Book Review: Drowning Mermaids – by Nadia Scrieva

Drowning MermaidsBook: Drowning Mermaids
Author: Nadia Scrieva
Publisher: ThunderWords
Date: January 7, 2014
Genre: fantasy
Pages: 316
Price: paperback under $12.00; Kindle – may still be free
My Rating: interesting fantasy that adds dimension to one’s imaginings
 
 

There are depths of the ocean no one has ever seen, where no human could possibly survive. Or can they? There are places in the ocean that exist only in one’s imagination. Or do they?

What if a person has mermaid abilities? What if a person has mermaids in the family but doesn’t know it?

In Drowning Mermaids by Nadia Scrieva – book one of the Sacred Breath series – we get to find out the answers to those questions. In this book we follow the life and struggles of Aazuria and her sisters who are living on land despite being better accustomed to living under the ocean waves. There is the fight-to-the-death battle with opposing forces, fisherpersons in grave danger, events and misunderstandings that lead to tragic circumstances. And of course there is the love interest, the impossible dream, the hope for a future worth pursuing.

A warning to young readers: unfortunately there is some nasty language in some places and a few suggestive mature scenes, otherwise this would have been a suitable book for them to read.

Despite what I mentioned in the above paragraph, and some editing that was missed, Drowning Mermaids is a story depicting strong female characters and a storyline that holds one’s interest. If you ever wondered what it would be like to live under water, or if there are really mermaids in the ocean (or in your family), you may like to read Drowning Mermaids by Nadia Scrieva to find out what one creative author thinks about all that. Experience the fantasy.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

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Book Review: Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food (and other life lessons) – by Jodi Carmichael

Spaghetti is NOT a Finger FoodBook: Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food (and other life lessons)
Author: Jodi Carmichael
Illustrator: Sarah Ackerley
Publisher: Little Pickle Press
Date: November 26, 2012 – Kindle; April 1, 2013 – paperback
Genre: chapter book
Pages: 152
Price: Kindle under $5.00; paperback under $7.00
My rating: Excellent way to learn about Asperger’s Syndrome from the child’s point-of-view
 
 

The title – Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food (and other life lessons) – is the first thing that grabbed my attention, and then the happy innocence of the little boy on the front cover. 

For anyone not familiar with Asperger’s Syndrome, this book is such a great way to learn more about how it affects a child. The whole story is told through the voice of an eight-year-old boy who has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Connor is happy, smart, eager, energetic, and gets into trouble easily because of how differently he relates to his surroundings. He doesn’t mean to, it just seems to happen. And it happens in innocent funny ways. The way Connor tells it is both amusing and informative. For example: after one incident at school, when he was sent – yet again – to the principal’s office, he dashed immediately to his favourite blue chair. It was smooth and calming for him. Obviously he had been there enough times before to have tried all the chairs, but it was not said that way, the reader understood it from the way Jodi Carmichael had Connor tell his experience.

Here are the chapter titles:

  1. Mrs. Winters Does Not Like to Be Interrupted
  2. Girls Are Confusing
  3. Mr. O’Brien Does Not Believe Rules Are to Be Broken – Ever
  4. Smooth Things Are Calming
  5. Lunch Time Can Be Tricky
  6. A Library Voice Is Even Quieter Than an Inside Voice
  7. Stools Are for Standing on and Chairs Are for Sitting On
  8. Even Numbers Rule!
  9. Mrs. Rosetti Has the Best Smiley Face
  10. Feelings Are Confusing
  11. Not All People Are Dog People
  12. A Code Yellow Is Serious Business
  13. Stomach Swirls Can Be Both Good and Bad at the Same Time
  14. Kids Love Dog Tricks

Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food (and other life lessons) by Jodi Carmichael is a very well-written book that educates while it entertains, while the illustrations by Sarah Ackerley add a wonderful dimension. Having the opportunity to see the world from Connor’s perspective is enlightening. Both children and adults can enjoy this chapter book and learn from it.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

