Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Interviewed by Tom Fallwell

Funny how easy it is to get used to interviewing other authors, but when it comes to being interviewed, I always feel weird:).

Anyway, if you’d like to find out a bit more about my books, The Threshold in particular, feel free to drop by Tom Fallwell’s place and read his interview with the li’l old me.

Interview at Tom Fallwell’s

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Meet Anais Chartschenko

Here is a chance to meet a new author, both of books and music – ANAIS CHARTSCHENKO! Stepping out of our comfort zone is a challenge, and this lady faces it in her unique way.

Bio:

Anaïs Chartschenko hails from the Canadian wilderness. She has come to enjoy such modern things as electric tea kettles. Her published works include two collections of poetry, Bright Needles and The Whisper Collector as well as a novel in verse, The Weightless One. 

Excerpt from The Weightless One


Reasons I Have To Stay

I was signed in, 

I have no choice.

They tell me 

My heart is failing.

They tell me

When you starve 

Long enough, your body

Starts to eat your muscles.

Your heart is a muscle. It becomes

Your unwilling dinner. 

They show me charts with

Low iron, low this and low that.

They tell me I need to take this

Serious. 

But it doesn’t seem real.

All that is real is my sudden

Total lack of control, total

Forced surrender, it feels 

So broken it can never be

Fixed- 

I can’t agree to any of these

Things. Not even when I 

Feel my heart forget a beat.

Not even when I’m hooked

To machines. 

Reasons I Should Get To Leave

I don’t count calories.

I don’t weigh myself.

I don’t obsess over models.

I don’t exercise.

I don’t take laxatives or

Diuretics. 

I don’t make myself

Throw up. 

I don’t care what you think.

I think for myself.

I’m not this, I still have

My period. 

Okay?

Little Fish

We lay in a tight row

Like sardines, 

Wrapped tight in

Blankets and thick

Fuzzy pajamas

Getting our blood 

Pressure checked

Lay down, and close

My eyes to the other

Girls’ gossip, they

Try to include me,

But I have nothing

To say in the morning

This is a strange torment,

Laying so close to the others

Trapped between laughter

And the talk of having to

Drink ensures or not,

Of having to go to an

Increased nutrition plan,

Of family therapy sessions

Coming at the end of the 

Week.


Doll
Kara began

Pulling out 

Her hair

Extensions

Bundles of 

Blonde lay 

On the floor,

Her lion mane

Alopecia found

“I’m sick of

 The lies!”  She

Twisted her

Face up her

Hands knotted

In hair

“Where did this

Come from?

I didn’t grow it!”

We watched 

In horror

We watched

Unable to

Look away

From her

Transformation

Underneath she

Was so small

Like a fragile glass

Doll,

Her features too

Large for her head

Her hair was only

A few inches long

Thin dirty dishwater

Blonde strands like

Weeds dried out 

In the sun

She smiled

She laughed

She burrowed

Her face in 

Borrowed hair

And

Cried. 

Books

The Weightless One

The Whisper Collector

Bright Needles

Music

Howling at the Moon: Live from my Living Room

Immigration

Social Media Links

Youtube     Facebook     Twitter      Website

Goodreads       Instagram      Amazon Page

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Lesson plans at home;)

Spent the morning preparing for my preschool English lesson tomorrow on dinosaur digs. And it was NOT at work, but home. I am actually off to work soon, to teach adults and school kids. Not dinosaurs though;), more like business etiquette, future plans, writing film reviews… 

Just a normal #teaching day. Needless to say, my daughter can now sing the entire dinosaur song and recite most of the bones and some digging equipment.  

For those of you wondering if I did any writing, well, yes – this is it;) #motherhood & #writing & #teaching

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CROOKED INTERVIEW with GEOFF NELDER

The second guest in the CROOKED INTERVIEW series is the ever-surprising Geoff Nelder whose twist on the ‘crookedness’ of the interview/self-interview aspect is unique and unexpected. But only for those who don’t know this amazing SF and thriller author. His contribution to the product and creation of both the Twisted Tales and the Crooked Tales has been simply marvellous, as everyone at Readers Circle of Avenue Park knows. Here is a bit more on his ‘crooked’ tale and current writing projects, as penned by his extensive imagination.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – GEOFF NELDER

Geoff Nelder is a former teacher in rural England, thrown out with hearing problems, but lured into writing and into being a bad-ass editor.

http://geoffnelder.com

Amazon author pages 

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

Geoff facebooks at http://www.facebook.com/geoffnelder

and tweets at @geoffnelder


CROOKED INTERVIEW

1. What is your Crooked tale about and what inspired it? 

Ubiquitous is set in the near future about—hey, what’s this? Get off you mad quack!

