Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

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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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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HP.

So unusual to read this in Croatian translation – I constantly had to stop myself from translating it back into English in my head. One of the perfect birthday gifts I got this year.

PS: edit – After reading this book, my dream ToDoList has a new addition – see the play live.

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The Shield of Soren has arrived!

It is an outstanding pleasure to be able to host a wonderful author. D. M. Cain has a new booknout and it is everything and more than you could have hoped. THE SHIELD OF SOREN has arrived!

(All subsequent materials have kindly been provided by the author herself.)

COVER REVEAL

I’m so excited to share with you the cover for my upcoming release! This next installment in The Light and Shadow Chronicles is called The Shield of Soren. Set thirty years before the events of A Chronicle of Chaos, this novel covers the story of mischievous trouble maker, ten-year-old Soren Nitaya and the events that change the way he will see the world forever.  

BLURB

The Shield of Soren

Ten-year-old Soren Nitaya’s marked talent makes him the youngest soldier ever to become an apprentice to the legendary warrior, Raven Lennox. As a prince of Alcherys, he will be expected to fight in the eternal war against the Brotherhood of Shadow when he reaches sixteen.

But is the young prince up to the task when he’s more interested in causing mischief than in mastering weapons? 

When one of Soren’s adventures goes off course, he unwittingly unleashes a deadly threat. It appears that an age-old prophecy is finally coming to pass, and Soren and his family must take a perilous journey deep into their enemy’s land. Does Soren have what it takes to save his country before the Brotherhood destroys everyone and everything he loves?

The Shield of Soren EXCERPT
With a loud clang of metal slamming into metal, the final bolt was undone. Reign slowly pulled the door open, and Vincent found his breath catching in his throat. 

High-pitched whimpering came from the tiny bundle of rags cowering at the back of the cage. Her long silver hair parted for a moment and Vincent could see her wide, silver eyes, terrified and innocent. Vincent’s skin prickled with discomfort. He hoped that Reign had a damned good reason for capturing a small child like this. 

Beside the glass cage were two oil lamps, both resting unlit. Reign reached up and took one down. Then, in a single savage moment, he slammed the lamp onto the floor of her cage. The girl screamed in terror and covered her head with her hands, but he hadn’t been aiming for her. 

The shattered glass gave way to a stream of oil that spread out in a pool across the floor. This seemed to scare the girl even more, and she began to cry quietly, sobbing into her clenched hands. 

Reign looked back at Vincent. Excitement flashed in his eyes as he drew a match from a box in his pocket. A small flare of light, a flicker of sulphur and a small flame danced on top of the match. With another laugh, Reign tossed the match into the glass cage.

Vincent gasped as the oil ignited in a rush of intense heat. The entire floor of the cage burst into flames. Vincent tried to rush forwards to save the girl from a fiery death, but the heat was too intense. A hand tapped incessantly at his shoulder, and he tried to brush it away, but Reign grabbed hold of his hand.

“Look! Look!” Reign shouted excitedly, pointing at the cage. 

When his eyes fell upon the cage, Vincent froze to the spot, his eyes nearly popping from their sockets. “But…how?”

The girl, who Vincent had assumed would be burning in agony, was somehow floating above the flames, hovering at the top of her cage. From her back sprouted two enormous wings of the purest white feathers Vincent had ever seen. The two beautiful white fans could only just fit within the confines of the cage, and as she beat them to stay afloat they fanned the flames beneath her. 

It wasn’t just her wings that dazzled Vincent with their purity. Her whole body had adopted an ethereal, almost ghostly, silver aura, her hair shimmering with radiance. She didn’t seem too frightened any more, but there was a definite hint of sadness in her gentle eyes. 

Vincent studied her carefully, struggling to catch his breath, which he hadn’t realised he had been holding. “What is she?” he managed to croak. 

Reign grinned and draped an arm across Vincent’s shoulder. “She, my friend, is an angel.”

D.M. CAIN BIO

D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for Creativia Publishing. The Light and Shadow Chronicles series features a range of books which can be read in any order. The first of these to be written was A Chronicle of Chaos. The Shield of Soren will be released in March 2017. She is currently working on the next novel in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series, The Sins of Silas, as well as two complementary novellas entitled Genesis of Light and Origin of Shadow.

Cain has released one stand-alone novel: The Phoenix Project, a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future. The Phoenix Project was the winner of the 2016 Kindle Book Review Best Sci-Fi novel Award.

D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story The End was published in Awethology Dark  an anthology by the #Awethors. 

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal. 

LINKS

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor 

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dmcain84/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/dmcain

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH 

Website: http://www.dmcain84.com 

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DMCain/posts 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DMCain 

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Who’s afraid of a little poetry?

So excited my first poetry book has reached all major book purchase sites and it is #free! Now on Amazon, too!

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