Books by Melissa Bowersock

Friday, March 6, 2020

Best Books on the Planet

I know a lot of you out there read voraciously; I know that because we've connected through Voracious Readers Only. I'm afraid I don't have near enough time to try many new books or even keep up with the latest best-sellers--too busy with my own writing, my editing work and marketing. However, I do have some favorite books that I highly recommend, and if you're not familiar with them, you might check them out.They're not new, but I definitely think they'll be worth your time.

Speaking of time, two of my all-time favorites are time travel stories. I love time travel, as you may have noticed from my back list. Both my #4 and #3 favorites are time travel novels, done so superbly that I often re-read them and they inspire me in my own writing. Let's dive in.

#4 - The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

I first read this at a time when I had tried numerous books--too many to count--that failed to grab me or pull me into their stories, and I was beginning to wonder if there was something wrong with me. If I had become jaded, or immune to the stories that other people were touting. For some months, this really bothered me. But then I read The Rose Garden. Ha! Here was a book that grabbed me. Here was a story that compelled me to keep reading. Yippee! It wasn't me!

I think the most marvelous aspect to this book is the sense of time and place. Kearsley does an excellent job of setting the stage, describing the old English home so that you can feel it, almost smell the age. I was so deeply engrossed in the book that, after I'd read a while and returned to life around me, I almost felt like my daily life was the fiction, and the story of the book was the real thing. It's a wonderful story, very well done, and something I can read again and again.

#3 - The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser

The Mirror might be the first time-travel novel I read that made me fall in love with the genre. It's a story done in three parts, following three generations of a family that interlock in surprising ways. The time-travel mechanism in this case is an ugly magic mirror that swaps present-day Shay Garrett with her own grandmother, Brandy McCabe. While Shay must come to terms with living in a past that she's heard about but never experienced, Brandy must figure out where (and when) she is with absolutely no foreknowledge of how the future (to her) evolves. In the middle is the story of Rachel, Brandy's daughter and Shay's mother, and how she copes (or not) with the unbelievable stories of her mother and daughter. I'm sure I've read this book 20, 30, maybe 40 times, and I still read it occasionally.

#2 - Six of One by Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown broke into the reading public's attention with her infamous Rubyfruit Jungle, a groundbreaking novel that brought the subject of homosexuality to light. I'm guessing when Six of One was released, the shock value had worn off, and besides, this novel has an entire ensemble of quirky, memorable characters of various sexual persuasions. So while this book seemed to fly under the radar for most people, it's an absolute gem of a story. It's about a rather schizophrenic town of Runnymeade, which is perched directly on the Mason-Dixon Line between Maryland and Pennsylvania and so half of the town lies in one state, half in the other. As you might imagine, the North and South are still debating the Civil War, even as they move into modern times, often with hilarious results. The story concentrates primarily on Julia (Juts) and her sister Louise (Wheezie) as they grow up and find their place in the world, all the while fighting with each other like only sisters can. Their vicious efforts to get back at each other will leave you chortling with delight, while the times they unite for a common cause will bring a tear to your eye. This is a marvelous book: funny, heartbreaking and oh so human.

#1 - A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Most people know John Irving from The World According to Garp, but I believe A Prayer for Owen Meany is his absolute masterpiece. If you've seen the movie Simon Birch, you may know that it's based on this book, but it only tells part of the story. The full story is much richer, more complex, and absolutely stunning. It's difficult to describe this book. It might be easy to call it a coming-of-age story, but it's so much more than that. It's hilarious and heart-breaking, full of human foibles and divine intervention. It follows the lives of two boys, Johnny Wheelwright and Owen Meany, as they struggle to understand the vagaries and mysteries of life. It's at once a very earthbound story, full of the weaknesses that lead to human tragedy, but at the same time, it reaches for the absolute apex of the divine in all of us.

So have I whet your appetite for any of these great books? I hope so. These books continue to inspire me, even decades after my first reading. I think, because they are older, they are badly underestimated. I'd love to hear what you think of them. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Milestone! Book 25 and ALL on Sale!

I actually never imagined this day would come. Didn't plan on it, never considered it when I started on Ghost Walk over three years agoBut here it is. Book 25 of the Lacey Fitzpatrick and Sam Firecloud Mystery Series, Dead Sea Walk. And it's a humdinger of a way to celebrate this milestone. This might be Sam's most amazing walk yet! 