“Va via, Nelder, you’re a nothing, a scribe, piccolo, whereas I am, Doctor Antonio Menzies and I’m a main character in your crazed award-winning medical , ARIA TRILOGY. I usurp the author and will give you the answers because Nelder is too lazy and my responses are magnifico. This spazzatura story you dared inserta into your otherwise bene Crooked Tales is just a crazy crime of the near future. Idiot uomo has the mafia after his fingers. He uses the web, but idiota boy cannot escape quando internet is everywhere, si? Ubiquitous. He gets off, a bit clever. Someone must have told Nelder how to write it. It must have been inspired by me, his best ever character, no?

2. What do you like writing and/or reading best?  3. What else do you do in life apart from writing?

Nelder doesn’t like writing, or reading. He’s a what-do-you-say, a Cassanova, haha. He wishes. He chases women on his bicicletta but they’re all faster than him. Butterflies overtake him. When he’s tied down he reads science fiction and literary nonsense like China Miéville and Julian Barnes. He’d like to write like them. Ho ho.

4. What are you currently working on? 

Nelder? Work? When he falls off his bike… Nelder’s gone all historical fantasy in his latest novel. He holidayed in Malta, discovered my predecessors, Ottoman pirates, abducted the people of a whole island. Well, the spirits of those slaves are crying out for revenge, apparently. Hence XAGHRA’S REVENGE is finished and the world will have to suffer it this year – 2017.

5. Ask yourself any 5 questions you wish to be asked and answer them. 

I’ve no time for this. No, I’ll give you un po. One question you shouldn’t ask. Does Nelder do research?  Arrgh. Don’t mention research! He’s obsessed by getting stuff right. He has to name streets, towns and rivers in the right places. I blame it on him being a geography professore for 100 years. In ARIA he read every damn book on the brain, amnesia, Alzheimer’s, you name it. No don’t. He emailed an astronaut, Leroy Chaio, for data on the struts of the International Space Station and get this, Leroy replied while he was in orbit! For some unfathomable reason the astronaut wanted a signed copy of Nelder’s ARIA: Left Luggage – huh, you should’ve seen his cycling with legs a whirr to the ufficio postale.

Un altro question. Where does Geoff Nelder get his ideas from?

He steals his ideas from ME. No question. Nelder says he oxygenates his brain while on his long cycling tours but I’ve no doubt at all that he sneaks a peek at my prescription pad and little black book for his ideas. He’s always after my women.

Okay, you want more questions and risposte? 

Does he have a favourite place to write?

As an idiot researcher, Geoff Nelder likes to write his stories in their setting. If a scene is in Paris, that’s where you’ll find him, sat at an outside café table swimming in the language, atmosphere and booze. I encourage this, especially with his science fiction. Go to the Moon I tell him. Often.

What would Geoff Nelder’s reaction be if a character from one of his books came to life and turned up on his doorstep?

You’re kidding, right? I am here you know. 

Whoops, he’s coming back with a shotgun. I’m off.

GEOFF NELDER’S QUESTIONS for other Crooked Tales authors
Please, reply in the comments below. Other, non-‘crooked’, authors welcome, too.

Ask one of the other Crooked Tales authors a question.
I know it takes Senor idiot Nelder two years to research and two more wasted years to write his diabolico novels so Mark Fine or anyone else, how long does it take you to write a novel?

Well, thank you both, gentlemen of the pen and ideas! Looking forward to more of your work.

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Relentless

Thought I’d share a bit of poetry with you. The ebook is free anyway:). I hope you have nothing vs. verses or feelings. Here is a poem from Versus Verses – Feel.

        Relentless

My devils are obstinate,

My devils are mean.

I think I have conquered,

But here they begin.

They sneak up within me,

They gnaw and annoy,

And the more they torture,

The more they enjoy.

‘Just stop, go away,’

I chase them and plead.

Won’t let them control me

Or let them take lead.

The battle goes on,

More bitter or less.

