A Small Sneak Preview of Book Three: Robert’s Rules

In June I will be making an appearance at the ALA (American Library Association) 2017 Conference and Exhibition in Chicago. One of the traditions at this event is for authors to provide unedited copies of the first three chapters or so of their upcoming books, flaws and all.
So, with the permission of my editor, I think it is only right that those of you who follow me here should have the first glance.

So watch this space for periodic sneak previews of what’s to come in the third book of the North of the Tension Line series, beginning with this snippet.

PROLOGUE

My earliest memories are of fire.

I was lying in my crib in the dark, and my father woke me, wrapped me in my blankets, and carried me from the house. There were sirens coming closer. I remember the scratchy wool of his jacket on my cheek, its dusty smell in my nostrils, and the feel of the cool night air. Then the smoke was everywhere.

My mother and father and sister and brother were all there, with jackets over their night clothes. My father carried me in his arms as we all moved toward the fire down the street.

“The pig farm,” my mother said.

I knew the pig farm. I knew the comfortable smell of well kept animals; the sight of the red barn on the hill, the pleasures of catching a glimpse of a tractor, or better yet, a family of piglets, on an afternoon ride.

Instead, I could see the silhouettes of men against flames that reached into the sky, the yellow and orange fire that flickered and shot up; the black shadows of men in big coats, and boots, and helmets, carrying hoses and axes.

There was a low rumbling sound from the diesel engines of the fire trucks; the crackling static voices of the radios and walkie talkies.

My father hoisted me up on his shoulders, and I could look down at the tangle of hoses, the gleaming puddles everywhere, with the circling red lights. I could hear more sirens in the distance, more fire companies arriving, the undulating shift of their sound changing as they moved.

“The poor animals,” murmured my mother, watching the flames. There was another smell in the air that was not wood burning.

I was afraid, but I did not cry.

Maybe I slept on my father’s head.

At last the men’s voices changed from shouts to words, the brilliant, intoxicating light in the night was gone, leaving a gray dawn. The red lights of the trucks still turned, reflecting in the puddles of water as the firemen coiled the hoses. The voices on the radios still crackled, but with less frequency, as the fire men, weary, diminished their conversation.

I do not remember being tucked back into bed. But I remember the flames.

I always remember the flames.

Learning to Love Again

To the both of you who follow my blog: by now you are probably used to the reality that when I am writing a book, I don’t post many blogs. It’s a husbanding your resources thing.

Nevertheless, I interrupt this novel for a brief announcement:

We are in the queue again for a puppy. He has been born. He will be two weeks old tomorrow. We hope to pick him up and fly him home (on our laps) on May 6th. He is a cousin, of some sort, of Moses.

My husband insists that his name will be St. Augustine the Younger. He gets to pick, since I picked Moses, but I am still lobbying for St. George, the Dragon Slayer.

He will win.

So, watch this space for puppy pictures. Because my life needs a complication, albeit a delightful one.

Here is one of the puppies from the litter. Who knows? We may become friends.

 

Putting out a Call


North of the Tension Line is on the Target website. Would you please give it a four or five star review?

And if you haven’t already done so at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, would you be so kind?

Books that receive good reviews get noticed and re-ordered.

I’d be grateful if you’d bring along a friend, too.

Thank you.

Support your local author!

Praise from an Islander

Two book series

Some fan letters are particularly meaningful.

I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed your first book, although have not yet read the second. It’s always interesting to read something set in a beloved location….although one runs the risk of feeling betrayed. That isn’t the case, here!

I just wanted to tell you that Fiona’s house was owned for a time by my husband’s family, and his Aunt Helen, who was disabled, stayed there for a summer…. 

I, too, am in exile, south of you in Racine. My family is from the Island, as is my husband’s. The lighthouse on Rock is restored to the time of my great grandfather’s tenure there. My grandmother taught in the Detroit Harbor school and ran Central switchboard for a time. My grandfather was a ferry captain, and my son is the 4th generation in our family to work for the Richters. My mom lives in the home my great grandparents bought after retiring from the lighthouse service, and our cottage is on my husband’s family’s land…over 125 years…. 

Thank you for bringing the Island to life for others to see, in a way that preserves the spirit and respects the people who live there…and tells a fabulous story. It’s not easy to do all three.

Thank you.
Kari Gordon

Thank you, Kari.

