Guest Post/Giveaway (US/CA): Tori Eversmann author of The Immortals

the immortals


You Had Me at Hello

Our greatest gastronomic experience to date happened in a remote, medieval village called San Gusmè just north of Siena in the Chianti mountains of Tuscany. It is here that the most delicious meals at an osteria called Sira e Remino are lovingly prepared. We literally stumbled across this isolated slice of heaven several years ago after getting lost looking for a winery. The tiny San Gusmè boasts not one but two churches, an octogenarian enologist who also produces olive oil from his groves and, our beloved restaurant within its walled hillside spot.

After parking down below the walled village, our hungry group ‐‐ my mother, step‐ father, husband, daughter and I ‐‐ climbed up the cobblestoned main road, under the arches into the hamlet’s center and onto a narrow walkway where we spotted a sign that read: osteria. Perfetto, as the Italians say. Not sure exactly what would meet us on the other side, we reluctantly walked in. A fragrant cheese case, metal platters topped with thin slices of salamis, and garlic stems hanging from the ceiling greeted us. Within moments we were met and seated in the rustic dining room by a man who was Sylvester Stallone’s doppelganger, who by the way, spoke no English only to be matched by our severely limited pocket dictionary Italian. There were paper placemats and green paper napkins set on the tables and murals of Siena’s famous Il Palio horse race painted on the walls. The menu, also all in Italian, was quaint with it’s handwritten words and lovely drawing of a cinghiale (wild boar) in the corner. I recognized a whopping two words: vino and carpaccio. Sly Stallone’s twin smiled at us while we pointed and nodded at the menu, especially the word vino. We truly had no idea what we ordered but trusted that Sly decided on dishes typical of the Tuscan tradition.

Giggling at ourselves for the morning’s predicament of getting lost and then finding this ancient village, we settled in and waited for our meal while we sipped on the carafe of red wine that Signor Stallone instantaneously put on the table. Soon, the first (of what was four) courses arrived. Our mouths watered as Mr. Stallone placed two round platters arranged with assorted cured meats, briny olives, pungent cheeses, spreads, various just‐picked‐out‐of‐the‐garden veggies, pork cheek, and the reddest, ripest tomatoes on crostini before us. The first savory bites we took caused us to blissfully pause; however, we instinctively knew that bites two, three, and four would be unbelievably better than the first. On and on we ate, practically in silence, with many “hmmmms” and “you have to try this!” as we shared food and slurped the house red wine to wash it down. We couldn’t wait for the next course. Fortunately for us, pici caccio e pepe (a tubular black pepper and parmesan spaghetti) and papardelle al cinghiale (wide noodles with wild boar sauce) didn’t fail us, nor did the third course of grilled tenderloin Chianti style or the grand finale: tartufo gelato we somehow managed to squeeze into our replete bellies.

We’ve now been to Sira e Remino a handful of times and it never fails to delight. We’ve dragged other family members and friends across the Atlantic and forced them to go with us to San Gusmè so they, too, can share in its charming isolation and a first rate meal at Sira e Remino. We even convinced some German bicyclists to go and ended up seeing them there each time we went back, too.

On the other hand, we’ve also followed the herd and fallen into the trap of, “You must go to Over‐Priced‐But‐Its‐Worth‐It new restaurant. It’s so fabulous. You’re a foodie, you’ll love it.” In anticipation of an enjoyable meal, we hire a babysitter, get dressed up and excited to finally patronize the newest, chic, farm to table, we make our own everything, small batch bourbon, exclusive wine list establishment that everyone has raved about only to wait twenty minutes for our table (even though I made a reservation), be seated near the drafty door at a table where a Liliputian and his date could barely stretch out, and then wait another fifteen minutes while several servers waltz by us in a flurry as if we’re invisible and all we want is for someone to acknowledge that we’ve just trudged across the desert and seriously need a drink. The initial few moments have set the stage for a failed experience that we seriously contemplate getting up and walking out, but we don’t because, “we don’t want to be that person.” When the flat champagne and melted ice in the bourbon does finally arrive delivered by a server who seems to wish he was someplace other than here waiting on us, we know, no matter how much we don’t want to abandon the ship, that sometimes the rats have it right. Jump over now and swim to shore. Don’t give it another moment of your precious time.

