Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Great deal on Divide by Zero

Divide by Zero's got another great review: What do we really know about anyone, the reviewer asks at http://www.amazon.com/review/R3E66EV6SLRQZG/. Click on the link to see if Divide by Zero answered his question.

Plus, there's a brilliant deal being offered on the book, just for Halloween. Stonegarden are selling  the paperback issue at 55% off! So hop on over to http://stonegarden.net/ and load up your shopping cart--lots of great books at great prices, and Divide by Zero!

Ah, if only I had time to read all these books. But I have been reading and I'm about to post some more book reviews online--just think, I'm finally learning how much an author longs for those words... Books, reviews and coffee, what more could I want?

I reviewed Kingdom by Anderson O'Donnell last week on my blog and I'm posting reviews elsewhere today. A post-apocalyptic biopunk novel where the world whimpers instead of ending in a bang, it's fascinating, filled with thought-provoking scarily-plausible future history, and noirish with a touch more hope than 1984. Enjoy a 5-star bold dark intense cup of coffee as you read.

Tim Kizer's short story Sixtus is even bleaker, pulling the reader from mystery to horror as a young man takes refuge in talking to his "imaginary" friend. Another 5-star bold dark coffee should go well.

Innocent Little Crimes by C. S. Lakin is creepy in an altogether different way, gathering a group of teenaged conspirators on an island fifteen years after their "crime" and slowly tearing their dreams apart. This one probably demands a 5-star bold dark coffee as well.

Rebekah Armusik's Mariposa is the sequel to Memoirs of a Gothic Soul, reviewed a few weeks ago. Continuing the story of an American teen transported to the mansions of European vampires and witches, it has a somewhat downbeat feel, filled with teen angst and volatility, but the mythology is intriguingly complex and more is promised in the series (13 memoirs...). Enjoy with another 5-star bold dark coffee--have I drunk too much strong coffee this week?

Finally there's a book to enjoy with a lighter 3-star coffee, well-balanced and smooth. This one's called the Sun Zebra by Rolando Garcia and it's a beautiful short collection of stories where a loving father meets his daughter's dreams and imagination and builds relationship. Truly delightful and highly recommended!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Writing where you Work, and other forms of Research

I'm delighted to welcome Dean Mayes to my blog today. Author of Hambledown Dream, he's just released a new novel, Gifts of the Peramangk.

I read and reviewed Hambledown Dream a while ago, an intriguing romance with hints of reincarnation and redemption, set in the US and Australia. Gifts is set in Australia too and centers on the music of violins rather than Hambledown Dream's guitars, but it promises the same deep questions of identity and separated cultures that made Dream such a good book. I'll look forward to reading Gifts of the Peramangk one day. Meanwhile, here's the author's fascinating post on the problems of researching for your novel.


So, Dean, what research did you need to do before writing Gifts?



The research curve for Gifts Of The Peramangk was on a whole other level to The Hambledown Dream because, this time around, there were three big factors I had to consider.

Firstly was the musical aspect, specifically the violin, which is an instrument with which I was only casually acquainted. Not only did I have to delve into the performance of the violinist and build up a repertoire of musical which I could use in the novel but I also had to delve into such minutiae as construction techniques and what sort of timbers make a good instrument great. And while those little things might only get a passing mention in the novel, I had to have an appreciation of them in order to give gravity to the story. With the musical aspect, I wanted this time, to 'compose' an original piece of music for the novel and given that I have very little musical ability beyond playing the piano - badly - I had to work out a way of translating a musical experience into a literary one, but with the added challenge of describing a piece of music that doesn't actually exist.

The second big thing was the decision to set the story in Adelaide, where I live and work. On one hand, it made the job of writing much easier because I had locales and environments that I could physically immerse myself in. On the other hand, however, was the fact that I had those locales on hand. I had a responsibility to really take them in order to present them in the truest possible sense. So I made multiple excursions out to the places I had chosen for the novel - Elder Hall for example, in Adelaide's arts precinct, the Adelaide Hills town of Mount Pleasant which is the heart of Peramangk country and it's where the novel begins, the northern suburbs in which Ruby's family lives. I embedded myself in those places, spent a lot of time walking about and talking to people, making notes. I rode a suburban train from the northern suburbs into the city to get a feel for the kind of journey that Ruby took each time she travelled into Adelaide herself. I drank at a couple of pubs, sat at the bar with a notepad and made written observations about the environment and the people. That one almost got me into trouble a couple times. I watched rehearsal sessions in Elder Hall and listened to how students played and interacted with one another. I built upon these experiences in order to make the story live and breathe.

Finally, and this was perhaps the most significant aspect of writing the novel, I had to immerse myself deep into the recent history of Australia's treatment of its indigenous population which included researching the Stolen Generations and the White Australia Policies of the early to mid 20th century. This was perhaps the most challenging aspect of writing the novel because I had to treat these with the upmost respect and handle them with a great deal of sensitivity. There is still a great deal of bridge building going on between black and white Australia - especially given that there is around 200 years of appalling treatment of Aborigines to address and reconcile. Aborigines remain among the poorest and most disadvantaged first nation people in the world. I had to educate myself on this history and the present circumstance of Aboriginal Australians in order to portray them with respect and sensitivity.

