There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.
In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.
Meet Ann Patras
A long time ago Ann Patras was born in Burton Upon Trent, England. Actually that’s a lie. Ann Johnson was born, but she married a weirdo named Ziggy and became Ann Patras in the mid 1970’s. She was quite normal until she married him, or that’s what she’d have you believe. At one point she actually went to live in Canada to get away from him but he dragged her back by the hair (well, maybe a slight exaggeration) to England to marry her. Then, after the rather rapid arrival of three kids he hauled her off, kicking and screaming, to Africa! Well that’s a lie too really, as she was quite keen to take on that adventure.
Apart from strange sounding men and three wild children she also loves dogs and horses. (Absolutely nothing should be read into the fact that all of the dogs have been named with an alcoholic theme). She wears garish-coloured nail polish, sings along to loud music when she’s driving and likes to live in sunny places which might account for why, what started out as a two-year contract in Zambia, resulted in her living in Africa for 31 years.
The onset of those 31 years came with some surprises. She didn’t know anything about the place they were moving to (1980 was light years before the internet), if she had known she might not have agreed to go. Within days of arrival in Zambia she was horrified to find they didn’t have English-type pubs, toilet rolls were an endangered species, ants were the size of small cats and there was a fly whose larvae ate you from the inside out if you didn’t iron all your laundry. Yes, even socks!
Because of all these oddities, as well as various strange, scary and hilarious things which happened to the family, she wrote scores of letters home to relatives and friends who all thought it was so crazy she must be making it up.
Maintaining the sunshine theme she now lives in Spain, with the same weird-sounding husband and writes books about all their crazy experiences.
Books by Ann Patras
One of the recent reviews for Much More Into Africa Goodreads
I couldn’t wait to read this third installation of Ann’s hectic life in Zambia, and it did not disappoint! Once you start reading, it is hard to put down. I especially liked her telling of adventures rafting down the Zambezi–I had a very similar experience just a couple years ago! (The boat next to us flipped and we saw how that got handled! And the hike out of that canyon has not changed in the least, except maybe for a lovely hot meal awaiting us at the top!) I hope Ann will write about her next adventures in S.A…? As having been an expat myself, I just loved it when she talked about friendships in the expat community being so much stronger. I hope you tale the opportunity to go in this adventure with Ann and all her kids, husband, dogs and horses. Ann has a hilarious way of retelling all these details from her life–I am glad she kept such good records of her letter writing.
Meet P.C. Zick
Bestselling author P.C. Zick describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. And she writes in a variety of genres, including romance, contemporary fiction, and creative nonfiction. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction.
The three novels in her Florida Fiction Series contain stories of Florida and its people and environment, which she credits as giving her a rich base for her storytelling. She says her, “Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife–both human and animal–supply my fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable.”
P.C. writes both sweet and steamy romances. The sweet contemporary romances in her Smoky Mountain Romances, are set in southwest North Carolina. Another sweet romance series, Rivals in Love, contains two books with four more in the works. All six follow the Crandall family of Chicago as the siblings find love despite their focus on successful careers.
Her steamy romances go from Florida to Long Island. The Behind the Love series, set in a small fictional town in Florida, feature a community of people who form bonds as they learn to overcome the challenges of their youth. Her Montauk Romances are set in and around Long Island and feature simple, yet sophisticated beach houses designed with romance in mind. The two books in this set are filled with steamy scenes as love grows and thrives.
No matter the genre of novel, they all contain elements of romance with strong female characters, handsome heroes, and descriptive settings. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion, and through her fiction, she imparts this philosophy in an entertaining manner with an obvious love for her characters, plot, and themes.
A selection of books by P.C. Zick
One of the recent reviews for Love on the Wind
Kiley has a career and wants more personal time. Jeff has a business and wants to pursue other avenues associated with the business. Appearances aren’t always what they seem to be. Read the book and find out if they can make their future work. Definitely recommend!
Meet Lorinda J. Taylor
A former catalogue librarian with two graduate degrees, Lorinda J. Taylor was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and worked in several different academic libraries before returning to the place of her birth, where she now lives. She has written fantasy and science fiction for years but began to self-publish only in 2011. To this point, she has published fifteen science fiction/fantasy novels, including seven volumes of a series retelling myths in terms of her intelligent termite civilization. Her writings combine many aspects of science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, future history, off-world adventure, psychological fiction, and even a love story. She always strives to engage readers emotionally and give them something to think about at the end of each book.
A selection of books by Lorinda J. Taylor.
A review for The Man Who Found Birds Among the Stars, Part Seven: Fifth Island in the River
This is the seventh part of the fictional biography of 28th century spacefarer Robbin Nikalishin. It’s every bit as gripping and exciting as the very first book. No, actually it’s even more so, because in this book, the long-anticipated voyage to the stars actually happens.
The first third of the book shows Capt. Robbie and his crew launch into space and settle into shipboard routines in a long series of temporal quantum jumps and intervals that eventually take them to the vicinity of the star Epsilon Eridani. The only shadow on this optimistic beginning is the secretly delusional state of Chief Engineer Ian Glencrosse. Otherwise, we have a multicultural storytelling session, hormone-driven hijinks, birthday celebrations, and even a wedding. I laughed out loud at some scenes and was moved to tears at others. Many of the crew members are familiar personalities from the earlier books, so it’s easy to relate to them as they interact and become an extended family.
Things get serious when part of the ship’s engine malfunctions. Two tension-filled chapters are followed by relief and the thrill of discovery and a series of historical “firsts.” Then, just over the halfway point, real disaster strikes and the tension is cranked up to excruciating. There were many places where I honestly did not want to keep reading, but couldn’t make myself stop. I will say no more at this point, except that the ending promises momentous revelations for humans of the 28th century as well as readers of the 21st. Those who have read Lorinda J. Taylor’s book The Termite Queen may guess at some of them. I hope Part 8 is in the works!
A few things that impressed me especially: first, the extent to which Robbin Nikalishin has grown and matured since his younger days. He has definitely overcome some of his personality flaws to the point that he draws upon his earlier errors and their consequences in dealing with a number of issues on this all-important mission to the stars. Second, the aforementioned wedding scene includes a tantalizing glimpse into the writings of one of the Mythmakers. The Valley of the White Bear and the character Ingreaf are referenced in several of the earlier books, so I was intrigued to learn a little more about them here. Finally, I continue to be impressed with the technological terms for temporal quantum engines and other devices that do not as yet exist. When the Engineers and technical crew deal with these items, their discussions sound absolutely authentic (bearing in mind that I’m neither engineer nor scientist).
It may be argued that a reader committed to a long-running series may not be an entirely objective reviewer. On the other hand, having followed Capt. Robbie’s career through its many ups and downs, I would have been disappointed if this episode had been less than thrilling. I was certainly not disappointed, and would definitely recommend this book to anyone who appreciates serious science fiction leavened with realistic human relationships and emotions. But you really have to read the first six books to fully appreciate this one!
Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.