31 March, 2012

#BookReview :: The Incredible Shrinking Bully by Mona Schmitt

Check out the book on Amazon

This is the story of Bart, an average boy who used to love school until it was taken over by "Frank the Tank", a bully.  Frank, on numerous occasions, had singled Bart out and bullied him in front of his friends. And each time Frank had grown taller while Bart had become shorter. Bart is forced to live in fear of “Frank the Tank” and going to school lost its charm. Then one day, Frank targets one of his friends which angers Bart even more. He decides that he had had enough of Frank’s bullying and stands up to Frank in defence of his friend. And Lo! Behold!! Frank grew smaller while Bart felt taller. Taking strength from Bart’s courage, other kids join ranks with him. Slowly, as they stood up to him, they all felt taller and realized that Frank was no longer like a “tank” but more like a “mouse”.

The best part about this book is that the emotions are depicted in a manner that makes its presence very evident and is also easy for the children to understand. For instance, how Bart feels when Frank first arrives at school and starts to bully him. Or, how scared Bart is when he finally decides to stand up to Frank. Also, the accompanying illustrations are very colourful and attention grabbing.

It has a very valuable lesson to teach to the kids. By being scared of bullies, they actually hand over the power to them. And by standing up to bullies, they actually take that power away leaving the bullies just as helpless. Also, that there’s strength in numbers. At the end of the book there are some points listed that can help start a conversation with the kids and help them understand better.

Genuinely, this is a must read for all the kids – the potential bullies and the potential victims. In fact, I think that even a few grown-ups could do with a read through. After all, it is not just kids who bully and get bullied! [Yes! I am talking about that particular colleague at workplace whose work invariably lands up on your desk!! 😊]

Disclaimer: I received a free ebook from the author for review purpose. Beside that I did not receive any kind of payment or benefit from the author or the publishers for reviewing this book.

The Incredible Shrinking Bully, available in print as well as a Kindle ebook, makes it easier for you to talk and teach your kids about ‘Bullying’.

Visit/Follow the Author at:


If this review of The Incredible Shrinking Bully has piqued your interest, then you are in luck! The author, Mona Schmitt, is offering to giveaway three e-books for three lucky winners!!

Just enter yourself in the Rafflecopter below!!! 

..... And don't forget to say hi in the comments form below! ;)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

30 March, 2012

#Interview with David Kubicek, #Author of Friend of the Family

Check out the book on Amazon

In a desolate future, long after the nuclear war, practicing medicine is illegal. Health care is provided by Healers who treat patients using primitive methods like chanting and bleeding. Hank is a doctor who practices medicine only for himself and his family. His fear of being sent to prison has estranged him from the Underground, the loose network of physicians that tries to help people who have lost faith in the Healers. Then late one evening a 16-year-old girl named Gina knocks on his door. She has a secret of her own and the power to destroy Hank’s life if he doesn’t come with her and make her seriously ill father well. But there is one catch ¬— Gina’s father is the brother of a Healer.

DDS: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
DK: I began writing before the technology revolution, my first instrument being a Remington portable typewriter. Although my main focus has been fiction, my first published works were newspaper articles, which I sold the same year I graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.A. in English. I ran a small publishing company for a few years, wrote a few screenplays (one of which is currently under option), wrote a Cliffs Notes on Willa Cather’s My Antonia, and was a stringer for The Midlands Business Journal and Grassroots Nebraska. I live in Lincoln, Nebraska, with my wife Cheryl, son Sean, two dogs, and a cat who thinks he owns the place.

DDS: What got you into writing?
DK: My mother liked to shop at thrift stores. One time, when I was in high school, she brought home a paperback she’d picked up for 25 cents. I was an amateur astronomer, and she thought I’d like it because it was about Mars. My heart sank when I saw that it was fiction, something called The Martian Chronicles by a random dude named Ray Bradbury. But since my Mom had bought it for me I decided to read it, which I did over the next week in study hall. It blew me away, and I was determined to write fiction that moved readers the way the Chronicles had moved me.

