Author Interview · Book Reviews · Uncategorized

#Excerpt #ThePagodaTree @ClaireScobie @AnneCater @Unbounders #Book #HistoricalFiction #BookBlogger #RandomThingsTour

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Read my first book excerpt post below from The Pagoda Tree by Claire Scobie!!!

The Pagoda Tree ~
Chapter 1

Maya stopped when she saw the splashes of blood around the well. They were fresh. Ants were already gathering around one drop, vivid red against the grey paving stones in the courtyard. Forgetting what she’d come for, she followed the trail through the kitchen and into the bedroom. In the shadows, her aunt Sita was crouching in a sari, knees pulled to her chest. When she saw Maya, she raised her hand.

‘Leave me. Go and check on Leela.’

‘Shall I get word to Amma?’ Sita shook her head, her eyes dull.

‘Some water?’ She nodded.

Maya turned and ran. Reaching up on tiptoe, her fingers searched for the clay cup on the ledge. Carefully she filled it from the pitcher of water. Her aunt was sitting up when Maya returned with the cup. Sweat beaded her upper lip and Maya saw a dark stain on the front of the sari. A sweet metallic smell rose up, turning Maya’s stomach.

‘You’re a good girl,’ said her aunt. ‘Now take your cousin outside.’ Maya hesitated. She wanted to ask what was wrong but feared the answer. Leela’s shrill cry rang out from down the passageway. Maya turned to go to her before her wails woke the neighbours. And then it was another day, and Maya was sitting in the corner of the courtyard, poking a stick between the cracks of the stones to see if she could unearth any beetles.
‘She’s nine years old. She’s ready.’ Her mother was sitting on a low stool with a grinding stone in front of her.
‘We should wait until next year,’ said Sita, sifting through a basket of snake beans.
‘I can’t wait that long,’ Lakshmi said.
‘Sister, akka. You know what was said at the child’s birth.’
‘You worry about your Leela and I’ll make the decisions for Maya.’ ‘You talk as if I’ve never had a say in her upbringing.’ Sita snapped a bean in half.
‘Maya, you want to start dancing lessons, don’t you?’ Lakshmi called out.
Maya walked over to the two women. Sometimes she wondered if it wouldn’t be better to have a mother and father. But her mother, her amma, always said husbands weren’t worth bothering with. She stared down at her palms. ‘I do want to dance.’
Lakshmi nodded approvingly.
‘It’s not the dancing that’s the issue.’ Sita patted the ground next to her and Maya sat down. ‘It’s everything that comes with it.’
Maya watched the muscles of her mother’s jaw tighten. From the temple she heard the beating of drums, calling the women to prayer.
‘Rao thinks she’s ready. Uma too.’
Sita frowned. ‘You’ve been to see him?’
‘I told Rao I don’t want to let the flesh wither on the branch before it has blossomed in the hand.’
Maya stretched out her skinny legs. Her knees were bony and one had a scab where she’d tripped over. She started to pick at the dry crusty edge. ‘He agreed,’ Lakshmi lied, throwing a handful of rice on the grinder. ‘He said he’d check his Panchangam for an auspicious date for
the initiation.’
Beneath the outer layer, the wound was pink and raw. Maya pressed it to see if it still stung. Not much. Not nearly as much as the fire-iron the priests would use during the ceremony. Some girls fainted before it touched their skin. A few soiled their clothes. Not Mother, though. She’d been strong during her initiation. Just like I will be, Maya thought, pressing the scab harder. I won’t cry.
The sisters never let Maya out of their sight. The furthest she could go alone was to the banyan tree opposite their house on West Main Road. It was huge and shady with low branches and tangled roots hanging down like a curtain. Halfway up the main trunk was an old man’s face in the burl and Maya felt safe there when she played. Their house was one of those owned by the Big Temple for the devadasis, the women married to the temple gods, whose duty it was to serve, care and dance for them. Inside were two living rooms that doubled as bedrooms, a small shrine room, and along the passageway from the koodam – the pillared hall – a simple kitchen. This led into a walled courtyard at the back. Maya liked the house when it was filled with the rustle of saris and tinkling anklets, the crackling of conversation and full-bellied laughter of women. When Sita and Leela were away, and it was just her amma, and her, the silence and dark walls pressed down.
In the season of Karttikai, in November, the weather was starting to cool. There were no festivals at the Big Temple so the women had only to perform their daily duties. Lakshmi was there at dawn to wash and dress the statue of Shiva, and offer the kumbarti, the sacred lamp.
After Maya finished her prayers, she was left to roam the enclosed temple grounds. It was there, parading up and down the shady corridors, practicing the dance moves Amma had taught her, that her dreams took flight. She imagined she was leading a royal procession. The dancing girls carved in the walls were her attendants; the warrior kings were her suitors. The fantastical animals – half-men, half-beasts – were her private army, and she was queen of them all.
Most days Maya liked nothing better than to sit in the courtyard at home, staring up at the scaly branches of the frangipani tree and at the stripy palm squirrel as it edged along the wall. Her lime-green blouse and long cotton skirt hung limp in the afternoon heat. From inside she heard humming. Finding a shady spot, she waited.
Sita came out, Leela asleep against her chest. Carefully, she laid her in a cloth sling hanging from a branch. Maya stood up and stared down at Leela’s small round face. They had the same square nose and wide brow. Sita began to rock her, cooing softly under her breath.
‘Is that what you used to do when I was little?’ Maya asked, peel- ing herself a small banana.
‘Yes, and sing lullabies.’
‘Did Amma sing too?’
‘Yes.’ She reached across and cupped Maya’s face. ‘Don’t look so
anxious.’
On the wall opposite, the squirrel sat on its haunches and gave a high-pitched trill.
‘How much does it hurt?’ Maya asked.
For a moment Sita looked confused. Then she said, ‘The branding, you mean?’
Maya nodded, squishing the last bit of banana between her fingers. ‘I won’t lie to you. It is painful. Have you ever put your finger too close to a flame? It’s worse than that.’
Maya’s eyes flared.
‘You have to see it as a great honour. You are offering your body to Shiva.’ She lowered her voice, gesturing with her thumb to the neighbour’s wall behind. ‘Think of her. A common householder married for life to a husband like that.’
