and ultimately determine whether they, we, are living from that place. And if not, begin to do so.

Who is your favorite character and why?

It’s hard to say which character of The House is my favorite. I love them all so very, very much. Each one is like a piece of a mosaic, a note on a sheet of music, the line of a poem.

Of course I love Anna and feel very dear to her, but as in life, the protagonist of a novel or short story or any work of fiction is known by her or his associates.

Take away or eliminate one and you’ve lost an important chord or refrain that keeps alive the music, the creation, in your thoughts and heart.

If I had to choose one entity, it would be The House, a character I did not mention, but who plays an incredibly important role in the novel. The Manning home, the house in which so much of the drama of the novel occurs provides not only a crucible, containing the Manning Family. It is also where Edward dies. It is the house he built and the place that Anna, despite their challenges, made a home, one into which Edward sought to retreat and through her compassion and regrets, Anna made safe in which for him to die.

If only we all could make the transition from this life into the next at home.

Which character did you find it the most difficult to develop?

I encountered the greatest difficulty in writing the character, Edward Manning, when crafting The House, not so much because I disliked him, but rather because I did not completely understand him, nor did he reveal himself. In many ways, Edward, throughout the drama of The House, stands like the Buddha watching, observing, experiencing his own pain, but remaining silent as to the minutia of his aches, those he presently undergoes and past injuries that drove him to behave in an unfaithful manner towards Anna. This is a gray area, at least for me, and yet unlike with Anna’s murky spots, we never truly receive answers clarifying the waters of Edward’s emotions.

The character, Edward in The House, epitomizes that which we cannot know fully. Why death has affected him to surrender to Anna after over 3 decades of infidelity is incomprehensible on so many levels, and yet quite understandable. He is afraid, as we all are of this greatest of major transitions.

And yet we wonder why only the certain approach of death brings him to a point of surrender? He never directly addresses that.

Neither does he hint whether his terminal illness is the reason that at the opening of the novel he has granted Anna both the divorce and a deed to the house. What is even more interesting that somewhere along the way when Anna has taken him back home and he recognizes that she has not divorced him, he chooses to give the house to David. By this time he has dissolved Manning Real Estate, made Anna owner of Manning Ventures, a company formed in the face of his approaching death.

I realize now as I write that the dissolution of Manning Real Estate and creation of Manning Ventures symbolizes the death of Edward’s physical body that is to come and the diasporic transformation of what he had built that leads to a sort of immortality.

We lose ourselves, surrender the material possessions we have amassed to those we love, in hopes of gaining a place in their hearts. We gain immortality most simply by living on in the memories of others. We can but hope those memories bring a best, joy, in the least, bittersweet remembrance of what once existed if only for a moment, a shining flame of hope of what could have been.

What did you love most about writing The House?

Writing The House taught me how to plan a novel, and how to write plot. This happened as a result of discovering and using the Franklin Outline as detailed by Jon Franklin in his book, Writing for Story. Writers are always writing for story

Having written 10,000 words by the end of the first of 15 weeks evidenced the outline worked for me.
As a psychotherapist creating characters has always been easy. Developing a way to keep the story moving and not bogged down in dispensing information about a protagonist’s personality has presented my greatest challenge.

Plotting and structuring stories present challenges and growth points for me, most specifically deciding where and when to dispense what knowledge, as deemed and demanded by the action, interaction and conflict between characters.

The Franklin Outline cleared the path for me to write by giving me a road map, while leaving the territory untouched.

What are you future plans? Are you working on another novel?

I definitely plan to keep writing Inshallah. I am presently working through revising the heart of the middle of a novel I wrote in 2001. The novel is entitled Seasons. And this eighth time revising it.

I have also begun writing my novel, yet untitled, for this year, 2010. I will be writing the rough draft simultaneous to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that takes place each November.

I strive to write the rough draft of a novel each year. I do this during the fall. On completion of that first draft, I lay the novel aside and begin revising the novel I wrote the previous year, or as in this case the one I wrote in 2001.

