#GuestAuthor Jenn Bregman

Jen BregmanJenn Bregman is a white-collar criminal defense lawyer turned novelist. Her first book, The TimeKeepers, was published in May of this year. She is also the mother of five-year-old twin boys. I expect the latter is a much more daunting role. 😊 But do read on and decide for yourself. Welcome, Jenn!

Buy Jenn’s book HERE

Tell us a little about yourself.  I am a passionate life enthusiast. I love my family, friends, animals, nature, exploring this wondrous world, and the peace and joy that come through the grace of a close connection to the universe. I love music and was an opera singer before turning to law. I am a pug dog addict and have been known to run across crowded NYC streets to squeeze one! I do, at least, one scary thing a day.
What is the title and genre of your latest book? Who published it?  My debut novel is a legal thriller called The TimeKeepers, published by Triborough Publishing.

Tell us a little about your book.  The TimeKeepers centers on a young, idealistic, naïve lawyer named Sarah Brockman who leaves Big Law in search of work that would make a difference, only to find herself barely scraping by working for clients who can’t pay and pursuing causes she can’t win. Then a random horrific car crash changes everything and she is thrust into a tangled web of massive corruption, fraud, and greed that twists and turns through the highways of Southern California, Mexico, and the Cook Islands – all while kindling a tender romance with her new love, Sam, who’s been following the same trail…but from the other end, and the wrong side of the law.

What inspired you to write it?  I have always been a voracious reader and writer but hadn’t really considered the idea of a novel until these crazy, persistent voices started waking me up in the middle of the night! Literally! Three of the main characters just kept popping in – wholly uninvited. I decided that the only way to get some sleep was to write down what they had to say. And, boy, did they talk! 😊

The TimeKeepers by Jen BregmanWhat is your current writing project?  I am currently working on the sequel, set in NYC. It takes place a few years later, so the characters in Book One are older, possibly wiser, and definitely naughtier! It is set to publish in 2018. The last of the series, set in Colorado, is set to publish the year after.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?  The key is just to know that it, like most things, will pass. That helps you relax and focus on getting through quicker! Movement is best for me. If it’s “writer’s hiccup,” then pacing around the house will help. If it’s more severe, then a long hike in nature, or a long swim, or even a long yoga session can help. I think it’s because the physical discomfort of doing one of these gets you out of your head and into your body. When you get back in your head, it’s usually clearer!

How do you schedule your time between writing and keeping your physical life together?  My morning time is critical. With rambunctious twin five-year-old boys, the only guarantee I have of quiet work time is in the morning. So tushie is in the chair from 5:00 – 7:00 a.m.  No excuses. Ok. Rarely excuses. Then, I fit in two or three more hours during the day in blocks as I can. In all honesty, sometimes the words don’t flow and I stare at the screen for most of the two hours, but I think the discipline of doing (even when it’s crummy) outweighs the “not.”

How and where have you marketed your work?  The paperback is available on Amazon and e-book is available through Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. After the review by Publishers Weekly, where they said: “The TimeKeepers should appeal to John Grisham fans,” many bookstores are stocking it as well. If your bookstore is not presently carrying it, ask them to order it.

The TimeKeepers by Jen BregmanWhat advice would you give a new writer?  My advice is basic, but true. “Just do it!” Make your decision, your plan, and then execute your plan. There will be many, many times when you will feel like quitting for all kinds of reasons, but don’t. Stay the course. Resolve to finish your work. There is much to be said for finishing and very little to be said for not. I guess there’s even less to be said for not starting in the first place! Ha! When you have finished, you may review, edit, wrangle your words in ways that you can’t do when you don’t have the words. Trust yourself and have faith.

What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?  My hope for my readers is that they will embrace the depth of this book. Even though it’s a thriller, I have woven allegorical themes of service, charity, and justice into the story. There are questions of income disparity and greed – issues that are relevant to us right now! Many of these questions are in the Book Club section of my website. I hope that book clubs, as well as individual readers, will consider these broader ethical themes, reflect, and take away something of deeper value.

