Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce - Book Review

Wolf-Speaker is the second book in The Immortals Quartet written by young-adult author Tamora Pierce. The reader follows Daine as her ability to talk to animals grows and as her adventures continue.

In Wolf-Speaker, Daine, now fourteen years old, is summoned by Brokerfang, the leader of the wolf pack she associated with after her family was killed. She rides to answer the summons along with her pony Cloud, dragon Kitten and the mage Numair. The pack tells her that the humans, in Dunlath, are cutting off all the trees, chasing away all the game and doing extensive mining, which is disturbing the wolf pack that has had to relocate.

When they arrive at Dunlath, Daine and Numair realise that something is amiss. Numair meets an old-school friend/enemy, named Tristan as well as three other mages.

Daine’s character continues to grow and she learns several valuable lessons in Wolf-Speaker, highlighting great character development. The story has lots of rising tension but not the type of rising tension that shatters your brain. There is also some sarcasm and light humour here and there to break the tension even for a few seconds.

Wolf-Speaker introduces the reader to many new creatures from Tamora Pierce’s vivid imagination, such as ‘Hurroks’, ‘a slurring of horse-hawk’, a wholly different take on the Basilisk and others.

This second installment in Tamora Pierce’s The Immortals Quartet is as exciting as the first. Also, the character descriptions at the beginning allow the reader to read each installment without having to refer to or read the previous parts.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce - Book Review

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce is the first installment in The Immortals series. The story focuses on thirteen-year-old Daine, who has ‘a knack with animals’. She speaks to them with their mind.

With, her home destroyed and her family – mother and grandfather – killed, Daine leaves with her pony, Cloud, to find work and a place to escape those who killed her family.

She becomes Onua’s assistant and helps drive ponies and horses to Tortall (the capital of the Kingdom). On the road, the two women meet new creatures and Daine discovers new abilities, but is still unable to control them. She also meets the powerful mage Numair and later becomes his student. He tells her that she possesses wild magic and teaches her how to harness it better.

We see Daine’s character develop as does her magic and her abilities – which continue in the second installment of the series Wolf-Speaker. Tamora Pierce gives a new dimension to all creatures, mortal and immortal, with many interesting additions to creatures like dragons, as well as new ones like Stormwings.

In Wild Magic, Daine goes from a child with no family and no ‘Gift’ to a wielder of wild magic. She makes many important and close friendships with people like Numair, King Jonathan, Queen Thayet and others.

As a fan of animals in general, and horses and magical creatures in particular, I could not put Wild Magic down.

In Wolf-Speaker, the second book in The Immortals series, we follow Daine as her abilities grow and as her adventures continue alongside her pony Cloud, the mage Numair and others.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Darkness & Light

A faint glimmer
In the distance,
Metallic it appears,
Capable of resistance.

Dark shadows loom,
A suppressed sun struggles
Against the gloom;
The metal begins to bloom.

The forces of darkness gather,
But light resists,
Several faint glimmers coming together;
The light persists.

In this sea of black and in contempt,
The sun gathers all its might in one final attempt,
Exploding in a dance of light,
The metal reflects it and shines bright.

A connection has been made,
Between the earth and sky;
Now the light will never fade,
Nor will it ever die.

This poem is inspired by this week's prompt SILVER. It is five sentences long ;)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Alive Again

Surrounded by tranquil earth and trees, I stood head bent, back bowing. The sinister screeches of cars on tarmac, endless rush-hour beeping, peddlers selling no one cares what… all these sounds washed away as a wave washes the shore taking all the odds and ends on the beach to the dark depths to be long forgotten.
The silence was warming, serene; it was more than welcome.
Once all the chatter and clatter had died, I inhaled deep.
It was by far the most fragrant and energetic breath I’d inhaled in a very long time. I felt life gush through my veins as though I were a half-dead human, being awakened from a long life of hypnosis and routine.
Another breath and I could soar.
I opened my eyes. The sounds of life hurled and stabbed at all my senses, but I was different.
I was alive again, ready to face and embrace the world.

