Thursday, October 23, 2014

Blog Tour: Written in Blood by Elaina Lee


Welcome to The Wormhole and my stop on the tour.

Elaina Lee

I'm Elaina Lee, romance writer. Since given an assignment in the 6th grade to write a fantasy story, I knew writing was a passion I'd never be able to do without.  From that moment on my imagination took flight.  Over the years I've written everything from the Dark Ages to Science Fiction, all with romantic elements, of course ;-).
As a mother of two boys, a kindergartner and high schooler, life is never boring in my house!  When I'm not keeping a little one out of trouble, or trying to keep my sanity as a boy migrates into a man, I write.  I'm very fortunate to have met my remarkable husband who has supported and encouraged my dreams of being an author since the day we met. 
Thanks for taking the time to learn about me!   

Website:  http://www.elainalee.com/


Romantic Suspense

Date Published: Jan 1, 2011 (Re-published June 2014)

 Written in Blood: A dark and sensual, award winning, romantic suspense.

Lyndi Crisdean is assigned one of the hardest cases in her career as a defense attorney. A serial murder case. Investigating is Alek Trevian, the lead investigator for the district attorney, and a handsome and supremely dangerous man. Lyndi finds herself in over her head when she chooses desire for Alek over common sense. If they're caught, Lyndi will lose everything she's worked for. Circumstances beyond her control pull her toward Alek, for he turns out to be the only one who can help when threats start to mount against her.

Lyndi may be the key Alek needs to bring down a murderous cult running loose in his city. When her beach house is broken into and a man begins to tail Lyndi, Alek can't help but reason Lyndi may be next on the cult's hitlist. The question is, will he discover the identity of the cult, keep her safe, and still win the case against the serial killer she's defending, all while losing a battle against the strong, untamable desire she alone ignites within him?

Giveaway:

Excerpt:
Black hair framed his face and hung down just past his collar. Her fingers twitched at her side, gripping her purse tighter. What she wouldn’t give to find out if his hair was as soft as it looked under the pale lighting. With a quick shake of her head, she snapped out of her reverie. Coming here had been a mistake. Sin, like the man walking toward her, didn’t need another invitation to her front door.

 Before she could change her mind, she turned away from him and headed toward the entrance. The door to freedom seemed much farther than she remembered. She reached out; her fingers touched smooth wood. A cool, fresh breeze brushed the flushed skin of her face, beckoning her. She didn’t make the night wait. She burst out onto the sidewalk, sucking in air to calm her raging pulse. What was wrong with her? For whatever reason, though, something about that man had told her to run and not look back. 

Hair flitted across her face, and she pushed the stray locks away. Home was only fifteen minutes from here. Shouldering her purse once again, she turned and started in the direction of her apartment building.

 “Miss.” A deep, smooth voice sounded from behind her. 

Lyndi froze. Did she really want to look? Biting her lower lip, she glanced over her shoulder. Mr. Wickedly Handsome’s lips twitched in what she figured must have been his equivalent of a smile.

 “Do we know each other?” she asked, turning to face him.

 “Are you alone tonight?”

“Listen... I don’t know you, and I’m not going to answer that question, so have a good evening.” 

When she tried to turn away, his hand caressed her upper arm. Gentle and confusing, the touch left her too mystified to protest when he stepped closer. Leaning down, he whispered against her mouth, “Trust me when I say, you know me.”

 His warm breath brushed across her lips, sending a wave of heat to the pit of her stomach. Every muscle in her body wanted to move closer, wanted the distraction she knew that mouth could offer. But despite her earlier thoughts, losing herself in a man wasn’t something she could afford right now. 

Steeling herself against the tingle of desire he created, Lyndi lifted her gaze to his shadowed eyes. “You’re wrong and must have mistaken me for someone else.”

 A small smile curled along his lips; his fingers grazed along her jaw. Her breath caught in her throat, and she swallowed the whimper forming in her throat. “I know exactly who you are, Ms. Crisdean. You are unmistakable.”

