Monthly Archives: January 2015

Was That True?

Have you ever considered the very words that come from your own mouth? Have you ever questioned yourself as to whether or not what you just said is true? My guest this week, indie author and teacher Robin Chambers, offers his own take on that very subject. So please welcome the talented Mr. Chambers!

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What comes out of your mouth can surprise you sometimes. I was in a classroom in Hackney Downs School in the spring of 1974 and I said to a class of tough London boys that I’d been teaching English to for some time: “Some of you can write better stories than I ever could.”

I heard myself say it; and although I went on with whatever great idea I had dreamed up to inspire and challenge them that day, a voice in my head asked: “Was that true?  After all…, (it went on) “…you haven’t tried, have you? – not since you were a pupil yourself?”

The voice was right – I hadn’t. What’s more, I hadn’t done that much “creative writing” at Bootle Grammar School for Boys either. English syllabuses tend to be more interested in why other people’s writing is good.  (I DID have a great English teacher though – Bill Bent, who I heard years later on Mastermind – but that’s another story…).

So that night, I did the homework I had set them: to write the best opening I could to the kind of story I liked best. It took me ages, which was interesting; but by the end of the evening a pyramid of light had briefly materialised in the middle of Hackney Downs, and inside it, in a brand new school uniform, was a boy who looked as though he might be eleven years old. He was clearly ready to start secondary school…

That fragment had “Chapter 1” written all over it.

Not long after that, I had another bright idea.  I got a class in a circle and told each boy to think of something he thought would be interesting to find in a story.  It could be a character or a place or a situation or an interesting object.  The idea was that each boy would whisper what he had thought of into the ear of the boy on his right, who had to remember it.

The challenge was to weave a story round the circle. I would point at someone, and he would start to tell a story, weaving in what had been whispered to him. When he stopped, the boy to his left would carry on the story until he’d managed to work in whatever had been whispered to him; and so on, until a rambling epic tale, full of strange twists and turns, had reached full circle.

That was the plan, and I was in the circle as well.  You shouldn’t ask any pupil to do anything you couldn’t do yourself, right…?

Well, they couldn’t do it. It was “too hard”. And there I was at the crossroads, with a decision to make. You could call it a defining moment. I had said it could be done. Was that true? There was only one way to find out.

“Right,” I said. “Here’s a scrap of paper each. Write on it what was whispered to you, fold it, and give it to me…” They all did that, and there I was with a handful of folded scraps of paper. Taking a deep breath I opened the first scrap. It said “Zaire for the World Cup.”

“In 1994…” I said, staring round the group with my most convincing face on, “Zaire were favourites for the World Cup. They’d first entered the competition in 1974, and of course no one gave them a chance; but since then football in Zaire had gone from strength to strength, and now it seemed that no one could beat them…”

I unfolded the next scrap.  It said “Iceland”.

“The World Cup that year was to be held in Iceland.  Icelanders are very keen on sport, and they had all the stadia needed in and around Reykjavik – which, as everyone knows, is the capital of Iceland. The Icelandic team were second favourites in the competition: they had many world-class players and the home advantage. But everyone was wondering how the Zaire team would get on in a country as cold as Iceland. Zaire is a hot country. How would they be affected by the change in temperature…?”

I unfolded the next scrap.  It said “A banana”…

On and on the story went: twisting and turning through football and witchcraft and match-fixing, unexplained deaths and apparent resurrections, until about half an hour later I’d worked in the last piece of paper and brought the story to an exhausted close. There had been no hesitations, and the class had listened in total silence all that time.

Then a boy in the circle put his hand up and said: “Was that true, Sir?”

During the next school holiday I wrote that story down one weekend.  Over the next twelve months I finished the longer story about the boy in the pyramid, and another two stories that were similarly weird.  Then I sent them to Penguin and they published them.

The collection was called The Ice Warrior and Other Stories.  The editorial team liked the other stories, but the one they really loved was the one I had called “The Ice Warrior”: the one about the footballing wizard from Zaire with a devastatingly effective banana kick. “What an amazing story!” they said. “Where on earth did you get the idea from?”

So if you think you would like to write an amazing story, but you don’t know where to get the idea from, visit www.myrddinsheir.com and download my free booklet modestly entitled: “Ideas for at least a Billion Stories”…

And while you’re at it, why not check out what I’ve been writing for the last four years? Because instead of a collection of short stories, I’m still this side of the middle of a REALLY long one…!

