Thursday, 31 August 2017

Stone Cold Angel

The story began on a promising note. However, it became a plot I have been coming across often in Bollywood movies.

The plot is basically a love story where the protagonists clash, fall in and out of love, thereafter patch up. The backdrop is definitely different and that is what I kept seeking throughout the story.

Amy is good at narration and I wish she had added more to her story and decreased the focus on sexual chemistry between her characters. The latter, at times, was at times a bit too stretched. It overshadowed the main storyline. Yes, Amy kept is simple by choosing a commonly known storyline. Yet, her unique writing style added a personal touch to this plot. There were vibrant imageries and the story does have all the right ingredients for being translated into a motion picture.

The protagonists played their parts well and so did the other supporting characters. Hence, Amy has justified the presence of all her characters in the storyline. The best is that she had ensured every character emoted, had strengths and flaws and was close to real life as possible. And the title could actually be used to represent all her female characters.

To sum up, the story is really likeable. I only wish Amy had focused more on the actual storyline and kept the mature content to the bare minimum. Good for at least one time read because Amy's writing do promise subtly that there might be a sequel and that raises the hope of having an amazing book to read in future.

P.S - Thank you Amy for a wonderful story that reminded me of bollywood movies. This review was my honest opinion after reading your story.

Serendipity: Erica Goss


This time the rendezvous was with a poet Erica Goss. She has served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, California from 2013-2016. Her latest poetry collection, Night Court, won the 2016 Lyrebird Prize from Glass Lyre Press. She is the author of Wild Place (2012, Finishing Line Press) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (2014, Pushpen Press). Here is a snippet of the chat with her.


RW: Please tell us what description will fit you in real life?
EG: I'm a poet and writer interested in the the intersections between humans and nature. How do we negotiate our space in a way that does not negatively affect the natural world? What is the emotional impact of living in a world where the environment is changing rapidly due to human activities? These are questions I try to address in my writing, as well as the ongoing process of aging, relationships, and family. I also make short films based on my poems, and I'm working on a memoir about my experience growing up as the daughter of a WWII survivor.

RW: Amazing!! How does it feel to be a published author/writer? What are your preferred genres? Please share the high points and low points in your journey. 
EG: Being published is a wonderful feeling. I would write without publication, and did for many years, but the experience of having my work accessible to others is a great privilege. I'm primarily a poet, but I also write essays, articles, and reviews. I started writing short pieces as a child, which my parents told me were poems, so I accepted that I was writing poetry. I was lucky to grow up in a house filled with books, and I read all kinds of things before I was old enough to understand what they meant. I loved words, not just in English, but in German and Spanish and French. Sometimes my work is the result of a single word, like the poem "Encontrada," which means "found" in Spanish.

RW: I agree with you totally. Books inspire the way nothing else can. What does your writing place look like? Please describe in terms of location, personal comfort, stationery etc.
EG: I just moved into a new house and I'm waiting for my furniture to come, but I now have the luxury of "a room of my own," to quote Virginia Woolf. My previous work space was in a tiny alcove between a hall closet and the kitchen. The advantage was that I could lean to the right and open the refrigerator whenever I got hungry, but the disadvantage was that everyone else in the house did the same thing, and of course I was in the noisiest and most-trafficked part of the house. In spite of that I got a lot of work done in that space. But really, I am most happy in a quiet place where no one will ask me why we're out of milk (!) I often go to the public library when I need a change of scenery.

 

RW:  It is so important to be at peace and be surrounded with peace while writing. Which theme or cause is closest to your heart? Why?
EG:    The theme I return to over and over is the intricacies of our emotional life. This subject is the foundation of most of my work, no matter the topic - whether it's family, the environment, politics, or nature. I want to know how and what these things make us feel. If I have a goal in my writing, it's to move my reader emotionally.

RW: Wow!!! Emotions are your flavour for writing, that is a vast subject. What, according to you, are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer? Please share your positive and negative traits.
EG:  Starting with strengths, I believe that I'm always trying to move in new directions with my work. I don't always succeed at first, but I enjoy trying new forms, new places for inspiration, and I always try to find new audiences. I never take days off, because I don't think of writing as a job, but a calling. Of course, I don't write as much on weekends as I do during the week, but I'm always alert to the possibility of an idea. My number one weakness is distraction. My attention is too easily diverted by bright shiny things, and I have to work hard to concentrate.

RW: I agree. It is difficult when you are distracted. Describe your latest book. Where can we buy it?
EG:    My book is a collection of poems titled Night Court. It won the 2016 Glass Lyre Press Award for Poetry, and is available at the publisher's website: Glass Lyre Press .The poems in the book deal with physical and mental health, loss and grief, the happiness and challenges of a long marriage, nature and spirituality.