My thoughts:
Fantastic story!  The characters are incredible.  I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions of Lyndi and Alek, as they traversed their feelings for each other.
Filled with suspense and intrigue, this story grabs the reader from the very first page and holds all the way to the last.
This was my first Elaina Lee read and it will not be the last - I can't wait for more from this author.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Blog Tour: The Necromancer Candle by Randy McCharles

Tour Page HERE.

Welcome to The Wormhole and my stop on the tour.
It is my pleasure to feature Randy McCharles and The Necromancer Candle.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Randy McCharles is active in Calgary, Alberta’s writing community with a focus on speculative fiction, usually of the wickedly humorous variety. He is the recipient of several Aurora Awards (Canada’s most prestigious award for speculative fiction), for works including the novella Ringing in the Changes in Okotoks, Alberta which appeared in Tesseracts 12 (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and was also reprinted in Year’s Best Fantasy 9 (David Hartwell and Kathryn Kramer, ed). Additional short stories and novellas are available in various publications from Edge Press, Anansi Press, and Reality Skimming Press, including the 2014 Aurora Award shortlisted titles: The Puzzle Box and Urban Green Man. Randy’s first full length novel, Capone’s Chicago, will be available in May 2014.

The Necromancer Candle: And Two Additional Tales of Contemporary Fantasy

Genre: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Paperback, 212 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2014 by EDGE 0
ISBN:1770530665 
(ISBN13: 9781770530669)

DESCRIPTION

A collection of three new novellas by Canadian Speculative Fiction author Randy McCharles.

The collection includes:
 
·                       The Necromancer Candle
·                       Full House
·                       Merlin’s Silver

Story outlines:

The Necromancer Candle
Cassidy’s family has a secret. An ancient, ugly candle passed down through the generations until it is has been all but forgotten. But now someone is looking for it, or so Cassidy thinks. A victim of terminal brain cancer, Cassidy no longer trusts what she sees. But real or imagined, the upheaval of her life is moving quickly toward an end where Cassidy’s greatest wish is to die on her own terms. But is that long enough to solve the mystery of the necromancer candle?
Full House
When Jonas loses his job on the same day a neighbor is murdered, he finds his days at home more challenging yet rewarding than he ever imagined. Against a backdrop of healing family relationships and expounding upon life with his poker buddies, Jonas finds himself pressured to solve the murder. But the more he learns, the more Jonas sees that this is no simple murder, but a mystery that has spanned centuries.

Merlin’s Silver
Joan gets more than she bargained for when she buys an expensive tea service at auction to shake up a lackluster marriage. It seems the tea service is sought by black magicians who will stop at nothing to get it, with only a peculiar little man named Odds Bodkins standing in their way. But who can Joan trust? The mysterious voice on the phone offering to buy the tea service? Her best friend Sally who offers to take it off her hands? Or Odds Bodkins, whose designs grow more unfathomable by the hour?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blog Tour: The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr


Welcome to The Wormhole and my stop on the tour.

About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder.

Lauren launched the Lovers in Crime (first introduced in Shades of Murder) mystery series in September 2012 with Dead on Ice.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV

For More Information
Trailer:


Book Blurb:
 Mac Faraday Meets the Wolf Man!

Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.
In The Murders at Astaire Castle, Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop—even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!
Topping the list of the ten most haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago—and Mac Faraday owns it!
In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.
“Halloween has always been a fun time,” best-selling author Lauren Carr explains in a note at the beginning of her fifth Mac Faraday mystery. “It’s the time to break out and be someone else. As a child, I would pretend to be one of the Bobbsey Twins searching for clues to lead me to a secret treasure. If I was lucky, it was made up of chocolate. As a teenager, I was Nancy Drew. Always, when October rolled around, I craved mysteries with something extra added—something beyond the normal—something supernatural. As an author, I couldn’t resist taking this one Mac Faraday Mystery on a scary Halloween adventure.”
In this latest installment of Carr’s hit series, what starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet—including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.
Giveaway:

Lauren is giving away one paperback copy, two ebook copies and three audiobooks of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Six winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins October 6 and ends October 31.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!



