2020 CONVERSATIONS WITH COLLEEN: The Halloween Special with AUTHOR, C. S. Boyack, @VIRGILANTE

My yearly Halloween celebration includes C. S. Boyack and his amazing collection of speculative fiction novels. I can’t imagine Halloween without hearing about his newest release in the Hat Series, “The Ballad of Mrs. Molony.”

First, let me introduce C. S. Boyack! Happy Halloween, Craig! I’m glad you’re here to celebrate the holiday and to tell us about your newest book, “The Ballad of Mrs. Molony,” book 3, in the Hat series.

I think this is the third, and possibly the fourth, Halloween we’ve spent together. October is my favorite month, and Halloween is my favorite celebration. This might stem from being a Nevada boy originally. It’s Nevada day for all our fans living there.

Well, you know that they say Craig… on Samhain (Halloween) the veil between our world and the otherworld thins. There are all kinds of magic afoot! What do you have for us today?

As an author, I think we should focus on books. Halloween books are fairly common, but you have to broaden your point of view. They start off for kids, with things like Goosebumps or even Scooby Doo cartoons. Nothing too horrifying, but the mystery and odd things are present.

At the far end we have outright horror and even splatter-punk. My own preference is somewhere in the middle, but the point is there’s something for everyone. If you expand your horizons, you can shoehorn in an alien invasion, Harry Potter, or even the Classical Greek stories.

This year, Halloween probably won’t have a ton of parties, and trick or treating might be somewhat reserved. Maybe some reading would be a good way to spend the season.

That’s my idea of the perfect holiday. Cuddle up with a blanket, something warm to drink, and start reading! What do you recommend?

I offer a lot of selections that could fit the bill. I call my newest, The Hat Series. This is the story of a young girl who has a symbiotic relationship with a being from another dimension. This being is trapped in the form of a hat, but as long as he’s taken the form of headgear of some kind, he can change his shape.

The original Hat story is my most popular title to date, so I turned it into one of those series where you don’t absolutely have to read them in order. My plan is to keep them going as long as I have decent ideas.

While Lizzie is a normal person, the hat has special powers. He can find people he’s met before, transport them magically to an old cabin in the woods that becomes a secret lair, and provide eyes in the back of her head. These are handy traits, because Lizzie and the hat are monster hunters.

The symbiosis is important, because they can do things together that neither of them could do by themselves. One example is the hat plays the upright bass. He’s powerless without Lizzie’s hands and fingers for him to manipulate. This was a neat trick for an author, because they formed a small cover band. The band gets them out at night when the monsters are out, and it allows them to travel a little bit. The band is kind of a ticket to keep the stories coming.

There is a certain amount of snarky, dark comedy to this series. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t get “wet” in some scenes, because killing monsters isn’t a particularly clean business. I suppose it’s corny and stupid on purpose, but it has some scary scenes and a little blood and gore.

If your style leans toward “Ash vs. The Evil Dead,” or your superhero style is “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Deadpool,” The Hat Series might be for you. They’re also short reads, at about half the length of a standard novel. I think this is part of their appeal. You can read a complete story in one Saturday afternoon.

I’ve enjoyed all three of the Hat series books, Craig. Tell us a bit about them.

Here’s how they break down:

The Hat is the origin story. You’ll meet Lizzie, a hardworking college dropout who is down on her luck. She comes into possession of an old hat that completely changes her life. In this story, they’re chasing the worst monsters of all – humans.

Viral Blues is my team up story. Lizzie and the hat get summoned to a meeting by the head of a secret society. All the main and supporting characters appeared previously in books I’ve published. I went out of my way to make sure you don’t have to read those books to have fun with this tale.

These kinds of tales are all the rage at the box office, so why not in one of my books? It keeps the corny vibe going, and this time there are real monsters. (And a devil.)

International BOOK LINK

The Ballad of Mrs. Molony is my newest one. It’s less than 30 days old and could use some early sales and reviews. This time, Lizzie and the hat are chasing a couple of vampires across the country music scene. With this in mind, I priced it at 99¢ until November.

Click the link above to grab this book!

That’s a fabulous value for a book, Craig! What else do you have up your sleeve for us?

I have three more storyboards in the works for future tales in this series, so it isn’t going away anytime soon.

Halloween might have to be a little more reserved this year. In books, you can go as crazy as you want, get as terrified as your preference will allow. Enjoy the season with a book, even if it isn’t one of mine.

I’ve read and reviewed “The Hat,” “Viral Blues, & “The Balad of Mrs. Molony—find those reviews below.

Colleen’s 2018 #Book #Reviews – “The Hat,” by C. S. Boyack

Title: The Hat, A Novella Amazon Author Page: C. S. Boyack Goodreads Publication Date: January 11, 2018 Formats: Paperback & Kindle Genres: Science fiction & fantasy, Superheros, Paranormal & Urban   IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS: Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, … Continue reading Colleen’s 2018 #Book #Reviews – “The Hat,” by C. S. Boyack

COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Viral Blues,” BY AUTHOR, C. S. Boyack, @virgilante

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read! About this Book Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness. They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering … Continue reading COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Viral Blues,” BY AUTHOR, C. S. Boyack, @virgilante

COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “The Balad of Mrs. Molony,” BY AUTHOR, C. S. BOYACK, @VIRGILANTE

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read! About this Book Lizzie and the hat are back, and this time they’re chasing vampires across a subculture of America. A pair of rodeo cowboys are holding a woman captive to use like a milk cow since they joined the undead. The person who put them onto the trail is … Continue reading COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “The Balad of Mrs. Molony,” BY AUTHOR, C. S. BOYACK, @VIRGILANTE


About the Author

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

~Craig~

Tell C. S. Boyack to write a story about witches… or we’ll have to put a spell on him!