RW: Who and/or What inspires you the most? Why? Please bring out the reasons for such inspiration.
EG:    First of all, my husband inspires me every day. His dedication to our family and his support have allowed me to be a full-time writer. His work ethic is humbling. He's incredibly intelligent, and there doesn't seem to be anything he can't fix. I also have a slightly weird inspiration place: parking lots. For some reason, the most ordinary parking lot brings out the poetry. I have many poems that started in parking lots. If I'm low on ideas, attending a poetry reading is a good way to get my brain working again. And I read voraciously, everything from the daily newspaper to poetry and prose in different languages.

RW: What all do you do when you are not writing? Please bring out your hobbies and interests.
EG: My major hobby is gardening. That's not to say I'm a very good gardener, but an ideal day for me is when I can write all morning and spend the afternoon digging in the dirt. I also enjoy making short videos, taking photographs, and being outdoors. I keep visual journals, which I decorate with little pictures that I draw or cut out of magazines. All of my hobbies are related to or contribute to my writing.

RW:  Which writing project are you currently working on? Please provide a blurb, if any.
EG: Right now I'm busy promoting my poetry collection, Night Court. Here's a blurb from Susan G. Wooldridge: 'Night Court leaves us hungry for more of the poet's open, probing, leaping intelligence, her "wild associations" and surprises in the unexpected “shivering” sweetness of a love story where “joy scrambles sadness." We hear "the clatter of souls entering bodies" and experience "spring’s lizard stealth" as sadness, longing and reluctance are transformed by breath-stopping beauty. Like a creature in the forest, the poet will “rub my cheek against the night.” And she reminds us a prince waits, perhaps for centuries, until we wake.' -- Susan G. Wooldridge, author of poemcrazy: freeing your life with words

RW: If you could re-write one book written by another author, which would it be and why?
EG:  I would re-write The Taming of the Shrew with the gender roles reversed.

RW: What a choice! William Shakespeare! Thank you so much for this interview. Wishing you all the best for all your writings and I hope your writings continue to touch lives the way they do now.

lt has been a pleasure getting to know Erica Goss, an amazing poet. Do check out her writings and video poems.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Reflections Of Queen Snow White

Reading David's writings are like looking into a mirror for me. The way he has chosen his subjects, be it Aaru or this book, brings out his indepth knowledge about the concepts of grief and loss.

This fairytale fan fiction revolves around Snow White. It follows her life in the future. The story revolves around her reflections as she looks back and sees how her life has progressed. You need to read the story for details because if I say anything more, it will be a spoiler.

David's writings don't reach out to a reader's heart, they reach out to their soul. Simple language, yet the words succeed in stirring up emotions that are deep inside. The imageries are vivid and narration is flawless. In fact, it has all the required ingredients needed for adapting it into a movie.

The characters are amazingly etched. In fact, I found it easier to empathise with Queen Snow White because the grief that traumatised her is akin to the one I am undergoing. I emoted with her and the other characters in the story.

To sum up, the revelation that Snow White's reflections brought out have finally helped me to refocus and heal. Hence, for me, this story goes into my personal library, to which I always turn for inspiration. I am going to read it every time I lose my focus in life. This amazing and excellent story is a definite must read.

P.S - Thank you David for such an inspiring story. You helped me heal and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the Eureka moment your story gave me. My review is an honest opinion after I finished reading this story.

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Arrow And The Song: HW Longfellow


An Excerpt: Black Water Tales - The Unwanted

That fall was one of the coldest Black Water had ever seen. Blaire could not have been more than eleven years old. Sabrina Langford had asked her if she wanted to go walking up to the Grammercy Bridge. Grammercy had once taken trains safely from one side of the river to the other and on through the picturesque town of Black Water, but that was long ago. It was a place of little interest to two young girls and, from what Blaire had known at her innocent age, it was, at most, a place where the older kids went to kiss on Friday nights. When Sabrina suggested it as a play place that day, Blaire wanted to object, but hesitated at the thought of turning off her newfound friend.

Long ago the bridge had become lifeless, but it still gave an endless series of death breaths as the girls walked along it. The water flowed rapidly, and the sound of the swishing and churning made Blaire shiver. After throwing a couple of rocks into the river, a series of familiar faces emerged. Lacey Wright, Sharla Hig, Kiana James, and Elizabeth Morrow claimed territory on the bridge, creating a poignant image that Blaire would never forget. A pang of fear sliced through Blaire’s stomach: seppuku. Nothing involving Lacey, Sharla, Kiana and Elizabeth could be good for her because the Frightening Four were perpetrators of horrendous kiddie crimes. Just the week before they surrounded a girl on the playground, who they teased relentlessly until she cried and admitted she was a “slut” as they kept calling her. It was a word that Blaire knew vaguely from hearing it in R-rated movies that she snuck to catch glimpses of from time to time, although she would have been hard pressed to define the word if asked. Against her better judgment, Blaire stepped into the circle of doom on the playground and screamed at all of them to leave the helpless girl alone. Within seconds of hearing the commotion, Mrs. Bennett, infiltrated the mob of minors with a series of inquiries and instructions that made Lacey roll her eyes. The kids scattered but not before Blaire received a malevolent glare from the hellion gang’s little hierarch. The four of them were relentlessly brutal BFFs, who stopped at nothing when they craved the blood of another in the form of utter humiliation and in the name of pure adolescent wickedness.