DDS: Tell us a bit about your previous releases.
DK: In Human Form:  Wendy longs to fit in, but as hard as she tries, she can’t quite hide her uniqueness. She doesn’t know that she is an android who lost her memory in a tragic accident. The few friends who have guessed her identity lead her to believe she is human, but their good intentions backfire when ruthless UFO hunter Earl Vaughn comes to town determined to unlock Wendy’s secret no matter what the cost or who is hurt.
The Moaning Rocks and Other Stories: This is a collection of 14 of my best stories. Some of them have been published before, but others appear here for the first time.
The Pelican In The Desert and Other Stories of the Family Farm: A collection of farm stories by various authors. It contains my Pushcart Prize nominated short story “Ball of Fire,” which I collected in The Moaning Rocks and Other Stories. For several semesters it was used in a University of Nebraska English class. Although out of print, paperback copies of Pelican are still floating around and can usually be found on Amazon and Ebay.
October Dreams, a Harvest of Horror (co-edited with Jeff Mason): A collection of horror stories by various authors. It contains my short story “The Moaning Rocks,” which I collected in The Moaning Rocks and Other Stories. It became something of a cult phenomenon when it was first published. Karl Edward Wagner reprinted one of the stories in his Year’s Best Horror Stories XVIII. Although out of print, paperback copies are still floating around and can usually be found on Amazon and Ebay.

Tell us about your recent release.
DK: A Friend of the Family is set in a post-apocalyptic world where doctors are illegal. The accepted caregivers are Healers, who practice such primitive and superstitious methods as bleeding and chanting. One night a 16-year-old telepathic girl named Gina knocks on the door of a doctor named Hank. She has lost faith in the ability of Healers and demands that Hank cure her father of a debilitating illness. Because of her ability, she knows about the hiding place under the floor where Hank keeps his equipment and medicine. If he doesn’t accompany her, she will turn him in. But if he goes with her he will certainly go to prison because the girl’s Aunt Rose, who is a Healer charged with treating Gina’s father, will turn him in.

DDS: What was the hardest part while writing this book?
DK: My biggest challenge was maintaining the tension, keeping the story interesting and keeping it moving because most of it takes place in one room, and although there is some physical action, there isn’t much of it. I think I succeeded in meeting this challenge because my son likes the book, which is a pretty big thing. Sean is a picky reader, and he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to like my stories solely because he’s my flesh and blood.

DDS: Tell us about your favourite character (one of your own creation)
DK: My favorite is Wendy Konicka, the main character in my novel In Human Form. She is an android—created by the lone survivor of a space ship crash decades ago—whose memory is so severely damaged in a tragic house fire that she forgets she’s an android—and the few locals who discover her secret don’t tell her and lead her to believe she is human. I like her strength, her fearlessness, and her friendliness—all traits which she had as an android and that she retains when she loses her memory. After the accident, her mind is a blank slate and her “human” character is developed from her experiences in the novel, but although she sees the dark underbelly of humanity, she remains optimistic.

DDS: What are your writing pet peeves?
·         Interruptions when I’m writing: phone, doorbell, someone wanting to talk to me if they aren’t on their deathbed.
·         When people get upset when I reject their story suggestions. My wife Cheryl has helped me a lot over the years by critiquing my stories and giving me ideas when I get stuck. But when I turn down one of her ideas, she gets a bit cranky. I reject ideas that are cliché, have been done too many times before, or that don’t fit with where I’m going with the story. It’s not personal.

DDS: Who is your personal favourite author?
DK: I love Ray Bradbury’s early work, pre-1970. But my all time favorite is Stephen King. He’s had such a long career and is still cranking out good books. When I made the transition from writing mostly short stories to focusing on longer stories and novels, I learned a lot from reading King.

DDS: What is your favourite genre and book?
DK: Although I read in a wide variety of genres, I love science fiction, horror, and mainstream with elements of science fiction or horror. Naming one favorite book is hard, very hard. There are so many excellent books. Three off the top of my head are: The Help by Katherine Stockett, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I know neither of the guys listed under question 8 is on this list, but I like them for their body of work, and both of them have written some brilliant single stories. But the novels by Sebold, Niffenegger, and Stockett—all written within the last decade—left great impressions on me.

DDS: Tell us three random facts about your book that you have not mentioned anywhere else.
DK: This is difficult because I’ve said lots of things about this story in a variety of places. But here goes:
·         Space and Time paid me ¼ cent per word for the original version of A Friend of the Family, which came to about $23.50. Fortunately, $23.50 went farther in 1987 than it does today.
·         I used Book Antiqua font because I thought it looked cooler and may even be easier to read than Times New Roman, which I used for my previous books.
·         The policemen who show up at the end are more menacing than they were in the original story.