Thank you so much, Tina, for hosting me on your beautiful blog. Such an honor.

You’re most welcome, Jenn. It has been my pleasure to host you. I wish you every success with your writing and your books.

Bio

Jenn Bregman is a white-collar criminal defense lawyer who has practiced in both Los Angeles and New York City, where she worked on some of the most notorious cases of our time. A veteran of Big Law and a graduate of the University of Denver and UCLA Law School, her writing has been published in the UCLA Law Review and Los Angeles Lawyer magazine. A marathoner who loves pugs and hiking giant mountains, Bregman lives in Los Angeles and is a member of the State Bar of California, the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, California Women Lawyers, Gamma Phi Beta, and Mensa. The TimeKeepers is her first novel, with a sequel planned for release in 2018.

The TimeKeepers by Jen Bregman Blurb

A fast-paced thriller, The TimeKeepers plunges headlong into the depraved underbelly of Big Law and big money where greed is king, murder is incidental, and winning is the only thing that matters. Attorney Sarah Brockman is young, idealistic, and naïve. Having left Big Law in search of work that would make a difference, she finds herself barely scraping by running her own personal injury law firm working for clients who can’t pay and pursuing causes she can’t win. Then a random horrific car crash shatters everything. Now she’s staring into the darkest shadows of the very system she’s dedicated her life to upholding, filled with corrupt judges, dirty cops and attorneys, offshore banking, massive fraud, and twists and turns through the highways and byways of Southern California, Mexico and the Cook Islands. Facing off against a cunning and deranged adversary, Sarah is aided by a sharp-witted socialite, a felon and occasional crackhead, and a shameless Mexican raconteur. All while kindling a tender romance with Sam, her boyishly handsome new love, who has been following the same trail but from the other end–and the wrong side of the law. Sarah feels invisible strings pulling her ever closer to the core of the conspiracy. But if she’s just a pawn in someone else’s game, are the strings being pulled for good or for bad? Or, even, both? And will she be on the side that wins?

Learn more about Jenn:   Website/Blog    Amazon    Facebook         Twitter    Instagram  

 

 

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What Is Success? – Guest Post by Tina Frisco…

We tend to see success as a realized goal, often overlooking the small successes that create the links in this chain. I write further on this subject in my article on The Story Reading Ape. Thank you to Chris Graham for hosting me ❤

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

While writing the introduction to a fellow author’s book, I realized many of us view success as an end-product. We aspire, we strive and, if fortunate, we manifest. Only then do we feel gratified, overlooking all we accomplished in the process. In short, we fail ourselves.

If we become discouraged when met by an obstacle, we are not seeing that obstacle for what it truly is: a teacher. Obstacles not only teach us what does not work, but also challenge us to reach beyond our perceived limitations. Obstacles are opportunities to practice what we’ve learned, alter our approach, and move forward. This is success.

Being stuck in obsessive thought patterns, limiting beliefs, or anything that stops us short of reaching a goal can lead to wallowing in the past (nostalgia) and yearning for the future (desire). Turning inward and finding the embedded thoughts sabotaging our efforts…

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#BookRelease – Plateau: Beyond the Trees

I am pleased to announce the release of the 2nd edition of my first novel, PLATEAU.
Plateau: Beyond the Trees by Tina FriscoAvailable in both eBook and paper.

They will show in the Amazon store within 3-5 business days but are available now through the Kindle and CreateSpace stores. The old version is still showing on Amazon but will be removed.

To celebrate, the eBook will be free to download from the 15th through the 19th.
Download it HERE.

I’m so grateful to have this task behind me! It took quite a bit longer than I expected, largely due to how poorly I wrote five years ago compared with now. I decided to give the book a quick overhaul, forgetting it was not a vehicle that merely needed an oil change. And once I started, there was no turning back. I did all the formatting, which can be a nightmare. But I learned a lot when I published my book Vampyrie last December, and fortunately I remembered most of it.

