Archives for posts with tag: suggestions

Hi all:
As those of you who’ve been following me for a while will remember, recently I revisited my first post. I’ve also been thinking of some of the posts that I (and you, my readers) have enjoyed since I started blogging, and I’ve realised I really enjoyed the posts I created about authors that have become classics. I’m thinking of trying to feature one of those posts at regular intervals (if I can fit them in, once a month) and thought we could revisit some of the good oldies back first to kick it off.
This is the first classic I brought you almost two years ago, Herman Melville. (The original post follows)
I usually have a guest post on Fridays. Today isn’t going to be an exception. Only instead of bringing you one of the new writers I’ve met, I thought I’d bring you a dead author. He’s surely dead, but I didn’t think that should prevent me from having him as a guest. After all zombies and vampires are all the rage these days and they’re dead too so…
I’ve been corresponding with a friend and fellow author, Mary Meddlemore and talking about reading and classics. And as I love Melville, I thought, why not? There’s also the advantage that many of his works can be downloaded for free, so it’s a win-win situation.
I have a BA in American Literature and I must say that although I knew of Melville I became more familiar with him when I was studying for my degree. I read Moby Dick several times. I must admit it’s a bit of a peculiar read (and fairly long), but I fell truly in love with it. It is ambitious, wandering, deep, funny, moving, dramatic, elegiac, philosophical, adventurous, scholarly, and bigger than life. Good candidate to the ever sought after title of The Great American Novel. Its opening lines: ‘Call me Ishmael.’ are well known and as good first lines as I’ve ever read. Simple but…
I post you links to detailed biographies of Melville.

Link to Virginia Education biography on Herman Melville. Great page.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/bb/hm_bio.html

Another fabulous page on Herman Melville and his later recognition

http://www.poemhunter.com/poems/nature/

melv[1]

A brief summary: He was born in New York in August 1, 1819 and died in September 28, 1891, forgotten by most, to the point where his obituary listed him as ‘Henry’ Melville. He travelled the South Seas, he became known for his adventure/exotic novels (Typee, Omoo) but later deviated onto more serious writing and never quite recovered the popularity of his youth. Moby Dick (or The Whale as it was initially published) is his best known work and masterpiece, although he carried on writing, with less and less success, to the point that he stopped publishing, worked as a customs inspector in New York, and some of his works, like Billy Budd were published posthumously.
Why do I like him so much? I feel he was ahead of his time. He reminds me of the modernists (if somebody can remind you of people who came after him) and works like ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ (that I can’t recommend enough) and ‘The Confidence Man’ are truly unique and out of keeping with the writing of his era. He didn’t shy away of asking the big questions, even when that meant loss of popularity. He pursued his poetry and his fiction beyond market and readers. Like his greatest character, Captain Ahab, he never gave up despite the hopelessness of his pursuit.
I thought I’d share one of the many passages I love in Moby Dick. This is from chapter 132 ‘The Symphony’ where Ahab is talking to his first mate, Starbuck (if you wondered about the name of the coffee chain…) about his life to that point. It’s a rare moment of self-disclosure that shows that indeed Ahab has his ‘humanities’.
“Oh, Starbuck! it is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky. On such a day- very much such a sweetness as this- I struck my first whale- a boy-harpooneer of eighteen! Forty- forty- forty years ago!- ago! Forty years of continual whaling! forty years of privation, and peril, and storm-time! forty years on the pitiless sea! for forty years has Ahab forsaken the peaceful land, for forty years to make war on the horrors of the deep! Aye and yes, Starbuck, out of those forty years I have not spent three ashore. When I think of this life I have led; the desolation of solitude it has been; the masoned, walled-town of a Captain’s exclusiveness, which admits but small entrance to any sympathy from the green country without- oh, weariness! heaviness! Guinea-coast slavery of solitary command!- when I think of all this; only half-suspected, not so keenly known to me before- and how for forty years I have fed upon dry salted fare- fit emblem of the dry nourishment of my soul!- when the poorest landsman has had fresh fruit to his daily hand, and broken the world’s fresh bread to my mouldy crusts- away, whole oceans away, from that young girl-wife I wedded past fifty, and sailed for Cape Horn the next day, leaving but one dent in my marriage pillow- wife? wife?- rather a widow with her husband alive? Aye, I widowed that poor girl when I married her, Starbuck; and then, the madness, the frenzy, the boiling blood and the smoking brow, with which, for a thousand lowerings old Ahab has furiously, foamingly chased his prey- more a demon than a man!- aye, aye! what a forty years’ fool- fool- old fool, has old Ahab been! Why this strife of the chase? why weary, and palsy the arm at the oar, and the iron, and the lance? how the richer or better is Ahab now? Behold. Oh, Starbuck! is it not hard, that with this weary load I bear, one poor leg should have been snatched from under me? Here, brush this old hair aside; it blinds me, that I seem to weep. Locks so grey did never grow but from out some ashes! But do I look very old, so very, very old, Starbuck? I feel deadly faint, bowed, and humped, as though I were Adam, staggering beneath the piled centuries since Paradise. God! God! God!- crack my heart!- stave my brain!- mockery! mockery! bitter, biting mockery of grey hairs, have I lived enough joy to wear ye; and seem and feel thus intolerably old? Close! stand close to me, Starbuck; let me look into a human eye; it is better than to gaze into sea or sky; better than to gaze upon God. By the green land; by the bright hearthstone! this is the magic glass, man; I see my wife and my child in thine eye. No, no; stay on board, on board!- lower not when I do; when branded Ahab gives chase to Moby Dick. That hazard shall not be thine. No, no! not with the far away home I see in that eye!”

