Beyond the Books

Character Interview: Brunhild from Joan Schweighardt’s historical novel, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Brunhild from Joan Schweighardt’s historical novel, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. Brunhild is a valkyria who lost her family when she was very young and raised herself in the forests near Sapaudia, now know as Savoy, a region in France.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!


Thank you so for this interview, Brunhild. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I was not fairly portrayed at all. A valkyria is a very important woman. She must choose who lives and who dies on the battlefield, and then she must lead the dead to the afterlife. In addition most valkyrias share a knowledge of rune-wisdom, and as such they can alter events even off the battlefield. The author, however, left it up to the reader to decide whether or not my professed powers were real, and this in spite of the fact that many of the other people in the book were convinced my powers were real and lived in awe—if not in fear—of me.

last-wife-ebookcovDo you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

She did describe my unfathomable beauty, I’ll give her that. And I don’t just mean my physical beauty, which I possess in good measure. Knowing so much about death, I was able to live more fully than other people, especially other women, of my times. I loved to laugh, to eat, to drink… I cherished nature, my truest parent. I did not care for domestic chores and I did not engage in them. I think she saw all that in me and related it well.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

 Even though the author seemed not to fully believe in the power of my rune-knowledge, I can tell you that it was real and it enabled me to survive on my own from childhood. I knew what would happen before it happened, and thus I avoided danger. I knew instinctively, even from the age of three years, what I could eat to keep myself alive and what would poison me. Sometimes, when I chose to, I used my rune-knowledge on behalf of other people.

Worse trait?

When, in spite of my runes, I could not get what I wanted on my own terms, I agreed to concessions. These concessions led not only to my downfall but to the downfall of all that I loved most in the world.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Perhaps Gemma Ward.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Ah, my beloved Sigurd. If not for Sigurd I would not have appeared in the book.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Given my rune-wisdom, I knew I would there would be losses, but I felt the rewards would justify them.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I would not want to be Gudrun, little mousey woman and trouble maker that she was. Gudrun went and married Sigurd, even though she knew very well what had transpired between us. Everything bad that happened thereafter was really her fault.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Ha! I can’t believe you would even ask such a question! Let us just say, I did not care for the ending at all.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I would refuse to be in the book if she continued to insist that I marry Gunner, Gudrun’s brother, so that I could be near Sigurd. That didn’t work out at all.

Thank you for this interview, Brunhild. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Of course, when The Last Wife of Attila the Hun film comes out!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun

Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction with a Legendary Component

Author: Joan Schweighardt

Website: www.joanschwweighardt.com

Publisher: Five Directions Press

Purchase on Amazon

Two threads are woven together in The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second thread reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission. Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue.

joan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joan Schweighardt is the author of several novels. In addition to her own projects, she writes, ghostwrites and edits for private and corporate clients.

Links:

www.joanschweighardt.com

www.facebook.com/joanschweighardtwriter

twitter@joanschwei

Baseball’s Dynasties and The Players Who Built Them Book Blast!

 

 

We’re happy to be hosting Jonathan Weeks’ BASEBALL’S DYNASTIES AND THE PLAYERS WHO BUILT THEM Book Blast today!
About the Book:

 

Title: Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them
Author: Jonathan Weeks
Publisher: Rowan and Littlefield

Pages: 408Genre: Sports History

Baseball has had its fair share of one-and-out champions, but few clubs have dominated the sport for any great length of time. Given the level of competition and the expansive length of the season, it is a remarkable accomplishment for a team to make multiple World Series appearances in a short timespan. From the Baltimore Orioles of the 1800s who would go to any length to win—including physically accosting opponents—to the 1934 Cardinals known as the “Gashouse Gang” for their rough tactics and determination, and on to George Steinbrenner’s dominant Yankees of the late twentieth century, baseball’s greatest teams somehow found a way to win year after year.Spanning three centuries of the game, Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them examines twenty-two of baseball’s most iconic teams. Each chapter not only chronicles the club’s era of supremacy, but also provides an in-depth look at the players who helped make their teams great. Nearly two hundred player profiles are included, featuring such well-known stars as Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, and Pete Rose, as well as players who were perhaps overshadowed by their teammates but were nonetheless vital to their team’s reign, such as Pepper Martin, Allie Reynolds, and George Foster.

