Meet G.R. Holton, US Award-Winning Science Fiction Author

read-tellG.R. Holton, US award-winning science fiction author of YA novels, is visiting us today. Bob’s novella “Soleri” won the 2010 Best Science Fiction from Booksandauthors.net, while his horror novel “Deep Screams” won in 2011, the year Bob also won TheAuthorsShow.com’s “50 Best Writers You Should be Reading”. Bob also writes children’s picture book and screenplays.

Born in a little town in Massachusetts G. R. Holton served 4 ½ years as an Army Military Police officer until he had a severe breakdown caused by Bipolar. After a couple of failed marriages he found his angel who led him to Christ and changed his life. He appreciates those around him and loves life. We will chat with Bob about his soon-to-be-released novel “The Mob” and his writing life.

 

"I have three words that are printed out and taped above my monitor. They are Faith, Focus, and Patience. As a writer you need to have faith in your writing, maintain a focus on what you are trying to accomplish, and above all the patience to work the story through."

“I have three words that are printed out and taped above my monitor. They are Faith, Focus, and Patience. As a writer you need to have faith in your writing, maintain a focus on what you are trying to accomplish, and above all the patience to work the story through.”

 

Hello Bob, a warm welcome, a very happy wish on your birthday, and congratulations on your soon-to-be released novel THE MOB. Let’s chat about this one first. What is it about?

The Mob is a 1930s mobster story, a tale of a woman’s revenge for the death of her father. It is a new novel and screenplay due out on June 1st, 2013.

Would you like to give readers a one-sentence synopsis?

A ten year old girl swears vengeance for her father’s murder by a young mobster.

Where will it be available?

The book will be available on my website www.grholton.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books a Million, and most eBook sites.

What compelled you to write this one?

It is a collaboration work with Producer Marlene Mendoza. She had the idea of a woman wanting to become a singer and then marries into the mob. I thought it would be great to have it start out as a little girl losing her father to a gangster and then having her living for nothing but revenge.

What sets this one apart from the rest of your books? Is this a repeat or are there new excitements? 

This is an altogether out of the box for me. My other works are science fiction and fantasy. I loved the thought of the 1930s and gangsters. I grew up around an old Italian neighborhood where the mafia was known to be.

Tell us about the characters. Which actors would you choose to play these characters in a movie rendition? 

Well there is of course Antonio Capresi, the husband of Maria. I would love to see someone like Leonardo DiCaprio. Maria the vengeful wife… Hmmm…  Jessica Biel comes to mind first.

Why is this a must read?

Not only is this a story of a woman losing her father, but it is about the depths she would go to make his killer pay and include anyone that gets in her way.

When is the planned release?

Tell us your latest news. The book is now in final edit and is slated for release by World Castle Publishing around mid-June.

Coming soon

Coming soon


Sample paragraph, please?

Once they landed in Cozumel, Antonio took her straight to the room. Maria unpacked the suitcases while Antonio stood out on the balcony smoking a cigar and drinking a glass of Scotch from their in-room bar. She then went out on the balcony and joined her husband.

“Antonio, do me a favor and pour me a glass of champagne?”

“Sure doll, but do you want to drink before we go to supper?”

“Yeah…we are celebrating, aren’t we?”

“You got me there. One sec and I will get it.” Antonio said as he turned and faced her. He looked deeply into her eyes, took her face in his hands, and kissed her passionately. Maria returned the kiss as she had many times before.

Antonio opened a bottle of champagne and poured them both a glass. Returning to Maria on the balcony, he handed one of the drinks to her. “Maria, a toast. To us—may we have many beautiful years together, and love as long as time itself.”

“Cheers,” Maria said, placing the glass to her lips.

“Okay, enough with the drinks. I hope you are hungry, because I made reservations at the most renowned five star restaurant in the area.”

“I am ready to eat. Can I go freshen up my makeup?”

“Sure dollface, you have plenty of time. Go do your thing and then we will go.”

Maria went to the bathroom and stared into the mirror. She knew what this was all leading up to, and it almost made her want to vomit, but she was locked in. There was no turning back now. She had to play it through no matter what it took. She fixed her makeup, and then the two of them went downstairs to the front of the hotel. There they took a horse drawn surrey around town before stopping at a beautiful restaurant called Sammy’s Place.

After they had dinner they went dancing, and Maria had a few drinks. In fact, she had planned to get a little tipsy, because she knew she could never handle what was to come if she was sober.

 

 

White Magic, Black Magic, Ogres, Trolls, Dragon’s, and Fantasy galoreWould you like to tell us about Dragon’s Bow too?
Two sisters both seek the power of a fabled bow to change their lives, but for different reasons.

How real are your characters?

I like to consider my characters as real people in my head. They are often made after people I know and not just by name. I add their character also.

How long did it take you to write Dragon’s Bow?

My mentor has a name for me… “the machine”. I can sit and write 5,000 to 8,000 at a time if the day is good. But usually I average about 3,000 a day. This book took me just under two months to write.

How did you come up with the title?

Actually like most of my work it came to me in a dream. I was walking in a cave and found the bow and as soon as I picked it up it began to glow and the dragon that protected it came around corner. I woke up at that point and came out and started to write.

What is your favorite paragraph in Dragon’s Bow?

It is the poem that my wife and I came up with to locate the bow: Above the altar the wall shall be the secret of the wall to see. The holder of the heart must own, and be placed upon the wizard’s stone.

When did you first know you just had to write?

Writing was never a thought for me until I met my mentor Derek Milton, a movie director/screenwriter. He let me read his work and I knew at that point I had to try. It became the best therapy I could ever do.

Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

Ray Bradbury is one of the biggest. There is something about his style that just forces me to read further. When I read Fahrenheit 451 I couldn’t believe the way he put me in that story.
What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?

Well I am a disabled veteran. I said earlier that writing was therapy. I suffer from severe Bipolar disorder and can’t work around people. But with writing I can escape the real world and immerse myself into the worlds I am creating.

Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

I get my biggest encouragement from my Mom who lives with me and my wife. She is always asking me about my stories and telling me that I need to write when I am depressed or my manic side is getting the best of me.

How do you see writing Bob? And why?  

Writing is now my career. I love sitting and creating new worlds or new characters. It is either that or I go back to playing Farmville… I don’t think so…

How much do you have in common with your protag? 

I am nothing like my protags. They are usually very heroic, outgoing, and straight forward types. I am happy in my little house and to have my back to the wall whenever we go out to eat.

What are your hobbies?

I do a little bit of Fishing but other than that I play angry birds usually as a way to escape writer’s block. But that is going to change. I just found out I have congestive heart failure and need to make my hobby exercising.
When do you find the time to write?

Being disabled I am lucky I guess that I can write anytime that the people in my head want to talk. I usually do most of my writing in the late afternoon and evening. I am not a morning person.

Tell us a bit about who and what matters to you.

I am a fifty-year-old happily married man with three absolutely fantastic children, two cool step-children, and three of the most beautiful little granddaughters you could find. My granddaughters mean the world to me; though they are far away they are always in my heart.

How has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you?

My family can’t believe that I have become a writer. They support me and always want to be characters in my work. People treat me so nice when they hear that I am a published author and that I have won awards for it.

What one thing is important for your audience to know about you? Why?

I am an award-winning author and I am very proud of that. I won the 2010 Books and Authors.net’s Best Science Fiction for my book “Soleri” and again in 2011 for “Deep Screams”. I was also named as one of the “2011 Best Authors you Should be Reading” by The Author’s Show.com. I do the best I can at writing good stories people will like.

Any tips for us on reading and writing?

Yes… I have three words that are printed out and taped above my monitor. They are Faith, Focus, and Patience. As a writer you need to have faith in your writing, maintain a focus on what you are trying to accomplish, and above all the patience to work the story through.

Thank you so much for your time Bob, and I hope you will win many more awards. Best wishes for all of your books!

Readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting R.G. Holton. Come check out his website and follow his updates on

Click on the book covers in this interview for the books’ Amazon links.

Soleri100

 

 

Soleri: Three teens are teleported to another galaxy to help the aliens turn on a defense shield.

 

 

Deep Screams 100

 

 

Deep Screams: Horror and Death abound as a Space Station searches for a new Earth.

 

 

GuardiansAlliance 100

 

 

Guardian’s Alliance: A Science Fiction Space Opera where nine elite fighters brought together to protect the Heledrium Galaxy.

 

 

Click cover for Amazon US

 

 

SQUAZLES!: Teach your child with this picture book how not to judge others by appearance alone.

