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Archive for the ‘For Novelists’ Category

Next Stop on Blog Hop Tour RE “My Writing Procedure”

What is Lori Foroozandeh ’s writing process for sharing some of the most horrendous experiences imaginable: rape, starvation, beatings in an Iran concentration camp. Visit her blog to read her answers:  http://lorissong.com/2014/02/16/blog-hop-tour/ and visit Amazon.com to learn more about her book: Lori’s Song

Do You Review? Micki Does!

canstockphoto11687088I do a lot of my purchasing online these days, primarily because I can read other customers’ experiences. When people take the time to not just “like” something but to explain why,  I’m more confident that it will (or won’t) interest me. I bet you feel the same way. But do you reciprocate?

Micki does!

Writing reviews of books or any product can be time-consuming, forcing us to draw on our creative side which already is overworked or may have been dormant so long we’re not sure it still works. So why not just let others do it; after all, there are people who get paid to do this.

But do we always believe or agree with the professional reviewers? Think about the movie reviews you’ve read recently… Most of us would rather access reviews of people who are similar to us, people we can identify with. But those people are busy doing some of the same thing we do, like my colleague, Micki.

Micki on Pinterest  Micki Peluso is a published author who still does all the things a wife, mother, grandmother, student and instructor (without the formal titles), friend and  involved citizen does. Yet she has written 56 book reviews–her most recent being a review of my novel (for which I’m extremely grateful!) Her gift to readers, freely given to those of us who rely on reviews for our own buying decisions, has become a personal call to action.  Taking the time to write a review of my own purchases–whether books or any other necessary object–is a gift to people I may never meet, whether creators or potential buyers. Yet it’s proof that, like Micki, I am interested in others!

I’m concluding my plea for all of us to post more reviews with this link to examples of Micki’s reviews: Micki Peluso’s book reviews (including mine!)  To entice you to go there, here’s the final lines from her review of Pieces of You.

A Book That Speaks to the Soul, February 8, 2013
This review is from: Pieces of You (Paperback)

Author J. F. Elferdink writes a remarkable compelling story which will linger in the minds of the reader, perhaps forever. It might entice or scare readers, helping to redefine their lives, examine their actions and the motives behind them. It is not a work that one can just read and put down without in-depth personal contemplation. This is a book that speaks to the soul.

When and where is the last review you’ve written?

Don’t We All Love Recognition!

On January 16, I’m in the Author Spotlight here!

If you click on the underlined statement, read the “spotlight”

written by Morgen Bailey and give me feedback,

I will grant you one request (one that isn’t illegal or immoral and one I can fill…)

AND ask you to consider giving recognition to someone who needs to hear it.


Great Novels are Handbooks for Personal Development

[A review of “Reading for Personal Development” by Marta Merajver-Kurlat]

The premise of this reflective little book is that reading provides much more than entertainment–books provide keys to some of the questions in our lives. A great book, one that stands the test of time, discusses issues “so profoundly human that we feel they inform the present.” Merajver-Kurlat also says, “Books have an ending, but are not truly finished until readers reinterpret and actualize them.”

I’ve chosen two of the ten books she interpreted in “Reading for Personal Development” to reinterpret for myself and to let other readers glimpse what Merajver-Kurlat’s researched analyses offer us.

I chose is Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” primarily because some of us find the future more fascinating than the past, maybe because we think we can have a part in improving the future while the past…is past. Huxley warns us of a future under a totalitarian regime. Merajver-Kurlat adds to this prophecy the potential to become a casualty rather than a liberator if we “renounce individuality for the sake of safety amid the flock.”

In my other choice, “The President” by Miguel Angel Asturias, Merajver-Kurlat asks us to bleed over this book to truly comprehend the nature of evil. For those of us who’ve never experienced life under a Latin American dictatorial government, the “unspeakable abominations” written about seem unreal. Yet those who’ve lived through these circumstances must be abler to place themselves in the roles of those who pretend nothing is wrong, or with those who must make themselves invisible to survive. Admitting to the horror would likely be a death warrant. Could it be that those of us who dare to read The President and similar books are the ones able to survive when we have the courage to demand an end to the horrors?

After finishing each chapter, I felt like I needed more of Merajver-Kurlat’s astute insights into each book’s meaning and application for my life–until I reviewed her purpose for writing: to teach me, the reader, to read between the lines.  Once I accepted her challenge to reach my own conclusions, I knew I‘d found the keys to answering my questions—instead of the author’s.

What books have been your handbooks for personal development?

Who Are We Killing in Wars?

I used “The Killing Zone” for some of my research on the Vietnam War, one of the turning points of my protagonist. In his book, Frederick Downs recounts:

‘A man pointed to the hook sticking out of my left sleeve and said:

“Get that in Vietnam?”
When I affirmed his guess, he replied.
“Serves you right.”
Of one thing I am certain; none of the men I knew who served in Vietnam deserved to die or to be maime
d, either physically or mentally.’

Downs said that, twenty years later, when he returned to Vietnam for the first time since the war, he recognized the hatred he had held onto all these years for the ‘dinks’ was for “an enemy less than human” but, suddenly, he knew better. He recognized a reflection of himself in the natures of a Vietnamese man and his son.

So true! Here’s my perception as I wrote it in Pieces of You:

I wake each day waiting for him to call to me. Then I remember that he was put in a box and the box was covered with dirt. You know, Ban, it hurts more than when the mule stepped on my foot last year. This pain is in my heart. It must have broken into more pieces than my foot.”

Now tears were pouring down the boy’s cheeks and he began to wail, a sound that pierced the invisible listener’s soul. (more…)

“Pieces of You” has just been published

After almost five years in process, my first novel is now published!

Please let me know if this video trailer entices you to read Pieces of You (currently available in Kindle eBook format at “Pieces of You” Kindle eBook at Amazon.com and coming soon in paperback.

Why would he (or she) leave just when you needed him most?

This is a question I asked myself after my lover died in 2007.   I found a possible answer as I wrote my first novel, Pieces of You. Here is an excerpt that will give you a clue…and may answer the question for you, too:

“My darling, Mark, you’re here for my birthday! My prayers have been answered! I have missed you so. There were moments when I thought I’d never see you again.”

She had to pause and just drink in his appearance.

“You look wonderful to these starved eyes. Handsome and radiating health!”

Mark was gazing at her with undisguised adoration.

“I’ve never felt better or more peaceful. Just seeing you sets off surges of indescribable pleasure! Let me just hold you. I’ve longed for this; to press your body into mine and taste the sweetness of your mouth.”

All the questions in her mind were overridden by the insistence of her body, but the seating arrangement took over where her will power had left off. By the way Mark looked intently at her and then into the distance, she could tell that there was something he was struggling to share.

While Janie speculated about a poetic speech, Mark beseeched heaven for words that would make her understand.

Looking into her eyes while gently stroking her cheek and neck, he began:

“My dear one, my bride; are you still committed to being my final partner?” (more…)

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