Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Julian Padowicz ~ an interview and his novel ~ The Best Sunset in Venice

Julian Padowicz 


Julian Padowicz was seven years old, Jewish, and living in Warsaw, Poland, when WWII began. After 6 months under Soviet occupation in southern Poland, he and his mother made a daring trek over the Carpathian Mountains into neutral Hungary. Arriving in America at the age of 9, Julian spent the next 13 years in boarding school and college, where his undiagnosed ADD and Dyslexia caused him considerable grief.

Graduating from Colgate University in 1954 with a BA in English, he was hired by Twentieth-Century Fox studios as editor of their company magazine, “Action.”

From 1955 to 1959 he served in the Air Force as a navigator and intercept instructor.

Following military service, he entered the documentary film profession, first as a writer and eventually as director, cameraman, editor, and producer, garnering numerous awards.

Upon retirement in 2000, Padowicz began writing a 4-part memoir of his WWII experiences. The first book, Mother and Me: Escape from Warsaw 1939 was published in 2006 by Academy Chicago and named “Book of the Year” by ForeWord Magazine. It was followed by A Ship in the Harbor, Loves of Yulian, and When the Diamonds Were Gone. A “young readers’” version of Mother and Me, published by Scholastic Inc. was a best seller in the school field.

Feeling that much of what was interesting in his life was not publishable as memoir, for fear of hurting people still living, Padowicz created the fictional village of Venice on the Massachusetts coast and peopled it with characters based on people he had known, including himself. Applying humor, which he calls his “weapon of choice,” Padowicz has written several novels in which these fictional characters go through many of the experiences he, himself, has gone through. His hero, Kip, is a retired college professor, married to his creative, but accident prone wife, the lovely Amanda, and trying to lead a “normal” life, in a new community, among whacky neighbors and whackier friends from his past.

Padowicz lives in a Hampton, Virginia with his wife, Donna Carter. Their blended family includes 5 children, 9 grandchildren, and 3 great-grands.


Q: If you could morph into any creature what would it be?
A: A lion
If you don’t mind me asking, why?
A: He's at the top of the food chain

Q: When you think of a garden, do you picture vegetables or flowers?
A: flowers

Q: Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep sounds. Is your preference, white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?
A: My wife whispering in my ear

Q: If your life were a movie would it be considered an action film, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy or a combination?
A: Screwball comedy

Q: Tell me one thing that your spouse does that really endears him/her to you. One thing that annoys you. These can be tiny little things, actually the smaller the better.
A: My wife laughs at my jokes. That isn't just an ego thing. I believe that when two people can align their senses of humor, anything is possible. My motto could well be a quote from a sex therapist friend of mine who advises her clients to "Maintain a sense of humor at all times."


Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: With my ADD, I learned in grade school that the only thing I did well was tell stories.

Q: How did you come to write your genera of choice?
A:Humor is my weapon of choice.

Q: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
A: What has been hardest for me is saying goodbye to my characters, when a book is finished. That's when I'm really getting to know them.

Q: Describe your favorite heroine? (This doesn’t have to be one of yours.)
A: Beautiful, loving and flakey.

Q: Describe your favorite hero? (This doesn’t have to be one of yours.)
A: Earnest, but confused.

Q: Would you ever consider a joint project?
A: With the right partner, it could be a blasst.

Q: Which of your own releases was your particular favorite?
A: "When the Diamonds Were Gone," because it gave me a chance to unload some painful memories.

Q: How do you handle a writer's block?
A:I wrote a humorous novel about it.

Q: Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer?
A:Neither. I find I'm most creative writing on my tablet.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I am just sending book #4 in my "Kip and Amanda" series to the publisher. Kip and Amada are a pair of senior newlyweds, both creative, both somewhat dysfunctional, living among some whacky neighbors in the coastal village of Venice, Mass. Kip is very serious and very cautious, while Amanda is accident prone. Their life is an endless sequence of catastrophes.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: The latest Kip-and-Amanda book is "Alexander's Part Time Band." Kip's boarding school roommate, Alex, shows up on their doorstep, homeless and needy, and reviving memories better left forgotten.

TITLE: Best Sunset in Venice
RELEASE DATE: 08/25/2016
AUTHOR: Julian Padowicz
KEYWORDS: thriller, suspense, Venice, Massachusetts, army, Israel, mystery
CATEGORIES: Thriller/Suspense
ISBN: 978-1535134286
IMPRINT: Black Hawk

After a prolonged sojourn in Europe, the sixty-something newlyweds, Kip and Amanda return to the coastal village of Venice, Massachusetts.