How to Connect with the Author

Blog 

My Novels  

Twitter 

Goodreads 

Facebook 

Pinterest 

BookBub

Amazon Author Page US

Thanks for stopping by to spend Halloween with us!

2020 CONVERSATIONS WITH COLLEEN: MEET AUTHOR, Adele Marie Park, @Binky567

Hello everyone! It’s my favorite month of the year – October! This week I’m thrilled to bring you one of my Sisters of the Fey, fantasy and horror author, Adele Marie Park. Adele has recently released the second book in her fantasy series called, Wisp II, Sea Dragons. I asked her to come by and visit, share a cup of tea, and tell me more about herself as a writer, including where’s she from and where that vivid imagination of her’s comes from.

Here she is! Welcome, Adele!

Adele Marie Park was born in the north-east of Scotland, and at the age of six months, she moved to live with family on the Orcadian island of Rousay. The tales and legends of old surrounded her childhood, and these became the themes and beliefs she’s carried with her through life as they now emerge and live within the pages of her books.

Adele’s first published book is Wisp. A tale of murder, passion and intrigue set in the mythical world of Edra. Wisp II – Sea Dragons is now available on Amazon. She has won awards for her short stories and many have been published in successful anthologies.

Her writing crosses genres between fantasy and horror but is always character driven. Transforming the pictures and characters in her head as if by magic into the pages of her books. Her belief in magic, faeries and the paranormal has never wavered.

Adele Marie Park

Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’ve been looking forward to our chat.

Hello, my dear sister! Adele, your new book, “Wisp II ~ Sea Dragons” delves into the darker realms of magic with Dante Asano trapped inside Pendra’s body. Do you believe in possession?

I do believe in possession. Unfortunately, there are too many reported cases spanning thousands of years. There are stories of Jesus casting out demons and the Sumerian lore about demons. The Egyptians believed in them, and when I was younger, I thought, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not do anything which might leave me open to possession. 

As I got older, I remember my Mother reading a weekly magazine which had serialized The Amityville Horror and of course, I read it. It terrified me. Later still I watched a program called “The Haunted Collector” with John Zaffis, which led me to his Aunt and Uncle Ed and Lorraine Warren. Now they were famous demonologists and paranormal investigators.

Through reading about their work I learned about Father Malachi, an Irish priest who as far as the church thought was a rogue, but between him and the Warrens, they helped so many people rid themselves of demonic and negative entities. The Conjuring movies come from some of their more famous cases, which James Wan did so well.

READ: You Won’t Believe How Much of ‘The Conjuring’ Is True

Unfortunately, by the time they came out, Ed and Father Malachi were dead, but Lorraine was still alive, and they consulted her about the material they could use. Lorraine has passed now as well, but her nephew, John Zaffis, is still alive and showing no signs of slowing down.

So, as you know, Colleen, one thing will lead to another and that is how I came to my belief today that yes, demons are real and yes, they can possess people. Why they do it? I don’t know, and it’s something I won’t be investigating.

Adele, you’re much braver than I am. I would have nightmares forever, if I watched The Conjuring! Now, let me ask you this: You portray Wisp as a marsh faerie. What are your thoughts about the good neighbors?

The Good neighbor’s? Oh, I adore them, but again err on the side of caution. They are not the gossamer winged characters which were so popular in the Victorian era. Rather, they are themselves and we should use caution when dealing with them.

I believe they have always been on this earth and in their own realm. There is a reason we have quarter days as they used to call them, and there is a reason we have celebrations on these days. The veil between worlds is thinner and they say that the Faeries move courts on those days and it’s best to appease them rather than to be bold with them.

That’s why I leave out an offering such as bread and honey and some dried fruit, all mixed with a drop of the good stuff. They brought me up to do this, told by my Aunt Adeline who raised me, and I follow the tradition. If you are lucky to have a brownie in residence, then never thank him or her or they will disappear, taking their luck and their skills with them.

I honor the good neighbors the same way you do, Adele. I leave a cupboard open over my stove for my house spirit. That way he/she always has their own place within my home. Now, tell me this… What movies have influenced your writing?

There have been many movies which have influenced my writing. I have to say that most Stephen King movies have influenced me, especially Christine. I love that movie. The old Hammer Horror movies are a fond memory of childhood, and they’ve influence my writing to an extent.

Chinese Kung Fu movies, a strange one but, to my mind, they have everything a novel should have to make it worth a read. A hero, a villain, obstacles for our hero to overcome, a beautiful maiden often better at martial arts than the hero, and a solid supporting cast of buddies who usually make up the comedy element.

Japanese horror movies are noteworthy because no one can do terror better than they can. The Grudge, The Ring, all the Japanese versions, are terrifying. Many of those elements seep into my writing.

I like to write about the normal, becoming paranormal, and where the main-character sees what no one else can, and they think they are going crazy. The Conjuring franchise, which includes all the Annabel movies, is another series that comes to mind. There are too many to mention, but I hope I’ve done the ones I mentioned justice.

