As an American writer, I was interested to read this poetry collection by an Indie Author in Pakistan. I was intrigued to see how someone of a different culture approached poetry and language. I was pleased with the outcome.
Although some of the phrasing was cumbersome, probably due to the challenges of translation, I enjoyed the concepts and vocabulary in this book. There were many themes on love, perspective, solitude, and relationships that were easy to understand and lovely to experience. It is clear that this writer has a thoughtful mind and a vibrant imagination.
If you are interested in how someone from another culture contemplates life through the written word, this book would be a good choice.
This was a fun and interesting collection of short stories, and a short novelette. The entire book takes place in the northern Michigan city of Petoskey, and that made it more fun for me to read. I’ve spent time during family vacations walking those streets and having lunch at that same hotel. It was fun to go back to visit without leaving my couch. The stories were written in first person, and I easily became involved in the emotion of each piece.
Once particular piece that stood out was Kindle. It is a curious paranormal piece that suggests that perhaps we are a little too connected to our devices; perhaps more than we should be. I thought this story was tremendously imaginative and felt my heart quicken as I turned each page. It was a fun bit of tension with a satisfyingly edgy ending.
My favorite of the collection was the novelette at the end of the book. It was a wonderful way to wrap up an interesting trip Up North. In the introduction to the piece, the author explains that this story was the product of a collaborative exercise. Several members of a group gathered to layout the plot, and then each created a fictional character that was based on an actual person. It’s clear that the group had terrific fun working together on this piece. Their good-natured poking at people they obviously know well, and their speculative solution to one of the most publicized mysteries of Michigan, made this story one that expected nothing less than my full attention. Their outrageous approach to this whodunit is fun and twisty. It had me guessing right up until the end.
If you’re from Michigan, you’ll enjoy this trip “home”. If you’re from someplace else, read this and enjoy a couch-vacation to a place you’ll not soon forget.
Mr. Love has written a complex and entertaining piece of fiction that is easily one of the most remarkable books I’ve read in this genre. His writing is snarky, evocative, and smart. The mystery that drives this story is fascinating, yet equally shares time with a few strong subplots, which makes it even more fun to read. Although each character is given plenty of page time to allow you to get to know them, the protagonist is by far the most intriguing of the group.
Jamie Richmond is an emotionally and intellectually complex female character. She is one part writer (who doesn’t love that?), one part super-sleuth, one part business woman, one part daughter, one part mother, one part best friend, and one part strong romantic lead. Her story is interesting, not just because she’s a successful detective of her circumstances, but because she is genuinely human about all of it. She is passionate about her love life, and equally passionate about her devotion to her father and the legacy he left behind.
The pacing of this book is extraordinary. I read it in just three days, enjoying the tease of each character’s story. They all move together as in a well-choreographed Irish stepdance, one never getting ahead of the others nor the music of the plotline. Each character spends time in the spotlight, but not so much that we are distracted away from the ensemble. The entire company pushed their own arcs with dynamic growth, without interfering with the momentum of the mystery. Best of all, there’s a dog among the cast… and that’s always a good thing.
This book is heavy with steamy seduction, but not to the point of losing the pacing or the intelligence of the narrative. Mark does an excellent job of delicately balancing the elements of adult romance, new teen-age love, and a mystery that keeps you guessing. This is the third book of the series, but I had no difficulty following the characters or the story, even though I hadn’t read the other two. The narrative teases the previous mysteries, but never gives them away. I didn’t feel lost without the details of the previous books, and I am now tremendously curious to investigate the earlier mysteries. Nothing has been ruined for me by reading the book out of sequence. However, I was left with a few questions taunting my imagination, but that’s what I want from a great mystery writer. I am hopeful that there will be another Jamie Richmond Mystery, so perhaps I can get those riddles solved.
If you seek out books that offer equal parts steamy romance and intelligent empathy, while keeping you mysteriously on your toes, this is a story you will thoroughly enjoy.
I spend a lot of time with people who love books, authors, and readers. In almost every case, the conversations are positive, extolling the virtues of the written word and expressing our mutual love of story. However, I’ve recently encountered something new. Okay, maybe it’s not new, but these conversations seem more prevalent. It appears that some “book people” are dividing into separate camps, either validating or decrying a particular reading method. Some readers claim that “real books” are the only proper path to literacy. They lust after the “real” aroma of the ink and the feel of the pages in their hands. Opponents remind of the weight and fragility of paper books. Some vehemently decry E-books. They claim that pixels on a screen are only shadows of actual books. They say reading this way is cheating the reader out of a valid reading experience. Enthusiasts of E-books claim that the ease of accessibility makes them more infatuating than paper. Still, others argue that listening to Audiobooks isn’t really reading at all. At the same time, Audiobook devotees remind that they’d never read a thing if not for the multi-tasking merits of Audiobooks.
