My Records and yours, excerpt from "Ana", A. L. Butcher Interview, 2 more Dreamtime Damsel

Today is Vinyl Record Day

(taken from)

Get spinning on August 12th with National Vinyl Record Day! Whether it’s the Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Monkees, Johnny Cash or the BeeGees, vinyl records have a sound all their own. Most will agree, vintage vinyl is almost as much of a classic as the bands themselves.The day encourages listening to all kinds of music on vinyl records. Spin a disc on a jukebox or showing off your style by demonstrating your hip hop moves.

About Vinyl Records

When vinyl records first came on the market they had other names. Some of them were gramophone record or a phonograph record. They’re also called records for short. A "record" is an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc. The sound is recorded by inscribing it on a modulated spiral groove.Depending on the speed the sound was recorded, the vinyl record will need to be played at a specific speed on the record player. This is referred to as rotational speed. The revolutions per minute (RPMs) of the more popular vinyls are:45s 33 1/3 and 78s.

Other features of vinyl records included reproductive accuracy or fidelity (High Fidelity or Hi-Fi, Orthophonic and Full-Range), their time capacity (long-playing or single), and the number of channels of audio provided (mono, stereo or quadraphonic).

Vinyl records were also sold in different sizes such as:12 inch10 inch7 inch

By 1991, vinyl records left the mainstream. However, manufacturers continue to produce them. Collectors and audiophiles increasingly desire the unique sound that only vinyl can produce.

Since 2006, vinyl record sales continue to increase according to Even more dramatic sales started hitting the markets beginning in 2012.

HOW TO OBSERVE #VinylRecordDay

Stop by a vinyl record store in your town. While browsing through the selections, reminisce about the Good Ol’ Days. Share your finds using #VinylRecordDay to post on social media.


Gary Freiberg of Los Osos, California founded National Vinyl Record Day commemorating the day Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. Freiberg encourages everyone to remember fond memories and the good things in life, especially vinyl records.

I asked my readers what their favorite vinyl record was: My early memories were of blues. St. James Infirmary, Cab Calloway, songs by Tennessee Ernie Ford, and the Clemson Song "Hold that Tiger". Here's what you reported:

Edwin Downward I'm torn between saying Eve by Alan Parsons Project and Bat Out Of Hell by Meatloaf.

Raymond Poar Time is tight, Booker T and the Mg's

Greg Taylor Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (album), Frankenstein by The Edgar Winter Group (single).

Stephanie Barr Nelson Eddy (really) singing duets

Guy Donovan The original 1977 two disk release of John Williams' score for Star Wars.

Chrys Tremththanmor I'm not old enough for vinyl... I went straight to CDs.

Suzie Wong Herbie Mann, live at Newport.

Francis LaLonde "Dreamboat Annie" - Heart

Devorah Fox I just packed two boxes full of vinyl LPs. How about Sounds of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel?

Eva Pasco Rubber Soul album (Beatles)

Charles Patton Beatles Blue Album!!

Mara Reitsma Beach Boys & Eagles One of these nights!

Michelle Lilykoi Adams Led Zeppelin, all of them. Rolling Stones all of them. Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon, and the rest of them.

Sandy Fosdick Lady by Kenny Rogers

My vinyl adventures!

I went to Winthrop College, (now Winthrop University) because it was my Mom’s Alma Mater and I wanted to go to a small quiet college in the South. I very quickly realized I was too immature to go to college in the first place because all I wanted to do was spread my wings and PARTY!! I was seriously too offbeat to fit in. My solace was becoming a College DJ. For 2 years or a little more until the Ivy-covered halls had had enough of me and decided my grades were too abysmal for me to continue, I was an evening DJ, providing listening for the ladies there (it wasn’t co-ed in those days) I played mostly Underground and folk or blues music. It wasn’t what they wanted. I wasn't popular. I was told to play "normal" music. Winthrop ladies of 1966-8 liked blue-eyed soul, Motown and ever popular"Beach Music:" I must adm it I developed a fondness for "their" music: "Sixty Minute Man", "Stay - Just a little bit longer..." and more.

Music and song have always permeated my writing whether played on vinyl or not. I had writing themes that I played to bring a scene to life. My characters, even in my first writing, had theme songs.

Now I listen to instrumental New Age music. My writing also features song. In Children of Stone – Voices in Crystal. Marai is singing to his goddess at the story's opening.

In the short story "Ana’s Dream of Flying" (soon to be published freestanding) Ana’s mother is singing to the radio as the DJ plays "I’ll Fly Away". Later that night she hears a neighbor playing Bobby Lewis‘ "Tossing and Turning" Still later she hears Chuck Berry’s "Memphis, Tennessee" and that’s where the story gets really strange!

