It’s #RIAuthor Month – Meet Pat Mitchell


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The Girl, with her fiance, in 1946

A Girl from the Hill is a tribute to my mother, who grew up on Federal Hill during the Great Depression. The collection of essays depicts her life of as one of laughter and love, as well as its share of suffering and sorrow.

Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood was, and still is, Rhode Island’s “Little Italy.” Thousands of Italian immigrants, including my grandparents, came to Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century to begin new, better lives. They struggled to assimilate into American culture, and my mother’s parents, Giovanni and Maria, tried their best to become John and Mary. My mom, their youngest of eight children, was full of joy, and enjoyed much of her childhood despite her mother’s struggle with diabetes.

I began the book merely as a simple exercise, to see if I could actually write a book. Once we got going, once I started listening to my mother’s story, I gained an appreciation for her journey, her losses, and how the absence of her mother left a gaping hole in her young heart that never truly mended.

A Girl from the Hill is a story for mothers and daughters alike, as it speaks of the bonds between us as women, both loving and strained by the inevitable growing pains that daughters naturally experience. I remember how sure I was that I knew so much more than my mother. Now, as a mother myself, I see how my own daughter can run circles around me and my self-righteous confidence, which makes me appreciate my own mother more each day. She was right about so much, and my impatience to grow up and away has now become a yearning to return to my mother and her roots in order to understand critical life lessons.

In addition to my mother’s memories and my realizations, A Girl from the Hill also contains some stories that her mother “made up” and my mother further embellished in order to entertain their children at bedtime, as well as Italian lullabies that have been passed down for generations. And did I mention recipes? Some of our favorite family cookie recipes are also included. My mother’s delicious Christmas cookie trays were legendary, and she whipped up dozens of trays each year both for family and for my dad’s business associates.

Today my mother, 93, still loves to laugh, and says it helps her stay sane as she and my 96-year-old father care for each other. She continues to inspire me with her strength as she stubbornly insists on doing all of her own housework and cooking. To me she is still the little girl with the olive skin and big brown eyes that loved to make her family laugh.

Pat Mitchell author Pat Mitchell received a grade-school punishment and had to write a ten-page essay about appropriate classroom behavior. She enjoyed writing so much that she misbehaved more, hoping to get more writing assignments. A Girl from the Hill is her first book.

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a copy of her book to one lucky winner. Just comment on this blog post to be eligible. One person will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week from publication of this blog post. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors ExpoThe Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Julien Ayotte


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I write because I breathe.  As long as I can hold a pen in hand, I will come up with a new idea for the next mystery thriller, and I will develop the characters and the plot to satisfy my readers.

I once was asked how it was that I did not yet have a literary agent and major publisher after three very successful novels, Flower of Heaven, the sequel Dangerous Bloodlines, and A Life Before.  One of my readers said in a review that I was still a closely-guarded secret about to be revealed.

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So, this past spring, armed with my fourth novel, Disappearance, a suspense thriller about troubles in the witness protection program, I was determined to try literary agents again. And guess what? After hundreds of queries, I still do not have an agent, but I was so very close on two occasions. Major publishers, I was finally told, won’t take you on unless your novel is at least 85,000 words and, preferably, 100,000 words or more. My books are more like 70,000 words. So, in essence, literary agents would have much more difficulty in shopping my books to major publishers because of their size, not the quality of the writing or the unbelievable plot to the story…the freaking size!

While my first three successful thrillers all have sold thousands of copies and carry great ratings and reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, all of these sales were due to my own marketing efforts. Imagine if I had been in the Ingram distribution network of over 40,000 bookstores. A traditional publisher will do this for your books, while my CreateSpace Amazon publisher will not unless, by some stroke of luck, your eBook version goes viral one day.

But, you know what. I will go on. I know my readers will thoroughly enjoy Disappearance, and I keep adding more readers with every novel. And you can bet that my next book will exceed 85,000 words, whatever story I come up with the next time around.

If anyone had told me in 2013 that I would write four novels in just over four years, I would have laughed out loud. But that’s exactly what happened. At the young age of 75, soon to be 76 (December 5th), my goal remains to write 10 books in the next 10 years.  And as long as people like Jon Land compare me to Harlan Coben and David Baldacci on the thriller scale, I am blessed beyond words.

