Saturday, July 11, 2020

My Book Review of COLIN'S CONUNDRUM

Colin's Conundrum: A Steamy 19th Century Romance (The Victorians Book 3)Colin's Conundrum: A Steamy 19th Century Romance by Simone Beaudelaire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this story!

This is my favorite series (and story) by Simone Beaudelaire. I waited a long time (a few years actually) for her to finish this novel (and trilogy). It was well worth the wait!
I love Daisy's sunshine. She reminds me of Pollyanna, whom I love. Her kindness, respect for the earth, delight of literature & art, and faith is light in the darkness of both Victorian England as well as modern times. It is no wonder is was so healing for Colin's depression.
Colin is relatable. The weight he carries is something most of us can understand. His melancholy is inline with modern moods and his journey is hope-inspiring.
This story has romance, friendship, family, mystery, and emotion. It offers surprises, causes worry, and gives you hope. There's room for tears and giggles. It's definitely an enjoyable read, especially if you love historical fiction or period stories, like I do.

View all my reviews

Monday, June 29, 2020

Renown Interviewer BILL BOGGS Is My Interviewee!


My Interview with Bill Boggs!


It is a great honor to interview you today.  You’ve had an esteemed career as an actor, writer, award-winning TV host/interviewer, news anchor, and producer.  You’ve appeared on the stage, have a presence on YouTube, and you’re an entertainment industry insider.  You’ve lived a rich and excited life that most people can only dream about.  I am excited have the chance to speak with you – to have the renown interviewer become the interviewee!
1.     I find it very telling to hear how people see themselves.  Therefore, my first question is always the same: please tell us how you’d describe yourself?
A blessed, lucky, happy man who is grateful for his life.
2.     Literature is my passion, and knowing you were an English teacher, I’m guessing you can relate. 😊  You have experience with academic writing, expository or journalistic writing, creative writing, and scriptwriting, which is thrilling.  Therefore, I’d like to focus this first set of questions on you as a writer.
·        When did you first begin writing?
o   I first began writing creativity around age seven, and on one level or another have been doing it ever since.
Ø  You began your career comedy writing.  Was this the start of your entertainment career, and if so, what were you employed to do?
§  I was working at a boring corporate job right out of grad school at Penn at Armstrong World Products, in Lancaster, Pa. Two of my equally bored co-workers started writing sketch comedy for themselves as a two-man “Comedy Team.” I began my career in show business managing that team, producing comedy shows with them and writing from time to time.
Ø  How did you acquire this job?
I had a “coup de foudre” when I saw them doing a routine on a lunch break for two secretaries. The strike of lightening was, ”We will quit our jobs, go into show business and I will be their manager.” A few months later they made their national TV debut on “The Merv Griffin Show.’ They were that good, that funny, and I wasn’t too bad a manager, either, since I set up the audition.
·        What did academic writing teach you?  How did it help develop your style or voice?
o   Nothing that I can say specifically except the challenge of learning by having to write on many subjects and somehow get a passing grade so you could get out of school and get on with your young life.
Ø  How much input did you have on the stories you reported as a news anchor, and what impact did academic writing make on those reports, if any? 
§ As a news anchor for two years at WNBC, I exercised very little input. I showed up groggily at 5 A.M. in the morning, and was lucky that I was able to read, let alone offer writing suggestions to the equally bleary-eyed news writer.
§ Of course, for the rest of my 40-year career in TV, I have been writing everything you could imagine- from introduction of guests on my various talk shows, to questions, to opening monologues, to show pitches, on and on. Being able to write has been an enormous help.
Ø  How did academic writing help or hinder you when it came to scriptwriting?
Ø  Doing it for the first time in an academic situation in quest of my master’s degree was valuable- I saw how to get a bead on the basic craft required.
Ø  Did it affect you in any way as a creative writer?
§ Not in the least. Only to be creative enough to get a passing grade.
·        What do you think if the most important aspect of writing?
o   Having the discipline to do it, and finding your own voice, and having confidence in that voice.
·        What is your writing process?  Do you use outlines or let the story/characters drive you?  Do you prefer silence or music?  Tea or coffee?
o   Deep-focus silence. Runa Tea. Character-driven, and it’s like I have a movie going on in my head. I am a child of the last days of classic radio, “The Theater of the Mind,” and that has helped my vivid imagination to develop.
Ø  Does your process change depending on what type of writing you’re doing?  Why, or why not, and how?
§ Of course. Fiction is completely different than some of the essays I’ve written for the NYT.
Ø  Where do you find your inspiration?
From my churning brain from which my ideas flow. and by quietly observing people.
3.     The industry has changes vastly over the years.  I am curious to hear your thoughts about the past, present, and future.  This section will be about the publishing industry and your personal experiences regarding it.
·        What made you decide to publish your writing?
o   “The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog:” as told to Bill Boggs is the best piece of individual work of my life. I wanted to share it.
