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An Uncommon instrument, an Angel, a review, Daphne Matthews, big winners, new releases and activies
July 31, 2017
Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day
In our wide world of music there are often musical instruments which defy description.. This one, The Singing Ringing Tree, evokes a spiritual sound and feeling as if the Universe is being channeled through the movement of wind. Wikipedia describes it this way. After you read, be sure to copy, paste and listen to the YouTube recording of the unique sound it produces.
The Singing Ringing Tree is a wind powered sound sculpture resembling a tree set in the landscape of the Pennine hill range overlooking Burnley, in Lancashire, England.
Completed in 2006, it is part of the series of four sculptures within the Panopticons arts and regeneration project created by the East Lancashire Environmental Arts Network (ELEAN). The project was set up to erect a series of 21st-century landmarks, or Panopticons (structures providing a comprehensive view), across East Lancashire as symbols of the renaissance of the area.
Designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu, the Singing Ringing Tree is a 3-metre tall construction comprising pipes of galvanised steel which harness the energy of the wind to produce a slightly discordant and penetrating choral sound covering a range of several octaves. Some of the pipes are primarily structural and visual elements, while others have been cut across their width enabling the sound. The harmonic and singing qualities of the tree were produced by tuning the pipes according to their length by adding holes to the underside of each.
In 2007, the sculpture won (along with 13 other candidates) the National Award of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for architectural excellence.
In March of 2017, a second Singing Ringing Tree was set on the outskirts of Austin, Texas in the United States in the rural area of a small town called Pflugerville.
Ancient Egypt had pipes, harps, drums and stringed ancestors of the lute for any celebration. The sistrum, however, took on a magical and religious meaning.
It's a rattle made of a loop and discs suspended on a bar.
The sistrum was one of the most sacred musical instruments in ancient Egypt and was believed to hold powerful magical properties. It was used in the worship of the goddess Hathor, mythological character of joy, festivity, fertility, eroticism and dance. In ceremonies, women shook the sistrum to avert the flooding of the Nile and to frighten away Set, the god of the desert, storms, disorder, and violence. Isis, in her role as mother and creator, was often depicted holding a pail symbolizing the inundation of the Nile in one hand, and the sistrum in the other hand. It was designed to produce the sound of the breeze hitting and blowing through papyrus reeds, but the symbolic value of the sistrum far exceeded its importance as a musical instrument. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sistrum
A 5 star review...Almost 4 years later.
Book 1 Voices in Crystal
Jul 28, 2017 Terra James -- it was amazing This is an amazing adventure and with every page you turn you want to read another. Children of Stone is a rare love/fantasy/adventure/ book and it is exciting to learn about the characters. I can't wait to read the next book in the series as this one was a cliff hanger. I highly recommend this book to any fantasy reader.
It is rare to have a book that weaves religion with Egyptian culture.
"Angel" by Angel - a character study. Last week I interviewed Angel Medina author of The Thousand Years War. Today we meet his main character.
1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
Hello I’m Angel and the main character in The Thousand Years War
2.Tell us where and when were you born.
I was born in Brooklyn New York and I’m in my middle twenties, sorry I prefer to not give away my actual age. My mother told me it’s not a good practice lol.
3. How would you describe yourself?
I’m a leader and I believe in tough love. I’m one determined SOB and nothing will get in the way of me from completing my mission in life whether is to save my family or save the entire world. Even if I don’t get any recognition for it.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in the school of hard knocks in Brooklyn, but I prefer to get out as I need to improve my stature in life. However I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my childhood home, lots of good memories as a kid, I messed around, but it’s time to grow up.
