What is it about Princesses?

Today I'm delighted to welcome Rose Marie Machario, author of the Amulet of Elements, to my blog, with an answer to a question that must surely be dear to my English heart...

What is it About Princesses? By Rose Marie Machario
Since the dawn of the royals, we as a civilization have been fascinated by them. I think mostly it is because it was ingrained into our minds that royalty was perceived as being a higher status than the rest of the world at large. Over the course of time the higher monarchy was reserved for only a few remaining countries who recognize royalty as being of the highest regard in society. Therefore in today’s present mindset we still look upon royals as mere fascinations.
Throughout history there have been tales on high, and legends of old about royal families of all kinds. Kingdoms held mysterious stories found in old castles, and if those stone walls could talk, I’m certain they would reveal ancient tales like we’ve never heard before. The most popular of storie…

Two Lives?

Today I'm delighted to feature Abbigail Rosewood's If I had two Lives on my blog. I read it recently and loved it:
MY REVIEW OF IF I HAD TWO LIVES: The protagonist narrator of Abbigail Rosewood’s If I had two Lives hides behind other people’s emotions like a child hiding behind her mother’s skirt. But this child, growing up in a Vietnamese military camp, gets little support from her mother and latches onto another lonely girl for guidance and companionship instead.
The first part of the novel gives an evocative portrayal of postwar Vietnamese life and trials through the eyes of a child. In a world of men, two girls are vulnerable. And in a world of separation, attachment is both danger and treasure.
The protagonist loses focus, mirrored by shifts in the story, as the second part of the novel begins in a not-overly welcoming America. But she finds another lonely girl – lonely adult now – and begins to fill her life again with stories. Except that adult stories have a habit of be…

What if the Mad Dog isn't mad?

Today I'm delighted to spotlight the novel Mad Dog by Kelly Watt. It's just been republished and I really enjoyed reading it.

Kelly Watt’s Mad Dog views the idyllic apple orchards of Ontario through the eyes of a lonely fourteen-year-old protagonist who veers between obedient and rebellious as the long hot summer draws on. Her mother disappeared long ago and Sheryl-Ann lives with her aunt, uncle and cousin on a family farm, surrounded by family and isolated from the world. They go to church together on Sundays. They're considered standoffish and odd, but they're part of the community. And in term time Sheryl goes to school and knows other girls seem different. But in summer…

This summer her larger-than-life uncle “adopts” a teen musician, a runaway dreaming of greatness. The story of Sheryl’s growing attachment to Peter plays over a background of music, blossom and bees. Everyone works together in the orchards. The dog barks. Everyone relaxes together in the ev…

When were you last carried away by a book?

Sometimes books and stories carry you away, so you're almost not reading about events and characters, just experiencing them alongside the people, part of the world and the story. The characters become completely real and, even if they're people you know you could never meet, you become completely invested in their trials. I guess these books aren't the fastest reads, but then, life usually isn't fast. But they're the deepest reads, the ones that stick in the mind when the last page is turned, and the ones, perhaps, that make you feel like you've learned something from an experience you've never had.

If that's the sort of book you want to read next, then find some coffee and check out these book reviews. I really loved these books.

First is the one I've just finished and will be hosting soon on my blog. Mad Dog by Kelly Watt lulls the reader with evocative prose and the wonderful scents and scenery of an orchard summer. But apples might be a very ap…

Curious, curiouser and curiousest?

Yesterday's reviews were of short and shorter stories, so perhaps it makes sense if today's are of curious and curiouser tales. Science fiction, historical fiction, or magical realism (or both/all three); whatever, these are three books that I've really enjoyed.

First, because cats are always curious, is Mollie Hunt's Cat Summer, a novel that combines ecological and social concerns... and cats. What makes us human, what makes cats feline, and what makes the planet survive all come together here - enjoy with some elegant complex four-star coffee.

Moving from future disaster to present humanity, Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie is a book I've long hoped to read, and I was thrilled to finally find a copy. A book that asks as many questions as it answers, and draws the reader along like music, it's a stark and beautiful read, dark, but always elegant - drink some elegant four-star coffee and keep the darker five-star brew nearby.

And in the past, there's The…

Short, shorter and shortest

Our writers' group is busy preparing our next anthology, to be released for Christmas. We've done one a year for the last few years, and Fine Lines was our last effort, in celebration of the lines on my mother's 90-year-old face.
Meanwhile members have submitted stories and poems to various anthologies, and one of my friends was recently published in the Itty Bitty Writing Space. So I had to get a copy and read it. And here are reviews of Itty Bitty plus various other short story collections and anthologies that I've read recently. Find some coffee. See what you'd like:

First, of course, is the Itty Bitty Writing Space edited by Jason Brick and Dani J Caile, a truly eclectic collection of truly short (shortest!) pieces, each less than 1,000 words. It's a perfect book for picking up and putting down, but also an enthralling anthology to read straight through from beginning to end. Stories hint at questions complex, weird or enthralling, delve into mystery and le…

What's it about?

A friend phoned the other night. She's in the same writing group as me and she's writing her memoir. She phoned to tell me she'd just listened to a speaker at a different group, the author of a published memoir. Perhaps this author will speak to our group sometime. But in the meantime, my friend had learned that the most important question to ask, over and again, chapter after chapter, is "What's it about?"

"Of course, it's memoir; it's about life, and my life in particular." It's a good answer, but is it good enough? Would anyone else be interested in my life, for all that (in her case) it's been long and the world where it started is changed beyond recognition?

Then she asked what I'm writing, and one thing I'm working on is a non-fiction book, with the "working title" of "Faith, Hope, Love and Science." I guess I should ask myself the same question (she asked it of course) - what's it about? I mumbl…