This piece was written for Friday Flash Fiction Contest.
I think we all need that deep breath to reinvigorate us again.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

10 Most Influential Books

Rules: Write a status of 10 books that have influenced you one way or another. Don't think about them for too long. The titles don't have to be 'famous', 'correct' or 'great' as long as they are titles that have affected you personally.
(Tag 10 of your friends including myself so I can see your list).

القواعد: اكتب استيتس بعشر كتب عاشت معك بطريقة أو بأخرى. لا تستغرق في التفكير أكثر من دقائق قليلة ولا ترهق نفسك في التفكير أكثر من اللازم. لا ينبغي أن تكون العناوين "الصحيحة" أو "العظيمة"، بل العناوين التي لمستك شخصيا. ثم اعمل تاج لعشرة أصدقاء أنا من بينهم حتى أرى قائمتك:
(since it was in the original)

I was tagged in a friend's Facebook status and thought it's worthy of a blog post since I ignored the overthinking bit or slightly ignored it for the words flowed with the choices.

1- The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 
(I won't be picky for although I prefer some books to others, the whole series continues to have an imprint on my life)

2- My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan 
(It was the first time I picked a book based on the beauty of the cover - and of course after reading the blurb a dozen times but without researching it on Goodreads. Also, it was the first novel I read in the paranormal romantic fantasy genre and I loved it!)

3- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 
(Simply because I read it years after reading The Lord of the Rings and it impressed far more. It is comic, adventurous and above all romance free! I adore it!)

4- 1/4 Gram by Essam Youssef
(Though I read this several years ago, it continues to be one of my all-time favourites for the massive amount of knowledge and messages it carries. Also, because it gave me insight into a world I never thought I'd care to know or knew how it worked).

5- The Inheritance Saga by Christopher Paolini
(Although I still have book 4 to read, this saga has some interesting bits and dragon battles and feats. It gave me an idea to a story I started working on and should continue and what can I say, it has dragons!) 

6- Macbeth by William Shakespeare
(I loved this play and its dark flowing imagery.)

7- Shiri by DS Taylor 
(It was a tough read for me but I loved the protagonist)

8- Before the Throne/أمام العرش by Naguib Mahfouz 
(The first novella I read for Mahfouz and by far his best. It made me want to read more history, both modern Egyptian and Pharoanic history)

9- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling 
(Coz it serves as a fresh reference for any fantastical creatures)

10- The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot 
(This book would never have made it here, if it weren't for Aamena Amin Zayed who reminded me of it. The reason The Mill on the Floss secured a place on this list is because I vow to NEVER write a book like it, where I abhorred ALL the characters, particularly the protagonist; where the first 5 books moved in slow motion then the final 2 moved super quick and the reader felt agonised and cheated).

I know I shouldn't have written all that but when I saw The Mill on the Floss on Aamena's list, I felt I had to share the reasons behind my choices.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Entitlement - Book Review

Entitlement by Mike Worley is a fast-paced crime novel.

An Erica Roberts goes missing and detective Angela Masters has a gut feeling that it is more than just a woman who disappeared – and she’s right. Erica is said to have been on her way to break up with her boyfriend, lawyer Gordon Kennaly, the day she disappeared. The novel follows Angela as she follows small leads on Erica’s disappearance and eventually takes the case to court.

The most interesting thing about Entitlement is that the prime suspect, Kennaly, is a lawyer. So there is a lot of focus on how he seeks to bend the law to get what he is entitled to and plans concocts a crime and his way out of it.

The theme of “entitlement” dominates the novel. The reader gets excited every time the word ‘entitle’ and its variations pop up, like here He was used to intimidating people to get his way because to him, he was entitled to have what he wanted, any time he wanted it.” (p. 81).

The prime suspect in Erica’s disappearance his Gordon Kennaly, her lawyer boyfriend, who is selfish and sees himself above everyone and everything. When the reader first meets Kennaly and his secretary Jane Braun, we see how her response of ‘Gor-then ‘Mr. Kennaly’ indicates a not-so-professional relationship between them.

