Showing posts from 2016

Have You Ever Met a Super-Speed Christmas Dog?

They tell me Christmas is coming and they must be right as my Mum always brings it with her from England and she's just arrived. However, most people seem to feel Santa's the one bringing Christmas, so I'm delighted to welcome author Monty J McClaine to my blog with his Christmas Book, Santa's Rescue Dog. It's book 5 of a rather cool series (of course it's cool - there's a dog in it!) Ebook, paperback and Audio book available from: ’ Ebook, paperback and Audio book available from: Ebook, paperback and Audio book available from: Ebook, paperback and Audio book available from:  Ebook paperback and audio book available fro

Can books be delayed by snow?

Can books be delayed by snow? Can book reviews? Snow wasn't the only delay of course - there was an internet provider who unexpectedly closed our account for us, another one that found their cable had been cut, snow that meant no one could dig to lay a new cable, Christmas that meant no one could be assigned to laying a new cable, more snow, new cable, new internet, then power outages so the new internet went out, then... Somewhere in there I meant to post this, but it landed in drafts. Enjoy. Someone expressed surprise recently on learning that I like to draw as well as to write. In high school I insisted on studying art at the same as all my "academic" subjects. I couldn't imagine not having at least some time in the week scheduled for enjoying myself (and I'd given up English by then--life was all math and physics--all fun enough, but never done just for me). I sketched with multiple pencils of different thickness and types of lead. I painted in water-color

What makes fiction literary?

When Shelfari closed and Goodreads absorbed its reviews, I found myself landed with tons of new shelves on my Goodreads page. Every tag was now a permanent link between (some of the) books I'd read. And the books I'd so carefully shelved before were now scattered among the morass. One tag I'd used on Shelfari but not Goodreads was "literary," which got me wondering, what did I mean when labeled a book that way. Is all writing literature? Do the books I labeled literary somehow have more literary merit? Or maybe it's lit if it's character driven and just fiction otherwise? Which then begs the other question, what is "just fiction"? I remember when I was growing up, I graduated from the children's to the adult library, aged around 10, and delighted in those yellow backed Golancz science fiction novels. My granddad read James Bond adventures and Westerns, so of course I read all of those too. Mum and Dad had library books hidden under the be

Can you really help yourself?

I want to catch up on book reviews. I want to catch up on reading, writing, editing, and just being me. I want to catch up! But can I really help myself--can you or anyone else really help yourself--just say "I want, I need" and somehow do it? Doesn't time keep slipping through your hands, just like mine, as the urgent takes over from the necessary, and the committed slips and slides to another date. I'll have to edit the deadlines on that review list again... Of course, it's snowing and icy outside so those unwritten reviews might slide like those cars swerving when the wheel is turned and heading the wrong way. My promises might be hid under dark gray clouds or blowing in the wind. And my urgent needs have been book sales and getting the bedroom ready for my mum to visit. Plus it's way too near to Christmas! Help! But can I really help myself? This month I've read various books that offer tidbits of help, tidbits (and larger) of faith to help, and

What will tomorrow's children's books look like?

We had cloth books when we were babies, card books as we grew older, and "real paper" books when we finally learned to read. Actually, my brothers graduated to real paper books pretty early. I was a slow learner and just told and retold stories until the headmistress threatened me with a microphone. Then I learned to read, and have scarcely stopped to draw breath since. But what about our kids? My sons had plastic books when they were babies, card books as they grew older, and real paper books when they finally learned to read. If I remember rightly, one of them went straight from card to Harry Potter. Perhaps that was his incentive, just like the microphone was mine. But about grandkids (not that I have any)? A new generation will grow up with computers - computer babysitters with bright noises, computer stories with baby-talk and toys, then, maybe, their own personal ereader when they learn to read? Perhaps? One of the picture books I read this week feels like a very

Is Coffee a Mystery?

I've fallen behind with posting book reviews, so now I'm going to try my best to catch up before Thanksgiving... before Christmas... before New Year... before... Before sometime, but it's a mystery (and so are the books I'm reviewing here). A friend suggested I should retire before the mountain of incomplete reviews completely swamps me. She might be right. Anyway, the deaths and sorrow in these tales aren't caused by book reviews or mountains, but by people and the various trials of life. I loved reading them. I'm just sorry it's taken me so long to post my reviews. (Blame birthdays. Blame old age. Blame dry rot... Just don't blame the coffee. I need coffee!) First is the book whose author visited my blog yesterday (at ). The Valley by Brandon Daily is a haunting tale of Appalachia, told through the eyes of vivid characters, and glimpsed through the mist and fog of yea

Have You Visited The World Of Literature Recently?

Today I'm delighted to welcome Brandon Daily, author of A Murder Country and the Valley , to my blog, with a post about the joys and tribulations of being published. Having read both books, I'm delighted to have the chance to learn a little more about the author. Welcome Brandon. (And readers, please click on the book titles above to read my reviews. The Valley has just been released this month and looks set to be a real must-read.) The World of Literature by Brandon Daily             Back in 2012, I was a high school teacher who had written a full-length novel as a dare to myself (to see if I could write something long after having only written short fiction for a Creative Writing class in college). Like any writer, I had dreams and illusions of having that novel published, but I was (and still am) a realist, and so I realized that it probably wasn’t to be. The publishing world seemed like a glitz and glam Hollywood world from some old-time movie, where brilliant

How Good Are You At The Art Of Negotiation?

Virtual Tour   Author: Cindy Koepp   Featured Book Releases:   Remnant in the Stars   The Loudest Actions   November 7 – 21, 2017 I have some fascinating guests on my blog today. If you sit quietly - don't slurp your coffee - they might just teach you something of the gentle art of negotiation. Cindy Koepp, author of Remnant in the Stars and the Loudest Actions, asked them to visit here, and I'm very grateful to her. You might want to go and find Cindy's books ( )  after you've met these characters. But first, over to you Cindy, Ella, Burke and Sacaran. The Art of Negotiation Ella Font (EF) : Good morning, everyone. My name is Ella Font with the Interdimensional News Network, and I’m here today with Coalition Ambassador Burke Zacharias and Aolanian Ambassador Sacaran Asiki Raman. They are the negotiators for the Coalition and the Aolanians, and they’re headed out to meet some potentially new friends. Hello, Ambassadors. What can you

Are You Afraid Of Halloween?

When I was small, growing up in England, Halloween was so close to Bonfire Night , I could hardly tell them apart. First came black paper witches riding broomsticks crafted from twigs. We made them in school and took them home to decorate our bedroom windows. Gazing out past mine, I'd wonder if any bonfires might reflect in the clouds, and would witches dance. I'm not even sure we burned the guy in our neighborhood, but if we did I probably thought he was a witch on a broomstick too. When my kids were small, this strange new American custom had begun to invade. Churches railed against it. Neighbors ran parties in the garage and we would debate if our kids should join in. Then we moved to the States. And Halloween was huge. Kids parading around the school in their masks and candy for all. Kids parading the neighborhood. Knocks on the door. The churches still railed, but how could we refuse to let our kids join in. Being foreign, not understanding the culture, speaking with s