Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Inside

As night approaches

And I feel like a howl,

The moon is so distant,

I can’t help but growl

So low, barely heard,

Still honest and true,

Whatever you think of me,

Whatever you do.

My thoughts are my cave,

My soul is my shrine,

My moods are my windows,

My sadness is mine.

Your mind and my own

May not always be one,

But I must chase my fury

Or I’ll be undone.

My demons need voicing,

In stories or verse,

Or they’ll take me over,

My dreams will disperse.

So let my beast be,

Its tale needs a bark,

And when light returns,

It will mellow my dark.

Versus Verses – Love

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Interesting article to share: Top Ten Publishing Trends Every Author Needs to Know in 2018 – Written Word Media

https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2018/01/08/publishing-trends-indie-publishing/

Quote: 

“As indie publishing becomes more competitive and requires more and more business and marketing skills, I expect to see all successful indies outsource a major part of their marketing efforts — including the planning — to professional freelancers or agencies. Those who don’t will almost certainly experience burnout”, says Ricardo Fayet, CMO at Reedsy…”

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Bladesong by Jean Gill – my review

My only regret after having read book one in the Troubadour series by Jean Gill was not having read the sequel sooner.

Bladesong has been quite an adventure! The final chapters of the book whooshed by so intensely and so fast that I was almost out of breath when I finished reading them. It is an amazing feast for everyone who enjoys a great political thriller, historical fiction, romance (not in the traditional ‘swooning’ manner though) and fantastic characters. I can just bet the author felt it was an adventure, too, while writing it. It feels like an incredible journey in time, through countries, customs, culture and languages, and above all – human hearts, both at their worst and their best.

I have learned to love Estela and Dragonetz in Song at Dawn (book 1 in this series) so much that the author could have spent this sequel merely describing them having tea and that would have been a joy in itself. But she didn’t. Some readers of historical fiction sometimes complain of authors going into too much detail of fact listing, politics, intrigue and history. Memo to them – historical fiction is supposed to go into researched detail. What I love about this book is that, despite or because of such dedicated attention to detail, the author never once drops the ball and loses from her focus the main characters and their destinies, emotions and thoughts, despite how far they may actually be distanced geographically. (No spoilers for those who will read this, but they will be distanced and yet… Estela and Dragonetz separated by an ocean, numerous powerful people and huge ordeal, even chapters, looking up at the same starts with the same thoughts – that was so masterfully woven into the plot, and felt like a balm on this reader’s tormented heart.)

The author displays the characters with all their faults and virtues, providing timely background and explanation, but not making excuses. Their growth and development is remarkable, and even the villains got the attention and, as weird as it may sound, the respect they deserve. The fact that this is a series allows the author time and space to develop even the tiniest detail, but she uses her time and space with every respect for her readers, never squandering a single line. By chapter 8, I already had 8 favourite quotes marked, and that is saying something. Blending detail into the bigger picture, never losing the importance of either the big picture or the value of each detail, makes Jean Gill a great strategist and general of all the battles in this book, be they the ones in bedchambers, stables, battlefields, courts or the eyes of people when they meet or avoid each other.

History is alive in these books. Alive because you can hear the languages and music the characters use, the echoes and the hushed whispers of secrets, the drums and purposeful noise of those in public display of power, the clamour of dynamic battle, the breaths of those living their lives for their partners, friends, animal friends. You can smell the scents of food and beverages offered or denied, the fresh sea breeze turning sea-sickness into health, the strong odour of physical illness and human malice, of blood flowing queitly down the streets after a vicious, unnoticed murder. You can touch the silk and cloth of dresses and robes, the cold metal of armour and shiny curves of blades… You can laugh with them all, and cry with them all, and love. And when the book is finished, you might linger in that world for a while, not wanting to be torn away from it.

I could write essays about the faulty and powerful queens, the admirable leaders, the courageous lieges, the unyielding nursemaids, the incredible horses and dogs… but you’d better read the book(s). Book three is next for me. There is so much more to know.

Jean Gill’s website

As a reviewer for the Readers’ Review Room, I gladly give this book a gold bookworm. Might as well be diamond.