Excerpt:
Prologue

November 2002 – Astaire Castle, top of Spencer Mountain, Deep Creek Lake, Maryland
Shivering, Rafaela turned up the fan for the heater in her old Plymouth. The weather channel was calling for snow. With an eye on the storm clouds heading straight for Spencer Mountain, she picked up the speed a notch. Her car bumped along the worn road cut through the trees and rock to take her to Astaire Castle.
The notion of being trapped at the castle by a winter storm made her curse the day she had accepted the job as housekeeper at the Astaire estate. The young illegal immigrant thought her prayers had been answered by landing the job at the luxurious estate. Not only was it prestigious to work in a castle, but lucrative since Damian Wagner was paying almost twice her normal hourly wage.
What a gem to put on my housekeeping resume! To be hire by only one of the world’s most famous authors of horror books—even more famous than Robin Spencer—to clean an honest-to-goodness castle. So what if the Astaire Castle has a reputation of being haunted? I’ll be making a bundle for cleaning five days a week in the daylight. Besides, I don’t believe in no ghosts.
Rafaela regretted her decision the first time she walked into Astaire Castle.
At first, she dismissed her cleaning supplies moving from where she had left them as forgetfulness.  Then there was the time she kept hearing someone whispering her name. She had looked around, but never saw anyone. Same with doors closing or opening or footsteps coming up behind her, and the old-time music and party noises in empty rooms when no one was there—she tried to tell herself that it was all her imagination.
None of that was anything compared to the Wolf Man who she had seen in the dining room mirror while she was cleaning it.
She had heard all about the Wolf Man who lived in the woods surrounding Astaire Castle. The woman with two teenagers who lived in the apartment next to hers was quick to tell her about him. Rafaela had dismissed it all as ghost stories made up by her neighbor’s kids to scare her—until she had seen him with her own two eyes.
That day she ran out of the castle. She returned only after Genevieve, Damian Wagner’s daughter, had promised that her father finish his book and be moving out of the castle by the end of the year—at which time he would pay her a handsome bonus that would give her enough money to visit her family in Brazil for Christmas.
Rafaela caught her breath when her Plymouth entered through the gate at the end of the road to pull into the front courtyard and fountain.
The fountain was off. Damian Wagner had never bothered to turn it on. He wouldn’t notice if it was. He spent his time banging away on his computer in the study on the top floor. He wouldn’t eat if it weren’t for his daughter bringing food to him.
Then there was the editor—Mr. Jansen.
He reminded Rafaela of a bird with his bony frame, high cheekbones over a pointy chin, and thick eyeglasses with his blinking eyes magnified behind them. He sounded like a squawking bird with his high-pitched voice no matter what his mood or what he was saying. Ready to pounce in anticipation of any need from Damian Wagner, he was always lurking nearby.
Damian’s daughter, Genevieve, was as charming as beautiful. She often asked Rafaela about her family in Brazil and about her life in Deep Creek Lake.  For the new immigrant to America, Rafaela felt as if she was making a friend who would give her good references for more housekeeping jobs in the resort town of Spencer—more millionaire estates to clean—estates that weren’t haunted.
Rafaela pulled her car around the circular drive and parked at the bottom of the steep steps that led to the front door. When she got out of her car, the wind howled and whipped her long dark hair around her head. The wind actually seemed to want to rip her thin coat off her body. Grabbing her box of cleaning supplies, she squared her shoulders, and sucked up her nerve to go inside.
Need to make this quick. They don’t have enough money to make me stay here during that storm.
The wind yanked the heavy wooden door from her grasp to slam it against the side of the house.
“Stupid door!” Rafaela set the box inside the foyer and went outside to grab the door and pull it shut. “Mr. Wagner! Mr. Jansen! Genevieve! It’s me, Rafaela! Hope I’m not disturbing you.” She picked up the box and made her way through the foyer.
“Raf-aela …”
She stopped. With wide eyes, she peered up the staircase to the second floor balcony. “Is that you, Mr. Wagner?” She paused to listen. “Genevieve?”
“Get out. Now.”
Has to be my imagination. She reassured herself. “There’s no such thing as ghosts. There’s no such thing as ghosts,” she muttered over and over to herself while hurrying to the back of the castle.
“I don’t suppose you had any trick-or-treaters last night, did you?” she called out to ease her nerves with the sound of her own voice. “Not up here I suppose.”
She waited for an answer. She heard footsteps on the floor up above.
The smell of burnt meat came to her nose. It smelled like steak that had been left on the grill for too long.
They must have grilled steaks last night.
“Lots of little children stopped by my apartment.” Feeling braver as she rattled on, Rafaela set the box of cleaning supplies on the kitchen table and gathered together her duster and furniture polish.
Best to start in the living room. The antiques, wood, and silver takes the longest.
Admiring the decades-old priceless china encased in the china closet, she went through the dining room. With her cleaning lady’s eye, she gauged what needed to be addressed on this visit that she may have missed before. She stopped when the blotch of red on the doorframe through the kitchen caught her eye.
What’s that? Catsup?
It wasn’t until she spotted a spot on the floor that she first considered that it wasn’t a condiment, but something much more sinister.  She spotted another. Bigger this time … and another.
There was a red pool in front of the kitchen door that opened out onto the back patio and deck that projected out over the rocks to provide a massive view of the valley down below. All of the drops and splatters and pools led to the common source—the fire pit outside.
She saw the flames and smoke wafting in the wind whipping around her where she stood in the open doorway. She stared at the blackened objects in the pit. What at first appeared to be a burnt log projecting out of the flames took shape.
The hand and fingers reached out to her.
The index finger was pointing at her.
Through the rapid beating of her heart, Rafaela could hear the footsteps behind her coming closer.
“Get out!”
His image was reflected in the glass pane of the door. The wild hair. The crazed eyes.