5. How old are you?
I prefer not to say if that’s ok with you. J
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
For the most part I did, except my mother was taken from me too early in life when I was 6 years old. Then my father was murdered when I was 15 years old, still to this day I don’t know who killed my father, but at least my aunt was caring enough to take care of me until I was old enough to go on my own. At times I can still communicate with my mother and father and I been able to communicate with the dead since I was a young kid.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
I had a great relationship with my father and he raised me to be the man I am today. I been having friendly conservations with this girl named Maria and we have become ok with each other. I still want to get to know her better though.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
I value my family over everything in my life. I want to find the murderer of my father and make that SOB pay for his sins!
9. What are you obsessed with?
I’m obsessed with becoming a cop in the NYPD, I always wanted to be law enforcement ever since my father was killed.
10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
I’m a protective person and I feel like I’m a role model to people I meet.
11. Biggest fear?
That I will never find the person who wrongfully killed my father.
12. What line will you never cross?
I would never threaten anyone’s family no matter how bad of a person they might be.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
The best thing that happened to me was that I got the strength to go on my own. I think you know my worst thing in life already, next question please.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
When I get to know you better I will talk about my embarrassing moments
15. Biggest secret?
I have a crush on a particular girl that lives around me, but that is as much as I tell anybody, even my trustworthy friends.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
17. What is your current goal?
Find the killer of my father!
Conflict and Suspense Belong in Every Kind of Novel
(Re-blogged from Writers helping Writers)
Posted on March 7, 2017 by Writing Coach
What is the goal of the novel? Is it to entertain? Teach? Preach? Stir up anger? Change the world? Make the author a lot of money?
It can be any of these things, but in the end, none of these objectives will work to their full potential unless they forge, in some way, a satisfying emotional experience for the reader. And what gets the reader hooked emotionally? Trouble! Readers are gripped as they vicariously experience a massive pile of trouble on a lead character.
That’s where conflict comes in. While there those who say plot comes from character, I say Bosh. Character comes from plot.
Why? Because true character is only revealed in crisis. Put your character into big trouble (plot) and then we’ll see what he or she is made of (character). If you don’t believe me, imagine a 400-page novel about Scarlett O’Hara where she just sits on the porch all day, sipping mint juleps and flirting. Gone With the Wind only takes off when Scarlett finds out Ashley is going to marry Melanie (trouble!) and then the Civil War breaks out (big trouble!)
Another way to think about it is this: we all wear masks in our lives. A major crisis forces us to take off the mask and reveal who we really are. That’s the role of conflict in fiction: to rip the mask off the character.
Now, conflict must be of sufficient magnitude to matter to readers. That’s why I teach that “death stakes” must be involved. Your lead character must be facing death—which can be physical, professional, or psychological.
Genre doesn’t matter. In a literary novel like The Catcher in the Rye, it’s psychological death. Holden Caulfield must find meaning in the world or he will “die inside.” Psychological death is also the key to a category romance. If the two lovers do not get together, they will lose their soul mate. They will die inside and forever have diminished lives (that’s the feeling you need to create). Think about it. Why was Titanic such a hit with teen girls? It wasn’t because of the special effects!
In The Silence of the Lambs, professional death is on the line. Clarice Starling must help bring down Buffalo Bill in part by playing mind games with Hannibal Lecter. If she doesn’t prevail, another innocent will die (physical death in the subplot) and Clarice’s career will be over.
And in thrillers, of course, you have the threat of physical death hanging over the whole thing.
The second element is suspense, and I don’t just mean in the suspense novel per se. Suspense means to “delay resolution so as to excite anticipation.” Another way to say this is that it’s the opposite of having a predictable story. If the reader keeps guessing what’s going to happen, and is right, there is no great pleasure in reading the novel.
We’ve all had the wonderful experience of being so caught up in a story that we have to keep turning the pages. This is where writing technique can be studied and learned and applied. For example, there are various ways you can end a chapter so readers are compelled to read on. I call these “Read on Prompts,” and it was one of the first things I personally studied when I started learning to write. I went to a used bookstore and bought a bunch of King, Koontz, and Grisham. When I’d get to the end of a chapter I’d write in pencil on the page what they did to get me to read on.