What is it about dark fantasy, horror, and thrillers that draw you to those genres? I’ve read some of your short horror stories and they are chilling!

By now you can guess I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, but also in the stories which my relatives used to tell me. There were many stories about faeries, selkies, Trows, goblins, and the like.

It was after real-life threw me a curve ball that I learned that real-life is far more terrifying than paranormal happenings. People can be so cruel and twisted with no hint of being possessed. People often are the real horrors and monsters out there.

So, in my writing I combine the two because that’s what I know. Fantasy worlds were and still are my safe place. No matter what goes on in those stories, they are an escape from the reality of everyday life. The two genres wrap around me like a warm blanket and save me from what’s outside the door.

That might seem strange, but I’ve gone through so much in my life. My experiences proved that certain people can be so cruel that they inflict more pain and horror than any monster. I write hoping someone who might be in the same situations as me will also find an escape that keeps them from giving up.

Adele, why do you write? What is it that keeps you pounding away at that keyboard, day after day?

Oops. I’ve kind of answered this question with the last line above, but there are more reasons why I write. My brain constantly plays multicolored movies in my head, and if I don’t write them down, I get so distracted that the muse shouts at me.

Also, I love making worlds where I get to make the rules, although the characters do their best to go their own way. My imagination is so strong that many of these worlds form in my head before I write the first sentence on the paper.

Even though I write horror/dark fantasy, I always include an injustice which gets conquered in the main plot. My stories are about the underdog, and how the big bad overlords don’t see him/her coming until it’s too late. 

I also want people to read my stories and come away feeling empowered, knowing they don’t have to put up with shit, and that they can do something about it in their own lives. This is not to mean in any way that someone should go out and get a sword and start whacking their boss’s head off. Sorry, I just want people to know their own inherent power.

Adele, many people in our writing community know little about you. I know you were raised on the Orcadian island of Rousay. Where exactly is that? Tell us about some legends you grew up with from that part of the world.

Pinterest.com

Rousay belongs to a group of islands called The Orkney Islands and they are 10 miles off the coast of Caithness, Northern Scotland. The crossing of the ferry, which I remember so well, is across a stretch of water known as the Pentland Firth. Apparently, the name is a corruption of old Norse Petlandsfjörð, meaning “the fjord of Pictland”. The crossing can be dangerous as the waters have many tidal anomalies, a whirlpool, and several skerries.

I remember waiting with my Dad at Scrabster to cross to Orkney. I was pregnant at the time. The gale force wind was so bad that the ticket office, which was a wooden box, blew over with the woman inside it. She was okay, and we still sailed.

Rousay itself is a fairly big island; one road circles around it. It has two main hills, Kerfie which towered behind our house, and Blotchnefield which is a longer hill. The beaches are wonderful, and I adored my childhood beach called Lopness. It was also where the seals basked on huge black rocks in Summer, and the porpoises swam in the sound between Rousay and another island called Wyre.

Speaking of the legends, the first myths concern the seals, which we call selkies. I was always told that they could come ashore and shed their seal skin, turning into a human. If a human were to steal their skin, they could keep them on land, but as soon as the selkie found their skin again, they were back to the sea.

Another legend, which Tommy told me, concerned the Finn Folk and the Wizards. The Finn Folk were dark of hair, eye, and swarthy of skin. They were master tricksters and could shape shift into other forms.

Years and years ago, more years than I can say, the Finn Folk of Orkney battled against the Wizards. No one knew where they came from, but there were enormous battles in the skies between the two races. Whether the Wizards won, or the Finn folk did, no one remembers. However, we still talk about the Finn Folk legends and sightings to this day.

The last I want to talk about are the Trows, Orkney for Trolls. There was a field just beside our house which Tommy would use for the cows but never plowed, as there was a knowe, a small hillock, in the middle. He said the trows lived there, and no one should disturb them.

Trows can be good and kind, or really wicked. When visiting my uncle Willie, I had to cross a small bridge… yep; you guessed it. A trow lived under that bridge. I wasn’t to dangle my legs over the edge or look under it. Believe me, I didn’t either.

Those ancient myths are fascinating, Adele. So tell me… Even though you write fantasy/horror novels, have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real-life into your novels?

Well, to start with my Mum was Irish. I was always told stories about how Ireland should be one country. That division, plus the religious divide, played on my mind and hence the two countries divided by civil war became the basis for Edra in my Wisp series.

Then, the colonization of countries came into play in the series when the Elves and the humans became the conquerors of the native peoples of Edra. That magic is natural to the natives, but the Elves had to learn how to wield it further, which shows that they are foreign to Edra.

The writing of Tad Williams and his series, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn influenced my development of the Marsh fey, of which Wisp is one. Greek mythology influenced the dryads, while the other fey races are entirely my own, or until I find out someone else has thought of them too. The arboreals are the shyest of the fey and merge with their plant or tree. Peaceful and loving, their magic comes from the deep earth.

In that regard, my own beliefs influenced me and what I witnessed in nature. Wisp and his companions, and all the characters in my books, influenced the geography. I went along on their journey, and they continue to influence me as they grow through their own trials and tribulations.