It’s the Wolf Man!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blog Tour: The Shadow Academy by Adrian Cole

Tour Page HERE.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adrian Cole was born in PlymouthDevonshire in 1949. He is currently the Director of College Resources in a large secondary school in Bideford, where he now lives with his wife, Judy, son Sam, and daughter Katia. He remains best known for his Dream Lords trilogy as well las his young adult novels, Moorstones and The Sleep of Giants.


The Shadow Academy

Genre: Science Fiction
Paperback, 224 pages
Expected publication: September 1st 2014 by Hades Publications
ISBN 1770530649 (ISBN13: 9781770530645)
After the Plague Wars they waited for the invasion. And as the new Dark Age dawns… there is one who can bring light.
In a world little more than a whisper away from ours, the islands of Grand Brittannia lie just off the shores of the deeply forested content of Evropa, the dark and forbidding realm of legends scarcely remembered. 

Grand Brittannia, itself almost completely a place of deep forest and mystery, has at its heart the crumbling, anachronistic administrative city of Londonborough. From here the Central Authority wields power over the Islands and exercises its control rigidly and clinically. Since the rigours of the Plague Wars, some hundred years in the past, when almost the entire population of the world was wiped out and the gradual decline of civilization began, industry and technology have atrophied, their development now strictly vetted by the Authority. 

Out on the far-flung coasts, a network of ancient fortress ports wait in readiness for an invasion that some say will never come, their ancient, declining Academies committed to the rigours of training the defenders of the Islands. These Academies are subjected to regular inspections by Enforcers from Londonborough, and their native inhabitants are constantly being swelled by the young military graduates from the Authority’s own Military Academies in the center. Into a cauldron of intrigue and subterfuge that is the town and Academy of Petra comes Chad Mundy, the Authority’s replacement for Drew Vasillius, a veteran teacher who has committed suicide. At least, that is what he’s been told…



Review: Winning Love (Love to the Extreme Book 3) by Abby Niles


Winning Love by Abby Niles
Mac “The Snake” Hannon has spent years throwing himself into cage fighting as a way to lash back at the natural disaster that destroyed his future. A call for help has Mac returning to the one place he swore never to return: Kansas—in the height of tornado season.
There he meets free-spirited Gayle Matthews. At first he wants nothing to do with the infuriatingly persistent woman, but the crazy challenges she tosses his way are impossible to resist. As she thaws years of bitterness, bringing back the Mac he believed long gone, he starts to make peace with the past and see the future again. Until he learns she chases his worst nightmare—then he can’t get away fast enough.
Meteorologist and storm chaser, Gayle Matthews is no stranger to being left behind and now believes in living in the moment. She wants to do just that with the handsome extreme fighter with the achingly sad eyes. As she works to replace the sorrow with desire, she finds herself breaking her one rule: have fun but don’t fall in love. When he suddenly pushes her away and she discovers the horrifying reason why, she issues one more challenge: face his fear and come on a chase with her.
Will squaring off with the past lead to a victory for heartache or love?