Kip is accustomed to his bread always landing jam side down, so the retired literature professor is ambivalent about the unexpected success of his new book. On one hand, he is thrilled more than he dares admit, even to himself. On the other, he is afraid that it’s all a dream from which he will awake up in bitter disappointment.

However, what awaits him on his return are adventures as diverse as being befriended by a thrill-seeking former Green Beret, getting analyzed by a group of partying psychologists, massaged by an outspoken woman colonel in the Israeli Army, and meeting his wife’s very deadly real husband.

The reader needn’t worry about Kip surviving these ordeals, since a sequel entitled A Scandal in Venice is already in the author’s computer.

Kip is protective of his enigmatic, accident prone wife and worried about how he will be received, following the events that precipitated their departure three years earlier. Amanda is anxious to get her hands back into the clay stored in her pottery studio.


“Is it beginning to get to you, dear?” Kip asked. Amanda wasn’t showing any visible signs, but he had learned to sense her anxiety, sometimes even before she was aware of it, and so stave off an attack. Just like one of those helper dogs with the little red vest, he thought. Unconsciously, he pressed the “control” and “S” keys to save his text, preparing to shut down the laptop…and was pleased with this newly acquired automatic skill.

“Not at all,” she said. “I did have just the start of a problem on the bus yesterday, but I’m learning to handle them better, don’t you think?”

“Well, yes, bunny, but are you sure nothing’s bothering you now?”

“Yes, I’m sure. Look, it’s a bright, sunny day, there are blossoms on the trees, most of the tables around us are empty, there’s very little traffic in the street, and I’m enjoying my lody.”


“Lody. It’s Polish for ice cream.”

“But angel, I can sense a definite urgency to get away from here. You know how I’ve keyed in to your…your…”

“My anxieties?” Amanda smiled her beautiful smile, the smile that had lured him, at age sixty-eight, out of his college teaching job and to the village of Venice on the coast of Massachusetts where she was postmistress, to write his book. And now Kip felt his heart do what it had done that first time and every other time that she had smiled that smile at him since then. Sometimes it was followed by her throaty laugh, which only intensified the emotion, as she was doing to him right now. No, she was right. She certainly didn’t seem to be feeling either depressed or threatened by any crowd at this moment.

“Maybe, now, I’m developing agoraphobia,” he said.

“I doubt that. You certainly enjoyed yourself at the reception last night.”

“That was the vodka talking.”

“It wouldn’t stop talking.”

“I’m so sorry. I’m just not used to vodka straight up. I’ll stick to wine next time.”

“Don’t be silly, you were perfectly charming. Certainly that blonde reporter thought you were.”

“Did I go over the line?”

“Don’t you remember?”

“Yes, I remember perfectly well. I just thought you might object…”

“Oh, nonsense. I’m glad to see that a pretty figure still turns you on.”

“Didn’t I prove that to you last night?” This time it was bravado talking. In the three years they had been together, Kip had not gotten over the fact that he could talk in these terms to his wife, and their nighttime activities could be the subject of morning-after banter. An opportunity to prove this to himself again, was not to be squandered.

“Yes, you did, my Lothario,” she said, completing the experience for him.

“Well, I definitely feel something now. Maybe we’re being watched.”

About half the tables at the sidewalk café were occupied, mostly by women. Three particularly attractive women at the next table, in their thirties or forties, were having a lively discussion in Polish over their espresso. Beyond the little iron fence, what there was of pedestrian traffic, moved by at a bustling pace.

“What you feel my love, is your own name on the cover of that woman’s book,” Amanda said, smiling.

Kip looked in the direction that she had indicated with her eyes. Over the open laptop in front of him, two tables away, he could see a large woman, in a flowered dress and with glasses perched on the tip of her nose, reading a book. It had a Polish title he couldn’t make out, and the name A. Jeremy Kippur at the bottom of the cover. “Oh my god, they’ve translated Ben into Polish,” he said. “That is Polish, isn’t it?”

“Didn’t you know they would, sooner or later?” she asked, “You do make a big issue of Ben being Polish born.” Sucking on the long ice cream spoon with that satisfied look on her face, in her form-fitting jeans and with her brown hair in its customary two braids, to Kip’s prejudiced eyes Amanda could have passed for a teenager, instead of her fifty-five years. And, of course, she was right about the book.

