So I was tagged in this tour by my friend Iweka Kingsley – published author who blogs here.
And I; in all sincerity, don’t know whether to thank him or shank him.
But it’s been done – and I am grateful.
I’m supposed to answer four questions that shed some light on my process – how I come up with the stuff I do. And after that, I am to tag three other fantastic guys too – and they tag three other folks…
Until the world stops.
Before we go in; I do need to remind you that the greatest gift God gave me is the ability to scam people into think I can actually write. Don’t be angry.
So. Here We Go.
1) WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
Several things actually.
I just concluded a series; Saving Dapo on my blog. It is a huge success.
Planning the release of my first full-length novel for sometime in 2014. It’s romance; ‘Rain’ is the working title.
I am almost done with two short story collections – one is some sort of satire and the other is the proposed sequel to For Days and A Night; my first book.
Also working on a poetry collection – a chapbook; so to speak.
And several other things I am not at liberty to discuss at the moment *winks*.
2) HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
I don’t think I’m the best person to answer that – I just sit in front of a computer and the words decide where they want to go at that moment.
I think my supporters; the readers are best positioned to respond to that.
3) WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
What makes you think I have a choice?
4) HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?
First thing is the understanding that a writer waiting for inspiration before writing is like a farmer waiting for rain before planting.
They’re both on a long thing.
I really don’t have a process – except I’m writing on a specific subject; maybe an article or so. In that case I read everything available on that subject, read and read, make idle notes while I read and then stew over it for a few – could be hours, could be days or even months.
And then I just plunge in.
In the case of storytelling, I don’t have a process. I think the story comes to me and I put it down in the way it comes. The story dictates EVERYTHING. I let it have its way.
Now – time to tag three fantastico writers:
Ogundare Tope is a lover of books, nature and music. A jack of all trades dabbling into creative writing, poetry, photography, song writing and composition, none of which he is good at but has fun doing! He blogs at: www.zaphnathpanneah05.wordpress.com
Nneka Ezealor-Oladimeji is a stay-at-home mom of two who loves to play with words. She writes short stories and the occasional poem. She blogs here.
Do visit these amazing guys, follow them, commend them, stalk them…
You’ll be glad you did!
Again; shoutout to Iweka Kingsley ‘Scopeman’, author of Dappled Things.
So I was asked to review this book about a genre I’m not too crazy about; steampunk. But I do so love a challenge so I dusted my table, lit a candle and got down to it.
What did I find?
There are bad days.
And then there are really bad days.
Imagine losing a race you had trained for a while for. And even though you are no stranger to loss, it still rankles because you had such hopes.
And then – as though that was not depressing enough, a man comes looking for you, gives you a strange object – and promptly hurls himself off the tower you met on. He kills himself.
And with that, Melanie Karsak introduces you to Lily of the Stargazer. An aptly named airship; even though I say so myself.
The story is one that takes you from righteous anger to depression to empathy; for the main character if for no one else. Lily has her fair share of issues; she is an opium addict, she’s in love with two men – and is running around the world chasing something she does not know. There are also people who want to kill her for what she possesses and what they think she knows – which; is just unfortunate.
Add all that to the fact that Lily’s mum once tried to kill her…
The characters are human; the subplots are interesting and engaging enough without giving the reader too much of a maze to unravel. The leading men/Lily’s love interests are strong in themselves; Lord Byron is an arrogant but kindly aristocrat, Sal is the sensitive, tender and giving soul. Wondering who Lily will eventually choose is an interesting a challenge as solving the mystery of the treasure itself.
The book is evenly paced – sometimes you want to jump ahead and see what happened, sometimes you just want to wait and allow it come to you. It is an enjoyable read, fun if not so memorable. It is definitely not a waste of time.
I look forward to reading more from Melanie.
Read an excerpt from Chasing The Star Garden:
A soft, sweet wind blew in from the port side. It ruffled my hair around my shoulders. I closed my eyes and turned the wheel slightly starboard, guiding the ship in. As the bowsprit scooped into the opening of the tower, I heard a jubilant cheer erupt from the American side and an explosion from the firework cannon signaling the winner had been declared.
My eyes popped open. I tore off my goggles and looked starboard. Cutter’s balloon was parked. I threw the goggles onto the deck and set my forehead against the wheel.