A heads-up: Hurricane or tropical storm coming

I just want to let you know that Hurricane Arthur is on its way up the east coast to beautiful Nova Scotia, due this morning, Saturday. By the time it hits here it is expected to have downgraded to a tropical storm, which means lots of rain along with the wind. Hopefully, there will be no injuries during this weather event.

rain and windWith all that nature-busyness in the form of a summer storm going on I could lose my internet connection, so I may not be able to respond to emails and comments on my blog until things get back to normal. If it happens to interfere with the draws for Walter Danley’s book, I will take care of them once power is restored.  Thankfully, my pre-scheduled posts, including this one, will still activate.

IN THE MEANTIME, PLEASE BE SURE TO COMMENT ON MY INTERVIEW WITH WALTER DANLEY TO ENTER THE DRAWS. WALTER IS LOOKING FORWARD TO ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS YOU MAY HAVE FOR HIM.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

I am the featured guest — my first interview!!

Okay, so I am a little excited today! 

I am usually the one asking the questions, the one doing the interviewing, but today I am the guest on Leanne Dyck’s blog!  Yes, I am!

Last year I received an email from Leanne saying she was interested in featuring me on her blog. I was sincerely puzzled. I am not an author in the way one expects an author to be … with a published book and all that good stuff. I thought she had misunderstood something about me. When I replied to her she clarified that no, she made no mistake, and having checked out my blog she was interested in interviewing me.  ME!  Wowsers!

Unfortunately, 2013 was a jumble of things so that I couldn’t even put my mind to writing anything for her. When I finally got something completed she was booking far ahead. It’s been a wait, but today I am delighted to say I have been interviewed!  :)

I hope you will visit Leanne Dyck’s writer’s blog HERE and while visiting leave a comment for me. We look forward to meeting you there!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Interview with Walter Danley, & 5 books to give away!

WalterDanley400x600It is my pleasure to welcome and introduce to you author Walter Danley. Read my review of his first novel, The Tipping Point,hereWalter Danley has been living an interesting life, highlights of which you can read on his website noted at the end of this post. Even so, Walter claims his proudest accomplishments are his five grown sons. He credits the wonderful influence of their stepmother, Christopher Norris, Broadway, film, and television actress. Walter and Christopher were married for eighteen years during the boys’ formative years. 

Walter kindly obliged me with an interview and offered five books to give away, so don’t be shy about leaving him questions or comments. He looks forward to it. Now, let’s move on with the interview.

Walter, I appreciate your agreeing to this interview. To start things off, please tell us a little about yourself.

Lynn, that could take all the time you have scheduled for this interview because I spent more than four decades in the business of commercial real estate investments. Now, I have the ability to write suspense thrillers rather than to live them! My home is in the Lone Star State of Texas. I love it there and, maybe it’s the air, I write better there. Wait, that didn’t come out right. I didn’t mean to say that my writing is better in Texas, what I intended to say is that my demeanor is more inclined to the craft of writing in the Texas Hill Country.

It’s good you have a place that positively affects your writing. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired you? or discouraged you?

The first time I tried retirement, back in ’86, was a great opportunity to start to write. Speaking of conducive atmospheres to write, that was one of the best. My partners and I had just sold our investment business, (there were forty (40) different businesses under the firm’s banner that we sold in 1986), CBS had just green-lighted my wife’s TV series, TRAPPER JOHN, M.D., for another year and we had a lovely home on the beach in Malibu. It was then I decided to write The Great American Novel, walk our Golden Retrievers on the sand and fully enjoy the good life. The euphoria only lasted for two weeks, then a pal called me to help on an apartment acquisition … and I went back to work. Sorry for that long first question answer.

On inspiration, I’ve always been a voracious reader. Five-hour plane trips across country and hours waiting in airports make reading a necessity. But my inspiration comes primarily from the great writers of suspense and thrillers I like to read. A good story, told by a great story-teller, will always been inspiring to me.

Fortunately, no one has discouraged me from writing. Friends and family, even ex-wives have all been super supportive, and I really do appreciate that.

As a writer, do you do much reading? Who were/are your favourite authors or books?

As I said earlier, I’ve always been a voracious reader. On my list of authors whose books I will stand in line to buy, the DLG’s are some of the best, the Double Letter Guys. You know them better as Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, Patricia Cornwell, Ken Follett, Clive Cussler, and the never to be forgotten, Dean Koontz. I’m thinking that to boost my writing career I might change the spelling of my name to Waltter Dannlley one day soon. All of my favorites were penned by the DLG’s.

Interesting idea! I am considering a pen name myself, but haven’t settled on anything yet. I already have the double n’s. Have you ever felt like giving up? When did you finally believe in yourself so you can say “I am a writer” or “I can do this”?

Several weeks ago an interviewer asked me your question with a little bit of a twist. She said, “What made you think you could write a novel?” The question was one I’ve never been asked before, so it took a few beats to sink in. What I told her, and bless her heart for publishing the answer, was, “I never considered that I couldn’t write a novel.” Enough, already. Let’s get to your next question, Lynn.

Do you have a motto or Bible verse or quote that you try to live by and that helps to keep you on track?

My grandmother, Pearl Danley, will turn over in her grave that I don’t have a favorite Bible verse, but I do try to live by a quote from Mark Twain. “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

Yes, that is a good quote to remember. Have you ever written or published anything before your novel, The Tipping Point? If so, what do you remember about your very first time to be published, how did that happen?

Lynn, not in the sense of your question, but yes I did author a Continuing Education Course for the University of California. It was called, CREATIVE AND UNCONVENTIONAL FINANCE and I taught that course to real estate agents and brokers on several of the UC campuses for many years. Not the same as having your novel published, but close to that feeling to have 70 – 80 professionals in your audience for eight hours.

That’s surely a confidence builder! What inspired you to write The Tipping Point?

Annie Six, my Golden, did. In Malibu, walking the dogs on the beach I would be outlining in my head the book that twenty years later would become THE TIPPING POINT. I’d speak to myself, a line or describe a scene, and Annie would bark twice if she liked it. That was one really smart dog. Some of the characters and situations are modeled after events that actually happened over my career. What I was trying to figure out on the beach with Annie and Sun Dance was how to knit together the different stories so there would be a logical arc for the characters and the story.

Everyone’s a critic, so they say. ;) How long did it take you to write The Tipping Point? What, if any, research did you have to do? And how did you come up with that title?

Interesting questions you have there, Lynn. How long. The process of writing took about six months, but I had to interrupt the writing for the research. The story takes place during the year 1978 and ends in January of the next year. I had to rewrite many sections because things that today we all take for granted didn’t exist. Things like cell phones, for example. Originally, I had the FBI agent using a Glock 22 pistol. That particular weapon wasn’t invented until 1979 and the FBI adopted it as an issue weapon in the early 80’s. I had a wonderful section on DNA and it worked so well in the story arc. The problem is that DNA and the tests to identify it came about years after the story time.

What I didn’t do in picking the title was to research it. It turns out that Amazon has several books with THE TIPPING POINT title or sub-title. That was a mistake. On the other hand, I heard from one reader that bought my book, thinking it was the (slightly more famous) one by Malcolm Gladwell. He said that he was going to return it, but started to read it and liked the story very much and kept my book. Now, to answer the specific questions. Garth Wainwright, speaking with Tommy Shaw about the “why” of fraud and murder, calls the introduction of mind-altering drugs into the company the tipping point. He goes on to describe the dictionary definition (which I wish I’d not included verbatim) of a tipping point. I used that as the title as it denotes the arc of the story and the changes that take place with Wainwright.

It’s good you are paying attention to details for accuracy and the timeline. Did you write a little of yourself into any of the characters? Do you have a favourite?

