Saturday, 19 August 2017

Savour - Art and Poetry meet by Vijaya Gowrisankar

Vijaya’s fourth book of poems, “Savour – Art and Poetry meet” was published on April 30, 2017. Her first three books of poems, Inspire, Reflect, and Explore are all best sellers. Her submissions have been published in Silver Birch Press, Nancy Drew Anthology, Poetry Marathon 2016 Anthology, Sometimes Anyway: Pride in Poetry Volume II, Forwardian, Triadae Magazine, iWrite India, Dystenium Online, and Taj Mahal Review anthologies. She has appeared as guest speaker in colleges. A participant in the Poetry Marathon 2016 (24 poems in 24 hours, 1 poem per hour), she has reviewed and edited poetry and fiction books. She participated in NaNoWriMo 2016 and completed her first novel in November 2016.

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About the Book

Savour - Art and Poetry meet is my fourth book of poems. It is a book of ekphrastic poems. The book has 58 art work featuring 19 artists and 73 poems in 20 different poetic forms against the art work. Five of the artists are associated with Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. Each art work and each poem is inspirational and fills the reader with positive emotions.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

It was hard to overcome the initial internal struggle that I had with myself to share my poems with everyone. People hesitate to read poetry, thinking it is very complex. My instinct said I was writing good poems and it needed to be out in the world, for everyone to read. So I edited them and read them aloud, till they resonated with me and then published it as my first book Inspire.

What inspires you to write?

Everything around me inspires me to write. Nature, situations, emotions, failures, success, and incidents shared by friends and colleagues.

How often do you write?

I try to write at least one poem every day. The length does not matter. Some days, I just draw a blank and scribble random thoughts that have no connection.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

The biggest obstacle is changing the impression of readers that poetry is hard and it is not for them. I have not yet overcome it. People read my poems when I share my work with them. Most of them are surprised that it is simple to read and understand. My dream is to reach out to at least one person in every home and change the impression that poetry is hard. Someday...

Do you feel the support of family and friends is helpful to you as an author?

Support of family and friends very encouraging. I can see their reactions live when they read my work. Reactions, both positive and negative, help me improve and write better. I also feel a divine connection when I write and that feeling helps me overcome any insecurity or indecision.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

There is a child in my building. She is around 5 years old. Her mother knows limited English. This child memorized my poem 'Angels' in English and recited it in her school competition. The teacher was awed and so was I, when she recited the poem to me.

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique?

Yes, many. I received statements like - "The poem does not have a rhythm or it does not resonate. It should be written in a certain manner". I used to feel very hurt, emotional and tried to justify my poems at first. Now, I just take it with a pinch of salt. Once a poem is out in the world, every reader can interpret it the way he/she wants to. Once I accepted that, I was at peace.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

"You don't have to take every feedback and incorporate it into your poems. Take only what resonates with the soul of your poem".

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

The first three titles - Inspire, Reflect and Explore just came to me when I was writing the book or compiling it. The titles just came to my mind and it resonated. "That was it". For the fourth book, I started with a different title. Once the book was complete, I felt the title did not fit in with the book and the content. My publisher and I brainstormed back and forth, till Savour - Art and Poetry meet struck the chord.

What inspired your current work?

In November 2016, during my trip to Jodhpur, Jaipur, and Jaisalmer, I came across artists for whom painting was a passion, not just a profession. The seed to collaborate with them took place in my mind. My publisher suggested I do a complete book of paintings and poetry. I started reaching out to artists – within India and internationally for this collaboration. The artists who agreed and whose work fit into my vision are featured in this book.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

Savour is very different from my first 3 books. The first 3 books were just my poems and I went about my thoughts and my feelings. Savour was based on the art work. I learnt new forms of poetry. Different forms fit different art work. Getting this combination right was the key in this book.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Clarence by Stephanie Baruffi

Stephanie Baruffi lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons. She is an Early Literacy Specialist and obtained her Master’s Degree in 2014. She is also a NJ state certified Reading Specialist. ‘Clarence’ was written in memory of her late grandfather, for which the book was named. He loved his big family and truly did have a big, beautiful set of ears!

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About the Book

Clarence is a fictional story based off of real-life characters and family situations. "Clarence, A Story of an Italian Bot with Big Ears and Bir Problems" is about a young boy who doesn't seem to fit in with his loud family or his classmates. He knows he has enormous ears and is fearful that the children at school are right about him and that he doesn't belong, that is until his Nonna steps in and gives him something special to carry around with him in case he needs to be reminded that he is wonderfully made. This is a story about how knowing where you can from helps you to appreciate who you really are, no matter what anyone may think. Main topics include bullying and multicultural issues.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Clarence’s family gathered around the dinner table. At the head of the table sat Clarence’s father, who had just finished a long day’s work at the family business. After he prayed with the family, they dug into a delicious Italian meal that included chicken cutlets, homemade meatballs, and pasta Fagioli. Each night during dinner, the family hollered back and forth across the table. Everyone talked in multiple conversations as Clarence watched and wondered why. Clarence was a shy boy and didn’t seem to understand why everyone shouted, especially all at once! As Clarence looked around the table, he noticed that each member of his family had black hair, brown eyes and dark skin. He also realized that all of their ears were of normal size and each of them seemed to look much like the other. But Clarence was the exception. He thought that maybe the kids at school were right about him. This made Clarence lose his appetite, so he asked to be excused. Nonna the Great followed Clarence into his bedroom.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Matter of Revenge by Laura Elvebak