Ø  What was your first publication, and who was it with?
§  “At First Sight,’ a romantic novel was published by the firm of Grosett & Dunlap.
Ø  Do you have the same requirements for publishing an article or script as you do a novel?  How do these processes compare?
§ I do not grasp what you mean here by ”requirements.” I just want my work to be as good as it can be, and I want to share it.
Ø  Are you required to have a literary agent in all instances?  Why, or why not?
§ I am not required to have an agent. It surely helps.
·        What was the hardest thing you encountered with getting published?
o   Getting a book deal. It took me six months.
Ø  If you knew then what you know now, is there anything you’d do differently?
§ Called the last person I called first. Otherwise, no.
·        How has the industry changed since you published your first book, At First Sight, until now, with your new release, The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog: As told to Bill Boggs?
o   1980 was my first book. 2007 was my second book, “Got What it Takes?” Successful People Reveal How they Made it to the Top,” for Harper/Collins and Spike came out this year, 2020. Really the changes are too vast to start compiling.
Ø  With your prestige, are you still required to submit a query letter and pitch your projects?
§ It’s a tough world out there for authors. I submitted my manuscript directly with a summary of the property included.
Ø  Do you feel that the Indie revolution has made it easier or harder to become traditionally published?  Why, or why not, and how?
§ Harder. More books out there in a declining market.
·        What do you think the future of the publishing industry will be?
o   Books on demand like HBO
4.     In this this set of questions, I would love to address how your career as a TV host and interviewer influenced your new book.  The protagonist, Bud’s, career parallels your own while, and Spike is modeled (in loving memory) after your own dog.  It leaves me wondering how much of the book is fact or fiction. 😊
·        In reality, your dog passed away before he could join you on much of the adventures you shared in common with Bud.  Was it painful to revisit them while reimagining the experiences with Spike, or was it somewhat therapeutic?
o   Nothing about this was painful. The adventures are fictional some of the stuff on TV is inspired by experience. Writing this was huge fun. The dog had died in 1974. I was not grieving. I just had the idea-“What if the dog hadn’t died and became a big star in today’s world with a talk show host master?” So I was writing, in part, about the TV industry I know well.
Ø  What encouraged you to pen this novel?  What made it important to you?
§ I just liked the idea of focusing my energy on writing after my last TV show went off the air. A week after the show got cancelled, I said to my beloved Jane, my-long suffering girlfriend, “I’m going to focus on being a writer now.” I was really highly motivated to dive into the Spike idea and create a whole world around it. The decision became a big plus socially, too. When people started asking me, “What happened to you? How come you’re not on television anymore?  I feel bad for you, are you ok?” I said, “I’m a writer now. I’m working on a novel.” Interestingly, many folks seem to respect writing almost as much as they respect someone’s being on television. I was really encouraged from the first day at the laptop, when the voice of the central character, Spike the Wonder Dog, came to the page.
§ It was important because I thought it was funny and would entertain people. I tested the first draft on eight people and they all reported it was “laugh out loud funny.”
·        How many of the tales are fact and how much is fabricated for the sake of the story?
o   That’s Spike’s secret, sorry. He told me the story.
Ø  Do you have a favorite backstage moment to share with us?  Is it in the book?
§ My favorite backstage moment was with Natalie Wood, and that’s not in the book.
·        Is there anything specific you’d like the readers to know?
o   I’d like a reader to say, “Ok, this guy sat down and tried to write a fast-paced comic novel- did he do it? If so what made it work? If not, where did he miss?”
o   I want you to know that I want you to laugh and forget your troubles. That we need to be able to get back to laughing at each other. If America is a melting pot-let’s melt! I am a non-conformist, and the book pushes the boundary of its comedy back at least a decade when there was less offense taken by humor than there is today.
Ø  This is a satirical work.  What are you commenting on?  What is the underlying theme?
§ Commenting on human foibles, inauthentic, pretentious behavior, plus, oh yes, phony people, sexual objectification, the over-the-top world of TV today. But, start reading the book ASAP for a much more complete answer.
5.     What can we expect to see from you over the coming year?
·        I read that you plan to write a sequel to your new release, The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog: As told to Bill Boggs. Can you tell us a little about it?
o   It will pick up near the end of the current Spike story.
·        What is the best way for readers to connect with you?
o   Website billboggs.com, @realbillboggs on twitter, @spikewonderdog twitter, and @spike_wonderdog on Instagram, BillBoggsTV, YouTube, spikethewonderdog.com, Facebook.
I really appreciate you taking the time to meet with me, and for allowing me to introduce you to my readers.  You are, indeed, an intriguing man of many talents.  I look forward to reading Spike’s adventures and to its sequel.  Be safe and healthy, my friend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Remembering Kenneth Arnold's UFO Sighting