It was in the few days it took him to drive home from that initial visit to Massachusetts, three years earlier, that he had first conceived the idea of writing his book. Except, it hadn’t been this book. He had been told by the lawyers to collect the keys to the house bequeathed him by his recently departed academic colleague, the popular author Rufus Nichols, from a Ms. Lazaro at the village post office. While he well understood that the village postmistress was likely to serve numerous community functions, such as holding keys for someone to pick up, Kip’s romantic mind had fantasized the attractive Amanda Lazaro as possessing his late friend’s house keys for quite a different reason. And this fantasy, accompanied by Ms. Lazaro’s warm welcoming smile, had, in turn, created the further fantasy of himself retiring, moving to Venice, writing a book, and forming a liaison with an attractive woman like Ms. Lazaro, if not Ms. Lazaro herself. His mind dazed by the enchanting postmistress, Kip had further interpreted Rufus’ bequest as a subconscious challenge to him to sit down and write a book of his own.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Marty Walpole ~ guest post and his novel The Choson Connection

TITLE: The Choson Connection
RELEASE DATE: June 25, 2016
AUTHOR: Marty Walpole
KEYWORDS: spy, treason, adventure, action, suspense, thriller, historical
CATEGORIES: Thriller/Suspense/Detective
ISBN: 978-1532949593
IMPRINT: White Stag

Peter Kelly, the CIA’s best marksman and assassin, is given a new mission - covertly enter North Korea and, if at all possible, rescue an American detainee.

For Sarah Kimble a quick excursion to North Korea’s  capital of Pyongyang, seemed like a great idea until she took photos of someone the North Korean Security Service didn’t like and arrested  her for spying. Sarah is transferred to gulag on the other side of the country. Meanwhile a senior member in the US State Department, fed up with American tourists being detained by the North Koreans, contacts Secretary of State Hamilton and Carl Benson - Director of the CIA. Peter Kelly, a contract assassin for the Agency is brought in. His mission:  to enter North Korea covertly and, if possible, get Sarah Kimble out. Together with his Japanese/American partner, Yuki Cassidy, Kelly travels at night to North Korean coastline by fishing trawler and enters the country. While making their way to the gulag, the pair come upon a truck carrying American Tomahawk missiles. Now the hunt is on, for the person who sold the North Koreans American weaponry.

I came up with this story after watching news reports of American citizens being detained in North Korea on, more often than not, trumped up charges. There were two such cases where, former American Presidents, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, traveled to the secretive country and negotiated the release of detainees. North Korea is a country that intrigues many people. It conjures up images of a frightening police state not dissimilar from Nazi Germany or perhaps, Orwell’s vision in his novel ‘1984’. Indeed, as Titanic continues to fascinate the shipwreck buffs around the world, North Korea, is a fascinating look into what many believe to be a dystopian society. It has a totalitarian system of government that intrigues, yet frightens, many democratic countries. Many, however, still visit the country. It appears that North Korea’s tourist industry thrives on the fact that the country is known for its xenophobia and a government that is so paranoid that all forms of self-expression and freedom are squashed. It is simply curiosity that prompts ‘Sarah Kimble’ (one of the main characters in the story) to join a tour group for a two-day excursion to Pyongyang. The characters in the story are a diverse bunch of people. Beginning with:

Sarah Kimble, who works in the US Embassy in Beijing, is an independent and free thinking individual whose insatiable curiosity ultimately gets her in some serious trouble. She is the lonely child of wealthy real estate and construction mogul, Kurt Kimble. Sarah is also motherless, which is why she has been so dependent on her father and his secretary, Margaret, for many years.

CIA Director, Carl Benson has been in the “spy” business for three decades and thus possesses a unique and uncanny understanding of people. He is sagacious with a quick and well-trained mind. Benson, being old school trained, believes in justice and will go to great lengths to see that it is served. It is because of Benson’s experience and beliefs that the current US President, as well as past Presidents, hold him in such high esteem.

Dexter Fox, Benson’s right-hand man. is a huge African/American. Fox is fastidious in his work and constantly keeps Benson appraised of all developments with operations. It is his job to liaise with field agents as well as other government security departments. These departments include the FBI, NSA, and NCIS.