I’m sure that some of the real me slipped into a few of the characters. After all, I was there when some of these events took place. It is like your children, you don’t have a favorite one over the others, but in the sequel, the character of Lacey Kinkaid, now Wainwright, will be my favorite for reasons that I cannot reveal here.

Now, that peaks one’s curiosity! Since The Tipping Point is book one of The Wainright Mysteries, how may books do you plan to include in this series? Or are there going to be only this one and its sequel?

I don’t have “a number” in mind for the series. After the sequel, I am going to try a different genre. A historical western with a fantasy twist is the untitled work which I am researching. 

I understand The Tipping Point is being released in print, but can you tell us a little about your experience with releasing The Tipping Point as an E-book first?

In hindsight, I think that both editions should have been released at the same time. Just suppose you read print versions only. Maybe you don’t even have an E-Reader, but a friend tells you about THE TIPPING POINT and how much she enjoyed it. You check with your book store, and they don’t have it. They check and tell you that it is available in electronic format, but not in print. A potential reader is lost. What positive value that review may have generated is lost on all the readers who want a print book. A simultaneous release of both versions will avoid that mistake.

If you will allow me the courtesy of a small digression, Lynn, as you know, I’m about to publish the 2nd edition of THE TIPPING POINT, and the way that came about may be of interest to your readers. I was fairly deep into the sequel, INSIDE MOVES, when it dawned on me that for the sequel to work properly, a few things would need to be changed in the original story. Of course, I might have changed the direction of the sequel, but it made both books better stories to stay with the sequel storyline. My writer friends all told me not to go back and change the original story. After all, it was already published. It had already gotten some great reviews. It was already out there. What convinced me to rewrite the 1st edition was that I could use this opportunity to change something that was confusing to some readers.

In the 1st edition, when a new character appears in the story, I had them introduce themselves in the first person. When that scene concludes, the narrator takes over again in a third person point-of-view narrative. Each new character appears and speaks in first person. I stole this technique from F. Scott Fitzgerald. It worked really well for him, for me, not so much. The problem with having the POV moving back and forth is that I have many characters in the story. So now I had two reasons to ignore my friends’ advice and go ahead with the 2nd edition.

That is helpful to know. What is your writing time like? How do you find time to write?

I write best in the early morning hours. My Muse wakes me up before dawn when it’s still and quiet. On cool days (yes, we have some of those in Texas!) I take my laptop out to the deck where I can feel the breeze and smell the wild flowers. And I write. As the day gets warmer, I move back into my home office and write as long as the Muse will sit on my shoulder and the words flow. I’m trying to break a very bad habit I have during the first draft. My inclination is to correct and edit as I write. It slows the pace and interrupts the flow of the prose. My preferred method is to put the draft out as fast as I can type, don’t stop for spelling, or editing or anything, just keep pumping out the words. I’m getting better at that and I think that it helps with other aspects of the craft.

Yes, I agree. Solid editing time can follow that instead of interrupting the actual writing. What other interests do you have aside from writing?

That would be wood working as the number one interest. My brother lived in Hawaii and I in Laguna Beach, CA. We both had woodworking hobbies, although Bobby was a far better craftsman than I. We had seen each other only four times in the forty years he lived on the island. When Bobby retired, he and Mary moved to Boerne, Texas. Four years ago, so did I and we were able to reconnect in this small town in the Texas Hill Country. We combined our shops into one of the best equipped and organized woodshops anywhere.

When the Muse abandoned me, I’d go to the shop over at Bobby’s house and build something, anything. It was an enjoyable diversion and usually would focus my mind on the work left in my computer. And I’d have a new table or cabinet or box. My brother passed away last year and his daughters sold his house. I had to move all the equipment and tools into a storage unit. My woodworking days are over, but I had three great years with Bobby that would never have happened if not for a woodshop we shared.
 
Now, in order to distract the Muse, I shoot trap and skeet. Breaking clay disks with a shotgun isn’t the same kind of relaxation, but it seems to work for me.