‘Snake man, you mean?’
Sita rocked back on her heels, her mouth cracking open. ‘Is that what you call him?’
‘Yes.’ Maya began to giggle. ‘He looks like one, don’t you think?’
Sita was covering her mouth now, as if embarrassed by the wideness of her luminous smile. ‘Ssssh. She might hear.’
‘She probably calls him that herself.’
‘Or worse.’ Her aunt looked thoughtful. ‘I think your mother’s right. By having the initiation now, you’ll be able to start training.’
‘Then why did you say I should wait?’
‘It’s a feeling I had, that’s all. These rites of passage are so important’’ Bending down, she picked up a fallen frangipani blossom. ‘It’s like this flower. The tree doesn’t need to be told when its flowers are ready to fall, they just do. That’s why we do everything according to the planets and cycles of the moon. Why we check the almanac to ensure the day is auspicious.’ Sita twirled the flower between her thumb and forefinger. ‘Everything has its time.’
‘When I think about it, I feel scared.’
‘Don’t think about it then.’ She squeezed Maya’s hand. ‘I’ve always believed in you.’
Maya felt herself expand inside. She wanted to be gathered up in Auntie’s tight embrace – more fierce, more caring than her own mother’s. Then the moment passed, and Sita rose to her feet, leaving Maya to play.

~~~

See my Author Interview with Claire Scobie here!!

~ The Novelette 🖤

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Author Interview · Uncategorized

#AuthorInterview @ClaireScobie #ThePagodaTree #HistoricalFiction #Book #BookBlogger @Unbounders @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours

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Read on for my interview with Claire Sobie author of culture rich and vibrant, The Pagoda Tree!

Much thanks to Claire for taking the time to answering these questions and Anne Cater for organizing the blog tour!

***Also, links to order The Pagoda Tree are at the end of this interview. The Pagoda Tree is a story about a young girl with a powerful destiny, an English stranger, a threatened kingdom, war, famine, and prestige…

My Interview with Claire ~

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• What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?

‘Fraid so. I had an ancient typewriter and started bashing out terrible stories from about the age of seven years old. Then I wrote and edited a neighbourhood newspaper when I was twelve. I wish I’d kept some copies for posterity.
• What does a day in the life of Claire Scobie look like?

Like many authors, I wear a few hats. My writing days start around 8.30 am at a nearby cafe where I go and write for a couple of hours and drink copious amounts of chai. I also have a business storytelling consultancy. This means coaching executives on how to communicate more meaningfully with stories. For this I also run business storytelling workshops and am even teaching accountants how to be more creative when writing the numbers. It takes all sorts… When I need to finish a writing project I escape for a week or more to the bush (I live in Sydney, Australia) and write all hours until I’m done. Bliss.
• What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?
I don’t get writer’s block, I get writer’s overwhelm. Too many stories, to many plot lines, too many characters vying for my attention. Then I counsel myself through journaling or use a mind map to get distance. Writing is all about being close to your material and then pulling back to get the bigger perspective. If I’m in overwhelm it’s usually because I’m lost in the weeds so it’s time to pause, reflect and see the bigger picture. Walking helps, too. So does more chai.
• What book would you take with you to a desert island?
Bhagavad Gita (the Penguin Classics edition with the introduction by Juan Mascaro).
• Favorite quote?
‘A true story-teller suffers the chaos and the madness, the nightmare – resolves it all, sees clearly, and guides you surely through the fragmentation and shifting world.’ Ben Okri
• Coffee or tea?
I think that’s obvious by now 😉
• Best TV or Movie adaptation of a book?
Pass.
• Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?
It depends. Non-fiction, I plan. With The Pagoda Tree I did a mixture of writing into the void and letting the characters dictate the story and then top-down planning. (I like using index cards as a way to work out what is happening scene-by-scene.) With my second novel, I’ve planned much more. Overall, I think I am a ‘pantser’ (writing by the seat of my pants) who is reluctantly learning to become a planner.
• What does the act of writing mean to you?
Understanding the world. Having a voice. Creating meaning. Giving form to the formless. And, because I must.
• Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?

I had to watch the European male characters in The Pagoda Tree from taking over. Jacob Haafner would have become a main character if he’d been given half a chance.
• Which one of The Pagoda Tree’s characters was the hardest to write and why?
It took time to believe that Maya was the protagonist. In hindsight, I can see that I didn’t trust myself enough to be able to write from her point of view. After all, I’m English, not Indian. I live in the twenty-first century, not the eighteenth. Could I really inhabit her enough so she could carry the story? Then one day, after re-reading a scene of Maya dancing, it became clear. She was the way forward. She was driving the scenes, not reacting. She had courage; she was a force. Once I got out of my own way, she was able to carry the story forward.
• Which character in any of your books (The Pagoda Tree or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?
Ani, the Tibetan nun. My first book, a memoir, Last Seen in Lhasa is about my seven journeys to Tibet and friendship with a wandering Tibetan nun called Ani. Published over ten years ago, I still fan mail with readers asking after her. She’s an amazing woman. I feel privileged to have been able to travel with her when Tibet was still open and then share her story with the world.
• Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?

Of course. I’ve got a filing cabinet full of ideas, clippings, and shelves of journals with ideas and stories to write.
• What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?

It was hard crowdfunding The Pagoda Tree. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone asking friends, family and strangers for money. It was also very humbling when people gave and my community showed their support for my creative projects. Most fun: buying a new frock and then the launch at Daunt Books, book readings, live twitter Q&A with book clubs who’d read The Pagoda Tree (I thought it would be awful but the readers all asked such spot-on questions and were so lovely, I felt like I was sharing a glass of red with them).
• What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?
Focus on the writing process, not the outcome: it will save your sanity.
• What was the last thing you read?

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doer

• Your top five authors?
I tend to go through phases. Growing up I was drawn to classic travel writers like Alan Moorehead, Bruce Chatwin and the stark prose of Ernest Hemmingway. The South American writers loosely linked by magical realism informed my twenties – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende et al. I’ve had a splurge on Chinese writers and in more recent years, Indian authors. I love going to bookshops in India and usually bring back a stack of new books each time I visit. They all have a particular aromatic smell: dust, earth, woodsmoke – India. I deliberately don’t read the ‘popular book of the moment’. I tend to wait until a book draws me. In general I prefer historical fiction to contemporary fiction. Reading for me is a way to understand another world, another time, another place.
• Book you’ve bought just for the cover?

Chai, Chai: travels in places where you stop but never get off by Bishwanath Ghosh
• Tell us about what you’re working on now.

Can’t. I’m really close to finishing but until it’s finished I don’t say.

***Order The Pagoda Tree ~

Hardcover

Kindle

~ The Novelette 🖤

Book Reviews · Uncategorized

My Fan-Made ✨Movie Trailer #BookReview Combo✨ for #Mystery #Thriller #Novel #DEADOFNIGHT by @DetectiveKubu @OrendaBooks 🦏📚🎥 @MaggieQ #KeanuReeves @DjimonHounsou @Renner4Real #MichaelFassbender @MonkeyPaw

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Told ya I’d have a new fan-made trailer of one of my new favorite books ready in just a little while and here it is!

Doubling as my new fan-made trailer AND my Book Review of “Dead of Night” by writing dou Micheal Stanley (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip), read the blurb of “Dead of Night” below and then watch the heart-pounding, suspenseful movie trailer with my inspired DREAM CAST for this Mystery/Thriller with a Conscience!! 😘

Much thanks to Anne Cater at Orenda Books for gifting me with this awesome ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Dead of Night ~

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Description: When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, but within a week she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that she doesn’t want, but can’t get rid of…

Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late, both for the rhinos and for her. She has a powerful story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it…

Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller from Michael Stanley, author of the award-winning Detective Kubu series, introducing an intriguing new protagonist, while exposing one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…

My Fan-Made Movie Trailer w/DREAM CAST!!✨👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽✨

Part I of II ~

Part II of II

[Dream Cast and Video Transcription]

(Song: Wyatt’s Touch)

From the Creative Writing Team ~ Michael Stanley

A story that will take you on journeys near and far

Moments that are both heart-pounding and heart-wrenching

The Novelette brings to you a Mystery Thriller with a Conscience…

[Dead of Night by Michael Stanley]

A MISSION to FIND him…

Keanu Reeves as Michael Davidson

…and SAVE them.

[The Endangered Rhino]

Takeaway Quote from Dead of Night: “People don’t just disappear in the 21st Century”

Meet the Athlete & Journalist on the MISSION…

Maggie Q as Crystal Nguyen

A compelling story of LOVE, LOSS, and WAR.

Against all odds she pursues & persists.

Unless unforeseen problems derail the mission…

[Villains]

Michael Fassbender as Hannie

Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as Pockface

Takeaway Quote from Dead of Night: “This isn’t about Rhinos…

…it’s about MONEY.”

(Heart Pounding Sound Effect)

“We wouldn’t make it out alive.”

“Her head was spinning. She could hardly breathe at all now.”

Allies will be key to survival…

Djimon Hounsou as Bongoni

Jeremy Renner as Søren

Cress Williams as Johannes

Will it be worth the risk?

Order a copy of “Dead of Night” to find out!!!

I give “Dead of Night” by Michael Stanley ✨✨✨✨✨ (five stars)!!!

~ The Novelette 💝

 

 

Uncategorized

My Fan-Made ✨Movie Trailer✨ for #Thriller #Novel #JustBetweenUs by @AuthorRDrake! #DREAMCAST #BookBlogger 📚➡️🎥

Got the idea for this fan-made trailer for Oprah Magazine’s favorite thriller novel “Just Between Us” from super friendly Jessica, Emily, and Amber of, The Book Bratz. Read the blurb of Just Between Us below and then watch the heart-pounding, suspenseful movie trailer with my inspired DREAM CAST for Just Between Us! 😘

Just Between Us ~

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Description: Four suburban mothers conspire to cover up a deadly crime in Just Between Us, a heart-stopping novel of suspense by Rebecca Drake.

Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.

My Fan-Made Trailer!!✨👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽✨

[Dream Cast and Video Transcription]

This is a story of FRIENDSHIP

Heather – the kind and talented Rachel McAdams

Julie – Vibrant Red-head Emma Stone

Sarah – the ageless Bianca Lawson

Alison – the elegant Rosie Huntington-Whitely

Viktor – Ukrainian Middle Aged handsomeness with a dark side, Javier Berdem

TRUST

SECRETS

And…

MURDER

WHICH BONDS US TOGETHER…

FOREVER.

***Remember only FOUR can keep a secret if ONE of them is dead…

Just Between Us

~ The Novelette 💝

✨My Fan-Made Trailer is just the first of many from yours truly! The next is…..#ComingSoon✨ 😘

 

Uncategorized

My #BookReview of #UnfinishedBusiness by @SCCunningham8 #Steamy #PsychologicalThriller #Thriller #DavidTrilogy #Book #Series @Rararesources ✨✨✨✨

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Read on for my review of steamy psychological thriller, Unfinished Business by S.C. Cunningham! Thank you to Rachel with Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources Blog Tours for allowing my to have access to this book in exchange for an honest review! 😊

Genre: Steamy Psychology Thriller

Description: Tara has had enough, time to turn the tables on her stalker and make him suffer as she has done.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS continues the roller coaster ride of psychotic David’s obsession with his childhood sweetheart, a skilled mix of fueled tension, dark humor and pulsating sex scenes.

With the help of her gutsy friends, fun-loving city girl Tara Warr is the only victim to survive David Howard’s death list. Whilst lounging in prison the sexual tour de force enlists an eager recruit, seduces a prison warden and relocates to the sunnier climes of Mexico, a freedom short-lived when his charred remains are found in the fire of a plastic surgeon’s clinic. The police cease their search, finally Tara and her friends can relax, scheming David is dead.

Laughter soon turns to fear when he communicates via Tara’s laptop that he is very much alive, knows their every move and is ready to finish what he started. He is among them, but who? He has a brand new face. How much trouble can one man cause?

Released Date: January 23, 2014

My Book Review ~

When Predation Becomes Seduction ~ My Review of Unfinished Business

Good God talk about a forbidden romance. Is it crazy that the psychological twisted-ness and über forbidden nature of the relationship between charismatic, sexual predator, David, and his oh-so-willing-and-eager victim, Tara, made this story all the more intriguing? 👀

I suppose the answer would probably be, “Yes”…

Me rn:
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So, when we begin the story the deeply disturbed deviant David locked up for murder and kidnapping and holding Tara hostage and murdering a guy from Book One (which I didn’t get a chance to read, but that okay! Because Unfinished Business can be a stand alone anyway! 😌). As Tara decides to pay her victimizer a visit all the while trying to 1.) convince herself that he is not her one true love and 2.) not give him the satisfaction of knowing that she still wants him.

//Side Note//: Of all the iconic and famous victim/victimizer love stories that have ever graced the small screen: General Hospital’s Luke & Laura storyline and One Life To Live’s Todd & Marty storyline come to mind. Show runners, quite incredibly, took two supremely, universally hated mentally tortured male villains into fan favorites after reforming their wicked ways which, in both cases, included brutally raping their soon-to-be love interests.

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IKR? 🧐

Well that’s what we have here in Unfinished Business and S.C. Cunningham has done much of that same risqué, daring, and incredible work that show runners of early GH and OLTL did.

While taking us through the upside world of Tara loving a madman and actually being flattered by a madman’s obsession for her, Cunningham continues to responsibly emphasize that Tara’s -isms are -isms unique to Tara. Obviously this girl is not the norm. Cunningham also responsibly emphasizes that although David was mistreated throughout his life…

(((…I mean as an abused child David’s mantra was once,

One day I will be bigger, I will be badder… I will be bigger, I will be badder,’ the words kept tears from his eyes.’)))

….that this still provides no excuse for his current abhorrent behavior.

*Sigh* Okay.

Now onto the good stuff….

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In Unfinished Business you will find a love story which will intrigue and leave you awake in the middle of the night staring at your ceiling still thinking about these characters. In these pages expect to find:
Passions on top of passions
Obsession
Desire
Kill Lists
Psychological corruption
Psychological dependence
A daring escape
A love triangle spanning countries, and
Tara fighting not only David, but her true nature to love the extremely unlovable.

I give Unfinished Business ✨✨✨✨ (four stars)!!

~ The Novelette

Order Unfinsihed Business Book Two of The David Trilogy ~

Kindle here

Paperback here

Hardcover here

 

Uncategorized · Writers Life

Literary Analysis Series: A Examination of Aristotle’s “Poetics” in relation to Shakespearean Tragedy “Hamlet” ~ PART II 📚 #WritersLife #BookBlogger #Literature #Hamlet #Writers #amReading #amWriting #Books

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Literary Analysis: Aristotelian/Shakespearean Tragedy ~ Part II

Alright, Literary Lovers lets us continue our Literary Analysis of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in terms of Aristotle’s “Poetics”. We last left off in this series by examining the standards of a true tragedy as defined by Aristotle’s “proposed treaty of poetry” aka “Poetics” and how perfectly Shakespeare’s Hamlet embodied those standards nearly to perfection. Let us continue…

The components of Aristotelian tragedy are like the blueprint of poetry and in turn Hamlet. The plot or causation is an element of tragedy that brings with it all other elements therefore it is perhaps the most significant. This element can be either simple or complex; however, Aristotle implies that the plot of a tragedy should be complex, supported by a sorrowful lead, and unified.
A complex plot will be equipped with a necessary series of incidents, events, and consequences to actions…peripeteia and anagnorisis.

Peripeteia is the surprising turn of events taking the protagonist’s life circumstances and flipping them on the head creating an environment of misfortune that was initiated by actions. You know twists and turns… We see this twisty turny style occur in Act I of Hamlet when the king’s death throws Hamlet into a philosophical tailspin of depression and hopelessness. Then again when his father’s ghost appears to him and sends him on the dead end path of revenge.

Anagnorisis is perhaps the ultimate plot twist when a character is derailed when trying to kill someone who is revealed to be their family member. Think Luke Skywalker coming into to the realization that Old Man Darth Vader was his real daddy.

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Unfortunately, as well all know this brilliant literary devise has become an *ahem* cliché in storytelling after decades and decades of it being done to death.

Come to think of it this happened to Luke twice. There was Darth Daddy and then there was the realization that his girlfriend kissing buddy sister, Leia, was a surprise family member too. 👀

While Polonius was not a family member of Hamlet, Hamlet was shocked and stunned upon discovering that he had stabbed Ophelia’s father rather than the new king, his intended target. This accidental murder and revelation is similar to an anagnorsis. A complex plot will bumble through cause and effect dynamic like these throughout the story. Character actions will either intentionally or unintentionally – but always logically and plausibly – have a hand in the growing chaos and suffering.