They’ll never give up,

I’ll stay relentless.

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CROOKED INTERVIEW with MARK FINE

The CROOKED TALES is another bountiful reader feast prepared for you by Readers Circle of Avenue Park and 15 extraordinary authors from around the globe. It contains 15 short stories on deception and revenge from all genres and walks of life, and is now available in kindle and paperback. It gives me a mixture of pride and humbleness to state that my story Beneath is also featured.

This spring I have an amazing treat for you as these superbusy authors have agreed to be my blog guests and do an interview. Crooked Tales inspiring my crookedness, I have also given them a task – in the second half of the interview they have to interview themselves:). 

To open this series of Crooked Interviews, here is MARK FINE, a man whose autobiography alone would make for a stunning movie. Thank you, Mr Fine!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Fine [Mark of the Hyena], a self-confessed, tone-deaf music executive, was born in South Africa, However, now Los Angeles is his home. There with his two sons—and Charlie, an affectionate neighbor’s dog—Mark wrote his historical fiction novel, The Zebra Affaire—the story of a mixed race couple and their struggle to survive under the racist regime’s oppressive 1970’s apartheid policies. Mark also takes a broader look at the travails of greater Africa; a topic that concerns him greatly. A charming aspect of Mark’s writing is how he looks to nature—Africa’s animals and wildlife—for inspiration and a solution to human shortcomings. In the process of telling the truth via the freedom fiction provides, a reviewer said, “Mark Fine has been brave like William Faulkner in his journey of truth telling – he has simply done it with a much different kind of Southern accent.”  For further info on Mark, check out these links— Website: finebooks.co Blog: Fine Ruminations~ or you’re welcome to connect on Facebook and Twitter: @MarkFine_author

THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE: An Apartheid Love Story  (Paperback)

THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE  (Kindle Edition) 

INTERVIEW

– What is your Crooked tale about and what inspired it?

MARK OF THE HYENA: ‘Fish out of water’ stories intrique me. The set up of an elite academic from New York City stranded in the Kalahari desert with a tribe of San Bushmen as his only means of survival was too tempting to ignore. In the telling we learn of hubris wrapped in first world arrogance, and simple grace in respecting nature’s lore. 

– What do you like writing and/or reading best? 

I now have so many stories within me to tell, I’ve shifted my focus to short stories. This permits me the time to write them, and affords busy readers the time to read them.

– What else do you do in life apart from writing?

I mentor aspiring talent in both the music world, especially songwriters, and print publishing. It is the joy of collaboration that finally motivates me.


– What are you currently working on?

An historical fiction/suspense novel based in sub-Sahara Africa. It is based on a true story, and has the tantalizing title, “THE CULTURED SPY”.

CROOKED INTERVIEW

Conversation with myself: The whys and wherefores that shaped author Mark Fine’s novel, “The Zebra Affaire”

Mark Fine: What was the genesis of Zebra Affaire? Was it a grueling process or did it write itself?

Myself: More complex, more a creative evolution. I originally wanted to write a biography about my father. But, despite his accomplishments, he remained a modest man. I began to sense that the notion of a biography would be awkward for him. So I scrapped the idea. However, a great deal of research I’d already completed about his life and times. Subliminally, my mind must have churned away at this problem, because one day—a true kismet moment—the idea of courageous love story between a white woman and black man in the land of apartheid manifested itself. Only then did The Zebra Affaire ‘write itself’.

Mark Fine: Did you find that, as the characters developed, they changed the trajectory of the story from the original vision of the book?

Myself: The arc of the story remained surprisingly consistent. Probably because I wrote the end of my novel first. Seems counterintuitive, but it made sense to have a final destination as a guidepost. Kind of like a closing argument in a legal trial, I instinctively focused on the book’s conclusion when I began. Of course, as characters assumed a life of their own, the ending was constantly revisited, and refined.

Speaking about characters, I enjoyed adding the animal world and their instinctive code-of-honor into the story. As allegories to the foibles of human behavior, the natural behavior of these creatures was rather instructive. I’m thrilled I found a place for Africa’s wildlife in the book. It makes the experience all the more authentic for the reader, and foreshadows the human narrative at the heart of the story in a fresh way.

Mark Fine:  Which of the characters, if any, did I shape from personal experiences?