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Another gem!

Finished reading this phenomenal book today and already facing withdrawal symptoms. Isn’t it amazing how, once you’ve finished reading historical fiction, you feel as if someone stripped you of those historical robes, tore you away from the scents and sounds of those times, and left you in the technical reality of now, with all those amazing people (to realists, characters) left behind in the book? Good to know book 3 is out there for grabs. 

Take a bow, Jean Gill! Review coming soon.

#amreading 

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Sweet realizations

There is something uncanny and beautiful in this tiny detail from our family life yesterday. Anyone who writes will tell you it is sometimes a very lonely profession, which might even make you feel alienated from your own family. And then there are days like this one…

We have this habit of recycling paper by using it as drawing paper. My regular job is teaching, so there are always some extra copies of paper which has printing on one side and is empty on the other, or old calenders, handbooks and so on. Naturally, there are always pen holders, overfilled with pencils, markers and various drawing and writing utensils, all available on desks and shelves in our rooms. Nothing strange about that.

Yesterday, my daughter was drawing something on a pile of papers. They happened to be copies of my initial manuscript for The Forest of Trees. It always warms my heart to see that – at least all that paper has some useful purpose, right? As always, she showed me the drawing, but amond them was also a copy which didn’t contain drawings, but words. She blushed slightly and let me see it. They were words in English, in small, print-like letters. Now, she is not a shy person, but she is in first grade so writing anything is still an adventure, not to mention in English, which is not our native tongue. 

“What did you write, honey?” 

“Oh just some words…. from the other paper… I liked them,” she said. 

Needless to say, I praised her for writing and let her get back to work. But inside, I glowed. Not really sure why. She has only become aware of the fact that I write books last year when I piled all the paperbacks I have at home on our sofa and let her read the author’s name. The sparkle in her eyes was unbelievable.

Tiny things, right? Not for me. 

You see, my first stories seen by the world were inspired by my son – one of them is The Threshold, written on the floor next to his crib during sleepless nights of his baby fevers, and the other is Dragon Core, still patiently waiting its revision and publication. My daughter helped me choose illustrations for Spikes for Hank, and I told my first children’s book, Winky’s Colours to her kindergarten group when she was almost three. 

So this – our daughter learning to write by copying words from my book – this is our miracle.

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Writer’s Gift 4U from Phoenix Rainez

To end this challenging year, there is nothing like having a guest over. A romance author with a kind heart, Phoenix Rainez will make this transition from 2017 into 2018 smooth and gentle! Here she is, sharing with you some of her latest poetry:).

AUTHOR : Phoenix Rainez

GENRES : Romance, Erotica, Poetry

BOOKSITE LINKS : http://www.amazon.com/dp/1501022539

                                http://www.amazon.com/dp/1515302156

SOCIAL NETWORK LINKS : http://www.facebook.com/phoenixrainez2

                                             https://phoenixrainez.wordpress.com

                                             https://twitter.com/phoenixrainez

1. Do you have a favourite winter holiday story?

No favourite winter holiday story, but my favourite holiday film would have to be LOVE ACTUALLY.  I have so many books in my collection still to read, I honestly don’t have time to re-read any of the books I’ve already read.

2. Which character from a holiday story would you like to be?

I think I’d love to be Elsa from Frozen.

3. What is your ideal way to spend Christmas Eve this year?

Curling up with a good book all day in my pj’s and a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

4. If you could travel anywhere this winter, where would it be and why?

I’d love to visit Lapland during a winter holiday season.

5. What would you like to ask your readers?

I’d like to ask my readers if they think a companion novella is a good way to introduce other characters in the story.

Do share a sneak peek into your current work in progress.

My present work in progress is my poetry book.

Give us a riddle to your wip. 

When you need to share a secret quietly you ….

Where can we follow your progress? 

 http://www.facebook.com/phoenixrainez2

What’s the blurb for your work in progress?

No one asks to fall in love, but sometimes it happens, and the timing is all wrong.  So, they wish upon stars for a love they can’t hold, and whisper their love on the wind, across oceans that keep them apart.

Sneak peek, please?