With a concluding chapter that profiles the clubs that were on the cusp of greatness, Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them is a fascinating survey of what makes some teams dominate year after year while others get only a small taste of glory before falling to the wayside. Written in a lively style with amusing anecdotes and colorful quotes, this comprehensive book will be of interest to all fans and historians of baseball.

For More Information

  • Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Book Excerpt:

With a roster full of superstars, the Orioles captured three
straight pennants from 1894–1896. They followed with a pair of near misses,
placing second in 1897 and 1898. Along the way, they developed a reputation as one
of the nastiest teams in baseball. John Heydler, an umpire who would later
ascend to the NL presidency, described the Orioles of the 1890s as “mean,
vicious, ready at any time to maim a rival player or an umpire.” Infielder John
McGraw was proud of that distinction. “We’d go tearing into a bag with flying
spikes as though with murderous intent,” he boasted. “We were a cocky,
swashbuckling crew and wanted everybody to know it.”
Pirates great Honus Wagner manufactured a tall tale about a
harrowing trip around the bases against the Orioles. After driving a ball deep
into the outfield, he claimed to have been tripped at first base by Jack Doyle
and then knocked flat by Hughie Jennings at second. Climbing to his feet, he
lumbered toward third, only to find John McGraw holding a shotgun on him. “You
stop right there!” McGraw allegedly bellowed. Although Wagner’s story is
obviously apocryphal, numerous reliable accounts confirm the fact that the
Orioles resorted to underhanded tactics regularly. When they weren’t physically
accosting opponents, they were treating them to streams of verbal abuse. Baltimore
players were so free in their use of profanity that a resolution was adopted in
1898, imposing mandatory expulsions upon anyone using “villainously foul”
language.
Even the groundskeepers at Baltimore
were deceitful. Soap flakes were mixed with the soil around the pitcher’s mound
to make the hands of opposing hurlers slippery when they reached into the dirt.
Orioles moundsmen knew to keep untainted soil in their pockets. The
infield was mixed with clay and rarely watered, creating a surface not unlike
cement. Baltimore players chopped down on the ball, creating dramatically high
hops that gave them a head start to first base (hence, the origin of the term
Baltimore chop). The outfield was ruddy and riddled with weeds. Outfielders
allegedly kept extra balls hidden out there in the event that the ones in play
eluded them.

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About the Author

Jonathan Weeks spent most of his life in the Capital District area of New York. He earned a degree in psychology from SUNY Albany. In 2004, he migrated to Malone, NY. He continues to gripe about the frigid winter temperatures to the present day. A member of the Society for American Baseball Research, he writes about the game because he lacked the skill to play it professionally. He still can’t hit a curve ball or lay off the high heat. Baseball’s Dynasties is his fourth nonfiction work.

For More Information

 

Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them Book Blast

 

 

We’re happy to be hosting Jonathan Weeks’ BASEBALL’S DYNASTIES AND THE PLAYERS WHO BUILT THEM Book Blast today!
About the Book:

 

Title:
Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built ThemAuthor: Jonathan Weeks

Publisher: Rowan and Littlefield

Pages: 408

Genre: Sports History

Baseball has had its fair share of one-and-out champions, but few clubs have dominated the sport for any great length of time. Given the level of competition and the expansive length of the season, it is a remarkable accomplishment for a team to make multiple World Series appearances in a short timespan. From the Baltimore Orioles of the 1800s who would go to any length to win—including physically accosting opponents—to the 1934 Cardinals known as the “Gashouse Gang” for their rough tactics and determination, and on to George Steinbrenner’s dominant Yankees of the late twentieth century, baseball’s greatest teams somehow found a way to win year after year.Spanning three centuries of the game, Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them examines twenty-two of baseball’s most iconic teams. Each chapter not only chronicles the club’s era of supremacy, but also provides an in-depth look at the players who helped make their teams great. Nearly two hundred player profiles are included, featuring such well-known stars as Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, and Pete Rose, as well as players who were perhaps overshadowed by their teammates but were nonetheless vital to their team’s reign, such as Pepper Martin, Allie Reynolds, and George Foster.