RISE OF THE 'FLYING SAUCER'

World UFO Day - June 24 & July 2

On June 24, 1947, Kenneth Arnold spotted something he couldn't explain flying over Mount Rainier.  It became known as the most widely recognized UFO sighting in modern America.

He also wrote a book:

The Coming of the Saucers by [Kenneth Arnold, Raymond Palmer]
The whole world has heard about flying saucers. But do you really know how it all got started? Do you know who first saw the flying saucers?

Meet pilot Kenneth Arnold. In "The Coming of the Saucers," Arnold describes - in breathtaking detail - his incredible sighting of the flying saucers on June 24, 1947.

Arnold also recounts his harrowing investigation into the infamous Maury Island Incident, which ended with the deaths of two Air Force intelligence officers after they flew past Mount Rainier - where Arnold had seen the discs.

After being followed by Men in Black, Arnold discovered that his hotel room had been bugged, and that he had been manipulated by CIA asset Fred Lee Crisman, an eventual suspect in the JFK assassination. Following these and other strange, spooky occurrences, Arnold barely escaped a plane crash himself!
Arnold was a private man, who rarely lectured or made public appearances. "The Coming of the Saucers" is thus a rare, primary-source document of importance to all UFO researchers and enthusiasts. Not only is this the story of the first two major UFO sightings in the U.S., but it is also the birth of the Men in Black mythos.

OTHER BOOKS RELATED TO KENNETH ARNOLD & UFOs:

Saturday, June 20, 2020

My Book Review of THE POWER OF LOVE

The Power of LoveThe Power of Love by Karen J. Mossman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*A Cute Fairy Tale For Modern Readers*

I like fairy tales. I love magic. Therefore, I greatly enjoyed this short story.

Everyone who knows me, both as a reader and a writer, knows I prefer more lengthy works. I like details and intricacies. However, I felt Karen J. Mossman pretty much nailed this one. It wasn't too short, nor too long - it was perfect. The three bears would be proud (yep, hanging with the theme LOL).

There are idyllic features true to all fairy tales - a king and queen, beautiful turreted castle, a dark secret, an irresistible call... There are interesting twists I didn't expect. Though I wanted to delve deeper into the characters' back stories, this was well-paced and entertaining. I remained engaged from cover to cover and was moved by the relationships depicted.

This is a fun read, which I definitely recommend.

View all my reviews

Sunday, June 14, 2020

DID YOU KNOW - World Blood Donor Day

'SHARE LIFE, GIVE BLOOD'


World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on Karl Landsteiner's birthday - June 14th.
The slogan for the day's even is 'share life, give blood.'
The need for clean blood is vitally important through the world.  Unfortunately, 50% of the donations come from high-income countries, where approximately 19% of the population actually live. In many countries, there is a lack of safe blood available.  This day is meant to help bring awareness to the need for not only donations, but the advancement of technology and availability of resources.  This global observances is also meant to say 'thank you' to those who have donated to this important cause.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Books Reviews By Julie, Sahara, Karen, Theresa, & James

FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT READ!

REVIEWED BY:

       J.M.                    Sahara                  Karen J.                 Theresa                  James J.
       Northup                  Foley                 Mossman             Hulongbayan              Cudney     

            
REVIEW        REVIEW         REVIEW        REVIEW        REVIEW

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Happy Ballpoint Pen Day Book Lovers!

NATIONAL BALLPOINT PEN DAY 2020

NATIONAL BALLPOINT PEN DAY – June 10

This day is meant to celebrate the day (June 10, 1943) the patent was obtained for the ballpoint pen.

If you'd like to learn more about the history of the pen, please check out my #DidYouKnow blog series post:
DID YOU KNOW ABOUT PENS?


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

AUTHOR Amelia Earhart

DID YOU KNOW?