Buy Winning Love HERE


My thoughts:
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, it was my first Abby Niles read.  I was thrilled by what I discovered as I read.  The characters are interesting and wonderfully created.  I found it easy to invest in both the characters themselves and their lives.  Gayle (I loved the play on the name) is the strong, independent, capable woman we all want to be; although the history that created her isn't something any of us would willing go through to get there.  

There were many times that I found myself laughing out loud at Gayle's behavior and Mac's reactions, but there were also times that my heart went out to them.  There was a depth to the story that I didn't anticipate.  The multitude of emotions that course through the story keep you hoping for the best for them all. 

I enjoyed the book and plan to read more from this series.

Check out the other books in the Love to the Extreme series:

Fighting Love by Abby Niles
Talk about kicking a fighter while he’s down.
Former Middleweight champion and confirmed bachelor Tommy "Lightning" Sparks has lost it all: his belt, his career, and now his home. After the devastating fire, he moves in with his drama-free best friend, Julie. One encounter changes everything and Julie is no longer the girl he’s spent his life protecting but a desirable woman he wants to take to his bed. Knowing his reputation, he’s determined to protect Julie more than ever—from himself.
Veterinarian Julie Rogers has been in love with Tommy since she was ten, but would love to get over the man. She’s quiet nights at home and a glass of wine. He’s clubbing all night and shots of tequila. As friends they work great. As a couple? No way in hell. She just can’t get her heart to agree. When she starts spending time with another fighter, the man who’s always treated her like a sister is suddenly not being very brotherly and enflames her body like never before.
Can two childhood friends make a relationship work, or will they lose everything because they stopped FIGHTING LOVE
Buy Book 2 HERE

Dante “Inferno” Jones is used to winning in the ring. But when the MMA fighter meets pretty Caitlyn Moore, he seems to be striking out left and right. The more Cait denies his advances, the more intrigued he becomes by the sharp-tongued beauty. She’s a challenge he can’t resist.

Comfortable with the average Joe, Cait doesn’t get it when the ultra-masculine Dante walks into her life and expresses an interest in her. Sure, she’s shed eighty pounds and her confidence is building, but there's nothing spectacular about her. Certainly not enough to hang onto a ripped babe-magnet like Dante, whose violent profession, catty groupies, and cruel competitors are already making her life a living hell.

Dante’s light-hearted pursuit quickly becomes a battle to win her heart as they find themselves thrown together again and again—and it’s affecting his training. Cait won’t let him lose the biggest fight of his career because of her, but when her plan to keep him focused lands her in the dangerous clutches of Dante’s vicious opponent, there is more at stake than just the championship belt.

Buy Book 1 HERE

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Crazy is Normal by Lloyd Lofthouse

This virtual book tour is presented by:
Click HERE for more tour information.

Welcome to The Wormhole and my stop on the tour.

Publisher: Three Clover Press (June 14, 2014)
ISBN: 978-0986032851
Category: Biographies and Memoirs, Educators
Tour Date: October, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 386 Pages
Multi award winning author, Lloyd Lofthouse kept a daily journal for one-full school year and that journal became the primary source of this teacher’s memoir.
“Readers who envision eager students lapping up learning led by a Tiger Teacher will be disappointed. Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.
Throughout this memoir, though, Lofthouse seems able to keep the hope alive that there’s a future for each student that doesn’t include jail—thanks in large part to his sixth period journalism class and its incredible editor, Amanda.” – Bruce Reeves


