In the near future, mankind has exhausted the last of their fossil fuels and a new energy crisis holds the world in its terrifying grip. In a desperate gamble, it turns to geothermal energy and taps the Yellowstone caldera. It’s a success and the entirety of humanity benefits…for a time. Following the devastating eruption that ensues, mankind is forced to pick up the pieces of their shattered world and forms two factions. The Developers, those of humanity set on stripping the Earth of it’s remaining resources and leaving it behind to colonize first the moon, then the stars beyond. The Harmonizers, stalwart defenders of what they believe to be humanity’s one true home, dedicated to being more self-sufficient and eco-minded. As it’s been from the dawn of time when two groups can’t agree, there is strife, chaos, and eventually war. From the ashes of the conflict later to be known as the Great Division, a new species shall rise to see the world that was not of their making. It all begins here, in the first installment of the Of Mice Not Men universe
Of Mice not Men got a spotlight because Donald L. Canterbury was generous enough to donate to the Borgen Project, a nonprofit fighting global poverty. Look out for my book review and author interview with Donald L. Canterbury in the coming weeks.
I’m still trying to catch my breath from reading Conference Cupid by Eden Elgabri. The sex and the romance is a huge whirlwind that left me wanting even more. But I’m still not sure why I liked it so much.
Devin Barnett can’t believe it when he sees his old high school crush walk into his hotel for the romance writers conference. She’s just as beautiful as he remembers, but he doubts she will recognize him. After all, he was just a skinny nerd in high school. He certainly never would have entered her radar. But maybe he can finally have her.
One day I found myself in a library with some time to kill. It sounds like heaven, right? Except it wasn’t. I found myself staring blankly at rows and rows of books with nothing but indifference.
I used to love starting new books. It was exciting to go into a store or library and hunt for a hidden gem to curl up in a nearby armchair with. Or to finally start that book I got three years ago that I’ve been dying to cross off my TBR list.
But after reading mediocre book after bad book after slightly-good book, I approached new books with indifference and sometimes dread. I had a horrible case of book burnout. It took a lot of time reading some old favorites (hello, Harry Potter) to get over it.
But there’s another way to stop falling into a book slump and that’s to read books you know are good. Which is why I’m pleased to introduce the Lover’s Quarrel Ultimate Reading List.
This free PDF book is a list of romance novels that are free, over 50,000 words, and rated 4 stars or higher by me. This list will get updated all the time as I read more books that fit the criteria.
Get Lover’s Quarrel Ultimate Reading List today when you subscribe to my mailing list. You’ll get free books sorted by genre and you’ll see highlights from my reviews so you know which ones you’ll like the best. It’s a short list now, but it will get updated as I find more books to add.
Mark Calde is the author of Bascomville. You may remember it from his book spotlight and my review for Bascomville. Today, I am pleased to have him for an interview on Lover’s Quarrel. It’s been awesome working with him and I wish him the best in future endeavors and I hope we do get to see a sequel to Bascomville someday.
Tell us what Bascomville is about.
Bascomville is a literary romance that functions on several levels. It is the story of Max and Janice, who begin as childhood friends and gradually fall in love. It is the story of Max’s family and how he relates to them. And finally, it delves into the notion that, for better or worse, we each create our own special universe.
The characters all appear very real. Did you base any of them off people you know?
As a writer I try to be observant of the people I come into contact with, whether casually or on a more consistent basis. My characters often embody the traits I observe in others and in myself, but I avoid slavishly copying someone I know, as that hampers the creative process.
Max and Lily discuss what “normal” means. What does it mean for you?
For me, and the thesis I try to exemplify in the book, normal is what each of us make it. There is, in my view, no test-tube version of normal. It can’t be quantified or objectified. What’s normal for one person may be far out of another’s comfort range. If we all behaved in the same way and liked the same things, life would be a tremendous bore!
If we all behaved in the same way and liked the same things, life would be a tremendous bore! — Mark Calde
Out of all of your novels, which was your favorite one to write?
While each of my novels has been its own unique journey, I’d have to say that my fondest memory is of my first, Shadowboxer, a suspense novel published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Your first book is rather like your first kiss. It’s an experience that can’t be duplicated and remains with you forever.
What does a typical writing day look like for you? From idea to final draft, what is your writing process?
These are interesting questions because I’m rather an atypical writer. First of all, I have to know where I’m going, where the story is going to end. The road to that end doesn’t have to be totally in place but the destination does. Next come the names of the main characters. Those are very important to me and help me to visualize the characters. Also, I don’t do a lot of drafts. I prefer to think about a chapter a great deal before I write it, and I often wind up doing the actual writing in the evening. Of course, I hit dead-ends from time to time and have to backtrack, but largely my first draft of a book is about ninety percent of the finished product.
What are some of your favorite books?
My two all-time favorites that I’ve read several times each are The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I never fail to be inspired by the characters, the themes and the wonderful storytelling.
Keep searching for that one book that will speak to you over and over again. And when you find it, never let it go.
Are you currently working on any writing projects, or have any planned for the near future?
I would very much like to do a sequel to Bascomville. I believe Max and Janice have more of their story to tell. Also, I’m making notes on what I hope will be a young adult series. It’s something I’ve never done and I like the prospect of a challenge. We’ll see if I’m up to it!
Is there anything else you want to share with my readers?
I firmly believe that books, especially fiction, are an essential ingredient to making whatever time we have been allotted both meaningful and enjoyable. Well-written, well-plotted fiction can illuminate our lives. It can teach us, it can entertain us and it can make us think. And sometimes it can change our lives. So please, keep reading. Keep searching for that one book that will speak to you over and over again. And when you find it, never let it go.
What’s the one book that speaks to you over and over again? Let us know in the comments!