Thanks so much, Adele, for stopping by to chat. I’ve read and reviewed both, Wisp, and Sea Dragons – Wisp II. Please click on the links below to read my five star reviews. Thank you.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a tiny amount from qualifying purchases. If you purchase from the Amazon.com link above, I earn a small commission to fund my reading habit. Amazon will not charge you extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in books that I can review. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

P.S. I’ve added an international buy link for those individuals who live outside the U.S. Thank you. ❤

How to Contact Author, Adele Marie Park

BLOG: firefly465.wordpress.com

TWITTER: @Binky567

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/firefly.fly.14

k luv u bye

Thanks for stopping by to learn more about Adele Marie Park. Until next time… ❤

2020 CONVERSATIONS WITH COLLEEN: MEET AUTHOR, Geoff Le Pard, @geofflepard

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you a talented British poet, author, and flash fiction Aficionado. I asked him to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful poets and authors, and the best way to learn some tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

First, please meet my guest, Geoff Le Pard.

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

Hi, Colleen. It’s great to get together again for a chat.

I agree. It’s the perfect opportunity to talk about your new poetry book. So, tell me… Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?

My writing career as a poet began in July 2007. I suppose I wrote poetry at school and I’ve made up limericks at times but nothing serious. I started penning poems, following a poetry appreciation course where I studied the greats of English poetry from Chaucer G. to Duffy C-A.

It was inspiring but… one thing you see in poetry, pre the second half of the twentieth century is a focus on form – meter, scan, rhyme. I felt my poetry needed to echo these unwritten rules. I also fell in love with the sonnet which is an extreme example of the rigid form.

When I aspired to pen some serious poems, I determined to comply with these rules. What has improved has been my willingness to move on from these strictures. Let me give you two examples.

In my current book, this sonnet followed Shakespeare’s sonnet (Sonnet 130, William Shakespeare)

Only Skin Deep

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun
Though vodka shots tend to turn them yellow.
She is quite unique, more stun than stunner,
Which some say makes me a lucky fellow.
My tongue, whose form can change to suit all tastes,
From gentle probe to pert, priapic beast,
Becomes a dry and flaccid thing, all chaste,
When suffocated by her doggy breath’s release.
Facial engineers, who can craft Kate Moss
From Quasimodo, turn and run a mile:
I’d give my soul to Satan, bear any loss
If they’d mould Venus from her Cubist smile.
But let’s face it; on me she’s placed a hex:
It’s not her looks that bind us, just the sex.

©2020 "The Sincerest Form of Poetry," by Geoff Le Pard
This book releases 9/30/2020

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

I’ve worked on it over the years and I like it but… It’s very much old school. The rhymes break with the lines and phrases and the meter is consistent throughout. It was a challenge to make it work, and satisfying when I achieved something that fit with the Master’s original.

Gradually I learnt that there is as much joy in subverting the rules as complying, as this one form a couple of years ago shows (it was inspired by my son’s love of moths and a moth trap we inherited from my father that drew him outside every night to see what had come in).

A Life Spared

Cold midnight is like a mask deadening time,
Taking from the senses, dulling compassion.
A slight shadow moves, this night's assassin
Poised to curtail another life. No crime:
This act is almost instinctive. Fear grips
The target, knowing its very existence
Is lightly held. No appeal; resistance
Will be futile. The chance to flee slips
As mind muddies and muscles clench. Drawn taut,
Death's sharpened claws reach out. But they stop short;
This soft murder is edge-balanced so fine.
Hope competes with despair. So thin a line.
The killer's head turns; the prey slips his tweezers.
'Come on inside son. Have some Maltesers.'
 
©2020 "The Sincerest Form of Poetry," by Geoff Le Pard

Here we have a few lines where the rhyme and phrase combine but others where the rhyme is halfway through the phrase. The scan, too, is not easy and takes some reading to make it flow. Today, this is expected.

I’ve now written many poems where there is no scan or rhyme and meter is irrelevant. I hate the expression blank verse because all poetry must have a flow or it’s merely pretentious prose, but that is what it is called.

It took me time to accept that I could write poetry like this – I like structure and the challenges they impose. Breaking that mould has been a constant battle with my instincts.

I totally understand how you feel. That’s why I write syllabic poetry. I hate to break the rules! So, in your opinion, what makes a good poem?

Eventually, I wrote the poem that is in the final poem in the book. For me, it sums up poetry, especially the sonnet, as it is perceived today. Look closely and you’ll see the first half-rhymes in the middle of each line, each of which comprises a complete phrase; the second half doesn’t break at the end of any line, but each line rhymes with its mirror line in the first half. It’s a complete travesty of all sonnet rules, but that’s what I’ve learnt…

Did Geoff Le Pard just say he broke all the rules for writing sonnets?

What Makes A Good Poem?

How do you know when you’ve penned a good poem?
Is better for the use of a metaphor?
What about imagery without simile?
Would it be neater with one simple meter?
Is it a crime to decry a good rhyme?
What part of the plan requires lines to scan?
And could it be worse to write in plain verse?
But when I write, I think it’s perverse
To let the flow slow. You see, I can
Scribble doggerel or craft sublime
Stanzas if left alone. But it’s sweeter
For me if I let my mind wander free
And ignore all conventions. Before
I know it, this poet has his poem.

©2020 The Sincerest Form of Poetry, by Geoff Le Pard
… as the last line has it ‘this poet has his poem’.

Excellent! Geoff, what do you think are some common traps for aspiring writers?

If I focus on poetry then I would suggest there are a few things to think about when writing poetry.