Was that true?  Every word…

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You can find out more about it, and what people think of it, by visiting any or all of the following sites:

 

www.myrddinsheir.com:                 http://bit.ly/1ka0iuM
Amazon.com author page:              http://amzn.to/1kA5w7x
Amazon.co.uk kindle store page:   http://amzn.to/1lGfgdb
Goodreads profile page:                  http://bit.ly/1otcaQT
Self-Publisher’s Showcase:                         http://bit.ly/1ovvJ6U
Irene’s Book Oasis:                          http://bit.ly/1pLvRnV

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A Wizard of Dreams reviews:

Stephan Myers                                 http://bit.ly/1txSk63
Lucy Hay                                           http://bit.ly/1AZZLax
Lesley Hayes                                                 http://amzn.to/1uh9RSB

My Facebook Myrddinsheir page:             http://on.fb.me/1p1S3af

My blog:                                             http://bit.ly/1neoX4n

 

All Authors Publishing Introduces Concordant Vibrancy

 

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Welcome one and all! Thanks for joining us today in the celebration of the Release of Concordant Vibrancy: Unity, An All Authors Anthology.

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Blurb:

All Authors Publishing House, a subsidiary of All Authors Publications & Promotions, is pleased to present its first short story anthology, Concordant Vibrancy .

Concordant Vibrancy represents the interweaving of unity and uniqueness through the eyes of eleven incredible writers. Through the array of genres, all of these talents share a phenomenal love of writing which aims to leave imprints in the reader’s imagination.

Short stories in this collection:
Butterfly Mask” by Nicola McDonagh
Messarii’s Blood Hunt” by D. John Watson
Seven Days” by Harmony Kent
Touch Me” by Andrea Houtsch
… and we” by Adonis Mann
Til Death Do Us Part” by A. Lopez Jr.
Coalesce” by Da’Kharta Rising
Her A to Z” by C. Desert Rose
Lester’s Release” by Synful Desire
The Authentic Snap” by Queen of Spades
Alma’s Unsung Angel” by Y. Correa.

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What makes Concordant Vibrancy Different than most Short Story anthologies?

It was best described by Y. Correa, the Founder of All Authors Publications and Promotions …

Excerpt of Concordant Vibrancy:

Once upon a time I sat under a large and old tree—the tree was surrounded by many others like it, all of them contented with one another.
I marveled at the wave of wind that passed by, which like an invisible tide drew past the trees making the leaves on them swish like the perfect choreographed symphony—first one, then swiftly and smoothly the rest followed in suit. It was an inspiring thing to behold.
I thought …
There is no better demonstration of unity than that of Mother Earth. She teaches us that all things are connected—the heavens to the earth, the earth to the ocean, the ocean to the heavens—round and round it goes, dancing without squabble in absolute unison. It truly is a beautiful thing to see.
In addition I pondered …
As the matter of fact, the bigger picture is that the entire universe is connected. Whilst our planet is the size of a marble in comparison to the enormity of our universe, that by no means makes us any less valuable. She, Mother Earth, depends on the universe and vice versa. Could you imagine the impact on our solar system if just one planet became misaligned with the rest, just the smallest bit askew? We would all feel the repercussions of that micro-movement. The surface of earth would spin out of control, ravaging humanity with a cataclysm of natural devastation.
And so, I thought further, and said to myself, “Does humanity not realize the impact they have between one another? Do they not see that one action of strife can cause a wave of destruction?”
While it is true that I do not know you, I know this; you and I are linked simply because we are inhabitants of this planet.
Why do I say these things? Because unity was the foundation of the establishment of All Authors Publications and Promotions.
A year and a half ago a thought occurred to me, it was “Why are authors competing with one another? Why can’t they just work together?” Now I’m certain that I was not the first person to think that way, and certainly not the first to act on it, but I did see that while some authors were trying to work together they were doing it in a way that rivaled one another. It was around that time that the idea of the All Authors Blog Blitz crossed my mind.
I’d done some research on Blog Blitzes, their use and aim, and I thought, we can all do that together. We can create a tidal wave of recognition if we just work together.
What I did not expect was all that would follow after the All Authors Blog Blitz. In less than a year’s time, All Authors Publications and Promotions was born. A place created by an author, for authors, trying to establish unity in this market.
In time the All Authors Magazine was born, then All Authors Graphic Design, then the All Authors Certificate of Excellence, and many more projects.
Some people ask me why I chose the name All Authors. Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory, it’s because we advocate all authors, and try to reach all readers.

So, like leaves on a tree, we are all connected.

Mother Earth, the best example of unity mankind has.

Today, marks the historic event of the RELEASE of Concordant Vibrancy: Unity, An All Authors Anthology. In commemoration of this wonderful day we’ve decided to give 3 lucky people a chance to win a Paperback Copy.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Concordant Vibrancy by Adonis Mann

Concordant Vibrancy

by Adonis Mann

Giveaway ends January 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Also Available NOW at Amazon.com

Sex In Stories? What’s All The Fuss?