Again, genre doesn’t matter. You have to be able to excite anticipation and avoid predictability. Suspense technique helps you to do that. I am so passionate about this that I wrote a book on the subject: Conflict & Suspense (Writer’s Digest Books). In fact, if you were to concentrate almost exclusively on these two key elements for the next few months, your books will take a huge step toward that exalted “next level” everyone always talks about.Raymond Chandler’s legendary PI, Philip Marlowe, once told a client, “Trouble is my business.” It’s yours, too, writer. Now go make some.Jim is the author of the #1 bestseller for writers, Plot & Structure, and numerous thrillers, including, Romeo’s Rules, Try Dying and Don’t Leave Me. His popular books on fiction craft can be found here. His thrillers have been called “heart-whamming” (Publishers Weekly)
Our next author is Daphne Matthews
1. Who are you as a person? (brief bio paragraph)
I am a former journalist turned all-around geek. I am also a huge baseball fan – my team is the Cleveland Indians. Careful or I may try to explain the infield fly rule to you.
I’ve also been involved in various BDSM communities for more than 10 years, including time in leadership. It’s these experiences that led me to write the Gambler Series, including Backed Into a Hand, Aces and Spaces, and An Offsuited Pair.
2. How long have you been a writer?
If you count periods of writing bad, melodramatic Christian poetry, and failed starts at various novels, I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil. But I’ve been working on this fiction series for about four years.
3. Are you Traditionally or Indie published? If not yet, what are you considering?
Indie – I have self-published on Createspace and Smashwords.
4. What writers inspired you? Favorite Authors?
I grew up reading Stephen King and still love his style. Currently, I’m more likely to read Jim Butcher. Erotica-wise, I adore Laura Antoniou. She is best known as the author of the Marketplace Series, but also has a murder mystery book called The Killer Wore Leather set at a leather convention. It’s hilarious and relatable, and the characters are fantastic. I hope I’m even a fraction of how good she is.
5. What is your book/series about (elevator speech or quick tweet post)
A woman turns to theft as an answer to her financial problems, but doesn’t expect to get swept away by the man she tried to steal from. And Seth is hiding a few secrets of his own. They’re kinky, polyamorous, and engage in a Dominant/submissive relationship, but the focus is on them as people first.
6. What is the setting and genre?
Setting is New York City at first, and then it gets…complicated. Genre is erotica/romance.
7. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Definitely Seth. He’s the male lead – logical, practical, and confident. I’d love to be more like him.
8. What character is most like you?
Lucy. Most of the series is told in the first person, from her point of view, because we have a lot of in common – sarcastic, self-deprecating, and full of self-doubt.
9. If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?
Shape shifting. So many advantages to choosing what you look like, what form you take, etc. It would be liberating.
10. Would you say your book has a message or underlying theme? What is it?
If anything, it’s the importance of consent. I see a lot of work in my genre that doesn’t cover this. It’s supposed to be romantic if the man just takes over and has his way. That’s not assumed here. People think negotiations and consent can’t be sexy, but I disagree.
11. How are you marketing your book?
Social media mostly, but also word of mouth. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and have done a few interviews/podcasts, and guest blogs for other writers.
12. Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Right now, it would be playwright/songwriter/actor Lin-Manuel Miranda. There’s just nothing he can’t do and I’m infatuated with all of it. He’s amazing.
13. A wonderful thing has happened! Hollywood wants to make a movie of your book! You get to pick the actors & actresses. You want________________for your lead characters.
Ha!! I actually have fantasies about this – I can’t be the only writer who does, right? For Seth, the fantasy involves watching Liev Schreiber and Jon Hamm auditioning. I want to watch both of them in the role, do callbacks, all of it. And then have to decide.
Lucy is more difficult, partly because she’s described as plus-sized – I’m proud of this and won’t change it, but you don’t see enough women of size in Hollywood.
There’s another romantic interest who shows up a little later named Ethan and I can totally see Tom Hardy playing him.