  • 1. Don’t overthink the first draft; poetry is often about emotion, communicating feelings so get those down on paper and worry about how they sound in the edit;
  • 2. Even if you plan on following a form – like me with sonnets – it doesn’t matter if you can’t achieve the meter – classically iambic pentameter – or the rhyme at the outset. As with point number one, get the words down and then work on achieving the structure.
  • 3. You need to work on poetry far more than on prose. Every word must count so, even if you feel satisfied, leave the poem and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes.
  • 4. Often novice writers, of both prose and poetry want to write but find themselves held back by a perceived lack of confidence in their ideas. If that’s you, then you really just have to write. And if you aren’t sure what to write, take a pad and a pen, or your phone – whatever you like writing on – and go for a walk. Find somewhere to sit and take a few minutes to absorb your surroundings. Then, write down what you see, everything. The tree to your right and its colour, the way it moves or its stillness, the man walking his dog, what’s he looks like, how does he walk. Having written say 20 to 30 lines, take it home and read it through. What is good? What do you like? Take that and then write a ten-line poem from that nugget. Can you bring in some imagery? Can you move away from what you actually saw to what you might have seen? You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll have something you like, maybe even two or three ideas that you can work on. And even if you don’t like any of it, try somewhere else and try again. You’ll soon find something you enjoy.

That’s an excellent plan for writing poetry. What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

Finding time and avoiding distractions. As I don’t earn a living from writing, other priorities interfere with my well laid plans and good intentions. I’m fortunate that I can write pretty much anywhere and don’t need silence or a lack of company to focus.

But I do have a conscience, and that niggles and nags away at me, telling me to walk the dog, write the piece I’ve promised, dig that flowerbed, paint that bedroom… And then there are my other pleasures: watching sport, taking exercise, baking. It can be easy to decide to make bread, create a quiche, do a HIIT session, settle in front of a game of cricket when I’ve told myself that time is for writing. I console myself with the thought that, when I am writing I’m neglecting all those other competing priorities and feeling rather good about it.

The other challenge I face on occasion is finishing a book. I have yet to start any book with even the vaguest idea of how it might end. I have an idea which may or may not have legs, but I will start writing and see where it goes. If I like the flow I carry on, waiting for the ending to occur to me. It will but there have been times when I’ve wondered how I’ll get there…

The hardest thing about poetry has been learning not to force it. With fiction, I can always find an idea and beginning writing, but poetry will come when it comes, and no amount of wishing it will let it start. I’ve tried to trick myself, but I generally find what I then create is like yesterday’s cornflakes.

I agree. You can’t force the oracle to open the creative well when it comes to writing poetry. Now, what would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?

This is where poetry and prose depart. With prose I have so many ideas for stories I’ve stopped writing them down. They just pop into my head when I need them. It means my version of writer’s block is not a lack of ideas or commitment to writing, but finding the elusive ending.

And, refining that slightly further, if offered a prompt it won’t take me long to find an angle that I hope no one else has seen. I am fairly sure that my love of the comedic and surreal writers – Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams to name two – who set their fantasy worlds in familiar territory with subverted elements has helped me think as I imagine they did.

After all, writing is a joy I’ve found late in life and I’m making up for lost time. There’s nothing difficult doing something that I love so much. I suspect I’m lucky that way.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your poetry, more about your newest release, and your poetry writing techniques, Geoff. It’s always fun to hear from other poets.

I’ve read and reviewed, “The Sincerest Form of Poetry.” You can find that review HERE.

More books by Geoff Le Pard:

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976, the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

In this, the second book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, it’s 1981 and Harry is training to be a solicitor. His private life is a bit of a mess and he’s far from convinced the law is for him. Then an old acquaintance from his hotel days appears demanding Harry write his will. When he dies somewhat mysteriously a few days later and leaves Harry in charge of sorting out his affairs, Harry soon realises this will be no ordinary piece of work. After all, his now deceased client inherited a criminal empire and several people are very interested in what is to become of it.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

The third instalment of the Harry Spittle Sagas moves on the 1987. Harry is now a senior lawyer with a well-regarded City of London firm, aspiring to a partnership. However, one evening Harry finds the head of the Private Client department dead over his desk, in a very compromising situation. The senior partner offers to sort things out, to avoid Harry embarrassment but soon matters take a sinister turn and Harry is fighting for his career, his freedom and eventually his life as he wrestles with dilemma on dilemma. Will Harry save the day? Will he save himself?

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.

This is available here

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Smashwords

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Conversation is an anthology of short and super short fiction that explores connections through humour, speech and everything besides. If you enjoy the funny, the weird and the heart-rending then you’ll be sure to find something here.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

When Martin suggests to Pete and Chris that they spend a week walking, the Cotswolds Way, ostensibly it’s to help Chris overcome the loss of his wife, Diane. Each of them, though, has their own agenda and, as the week progresses, cracks in their friendship widen with unseen and horrifying consequences.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: geofflepard.com

TWITTER: @geofflepard

Thanks for stopping by to meet Geoff Le Pard. I’ll see you again, real soon!

2020 Conversations with Colleen: Meet Effrosyni Moschoudi, @FrostieMoss

New book! A Greek romantic comedy that tugs at the heartstrings.

Today, I have a great recommendation for you! Amazon bestselling author Effrosyni Moschoudi is launching her new novel, and it’s only 99 cents on preorder.