Reading a book can prove to be a similar sense as the dining out experience. A cover might not be what you would have chosen, but the inside flap description gives you hope. You crack the first few pages and if you’re like me, read the dedication and wonder who the heck Oran is and why was he important to the author, and then flip the page to the words: Chapter One. It is here that the author has his or her last chance to hook the reader. If the first few sentences fail readers, unlike my husband and me who give bad restaurants a chance, the book is closed and casually tossed aside like the rats jumping off the Titantic. The beginning is it. No matter how many clever plot twists and turns or prosaic words or complicated, developed characters the author has in store down the road, the reader may never care to know. There will be no chance to indulge in the finale; the tartufo gelato after three huge courses of Tuscan dishes. Life is too short to read a book that doesn’t hook you at Hello. Carpe Diem!


tori eversmannAbout Tori Eversmann:

Tori Eversmann, wife of retired First Sergeant Matt Eversmann, the soldier who inspired the lead character in the book and movie Black Hawk Down, lives in West Palm Beach with their daughter, two black Labradors – Maybellene and Pamuk, and two cats – Genghis and Gatto.

More info can be found here– including why she wrote THE IMMORTALS.


About THE IMMORTALS:

Say the words “Army wife,” and what often comes to mind is the image of a teary-eyed woman running to hug her returning combat soldier-husband or a caricature based on a slickly produced reality TV show. The Immortals is different. This stunning first novel full of emotion addresses the truth of the female predicament — the unsung heroes who are left behind on the homefront of war. We experience the love and challenges between husband and wife, we feel the closeness of mother and daughter, and we bond with the most unlikely of women. When we first meet Calli Coleman, a classically trained musician from a well-connected Baltimore family, it is the summer of 2005 and the United States has been at war in Iraq for two years. She has been uprooted from the hometown she adores and abruptly lands in the role of Army wife in provincial Sackets Harbor, New York outside of Fort Drum. Naïve to all things military, Calli has no idea what’s in store for her when Luke’s infantry unit deploys to the Iraq War to an area CNN dubs “The Triangle of Death”. Left back in New York with their three-year-old daughter Audrey, black Labrador Satchmo, and a fat cat named Charlemagne, Calli has a steep learning curve as she tumbles into a complicated social hierarchy where she finds her well-heeled childhood does her more harm than good. Desperately missing her friends and family and amid the impertinent Army wives, unlikely friendships evolve with Josie, Rachel, and Daphne. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, and certainly unlike her dynamic, jet-setting best friend Eula, these women will nonetheless come together for courage, support, and to embark upon the deeply emotional roller coaster ride of being an Army wife.

With only letters and email as their communication, Calli knows very little about Luke’s mission in Iraq. Through their letters we get a beautiful picture of their love for each other and what it means to serve our Nation but Luke cannot share much about the confidential assignment. The news on the radio and television is never good. Calli dreads the phone ringing to tell her of more soldiers being blown up by IEDs or killed by gunfire and she fears “The Trifecta” – the casualty assistance officer, rear-detachment office, and chaplain – will be sitting in her driveway waiting to tell her the worst news she can imagine. In Luke’s absence, Calli, alone with her daughter, learns that if anything is worth fighting for, it’s the unpredictable new friendships that will sustain her through loneliness and the ever-present specter of widowhood. At the end Calli will find herself on an unexpected course full of epiphanies about herself and her marriage.

The Immortals is an emotional examination of marriage, friendship, war, and death. Tori Eversmann, through her distinctive voice that comes from her own time as an Army wife, has given us an unforgettable story.


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Photo credits:

  • THE IMMORTALS cover: 2 Muddy Labs
  • Author photo: Michael I. Price.
  • Giveaway image: T @ Traveling With T
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Guest Post by Jodi Thomas, author of Ransom Canyon

Ransom Canyon (8:25)

With seven generations of my family in Texas, of course I write about the state I love.  In this new series I’m going more modern-day western than I ever have.  Step into the life of small towns and ranching with me.  I promise, you’ll fall in love with the people of Ransom Canyon.

The idea for RANSOM CANYON came from living in the Texas Panhandle.  I wanted to write about the real west of today.  I wanted my people to be like the men and women I grew up with, honest and true.  Not the cowboy on a book cover who has never been on a horse, but the cowboy who gets up at five to load his own horse and make it to the ranch before dawn.  He doesn’t work by the hour, but by the day.