 

 

 

And here are my mini reviews of Soleri and Dargon’s Bow:

 

 SOLERI, reviewed by Ia Uaro 

Title: Soleri
Author: G.R. Holton
ISBN: 978-1938243707
Wesley, the son of an electronic engineer, builds a robot. When he uses Dad’s new transducer chip, he, together with his sister Macy, her best friend Ashley, and their dog Poston are accidentally teleported to an alien planet.  This planet called Soleri, and the Solerians are slaves of their cruel neighbours the Tojinians, who force them to grow food.  The Solerian leader informs the teen about an imminent attack from the Tojinians and he needs to activate his defense shield. However the shield controller, which will also needed to help the teens return to earth, is deep within the catacombs of Soleri and is under the control of the Tojinian guards.
Einstein once said that if you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it enough. G.R. Holton clearly shows a fantastic imagination in creating a brand-new planet and its inhabitants, and he knows how to explain it simply with just the right amount of fascinating details as the story flows.
Soleri is a steampunk science fiction peopled with likeable characters and filled with lively dialogues and suspenseful obstacles. Highly entertaining and moving, this is a book for readers of all ages.

 

DRAGON’S BOW, reviewed by Ia Uaro
Title: Dragon’s Bow
Author: G.R. Holton
ISBN: 978-1938243691
Inventive author G.R. Holton creates horrible creatures and beautiful humans in the island Kratonin and its surrounding fantasyland, and weaves fun interaction among them as he rolls out an exciting plot of white magic clashing with dark magic.
Evil Malahan plots to deceive the white-witch Queen of Kratonin in order to obtain a powerful offspring from her, and twin sisters Adria and Audra are born as the results of this mix black magic and white magic. Audra is determined to follow their father’s evil ways and conquer the world, while her twin is determined to cleanse her sister’s dark soul.
Trust Holton’s ability to give young readers an entertaining fun-pack action adventure and to throw in moral values without shoving it down their throats. The twins’ training and dangerous challenges are detailed with excellent imagination, as always, and thoroughly thought-out.

 

 

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Tania Elizabeth, Australian author of fantasy novel “The Moon Clearing”

 

Tania Elizabeth, Australian author of “The Moon Clearing”, the first book in the fantasy series “The Tie of Eternal Grace” is visiting us today.

 

Tania is fundraising for Starlight Children's Foundation—helping sick children.

Tania is fundraising for Starlight Children’s Foundation—helping sick children. Click this image to donate.

 

Like each and every one of us, Tania’s own journey has been one of trials and tribulations, of love and of passions; and the dissolution of it. Heartache, sorrows, smiles and laughter always seeming. Though through the struggles, she found her true self. Through the words of Tatiana, her growth continued as further peace within was found. Alongside the words, her mentors and her guides of thee divine, Tania has healed within. That is not to say that she does not have her moments of ego minds elapse, though she has learnt to now understand what it is to acknowledge when this appears and to then surrender it’s wrath back to the universe. It is now Tania’s only dream to unite the world through Love, one soul at a time. And it all begins with a smile and an I LOVE YOU!

 

Tania Elizabeth, Australian author of  "The Tier of External Grace", a fantasy novel set in magical land—Eterna Fadas.

“Awake each day being grateful for who you are and all you have. The reading, the writing will all be as you have ever dreamed it to be, provided you have absolute faith and belief in oneself.”— Tania Elizabeth, Australian author of “The Moon Clearing”, a fantasy novel set in magical land Eterna Fadas.

 

Hello Tania, would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of “The Moon Clearing”?

Book One of the series ‘The Moon Clearing’ is an immersive tale of mysticism and adventure, of spiritual and sensual intent that shall enrapture your every sense.

How real are your characters?

Though this is a fantasy fiction, and thy beings are of an ethereal nature from a realm unlike that of our own. The stories of Tatiana and her people are wound into the conceptions of reality. Love, Compassion, betrayal, deceit, sexual energies. All emotions and acts felt on as much an undesirable standpoint as it is the assured. Each of the characters are also based on aspects of myself and that of people I have come into contact with throughout my lifetime. Therefore, I would like to say that my characters are very real.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? When did you first know you just had to write?

The inspiration arose from many things. My love of fantasy, in particular that of faeries. Though do not think childlike. These ethereal beings are one of strength, being sensually and spiritually consumed. Though my want for this trilogy was also of my love for wanting others to gain an understanding of themselves . . . to love oneself within. I wanted to create a story that not only allowed the reader to delve into an enchanting realm of every emotion under the sun, but to create a read that would enable the reader to begin a journey of self discovery. To gain an understanding for their own selves as well as that of others. Where judgment and fear did not hold strength.

How long did it take you to write the book?

Book One took 11 months in total.

How did you come up with the title?

The title came to me in meditation. I am of a very spiritual nature and have much faith in my connection with that of my higher self.

What is your favorite line in this book?

“Your heart was always in the right place even if it was in the wrong place!”

 

"The Moon Clearing", Book One of  the fantasy series The Tier of Eternal Grace Australian author Tania Elizabeth says, "The Moon Clearing is an immersive tale of mysticism and adventure, of spiritual and sensual intent that shall enrapture your every sense."

“The Moon Clearing”, Book One of the fantasy series The Tier of Eternal Grace. Its Australian author Tania Elizabeth says, “The Moon Clearing is an immersive tale of mysticism and adventure, of spiritual and sensual intent that shall enrapture your every sense.”

 

Thank you! Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

Enid Blyton. For it was her books, The Adventures of the Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair in which had me lost in the fantasy worlds as a child.                      

Then you would have the classical and poetic writings of William Shakespeare. This being where my love for poetry began.                                                                   

And, last but certainly not least, I must mention, Florence Scovel Shinn, who wrote the book in which became the catalyst for my own journey of self,  love and discovery.

What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?

The editing process. Not from my end, but from that of my editors. It took a few attempts at having them understand my poetic style of writing. Therefore they would change context to suit the general, when this is not as I had intended. I would then have to change things back. Though it has all been a learning curve, and one in which I could only grow from as a writer.

Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

It would have to be my three beautiful children and that of my father. Having them stand beside me on my own journey, only gives me further belief in my own strengths and that of all that I am capable of accomplishing.

What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

At present I am writing the second book to the trilogy ‘The Mirrors Shadow’. A read of lost. Will thy be found? Through hearts beauty and the soul’s calling, will she awaken from her mind removed? Will their realm wield to the break?

Do you see writing as a career or distraction? Why?

My writings are that of heart and it is my passion. So as long as that still lives within me, then there will always be words to come.

How much do you have in common with your protag, Tania?

She is me. I am her. We are one and the same in regards to beliefs and thought processes. Though I am not capable of magic as she is, I do believe that we all attain the power to perform any such magic, provided complete belief and faith are held. What disables us as humans to have such power, is our human minds, which have been dealt those two things that stop us from doing and believing in all that we do . . .fear and doubt.

What are your hobbies?

I love the outdoors and staying active as much as possible. So hiking, swimming, kickboxing, gym and dance of course . . . I love to dance!

Sounds fun! What is your other profession? When do you find the time to write?

I am a mother first and foremost. Thus, my days are full with all that they do and are. They are my life. I also write a few columns. Though come by my night, and, that is when my magic happens. That is when I have time to become one with myself and that of my words.

Tell us a bit about who or what matters to you.

Besides that of my children. Family. Friends. Mother Earth. Truth. Faith. Belief. Gratitude and above all else, Love. For none of this would be possible without it.

How has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you?

I am still me, just as I will forever be me. Though my attitude towards life has changed dramatically, and it is through those aspects that others have looked upon me differently. Though this had only been in a positive manner. As my friends all state, ‘I am a Love Bubble’. I love life and life loves me back.

 Any tips for us on reading or writing?

The only advise I have, is to awake each day being grateful for who you are and all you have. The reading, the writing will all be as you have ever dreamed it to be, provided you have absolute faith and belief in oneself.  

Great advice! What one thing is important for your readers/audience to know about you? Why?

I am an advocate for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Having seen first hand what these children and their families must go through on a day to day basis. To see what strength they must conjure every waking minute. By raising awareness and funds for such a worthy cause, I alongside so many others, help to make their lives just that little bit easier and assist in making their dreams come true. This is why at present I am running a fundraising event ‘Starlight Author’s Aid’.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation transforms the experience of hospitalisation and treatment for seriously ill children and their families- Starlight is the only children’s charity with a permanent , physical presence in very major paediatric hospital in the country. Every minute of every day a child is admitted to hospital in Australia. For thousands of these children what happens next is the diagnosis of a serious or chronic illness that changes their life, and the lives of their families, forever.

This is where Starlight steps in – delivering a range of innovative programs, built on the World Health Organisation’s social model of health, to support the well-being and resilience of these seriously ill children and their families. Starlight programs are integral to the total care of seriously ill children – while the health professionals focus on treating the illness, Starlight is there to lift the spirits of the child – giving them the opportunity to laugh and play and be a child again.

