Tag Archives: authors

Discussing Books, Writing, Inspiration, and Reviews: A YouTube Interview!

I was honored to be invited for an interview on Smart Cherry’s Thoughts YouTube channel back in December. We talked about writing, my books, where inspiration comes from, and opinions on positive versus negative reviews. Here is that interview.

Layers: A Collection of Short Stories by Zuzanne Belec! Something for Every Reader!

Blurb: 

Layers is a debut collection of imaginative short stories celebrating life and the human spirit despite the ever-present spectre of melancholy in our lives today. With their distinctive blend of wit and humour, they light up any underlying darkness.

From the Americas to India, from Africa to Europe, and through a range of genres, voices and styles, layers are unraveled, revealing the textures and contrasts of old and new in the environments and cultures of today’s fast-paced world. With vivid descriptions, we are drawn into enchanting worlds with characters that leap off the page, leaving the reader lingering long after the pages have been read.

  • In The Christmas Charge: Instead of enjoying their Christmas preparing eggnog cream pie and sipping sherry by the fireside, three batty grannies go on an African safari. At this stage of wisdom in their lives, nothing can go wrong. Right?

 

  • In Paths Taken: When her grandmother ‘kills’ a man on a busy town square, Hecate is forced to face her worst fears and use her own unsettling powers to help her. But where will these new paths take her?

 

  • In White Noise: All Earl needs to do is hand his work over to his successor. But is it that easy to let go? And where does one hide from one’s inner noise when things go wrong?

 

  • In The Old Man and the Donkey: Deep in northern Portugal, an old man and his donkey go about their lonely routine. When an unexpected visitor shows up, everyone is given a new chance of happiness. But have they all been stubbornly avoiding it for too long?

 

  • In The Arctic Haze: Since he was little, bad luck has stuck to George’s soles like clingy dog mess. Some of us are luckier. Or are we really?

 

  • In Penny’s Purple Robot: A loving father exceeds himself to make his daughter happy after her mother passes away. But can he force himself to face a brutal truth?

 

  • In Mothers: Deep in Africa, a desperate mother accepts her own fate, but refuses to face an even harsher reality. Mothers will do anything for their young. And things may not be as they seem.

 

  • In Yeehaw: Running from their regular lives, Sam and Patsy end up in an artificial town – Yeehaw Theme Park. Will they find their true selves in this synthetic world?

If you like a minimalist and dark, yet humorous look at the contrasts we face in the world today, you will enjoy this collection of mixed-genre stories.

Buy now to enter into these worlds!

 

My Review: 

Rating: ★★★★★

Layers: A Collection of Short Stories offers readers a buffet of tales from which to choose. Author Zuzanne Belec has crafted stories filled with originality, intrigue, suspense, and life. Her characters arrive fully formed and breathing, alive with personality that radiates throughout these pages.

Each story is a look inside lives that are both unlike our own and yet very much alike. Though some stories may read slower than others, they are each worthy of a reading.

From the opening story to the final one, it becomes clear that Belec writes from the heart. She has the talent to weave emotion into her work, allowing readers to become invested in the characters and the plot. Among my favorites are The Christmas Charge, and the inventive Paths Taken.

If you enjoy short fiction, there is something here for every taste. This is a fine collection.

 

About the Author: 

Zuzanne is a writer, poet and translator who now lives in the heart of Europe, after being lucky enough to spend her first thirty years absorbing the contrasting textures of Africa.

After she quit the rat race, she spent fifteen years as a translator before discovering the world of writing. This discovery, and the encouragement from her daughters, partner and friends, led to her decision to delve even deeper into writing. She then grew a long grey beard and became a hermit, studying the craft and immersing herself into this world that is magic.
About the time when her beard reached ankle-length, she knew she was on the right path when three of her stories were published in Canadian literary magazines.

This debut collection, Layers, is the result of this passion. And it is only the beginning …

Author Gwen Plano Guests on Voice of Indie Podcast Episode 015!

Tune in to the Voice of Indie podcast Wednesday November 11 at 8 pm EST. Our guest this week is Gwen Plano, author of The Heaven and Earth trilogy. Gwen will be with us for the entire hour, sharing news of current projects, chatting about her past work, and answering your questions and comments. So join the discussion via Twitter by using #FreshInkGroup in your tweets. We will also open the phone lines during the show to take your calls live on the air. We hope to find you in the audience!

LISTEN TO EPISODE 015 HERE

Fresh Ink Group Presents The Voice of Indie Podcast!