Effrosyni Moschoudi’s new book, “Running Haunted,” is only $.99 on preorder. Grab your copy today! https://www.amazon.com/Running-Haunted-Greek-romantic-comedy-ebook/dp/B0853CMP1V/

Running Haunted is a romantic comedy that features a playful ghost and mixes sweet romance with delightful paranormal elements. Scroll down for a quick chat with the author, but first, here’s the book description:

Kelly ran a marathon… and wound up running a house. With a ghost in it.

Kelly Mellios is a stunning, athletic woman, who has learned—the hard way—to value herself. Having just finished her first marathon in the alluring Greek town of Nafplio, she bumps into Alex, a gorgeous widower with three underage children, who is desperately looking for a housekeeper.

The timing seems perfect, seeing that Kelly aches to start a new life, and Nafplio seems like the ideal place to settle down. She accepts the position on the spot, but little does she know that Alex’s house has an extra inhabitant that not even the family knows about…

The house is haunted by Alex’s late wife, who has unfinished business to tend to. By using the family pet, a quirky pug named Charlie, the ghost is able to communicate with Kelly and asks her for help. She claims she wants to ensure her loved ones are happy before she departs, but offers very little information about her plans.

Kelly freaks out at first, but gradually finds herself itching to help. It is evident there’s room for improvement in this family… Plus, her growing attraction towards Alex is overpowering…

Will Kelly do the ghost’s bidding? How will it affect her? And just how strange is this pug?

Amazon.com

Get the book on pre-order at a special price of $0.99! Launch date: May 18.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0853CMP1V

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0853CMP1V

amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “colleencheseb-20”; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “manual”; amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”; amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”; amzn_assoc_region = “US”; amzn_assoc_design = “enhanced_links”; amzn_assoc_asins = “B0853CMP1V”; amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit”; amzn_assoc_linkid = “1e398f64a2a5f99655ae70926180d79c”; //z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US

Welcome to my blog, Effrosyni!

Thanks a lot, Colleen. I am thrilled to be here.

Congrats on your new book. I must say, it sounds intriguing! What inspired you to write the story?

When I started writing the story in early 2019, it was meant to be a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy. However, my mother was in the midst of a harrowing battle with cancer at the time and, inevitably, this affected my writing… Before I knew it, I was writing a brand new character: the ghost of a mother who cared for her family so much that, even after death, she was reluctant to leave them behind in the midst of their troubles.

My mother passed away three months ago, and I have dedicated the book to her. Even in her toughest and scariest times as she fought this terrible disease, my mother always set aside her needs to ask after my own, worrying how her situation affected my own health physically and mentally.

The spirit of the loving mother in Running Haunted was inspired by my own mother’s high sense of altruism. I hope the book will provide comfort to the readers who have lost a loved one. I know it comforts me, in a strange way, when I read what the Muse has offered.

The backstory about your mother touches my heart. Thank you for sharing. The pics from Nafplio are wonderful. What made you choose this location?

My husband ran a marathon in Nafplio a few years back and I felt it would be fun to include this element in a book. I have visited Nafplio countless times, and it’s a big favorite of mine. It has no less than three forts, one of them built on a tiny isle just off the seafront. No matter how many times you visit the forts, you never tire of their energy and the spectacular sea views they offer.

Nafplio was the first capital of Greece since the Greek War of Independence in 1822 and it has a timeless charm, an incredible energy, and a strong historical feel about it. There is beauty everywhere and thus walking around there is an absolute delight. Out of the blue, you find charming settings that feel like you’ve just emerged into a different century. I thought a place that has so much allure and so many recognizable landmarks would surely make a great setting for a novel. I hope the readers will enjoy reading all about it, both those who are familiar with it, and those who are not!

What are your future plans? Any other new books in the pipeline?

At the moment, my main writing project is the translation of The Amulet into Greek. I’ve been putting off translating one of my books for years as I focused on writing books in English and trying to establish a worldwide brand in the English-speaking world. After publishing seven novels and one short story collection, I feel it’s time to take a break and finally provide something to my family and friends who don’t speak English – they’ve been pestering me for ages for something I wrote that they can read. LOL! Hopefully they won’t be disappointed. And while I’m mainly doing this for them, I also hope to get some new readers among the Greeks in the process. It would be great if I could publish all my books in Greek at some point. That’s a long-term goal, of course.

Best of luck with that, Effrosyni! And you will keep writing in English, surely?

Absolutely. I’ll always write in English. Believe it or not, I am nowhere near as confident writing in Greek! And as for the stories, they keep cropping up in my head, so there’s never a shortage of inspiration. They’re always paranormal or fantasy stories, and the next one will be paranormal again, featuring a ghost or an angel… I have two options, but I haven’t decided yet!

Thank you for being here with us today, Effrosyni. Best of luck with Running Haunted! I’ve already bought my own copy to review at a later date.

Thank you, Colleen, for this opportunity to talk about my work. And for beta-reading the book. Your feedback was really precious to me. I am honored!

About the author

Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. As a child, she loved to sit alone in her garden scribbling rhymes about flowers, butterflies and ants. Today, she writes books for the romantic at heart. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens but her mind forever drifts to her beloved island of Corfu.

Her debut novel, The Necklace of Goddess Athena, has won a silver medal in the 2017 book awards of Readers’ Favorite. The Ebb, her romance set in Corfu that’s inspired from her summers there as a youngster, is an ABNA Q-Finalist.

Effrosyni’s novels are Amazon bestsellers, having hit #1 several times, and are available in kindle and paperback format.