If anyone would like to help change the lives of seriously ill children and make a donation, even that of a single dollar, for every bit counts, you may do so via this link: Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Thank you so much for your time, Tania!

Readers,  I hope you have enjoyed meeting Tania; now let’s support her cause!  Come visit Tania’s Facebook, blog and YouTube. Her book “The Tier of Eternal Grace” is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

 

 

 

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Meet Carlyle Labuschagne, author of Young Adult urban fantasy.

Read & Tell

 

 

 

 

My guest today is urban-fantasy author Carlyle Labuschagne, a firm believer in YA saves!  This South African PR and Marketing Manager holds a diploma in creative writing through the writing school at Collage SA.

 

Carlyle Labuschagne, South African author of urban-fantasy novel The Broken Destiny, voted #3 in Goodreads Debut list 2012

Carlyle Labuschagne, South African author of Young Adult urban-fantasy:
” My goal as an author is to touch people’s lives
and help others love their differences and one another.”

 

Carlyle is working her way into the hearts of international readers. Her debut novel “The Broken Destiny” was voted #3 on the Goodreads Debut list for 2012. Today, she has agreed to chat with me about its sequel, which is due to be released later this year .

Before we start, let’s visit the first novel for a bit to help readers who are yet unfamiliar with The Broken series.

 

Book One in The Broken series: The Broken Destiny 

Prologue

All my life, I had searched for something, something I thought I ought to be. I felt like I was living someone else’s life, waiting for the awakening of my own. I felt like an empty shell burning for life. That was, until the day I lay dying in the prince’s chambers. I could no longer feel the pain from the tear in my gut. The only sensation left was a hollowed-out feeling that I had made a huge mistake in assuming that taking my own life, would have stopped the ancestors’ spirit from raging out. I had given up. I didn’t want to see myself killing the ones I loved. I was the Chosen one, but I threw it all away for what I thought would save a life. Could you end a life to save a life? I did, and I have regretted it ever since. I realized then that things like me are not meant to exist. What had been missing my whole life? It was I. To find myself, I had to lose myself in the worst possible way. The consequences of my actions became the legend of The Broken.

 

The Broken Destiny , YA novel by Carlyle Labuschange, South African urban-fantasy author. This is the first book in The Broken series. "The Broken" is genetically enhanced human race. They live with other races in planet Poseidon after the destruction of the earth.

The Broken Destiny, urban-fantasy YA novel
by South African author Carlyle Labuschange. This first book in The Broken series was voted #3 in Goodreads Debut list 2012 .
“The Broken” is genetically enhanced human race. They live with other races in planet Poseidon after the destruction of the earth.

 

The Setting

Poseidon, a complex dystopian planet where humans migrate to after the earth was destroyed. Beautiful, mysterious, exotic. The Council rules Poseidon’s inhabitants the humans, Minoans, and Zulus races.

 

Blurb

“The Broken” is a race of genetically enhanced humans. 16-year-old Ava, third generation of The Broken, knows much more, and feels much more than she is allowed to. When she starts questioning her origins and the destruction of Earth, things go horribly wrong for her. She is saved by a Minoan boy from an attempted kidnapping on her life–the perpetrators are evil Zulus and their dark ancient magic. Humans and Minoans are forbidden to interact with each other, and as she is taken back to their village she finds out why–they know of her, her kind and her destiny to save a dying race. Ava must rid them from the Council’s ruling and free the galaxy of The Shadow. Her destiny is to rise above the fall, because within her soul is the key to an archaic weapon that has been missing in the mix of a genetic code since the time of the ancients. As the prophecy unfolds she learns of her bloodline–a bloodline that makes her less human than she could ever have imagined. She alone has the power to destroy or save, but the mind-shift is a horrible thing. Ava will become what she hates to save the ones she loves. Beaten, poisoned, possessed and betrayed by her own emotions, she has no choice but to rise above it all… for that is her Destiny. 

 

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16-year-old Ava discovers her destiny is to save a dying race.
Beaten, poisoned, possessed —and betrayed by her own emotions,
she has no choice but to rise above it all.

 

Now let’s meet the fabulous author and check out the sequel.

Hello Carlyle, thank you for stopping by. What is the book title of Book Two?

Evanescent A Broken Novel

Would you please give our readers a one-sentence synopsis of Evanescent?

Her fall has just begun and only HIS touch can save her from the mind-shift that could destroy it all.

Where do you get your inspiration for this sequel? Did you base the sequel on what readers like from the first book or your own inspiration? 

I knew with my first book it was going to be a series. Sequel is a bit of what my imagination had in mind for me and a dash of what my readers liked from book one.

Tell us about the characters. Which actors would you choose to play these characters in a movie rendition?

I have a vast cast, form Zulu’s to Ancient Minoans and then the genetically enhanced kind. Please visit my Pinterest board.

What sets Evanescent apart from your first book? Is this a repeat or are there new excitements?

This book is very very different from book one. Its an entire new world!

Why is this a must read?
I’ve incorporated so many hard hitting issues that teenagers and most people crave for closure, I just did it in a creative way:

-Love in all its forms. Of one’s self , the good and the bad.

-Differences between races and people.

-The journey, the struggle, anger, betrayal, disappointment, rape, suicide, murder.

-Of believing in one’s self.

-Fighting to make your own destiny.

Sample paragraph, please?

It had been written many times over, been portrayed in so many Earth movies. Those flashes that pass through you before you die. But to me, it was not my life I was leaving behind, it was the choices I had made which had brought me to this moment, the moment before the reckoning. The shift had caused a rift within me. When the first blood-shift came, it tore through flesh and blood, threatening to bend me, break bone, shatter my mind and entrap my heart with its honeyed seductive poison. It came with vicious intent, moving my thoughts, altering me forever. It had many ways out, and when it was released, there was nothing that could stop it. No one was safe when it entrapped me in its claws of foul lust. Crooked, damnable, depraved, destructive, hideous – your kind would call it many things. In my blood, runs the thing our kind call The Shadowing disease. It shadows over, and turns everything to its will. I, however, had the only antidote against the evil that becomes me – his touch alone has the power to release the spurs of a sweet darkness that clung on for dear life. I knew what I had to do; the desperation pulled my mind with the deep determination of a hungry predator. But, by the time the revelation lifted me from the dark dungeon of our bounds – it was too late.

When is the planned release?

Evanescent due for release late 2013 – between Oct and Nov.

And we’ll be looking forward to Evanescent. Now, would you like to share a bit about yourself? What are your hobbies?

I love to swim, fights for the trees, and I’m a food lover who is driven by passion. I also write for IU e-magazine—an inspirational non-profit magazine that aims at inspiring the world through words.

What matters the most to you?

The drive behind my author career is healing through words. My goal as an author is to touch people’s lives and help others love their differences and one another.

Very commendable, Carlyle, my best wishes on that.

Want to share your latest news?

Latest news: The Broken Destiny just hit the local bookstores!

Congratulations! Good luck for The Broken Destiny, and thank you so much for visiting Carlyle—keep in touch!

Readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting Carlyle. Follow her on Twitter @CarlyleL , Goodreads, Facebook, and check out her website, blog and book trailer. Her book The Broken Destiny is available from Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

And of course, here’s my review of the first book:

 

The Broken Destiny, reviewed by Ia Uaro

 

Author: Carlyle Labuschagne

ISBN: 978-1612048727 (paperback),  ASIN: B009I3TE9S (eBook)

 

“The Broken” is a race of genetically enhanced humans, survivors of the destroyed earth who have migrated to Poseidon, an exotic dystopian planet. Three races cohabit this new planet: the Broken (humans), the Minoans, the Zulus—but strict apartheid segregation rules forbid them to interact. Poseidon is ruled by The Council. It is here 16-year-old Ava, third generation of The Broken, questions her existence, challenges the boundaries and gets into trouble.

Meanwhile some evil Zulus want to take over the planet for sinister purposes and they want Ava because she alone has the key to save the planet—whether she is willing or not. Ava learns more about herself after being abducted by the Zulus and saved by the Minoans. Apparently, she is The Chosen One. She has been predestined to be the planet’s Savior.

And her path isn’t easy. It involves internal and external struggles—and boys and black magic and various dangers. Dealing with these complex issues, the headstrong girl reluctantly journeys from being a self-absorbed teen to become a responsible savior. Yeah, this part reminds me of a book from the 80s about a reluctant Jesus who’d rather stick with his day job as a mechanic instead of becoming the Savior as predestined, if only he had a choice. However, despite traces of influences from the South African local politics and a rigid salvation dogma, the talented and imaginative Carlyle Labuschagne has invented a highly original new world packed with actions and tangled with intrigues that is sure to delight fans of dystopian fantasy.