Jane Braun is blindly in love and infatuated with her boss Gordon Kennaly and would do anything for him. She is very jealous but nonetheless very loyal. It becomes clear that Kennaly’s relationship with Erica was not as bright and sunny as he had told Angela. An example of Jane’s idiotic-blindness is seen during the trial. She follows Kennaly’s orders without thinking how they would harm her or the trial itself. “Unknown to the prosecutor, or Braun’s own lawyer, Kennaly had surreptitiously passed a message to Braun through Morton two weeks before the trial began. Wear that special outfit that you know I love, and tell them everything when you testify.(p. 140)

Unlike CSI and other criminal-case series on television, Entitlement shows the perpetrators’ conversations, actions and reactions. So, the reader sees everything from the criminal’s point of view and how they plan to get ahead of the police and the law. For instance, we see the conversation between the lawyer and his secretary, the feeling of dislike for them increases as we see their dishonesty. Also, unlike television series, the mystery does not end at solving the kidnap-and-murder case but goes beyond that to the court, where there is a lot of play between attorneys and witnesses. Kennaly is an experienced lawyer and his secretary, Jane, is a blind and infatuated follower, who would do anything for him - even if it costs her her life and freedom. She strives to please a psychopathic murderer so long as it impresses him and keeps her in his favour.

Worley’s characters become more interesting when compared and contrasted to one another. The reader cannot help but compare Elisa Montgomery, the lawyer handling the case on behalf of the District Attorney’s office, with detective Angela Masters. Montgomery makes a bad plea bargain, for the state, when she offers Jane Braun a one-year jail time. It is stated several times that Montgomery is not a fan of the detective; though it is clear that Masters has the stronger character, thus pushing Montgomery into the shadow.

Although narration in Entitlement is in the third person, we see the different characters' perspectives in the use of language to describe situations or other characters.

The short paragraphs and chapters add to the quickness of the novel. A reader can easily finish the novel in a day or two.

Entitlement is by all means a five-star crime novel. I couldn’t put it down!

For more about Mike Worley's Angela Masters series, follow him on Twitter and check out his website.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Author Victoria Popescu Answers Qs about Life, Her Books and More

Today, Nadaness In Motion is hosting author Victoria Popescu. Check out the interview and my 4-star review of her book Twin Magnolia: A Soul Call

Q: First, tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Romania, where I spent the first twenty-two years of my life. I traveled greatly for the following nineteen years and lived in the United States, New Caledonia and France.
I currently live in France with my husband and our two boys. I am passionate about living the life of your own true dreams or living by the truth within. I feel that it is the path to living life to its deepest and achieving complete happiness.

Q: What first inspired you to write Twin Magnolia: A Soul Call?
Some people experience a deep need to be with their twin souls- their other half. The longing for the other is so intense that they don't seem to find peace within themselves until they connect or reconnect again. They experience the greatest love one can ever encounter and it feels as if they came to life in an agreement to accomplish something together. This is what mostly inspired me; then, there was also my intention to share information on healing and touch a bit on the importance of healing the soul.

Q: As a reflexologist and healer, what exactly do you do? Are you a much younger version of Tarana from your novella?
I do the kind of healing Tarana does. I use my energy field, bringing energy in through my energy centers, or chakras, then send it out through my hands. During a reflexology session, I work primarily by applying pressure with my thumbs to specific points and areas on feet. These areas and reflex points correspond to different body parts, organs and systems. Working this way, we help create an inner balance that is essential for the body to function properly and effectively.

Q: How much time did you actually spend in Hawaii to be able to write your novella?
Only a few weeks, but I have a very detailed memory for places and people. I wrote Twin Magnolia- A Soul Call much later.

Q: Apart from the chakras mentioned in Twin Magnolia: A Soul Call, what are your favorite colors? Which lift your spirit and which bring it down?
To me, it's not a question of lifting the spirit or bringing it down but rather speaks more about helping to restore or recharge a particular energy center, or chakra, in order to feel good throughout the day. I love pretty much all colors. The ones that I mostly wear lately are blue, pink, amethyst and different shades of green.