Everyone knows of Amelia Earhart because of the mystery surrounding her death.  What they don't always realize is the accomplishments this amazing woman achieved.  According to Newsweek, this pioneering woman fearlessly tackled the following:
Not only do I have a passion for aviation but I have a background in it.  So, it should come as no surprise that I am an admirer of Amelia Earhart.  Of course, my respect for her goes beyond her obvious career as she pioneered more than just the skies.  As a woman, she lead the way for females to have new pathways (an example is the Ninety-nines), and she showed great compassion for people while serving as a Red Cross nurse.  Still, I learned something new today, which most people don't realize: Amelia Earhart was a bestselling author!



NATIONAL AMELIA EARHART DAY – July 24
Learn more and find great books in this blog post

Monday, June 8, 2020

Author Joyita Basak

My Interview with Joyita Basak!

Welcome, Joyita.  I’ve read some of your other interviews (one in particular is with myfriend, Fiona McVie), and I’m excited to learn more about you and your debut novel, I Still Love You.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share a moment with me and my readers!
1.     I always start my interviews with the same question.  Therefore, please tell us how you’d describe yourself?
I am Joyita Basak, a writer from Kolkata, India. I am a blogger behind itsmycopyright.com I am a final year student of Engineering, and currently I am working with various productions as content writer. I have started my blogging journey back in 2015 and I have published my debut book “I still love you” in August 2019. I basically try to write in the genre of romantic thriller and something related to realistic plots. I try to write few more novels based on detective stories in near future.
2.     You are involved with so many things.  In addition to being an avid reader and NASA enthusiasts, you’re a ComputerScience/Engineering student, fashion designer, artist, blogger, translator/interpreter, scriptwriter, and novelist.  I am sure I’ve missed something in there LOL 😊 You’re quite accomplished!
·        Let’s talk about your blogging.  How many blogs do you have, what are they about, and where can readers find them?
o   I own two blogs, one is dedicated for my writing purposes and another is just a showcase of my paintings.
Ø  There are many types of writing, as you know, and each requires different skill sets.  In your opinion, how does blogging differ from script writing or creative writing?
§ Yes, I follow different procedures for different kinds of writing. For a scriptwriting, the language needs to be softer one while for creative writing you can truly write your hearts out. But for any write-ups for blogging require a format, the shorter aspect of blog should be attractive to grab attention of the readers. While in case of creative writing the format should be quite descriptive.
v   These are quite different from the technical or academic writing required of a student.  How has your education impacted the way you approach your blogs?
*     Yes, I hope so, I have been into research things out for a while, so I think the readings and education has impacted on my writing enough. I have been habituated with the circumstances which I pen down in my novels.
v   How has it affected your creative writing?  Did it pose any challenges, or did it help in the editing process?
*     While I used to have regular classes at college, it was very challenging to make space for writing, but I hope I can manage things well. So, during my course too, I have continued my love for my passion which helped me to write every day.
Ø  Do you think blogging has helped develop you as a writer?  If so, how?
§ Yes, true, I have been running my blog since 2015, so while I got myself accustomed with any kind of writing in my blog specifically book reviews and covering book launch, it was easier for me to write a novel.  Whether it be the sense of writing or the way to portray a fact or a scene, blogging helped me develop my writing skills.
·        You write scripts for the film industry in India.  How did you get involved with that?
o   I have been writing few stories for films for last few years, being a film buff, I have always been attached to few directors and producers from the industry. So, that’s how I conveyed my idea to them, so that they can incorporate my views in their work.
Ø  What productions have you worked on, and are you working on any currently?
§ Right now, I am working for TentCinemas along with their tv shows collaborated with Sony and ZEE. I have few scripts for web shows also, which will be releasing very soon.
·        You are involved with many areas of writing.  Do you have a favorite one?  Why, or why not?
o   Yes, I love to write bookreviews, being a book worm since ages, I love to review them. I finish a book in a week, so whenever I complete reading a book, I try to share my feelings about the thinking I have developed.
·        What ultimately made you decide to not only write a book, but to publish it?
o   Last year, when I thought of finishing a novel, I thought of publishing it. It came over my mind quite instantly, within a month of finishing the manuscript, I mailed the synopsis to publishers.
Ø  With all the available ways to publish, why did you opt to use a publisher, and how did you select them?
§ I was looking for best publishers for a debut author, I found few and mailed them all the details. Within a month or so, Blue Rose Publishers mailed me back that they loved my story and they want to publish it.