I hope you’ve enjoyed it and if you want to read more, here is the link to one of the free digital versions of the novel. There are more:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moby-Dick-White-Whale-ebook/dp/B004TRXX7C/

Check ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ on line. You won’t regret it:

http://www.bartleby.com/129/

And a link to Melville organisation, for all things Melville:

http://melville.org/

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to CLICK! (They’re all free!) And SHARE

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Of course, as I said then, thanks for reading, like, share, comment, and I’m interested in hearing suggestions as to classics (either authors or books) you’d be interested in seeing here. I try and go for the ones where there is a fair amount of material and links to free work but that’s not an exclusion criteria and I’m planning on some that might not quite fit there…Keep reading and clicking!

Hi all:

As you know I love to write and read and I’ve been quite busy reading and reviewing of recent. Apart from sharing in the usual places, I also do reviews and share now in Literary World Interviews. And I realised I had not shared those here. So, as Christmas is coming, well, see what I’ve been reading and you might find something for a loved one (and of course, loving thyself is a great policy!).

For the writer you love, what better than:

Self-publishing Steps

Self-Publishing Steps to Successful Sales by Seumas Gallacher

Seumas Gallacher is a writer with a large on-line following. In this book, Mr. Gallacher shares his experiences of self-publishing. From his discovery that this was indeed a possibility, to now having thousands of books sold to his name.

This is not a detailed manual on how to format your book, or how to create you cover. There are plenty of posts, books, etc, that share that type of information. This book offers general advice on the topic, and it is concise and to the point. Moreover, it emphasises the author’s personal experience, that is, of course not fully replicable by anybody else. If you have not read Mr Gallacher’s posts in the various social media, you don’t know how personal his style is. His advice is sound and has to be adapted and transformed by every author. One of the points Mr Gallacher emphasises is the business aspect of writing. Although you might see it as an expression of your inner being or as a need to inform people of something, or as a deep felt vocation, if you plan on making a living out of writing, or trying to, you must approach it professionally as a business, the same you would any other. Of course, your reasons for writing could be others than to make money out of it. In that case you would be well advised to create your own definition of success and not worry too much about rankings or sales, although this book would still provide a useful general guide.

Personally, I found the book clear, easy to follow and a quick read. Mr Seumas’s personal style shines through. I particularly enjoyed the non-internet part of his experience that demonstrates the importance of making connections, knowing the area you work in, and not being shy. Try it. If they say no, you’re no further back that when you started, but if they say yes…the sky could be the limit.