I also needed to make a cover. On the front I wanted to use the same image, which was created by a friend of mine and was easy to upload. I used GIMP  to apply the text. Since CreateSpace’s cover design choices are limited, the back cover was more of a challenge. How to get the color I wanted? I was blessed with a light-bulb moment. I scanned a sheet of white paper into my computer, uploaded the image into GIMP, applied color, and added the text. This project was a full day’s work. When I uploaded it to CreateSpace, it looked fine. But CS said the text went too far to the border (even though it was within the border shown), so I had to redo the text, which took another half day. (I need to go to GIMP school.)

During all of this, my mum became seriously ill and had to be hospitalized. I thought I might have to hop a train and travel cross country. Thankfully she recovered and is doing well.

Now that the dreaded book business is completed (I need to go to formatting school), I can resume writing posts and visiting blogs. I can tackle that collapsing pile of books on my TBR. I can open the stack of mail on my desk.  Maybe I’ll get around to cleaning and doing the laundry. My neglected little car needs a bath, and I really should jump in the shower. Wash my hair? Yes, I need to do that as well. I even hope to go out to dinner or the movies before the end of the year. An author’s work is never done.

Plateau: Beyond the Trees by Tina FriscoI wrote and first published PLATEAU: Beyond the Trees in 2012, because I wanted to put a message of hope into the world. December 21st of that year was the end of the Mayan long count calendar. This inspired the making of documentaries that aired over several months. Most of them evoked fear by focusing on the doomsday aspect of apocalyptic prophecies. Many of us wondered if love could prevail in an atmosphere of dread and panic.

PLATEAU offers hope with its underlying message: We must keep our hearts open and act from love instead of reacting from fear; we must practice gratitude and compassion within every moment and with every breath, so that we might help elevate the human species to a higher consciousness and facilitate personal and global peace. Within this vision – this practice – the human species will continue into the Golden Age of Enlightenment.

Novel reading can increase our understanding of who we are. I hope PLATEAU will advance this understanding. I hope it will encourage empathy, compassion, and tolerance for diversity. I hope …

I will leave you with this quote by one of the indigenous shaman women of the Sisterhood of the Shields:

You have the choice to nourish or you have the choice to destroy with your power. –Ruby Plenty Chiefs quoted in Spirit Woman,     The Teachings of the Shields by Lynn V. Andrews

Until the next time, my friends …  Namaste ❤ 

#Blogging Break

I’m taking a short break from blogging as I reclaim my first book from the publisher.
I published PLATEAU in 2012 through FriesenPress in Canada. At the time, I knew nothing about self-publishing and was grateful to find an ethical company that could assist. Distribution channel fees were free for the first two years. I since have paid a reasonable annual fee but have decided I want to republish the book myself. And I have only a few short weeks within which to do this.

Plateau by Tina Frisco

I do all of my own formatting. Those of you who have traveled this treacherous road are aware that, although it is a labor of love, it is time-consuming. It also can be damn exasperating frustrating! However, the satisfaction of having accomplished such a daunting task is a reward in itself.
Unlike many of my fellow bloggers, I haven’t found my way to blogging/commenting/sharing/replying, keeping my physical life together, and having a life. So with the added task of formatting a book and preparing it for publication, I won’t be visiting blogs for the next few weeks. But please know I’ll be thinking of all of you and will return when the dreaded deed is done 😊
I know I’d freak out stress about not replying to comments ~ and would most likely give in to curiosity ~ so I’m closing them on this post. My inner taskmaster has spoken! I suspect, however, many of you would have much to say that I’ll surely regret missing 😊
Happy blogging to all of my friends, whom I love and cherish ❤

