Showing posts from June, 2016

Dedicating a Red Lotus?

R.J. Sullivan's Commanding the Red Lotus Blog Tour! June 27 to July 3, 2016 Today I'm delighted to welcome RJ Sullivan to my blog, author of the Red Lotus stories. The books are fascinating, of course. But RJ is here today to tell about those often-skipped, hugely important lines that come before the story... the novel's dedication. So... over to you RJ, and I for one am very much looking forward to what you will tell. Anatomy of a Dedication by R.J. Sullivan If other authors are like me, behind every dedication is its own story. Here is the story about the one in Commanding the Red Lotus . Understand as you read that I am reflecting back over thirty years and through rose-tinted glasses. I was also a kid, and as such, not privy to all the details of extended family politics. So I’ll start by saying this is the best that I can recall and I may have it wrong. The worst that may happen is, that after this is published, my cell phone will ring with

Why Romance?

When I was a kid, I used to help out with the cleaning at home. I discovered serious fiction by cleaning my big brother's room very slowly, wafting a duster and devouring pages of his "classics of modern fiction." Meanwhile I found a novel called "Oil" under my dad's side of his bed. Many years later I watched a movie and recognized the tale. And under Mum's side of the bed? That was where I found my first romantic fiction. Soon I realized books under Mum's bed were pretty much the same as Gran's magazines, except a book told the whole story while a magazine only offered a chapter a week. I liked Gran's magazines and would take whole collections to college with me, to read in my down time. I liked Mum's books too, but felt oddly guilty about reading of people falling in love. They were "safe" books of course - no long explicit details of stuff a daughter might not need to know. And they were comfortable in a way my brother'

Does fiction lie, or tell truth through lies?

When I was a kid, writing and telling stories and dreaming of being a famous author one day, my brother told me girls could only be author-ess-es. The word was too hard to say. I decided he was wrong. One day I showed him one of my written stories, instead of just telling my curious tale out loud. He wasn't impressed. He told me fiction is lying, and lying is sin. But fiction was so much a part of me, I had to believe my brother was wrong again. He's now a retired teacher of history and politics, belongs to a writing group, and occasionally pens some really intriguing fiction. Meanwhile I still weave my webs of lies, trying to let the story reveal the truth behind, and dreaming of being a famous author still - not an authoress! And I'm writing book reviews, so find a coffee, join me and choose your read. Where Love Illumines by Donna Fletcher Crow is a beautifully researched story of the early days of Methodism. My beloved Cambridge plays its part, and feels evocat

Crossed any good genres recently?

Today I'm delighted to welcome Dan Jolley, author of Gray Widow's Walk, to my blog. He's known for comic books, video-games and more, and Gray Widow sounds like the perfect blend of superhero and haunting protagonist... or cross-genre, horror, scifi, cool, intriguing... Yeah, so what genre is it really, Dan? THE CROSS-GENRE QUESTION Dan Jolley I knew, when Stephen Zimmer at Seventh Star Press agreed to publish my new novel, Gray Widow’s Walk , that categorizing it might present a problem. People, humans in general, love to categorize things—animals, plants, food, cars, each other, themselves. One of the things I learned when I took a class on horror movies in college was that, when something crosses from one category into another, it makes people uncomfortable. That’s just a built-in psychological feature of most sentient minds. Zombies: are they alive or dead? That freaks me out! Werewolves: are they human or animals? I’m scared! (I’m afraid that that

What a Strange Strange World We Live In

Tomorrow I'm hosting a guest post from the author of Gray Widow's Walk. He ponders whether his real-world/different world (maybe even strange world) novel is science fiction, horror, romance, or a blend of more; but best of all, he ponders the strangeness of humanity which always wants to put things in boxes, label them and make them safe. When something's truly strange, when it doesn't fit in the box, then we get scared. And so it's hard to get a cross-genre novel published, the author claims. It's hard to advertise a story that can't just be labeled on put on the shelf. It's got to be hard to ask the library to shelve something inherently unplaceable. And... Well, really, we authors don't want our books on shelves so much as in readers' hands. And in this strange strange world, sometimes it's reading about something stranger that makes us see our fears as the follies they are. Just because someone looks differently, acts contrary to pop