Encountering these comments has made me consider my own path to my reading practice and why I read the way I do.
I have a photograph of myself, snuggled in bed with a book and a stuffed dog. I was about fifteen months old when my mother took the photo. I learned the magic of story at a very young age. It was one of the best gifts my parents gave me. I memorized the books my family read to me long before I understood how the writing code could be cracked. Story was my constant companion. Even before I could read, I always had a book nearby. They were my favorite toys. As soon as I could talk, I’m told, I began creating my own tiny adventures to share with my siblings.
At four years old, I lost the hearing in my left ear due to an illness. Through the frustrating years of speech therapy and dissecting body language to help me interpret the mumbles, I learned to navigate the world differently than other kids. Although I couldn’t perceive music or language the way everyone else could, the written word offered the promise of possibility. Each piece of cardboard held between its two flaps vibrant worlds filled with remarkable people and animals who could talk to me… even though I couldn’t see their lips moving.
As I grew, words became my sanctuary in moments of sadness, anger, and joy. I discovered the opportunity of a level playing field where my hearing loss didn’t matter. Inside the world of pages, my friends and I were equal. Life exploded with color and movement, and none of it relied on the precision of sound. It was spectacular. Elementary school was joyful for me. While other kids had to be coaxed into reading with the promise of free pizza coupons, the only motivation I needed was the librarian’s assurance that a book would be “a fun read.”
As I grew older, I went to sleepovers at friends’ houses and then to “sleep away” camp. I rediscovered the wonder of storytelling without the pages. We huddled in blanket forts and sat around campfires sharing adventures. We engaged our imaginations with the “what if” game, retelling old stories with our own twists or making up brand new ones. At night, I nestled under my blankets with a flashlight and wrote down all that I could remember. I regret that I’ve lost those pages to time… but I’m grateful that I paid attention. For it was in those early years that my writing journey began.
In middle school, I was the kid with her nose in a book while walking down the hall from one class to the next (no, I never bumped into anyone). During my lunch hour, I read while others were gossiping about young teenage things. I was too busy to care, as I went on adventures with Alice In Wonderland, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and The Brothers Grimm. I traveled with National Geographic and tried to understand adult things with U.S. News & World Report. The library became my favorite “Fortress of Solitude,” and I spent hours digging through the endless rows of books. I was the odd kid who saw the card catalogue as clues to a wondrous treasure hunt. During summer vacation, I asked my parents to give me a topic, and I spent hours at the library doing research for papers that would never be graded. Writing them filled my time. Yes, I was that kid. Of course, I also spent hours riding my bike with my friends… we nearly always ended up at the library. And, sure, I also went to the city swimming pool with my friends on hot summer afternoons, but I almost always took along a book. After all, what else was there to do during those fifteen minutes of every hour designated as “adult-only swim”?
In high school, I encountered an amazing transformation of the written word in the form of the theatre. Stage plays are a brand of storytelling magic unique to this world. It takes wizards and witches to make those words come alive… more so, I believed (and still do) than in film and television, precisely because the audience's energy changes the words at every performance. I fell hard into the scripts of William Shakespeare, Anne Frank, Tennessee Williams, Neil Simon, and John Steinbeck. I was provoked by the differences between the words written on the page versus those acted upon the stage… and I rejoiced in the similarities. I discovered a new way to read and write, a new way to become gloriously overwhelmed by story.
When my son was born, I revived the joy of reading aloud, for him and for me. For each book I bought for my son at the Scholastic Book Fair, I also purchased the accompanying “book on tape.” Audiobooks became our entertainment in the car on long trips and his reward for going to bed on time (staying up “late” to listen to just one more story). Like a story presented on the stage, there is a unique cadence to a book shared only through the voice. Memory triggers of childhood emotion and understanding are reawakened when the vibration of the voice plays upon the air without the aid of visual interpretation or even the letters from which it was born. Storytellers add their own expressions to the tale. Each reader will offer something new to the listener, even if the words have been read or heard a thousand times before. Think of the difference between hearing Neil Gaiman reading his work versus some other voice reading Neil Gaiman’s work. The story is different simply because the reader becomes a part of the story they are telling. It cannot be avoided, nor should it be. Each story will reach a listener differently, depending on the voice who delivers it.