Here’s an excerpt:

Tiptoeing forth and ever so quietly, she unlocked the thumb latch on the top of the window sash so that it didn’t make a sound. The dogs had grown nearly silent, but still yapped occasionally in the distance. Down the street someone had put a platter on: “Tossin’ and Turnin”.

Ana grinned, because her nights were like that most of the time. “I couldn’t sleep at all last night…” she affirmed and wondered how school would be tomorrow now that she knew about Sister Patrick talking to Daddy. Even further down on the main road, horns honked and beyond that she heard the scream of an ambulance or a fire truck siren and wondered for an instant about the trash can fire. Crossing herself to make that thought go away, she turned to the three figures behind her who had coaxed her to the sill.

“It’s open. Now we can all get out,” she whispered, but the images had become like smoke. The young girl’s shoulders sagged in disappointment. She thought she had finally waked and had caught herself sleepwalking.

Now, before she returned to bed, she stood taking in the fresher air of night and the city sounds.

1961. Memphis. Colored part of town with modest porched bungalows and shotgun single family homes near the river ridge. Another song entered her thoughts.“Long Distance information, give me Memphis, Tennessee” Chuck Berry sang in her memory from the static-filled old radio on the kitchen table.

“Help me, information, get in touch with Ana Marie

She's the only one who'd phone me here from Memphis, Tennessee

Her home is on the south side, high up on a ridge

Just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge”.

Ana Marie? Wait a minute. Ana reviewed the parade of words to the tune that everyone knew. Kids always sang it in the schoolyard. It’s supposed to be ‘my’ Marie, not ‘Ana’ Marie

“Help me, information, more than that I cannot add

Only that I miss her and all the fun we had…”

But it wasn’t Chuck Berry. And her name wasn’t Ana Marie. It was just Ana Lena Thomas. The voice moved further from her window. At that moment, she realized she wasn’t listening to a neighbors record. It was a man’s voice; deeper and grindy; almost growling. It sounded as if it spoke from the sky.

Want to read the rest and to read several more awesome stories?

Here’s the link!

Review – of Voices in Crystal

Liger Zero

3.0 out of 5 stars

Had a little trouble

August 4, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

The pacing of this book made it hard to come back to but I relented for the world and mythology.

Not really into heavy detailed, themes, and sex scenes with a god-like power-fantasy character dealing with his harem, but I suppose it draws on some old religious tropes in that regard, which is fitting given the setting and reverence added to the book and the abilities in it.

Where it ended did it no favors, but I am curious to know how the story expands from here.

My review of Necrotic City by Leland Lydeker

In Necrotic City there are two types of cybernetic-ally enhanced "Police": Peace officers known as Heroes who go about saving lives often at their own peril and Enforcers who see the rule of law is followed, often brutally.

The city itself reminds me of a Towel of Babel or giant Pyramid extending from the heavens where all is wealth illusion and comfort to beyond 50 where squalor, poverty and death are unimaginable. The "company" which created Heroes like Adrian has decided Heroes are no longer needed so Adrian is sent to work as a bodyguard for a family in the upper tier. When Adrian’s new boss gives him an order which goes against his programming, he realizes he must escape and does so.

This begins his journey all the way to the lowest and impoverished or credit-less tiers. As he journeys, he often trusts the wrong people and is betrayed at various points.

Slowly he learns how to survive as well as the nature of true and trustworthy friends.

The book is well written and takes the right amount of time to build the world and the character.

My only very slight quibble was that the final challenge at the end comes about rather quickly. All in all a good book to read and to make you wonder if in future generations we will become like the inhabitants of Necrotic City, by Leland Lydeker.

We met A. L. Butcher's character two weeks ago.

Now we interview the author. A. L. Butcher

What made you want to be a writer?

I’ve been writing stories and poems since I could make swirly shapes on a page. I assume what you mean is when did I decide to publish? That was in 2012 – although I’d been writing role-play game adventures for a while before that. I was going through a difficult time and writing helps me escape. I discovered KDP, which is free and thought, ‘what’s the worst that can happen? No one reads it.’ So, I self-published and to my amazement people bought the book and so I carried on. I have dozens of stories all wanting to be told and now I have an outlet for them.

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.

I am currently writing book IV of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, but it’s a bit behind deadline. I’ve been working on a few other things too and so it’s been on a back burner. I’m hoping to release that one next year.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – a fantasy/fantasy romance series (with a hint of erotica) set in a dark world where magic is illegal, and half the population are enslaved.

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?

Very important! I have met one author who claimed he didn’t have time to read, and didn’t actually like reading. I found that very odd. Most authors are prolific readers, and inspired by the books and authors they read. It’s also how one learns the craft – at least in part.

Do you remember the first book you read?

As I was very small, no. I used to like Thomas the Tank Engine and the Mr Men and Little Miss books when I was tiny, I do remember those with a lot of fondness.