The Stargazer settled into her tower. Jessup set the balloon on hover and, grabbing a rope, swung down to the deck. He then threw the lead lines and anchors onto the platform. The beautifully dressed crowd, gentlemen in suits and top hats and fancy ladies in a rainbow of satin gowns and parasols, rushed toward the American end of the platform to congratulate the winner.
I was, once again, a national disgrace. Lily the loser. Lily second place. Perhaps I would never be anything more than a ferrywoman, a cheap air jockey.
“Good job, Lily. Second place!” Jessup said joining me. He patted me on the shoulder.
I sighed deeply and unbuttoned my vest. The tension had me sweating; I could feel it dripping down from my neck, between my breasts, into my corset.
“You did great,” I told Jessup. “Sorry I let you down.”
“Ah, Lily,” he sighed.
Angus emerged from below wiping sweat from his head with a greasy rag. He pulled off his monocle. He frowned toward the American side. “Well, we beat the French,” he said with a shrug and kissed me on the cheek, smearing grease on me.
“Good job, Angus. Thank you,” I said taking him by the chin and giving him a little shake as I wrinkled my nose and smiled at him.
Angus laughed and dropped his arm around Jessup’s shoulders. They grinned happily at one another.
“You stink, brother,” Jessup told him.
“It’s a wee bit toasty down there. Besides, I pedaled this ship across the entire fucking country while ya were up here looking at the birds. That, my friend, is the smell of success.”
“You pedaled the ship?” Jessup said mockingly. “Like Lil and I were just up here playing cards? If I didn’t keep the balloon aloft, your ass would be kissing the ground.”
“Now wait a minute. Are ya saying your job is more important that mine?” Angus retorted.
I could see where this was going. “Gents.”
“More important? Now why would I say that? Just because I’m the one . . .” Jessup started and then his mouth ran.
“ . . . and another thing . . .” Jessup went on.
“Gentlemen! Our audience awaits,” I said cutting them both off, motioning to the well-shod crowd who waited for us on the loading platform outside the Stargazer.
I grinned at my crew. “Come on. Let’s go.”
I patted the rail of the Stargazer. “Thanks,” I whispered to her, and we exited onto the platform.
A reporter from the London Times and several race officials stood waiting for me.
“Well done, Lily! Well done!” the British race official congratulated me with a pat on the back. “Second place! King George will be so proud. One of these days you’ll have it, by God.”
I was pretty sure that the last thing I needed was the attention of George IV, the extravagant, unpopular lush. But I bit my tongue and smiled politely.
“Lily, how did Cutter beat you? You led the entire race,” the reporter, a round woman wearing a very thick black lace collar which looked like it was choking her, asked me. Her heavy purple walking dress looked hot under the late afternoon summer sun. The brim of her black satin cap barely shaded her nose. I noticed then, however, that she had a small clockwork fan pin attached to her chest. The fan wagged cool air toward her face.
I pulled off my cap, mopped my forehead, and thought about the question. “Luck,” I replied.
“Lily, that was some move around Tinkers’ Tower. How did you learn to do that?” another reporter asked.
“My father,” I lied.
“Make way, make way,” one of the race officials called, ushering a Marshall forward.
The Marshall looked like someone who lingered an hour too long at supper. The gold buttons on his marigold satin vest would take an eye out if they popped. His overly tall top hat was adorned with a ring of flowers that matched his striking orange colored dress coat.
“Miss Stargazer, congratulations,” he said, shaking my hand. “The Spanish airship is coming in now. Will you please join Mr. Cutter at the winners’ podium?” he asked politely as he guided me forward by the hand.
From below there was a commotion. A man dressed in an unusual costume was rushing up the stairs. What looked like a full squadron of the Bow Street Runners, the London constables, were chasing him. When he got to the loading platform, the man pushed through a crowd of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen, many of whom were gentry. It was then I could see he was dressed as a harlequin. He wore the traditional red and black checked outfit and a black mask. He scanned the towers and caught sight of me. He jumped, landing on the tower railing, and ran toward me. A woman in the crowd screamed. Moments later the constables appeared on the platform. The race Marshalls pointed toward the harlequin who was making a beeline for me.
I let go of the Marshall’s hand and stepped back toward the ship.
“Lily,” Jessup warned, moving protectively toward me.