Laura studied writing at UCLA, USC, Rice University, and Beyond Baroque in Venice, California. After taking a directing class in Houston, she co-wrote, directed and acted in a one-act play. She optioned three screenplays to a local production company and co-wrote a script for the 48 Hour Film Project.

She is the author of the Niki Alexander mysteries, Less Dead, Lost Witness and A Matter of Revenge. Niki Alexander is an ex-cop turned counselor for a teen shelter. Her standalone, The Flawed Dance, takes place in Philadelphia in the late sixties, about a young woman fleeing from an abusive lover and hides in the demimonde world of go-go bars and mobsters. Laura is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters-In-Crime, The International Thriller Writers, and The Final Twist Writers and has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Good Reads, and Amazon Author Central.

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Skype: laura.elvebak53

About the Book

When two young runaways break into a wealthy man's home, with horrific consequences, ex-cop and teen shelter counselor, Niki Alexander, comes to their defense. She soon discovers their motive had been to uncover a crime more heinous than two children could handle alone, and she is determined to finish what they started...

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I wanted to be a writer for as long as I remember. As a child I couldn't go to sleep until I knew the story and saw scenes in my head, including the previews. Later my dream was to live in the Left Bank of Paris, ride a motorcycle with a sidecar for my typewriter, and live on my writing as I toured Europe. Never got to Europe, but I still dream.

Where are you from? Does your area have a good writing community?

I presently live in Houston, Texas, and enjoy a great writing community. I am a member of Mystery Writers of America and serve as treasurer and newsletter editor for the Southwest Chapter. The Houston members meet monthly for lunch and a speaker. Another Houston writers group is The Final Twist, whose goal is to publish an annual anthology. I'm a founding member and past president. Houston also has one the best independent bookstores for mystery writers in the country, Murder By the Book. They have hosted all my launch parties.

Do you have a "day job"?

I am a retired former legal secretary. To supplement social security and my writing income, I work part-time as cashier for PetSmart. It gets me out of my cubby hole to meet the public and get inspired.

What genres do you write?

Mysteries and suspense because that's what I love to read.

What inspires you to write?

A cause that I'm passionate about. I'm an activist at heart. I want to shine a light on a problem without preaching. The Niki Alexander mysteries all call attention to the plight of teenage runaways and throwaways, what can and does happen to them. Women's causes are the inspiration for the books I'm writing now.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Books by Sara Paretsky, James Lee Burke, Sue Grafton, among many others.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

The best writing advice is never give up, but also to improve as you write.

What is your writing process?

I start with an idea and write a loose synopsis. I have to know my characters thoroughly and it helps to write a sketch of each listing their goals, their strengths and failures. Then I put those aside and start writing.

Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

Many of my characters are inspired by people I've met. One character that surfaces in the last two Niki Alexander books was Tara Barlow, who lived on the street for a time, and who served up a wealth of information about runaways and street kids. She became a good friend of both my daughters, always eager to clean their houses, babysit their children, and give timely advice.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre?

I am always on the lookout for ideas and sometimes find them at the most unlikely places. As part of my research for the Niki Alexander books, a friend took me to the street church for runaways. Held weekly in a parking lot near Covenant House in Houston, I was introduced by the pastor who encouraged the kids to talk to me. The most bizarre story was from an earnest older teen who confided that he knew there was an undercover FBI agent among them looking for potential terrorists among the runaways. I was unable to follow through to find out if he was right, but it did inspire a plot twist.

What are you working on now?

The start of a new series about a female investigator for a defense attorney.

What inspired your current work?

The causes that concern women today and have been brought to light recently.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Never give up your dream and keep learning.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Stone of Mercy (Book 1 of the Centaur Chronicles) by M.J. Evans

I am a graduate of Oregon State University. Upon graduation, I spent five years teaching at the middle school and high school levels.

About twelve years ago, I was able to combine my passion for horses with my love of writing. I researched and wrote three equestrian trail guide books for the Denver area. By “research” I mean that I spent every Friday riding my horse on a new trail, be it on the plains or in the mountains. The result of that work was the publication of "Riding Colorado-Day Trips from Denver with Your Horse," "Riding Colorado II," and "Riding Colorado-Day AND Overnight Trips with Your Horse." All of these books have made my horse famous!