I recommend this book to new authors and also to those who have a number of publications to their name. You might be reassured you’re doing the right things, you might wonder about a change of strategy, and you will enjoy the style of writing and discover plenty about the business. And also a few things about this great and generous author.

http://www.amazon.com/Self-Publishing-Steps-Successful-Seumas-Gallacher-ebook/dp/B00JBL6K80/

Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene

Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene

Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene. Do you know who you really are?

In Atonement. Tennessee a few residents don’t and they make some interesting discoveries throughout the novel.

If there is such a thing as your “standard novel” and I’m not sure there is, Atonement, Tennessee is definitely not it. Although some aspects of the story might seem familiar to readers (we have a newcomer to a small and seemingly fairly quirky town, a catalogue of slightly odd characters, hidden and dark stories behind perfect surfaces…), others definitely will not. Although we spend most of the time in Ralda’s head (her given name is Esmeralda and that plays quite an important part in the book), we also see things from the point of view of Lilith, her cat, and that allows us to gain more knowledge than Ralda has, but from a peculiar viewpoint that means we are observes and what we see is unfiltered by either reason or prejudice.

Other novel and original aspects are its mixing of the everyday and the magical/paranormal. There are dogs barking, cats sneaking out, moving companies that keep getting delayed, but also strange and eerie mirrors, a cemetery that is part of the property and hides many secrets, attractive but strangely bizarre men, unknown magical birds, and fairly unusual dreams.

Ralda is self-reflective and we not only see things from her point of view (for the most part) but her internal dialogue works as a narrator who accompanies us. But how reliable a narrator is she? The many everyday worries that surround her (will the cat get out of the house? Will she finally get her possessions back? How much will it cost to repair the house?) keep pulling her attention away from the many strange and fantastic things that are also happening. She doubts herself, but she’s shown as dealing well with other people’s problems and being highly effective. When it comes to herself, though, things are more complicated and she does not want to accept that she can be at the centre of unknown powers and events. It is not so much that she’s trying to misguide us; it is that she does not even want to allow herself to think about certain things (like what she might feel for the male characters).

Although something mysterious happens early in the book (that seems connected to one of the objects), this is by no means the main mystery. Why Ralda is there and who she is are at the heart of the book and by the end we might have our suspicions, but like the protagonist, we lack information to come to any conclusions. We have the answer to some of our questions, but can only speculate about others. But this leaves room for a sequel and I hope the author will be working on it as you read this.

The writing style is engaging and accessible, there is enough description to fire the imagination without being overly detailed and doing all the work for the reader, and the chosen point of view offers fascinating psychological insights into the main character.

What did I love about the book? The setting, the fabulously strange house, the cemetery, Lilith, the sheriff (not as onedimensional as everybody thinks), the friendship between the four women, the locket, the bed, the dreams…It reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe but not as dark.

What didn’t I like? That there isn’t a second part to tell me more about the mysteries that are suggested but we don’t get to know enough of.

Who do I recommend it to? If you like spooky tales, old houses, mystery, cats, legends, magic and stories about women I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Ah, let’s not forget unusual birds and cemeteries…Is there anybody not included?

I encourage the author to bring us part two very soon. We want to know more!

Here the book trailer, in case you want to get in the mood for the story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koggOn6vcDs#t=57

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HGSVA8A/

Create Space: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481826948/

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/atonement-tennessee-teagan-geneviene/1117790203?ean=2940148918431

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Some Luck by Jane Smiley. A novel about the things that really make life what it is.

There is something very attractive about settling down to read the story of a family and getting to know them for a lengthy period of time, as if they were family friends. In the case of Last Hundred Years Trilogy, of which Some Luck is the first novel, a hundred years, no less.

In an era when people don’t seem to have time for anything and everything must be shorter and faster today than it was yesterday, the promise of space and time to see characters and situations develop feels like a welcome luxury.