THE BROKEN DESTINY is a complex weave of dystopian science fiction and urban fantasy, paranormal, mystery, and YA romance with mild sexual references. An entertaining coming-of-age novel with message.

 

 

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Meet Sue-Ellen Holmes—Neuroscientist and Science Fiction Author

 

read & tell

 

 

 

 

 

Sue-Ellen Holmes, Australian author of several science-fiction and urban-fantasy novels for young adults is with us today. Sue is different from most authors. She is very shy, humble, but she writes about outspoken, passionate heroines who would fight for justice.

 

SueEllen Holmes, Australian author of best dystopian Young Adult novels

Sue-Ellen Holmes, Australian author of best dystopian and urban fantasy Young Adult novels

 

Hello Sue, lovely to have a neighbour stopping by J It was so entertaining your book BRINK. Would you be so kind to give readers its one-sentence synopsis?

In the near future where the intellect rules and science offers civilisation’s only salvation, a mad-man bio-terrorist is determined to purge the planet of its human stain and the only one standing in his way is defiant hyper-immune girl called Io, whose ridiculed physical gifts may just give her the upper fist.

The setting of Brink: Maverick Institute of Advance Thought, in the near future.

The setting of Brink: Maverick Institute of Advance Thought, in the near future.

 

How real are your characters?

Well it’s really important to create characters with the full range of human emotions, complexity and depth, but whether I succeed or not is for the reader to judge. Often what’s in your head is not always transcribed well on the page no matter how hard you try because real people are actually quite confusing and their motivations are often obscure. I have a Psych degree, but as in life, I find that’s no help at all. As you can tell, I’m good at nailing confusion!

You’re good at building the characters! Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’m a Neuroscientist, so many aspects of the physical world fascinate me. If I had my time over, I think I’d specialise in bacteria and viruses—they’re such perfectly nasty little suckers. So, it was only natural that I wrote about something I’m very interested in. Also, many people write about catastrophe in retrospect and I thought it would be fun to see an extinction event as it unfolds. BRINK was actually the first full length novel I attempted and it’s ten years old now. Unfortunately, if I’d had the skills back then to clean up the story and edit it to a higher standard, I might have beaten the current slew of dystopian/post-apocalyptics flooding the market. Still, despite the poor timing, it’s a far better story now that I’ve practiced and schooled myself in the art of writing and I’m grateful for the delay.

 

Brink by SueEllen Holmes: a mad-man bio-terrorist is determined to purge the planet of its human stain and the only one standing in his way is defiant hyper-immune girl called Io, whose ridiculed physical gifts may just give her the upper fist.

Brink by SueEllen Holmes: a mad-man bio-terrorist is determined to purge the planet of its human stain and the only one standing in his way is defiant hyper-immune girl called Io, whose ridiculed physical gifts may just give her the upper fist.

 

The catastrophe is well detailed. When did you first know you just had to write?

I’ve been writing creatively since primary school—poetry and short stories—but didn’t attempt a full length novel until I was an adult. Now writing’s like breathing and I can’t imagine a day without it. I resent anything that interferes, such as mortgage-paying jobs and maintaining personal hygiene. All of my jobs involve either academic writing or educational writing, so I guess it’s always been deep in my bones.

How long did it take you to write Brink?

The writing process is very quick for me, it’s the editing and fine tuning that takes a long time. I finished an entire re-write of the first version of BRINK for a contest (ABNA 2011) in four frenzied days. It’s taken months since to fine-tune.

How did you come up with the title?

I wanted a word that represented not only the visual image of teetering on a cliff, but also one that auditorily came to a screeching halt. I spent a long time messing around with crappy titles, until BRINK finally hit me.

What is your favourite phrase in Brink?

“They’ll come” because it encapsulates a particularly unexpected instance of treachery and provides a bit of a cliff-hanger in a book that is mostly stand-alone.

 

Coming soon... Click here to find out more about Sue's next novels

Coming soon… Click here to find out more about Sue’s next novels

 

Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

The list evolves, as there have been so many. I know it’s cliché for fantasy writers, but I love Tolkien or any author who can transport the reader to a place that, although utterly strange and unreal, seems likely (of course, J K Rowling). Dr Seuss is the earliest genius I remember encountering. Everything he’s done is just so gleeful, yet also imparts a subtle, valuable message. I read Dune when I was quite young and even though it necessitated a dictionary and periods of extensive confusion, I just loved the grand scope of that series, the tantalising possibility of it all. At the moment, I’m enjoying Laini Taylor and her exciting new spin on angel mythology. It sounds harsh, but I cherish any writer who can effortlessly keep me turning pages. Currently, I put so many potentially good YA stories down unread due to boredom and it’s such a shame.

What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?

I’m a fairly solitary creature so the great stretches of time alone writing don’t bother me, as it does some people. Besides, I’m surrounded by the characters I conjure on the page. It’s when I’m forced to venture outside the comfortable sphere of my study, even in virtual realms that I find being an author testing. Discoverability is something I’ve struggled with and failed miserably to master—letting the target reader know you’re actually there. And reaching teens is not the easiest in reality, let alone across the world wide web. Plus, if you’re not determined to overcome the self-doubt, the lack of financial reward, the constant rejection and less than glowing opinions, forget about it. So in essence, real thick-skinned writers never give up!

But getting immersed in your writing is a wondrous adventure and a reward in itself, right? Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

Selling the odd book tends to give me an enduring high… My family, while not effusive in their encouragement, are stoically non-critical of my crazy dream to work full-time as an author. They weather the tears and gin-abuse with eye-rolling fortitude. My adorable  long-suffering husband no longer bothers to compete with the computer for attention and now sleeps with his surfboard. It doesn’t matter how much external validation you get, if you don’t ‘back’ yourself nothing anyone can say will make a difference—which is supremely ironic given this entire career choice is about the subjective opinion of others. Go figure…

Sounds rather like my long suffering, accepting family! What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

I’m attempting to work on completing the trilogies for each of the novels I’ve published on my website http://www.unrealya.com . Unfortunately, I’ve a few rather annoying jobs that eat up far too much time, so the endeavour is patchy at best. And I’m toiling to complete a space opera that is my own personal favourite, Able Unwilling.

You’re very creative  and courageous! Do you see writing as a career or distraction? Why?

A career, without doubt, because it’s the thing I most love doing (except in my pesky day jobs, which are the true distractions!). You know that old adage ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’? It’s true. Now, if I could just make enough/any money as an idle, gin-swilling, hammock-swinging writer…

 

Other books by SueEllen Holmes, now available. Click here to find out more about these books.

Other books by SueEllen Holmes, now available. Click here to find out more about these books.

 

And we can’t possibly give to readers something that we can’t love. How much do you have in common with your protag?

Io is head-strong, highly strung and anti-authoritarian, while I am as meek as a lamb. <I read this aloud and assorted family members were on the floor in tears of hilarity. I admit to being slightly miffed at the implication I am in any way oppositional. I am so not!> Okay, so maybe Io and I share some character traits. But she is also elegant and athletic, the opposite of clumsy old me (her abilities are wishful thinking on my part, perhaps).

I could see you when I was reading her 🙂      What are your hobbies?

Writing, painting, writing, running, writing, reading, writing, surfing (sort of, see comment above)… Oh, and that elusive past-time of doing absolutely nothing for a stretch longer than thirty seconds. Not to mention shamelessly embarrassing my adolescent children at every opportunity.

What is your other profession? When do you find the time to write?

I’m a Neuroscientist by trade, but am working as a monkey-slave running research for several sets of doctors at the moment. Squeezing time out of the day is the biggest challenge right now and writing is relegated to the weekend, much to my irritation. This means I’ve been working seven days a week now for two and a half years. My body is frozen in the seated position, which makes jogging particularly challenging (and fairly awkward).

Sue, come tell us a bit about who or what matters to you.

My husband and my children are the world. They provide me with that other essential ingredient in a life worth living: laughter (even if it’s often at my expense).

Wonderful family!  🙂  Now, how has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you?

I’d have to say it’s barely made a ripple to the exchanges I have with others. In the beginning, I had too many friends apologising for ‘not getting around’ to reading my stuff, which just made everyone fidget and stare at the floor. Unless I morph into Stephanie Meyer overnight and people beg me for a profound sound-bite (and despite what people think of her technique, that woman is a brilliant example of connecting with her target audience. I’d take tips from her any day), I’ll be sticking to my ‘keep quiet and don’t startle the nervous/apathetic/guilty associate’ approach. Clearly, self-promotion is not my forte.

What one thing is important for your readers/audience to know about you? Why?

I work my bum off to avoid boring readers… I study television and movies to see how tension is maintained, strive to first and foremost write entertaining adventure stories where the protagonist struggles to prevail, much like everyday life, only bigger, harder and in much weirder places, usually with a generous helping of the supernatural or technology or my friend ‘the germ’. Boredom is the enemy of good story-telling.

