All posts filed under: Fiction Friday

Warmth, Passion and Coffee…how Zibby Owens does it all, plus her Quarantine Anthology, essays by contemporary writers in MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME

By Leslie Lindsay  A force to be reckoned–Zibby Owens chronicles the myriad emotions, experiences, more in this historically and personally challenging year; an anthology of essays written by authors from her podcast. “The patron saint of books.”“The Great Connector.” ~Writers Interviewing Writers|Always with a Book~ WeekEND Reading A little burst of joy to your bookshelf during a rather bleak and troubling time. MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO: A Quarantine Anthology (Skyhorse Press, February 2021) will spark interest, validate this challenging year, and more. It’s filled with anecdotes on the reading life, food, family, mental health, exercise, mindfulness, sex/intimacy, more.Here, we delve into over 60 short essays from contemporary writers exploring all of these aspects of life–but during quarantine, which makes MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO even more timely and topical. I don’t know about you–but as a mom myself, I found that I actually had *less* time once we were shut down at home. It sounds counterintuitive, but true. “The perfect reminder for every mom that nn of us have it all together, all of us are doing our best and, …

Beloved UK Author Ruth Hogan delights with her newest release QUEENIE MALONE’S PARADISE HOTEL with vibrant characters, tackling issues such as estrangement, mental illness, and chosen families

By Leslie Lindsay  An uplifting novel of mothers and daughters, secrets and the astonishing power of friendship, from the wildly popular bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things. ~FICTION FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WINNER OF THE ROMANTIC NOVELISTS’ ASSOCIATION AWARD 2020 SELECTED FOR WORLD BOOK NIGHT 2020 A PRIMA BOOK OF THE YEAR Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits. But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning. Now an adult, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda returns to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery …

Colette Sartor talks about her sublime collection of linked stories in ONCE REMOVED, but also how she never intended to write a collection; the grittier side to L.A., a study in storymapping and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Stunning collection of interlinked stories featuring strong, yet vulnerable women, exploring fears, desires, earned raw emotion, and so much more. ~FICTION FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ FLANNERY O’CONNOR AWARD FOR SHORT FICTION I am literally swooning over this collection of interlinked stories by Colette Sartor. ONCE REMOVED: Stories (University of Georgia Press, September 2019) and winner of the Flannery O’Conner Award for Short Fiction, shimmers with radiant, but unsettling characters in authentic situations. It’s mostly about intimacy–and I’m not talking about sex here–it’s the voids and turns of life brimming with emotional complexity. It’s about babies and meals, traditions, and customs. It’s about houses and homes; leaving and going; about love and grief, fierce natures and grudge-holders. It’s about disillusionment and estrangement. The prose is pounding with pulse, and yet, there’s a lyrical restraint here, too. Sartor strips away the facade we fallible humans hide behind, revealing the (sometimes) crumbling foundation. She excavates the fears, desires, secrets in ways that are surprising and while troublesome, are also delightful. The emotion here is raw, but it’s …

Simone St. James returns with a dank and creepy roadside motel in upstate New York, a cold case, and dual timelines, plus its loose connection to Bates Motel, murder, ghosts, and serial killers

By Leslie Lindsay  An atmospheric and troubling mystery set in upstate New York at a run-down roadside motel teeming with ghosts–both literal and figurative.  ~FICTION FRIDAY | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of THE BROKEN GIRLS.  New York Times  USA Today Bestseller  Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, NY. But something isn’t right at the motel, something haunting and scary. Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and to visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she …

OMG! This book–y’all have GOT to read SUCH A FUN AGE, about race, class, and how everything can be misconstrued

By Leslie Lindsay  A striking, surprising debut from from an exhilarating new voice, SUCH A FUN AGE is a compulsive page-turner.  AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A REESE’S BOOK CLUB x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK “The most provocative page-turner of the year.” –Entertainment Weekly “A great way to kick off 2020.” –Washington Post   ~FICTION FRIDAY: SPOTLIGHT!~ You guys! I cannot stop thinking about–or talking about–this book! It’s a bit like Jennifer Weiner meets the pacing of a psychological thriller meets Kim Brooks’ SMALL ANIMALS, but there’s so much more, too. SUCH A FUN AGE (Putnam, December 30 2019) is compulsively readable; it’s like a bad car accident you just can’t take your eyes from. And I am so grateful to G.P. Putnam’s Sons for this review copy. Emira Tucker is a 25-year-old attractive black babysitter trying to make ends meet between her part-time jobs. She out at a friend’s 26th birthday party when the mother of her young charge calls–it’s nearly eleven p.m.–requesting her babysitting services–NOW. She doesn’t look like a babysitter at the moment. She’s …