Seasons chronicles for one year the plight of a woman who has lost her sight and how her efforts to help a man dying of AIDS assist her in adjusting to her blindness and gaining new perspective and insight on her husband and herself.

Book Review

Click here to check out the review of The House.

About the Author

ANJUELLE FLOYD is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in mother-daughter relations and dream work. A graduate of Duke University, she received her MA in Counseling Psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. She has attended the Dominican Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California, and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Port Townsend, Washington. She has received certificates of participation from The Hurston-Wright Writers’ Week and The Voices of Our Nations Writing Workshops.

A student of Process Painting for the last decade, ANJUELLE has participated in The Art of Living Black Exhibitions 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 held at the Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California. ANJUELLE facilitates writing groups and provides individual consultation of fiction projects. She also gives talks on The Need for Family, the Writing Process as a Path Toward Self-discovery and Healing.

A wife of twenty-eight years, mother of three, ANJUELLE lives in Oakland, California.

Podcasts

Anjuelle Floyd talks about what she hopes readers will take away from reading, The House.

PODCAST 1

PODCAST 2

Click here to listen…

Purchase the Book Online at:
http://www.anjuellefloyd.com/books/the-house/

WIN A FREE KINDLE!
To celebrate the release of her novel, The House, author Anjuelle Floyd is offering a (1) Kindle Wi-Fi (retail value: $139.00) as a part of her promotional blog tour. A WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 1, 2010.

TO REGISTER ONLINEhttp://bit.ly/TheHouseKindleGiveaway

For More Information
• Visit the author online at http://www.anjuellefloyd.com
• View the blog tour schedule at http://bit.ly/TheHouseBlogTour

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Pious

Author: Kenn Bivins
ISBN: 978-1936198-66-5
Publisher: Two Harbors Press

If there is a valuable lesson Kenn Bivins’ startling debut novel Pious has to teach us, it is this: you can’t escape reality just by living a lie as there is an enormous price to pay for the severe consequences of hiding behind a masquerade of disguise. Bivins’ absorbing portrayal of one man’s ultimate journey from resentment to redemption in Pious will compel you right from the beginning, as the protagonist goes through a life-changing transformation that will genuinely stun you along the way.

To the eyes of everyone in his close-knit, family-friendly neighborhood of Mechi Lane, Carpious Mightson appears as an exemplary citizen and a caring neighbor who is perceived as ‘calm, cool and collective’ since these are the attributes Carpious inadvertently display on the surface. What his neighbors, co-workers or even his girlfriend does not know is that underneath all that is ‘a man of conflict and rage’ who once was a convicted criminal harboring an ugly secret.

Full of resentment for the horror of his childhood, Carpious has been trying to erase his past by keeping the demons at bay. Now hiding behind God, wearing ‘the guise of a man of virtue and charisma’, Carpious is running away from his past, from who he really is and where he come from by opting to live a lie. No matter what it takes.

That was until his lie inevitably catches up with him. When Ian Kaplan, a registered sex-offender, who knows a dark segment in Carpious’ past moves into Mechi Lane, and his addict of an ex-wife Alethea resurfaces with an agenda to blackmail Carpious by threatening to expose him for who he is, Carpious’ ideal life is abruptly disrupted by these reminders of his former life, a life he had rather not remember at any cost.

As Carpious tries to wrap his head around these potentially threatening disruptions in his otherwise perfect life (or so he thinks), a murder takes place in his peaceful neighborhood. Eventually, the façade of a deceiving life that he’s built starts to crumble down and his resentments re-emerges, as his past life come back to haunt him.

In what follows in this hard-hitting tale of a man trying to disguise his true self, Bivins paints an astonishing picture of the complexities and contrasts between the ugliness of resentment and the beauty of redemption. The poignant narrative is more real than reality itself, driven by a multifaceted protagonist that Bivins meticulously carved out with the precision of an expert novelist.