The unification of the plot is almost like a literary math problem with a formula for length and flow. X equals unity in this equation and the three variables to get to it are action, place, and time.

X=ABC (Hopefully this figure makes sense. I am anything, but the mathematical type…🧐)

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Firstly, unity in drama requires a starting event that begins the sequence of actions and incidents that make up the story. The first scene in a tragedy delivers the first cause of the peripeteia style cause and effect timeline.

According to Aristotle a well-written plot in a tragedy will flow logically from the beginning, middle, and conclusion without plot holes. It will grow as a result of surprise twists and turns and have a succinctly succinct sequence of events.

Secondly, Aristotle was adamant that the place of a tragedy should not be spread out over wide geography or multiple stages instead he felt that a harmonious drama would be centralized to the immediate characters in their immediate spaces. (I think Game of Thrones proved this assertion by Aristotle to be supremely incorrect, but sadly Aristotle was not privileged to read or watch the tales of reoccurring incest, torture, war, and giant dragons curtesy of George R.R. Martin. 😌)

Finally, Aristotle put significant emphasis on the length of a tragedy. He advised that the actions of a tragedy should stay within the narrow time constraints of a single 24-hour time span. (I think Game of Thrones proved this assertion by Aristotle…..ah never mind.) That is each tragedy should be a glimpse into a devastating day in the life of some unfortunate character. Shakespeare did not follow the Aristotelian unities with the utmost accuracy as his writings, Hamlet included, often took place in multiple locations. In Hamlet there are scenes in the vast cold monarchies of Prince Hamlet’s Denmark and Prince Fortinbras’ Norway. Their chilly displays perhaps a clue that these lands are barren and going through a season of death.

A masterful metaphorical tool by the way.

We also travel between Elsinore Castle, Lord Polonius’ house, the court, the ship to England, a battlefields of Poland, and the flower decorated river where Ophelia drowns. Also, the timeline of Hamlet obviously takes place in a time span shorter than years, but longer than Aristotle’s 24 hour length limit of a tragedy.

This is a small token of assurance for budding writers to have confidence in their own ideas and their own writing style. Aristotle was a brilliant, intelligent, and insightful writer and philosopher, but Shakespeare did not allow Aristotle’s definition of a perfect Tragedy to dictate every detail of his writing of Hamlet. Aristotle specifically said that a Tragedy should take place in the character’s immediate spaces within a 24-hour period. Yet, Shakespeare just wasn’t having that because although his wanted to craft a Tragedy he still had his own vision for Hamlet. Ironically, Hamlet still developed into a wonderful embodiment of a true Aristotelian Tragedy more than any other piece of literature

…Next time we will dive into the character of a Tragedy and just how essential they are to a complex plot in a story like Hamlet.

Many Blessings Writers,
The Novelette 🖤

 

Book Reviews · Shining Stars · Uncategorized

#BookReview of ⚔️ #ASacredStorm ⚔️ by @TheodoreBrun & @CorvusBooks #ASacredStormBlogTour #ShiningStarSeven 🌌📚✨✨✨✨✨✨✨📚🌌

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Read on for my review of the epic sequel to A Mighty Dawn, A Sacred Storm by author Theodore Brun and Corvus Books!

Genre: History Fiction

DescriptionForged in fire. Bound by honour. Haunted by loss.

8th Century Sweden: Erlan Aurvandil, a Viking outlander, has pledged his sword to Sviggar Ivarsson, King of the Sveärs, and sworn enemy of the Danish king Harald Wartooth. But Wartooth, hungry for power, is stirring violence in the borderlands. As the fires of this ancient feud are reignited Erlan is bound by honour and oath to stand with King Sviggar.

But, unbeknownst to the old King his daughter, Princess Lilla, has fallen under Erlan’s spell. As the armies gather Erlan and Lilla must choose between their duty to Sviggar and their love for each other.

Blooded young, betrayed often, Erlan is no stranger to battle. And hidden in the shadows, there are always those determined to bring about the maelstrom of war…

Publication Date: June 7, 2018

My Book Review ~

Finally, we return to the nine worlds Author Theodore Brun so masterfully developed and cultivated before our eyes in A Sacred Storm’s predecessor, A Mighty Dawn. I just have to say just putting my hands on this book before I even started reading it had me a little giddy I was so eager to see where Brun would take Erlan Aurvandil, The Shining Wanderer, formerly known as Hakan. From chapter one we are submerged back into the suspenseful dramas between kingdoms, forbidden love, jealousy, lust, and the tortured and torn leading man, Erlan. The theme of a stranger in foreign land continues when a wounded man literally falls into Erlan’s path with mortal wounds and delivers a warning with his last, desperate breathe smelling of soiled rags from punctured bowels….he tells Erlan that war is coming. 

In this sequel to the captivating and beautifully built “A Mighty Dawn,” Author Theodore Brun’s debut and a must read in my opinion for any book lovers who enjoy a good History Fiction story with sword fights, tragedy, comic relief, a deeply conflicted protagonist on a quest to find his purpose, love lost, friendships, kingdoms, kings, blood honor, blood oath, blood union, we see a continuation of where A Mighty Dawn left off. Erlan sworn to a new king, Sviggar, whose percolating volatile family dynamics which could spell even more trouble for his new bodyguard. A Sacred Storm will take you through a land of Fallen Kings, Unfaithful and Loathsome Queens, A Princess Pawn, and a Shining Wanderer looking for his true home all as the Mighty Wolves of War gather in formation for the battle of a lifetime.

With a new love in his heart and new battle brewing like the boiling blood of his raging King – or perhaps his Queen – The Shining Wanderer’s journey continues to be an epic one of sacrifice, internal turmoil, fights to the death, and royalty. Once again because “A Sacred Storm” carries with it all the awesome qualities of “A Mighty Dawn” we are adding it to The Writer’s Block’s Shining Star Seven list which is an exclusive collection of books so good that they have earned a rating beyond five (5) stars! 