About Lloyd Lofthouse:Lloyd Lofthouse
Little did Lloyd Lofthouse know in 1999, when he married Anchee Min, that he was beginning a journey of discovery. His first trip to The Middle Kingdom was on the honeymoon with his bride, who introduced him to China and Robert Hart (1835-1911), the main characters in Lloyd’s first two novels, My Splendid Concubine andOur Hart. The next decade was a journey of discovery. Lloyd now lives near San Francisco with his wife–with a second home in Shanghai, China.
Lloyd earned a BA in journalism in 1973 after fighting in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. While working days as an English teacher, he enjoyed a second job as a maitre d’ in a multimillion-dollar nightclub. His short story, A Night at the ‘Well of Purity’ was named as a finalist for the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.
Lloyd has won 15 awards for My Splendid Concubine and 5 awards for Running With the Enemy.
Buy ‘Crazy is Normal:  Amazon 
Lloyd Lofthouse guest post:

Guest Post:
How did you get started writing a memoir?
The memoir, “Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé” was born, first, in 1994 as a daily journal, when I decided to document my job as a high school English [four classes] and journalism [one class] teacher.
At the time, I had no way to know that in the future, I’d actually use the journal to write a memoir. But without it, there was no way I would have ever remembered what happened on a daily basis. I’m not one of those rare individuals who have flawless memories that forget nothing and have instant recall for any moment in time.
But twenty years of teaching proceeded the year where I took the first step toward writing a memoir.
I started teaching in 1975-76, as a full-time intern in a master teacher’s fifth-grade classroom in an elementary school that had a high rate of childhood poverty and too many at-risk children.
The internship was followed by two years as a substitute teacher that included one semester as a long-term substitute in an elementary school where I replaced a teacher who had a heart attack and then died a few weeks later. At the time, I didn’t know that I was the twelfth substitute in twelve days, and two weeks after I arrived, the principal asked me to stay until the end of the school year. After I started working with those at-risk children, I understood why the former teacher probably had the heart attack.
When I was teaching at that elementary school in 1977, there was concertina wire strung along the roofs to keep the gangs off. It wasn’t unusual to arrive in the morning to see the custodians filling bullet holes in the doors with putty, and covering graffiti on the walls with fresh paint.
That elementary school was a few blocks from Nogales High School where I would eventually end up teaching children from the same community for sixteen years starting in 1989.
My first full-time contract as a teacher, in the same school district, was in 1978-79, at an intermediate school that had a high rate of child poverty in addition to children who belonged to violent and dangerous street gangs—the principal warned us to never leave the campus and walk into the local community, because it was too dangerous even during the day.
It wasn’t until 1993, that I’d work with high achievers, when I agreed to teach that one period of journalism. It made sense. After all, my BA was in journalism and my MFA was in writing.
Near the end of that school year in 1994—working with those incredible high achievers in journalism—it occurred to me that this was a unique experience and one day I might want to write about it, so I decided to keep that daily journal.
After I left teaching in 2005, and had published my first two novels, “My Splendid Concubine” and “Running with the Enemy”, I was copy editing the completed rough draft of my wife’s eighth book, a memoir, “The Cooked Seed” by Anchee Min, and I remembered that long-forgotten journal. I searched the garage where it had sat on a shelf gathering dust for 17 years.
I dusted the journal off, read it to see if there was enough material for a memoir; decided there was, and “Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé” was born. The journal is much longer than the memoir.
While I was writing the memoir, I became aware of the growing resistance across the country against the Machiavellian Common Core Standards that were funded mostly by Bill Gates, who partnered with the White House in an obvious attempt to destroy democratic public education in the United States and turn our children over to profit-driven Charter schools run by corporate managers and CEOs, and not elected school boards.
This insanity started with President G. W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, which mandated that 100-percent of children ages 17/18 had to be college/career ready by 2014-15.
President Obama then launched his Race to the Top and Common Core State Standards designed to use standardized tests to rank and the fire teachers even though there is no evidence that these tests were a valid method to determine the quality of a teacher. In fact, there is a host of evidence that proves the opposite—that using the results of student tests to judge teachers was wrong.

I think my memoir offers dramatic, narrative evidence that it’s impossible to achieve a goal that mandates 100-percent of children by age 17/18 must be college/career ready—after all, at no point in history in any country in the world has this been achieved. In addition, there are already about three college graduates in the United States for every job that requires a college degree.