Barbara Ellen Brink – Entangled

Title: Entangled

Author: Barbara Ellen Brink

ISBN: 978-1453816745

Page count: 352

Genre: mystery/suspense

Price: 2.99 ebook/12.99 paperback

Author Bio:

Barbara Ellen Brink is a freelance writer, supported financially by a loving husband who just happens to have a much better paying job. She is currently working on another novel in the Fredrickson Winery saga.

Her mainstream novel, “Time in a Bottle,” was selected as a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association 2006 contest and her suspense novel, “Sense of Danger,” was a finalist in 2007. Barbara’s short stories and articles have been published in THEMA Literary Magazine, The Springhill Review, Evangel, Liguorian, and others.

She grew up on a small farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their dogs, Rugby & Willow. With her kids now pushed out of the nest and encouraged to fly, Barbara spends much time writing, motorcycling with her husband in the summer, and hiking through snow with the dogs in the winter.

Tell us about your book:

What if you inherited a California winery, fully equip with a house, vineyards, and a sexy blonde lawyer, and not only does it reawaken your worst childhood memories and give you recurring nightmares, but your mother decides you need her and moves in with you indefinitely?

Entangled is told in the voice of Billie Fredrickson, a twenty-eight-year-old cynical divorce attorney from Minneapolis who inherits a winery and must decide whether to stay and run it as her uncle wished, or sell out and return home. Billie has every intention to cut and run, but her return to the winery after an absence of twenty years opens up more than the reading of her uncle’s will. Childhood memories, long-buried, begin to surface, prompting more questions than anyone is able or willing to answer.

A late night prowler, a break-in at the winery, and an unearthed box of shocking photographs is someone’s way of pulling the Welcome mat out from under Billie’s feet, but it only makes her dig her heels in deeper.

More secrets lie buried beneath Fredrickson Winery’s innocent facade and Billie intends to get to the root. In her search for the truth, Billie unintentionally lays bare painful secrets in her mother’s past as well. Can she live with the consequences of full disclosure?

Along the way, Billie’s love of winemaking is awakened, as is an attraction to her uncle’s attorney. But before she can pursue these options, she must learn to see past hurt and regret to hope of the future, like a good wine that stands the test of time.

Great wine evokes a sense of place, a connection to our heritage, much as a good story. Billie’s story is about finding that connection, that sense of belonging.

How long did it take to write the book?

I worked steadily for about six months to finish it, but then went back a few months later and did more edits and reworked the first chapter.

What inspired you to write the book?

I was visiting relatives in Washington State and noticed how wineries and vineyards had popped up across the countryside. I’d read a number of articles about how popular wine tasting rooms had become in numerous states and wondered what it would be like to own and operate a place like that. I also wanted to deal with repressed memories. I spent much of my childhood in Washington, but my memories aren’t so good. Not that they’re repressed—just poor. I found that memories were often jogged through things like the smell of apricots ripening on a tree, tumbleweeds blowing in the wind, or the sound of frogs croaking in unison down by the creek. It set my mind spinning this story.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I try to write in the mornings and afternoons when the house is quiet and there are no interruptions. I get my email, blogging, and other things out of the way first and then settle in to work on my current book. I usually have a very sketchy story plan in my head and just start writing. I’m not much of an outline person, but I do use a whiteboard to keep track of names, timelines, story arc, etc.

I happily visited a winery or two—just to get the feel for such a place of course. I also had a critique partner who kindly handed over a pile of research she’d done on wineries while living in California. For other aspects of the story I visited the local library and a few interesting winery websites.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Entangled has something for everyone: a mystery to be solved, a budding romance, and mother/daughter relationship problems, all set in sunny California. But the theme throughout is that even though family ties may bind at times and we strain to be free, they’re also our lifelines when storms come our way.

So I hope they laugh and cry and nearly wet their pants, but I’ll be happy if they enjoy the story, tell their friends, and eagerly anticipate my next book.

Where can we go to buy your book?

My ebook is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Smashwords, Kobo, Sony, and Diesel online stores. The paperback is available through Creatspace, Amazon, and other bookstores. If your local bookstore doesn’t have it stocked, please be sure and ask for it.