In 1947, the first Dead Sea scrolls—parchment containing 2,000-year-old versions of Biblical text—were discovered in caves above Qumran, Israel.  Archaeological study of Qumran suggests it was a community of Essenes, ascetic monks whose teachings influenced the earliest Christian thought. When medium Sam Firecloud is invited to walk the ruins to connect with a spirit there, he wonders what—or who—he’ll find. The executive director of Qumran has a guess; he believes the soul who dwells there could be no less than the ghost of Jesus Christ.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I'm putting ALL 25 books in the series on sale for just 99 cents each through February 29, 2020. If you need to catch up, now is the time. If you haven't taken the plunge into Lacey and Sam's adventures, now is the time. And if you're worried about running out, I've got Book 26 in the hopper and working on 27.

All my books, as always, are Annie-approved. Below, she's saying, "What's that blue thing? Oh, it's an award! Cool!" (She would have thought it was cooler if it was something to eat.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Typos in My Manuscript — Betrayed by My Own Body

Cheeto, the typing chimpIt’s really nice to have support when I write. My entire body supports me. My spine keeps me upright in my chair. My butt anchors me there (sometimes too long), and of course my hands and eyes connect me to my computer via the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Obviously, I could not write without the aid of my body, but sometimes it takes that support too far and ends up causing me trouble with typos. How so?
Fast typingFirst it’s my fingers. They’re very helpful. I should provide a little backstory and say that I learned to touch type in high school — home row, QWERTY, and all that. I never have to look at the keyboard to type, just keep my eyes trained on the screen and go. Because of that, I type fast, and my fingers know whole words after so much repetition. I rarely have to think about typing H-E-A-D, I just think about head and my fingers do the rest.
Unless they don’t. Sometimes my fingers think they know what word I want, and they type heat instead. Or hear. And the trouble with this is that spell-checker won’t catch it. It’s a good word. It’s just not the right word.
Then, to compound the problem, my brain gets into the act. My brain is also very helpful. It knows what words I want to write. After all, they start there, right? So as I’m reading over what I’ve just written, my brain scans the words via my eyes and says, “Yep, looks good. A-Okay here.”
Except it’s not. I’ve just written, “She blushed from her neck to the top of her heat.” Lovely. Paints a picture, doesn’t it? And these parts of me, my fingers and my brain and my eyes, are all just glowing with giddy pleasure because they’ve helped me write my magnum opus. Or maybe that’s right my magnum opus. At any rate, while I appreciate the effort and the thought, it’s just not enough. This is why I have to call in more eyes. Fresh eyes that don’t have expectations based on what’s in my head. Fresh eyes that will actually see what’s on the paper instead of thinking they already know what should be there.
All I can say is, thank god for beta readers and editors. When my own body conspires willingly against me, I need all the outside help I can get.
We’ve had lots of articles on this topic at Indies Unlimited. The Evil Mastermind wrote about the dreaded Typopotamus. Our Fearless Leader lamented about letting a book sit. Even world-renowned reviewer Mr. BigAl wrote about why proofreading is important. No matter which won of us ewe listen too, getting another set of eyes on your work is paramount.
Originally published by Indies Unlimited on 9/8/2015.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Start the New Year with Monster Walk!

Nothing like starting out the new year with a brand new book, right? I'm happy to announce that I've released Book 24 of the Lacey Fitzpatrick and Sam Firecloud Mystery Series, Monster Walk

Two recent murders have rocked the small town of Chinle, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. Navajo Tribal Police have found no connection between the victims even though both were killed the same way and brutally mutilated. Lieutenant John Stoneburner has no choice but to call in medium Sam Firecloud and his partner, Lacey Fitzpatrick, to see if they can make sense of the grisly facts. When it becomes clear to Sam that the murders are related to ancient Navajo mythology, he enlists the help of an elder, his grandfather Ben, who leads them all into the perilous realm of gods and monsters.

Two things many of my readers have particularly enjoyed are the fascinating traditions of the Navajo, and Sam's grandfather, Ben. The positive comments inspired me to look deeper into the Navajo's mythic past, and who better to lead the way than Ben? If you enjoyed Skin Walk, Blood Walk, and Bordello Walk, you'll like this one. I guarantee it. Just to sweeten the pot, Monster Walk is available for just 99 cents now through January 12, 2020.

Meanwhile, if you haven't plunged into the world of Sam and Lacey yet, let me remind you that Ghost Walk, Book 1, is always only 99 cents for the eBook. 

And, in addition, Books 1 through 7 are also available as audio books