Month

October 2016

Twas the Night Before NaNoWriMo

once-upon-a-time-719174_1920Twas the night before NaNoWriMo

When all through my house

My family was sleeping

While I found my muse to arouse

I thought I was prepared

I thought I knew

But 50,000 words

Oh man, I’m screw(ed)

My snowflakes were aligned

My outline, clear as a Bell

I’d consulted the Masters

And dug deep in the Patterson well.

There was now way I could Butcher this.

For my Moleskine was in hand

I declared

I’m the King of this land.

So for the next 30 days

I’ll follow my plan

I think my main character

Will have A Tan

No matter what

It’s the fun of it all

Whether I fly cross the finish line

Or end in a crawl

Oh, by the way, have you seen my pants?

 

Piper M. reads… #carolinareads

piper-miltonWhat’s the first book you remember reading?
The first  full-length book I remember  reading was The Adventures of the Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton. I couldn’t put it down and read it under the  sheets with a torch. I must have been about seven years old. I still have it and look forward to reading it to my  grandaughters  when they are a  little older.

What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
I’ve got three on the go. Where My Heart Used To Beat, by Sebastian Faulks which was a book club choice. I’ve loved his other books but have to confess  I am struggling with this one.  The Secret Life of Bletchley Park about code breakers in WW2 and a metaphysical book, A New Light On Angels, by Diana Cooper.

Why did you choose that book?                                                                                         I loved Sebastian Faulks’ other books, but I am struggling with this one.

If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be and why?  I have chosen Rebecca West, an extraordinary woman born in 1892. Her first book, Henry James, was published  in 1916, exactly one hundred years before mine. But she first appeared  in print  at the age of nineteen as a political writer and journalist.             

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?

 The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West; the story of  three sisters growing up in Edwardian London and said to be based on West’s own childhood. It’s a masterpiece.

Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. I first read this when I was fifteen. Set in restoration England, her historical detail transports you back in time.

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. A vast, fascinating novel about newly independent   India in the fifties.

Katherine by Anya Seton. The powerful love  story of Edward 111 and his mistress, Katherine Swynford, whom he eventually marries; a story based on fact.

Pride and Prejudice. I just love this book. It never fails to entertain me.

I am not only an author I have an online radio show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yvonnemason and my website athttp://authoryvonnemason.com/ and my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.mason1 . I am always looking for folks to interview on my online radio show because I am only as successful as I allow others to be.


Join the movement!
I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview. I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would like it to be included.

Silkpunk- The New Punk on the Block (part 3 subgenre series)

I first heard the term silkpunk in my writer’s group. Intrigued, I bought Ken Liu’s book The Grace of Kings. Liu describes his book as a fantasy book focusing on the Chu-Han Contention (206 B.C.E. – 202 B.C.E). This is an intense book. It has not been a book that I’ve been able to read quickly. However, the world building in this book is phenomenal.

“The way that China has been described in Western narratives makes it hard to tell a story that will escape the stereotypes and allow people to perceive it fresh,” he says. “So I decided to create a new fantasy world that’s based on and inspired by East Asia, and by China in particular, but not directly analogous to it.” Ken Liu (citation)

imagesThe underlinings of the book are very similar to the heart of the punk genre. There are airships, like in steampunk, but these airships are made with silk and bamboo. There is a marginalized class of people who choose to stand and fight the ruling class. Technology has been reinvented using the same materials available during the time, but with a slight twist and creative license.

I am about a third of the way through this book. It is an adventurous read that any epic fantasy lover will enjoy.

In researching for this post, I did not find any other examples of silkpunk. This seems to be a new and wide open category in genre writing.

If you’re interested in learning more about the various punk subgenres check out part 1 and part 2 of my series.