Jane Smiley’s new novel that starts with the kernel of a young family living in an Iowan farm, has been described as an epic and it is, not only for its large cast of characters (no big figures, no huge names, just people like you and me), but for its breadth, spread and ambition. Some Luck follows several generations of the same family (and they keep coming) through their lives and that of their country and the world. The novel is marvellously democratic, with no hierarchy of voices or experiences, and the same space is given to a toddler trying to understand the world around him and the functioning of his own body than to somebody drawing their last breath.

Readers get to know the many characters from inside, in a non-judgemental way, as you accompany them through their lives in their own heads, and you might like them and agree with them more or less, but you come to accept them as they are.

The book reminded me of a recent and wonderful movie Boyhood although the novel’s reach is greater but the feeling of peace and reflexivity you experience is similar.

The author’s ability to use brief but descriptive language, and combine it with extremely subjective, stream-of-consciousness passages, and quasi poetic everyday wisdom (and philosophy) creates a beautifully textured patchwork of a novel. If maybe the dimensions of the canvas are smaller, this could be the War and Peace of this generation.

This is a novel that moves at a sedate and calm pace, made of little moments and small steps; in summary, a novel about the things that really make life what it is. Extraordinary in its everydayness. I hope to meet the family (that has become mine as well) again very soon.

Paperback:  http://www.amazon.com/Some-Luck-novel-Jane-Smiley/dp/0307700313/

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Some-Luck-Jane-Smiley-ebook/dp/B00LB89SA8/

Dead drop by Jesse Miles

Dead drop by Jesse Miles

Dead Drop. A P.I. and Philosopher at home in L.A.

When I read the description of this novel in Net Galley (I obtained a free copy there) the premise sounded interesting. I enjoy mystery, suspense and crime thrillers. For me, the best are a combination of a gripping story and unforgettable characters. With regards to the story, it could be a fascinating and well described setting, or it might take place at an interesting historical moment, or in a peculiar background… And the characters…Real human beings with quirks, conflicts, lives, and voices. A P.I. who gets a job checking a possible case of embezzlement in a huge corporation (that as you can imagine quickly become far more complicated than that) and who also teaches Philosophy sounded promising on both counts.

Apart from all that, Dead Drop (the meaning of the name is explained in the novel) has elements also of the spy thriller. Jack Salvo, the detective, is in quite a few ways, your typical P.I. The novel is written in the first person and therefore we don’t get much on the way of other people’s point of view as to how Jack comes across to others. He seems popular with the women (although in some cases it is unclear if that might not be due to the attempts of the female characters at getting inside information from him), he knows about everything, he is well conversant with L.A. (I’ve never been there but to my untrained eye, the details seemed convincing), he is self-assured…and he teaches Philosophy and seems to enjoy it. But other than that little detail about him (and a very late brief discussion about his life with one of the female characters who becomes his love interest, Lily) I didn’t get the sense that I learned very much about the character or that he was much more than a collection of all his characteristics (that were neither offensive not particularly endearing, other than his interest in his teaching).

The plot is well developed and combines research, intrigue, action and mystery. Nobody is who they seem to be, and the story takes Jack from the corporate world, through veterans of the French foreign legion (and Philosophy experts to boot), bit actresses, luxury car garages, good old fashioned surveillance, breaking and entering, Swiss bank accounts, murder and bluff and double bluff.

The style of writing is clean, direct, easy to read, and fast-paced and fits in with the story. In summary I enjoyed the book but thought it could gain by developing the main character a bit more. Some of his reactions towards the end of the novel and his love story seem a bit sudden and not completely in keeping with the persona developed throughout the rest. As this is the first of a series of novels it might well be that the background will come more into play in later novels and it might allow the character to grow and become more multidimensional.

A solid story, a good and interesting read, just a notch below the unmissable category.

 http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Drop-Jesse-Miles-ebook/dp/B00NMO1S9I/

I hope you find something you, or someone you know, might fancy, but don’t worry, I have more to come. Also do check my previous recommendations, new books, and I’ll be reminding you of other suggestions on Fridays posts coming up to Christmas. 

Ah, and is that time of the year when we fancy something a bit new, so I decided to change the cover of my YA/NA novella ‘Twin Evils?‘ the story of two twins and their friend where things might not be exactly as they seem. And to celebrate the new cover it’s only $0.99.

