Meet Multi-talented, Multi-genre Author, Jeanne Foguth

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Jeanne Foguth’s story of Xander de Hunter as chronicled in “The Red Claw” was an absolutely purr-fect light read which you can learn more about in my review of that title. As a cat lover I am hooked. To my great delight, she has just released Xander’s latest tale (or perhaps I should say “tail”?) entitled “Purr-a-noia” with another “Sea Purrtector Files” episode promised for next year.

Yet these charming cat adventure stories are but a small part of Jeanne’s repertoire. If you’re a romantic suspense, fantasy or science fiction fan you’ll want to get a hold of her other novels as well. Her vast travel experience coupled with her attention to detail create engaging characters in the midst of exotic settings which will pull you in and leave you wanting more. So without further ado, let’s learn more about this fascinating author and creator of my favorite cat hero.

MF: Clearly you’re an avid cat lover, which seems to be the case with numerous writers. What besides a strong affection for felines inspired you to write The Red Claw and its upcoming sequels starring Xander de Hunter?

JF: Yes, I love cats. In fact, I like most types of animals and over the years, we have had a wide assortment of furry and feathered friends. In 1981, we were adopted by Rom a.k.a. The Ramakazi, who became my good friend, fellow gardener and writing partner. We shared an L-shaped desk where he lounged on his keyboard while he looking out the window and tweeting to the birds. This allowed me to write freelance projects without him feeling the need to edit my work.

Rom was a major part of our lives until he died at 16.5. For years, I thought of various ways to write a memorial to him and when we were living aboard EvenStar, our Gemini 105MC, I imagined how Rom would have enjoyed the adventure…. by the time we got to Jamaica, where The Red Claw is set, I began putting notes in a file. Initially, I thought that I would only write one book, however I had so much fun that The Sea Purrtector Files is turning into a series. Purr-a-Noia (#2) is newly released and The Vi-Purrs (#3) will be out in early 2016.

MF: Do you have a favorite real-life cat that demonstrates Xander’s traits?

JF: Rom, who Xander is based on, loved technology and seemed very adept at turning things on and opening things – not so good at turning them off or closing drawers and doors. His technical expertise is the main reason we realized we could not share a keyboard and mouse. He was also “Mr. Cool’ when startled, so even when he decided that retreat was the wise choice, he never tucked tail and ran – he exited with dignity. In your review of The Red Claw, you suggested that Xander was sort of a feline 007 and that captures Rom’s character quite well.

BTW, the Siamese cat on The Red Claw‘s cover is Rom. We don’t have many photos of him, so my cover artist, Kiara Graham, adapted the same photo for Purr-a-Noia‘s cover.

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MF: He was certainly beautiful and it’s like he’s looking through you with those blue eyes. I can’t think of a better way to immortalize a beloved pet than in a series of novels. What other animals have you had for pets besides cats?

JF: Hmmm, that is a long list. When I was a child, we lived on a dairy farm, which was at least a half mile from the next neighbor. Aside from cows, we had horses, a dog, sheep (rams are NOT good pets, but lambs are adorable), pigs and chickens.

Over the years, we have usually had a cat and sometimes a dog, but we’ve also had a variety of outdoor pets, which included birds, bunnies and even a few goats (I called them my gardening crew and used them in my war on kudzu ;-).

MF: Your biographical sketch mentions that you have a background in technical writing. Which industry was it applied to?

JF: Initially, I helped write J.C.H.A.(hospital procedure manuals) and preventive maintenance guidelines. Later, I wrote computer-user manuals as well as several free-lance projects that included policy and procedure manuals for some small companies.

MF: How do feel your technical writing experience influenced your fiction writing?

JF: I am a stickler for accuracy. It was drilled into me that J.C.H.A. manuals were used by hospital staff as a guide to treat life-threatening conditions.

MF: I can relate. Accuracy was drummed into my head when I was a techwriter at NASA. Speaking of accuracy, clearly you have traveled extensively which enriches your writing’s sense of place with a strong sense of authenticity. Your descriptions of Jamaica made me feel as if I was there such that I would recognize it if I ever was.  Which location is your favorite and why?

JF: My favorite is wherever our next destination is 😉

I also like where I am and where I have been. Each place has had good and bad points. For example: in Alaska, the Northern Lights were amazing, but the mosquitoes were horrid (BTW, catnip is ten times better than DEET as an insect repellent and if you use it, you might make a new feline friend).

MF: LOL! I have a hard time growing catnip because it always gets ravaged long before harvest. I have one plant surrounded by a hardware cloth cage which so far has survived.