Now that my son has grown and I’m enjoying the second half of my lifetime, I’m still enthused by books and writing. I honor the written word as sacred, no matter what form it comes in. Whether a paper book, magazine, Audiobook, podcast, or E-book… all of it is valid to me. Each has its place within the delivery of story, and each has its own moment of convenience. I still read paper books and magazines curled up with the dogs on the couch. I also love audiobooks, E-books, and podcasts to fill my time when doing chores around the house, while traveling, or at nighttime, just before sleep. None is more precious to me than the other. None is less important. I don’t judge another reader for their choices in material or delivery… as long as people read, that’s enough for me.
So I say, read. Take in every word… whether printed, pixeled, or spoken. Immerse yourself in books and in the tradition of storytelling. Which way is the best way to do that? I don’t think it matters. Just share the wonderment of reading with everyone you encounter. Honoring the written word, no matter how you find it, will enhance your experience of life and theirs. That much I know to be true.
This is a story my fourteen-year-old self would have loved. It has everything a teen-age girl craves… magic, romance, dogs, and a substantial lack of parental supervision. The author does well at bringing the fantasies of young girls to the page. Ms. Hebron has created wonderfully loving and supportive relationships between the main character, her brothers, and friends. They are all equal parts kind, chivalrous, and adventurous.
I enjoyed the natural dialogue throughout the book. These are conversations teenagers have with each other; their mannerisms and turn of phrase were all spot-on. The bravado of teenage boys is also presented well. The headstrong antagonist is easy to dislike, and the rival family is equally distasteful… for all those teenage, not completely based in reality reasons.
My gentle critique of this story is that there are a few too many passages that were redundant. While it’s important to make sure outside characters know what’s going on in a first-person narrative, a full retelling isn’t necessarily the best writing technique. I would have enjoyed the story more had these scenes been reduced to only what was necessary, and instead, explore more of the emotional and physical responses from the characters. Also, I was hungry for more of the history behind the family feud and the magical learning process. This is the first book in a series, so I am hopeful that those curiosities will be satiated in future books.
As a writer myself, I found some of the vocabulary in this book interesting and curious. Ms. Hebron is a native of Great Britain, and I found it curious how some items (especially clothing) and places common to both the US and England have different names and descriptions. It was fun to take a little time at the end of each reading session to Google what I didn’t know and expand my understanding. Also, these characters drink a LOT of tea! 😊
This was a quick read, and I’m interested in seeing how the characters and story develop through their arcs in future books in this series.
About The Author: D.M. Taylor is a full-time writer with a constant desire to be at the beach or as close to a combination of: water, sand, and sunshine as she can. You can tell by looking at all of the freckles she has collected as evidence. If she's not writing in her tiny cottage by the lake, then it's not summer. The rest of the year, she's writing on her couch under blankets near a giant bay window. On the less romantic days of writing, and let's be real-most of them, her pages come together while waiting in a car for one of her kids-as part of her chauffeur gig.
Her gravitational pull to science fiction, developed throughout her teacher training; where she concentrated on science education. Graduating from Michigan Tech with an Applied Science Master's Degree jumpstarted her geeky interests. An obsession of time travel pushed through her romantic notions of the world and the easy fear she holds of anything frightening. Together, these elements created a writer of: sci-fi thrillers who sprinkles in a bit of slow burn. Accruing in her head is a checklist of places to travel, items to accomplish, and book ideas to write.
She regenerates from deep conversation, laughter, and dancing.
Title: Once Upon A Name: Tales of The Strange and Unusual
Genre: Fantasy Anthology
Book Synopsis: What’s in a name? Names have power, names have magic, names can set the course for a great destiny.
Once upon a time, twenty author friends accepted a challenge by a fairy tale name generator. Now, twenty new characters have adventurous tales to tell.
In this clean YA anthology, meet goddesses, empresses, countesses, wannabe sorceress apprentices, female leaders of wolf packs, and guardian frog sidekicks. Search for missing persons with a hunter turned detective. Swoon over the gypsy sultana who must prove she is fit to rule. Cavort with our demons, wraiths, and demigods and lose your soul to the Bone Marsh. Root for a genie’s freedom or bite your nails as you pray for the witch to get the spell right. And yes, feel your heart palpitate at unexpected romance.
Escape into our strange and unusual collection of short stories written by award-winning and up-and-coming authors. Join us in far-off lands and learn. . .what is in a name.