Go here to grab FREE PDF books by this author: http://effrosyniwrites.com/free-stuff/

Check out Effrosyni’s FREE travel guide to Nafplio: http://effrosyniwrites.com/2018/01/18/nafplio-a-town-steeped-in-greek-history/

Visit her website for free excerpts, book trailers, her travel guide to Corfu, yummy Greek recipes, and to join her email list for her news and special offers: http://www.effrosyniwrites.com

See you later. I’m off to enjoy the Greek sunshine!

2020 Conversations with Colleen ~ Featuring Author, M. J. Mallon @Marjorie_Mallon

Hello everyone! I’m thrilled to be part of an amazing writing community that helps to support other authors. We all succeed when we work together as a team.

Today, please welcome poet and author, M. J. (Marjorie, aka Marje) Mallon and her newest creation, “Mr. Sagittarius, Poetry & Prose.” Marje is a regular participant in my weekly poetry challenge. I’m excited she used many of her syllabic poems along with some brand new poetry to create a book! What a fabulous idea. Don’t you love the book cover?

“Mr. Sagittarius” is a charming poetic journey inspired by the author’s chance meeting with a dragonfly and a robin, sure to delight all readers. Yet, there is more than one magical tale spilling from this collection. By the time you reach the finale, Mr. Sagittarius reveals the wisdom of a life richly lived.

I’ve read and reviewed this delightful book. Please find my review HERE.

Thank you so much for this lovely feature on your blog Colleen. I’m thrilled to be sharing news of the release of Mr. Sagittarius, Poetry, Prose and Photography.

I’m so glad you’re here, Marje. Congratulations on your new book. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I often draw my inspiration from visual forms. I observe people, animals, birds, trees, flowers and nature and they inspire me to write poems, flash fiction and short stories. In the same way, I am often inspired by art, images and photography. Conversations can also spark off ideas, but for this collection my inspiration is visual – focused on my walks in the Cambridge Botanical gardens.

I’ve written about these lunchtime strolls in our collaborative blog https://sistersofthefey.com/, focusing on the magic of trees and my encounters with spirit creatures such as the dragonfly and the robin.

The Botanical Gardens in Cambridge are so magical. How do you decide which form to write?

I often write short form poetries such as Tanka, but I enjoy trying out new forms. My choice of poetic form depends on what I am trying to convey.

For the Halloween poetry most of the pieces are longer as I had a story in mind. Some nature poems are short Tanka forms, brief like the sweetest of visits of a dragonfly! Others are longer like the double Etheree I wrote about a robin. I had more to say, and the Etheree form with its catchy shorter lines expanding and then contracting worked well with the curious robin’s antics moving about from its position next to me on the bench to underneath it to explore.

I always enjoy your photographs. How do your poetry and photography work together to create the subject matter for your poems? 

Picture1  - Dragonfly
©2019 Marjorie Mallon

It’s best to explain this with two phrases from the poem about the dragonfly. The red colours of the dragonfly and its ‘Red, devil’s needle,’ tail caught my eye as did its fragility and magical nature: ‘Change tumbling on fragile wings.’

Dragonfly

Red, devil’s needle,

Or luck bringer with kind eyes?

Ancient, sweet fellow,

Sacred magic bestower,

Change tumbling on fragile wings.

© M J Mallon 2020

What a beautiful Tanka poem, Marje. So, How does writing poetry make you feel? 

Happy that I can express such a wide range of emotions, thoughts and feelings in such a concise, trouble free way!  Writing full-length novels is such an enormous challenge, especially sequels! I am completing the second novel in my YA fantasy series The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer.

I started writing this poetry/prose and photography collection because I needed a break! This was my break… Poetry is my way to pause; I find it restful. I love poetry, both reading and writing it.

Thanks for introducing us to Mr. Sagittarius ~ Poetry & Prose, Marje. It’s a magical read!

I am an author who has been blogging for many moons at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA/Paranormal novels, Horror/Ghost Short stories and micro poetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

Media Kit: Author, MJMallon.com

How to Connect with the Author

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

2020 Conversations with Colleen ~ Featuring Author, Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal

I’m thrilled to be part of an amazing writing community that helps to support other authors. Today, please welcome poet and author, Ritu Bhathal to discuss her new book, “Marriage Unarranged,” available for purchase at the link below.

I’ve had the opportunity to read this book and you can read my 5 STAR review below.

Aashi’s parents caught my heart in this novel. They were kind and gentle, and always looking out for their family. Something tells me, there are going to be big changes for this family still to come. If anyone can cope, I know it will be Mohinder and Harjit. I asked Ritu to share some thoughts on Aashi’s view of Mohinder and Harjit, her parents in the book.

Thank you so much Colleen, for inviting me onto your blog, to talk a little bit about my new novel, Marriage Unarranged that released on Sunday 9th February.

You’re so welcome. I loved all the cultural aspects of “Marriage Unarranged,” Ritu. Tell me more!

A lot of people are aware of just how long this book has taken to come up for air (twenty years!) and it really is my book baby. Definitely time for it to take wings and fly!

Today, my main character, Aashi, wants to talk to you a little bit about her parents, Mohinder and Harjit, who she calls Daddy-ji and Mummy-ji.

Image by Layers from Pixabay

Hello again! I hope you’ve been enjoying getting to know some of my friends and family over the last few days.

My introductions wouldn’t be complete though without telling you a little bit about my parents, Mummy-ji and Daddy-ji.