As you’ve gone to these fascinating locations do you find that you’re always thinking like a writer in that new experiences automatically evolve into a new story idea? Or does the story come first with travel and research following?

JF: Yes to both. For instance, the initial idea for Star Bridge (#1 of the Chatterre Trilogy) came to me on a sweltering day, as I was sitting in traffic, waiting to make a left turn. I had the thought that there wouldn’t be traffic jams and pollution on a world where humanity chose to live in harmony with nature. Of course, when I actually began writing the book, I needed to research a variety of things. For instance, Nimri, a main character, is an herbal healer, so I needed to verify what each herb that I used in the book was good for and also to confirm that if people decided to use something, it should not have an adverse reaction to something I mentioned in a scene.

MF: I’m a real fan of accuracy myself. You never know who might be reading your book and if they’re familiar with the subject and you get it wrong then you lose all credibility. Such details in fiction should be trustworthy as well as contribute to the substance and reality of the story. Speaking of accuracy, I assume that you’ve spent some time living on a boat based on the terminology the average non-mariner wouldn’t know in “The Red Claw.” What’s your favorite part about that life? What would you recommend to someone considering such a lifestyle?

JF: We lived aboard EvenStar for a few years. My favorite part was that I didn’t need to pack a suitcase when we moved to the next country – we only needed to pull up the anchor.

If anyone was considering the lifestyle, I would recommend:

1) that they be a good jack-of-all-trades because once you get off shore, you and your shipmates need to be capable of dealing with a wide variety of problems.

2) that they be competent sailors and good at plotting an accurate course.

3) that they be adventurous and open-minded, yet realize there are dangers out there, so avoid inviting problems aboard and stay away from trouble spots.

4) that they expect to learn new languages and understand cultural sub-text and not expect people in a new country to adapt to them.

MF: Makes sense! Have you had any frightening experiences living on a boat?

JF: Of course, but I’ve had worse and more life-threatening experiences on land.

MF: I can believe that. So which of your many books and/or characters are your personal favorites?

JF: That is a difficult choice, but I think Kazza and Xander are my favorites. Interestingly enough, both are cats, so I guess that brings us full circle to your initial observation that I am an avid cat lover.

Be sure to connect with Jeanne via her social media sites listed below and pick up one or more of her books today!  Also note that both Xander and Kazza have their own blogs which have links on Jeanne’s blog site.

CONNECT WITH JEANNE:

Website: www.jeannefoguth.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jeanne-Foguth/e/B00JDW7TC8

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PurrtectorFiles

Blog: https://foguth.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeannefoguth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1452089.Jeanne_Foguth

Jeanne’s Books on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=%22Jeanne+Foguth%22

Jeanne’s Books on Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/-Jeanne-Foguth-?store=allproducts&keyword=%22Jeanne+Foguth%22

AMAZON BOOK LINKS

The Red Claw: http://www.amazon.com/Red-Claw-Purrtector-Files-Book-ebook/dp/B00OYAXK6I/

Purr-a-noia: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZFUKBAO

Star Bridge (Chatterre Trilogy Book 1): http://www.amazon.com/Star-Bridge-Book-Chaterre-Trilogy/dp/099133387X/

Thunder Moon (Chatterre Trilogy Book 2): http://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Moon-Chatterre-Trilogy-Triology-ebook/dp/B00S2WGH82/

Deadly Rumors: http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Rumors-Jeanne-Foguth/dp/0991333810/

Fatal Attractions: http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Attractions-Jeanne-Foguth-ebook/dp/B00JDNBS7O/

Passion’s Fire: http://www.amazon.com/Passions-Fire-Jeanne-Foguth/dp/0991333845/

The Peacekeepers: http://www.amazon.com/Peacekeepers-Jeanne-Foguth/dp/193092870X/

Review of “Circle of Five” (Volume I of the Pha-Yul Trilogy) by Jan Raymond

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A Young Adult Fantasy Series with a Huge Dose of Reality

“A Circle of Five” kicks off the “Pha-yul Trilogy”, a Young Adult fantasy series. Rather than plunge the reader abruptly into a fantasy world, however, the author slowly transitions to other realms from the daily routine of five “normal” teenagers as they confront challenges encountered following a literal lightning strike which occurs during an after school detention session overseen by the school’s football coach.

The author did an excellent job naming the characters such that they stand out as individuals within a variety of races, ethnicities and financial situations. By the end of this volume you feel as if you know each of them inside and out which is accomplished through the omniscient viewpoint handled in such a way that, to the author’s credit, was never confusing.