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Web page: http://www.barbaraellenbrink.com

Blog: http://www.barbarasthinline.blogspot.com

Author page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/barbaraellenbrink

Excerpt from book:

Dreams of shadows hovering over me stole the restfulness from my sleep, and I woke still tired and irritable.  I got up and moved about the room, admiring the view from my window, and taking a closer look at the artwork on the walls.  In here too was an assortment of paintings, abstract and bold in composition, frightening in intensity.  I didn’t like them and blamed the room’s heightened atmosphere for my less than adequate nap.  I promised myself that I would take them down and store them in the back of the closet before I slept in here again.

I stole into my mother’s room and saw that she was still sleeping, a little mascara smudged beneath her eyes, but her hair quite perfect in its protective shell of spray.  Mother was one of those people who always woke fresh as a spring flower, happy and talkative.  When I woke, no matter how long I slept or how still I lay, I always looked like Attila the Hun after a night of pillaging and mayhem.

The sound of a child singing wafted through the open window, and I tiptoed past the bed where Mother slept to lift a slat of the closed blinds and peer out.  Our rooms were situated at the back of the house where the view of the vineyards was obscured by dozens of full-grown oak, redwood, and eucalyptus trees.

A small boy of about six was sitting in a tire swing, suspended from the branch of a tall oak.  He pushed his bare feet against the ground for momentum as he sang at the top of his voice.

“Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys…”

I watched him for a moment, a smile on my lips, as he swung higher and higher, his voice floating up into the branches of the trees.  Suddenly I felt a shiver run down my spine as the scene changed and I imagined myself as a little girl sitting in that tire, swinging back and forth, back and forth, like the pendulum on a clock, unable to stop or get off.

I closed my eyes and swallowed hard.  What was wrong with me?  I wasn’t remembering this place, that swing, the week I spent here as a child.  I blew out a breath of exasperation, realizing my imagination was working overtime.  My father had hung a tire from a large maple tree in our yard in Minneapolis when I was seven.  That’s what I remembered.  I’d fallen out of the thing one time and broke my arm.  I turned away from the window and silently exited into the hall, closing the door behind me.

Exploring the house alone was like rummaging through a stranger’s underwear drawer.  I felt strangely voyeuristic.  I knew it would all belong to me eventually, once the paperwork went through, but I didn’t necessarily relish the idea.  Inheriting “holdings” was one thing, but becoming the proud owner of someone else’s toilet brush, kitchenware, and music collection was quite another.  I made a mental note to schedule a yard sale as soon as possible.

The kitchen door opened into the backyard, and I went out in search of the boy.  Was he one of the field worker’s sons or a neighbor child wandering aimlessly, looking for entertainment in the long afternoon?  I followed a path of stepping-stones through the trees to the back section of the house where I’d seen him swinging.  The tire hung empty now, but still moved gently with the breeze as though a ghostly hand were in control.  I stood there a moment, straining for the sound of his voice in the distance, but there was nothing but the creak of the branches above me and the rattle of leaves in the wind.

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Christopher M Divver – Time in a Bottle

Title: Time in a Bottle

Author: Christopher M. Divver

ISBN: 978-1-4523-5938-0

Page count: 200

Genre: crime drama

Price: $0.99

Author Bio: Christopher is a career firefighter in New Jersey; he is married with two children.

Tell us about your book:

A single glass of whiskey was all it took for Mark Willis to fall back into the hellish pit of alcoholism and the dark, foreboding nightmare that became his life after his girlfriend, Monica, was murdered. She walked down the long hard road of recovery and found her salvation in the hearts and minds of those afflicted as she had once been and where she met Mark and guided him to sobriety, loving him and then trusting him enough to divulge the terrible secrets of her family’s past. But that all ended on a crisp autumn morning in a familiar place with an old friend in his hand.

Audra Schaeffer, a wealthy, powerful pharmaceutical executive is Monica’s half-sister who harbors a secret of abuse, a secret that only she, her father and now Mark know. A secret so devastating that if revealed would ruin her and her father, Senator Robert Schaeffer, and the dozen or so participants in the brutal games that took place in the basement of the Schaeffer estate. When the police reveal to Mark that Monica’s death may not have been an accident, he reveals to them the only person he knows who may want to harm Monica and why.

Time in a Bottle reveals the struggle of a man drowning his sorrows and once again his life one glass at a time while his friends struggle to save him and the police struggle to find Monica’s killers before they get to Mark; the only other person who knows the Schaeffer’s terrible secret.

How long did it take to write the book?

Four months

What inspired you to write the book?

