The Year of Loving by Traci L. Slatton-a review

THE YEAR OF LOVING by Traci L. Slatton-a review

The Year of Loving / /

About the book: Release Date October 10, 2016

Art gallerist Sarah Paige’s world is crumbling. One daughter barely speaks to her and the other is off the rails. Sarah is struggling to keep her gallery afloat in a tough market when she learns that her most beloved friend has cancer. In the midst of her second divorce, two men come into her life: an older man who offers companionship and stability and an exciting younger man whose life is as chaotic as hers.

Sarah’s courage, humor, and spirit strengthen her, but how much can she bear, and what sustains her when all else falls away?


REVIEW: THE YEAR OF LOVING by Traci L. Slatton is a contemporary, adult, romance story line about one woman’s struggle in both her personal and professional life. Mother of two, twice divorced art gallerist Sarah Paige has a toxic relationship with her daughters thanks to their father-a man who uses his money and family name to destroy the relationship between the girls and their mom.

Sarah Paige is a forty-something, fiercely independent woman struggling against professional and personal bankruptcy, in the midst of her second divorce, the continued and complicated estrangement from her daughters, and the difficult acceptance of her best friend’s cancer diagnosis. To complicate matters Sarah finds herself attracted to and drawn towards two men each offering something different but wanting a relationship with our story line heroine. What Sarah offers to each man does not allow for any permanency –she is unwilling to give up control over any aspect of her life.

THE YEAR OF LOVING focuses on one woman’s difficult battle with the world around her. The hardships of a struggling business, and wanting to remain independent juxtaposed to a series of misfortunes and personal failure. Sarah is a woman with a vulnerable side that forces our heroine to lash out and alienate the people she loves, as she attempts to reconcile the conflicts in her life. Some times the best action is to walk away and start over.

THE YEAR OF LOVING is a story of hardships and struggles; embittered exes, and troubled and rebellious teens caught between the destructive nature of battling parents. Traci L. Slatton writes a tale of one woman’s emotional journey into the abyss of relationship failure, financial strain, and an independent nature that comes across as complicated and unrelenting. The premise is intense; the characters are controversial and tragic. There are moments of heartbreak and grief; acceptance and moving forward; falling in love and letting go of the past. THE YEAR OF LOVING is a revealing, realistic and sensitive story with a passionate heroine whose life is slowly unraveling.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

About the author

Traci L SlattonTraci L. Slatton, author of FALLEN and COLD LIGHT, is a graduate of Yale and Columbia. She lives in Manhattan, and her love for Renaissance Italy inspired her historical novel IMMORTAL and her contemporary vampire art history mystery THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR. FALLEN is the first in a romantic trilogy set during the end times; COLD LIGHT and FAR SHORE further the dystopian tale. DANCING IN THE TABERNACLE is her first book of poetry. She also wrote a sculpture book, THE ART OF LIFE, with her husband. THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE is a bittersweet rom-com that addresses the question: What worlds would you move to be with your soulmate?

Follow: Website/ Goodreads / Facebook


Blood Sky (The After Series #4) by Traci L.Slatton-a review

BLOOD SKY (After Series #4) by Traci L. Slatton-a review

Blood Sky / / B&N

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 24, 2015

In a time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test… Deep in the badlands of Outpost City, in the Dark Horse saloon, a poker game is being played. The stakes are life and death—for the world.

What can Emma afford to lose? Will she gamble on herself, or on Arthur?

Will love find a way when the apocalypse closes in? A mystical odyssey, a haunting love…


REVIEW: BLOOD SKY is the fourth installment in Traci L. Slatton’s AFTER series set in the post-apocalyptic, dystopian future that focuses on the ‘After’ following ‘The Day’ when the lethal mists began to ravage the world’s population, land and structures. In the After, many of the survivors have developed psychic powers and special abilities that will play an integral role in the survival of the world. But there are others whose minds have been destroyed by the mists; slowly succumbing to madness and insanity. BLOOD SKY is the continuing story of Emma and Arthur’s relationship, and the lengths to which our heroine will go to stop the mists, and the man that she loves –once and for all.

Told from first person point of view (Emma) BLOOD SKY finds our weary band of psychic misfits traveling across country in the hopes of staying one step ahead of the deadly mists and the marauding bands of murderous raiders. Arthur’s ability to control the mists has come under fire when our ‘anti-hero’ begins to show signs that all is not right with his ideology revealing a troubling scenario that will place everyone at risk-now and in the future.

Emma and Arthur’s relationship is struggling; there are moments of love, passion and sexual seduction followed by the insanity of power and control. Arthur’s inability to understand the potential for disaster unleashes a flurry of concern when some of the travelers decide to go it alone in the hopes of finding passage and freedom –an ocean away. What ensues is the loss of someone close, and the realization that not all will go according to plan. Arthur’s continuous pursuit of Emma finds our couple at odds in the wake of Arthur’s plans for the future.

BLOOD SKY reveals the desperate situations that people will go to in a world destroyed by an apocalyptic nightmare. Like the Wild West of the American south, the After series focuses on survival against the odds-where one misstep could be your last; where control of the masses is but a thought away.

The AFTER series looks at the fall out of an experiment that went horribly wrong. Billions of people have lost their lives but the ensuing destruction of property and land has left a world of nothingness pocketed by small, untouched towns where no one survived.