I’m sorry, Walter, about the loss of your brother. It’s so good you had those three years to share an interest.

How do you consistently write? Do you have writing goals – daily? weekly? monthly? long-range?

I know that you are supposed to have specific writing goals and write them down, keep track of how you are doing the goals, etc. No, I don’t do that. It just isn’t the way my head works, I guess. I write as long as the words flow, sometimes without interruption. My record to date was one session of over 36 hours. Of course, the writing from the last few hours did require some very heavy editing.

Wow! That’s true binge writing. Do you have another project in the works? Any hints you can share with our readers about that?   

Now that the editors have the 2nd edition, I can go back to finish the sequel, INSIDE MOVES.  My publisher hopes to have that out for the holidays. I hope that a miracle happens and I can get the work done in time for that. I have also been working on a different kind of novel. The story intrigues me and the genre is new. It is not titled yet, and that is going to be an issue for the marketing department, but I describe it as a historical western with a fantasy twist. Most of what I have is a ton of research and file folders full of dialog and scene descriptions, but I know the story and am very excited about it. If I hadn’t promised a sequel in the WAINWRIGHT MYSTERY series to so many of my readers, I’d be writing it now. In the story, the Santa Monica (CA) Mounted Police unit agree to participate in the Bandera (TX) parade and rodeo roundup, 1,500 miles away. While in Bandera, the self-proclaimed Cowboy Capital of the World, an accident to the Capitan of SMMP puts him into post-civil war Texas. The juxtaposition of  a 2014 law man in 1873 lawless frontier town just sounds like so much fun!

Almost like time travelling, sounds interesting. I believe it will be written in its time. :) Finally, is being a writer/author all you had hoped or thought it would be? Do you have any advice for hopefuls? 

Writing is a hoot! I love it and after retiring I have the time and resources to do it. From those walks with Annie Six and Sun Dance on the Malibu beach, I’ve wanted to do this, but advice, no I don’t give advice. It would be presumptuous of me to do that. But I do have a suggestion for young writers. Read as much as you can, both literary works and about what is happening to the publishing industry. Stay on top of that news because it changes almost daily. Know about the business that you want to join. It is the only way to avoid drastic mistakes.

That is a very good suggestion. Thank you, Walter, for this interview and for offering copies of The Tipping Point.

Lynn, thank you for the opportunity to chat with you. If your readers would like to contact me, here is a list of places they can easily find me.

WalterDanley.com                                    
Facebook 1 and Facebook 2                  WalterMysterious400x600           
LibraryThing                 
Twitter                           
LinkedIn                            
Google Plus               
Pinterest:                      
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads                      
Smashwords–With publication of 2nd Edition, Smashwords will distribute this title
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)  All of Amazon foreign stores

The Tipping Point. Walter DanleyNow, Readers, if you would like a chance to win a 1st edition copy of The Tipping Point (which is an adult novel) leave a question or comment here for the author. Tell your friends, too. Walter Danley has offered not one, not two, but FIVE e-copies of the 1st edition of The Tipping Point! Using the “random name picker” tool, at 6:00 PM EST on July 6, 2014, one name will be selected; July 7 one more name will be selected; July 8 the final three winners will be selected. An entrant can only win once, but one comment puts that person’s name into each draw if not selected. I will notify all winners and an e-copy will be sent to them directly from Walter after they reply to me for verification.

Please encourage a new author – LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS for him and you could win a book! And remember to check your inbox July 6, 7, and 8.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

Book trailer for An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – by Chris Hadfield

Just a quick post today…

On July 1 I posted my book review of Chris Hadfield’s book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. I should have also mentioned again the post I had written about his talk about facing one’s fear; you can watch it here.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on EarthToday I am posting the trailer for his book, which I would have included yesterday had I thought to look for one.  (Thanks to Erik for the heads-up about this.) It is so funny and I hope you will enjoy it.  Click here to watch it.