Q: I haven’t read your first book Anita - A Journey Through Love but from the blurb I feel it is a bit similar to Twin Magnolia: A Soul Call. Are they similar?
They have some common points--love and healing, for instance--but the stories are differently oriented. While one character is overwhelmed with love, the other one is in need of experiencing love.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about Anita - A Journey Through Love?
Anita- A journey Through Love tells the story of 32-year-old Anita, who goes in search of herself while healing from an autoimmune disorder. On her journey she experiences unconditional love after falling in love with a man she can't be with--or so she thinks--and learns to love herself. She also learns to accept and let go of certain things as she realizes that these might never happen and she's wasting her life on a goal she may not be able to achieve. She finds greater meaning in life by finding her true path. She's convinced that there can't be more, until she discovers that certain lives are linked across time.

Q: Are you currently working on other books? If yes, what is it/are they?
I've been working on my third novel lately. Unfortunately, I have to leave it aside for a while, as my life is quite busy at the moment. I'd definitely touch again on soul matters, as that focus is partially inspired by a rather incredible experience I had ten years ago when I saw my body next to me, or perhaps I should say that I saw my body through the eyes of my soul.

Q: What is your favorite reading genre?
Women's fiction and inspirational, but I do enjoy reading other genres as well.

Q: If you could experiment with any genre, what would it be?
I am thinking of writing for Youth someday.

Q: What did you do before becoming a reflexologist?
I worked mainly as a fashion store manager and had a short experience working at a bank. While living in Boston I worked for Jessica McClintock in bridal and special occasion dresses. Her fabulous gowns inspired Claudia's dresses in Twin Magnolia- A Soul Call. I also worked for two French brands. That's how Paris became part of the story in Anita- A Journey through Love.

Q: Since the book deals with the soul, how come you didn’t mention chocolate? Isn’t it like food for the soul?
I'd say that a vivid need for chocolate is an indicator that there's a much greater need for something else; there’s some deep issue awaiting resolution. If we have chocolate, we calm that need and the soul will get quiet for a while, but we're still in need of chocolate eventually. If we don't have chocolate right away, the soul will get wild, and in its revolt will drag us to where the real problem is, so we can fix it--at least partially. Now, once the issue resolved, we can still have chocolate if we want to but it would feel more like a treat than a necessity.

Q: Healing with colors: if the chakras have the same colors for everyone, does that mean the same colors would have the same effect on different people? Would orange, for instance, have the same effect on a man and a woman? How do you determine which color suits who?
The same color should have the same effect on a man and a woman as long as they have a common need to rebalance the chakra associated with that particular color. Some people are more receptive than others; in this case the intensity of the effect is different. I usually suggest wearing a specific color or colors after identifying which chakras need more balance. The desire to wear a specific color often speaks about a need to rebalance a certain chakra or keep it balanced when interacting with other people, especially groups, as there is a higher energy exchange. If we allow our intuition to guide us and are not afraid of making the wrong choice, we end up wearing the color that we need the most every day.

Q: At what point did you decide to write Twin Magnolia? How did you connect the tree to the soul?
I first started to write, then the image of a twin magnolia tree kept coming to my mind. It gave me this idea of one unity that splits into two, going on individually but having the same base, pretty much like twin souls divided from one soul. Magnolia is believed to be one of the most ancient flowering plants, existing even before bees, so in its original form before pollination. There is also this idea of synchronicity as twin souls wait sometimes several lifetimes before they unify again.

Q: Why did you opt for writing in English rather than French (since I believe you speak the language well & have lived in France for sometime)? Do you think this type of novel would not appeal to a French audience?
I wrote it in english because that's the way it came; I didn't really try to understand why. I do speak French quite well and I believe my book can have a great success in France. It will definitely be available in French sometime in the future, just don't know when yet.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I'd like to say that we should never underestimate the power of the soul. It is strong enough to completely mess up our original plans for life and change our lives in ways we never expected. Yet, if we listen to our soul's needs and fully allow it to express itself as we go through life, without resisting changes, it is our perfect guide to achieving and maintaining the greatest happiness of all.

Check out Victoria Popescu's website and follow her on Twitter.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Twin Magnolia: A Soul Call - Review

Twin Magnolia: A Soul Call by Victoria Popescu is a novella of soul-healing and self-discovery.