More than anything else I’ve always thought the people make the stories in books.  I love characters who walk off the page and the reader falls a little bit in love as they discover not only passion, but a bond as deep as time.

As I began my first book in the series Staten Kirkland jumped off the page.  He’s strong and good, a rancher everyone looks up to, but he’s broken and only one woman can calm his heart. Shy Quinn asks nothing of him.  She offers understanding amid the storm of his life.

Ransom Canyon is about the beauty of people and how they interact with one another as friends, families and lovers.  And, of course, the winners in life’s game are the people who love the deepest. So, saddle up with me and step into Ransom Canyon.

IMG_5056aJodi Thomas

www.jodithomas.com

www.facebook.com/jodithomasauthor

Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 41 novels and 13 short story collections. A five-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

If you’d like to read the history behind the Ransom Canyon contemporary series there is a free novella available for Kindle and Nook.

Winter's Camp (Ransom Canyon .5 - 8:1)

Guest Post by Kristy Woodson Harvey (plus a US Giveaway)

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You know how people talk about their life flashing before their eyes? About how they see everything that ever happened to them in a single moment? I always thought that sounded crazy. Until, of course, it happened to me. But it wasn’t with my own life; it was with the life of my characters, Jodi and Khaki, in my debut novel DEAR CAROLINA. Maybe it was from the near­-psychosis of new­-mommy exhaustion…

My husband and I had been home from the hospital five or six days with our brand­new, beautiful bundle of a son. All was well—or as well as it can be when you’re running on a couple of hours of sleep!

My parents were still at our house, and they had taken our sweet new son into their room so that my husband and I could take a much-­needed early evening nap. It seems like as soon as I fell asleep, I heard that tiny cry that had become my alarm clock. He’s okay, I reassured myself. I had just fed him, and, if he needed to be changed or put to sleep, my parents could handle it. They had, after all, raised me with very few complications!

But the crying continued until I finally stumbled, bleary-­eyed, over the threshold of my bedroom and into theirs. My dad handed my son to me with a mumbled apology and, in that instant, my baby stopped crying.

I walked back into my room and, still holding him, looked into his eyes, and he looked into mine. Oh my gosh, I remember thinking. I am a mother. I felt that now very familiar tug on what seemed like all of my insides, that almost painful joy that I was the person who would get to raise this child. I would get to see him smile for the first time, take his first steps, and, if I was very lucky, maybe one day in the very far-­off future, become a parent himself.

In that very same instant I remember asking myself a question: What would have to happen in your life for you to be able to part with your child? And what would it feel like to know that another woman had this type of deep, forever connection with your child, the child you had adopted. Jodi and Khaki, the two main characters in Dear Carolina, were simply there in that moment, complete with their pasts, presents and futures. They were as alive in my mind as anyone I’ve ever known.

They were both there, both acknowledging the fact that giving up your child, giving this love and this connection that I had with my son, to someone else, was the ultimate gift that one woman could ever give another. They were showing me that breaking that connection would undoubtedly be the most difficult decision that one woman would ever make. And the easiest that another would make would be to accept that gift and get to be the mother that brought this child up in the world.

Because I knew instinctively in that moment too that, sure, I had given birth to this baby, but that deep, heart-­wrenching love, that wasn’t about feeling kicks in my belly or being the first person to hold him; it was about seeing my child and knowing that I would do anything in heaven or on earth to protect him. It was about picturing this grand and glorious future laid out in front of us because I was his mother and he was my son.

I knew that my character Khaki felt that exact same way. And, in that way, Dear Carolina was a story that wrote itself, a story of love and family, of sacrifice and commitment. The story itself—and the process of getting it published—was about facing biggest fears and wildest dreams all at the same time. And then saying “yes” to both of them.


Kristy HarveyKristy Woodson Harvey holds a degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s in English from East Carolina University. She writes about interior design and loves connecting with readers. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three-year-old son. Dear Carolina is her first novel.


Praise for Dear Carolina:

Southern to the bone and full of engaging characters, Dear Carolina is a strikingly beautiful story of love and sacrifice. Kristy Woodson Harvey’s debut novel captures your heart and doesn’t let go; her keen insights into a mother’s love will stay with you long after the last page. ” — Kim Boykin, author of Palmetto Moon and The Wisdom of Hair

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Spotlight/Giveaway/Guest Post by Melanie Denman, author of Visiting the Sins.