14. What music do you hear (what songs) remind you of your story?
My main couple are big music fans – one of the most fun conversations to write in the first book was them bantering about their favorites. They both love Led Zeppelin, but Seth is pretty sure that was the end of good music.
Meanwhile, she’s a fan of more thought-provoking singer songwriters and pop culture. One song that always makes me giggle is No Sleep Til Brooklyn by the Beastie Boys. In Backed Into a Hand, they set off on a road trip to Brooklyn and she screams the first line at Seth. He has no idea what she’s talking about.
15. What Favorite foods
Cheese. Also bacon. If you can surround something in either one and/or fry it, I’ll probably eat it.
16. What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh – old movies. I’m no fan of censorship, but listening to them creatively use language to get around the Hayes code makes me happy. Also Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. That little dance of his makes me incredibly happy.
Cry – Depictions of complicated parent/child relationships. I can relate all too well.
17. What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” It’s the closing line of my favorite book, The Great Gatsby.
18. Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I also make fun, geeky chocolate to sell at geeky cons. I watch a lot of movies and enjoy discovering new restaurants in the area.
19. What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I look forward to most super hero movies, but also enjoy anything that’s well written. On tv, I look forward to new seasons of House of Cards, Glow, Ray Donovan, and A Handmaid’s Tale.
20. If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Counselor/psychiatrist. I am fascinated by how brains work.
21. What are you working on right now?
The fourth book in the Gambler Series, tentatively titled Riding It Out. Also several short stories, which may or may not end up being book five.
22. What future plans do you have in writing?
Eventually, these characters will stop talking to me, but lately they have been on a role. I also have a book I’d like to eventually write about reincarnation, and I have long had the idea of interpreting Bernie Taupin lyrics into short stories.
23. What links or website do you have? List them below.
Book one – Backed Into A Hand Amazon link - https://www.amazon.com/Backed-Into-Hand-Daphne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B00VJ3ZI6S/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1499105471&sr=8-1
Book two – Aces And Spaces Amazon link - https://www.amazon.com/Aces-Spaces-Gamblers-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01GIJSNJQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1499105529&sr=8-1
Book three – An Offsuited Pair Amazon link - https://www.amazon.com/Offsuited-Pair-Gambler-3/dp/154551092X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499105636&sr=8-1&keywords=offsuited+pair
As I promised there will be three Party Hat Prize winners this month to celebrate one year of the blog, and my winning 4th Place in the Have You Heard? Indie Competition for 2016 in the Fantasy Author and Fantasy Book (Opener of the Sky) Stay tuned! Winners and their choice of prizes announced in the August 7 blog. Stay tuned and watch your Facebook Inbox.
Also... Facebook takes a dim view of me tagging people right and left. When I post the link, please hit "like" so I will know not to inbox you. It's reciprocal...
If you hit "like" and then Share it on your page or favorite group, or if you comment, you automatically go in next month's free book drawing! WHAT COULD BE SIMPLER?
Released in July.
July, 1 2017 C. A. King Peach Coloured Daisies(Novella) https://www.amazon.com/Peach-Coloured-Daisies-Cursed-Story-ebook/dp/B071FHC9Z8/ref=la_B00OSIL07M_1_4_twi_kin_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501443137&sr=1-4 ---C. A. King
July 6, 2017 Darlene Kuncytes - Promised to a Dragon (Novella) https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Dragon-Darlene-Kuncytes-ebook/dp/B073SFTVQ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501443736&sr=1-1&keywords=darlene+kuncytesDarlene
July 14, 2017 Charlayne Elizabeth Denney - Archangel's Gambit https://www.amazon.com/Archangels-Gambit-Fangs-Halos-Book-ebook/dp/B073YDK96P/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1501444380&sr=1-1&keywords=charlayne+elizabeth+denney
July 17, 2017 Reed James Dark Viking Passion (short novella)