Blurb:
In the remote, eastern European town of Borslav there is St. Sebastian orphanage, a place where people discard their unwanted children. For the American, Blaire Baker, it’s the perfect place to volunteer her services. Paired with a cheerful volunteer nurse, Blaire is enthusiastic about the possibilities, but is quickly discouraged when she encounters the nefarious nature of the staff and the deplorable conditions of the facility and the children.

Upon arrival, one of the children informs Blaire, “There’s something in the basement.” It isn’t long before strange things begin happening, including Blaire’s flashbacks of the accident that killed her parents. The children soon suffer injuries that Blaire, first, fears may be the deeds of the callous workers but she soon thinks the abuse may originate from a source that is less than human, something unwanted.

The unwanted is coming but in order for Blaire to fight it, she must dig into St. Sebastian and herself in search of truth. Blaire wants nothing more than to help the children, but when she discovers the tragedy that happened in the basement and learns that the same evil forces are still at work, it will be Blaire who needs help…There’s something in the basement.

Author Bio: 
Jean Nicole Rivers is a great lover of reading and writing. Although she loves varied genres, the horror/thriller genre is her favorite. Jean Nicole has been writing poetry and short stories since she was a child, but has always aspired to master the art of storytelling through novels. The Unwanted is the second story in her series of Black Water Tales, following The Secret Keepers.
 Jean Nicole was awarded 3rd place in the National Black Book Festival’s 2013 Best New Author competition and she enjoys the honor of having written featured articles for popular reader websites and blogs, such as Digital Book Today and The Masquerade Crew.

Jean Nicole Rivers graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor of arts in philosophy, and she lives in Houston, Texas.

Become friends with her at www.facebook.com/JNicolerivers. Follow her on Twitter
@Jeannicole19. Check out her Instagram @Jeannicole19 or visit her at www.jeannicolerivers.com.

All Links: 

www.jeannicolerivers.com http://www.facebook.com/jnicolerivers http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832487.JeanNicole_Rivers
Twitter and Instagram  @jeannicolerivers19

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Poet Of The Wrong Generation

Some stories have the power to stay with you long after they have been read. This story is one of them. It reminded me of Hugh Grant's Movie Music and Lyrics.

The story revolves around the life of a poet and musician, his meteoric rise, his downfall and the subsequent tryst with grappling with his loss and thereafter rising like a Phoenix.

Lonnie's lyrical narration is what forms the heart and soul of this story. Kudos to the author for amazing writing. Loved the choice of words. They had the power to touch the reader's soul and stir up every emotion that exists within. This story needs to be converted into a movie because it has all the elements to be a successful blockbuster. Reading the story evoked not just imageries but also every emotion in me. The storyline made me laugh, cry, empathise, fall in love and hate all at once.

I loved to love the protagonist and loved to hate the antagonist. I literally emoted along with the protagonist. Every character had a key role to play in ensuring that the poet of the wrong generation finally emerged the victor after becoming a vanquished.

To sum up, this story is one of those that I return to when I feel low. So yes, I would be reading them again and again and again. Loved the end and the twists throughout. An absolutely amazing and excellent story. A definite must read.

P.S - Thank you Elton from Harmony River Press for introducing me to an amazing writer. This review is my honest opinion after reading the book.

Dreaganstar

I read this book because of the blurb. And yes, the story didnot disappoint me.

The plot revolves around a psychologist and her client. Why they got together in the first place is the crux of this book. This book is the beginning of a series and aptly begins the series well.

Nan has a unique writing style. She uses descriptions in her narrations and that is where I felt she went a bit overboard. I mean, it is my personal opinion, I felt there were a few scenes which could have been edited. In spite of this, I must admit that the author has stuck to the plot for majority of the time. The descriptions do evoke imageries and the storyline is like sci-fi romance movie I mentally watched as I read along.

The two protagonists have been portrayed as strong individuals with their own identities. They have their flaws and are not afraid to express their vulnerable self. The other minor characters do play a part in adding on to the storyline but the story belongs to the protagonists.

To sum up, this book can be read in one sitting. It is amazing and I am sure that Book Two would be a much improved version of this. Do read if romantic science fiction interests you.

P.S - Thank you Nan for an amazing story. This book deals with bitter-sweet relationships and love. Waiting for the next to see whats in store. This review is my honest opinion after reading the story.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Spiritual Intervention

This is one trilogy I have been following. Spiritual Intervention is the third and last book in this series. I kept delaying reading it because I knew that there would be no more in this series. Yet, the concept that runs through this series is such that I had no other option but to continue from where I had left in Book Two.

The plot evolves from what it was in the earlier books. I know I am sounding too cryptic but I have no choice since I do not want to give away anything. If you are reading my review on the this series for the first time, you need to begin with the Desert Son, Book One, to get into the heart of the story.