Visiting the Sins

Great Expectations of Mothers

Since Visiting the Sins was published, one theme seems to have pushed more hot buttons with my readers than any other: how mothers ought to behave. In most cultures, but especially within the evangelical Christian culture of this story, we like our mothers saintly. Sober, modest and self-sacrificing. Or at least the appearance of such.

On one level, this expectation makes perfect sense. We shudder to imagine a world in which mothers abandon their young for drugs and debauchery. Those of us who were blessed with devoted mothers know in our hearts that we owe much of the good in our lives to the nurturing we received as children. And yet…

The women in Visiting the Sins repeatedly found themselves in situations in which their motherly obligations conflicted with something else. As a dirt-poor single mother without education or skills, Pokey (the matriarch of the Wheeler family) does some unsavory things in order to feed her family and propel them into increasingly greater wealth. In her mind, puritan morality is a luxury she could not afford, and she made no apologies for it.

The shame that Pokey’s behavior causes for her daughter, Rebanelle, turns out to be the driving force in Rebanelle’s life. Rebanelle holds herself to an impossibly high standard of behavior and devotes all her energy to redeeming the family’s reputation. When her daughter, Curtis Jean, slides into alcoholism and depression, the threat of public exposure is more than Rebanelle can bear. She covers it up.

Has anybody else been there?? In the course of my research for Visiting the Sins, I interviewed a host of church-going moms who had struggled with addiction and/or mental illness. Their stories ran the gamut from heartbreaking to hilarious, sometimes both, but one thread ran through almost all of them – the difficulty of admitting to a personal challenge for fear of losing their children or shaming their families.

As I followed the women of Visiting the Sins on their winding journey through the joys and pitfalls and impossible choices of motherhood, I found myself wondering – why are we, as moms, so hard on ourselves and each other? We all know the answer: because we don’t want our children to pay the price for our selfishness and weakness. But the more I hear from women who saw themselves in one of the characters in my story, the more I wonder about the price the whole family pays when a problem has to be kept a secret.


Book Description:

Set in the Bible Belt of Deep East Texas, Visiting the Sins is a darkly funny story about mothers and daughters, naked ambition, elusive redemption, and all the torment it’s possible to inflict in the name of family.

Down through the decades, the lofty social aspirations of the feisty but perennially dissatisfied Wheeler women — Pokey, the love-starved, pistol-packing matriarch; Rebanelle, the frosty former beauty queen turned church organist; and Curtis Jean, the backsliding gospel singer — are exceeded only by their unfortunate taste in men and a seemingly boundless capacity for holding grudges. A legacy of feuding and scandal lurches from one generation to the next with tragic consequences that threaten to destroy everything the Wheeler women have sacrificed their souls to build.

Where to buy the book:

On author’s website
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Melanie DenmanAbout the Author:

Melanie Denman is a native of Nacogdoches, Texas and a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University. An eighth-generation Texan, and a former banker and cattle rancher, she currently lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is working on a second novel.

Connect with Melanie:  Website  ~  Facebook


​Giveaway: ​One of 15 copies of Visiting the Sins (Open USA & Canada) and Amazon Gift Cards 3 X $10, 2 X $15, 1 X $20 (Open internationally). Ends April 25.

Visiting the Sins

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Guest Post by Cynthia Swanson, author of The Bookseller

Today I’m pleased to welcome Cynthia Swanson whose debut novel The Bookseller was released last week by Harper. I hope you enjoy Cynthia’s topic as much as I did and if you’re a US reader you’ll be happy to see a Giveaway at the end of the post.


Swanson pic credit, Glenda Cebrian Photography

Tackling Your Creative Dream in Middle Age

By Cynthia Swanson

It was 10 o’clock on a Tuesday morning, and I was at the YMCA. As I pounded away on the StairMaster, I thought about how the only people at the Y at this time of day were like me – mostly moms of young kids, with perhaps the random retiree thrown in the mix.

How did this happen? Not so long ago, I was a childless, single woman in her mid-30s, with a successful freelance writing career and plenty of time to indulge in my passion for writing fiction. I lived alone in an adorable, historic bungalow in a trendy area of Denver. How had I gone from being that woman to being someone I barely recognized – 45 years old, married, and the mother of three? Instead of that cute bungalow, I now lived in a ranch house in a neighborhood chock-full of families. I squeezed in paid writing projects here and there, in a weak attempt to maintain some semblance of a career, while mostly volunteering, taking care of kids, gardening, and running a household.