I give A Sacred Storm Seven out of Five stars because it’s just that good! 😎 ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨ 

P.S. It certainly seems like there might be a Wanderer Chronicles Book #3!! 🤫😉

Takeaway Quotes from A Sacred Storm ~

• “The memory of it all was more like a nightmare than something real.”

• “In the end, fate is guilty of all things.”

• “Go on if you must,” She smiled. “But know this. I mean to have you. And sooner or after. I will.”

• “…no queen can spurn her king….she’d be a fool to.”

• “She hates being summoned from her sleep by one of Sviggar’s bootlicking servants. Hated even more the prospect of his mottled hands all over her. The contrast of her flawless skin and gnarled old knuckles, that stump of thumb prodding at her, the wheeze in his lungs s his shriveled passions tremors through his body – it was all of it too revolting.”

• “That he would reject her for…that girl! The experience was not one she had known before, and not once that would ever be repeated.”

• He watches the color drain from her cheeks, saw the sinews innher neck tighten. For a secon, there was a wildness in her eyes, the terror of a hind at the huntsman’s horn. Of course, he had expected her to have some reaction, but not one so stark. He touched her face, but she recoiled as if scorched by a firebrand.

• Suddenly [Erlan] wanted her. Not her beauty or her body, but her. All of her, all that she was. To be all she ever needed, all she ever wanted, wretched as he was. The fear that she would be taken away was suddenly unbearable. 

• “The kingdom will be great again, my friend. I have such plans… The All-Father will be honored. My people will be rich…The gods,” he hissed. “The gods…” His grip failed and he fell back. The pillow seemed to swallow him, all but the awful rattle of his breathing. Bodvar rose, shaken not sure what to say…At the doorway Bodvar turned and took a last look at the man he had served since boyhood. And he knew. He was looking at a dead man.

• “I can’t really say whether the memory is of a dream or of something real

• Erlan laughed a Hollow, bitter laugh, “Convenient hat the one person who could prove that you’re a liar sacrificed herself on your butcher’s blade.”

• “You will bear much pain, but you will never break.”

• “She thought of the life being knit together in her womb, and looking into Erlan’s gaze she wondered whether another with those same dark eyes would rise up one day to re-take her father’s rightful place [on the throne].” But, even if Erlan is the rightful father of this child he must never know it.
• Could the steps of a wandering cripple ever lead to a Lord worth serving and a Love that can heal?
• He had to get away from here. Tomorrow. Tomorrow he would leave this land of ghosts far behind.

Order A Sacred Storm (UK)

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Order A Sacred Storm (US)

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Order A Sacred Storm’s Predecessor, A Mighty Dawn (UK)

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~ The Novel Gent

Uncategorized

My #AuthorInterview with @Doug_Johnstone #Author of #FaultLines by @OrendaBooks #Thriller #Mystery #Book

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Read on for my Author Interview with Doug Johnstone author of the wildly successful Mystery/Thriller, Fault Lines by Orenda Publishers.

Much thanks to Doug for taking the time to answer these questions!

First a little bit about Fault Lines: It set in a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, in which a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery. On a clandestine trip to The Inch—the new volcanic island—to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery of his corpse secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact—someone who claims to know what she’s done.

My Interview with Doug ~

What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?
Either an astronaut or a professional footballer. Time is running out on both ambitions.

What does a day in the life of Doug Johnstone look like?
Up early and get the kids to school. Then spend the morning writing fiction, aiming for around 1,000-1,500 words. Afternoons are spent doing journalism, manuscript assessment, teaching, emails, and at the moment I’m working on some screenplay stuff. Then kids back home, homework, make the tea, then chill out watching TV or playing guitar at night.

What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block, which I think comes from my journalism background. If a journo gets writer’s block, they get sacked. I just write, even if it’s crap.

What book would you take with you to a desert island?
Where I’m Calling From, the collected stories of Raymond Carver.

Favorite quote?
‘Less is more.’

Coffee or tea?
Strong black coffee.

Best TV or Movie adaptation of a book?
Fight Club.

Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?
A bit of both. I have a plan at the start, where the opening and ending are quite firm, but it’s very loose in the middle. And then it all changes anyway as I write, and I scribble all over my plan until it’s unreadable and I have to write a new plan.

What does the act of writing mean to you?
A combination of deep creativity and problem-solving logistics.

Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?
Not really, but there is an element that once you’ve set up a character a certain way, they have to act according to that character whether you planned it or not.

Which character in any of your books (Fault Lines or otherwise) was the hardest to write and why?
Probably Ellie, the central character in The Jump. She’s a middle-aged woman whose son has committed suicide before the start of the book, so there’s a lot of grief and loss to deal with. That was hard.

Which character in any of your books (Fault Lines or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?
Probably Ellie from The Jump again, for the same reasons. She really got under my skin.

Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?
Yes, loads. I have a folder with ‘Ideas’ written on it that is full of scraps of paper, story ideas, background, newspaper clippings and so on.

For encouragement of budding authors, what has been the hardest thing about publishing that you have overcome?
Getting noticed in the first place. But the important thing is to be passionate about what you’re writing about, and hopefully someone will eventually share that passion.

What has been the most fun?
Getting sent finished copies of your books never gets old, really.

What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?
Just to persevere and believe in yourself. It’s pretty banal advice, but it can be like a war of attrition trying to get published, so you have to stick at it. But if you’re determined in your work and professional and polite in your approach, you’re giving yourself and your work the best chance.

What was the last thing you read?
The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry, out in August. It’s the penname of Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman, a historical crime novel set in Edinburgh in the 1800s. And it’s terrific.

Your top five authors?
Sara Gran, Megan Abbott, James Sallis, Raymond Carver and Willy Vlautin.

Book you’ve bought just for the cover?
Loads. There were some lovely Penguin editions of H.G. Wells books recently that I picked up with subtle abstract designs on them. Same for Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, published by Faber and Faber. And No Exit have done a terrific job with James Sallis’s backlist.

Tell us about what you’re working on now.
A novel about three generations of women from the same family who have to take over the running of a funeral directors and private investigators.

Be sure to order Fault Lines

Paperback here

Kindle here

~ The Novelette 😎

Author Interview · Uncategorized

#AuthorInterview with Louise Jensen (@Fab_Fiction) #Mystery #Thriller #Author @Bookouture #TheDate #TheSurrogate #TheSister #TheGift #BookBlogger #Books

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Read on for my interview with Louise Jensen, author of breathtaking Mystery and Thriller novels (The Gift, The Sister, The Surrogate, and The Date) with Bookouture Publishing!

Much thanks to Louise for taking the time to answering these questions! 

***Also, links to Pre-Order Louise Jensen’s newest book “The Date” are at the end of this interview. “The Date” is a gripping page-turner about a woman who wakes up unable to recognize herself, her husband, her family, or her worse enemy who is trying to destroy her…

My Interview with Louise ~

What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?

I was desperate to be a member of The Famous Five and solve mysteries. Writing mysteries came a very close second.

What does a day in the life of Louise Jensen look like?

Ah, now you’ve caught me at a good time as I’m trying to be more structured and find a balance between work/personal life. I do the school run at 8 and then it’s a dog walk. I’m always at my desk by 9. The mornings are when I’m most creative so I’ll write new words until 12 when I break for lunch. In the afternoons it’s editing, research or blogging until 5.30. I always carve out an hour for either Pilates or a swim and I meditate every day and should practice piano. Should…

What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?

I rarely get writer’s block because I don’t write in order so if I feel stuck I just jump to another scene. Probably something exciting I know will come later. If I’m trying to think of twists, stepping away from my desk often works.

What book would you take with you to a desert island?

Just one! Probably The Stand by Stephen King. I’ve been meaning to reread it for years but it’s so huge I haven’t got around to it. I loved it as a teenager.

Favorite quote?

‘It’ll be ok in the end. If it isn’t ok, it isn’t the end.’

Coffee or tea?

Earl grey tea.

Best TV or Movie adaptation of a book?

It used to be movies but these past few years have seen some stunning TV adaptations so TV for me.

Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?

I don’t plan anything. I wish I had the sort of mind that could, it would save a lot of time. That said, I like the unexpected. Not knowing what’s going to happen. It makes every day an adventure.

What does the act of writing mean to you?

Freedom inside of my mind. I have limited mobility and chronic pain so writing is a real escapism for me.

Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?

All of them! My thrillers are all emotional and I have to get to know the characters really well, often by writing short stories about them before I write the book, so they lead the way. Kat from The Surrogate is the most surprising, layered character and the most interesting. She did not turn out remotely how I thought she would. Even the epilogue contained 3 twists I didn’t see coming!

Which one of The Date’s characters was the hardest to write and why?

Ali, my main character. She develops Face Blindness and it was a subject I’d wanted to write about for years but I wanted to handle it sensitively. It took 4 attempts over 3 years to get her right.

Which character in any of your books (The Date or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?

I think Ali. The Date was inspired by a CBBC documentary I watched 5 years ago featuring a young girl called Hannah Read who developed Face Blindness. I was so inspired by Hannah I wanted to write about the condition but I felt very protective of her and subsequently Ali, for all they had gone through. I managed to track Hannah down recently and it was very emotional speaking to her and her mum about the impact she had on me.

Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?

No! I am not one of those writers with notebooks full of ideas unfortunately. I tend to focus on the book I am writing and when that has finished I’ve always come up with something new, so far.

What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?

Publishing is such hard work, not only writing butmarketing and sometimes I don’t feel creative but it’s my job so I have to be. I work every day, long hours, and rarely take time off. The best thing has been the people I have met. The other writers and readers. I never want to do anything else.

What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?

You can do it! There are so many options for writers nowadays looking to publish from self-publishing to assisted publishing. Digital to traditional. Literary agents and publishers that take direct submissions.It’s a really exciting time I think, full of possibilities.

What was the last thing you read?

The Art of Breathing by Dr. Danny Penman which is a mindfulness book.

Book you’ve bought just for the cover?

Most of the books I buy I am drawn to because of the cover!

Tell us about what you’re working on now.

I’ve just finished the edits on The Date and so I’m due to proofread it shortly prior to its June publication. I’m going to write the Book Club questions that I always put at the back of my books this week. That’s always one of the most exciting parts of the process for me. Then it’s time to start thinking about book 5!

~~~~

Ooh, the thought of a “Book #5” is exciting! I look forward to reading that one too and many more from Louise Jensen in the future! Keep your eyes peeled for my Book Review of “The Date” mid-June and….

***Pre-Order Louise’s newest release “The Date” at links below.

Pre-Order “The Date” ~

Kindle

Paperback

 

~ The Novelette & The Novel Gent

Uncategorized · Writers Life

Literary Analysis Series: A Examination of Aristotle’s “Poetics” in relation to Shakespearean Tragedy “Hamlet” 📚 #WritersLife #BookBlogger #Literature #Hamlet #Writers #amReading #amWriting #Books

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Literary Analysis: Aristotelian/Shakespearean Tragedy

I welcome you to join me in enjoying a new Literary Analysis Series on The Writer’s Block blog where we will examine the influence and components of great classic and historical literary works starting with Hamlet by William Shakespeare!

This literary analysis was built off a very long paper I had to do for my junior year in college for a World Literature course. The paper exceeded 12 pages and contained plenty of information that examined the masterful and intellectual quality of Hamlet which was described by Poetics 400 years before its conception and Poetics which was utterly and perfectly defined by Hamlet.

Enjoy writers! 😉

Historical Work: Hamlet

Life and Love.
Tragedy and Despair.
Suicide and Murder.
To Be or Not To Be….

Aristotle outlined the standards of a true tragedy in his book Poetics, the antithesis of leisure reading and a prime example of literary analyses. Lost for centuries to the western world and written nearly 400 years before the birth of Christ and almost 2,000 years before the birth of Shakespeare, Poetics and Hamlet are still both intertwined like butter and béchamel, infused into each other like the deep floral notes of hibiscus tea. Hamlet is described by Poetics and Poetics is defined by Hamlet.
Aristotle described his literary analysis as a “proposed treaty of poetry” although in his Greek language the word poetry actually means “making drama” which included satyr and tragedy. It is Aristotle’s masterful intellectual interpretations of art and character as well as his penetrating psychological insight that created the genre of Aristotelian tragedy. Poetics breaks down poetry into seven characteristics saying that it should be representative of true life, dramatic and weighted with seriousness, with the appropriate length not too long for the readers to take in and not too small for the details to be missed, performed rather than narrated, and arouse feelings of pity before purging these feelings through catharsis. This in addition to six Aristotelian tragedy literary components that when combined, like the “music of a flute, creates a harmonious literary rhythm”. These components are the: plot, character, thought, delivery, emotive melody, and display.
Hamlet sends readers on a the tailspin life of a Prince. A broken prince who should have had royalty and fine leadership on the mind, but instead when we meet him he is romanticizing the possibility of killing himself to escape what he feels is the despair of life. Prince Hamlet’s feud with King Claudius – his murderous and deceptive uncle – leads Hamlet into emotional turmoil, a fog of anger and vengeance, murder, criminal proceedings, exile, and soon his death. Hamlet is a masterful tale of brokenness, fear, pity, young love lost, mourning, mortality, and morality. It is told in a blend of character’s private thoughts and life changing actions, incidents and devastating turns of events that journey between fortune and misfortune to create a plausible cohesive entity. It has an unexpected, but logical flow of events, character choices, and its consequences stay true to life principles. The lead character is flawed, but not villainous. The story is unified, but at the same time it is a spectacle full of drama and devastation. So much of what we have become familiar with about Hamlet would not be so if not for the key elements of a tragedy laid out by Aristotle in Poetics.

Hamlet is essential to literature and storytelling. Components of this Shakespearean tragedy are present within seemingly original works that we know and love and have been entertained by in theaters and since childhood.

Disney’s The Lion King (1998) for example was developed with the basis of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in mind. Simba, like Hamlet, a Prince thrown into mental disfunction/turmoil because of his father, the King’s death, and Simba, like Hamlet, realizes he must avenge his father’s murder which he finds out is committed by his own cruel and corrupt Uncle. In The Lion King that uncle is Scar, in Hamlet the Uncle is Claudius.

Think of the plot of Marvel’s The Dark Knight (my personal favorite superhero film….keep in mind I haven’t seen Black Panther yet 👀) The Dark Knight must end the terrifying reign of the Joker, why? To save lives sure, but on a grand scale The Dark Knight must save the soul of Gotham. Will the citizens and politicians of Gotham be a culture/a society bent toward crime, greed, deception, and selfishness or will they be men and women seeking honor and righteousness. Think this was original content? Not quite. Again we have a (masterful) interpretation of Hamlet. In fact, the story essence of The Dark Knight is very Hamlet forward when you compare it with qualities of the Shakespearean tragedy.

During this Literary Analysis Series: Hamlet together we will delve into the nature of Drama and Tragedy in literature as defined and detailed by Aristotle in his 17th century book “Poetics” and how “Hamlet” by Shakespeare embodies Aristotle’s “proposed treaty of poetry” AKA Poetics in a masterful and intellectual way. I will break down Hamlet by each component and examine how each element of Aristotle’s description of Poetics (such as the many themes Aristotle determined should be within the plot of a Tragedy/Drama, having a complex plot, the disturbed mental characteristics of the MC, reoccurring moral dilemmas, the three variables of unity which is action, place, and time, discovery either abstract or physical, etc) is present within Shakespeare’s story.

~ The Novelette