The writing style is yet again a pleasant surprise. In fact Glenn amazes me. All the three stories are narrated in a manner that leaves you wonder and question the absence of monotony. Yes, the language is simple but the choices of words is what makes this story different. Imageries are powerful and evoke vivid visualisations.  I really wish a movie gets made on this as well.

This book brings out the concept of letting go. The characters, both main and secondary, have a key role to play in the development of the story. The manner in which they emote, express and evoke thoughts are precisely the reason why this story has so much of personal appeal.

To sum up, this is definitely an excellently written amazing story. Though you can read this third part in isolation, however, reading it after the previous books have been read is s pleasant surprise. A definite must read.

P.S - Thank you Glen for the amazing story. I wish the series never ended, but as they say, spiritual intervention is the only option since all good things have to end. This review is my honest opinion after reading the story.

The Ugly Teapot Book One: Hannah

It is never easy to write about loss and pain. And if it concerns a child's turmoil, the task becomes equally difficult.

The plot revolves around a child who finds it difficult to accept the death of her father. In fact, she believes that her father us alive. This entails her to enter a fantasy world in her attempt to bring back her father. The ugly teapot is what she uses as a companion along with her dog.

The language is definitely not child- friendly, hence while narrating the story to younger children, due care needs to be exercised. The narration has a bit of smooth flow to it, however, I felt that there were places where it failed to touch a chord in my heart. This is my opinion because there were times when I wanted to empathise with the little girl but I couldn't. I say this because I have seen my child grieving her father's death. I have seen the phases she underwent, from non-acceptance to denial, thereafter insecurity followed by fear and feeling unloved. Finally, she is now on the verge of learning to grow up with acceptance of his absence. In spite of this, I must compliment Fred because the concept is not easy and using the tool of fantasy for ease in narration can be a tricky affair. The story did manage to evoke imageries at places. In fact, viewing it on a bigger screen might add to its appeal.

The characters were well-etched. It was evident that all characters had an importann the story.

To sum up, the concept is really good because it deals with a subject that scares even adults. My only issue was with the absence of a bit of emotional appeal. Having dealt with it personally and seeing my child grapple with similar loss for years, I really could not find the emotional connect. Thats the reason for three stars. However, to be fair to the author, the story deals with a serious topic but through the realms of fantasy. It is really likeable and makes for a good read. In fact, there is a cliffhanger at the end and I feel there is going to be more adventures with the ugly teapot.

P.S - Thank you Fred for an amazing concept. Wondering what the Ugly Teapot would be doing next. This review is my honest opinion after reading the story.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Didn't Get Frazzled

To be honest, this is the first medical fiction I have read, barring a love story set up with a medical college in a backdrop. What sets this book apart is the way it follows the life of a young medical student during his life in a medical college.

The plot revolves around the ups and downs in the life of a medical student through his medical traing in a medical college.

To be honest, David included every little information on branches of medicine in his narration. This turned out to be a bit of a problem. I have been a student of humanities throughout. Hence, the medical terms were a bit difficult to understand. There were medical jargons as well which continued to add to my woes. The language used acted as a small deterrent in my comprehension. There were slight jerks in the story which could have been avoided thanks to the issue I had with medical terms. However, I must admit, this story helped open up a whole new genre for me.

The characters are well developed. Sadly, they speak a language I do not understand at times. However, the best part about this story is the way it showcases doctors as humans with varied emotions. Through them, the author brings out humour, love and empathy that doctors have.

To sum up, this story is really likeable and worth reading if you wish to have a peek into the life of medical students in a medical college.

P. S - Thank you David for introducing me to medical fiction. My review is my honest opinion after reading the story.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Night Court

Poetry has the power to touch a chord in your heart and leave it strumming for the rest of your life. This collection of poems is not your usual happy romcom kinds. It has the power to scare you, to show you your inner self.

The themes around which powms are penned are serious in nature. To be honest, I felt that each poem was a topic being discussed during a session in a night court. What I liked about the poems was the fact that there had a subtle hint of reality. Every reader could associate with one poem or the other.

Erica's writings are simple yet with the power to reach out to people's hearts. Written in free verse these poems had the power to captivate every reader and inspire them to dabble in poetry. The imageries used are vivid. The poems have similies, metaphors, allegories, refrains. However, you need to read them to find out. I could not pick favourites because each one was beautiful.

No poem can justify itself unless it evokes emotions. Every poem had the power to make me think about what was being expressed. The poems will not make you feel relaxed, instead they will encourage you to question. Trust me when I say this, there are times when you need to question yourself, your existence, your purpose in life.

To sum up, Erica's poetry encouraged my inner self to conduct night court sessions. The collection is a must read for every poetry lover who seriously wants to explore the various facets of life and emotions through poetry. Amazing and excellent.

P.S - Thank you Serena from Poetic Book Tours for an excellent collection of poesy and introducing me to an amazing poet. My review is my honest opinion after reading this amazing collection.

Drawing In The Dark

There are stories that make you think long after they have been read. This collection of stories are just that. Each one of them had the power to make me ponder.

