Sunday, 24 June 2012

Good writing sometimes captures the unlikely reader - with Scott Bury

Sometimes we find ourselves reading works that isn't the normal sort of things we read. Sometimes we check out other genres just for the fun of it. This week Scott Bury is my guest blogger and he has a thing or two to say about a book that didnt target him but captured his attention. Here is Scott:
What I’m reading now
I’m now reading a book that was not written with me in mind—that is, a book whose target audience I really don’t fit into. Paradoxically, it’s a book that I’ve been meaning to read for a couple of months, and now I’m glad that I’ve finally opened its electronic cover.
It’s called Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, by Elise Stokes. It’s the second in the Cassidy Jones series, sequel to Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula. By now, you’ve probably guessed just why I don’t consider myself in the target audience, and you’re right. Cassidy Jones is a 14-year-old superhero, reminiscent of Spider-Man.
(Sorry, Anjie Hart fans — there’s nothing “adult” here. Elise Stokes and her heroine are both squeaky-clean. Again, the assignment was to write about the book I am reading now. It’s too bad for the erotica fans that the assignment didn’t come along a few months ago, when I was reading Charity Parkerson. Ah, well. Next time.)
Elise Stokes is an independent author, but her books are professionally edited and produced to exacting standards. There is nothing amateurish here. I know — I’ve read a lot of very poorly done self-published titles in the past year. Stokes’ writing is polished, accomplished and clear.
What Stokes does exceptionally well is capture the swirling cascade of emotions of a teenage girl who’s dealing with middle school pressures and rivalries, her confusing feelings about boys, changes in her own life situation and, to top it off, suddenly having super-powers. Like Peter Parker, Cassidy is a poor athlete, which makes her a target of the popular athletic girl in high school. But when she acquires her powers in an accident in a scientist’s lab (again, reminiscent of Spider-Man), she inadvertently breaks the school star’s nose and escalates the rivalry to new heights.
In the second book, Cassidy is forced to resolve the rivaly in some way — which she does using brains, rather than brawn. She must also learn to control “the beast” — the impulses to flex her physical powers and use brute force in every situation.
There’s also a hilarious Sasquatch theme running through the book, with secondary characters tearing through the forests of Washington after the legendary Bigfoot.
I have always enjoyed superheroes, fantasy, science fiction and similar themes. I can suspend disbelief if the author presents a situation with at least some internal consistency and logic. It’s a difficult balance to maintain, but Stokes keeps the story plausible by focusing on the thoughts and emotions of her main character.
No, I am not the intended audience. But I am enjoying this book a lot.
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.
The Bones of the Earth is his first novel to be published.
He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. You can read more of Scott’s writing at Written Words and Scott’s Travel Blog, and on his website, The Written Word. Follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Allison Bruning's favourite book and author; Mary called Magdalene by Margaret George

Wouldnt you agree that all writers and authors have been inspired at some time in their life by another author, whether their work was famous or not? Isnt there an author or a book that touched your life somehow; inspired you in some way; gave birth to a dream; helped you find your genre, or in some cases took you on journeys to places you could only dream about?

This week I welcome Allison Bruning as my guest blogger as she blogs about the author and the book that moved her.

She was a woman surrounded in mystery, intrigue, and controversy. Mary called Magdalene by Margaret George traces the life of Mary Magdalene from her childhood in the remote fishing village of Magdala to her death. Margaret George asks her readers to imagine life with Jesus through a woman’s eyes. This controversial approach seeks the reader to have an open mind while journeying through first century
Israel. Mary called Magdalene was the second book I read from Margaret George. The first novel read being the Memoirs of Cleopatra. I had fallen in love with the strong female perspective written within an accurately detailed historical setting. Once again, Margaret George did not disappoint with Mary called Magdalene. As a historical fiction author, I love strong female leads that push my readers to think about historical events through the unheard voices of that time. I admire Margaret George’s ability to do this well. It is a hard skill to master in that it often times pushes an author to write about things they may not believe.