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading a book about the trials of five English queens, an anthology of Historical Detectives, some Shakespeare and book of Mythic Tales.

How did you come up with the idea for the book or series, especially the title?

The series grew from an adapted role-play character, and an idea I’d had for something else. The title springs loosely from the ranks of the two main characters – Dii is the Lady of the Light (although she doesn’t find this out until book II), and Archos is Lord of the Storm.

Which character do you identify with most in your novel? I think authors have to identify at least a little with all the characters. To make a convincing character one must imagine one is that character. I believe authors are empathic. You must put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to ‘experience’ what they experience. Otherwise the characters will be flat.

How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Well as it’s a fantasy tale featuring mages and elves, set in a pseudo-medieval land not a lot. That said the stories do cover issues which have been experienced by real people – slavery, violence, the demeaning and sexualisation of women, the position of particular groups within a society, martial law, tyranny, plague, fear and ignorance.

To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Not really.

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.

I need to be in the right frame of mind. If I am too stressed I can’t write. I prefer music or background noise, but not too distracting.

What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?

Tea or coffee

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?

Marketing! Which makes things tricky as no one will see a book which isn’t marketed.

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.

My mother dying of cancer. I managed to publish book I just before she died, so at least she got to see it.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?

My best friend Diana. She’s awesome and she’s great for talking through ideas.

How do you market your book?

Facebook, blogging, Twitter, interviews.

Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.

Occasionally a reader contacts me. Telling me they like the books is a nice thing to hear.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?

My friend Diana, or depending on what I’m working on my editor.

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.

Never done one!

Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?

Freedom is what you make it, love is precious and a life well lived is beyond price.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I really hate this question. I think Hugh Bonneville for Archos, Emma Watson for Ozena. Orlando Bloom for Olek, Jullianne Moore or Karen Gillan for Dii.

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Leonardo Da Vinci. He’s a genius with an unending imagination.

Do you have any hobbies?

Gardening, reading, watching movies.

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Costume dramas, detective/crime shows, historical and nature programmes, sci-fi an fantasy films, action films.

Favorite foods

Cheese, chocolate, apples, grapes, cake

What’s your sign, lucky number.

I have no idea.

What’s your favorite color.

Purple and black

What music do you hear in your latest book.

Oh Fortuna

Imagine a future where you no longer write What would you do?

I have no idea. Be very unhappy, probably.

You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?

Telling precious people I love them, reading, playing with my dog.

What do you want written on your head stone?

I told you so.

Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?

I probably published too quickly – partly because I wanted my mother to see the book, but also because I thought it was done, when I was inexperienced enough to think that.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?

Read the FAQ and TOS of the site you’re publishing on before you publish.

Write what you want to write and read. If you write what is currently popular then it may not be popular by the time you finish. If you want to read it, then the likelihood is someone else will as well

It’s a steep learning curve.

There will always be people who don’t like your work. Get over it. Don’t respond, don’t get angry or upset (at least not publically), it happens. You can’t please everyone.

Enjoy your work. If you force it to be something it isn’t it will show.

Most indies don’t make much money from writing. If you want to get rich quickly don’t be a writer.

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?

My friend Diana.

Tell us how we may get a copy of your book. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback etc.

Updated links: A. L. Butcher

Author of The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, and other fantasy, historical fantasy and poetry.

Winner of the NN Light Book Heaven award for Fantasy 2018.

Book promotion, bundle curator and Indie Author Supporter.


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More Dreamtime Damsels!

Leslie Conzatti’s Red the Wolf

Greetings. I don’t mean to frighten you. Unless you are up to no good. Then you are wise to be very afraid. I am known as Red—I’ve never really had another name.

My earliest memory is waking up in the home of Burch Garrity, an old shepherd, and being raised by him and his wife Deborah. They live in the mountain village of Queston, built around a large valley among tall cliffs.

They say the first word I ever said was “red”, and that from the first moment I was obsessed with that color, so the name stuck. Deborah Garrity even made me a long red cape with a deep hood, so I can be conspicuous if I choose, or conceal my features when necessary.

Certainly it is odd how I am most sensitive to the color, sight, smell, and feel of a particular flower, the crimson hood. It only grows in the forest around Queston, and there is a variety of superstition attached to them. Some say that even so much as plucking a single blossom is enough to summon me. In reality, it is the danger I sense, and that is why I come. Others have discovered the incredible healing properties of the oils contained within the crimson hoods.

Deborah Garrity, in particular, boils the petals to make a “miracle paste” that speeds the healing of any injury or illness.

There is a secret that few know about me. Sometimes, I am a wolf. I don’t know how or why I am capable of this. When I first broke into the Garrity’s home and curled up, hungry and tired by their warm hearth, I was a small pup, and as they watched, I changed into a little girl. They’ve told nobody about it, but I have used my dual nature to be an effective Guardian for Queston.