Ø  If you could do anything different, would you, and what would it be and why?
§ Being a debut author, every experience was very new to me, I wasn’t aware of promotions or other marketing strategies. So, now after a year or so, I have gone through the phase of publishing once, so if I would do it now again, it would have been a better procedure.
3.     Reviews matter to some and not to others for different reasons.  Traditionally published authors don’t need to worry about their reviews or ratings.  However, Indie authors do because this directly affects promotional opportunities.  Some don’t read reviews because they cannot handle the emotional roller coaster while others thrive on them, gaining inspiration and strength from both good and bad.  I am interested to learn your views on these.
·        Do you read your book reviews?  Why, or why not?
o   Yes, I read my book reviews. It helps me to write better every day. While I get positive reviews, I feel mesmerized but when I get few negative reviews, they help me to modify my mistakes.
Ø  Have your gotten any negative reviews, and if so, how do you process them?
§ Yes, I have gotten one negative review, it pointed out few mistakes I made. I have tried to correct those.
·        Before you published, did you care about reviews?
o   No, being a debut author, when my first novel was getting published, I only thought about the book launch day. I was much excited in the pre-production procedure.
Ø  Has your opinion changed since your book release?  Why, or why not?
§ Yes, my opinion has changed much since my book release. Previously I was much consistent about the whole procedure of publishing. But while my novel released, I used to think that writing is the hardest part. But after experiencing the process, I find writing has become easier, in fact the promotional activities are much harder.
·        Has the way you read or written reviews been altered from your experiences as an author?  If so, how, and why?
o   No, I think it’s been the same, while writing book reviews in past, I felt connected with the reality of the novel, still I find the same way. If I can’t even connect with my readers, I hope it’s not going to be a good novel at all.
·        Is there anything you’d like readers to know or understand about book reviews, and why?
o   Yes, I hope everyone finds for a positive review of any book, so I would definitely praise my readers to have a glimpse of my novel.
4.     In this section of questions, I’d like to discuss your view on the literary industry.  I think you have a unique view, considering you have seen so many sides, and that you’ll have cool insights for us. 😊
·        How do you think blogging has helped with the development of the internet?
o   Yes, I hope the reach to people is much higher in the case of blogging.
Ø  Do you think blogging is a useful tool or an art form?  Why, or why not?
§ Yes, everyone can express themselves in their blog, it’s not possible for every writer to publish their novels at the early stage of their career, but they can pen down any random thoughts anytime in the blog.
Ø  Do you feel blogging has impacted the literary world in any way?  If so, how?
§ Yes, I feel blogging has impacted the literary world, the way the bloggers can express their literary thoughts, it’s quite helpful.
·        What do you prefer; ebook or paperback, and why?
o   I prefer paperback, I have been reading books since childhood and the paperback books gives an immense feeling to the readers. I am not a very fan of e-books, I am always a fan of paperbacks.
Ø  Do you think ebooks and audiobooks are the future, or will there always be a place for paperbacks?  What makes you think the way you do?
§ For me, I will always prefer paperbacks, though with the developing literary sectors, e-book or audio books can be a better future, anyone can read at any moment of time with the help of audiobooks.
·        There’s a lot of talk about attention span.  Do you think this is a real concern?  Why, or why not?
o   Yes, I think attention span is an essential part of our lives, the span of time we get involved with work is really necessary.
Ø  Do you think short stories, anthologies, and flash fiction is the up and coming trend?  Why, or why not?
§ Yup, now a days when everyone is preferring short stories much more than a full-length novel and with the help of social media, anyone can post their thoughts. So, they are truly a trend.
Ø  When it comes to novels, do you feel short chapters are better, or long chapters with section/scene dividers, and why?
§ I hope short chapters are better, but being just a novel old, I really have to experience much to answer this.
5.     What can we expect to see from you over the coming year?
I will be completing few of my scripts.
·        What is your current work-in-progress (or WIP)?
o   I am currently working on a series of short stories based on the golden beauty of Kolkata.
·        What is the best way for readers to connect with you?
o   My twitter and Facebook account. I am mostly online.
6.     Though your book, I Still Love You, is available on Amazon, it isn’t on Amazon.com.  Will it be made available on this platform?
It will be available very soon.
·        If yes, when?
o   By the month of August probably.
·        Also, will it be made available in a digital format?
o   Yes, e-book will be available very soon.
Thanks again.  You’re an intriguing and talented young woman with a bright future.  Whatever you opt to pursue, I have no doubt you’ll success with grace, beauty, and skill.  Be safe, healthy, and happy!