The elegant prose will keep you hooked as the enormity of the repercussions faced by the central character leads to a staggering climax that will never cease to amaze you. In essence, Pious is a praise-worthy, modern-day work of fiction that will leave you transfixed. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

A Ballad for Allison Porter

Author: Gary Solomon
Publisher: Aslan Publishing
ISBN: 978-0944031087

In his riveting debut novel, A Ballad for Allison Porter, Gary Solomon recounts with such acute details a tale so distressing that makes your heart cry out loud for the tragic fate of a woman who lived in the shadows of her yesterday’s nightmares. A heartbreaking yarn on one woman’s life and death, A Ballad for Allison Porter is an outstanding piece of work in contemporary fiction that deserves a round of applause.

Allison Porter’s pre-destined exit from Earth is drawing to a close as she awaits her execution in the death row at Oregon State Penitentiary for a heinous crime she has committed. Charged with murdering her next door neighbors that garnered attention from local media and hatred from her community, Allison has not said a word to anyone since her arrest following the murders. She didn’t make an effort to explain her actions, her withdrawn demeanor betraying no emotion. Not even a hint of remorse for what she did.

Kevin Pratt, a local reporter working for the Oregonian, is assigned to cover the story of Allison’s execution. During his unexpected meeting with Allison at the Oregon State Penitentiary, Kevin was completely caught off-guard and genuinely shocked when she surprisingly opens up to him. With the first words uttered by Allison since the murders, she breaks the silence and has a rare heart-to-heart with Kevin.

Deeply-moved by what he heard, Kevin leaves the Penitentiary determined to piece together the taciturn life of Allison Porter with ‘an overwhelming need to understand how this atrocity of life could happen’. Kevin thus makes a trip down to Allison’s empty house and finds his way to a dark closet led him to discover an old shoe box containing memorabilia of Allison’s past, the only remaining legacy of her life.

As Kevin rummages through each of the bits and pieces of Allison’s keepsakes, they bring back memories of her tragic past, each telling a different story, each one a piece of the puzzle that leads to ‘Allison’s heart, her soul, the end of her future, and sum total of her life’.

Constantly backtracking to segments of Allison’s heartrending past, Solomon captivates readers with such ease, peeling layer by layer of the protagonist’s life in excruciating detail. Achingly moving at times, A Ballad for Allison Porter will mercilessly thrust you deep into the turbulent life of the protagonist that eventually led to her deadly retribution. You almost wish you never had to witness the horrifying episodes that Allison had to endure while you can’t help but find yourself delving into the deep, dark retribution that made her commit such a brutal act of violence.

A truly delicate and heart-wrenching tragedy, A Ballad for Allison Porter will shock you with such force that will shake you to the core. You will find your heart aching for Allison Porter as you close the final page of her shocking life. A brilliantly written ballad not to be missed at any cost!

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

The Lucifer Code

Title: The Lucifer Code
Author: Charles Brokaw
Publisher: Forge Books
ISBN: 978-0765320933

“Welcome to the end of the world as we know it. Within the next few minutes, the course of human events will drastically change.”

Those were the bone-chilling words uttered by Lucifer when Professor Thomas Lourds came face-to-face with the Devil himself in Charles Brokaw’s exhilarating new thriller, The Lucifer Code. Following the footsteps of master of thrillers Dan Brown, Brokaw sends readers through a complex maze in the dark depths of Istanbul, trailing to piece together an evil puzzle that threatens to bring about the end of the world.

Brokaw didn’t waste any time when he immediately plunges the readers into an adrenaline-surging adventure from the opening scene itself, as Professor Lourds pursues a quest more menacing and evil than imaginable as he comes to a challenging face-off with the Devil.

