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Showing posts from October, 2017

Which comes first, the pictures or the words?

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I've done it! I've just pushed the "approve proof" button on Amazon and released the latest book from the Writers' Mill, a local writers group that I belong to. It's a children's book, with stories about a small boy called Carl and his rather superior older sister June. We wanted pictures for the book, so I and several other members of the group tried to come up with some. Of course, words are our creative medium of choice, but, though I say it myself, the result looks pretty good. You can find it at https://www.createspace.com/7691295, and maybe soon on Amazon!

All of which got me wondering about authors and illustrators of children's picture books. Of course, Carl and June is not a picture book. But looking at our various illustrating styles, and the various styles of books I was reading recently, I pondered which comes first - the words or the pictures; and who comes first - the author or the illustrator.

For example, Harry The Happy Mouse by n.g.k…

What do you Know?

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Today I'm delighted to welcome author Leonora Meriel to my blog. I've just started reading her novels, Woman Behind the Waterfall and The Unity Game, and I find myself wondering, if we're supposed to write what we know and use our imaginations, how does what the author knows feed into imagining the stories she tells? Since she's here as a guest on my blog, I get to ask:


To what extent do you draw on your own life in her writing,  and to what extent does what you "know" feed into what you imagine?
Thank you so much for being my guest today, Leonora, and I'm eager to learn your answer. Over to you Leonora.


There are different ways of knowing things.
I have been to New York and Kyiv and Shanghai I know what these cities are like.
I have also been in love, and I know how that feels.
I have known things with my body – fear, mistrust, attraction.
And I have had experiences when I have known things with my soul – known them so deeply and entirely and without any prior k…

What do you know?

Image
Today I'm delighted to welcome author Leonora Meriel to my blog. I've just started reading her novels, Woman Behind the Waterfall and The Unity Game, and I find myself wondering, if we're supposed to write what we know and use our imaginations, how does what the author knows feed into imagining the stories she tells? Since she's here as a guest on my blog, I get to ask:


To what extent do you draw on your own life in her writing,  and to what extent does what you "know" feed into what you imagine?
Thank you so much for being my guest today, Leonora, and I'm eager to learn your answer. Ove


There are different ways of knowing things.
I have been to New York and Kyiv and Shanghai I know what these cities are like.
I have also been in love, and I know how that feels.
I have known things with my body – fear, mistrust, attraction.
And I have had experiences when I have known things with my soul – known them so deeply and entirely and without any prior knowledge – and …

Does dark matter matter?

With the world growing darker (politically and in season), fires burning, waters flooding... I ought to look for something light to read, but I end up haunted by dark matter and enjoying the sense that perhaps we can learn, if not directly from the past then possibly from its fictional recreation. So here I am enjoying Alice in Sinland, Killing the Devil, following Stainer through a collegetown summer of drugs, watching Ruined Wings try to fly, Missing Presumed and Accountable to None. Dark matter indeed, but some of it's hauntingly evocative, literarily beautiful, and gripping to read. And some of it's just dark. Here are some book reviews anyway. Enjoy complex four-star coffee with the more complex reads, and dark five-stars for the darkest ones.

Alice in Sinland by Antara Mann is an oddly surprising dark read. An up-and-coming lawyer is asked, "What do you want?" and realizes she always wanted to be a star. Down the rabbit-hole of modern-day stardom she goes, where…

What makes it literary?

What makes a novel literary? I know when I was sending those eager submissions to less than eager publishers, I was advised not to call my writing literary - let the publisher decide if they think that's what it is, or so they said.

I decided one publisher, for whom I was reviewing lots of books, was definitely a publisher of literary fiction, only to be told by someone else that they specialized in mysteries. A case of letting the reviewer decide perhaps? Or the reader?

But what would make a mystery literary? Is it just that the story's character-driven, or is it something more--something in the background, the writing style, use of symbols, or perhaps a deeper message between the lines? What makes any story literary?

My own first novel, Divide by Zero, had an experimental style, with lots of characters and lots of points of view. Maybe that just made it hard to read but I wanted to call it literary--I even used symbols in the title! My novel had a message too, about the link…

If you write a book and nobody reads it...?