Thoughts of #Peace

Photo by Terri Webster Schrandt
Image courtesy of Terri Webster Schrandt
Our thoughts and prayers are with
our sisters and brothers in London
 ❤
The hatred evidenced by terrorist attacks around the world could easily be met with equal hatred, should we allow it. But how would that identify and inform us as a species? What would that do to the hearts and minds of individuals as well as society? What do we want to teach our children, and what kind of world do we want to leave them?
It is a challenge to keep our hearts open amid such unconscionable acts of violence. Yet it is our only hope of survival. Meeting these despicable acts with an equal amount of aggression could lead to our annihilation in this nuclear age. At the very least, it could alter our consciences and consciousness to a degree beyond repair. And that is as unacceptable as the terrorist act itself.
Fire cannot be fought with fire. We know this. Yet our species persists in its futile attempt to meet hatred with hatred, aggression with aggression, terror with terror. However, hope is skirting the horizon ~ fragile in its element but tenacious in its intent. Whether or not it will rise with tomorrow’s sun will be determined by our actions today.
I’m reminded of Dorothy Bryant’s book, The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You. The village folk circle a woman being raped. They neither interfere nor intervene but simply stand in witness of this heinous act. The perpetrator not only cannot continue, but also comes face to face with his salacious fear. When he realizes he has been forgiven, his heart opens and he is transformed.

The Kin of Ata by Dorothy Bryant

Some might call this a miracle. Yet if we consider the collective unconscious, we might see this in a different light. Instead of intervention from an outside source ~ no matter how beneficent the being ~ we realize it is a manifestation of our unified thought. We are what we think, and energy follows in kind.
Although I was raised Roman Catholic, I follow an eclectic spiritual path. I hold the avatars and bodhisattvas in my heart, and one in particular now comes to mind: Jesus Christ. Regardless of whether history is to be believed, the story of Jesus’ passion sets an example that sorely needs to be remembered, if not emulated. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
If we understand that all negative emotions and behavior originate from fear, we might be more inclined to err on the side of compassion. This does not negate the validity and necessity of raging with anger, for emotions are raw and must be given a voice, lest we implode. This does, however, caution us to act instead of react ~ act out of love instead of react out of fear.
Fear is a survival mechanism but, if unchecked, can easily run amok, as we have witnessed once again in today’s attack on the people of London. Where does violence end? Where does peace begin?
Flower by Terri Webster Schrandt
Image courtesy of Terri Webster Schrandt
Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me . . . ❤

Want to know what’s happening at the #BloggersBash? Here’s the Agenda.

Ali Isaac has posted the long-awaited agenda for the 2017 Bloggers Bash. Hugs on, shoes off, get ready to party! Wishing everyone a fabulous time  🙂

aliisaacstoryteller

the bash is back

And it’s bigger and better than ever! We have a lovely venue for you, which is central and easy to get to, and this year, we have focused on bringing some REAL blogging experts to you, people you know and love, who will share the secrets of their success and expertise with you.

Plus… it’s going to be a whole heap of fun!

So, are you joining us at the Bloggers Bash? Have you got your ticket, booked your transport, and decided what to wear? If not, it’s still not too late to get yourself a ticket. You can do that here.

Curious about what we’ve got planned for you on the day? Here’s what we’ve got lined up…

Of course that’s not all that’ll be going on, oh no! There’ll be lots of hugs (mostly from Hugh), conversation, the beginning of new friendships, the…

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EDITING 101: 40 – Editing Myths…

Susan Uttendorfsky brings us Part 40 of her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape‘s blog. She debunks several editing myths, every last one of which has derailed my little grey cells at times. But I now feel I have permission to merrily toss them out the window, in keeping with Susan’s guidelines. I’m such a stickler for correct grammar that I sometimes feel like a train wreck after a long day of writing. I expect Susan’s post will reduce your writing stress level as much as it has mine 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Editing Myths

I’m sure you’ve heard of these “rules” that need to be applied to your manuscript. Today we’re going to debunk them as myths!