Myself:  The patriarch, the DGF character, typifies the decent people that tried to make a difference within the discriminatory apartheid system. Despite onerous job restriction laws that prohibited people of color from any management position, the real DGF did in fact hire and mentor a black man as a senior executive for a public company—despite such a hiring being illegal.

Due to the real DGF’s mentorship and ‘civil disobedience’, Rupert Bopape became a legendary music producer and label chief. DGF’s philosophy was simple in a complicated color-shaped society: merit is the only sustainable litmus test, and surpasses all other things that divide, such as race, tribe, gender, and faith. 

In the context of the times, DGF was quietly brave. Now for a confession, my late father David Gabriel Fine inspired the DGF character. Fittingly, by weaving his memoire within the tapestry of my historical fiction story I was finally able to pay tribute to a wonderful man, and terrific dad.

Mark Fine:  Your Zebra Affaire story deals with many areas of history and diverse ethnic groups. How much of the final work was a result of inspiration or research?

Myself: The schism between the various races and tribes was my motivation to write the novel, as it remains a cautionary tale. I felt the world tends to adopt a simplistic ‘bumper-sticker’ view of what in reality is a more complicated state of affairs. Things are invariably seen in stark black and white, when in fact it’s anything but immutable. For example, in South Africa the white clans hated each other (English speakers versus the Afrikaners from Dutch heritage), as do the various native tribes (Zulu, Sotho, Venda, Xhosa and others). It’s ironic that South Africa’s motto was “Unity is Strength” when it was such an intensely balkanized society.

But the challenge as a writer was to humanize this constantly shifting tide of societal unrest, and so the context—shocking for that time and place—of an illicit interracial romance. As such, the arcana of South Africa’s convoluted legal code needed thorough research.

However, my main goal is to entertain the reader. It’s the thrilling fusion of romance and suspense set against a canvas that’s vividly authentic and powerfully provocative that makes The Zebra Affairestory worth writing, and reading. This is about the courageous love story of Elsa and Stanwell, the two of them on a collision course with the mighty racist regime, which is the compelling narrative that draws the reader through the book’s pages. If the reader becomes better informed in the process, well, that’s an added bonus.

Mark Fine: If you could return to post-apartheid South Africa and make sweeping changes, what would they be?

Myself: Out with the men! The women of Africa are saints. That image of a humble woman walking miles in the heat of day, barefoot, with a five gallon bucket of water balanced on her head—and with a baby wrapped in a blanket bound to her back, is for me the essence of selfless sacrifice. Unless there is another Nelson Mandela, these women should represent the true voice of Africa. Tireless and dedicated they may be, yet sadly they remain marginalized, underappreciated, due to gender discrimination and patriarchal tradition. I believe it is time for an authentic, nurturing, honest African woman to become the next president of South Africa! Maybe this will become the topic of my next book…

MARK FINE’S QUESTIONS for other Crooked Tales authors

Do you find a silver lining in a bad review? If so, please give an example.

What percentage of the research you do for a novel actually lands up on the printed page?

Do you have an author you admire? If so, why?

Could the Crooked Tales authors please reply to this kind gentleman in the comments below? Other authors also welcome:)

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The World of Poetry

Celebrate #WorldPoetryDay with a #free #ebook

#kindle #feel #inspirationalwomen 

Versus Verses -Feel

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Still…

Just finished editing the 1st chapter of The Forest of Trees. It is clear to me now why I delayed. Those people and creatures in that book… they are so alive to me. Some still hurt, some bring joy…

But on the editing upside, time has finally given me enough detachment from the words to be able to cut out the superfluous and add what the characters and story need. I will do right by them all.

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Magic

It is not usually like me to share videos such as this, simply because I feel them too much and can never go through even watching one without crying, but this one proves the power of good stories and the superpower of reading to and with other people, no matter their age. 

There is that intangible bond, sort of a special invisible bubble you create when you read or tell a story, which connects you and the person you read to (even if it is simply your own inner child). Then all else seems to fade away, giving you time, energy and even advice to help you face reality when you are back to it. 

Reading is magical. I know. I see it on the faces of my learners when we read or tell stories, I feel it in the air. It can turn a really bad day into a warmer one, for everyone involved. 

I can never emphasize enough how much stories, and art in general, matter. When we all create, imagine, sing, draw, sculpt, build, design… we are all better.  

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Dreams matter. Tales too.

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