Angus reached over the deck of the Stargazer and grabbed a very large wrench.
Was it an assassin? Christ, would someone murder me for winning second place? I turned then and ran toward the Stargazer. A moment later, the harlequin flipped from the rail, grabbed one of the Stargazer’s ropes, and swinging over the others, landed on the platform directly in front of me. Any second now, I would be dead.
“Lily?” he asked from behind the mask.
“Stop that man! Stop him!” a constable yelled.
“Get out of my way!” Angus roared at the crowd that had thronged in between us.
The masked man grabbed me, tugged on the front of my trousers, and leaned into my ear. The long nose of the mask tickled my face. “Go to Venice,” he whispered as he stuffed something down the front of my pants.
“We got you now,” a constable said, grabbing him, raising his club.
The man shook him off, took two steps backward, and with a jump, leapt off the tower.
Several people in the crowd screamed.
I rushed to the side of the tower to see the harlequin lying at its base. His body was twisted oddly. Blood began pooling around him.
“Miss Stargazer, are you all right?” a constable asked.
“A man just killed himself in front of me. No, I am not all right.”
“I mean, are you harmed? Did he hurt you?”
I shook my head and looked down at the mangled body whose twisted form made the shape of a three-sided triskelion. It was the same symbol that was painted on the balloon of the Stargazer.
About the Author:
Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where there was an abysmal lack of entertainment, so she turned to reading and hiking. Apparently, rambling around the woods with a head full of fantasy worlds and characters will inspire you to become an author. Be warned. Melanie wrote her first novel, a gripping piece about a 1920s stage actress, when she was 12. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, the author now resides in Florida with her husband and two children. Melanie is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.
Have a great rest-of-the-week!
Hello friends and friends!
Here’s hoping we’ve recovered from yesterday’s binging! If we’ve not – well. Andrew’s Liver Salt shouldn’t be more than a hundred naira yet!
We have another guest today – a third since we began hosting the blog tour two weeks ago. Today, we’ll be looking at the book titled ‘Awakening Olivia North’.
Awakening Olivia North is a love story… tender, romantic, and sensual. It also says a lot about life and how we should all strive to get back to the true essence of who we are.
Outwardly, Olivia North looked the happily married woman. Her children continually made her proud, and her husband had indeed provided the kind of lifestyle and financial security most women could only dream of. Few of her friends could understand what needs she may have beyond the beautiful house, the cars and the apartment on the Sunshine Coast. Yet there was something quietly missing… a sense of partnership and intimacy, and had been for a great many years.
Emptiness engulfed Olivia after her youngest daughter Lucy moved out of the house to university. With no regrets or thoughts of resentment, Olivia walked away from her marriage, reaching out for emotional support from her brother, his wife, and her daughters. Olivia took stock of her financial situation, embracing an uncertain future with faith everything would fall into place.
Descending the companionway steps to get her mobile phone, she saw the cook busy preparing dinner. The mince was in a large pan on the galley stove, and he had finely sliced onion and garlic on the cutting board. She hugged and kissed him as she passed to and from the aft cabin, saying she would make a quick call to her girls while he made the boat smell so yummy.
Sitting comfortable on the swim step, she was pleasantly surprised that both Sally and Lucy answered their telephones. They must have recognized the call as being from Thailand, and as she hadn’t been calling anywhere near as often as expected, they didn’t want to miss an opportunity to see how things were in Phuket. Sally had looked thought all the pictures, and especially close at the ones her mother had taken of Andrew.
“Mum, I think I can see what Lucy has been saying. Looking at his eyes, I can understand it when you say Andrew is a gentle and caring man. It shows mum.”
Olivia loved this softening of Sally towards Andrew Walker. Sally had been protective, wary, and not at all caught up in the romantic notion of a holiday in another country with a man she herself had never met. Things were changing. Lucy, on the other hand, never questioned her mother’s decision. She sensed something about Andrew from the moment they met, and she wholeheartedly approved. She was the romantic of the family. She too had loved the pics and had been back to look at them many times.
“Mum, that Meridien resort in Khao Lak was a romantic paradise. I adored it and you must have had such a nice time there. Have you fallen in love mum?”
That question interrupted Olivia’s thoughts completely. How could she answer Lucy when she wasn’t sure she had the answer herself? She hesitated a little before saying a word.
“Mum, I’m waiting!”
“Don’t do this to your poor mother. I’m sitting on the back of the boat a few hundred meters off the beach. Andrew is down below cooking lasagna, and the sky is becoming the most beautiful shade of pink. To be honest sweetheart, all I can say is that I am having the most wonderful holiday and I don’t even want to think about this dream coming to an end.”
“Oh My God Mum. I’m crying tears of joy for you. I love you and I love that you guys are having such a romantic time.”
Olivia too had tears in her eyes and saying goodbye to Lucy, reached for the towel she had folded to sit on. Cradling her face in the towel, drying her tears, she sat there looking out over the water as she thought more about Lucy’s question. Yes, she and Andrew definitely shared something very deep. Still, neither of them had mentioned the word love. In a multitude of ways, the word itself seemed superfluous. Emotions were not words, and it was difficult to use words to describe or explain emotions.
I’m an Australian, the product of a conventional upbringing, and marriages to a couple of very different, yet extraordinary women. My life has comprised the normal range of failures and successes, and continues to be a wonderful and enlightening journey.
I’ve lived and worked in numerous places around the world, including Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, the United States, and India. I continue to divide my time between Thailand and Australia.
Good Morning today!
Continuing the blog tour trend began last week; thanks to the beautiful @FabulosityReads; we’ll be looking at a second book; My Beautiful Suicide today.
Scary, no? I think it’s quite intriguing.
Written by Attaliah Eve, My Beautiful Suicide is Cosette Hugo’s story. A girl who’s life is more or less headed nowhere, a sequence of unfortunate events make her decide to take her life. The method she chooses however only makes for more complications…
You should just read from Attaliah herself.
Suicide is selfish.
It tells the world that you are weak. It tells the world your family and friends have failed. It leaves them with guilt that they could have done more but didn’t. It tells them they are clueless and helpless.
I am weak, but I am not selfish.
My suicide will not leave my family and friends with guilt and shame; it will leave them thankful that they knew me for the short time I was here.
– Cosette Hugo
Her brother died. Her parents divorced. Her high school bully is relentless. Cosette doesn’t have a lot to live for, but it isn’t until she accidentally kills someone that Cosette makes the decision to take her own life.
Unwilling to bring shame to her mom, best friend Mattie, or her boyfriend Chris, Cosette decides the best method of suicide is to become a victim of the local serial killer, The Poser. But every time she goes out to find him she gets attacked; her instincts take over, and she ends up killing her attackers. This quickly leads to unbearable guilt. Desperate to finish this before she gets caught or racks up more victims, Cosette does the unthinkable.
“And when I reach my final goal, to meet my brother in heaven, and we’re looking down at my victim in Hell, he will say to me ‘Well done, Cosette. What a Beautiful Suicide.'”
“No, I just want to apologize.” He loosely holds my hand and walks me to my couch. “I crossed a line I said I wouldn’t and you warned me. You know enough about me to know that I’m no boy scout. But I want you to know that I know enough about you that I think I should stop asking questions.”
I hate what he’s saying to me, but before I get mad at him, he holds up a finger. “I have something for you.”
“Do I want it?”
“Actually, I have two things, and yes, you’ll want one and need the other.” He holds his fist out. I put my hand underneath, waiting to catch whatever he drops. “This I stole, because that’s just what I do, but it doesn’t make it any less meaningful, okay?”
“Okay.” I grin at his cute introduction.
“If you’ve changed your mind about committing to me, then let me know now before I open my hand and look stupid.”
“You saw me completely naked. I think that’s commitment enough.”
“Very true, good answer.” He opens his hand and drops a small ring with two diamonds separated by a deep blue sapphire. “This is a promise ring. It’s not an engagement ring or anything like that. It’s just me pledging myself to you. If you accept me, then accept the ring. If you aren’t sure, then don’t take it. I know it’s old fashioned, but I’m an old fashioned kind of guy.”
“I’ll take it and I’ll take you.” He slides it on my finger while I cry. I lunge at him and kiss him. He smiles and kisses me back.
He’s perfect, just perfect.
I wish I could be like him, so loving, and thoughtful, and kind—but I’m not. I knew when I started that I would not be good for Chris. Shit, I’m on a suicide mission and here he wants to pledge himself to me.
“Chris, I can’t take this.”
“What? Rejection already?”
I pull away from him, feeling the vacuuming black hole sucking onto me, letting me know it’s there waiting for me. “I’m not good enough for you, Chris. I can’t take you down with me.”
“What do you mean down with you? Cosette, I’ll go anywhere with you. You’re perfect for me.”
“The Cozy you know is not the real me. You are pledging yourself to my body, not my soul.”
“I don’t understand. You said you loved me.” His voice cracks, breaking my heart.
“Oh my God, I do! But my soul is dying. It started dying a long time ago and keeps dying the more I cross these lines. It’s not fair for me to offer you something that isn’t perfect. I can’t take this from you. I’m not worthy.” I take the ring off and hand it back to him.
He stares at it, confused. “Did I happen to mention that this was stolen?”
I chuckle through tears.
I was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Family life was rough with a religious mother and a short-tempered, alcoholic father. (Picture Archie Bunker) My escape was reading and music. I think I was the only kid with my nose in a book during the Air Force Academy football games.
As a teen I was an 80’s new waver with black shaved hair, a pale face and bright red lipstick. I was very self-destructive and always got into trouble. Needing a change I followed my father’s footsteps and joined the Air Force.
During my four year enlistment I was stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada where I met my wonderful husband. We both got out of the military and moved to Southern Indiana, on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky. I have two teenage boys whom I try to embarrass but have yet to succeed, they have great senses of humor.
I wrote my first novel over ten years ago and was on the verge of having it published when, sadly, my publisher passed away. I shelved my books for a few years to work on our family business. Now I’m back to writing and have decided my fate is in my own hands. And since I hate being told what to do so; I am self-publishing!
Amazon- My Beautiful Suicide
Smashwords- My Beautiful Suicide
Barnes & Noble– My Beautiful Suicide
Where to connect with Atty Eve:
What do you think? My Beautiful Suicide would be fun to read abi?
Stay with us! Thank you for coming!!
Good Morning today!
So we got our dates mixed up. Apologies!
Hmm. I must tell you; I have read the book and it made me stay to the end. Even though the killer was revealed pretty early in the story, there was still enough to keep it going till the last breath. The lead character; Callie Taylor is a delight and breaks several of the cliches pop culture has come to associate with ghosts and such. You would want to read how Callie enjoys food without a stomach. She’s funny, cute, nice – as much as one would expect from a human character.
Oh. I forgot to tell you. Callie’s dead.
But there’s still a lot of her coming up. I personally look forward to that.
Though I did think the story dragged for a bit in the middle, and the dialogue was long in some parts – I still did not put it down till I was done.
And that is saying a lot.
Without further ado…
Waking Up Dead: Blurb
When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?
As Molly straightened up, the man slipped the wire over her head and twisted it around her neck. She struggled, but he pulled the garrote tighter and tighter.
I was screaming at the top of my ghostly voice, for all the good it did me. I moved up behind the man and beat at his back with closed fists–fists that slipped in and out of his back without ever making real contact. He shuddered a little–clearly he was one of the very slightly sensitive ones–but he didn’t loosen his hands.
I reached up and tried to grab the wire, tried to pull against the pressure he was exerting on the wire and it did loosen for an instant. But only for an instant. The living have more control over solid objects than the dead do. I never resented that fact more than at that moment.
But I kept trying. I kept trying as Molly’s face turned purple, then blue, then black, kept trying even as she drooped in the man’s grip.
Then he loosened the wire and it was too late. I watched that wispy, light-on-fog life force slip out of Molly and move on to wherever it is that other people go when they die. I was glad she didn’t show up next to me as a full-blown ghost. At that moment, I wouldn’t have wished my impotent half-existence on anyone.
I couldn’t help thinking that if I’d been alive, I might have been able to save her.
If I could have cried real tears, I would have. As it was, I was sobbing hoarsely and calling the man every dirty name I could think of.
I was still cursing as I followed him around the kitchen. First he opened the pantry and pulled out a box of Hefty garbage bags. Then he grabbed a knife out of the block on the counter. And finally, he picked up Molly’s body and carried it to the bathroom.
About the Author
Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.
Connect with Margo
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- Book Excerpt from Waking up Dead (thebookgazette.wordpress.com)
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- Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins #spotlight #trailer @MargoBondCollin (readingrenee.com)