  1. Never start a sentence with a conjunction (and, but, or), however, or because.

  2. Never end a sentence with a preposition.

  3. Passive voice is always wrong.

  4. You use “a” before words that start with consonants and “an” before words that start with vowels.

  5. Don’t use who when the rules call for whom.

  6. Don’t split an infinitive verb with an adverb.

  7. The only way to write a possessive is to add ’s to the word.

  8. Data and media are plural nouns and always take a plural verb.

  1. Because the English language is fluid and adjustable, there is no…

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Interview with Tina Frisco

Thank you to the lovely Cathleen Townsend for inviting me to be interviewed on her blog. Aside from being a prolific fantasy writer, Cathleen is also an animal lover, plane crash survivor, and has lived to tell the tale of scuba diving with a mako shark! Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be interviewed by such a colorful and dynamic person ❤

Cathleen Townsend

Tina 4aTina Frisco is an author, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, a student of shamanism, and our guest here today. Born in Pennsylvania USA, she attended nursing school in New York and lives in California. She began writing as a young child and received her first guitar at age 14, which launched her passion for music and songwriting. She has performed publicly in many different venues. Her publishing history includes book reviews; essays; articles in the field of medicine; her début novel, Plateau; her children’s book, Gabby and the Quads; and her latest novel, Vampyrie. She enjoys writing, reading, music, dancing, arts and crafts, exploring nature, and frequently getting lost in working crossword puzzles.

***

Thank you so much for hosting me, Cathleen. I appreciate your support and the opportunity to be featured on your wonderful blog.

It’s my pleasure to have you here, Tina. Let’s dive right in. Who’s…

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Guest Post: Tina Frisco – On Facing Death

Friend and blogger John Fioravanti kindly invited me to guest post on his impressive blog. I was thrilled to accept and am delighted to share this with you. John is a historian who blogs on issues of contemporary importance, health, writing tips and more. He also supports other authors by reblogging and guest posting. Please visit his blog and enjoy his excellent posts. Thank you so much for hosting me, John, and for sharing my work ❤

Shortly after John invited me to be his guest, I received an email from a friend telling me his wife and my dear friend had just been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Upon sending my condolences, Payson replied: 

Persevere…the dice keep rolling…and one adapts with as much detachment as possible.
The work of a lifetime….that drawing closer to the Event Horizon makes one more present.
Such good work…a blessing to be aware!

Both Payson and Kamla are authors and devoted to a spiritual path. I read Kamla’s book, The Singing Guru, during one long night of sitting with a dying friend. Kamla writes: 

The Divine “is everywhere, in every direction, in every space, without exception.”

Payson produces DVDs he calls VideoTonePoems, which are a blend of exquisite visual art, intriguing sound, and the poignant written word.

I’m sharing their work with you here, because it’s relevant to the subject matter of my guest post  ❤  

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome Tina Frisco, author, blogger, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, a student of shamanism and friend, to Words To Captivate. Death is a difficult thing to face, but Tina puts a different face on it.

On Facing Death

Facing death is a life-changing experience and one that most of us fear. The first time I faced this monster, I paced and cried, ranted and cursed its arrogance. The second time, I tightened my mid-section and refused to acknowledge it; but I couldn’t sleep. The third time, I took in a deep breath, sat down, and closed my eyes. In a flash, I saw myriad lifetimes pass before me – incarnations I was fortunate to have lived.

What is it about physical death that throws so many of us into a tailspin of grief, anger, and denial? Is it not knowing whether life continues beyond the…

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Again

A powerful story by Andrew Joyce depicting the carnage of war, and drawing similarities between what led to the Nazi takeover of Germany and what is occurring now in the United States. Who or what is the enemy? Could it be our own lack of insight? Could it be that we have placed fear at the helm of our consciousness? This is a story that will stay with you for months, if not years ~ if not the rest of your life… 

Andrew Joyce

I went off to war at the tender age of sixteen. My mother cried and begged me to stay, but my country needed me. I would not see my mother again for four very long years.

Due to my age, I was assigned to field headquarters as a dispatch courier for the first two years of the war. However, by the beginning of the third year, I had grown a foot taller and was shaving. And because men were dying at an alarming rate, I was sent into the trenches.

They say that war is hell. I say hell is peaceful compared to living in a muddy trench with bombs exploding around you at all hours of the day and night. Though there were periods of respite from the shelling. Those were the hours when the enemy had to let their big guns cool or else the heat of firing…

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