Find The Book HERE!
Visit D.M.'s Website HERE!
About The Author: ...and then I write.
I have lead what I would like to think has been an interesting life. As I experienced a myriad of events and dreamed vividly each night about adventure, excitement and more, I quickly found that it was fun to record those experiences, to write and remember in both poetry and story. Using that writing became second nature and I would tell the stories that had happened or been dreamed and enjoy a moment with someone only to create another story with them and so on.
Title: A Slice of Fear
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Suspense can grip the mind while fear penetrates to the very soul. Join me for a journey to the edge of fear and perhaps beyond. A writer is writing and finds his words may have a very special meaning. A man visits a bookstore only to find that he has been there before. A woman starts a new job in a building that is very special once a year on Halloween. A young woman finds a special puzzle box at a thrift store and inside is something that changes her life forever. A man has a conversation with the ultimate entity, death itself. 15 stories with 15 very different characters and outcomes. Whether it is vengeance with a special twist or the macabre peeking in on someone's life A Slice of Fear will open up your mind to possibilities and maybe find that special place that gives you a little shiver.
Find The Book HERE!
Visit Andrew’s Website HERE!
Watch The YouTube Video HERE!
About The Author: I write from my home in Michigan where I live with my wife, Sarah of 33 years. Due to a freak golf cart accident in 2015 I am a quadriplegic. By using special equipment Such as an oversized mouse, special keyboard and voice to text software I am able to write without difficulty.
United States of analytics is the first book I have ever written. Next up, I will write my memoir and the story of my accident and recovery.
Title: The Optimistic Quadriplegic: My story of Faith, Hope and Love
Book Synopsis: In 2015 at the age of 51 I was involved in an accident that left me a Quadriplegic. Quite an unusual accident. My recovery started with nine days in ICU and 6 1/2 months in a rehabilitation hospital. Mine is not a tragic story, however. With the love and support of my wife, Sarah and my two sons, Andrew and Matthew I never gave up. My story is one of faith, hope and love. It is also a story of the hard work and heroic people around me. Family members, doctors, nurses, therapists and many more. God was with me every step of the way as well. I had many miraculous events occur around me that I believe He was responsible for. My recovery never stops. I continue doing outpatient rehabilitation and trying to provide inspiration to individuals in a similar situation.
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Visit Keith’s Website HERE!
About The Author: Melinda Taliancich Falgoust is an author whose works have appeared in Reader's Digest, Writers' Journal, in the Harlequin Mini-Round Robin ebooks THE RANCHER AND THE ROSE and THIN ICE. Other works have also won awards in competitions around the world, including: NY Book Festival Annual Competition; The Oshima International Hand-Made Picture Book Competition; Writers Unlimited Annual Literary Competition; Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Mysterious Photograph Contest; and Doubleday Book Club's "Quoth the Raven" Contest.
Title: The Curious Casebook of Katie Q. Putt
Genre: Children’s Middle Grade Reader
Book Synopsis: Move over Sherlock Holmes. There's a new detective in town, and her name is Katie Q. Putt! Ten-year-old Katie loves a good puzzle. She loves learning about new things even more. When she uses the cool facts she discovers to help solve some of Freyburg's most baffling crimes, it's no mystery the bad guys don't stand a chance! From missing monkeys to vanishing valises, Katie's sharp eye for detail helps her police chief father stop crime in its tracks. Now, you, too can read Katie's casebook and match wits with some crafty criminals in ten cool cases. Each chapter also contains a STEM or STEAM activity to help you dust-off your detective skills. Learn how to make your own fingerprint powder, paint like Piet Mondrian, and write secret codes to your family and friends! Wondering if you've got the right stuff? Grab a clue and read The Curious Casebook of Katie Q. Putt and the mystery is solved!
Find The Book HERE!
Visit Melinda’s Website HERE!
Watch The Reading On YouTube HERE!
Migrating my way through the world as a writer has never been hard for me. From my duckling days, I knew that writing stories was what I was supposed to do. But to say that it wasn’t work… well, that would be a deception of pterodactyl proportions.
I began as a tiny, timid vocabulary junkie. I worked hard to shake the gooey red pen edits from every paper I’d ever written in high school and college, believing that if I just put in enough effort, I’d figure out what direction I was supposed to go next. I was told that eventually, after I learned all the rules, I’d be able to break them and find my own way. This was not tremendously helpful advice, but it was inspiring. So, with the encouragement of my mentors, I pushed off the shell fragments of a newly hatched storyteller.