1st poem from my new poetry book:

You’re the whisper on my mind

Wrapped around my heart

I see you in my dreams

And touch you when I sleep

Your love is like a whisper

From a time so far away

Caught in a moment of silence

On the tail of a shooting star

We dare in dreams to share

A whisper of love so soft

Like the feathers on a breeze

Of a lover’s dream in thoughts

Sailing those intimate waves

Of a secret love lost in thought

We touch only in dreams

Our love just a breath

A whispered I love you

MY HOLIDAY WISH for my readers is that they find the time to read all the books they want to, not only over the holidays, but all year through.


Thank you, dear Phoenix. May your 2018 be a happy beginning to a new adventure!

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May it be. Make it so.

May 2018 be filled with kindness, smiles, fun and challenges. May our hands be busy with creativity, our ears caressed with quality music. May our eyes rest on wonderful sights and may our souls be filled with friendship and the joy of our loved ones. Happy 2018! 

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All the best

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The Power of Words

The power of words has always fascinated me. There are limitless possibilities in the use of only one of them, because its power stems not only from its lexical meaning but its historical connotations and changes, its previous contexts, media and user, its audience, location and timing. And, as is always the case with a superpower, it can be used for good or evil, and alas, misunderstood or misused as well. But whatever the effect may be, the desired one or its complete opposite, effect takes place, and it makes a change or a difference, or both. 

It never ceases to amaze me how many emotions and ideas can stem from just one word. When you see it, hear it or say it, regardless of whether its effect is immediate or delayed, it is simply unbeatable and irresistible. It’s like magic, and I do like magic, just like any other child trapped in an ageing body.  

One such word, hidden within a bundle of other wonderful and horrible, yet all impressive words, as I read it in one of my all-time favourite stories, grabbed my attention instantly. It was ‘threshold’. Mind you, in the story I was reading, it was completely unimportant, and simply denoted the entrance to a house in a description. But to me, it was that word which stopped me from reading and forced me to pick up a pen and write this story. 

As soon as I started writing it, a new world opened up before my eyes, like in those science-fiction TV-series, when a starship goes into warp and everything changes at light speed. The world becomes different and bigger, and you are transported into a place so far away from home that it seems you will never go back. Till the story is finished and you warp your way back, with the merciless blow of disappointment at your story being over, and still, quickly psyched up again over another new word and another adventure, beyond our world, yet so much part of our world. 

The Threshold is about change, which is different for everyone, no more or less than we deserve. The change is eventually always consistent with our decision on how we choose to react to that change. The threshold is always open, but what we choose to do with the door is our choice, and ours alone. 

(From the foreword of The Threshold)

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Reading with Children

To parents, friends  and educators reading to children

The actual process of reading, sitting down with somebody you care about, whether it is your child, grandchild, student, or even an adult, is a wonderful experience – you share time, place, dreams, worlds… Children are especially open to gratitude. After a busy day, having their parent sit down and set this time aside only for them… there is nothing better than this! There is no better gift that you can give your child than your time and attention. 

Of course, if you read and comment along with children, ask for their opinion and challenge them to think, it is even more worthwhile, but it is not always necessary. Sometimes you are tired, you skip words and they correct you, they stop you with questions, and you really don’t feel like reading at all. But their questions, their corrections, their hillarious comments, all this will just magically wipe away your stress, make you smile and forget about everything else. 

It is the love they share with you in those moments. 

The same goes with reading to and with adults. If you read with your partner, to your mother or father, to people who can no longer read to themselves, remember – we are all children at heart! Stories have that mysterious power of waking up that honest, non-constricted, free and imaginative child, dormant but present within us. 

I have seen the magic of reading stories to all age groups, and would never trade in its power and positive effect for any technological device there is, much as I respect and use them in my teaching. Reading awakens playful freedom, sets emotions free and channels them, challenges the mind into critical and creative thinking, and lets us grow, develop and express ourselves. 

So yes, children, meaning all of us, associate books with love and affection, because this is what we share when we read together. 

And if you are ever lucky enough to have your child read to you, relish every second of that love. 

(From the afterword of Mimi Finds Her Magic)

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