I write about what people hardly think about…a young priest who finds out thirty-five years later he is the father of twin sons, the French mother, turned queen of a Mid-Eastern country, who is determined to find her sons, a young college student who is the reincarnation of a woman murdered twenty years earlier, and a very troubled U.S. marshal who jeopardizes the lives of witnesses in the government protection system.

What’s next?  I don’t have a clue, but then again, I didn’t have a clue for the first four thrillers either!

My name is Julien Ayotte, and I am an author.

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Award-winning author Julien Ayotte co-authored his first book, Wealth Building for Professionals, in 2001, drawing from his years of experience as a corporate executive and business teacher at the high school and college graduate levels. In addition, he spent nearly fourteen years in legal administration at two law firms. The author holds a BA, MBA, and a PhD, all in business and finance. Flower of Heaven was his debut novel in 2012, followed by the sequel, Dangerous Bloodlines, in 2014. His third novel, A Life Before, was released in March 2016. Ayotte lives in Rhode Island with his wife, Pauline. They have three children. Visit the author’s website here.

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a print copy of his latest book, Disappearance, to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment on this blog post. Winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month – Meet Ana Arelys Cruz Cabrera!


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Author Ana Arelys Cruz Cabrera is one of the finalists of the 2017 contest of the State Poets of Rhode Island. She received the pin of the City of Providence in 2012 for her literary work about the cities of Providence and Santo Domingo, Contrast of Two Cities  Providence and Santo Domingo and Tourist Guide Santo Domingo and Providence. She is one of a few artists who have published three books on the same day! Cruz Cabrera is a dedicated and accomplished Polysomnographic Technologist

She is also a poet, songwriter, and she loves to write about her Dominican-American heritage. The books mentioned above were her first published books presenting a historical contrast of both cities culturally and historically. These books also contain beautiful poems dedicated to the cities of Providence and Santo Domingo, cities profoundly loved by the author and poet. Find all of her books here

So far, Ana has five published books, including her second anthology, Melodies of the Heart, published in October this year. Her first anthology, Inspiration of the Soul, contains the Anthem to the Fathers. This musical production was interpreted by singer and fashion designer Laura Diaz Alberto.

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Ana has plans to publish a book related to information about sleep breathing disorders next year. Since 2009, she has been creating awareness about sleep breathing disorders and its treatment.

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Ana believes that the key to her success is persistence, and sincere love and passion for what she does. She hopes to take advantage of all of the benefits that come along with being a bilingual member of the Rhode Island community to spread her message about sleep disorders awareness.  “My most beautiful and rewarding task has been being the mother of my two children.”

Learn more about Ana here

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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@poetanaarelyscruzcabrera  #poetanaarelyscruzcabrera.

 

 

 

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Tabitha Lord


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On Writing a Sequel

I’m often asked whether it was easier or harder to write the second book in my series, and my honest answer is – it was both! I’ve grown so much as a writer in the time between the first book and second that, from a craft standpoint, it was easier. I’ve learned to recognize my own bad habits and correct them. I know the places where the plot might be dragging and I can add tension before my editor hits the scene with a red pen. I’m able to dive deeper into character development, and I’m willing to take more risks, knowing that if something doesn’t work, I’ll have the time and opportunity to fix it. With writing the second book, I had confidence in the process.

On the other hand, my first book, HORIZON, received some prestigious awards including the Writer’s Digest Grand Prize for Self-Published Fiction in 2016. While it was gratifying to win that award, I definitely felt like I had a lot to live up to, and I felt the stress of it when writing INFINITY. But even without the award, I’d left the first book with an ending that promised a sequel. My newfound readers and fans had an expectation that the story would continue, and I didn’t want to disappoint them. When the early reviews for INFINITY started coming in, and they were actually better than HORIZON’s, I was filled with relief!

As I begin writing the third installment in the series, I’m still working to improve. I’m writing some short fiction, which I find helps hone my skill at creating tension and crafting tight, crisp scenes. I’m guest blogging and writing material for my own web site, because any kind of writing helps keep my creative energy flowing. And I’m reading a lot. My goal as a writer is first and foremost to tell a good story. But I also hope that each book I write will be better than the last!