Hambledown Dream was beautifully evocative, and it sounds life Gifts of the Peramangk will be too. I'll look forward to learning more of Australia's indigenous population, and as an English American, I'll look forward to exploring the collision of cultures too.

 Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Dean, and I wish you much success with both Gifts of the Permanangk and Hambledown Dream.

Dean Mayes has established himself as an author of great passion and literary style since releasing his first novel “The Hambledown Dream” in 2010. When not writing, Dean practices Intensive Care Nursing in Pediatrics. He lives in Adelaide, Australia with his partner Emily and his children Xavier and Lucy. The books of Dean Mayes are replete with music, find the trailers, playlists and information on the artists that are currently capturing Dean’s mind at: www.deanfromaustralia.com.

Synopsis of Gifts of the Peramangk

In 1950s Australia, during the height of the divisive White Australia Policy, Virginia, a young Aboriginal girl is taken from her home and put to work on an isolated and harsh outback station. Her only solace: the violin, taught to her secretly by the kind-hearted wife of the abusive station owner. However, Virginia's prodigious musical gift cannot save her from years of hardship and racism.
Decades later, her eight year old granddaughter Ruby, plays the violin with the passion Virginia once possessed. Amidst poverty, domestic violence and social dysfunction, Ruby escapes her circumstance through her practice with her grandmother's frail, guiding hand. Ruby’s zeal attracts the attention of an enigmatic music professor and with his help, she embarks on an incredible journey of musical discovery that will culminate in a rare opportunity. But with two cultural worlds colliding, her gift and her ambition will be threatened by deeply ingrained distrust, family jealousies and tragic secrets
Divide by Zero's free today and tomorrow on Amazon Kindle:
Just go to http://www.amazon.com/Divide-by-Zero-ebook/dp/B0090NFH56/ and download it to your kindle, free!

Want to know more? See below for spotlights, excerpts, interviews and more.
 

DIVIDE BY ZERO BLOG TOUR:

Spotlights and news:



October 2nd: A novel of contemporary small-town life  dealing with family relationships, love, redemption and the haunting effects of childhood trauma and abuse.  http://afstewartpromotion.blogspot.ca/2012/10/book-spotlight-divide-by-zero.html 

Excerpts:

October 10th: Excerpt from the beginning of Divide by Zero: http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981689452

October 5th: Meet single mom Mary in this excerpt: http://dragonmyfeet.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/excerpt-from-divide-by-zero-by-sheila-deeth/

Readers' Guide and reviews:

October 28th: Review on Book Reader's Heaven: http://gabixlerreviews-bookreadersheaven.blogspot.com/2012/10/deeths-drama-divide-by-zero-download.html

October 27th: Review excerpts and bookmarks on Gather: http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981727363

October 27th: Another wonderful review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2VSP71AYPZTQQ/

October 12th: Read these book group questions.  http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981698767

October 22nd: My first review: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2TK8TD6RSG9SL/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1600763405&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

Interviews with author and characters:

October 28th: Writing Mathematician interviewed at Rachelle's Window: http://www.rachelleayala.com/2012/10/authorinterview-sheila-deeth-writing.html

October 27th: Mary Russel interviews Evie from Divide by Zero: http://maryrussel.blogspot.com/2012/10/an-interview-with-fascinating-character.html

October 24th: My Next Big Thing at http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-next-big-thing.html

October 22nd: Pat Bertram introduced me in an interview at http://patbertram.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/sheila-deeth-author-of-divide-by-zero/

October 7th: Lee-Ann Graff-Vinson interviews me on Writing Commando: http://leeanngraffvinson.blogspot.ca/2012/10/welcome-back-to-author-sunday.html

October 3rd: Meet Peter, the garage guy, in this interview: http://patbertram.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/peter-markham-hero-of-divide-by-zero-by-sheila-deeth/

September 27th: Peter Joseph Swanson interviews me on Gather: http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981665350

Guest Posts:


October 22nd: Predators, and teaching our children to be safe, on Manic Monday: http://stacygreenauthor.com/2012/10/22/manic-monday-welcomes-sheila-deeth/


October 19th: Seven steps to editing--or the day I almost said the church provided babies instead of diapers, on Glenda Bixler’s blog: http://gabixlerreviews-bookreadersheaven.blogspot.com/2012/10/guest-post-from-touring-author-sheila.html

October 4th: On being a storyteller, a guest post on A. F. Stewart's blog: http://afstewartblog.blogspot.ca/2012/10/being-storyteller-guest-post-from.html

September 30th: Friends, e-friends and countrymen, come visit Andi's Realm for my guest post on friendship and acquaintances at http://andisrealm.blogspot.com/2012/09/guest-author-sheila-deeth.html

Friday, October 26, 2012

Kingdom book tour. Biopunk defined.