Hey! Did you know Fresh Ink Group publishing produces a weekly live podcast called Voice of Indie? The hosts of the show are me, Beem Weeks, and author and publisher Stephen Geez. Every Wednesday at 8 pm EDT we welcome authors, musicians, and artists into our studio for a full hour of discussions. We also open the phone lines so listeners can call in with their questions and comments.

Past guests have included author and journalist Ronald E. Yates, musicians Ron and Zach Tippin of the prog rock band Widetrack, sci fi author Robert G. Williscroft, and Robert McKenzie, author of The Chair.

This week’s guest is Christian romance author and gospel singer Jeannie Sharpe. Be sure to mark it down on your calendar. And if you miss any show live, you can always find it in the archive!

Past Guests:

Ronald E. Yates

Traci Sanders

Mary Schmidt

Robert McKenzie

Dr. Helen Borel, RN, PhD

Marc Marlow

Robert G. Williscroft

Ron and Zach Tippin (Widetrack)

Short Story Special

Fuschia Phlox Releases New Music!

Rating: ★★★★

Fuschia Phlox is a multi-talented musician, writer, and artist from Salisbury, England—with a detour through the Greek island of Paros. This world traveler has recently released a new album of original music entitled 2020.

Her sound combines many interesting elements from multiple genres. There’s a bit of pop and alternative mingled with folk-ish vibes. There’s even threads of EDM running through some of these tracks.

“Crysalis” is perhaps my favorite track in this collection. It contains a rich, mournful tone that remains with me long after I’ve finished listening. Other standouts here include “Kiss Like This”, “The Constant Reach”, and “Just”.

The vocals really shine on these songs. Her lyrics tell stories of life and living and existing in this world today. This is an artist worthy of your attention.

 

Hear Fuschia Phlox Music:

SOUNDCLOUD: Fuschia Phlox

 

Find Fuschia Phlox on Social Media:

TWITTER: @FuschiaPhlox

WEBSITE: Fuschia Phlox

YOUTUBE: Fuschia Phlox

INSTAGRAM: Fuschia Phlox

 

My Review of Comes this Time to Float by @StephenGeez

Rating: ★★★★★

Author Stephen Geez possesses a talent for crafting tales that draw readers into the unique and vivid worlds he creates. This collection of 19 short stories offers a smorgasbord of genres, characters, lives, and situations with which everyday people can and will identify. From the very first story to the last, Geez has a way of keeping the reader enthralled and entertained.

“Halfway House” tells a sad tale of loss and the search for redemption. “Vapor Girl” is trippy and far out, and one that will surely remain with you. “Family Treed” sprinkles the weird and humorous on this wonderful word salad. “Tailwind” is a thoughtful piece about a pair of aging friends in the latter stages of life. “The Age Eater” carries a note of science fiction and a hint of creepy. But my favorite is a story entitled “Holler Song”. This story harkens to the Ozark Mountains of Daniel Woodrell’s modern classic Winter’s Bone, where poor people caught up in impossible circumstances will do whatever it takes just to survive the lives handed to them.

There isn’t a bad story in the entire collect. Stephen Geez has been a favorite of mine since I first read his novel What Sara Saw many years ago. If you’re a reader with a keen eye for the literary, this is one you’ll want on your bookshelf.

Welcome to Day 9 of the RWISA “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! @HealthMN1

Have you written that book or short story you want the whole world to know about? Are you looking for a great way to promote your creative endeavors? Perhaps you’re seeking to add some prestige to your body of work! If this sounds like you, we invite you to come on over to RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA.

At RWISA, we invite to membership only the very best writers the Indie community has to offer.

If your work is exemplary and speaks for itself, stop by the RWISA website today at RaveWriters.wordpress.com and find out how you can submit your sample of writing for consideration.

We’re an exclusive bunch but we’d love to have you join us!

NOTE:  If you’re looking to improve your writing while taking another route to membership into RWISA, while you’re at the site, visit RWISA UNIVERSITY!

To Visit Harriet’s Page Click HERE

TO FOLLOW THE TOUR, CLICK HERE

Welcome to Day 7 of the RWISA “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! @LynnHobbsAuthor

Have you written that book or short story you want the whole world to know about? Are you looking for a great way to promote your creative endeavors? Perhaps you’re seeking to add some prestige to your body of work! If this sounds like you, we invite you to come on over to RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA.

At RWISA, we invite to membership only the very best writers the Indie community has to offer.

If your work is exemplary and speaks for itself, stop by the RWISA website today at RaveWriters.wordpress.com and find out how you can submit your sample of writing for consideration.

We’re an exclusive bunch but we’d love to have you join us!

NOTE:  If you’re looking to improve your writing while taking another route to membership into RWISA, while you’re at the site, visit RWISA UNIVERSITY!