Between The Lines - Sheila's Guests And Reviews

Image At ten I dreamed perhaps I'd be a teen, and double figures not enough to comfort me. At twenty, now I'd learned somehow those teen years really couldn't be all they're cracked up to be. At thirty, married, kids and harried, chasing through the years and tears that trucked and parried me... At forty life begins, they said so leave behind the things , and overhead the airplane bins fall open. Fifty, scared and thrifty. Coming soon, retirement, nifty dream I thought, but how? And sixty's dark desire to live again won't comfort me. At ten pm I guess I'll dream, and then... I was meant to write a blogpost about how I feel, blogging at that certain (getting ever more certain) age. But then I wrote a poem about how I feel as that certain (scary) age approaches, so I hope that's okay. As to how I feel about blogging, can someone please tell me why hours as well as clothes

Do kids know how to kare?

Today I'm delighted to welcome Charles Salter to my blog. He's the author of the Kare Kids Adventures series, and the first installment, The Secret of Bald Rock Island , has just been released. These books are aimed at fans of adventure fiction such as The Magic Treehouse series, so read on, find out more, and enjoy an interview with the author. ABOUT THE BOOK: Years ago, Kelcie's father disappeared at sea. Now that she's ten, Kelcie wants some answers.  With the help of her father's lifelong best friend, Mr. Bartleby, Kelcie crosses the island in search of clues to what may have happened the night her father disappeared which seem strangely linked with the legend of The Bald Rock Monster. From learning how lobstering works to understanding Mr. Bartleby's past, Kelcie pieces together the mystery and thinks she knows where she can find the ultimate answers: the forbidden area of the island, Bald Rock. ABOUT THE AUTHOR... Well, pour a coffee, pull up a ch

When the Point of View isn't You

I read a lot of books that are written from a female point of view. I guess a lot of them are children's books (mom-based), romances (woman seeks love), adventures (look--we women can have adventures too), etc. But four books this month were definitely guy-centric and great fun. Three of the four were also written by guys, which begs the question: d'you suppose it's easier for a guy to write from a guy's point of view and a gal from a gal's? Or would it be true that, since we're writing different characters in our heads, we can write from any point of view that works for the story being told. My next novel (after Infinite Sum... still "coming soon" from Indigo Sea) will be titled Subtraction and is told from the point of view of a guy who feels like he keeps losing everything. He takes a road trip and just might find himself, or true love, or a lost child. His point of view most certainly isn't mine, but I certainly feel like I know him well, hav

Are You A Pilgrim?

Pilgrims take journeys, as described in the first of my faith-ish reads from the last couple of weeks. But journeys can be internal or external. They can lead to secrets outside the self, but are best if they lead the self to secrets of its own. And maybe books are the same. Maybe each book read is a pilgrimage, with a destination that inspires, enlivens, saddens, teaches, or more. These four books all involve faith and life's journeys, and they're all different. But are you a pilgrim when you read? Starting with The Pilgrim Journey by James Harpur , this non-fiction book is filled with well-researched details of history, societies, and the implications of changing faith and beliefs. The history of icons and relics weaves into the tale, with saints and sinners, pilgrims and vacationers tracing and recording their different paths. I'm not a great reader of non-fiction, but this book surprised, intrigued and even entertained me, as well as informing me. Enjoy with some eleg

What Type of Children's Story Do You Prefer?

I've been given an interesting mix of children's stories for review recently, each with their own little nuggets of messages, each beautifully illustrated, and each enjoyable in a different way. Which led me to wonder, if I still had small children (or maybe if I ever have grandchildren) what sort of books would I prefer to share with them. So, find a coffee, and join me in my search: Indian Boyhood by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) would come high on my list. It's beautifully illustrated with images that add to the story, inviting readers (small or otherwise) to look deeper. The simple text is bracketed with informative start and end sections that help me "read" the pictures and know the author. The message is nicely lowkey. The history is fascinating and relevant. And the language is simple and clear. Enjoy this beautifully balanced story with some equally well-balanced, smooth, full-flavored three-star coffee. Also high on my list is Playmates for Puppies by Ro