DDS: What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
DK: That even in the most dire circumstances, when all else seems lost, a spark of humanity, of goodness, still burns brightly.

DDS: What’s next?
DK: Probably the next thing to see publication will be a short novel which I call my “Mars Story” but probably will be officially called something like: “Stowaway.” It’s about the attempt of a radical group to sabotage a scientific observation station orbiting Mars.
I’m currently working on Empath, a young adult novel set in a society about 100 years after a plague has killed 90% of Earth’s population. Many of the descendants of the survivors live in walled cities. They are terrified of mutants who they fear are evidence of the plague re-emerging, so they exile the mutants to the wastelands beyond the city walls. The title character is Cassidy Anne Lange, an empath who has concealed her condition for 16 years, even from her father. But her luck runs out when she makes an impulsive slip and saves a classmate’s life by taking his injuries into herself, allowing him to heal. That is the beginning of Cassidy’s trouble because in this society empaths are conside#797979 mutants.
Also in the works is the sequel—the second book in a trilogy—of In Human Form.

Tour Schedule:
March 29 - Meet & Greet with Ebook Giveaway at VBT Cafe' Blog
March 30 - Interview & Excerpt at BooK ReviewS
March 31 - Interview & Ebook Giveaway at Unnecessary Musings

April 2 - Guest Blogging at Mass Musings
April 4 - Interview & Ebook Giveaway at Immortality and Beyond
April 6 - Interviewed at Writing Innovations E-zine
April 10 - Interview & Ebook Giveaway at Reviews & Interviews 
April 12 - Guest Blogging & Ebook Giveaway at Beauty in Ruins 
April 16 - Guest Blogging at Wise Words
April 16 - Interviewed at BK Media Entertainment

April 18 - Interview & Ebook Giveaway by Louise James
April 20 - Review & Ebook Giveaway at Ereading on the Cheap 

29 March, 2012

#Interview with J.M. Surra, #Author of Angels and Their Hourglasses

Book Summary from Goodreads:

Stranded in 1929, a time traveler struggles to convince a sleepy country that America must prepare to defend itself against its friends, the Japanese, in 1941.
Eighty years in the past, Ben Ryan must start again. He learns to live and love, and he plans for a future nobody wants to hear about. He meets Howard Hughes, who believes him and forms a consortium comprised of fellow industrialists. They prepare in every way they can without the backing of the US government. 
The Japanese learn of their efforts, and move up their plans to attack Pearl Harbor in December 1939, two years earlier than the original history. The consortium learns this, but they’re still short of planes, supplies, and pilots. 
Was all their work for nothing? 
The race is on.

Angels and Their Hourglasses is the Winner of the 2011 Global Award in the popular Fiction category. 


DDS: What got you into writing?
JMS: I wrote from a very early age, and continued to write throughout my life. I only recently got into writing as a professional, which would make me a poorly-paid professional. But a happy one.

DDS: Tell us all about your book!
JMS: A surly archangel is “called on the carpet” and told he must transport a young man named Benjamin Ryan back to 1929, and  task him with correcting historical errors. He is to observe the young man through every minute of the rest of his life, and never turn away. There’s always a catch, of course. He can’t tell Ben what errors, or how he’s supposed to accomplish this. That’s up to Ben to determine.  We don’t see the angel much throughout the story except as a bystander, as he’s an observer, and not a participant. The story is how Ben grows, matures, and the imagination and resourcefulness he displays as he decides upon his goals, and how he plans to correct them.

DDS: Why Time Travelling?
JMS: Great question. Let ask you this: Can you think of any other single action which affords such incredible potential for change? Good change, bad change, it’s all there to be brought about if events are properly manipulated.  Anything goes. It’s almost too easy, if you have a vivid imagination.

DDS: What was the hardest part while writing this book?
JMS: Stopping myself after 12 to 18 hours of writing and going to sleep was very difficult. I wanted to keep writing, but a writer needs sleep like anybody else. Even then, I was jumping up from my sleep in the middle of the night and scribbling scenes that just HAD to be in the book! I think I dreamt the entire story 45 times over while writing it.  Probably just as hard was cutting 40,000 words out of it during editing, to make it a manageable size.

DDS: Tell us about your favourite character (one of your own creation)
JMS: Granny Granville, also known by his name of Zantford Granville. The real Granny died in 1934, so young that as the writer I was really able to take him places. Some places he had planned on going, and others where my story took him.

DDS: What are your writing pet peeves?
JMS: Phones ringing, chores to do. Anything that takes me away from my keyboard. As far as the writing itself, few things bother me. It’s been a wonderful experience, and my editor has been my own personal Mister Myagi (or rather Ms. Myagi!), teaching me about what to do and what not to do. More than just the rules of proper English; I already knew most of those. She taught me about a hundred little details that go into the formatting of a book during its preparation for publishing, and she taught me that you never stop learning your craft. Not many writers get excited when they know they’re going to have some quality time alone with their keyboard, with nothing pending on their docket but pure writing time. I’m one of the few that do!

DDS: Who is your personal favourite author? 
JMS: Hard to say, I don’t have precisely one author, or one genre, for that matter. My no-good-reason-for-it-but-I-love-her-stuff-anyway author is Jean M. Auel, and her Earth’s children series with Ayla. Don’t tell anybody, it’ll just be our secret, but I’m a sucker for reading a good strong female character. I’ve read the series five times.  I’m hoping to write a few stories with strong female leads.

In horror, I’d have to say Stephen King, who has scared me for many decades. Like him, I’m from Bangor, Maine, so I’m a bit biased about him. He’s a personal hero of mine for many good reasons (the guy builds hospital wings for the children), and I’ve even bumped into him occasionally over the years. He’s a very nice guy.

Techno-thrillers, Tom Clancy. Regular suspense thrillers, Nicholas Sparks. Flowery writing that’s just inimitable, Dean Koontz. Anything John Grisham, he’s a big favorite of mine. Huge.

DDS: What is your favourite genre and book?
JMS: To read, I’ve have to go with Grisham’s books, most of which are legal-based fiction. Nobody really wants to be a lawyer, so for somebody to be able to write about it, make it interesting to the reader, and make them want to read more, that’s impressive.  He can write a lawyer on the cutting edge in a courtroom, and then the next chapter he can have the character sitting on a porch sipping lemonade and saying, “aww, shucks’”, and make it all so believable.

DDS: Tell us three random facts about your book that you have not mentioned anywhere else.
JMS: 1. My book features the Red-Tails , the famous Tuskegee Airmen as characters. 
2. My protagonist is a sucker for a certain redhead.  
3. My protagonist walks with a cane.  

DDS: What do you hope readers will take away from this book? 
JMS: I know I’ve most enjoyed a book when I close it at the end, and feel like I’ve just watched a movie in my mind. If I could hope for anything, it would be that my readers experience just that when they read it. I’ve been told by many that they’ve done just that.

DDS: What’s next? 
JMS: I’ll be releasing another time-travel novel next year titled TITOR. Very hush-hush.

Reach the Author at:

28 March, 2012

#Interview with Lydia E.Brew, #Author Ungolden Silence

About the Book

Ungolden Silence will explore the world of rape and expose the myths through articles that are based on facts. The main question that needs to be answered is why one human being would rape another human being. These reasons are explored in a compelling story that will make the reader ask questions. Beatrice James wanted to take her co-worker Elaine on her first professional trip, she had to convince her employers and Elaine’s parents that she wanted to take Elaine on the trip. Elaine was in charge of the campaign. 

Thomas Paige is a well-respected community leader, however, there is whole other side of side of him. The man can be charming when he needs to be and that is why he can get away with sexually harassing and raping women. He began to harassed Beatrice did not want Elaine to have to deal with it. Beatrice did not want to deal with the fact that she was being sexually harassed.

When any crime takes place, the families of the victims as well as the criminal are involved. Ungolden Silence will illustrate that the criminal is a real person, and rarely does he commit crimes just for the fun of it. 

It is important to know that rape is a part of violence. Through the characters of Ungolden Silence it is hoped that society will begin to find a way to eliminate the acceptance of violence, which includes the act of rape. 

It is through Beatrice, Elaine, and their colleagues that Ungolden Silence begins to explore the world of rape. Each of the main characters discovers what he has believed about rape and violence is not entirely true. A good example of this is when the firm’s secretary is told what happened on the trip. She discovered that some things that she was told when she was young was a myth. 

Through all of the characters, Ungolden Silence offers an alternative to the everyday acceptance of violence. When it comes to rape, it tells us that the rapists are human beings and there is a way to curb the crime.

What does the author wants the reader to take away is that the story is about a woman was rape while she and her business partner was away on a business trip. Her business partner is disabled but that is an important part of the story. However, it is not the main story.

Ms.Lydia Kindly agreed to be interviewed by me as a part of this tour and I am sure excited to know more about the book and about her. So without any further delay, here's the interview:

DDS: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
LEB: I grew up in Houston, Texas in the 1960’s and 70’s. I attended special education classes. When I went to Jr. High, I attended regular classes. I had a portable typewriter and that helped a lot. I graduated from high school and attended a special campus of Victoria Junior College. It was an old hospital with one room. People came to class on stretchers. I graduated from Texas Southern University with a BA in Journalism.
I started Lydia’s Educational and Charitable Organization (LECO) to encouraged youth to identify and write about positive role models.

DDS: What got you into writing?
LEB: I was fourteen years old when I walked into the office of Doctor Edith Irby Jones, the first African American to graduate from the Arkansas School of Medicine. Her wall was filled with awards, and citations, I knew before I met her that there was a story behind those walls and I wanted to tell it. I eventually wrote her story and one of my professors published it for me.

DDS: Tell us about your recent release.
LEB: Ungolden Silence will explore the world of rape and expose the myths through articles that are based on facts. The main question that needs to be answered is why one human being would rape another human being. These reasons are explored in a compelling story that will make the reader ask questions.

DDS: “Rape” is a social menace. What made you write about this particular topic?
LEB: I love drama. In the summer time I watched the soaps and I love to daydream. I always make up different dramas that I put people that I knew in the situations and it was entertaining. When I started Ungolden Silence I knew that I wanted a drama type story. I guess I wanted to show that disabled people can handle serious things. I did not want a person in a wheelchair who could speak plainly. Elaine’s disability is based on mine. I wanted the disabled character to be a part of the story, not all of it.
I began to notice that every crime victims’ names were given with exception of rape victim because they need their privacy. A good example is when Elizabeth Smart was on a talk show. The host asked her about everything but the part where she was raped, saying it was private. I thought about that and realized that society thinks that rape is about sex- it is not. It is about power and control. Smart was kidnapped and raped – she did not run away with her

DDS: What was the hardest part while writing this book?
LEB: The articles were the hardest because I had to do the research. However, I think they what made the story different. When I made the main rapist a highly respected community leader, I thought that I was way off base. I found through research society stereotyped the rapist they are people who look just like us. The most surprising fact I found through research is that society really does not know what rape is. Can a woman rape another woman? Yes. Rape is not about the male sex organ penetrating a woman or man’s private area– it is anything that is not wanted in that area. Rape is about power not sex.

DDS: Would you participate in “Slut Walk”?
LEB: No. Society is stereotyping a woman when she is call a slut. I don’t think anybody would admit to being one much less go on a walk.

DDS: What are your writing pet peeves?
LEB: Editors! Let’s see an editor is trying to take something out of the story and the author has to fight for it. One thing that I learned in literature it that the author is the god of that story/book, an editor needs to make sure that the grammar is correct. The editor may suggest some things, however, let the author be in charge, it’s his story.

DDS: Who is your personal favourite author?
LEB: Reshonda Tate Billingsley

DDS: What is your favourite genre and book?
LEB: I read all types of novels. I can’t say which my favorite is.

DDS: Tell us three random facts about your book that you have not mentioned anywhere else.
LEB: The first fact is that when a person is raped the people around the person are affected as well, and they need to be able to talk about it. Secondly, the offender needs to be dealt with. Either the offender is mentally ill or needs to be put in jail. Rape is a crime, not to report it or any other sexual crime is criminal. The offender will offend again. Silence of the victim is a good tool for the offender. Third, the youth must be educated that they can say no to sex. They need to understand how to protect themselves against sexual crimes.

DDS: What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
LEB: Society needs to stop allowing sexual violence to have the privacy that it has. We need to realize that crimes are being committed and not worrying about if the names of a victim. When a person is murder the name is given the second that the family is told. Taking a person’s life is the ultimate violation isn’t it?

DDS: What’s next?
LEB: I am working on a family saga, and it will be a century long soap opera.

Well, I do not know about you, but for me this was a learning as well as charming experience for me. I will be following her throughout the tour. Will you be Joining us?

March 26 - Meet & Greet at VBT Cafe' Blog
March 28 - Interviewed at BooK ReviewS 

March 30 -  Fun Facts at Mass Musings

April 3 - Interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc.

April 5 - Interviewed at From the Mind of Omegia 

April 9 -  Guest Blogging with Cindy Vine 
April 11 - Reviewed at Black Diamond's Book Reviews 
April 13 - Interviewed at Writing Innovations E-zine
April 14 - Book Featured at B'Tween Prose
April 17 - Interviewed at Soliloquy 
April 23 - Interviewed at BK Media Entertainment
April 25 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services 
April 27 - Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
April 30 - Interviewed by Louise James 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of The Virtual Book Tour Cafe' and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by The Virtual Book Tour Cafe', no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

26 March, 2012

#BookReview :: Splitsville.com by Tonya Kappes

Check it out on Amazon

Olivia Davis is no normal girl. She sees auras of people that prove to be too distracting for her to hold down a permanent job. That’s not the only problem though. She is also neatness impaired and has zero love-life. She starts a business herself - Splitsville.com, a ‘break-up’ agency. The online business turns out to be successful minus a few threats. Her life turns around when she meet Bradley.

But there’s more in store for her… Her clients start to turn up dead – murdered. Olivia, who runs her business under an alias ‘Jenn’ in order to remain undiscovered, starts to panic. It seems like she is being framed for the murders and worse yet she might be a target herself. In order to keep herself from being exposed and her business undercover, Olivia decides to investigate the case herself.

There are a lot of characters in the book. Some of them are totally not needed and with the rest, Ms.Tonya has done a great job. Olivia, the protagonist and a few of the other main characters have been developed well through the book. As for the plot, I am not sure whether adding the paranormal touch was necessary. It doesn’t really add much to the plot.

The book had the potential of being a great piece if not for a lot of typos and grammatical mistakes – they are so distracting! Also, it lacked consistency with regards to information. The only highlight of this book is Olivia and her sense of humour!

24 March, 2012

#BookReview :: Before I Breathe by Jenelle Jack Pierre

Check it out on Goodreads

From the very beginning of the story, the focus is on our protagonist Kalena Moore. She is not interested in school and just gets by it. She finds herself attracted to Isaiah, the bad boy of the school. As Isaiah also showers her with attention, she ignores the warnings from her friends and gets into a relationship with him. Things happen fast between them and soon Kalena finds out that she is pregnant. 

That’s when the rollercoaster journey begins for Kalena. When she loses her temper with her parents, she moves in with Isaiah and his family. At the beginning everything seems fine, but soon Isaiah and his mother show their true colours. In the meantime, Kalena also finds herself alienated from her own family and friends…

Kalena is a typical teenager. She does not like school, is impatient and is flattered when somebody’s attention is focused on her. Isn’t that what it is like with all the teenagers?! When under pressure she makes mistakes after mistakes. It takes her time, but she finally manages to take control of her life and turn it around.

The book deals with teenage pregnancy – a major problem around the globe. The author handles it so well. It also shows the emotional pressure that a pregnant girl and those around her feel. But most of all, it teaches us a lesson that making mistakes is a part of life. What we learn from those mistakes is what matters most. Also, that it is never too late to make amends and turn your life back around.

Disclaimer: I received a free ebook from the author for review purpose. Beside that I did not receive any kind of payment or benefit from the author or the publishers for reviewing this book. 

23 March, 2012

#BookReview & #GuestPost - I am Dirty: I Need Washing by Shamsud Ahmed

Check it out on Amazon

Catchy name isn’t it? I thought so too… Usually, I can guess what a book is about by its title… but in this case I started off blindly as I had no idea about what to expect. 

The book contains 32 poems on different and diverse topics. From simple to complex, from abstract to intense – this one book has it all. Each explores a different avenue of love, life and loss. The title poem, “I am dirty; I need washing” reminds us that nothing is for forever – whether be it good times or the bad ones. “The Tombstone Verse” & “Epistemology” reminds us to live in the moment. My personal favourites are “Loss”, “Back Home” and “I am dirty; I need washing”.

The great thing about poetry is that it is always open to the reader’s interpretation. Everybody learns something different from one single poem. And, so maybe my interpretations of the author’s work may not be what he intended to portray and it may not be what you make out of his work. But one thing I can guarantee is that you can’t help but love his work.

Disclaimer: I received a free ebook from the author for review purpose. Beside that I did not receive any kind of payment or benefit from the author or the publishers for reviewing this book.  

Now for a Guest Post from the Author:

Most common mistakes in Poetry Writing

I am a very new author when it comes to publishing my work and I would not be the right person to discuss Common mistakes in Poetry Writing. However I have worked on some common errors though for new writers.

After I finished writing "I am dirty; I need Washing" the thing I most wanted to do was make it into an actual physical book.  All I wanted was to publish my book and share my work with like-minded people for review. Soon my book got published and went Live in various website and I realized that this is a different world and only way for my readers to know about my work is to let them know about that. That was tough to some extent. My book went "live" and over the next few months I sold 24 copies. I could tell you the name of every one of the 24 buyers too. I knew them all. I worked with them, was friends with them or was related to them in some way. This actually made sense since I wasn't advertising. How would anyone know to buy it if they didn't know it was for sale? Slowly sales picked up and now I am selling few more books. My blog is helping me to reach my readers now and also helping me improve for my next book as this experience would help me create better poems for my readers.

When I wrote the book I wasn't interested in making money off it. Even once I set the price of the book to allow me a tiny royalty I still really didn't imagine wealth beyond the dreams of avarice. I looked at it as a way to finance another book. So now there are many things I want to tell you about publishing too but I would ask my readers to get back to me in case they need some help.

·         The worst one - Rhyming Poetry for no reason. I have seen poets painstakingly trying to rhyme poems. I know poets who rhyme words ready for the next line. It’s like you create a sentence for the words that rhyme and not as something intrinsic to the Poem. We are requi#797979 to work on the rhythm,
·         No attention to rhythm – Poetry can be rhyming or non-rhyming (free verse), but in either case it should follow a consistent pattern or beat. Amateur poets often set up a meter and then break it, or simply ignore rhythm altogether.
·         Clichés – One of the most wonderful aspects of poetry is the chance to hear objects, feelings and situations described in unique ways. Poems full of overused comparisons like stupid– “Her eyes were as green as the sea,” “My heart beats like a guitar,” “He ran like the whirlpool,” and the like, are seen as unoriginal
·         If you are writing your poems only for yourself I would suggest you keep the poems for yourself. No one cares unless the poem can relate to the reader/s. This is very very important. Your ‘I” and “me” in the poem should be the reader
·         Do not simply write a Poem. There are millions of poems on “Love”, “Betrayal” and many similar subjects. You are requi#797979 to create uniqueness in your subject and fuel it with genuine emotions which the readers can relate to. I have made similar mistakes in the past and I am learning every day.
·         Preachy propaganda set to rhyme – Writing poetry about the things that you believe in is a good idea. Using poetry as a blunt weapon to hammer your point home to the reader regardless of poetic integrity is not.

·         Poetry should be as precise as possible. Vague simple words like “good,” bad,’ “love,” and “honesty” should be replaced with either exact descriptions of what you mean or more accurate words.  It is very important to use the right language and please not that subjects like ‘LOVE’, “Weather” etc. has been done to death and in case you are planning something to write in this area…try and be very original.

·         Now the most important point. Please go through as many poems as possible. You should be able to differentiate good from the bad. “Wind is cold”, “Night is dark” has many other ways of expressing which puts your work in the category of good poetry. Novice poetry is often full of unrelated images and incoherent thoughts.

·         You can also visit (5 mistakes) to know more about bad poetry.
             Know Poetry well. Start reading and writing all types of Poetry. You can visit here Types of Poetry to know more. 

     Other than in English there are some fine and unique poetries on the web which were translated by some kind writers. Start hunting them. Read them and understand them. Chinese, Japanese, Indian etc. are very rich form of poetry and we can draw inspiration from there.

I hope the above pointers are helpful. I would be more than happy to assist to help anyone who wants to know more on publishing or any other subjects. I am now trying to collaborate with few writers to create a collection of Poems. I am doing this for many reasons. The first and primary reason would be to reach maximum readers which can be reached through various contact and fan base of the readers. I have not used Facebook or any tool to promote my book. The objective of the next collaborative effort would be to bring Poetry to the mass as I think we have a huge audience for good meaning Poetry and with smart approach we can reach our readers. Anyone who is willing to collaborate can reach me at mysticverse@yahoo.in . I would not guarantee lot of profit but I can promise a wonderful experience. Secondly my objective is to create a series of poetry book with the same name and a new theme. I am open for any ideas from your end.

Cheers and Keep Winning,
Shamsud Ahmed