It is narrated in the first person by Claudia, whose life has been filled with death and disappointment. She embarks on a journey to Kauai, Hawaii and spends several weeks with her grandmother’s best friend Tarana, the healer.

Like old Shakespearean plays, Twin Magnolia: A Soul Call is divided into five chapters, with each chapter divided into smaller ‘scenes’ or parts. The third chapter is the backbone of the novella and is the longest chapter, covering around sixty percent of it; while the resolution comes at the end in the fifth and final chapter. 

The novella focuses on Claudia’s healing process with Tarana. The latter is around 80 years of age and has accumulated a life-long knowledge of healing. She tells Claudia about the ‘chakras’ of the body and soul and their colours. These ‘chakras’ sound like what we know as the auras. The novella is filled with interesting material such as the uses of mint and colours and their ability to heal.

The reader often feels that Claudia is obsessed with finding love. We learn that she feels incapable of love and that she yearns for her soul-mate; her other half. Luckily, this search takes the reader’s soul to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands and through Tarana’s healing process.

Popescu relies heavily on the reader’s senses particularly the senses of sight and smell. The novella handles the soul and how it needs to let go of pain and fear in order to begin its healing process. Tarana prescribes several common and medicinal herbs such as drinking thyme and mint to help Claudia heal.

We see Claudia’s character and soul develop slowly throughout the novella. Simple things act as progress. For example, the haircut Claudia gets is seen as a means of shedding the old routine. It is accompanied by more painting and the desire to look good and attractive.

There are many references regarding a person’s soul in connection with nature and the earth, and how that affects one’s soul and sense of happiness.

Twin Magnolia: A Soul Call has this slight feel of the supernatural with regards to the healing process and how Tarana, through experience, has gained the ability to read people, sense their pain and heal it.

Twin Magnolia is certainly unlike any book I’ve ever read!

Check out my interview with Victoria Popescu, where we talk about reflexology, healing, her books and so much more. Also follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shiri - Book Review

Shiri by D.S. Taylor begins unlike any other novel, especially the way it opens; “She was born a woman, and her father had yet to forgive her for that.” (p. 6). The protagonist Shiri is a 15 year-old girl who lives with her parents in the small town of Yaham, in Palestine. The Shepherd King sends his soldiers to recruit men from towns and villages to fight the Pharoah Tuthmosis.

Ethan, a friend of Shiri’s, tells her that Princes wear gold. Accordingly, one of the significant images in the first part of the novel is related to gold and how it contrasts between characters and their personalities. When Shiri sees Prince Amenhotep for the first time, [her] eyes widened as a chariot gilded in a strange yellow metal that seemed to shine like the sun pulled up before them. Gold … the chariot is covered in gold” and “Astride the chariot like some hero of old stood a warrior trimmed in gold.” Shiri later realises that this so-called Prince is “no hero; no prince come to save the day. This was a demon, a monster wreathed in cold, unfeeling gold.
I loved these images and how one of the most precious metals is depicted as harsh, “cold and unfeeling”.

I liked how the author showed Shiri’s childish infatuation with Joseph; Taylor conveys the struggle in a teenager’s heart very well.

The most important theme in the novel is that of sacrifice and ironically the one who sacrifices the most is Shiri herself, the young shepherd girl from a small and distant town. One would think that the one with the most to sacrifice would be Joseph since he seeks to avenge the death of his father and the abduction, rape and murder of his mother; but in truth it is Shiri who sacrifices the most for everyone. And worst of all, her sacrifices go unnoticed until the end.

Other themes include love, betrayal, slavery, abuse, the master-slave relationship, and immorality, especially that of the temple priests.

I also loved the contrast in personalities; Shiri is a 15 year-old peasant girl and yet she has a stronger character than the Shepherd Prince himself and not just on one occasion but throughout the novel. She is intelligent, strong-willed, voices her opinions and is never afraid to fight back – unless it will hurt someone she loves. In fact, her ability to speak broken Egyptian impresses Joseph. “He raised an eyebrow clearly impressed; few amongst the peasant folk could speak so much as a word of any tongue but their own.” (p. 82)

We see Shiri’s character develop and age through the troublesome experiences she undergoes. She is wise beyond her years and gains more wisdom as the novel unfolds and as she moves from orphaned shepherd girl to slave to mother. She progresses, handling every stage in her life and every hurdle thrown at her all the while bearing a specific cause in mind. She is strongly contrasted to Joseph, the Shepherd Prince.

