Tuesday 29 November 2011

Poetry in Emotions: A Review of "A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World"

My Book Review of A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World:

A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World by Kimberly LaRocca is a thoroughly enjoyable book.  The poetry in the book is emotive and expressive, delving into tangled subjects and the author has separated her verse into two themed sections, Love and Life.

The poems in the first half, Love, are a diverse, frank and raw examination of affection, sex, commitment, and love gone sour and they run a gamut of emotional depth. The author doesn’t shy away from a candid message in her poetry, while still delivering visceral, authentic beauty in verse.

The second part, Life, is a mix of some lovely faith based poetry, shining insight on the power and shape of belief, with affecting musings on emotional pain, tragic circumstance, inner strength, the complexity of relationships and the meaning in life.

The book is full of intriguing poems and some of my favourites are Thanks to You, Terminal Love and The Long Road Home, all rich in depth and word craft. A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World is a wonderful volume of poetry both communal and personal, an intimate glimpse into a poet’s soul.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

A Slightly Crazy Memoir: A Book Review of In My Mind’s Eye

My Review of In My Mind’s Eye by Justin Marciano:

In My Mind’s Eye by Justin Marciano is an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek memoir that is amusing, emotional, while at the same time might make you flinch and wonder at the folly of people.

The book is a collection of anecdotes culled from the author’s rather disordered childhood, reminisces of his family and his boyhood/teenage tomfoolery. It is a wonderful hodgepodge of dysfunctional family dynamic and dodgy shenanigans that somehow comes across as congenial and affectionate, despite the eyebrow-raising antics depicted.

The author’s style is informal, irreverent at times and very engaging. The book bounces through random and pivotal events in his life, using comparison stories and flashbacks to interrupt the narrative flow, but still manages to weave it all together into an entertaining delight. The narrative does get a bit maze-like at times, lacking a little in the where and when department of the events described, but if you go with the flow it’s a great read.

I wholly recommend In My Mind’s Eye.

In My Mind’s Eye available on:  Smashwords and Amazon.

Thursday 17 November 2011

An interview with author Terra Harmony

Today on the blog I'm doing another guest interview, this time with fantasy writer, Terra Harmony.

An Interview with Terra Harmony

1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I am a Colorado native, where I lived through high school. Since then I have lived in California, Texas, Utah, and North Carolina thanks in part to my days in the Marine Corps. Right now I reside in Virginia, in the suburbs of DC. I love to write, read, play piano and snowboard – all of which I have very little time for. Oh – and I have three kids running around here somewhere.

2. Can you tell us about your book, Water.

Water is a contemporary eco-fantasy. Not to throw too many buzz words at you, but it does have a little paranormal romance mixed in. The main character, Kaitlyn, finds herself involuntarily introduced to a life of magic. After she learns of her powers to control natural elements, an organization hell-bent on saving the earth discovers her. She falls in love with the man in charge, Micah, before she even knows if she can trust him. Micah's best friend and partner goes rogue and kidnaps Kaitly, and the most terrifying man the human race has to offer now stands between her and Earth's survival.

3. You describe Water as a contemporary eco-fantasy. Could you elaborate on that?

It's the 'eco' part that caught your attention, isn't it? Don't worry, my book isn't one big long lecture about how to do the planet good. It is above all a fantasy novel, with just a few short lectures on how to do the planet good sprinkled throughout. I hope eco-fantasy becomes a thing, or at least a bigger thing. I have petitioned Goodreads and Amazon to add the genre to their lists. It is not totally self-serving. I like our planet; and I like fantasy books. I'm assuming Amazon does too?

4. What appeals to you most about writing in the fantasy genre?

The creation part of it. With fantasy, anything goes. For example, I am currently writing the sequel to 'Water'. After a four month-long separation, Micah meets Kaitlyn coming off a plane. She had just been airsick, and has vomit on her shirt. Next to them, the fuel truck is gassing up the plane and another truck is emptying the bathrooms. You can imagine what the air smells like around them. I thought, 'what would shock Kaitlyn the most right now'? So Micah proposes to her. When I started the chapter, or even the book, I hadn't planned it. But it felt perfect in a not so perfect way – if you know what I mean, so I went with it. I just hope everyone else loves these creations as much as I do.

5. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

Well, it's November. Which means NaNoWriMo time. I have a full time job and three kids, so currently my writing schedule consists of an hour before the kids wake up and an hour after they go to bed. I can get about 2,000 words per day done. This is do-able; I just might be able to keep this up on a permanent basis. That is, until I make enough money off my books to quit my day job.

6. As an indie author, what challenges have you faced in publishing your work?

Indie authors have to be so much more than just writers. They have to be salesmen, technology geeks, creative marketers, and the list goes on and on. Each day, I learn something new about how to self-publish and market books all on my own. But the community has been great; everyone is so willing to share their tips, tricks, and hints for everything that has or hasn't worked.

7. Do you write exclusively in the fantasy genre or have you branched out into other areas? And if so why?

Just fantasy for now. I love the genre. However, I do have ideas running around my head in the form of a biography about my dad who has dementia, and also a new blog about the 'motherhood' portion of my life (this would be an outlet that allows me to keep 'cute things my kids said' separate from my publishing career). But those will all come much, much later. For now, I am working hard on finishing all five books in the Akasha Series and all five short stories in the Kindred Curse Anthology.

8. What advice would you give to other writers?

Build a support system; fellow writers, motivators, editors, cover artists, critiquers (ßand case in point, grammar/spelling experts). You can't go it alone, and neither can your spell check.

9. Who has been the biggest inspiration to you as an author?

The 1% - I want to be one of them. Just kidding, just kidding. As far as other authors go, it has to be Diana Gabaldon. Her historical romances are so well written, planned, and researched; I am in awe every time I go back to another one of her books.

10. What’s next for you?

An ice cream sandwich. And then maybe just a few more hundred words before bedtime…

You can find Terra on:
Facebook- www.facebook.com/terraharmony
Her Blog- http://www.twainwannabe.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @harmonygirlit

You can find her book, Water, on: Amazon, Smashwords, and B&N.

Friday 11 November 2011

A Remembrance Day Poem

In honour of Remembrance Day, one of my poems:

Soldier Boy

Play me a tune for Death;
he has passed this way.
A sad lament, for those
who shed their final blood
on this forlorn battlefield.

Play a song of sorrow
for your fallen friends.
Each and every soul
who shall never grace
again, this vibrant earth.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Interview with author Irene Pynn

Interview with Irene Pynn:

1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

When I read and write in the same day, I have extremely vivid dreams. Some of these dreams I use in my plots. I’ve been called “aDORKable” by several people who were likely just being nice about how nerdy I really am. My husband and I live in Florida, where we spend way too much of our free time playing our PS3 and Xbox next to each other, or watching Doctor Who.

2. Can you tell us about your latest book?

I originally had the idea for From Light to Dark when I went to a Cirque du Soleil performance of Varekai. That is a fantastic show. It begins with an Icarus-like fall, but, instead of dying, the Icarus character ends up in a magical world below where he encounters strange creatures. My idea was to blend this new journey of Icarus with a Romeo and Juliet theme, and so I created the star-crossed Eref and Caer in From Light to Dark.

3. How did you come to write in the YA fantasy genre?

Young adult offers a great range of potential when it comes to plots. For some reason, teen and early adult readers seem to be quite open to stories of magic and technological advancements. This is not to say, of course, that older readers can’t enjoy the same thing, but YA is a very fertile ground for speculative ideas. I love YA, and it makes up a good percentage of my free-time reading.

4. What is your greatest challenge in writing for the Young Adult market?

There are many amazing authors who have set the bar so high! It’s a great inspiration and challenge to read the best of today’s YA and to aim for the kind of connection that these writers are able to create with their readers.

5. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate?