Spotlight Share- Cover Me Darling

easy-reading-is-damn-hard-writingnathaniel-hawthorneSince I started this blog and started working with authors, I’ve learned just how much work it takes to make a book. What takes me as a reader a few hours to read will take an author days, weeks, months, or even years to put together. It is not just about putting some words together and slapping a cover on the front of your book.

Book covers sell books better than anything else. I can’t tell you how many books I have bought simply because I liked the cover. My TBR list increases every day. Those books look so pretty sitting on my shelf, but it’s getting harder and harder to find time to read them all (sometimes they talk to me, but that is whole different post)

Book covers can be as simple as this one:

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Or as complex as this one:

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The second cover is from The Book of Now by Sherry Rentschler. I helped finalize the second cover. It was my first time doing something like this. The design comes from Marisa-rose Shor at Cover Me Darling.

I worked with Marisa on another cover. I went to the photo shoot and helped create some of the poses for the model. I have no idea how many pictures she took, but it was amazing to see how she took a little piece of this one and a little piece of that one, changed colors, perspective, and size to create the final copy. I will reveal that cover soon.

Marisa not only designs covers, but she also designs logos and branding. She designed the logo for my site. Here is the final proof:

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Getting a professional logo designed was the coolest professional thing I’ve ever done. It transformed my site from looking like a neophyte posted a few pictures and words together to looking like a professional site from someone who knows a lot more about what she’s doing.

Check out her website, her Facebook group, and Twitter

Let’s Chat with Rick (The Abduction Myth by M.M. Simons)

bookstore-482970_1280Tell us about your work with young parolees.

I think everyone has an opportunity to make bad choices. It’s in our nature. Most of the kids I employ in the bookstore, make a simple bad choice and they deal with the consequences. Once they get out of jail, they need a place to work. They need a second chance. I give them that.

Do you have much success?

Almost everyone who worked with me has gone on to become a productive member of society. A few have gone to school to get degrees and a few are now dads. One of them manages my old bookstore since I moved and bought a new one. Not everyone success in the outside world though.

You mentioned your first bookstore. What was it like and why did you sell it?

My first store, Sword and Pen, was in El Prado. It was close to the college and a lot of kids used it just to hang out. The building was dilapidated, but it had a lot of character. I also owned the upstairs apartments. I love books. I have a side job translating old books and I also help evaluate and appraise personal libraries. Collecting books is what I’ve always done. So a bookstore just makes sense. I only sold it because my then girlfriend, Stevie, moved and I moved with her.

Is Stevie your girlfriend?

Well, she’s my wife now.

What does she do?

She illustrates books occasionally, but she is a very talented painter.

How did you two meet?

She rented on of my apartments above the bookstore. Now, don’t go getting the wrong idea. We didn’t really get along at first. The time I spent with her, however, the more I wanted to be with her. Her family wasn’t very keen on it, though.

No? Why not? You seem like a decent guy.

You’d have to ask them to be sure. I think people get the wrong idea about me all the time. They were also afraid I was taking her away from them.

What was your courtship like?

Do people even use that word anymore? Well, DATING Stevie, was a little tough. She had just had a bad breakup. Neither one of us wanted a relationship. But like I said, the more time I spend with her, the more I wanted to be with her. She has this way about her that draws me to her. I just had to be with her.

Did her family ever come around?

No, not really.

OK, last question. How would you sum up your outlook on life?

I really think people need to be true to themselves. I don’t feel the need to conform to may societal norms. I mean, I only owe ONE tie. Search for things that make you happy and just focus on that.

Well, thank you, Rick, for talking to us today. I will make sure and send everyone your way to check out your new bookstore.

Thanks for interviewing me. Also keep an eye out for Stevie’s upcoming show. She has some great pieces that people are already talking about.


If you want to know more about Rick, Stevie, and their connection to dragons, pomegranate seeds, and how he saves her life more than one time, check out The Abduction Myth by M.M. Simons or check out her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Come back to the blog next month and read her interview.