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Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where she grew up. She is married, has four great kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable black lab. The house is noisy and the dinner table full! She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at an independent Waldorf school where she now serves on the Board of Trustees.

Her debut novel, HORIZON, won the Writer’s Digest Grand Prize for Self-Published fiction in 2016, and was named a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the Indie Excellence Awards. The sequel, INFINITY, was released in June 2017. She also has short fiction published and soon-to-be published by World Weaver Press, Grimbold Books, and Belanger Books.

You can visit her author blog where she hosts guest bloggers and discusses favorite topics including parenting and writing craft, and check her out on Book Club Babble where, as a senior writer, she posts author interviews, reviews, and more. Follow Tabitha on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Stephen Moran


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Read an excerpt from Server:

Scott awoke to a headache that morning and to a feeling, which grew by the moment that the day promised disaster. This feeling crawled down his spine as he dressed and shone dull and limp through his parted blinds. Glancing out the window at the sky, part of which lay hidden inside dense fog, Scott wondered whether he should pass on his weekly trip about town. He shook his head in displeasure and closed the blinds. Entering the bathroom, he scrubbed his face with a washcloth and decided against taking a bath.

He grabbed his backpack, which was prepared the previous night as usual. The contents were fresh in his mind: one notebook, three pens, a copy of The Metamorphosis that was dutifully well worn and marked by dirt and sweat, and a half pack of cigarettes, one of which he lit as he closed the door behind him. Walking down the stairs took effort. His legs were stiff from sleep and long hours at the restaurant the previous day. A thought popped into his mind as he emerged from the entryway into the cool mist. I should have stayed in bed.

He shook his head, again and not for the last time that day, as he walked the down of the driveway and disappeared into the fog.

“Crossing guard. Check. Construction workers. check. Will they ever finish remodeling that bar?” he said out loud as he walked toward the bus stop.

Staring into the fog, he wondered if there were time to purchase cigarettes before the bus arrived. Will the bus be early?

He stepped from the curb, making his way toward the store. He watched for the 56 bus, but he knew his decision to be final. Entering the store, he took a place in line.

“What will I work on today?” He fingered the change in his pocket impatiently, struggling to grasp hold of a thought, which amounted to pulling a thread, the correct thread from a piece of cloth. The thought ran from him, laughing, laughing, and laughing.

“Can I help you, sir?” The clerk, a short fat woman with thinning hair, was forcing a smile at him through chubby red cheeks.

“Sorry.” He paid for the cigarettes and left the store.

He walked into the fog, which seemed to grow thicker by the moment. A smile rose upon his face when he noticed a lady waiting, huddled out of the mist under the bus stop. At that very moment, he heard the bus, which was not yet visible, coming loudly and quickly toward him. His legs moved as his lips formed into a circle.

“Damn.” He leaped from the curb into the street. The bus emerged from the fog, and for a moment, he ran parallel, losing ground each second, with his lungs protesting the sudden demand for oxygen. He looked up with confusion on his face and came to a halt right there in the middle of the street.

“Did I really see that?” Scott ignored the blaring of a car horn as a driver waited for him to move. “Did I see a monkey on the 56 bus?”

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Stephen Moran is the author of Ella, The Terrorist of Providence Street, and Server. He owns and operates  Moran Press, a boutique publishing company dedicated to publishing Arthouse Paperbacks.  He worked for two decades in the service industry. Those years of experience are found in the pages of Server. Moran lives in Blackstone with his beautiful wife Maggie and daughters Kiana and Leila.
Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo
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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Susan Catalano


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My Salem Muse

Maybe it was watching Bewitched or reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond that first turned me on to witches and the Salem Witch Trials. But stepping foot on the historic streets of Witch City aka Salem, Massachusetts, was the spark that ignited The Timeless Ones, a story about Merry, an accused witch who leaps from the 17th century into modern-day Salem.

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I love visiting Salem–the history, the shops, the New England seaside town vibe. Halloween is always a thrilling time, and I loved incorporating the experience into A Necessary Darkness. Another favorite holiday is July 4th on Derby Wharf with fighter jets flying overhead and an orchestra playing while fireworks light up the harbor. From the beautiful green Common to the bricks and cobblestones of Essex Street to the waterfront – any day in Salem is a good day.