Any tips for us on reading and/or writing?

If I were to offer tips on writing technique, the underlying inference seems to be that I am somehow an expert, which I do not feel is true. There is always something more to learn about writing. Reading good books is the best thing an aspiring writer can do—find examples that you love and try to discern why they push your buttons, what you admire. See if you can somehow emulate them with your very own twist. The best I can suggest is to keep writing and endure—never give-up on yourself. Oh, and remember when receiving criticism that planet earth would be a very boring place if we all liked the same things. Even Harry Potter got a one star now and then. So, have a laugh and go in search of a large gin to toast the honest effort.

What you’d like people to know about you apart from the questions above?

That I sing like a nightingale, am exceptional at ballet, have an IQ to rival Hawking and speak ancient Hebrew at parties just for the smart-arsed hell of it… I harbour a secret desire to be a dark avenger and right society’s wrongs ala Dexter Morgan, only a little less messy as I’m averse to doing housework. Well, Ia, you didn’t specify it had to be true (except for that last part)!

 Hahahahaha… you forget to mention your sense of humour!  

It’s been fun Sue, good luck with all these marvelous books, thanks again for coming!

 

Readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting Sue. And now my review of BRINK, here it goes:

 

Book title: Brink

ASIN: B007DMWZXS, 306 pages

Author: Sue-Ellen Holmes

 

The year isn’t clear, but BRINK takes place in the future when science dominates our earth. This first book in the Maverick trilogy is the story of 17-year-old Io Calypso, originally of Maverick Institute of Advance Thought. Here intellectual brilliance and obedience are the most valued assets, but alas, rebellious Io is a freedom-craving girl with physical gifts and a penchant for rock climbing instead.

On the day Io gets into trouble for challenging Maverick’s constrictive rules, a mad bio-terrorist places humankind at the brink of extinction by permanently covering the land with hazardous pollution and deadly disease. To survive, Io and 14 other survivors must take refuge in a shielded subsurface pod, protected from harm. Io loses her entire family in the disaster, except her grandmother. Or so she believes as she grieves.

Concerns for her grandmother’s health cause Io to sneak back to Maverick, their former luxurious home, one year later. Unexpectedly, impossibly, she encounters a surprise survivor, and learns that the disaster which she had thought was an accident was actually a sabotage staged by a devious and dangerous enemy, and that more survivors exist. Is her beloved brother Iz among them?

Enter Io’s pod members, geniuses who have shielded the deviant girl from the truth for her own “good”. At the head is her bossy, crafty grandma; at her side is Wim—an over-protective friend; around her is an assortment of interesting characters who now must back Io as this tough girl embarks on her lethal mission to free Iz from the clutch of menacing evil.

BRINK is a gripping dystopian science fiction that will delight smarter readers. Io is of your typical teen-against-the-world variety, but she has an extra-ordinary immune system and splendid determination. Sue-Ellen Holmes plays the early events by flipping the present and the past back and forth. These frequent flips wouldn’t allow me to lose myself in the mood of the scenes at the beginning, but once the story flows Io’s adventures through dangers are carefully plotted and original, the catastrophe and treacherous grounds vividly detailed, the descriptions imaginative, and the narration at times chilling.

 

 

 

Click here to enter Sue's website

Click here to enter Sue’s website

 

 

 

Meet Matt Posner, Author of the Shocking “THE PARING KNIFE”

 

Read & Tell

 

My guest today is Matt Posner, another author of the fabulous Carnival of Cryptids. Author of sevral books, Matt is a writer and an English teacher from New York City, where he is also a performing poet and percussionist with The Exploration Project, New York’s premier avant-garde multimedia club band.

 

matt posner headshot

Matt Posner, author of “The Paring Knife”:
I want my writing to change lives for the better. I want to be entertaining, but I also want the reader to feel more at ease with the universe.

Thanks for having me, Ia. I’m here today to promote Kindle All-Stars 2:  Carnival of Cryptids. It’s an anthology featuring short stories by seven up-and-coming independent authors, selected and introduced by our leader, kick-ass author and kick-ass cop Bernard Schaffer. Cryptids are mysterious creatures suspected but never proven to exist, like Bigfoot or Loch Ness monster, or your homeland’s equivalents, Yowie and Bunyip. Buyers of this anthology get a dual benefit. They get the stories, which are all suspenseful narratives by publishing professionals, and they get their full purchase price donated to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a magnificent charity here in the United States.

Carnival of CryptidsCOMING SOON

Carnival of Cryptids. Proceeds from this book will go to
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

 

Hello Matt, what a noble endeavor! And what a fantastic collection; I am deeply impressed by the high quality of every story in Carnival of Cryptids. Could you please let our readers know about your contribution to this anthology?

I wrote a story called “The Paring Knife,” and I am helming the publicity campaign for the book.

Would you be so kind to give them a one-sentence synopsis of “The Paring Knife”?

It’s a dark underground cooking TV show in which some of the ingredients are cryptids and the losers get attacked by children with knives.

How real are your characters?

They are modeled on the people I see on Food Network and The Cooking Channel. Not on specific people, just on the various types who are there. If you watch competitive cooking, you will find a lot you recognize.

Yes, your characters marvelously represent those in real TV shows. Great observation!

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

Since I was in Kindle All-Stars: Resistance Front, I’ve made it my ambition to be a part of the regular roster for the series. I was happy Bernard Schaffer picked cryptids as a theme, since I have been studying them since childhood.

How long did it take you to write The Paring Knife?

I started it in July and submitted it at the end of October. I was stuck at the end of the second round of competition for a while, not sure who would be eliminated or why.

But you ended up with such a shocking, delightful story. Man… I’ll never eat pakoras again! But you must be a wicked cook. How did you come up with the title?

I wanted something that featured both the idea of elimination of contestants (paring away) and contained the menace inherent in the situation (losers are attacked with knives).

Brilliant! And what is your favorite part in the story?

I mock one of 2011’s bestselling novels at a certain spot. I like that part.

I noted that! Perhaps you mocked more than its title, I wouldn’t know though.

Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

I read voraciously growing up, so there are really far too many to name or even recall. Every time I think I have that nailed down, I remember another one I should have mentioned. So for variety’s sake, I’ll say which authors I really DON’T like:  Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, William Golding, and Virginia Woolf (barf!)

Hahahaha… In my country of birth I chose science, and am I glad we were never forced to read books we didn’t want to read 🙂 How about writing? What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?

Writing—I think I have that figured out. It’s marketing myself that is the challenge now. I wish I had a marketing degree.

Looks like effective marketing is either costly or time-consuming; a real challenge for me too as I must focus on my family first. I wish you success in your effort. Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

My beloved wife Julie makes me a functional human being. Having read Sydney’s Song, I know you know what it’s like to feel someone completes you that way.

What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

I’m working on School of the Ages:  Simon Myth. It’s the fourth book in my series. It’s damn hard to finish because my plotline has turned out to be unreasonably ambitious. I hope I can finish it before the summer.

Do you see writing as a career or distraction? Why?

I’m a professional teacher. I have a union job. I wouldn’t give that up unless I had just ridiculous amounts of money rolling in. Is writing a distraction? No, it isn’t that either. I think about writing all the time and I am constantly getting ideas with no time to execute them. Even when I went on European vacation last time, I wrote as much fiction and nonfiction as I could.

Yes, it was in your third School of the Ages: The War Against Love. I will include my review on that one at the end of this interview so our readers can learn more about the series.
How much do you have in common with your protag?  

As far as “The Paring Knife” is concerned, it’s the script of a TV cooking show, so it doesn’t precisely have a protagonist. Instead, I used the story as a chance to be much more vicious and wicked to my characters than I would ever be to real people—and to be funny doing it.

As far as the protagonist of the School of the Ages series, Simon, I have a lot in common with him.  I was a dark-minded brooder when I was his age. The difference is that he’s heroic and bold, and I never was those things.

That’s the joy of writing, isn’t it? One of my best friends was always a shooting champ in her writings, because in real life she never won the first place. What are your hobbies?

Book promotion has mostly replaced my old hobbies. I still like to go to art museums. Julie and I travel, especially overseas, when we can afford it. We are also movie and TV aficionados, seeking out not only the standard Hollywood fare, but also great foreign, independent, and older movies.

Book promo! My family is allergic to that, so I’m done with methods that don’t work to be with them. Good luck with your effort though. And give us a shout whenever you’ll visit Aussieland. Foreign movie? Check out Intouchables if you haven’t seen it.

Tell us a bit about who or/and what matters to you.

I wish I could do something to get the generation of students I am teaching to value and enjoy reading. What’s most frustrating is their almost instantaneous rejection of things that are not in their immediate world-view, and their experience of reading as a difficult, burdensome task to which most anything else is preferable. I wish I could change all that.

That is sad. My daughter’s friend wrote recently that a boy’s best friend is no longer a dog. It’s now a computer, where he mostly play games such that kids in non English-speaking countries don’t know how to write in their native alphabets anymore. But I noted you always make sure your writing is something that kids will find entertaining. What is important for your readers to know about you? Why?

I am friendly to readers and happy to hear from them about my work. Don’t be shy about writing to me. You’ll make me smile like a proud papa.

I want my writing to change lives for the better. I want to be entertaining, but I also want the reader to feel more at ease with the universe.

Any tips for us on reading and/or writing?

Do both as often as you can. Writing:  try to be interesting. If you aren’t feeling it, your readers won’t. There are things that work and things that don’t work, but the words you don’t like writing, no one will like reading.

Thank you so much Matt, that’s a precious advice.  Thanks for visiting and sharing with us. And oh, as regard The Parting Knife, tell your Belinda to use fresh lime leaves to eliminate any meat smell before or during processing 🙂  No other citrus will do—I even grow a lime tree for its leaves.

 

Schoof of the Ages

Matt’s books are available for Kindle from all Amazon bookstores and also for Nook. In India, the School of the Ages series is sold exclusively by Times Group Books in their online venues or in bookstores.

 

My mini review of The Paring Knifeimages (1)

Three very experienced chefs are invited to show off their culinary skills in the Underground Food Challenge at the Underground Food Network. As in your usual real-TV cooking show, these contestants are given unexpected surprise ingredients to work with; but unlike your usual show, Matt Posner has invented creatures man wasn’t supposed to know, and you’d never guess what’s going to happen.

Whipped up with clever details by a teacher who obviously enjoys cooking, THE PARING KNIFE is gross and shocking. You will laugh, but first you will cringe. Bon appétit!

 

 And here’s what I reviewed a few months ago: 

School of the Ages: The War Against Love

A grim YA Urban Fantasy, this entertaining read is the 3rd in The School of the Ages series.

Brilliant young wizard student Simon and his friend Goldberry must face dangerous, vicious foe after vicious foe right from the start to the end, starting from the attack by Nazi magicians in New York and on to new villains in Europe as they travel with their mentor Dr. Solomon Archer. Along the way, love happens too, in the form of a tempestuous beauty who is the daughter of the all-powerful Arch-Mage of Prague, which brings further threats of life-threatening dangers and devastating loss. In the end the student wizards, along with their friends and teachers, must face their most formidable enemy.

In this meticulously plotted book Posner has deftly developed memorable main and supporting characters from diverse cultural backgrounds. In this book we learn about Simon’s family, his grandmother, and his intriguing new friends and his remorseless enemies.

THE WAR AGAINST LOVE is a well-written action-packed majestic epic of romance and feud with a message of tolerance, written by an author who has worked closely with his audience and understands them well.

 

Check out Matt’s website schooloftheages.webs.com. Follow him on Facebook,  Twitter @schooloftheages and Pinterest. Matt is also a goodreads author. 

 

 

Meet Simon John Cox, Author of “The Cage”

Read & Tell

 

This is my second Read & Tell on CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS, a new-released anthology for charity purpose, specifically the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

Carnival of CryptidsCOMING SOON

Carnival of Cryptids, a fantasy anthology for the purpose of charity,
especially the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

My guest this week is British author Simon John Cox, author of The Cage, one of the fantastic short stories in this anthology. As Jeff Provine has told us last week, Carnival of Cryptids is a collections of stories about creatures man was never meant to know, and Simon’s chosen creature is Yeti.

 

New Picture

Simon John Cox: “Honesty and integrity matter most to me.”

 


OMG Simon, what a story! The Cage simply left me speechless! Congratulations on this short story. Would you be so kind to give readers its one-sentence synopsis?

Yeti! Circus! Ringmaster! Money! Moral dilemma!

It felt so much more than that! How real are your characters?

They’re all based on bits of real people. As such the Yeti is either the most or the least real…

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

I had such a positive experience with the first Kindle All-Stars project that when I heard there was going to be a second I decided that I had to write something. I think I picked the Yeti because I like the idea that it’s potentially so similar to Man—that gives a lot of scope. That’s what prompted the story—at its heart it’s an exploration of the moral questions behind the objectification of a living, sentient, intelligent creature.

How long did it take you to write The Cage?

I think I worked on it on and off for a couple of months, but I was sweating right up to the deadline as writing the story changed the direction of the story such that I couldn’t resolve the ending. I wrote a blog post about how I did so, in case anyone’s interested: http://www.simonjohncox.com/2012/10/flowchart-writers-block-technique-and.html

Yes, I could see so much thought and reflection had been poured into this one. The result is brilliant! How did you come up with the title?

I usually find it difficult to come up with titles for my stories, because I write with a story in mind rather than a title. It’ll often take me as much thought to come up with a title as it does to come up with a plot. It was only after I’d finished writing this one that I realised that the thing that was causing all of the conflict in the piece was the cage.

What is your favorite line or paragraph in the book?

Modesty forbids me from picking one, I’m afraid.

You are so humble! I would say it’s extremely hard to pick one, because all of the paragraphs have been so deftly crafted.
Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

I’d say probably Thomas Pynchon for his imagery and turbulent imagination, Gabriel García Márquezfor his imagination and poetry of prose, and Cormac McCarthy for his precision of writing. They’re the ones that I aspire to (and fall far short of).

Not far at all, Simon. The Cage showcases your superb imagination and precision, besides being soulful and thought provoking.

When did you first know you just had to write?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something or other…

What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?

The real joy of it is when a stranger contacts you out of the blue to let you know how much they liked something that you’ve written.

Definitely count me as one!

Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

Apart from my partner, other writers. I’m a member of the Tunbridge Wells Writers Group, and I know various writers from the internet (many of them from the KAS1 project). They’re always very supportive in terms of encouragement, constructive criticism, advice and designing book covers (that last one’s mostly Keri Knutson and Tony Healey).

What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

I’m trying to finish a second novel. It’s about one man whose records are erased and as a result gradually ceases to exist, and another man who is brought into existence by a series of clerical errors. It’s better than it sounds, honest.

Do you see writing as a career or distraction? Why?

It’s not a career, because I don’t make any money from it, but I wouldn’t call it a distraction either, as that sounds as though it’s something that I shouldn’t be doing…I’d say it’s an escape. It’s a great way of exploring the various ideas that are always rattling around in my skull.

How much do you have in common with your protag George Penny?

We’re both English. Beyond that…not much, I think. Although I expect there’s more of me in him than I realise…

Dumb question; I could see so much of you in this fine piece.

What are your hobbies?

Aside from writing I do a lot of running, and I also do Taekwon-Do.
I always think you need those to stay sane. What is your other profession? When do you find the time to write?

I’m a marketer, and I generally write during my lunch hour at work. Otherwise I’ll sit down at the blank page if I find myself home alone in the evenings or at weekends.

Tell us a bit about who or/and what matters to you.

Apart from my partner Saveria, I think honesty and integrity matter most to me. It sounds corny, I know, but it’s true.

Wonderful qualities—I wouldn’t worry about how it sounds. I’m sure they make you a blessing to those around you.  How has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you, by the way?

The one thing that people say to me regularly when they hear that I’ve written and published fiction is that they’re impressed. I suppose anyone can say they’re writing a book, whereas not nearly as many can say that they’ve written one…

I will look for your other work. What one thing is important for your readers to know about you? Why?

That I am genuinely overjoyed if they like anything that I’ve written.

And they will want more from you. Any tips for us on writing?

I need to know the beginning and the end before I can write anything. I need to know the two points that I’m connecting.

Thank you for stopping here, Simon. Best wishes for your work!

 

Simon_John_Cox

Simon has been busy. Click here to find out more about his fabulous work.

 

My mini review of The Cage:

THE CAGE deceptively opens with a group of happy sailors seeking entertainment in town, singing and drinking without a care in the world. However before you know it Simon Cox rips your heart apart with a relationship so moving,  truths so deep.

The Cage follows the beautiful interaction between an ambitious ringmaster and his captive, and asks thought-provoking questions about our very existence and what matters to us humans. Superbly told in a fast pace, carefully thought-out presentation, by a writer who makes us care.

 

Visit Simon’s home www.simonjohncox.com and follow him on Twitter @simonjohncox. His book links are   AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords.

Carnival of Cryptids’ is now available from  Amazon USA and Amazon UKCome back next week and meet more of its fantastic authors.

 

 

Meet Jeff Provine, Author of “Where is Captain Rook?”