Writing fiction felt like a thing of the past. Along with time to read, aimless drives just for something to do, last-minute movie dates with friends, and drinks after work, creativity had gone right out the window.

But had it? While the StairMaster took me higher and higher to nowhere, I considered the possibilities. How can life be transformed so quickly? How does one random, life-changing moment convert a woman from the person she thought she was into someone who – some days – she feels she barely knows?

And what are the repercussions if that life-changing moment doesn’t happen?

It was the seed of a story idea. Maybe, I thought, it was the seed of a novel.

***

Pre-kids, writing fiction was an enormous part of my identity. I had been writing stories for as long as I knew how to put pen to paper. In my 20s, I dreamed (who doesn’t, in their 20s?) of being famous for my creative work. I wrote short stories and hammered away at a novel. I high-fived myself when my short fiction was picked up by literary journals; I was ecstatic when one of my stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I had talent and ambition, I told myself – not to mention plenty of time to read, write, and dream. There was no reason I couldn’t make those dreams come true.

But life went on. I moved from Boston to Colorado. I published more stories; I ditched my first novel and began writing a new one. I changed career paths from marketing to technical writing, and eventually I started freelancing, which provided more flexibility for writing fiction.

Around the time I completed that novel and began querying agents, I met my husband-to-be. Before long, we had a bustling household with three kids – and the manuscript of my novel, for which I had received a few encouraging replies from agents (“Nice, but not for us.” “Keep writing! Good luck!”) but no offers to take me on, was tucked into a filing cabinet and rarely considered. There was a nagging part of me that wondered if I’d ever write fiction again.

So that day at the Y, as the StairMaster slowed into cool-down mode and I wiped the sweat from my brow, my excitement grew.

As with most of my fiction, the concept started with a bit of reality that could be transformed using invented circumstances and details. If I want my characters to seem like real people and not mannequins, then the emotion of the story has to be real – it has to be something I’ve experienced, or at the very least understand. On the flip side, to create a compelling narrative, I make up plenty of the finer points and most of the plot.

I reflected on this for few weeks, without writing a word. I just let the ideas stew. But eventually I began to write. I liked the concept of a character caught between a dream life and real life, with the two lives being vastly different because of some small variation in circumstance. I wanted to explore how quickly life can turn into something unexpected, just by the simplest change of conditions. It was, I realized, a Sliding Doors type of story.

But I needed this to happen to a specific person. Although I have never owned a bookstore, I’ve spent plenty of time hanging around in them – especially the independents, from hole-in-the-wall used bookshops in Cambridge, Massachusetts to the multi-leveled Tattered Cover here in Denver. I have a couple of bookselling relatives and friends, and their lifestyles have always fascinated me (and made me a tad envious). Selling books seemed the perfect career for Kitty Miller, my 38-year-old, single-gal protagonist. Thus The Bookseller was born.

I originally set the story in the present day. But because it revolves around this idea of chaos theory – one small incident that cascades into an entirely different outcome – I quickly realized that a 21st-century Kitty would approach the whole situation of living one life while dreaming of another in a completely different manner than would the Kitty of an earlier era. If this happened in the present day, I thought, Kitty would be quick to Google every aspect of her dream life. She’d probably be a bit cynical, and she’d be reluctant to go with the flow – something I needed her to do for the story to progress.

I’ve always had a fascination with the 1960s. When I started writing The Bookseller, I was also doing design and renovation work on our 1958 home, as well as giving suggestions to others who were remodeling their mid-century houses to be more modernized while remaining true to the era. Like writing, design has always been a passion of mine. Setting the story in 1962-63 was the perfect avenue to unite these interests.

With the lifestyle I now had, writing happened 15 minutes at a time. Yep, I wrote the first draft of this book in absurdly miniscule 15-minute increments. I could not write in the evening – my hat’s off to those who can be creative after a long day of obligations, but that’s not me. Instead, writing occurred in stolen daytime moments, sandwiched between other responsibilities. I learned that if I could find 15 minutes to write, I often could carve out 30 – or 60, or sometimes more. The house was messier and the dinners simpler. But it was all good.