The novel contains a lot of abuse both verbal and physical, while some of it bothered me a bit, and only because I wasn’t expecting it, I would still recommend that the novel be read by adults over 18 or better over 21.

The most amusing character for me in Shiri is Solon, the old weapons-maker for the Godking Tuthmosis. Solon is like the court jester in medieval plays; he is honest, wise, sarcastic and funny. He makes for excellent humour and comic relief in the novel.

The novel moves at a quick and enjoyable pace. It is quit hard to put Shiri down and when it ends, the reader cannot believe it. I couldn’t imagine waking up the following morning and not seeing what Shiri will do next!

A 4.5-star rating is in order J

Find D.S. Taylor on Twitter: @DSTaylor1 and Goodreads

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Once More - 5SF

Pieces of paper, pottery and glass littered the floor. The whole place was a mess. I guess that’s what happens when people rebel; they storm and rage regardless of place, forgetting all that is precious and beautiful.

Luckily, there are others.

Others willing to rebuild and restore, to create a world of beauty and life once more.

This piece is an entry for this week's Five-Sentence Flash Fiction Contest hosted by Lillie McFerrin.

Broken - 5SF

Your feet bleed as you enter the dark room. Broken glass litters the floor. In the faint light they would have appeared as pretty pearls and crystals. But that is not us, not anymore; just shards of a broken life, a dying love.

Before you is the outcome of my emotional storm.

This week's five-sentence prompt is "Pieces". I used the picture for a bit of inspiration. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blue into the Rip - Review

Science fiction and time-travel books are two genres that can either make you or break you. Blue into the Rip by Kev Heritage takes a golden trophy in the former. It is an awe-wonder-some read!

The story focuses on Blue, who gets his name from his strange blue eyes. He is a fifteen-year-old boy who lives with his odd parents Eddi and Newt and his sister Annie. The story begins in the past with the setting shifting between the past and the future in the year 2454.

When his sister, Annie, disappears, Blue goes out to search for her in Dooley’s Wood. From there, Blue is hurled 450 years into the future, where he finds himself in The Academy where he is supposed to live, train and study. Blue constantly reminds himself – and the reader – that the future is just a transition and that he needs to go back in time to his parents and younger sister. He eventually realises that The Academy and his friends are all that he has and accordingly goes out of his way to save them.

Time-travel stories are not easy to manipulate but Kev Heritage outdid himself with Blue into the Rip. It is a grand puzzle where every piece falls into place at the end.

Blue into the Rip is a post-apocalyptic novel. Many people have died and due to global warming, it has become impossible to live on the earth’s surface. The Amazon Jungle has become the Amazon Desert and it is impossible to endure the scorching sun.

The novel moves at a fairly quick pace with a good tension-relief scheme. The language in Blue into the Rip mixes slang with some interesting blends such as awe-wonder-some and cra-mazing (crazy + amazing), among others. The dialogue is fun, quick-paced and is the main source of information. Each character is seen through both their attitudes and their dialogue. Although the story is narrated in the third person, the reader feels that the opinions and descriptions are those of Blue rather than anyone else.

Blue into the Rip is rich with characters from the protagonist Blue, who is rather selfish but means well, to his friends Corvus – who for some reason reminds me of Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter books – the assumed-bully Wurtz, the Ganymedian Hermans with his highly formal almost Shakespearean language, to the rule-book-adhering Morgana, and others.

The novel entails intrigues and games, friendships and betrayals mixed with power and ambition. There is a rat in Saturn Squad and there is the mystery of Blue’s identity.