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But, what some may not know is that the witch hysteria that spawned the Salem Witch Trials began in the neighboring town of Danvers, MA that used to be known as Salem Village. This is where the afflicted girls began throwing fits and accusing their neighbors of witchcraft and where many of the accused were interrogated and handed an unfair fate.

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There are many sites to see in Salem proper—one of my favorite being the Witch Trials Memorial next to the Old Burying Point. Within the stone walls are 20 granite benches honoring each of the victims.

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But, lesser known is the Witch Trials Memorial in Danvers. A beautiful granite display containing unheeded claims of innocence behind a pulpit holding the Book of Life, beside which lay the shackles that anchor these unfortunate events to our history forever. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping for a visit.

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Susan Catalano spent most of her youth in a one-traffic-light town in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. Her first act of writing consisted of scrawling a murderous confession on a crumpled piece of paper. She then told her 3rd-grade friends that she’d found it in the wall of the spookiest room on the scary, vacant floor of the Victorian Hotel her family owned. Eventually, Susan ended up in Massachusetts where Salem, known as Witch City, captured her heart and imagination and inspired her first novel, The Timeless Ones. That and A Necessary Darkness are available in paperback and ebook formats. Witches 3, a companion story, is available on Kindle. Susan is currently working on another fantasy book series, this time set in an alternate version of New York state. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication of this blog post.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Leah DeCesare


 

For the past few years, I’ve had intermittent intentions of getting a “real” job, but writing keeps winning out and dabbling in applying for corporate jobs fizzles away. Writing is all I ever really wanted to do and I’m finally living that dream. As I was updating my Linked-In profile and my resume a couple of years ago, I discovered a thread that links my divergent and seemingly unrelated career and volunteer paths: Empowerment. Before recognizing this life theme, I’d written my debut novel which is all about encouraging women to believe in themselves.

 I’ve carried the central idea of this book with me since 1988 when my own father sent me off to college with the advice that my character, Amy York’s, dad sends her off to Syracuse University with: There are three types of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That tidbit was true and when I shared this silly system with my college friends it took off, with everyone adding descriptions for new utensils and talking as if it were an understood concept, for example, “I met this complete fork last night.” 


That idea sat with me for decades, but there was no story around it, so when I finally sat to write this book, I had to build the characters and their arcs and let the Utensil Classification System (the UCS) become a backdrop and an organizing idea serving the characters and their growth. In the end, I had a story about friendship and learning to believe in oneself.

I feel strongly about bolstering and helping people to have true self-love and confidence, especially girls/women who often don’t get the same messages as boys/men from society, family, and media. How can we step out into the world and grab hold of what we want in life without believing in ourselves? It’s critical.
I’ve been a Big Sister to a young woman, now twenty-three, since she was seven years old and it’s something we’ve worked on consistently. I facilitate leadership experiences for collegiate women, middle school girls, and older women in various life stages and the time we share is often described as “life-changing,” and I know that’s because we all need to hear messages of empowerment and strength. Messages that tell us it’s not only okay to prioritize ourselves and our desires, but that it’s essential to our health and happiness. By going after our own dreams, we in turn model the way and empower our daughters, our friends, our peers.
As I’ve met with and heard from readers of Forks, Knives, and Spoons, I’m proud that I continue to hear sentiments such as: “This should be required reading for all young women,” “Every high school and college graduate should be reading this book,” “I will be getting this book for the young women in my life.” To me, that means the message I hold dear is coming through and being shared and that’s a joy to any writer.

Leah DeCesare is the award-winning author of FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS and the nonfiction parenting series NAKED PARENTING, based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. 

Leah’s articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, the International Doula and The Key, among others. In 2008, Leah co-founded the nonprofit Doulas of Rhode Island, and in 2013 she spearheaded the Campaign for Hope to build the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness in Uganda. In a past life, Leah worked in public relations and event planning. She now writes, teaches and volunteers in Rhode Island where she lives with her family and their talking cockatiel. 
Visit Leah’s website, find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterestInstagramBookbub, and Amazon

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering one signed copy of Forks, Knives, and Spoons  plus one of the T-shirts pictured above (Men’s sizes M, L, or XL). Just comment below to be entered. Winner will be chosen at random and the author will contac you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo