Tuesday, 29 August 2017

What Do You See?

An old tree trunk doused in sunlight growing into a sandy bank, affording travellers along an ancient footpath shade from the midday sun. 

This oak tree has probably been here for hundreds of years. The bark is rough, full of lichen, gnarled, and hollowed at the base.

Notice the root in the foreground stretching from left to right and growing up the tree. Strange to see a root twisting and twining around the trunk rather than growing into the bank and securing the tree. Roots usually form a counterbalance beneath the sandy soil to the crown and canopy of branches and leaves above. 

Stranger yet, this root is like the figure of a climber pulling himself up. At this angle I can see the left leg, a straight back, head, and arms straining, stretching and reaching for the next hand hold.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Walking in the Countryside - Such a Pleasure

Many writers enjoy walking or need to walk as part of their working routine. Beside the pleasure of exercise, there is much else to be gained from a walk.

The rhythm of walking, especially in nature, frees the mind. An awareness of the seasons, growth,   sounds, and smells of the countryside are soothing, yet stimulate ideas. Space and freedom to roam allows plotlines and characters to develop.

Movement creates energy. Energy enables creativity. A story grows.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Title: More Than Just a Dog
Author: Genie Gabriel
ISBN: 978-1-62420-341-1

is the newest release from Rogue Phoenix Press

Genre: Paranormal
Book Heat Level: 3

Three generations of independent women, driven in different directions by one man's anger. Until his death reconnects them with their mystical Irish ancestors and wonders beyond this limited human existence. 
Trained in the shamanic arts by her Irish grandmother, Chessie Durand travels to alternate worlds to rescue animals in danger. Aided by her Chosen One, an angel dog and a mysterious merkaba necklace, she discovers powers unknown to most humans. 
Ever practical, her mother provides a sanctuary for these alien and exotic species stall-beside-stall with barnyard creatures. And when their paradise is threatened by ignorance and poachers and unknown dangers beyond the stargates, Marlise loads her shotgun and joins the fight. 

99 cents for a limited time.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble 

Hi there, Genie. Congratulations on the release of your new book. How are you feeling today?
Release day jitters have subsided and I’m feeling as normal as I ever get. LOL!

I have a few questions for you from a writer’s perspective, about More Than Just a Dog and writing generally. I haven’t read the story, but from the description alone my antennae is twitching and I want to know more.
You make mention of ‘mystical Irish ancestors’ in the story. What is it about the notion of Ireland that is so fascinating for you?
Perhaps I lived in Ireland in some past life. I have strawberry blonde hair and fair skin, like many Irish, and I love the green landscape as well as the myths and blessings that have been handed down as part of Irish folklore.

Can you tell us about the significance of the Merkaba necklace, and what the symbolism means to you?
During my training in Reiki, I was given several symbols to help focus on working with energy. When researching a mystical symbol to use in this book, More Than Just a Dog, I discovered the merkaba symbol is also associated with Reiki. When I saw the symbol, I knew in an instant it was ancient and sacred. Further research turned up more and more legends and connections of the merkaba to ancient civilizations and traveling through dimensions, yet always shrouded in mystery. How perfect is that for a curious writer?

Dogs are known as man’s best friends yet are all evolved from wolves. How do you marry the elements of the wild and domesticated in your experience of dogs, and your writing about them?

Since I received the gift of communicating with animals about ten years ago, I don’t make a distinction between wild and domesticated animals. I talk to all of them! They have shown me we are all sentient beings who are evolving. Not always equally, but we have changed and are changing, helping each other in this process.

What are you reading at the moment?
I am a self-help junkie, and usually am in the midst of half dozen self-improvement books. But sometimes I want total escape and look for short comedies. I also have a very long list of books of many genres from Rogue Phoenix Press authors that I want to read, as well as the books of numerous writer friends. And though I’m far past the age of Young Adult, somewhere along theline I got hooked on these novels that carry a sense of wonder, optimism
and hope.

What are your optimum writing conditions?
Butt in chair and write. LOL! Quiet is my number one priority when I’m writing a first draft. I’m really quite spoiled in that I have a home office dedicated to writing and my computer projects. My doggies insist on regular meals, but if I meet that requirement, they are usually happy to nap or cruise in and out of the back yard while I work.

What is the most challenging part of the writing process, and how do you overcome that challenge?
When I was first started writing about twenty-five years ago, everything was a challenge! I stumbled along,absorbed everything I could from other writers on their processes, rewrote and edited manuscripts over and over, shared my doubts with critique partners, and thought of quitting many times. Then came the writing marathon of publishing a series of ten stories two months apart.
These were on my publisher’s schedule, and I was committed to make this happen. Though sometimes I was hanging onto my sanity by one thin thread, I learned I could write lots of words faster than I thought possible. I also learned I didn’t want to do that again! Gaining that confidence in my ability to write is how I overcome whatever challenges come up now. Sometimes scenes flow faster than my fingers can race over the keyboard. Other times, there are gaping holes in the story with only notes of what I think might happen–before the characters charge off in a completely different direction. Also, I’m not afraid to edit–sometimes ruthlessly. If a favorite scene doesn’t move the story forward or ring true to a character, out it goes. (However, I do save these favorite scenes in a separate document, and have used a number of them at a later time, sometimes revamped to fit a different story.) Then my beta readers, critique partners and editor take over…

Thanks for sharing those thoughts and comments with us, Genie – it’s so interesting to learn how other writers work.
Good luck with the book and have a great tour.

Genie has a free digital copy of More Than Just a Dog to give to one randomly drawn reader who drops by and leaves a comment on this blog. 

Website URL: www.GenieGabriel.com

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Holding On

This is quite a colony of mussels hanging in here together as the daily tides try to pull them from their rocky environment. 

Sometimes ideas are like that, they slip away and become illusive as I chase them through the thought processes. I almost have it ... then, gone. Holding on to an idea, exploring every element of it and following through to the end of the story is what writing is all about for me. 

Holding on to principles, values, and ideals can feel like a struggle when you are on your own. In a mass, standing shoulder to shoulder (or shell to shell!) there is greater ease and the power to weather the storm. The geopolitical maelstrom we live through today is the greatest storm of my lifetime and is echoed in the war story I'm writing at the moment. My main characters learn to hold on to and enjoy the quiet and calm while they can. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017


A rich source of names - and stories, tombstones are one of my pleasures. If I'm ever stuck for a name I have a browse. 
Ghoulish? Not at all. Each engraving I read I am honouring the dead: for while they are remembered they are not forgotten. Surely the stonemason carved the details to be read and admired.
Unexpectedly, I have come across the grave of John Betjeman at St Enodoc's church in Cornwall, Evelyn Waugh's in Somerset, and have twice deliberately and reverently paid homage to Jane Austen in Winchester Cathedral. 
The not-at-all-famous are equally as  interesting; after all, death is a great leveller. Spot the play on words here in this seventeenth century epitaph I happened upon this morning. Which of us cannot but admire the worthy 'Timewell spent'?

Friday, 7 July 2017

Title: June
Author: Alicia Stone
ISBN: 978-1-62420-316-9

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3



By Alicia Stone

A review by Jeffrey Ross

5 Stars

This is a world-class piece of literature—a finely crafted book that combines several genres successfully. On one level, June functions as an academic or campus novel—much of the text revolves around the detailed, complicated, scholarly world of Professor Perry’s anthropological research and love affair machinations. It also has robust elements of a detective story when super-sleuth David outs a cheating husband. But June most significantly and boldly illuminates a woman’s “sensual” coming of age (somewhat like Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening) as heroine Cassie begins to unshackle herself from a life of emotional servitude and learns to love again. As a writer, I was humbled by the workmanship and power of this novel. Read June—you will never forget the story.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Teatime Traditions

Think tennis or cricket - Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse... Tea on the lawn after a summer afternoon's sport - how delightful!

Etiquette and manners go hand in hand with the ceremony. Milk or tea first? 
"Just a dash."
Sandwiches, scones, and lashings of tea. 

I can almost hear the hum of conversation here in this photograph, as the lawn gently browns in the dry spell, and a brave sparrow ventures out of the border to find a fallen crumb. 

Meeting elderly relatives, a tryst, discussing who will have the children for the holidays. 

Teatime: an irresistible part of summer.