Anywhere. If you say something odd or send me a crazy headline, that’s likely to spark some idea in my head. It may amount to nothing, but I’ll give it a shot in a story. Sometimes I begin with a theme. Other times I have an opening line. And other stories begin with a character I’d like to get to know. I just keep exploring the ideas to see whether they’re taking me somewhere interesting. If they are, I plot them out and tell the whole story!

6. You’ve stated you like to “throw your characters into alternate worlds”. What appeals to you about alternate world fantasy and sci-fi?

I’ve always been this kind of reader. If the back of the book doesn’t promise me something “off” about the world, then I’m not likely to keep reading. Tell me we’re working with magic or something supernatural or another planet or some interesting twist on technology, however, and I’m so there. It’s just my favorite flavor.

7. You write both fantasy and science fiction. Which speculative genre do you enjoy writing most?

It really depends on my mood. Right now I’m working on a play about androids and a mid-grade novel about zombies. Lately I’ve been reading science fiction, though. My favorite books of recent months have been a dystopian YA, a time travel novel, and… another time travel novel. I blame Doctor Who.

8. You have written a variety of novels, plays, etc. Do you have a favourite written work?

It was a lot of fun to work on the Creepy Luny Inn Radio Adventure Show. That was a radio play that explored the world of From Light to Dark prior to the events of the book.

9. Who has inspired you as an author?

My parents. They’re both writers – my mother is a romance novelist, and my father is a journalist. Growing up with them taught me the value of clear, interesting communication. Other writers I truly admire include Neil Gaiman, Mervyn Peake, Charlaine Harris, JK Rowling, and, of course, Billy Shakespeare.

10. What’s next for you?

NaNoWriMo! I’m currently telling the story of a young boy and his hunt for zombie brains. Warms the heart.

You can find out more about this author and her books at her website:  http://www.irenelpynn.com/
or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irenelpynnwriter
Author Bio:
Irene writes fantasy and light science fiction for adults, young adults, and children. Her work spans novels, plays, transmedia events, and more. Most of her work focuses on internal conflicts told through speculative metaphors: From Light to Dark is a high fantasy that features a Romeo and Juliet theme. For the most part, Irene writes what she likes to read, which are character-driven stories of alternate realities. She likes to throw her characters into alternate worlds to see how they live their "normal" lives in the midst of magical or technological changes.

From Light to Dark:

Eref is about to die. He sits at the End of Light World, accepting his stoning execution one rock at a time, until the impossible happens: the ground opens up beneath him, and he drops down into the unknown.
There, he meets Caer, a kind-hearted girl from Dark World who saves his life. Together, the pair forms an unlikely and illegal bond that not even the strongest hatred can break. But can their connection bring down the evil institution that has kept Light World and Dark World at odds for hundreds of years?


Getting stoned to death wasn’t the worst thing that could happen—or so Eref told himself when the first rock cracked over his head.
But it hurt. Blood trickled down his forehead and into his eyes, blocking the sharp rays of the sun overhead.
All around him, forty or fifty men dressed in long tunics shouted curses and flung stones at his naked body.
The bright power of the Governors’ Moonstone from its hidden place in Light World made certain each rock hit its target.
So many people had come to this hidden corner to watch him die. Far from the rigid roads of Light World’s city, each face glared at him. Each mouth snarled. Eref blinked the blood away. He thought for a minute that he saw Balor among the crowd. No…it couldn’t be. But it was true. His best friend pushed his way to the front, holding several large stones in his fist.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Coffin Hop Contests Winners!

Halloween is over and the Coffin Hop Web Tour has ended, so it is time to announce the winners of my contests:

The Winners of a Three Ebook Prize Pack (Ruined City, Killers and Demons, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...) are:
Carole Gill
Paul Dail
Red Tash

The Winner of an Ebook of Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...
Kim Koning

The awarding of the prize of the Amazon gift card is being handled by Gordon Kessler and Goddess Fish Tours, (as the prize was part of his blog tour) so any notifications of winners are pending.

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