Kev Heritage’s use of imagery in Blue into the Rip is just wicked! It fits the sci-fi theme and scenery. Amongst the images I fell in love with are: Electricity pylons poked from the murky waters like the masts of sunken ships.” (p. 11), “A car exploded through the playground wall like a high-velocity bullet through a watermelon.” (p. 13), and “It would be like trying to find a single and special grain of sand in the whole of the Desert Amazon.” (p. 319).

Kev Heritage masterfully ties up all of the loose ends in the final chapters and the Epilogue, all of which are intense, exciting and are a roller-coaster ride of their own.

Overall: I was not expecting to be this impressed by the novel, since I’ve had several unhappy sci-fi reads. Blue into the Rip is ‘swick’ and I look forward to its sequel Blue into the Planet.

Special thanks to Kev Heritage for sending me a copy of Blue into the Rip to review for my blog.

Find Kev Heritage on Twitter. Check out his website and blog.

Find his book on Smashwords (most formats): http://ow.ly/pYpsh/ Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://ow.ly/qsy0q/ KINDLE UK http://ow.ly/qr8CI Amazon.com: http://ow.ly/qmjOK

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Aria Glazki Interview - Part II

This is the second part of my interview with Poet and to-be novelist Aria T. Glazki. For the first part of this interview, click here. For my five-star review of her poetry collection Life Under Examination, click here.

Q: So, you’ve published a poetry collection and you’re working on some novels. Do you see yourself publishing a short story collection in the future?
I’ve played with the idea of releasing a flash fiction collection, which would include some edited pieces from Flash! Friday contests and some fresh ones, but nothing is certain – especially since the Flash! Friday stories are all available on my blog.  I do have a brand new short story published in the Scripting Change anthology, Seeing Past Sickness, out November 4th.

Q: When writing a novel, do you have a main theme in mind or do you write and then start highlighting the themes and dissecting the book?
I focus on the characters and write their story.  Themes will come out because real people have pasts and personalities, and if you put them in a situation with other real people, issues will surface and need to be addressed.

Q: How do you go about when it comes to negative critiques?
Let’s be honest, no one likes negative critiques, and I have received plenty of them along the way. I allow myself to feel upset, and I put the critique aside for a few hours until the emotional response has passed. Then, I look at the pieces of the critique and see what if anything is constructive and can lead to improvements.

Q: What genres would you like to experiment with in the future?
Literary fiction is definitely on my list, possibly also mystery or something dystopian, though to be honest, I’m quite happy writing romance novels.

Q: What are you currently reading? And what is your favourite genre in general?
Well, I read a lot of romance, unsurprisingly, but I will try anything with a solid voice and engaging story built around compelling characters, regardless of genre. (I will usually stay away from horror, though, unless it’s by Edgar Allan Poe.)  Currently, I’m revisiting some of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Darkhunter novels.

Q: What do you think of self-help books on writing books or novels and publishing them? (Are they helpful or are most of them just a hoax? Would you recommend any?)
Honestly, I haven’t used them except when required to read excerpts in creative writing seminars in school.  At the same time, I know many people can and do benefit immensely from well-written books, which explain some element of writing or plotting a story in a way that resonates with that person and drastically improves their work.  Some I’ve heard enthusiastically recommended are the 90-Day Novel (& 90-Day Rewrite) and Bird By Bird

Q: If you can have any super-power, what would it be?
Being able to function on only an hour or two of sleep a night – does that count? It would certain be useful in those times when I’m on a roll with a scene but much too exhausted to keep writing!

Q: So NaNoWriMo is upon us, and I believe you took part in it in 2012. Can you tell us about your experience with it? How has it helped you with your writing?
Yes, I wrote my first full novel as a result of NaNo 2012, so it has certainly helped, I think partially because it allowed me to give myself permission to focus on and prioritize my writing.  I wrote a little over 50K in November, and then another 25K through December and January combined, so you can see how the focus of NaNo really increases (at least my own) productivity. 

Q: What is your favourite food? (Anything made especially by your mum or related to your place of birth?)
I love so many foods, I couldn’t possibly choose a favorite – though of course just about anything made by my mom tops the list! To this day, hers is the best borscht I’ve ever had.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you, Nada, for hosting me with this interview! Otherwise, I think we’ve pretty much covered it all haha.

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