Traci L. Slatton exceptional skill at storytelling is matched by the brilliant premise and controversial ideology of a tale that warns of a potential future if mankind were driven to the brink of another war. The characters are engaging, colorful, charismatic and intense; the romance is tormented and angry; the happily ever after but a pock mark on the horizon above the wastelands of a future that has yet to be told.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight

After Series #1
by Traci L. Slatton
Genre: adult, dystopian, romance
Release: July 2011

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of FALLEN / / B&N / The Book Depository /

When the world ends, all that is left is love…

As chaos descends on a crippled Earth, survivors are tormented by strange psychic gifts. In this time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test. One woman with mysterious healing power guides eight children to safety. Charismatic Arthur offers her a haven. Slowly Emma falls for him. But at the moment of their sweetest love, his devastating secret is revealed, and they are lost to each other. The award-winning first book in the acclaimed After Series.


After Series #2
by Traci L. Slatton
Genre: adult, dystopian, romance
Release Date: July 1, 2012

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of COLD LIGHT / / B&N / The Book Depository /

The end of the world brings chaos, madness, and psychic powers. For Emma and Arthur, separated by an ocean, it brings a love that demands everything. Emma’s beloved daughter is kidnapped by vengeful raiders, and Emma embarks on a soul-crushing journey to rescue her. When Arthur finds Emma, can she trust him? Against impossible odds, Emma draws near the rogue camp, where she also confronts the deepest choice of her heart..


After Series #3
by Traci L. Slatton
Genre: adult, dystopian, romance
Release Date:October 10, 2013

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of FAR SHORE / / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository

FAR SHORE (After Series #3) by Traci L. Slatton

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 10, 2013

An old enemy wreaks new havoc at the end of the world…

After the mists’ lethal apocalypse, mankind’s only hope for survival lies broken and battered, the prisoner of a ruthless sociopath who will stop at nothing to hurt him. Emma sets out to rescue him. She faces an ultimatum and must relinquish everything she holds dear. As Arthur teeters on the brink of life and death, Emma’s healing ability fails. Her own despair tests her, and she must grow stronger than she ever dreamt possible as she confronts the truth of her own heart.

In a time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test…

A mystical odyssey, a haunting love…

About The Author Black and Red

Traci L. SlattonTraci L. Slatton, author of FALLEN and COLD LIGHT, is a graduate of Yale and Columbia. She lives in Manhattan, and her love for Renaissance Italy inspired her historical novel IMMORTAL and her contemporary vampire art history mystery THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR. FALLEN is the first in a romantic series set during the end times; COLD LIGHT and FAR SHORE further the dystopian tale. DANCING IN THE TABERNACLE is her first book of poetry. She also wrote a sculpture book, THE ART OF LIFE, with her husband. THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE is a bittersweet rom-com that addresses the question: What worlds would you move to be with your soulmate?

Follow: Website / Goodreads / Facebook


Broken by Traci L. Slatton-Review and Guest Post

Broken by Traci L. Slatton-Review and Guest Post

Broken / /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 5, 2014

Power is pornographic

Can love sustain light when the forces of evil close in?

Paris, 1939-1942. A fallen angel is trapped in the web of German Occupation. The deadly noose of Nazi control grows ever tighter, ensnaring her and two of her lovers, a bullfighter and a musician working in the fledgling Resistance. Can she save them and the Jewish widow and her child that she has come to love, or will betrayal take them all?


REVIEW: BROKEN is an historical, fictionalized, paranormal storyline that focuses on a fallen angel known as Alia. In the weeks and months leading up to the Nazi occupation of Paris, France during WW II, Alia and her Bohemian friends party like no one is watching. Alia is a watcher-a fallen angel who can see what humans cannot-and a being who absorbs the essence and energy from the people around her.

The storyline is awash in a considerable amount of historical fact and fiction. Beginning in 1939 Alia and her friends take full advantage of the Paris night life and everything it has to offer-plenty of alcohol, plenty of sex and a lifestyle acquainted with the rich, the famous and the infamous. But all too soon, the once fabled Fuhrer and his Nazi party take control of Paris while Alia and her friends must take refuge before their true identities and heritage are revealed.

Traci L. Slatton has written a storyline that is extensively detailed in both WWII and Holocaust history as well as religious overtones and Christian beliefs. Not only does a fallen angel find herself at the mercy of the Nazi party but she discovers that she is fallible to the party demands.

The numerous secondary characters are Bohemian and aristocratic in nature-almost Bourgeoisie. Their artistic lifestyle sets the backdrop for a group of people (the famous and unknown) who believe they are excluded from the incoming hell only to realize, sometimes too late, that no one is safe from the storm. While Europe prepares for war, Alia and her friends wax philosophical the finer points of religion, politics and the Nazi Party. With the introduction of some real-life famous characters and artistes of the twentieth century the storyline spun in a decidedly different direction.

One concern is the paranormal aspect of the storyline and the lack of any real connection to the actual premise. The supernatural element is secondary and does not add anything to the overall plot-it does not play a significant or important role in the overall presentation. Alia is a fallen angel whose human façade enjoys the pleasures of the flesh but an Angel who knows that her time on earth is limited.

Traci L Slatton is an amazing writer whose storylines are infinitely detailed with both fact and fiction; fantasy and reality. Her style of writing is intense; the historical research impressive; and the overall premise is a flight into the fantastic and uncoventional.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy


Guest Post beige

Writing Historical Romances, Accuracy and History
By Traci L. Slatton, author of BROKEN

War, famine, storms, invention, exodus, heroism, sadism, love, and cycles of despair and enlightenment: it sounds like the kind of novel anyone would be thrilled to pick up and read. In fact, it’s human history. We as a species have struggled with nature and with ourselves—our best and our worst impulses—since we stood upright and picked up a piece of charcoal to draw ourselves, a spear, and a beast on a cave wall.

Text books can render history into dry recitations of dates, personages, and events, but when you ponder what was happening and how it must have actually felt to the people of the time, people like me and you, everything changes. History becomes the most breath-taking, intimate portrait of how we have lived and loved and suffered and vanquished and survived and thrived. It’s a natural resource for storytellers.

Clearly, this topic excites me. I was enthusiastic when Sandy suggested it.

A good story is told with conflict and obstacle, which, as I’ve just pointed out, define history. I try to write stories that are cohesive and focused, so I like to choose a specific era in a specific place. For my first novel Immortal, I chose Renaissance Florence, which was still a broad swathe of time—almost two hundred years. There was so much rich material that had to be left out that for Broken, my latest novel, I selected Paris under Nazi occupation, and I narrowed it even further to three years, 1939-1942, the year before the Nazis marched into Paris and the first two years of occupation.

Winnowing down the horrific German occupation of the City of Lights this way provided an opportunity for me to deeply relate my characters to very specific events. Alia, an angel who fell from heaven, experiences the oppression of the time personally and with great intensity. She and her beloved friends suffer through food shortages, lack, loss, and sacrifices in minute detail.

In one scene, Alia walks with Pablo Picasso, the celebrated modernist painter who stayed in Paris during occupation, and she carries a bag of food containing a few leaves of lettuce, some rutabagas, and three veal sausages. In her mind, as she converses with Picasso, she performs mental food math: these groceries must stretch to feed five people, perhaps for more than one day.

Her calculations were historically accurate. Food was scarce for Parisians, who had to pay for the privilege of German occupation with both money and resources like foodstuffs. Researching Paris under Nazi Occupation, I learned that the French ate about 800 calories per day. Over and over again in documents from the time, I read the same descriptions of Parisians as “skinny.”

I enjoy writing historical novels and I enjoy the research that is required because I look for ways to personalize an era for my characters. Before occupation, rutabagas weren’t prized as food; Parisians acquired a taste for them during occupation. The Nazis took almost everything so Parisians made do with what was left. They became very resourceful about finding protein, and bred white rabbits throughout the city, for both their food and their meat. In fact, they were so resourceful that warnings had to be put up against eating cats and diseased pigeons from the parks.

Sometimes I depart from historical fact to make a story truthful, to make it work. Truthfulness and accuracy in fiction are different matters, and truth is the foremost value. However, I do this with care. For example, in Broken, Sartre and Camus are shown at the same party. There are conflicting reports about when these great philosophers met, but it’s widely agreed that they met after the war. For purposes of the novel’s themes and its structure, I placed them together in Alia’s apartment, drinking wine, reading their work, and arguing about the prejudices of the time. Sartre wants the other guests to pay attention to him; Camus wants to hear music. They serve both as characters with all the inherent flaws and foibles of any person and as eloquent voices of their time.

History is a story bonanza for a novelist. It provides a dazzling array of drama as well as opportunities to craft a story with precision. Ultimately, any good story is an argument for a specific value, and writing historical novels gives me a chance to ask myself, What do I care about? What do I value? Answering those questions while metabolizing history is my job as a novelist—and, I hope, gives the reader something that absorbs and enriches her.


About The Author beige

Traci L SlattonTraci L. Slatton, author of FALLEN and COLD LIGHT, is a graduate of Yale and Columbia. She lives in Manhattan, and her love for Renaissance Italy inspired her historical novel IMMORTAL and her contemporary vampire art history mystery THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR. FALLEN is the first in a romantic trilogy set during the end times; COLD LIGHT and FAR SHORE further the dystopian tale. DANCING IN THE TABERNACLE is her first book of poetry. She also wrote a sculpture book, THE ART OF LIFE, with her husband. THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE is a bittersweet rom-com that addresses the question: What worlds would you move to be with your soulmate?

Follow: Website/ Goodreads / Facebook


Second Anniversary Celebration-Traci L. Slatton Prize Package

Second Anniversary Celebration-Traci L. Slatton Prize Package

Anniversary Giveaway Banner

Today’s SECOND ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION giveaway prize package has been graciously donated by the amazing Traci L. Slatton. Tracy is offering a copy of FAR SHORE (ebook or paper) and THE LOVE OF MY OTHER LIFE (ebook or paper).

There will be one (1) winner for both books. If you are US/Canada-winner’s choice as to format.

Follow: Website /Goodreads /Twitter/

Traci Slatton prize package

REMINDER: ALL giveaways require a comment to be eligible for the prize.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please tell us to enter you into the giveaway.

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY for ebook or US/CANADA only paper copy.

7. Giveaway runs from February 26 to March 3, 2014

Click HERE for all of our 2nd Anniversary Celebration Giveaways


Far Shore (After Series #3) by Traci L. Slatton-Review and Interview with the Author

Far Shore (After Series #3) by Traci L. Slatton-Review and Interview with the Author

Far Shore / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

FAR SHORE (After Series #3) by Traci L. Slatton

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 10, 2013

An old enemy wreaks new havoc at the end of the world…

After the mists’ lethal apocalypse, mankind’s only hope for survival lies broken and battered, the prisoner of a ruthless sociopath who will stop at nothing to hurt him. Emma sets out to rescue him. She faces an ultimatum and must relinquish everything she holds dear. As Arthur teeters on the brink of life and death, Emma’s healing ability fails. Her own despair tests her, and she must grow stronger than she ever dreamt possible as she confronts the truth of her own heart.

In a time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test…

A mystical odyssey, a haunting love…


REVIEW: FAR SHORE is the third instalment in Traci L. Slatton’s After series set in the post apocalyptic dystopian future following the Day when the lethal mists began to ravage the world’s population and lands. In the After, many of the survivors have developed psychic powers and special abilities that will play an important role in the survival of the world.

At the end of Cold Light our ‘hero’ Arthur had been taken prisoner by a mad man who knows what it is like to lose everything to the mists. Alexei blames Arthur for the mists and ultimately the death of millions of people on earth including the only woman that he has ever loved. There is only one sure way to make Arthur suffer and that is to take the one thing that Arthur loves-his Emma.

Emma is a woman who is torn between the man that she loves and the family that she has risked everything to save. And Emma is the only person who is able to save Arthur and bring him back from the brink of death. But Arthur is no longer the man with whom Emma fell in love and it will take a supernatural miracle to find the man buried deep in the mind of tortured soul.

Traci L. Slatton brings together most of the previous storyline characters-each of whom has suffered in one way or another. From Emma’s family in Canada to the family she left behind in France, a terrible price has been paid by all of those who have survived the attacks from the raiders, the rogues and the mists.

We are pulled into a story of survival against all odds. The death of so many weighs heavily on the few that have survived; but there are also bright spots amongst the gloom when a new life is brought into the world. Our survivors have had a difficult journey and one that has had its’ share of losses and pain. There is heartache for a woman who has lost the man that she loves, but also for the man who has lost himself in a fight for his sanity and his life. Relationships continue to form while others begin to crumble under the weight of betrayal and loss.

Far Shore (and The After series) is a story that makes you wonder about the what ifs and whys of a world at war. If the ultimate weapon of mass destruction is let loose onto a world of innocent people, what will happen when said weapon evolves and comes looking for the creator? Do we really trust the people in charge of our daily lives and if not, what will happen when the people at the top, can no longer control the monster within?

Traci L Slatton has written another wonderful and amazing storyline that looks at the aftermath of an experiment gone horribly wrong. It is a story about love and loss; betrayal and pain; and a second chances to make everything right. And it is also about two people, who have found love amongst the chaos and destruction, only to lose each other at the hands of a man tortured by his own loss. Sometimes there is only one choice and that choice is to survive, no matter what someone else has in mind.

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview beige

The Reading Cafe would like to welcome back Traci. We previously spoke with Traci in the summer of 2012 with the release of Cold Light-the second book in her After Series.

Traci L SlattonTRC: Hi Traci and welcome back to The Reading Café.

Traci: Thanks for having me back! I’m glad to be back.

TRC: For anyone who does not know Traci L. Slatton, would you please tell us something about yourself?

Traci: I am the author of 9 books and the mother of 4 girls, three and a step; I practice yoga daily; I live in Manhattan with my husband Sabin Howard, who is a classical figurative sculptor. I was a Navy brat. I like horses and chocolate and Renaissance art and travel.

TRC: It has been a little over a year since last we talked, what have you been up to?

Traci: Writing during the day and posing at night for Sabin, who is using me as the model for a bust. Posing for my husband isn’t strenuous, but it is challenging. I have to hold my head at a certain slight tilt, and maintain a small smile, and keep my shoulders relaxed down my back, for several hours after dinner every night, unless Sabin is teaching. Sabin is polite, but when he’s sculpting, he’s very demanding and clinical. There’s no funny business. And he doesn’t reimburse me in cash for posing, but he’s supposed to pay me in something else I can’t mention because this is a G rated blog. Unfortunately, by the time we’re finished sculpting for the night, I’m too tired to ask for payment. 🙂

Of course, I’m always raising my little one, who is 8.5 now. I’m also researching WW2 for two historical novels set during that time period.

Far ShoreTRC: FAR SHORE is the third instalment in your After series focusing on the ramifications of a weapon of mass destruction-literally-gone wrong. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Traci: The premise is that most of humanity, and our physical structures, has been wiped out by a global ecological cataclysm. The survivors are struggling to stay alive as best they can. They’re beset by danger on every side, and inflicted with psychic gifts that presage madness. Within that context, a woman who is very strong develops a healing gift, and she falls in love with a man who is hiding a terrible secret.

TRC: The AFTER series was originally a trilogy, how many books have you planned for the series and what was the decision to write past three instalments?

Traci: I think it is a 4 book series. I meant for it to be a trilogy, but I got to the end of FAR SHORE, which is Book 3, and I had story left over to tell. Unexpected.

After Series

Click HERE for our review of FALLEN
Click HERE for our review of COLD LIGHT

TRC: The premise of the series contains a major sociological, environmental and ethical disaster with a death toll rising into the billions. How do you think today’s society would fair or survive under the same circumstances? Or is the storyline a virtual interpretation of what you believe may happen after an apocalypse of this nature?

Traci: This storyline is an interpretation of what I believe may happen. Not the specifics of Emma and Arthur’s story, but the broad sweeps: people will band together and form tribes for safety and survival. Some of those tribes will be more civilized than others. Some people will rise as heroes, showing the finest and bravest that human beings can attain; others will show the worst of us.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Traci: Good question! The answer is actually nuanced. I create characters whose qualities demand that they act in certain ways, but I as the author am always governing the fictional universe. That is, a character who is coherent will behave in ways that grow naturally and organically from his or her self. However, a brave person will sometimes be fearful; a crazy person will have moments of lucidity. There may be a greater reason why I as author set the character up to act out of character, as it were. But I have to strategize that situation very skillfully.

TRC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Traci: Both. I love the oceanic sweep of creative inspiration, and I usually surf that blissfully into a book for a few chapters. However, structure in a 65,000 word story is crucial. Without structure, the story falls into disarray. It becomes incoherent. So I work both from an outline and from the lightning bolt of creativity, back and forth, back and forth. The one informs the other, always.

TRC: Has their ever been one of your characters that you would have liked to re-written, perhaps change up the personality or characteristics-good or bad?

ImmortalTraci: I sometimes wish I had made Luca Bastardo of IMMORTAL (BantamDell, 2008) a little more proactive. He tended to react rather than initiate. But he is a well liked character, so perhaps my readers are more forgiving than I am.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?

Traci: Excellent, and hard, question. When a writer can wring emotion out of a reader, and that is one of the ultimate goals, it’s a function of a few things. One is creating relatable, three-dimensional characters for whom the readers care, in whom the readers are invested. Another is diction. Sloppy or over-flowery diction will alienate a reader. Also, it helps if the narrative is cohesive and if the events of the story are compelling.

TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Traci: That’s the trick, isn’t it? Well, this goes back to my 3 Rules for Writing Novels: 1, What is story? Story is how your protagonist does NOT get what he or she wants. 2, What is story? All story is an argument for a specific value. 3, What are the stakes? So the plot all happens to keep the protagonist from getting what he or she wants. And at each event, I ask, what are the stakes? What does the protagonist stand to lose or gain? So keeping those questions in mind helps me stay fresh while also maintaining verisimilitude.

There’s also revision. My family and friends have heard me say it, so I’ll repeat it here: revision is writing. I don’t usually hit a bull’s eye the first time I write a scene or a chapter. Sometimes I can’t even get the arrow in the same town as the target board. But a revision or five later, I usually have something good to work with.

TRC: How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of deadlines?

Traci: Somehow I got really lucky in that I am highly self-motivated and disciplined, and I rarely procrastinate. (Maybe God was making up for my extra wide, double E size feet and unnaturally large, ET-like forehead.) My motto is, why wait until tomorrow when you can do it today? It makes the people around me a little crazy sometimes, but I can usually deal with deadlines, by racing ahead of them.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about you?

Traci: Ooo. People think I’m strong, and they think strong means “unfeeling.” While it’s true I tend to have a lot of forward motion, and I will stand up for myself and for what I believe is right, that doesn’t mean I’m invulnerable. People, especially those close to me, see my strength but not my vulnerability. It’s led to a lot of painful situations in my life. I always want to say, to my two older daughters and to my mother and to my vengeful ex-husband, “I am a person. Don’t I have eyes? Don’t I have hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Am I not fed by the same food? If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you tickle me, do I not laugh?”

TRC: Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

Traci: I’ve been fortunate to have met a lot of compelling people who have taken an interest in me. It’s hard to pick one. I guess my grandmother Granny Bee was a big influence. She was a raucous, funny, lively, experimental person. She had only a 3rd grade education, she was part Cherokee, and she spent her early life traveling the South picking crops, but she was one of the most engaging people I’ve ever met. She had 5 husbands and we joke that only a few of them died under mysterious circumstances. She was going to nudist colonies in the 50’s–who was doing that? She built her own home, with her hands and nails and boards and a hammer. When she needed plumbing, she dated a plumber. When she needed the electrical system put in, she dated an electrician. It wasn’t easy for my mom as a little kid, but I always admired Granny Bee’s resourcefulness, courage, originality, and willingness to take risks.

TRC: Who is the first person you think about when you need someone to talk with and why?

Traci: Usually my husband Sabin. We fight a lot. It’s not easy to be two artists in the marriage, because that means there are actually 4 of us in the marriage: Sabin, his sculpting, me, and my writing. We’re both creative, opinionated, and pathologically persistent people. But Sabin does have a different perspective than I do, and when he’s not triggered by the situation, he has a lot of smart things to say. He can help pull me back when I personalize something; he’s good at reminding me, “That’s the other person’s stuff. Don’t take it on.” He is also often very sensible and practical. He also gives excellent hugs.

TRC: If you could be a contestant on a reality television program, which program would you chose and why?

Traci: Ugh. I hate reality TV. I have a whole rant about how reality TV is the end of western civilization and Enlightenment ideals.

TRC: On what are you currently working? Planned for 2014?

Traci: Having finished FAR SHORE, I am working on BROKEN, the story of a fallen angel in Paris from spring, 1939 to the Vel d’hiv in 1942. I have another WW2 novel planned for 2014. Then the 4th book in the After Series. Then a King Arthur retelling.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Traci: Thank you for these intriguing questions! And check out my husband’s sculptures HERE


Dog or Cat:  DOG

Roses or Tulips:  LILACS

Iron Man or Thor:  THOR

Winter or Summer: SUMMER

Last Movie you Saw: ELYSIUM (Isn’t Matt Damon hot???)

Pet Peeve: When my husband doesn’t rinse out the sink after shaving

Secret Celebrity Crush: Eric Bana (sigh)

TRC: Thank you Traci for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of FAR SHORE. Please come back and keep us up to date with Arthur, Emma and the gang.


Traci L. Slatton-Interview with the Author

Traci L. Slatton-Interview with the Author

TRC:  Hi Traci and welcome to The Reading Café.  Congratulations on the release of COLD LIGHT-the latest in your After Trilogy.

Traci:  Thanks! And thanks for having me at The Reading Cafe. This is fun!

Link to : Traci’s Website

TRC:  We would like to start with some background information.  Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Traci:  When people ask where I grew up, I say, “Around,” because my dad was in the military and we moved around the US a lot. But I liked that because it gave me a chance to see different ways that people live. I am now married to classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard . He is really the best in the world at what he does, but he keeps leaving his dirty bicycle shorts on the dining room chair, and he doesn’t know how to clean up after himself in the kitchen…. I have three daughters and a stepdaughter. We all belong to two labs, a chocolate and a yellow. My favorite places in the world are Cape Cod and Florence and Rome and Paris.

TRC:  Many authors begin their love of writer at an early age.  What was the catalyst that started you on the road to writing?

Traci:  When I was 6 years old, I went from reading “See Spot Run” to reading novels. I fell in love with books and there was no holding me back. After a few months I read my first novel. It was about a child who had died and was watching his family from heaven. It moved me deeply and my emotional response made a big impression on me. I thought, “I want to do this! I want to move people the same way!” After that, writing novels was the longing that led me through my life. It still is.

TRC:  What challenges have you faced as a writer?

Traci:  Whew, there have been a lot! I came from a family that had not had a lot of education, and I was the first person in my family to go to college. Then, even though I was determined to write novels, it didn’t come naturally. I had to reinvent the wheel several times to figure out how to structure a story and to create characters. I’m still learning.

I’ve had a gazillion rejections; that’s a 1 with a hundred 0’s after it. I could wallpaper my whole apartment over in rejection letters. There was even a journalist who read a first draft of something I wrote–this was back in the days before spellcheck was automatic, and I hadn’t even spellchecked the document–and he trashed my writing in print, in a book he wrote. Transference is a bitch, right?

I’ve been through a bunch of agents and now there’s some funky stuff going on in publishing, because the advent of Print on Demand technology and eBooks have revolutionized the field, in the same way the Gutenberg Press did five hundred years ago. Authors really have to watch out. The brave new world of publishing offers unparalleled opportunities to authors, but there are some sharky literary agents doing the wrong thing, eg, running their own epublishing houses and getting their authors to pay them for it. Not cool!

TRC:  FALLEN is the first book in your After Trilogy.  Would you please tell us about the premise of the novel?

The Book Depository
Amazon Paper Books
Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook and Paper Books

Traci:  FALLEN is set after a global ecological cataclysm has killed billions of people and devastated the planet. Most of the structures, both physical and social, are gone. Emma is an American woman caught in France with her daughter on “The Day,” and she struggles to stay alive. As she travels south, seeking safety, she takes on seven other children. She becomes the de facto mother to a little band of survivors whose safety she is desperate to ensure.

TRC:  There is plenty of reference to ecological and biological warfare etc.  How mush research was involved with the writing of this particular series?

Traci:  You know, I always do a lot of research. Some of it is on the internet, some of it comes from books, some comes from talking to people. I was sitting at a dinner for an arts organization and the man next to me ran a company that makes blankets that are actually solar energy cells–so I used that idea.

TRC:  COLD LIGHT is the second instalment in the series.  Would you please tell us something about the novel?

Amazon Paper Books
Amazon Kindle
The Book Depository
B&N Nook and Paper Books

Traci:  COLD LIGHT picks up about a year and a half after FALLEN ends. In COLD LIGHT, Emma is back in Canada. Her older daughter is kidnapped by raiders, and Emma sets out to get her back. Along the way she encounters some old friends and has faces some heart-wrenching choices…

TRC:  If you could virtually cast the characters in the After Trilogy, which actors or models would you use for the major characters within the series?

Traci:  For Emma, I’d love to see Natasha McElhone or Kate Hudson. Both women project a good balance of serious and humorous, and they come off as soulful. For Arthur, maybe Scott Elrod with his hair dyed black. For Vasily, since we’re dreaming, Anthony Hopkins. For Laurette, Emma Stone with her hair dyed dark–Emma Stone can be sassy and arch in just the right way for Laurette. For Robert, a young red-haired Irish actor. For Alexei, Alexander Skarsgard, who brilliantly plays a handsome sociopath. For James the doctor, Noah Wylie. What do you think?

TRC:  🙂

TRC:  Did you face any difficulties or challenges getting this series published?

Traci:  It was originally represented by a famous NYC literary agent who claimed to love it. After a few publishing houses passed on it, she tried to get me to let her epublish it, and she would take 15% of the profits–and I would pay for the conversion to an ebook. But I had already done a lot of research into independent publishing because of a sculpture book I was writing with my husband, “THE ART OF LIFE.”

It’s unethical for agents to open their own epublishing branches. Several of them are doing so, and it’s just not OK. It presents a conflict of interest for agents. I’ve heard too many stories about novels that went around to publishers several times and were rejected by twenty editors before the twenty first editor picked it up–and turned it into a bestseller. An agent with his/her own epublishing enterprise simply won’t be motivated to work as hard, and to persist as long, in getting a book sold to a traditional publisher.

I politely declined with this agent and asked her to represent the foreign rights, because my first novel IMMORTAL did very well around the world. But she was pretty mad that I didn’t want to give her a lot of money to do something I could do for myself more cheaply, so she dumped me.

TRC:  Writers Block is a very real phenomenon for many authors. How do you handle the stress and anxiety of Writers Block?

Traci:  Darn good question!! Even to say those words, “w- b-” is like a golfer saying “shanks.” It makes you feel jinxed. This is me knocking on wood and making the sign of the cross and throwing salt over my shoulder!

Physical exercise really REALLY helps me. Joyce Carol Oates writes about authors running. I don’t run anymore because I value my hips and knees and I want to keep them in good condition until I’m 90 years old. But I have a regular yoga practice and I like to get on a stairmaster or elliptical trainer at the gym. Cardio REALLY gets the ideas flowing.

I also walk a lot. Dickens used to walk all over London at night. Walking seems to shake things loose in my head. Then, if I’m really blocked, I start going to the movies a lot. That helps the creative juices flow.

TRC:  With whom do you bounce ideas?

Traci:  I try to bounce ideas off my husband, but Sabin is obsessed with sculpture and just kind of nods at me. He’s a good reader of a first draft.

I ruminate a lot. Sabin says writers are lost in their thoughts much of the time.

TRC:  On what are you currently working?

Traci: I’m working on a historical novel set in Germany during WW2 and the last book of the After Trilogy. Also taking notes on a fable called SHOE. I’ve written about five chapters of a bittersweet romantic comedy called THE YEAR OF LOVING.

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Traci:  YES, thank you: I wish you and your readers much JOY OF READING!


Favorite Food

Favorite Dessert
See above, chocolate. Chocolate is a reason to incarnate in the physical body!

Favorite TV Show

Favorite Movie
Tie: Splash and The Terminator

Last Movie you saw
To Rome with Love

Dark or Milk Chocolate

Favorite Flower

Last Vacation Destination
Truro, MA

Do you have any pets?
I belong to two labs, a female chocolate named Molly and a male yellow named Gabriel. I belong to them, and so do my socks and knickers, which they see as snack food.

TRC:  Thank you Traci for taking the time to answer our questions.  WE are looking forward to your final instalment in the After Trilogy.  Keep us in mind when you are closer to the release date.

Traci:  Thanks for hosting me and you’ll be one of the first people emailed when the new book is ready!


FALLEN (After Trilogy #1) by Traci L. Slatton-a review

FALLEN (After Trilogy #1) by Traci L Slatton-a review

FALLEN (After Trilogy #1) by Traci L. Slatton / / B&N / The Book Depository /

FALLEN is the first book in author Traci L. Slatton’s After trilogy. Following an apocalyptic nightmare where most the world’s population has been eaten by the poisonous mists that seem to appear out of thin air, the remaining small pockets of survivors (throughout the world) fight to stay alive. With rations in short supply, and marauding bands of thieves and cannibals on the search for a new source of food, Emma Anderson and her little family of 8 surviving misfit children must find a way to stay alive in the once proud country of France. But when the mists encroach towards her young daughter, she is relieved and awed by a group of men and their leader when they are seemingly able to control the mists. And to ensure their continued safety, Emma offers herself up to the man in charge. But Emma was secretly hoping that one day she would find her husband and eldest daughter alive and doing well.

Arthur is a leader. An alpha male whose word is law and a once proud military man, Arthur must defend and protect his encampment in the outskirts of France. Daily he and his men must patrol and hunt for supplies as well as fighting the rogue band of cannibalistic warriors and ward off other encampments hoping to procure their supplies. But when a beautiful young woman with blonde hair offers herself up to protect the children, Arthur’s heart begins to thaw, if only for a short time. People are dying and they had to find a way to survive.

The poisonous mists are a mystery. Approximately eleven months earlier, a seemingly harmless mist appeared over the Arctic Circle, devouring everything in its’ path-everything that contained minerals. But a side effect of the mists was an increase in human psychic energy. Many of the survivors had developed some powers and that included Emma and her daughter Mandy.

Throughout the story we are taken on an adventure in survival 101. Death is always present especially when many of the people would quickly succumb to the mists poisonous side-effects. But Arthur had a secret and a few at the encampment and surrounding sites knew, and it was with that secret that many feared and hated Arthur for the man he was Before the Day. Now Arthur appears to be the only one who is able to control the mists and it was a secret that Emma wanted to know.

Emma and Arthur’s relationship begins as an exchange to keep the children safe-their safety is guaranteed as long as Emma remains as Arthur’s mate. But as the storyline develops, we are witness to a man who never believed he was able or capable of finding love with a woman such as Emma. As their love for each other grows, so does the distance between them with the knowledge that each is hiding something from the other. And it is Emma’s desire to find her husband that will set a series of events between she and Arthur on a road to heartbreak and horror.

Death is a fact of life among the encampments as madness and psychotic breakdowns begin to eat away at the surviving hordes. Day after day, people hoping to find safety are willingly offering themselves to the camp, in order to be shielded from the mists, because Arthur has somehow protected his camp. But over time the camp has amassed a group of people who were once professionals in the Before. Doctors, engineers, cooks and scientists will gather to determine if there is a possibility of life in the After. But Emma will learn that life as she now knew it, was not necessarily an act of God, but an act of war that went horribly wrong.

FALLEN is a remarkable and well-written story of what people must do to survive. Cannibalism aside, the small bands of survivors are determined to eke out an existence knowing that their lives could end horribly and painfully within a matter of minutes or days. Those with some psychic abilities are sought after and used, but it is Emma’s powers that find her imprisoned in another camp by a one-time associate of Arthur’s.

There is plenty of science fiction and paranormal activity. The minds of the survivors begin to merge as the potential for a collective consciousness known as bio-mind grows stronger within the encampments, but Emma will discover that her abilities are stronger that she had previously proclaimed. And the origins of the mists will force Emma to make a decision that will leave a trail of broken hearts and the thoughts of betrayal foremost on her mind. Some may not agree with what the people must do to survive, but then again, most of us will never know what it is like to live in an apocalyptic nightmare.

The Book Depository
Amazon Paper Books
Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook and Paper Books

Copy supplied by Author

Reviewed by Sandy


COLD LIGHT (After Trilogy #2) by Traci L Slatton-a review

COLD LIGHT (After Trilogy #2) by Traci L Slatton-a review

COLD LIGHT (After Trilogy #2) by Traci L Slatton / / B&N / The Book Depository /

COLD LIGHT is the second instalment in Traci L Slatton’s After Trilogy focusing on the aftermath of a biological apocalypse and the men and women forced to make heartbreaking decisions. The storyline takes place 18 months after (Fallen Book #1) Emma escapes the mist-ravaged plains of Europe and the reality that the loss of billions of lives is in the hands of the one man she had grown to love.

With her family together in the safe zone of Edmonton, Emma’s thoughts continued to center around Arthur and his revelation he was responsible for the mind-altering/life consuming destructive mists that are relentless on their path of destruction. But safety in the zone is short lived when her eldest daughter Beth is abducted and held hostage in a rogue encampment hundreds of kilometers away. Knowing she would risk everything for the safe return of her daughter, Emma embarks on a frozen trek against deadly odds and an even deadlier enemy to free her daughter from a man who once owed her a debt.

Arthur’s search for Emma had taken 18 months across land and ocean, and his discovery of his lost love in a small town in Canada both shocked and surprised. With his family of gifted survivors, Arthur’s passion for survival is second to his love for the woman whose heart he had destroyed. But the happiness of finding Emma is short lived when she announces her plans to rescue her daughter and regardless of the love she felt for Arthur, her number one priority was her child. Knowing he would never let her go, Arthur and the others resign themselves to a deadly adventure to reunite Emma and her daughter. As both the hero and the anti-hero Arthur is a charismatic leader. He commands a presence like no other, and the lives of the survivors now depend on the man who is responsible for the loss of billions worldwide.

Once again, Traci reunites Emma with the many fascinating characters she learned to call family. Laurette and her haughty French ideals: Robert and his pregnant wife Jeannie: Kangee and her ability to teleport: Theo and Marco looking for a lost love. And the bittersweet reunion between Emma and Arthur will be tested, when Emma’s husband Haywood surprises the group with his determination to keep his family together. But when Emma and Arthur discover the identity of the man responsible for the abduction of Beth, they know that the real target is Arthur-for he will be made to suffer for the many losses of life, especially one in particular back home.

Emma’s courage is only matched by her determination to find her daughter. But her heart is torn between the man whom she married and the man to whom she has fallen in love. Although there is a long history between Emma and her husband, not once is there a mention that Haywood is in love with his wife. His ability to see the varying futures will place him on one-way path to imprisonment and destruction, but the life of his daughter will outweigh any thoughts of self-preservation and survival. And when he is willing to die for the release of his daughter, it will be Emma who acknowledges that she loves the man for his determination and drive, but she is also in love with the man who has destroyed much of the world.

Arthur’s relentless pursuit of Emma is both heartbreaking and remarkable given the circumstances of the day. Finding a woman like Emma is a once in a lifetime occurrence, but his love has forced many of his friends into life-threatening situations. But like family, they argue and fight, and in the end, the survival of one means the survival of them all.

COLD LIGHT is an amazing look at one person’s passion to find someone they love- Arthur’s pursuit of Emma and Emma’s hunt for Beth. The storyline is slow to evolve as Traci takes the reader on a cold, dark and deadly trek across the snow covered fields of Alberta, but once Emma reaches a survival Outpost, the interaction of the characters quickly uncovers a series of plot twists and anxiety ridden re-introductions to the colorful characters from the series first book. Arthur’s reunion with Emma is heart-wrenching and painful knowing he has travelled thousands of mile and 18 months to find the only woman he will ever love.

The character development continues as each of Arthur’s family members seeks to find a place to where they belong. And survival 101 after an apocalyptic nightmare can also mean finding someone to love for all of the right and wrong reasons.

Amazon Paper Books
Amazon Kindle
The Book Depository
B&N Nook and Paper Books

Reviewed by Sandy

Copy supplied by author.