 

Do book trailers increase your interest in a book? Do they help you make a decision about buying a book?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Book Review: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – by Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on EarthBook: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
Author: Chris Hadfield
Publisher: Random House Canada
Date: October 29, 2013
Genre: memoir; space science
Pages: 336, hardcover
Price: $28.00 – $32.00
My Rating: WOW!  or, A must-read book about life and attitude in Space and on Earth
 

Since July 1 is important for Canada, (HAPPY CANADA DAY TO MY FELLOW CANADIANS!), I have selected a fantastic book to review today.

While at the Credit Union one morning in early June, I noted their news board. On June 25 Chris Hadfield was coming to Truro, about two hours’ drive from where I live in Nova Scotia. Oh. My. Gosh! I excitedly told my sister who went online and obtained tickets for five of us to go hear him speak. I headed to the bookstore to buy his book — and one for my sister for her birthday. What a good decision. This well-written book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, is full of “AMAZING”, not to mention how I feel about Chris Hadfield – the Canadian astronaut who was commander of the International Space Station.

When Chris was nine years old he watched – on a neighbour’s TV on July 20, 1969 – the Apollo moon landing, and knew right then what he wanted to be when he grew up. From that point onward everything he did was to obtain his goal to be an astronaut, even though here in Canada there was not yet a space agency.

In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth Chris Hadfield tells about his journey. After the Introduction appetizer, he has divided the book into three sections: Part 1 – Pre-Launch; Part 2 – Liftoff; Part 3 – Coming Down to Earth.

Part 1 – Pre-Launch
  1. The Trip Takes a Lifetime
  2. Have an Attitude
  3. The Power of Negative Thinking
  4. Sweat the Small Stuff
  5. The Last People in the World
  6. What’s the Next Thing That Could Kill Me?
Part 2 – Liftoff
                  7. Tranquility Base, Kazakhstan
                 8. How to Get Blasted (and Feel Good the Next Day)
                 9. Aim to Be a Zero
               10. Life off Earth
                11. Square Astronaut, Round Hole
 
Part 3 – Coming Down to Earth
               12. Soft Landings
               13. Climbing Down the Ladder
 

This is an exciting, interesting, incredible adventure told in an easy-to-read way. Chris Hadfield‘s humility and humour shine through as he shares what he has learned and accomplished both on and off Earth. What he had to do to realize his dream is daunting. What he shares about life is sound and inspiring.

The paragraph that spoke to my heart is as follows:

If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time. Personally, I’d rather feel good most of the time, so to me everything counts: the small moments, the medium ones, the successes that make the papers and also the ones that no one knows about but me. The challenge is avoiding being derailed by the big, shiny moments that turn other people’s heads. You have to figure out for yourself how to enjoy and celebrate them, and then move on.  – Page 267, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
 

 This book is thoroughly enjoyable. It is not only about travelling and living in Space, but also about his work as a fighter jet pilot when he lost several friends in flying accidents. In flowing conversational language he takes us all through the difficult journey that opened his way into NASA and eventually to commanding the space station where he conducted a record-setting number of scientific experiments. He also handled emergencies while in Space and became well-known for his activity on Twitter and his incredible photographs taken during his five-month stay on the space station he had helped build.

If you enjoy non-fiction, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield is such a good book to spend time absorbing. The information he provides is riveting. Even if you aren’t sure about the genre I recommend you give this book a try. It is so worth it.

A footnote: Chris Hadfield.2.06-25-14This image of Chris Hadfield is foggy because it was taken off the big screen in the community centre where he spoke. Chris is personable, interesting, funny, focused, well-spoken, humble, (good-looking – does that count?), Canadian … and I am so proud of him. I would have liked to tell him he’s an inspiration to me, but it wasn’t possible to get close enough with approximately 2800 people there.  *alas!*

If you buy only one book this year, may I suggest it be An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. It will educate and inspire you.

 Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)