Working on that first draft, I did little revising. My older children, twins who were six at the time, were learning to read. I gave them advice that teachers often give struggling new readers – when you come across a word you don’t know and can’t figure out, skip it. Keep going, and go back when you’re ready, because later context often clarifies that which previously stumped you.

The same counsel applies to writing – or any creative activity. If you’re stuck, make a note of the problem and move on. The resolution will be clear when the time is right.

After six months, I had a 50,000-word draft – approximately half the length the manuscript ultimately would be. That first draft was riddled with holes and questions. Much to my satisfaction, in subsequent drafts those holes filled in. Problems resolved themselves – sometimes by eliminating a minor character or side plot, sometimes by creating a new scene or dialogue, sometimes via research.

***

So, great, I finished it. Then what? Well. One of the benefits of being older when you embark on a creative project is that you likely have more resources at your fingertips. You know people – or if not, at least you are confident in your ability to find people.

I re-involved myself with the creative writing scene in Denver – a community I had been active in during my 30s but had become distanced from after having kids. In doing so, I discovered something unexpected, but very welcome: when it comes to writing, “older” does not equal “washed up.” Quite the contrary: attending readings and literary events, I noticed that while there were still hotshot young fiction writers getting lots of attention, most of them seem focused on YA and dystopia fiction. It was the older writers – the thirty- and forty- and even fiftysomething authors – who were putting out books about real, adult life. These were novels that readers bought – and remembered, and discussed in their book groups, and told their friends about.

Older writers – even first-time novelists who were well past their 20s when their first books came out – were garnering respect in the literary world. They were using their experience and wisdom to turn out great fiction.

After I deemed The Bookseller complete, I hired an editor – not for a line-by-line review, but rather to help me determine if the novel was marketable. She gave me great advice, and following on the heels of that, I found an agent and subsequently a publisher.

The Bookseller will hit bookstands on March 3, just a few weeks after my 50th birthday.

It’s not an easy process, nor a speedy one. But there is serenity that comes with creative endeavors at this age. While the outcome is astonishing, so was the process. I’m proud of the result, but I’m equally proud that I took it on in the first place – and that I finished the damn thing.

What I’ve learned is that in creative work – as in life – it’s not a heady, all-encompassing rush of perfection, but rather one step at a time that gets the job done.

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Guest Post by Clare F. Price: Such an Unlikely Place to Launch a Revolution – US Giveaway

Such an Unlikely Place to Launch a Revolution

By Clare F. Price
Author of WEB OF BETRAYAL

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The weathered old tavern, a relic from California’s Gold Rush days, is nestled in the
rolling hills of Portola Valley, CA. Called the Alpine Inn, it’s a most unlikely place to start a revolution. But a revolution was indeed launched there. On August 27, 1976 researchers from SRI International in Menlo Park chose the Alpine Inn (also known as Zot’s) for a special ceremony—the first transmission of what would become the Global Internet.

According to the Portola Valley blog, “The message was sent via a radio network from SRI and on through a second network, the ARPANET, to Boston. This event marked the beginning of the Internet Age.

“On November 22, 1977 the same radio-based mobile SRI van terminal demonstrated the first use of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) to connect a terminal to a host through three dissimilar packet networks. The SRI van is now in the collection of the Computer History Museum.”

alpine_inn_and_bikes_thumbFrom that point forward the Alpine Inn—which looks more like a biker bar than a Silicon Valley mega spot —has lured some of the Valley’s best and brightest movers and shakers for conversations that ultimately have led to the funding of major software startups, innovative product launches, and corporate mega mergers.

The Alpine Inn is such a magnate that young startup wanna-bes have been known to leave their one-page laminated business plans on car windshields just in case one of the visitors enjoying a quick greasy bite is a venture capitalist.

As a frequent visitor to the Alpine Inn in the 1990s during my product marketing days at Sun Microsystems and later at the Gartner Group, I couldn’t resist using the infamous Alpine Inn as one of the settings for my new novel Web of Betrayal.

It is, as described in my book, “by no one’s measure an inn and even the term restaurant was a stretch. It was a good, old-fashioned counter service hamburger joint and bar with a rough-hewn character that had become increasingly endearing as the surrounding towns of Woodside and Portola Valley grew in affluence and pretension.”