Each of the five has his or her own problems, mostly related to their family situation. The details provided for each accurately demonstrate the insecurities and personality issues which can arise from a person’s home environment. These are ordinary teens living anything but a charmed life, other than the fact that most of their parents are affluent or were at some point. Just about everyone should be able to relate to one or more of the situations described from sibling rivalry to neglectful, disinterested or inebriated parents. This factor alone makes this story relevant to both teens and adults, specifically parents, who may see a bit of themselves from the perspective of teens. Life at that age can be overwhelming enough as they try to figure out who and what they are, much less having to do so with a lack of parental emotional support. In today’s world where most homes require two incomes to survive, to say nothing of the financial and emotional struggle of single parents, this situation is probably far too common.

These distinct individuals are not even friends as the story begins. In fact, some of them overtly dislike each other, contributing to plenty of conflict as each character struggles with their own personal issues, dealing with classes, plus being thrust into this exclusive group which involves grueling training they must undergo before and after school. Furthermore, all of this is required without knowing the whys or wherefores of where these abilities came from. While they get a glimpse of what these talents are they cannot control them at will, thus necessitating the training. About all they’ve seen was a quick flash trip to Tibet where they discover the coach is clearly an important figure in that world who reports to a woman even higher in status.

This story is the antithesis of waking up with superpowers and instinctively knowing how to use them, showing it may not be the bed of roses most would expect. The idea that developing any skill to a high level requires discipline and hard work is an important concept and life lesson nicely woven into the plot. The teens’ struggles with their daily routine, personality conflicts and typical high school situations brought the characters to life. Their mundane challenges were detailed, realistic and relatable, lending realism to the story but somewhat understating the fantasy element, which the cover and prologue imply. Thus, anyone expecting the book to be heavy on the fantasy side could be disappointed since there is far more reality within the pages than escaping to another realm. The characters as well as readers are left in the dark with regard to various details with a few revelations in the final chapter.

Nonetheless, as the first book in a series these questions will most likely be addressed in the sequels which have the advantage of being populated with fully developed protagonists whom you feel as if you know as well as the kid nextdoor.

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/CIRCLE-FIVE-Pha-yul-trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00H6LS59E/

Follow Jan:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jan_raymond_cof

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7817816.Jan_Raymond

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jan-Raymond/e/B00IKG6J9M/

Interview with Up and Coming Author, Elle Klass

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Elle Klass quickly made it onto my list of favorite authors with her masterful ability to spin a suspense-laden tale with endearing real-life protagonists. “As Snow Falls,” a touching fictitious memoir is one of my all time favorite; her “Baby Girl” series is an enjoyable, suspenseful tale of a girl who was abandoned as a young adolescent and left to fend for herself; and her new series, “Eye of the Storm”, is a dark, sinister, paranormal thriller with tremendous potential you’ll definitely be hearing more about soon.

I’d read the “Baby Girl” stories as they were released and was delighted to read them again in their re-release format as a box set. Elle has added a few bonuses to this version including additional scenes which round out the story even more and awesome new covers. What I enjoyed the most about having the four episodes together was being able to read them all as a single, contiguous tale. When I read them separately with various other books to say nothing of my own writing in between I tended to forget who some of the supporting characters were and other important details. Thus, being able to enjoy the stories as an integrated saga enhanced my enjoyment considerably.

Elle’s characters are not only memorable but seem so real you expect to run into them at the grocery store. They quickly attach themselves to your heart as you vicariously share their adventures, heartbreaks, dilemmas and triumphs. If you’re looking for a gripping read that sucks you into the story to the exclusion of everything else, then look no further than one of Elle’s stories.

Now let’s get to know the woman behind them a little better…

MF: How long have you been writing? Was there anything in particular that got you started?

EK: I’ve been writing since I was a teen. It was something that relaxed me and I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it today. I started with corny poetry and moved into novels.

MF: Do your characters come to you fully developed or do you gradually get to know them?

EK: Gradually we get to know each other. I have a basic idea but once I start writing they take on a persona of their own. I go with it. If I try and fight it the book stalls and dies. The characters run the story and I’ve learned to let them. Cleo is a great example because she has not only developed but grown and matured through the course of the books. When I began writing the shorts I had no idea what twists and turns she’d take, often lollygagging as a teen/new adult.

MF: Cleo is a fascinating multi-dimensional protagonist who develops quite naturally through her adventures. Did she ever surprise you and if so how?

EK: Many times! She’s independent and won’t listen to me or succumb to her love interests. Meeting Fetch and her reaction was a huge surprise. She’s at Happy Trails enjoying a beer and starts dancing. Until that point I didn’t know she could then she gets hit on by a man beyond gorgeous and walks away. There are many times I feel the need to parent her but she won’t listen.