Read & Tell

 

Carnival of Cryptids, an exciting fantasy anthology, is about to hit the market, and I have been honoured to read its preview. In the coming weeks, every Aussie Saturday, I will post an interview with each of the book’s seven awesome contributing authors along with my mini review. However, due to the recent Australia Day, this first entry only is out on an Australian Monday.

Carnival of CryptidsCOMING SOON

Carnival of Cryptids
COMING SOON

 

My first guest is Jeff Provine from Norman, Oklahoma, author of “Where is Captain Rook?”

 

 

Jeff Provine, author of DAWN ON THE INFINITY and WHERE IS CAPTAIN ROOK -"I find meaning in accomplishing things, which keeps me busy trying to start, work on, and complete projects.

Jeff Provine —
author of DAWN ON THE INFINITY and WHERE IS CAPTAIN ROOK?—
“I find meaning in accomplishing things, which keeps me busy trying to start, work on, and complete projects.”

 

Hello Jeff, thank you for visiting with us. Would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of “Carnival of Cryptids”?

Carnival of Cryptids gives seven stories about creatures man was never meant to know.

 

How real are your characters?

My characters are larger than life, but show their human weakness.  I started from the genre of pulp with an adventurer, and the sense of awesomeness definitely carries through with the crafty native and the dashing hero.
What inspired you to write this short story? When did you know you just had to write about Mapinguari?

I’ve always been fascinated by the cryptid I chose, the mylodon or giant ground sloth.  I remember seeing a picture of it in an ancient mammals children’s book I had as a kid, and I’ve never lost my fascination with this enormous yet seemingly gentle creature.  Whenever I heard more stories about it, such as conquistadors supposedly fighting one, my interest grew.  When the cryptid theme was given, I knew immediately what I wanted to write about.

 

How long did it take you to “Where’s Captain Rook?”

I worked on prewriting for about two weeks from initial idea to a mental draft.  The first story I had in mind was nothing like the result: the protagonist changed, the theme deepened, and the twist appeared.  When I had it all mapped out, I sat down and hammered out the story in a long afternoon.  It was such a wonderful feeling to end the day having created something.

And having created something worth reading at that!

How did you come up with the title?

The story needed something memorable and pulpy but not as garish as “The Adventure of the so-and-so.”  Using the first line of “Where is Captain Rook?” proved excellent as the now-first line became a haunting, “He’s dead.”

Hey, we have something in common in that!  I picked most of my chapter titles the same way.

Tell me your favorite line in this story. 

I love the conclusion hinting that the magic of the Amazon had something to do with causing World War II.  “Wars need rubber.”

Thank you Jeff. 

Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

Jules Verne and H.G. Wells have always been great influences to me.  I love Verne’s attention to detail, explaining how an 1860s submarine worked, down to the chemistry of its electrical system.  His adventure stories really showed me how to plot.  Wells’ variety of topics and exploration of reasonable outcomes from fanciful “what ifs” are great.  Establish the rules of the world, and the reader will trust you no matter how weird the bug-aliens of the Moon are.

And you sure have the vivid imagination to support that!

What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?

Writing always struck me as the same as the old actor’s adage, “If you don’t have to do it, don’t.”  It’s not easy.  Sitting at a screen typing for hours or writing by hand until you get cramps is tough, but there is no deeper sense of completion I’ve ever felt than finishing a story.  It’s the good kind of tired where, at the end of the day, you look back over your handiwork and smile.

Congratulations on completing this short story!

Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

My friends have always been great encouragement simply by listening to my “crazy ideas” whenever I have them.  They’re a great set of sounding boards and make me question it from every direction to understand fully my own seedling of an idea.  My best friend Chad, an engineer, and my wife, Courtney, a writing major, are two of the best for coming up with new angles.

What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

Whenever possible, I’m continually at work on my Alternate History blog and my  web comic.  I’m hoping to complete both by this summer, editing and compiling This Day in Alternate History into a single collection and relaunching The Academy with “director’s commentary” on the process of web comic creation.

How do you see writing, Jeff?

If anything, I see it most as a way of life.  It doesn’t pay the bills, but I’ve always hoped it would.  Someday my life dream is to just sit and make stuff up all day, every day.

With your imagination and talent, I’d say keep going! A lot of people are sure to find your work entertaining.
Now, how much do you have in common with your protagonist Paulo?

We’re both meek, but we plan for the long game in a tricksterly fashion.

That cunning twist at the end! Never saw that coming 🙂

What are your hobbies?

Writing, definitely.  On top of that, I like building things, remodeling, and watching tons and tons of movies.

Movies? With your imagination, I guess it’s worth taking up screenwriting to entertain more fans. Check out “The Screenwriter’s Roadmap”, highly recommended. What is your other profession, by the way? When do you find the time to write?

I teach college Composition courses as well as other classes I have developed, such as the History of Comics and Comic Books and a biography of Charlie Chaplin.  I write before class, after class, on days off, evening, and pretty much any time I don’t have something else scheduled.

 

Tell us a bit about who or/and what matters to you.

I got married a month ago, and Courtney’s definitely a major part of my life.  Things are just better when she’s around.  I think spirituality and morality are two of the most important things in anyone’s life.  Personally, I find meaning in accomplishing things, which keeps me busy trying to start, work on, and complete projects.

What a lovely news! May the best of things happen to you. I’m sending you both a wedding gift to your address—and I’m sure Matt will attest this is the perfect gift for this happy occasion.

 

How has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you?

I think it inspires hope.  I’m just an average guy, and if I can sit down and do something I want to do, why can’t they live out their dreams, too?

I agree. We all need a purpose; it’s a great feeling to be looking forward to our tasks.

What one thing is important for your readers to know about you? Why?

Ideas come to me like a little seed popping inside my brain.  “What if this?”  Then, it grows and stretches and consumes until I have to write it out, tell someone, share the seed so it grows beyond me.

 

Any tips for us on reading and/or writing?

Patience, infinite patience.  Sometimes you’re working so hard you can’t stand it; other times you’re waiting for emails to be returned or rejection slips in the mailbox.  Either way, be patient and keep plugging along.

You’re a saint!

Thank you so much for your time, Jeff. And best wishes in all the things that you do.

 

I teach college Composition courses as well as other classes I have developed, such as the History of Comics and Comic Books and a biography of Charlie Chaplin.

I teach college Composition courses as well as other classes I have developed, such as the History of Comics and Comic Books and a biography of Charlie Chaplin.

 

Jeff Provine was raised on a Land Run farm in northwest Oklahoma. He lives with his wife of one month and two kitties in a home he remodeled. Come check out Jeff’s website his ebook  ‘Dawn on the Infinity”his steampunk adventure series of Celestial Voyages.

 

Celestial Voyages: The Moon. Book one by Jeff Provine in his steampunk celestial-adventure series.

Celestial Voyages: The Moon. Book one by Jeff Provine in his steampunk celestial-adventure series.

 

Following is my mini review on “Where is Captain Rook?”

The year is 1938 and jungle guide extraordinaire Paulo Nativo prepares his boat for Captain Rook at the border of the Venezuelan jungle and the wide Amazon River. Upon his arrival, the brash explorer from Chicago announces his destination and the purpose of their expedition, commanding Paulo to take him up the river regardless of the guide’s strong reservations. What dangers await them deep in the jungle?

WHERE IS CAPTAIN ROOK is one fine short story. Provine’s vivid details of the exotic setting and his ability to develop rich characters within the short span as the plot unfolds are engaging.

 

Watch out for the anthology’s release later this week. It’s all for charity, specifically the American’s National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

Donald Calvanese: Creator of Magical People in a Magical Land

 

Read & Tell

 

Donald Calvanese is the author of “Carcium: The Conflict Begins”, a fascinating fantasy novel I recently reviewed. A restaurateur and a song-writer, Donald talks about his book and his authorly life.

 

Carcium: The Conflict Begins

Carcium: The Conflict Begins.
Calvanese cleverly creates chilling characters that even your worst nightmares wouldn’t conjure–malicious malevolent monsters so evil that you sympathize with Troy and his newfound friends, such that you even forgive the very frequent but necessary use of violence in their quest to save the innocent people

 

Ia: Hello Donald, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of CARCIUM: The Conflict Begins?

Donald: An exciting, enjoyable story for the entire family.

 

You have such an amazing story and vivid descriptions of the settings and characters. How real are your characters?

Donald:  When I write, the characters are real people to me. They have personality, depth, and heart. When I see them in my mind’s eye they are living.  On my website  I have created digital paintings of the characters. This I believe makes my characters more life-like. I spent many hours working with the artist to make them just how I envision them.

Wow, Duras Carcer sure looks spooky in that painting!

Who or what inspired you to write this book? When did you first know you just had to write?
The thought of creating an entire world from my mind inspired me to create Carcium.

When I was 12 I saw my first guitar in a music store window, from there I learned of lyrics. I thought it was amazing you could write your feelings down and turn them into songs. I remember watching a movie and thinking how wonderful it would be to create a world of my very own. From that moment I never looked back and now I write every day.

 

I hope to hear your own song/s in your book trailer one day. And you must have written a lot of stories!  How long did it take you to write The Conflict Begins?

It took about a year.


How did you come up with the title CARCIUM?

I wanted a word that did not exist. So I just started jumbling words and letters around ‘til I found one I felt sounded like a kingdom.

 

Brilliant! What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?

I spend as much time as I can in schools with my program, Writing and Reading Across the Universe. One day before I started the program a young boy ran up to me, hardly able to speak because he was so excited to meet me. He told me how much he just loved Troy and Brutus and could not wait for the second book in the trilogy.  I was very humbled by this experience.

Another time, at work a man came up to the Bar. He told me he purchased the book for his mother who was struggling with cancer. He said that she was determined to live because she just had to finish the book. He said my book help to keep his mother going. I gave him my personal email and told him to have his mother email me and I would send her the second book before it went to print.

Words cannot express how this made me feel. I am blessed to have this gift of writing. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that my story connects to so many different people.

 

Donald Calvanese, Author of the Carcium trilogy.

Donald Calvanese, Author of the Carcium trilogy: “What matters most is making sure I give my girl whatever she needs to be the best person she can be. This is one of the messages I try to express to young readers through my character’s challenges in Carcium.”

 

You sure bring joy to many people. Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

My wife, my daughter, and my late mother give, or have given me the most encouragement. I believe when you have the help and encouragement of the people closest to you in your life, you can accomplish anything. With the support of those people I have refused to quit. I have been writing for many years and no matter how many doors get closed I turn and knock on another.

I try to convey this message in my writing to help children understand the power they all have inside.


Tell us your next installment of Carcium. What’s your latest news?

The second book is called “Carcium—Darkness Falls”.  This book is going to give the reader even more excitement. I introduce more characters. I take the reader on a crazy non-stop thrill ride in their mind. I will move their heart as well as their soul. I do not let go of them until the very end of the book. I can promise the reader they will be begging for the third book when they are finished.
Looking forward to read that. And how do you  view your writing? Is it a career or distraction? Why?
I see writing as a career.  When you love something you will wait a lifetime to be with it.

I sure relate to that!
Now, how much do you have in common with Troy?

I think the one thing I have in common with Troy is the understanding and willingness to step outside and look at myself. Also to be able to support a friend even when it will not help my cause in any way.  My wife and daughter think he looks a bit like me.

 

Prince Troy of Carcium is lazy, haughty, and mean. Formerly secreted for safety reasons, he is brought to live in the palace after the demise of his father, the wise king. Troy lives in opulence and doesn't feel the slightest twinge of guilt over the sufferings his poor subjects must endure due to his extravagant lifestyle. He takes away their harvests for endless sumptuous state dinners on his honor, and he deprives his people of water by channeling the streams to his own royal gardens.

Prince Troy of Carcium is lazy, haughty, and mean. Troy lives in opulence and doesn’t feel the slightest twinge of guilt over the sufferings his poor subjects must endure due to his extravagant lifestyle. He takes away their harvests for endless sumptuous state dinners on his honor, and he deprives his people of water by channeling the streams to his own royal gardens.

 

Aren’t you tempted to write about food or being a restaurateur? Tell us a bit about the restaurant. When do you find the time to write?

I have to say, I do not think of writing a book about being a restaurateur, but the thousands of people I have met over the years give me many ideas for new and exciting characters in my writing.

The restaurant is an old tavern from 1779. It was moved by a woman in 1927 to a fair ground. During the holiday season walking in will bring you back years with a warm fireplace in the corner, carolers singing silent night, and the smell of a traditional New England meal of roast Turkey, mashed potatoes and butternut squash. You can admire the original woodwork while you sip a pint of ale. Sometimes late at night when I am all alone, I sit and wonder about the men and women sat here 200 years ago.

William Faulkner wrote while he was a night watchman. I do much of the same. I find time here and there during the day, and then when I am waiting for the dishwashers to finish at the end of the night.

A restaurant with histories! How intriguing. I think we have a lot in common, when in an old place I too often wonder about the people of the past. And I quoted Faulkner somewhere in my novel.

What are your hobbies?

I write music. Build legos. I enjoy playing sports with my daughter and making up stories to help put my little girl to sleep. She has me make up stories from a cookbook she received at the Build-a-Bear store.  A title of one the stories is “Best Friends Popcorn”, from the recipe of the same name.  It was about two little girls. One named Two Cups Brown Sugar and one named Two Sticks Margarine. Together they would make best friend popcorn. This popcorn they used to feed Santa’s reindeer because they need food to keep them going through the long journey. If you leave them food, the reindeer will leave you a special present.

Well on Christmas morning my daughter opened a gift she did not ask for. She turned to me and said, “Dad it worked. Look what the reindeer left me!”  That is just one of the joys of writing for a little child’s heart.

You sound like my mother! She used to tell brilliant made-to-order impromptu stories for my toddler. 

Tell us a bit about who or/and what matters to you.

Who matters most to me in my life is my wife and little girl Alivia. I guess what matters most is making sure I give my girl whatever she needs to be the best person she can be. This is one of the messages I try to express to young readers through my character’s challenges in Carcium.

 

What one thing is important for your readers/audience to know about you? Why?

That I am human.

Why….because I want children to understand they are built the same way as the people they look up to or aspire to be like.

 

Any tips for us on reading and/or writing?

Just enjoy whatever you read or write.  You only get one of each day, and if you do something you enjoy if for only a moment, that is a good day.

That’s inspiring. Thank you so much, Donald.

Dear readers, check out Donald’s website,  Facebook, and Video Trailer.  The first book in his Carcium trilogy is available from AmazonBarnes & NobleTate PublishingIndieBound, Books-A-Million. And here comes my review of the novel:

 

 

 

Splendid Imagination!

 

Carcium – Reviewed by Ia Uaro of BookPleasures.com

 

It has been a quite a while since I last felt this enthralled by a Fantasy read. What an imagination! Delightful and wholesome, Carcium: The Conflicts Begins is an original, superbly crafted action-packed fantasy for both young adults and adults where a spoiled and selfish prince must fight abominable evil in order to regain his kingdom and save his people, and along the way learns about the beauty of nature, the power of kindness and the value of friendships.

Prince Troy of Carcium is lazy, haughty, and mean. Formerly secreted for safety reasons, he is brought to live in the palace after the demise of his father, the wise king. Troy lives in opulence and doesn’t feel the slightest twinge of guilt over the sufferings his poor subjects must endure due to his extravagant lifestyle. He takes away their harvests for endless sumptuous state dinners on his honor, and he deprives his people of water by channeling the streams to his own royal gardens.

Unbeknownst to him, his every movement is being watched by the mystical elves who oversee the kingdoms, and Troy fails their leadership test miserably. This means, Carcium is put in limbo, and evil sorceror Duras Carcer–who draws his life force from fallen kingdoms–will have the opportunity to rule Carcium. Troy has one last chance to redeem himself and revive his kingdom, but first he must find the only weapon that can destroy Duras Carcer. And so, rudely thrown out his lavish castle, the unprepared pampered prince begins his perilous quest…

Calvanese’s storyline is carefully plotted. The action and sword fights–during treacherous encounters with dangerous snake vines, starving giant cats, slobbering gargoyles, despicable knights, revolting demons–are choreographed in suspenseful details, forcing readers to tighten their seatbelts as they are brilliantly taken on a magical journey through the richly drawn settings that aren’t just challenging and spooky, some actually move, and oh, add to that foul scents, vile substances, fires, lightning, deadly obstacles and the time constraints. And the hideous villains! Calvanese cleverly creates chilling characters that even your worst nightmares wouldn’t conjure–malicious malevolent monsters so evil that you sympathize with Troy and his newfound friends, such that you even forgive the very frequent but necessary use of violence in their quest to save the innocent people of Carcium.

Suffice to say, Donald Calvanese is a masterful storyteller with vivid imagination who knows his target audience well. He is at times wicked, often insightful, with powerful narration and the knack to heighten readers’ fear. The first book in the Carcium series, Carcium : The Conflicts Begins is a wonderful read that both young people and adults are sure to enjoy, particularly those who love watching the recent teen Merlin series, speaking of which, I’d absolutely love to see CARCIUM on the big screen, to appreciate its marvelous lands and beautiful creatures, even though I’d be gripping my seat in terror half of the time.

I give it 4 stars because the structure could be balanced slightly better by assigning more proportion to the “human” aspect. A few existing typos don’t bother me and an editor can easily clean them up.

 

 

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