My wife, Karen. She proofread every page and encouraged me to complete what became my first MS and to seek out publishers and agents.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

My wife was a drug and alcohol counselor for many years so I had an easy reference point in her. But my routine was mainly to find somewhere quiet and write.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

First an understanding of how emotionally difficult alcoholism is and how detrimental it can be to those who are afflicted. Also I would certainly hope any reader would come away with a feeling of satisfaction in having read a very good novel.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon.com/Kindle/ChristopherDivver

Smashwords.com

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Christopher-M-Divver/148258135197467

http://www.amazon.com/Time-in-a-Bottle-ebook/dp/B0041KKK0K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1285362396&sr=1-1

Excerpt from book:

As the latch clicked on the closing door behind him, Mark instantly realized that in the five plus years since he had last stepped foot in here, nothing seemed to have changed. Even though one could no longer smoke inside the bar, the stale odor of thousands of long since extinguished cigarettes still lingered. The brass on the foot rail hadn’t seen polish in many years and the sign that spelled out BAR in the front window still blinked occasionally so at times the sign spelled “BA.” He shook his head as he sat on the stool and muttered the one word he never thought he would hear himself say again “whiskey.”

Mark was once again in familiar surroundings. The small room hadn’t changed a bit. Some of the faces even seemed the same. The bartender was mercifully new, at least to Mark, which he was quietly thankful for; he didn’t need the guilty look or a comment. Right now he needed a drink like he had never needed one before.

The fire he felt in his throat now was also familiar and, just as he remembered, as unparalleled to anything he had ever done before. Mark sighed deeply as it went down. His mind immediately wandered, he couldn’t remember the last time he felt the rush of alcohol seeping into his blood stream, it had been so long since he had finally broken free of the seemingly murderous grip the bottle had on him. He closed his eyes, enjoyed the burn and thought of Monica. He knew she would be upset with him right now but the time for that had past. And so had she. He shook his head again. Feeling the tears well up, he took another sip and fought them back. Crying would do no good. Just like fighting the urge to drink again did no good. She was his crutch. His rock. His only support. Now all of that was gone and so was his will to fight the demons inside him. The demons that used to come no matter what he was doing, until Monica came along.

Mark and Monica met six years ago, ironically enough at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. He attending, she, the guest speaker. Having survived a three day binge years before that ended with her in the ICU and her fiancÉÉ dead, she now made the rounds at local AA meetings telling her tale and helping those that had “been there” to stay sober. Sobriety had been a dream for Mark for years, having fought for the better part of two decades to get clean. Something he had just not been able to do, until Monica came along. Twenty years of pain; twenty years of fight; twenty years now gone and so too was Monica. His eyes welled with tears as he thought of his failings, his struggles and the overwhelming disappointment his life had become. His career ruined by the very elixir he now craved more than he craved the life sustaining oxygen that surrounded him. He sank heavily into the stool and sighed, the weight of the world suddenly and forcible upon his shoulders. The vast emptiness around him consumed him, devoured his will, his fight, and now his vain attempt at stopping the inevitable. Mark raised his head to see the bartender staring at him, a quizzical look upon his face.

“One more?” he asked.

The words bounced around Mark’s head like a pin ball until he nodded slightly and stared as the drink filled the glass. Another long pull and Mark could feel his head swimming. He quietly laughed thinking about how it used to take two bottles to make him feel buzzed. But that was long ago and this is now; in this old bar, on this old corner stool, with an old friend in his glass. He chuckled at this last thought. An old drinker’s trick: sit on the corner stool so that you can’t see yourself in the mirror. The mind may say otherwise but the eyes can’t hide the guilt, and Mark had, all of a sudden, a lot of guilt burdened up inside of him. He had, for what seemed like a lifetime, not even thought about a drink, Monica having been the only habit he had ever known that he truly enjoyed. His drinking had seemed to come easily to him, even though he knew he was sick, even though he knew this disease would probably eventually kill him; he found stopping was just not possible. The sinister affect of alcohol was that no matter what it cost you, no matter what you lost because of it, you were never truly able to escape its horrible grasp. Mark had been, as the clichÉÉ goes, lost and then found, found by the strongest woman he had ever known, found by a perseverance he had never expected he would ever encounter, much less love. But now he was lost once again, his savior was gone, his will gone, his fight gone. His tears rolled silently down his cheek and onto the bar as he lifted, with a suddenly unsteady hand, the glass to his lips.

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