Nine years ago, I began writing a trilogy that combines my love of horses, writing and fantasy. "Behind the Mist" was released by Langdon Street Press in January of 2011 and the second book of the trilogy, "Mists of Darkness" was released in 2013. The final book of the trilogy, "The Rising Mist," was released in 2014. This Trilogy was awarded the Gold Medal from the Mom’s Choice Awards in December, 2014.

I have also written another award-winning fantasy titled "North Mystic" published by Black Rose Writers. This allegory of the Revolutionary War won first place in the Purple Dragonfly Awards for fantasy in 2014.

In 2016, I released, In the Heart of a Mustang. This story is not a fantasy but it is all about horses. This coming-of-age young adult novel has won the 2016 Gold Medal from the Literary Classics Awards in Young Adult General Fiction and the Silver Medal in the Nautilus Awards.

My current project is a four-part series titled “The Centaur Chronicles”. I am excited about this new middle-grade fantasy. The first book, “The Stone of Mercy,” was released on Oct. 1, 2016 and has received the Gold Medal/First Place award for Young Adult Fiction from the Feathered Quill Awards.

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About the Book

Be it known throughout the land that The rightful heir to the throne of Crystonia will be the wearer of the Silver Breastplate with its four stones of light: The Stone of Mercy, The Stone of Courage, The Stone of Integrity and the Stone of Wisdom.

By tradition, the ruler of Crystonia will be the one in possession of the Silver Breastplate. Yet the rightful heir has not appeared and the throne that sits atop Mount Heilodius has stood empty for a century and a half.

The kingdom is being torn apart as the biggest and strongest races battle for control. Even the herd of peace-loving Centaurs has splintered into two factions, one awaiting the promised bearer of the breastplate, the other seeking power and control over the land.

Unbeknownst to all but a very few, the Silver Breastplate has been created. In due course, it is presented to a sixteen-year-old Duende girl named Carling, one of the tiny descendants of the fairies that once filled the land. But the silver breastplate is not complete. In order for its wearer to have the skills to rule the land righteously, the young Duende needs to find the four stones of light that are needed to finish this magical source of power and authority.

This is the riveting story of Carling’s quest. She, along with her friends, must risk their lives to save their land and fulfill the assignment given to them to complete the silver breastplate.

Award-Winning Author M.J. Evans takes the reader on another fantastic adventure. Immerse yourself in her fantasy world of Centaurs, Cyclops, Ogres and the Duende.

Get it Today!

Dancing Horse Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Chapter 1
The Breastplate

The blacksmith’s foot expertly pumped the bellows as he turned the piece of iron first one way then the other in the bright orange coals. The glow emanating from the little forge provided the only light as the sun began its descent behind the western hogback. Intense heat caused bands of sweat to roll down the narrow patch of skin that separated the smithy’s thick black hair from his single bushy eyebrow. The long brow served as a miniature breakwater, sending the sweat to the right and left before releasing it to run down the sides of his round, puffy face in great droplets. None of this mattered to the Duende, who was accustomed to the discomfort imposed upon him by his chosen profession.

The strip of metal was now glowing brightly in the same shade of orange as the coals into which it had been thrust. Tightly clasping the iron with his fire tongs, the smithy pulled it from the forge and quickly turned around toward his anvil.

The shock of seeing the tall, thin, hooded figure looming over him caused him to drop the metal strip, sending it bouncing off his boot and leaving a burn mark on the leather toe. The metal clanged loudly on the ash-covered stone floor. His breath caught in his throat.

“I’m sorry that I startled you.” The deep, sinuous voice came from beneath the gray hood that covered the stranger’s head and concealed his face.

“I…I…I wasn’t exactly expecting anyone,” stammered Ashtic, the village’s only blacksmith. His heart pounding, he wiped his glistening forehead with the back of his sleeve, painting it with a streak of soot, then rubbed his hands on his scarred leather apron. “May I help you with something?”

“My name is Vidente and it is I who have come to help you and your race.” The stranger stood up even taller before continuing. “A queen is soon to be born who will bring peace to the land. She will be one of your kind. She will be a Duende.”

“A Duende?” echoed Ashtic in the squeaky voice typical of all the Duende, dubious that a queen could be chosen from his race.

The Duende were shy, quiet creatures, descendants of the fairies that once populated the land. Their features were fine, their ears pointed, remnants of their fairy heritage. They were known and respected as artisans who kept to themselves. They were also recognized for their intelligence coupled with wisdom, but had never been considered as the source for a monarch due to their small stature and peace-loving ways. Yet, no other race had been able to maintain the throne for longer than a decade, and now the land of Crystonia had been without a ruler for the past century and a half. For the same amount of time, there had been no peace in the land while the larger, stronger races battled for leadership. The Centaurs, Ogres, and Cyclops all wanted to conquer and maintain Mount Heilodius, the designated location of the empire’s seat of government.