If a tree falls down and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?
If you write a book and nobody reads it, are you still an author?

One friend loaned me her copy of The Story of With by Allen Arnold. It's a Christian allegory (an annotated allegory perhaps) which reminds creative weirdos like me that it's the creation that counts--the act of creating "with" others and with God--not the marketing and selling and human success.

Another loaned me To Sell is Human by Daniel H Pink, borrowed from the library. And now we're all salespeople, trying to persuade others to give something up (time, energy, money) for promised gain (information, wisdom, a book). I'm trying to persuade you to give up time and read my blog. Maybe I hope you'll give up money and read my books as well, but Pink's point is I'm still selling something, either way. He offers intriguing arguments in the first half of the book (forget used cars), and lots of practical advice in the seco…

What's in a genre?

The speaker at our local writers' group writes historical fiction, but his characters have traveled in time so it's science fiction, and there's lots of action, maybe even war, so military fiction perhaps, aimed at adults, but some of the characters are teens so adult and young adult, but...

But what's in a genre?

I'm so behind with posting book reviews I'm wondering if I'll ever succeed in collecting them together by genre. Perhaps I should just post and click and post and click again. But let's see how it goes. I'll try for mystery. What's in the mystery genre? And what coffee will you drink with it?

Murder at the Manor by C. T. Mitchell is a pretty short mystery. It's got a murder and the suspects are a very limited group. I think that makes it a cozy mystery. It makes for a fun novella though, and a nice introduction to characters who continue through an Australian detective series. Lady Maggie might be an Australian Miss Marple--I'd …

Still love the classics?

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Today I'm delighted to host author Aniesha Brahma as she tours the internet with her Children's Classic Story book. I was one of those weird kids who didn't like fairytales when I was small, but I love them now, and this looks like the sort of collection I might have wished I could read - I can well imagine I would have longed to collect the set.

About the Book:
This gorgeous treasury of ten classic stories is guaranteed to delight and entertain young children, bringing the magic of traditional stories to the new generation of children. Aimed at 8-12 year olds, each favourite fairy tale or story has been sensitively retold for young readers.
The series 'Children's Classic Stories' contains total 100 stories in 10 volumes. The stories in this collection show the consequences of greed, pride, and vanity, but also tell of the love that grows from a kind heart and a cheerful nature.

Volume 1 includes the following stories:
01. Little Red Riding Hood
02. Cinderella
03…

What's In A Name?

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Today I'm delighted to welcome author John Mugglebee to my blog. I have to confess, I misread the author's name when I first saw it, as I know people in England with the surname Muggleton, related to a historical sect, the Muggletonians. But that's not John's name, so I'm delighted to welcome him here where he can clarify, just What is in a Name?

What’s in a Name? By John Mugglebee, author of Neespaugot
Neespaugot is a historical novel recounting over several centuries the trials (in some cases, literal ones) and tribulations of a mixed race, multiethnic family. Readers have asked me about a variety of topics ranging from writing technique to history, setting to character, Native American culture to personal influences. But there’s one question nobody has yet asked: What gives with the last name on the book cover?
Mugglebee is a different sort of handle, at once too odd to be a pseudonym yet too unbelievable to be
genuine, despite its obvious Anglo-Saxon skeins. So, is…

Ever been to Monsterland?

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Today I'm delighted to welcome Monsterland author Michael Okon to my blog. He's touring the internet with Pump Up Your Book, and his monsters... well... there's more to them than most of us will know. Over to you Michael (except I may not be able to resist interrupting), and thank you for visiting my blog.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Monsterland By Michael Okon
10. I came up with idea of Monsterland while watching an 80s & 90s movie marathon one weekend with my son. (Ah, those movie marathons with sons. Board game marathons. YouTube marathons. Sons are so great to be around!)
9. I called my brother immediately and told him I want to write a story about a theme park with zombies. He told me no, the theme park has to have werewolves, vampires AND zombies. I started beating out the story that night. ( And now I search my files for werewolves, vampire and zombies and wonder what tales they'll tell.)
8. It took me a little over three weeks to complete Monsterland. (T…