10 Reasons All Book Lovers Should Do NaNo

typewriter-1240422-1280x8501. To see your name on a book that someone else reads.
2. To appreciate what goes into putting a book together.
3. Ya know you have a story inside of you that needs to come out.
4. Rogue 1 won’t be out until after NaNo.
5. It’s fun.
6. All the cool kids are doing it.
7. You will  fall more in love  with books.
8. Learn about new genres.
9. It will feel great when your book club reviews your book.
10. Nothing beats the thrill of setting a big goal and nailing it. 

A. Hollis reads… #carolinareads

ahollisauthorphotoWhat’s the first book you remember reading?
Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever was the first book that I could read independently. But, as other readers know, the book contains individual words instead of sentences. The first book with sentences that I read was Kermit and Cleopigtra (1981). Somewhere deep in my heart, Kermit the Frog is still my hero.

What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
I started A.G. Riddle’s The Origin Mystery earlier this year. Riddle is a North Carolina indie author who wrote a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy about epigenetics, the lost city of Atlantis, and terrorism. I am reading the second book, The Atlantis Plague, this fall.

Why did you choose that book?
Amazon.Com recommended The Atlantis Gene, the first book in the trilogy, to me based on past lending and purchases. I borrowed Atlantis Gene as my one “free” Amazon Prime book of the month and got hooked on the trilogy. The first book ends in a cliffhanger. The second book has an even more enticing prologue. I borrowed The Atlantis Plague as my free Prime eBook for October 2016.

If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be and why?
H.G. Wells. The man was a genius. Today, Wells is remembered as the father of science fiction. He practically invented the concept of time travel. But, before all of his fiction work, he taught and wrote biology textbooks. He was a very prolific writer in multiple genres. He must have led a very interesting life to have kindled his creative spark for so long. I would love to sit and listen to his story.

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?
The Holy Bible, the Complete Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, a Prentice Hall literature anthology (any would do), and The Walking Dead Compendium (any volume).

My first novel, Absent on School Picture Day, debuted this fall. I am currently preparing to participate in National Novel Writing Month this November where I, and thousands of other adventurous souls, will write 50,000 words in 30 days or less.


Join the movement!
I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview. I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would like it to be included.

Granddaddy Cyberpunk (part 2 subgenres)

fractal-1741167_1920This is a continuation of a series I started last week.

In researching punk genres for this series, I soon realized that some people are passionate about labels. I came across several threads in chat rooms and forums, where posters actually argued over the essence of each of these subgenres. More than one included some very not so nice names and explicatives. I find it interesting. I understand the need for genre labels, but for me, the story is ALWAYS more important than the label.

Cyberpunk, as the ones I mentioned last week, stems from an alternative world. The story is often slanted towards a dystopian or post-apocalyptic world where the advances in technology serve to hurt the masses. The characters rebel against society in some form or fashion, often starting in small ways and then ending in a massive way. These characters are often hackers who have just a little more technology knowledge than the ruling party of the time. The stories take place in the future and authors often speculate about the technology that will be available at that time. However, authors are limited to their own frame of reference.

William Gibson author of Neuromancer is credited with jump-starting this genre.  The movies Blade Runner, Mad Max, and The Matrix and great theatrical examples of this genre. The name cyberpunk comes from the short story “Cyberpunk” by Bruce Bethke.

Cyberpunk almost seems satirical in nature. It serves to poke fun of current technology and highlight the dichotomy of the haves and the have-nots.  In the early ’80s when cyberpunk began, technology began to grow faster than it ever has. With the advent of the personal computer, what was once mostly used in businesses and governments now allowed everyone access to a new world. The corporate world demanded control over technology growth while many argued the possibilities of corruption.