I read a tweet the other day from an author posting a comment he’d received regarding one of his novels. The comment went something like this: “Great story, but way too much sex.” In all honesty, I’ve not read the book in question. But the issue of sex in literature has long been a thorn to some, a crime to others, and a selling point to many.
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D.H. Lawrence faced all sorts of legal issues concerning his novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover upon its original release back in 1928. That book–and much of his other works–was banned in England and the United States for decades. The Free World at its finest. I understand some people prefer “clean” stories. There are many classics that carry a solid G rating that have been favorites for hundreds of years.
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Today, with the advent of self-publishing, writers of erotica have found an audience–some with great success. I don’t write erotica, nor do I read it. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it. There is sex in my novel. Sexuality is a human trait–indeed a trait of most living creatures. There is the romantic element, which gives rise to the romance novel. For those who want their sex without love, there’s lust. Lust is a strong emotion that everybody experiences at some point in life–though some would deny they’ve ever been guilty of that sort of sin.

Then we come to sex for curiosity’s sake. A girl kisses another girl just to see what it’s like. A guy cheats on his wife of twenty years just to satisfy an urge to know what it would feel like to be with somebody else. Sex and sexuality is part of being human. It’s part of being alive. It’s real life. It’s what gives breath to the fictional characters authors create. To deny it is to deny our humanity.
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Now that doesn’t mean you have to read about it in some novel that makes you uncomfortable. That’s why we still love the classics.

So if you’re not into sex in your story, pick up a copy of Little Women, Moby Dick, or A Farewell to Arms. A great book is always a great book.

HEY! It’s the Liz Gavin Blog Tour!

Hello, amazing readers! I am so excited to be a stop on indie author Liz Gavin’s blog tour. So please take the time to meet Liz and leave a comment for her. As always, I truly appreciate each of you.

And now, here’s Liz…

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Rave Reviews Book Club

I know I haven’t been the most active member of the club for the past couple of months and I’m sorry for that. I believe in the Club’s essential premise that the most supportive members get to be supported and I know I’m missing out on that support. But, life happens sometimes and we get caught in so many things that 24 hours aren’t enough in a day. This group of relentless people is the best one you can meet in this publishing business. I’m thankful for being a part of it and I hope I’ll go back to being more active in 2015.

 

RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is a virtual book club made up of Authors and Readers.  Its mission is to Profile, Promote & Propel member authors via book purchases, reads and reviews.  The club is only one year old and now boasts of a membership over 600!  If you would like more information on this awesome group and would like to JOIN them, visit them on the web at www.RaveReviewsByNonnieJules.wordpress.com.

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Author Bio:
When Liz Gavin was in Second Grade – just a couple of years ago, really – her teacher told her mother the little girl should start a diary because she needed an outlet for her active and vivid imagination. She was a talkative child who would disrupt the class by engaging her colleagues in endless conversations. She loved telling them the stories her grandfather used to tell her.

Apparently, the teacher wasn’t a big fan of those stories, and Liz’s mother bought her a diary. She happily wrote on it for a couple of months. Unable to see the appeal of writing for her own enjoyment only, she gave up on it. She missed the audience her friends provided her in class. She went back to disturbing her dear teacher’s class.

Since then, she has become a hungry reader. She will read anything and everything she can get her hands on – from the classics to erotica. That’s how she has become a writer of erotica and romance, as well.

As a young adult, she participated in a student exchange program and lived in New Orleans for six months. She fell in love with the city and its wonderful inhabitants. NOLA will always hold a special spot in Liz Gavin’s heart. Nowadays, living in Brazil, Liz’s creativity has improved many times because it’s such a vibrant, gorgeous and sexy country.

Welcome to her world of hot Alpha males and naughty, independent women. Add a touch of the paranormal in the presence of some wicked souls and you’ll get the picture.

Book Cover

Book & Contact Links:
Book link on Amazon = http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MS48JO0
My blog = elessarpublishing.blogspot.com
Twitter handle =  @LizGavin_author
Facebook = www.facebook.com/liz.gavin.54
Email = lizgavin@elessarbooks.com

 

Blog Tour Links:

Goodreads Event Page – https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/950886-luck-of-the-irish-tour

Rafflecopter Giveaway Page – http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4af5be7f6/?