I love my parents very much. They’ve given me everything a girl could ask for.

My daddy-ji, Mohinder, is the gentlest soul you could imagine. He treats me like a princess. But that doesn’t mean he spoils me. Put it this way, if you could bank love, I think I’d be a millionaire.

Mummy-ji often says he lets me get away with everything, but that’s not true. Daddy-ji just has a way of explaining things to me, so I know what is expected of me as the daughter in this family. And I could never hurt him. Sometimes I think there is something magical about my daddy-ji. It’s like when he puts his hand on my head, or he hugs me, nothing can harm me, ever.

Indian Gurdwara: Image by Shantanu Kashyap from Pixabay

Harjit, my mummy-ji, is your typical Indian mum. She’s a regular worshipper at the Gurdwara, and always worried about what others will say.

She loves me lots too, like Daddy-ji, but just has a different way of showing it. She feels like she’s done her job of preparing me for married life, by teaching me how to cook and keep a tidy house (though she doesn’t realise that Ravi hates eating Indian food all the time).

She’s had plenty of opinions to share while we’ve been planning the wedding. And she is rather excited at the prospect of going to India in a few weeks, to go shopping for my bridal outfit and a whole new Indian wardrobe for me called a daaj. It’s what your parents send you off with you when you get married.

Sikh Market – Vancouver: Vancouverobserver.com

It’s quite handy, having a father who’s business is selling Indian clothes. He has a shop here, on Soho Road. It’s a bit like mini India there. Anyway, he’s got plenty of contacts over in India, so we can get some good discounts while we are out there.

Sunny, my big brother, is going with us too. He loves working in the family business, and I think, secretly, Mummy-ji is glad. She loves to go back home to visit the family, but feels a little daunted by the shopping side and traveling without Daddy-ji. Having Sunny there will reassure her. She doesn’t think women should travel alone to India, even though it’s where she came from!

I’m dreading leaving my parent’s home. But I know I have to once I get married. We’ll live in our own house, but Ravi’s parents are just around the corner. They’re nice people, but not, you know, my Mummy-ji and Daddy-ji.

Here is an extract from the book where we meet Mohinder and Harjit:

Aashi pushed open the door to the sitting room. There sat her mum and dad, happily watching some family drama on their favourite Indian channel.

A small, sandalwood incense stick smouldered in a holder on the tiled fireplace, where below, instead of a cosy fire, was a three-bar electric heater, which was never switched on because Mummy-ji said it was too expensive. Above it, a framed picture of Guru Nanak Dev-Ji, the first of the Sikh gurus.

Little did they know their daughter’s life was just as complicated as the story unfolding on their screen.

Aashi’s eyes rested on her father, Mohinder. He sat there, on his favourite armchair, strategically positioned, so he got the best view of the television, engrossed in the programme. His black turban was taken off and put to the side on the small table beside him. One hand scratched his head, and the top knot, covered in a little, square hankie, was much reduced in size, compared to the tennis ball-sized bobble he used to have. Most men worried about their receding hairlines, Daddy-ji about his reducing top knot size. His other hand firmly gripped the Sky remote control, just in case one of the boys came in and tried to change the channel. Slightly tubby with a cuddly belly, he was a father no one feared. Aashi and her brothers respected him. All they were afraid of was disappointing him.

Aashi knew she’d always been the apple of her daddy-ji’s eye. If he’d had his way, Aashi and Ravi would have moved in with them, so reluctant was he to have his darling daughter move out. On the flip side, he was happy because she seemed excited. Aashi was torn. He’d put all his faith in her and Ravi, and she was going to have to let him down.

There sat her mother, Harjit, on the three-seater sofa, with her cup of Indian masala tea in her hand, heavy on Mummy-ji’s favourite spice, cardamom, and a bowl with chevda, Bombay mix, on the well-worn coffee table in front of her. She was an attractive woman with the smooth skin of a teenager. That was the result of years of no makeup, soap and water, and good old Oil of Olay. The rounded figure was because of the three children she had borne and brought up. Her hair parted in the centre and pulled into a loose bun at the back of her head.

Mummy-ji always worried about Aashi being naïve, and her being taken advantage of, though after meeting Ravi, Aashi felt her mother’s concerns died down a little. She knew her mum was very excited about the wedding and all the plans. Deep breath. Can I do this?

At that moment, Aashi’s mum lifted her head. “Aashi, beti, where were you? You took so long! I thought you would be back sooner. I even called Ravi, there was no one answering the phone. Did you both go out somewhere?” Not waiting for an answer, she continued, “So, did you decide where your holiday was going to be?”

Find the unexpected answer to Mummy-ji’s question in “Marriage Unarranged.”

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham, UK, in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origins. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother.

The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry.

Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.

A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which recently was awarded second place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards.

Ritu is happily married, and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the furbaby Sonu Singh.

Ritu Bhathal Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

Blog Website: http://www.butismileanyway.com

Author Website: http://www.ritubhathal.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RituBhathal
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ritubhathalwrites/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/butismileanyway/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RituBhathal/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/bhathalpadhaal/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56854412-ritu-bhathal
Mix: https://mix.com/butismileanyway
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ritusmiles

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ritu-bhathal-48941648/
Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@ritubhathalpadhaal

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/ritubhathal

And by clicking the following link, you get to my author profile on Amazon

Author.to/RituBhathal

 myBook.to/PoeticRITUals