The cyberpunks have been the most powerful single influence on science fiction over the past two decades, an influence that is explained by their perceptive analysis of the cultural and social changes generated or threatened by “media in transition.”  (citation)


The main difference between cyberpunk and steampunk lies in world building. In steampunk, authors add to a world that already happened. In cyberpunk, authors must create a world from scratch. Though most of the technology in the stories are based on what is available today, world building is only limited by the author’s imagination. Authors cannot only create a real world but can also create a virtual reality where most or some of the action takes place (think Tron).

I admit I like watching this genre more than reading it. The Matrix Series is one of my favorites. I also enjoyed the movies Aeon Flux and Lucy. I’m looking forward to Ghost in the Shell.

Nanopunk, a subgenre of cyberpunk, is a growing part of the cyberpunk world. These stories center on the use of nanotechnologies. This reminds me of Borg technology from Star Trek. Since nanotechnology is still in infancy, this genre relies heavily on the what-ifs and world building is wide open.


Last week, I shared I wanted to design a steampunk costume for a Halloween party I was to attend. What a lot of work. I am too much of a last minute person so it didn’t happen. I did, however, come up with a different costume:

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Terri the Book Fairy.

 

Storming by K.M. Weiland

51fo271chclDieselpunk is a new genre for me. I hadn’t even heard of this until I saw this book.  I have read just about all of K.M. Weiland’s writing books, though. I wanted to see her advice put into action. I was not disappointed. Having never read a book like this, I had no idea what to expect.

A unique aspect of this story is the blend between reality and fiction. Weiland does a fantastic job creating a world that is completely believable. I think this is the part of the “punk genre” that intrigues me the most.

From the Amazon book description:

“In the high-flying, heady world of 1920s aviation, brash pilot Robert “Hitch” Hitchcock’s life does a barrel roll when a young woman in an old-fashioned ball gown falls from the clouds smack in front of his biplane. As fearless as she is peculiar, Jael immediately proves she’s game for just about anything, including wing-walking in his struggling airshow. In return for her help, she demands a ride back home . . . to the sky.

Hitch thinks she’s nuts—until he steers his plane into the midst of a bizarre storm and nearly crashes into a strange airship like none he’s ever run afoul of, an airship with the power to control the weather. Caught between a corrupt sheriff and dangerous new enemies from above, Hitch must take his last chance to gain forgiveness from his estranged family, deliver Jael safely home before she flies off with his freewheeling heart, and save his Nebraska hometown from storm-wielding sky pirates.

Cocky, funny, and full of heart, Storming is a jaunty historical adventure / dieselpunk mash-up that combines rip-roaring steampunk adventure and small-town charm with the thrill of futuristic possibilities”

This book has won several awards since its release. A Lyra Grand Prize Winner, A NIEA winner, and a IPPY Silver Medal Winner are just a few.

This is a good book to read especially if you are interested in expanding your genre likes.

Author’s Amazon page, Facebook, Website

Artifact Hunters by A.W. Exley

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I found this series by accident on Audible. I started reading book two, Hatshepsut’s Collar before I found book one, Nefertiti’s Heart. The author did a great job of filling the reader in on details from book 1 without repeating the whole book. I loved the second book so much that I had to read book 1. I read the first four books in the series in a little over a week. They are that good!
It threw me off a little in the beginning because I have never read anything with a steampunk feel. I’m also not that familiar with Regency England. However, the author did a fantastic job of creating a world for these characters and my confusion was quickly overcome. The world building for this book, and ultimately the series, is awesome. The characters are deep and complex. I really like the main character, Cara. I liked that she wasn’t the typical damsel in distress. Yes, she does gain strength from her lover, but she is fully capable of standing on her own two feet.

I do not know how much liberty the author used with actual historical events. I don’t care. I read this for entertainment value and now a historical lesson.

I enjoyed it and would highly recommend this and the others in the series. The other two books, Nero’s Fiddle and Moseh’s Staff are just as good. I don’t think you have to read the series in order, but it would help.

As a bonus, if you sing up for her newsletter, you receive a free book, The Heart of the Kracken.

Amazon Author Page, Facebook, Website

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