Showing posts from November, 2015

Meet two dogs, one parrot, a rare bird, and a vendor of apricots

Meet two dogs, one parrot, a rare bird, and a vendor of apricots, plus many assorted writers in this batch of book reviews. I apologize to the authors for being so late posting several of these. My best excuse is I've been writing. But the animal hero of my novels is neither dog nor bird, but rather a very white, sometimes mythical cat with a red stone in its collar and just a hint of wings. Meet it in Divide by Zero, and soon in Infinite Sum as well, coming soon from Indigo Sea Press. The dogs and parrot belong in a book of essays, Two Dogs and a Parrot by Joan Chittister , where the authors tells what she's learned, and we can learn, from animals. There's a Judeo-Christian dichotomy, she points out, with two creation stories where one gives mankind dominion, but the other invites us to name. Naming meas relationship, and relationship with animals has helped many a person cope with distress. Of course, the animals too have much to cope with, and their coping mechanisms h

What do Fairies. Dogs and Dragons have in common?

What fairies, dogs and dragons have in common, of course, is that they all appear in children's books. Specifically they appear in the books I'm reviewing today. But do I have to have kids at home to enjoy children's books? To review them? To write them? Or can I just relate to the kid (fairy, dog and dragon) within myself? I suspect the answer is as long as my internal child is alive and kicking, she or he (dog, dragon or fairy) is all I need. Certainly she smiles when I pick up a kids' book in the store. She begs me to purchase things I can't possibly afford (have you seen the price of picture books?). And she laughs and cries, appropriately, when I read to her in my head. She's a pretty good child. (I'll not go into how good or otherwise the real-child-me was in her day, but my Mum would happily tell you - little horror are among the words she might use.) Of course, I did have kids at home for many years - the years when I just told stories instead of

mystery, crime, and the end of the world is at hand!

After recent events, one might be tempted to ponder the natures of faith, freedom, and free will. But beneath any deeds, whether good or evil, lie people trapped by others' dreams and aspirations, real lives informed by cultures and belief, real crimes, real criminals too, and real victims. As troubles loom, it might be well to pray that we be neither doers nor followers of evil. And as Shakespeare wrote, may each of us "to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man" woman or child. It seemed oddly ironic -- as French detectives seek crime's perpetrators and the faithful, of more than one religious leaning, see the ending of days -- that I should be reading and reviewing a story set in the 17th century, about a monk learning the arts of alchemy and truth. His antagonist, perhaps insane, is sure the world will end soon, and that he's called to act, in ways likewise insane,to bring that end about. But

The Judicious Use of Acronyms with John F. Allen

Today author John F. Allen is visiting my blog, enjoying virtual coffee and cookies, celebrating his book, Codename: Knight Ranger, and offering his opinion on acronyms - The Knight Ranger works for an organization called G.E.N.E.S.I.S. and you'll have to read on if you want to find out what all those letters mean. But first, let's learn how the author really feels about acronyms. Please welcome John F. Allen . John F. Allen's Codename: Knight Ranger Virtual Tour The Judicious Use of Acronyms in Fiction  by John F. Allen   Plenty of authors are guilty of using acronyms in their writing. I know I am guilty as charged, as I write Spy-Fi and Action Adventure stories/novels, I deal with a lot of “Alphabet Organizations”, quite a few of my own creation. Of course the acronyms do come in handy as spelling out the individual words can be a real pain, for both the author and the reader. In creating my “Alphabet Organizations”, I find it fun to—most times—get the

The Creation of a Heroine, with Stephen Zimmer

Today, Stephen Zimmer returns to my blog escorting the wonderful Rayden Valkyrie, heroine of his novel, Heart of a Lion (click on the title for my review). I'm delighted to welcome him as he writes about Rayden's genesis, and I'm delighted to welcome you to read his post, learn about his book, and maybe even enter the cool contest to win a kindle fire HD at the end of this blogpost. So, over to you Stephen. Where did Rayden come from? Stephen Zimmer's Heart of a Lion Virtual Tour The Creation of a New Heroine Rayden Valkyrie truly flowed into my mind at once.  When I was going through some very difficult times in my own life, I had an image of a golden-haired female warrior with piercing blue eyes standing resolute, proud, defiant, and tall.  I knew that this figure had been through hell but still abided by a high honor code that reflected the fact that the storms of her life had not hardened her to indifference. Her storyline and world rushed in aro

It's all about connection, isn't it?

I keep reading posts about connections. Then I think about books I've read and realize they're about connections too. Then I edit a chapter of Subtraction, and yes, it's all about the connections between a dad and his dead child, and how those connections might help him grow and connect to someone else... or something... I guess I'll have to write a blurb one day, but for now I'm going with: Special ed teacher takes road trip in search of missing child and finds himself. Does that work for you? Anyway, here are some books I've been reading, when I'm not writing, and they're all about connections. Starting with Mr. Memory by Paul Michael Peter s, a short, smooth, cool collection of short stories neatly bounded by the man whose memory can connect everything. My favorite introduces a woman whose cellphone connects her to everything, leaving her narcistically unconnected from everyone. Enjoy with some rich elegant complex four-star coff

Do Authors Identify With Their Characters?

I'm delighted to welcome author Kate Vale to my blog today. You can find her books on Amazon at /, where you'll see she has written quite a collection, with fathers, daughters, family bonds, friendship and more. Kate's blogpost here gives her answer to one of those "frequently asked questions" which authors so often hear; I'm sure you'll be quickly drawn in to what she has to say. So... over to you Kate. And readers, please leave any questions for the author in the comments. Do Authors Identify with Their Characters? By Kate Vale A question I frequently receive relates to the character I most identify with. That varies with each book, though some characters continue to be among my favorites. Gillian, for example, in Gillian’s Do-Over,  and Suzanna in Dream Chaser, are two characters I’d definitely love to have over for coffee or tea, if only to find out how their lives are turning out now. When w