Professor Thomas Lourds is summoned to Istanbul to investigate artifacts never before seen by Western scholars. Upon his arrival, he is instantly caught in a deadly web of assailants chasing him. His captors want him to translate an ancient scroll lost for over thousands of years known as the Scroll of Joy, authored by John of Patmos, who also wrote the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

As it turns out, his captors are not the only one searching for the scroll. The Brotherhood of the Scroll, a secret religious group striving to protect the scroll and, even the CIA wants to uncover what’s written in the aged document, which is believed to be capable of bringing about the end of the world and even raise the Devil himself.

Little did Professor Lourds know that the Devil is already among us in human form and a storm is brewing in Saudi Arabia that threatens to bring the world down around us and destroy humanity, orchestrated by none other than Lucifer himself. While there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the scroll for all the wrong reasons, including a senior official at the White House, Professor Lourds risks his life to save the world from the impending doom as he realizes that the fate of the world rests solely on his shoulders.

With its exhilarating fast pace and The Da Vinci Code-like rush, Brokaw grips the readers with intriguing historical backgrounds and speculations, recreating the thrill of his debut novel The Atlantis Code throughout various exotic locations in the medieval city of Istanbul. I can assure you one thing; this guy sure knows how to weave a thrilling plot out of an age-old belief of the evil rising.

At the end of it all, you will emerge breathless but only more eager for Professor Lourds next adventure, as you can’t help but wonder what Brokaw has in store for Professor Lourds in his next. Needless to say, Brokaw’s fans will absolutely be thrilled with this gripping adventure.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

And Then There Was One

Title: And Then There Was One
Author: Patricia Gussin
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
ISBN: 978-1933515816

An adrenaline-driven, emotionally-charged force to reckon with, Patricia Gussin’s And Then There Was One recounts a heart-rending and an equally disturbing family tragedy that unfolds against the backdrop of every parent’s worst imaginable nightmare. From the first page itself, you will be gripped in the never-ending suspense surrounding a devastating mystery.

Scott and Katie Monroe lead a perfectly happy life with their identical triplet daughters; Sammie, Alex and Jackie, and their prominent careers; she, a forensic child psychiatrist and he, a Yankee catcher. While in Detroit to attend Scott’s sister Monica Monroe’s concert, the picture-perfect family of Scott and Katie are shattered when two of their triplets go missing without so much as a clue.

Scott and Katie are utterly devastated, falling apart in the aftermath of the horror they are faced with. The news was especially unbearable for Katie, being always overprotective of her triplets. ‘She knew that she needed sleep, that she was physically and emotionally drained, but when she closed her eyes, the horrors of what might be happening to her daughters burned her retina.’

It is just too much for little Jackie to learn that her sisters Sammie and Alex have been abducted. ‘She thought about her sisters in some horrible place with nothing to eat. Were they being tortured? Could they even be dead?’ Before long, she crumbles under the heavy stress of grief and survivor’s guilt, taking all the blame for herself.

As the investigation sends the FBI on a goose-chase with several suspects and false leads, Scott and Katie’s suffering continues as hope eludes them. ‘They each seem to cycle in and out of paralysis. In and out of hope. In and out of despair.’ As the seemingly never-ending search for the missing triplets continues, Scott finds himself collapsing under despair as much as Katie has. ‘He didn’t know if he could take another day of agony, another day of uncertainty, another day of abject helplessness.’ What if their daughters are never found, or not found alive?

Narrated just over a span of one week, Gussin effortlessly ensnares the readers into the heart of the terror that engulfs the Monroe family. The flawless, taut writing makes it a thrilling ride from cover-to-cover as Gussin gradually peels layer by layer of the dreadfulness that await to engulf not only the Monroe family but also us, readers. Similar to that of the emotional roil of The Lovely Bones and the adrenaline rush of Gone Baby Gone, Gussin tugs at your heart mercilessly with the extremely vivid, distressing details that would make you recoil at times and gasp at other.

An utterly absorbing thriller that will leave you breathless, the fast pace of it will send you turning pages at super speed in your quest to find out the fate of the missing triplets. You will not be able to close the book until you have reached the end of this haunting tragedy. Rush into your nearest bookstore, grab this book and dive right in! You have got to read this one.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com