MF: LOL! You’ve gotta love strong-willed characters! So how are you like Cleo? How are you different?

EK: Like Cleo I’m stubborn and independent. My life hasn’t always been easy and I’ve learned to take the hard road. Even now I chose to be an indie author – one of the most difficult professions to make a living at, however, that doesn’t stop me. It’s my passion and the incentive that keeps me striving for more. Cleo uses her stubborn independence to track down the dirty details of her familial beginnings. Our similarities end there.

Cleo loves to cook – I hate it. She loses focus with her task – My sights are set dead on. She can’t let go of Einstein and her past – I let mine drop like a lead weight and have felt amazing since.

MF: Besides Cleo who’s your favorite character in this series?

EK: La Tige. Love him! As an ex-cop he’s got a tough man exterior, and has his own secrets which Cleo gets a glimpse of in “City by the Bay.” She’s too focused on finding answers to her mystery such that the information she finds slips past her. He tests Cleo’s limits almost to the point of his own pleasure yet he adores her.

MF: I, also, loved La Tige! Fabulous character. Did you know how Cleo’s saga would end from the start or did it evolve?

EK: I wrote a rough draft several years ago and the two parts I knew when I finished writing were the beginning and the end. The in between was raw but once I decided to work on the story it filled itself in. The Box Set includes an epilogue and prologue not found in the shorts. It is still very much like the original rough draft with editing. It is my original vision which started the series.

MF: Do you come up with a premise, i.e. “What if…” first or a character with a story to tell?

EK: “What if” comes first, the characters come in when I least expect it. Didier was a surprise, Kacy, Fetch, Halette, Slug’s brother. They weren’t even a thought when I first drafted.

MF: I love it when that happens. Walk-on characters add so much depth and reality to a story. What’s your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite?

EK: My favorite part is getting on my computer in my comfy stretch shorts or pants and drifting into my own world full of vibrant characters. Their actions and twists their choices make in the story keeps me pegged.

My least favorite part used to be editing but I’ve learned to enjoy it and use it as a means to write and learn more. I think my least favorite at this moment in time is the process of formatting and uploading. It’s not difficult to do and I feel a sense of accomplishment but it’s mundane.

MF: I agree that formatting can be a challenge. How do you think your writing has evolved?

EK: I’ve learned to write more action as opposed to prose. I catch a lot of my grammar crutches right away. I’m learning to use the known as a suspense builder and less description = more reader imagination. The story is meant to guide not tell.

MF: Your new “Eye of the Storm” series is off to a great start. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about it?

EK: “Eye of the Storm” is a paranormal suspense thriller that I’ve been told borders on horror. It’s the story that makes people double check their doors are locked at night before snuggling into bed. It’s unlike my other books and more my nature.

CONNECT WITH ELLE:

http://thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com/
http://elleklass.weebly.com/
https://twitter.com/ElleKlass
https://www.facebook.com/ElleKlass

BUY LINKS:

Print Copy:  http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Girl-Box-Books-I-IV/dp/1512343293/

Amazon Kindle pre-order- http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Girl-Box-Books-I-IV-ebook/dp/B00YDJX24K/

Smashwords pre-order: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/545931

Ebook Pre-order price is $2.99 until July 14th when it will jump to $4.99 so get it NOW!

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Pre-release Review of Elle Klass’ “Baby Girl 3: City by the Bay”

Tomorrow, July 15, is the big day for Elle Klass’ latest sequel in the “Baby Girl” series. Here’s my review:

“Baby Girl 3: City by the Bay” continues the saga of Cleo, a girl abandoned as a child and on a quest to discover her true identity. This latest installment of the popular series of novellas finds Cleo, now known as Shanna Nu, in San Francisco where she hopes to uncover more information pertaining to the disappearance of the woman she knew as her mother. Cleo is acutely aware of cryptic letters the woman left behind warning her that her life could be in danger as she nonetheless persists, more determined than ever, to discover who she is. She conveniently obtains a job with a seasoned ex-cop turned private investigator named La Tige where she acquires a variety of new skills as well as access to new information in police files. As she gradually unravels the past the more tangled it becomes as she continues to pick through the various threads and close in on the truth.

This episode is filled with additional mystery, intrigue and adventure as the story and plot deepen. Amid the challenges and sometimes shocking revelations, Cleo is gradually discovering who she is at the core even if her actual identity still eludes her. Readers following this series will enjoy the ride as new dimensions of the story are revealed as well as witnessing Cleo’s evolving maturity. She still may not know her legal identity but she is beginning nonetheless to know exactly who and what she is, a discovery that everyone must encounter sooner or later.

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