The best part about this anthology was the way plots differed in each story. In fact, each one revolved around a sub-theme of the main theme. Yes, the main theme revolved around depicting negative emotions. It encompassed fear, anger, hatred, sorrow, pain, hurt, distrust; name it and it was there.

The writing actually left the readers wanting more. Jeremy's narration definitely kept the reader guessing for more. The best part about his writing style was use of words that helped bring out the essence of each story. The stories were not complete in themselves, as in, they left many questions unanswered, and thats where the beauty of this anthology lies. Every story created an imagery of a different kind. Some created vibrant visual imageries, while others created aural and tactual ones. On the whole, an excellent writing style.

Every story had differwnt set of characters. And in not one story did I feel there was an excessive usage or presence of underplayed characters. Every character succeeded in depicting an emotion vital to that particular story and helped in its smooth flow.

To sum up, the stories are amazing individually as well as a part of this anthology. It is a must read because of the writing techniques used for keeping the interest of the reader alive. For me, the USP was the way each story made me think about it long after I had finished reading.

P.S - Thanks a ton Jeremy for stories I am never going to forget. In fact I have so many questions about each one that I would be reading it again. My review is an honest opinion after I read the stories.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Book Blitz: Vishwamitra

Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal
Indian Mythological Fiction
~ Book Blitz ~
11th August, 2017


When Satyavati, wife of Rishi Ruchik, exchanges with her mother the magic potion for bearing a child, they change not just their children’s destiny, but also the history of mankind. Born of this mix up is Vishwamitra, the son of a Kshatriya, who strives to become a Brahmarishi—the ultimate and most powerful of all Gurus.

Vishwamitra is the powerful story of a brave but stubborn, haughty yet compassionate, visionary king of Aryavarta who not only acquires material wealth through military conquests but also becomes one of the most well-known sages of all times.



5 lesser known facts about Vishwamitra

Almost everyone would have heard the name of Vishwamitra and some may even know of his dalliance with Menaka, or the role he played in the Ramayan but even those who are familiar with his name, may not know these five things about him:
  1. Vishwamitra was born a Kshatriya prince and he reached the status of Brahmarishi, the highest possible rank for a Brahmin only through his tremendous effort!
  2. He is the discoverer of the Gayatri Mantra that is spoken by millions of Hindus even today all over the globe! 
  3. He is associated with two major Avatars of Lord Vishnu - Parshuram, the 6th incarnation was his grand-nephew while he himself became the Guru of Shri Raam, the 7th incarnation.
  4. Vishwamitra’s daughter Shakuntala gave birth to Bharat, the King who gave India its official name – Bhaarat.
  5. He is credited with the remarkable feat of creating actual star systems purely on the basis of his mystical powers & the stars he created can still be seen in the southern hemisphere as the Crux. 
About the Author

Dr. Vineet Aggarwal is described by many as a doctor by qualification, manager by profession and artist by temperament. Born in a family of doctors, he successfully completed an initial stint with the family occupation before deciding to venture into pharmaceutical management and currently pursues writing and photography as a passion.

He is the author of popular online blogs ‘Decode Hindu Mythology’ and ‘Fraternity Against Terrorism and Extremism’ and the author of books ‘Vishwamitra – The Man who dared to challenge the Gods’ and ‘The Legend of Parshu-Raam’







Writing With Humour


Humor involves surprise and misdirection, and requires that the reader, or the listener, not take things too seriously. Consider the third verse in Bob Dylan’s song, “Memphis Blues” for example:

Mona tried to tell me
Stay away from the train line
She said that all the railroad men
Just drink up your blood like wine
An' I said, ‘Oh, I didn't know that,’
But then again, there's only one I've met
An' he just smoked my eyelids
An' punched my cigarette

At this point in the song, Dylan doesn’t wait for you to get the joke; he charges into the chorus, “Oh, Mama…” while his droll juxtaposition of “eyelids” and “cigarette” is just beginning to take shape in your mind. This sudden change of direction makes the refrain even wittier.
Many of us think of intelligence as the comprehension of truth and beauty, and that mirth lies in some separate region. I don’t. Humor expands the intellect, making it more complete and satisfying. Intelligence without humor is like a fine meal without wine, dessert or espresso.

In his poem, Ode on a Grecian Urn, John Keats penned the famous line:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

To which I reply, “Without humour, ye be living in a wasteland.”

When writing fiction in the first person, internal dialogue reveals the inner workings of the protagonist’s mind and is a great place to inject comedy into the narrative.
Jesse Thorpe is the narrator/private detective of my mystery novel, Dead Down East. Jesse has a cheeky sense of humor, which he allows to leak out now and again, not just because he likes to have fun, but also to maintain calm when things get perilous. The first really dicey moment for him occurs in the middle of chapter four, as he is trying to worm his way through an FBI roadblock. In the first draft, I had chosen that moment to insert a rather lengthy internal monologue, to expose the witty side of Jesse’s nature. I was having so much fun with it that by the time I was done, it was almost fifteen hundred words long. And while I liked the tension it created by suspending the dramatic moment in mid-air—for several pages—eventually I decided that it would be more effective as a prologue for the book. This way, on the very first page, the reader gets a preview of the inner workings of Jesse’s mind, a snapshot of his modus operandi and a quick peak at his girlfriend.

What follows are the first two paragraphs of that prologue. I hope it serves to demonstrate the use of humor in writing, and, most of all, I hope it tickles your funny bone.

Apologies and compliments are two remarkably effective devices for disarming adversaries in life and hecklers in bars. If you consider the socially adept people you know, you’ll see that they use these two conversational tools frequently and with ease. I remember the first time it fully dawned on me how valuable they could be.

Angele and I had been dating for a couple of weeks. Our next planned event was scheduled for Saturday night. So I was a bit surprised when she arrived unexpectedly at my place on Tuesday evening. I guess she decided that there was something that couldn’t wait until the weekend. The moment she walked through the front door, I began to suspect what that “something” was. She had a gleam in her eyes that seared me from the inside of my nimble imagination right down to my insteps. I surmised that she was either ovulating, or she had a sudden urge for a tour of the Thorpe habitat. I began to mentally review the floor plan of the house. “Now, where is my bedroom?” I thought. “I know it was here this morning.”

ABOUT THE WRITER

Carl Schmidt (1946-) lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English. He chose Maine as the setting for his Jesse Thorpe Mysteries because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.

Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Emblem Throne

This is one series I would love to follow. The first part titled The Buried Symbol was an unputdownable read. I picked this book to continue from where I had left in part one. And I was in for a pleasant surprise.

The plot took off from the cliffhanger in the earlier volume. There is a sudden twist that gets introduced and that changes the entire perspective of the reader. To describe what it is would entail spoiler alerts. Hence, do read this book to know more about the story.

The narration took me by surprise. I was expecting a similar flow like the earlier work. However, this one was different. The pace set and the tempo followed in the narration was very different. And that is the USP of this book. The writing is engrossing like book 1 but yes, with a different twist and treatment. In this continuation, the storyline narration does have the power to evoke wonderful imageries. Hence, it is a delight for the reader.

The main characters are the same. However, they do evolve as situations change. New characters are introduced. In totality, every character was important for the story.

To sum, the second book in the series is a must read too. It has an amazing narrative and an excellent storyline. This series is now one of my favourites. This story talks of making choices and taking decisions that can change the course of life. I read it in one sitting straight.

P.S - Thank you Jeffrey for an amazing story. This review is my honest opinion after reading the story.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

A Story Called Yellow Hair

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. I would like to thank Reading writings for allowing me to be here today to promote my latest, Yellow Hair, which documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage I write about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in my fact-based tale of fiction were real people and I use their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.

Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader—and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people.

Now that the commercial is out of the way, we can get down to what I really came here to talk about: the Sioux people. The people we know as the Sioux were originally known as the Dakota, which means ally. The name Sioux came from the Chippewa and the French. The Chippewa called them Nadonessiou, which means adder, or enemy, and then the French shortened the name to Sioux.

Every culture has an origin myth. We in the West have Adam and Eve. The Ancient Greeks had Gaia. According to the Norse people, Odin and Ymir founded the earth. If you will allow me, I’d like to tell you the creation story of the Dakota.

In the beginning, before the creation of the earth, the gods resided in the sky and humans lived in darkness. Chief among the gods was Ta՜kuwakaŋ, the Sun, who was married to Haŋyetuwi, the Moon. He had one daughter, Wohpe. And there was Old Man and Old Woman, whose daughter, Ite, was wife to Wind, to whom she gave four sons, the Four Winds.

Of the other spirits, the most important was Iŋktomi, the devious trickster. Iŋktomi conspired with Old Man and Old Woman to increase their daughter's status by arranging an affair between the Sun and Ite. His wife’s discovery of the affair led Ta՜kuwakaŋ to give the Moon her own domain, and by separating her from himself, created time.

Old Man, Old Woman and Ite—who was separated from Wind, her husband—were banished to Earth. Ite, along with her children, the Four Winds, and a fifth wind—the child of Ite but not of Wind—established space. The daughter of the Sun and the Moon, Wohpe, also fell to earth and later resided with the South Wind. The two adopted the fifth wind, who was called Wamŋiomŋi.

Alone on the newly formed Earth, some of the gods became bored. Ite prevailed upon Iŋktomi to find her people, the Buffalo Nation. In the form of a wolf, Iŋktomi went beneath the earth and discovered a village of humans. Iŋktomi told them about the wonders of the Earth and convinced one man, Tokahe, to accompany him through a cave to the surface. Tokahe did so and, upon reaching the surface, saw the green grass and blue sky for the first time. Iŋktomi and Ite introduced Tokahe to buffalo meat and showed him tipis, clothing, hunting clubs, and bows and arrows. Tokahe returned to the underworld village and appealed to six other men and their families to go with him to the Earth's surface.

When they arrived, they discovered that Iŋktomi had deceived Tokahe. The buffalo were scarce; the weather had turned bad, and they found themselves starving. Unable to return to their home, but armed with a new knowledge about the world, they survived to become the founders of the Seven Council Fires.

The Seven Council Fires . . . or Oćeti Šakowiŋ . . .  are the Mdewakanton, the Wahpeton, the Wahpekute, the Sisseton, the Yankton, the Yanktonai, and the Lakota.

After Tokahe led the six families to the surface of the earth, they wandered for many winters. Sons were born and sons died. Winters passed, more winters than could be counted. That was before Oćeti Šakowiŋ. But not until White Buffalo Calf Woman did the humans become Dakota.

Two scouts were hunting the buffalo when they came to the top of a small hill. A long way off, they observed the figure of a woman. As she approached, they saw that she was beautiful. She was young and carried a wakiŋ. One of the scouts had lustful thoughts and told the other. His friend told him that she was sacred and to banish such thoughts.

The woman came up to them and said to the one with the lustful thoughts, “If you would do what you are thinking, come forward.” The scout moved and stood before her and a white cloud covered them from sight.

When the woman stepped from the cloud, it blew away. There on the ground, at the beautiful woman’s feet, lay a pile of bones with worms crawling in and among them.

The woman told the other scout to go to his village and tell his people that she was coming, for them to build a medicine tipi large enough to hold all the chiefs of the nation. She said, “I bring a great gift to your people.”

When the people heard the scout’s story, they constructed the lodge, and put on their finest clothing, then stood about the lodge and waited.

As the woman entered the village, she sang:

‘With visible breath I am walking.
A voice I am sending as I walk.
In a sacred manner I am walking.
With visible tracks I am walking.
In a sacred manner I walk.’

She handed the wakiŋ to the head chief and he withdrew a pipe from the bundle. On one side of the pipe was carved a bison calf. “The bison represents the earth, which will house and feed you,” she said.

Thirteen eagle feathers hung from the wooden stem. White Buffalo Calf Woman told the chiefs, “The feathers represent the sky and the thirteen moons. With this pipe, you shall prosper. With this pipe, you shall speak with Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka (God). With this pipe, you shall become The People. With this pipe, you shall be bound with the Earth for She is your mother. She is sacred. With this pipe, you shall be bound to your relatives.”

Having given the pipe to the People, and having said what she had to say, she turned and walked four paces from the lodge and sat down.

When she arose, she was a red-and-brown buffalo calf. She walked on, lay down and came up as a black buffalo calf. Walking still farther, she turned into a white buffalo and stood upon a hill. She turned to bow in the four directions of the four winds and then she vanished.

Because of White Buffalo Calf Woman, the Dakota honor our mother the Earth; they honor their parents and their grandparents. They honor the birds of the sky; they honor the beasts of the earth. They know that Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka resides in all animals, in all trees and plants and rocks and stones. Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka is in all. They know that Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka lives in each of us.

Because of White Buffalo Calf Woman, they have become Dakota.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and fifty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, YELLOW HAIR. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Serendipity: Amy G Deason

I met an amazing author Amy Deason. She loves to create colourful characters, locations and situations. Here is a peek of my rendezvous with her.

RW: Thank you for agreeing for this interview. Tell us something about yourself. What description will fit you in real life? 
AGD: I have always loved reading since I was 3 years old and once I learned to write, I never stopped. Becoming a published author has always been my dream and right now I have 2 full length novels out as well as a short story. Currently I live in NW Arkansas with my wonderful husband of 5 years and my 3 children.

RW: That is amazing.How does it feel to be a published author? What are your preferred genres?
AGD: It feels amazing to accomplish my dream of becoming a published author. I am currently writing in the suspenseful romance genre. However, there are other genres I would like to explore in the future. Writing can be difficult. For example when characters refuse to open up and talk to you. But it is always worth the struggle when you finally see your book baby venture out into the world.

RW: A Book Baby! What an apt term! What does your writing place look like? And do you have any specific needs as a writer?
AGD:  I write in my living room using my laptop. The best time for me to write is either in the early morning or late evening when I have some down time as well as peace and quiet. :)


RW: I completely agree with you. Which fictional character created by you is closest to your heart and Why? 
AGD:  The character closest to me is probably Grace, the heroine of my short story, Second Chances, A Christmas Story. It is in the fiction genre but the basic experiences she goes through and the people she interacts with are inspired by my own personal experiences.

RW: What, according to you, are your strengths and weaknesses as an author? 
AGD:  I believe my biggest strength as far as being an author is my determination to create a good enough story to allow others to see into my make believe worlds. But one of my major flaws is that I do become frustrated when words tend to fail me, leading to writer's block. I would love for them to spill out on the paper like a flood, instantly creating what I imagine in my mind. But of course, it doesn't work that way. ;)

RW: Describe your latest book. Where can we buy it? 
AGD: Stone Cold Angel, a suspenseful romance, follows Cadence Montgomery to Russia on a search for her missing father. When she becomes ensnared in a corrupt plot, only one man can save her. However Nikolas Kozlov has his own orders and they do not include rescuing the innocent and naive Cadence.

RW: Who and/or What inspires you the most? Why? 
AGD: I am inspired by many things. My family, friends, movies, music, and other authors. Each one inspires my creativeness in different ways. For example, a spoken phrase or an expressed emotion can have a major impact on my ideas.

RW: What all do you do when you are not writing? 
AGD: I read of course but I also spend a lot of time with my family doing things like biking, watching movies, swimming, having cookouts, and playing games. I love hanging out with friends. And when I get a chance, I spend some time at home enjoying the quietness. When it happens....

RW: Which writing project are you currently working on? 
AGD: I am working on book three in The Perfect Order series entitled Angel in the Rough. I don't have a blurb yet but I can tell you it takes place in Costa Rica and follows my characters on a harrowing journey through desolate lands and thick jungles.

RW: If you could re-write one Fiction/Non-Fiction written by another author, which would it be and why? 
AGD:  Honestly I don't know if I would want to rewrite a fiction work by another author because that is their work, their goal, their dream. Besides, each book written by different authors is inspirational, opening my mind to different perspectives, different worlds. 

RW:  Thank you Amy for taking out the time to do this interview. It was wonderful talking with you and getting to know you. Wishing you all the best for your writings and for your new book.

Authors like Amy can inspire people to write. Do check out her writings and leave reviews. Till the next episode of serendipity, or chance meeting, Happy Reading Writings!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Importance Of A Good Editor


Every seasoned novelist will tell you that there is absolutely no substitute for a good editor.

An editor doesn’t just alert you to mistakes in spelling, grammar, sentence structure and punctuation; editing goes way beyond that. Your story needs to be consistent, factually correct, clear, and succinct. This might sound obvious, but when you are dealing with a 90,000 word novel, there are plenty of ways to muck it up on every single page.

So. You’ve written your first novel, or maybe you’ve just completed a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Chances are you’ve read it several times, and it looks good to you. You’re excited about it. You’ve created a likable story or perhaps you’ve made some kind of definitive statement. Now you want to have it published.

Hold your horses, Kemosabe.

This last sentence is a perfect example of why you need an editor. I know what “Kemosabe” means, but do you? I was raised on The Lone Ranger and Tonto, but if you are considerably younger than I, you might not have a clue. And if you don’t, I may have just lost you as a reader. A good editor will bring this to your attention and make sure you use references that will be familiar to your target audience.

Every chapter in your novel needs to have a fresh beginning and a logical conclusion. The fresh beginning will keep your reader awake, and will revitalize his/her interest in your story. The logical conclusion will wrap up that particular scene and give the reader a breather. It may have taken you a week to write the chapter, and in that time you have been so wrapped up in the content of the storyline that you may have lost sight of what your reader knows at this point, and the pace of his reading experience. If your editor suggests that the chapter rambles, then clean it up and shorten it. If your editor says that something is missing or unclear, then you probably have left too much to the reader’s imagination.

Another important purpose of editing is to broaden your vocabulary so that highly descriptive words or phrases are not overused. A Thesaurus can help with this, but every author has a tendency to repeat himself in some way, either with specific words or sentence patterns. Repetition will blemish your story, and a good editor can spot it.

JanMarie Moullen edited my first three novels. She has an uncanny ability for recalling my use of unique adjectives and adverbs, and letting me know when they appear too often throughout the book. There were instances where she went back 50 pages or more in the text to find that I had used an unusually graphic word, and when it appeared for just a second time, much later in the book, it stood out to her as tiresome. And…she was right.

Overall, I took her advice about 95 percent of the time. I learned to trust her judgment, and it paid dividends. Several reviewers have commented on how crisp the editing is in my first novel. She deserves most of that credit.

ABOUT THE WRITER


Carl Schmidt (1946-) lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English. He chose Maine as the setting for his Jesse Thorpe Mysteries because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.

Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.

Something

There was something in this book that inhibited me. I genuinely didn't get the creeps. Instead I felt repulsed with too much of porn.

The plot was unclear since the beginning for me. It started with the protagonist and subsequently many characters were introduced. Maybe I missed the clarity in the storyline.

The language was at times a bit too graphic to digest. I am not used to such language. There were jerks in the narration. The imageries conjured up were definitely not the kind that give the creeps or happy feeling. Sadly, this story was neither a young adult genre because it was too graphic nor a horror since it didnot frighten.

There was not even a single character who stood out. Really sorry Shelby, but I could neither emphatise with the protagonist nor could I hate any character. In fact there were a few characters whose presence I couldnot understand.

To sum up, I read the story for the sake of the author. It was definitely not my cup of tea. Maybe I was not cut out for the story. Two stars is for the writer's effort and the time she has spent into writing this.

P.S - Thank you Shelby. Maybe Wisteria didnot have Something for the horror fan in me. The review is my honest opinion after reading the story.