KINGDOM - First Rule Publicity Tours
I'm delighted to be part of First Rule Publicity's Kingdom Virtual Book Tour today. I've even just finished reading the book, described in the author blurb as a biopunk, dystopian noir-esque thriller... an intriguing concept... Whatever else it is, Kingdom's a genuinely thought-provoking science fiction novel, very dark, hard-hitting, and threaded with mystery and possibility. Here's my review:



A post-apocalyptic novel with no apocalypse, Anderson O'Donnell's Kingdom is set in the near future of a world not so different from ours, where America’s Cold War has spawned an evil that’s just now coming of age. The world definitely ends with a whimper rather than a bang in this tale where drink, drugs and prostitution ruin lives in a land ruined by man.
Dark evocative descriptions are filled with premonition. “[T]he moon hugged the horizon, too tired to finish its ascent…” And the whimper of the world’s long ending resounds over the city. “[H]uman flesh and blood were the gasoline” of the social machine and “Benzedrine-fueled Bedouins” roam border deserts where secret laboratories hide the madness of science.
A powerfully plausible future history postulates “the new iron curtain of Sharia law” and the decadence of Tiber City, while memory and self fall victim to a blurred and unreal reality. This place and this people are “the kingdom,” while the man who would stand behind the throne manipulates his subjects, science and hope.
The world is haunting, horrible and hurt. The writing is evocative and blunt with all the melodramatic confusion of drug-addiction blending into genuine curiosity with just a few tinges of hope as that moon skips the horizon. I want to watch the movie. I want to know if I can read the sequel. And the story, like 1984, leaves me wondering… Future, future history, possible future? This soulless world of fiction leaves me looking at the newspaper and hoping the real world still has a soul to save.

My Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publicist in exchange for my honest review.
 First Rule Publicity
Disclosure of Material Connection:

I received this book for review from First Rule Publicity from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

So, have I caught your interest? If so, please read on and learn more about the author and his book.


Synopsis:
In a secret laboratory hidden under the desert, a covert bioengineering project--codename "Exodus"--has discovered the gene responsible for the human soul.

Somewhere in the neon sprawl outside the nation's collapsing economic core, a group of renegade monks are on the verge of uncovering a secret that has eluded mankind for centuries.

In a glittering tower high above the urban decay, an ascendant U.S. Senator is found dead--an apparent, yet inexplicable, suicide.

And in the streets below, a young man races through an ultra modern metropolis on the verge of a violent revolution....closing in on the terrible truth behind Exodus--and one man's dark vision for the future of mankind.

Welcome to Tiber City.
FROM THE BACK COVER:
Kingdom is a thrill-a-minute, bio-punk myth that manages to wrestle with the most pressing issues of the new millennium. O'Donnell has crafted a kickass novel of tomorrow night, when the big party gets raided by the monsters we've been building for the last half-century. Hip and hellish, wild and weird, Tiber City is the dystopian megalopolis into which we will all soon move--whether we know it or not.
REVIEW BLURBS -
"A taut, brilliantly conceived thriller with impeccable pacing bursting with ideas...For fans of noir-laden science fiction in the vein of Philip K. Dick that is in equal measures suspenseful, gripping, darkly funny and philosophically challenging." (starred review)

-Kirkus Reviews

"Toss William Gibson, Andrew Vachss and David Fincher into the Petri dish, irradiate them, then infuse the result with Transylvanian meth, and you'll have some sense of what O'Donnell has concocted."

-Jack O'Connell, author of Box Nine and The Resurrectionist
.

"There simply aren't enough stars to communicate the impressiveness of O'Donnell's work here. He has taken religion, science, politics, theory and philosophy and blended them all together to create what is easily one of the most important books to come out this year."

- Pavarti K. Tyler, Fighting Monkey Press & author of Shadow on the Wall


About the Author
Anderson O’Donnell presents a biopunk, dystopian noir-esque thriller in this amazing read, KINGDOM. Most people are familiar with the term “cyberpunk,” but “biopunk” is harder to nail down. In many ways, biopunk is similar to the cyberpunk genre, and shares many of the same themes and archetypes: the dystopian future; the overreliance on technology; mega-corporations; a constant and overwhelming flow of data; the anti-hero—these elements are integral parts of both genres.

Both genres are fueled, to some extent, by the sense of rebellion and desire for individual freedom expressed by the original punk rock revolution. But the main difference—the most important difference—is that while cyberpunk focuses on invasive technological modification of the human body, biopunk explores the dehumanizing consequences of biological modification, of re-arranging our DNA in the pursuit of perfection.

Anderson lives in Connecticut with his wife and 2 sons. Anderson himself deems Kingdom as “a thrill-a-minute, bio-punk myth that manages to wrestle with the most pressing issues of the new millennium. O’Donnell has crafted a kickass novel of tomorrow night, when the big party gets raided by the monsters we’ve been building for the last half-century.”

His debut novel, Kingdom, a dystopian, biopunk thriller, is now available in paperback and ebook format. Kingdom is the first part of the Tiber City Trilogy. Look for part two, Exile, in the summer of 2013.