In Web of Betrayal, the Alpine Inn is where my protagonist, reporter Peter Ellis, first learns about the development problems with David Lockwood’s new Internet product. Despite its notoriety, the Alpine Inn is a great place for private conversations.

Read about Zot’s historical role in the birth of the Internet here.


 

Clare 3a-1Clare Price is a former business journalist, technology reporter, Internet industry analyst and a VP of marketing for several software startups. She saw the birth of the commercial Internet firsthand as a research director with the Gartner Group, the global leader in information technology consulting. As a principal analyst in Gartner’s Internet Strategies Service, Clare assisted many of the world’s biggest technology companies (IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Sun Microsystems, Oracle) in their bid to make the internet a reality. In addition to her 5-book series, The 5 Easy Pages Essential Marketing System, Clare has written more than 700+ articles and is a frequent speaker in the areas of marketing, management, and technology.

For more information and to view the book trailer, visit:
Click here to enter a Giveaway of one copy of  WEB OF BETRAYAL.
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Blog tour/Review: A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas

Today I’m pleased to welcome back author Jodi Thomas whose new book A PLACE CALLED HARMONY  will publish on Tuesday, October 7, 2014. (Click here to preorder)

a place called harmonyIn A PLACE CALLED HARMONY readers will be looking at Harmony for the first time.  I enjoyed writing about the three men who were brave enough to travel half of Texas to build a town.  All three men came to me full and strong as did the women who loved them.  From the opening I was running full gallop with a plot.  With my great-grandmother’s chest sitting in front of my desk, I felt like I was loading up the wagon and heading for a new life.

Patrick McAllen had grown up on the gulf coast of Texas.  He had to run away to avoid his father’s wrath and shy little Annie agreed to go with him. Captain Matheson didn’t even know his family was relocating to build a town where only a trading post stood.  When he got to his wife Daisy, he realized how much having him near meant to her and how dearly he needed his ever-growing family.

Clint Truman had been looking for a way to die since he’d lost his family.  Drunk and down on his luck, a sheriff offered him a choice.  Go to jail or head north to build a town.  Clint didn’t think much of the idea but when he met a woman half-dead from starvation and caring a newborn in her arms, he saw someone who needed him and he couldn’t turn away.

As they all moved toward the trading post, each found not only a direction in life, but true love.

Step into the beginning of a town called Harmony.  Ride along with me through the adventures and the love stories.

Thank you for reading,

Jodi Thomas

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Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 40 novels and 12 short story collections. A four-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

www.jodithomas.com

www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor

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  • a place called harmonyTitle:  A Place Called Harmony
  • Series:  Harmony #8
  • Author:  Jodi Thomas
  • Genre:  Romance (Historical)
  • Published:  October 2014 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Jodi Thomas has captivated America with her novels set in the small town of Harmony, Texas. Now she tells the story of the three hard-luck men who first settled the town, a place where last chances and long-awaited dreams collide…

Desperate to escape his overbearing father, Patrick McAllen disappears with his bride, heading north to build a new town— discovering strength, honor and true love along the way.

After drinking away the grief from his family’s death, Clint Truman avoids jail by taking a job in North Texas and settling down with a woman he vows to protect but never love—until her quiet compassion slowly breaks his hardened heart wide open…

All Gillian Matheson has ever known is Army life, leaving his true love to be a part-time spouse. But when a wounded Gillian returns home to find her desperately fighting to save their marriage, he’s determined to become the husband she deserves.

Amidst storms, outlaws, and unwelcome relatives, the three couples band together to build a town—and form a bond that breathes life into the place that will forever be called Harmony.  (publisher)

My take:  A Place Called Harmony is a must read for fans of Jodi Thomas and her Harmony series. I loved it. It was fun to see how the place where her modern-day series takes place got its start. The ancestors of the main characters of the Harmony series helped to build the town.

The Trumans, McAllens and the Mathesons meet after taking a man up on his offer to help build a town. We see them from the beginning and how they grow to be friends for life. Not only that, we see how each man meets his wife and begins a new journey together. I loved all three stories. These are good people who’ve survived tragedies and still trust that life can get better with the mates they’ve been fortunate enough to find.

A Place Called Harmony is a romantic adventure. It’s truly an American pioneer story and I recommend it. Included at the end is an excerpt from the next book in the Harmony series: One True Heart. It will be out in April 2015. I can’t wait to read it!