Milwaukee Book Launch at Boswell Book Company

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Goat photo courtesy the Washington Post (Flickr/Bagsgroove)

Come and celebrate the publication of The Audacity of Goats with me at Boswell Book Company on Friday May 20th, at 7 pm.

You can buy your copy there, or pre-order.

TAOG COVER

Support your local bookstore!

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Friday May 20 at 7 pm

Boswell Book Company

2559 N. Downer Ave.

Milwaukee, WI 53211

(From their website)

This is the only location. Don’t let a yellow pages tell you otherwise. The store is located on the same block as the Downer Theater, up the bluff from Lincoln Memorial Drive. They’re north of Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital and south of UWM. We’re also pretty much on the southernmost tip of Lake Drive.

COMING SOON: The Audacity of Goats

BEAUFORT BOOKS

For Immediate Release

Contact: Felicia Minerva, Publicity Manager

Felicia@midpointtrade.com

THE AUDACITY OF GOATS

TAOG COVER

Book Two in the Award-winning North of the Tension Line Series.

[New York, NY] Second in the award-winning North of the Tension Line series, The Audacity of Goats (Beaufort Books, April 2016) is the continuing tale of Fiona Campbell, and her reluctant adventures among the pleasures, mysteries, and exasperations of life on a remote island.

J. F. Riordan has been called “a modern day Jane Austen” for her lyrical prose and rich characters. Her books are a tribute to small town life and the beauty of the ordinary. Peopled with sharply drawn characters whose experiences are by turns serious, mystical, and ridiculous, The Audacity of Goats brings into sharp focus the pitfalls and vicious politics that prevail in small towns everywhere.

In an age of celebrity, this series honors the well-lived life of the common man and woman. Its protagonist, city-bred Fiona Campbell, is a strong-willed, independent woman with an intellectual bent, and a sense of irony that comes in handy during her frequent lapses into public humiliation. Although she doesn’t quite fit into her adopted community, her resolute attempts are wryly observed—and endorsed—by her circle of vaguely eccentric friends.

Elisabeth and Roger are not yet back from their honeymoon when a series of unsettling nighttime incidents leave the islanders uncertain whether they are victims of an elaborate teenage prank, or whether there might be a malevolent stranger lurking on the island. Out-of-state owners of a new goat farm seem to consider themselves the self-proclaimed leaders of the island; Pali, the ferry captain, is troubled by his own unique version of writer’s block; and Ben, the captain’s ten year-old son, appears to be hiding something. But it is only when the imperturbable Lars Olafsen announces his retirement, and Stella announces her candidacy for his office that the islanders realize trouble is brewing. Fiona must decide whether it is time to leave the island for good, or to make another reckless gamble.

The Audacity of Goats is literary escapism that will appeal to both adults and young adults, in a return to characters who feel like old friends amidst the picturesque and mystical way of life North of the Tension Line.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A transplanted Midwesterner, J. F. Riordan lives in exile from Washington Island with her husband and two and a half dogs. She blogs at http://northofthetensionline.net

The Audacity of Goats By J. F. Riordan $24.95, 5.50” x 8.25” Hardcover 9780825308260 E‐book 9780825307553 Available April 29, 2016 .For more information, a review copy, or to schedule an interview with J. F. Riordan, please contact: Felicia Minerva, (212) 727‐0222, Felicia@midpointtrade.com

Borrow an Author

 

TAOG COVER

As I have mentioned before in these pages–no doubt to the accompaniment of wearied sighs from you–it can be difficult for an author to break through. There are so many things to read, and so many ways to read them, and the big publishing houses can pay magnificent fees to promote their wares on Goodreads and Facebook and in bookstores. For the rest of us in the Indy world it’s a bit of a slog.

Having said that, one of the fun things about promoting a book is meeting with readers. It’s fascinating to hear people’s theories about characters and to listen to them talk about why certain things happen–or don’t.

So, if you have a book group somewhere within reasonable driving distance of Milwaukee, you can borrow me for an afternoon or evening to meet with you.  Contact me via this website, or through my publicist, Felicia Mineva at felicia@midpointtrade.com.

The release of The Audacity of Goats,  Book Two in the North of the Tension Line series (available here, and here, and  here, and here, or at your favorite bookstore) is imminent, and my calendar is starting to fill up.

Come on, it will be fun!