Mary Beth Keane tackles mental illness, estrangement, family, and more in her searingly good family saga, ASK AGAIN YES, spanning generations

By Leslie Lindsay  What does it mean to forgive? That’s the overarching question of this blistering good family saga encompassing friendship, love, mental illness, violence, estrangement, and more. I love this book, ASK AGAIN, YES (Scribner, May 28 2019) by Mary Beth Keane, a stunningly ambitious novel of epic proportions, spanning the lives of two families over 40 years. Plus, oh, my gosh—that cover—which could be just about Anywhere, USA. Or Anywhere, Period. Mary Beth Keane is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and author of the highly acclaimed novels THE WALKING PEOPLE and FEVER (optioned for screen by Elisabeth Moss)—and also one I happened to love. In ASK AGAIN, YES, Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are rookie cops in the NYPD. They live outside the city in cozy suburban area in the 1970s where they’re married and starting young families. But—each home has different stories. There’s the Gleesons—fresh from Ireland and the Stanhopes with a bit of instability, grief, and more, setting fertile ground for an explosive neighborly connection. This is a …

Fiction Friday:

By Leslie Lindsay Okay, so I’ve been a slacker when it comes to “Fiction Friday.” But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. It just means…well, that I’ve been focusing all my efforts on this little nagging thing called a manuscript. It’s pretty much consuming me. I think about at the gym, at Target, while browsing at the bookstore or library. No one else better take my title (it’s not that fabulous, anyway). Oh wait–here’s a great title…what’s this one about?! Oh man…Joyce Carol Oates, yeah…I’ll never be able to write as good as you. Ooh, I like that description: compelling suspense-driven fiction. Look–a squirrel! Yes, being a writer means teasing out all of the wonderfully creative ideas and telling the voices [characters] to stop, slow down, or change tact from time to time. Like me. And maybe you. We all need to slow down and remember why we got ourselves into this ‘mess’ to begin with. Here’s a little something from what I’m currently working on: Jo Ellen January 20th 1989 “Doubt is a …

Fiction Friday: Book Lady

By Leslie Lindsay They say writers should always be writing, coming up with ideas for the next one…and while we don’t jump ship and start right away on the next one (before finishing the current WIP),  it’s okay–encouraged even–to jot down a few lines, ideas, or whatever and keep it on hand. In that case, here’s a little something that “the boys in the basement” are working on while I pound out the first draft of NEXT DOOR. “I will tell you how I read a book: First, I smooth my hands over the cover, seductively feeling for raised lettering, foil-lined font, the stretchy quality of matte finish, or the smooth luster of gloss. It’s always a better experience if the book is hardback with a jacket. Then I pinch the jacket between my thumb and forefinger, gingerly lifting the paper spine so I can glimpse the real cover, the bare bones that piece the individual pages together, often tied with the tiniest red and white flossing ribbon, or perhaps the binding of rubberized glue. …

Fiction Friday: Inspiration is all Around, Excerpt from “Zombie Road.”

By Leslie Lindsay For a writer, anything and everything is inspiration for writing. It’s just something with the way our brains are wired. We’re firecely observant. We scruntinize small things. And when we stare at something innocuous for a little longer than what might be “appropriate,” you can bet we’re thinking of some sinister little story or perhaps how to describe whatever it is in words that eventually make it on a page. Yep. We’re weird. And so it comes as no surprise that I found this little patch of land while walking my lumbering geriatric basset hound the other day. “It’s Mel’s yard!” I wanted to scream. No, not really. Well, kind of. Sure, my stomach did a little dip as I felt the story coming to life. Here’s an excerpt from an early chapter in my WIP, “Zombie Road,” which ironically contains no zombies. Sorry to disappoint. “As I pulled the back door of Marianne Ashton’s home closed, a silent gasp worms through my throat, something grazed upon my back. I turn, but …

Fiction Friday: Excerpt from “Zombie Road,” Chapter 1

By Leslie Lindsay Let’s take it from the top. Here’s an excerpt from chapter one from my WIP. We meet one of several POVs. This is James, an old man in a nursing home. CHAPTER 1 The End 1984 The baby woke James McCullough. He struggled to a sitting position, kicking the pilled institution-issued blanket from his pale, knobby feet and then twisted his frame and sat on the edge of the bed, listening. That goddamned baby wasn’t crying anymore.   He rubbed his eyes and blew out a breath of air. His chest wheezed and rattled. Death’s cough, the nurses around here called it. He wasn’t supposed to have heard them murmuring at the nurse’s station, but his suite was so close, he couldn’t not hear. That was one thing he still had—his sense of hearing, unlike so many of the other old folks around River’s Bluff Retirement Home. In spite of the nightlights plugged into every outlet, he couldn’t see the hand in front of his face, thanks to glaucoma and cataracts; but …