Mary called Magdalene is a richly detailed novel that could have only been written after an intense level of research. To understand Mary, Margaret first had to understand the life and times of a woman during that period of history. Mary Magdalene is only mention briefly within the bible. The bible states Mary was cured by Jesus of seven demons, was a prostitute, was financially able to help support Jesus’ ministry and followed him even to the crucifixion. Mary was mention in the bible as one of the first women to be approached by the risen Jesus at his tomb. Recently debates have arisen to suggest Jesus and Mary had a more intimate relationship than is mentioned in the bible. Others have suggested Mary had become one of the first leaders of the church and Jesus had trusted her with sacred information more than the other apostles. Scholars have argued she was never a prostitute but was depicted as one because of her rise to authority within the church. With very little information to go on, Margaret George had to turn to outside resources for further information. George not only travelled to the holy lands several times to understand the setting, she explored this amazing woman’s life by reading Mary’s Gospel called the Gospel of Mary, which was discovered in 1896. She also explored the early church writing from the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh centuries that mentioned Mary of Magdalene and researched traditional legends. Through the combination of her sources, she was able to accurately depict the life of this first female disciple.
Author Margaret George

Margaret George’s depiction of life in Israel is very realistic. She brings tidbits of information that would not have been possible unless she had a through knowledge of the culture. The reader is confronted with Hebrew mysticism. The Israelites struggles through the very dangerous social-economical times are very apparent to the reader. Jesus’ ministry as seen through Mary’s perspective brings the reader to question what they believe they know about Jesus and his ministry, especially how he treated women. When I read the book, it not only was an interesting read but also strengthened my own faith. Mary became a leader among the women. In the story she was a mother and wife who lost not only her husband but daughter as well. She had been exiled and accused of prostitution because she chose to follow Jesus. The pains and struggles of any woman who has been abandoned not only by her family but her husband resonate in the book. She is a mother who wants to be reunited with her daughter and husband but is never given the chance to do so. Jesus comforts and ministers to her. After his death and resurrection, she travels with John and Jesus mother to become one of the leaders of the church. She is able to continue Jesus’ ministry to women and children because she understands them. The story is engaging and fast moving with plenty of interesting plot developments. The reader feels for Mary Magdalene. She is a fascinating character that the reader wants to succeed.

As an author, I look to bring the culture of my characters to the forefront of my readers’ minds. I admire Margaret George’s writings because I want my books to illuminate the unheard voices of the historical times I write about.

Allison Bruning

The Executive Director of the Kentucky Young Writers Connection, a non-profit agency of writers who promote young authors throughout the state of Kentucky. Allison originally hails from Marion, Ohio. Her father, Roland Irving Bruning, was the son of German immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Her mother's family had been in the United States since the 17th century. Allison is a member of the Peter Foree Chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution. Her linage traces to Private Reuben Messenger of Connecticut. Her educational background includes a BA in Theater Arts with a minor in Anthropology and a Texas Elementary Teaching certificate. Both acquired at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. Allison received National Honor Society memberships in both Theater Arts and Communication. Allison was also honored her sophomore year with admission into the All American Scholars register. She holds graduate hours in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In 2007 she was named Who's Who Among America's Educators. She is also the recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards.

Allison lives with her husband in Kentucky. Calico is book one from the series, Children of the Shawnee. It is available at Allison's interest includes Ohio Valley history, anthropology, travel, culture, history, camping, hiking, backpacking, spending time with her family and genealogy. Her genre is historical fiction.

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Do you have a book or author that impacted your life or writing? Have you ever read Mary called Magalene? If so, what are your views on the book.
Want to know whose work impacted me? Check out my post at

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Wait...there's more; Author Bruce Blake's view on the e-publishing process.

Have you ever wondered how much work goes into e-publishing?
As the Tasha Turner Coaching's Virtual Blog Tour continues I am pleased to present my first male guest blogger; BRUCE BLAKE and his view on the e-publishing process.

Wait...there's more.

Write. Edit. Send query letters to agents/publishers. Cross fingers. Wait for your rejection letter.

Once upon a time, these were the very simple components to a career as an aspiring writer. Throw in a little brainstorming, some research and some proofreading, and you have something that can be reasonably accomplished in a couple of hours a day (depending on how many times a day you check your email waiting for your rejection letters once the queries have been sent). This was my life for 5 years over the course of 2 novels, 8 short stories, and more of those Goddamn rejection letters than I care to think about.

Oh how things have changed.

Unless you are a smarter writer than I, you may not realize how much work is involved once you decide to self-publish. Sure, those pesky query letters are gone and getting rid of the task of distilling the essence of 100,000 words of blood, sweat and tears down to a paragraph or two is almost worth whatever else needs to be done. And not getting form letters telling me my work is not for them? Priceless!

But there are costs.