CIA field agent Yuki Cassidy is a Japanese/American stationed in the CIA’s Tokyo field office. The daughter of an America Marine Colonel and Japanese mother, Yuki grew up in the United States. She is a skilled 5th dan black belt Aikidoka and holds her own with her male colleagues.

Matt Campbell is the CI A's station chief in Tokyo. He is Yuki’s direct boss. Campbell has worked in various field offices around the world which has brought him in contact with protagonist Peter Kelly on a number of occasions. Campbell and Kelly have a mutual respect for each other.

Peter Kelly (the protagonist) is an ex US Army sniper. He was deployed to the border between Kuwait and Iraq prior to the US 2003 invasion of Iraq. His job was to “take out” any and all would-be Iraqi snipers that may be positioned along the border. he has worked on and off for Carl Benson for a number of years as a “gun-for-hire”. He is taciturn, stoic and kills without displaying any kind of emotion. For Kelly, the job comes first. he exhibits no feelings of regret or remorse when on a mission.

Lieutenant Kan is a North Korean Army officer works under the direct command of infamous North Korean Army General, Pak. He appears to support the General in all matters of security and army deployment, however, he is secretly working for the CIA and covertly sends monthly reports to Matt Campbell in Tokyo about regime changes, army training camps and the situations in gulags throughout the country. Because of Kan's position within the North Korean Army and, in particular, his relationship to General Pak, he is a valuable asset for the CIA..

Lieutenant Nam is the second-in-command in the Wonson “retraining” camp. He is highly educated and, because of living in South Korea as a Northern spy, speaks English fluently. Nam, however, is prone to fits of violent rage for the smallest of transgressions. He is, therefore, feared by other officers and guards in the camp. Nam’s choleric personality borders on insanity; thus it is his weakness.

Captain Dong is the Wonson “retraining” camp commandant. Like his first officer, Nam, Dong is also a ruthless individual with no regard for human life. He is cruel and appears to delight in seeing prisoners tortured or beaten. Dong leaves most of the daily running of the camp to Nam and supports everything his first officer implements.

Songfi and Jun-Suh are two North Korean resistance fighters. Songfi works in his family’s business as a shoe and boot maker or cobbler. Jun-Suh, is a huge man who helps Songfi with the shoe business. He is, however, more often than not unemployed. The two men work covertly with the Swedish Embassy passing on information as well as collecting it. They are both sort by North Korean State Security.

NCIS Agents Keith Thornton and Karen Miller, under the orders of Benson are investigating information received. Their investigation takes both of them to different cities across the United States following various leads.

Professional hit-man, “Mike Redmond” (real name - unknown) hires out his services to anyone with the wherewithal to cover his exorbitant fees.. Governments or individuals, “Mike” does not differentiate; money is his only goal. He’s a pro and wanted around the world.

The above characters in the novel were based on various people I’ve met throughout my life. Nam and Dong, however are two characters that were conjured up from my own imagination. The personalities of these two men is essential for their roles in the Wonson camp. Indeed, an understanding and benevolent commandant and first officer would not be running a “retraining camp”.

Peter Kelly is based on what I expect all CIA contract agents and assassins to be; people living in the shadows, people never seen but their results are clear. They are, effectively, the paladins in this world for justice. These are men and women are professionals who possess unique skills and abilities.

Yuki Cassidy character is based on any female that yearns to be accepted into a profession that is primarily male dominated. She wants to prove to herself, as much to Kelly, that she is capable of the same professionalism as her male counterparts. Indeed, Yuki is my way of recognizing the contributions women in the military make to the security of countries around the world.

CIA staff: Benson, Fox and Campbell were based on what I believe to be standard spy agency bureaucrats. By bureaucrats, I mean, that although they are honorable men, each man would sacrifice his life to protect the secrets of the agency rather than expose them.

Marty hails from the small nation of New Zealand. He now lives Osaka, Japan with his Japanese wife and two children. Marty began writing in his late teens and has kept it up all through his life. He has written for various blogs, web sites and small local news outlets. In 2011, he set about to write his first novel, ‘Giselle and the fate of Wahine’. Recently he completed his second novel, ‘The Choson Connection’ and is now beginning a new writing project.