This Tour Sponsored By: 4 Wills Publishing

 

In Loving Memory & Tribute To Kathryn C. Treat

 

IN LOVING MEMORY OF KATHRYN CHASTAIN TREAT

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Kathryn C. Treat passed away on Sunday, December 21, 2014 @ 2:20 am (California time).  On Friday, Dec. 19, after having a wonderful time at the Rave Reviews Book Club’s virtual Christmas party, in a virtual chat room with her fellow RRBC VIP Lounge members, Kathryn informed that she was not feeling well and that she was going to leave.  Shortly thereafter, she suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and then lapsed into a coma.

Kathryn was an honorary board member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, where she served as Membership Director from Dec. 2013, until October, 2014.  Kathryn is the author of “ALLERGIC TO LIFE:  MY BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL, COURAGE AND HOPE.”   She inspired and encouraged many with this book so if you have not had the pleasure of reading it, please head to Amazon and get your copy.

Allergic To Life by Kathryn C. Treat

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Kathryn was a dedicated member of RRBC until her passing and she was one of the most supportive members the club had…not just to one, but to all.  Kathryn leaves to mourn her husband, her mother, a sister, her two daughters, a son-in-law and three grand-kids (who she adored more than life), as well as her entire RRBC family.

Let us remember Kathryn and honor her memory by always being kind to one another and by always offering our support to another.  It’s what she did.  It’s how she lived.  It’s who she was.  In honor, many blogs across the world are memorializing Kathryn today with the same post that you see here.   If Kathryn touched your life in anyway, please share your memories and comments below.  As everyone who knew Kathryn may not yet know of her home-going, we ask that you also share this page on all your social media forums.

We have erected a memorial page on the Rave Reviews Book Club site that will remain.  Please stop by to leave your comments and memories of Kathryn as well, so that her family will get a sense of just how loved she was by so many.  There you will also find more information on Kathryn and how RRBC has planned to continually honor her in other ways.

THANK YOU!

 

Everybody Has A Story To Tell

Merrien Josephine Cushman-Vail. It’s not a name most people would easily recognize. She lived not too far from my hometown of Lansing, Michigan, USA. Merrien passed away on July 18, 2013 at the age of 100. That, in itself, ought to be somewhat newsworthy. To reach the century mark is quite an accomplishment. But Merrien’s story went way beyond triple-digit birthdays.

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In any good story there is that jumping-off point, that one big moment that sets the stage for what’s to come. For Merrien Josephine Cushman, that big moment came a few weeks before her 14th birthday way back in 1927. The young girl had achieved such good grades, she didn’t need to attend class on a fateful May day. She offered to walk her 7-year-old brother, Ralph, to school that morning, the way she normally did. But the boy declined his big sister’s gesture, not wanting the other kids to tease him.

Merrien had busied herself picking flowers when she heard the explosion that ended her little brother’s life.

On May 18, 1927, a disgruntled 55-year-old school board treasurer, angry over his defeat in the spring 1926 election for township clerk, rained mayhem upon the tiny community of Bath, Michigan. Andrew Kehoe had spent the better part of a year quietly hiding dynamite and incendiary pyrotol in the basement of the Bath Consolidated School. A timing device ignited the horror that quiet May morning, killing 45 people, 38 of which were children, and injuring 58.
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Merrien wondered afterward what would have happened had she gone to school that day with her little brother.
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In today’s world, such acts of inhumanity seem almost commonplace. Grief counselors are often on call to help children deal with the unimaginable. But way back in 1927, there existed no such occupation as grief counselor. Survivors like Merrien were left to deal with the wounds and scars on their own. But deal with it, Merrien did. She went on to enjoy a full and happy life, marrying Clare Vail and raising a family of five daughters and two sons.

“You just have to make up your mind to get through it, if you want to go on,” she told her children whenever they’d experienced tough times. “There’s no other choice.”
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Her obituary came first, mentioning the fact that she had survived this devastating horror that is well-known in my home state–even after 86 years. The newspaper article appeared a couple of weeks later, when somebody decided it merited mention.

Merrien truly was a survivor, having overcome tragedy and loss, to see her 100th birthday.

I read the obituaries every day, often looking to see if somebody I know has passed. And I read them all, too. Why? Because everybody has a story. You’ll find some extraordinary lives lived in those few final words some family member or friend thought important enough to share with those who still read their local newspaper.
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A hundred years is an awful long time to be present on planet Earth. The advances Merrien Josephine Cushman witnessed would make for amazing stories. But even 7-year-old Ralph had a story to tell. What was he doing just before his life ended? Who were his pals? Did he have a favorite teacher? It seems so unfair to read of one soul making it to a hundred while another soul, a baby, had yet to take those first steps parents are always so eager to record with home video. But nobody can say life is fair. We do the best with what we’re given. Just as Merrien Josephine Cushman-Vail has done.
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If you’d like to learn more about the Bath School bombing, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster