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Showing posts from October, 2015

Where dystopias warn

Utopia never seemed quite real to me. After all, things always fall apart. And so dystopias were the worlds I loved to read about - 1984, Farenheit 451, Lord of the Flies (of course - the first one I read), Tunnel in the Sky, and Philip Dick's many terrifyingly plausible dreams... They were the books I wanted to write as well, as endless stories of the end of the world in my old notebooks attest. One day one of my teachers took me aside and said it was easy to make people cry, so I learned (at least, I tried) to make them laugh. But perhaps it's only easier to make people cry because I wanted company.

Of course, I don't only read dystopian fiction. One of my favorite authors as a child was Rosemary Sutcliffe, writing of ancient worlds every bit as ruined as 1984. I loved the lone, rejected character, the one who saw too clearly, or who didn't dare to see. Meanwhile I imagined one of the "big three" - America, Russia or Chin -, would surely push the button and…

Swords, Sorcery or Heroes, with Steven Shrewsbury

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Today I'm delighted to welcome Steven L Shrewsbury, author of those wonderful Gorias La Gaul stories, to my blog. I love his books and his characters, and I love that mystical tagline - Deliverance Will Come! When I heard he was going to visit me here, there was one question I simply had to ask, so here it is, with his answer. Thank you Steven, and welcome to my blog:

Steven L. Shrewsbury's Born of Swords Virtual Tour

WHICH CAME FIRST? The sword, the sorcery or the hero?
Until a reviewer trashed me for doing so, I never realize I wrote “character driven” fiction before. Um, ya mean where the folks in the story are more important than “world building” and a game scenario that can be created from a BOOK? Yeah, guess I do.
So, yes, Gorias La Gaul, my 700 year old merc, the fighter and lover of great capacity DID appear in my mind as a character to be used in works. THEN the tales flowed as he sort of told them to me, out of sequence. Several fantasy (or S&S) ideas are always bil…

Would You Rather Write Short Or Long?

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Today I'm delighted to welcome award-winning author and filmmaker Stephen Zimmer to my blog, as his wonderfully seasonal Hellscapes II tours the internet. Steven is the author of the Fires of Eden series, Rising Dawn Saga, and Heart of the Lion which I read and thoroughly enjoyed earlier this year (click for my review), but he's also master of Hellscapes short fiction too. So, if you've ever wanted to try your hand at writing to a different length, this post from him must surely be a  must-read. And if not, read and enjoy it anyway - learn how a writer directs and is directed by his career.

Plus, there's a great giveaway attached to this tour, so don't miss out on the details, down below!

Stephen Zimmer's Hellscapes, Volume II Virtual Tour



Writing Long, Short, and In-Between By Stephen Zimmer Hellscapes, Volume II represents my eleventh book release.  It is a collection of short stories in the horror genre, my third collection released overall.  As with any release,…

After the Fall

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Falling The gaze of a mother to child at her breast Falling the infant that’s learning to walk Calling and crying and learning to talk Shifting and sighing, a mother’s gaze falls To the child, to the child who has left.
Falling The leaf that was green growing red on the tree Falling the season of warm into cold Calling and sighing the birds are grown old All migrating, the leaf oh so gently now falls Not so late, not too late to be free.
Falling In bad ways, in troubles, in pain and in loss. Falling from grace was the infant grown old Calling for mercy the infant grown bold Mercy denied him, a mother’s gaze falls To the child, to the child, to the cost.
Falling after the Fall.

Who Illustrated That?

My review-list led me to a cool collection of kids' books this week. Though I hadn't expected it, they were all illustrated. So I wrote my reviews, each with that nice easy title "This book by this author" and suddenly realized "This book by this author illustrated by this artist" would be more accurate. I guess as a kid, I rather liked words more than pictures - perhaps that's because so many picture books were just black and white. I remember part of my delight in moving up to the "grown-up books" section in our local library was that the lack of pictures gave more space for a story to be told. But I love to draw, and now I delight in those images I  used to skip over. I smile at pictures that remind me of books from my childhood (though now they're in color and filled with fascinating detail rather than ice-queen gray and frowns). I delight in pictures that transport me to a different culture and teach me of a world I never knew. And I …

Sometimes I just don't want to "Help myself"

"Mom, will you help me with my homework?"
"In a minute. Try helping yourself a bit first."
Mom continues to cook dinner. Child turns pages back to read the instructions.

"Mom, may I have more potatoes?"
"Of course. Here. Help yourself."
Mom offers the ladle and child piles more food onto plate. Some falls on the floor.

"Mom, I didn't mean it. I couldn't help it." Guilty looks.
"You'll have to learn to help it," Mom replies.

And, "Mom, why won't God change me into a good little girl?"
"God helps those who help themselves."

Last week's reading included lots of self-help books. Some tried to offer a ladle so I could help myself to happiness. Others promised to hold the plate, so I wouldn't spill my problems on the floor. Still others offered a place where I could find help. And all together... well, I'd offer you coffee, but you'll have to find your own brew while I just offer …

Novels for All Seasons?

One novel of the future, one that crosses the future with the present day, and one that's firmly set in the present and the past--these were my reading joys of the last week, and I loved all three of them. So, working my way forward through time, here are brief reviews of three must-reads. Find some coffee and enjoy.

Forgiving Mariela Camacho by A. J. Sidransky follows on from the author's earlier novel, Forgiving Maximo Rothmann (click on the link for my review). It's a wonderful standalone novel of separations and connections, commitment and forgiveness, and the complexities of history and identity. An apparent suicide might turn out to be murder, an independent woman might find her freedom curtailed, and an honest cop might have to break a few rules to find the solution. Ranging from the Dominican Republic, through Europe, and all the way to Washington Heights Manhattan, the story paints a haunting immigrant experience, so wonderfully relevant to today. Enjoy with some r…

What is the Immigrant Experience?

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Today I'm delighted to welcome author A.J. Sidransky back to my blog. Some time ago I read and enjoyed his novel, Forgiving Maximo Rothmann (click for my review). As an immigrant myself, I found the uncertainties and sense of un-belonging in this novel truly resonated. Add a wonderful storyline with evocative dialog and descriptions and a wealth of amazing historical, geographic and social detail, and you'll see why readers of any background can be transported to a different world-view and experience.




Now I'm delighted to have just read the author's next book, Forgiving Mariela Camacho (I'll post reviews soon!). Here is A.J. Sidransky to tell us where this second novel comes from. Welcome A.J. and over to you.



When I began writing Forgiving Mariela Camacho I was drawn to a theme that I felt I had left only partially examined in Forgiving Maximo Rothman, the theme of the immigrant experience and the search for identity.  I had originally planned a fourth story line fo…