Buy Links:
AMAZON US: http://www.amazon.com/Choson-Connection-Marty-Walpole-ebook/dp/B01EZWTN24

AMAZON UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Choson-Connection-Marty-Walpole-ebook/dp/B01EZWTN24

AMAZON CA: http://www.amazon.ca/Choson-Connection-Marty-Walpole-ebook/dp/B01EZWTN24

AMAZON JP: http://www.amazon.co.jp/Choson-Connection-English-Marty-Walpole-ebook/dp/B01EZWTN24

BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-choson-connection-marty-walpole/1123750398;jsessionid=793E7246199F0A906B4FB76967CCF7D6.prodny_store01-atgap10?ean=2940153249315

KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-choson-connection

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Patty Dickson Pieczka ~ character interview and her novel Finding the Raven

TITLE: Finding the Raven
RELEASE DATE: June 15, 2016
AUTHOR: Patty Dickson Pieczka
KEYWORDS: Raven, Finding the Raven, 1904, St. Louis World's Fair, Fiction, Historical Fiction
CATEGORIES: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-1530797974 & 1530797977
IMPRINT: White Stag

A story of murder, betrayal and redemption as two young women struggle for survival against a backdrop of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

When Julia Dulac's father is murdered onstage  and her inheritance is swindled away, she must work through her grief and fear of poverty to find both the killer and a means of survival with help from the Raven, a black crystal that reveals images of past and future truths. While having the crystal appraised, Julia finds love and her life takes unexpected turns through mystery and betrayal against the backdrop of the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

Through the boarding house window, Julia overhears an argument between Rose and her wealthy father over Rose's illegitimate pregnancy. He drops Rose off, saying he will return in one year, that she must be either single and childless or respectably married. Though from completely different backgrounds, Julia and Rose become fast friends, facing lessons of survival and redemption as their fates become irrevocably entwined.


SB: Miss D'Arbonnier, my name is Simon Bunch, and I'm with the World's Fair Newsletter, which will appear in the Sunday edition of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. You've been developing quite a reputation as a fortuneteller here at the fair, so I'll begin by asking how you first discovered your "abilities."

CD: The blood moon reached down and stole my man. He stopped breathing right there in my arms with those evil red handprints around his neck. Ever since then, I hear his voice. He tells me things through the wind in the leaves.

SB: You expect our readers to believe. . .

CD: I know where your grandpa hid that cashbox.

SB: What? How could you know anything about that?

CD: I send my shadow out into the night, and it brings back secrets. The river whispers into my ear, and the spirits visit my dreams.

SB: But surely you must know how this sounds to our readers.

CD: Let it sound like anything you want. I know what I know.

SB: Where's the cashbox?

CD: Aren't you supposed to be asking about my work?

SB: Alright, let's get back on track. Are you from the St. Louis area?

CD: No. I'm from New Orleans. But I'm thinking of staying on here when the fair is over this winter. Nothing is as it seems here. People need my help.

SB: When you say, "nothing is as it seems?" Do you refer to the city government?

CD: If I am, I wouldn't tell you.

SB: Fair enough, I suppose. Do you consider these "talents" to be more of a blessing or a curse?

CD: If you don't stop wiggling your fingers at me, they might catch fire.

SB: Answer the question, please, Miss D'Arbonnier.

CD: Once the ghosts came into my life, it's hard to get any peace. They have no manners — don't care whether I'm trying to sleep or if I'm in the middle of changing my dress. But they keep me from evil and tell me what I need to know. Mostly, it's a gift.

SB: Does this "gift" extend to yourself as well as other people? Did you know your "friend" was in trouble?

CD: I warned you about those fingers. But you're right, the vision is clearer at a distance. I'm a lot like all the others. I don't want to know what my heart tells me. Truth is the brightest light, and sometimes it blinds us to look at it.

SB: Many people are skeptical about your line of work. Some go as far as to say you're a fake.

CD: Say that again, and I'll turn you into a crawdad. . . . Oh, and look under the clothesline pole in your backyard.

SB: Really? Oh yes, yes I will! Thank you, Miss D'Arbonnier, you've been most informative.

Patty Dickson Pieczka's second book, Painting the Egret's Echo,, won the Library of Poetry Book Award from Bitter Oleander Press. Other books are Lacing through Time, and Word Paintings. Winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Contest, the I SPS contest, and the Maria W.  Faust Sonnet Contest, she's contributed to over fifty journals and graduated from Southern Illinois University's creative writing program.

AUTHOR LINKS: http://www.pattywrites.net/

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