With a concluding chapter that profiles the clubs that were on the cusp of greatness, Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them is a fascinating survey of what makes some teams dominate year after year while others get only a small taste of glory before falling to the wayside. Written in a lively style with amusing anecdotes and colorful quotes, this comprehensive book will be of interest to all fans and historians of baseball.

For More Information

  • Baseball’s Dynasties and the Players Who Built Them is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Book Excerpt:

With a roster full of superstars, the Orioles captured three
straight pennants from 1894–1896. They followed with a pair of near misses,
placing second in 1897 and 1898. Along the way, they developed a reputation as one
of the nastiest teams in baseball. John Heydler, an umpire who would later
ascend to the NL presidency, described the Orioles of the 1890s as “mean,
vicious, ready at any time to maim a rival player or an umpire.” Infielder John
McGraw was proud of that distinction. “We’d go tearing into a bag with flying
spikes as though with murderous intent,” he boasted. “We were a cocky,
swashbuckling crew and wanted everybody to know it.”
Pirates great Honus Wagner manufactured a tall tale about a
harrowing trip around the bases against the Orioles. After driving a ball deep
into the outfield, he claimed to have been tripped at first base by Jack Doyle
and then knocked flat by Hughie Jennings at second. Climbing to his feet, he
lumbered toward third, only to find John McGraw holding a shotgun on him. “You
stop right there!” McGraw allegedly bellowed. Although Wagner’s story is
obviously apocryphal, numerous reliable accounts confirm the fact that the
Orioles resorted to underhanded tactics regularly. When they weren’t physically
accosting opponents, they were treating them to streams of verbal abuse. Baltimore
players were so free in their use of profanity that a resolution was adopted in
1898, imposing mandatory expulsions upon anyone using “villainously foul”
language.
Even the groundskeepers at Baltimore
were deceitful. Soap flakes were mixed with the soil around the pitcher’s mound
to make the hands of opposing hurlers slippery when they reached into the dirt.
Orioles moundsmen knew to keep untainted soil in their pockets. The
infield was mixed with clay and rarely watered, creating a surface not unlike
cement. Baltimore players chopped down on the ball, creating dramatically high
hops that gave them a head start to first base (hence, the origin of the term
Baltimore chop). The outfield was ruddy and riddled with weeds. Outfielders
allegedly kept extra balls hidden out there in the event that the ones in play
eluded them.

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About the Author

Jonathan Weeks spent most of his life in the Capital District area of New York. He earned a degree in psychology from SUNY Albany. In 2004, he migrated to Malone, NY. He continues to gripe about the frigid winter temperatures to the present day. A member of the Society for American Baseball Research, he writes about the game because he lacked the skill to play it professionally. He still can’t hit a curve ball or lay off the high heat. Baseball’s Dynasties is his fourth nonfiction work.

 

For More Information

 

On the Spotlight: WRITE TO DIE, a legal thriller by Charles Rosenberg

The Dark Phantom Review

Cover (2)

WRITE TO DIE, Charles Rosenberg’s blockbuster legal thriller is set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s entertainment industry, and marks the debut of a new series. Write to Die introduces protagonist Rory Calburton, a former Deputy DA turned entertainment lawyer who is swept up in the trial of a lifetime when murder hits the heart of the movie business.

A sensational tale informed by Charles Rosenberg’s decades-long legal career, Write to Die sizzles. With its seemingly ripped-from-the-headlines storyline, exhilarating plot, and pulse-pounding action, Write to Die heralds the advent of an outstanding new mystery series. Resplendent with realistic courtroom drama, richly drawn characters that spring to life within the novel’s pages, and an insider’s view of the inner workings of Hollywood, Write to Die is to die for.

About Write to Die: Hollywood’s latest blockbuster is all set to premiere—until a faded superstar claims the script was stolen from her. To…

View original post 353 more words

Vampires and a Bad Ass Heroine: Review of ‘The Crimson Calling’ by Patrick C. Greene

crimsonThe Crimson Calling by Patrick C. Greene is a suspenseful, fast-paced tale featuring a strong, bad ass heroine, and lots of non-stop action. It puts a new spin on vampire lore by combining the old myths with the modern military.