First, all the creative control rests in your hands. Awesome, right? Okay, how are you with graphics programs? Can you design a cover? You can? Great! Where will you get the art from? How about the font you want? What do you mean it's not one of the ones included in MS Word's font pack? Well, maybe I'll just farm that out to a professional—want it to be the best quality after all. $50-$500.

I wrote the manuscript, then I spell checked it. Then I read it and edited. Then I did it again and again and again. Then I let my wife read it, and my mother-in-law, and as many friends as I could find who could do it in a reasonable amount of time. Some had some helpful suggestions; some said it was good; a couple had no input; one wanted me to put commas in places that had no right even knowing what a comma was. Good enough? Not a chance. This sucker needs a high-quality professional edit to make it the best it can be, not just a read through to ensure I didn't type 'their' when I meant 'there'. $500-$5000. Ouch. Gotta be done.

Alright, so now it's ready to go. A little formatting—not a big deal—and I'm a published author. Cross fingers and wait for people to buy it. Tap foot. Look at watch. Check KDP stats. Wait. Cross fingers tighter. Check Amazon ranking. Get frustrated no one is buying my masterpiece.

Oh, right. How are people going to find my little novel amongst the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of books waiting to be found? Promotion. I blog and use Twitter and Facebook, the combination of which could easily take up the couple of hours a day I'm meant to be writing. And I'm not a good promoter compared to some. Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Shelfari and a whole host of other social media sites lurk out there waiting. But wait; there's more! Being a guest on other authors' blogs (thanks, Anjie); submitting to book review sites (really? More rejection?); book forums; Kindle boards. The amount of work which could be done to make your book successful is nearly endless.


Who has time to write anymore?

Who the Hell Is Bruce Blake?

Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don't take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. Is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn't a pressing issue, and his dog is far too small to pull a sled, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the “u” out of words like “colour” and “neighbour” than he does shovelling. The father of two, Bruce is the trophy husband of burlesque diva Miss Rosie Bitts.

Bruce's first short story, “Another Man's Shoes”, was published in the Winter 2008 issue of Cemetery Moon. “Yardwork” was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod. On Unfaithful Wings is Bruce's first novel and his second Icarus Fell novel, All Who Wander Are Lost, is due to hit Kindle in mid-July with a four-part epic fantasy not far behind and many more to come.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Music is for dancing - Guest Blogger Catrina Taylor

Welcome to week two of the TTC Virtual Blog Tour. I apologise for this late posting which was due to unforeseen circumstances. I wish to start this post by extending greetings to my guest blogger Catrina Taylor who in her words "is having a week from Lord knows where." Hope everything works itself out and return to normal.

Now, this week we are talking about music and how it affects, inspires or distract our writing. If you want to know my views on the topic you can check out my guest blog post at
Without further delay lets see what our wonderful guest blogger had to say on the topic:

Catrina Taylor:

I’ve been asked many times what music I listen to when I write. I know it’s a popular thing for authors and other artists to lean upon various artistic channels for inspiration. Paintings, drawings, stories, photograph and music all inspire authors to write. The same often works in reverse; authors inspire painters, musicians and more. On a whole different page, I cannot say that it works that effectively for me. I’ll explain why.

I love to dance. If the music hits the right groove, I’m all about it. It’s great fun to get up out of a chair, bounce around and dance. I enjoy moving to the rhythm on my own, or with my children. I’m sure that you can see what kind of a distraction this creates when the goal is to be writing a novel, or short story.

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About the Author

Catrina Taylor is a single mom and a scifi author. Her favorite world to play in is the universe of Xarrok. She currently has one novel and two short stories released. Book two in her Birth of an Empire series is due out by July of this year and book three by September.  You can find her work at and you can find her books at any major book retailer. 

You can also follow Catrina on Twitter as @TheLadyWrites or on Facebook at

Monday, 4 June 2012

Anjie Harrte revealed

While we wait for our guest blogger for this week to send her information over, let me share something with you.
Firstly check out my post on Linda Bowers Bolton's blog:

As you should know Anjie Harrte is a name I am writing under and I am trying to create original logos and banners for her. Last week I worked on an image which I want to use to represent her. I am not an artist, but I doodled a little and produced this:

She seems older than my actual age. Her curly hair is a reflection of mine and my mixed ethnicity. The Hibiscus in her hair is a symbol for her Caribbean heritage. The fine lines on her face is an indication of experience. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think of my depiction of Anjie Harrte.