To Visit Lynn’s Page Click HERE

TO FOLLOW THE TOUR, CLICK HERE

Welcome to Day 2 of the RWISA “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! @WendyJayneScott

Have you written that book or short story you want the whole world to know about? Are you looking for a great way to promote your creative endeavors? Perhaps you’re seeking to add some prestige to your body of work! If this sounds like you, we invite you to come on over to RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA.

At RWISA, we invite to membership only the very best writers the Indie community has to offer.

If your work is exemplary and speaks for itself, stop by the RWISA website today at RaveWriters.wordpress.com and find out how you can submit your sample of writing for consideration.

We’re an exclusive bunch but we’d love to have you join us!

NOTE:  If you’re looking to improve your writing while taking another route to membership into RWISA, while you’re at the site, visit RWISA UNIVERSITY!

To Visit Wendy’s Page Click HERE

TO FOLLOW THE TOUR, CLICK HERE

Look Who’s Standing in the Spotlight! It’s Forrest Stepnowski!

Hello readers! Today I am excited to welcome Rave Reviews Book Club’s February Spotlight Author to The Indie Spot. Take it away, Forrest. . .

 

Writer’s Q&A

What inspired you to write and become published?

Answer:  Many people have heard me say I like to represent people who are in the “land of misfit toys.” What do I mean by this? When I use the analogy, I am talking about people who do not fit inside the heteronormative, privileged society. Some question if this world still exists. If you look at current politics in the United States, you can see these examples fully. I represent the different; LGBTQ, people of color, the poor, etc. We are all human, however, there are many who are privileged who tend to focus on their own “special needs” and forget to represent all people.

“We the people” does not mean you pick and choose who get civil liberties, or cutbacks in taxes. It means all people, no matter race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or identity. I may be lost in a utopian point of view, but I believe we can care help each other.  As far as why I pursued publishing? Was it to become a world-famous author that would be a NY Times best seller? No, I never imagined my work would elevate to such levels. Not that I would be opposed to it, however, my goal has always been to inspire others to find their voice, to make the world a better place, and to show others they are not alone. I have survived more than most people, so I have been told. I truly believe literary arts help unite people and help them into a world of common ground. When we start to see similarities in each other’s eyes and hearts, we can become united, creating a world that focuses on the greater good. 

 

Excerpts from “Journey to the Rainbow’s End” by Forrest Robert Stepnowski

Human

 

I sit here in the silence, complacent, and meaningless.

Am I but a whisper of make believe, a soldier trapped in a world of turmoil and lies,

I am alone,

I walk through a shadow driven by what I believed to be my calling,

An inspirational relic lost in the memes of my successors,

 

I am lost,

 

I stare at the night sky wondering where I’ve been, trying not to dwell on the should’ves, could’ves, and would’ves,

 

Not knowing what exactly I’m doing wrong and why I walk in pensive dreams of those who may oppose me,

 

I am drowning,

 

I lay my head down trying to escape the nightmares of existence, of a world that still identifies me as the keeper of rainbows and glitter.

 

Forgetting I left my heels and tiaras at home in a closet that I thought I’ve long since escaped in distant memories,

 

a closet which many wish me to return,

 

The Journey continues,

 

I wake up and begin to laugh at the adversity being thwarted at my doorstep, for I have survived this demon before.

 

It attempts to taunt and hinder me, trying to break my will and sparkle,

 

I am my own utopia.

 

They say god doesn’t give you more than you can handle, I am broad shouldered after all,

 

Even the meek can fight the negative blood outpoured from those who say they are true friend,

 

I am humbled.

 

I am captured by rejuvenated thoughts and energy, and begin to rise and embrace new beginnings… 

 

I fly like an eagle, soaring out of the darkness and into the light,

 

For this I say… I am human.

 

Social Media Links:

Website/Blog: https://www.forresttakesajourney.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/forrestrobertstepnowski

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/frstepnowski

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forreststepnowski

 

Journey to the Rainbow’s End: A Drag Queen’s Odyssey (Available on Kindle and Paperback)

 

AUTHOR BIO – FORREST STEPNOWSKI

 

Forrest Robert Stepnowski is an advocate, writer, social worker, and performance artist in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing poetic works and prose for most of his life. He realized how important it would be to share his work with others, who may have tread similar paths of self-hate, self-deprecation, and self-loathing, in the hopes that they find they weren’t alone. Helping others who have been deemed as “different” because of varying sexual orientations or identities to realize that they are not deviants nor are the “against human nature” has always been of grave importance to him. He wants this group of beautiful people to know they are part of a collective, on an island where being different is embraced and accepted.