In a world where just a few hundred vampires secretly remain after the eradication of 1666, Olivia–Liv–Irons is a young woman with unusual military talents who is emotionally tortured by the loss of her child and the man she loved. One day, she is a approached by an ancient alluring vampire with a proposition she can’t refuse.

Now, it rests in her hands to save the good vampires–as well as humankind–from a sect of the evil undead who want nothing more than to rule the world on their own terms. Including turning humans into foodbags. But at the heart of this mission, there lies a secret…

Olivia is a lovable character, strong and independent, yet kind and vulnerable, the perfect combination with her bad ass attitude. There is also an array of interesting secondary characters as well as a villainess readers will love to hate. Intense and entertaining fight scenes between the immortals will satisfy fans of the military/vampire fiction sub-genre. Adding to this mix are the alluring forests and rolling hills of Eastern Europe, as well as erotic descriptions of vampire transformation.

Greene has a gritty writing style that doesn’t shy away from the nastier side of things–and language. His combat descriptions are awesome. At the same time, he does a skillful job in getting into the mind of his young and vulnerable protagonist, showing us her doubts and fears with a caring touch. The ending seems to be open to a sequel so I’m definitely looking forward to read more. Entertaining and recommended!

Find out more on Amazon.

Character Interview: Freddy from Michelle Nott’s Early Reader Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses

We’re thrilled to have here today Freddy from Michelle Nott’s new Early Reader, Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses.  Freddy is an eight year-old student.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Freddy.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

Michelle portrayed the troubles I was having very clearly. I just hope it didn’t look like I am poor in math, because I’m actually rather good at math.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Yes. I actually really enjoy school, which is why I was hopping to get into class that day. But, I do get sad when my classmates laugh at me. Now that I have my glasses, though, I don’t do anything to make them laugh at me in a mean way anymore. I can see what’s going on now.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My imagination. When I didn’t know why everything was blurry, or why I couldn’t see the numbers on my ruler, or read the title of books at the library, I imagined Hoppie, a little frog that could help me.

Worse trait?

Stubborn. My eyesight problems had been going on much longer than you can tell from the book. I didn’t want to believe anything was wrong.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Elias Harger would be a great choice!

Do you have a love interest in the book?

No! I’m only eight years old!

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I came home AGAIN with a terrible headache, I knew I had to tell my mom somehow.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I would not want to be my math partner who wouldn’t even put a star on my paper. He’s too negative.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I love it. I feel better about myself, and I know Hoppie is helping a lot of other children too.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I didn’t get to show off my baseball talent in this book or how well I draw. Maybe she could write about all that one day.

Thank you for this interview, Freddy.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I hope so!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses

Genre: Early Reader, ages 6-9

Author: Michelle Nott

Website: www.authormichellenott.com

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing

Purchase link: http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/freddy-hoppie.htm

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Freddy-Hoppie-Eyeglasses-Michelle-Nott/dp/1616337338 

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses is about a little boy and his imaginary frog named Hoppie. Whenever Freddy struggles, Hoppie helps out. Specifically, Freddy’s having problems at school that he doesn’t realize stem from his poor eyesight. Not sure how to tell Mom about his trouble, he explains that Hoppie is the one with headaches, etc. Of course, Mom understands that Hoppie is the tool that Freddy uses to express himself. So, she takes Freddy (and Hoppie) to see the eye doctor. When Freddy leaves with brand new eyeglasses, Hoppie stays to assist the eye doctor with the other young patients.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Before becoming an author, Michelle Nott enjoyed being a French teacher (pre-K to university levels) in the U.S., working for a French company in Paris and an art gallery in NYC. She has also edited and written articles for numerous on-line and print magazines in the American and European markets.

In 2004, Michelle moved to Belgium. When she noticed that her daughters’ book collection included more French titles than English ones, she decided to put her creative writing degree to use. Many of these early stories can be found on her blog Good Night, Sleep Tight where she also reflects on raising Third Culture Kids.

In 2015, Michelle and her family returned to the U.S. But with American and French citizenship, they travel to Europe regularly. Their favorite places include the French Alps, the Belgian countryside, and the Cornish coast in the UK. Her family’s life and adventures prove great inspirations for her stories.

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses is Michelle’s first book for children. Her future children’s books are represented by Essie White at Storm Literary Agency. She is a member of SCBWI, Children’s Book Insider and Houston Writer’s Guild.

Connect with Michelle Nott on the Net!

www.authormichellenott.com

www.gn-st.com

@MimiLRN

The First Page: Interview with Davin Whitehurst, author of ‘I Have Faith’

I Have Faith

Title: I Have Faith
Author: Davin Whitehurst
Publisher: Childlike Faith Publishing
Pages: 26
Genre:  Children

Are you ready to get your child excited about faith? “I Have Faith” puts your child right in the footsteps of Danny as he begins to learn about faith. Danny and his older brother have been wanting a dog, but both know their parents don’t think they are ready for a dog. When Danny’s mom begins teaching him what the bible says about faith, he puts his faith into action. After praying and releasing his faith for a dog, doubt and even his best friend keep telling him that he will never get a dog. Over time Danny never loses his faith in the promises of God and finds that God is faithful and that faith works. Come along on this journey that is a real life event that took place in the author’s life as a child.

This book has great illustrations that support a wonderful story about finding faith in God. As you are teaching your child about principals in the bible; this book will help you teach faith. What a wonderful experience it is when we can see our children begin to develop their faith in God, and grow from a tiny mustard seed to a firmly planted tree. The back of the book has a parent/child discussion which will help children gain understanding in faith and some scriptures that Danny’s mom used to get him excited about faith.

The First Page:

(add photo)

Interview with Davin:

Welcome Davin. Can you tell us what your book is about?

The story is based out of my childhood. All names have been changed to protect the innocent, just kidding, but the names have been changed. Danny is a young boy who has always wanted to get a puppy. As his mom begins to teach him about faith, Danny decides to put his faith into action. Danny prays for a dog one night and believes it is a done deal. The only issue is everyone around him says the opposite of him. His brother, parents and even his best friend all say he can’t have a dog. Over time he comes home from school to find his dad with his prayer in his lap. The story shows how faith is developed and is a great way for parents to teach children about faith.

The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

I wanted to start the book from Danny’s prospective. It’s his story so he draws the child in and lets them know that he is going to show them what faith is and how they can develope it.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

In my first draft I had it starting off with Danny and his mother reading and learning about faith. As the illustrations started coming together, I felt a void in the story. That’s when I came up with the idea of Danny telling the story. Not only did this show I needed a different first page, but I also had to change up the manuscript a little to reflect the change in storytelling. Once we had the first page done and the story change, it all seemed to fit.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

Because I was patient in getting the story and illustrations right, I never second guessed the outcome. I think it fits the story well so that children can relate to Danny.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

To me, the start of anything is crucial. The first page is what sets the tone for the book in so many cases. I think that patience is a key element to the story line. Let the elements come together and when there is a hole in the story, fill it. Let the first page kick start the story and get the child or audience engaged with what is happening. Sometimes you only have a page to get them in. If that needs to be the first page, do it.

About the Author:

Davin Whitehurst

Davin Whitehurst lives in the beautiful high desert of Southern Arizona with his wife and son. He is releasing his first book “I have Faith” in May of 2016 but has so many more that are in the making. The motivation behind the books are deeply rooted from in his own past. He is a living testimony of Proverbs 22:6. Growing up in Southwest Kansas and in a Christian household, he was trained up in the way he should go. By the time he became a teenager, Davin turned away from God and left church. Fast forward into his late twenties and God brought him back with a powerful calling. He and his family have been faithfully serving at Seed of Abraham Christian Center International for over seven years now. Proof that when we teach our children the way they should go. When they get older, they know where to turn and will not depart from God. Davin wants each book written to be a resource that parents have to help train their children in the way they should go. He writes stories in a simple way that will be fun and practical for every child. He wants children to get excited about faith and the things of God.

His latest release is the children’s book, I Have Faith.

For More Information

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