See what you think!

Twin Evils? by Olga Núñez Miret

Twin Evils? by Olga Núñez Miret

Thanks to all the writers featured for their books, thanks to you all for reading, and you know, like, share, comment and of course CLICK!

Ballerina Tower Cupcakes. Gorgeous!

Ballerina Tower Cupcakes. Gorgeous!

Hi all:

Sorry to start the post with such a dramatic title, but I’ve read that a call for action and requests for help work.

If you’ve read my recent post about my future plans, featuring Escaping Psychiatry and other ideas, you’ll remember I mentioned I was thinking about a new romantic book. Somehow, although it was not my first priority, I keep coming back to it and keep writing down more and more ideas and details about it. I suspect it might take precedence over other plans I had.

I started checking the internet and created a board in Pinterest (real fun, and there’s so much more to add to it).

Just in case you need some inspiration, I enclose the link here, although I’d advise you not to visit if you are hungry or thinking of taking up a diet.

http://www.pinterest.com/olganm7/food-ideas-for-pos-book/

“So,” you’ll be wondering, “what does she need help with?”

I don’t want to give you too many details about the story, because at the moment it’s only a few ideas in my head, but unless I decide to change it completely, I’m thinking about a female protagonist, with a friend (at the moment the friend is female too, but that could change…Now, that’s an idea). There will be a cupcake shop (or bakery).

I don’t have names for the characters yet, although I haven’t thought about them that much, but suggestions are welcome (throw in some male names, because yes, it is a romantic story, and there will be a few male characters too).

What I’ve been looking at so far are names for the shop. I’ve looked in the internet and found some real names I liked (but won’t copy):

Fab cupcakes

My Delights

Iceing on Your Cupcake

Cupcake Heaven

Lola’s Cupcakes (or any name’s and Cupcakes. It’s simple but I quite like it).

Lickylips Cupcakes

Sugar Baby’s

The Cupcakery

Cupcake Couture

Sugar Sweet Sunshine

Sugar Bliss

Eat Cake

Dream Cupcakes

Sugar Daddies

Swirl Cupcakes

Sprinkle Cupcakes

Your Cup of Cake

Maison Cupcake

Cupcakers

I’m not sure about “Sweet” in the name, but on the other hand…

I’ve thought about a few names myself, but I’m not sure of any of them:

Killer cupcakes

Cupcake Madness/Paradise

Cupcake Magic

Cupcake Love/Cupcake Lovin’

Sweet Surrender

Lady Cupcakes

Sweet Temptations

I’d like to know if you think any of them are winners, and I’m open to suggestions (I suspect I’ll have some of my own by the time I read the post, but if I do I’ll try and add them on).

Blueberry cupcake (No, I haven't made it. Belongs to a blogger)

Blueberry cupcake (No, I haven’t made it. Belongs to a blogger)

I don’t have a title for the book either. It could be the name of the shop or something related to it, or something completely different.

I’m thinking of including some recipes for cupcakes or other cakes, so if you think of some fairly original and delicious and want to share, I’d love to hear them (and possibly feature them).

If I come to use your ideas or suggestions and you want me to include you in the book, let me your name and link and I’ll officially thank you for your contribution, and I’d be happy to also gift you or send you an e-copy when it’s ready.

Thanks so much for reading, for all the suggestions, and you know what to do, like, comment, and please share if you can!

Peacock cupcake. Amazing!

Peacock cupcake. Amazing!

 

And just to leave you an update, Escaping Psychiatry is now available in a few more formats:

Banner for Escaping Psychiatry. By Ernesto Valdes

Banner for Escaping Psychiatry. By Ernesto Valdes

In Barnes and Noble (for Nook readers):

http://bit.ly/1f0qHfL

If you have a Kobo, you can get it here:

http://bit.ly/1ciNl2G

Sweet and dark… a bit of all…

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Post, news, diary... All the world around me, ALL THE WORDS AROUND YOU

Living in the Gap

“Ruffled feathers and endless squawking over a minor difficulty is typical of a crow’s life. I lean back on the counter and realize that could be my line….”

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