I had a lot of enthusiasm in the beginning. But enthusiasm alone isn’t enough. There is a natural process to becoming a novelist, and to deny the challenges only makes the turbulence more intense.
As most writers do, I began stumbling on wobbly legs as I learned to balance story, structure, trope, and character. Then, in a little while, I became a bit stronger. The downy fluff of purple prose began to cover my boney story skeletons, and I began to enthusiastically peck my way through the metaphors. Over time, I started to learn which seeds of discontent will fuel my characters toward story arcs that might captivate a reader’s interest. This was a long and arduous process. Too long. Sometimes, it still is. I scratched my way over paths lined with nuggets of inspiration and kernels of distress. Not every sentence lends itself well to a story. From time to time, I needed to kick the persnickety ones aside and hope they would appear useful in my next draft. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. But I continued to work at it, testing and retesting every bend of wing until I felt like maybe I had something worth reading.
I emerged from my writing nest with material that made me look a little bit more like a swan and a bit less like an ugly duckling. World building made more sense and characters fleshed out more like real people than paper cut-outs. Of course, I still had lots of spikes of “Oh My Gosh! What was I thinking?” moments, but that’s to be expected. As any new flyer will tell you, there will be a few false starts when listening to instinct. Not every duck does it right the first time; just ask Ping.
I began to test the waters of critique by sharing bits and pieces of my stories with other writers. I submitted pieces on spec to newspapers, literary magazines, and whoever had a newsletter looking for content. It’s a strange thing, to fly with confidence through your journey and then open yourself up to a course correction. I found it difficult to know what praise to listen to and what admonishment to ignore. Finally, I decided that imitating the authors who traveled successfully along a similar flight path I intended to take made the most sense. So, I followed them through their writing, learning as best I could by their example. I still do.
I took classes, workshops, and mentoring sessions with other authors, hanging on their words of experience because, of course, they already knew how to fly. Sometimes, I was cheered for my tenacity and creativity. Other times, I was scorned for my inability to meet the expectations of more experienced writers. I did my best to let the negative comments roll off my back and realigned myself, wings tucked neatly at my side, diving deeper into my craft.
As my writing practice grew stronger, I began to shift my understanding of the thermodynamics of storytelling. I stretched my story and character arcs, reaching for higher altitudes, taking bigger risks in subplots, and the ideas of genre mixing and bending. There were times when what I wrote was simply outrageous and ridiculous. Other times, it was just bad. Sometimes it still is. I think that's necessary. Through that daily practice of allowing whatever floated into my sky to make it to my page, I taught myself patience. I took the time to devise new ways to make faster dives into tension and gentler glides through romance.
But even as I was plotting a new flight path toward what I was certain would be literary success, submissions were returned to me, mocking my aspirations and delivering gut-wrenching blows of rejection, time and again. But sometimes not. Sometimes, my work was welcomed, praised, and published for the world to read.
At last, I found my nest within a supportive community of Indies. I became comfortable inside a flock of readers who recognize and appreciate that I’ve outgrown my fluff. Now, I have more beautiful transitions and dialogue that lay together, drawing readers in to touch the delicate silk plumage of my stories. Okay, perhaps I’m not yet perfectly fluff-less, but I’m getting better at it. I practice flying in and out of story every day and trust those just as committed as me to occasionally take point and lead the way across the mid-day sky.
The euphoria of finding my place among literary clouds didn’t last, though. Too soon, I was forced to begin again, traveling to another community of Indies, to share my work with readers who haven’t yet discovered me. I'm guessing that the pang of that risk will never get any easier. I suffer tremendous anxiety while traveling abroad. When I began this migration from writer to author, no one told me how exhausting it would be. They didn’t mention how challenging it would be to believe in myself, in my work, and fight off the vultures of imposter syndrome, simply to keep my stories alive. I thought that the actual writing would be the hard part of this journey, not the rest of it.
But I refuse to give up. I suffer through the change in seasons year after year, migrating toward new sunny shelf space, with new readers and new opinions of my work. I push through the doubt and frustration because I believe in the strength of story and the importance of the journey of creation. I continue to take the risk in relocation, in both genre and audience, to fulfill that instinctive call from my creative nature. But, for odd ducks like me, ignoring the quiet voice that pushes me to repeat my flight patterns across the literary landscape, year after year, can be difficult.
As difficult as it is… I would rather fly through the anguish of growth than become grounded by the stagnation of the denial of story.
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