As a human, my senses are heightened, my reflexes are faster, my stamina is longer, and my muscles are stronger than an average female.

I use wolf form when I need to fit into narrow places that won’t admit an adult human, or if I need to travel quickly over treacherous surfaces, because the wolf has a lower center of gravity than the woman does.

Most of Queston think that the wolf is separate from the woman, that it could be my familiar. At any rate, they teach their children my specific markings, and that if they ever come across the Red Wolf in the forest, they have nothing to fear.

I moved out of the Garrity’s house once they began having children of their own. I didn’t want to crowd. I moved to a small cave high in the clefts, reachable only as a wolf. From there I can still sense danger in Queston, and I can also reach Burch quickly in the small field where he grazes the communal flock of sheep he tends.

Lately, he’s been having some trouble. A white wolf has been appearing around the field, terrorizing the sheep and causing and causing chaos whenever he does. Burch calls me, or I can smell the idiot’s stench whenever it happens, but every time I chase him, the white wolf manages to disappear.

I continue to remain on alert, promising myself that next time, I won’t let the miscreant out of my sight. Queston only has one Wolf, and I am that wolf!

from The Wizard's Quandary by Jaq D Hawkins

My name is Lesana and I'm the king's Alchemist. I come from a small kingdom in the shadow of the Crystal Mountains where law is the king's word and anyone defying his edict to stay out of the mountains meets with swift and cruel judgement, but not from the king. The dragons who rule the mountains don't like interlopers.

To look at me, you would never guess I'm old enough to have kept the king alive for three generations. Alchemy has its advantages. I don't see many people since I moved into a remote tower too close to the mountains for most people's liking to practice my magic, but I've long since grown out of any interest in the fripperies that younger women go in for. I never really found much appeal in them to be honest. The simple, undyed breeches and tunic you see me in now has been like a uniform for most of my life. I was just seventeen when I secured my official post. I only keep my hair long because there is magic in long hair, one of the little-known secrets of the magicians.

Unlike most young women, I never had an attraction for marriage either. Because I look as if I were still not much past twenty, the few visitors that come to my tower occasionally entertain the fantasy that I would leave my post in exchange for a new position to cook for a man and clean his house. It's hard to explain to ordinary people why I treasure my isolation.

I had to prove myself to attain my position and I hold it at a high value, but what is even more important to me is my personal freedom. My biggest fear has always been that the king's whim could bring my private world crashing down. A word from him, after all, is all it would take. Once he hinted that he was tempted to marry me to keep my talents close, or perhaps to have me married to one of his closest courtiers.

That was when I started digging the tunnel under my tower. It took many years, but I built an escape route that would get me into the forest in the foothills of the Crystal Mountains. It's a dangerous place, but not impassable for someone with a little sense and a modicum of woodcraft. I've cultivated both, along with my greatest obsession, magic.

Magic is the reason I took up an interest in Alchemy. It's the only form of magic that is legal in the kingdom and in most surrounding kingdoms as well. I had to practice in secret and obtain knowledge by stealth, sometimes explaining away esoteric texts as somehow relevant to Alchemy. I keep most of those in an alcove I built into the tunnel, just in case.

If I had to describe myself in one word, I think it would be 'resilient'. If I want something enough, I'll work towards it, however long it takes. Some people would just call me stubborn, yet it's a quality that has kept me alive and free.

The best thing that ever happened to me was a result of that stubbornness. I've always had a fascination for the Crystal Mountains and the dragons I can see flying over them from my tower. One day when I was testing my escape tunnel. The mountains, so close, became too much temptation. I didn't intend to go far, but I began to follow some of the easier passages in the foothills. It wasn't long before I was noticed. The dragon nearly caught me and made me his lunch, but I was quick and ducked behind a large crystal, out of sight. That was where I found my biggest secret, a dragon egg that had fallen out of a nest.

I was close enough to my tunnel opening that I was able to creep back to it under cover of the forest. When Khadri hatched, it was love at first sight. But I have to keep him secret. If the king knew I had a dragon, he would surely take him from me as a curiosity. You see, he doesn't grow. Having kept him mostly inside the tower, he grew up to be no bigger than a wolverine. Apparently dragons have the same genetic quality as fish, who grow to a size to fit the limitations of their environment. Who knew?

My goals in life are simple. To keep my freedom, to keep Khadri with me and to study magic. It's just inconvenient that to maintain those goals, I have to avoid drawing the king's attention. That can be tricky when I have to see him, or his lackeys, in order to serve him as his Alchemist.

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Next week Aviation, an excerpt from Heart of the Lotus about Djerah's first flight,

More Damsels, New releases.

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